Pure Michigan weather …

08-04-15

The thermometer’s up, it’s down, then up again. The old adage about waiting a few minutes and the weather will change could not be truer in this state. This Summer I’ve had to have three different sets of walking clothes at the ready depending on how cool or warm it is. This morning felt downright chilly.

I hopped out of bed and got out the door and down to the Park in record time. These past few days I’ve been swamped at work so I wanted to ensure I got my five miles in for today while the weather is so perfect, and, indeed, I was able to do so.

I decided to include this picture of the lily pads that float so daintily on the surface of the Creek water with this blog post. I’m still looking for the elusive frogs that should be sitting on top of them, but, as usual, nary a frog was in sight. Perhaps that fraternal order of frogs are consoling Kermit who broke up with Ms. Piggy today. Yes, sadly it’s all over social media and even made the national news.

Sorry Kermit – as you know it’s not easy being green.

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Here’s hoping the weather guy is full of hops …

08-02-15

Summer has finally kicked into full gear and heat mode is here to stay. In my opinion, it has already overstayed its welcome, but then, I’m not a big fan of hot weather.

According to multiple meteorologists, we have severe weather slated for later today. Since I have several projects for work in the hopper that need to get done, I hopped to it and headed out for my walk early, so hopefully I finish everything before the stormy weather arrives.

There went the weed-pulling expedition (which didn’t break my heart) and the housework got a swift once over, so surely it won’t pass the white-glove test, but I got another five miles under my belt. I know … I need to recalibrate my priorities sometimes.

I saw this rabbit on Emmons Boulevard and he posed for me as you can see above. I often see him at this corner house, hunkering down in the hostas or nibbling the tender blades of grass. I think he’d be an excellent candidate for the Easter ads don’t you? Just picture him hopping down the bunny trail after you Photoshop a wicker basket filled with chocolate eggs and jelly beans onto his paw – he could be a celebrity.

It’s way too early to think about Easter, but this guy has my vote for the cutest candidate for Easter Bunny for the year 2016.

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Okay, I admit I was a weenie today …

Another beautiful morning and I set out early with the intention of walking the full two loops at Council Point Park. I can’t believe it is the last day of July and soon – too soon, the sun will be getting up way too late and setting much too early. Well fiddle-dee-dee as Scarlett O’Hara would say … we are all too familiar with how short the Summer season really is.

Actually Summer’s midpoint is tomorrow … as of August 1st, Summer is considered half over.

There are many people who believe that once the 4th of July has passed, Summer is a done deal.   For me, it is Labor Day – then the Summer is officially kaput. The plethora of Summer art fairs and festivals have finished up and the produce has turned from peaches and plums to apples and pumpkins. Then, you might as well face the music … Fall is on the horizon.

As I stepped out the door today, I was packing my camera and some peanuts and looking for a photo op during my Friday foray to the Park.

But … I never made it to the Park.

I got to the cross street where I usually turn to head to the Park, or the River, when all of a sudden I saw a pit bull on the lawn at the corner lot. His ears were raised up, probably because he no doubt heard the jingle-jangle of the items on my lanyard. I quickly pulled the lanyard taut to silence it and stopped in my tracks. I remembered my neighbor Marge warning me awhile ago to be careful of a pit bull that was roaming the neighborhood. This was my first encounter with it however.

This pit bull was black and white and fairly large. He appeared to be alone. I didn’t see anyone, nor hear any voices, so I figured he was on the loose. To be truthful, he stared at me with a rather disinterested look, then hung his head down and started walking away. But, I was a little spooked anyway, and decided I’d rather not tangle with him, nor be his breakfast tidbit, so I decided to just trek along busy Fort Street should he decide to follow me. I don’t walk along Fort Street too much anymore unless I have errands to run since they raised the speed limit from 35 mph to 45 mph earlier this year. People are in a hurry to get their destination and not always mindful of pedestrians.

As the cars whizzed by and I trudged along, it was breezy … suddenly I got a whiff of something that caused my stomach to growl. It appeared to be wafting from the direction of White Castle. Their marquis was touting “Corn Dog Nibblers” and, yup … that smell could very well be that of hot cornmeal, wrapped around a juicy wienie, fresh out of the deep fryer. I used to love going to fairs and carnivals – not just for the rides, but is there anything that says Summer better than fair fare like elephant ears, candy floss and corn dogs?

Just one whiff of those “Corn Dog Nibblers” took me back to the carnival merry go round, with a cone of candy floss or a corn dog in one hand and hanging on for dear life with the other.

Good thing I don’t carry any $$$ on me.

Today, it was not as scenic as my usual walk, but instead was a tantalizing trek for the taste buds to be sure.

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Making mini milestones …

07-30-15

This morning I reached and passed 300 walking miles so far for 2015. Good thing, because I was mad at myself for not reaching my self-imposed 4th of July goal of 250 miles. Though I fell short of that goal, which was halfway to my end goal of 500 miles, luckily, due to the spate of sunny mornings, and alot of pounding the pavement, I’ve reached this mini milestone. I walked 110 miles in the month of July alone … and July is not done yet.

So, just like this train that keeps rollin’ along, so do I. My next goal is to reach 400 miles by Labor Day. Hopefully that is doable.

When I left for my walk this morning, it was mercifully cooler, with the humidity banished and a the bonus of a slight breeze to boot.

The cooler temperature meant the neighborhoods were quieter, with A/C units switched off and sprinklers silenced. There was no pinging sound of flinging droplets onto concrete which had often forced me to skirt sidewalks and driveways and walk in the street to avoid getting drenched. The robins were hushed as well since they were busy grabbing grubs and wrestling worms from moist lawns that were the glad recipients of a quick cloudburst yesterday that yielded nearly a half inch of rain in a matter of minutes.

I was much quieter too, as I meandered along, minus my water bottle and its holster and harness that hook onto my fanny pack. Between the hooks and clips on my gear, and my lanyard with its pepper spray, whistle, keys and plastic tag with my contact info, my trappings were starting to sound and look like Schneider. the building super on the late 70s TV sitcom “One Day At a Time”.

I hope the humidity stays at bay for a few more days. Today’s jaunt added five more miles and I was happy to get home and reward myself with a substantial swig of strawberry milk.

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Bedraggled and crispy.

07-29-15

I often breathe a sigh of relief that I was not born in the Victorian era as their garb would have stifled me for sure. I don’t know how those Victorian ladies survived the heat in an age of corsets, crinolines, bustles and bustiers. No wonder they fainted all the time and needed to be revived with smelling salts.

The weather folks are all saying this is the last wickedly hot AND humid day before a storm rolls in later to knock back the humidity, but unfortunately the heat wave will linger. I know we all complained enough about the brutally cold Winter and chilly Spring that there should be no complaints about these hot Summer days. I distinctly remember saying, that I, for one, would have no complaints about the heat when it arrived, and now, of course, I’ve whined about it all week, so I guess that labels me a malcontent.

Once again I left early for my walk to beat the heat. There was no breeze, the temps were already in the 70s and the sun was just starting to filter through the clouds.

As I walked through the neighborhoods, I noticed more and more bedraggled-looking blooms in pots and planters and many hanging baskets had the dregs of formerly fine-looking flowers which now resemble something the Addams Family might place on their shepherd hooks – not just bedraggled, but downright dead. We sure got spoiled with Mother Nature taking care of our flowers and lawns with cool days and rain showers daily. Even the lush lawns are beginning to get tinged with yellowish patches which can’t be blamed on Fido, and, I suspect in just a few more days of this heat, those grass blades will be crispy.

I just walked to the railroad tracks and back, not wanting to get waylaid by the 8:20 a.m. train rumbling through. That was a quick trip, with four more miles to add to my total. By the time I arrived home, the sun was high in the sky and the morning was quickly getting downright hot and sticky.

As to me, I liken myself to a flower – a daisy to be exact. When I left the house I looked like a hardy Shasta Daisy and by the time I returned I resembled a Gerbera Daisy – you know the type … those cute and colorful blooms with the perky petals, that is – until the sun hits them, then, they, just like those Victorian ladies of yesteryear, collapse in half and faint dead away.

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Feelin’ tuckered out and puckered out from the heat.

07-28-15

Well, it was another sweltering morning, but luckily I left early enough so that only the return trip was hot and sticky. The humidity was high and little drips and drops once again speckled the concrete where they had plopped down from the gutters or car bodies.

My destination was just up and down Emmons Boulevard, to the train tracks and back, usually an easy, four-mile, round-trip trek, but I was getting tuckered out on the last leg of the trip. By the time I neared home, my sleeveless tee-shirt felt moist, as did my lanyard; even my madras seersucker clam diggers felt clammy as their puckers went kaput and the fabric lay limply against my legs.

As I unlocked the door and stepped into the cool house, I truly wished I had been as scantily clad as this little fellow above.

My pal Leslie posted this interesting-looking bug on her Facebook site a few days ago, along with the comment “this little Walking Stick came by today to say hello”. Several of her friends, including me, commented on how long since we’d seen one of these creatures, and I added to my commentary that he stopped by for “Throwback Thursday”. You might remember me sharing the escapades of Leslie’s garden frog a few weeks ago, so, I told Leslie she has the best critters in her yard and I only get those big, fat, ugly garden spiders – ugh!

I figure that with all the walking I’ve done this year, especially in this heat and humidity, my physique should resemble this slender Walking Stick, or, at the very least, that of “Gumby”.

Today the new Dr. Seuss book debuted, courtesy of a recently discovered draft that was written and illustrated long before his death in 1991. It is entitled “What Pet Should I Get?” This Walking Stick might have been one of my “outdoor pets” when I was a kid. Oh sure, I had my little budgie “Skippy” and dogs named “Fritzy”, “Cocoa” and “Peppy” while I was growing up, but when I was with my playmates , we would capture and keep some oddball critters, much to the chagrin of our parents.

Growing up, there were many carefree childhood Summer days spent down at the meadow area at the foot of our new sub. All the kids from the cul-de-sac would gather, then cross the street carefully, sometimes hand in hand, and we’d head to the meadow where the creek ran through. There we would run off all our excess energy and explore that little nature nook. We’d giggle at grasshoppers that we’d capture in our bare hands, holding them hostage between splayed fingers. Their jerky or fluttery movements would tickle our hands and leave “tobacco stains” on our palms and fingers as well. We’d pluck furry caterpillars from the bark as they inched up trees or bushes, then squeal in delight as we touched their bristly texture. And, so also it was with Walking Sticks, or the occasional Praying Mantis, which we would gaze at in wide-eyed wonder.

Oh … to be a kid again sometimes, though I know I’d not get so touchy-feely with any of these insects, like in the past. Though I’m not bothered by placid insects, or, even worms, it is the creeping and crawling pests that would never be a pet and really and truly “do me in”.

I added four more miles to my total and I’m still hopeful to get to 300 miles by week’s end.

I’ll leave you with a quote by Dr. Seuss; it’s just one of my many favorites by him: “From there to here, and here to there, funny things are everywhere.” ~Dr. Seuss

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Pick up Sticks.

07-27-15

This morning I set out as early as I could to avoid the wicked heat. Whew! Mother Nature sure kicked that humidity up a notch or two from yesterday. The dew was heavy on the lawns and the humidity was so high that even the cars were sweating, as evidenced by droplets running down from the roofs, shimmying along the windshield and then pooling on the concrete in neat and uniform drops.

The weatherman said this morning we are in for “Heat Week” as if it were a big event like “Shark Week” for goodness sake.

I walked to Council Point Park and was just one of a handful of walkers, none whom I knew. I travelled light again and didn’t pack any critter treats which was just as well as I didn’t see squirrels scrambling down the tree to greet me or line up single file behind me to glean any goodies.

I got 1 ½ complete loops done before I headed for home. I wanted to share this picture of a tree in the Park that I call the “Pick up Sticks Tree”. It reminds me of my childhood game by that same name where you’d dump out the canister of long wooden sticks that resemble ultra-skinny knitting needles and then try to extricate each stick without disturbing the rest of the bunch.

This poor tree was felled by a storm awhile back, and it has lain there for months, looking very forlorn, and finally, someone hoping to elicit a giggle or persuade the City to send a wood chipper to this tree’s aid, used a spray can and made the suggestion “Fix Me”.

I wonder if anyone was around to hear that tree fall?

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