Life is good …


… especially if there is a garden hose nearby.

I set out on a walk this morning, glum over the gloomy-looking sky and the fact that it was late when it was finally light enough to head outside. After a few days of lackluster weather … first feeling as if I was bounced around like a tumbleweed, then Sunday’s rainfall and an errand-filled Monday morning, I was glad to finally get a decent walk in again.

While traversing the neighborhood, I saw more and more harvest and Halloween décor assuring me that people have decided to just go ahead and embrace the Fall as the Summer has left for good.

While walking down Emmons Boulevard, in the distance, I saw a cluster of small birds gathered in the middle of a cross-street. Of course, my first thought was “don’t they know that is a dumb thing to do – people can’t see you?” As I got closer, after squinting to see what the attraction was, I noticed the morning congregation seemed to revolve around a colorful bag of some sort. Suddenly a squirrel, seizing the opportunity to be “large and in charge”, raced into the flock of sparrows and rushed over to examine the pickings and make them his own.

As I got right up close to the scene, I had to laugh because there was a foil bag emblazoned with the words “Fritos Flamin’ Hot corn chips” and our furry friend was pawing through the chips and shoveling them into his mouth just as quickly as he could. He reminded me of a squirrel I saw once at Council Point Park who had discovered a Cheetos bag and pretty much inhaled the remnants of it. How did I know? Well, his mouth and paws were smeared with orange cheese dust.

“Sure, go ahead and make a pig of yourself” I called out to him as I passed by, though he was enjoying this unexpected treat so much, he was oblivious to me. Then I added “just be sure you look for a garden hose to guzzle some water to cool off your scorched gullet from your gluttony!” He never budged and paid me no never mind so I just kept walking past this furry Frito Bandito.

And you thought gluttony only happened at the Thanksgiving Day table?

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The gales of November came early.


After enjoying exceptional weather for most of the month of September, I’ve not been impressed too much with October thus far. Today it was dark and gloomy and the wind was gusting over 20 mph when I left for my walk. It was a “hold onto your hat” kind of day and will continue like that through the weekend.

Since it took forever to lighten up outside and I had a busy work schedule today, I just took a short walk, bypassing all my favorite haunts. Speaking of haunts, this wicked wind has torn down some of the Halloween decorations and I saw a plastic ghost rolling down the middle of the street on its own volition. It sure was not the ghastliest apparition, especially on the return trip when I noticed that a car had done it in, and one crushed Casper was squashed flat at the curb.

During my three-mile trek, I saw many parents and kids leaving the house for school. They were all doing the mad dash from the front door to the car … you know those moves you make once that first cold and unwelcome breath of Fall greets you in the early morning.

As I walked along, I scuffed through the leaves on the sidewalk, and watched as the wind whipped them from the trees, across driveways and along the street to join their counterparts. It was kind of sad actually – all those beautiful trees, so recently gussied up in their gold, rust or red “accessories”, and now they are probably shivering after this hasty departure of all their leaves in one fell swoop. I sure can’t blame them; this raw-feeling morning left me somewhat shivery myself.

Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the Fall. ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald

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Something to crow about …


East side, west side, all around the town …whether I’ve been pounding the pavement in the neighborhood, or pacing the perimeter path at Council Point Park, as of today I’ve racked up 500 walking miles in 2015. I’m ecstatic since that is my annual goal to be completed by December 31st, so I am three months ahead of schedule. Good thing too, because the days are rapidly getting shorter. On gloomy days, when the sun stays neatly tucked behind the clouds, I’m all dressed, ready to go and tapping my foot because it’s still dark out.

There were times I thought I wouldn’t make it to 500 by year’s end. For days it seemed that rain wreaked havoc with my walking regimen early in the Spring, but it finally abated and I resumed walking once again.

The month of September has been beautiful and I am sorry to see it leave. After a fortnight of perfect days, yesterday I was two miles out on my journey and it began raining, so I scurried home, but I was determined to make up for lost miles today. While yesterday was muggy and warm, today it really felt like Fall with a definite brrr in the air. After all, Fall officially arrived one week ago today.

So, now begins the daily math lesson as I get dressed to go for a walk – adding or subtracting layers after listening to the morning weather report. All too soon, the weatherman will be adding those nasty words like blustery, wind chill and the most-dreaded word: snow.

Not only has your roving scribe racked up 500 miles, but this is the 134th blog post issued this year. The poor car lags far behind as to driving miles … just 238 miles driven so far in 2015. I’ll keep up with my walking, and who knows – perhaps I’ll reach 600 miles by year’s end … anything above and beyond my original goal is just gravy now.

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Are we all moonstruck?


Now that the papal visit to the U.S. is drawing to a close, the nation can now turn its attention to tonight’s colossal moon and the lunar eclipse. This is big stuff, since you don’t need a fancy-schmancy high-power telescope to check out this lovely Luna … you only need your naked eye. And what a moon it was last night … my friend Marge e-mailed me around 10:00 p.m. with the comment: “Look at the moon. Wow!” I raised the blind and took a look for myself … it seemed you could actually touch it!

Tonight, after I wash an apple, I’ll grab a sharp knife, reach out the window and lop off a large wedge of that cheddar cheese, that it is masking as a moon, to have for my snack. Do you remember when you were a kid and thought the moon was made of cheese?

Speaking of celestial bodies, the sun was up and shining brightly when I left for my walk today. Finally the fog that’s been present every morning this week was gone, and, in its wake, was a clear and beautiful day. I went to Council Point Park and got two perimeter loops walked before heading for home. That was five more miles added to my total; another ten and I’ll have reached 500 miles, some three months in advance of my target date of December 31st. Reaching this goal so early reminds me of the inspirational words of Norman Vincent Peale, ever the optimist, who suggested that one should

“Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”

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Whoa! Was that crisis averted or merely managed?


On Saturday morning that sun refused to rise and shine for the longest time. But … I had no room to talk, because neither did I.

The alarm rang and I must’ve been dreaming as I couldn’t find the clock on the night stand right away, and its constant squealing annoyed me. Finally, I found the clock, silenced it and reached for my headphones to listen to the news to gently ease into my day. “Ease” was the operative word, because I was still curled up and comfortable in my bed. Foggy and murky was the description for the weather, so I languished a little longer and enjoyed a few more ZZZZs, before I finally propelled myself out of the bed to begin my day.

I flicked on the light, and poof – it went dark. Well, its partner bit the dust a couple of days ago, so on my mental “to-do” list was replacing both long-lasting (supposedly) CFL lights in my bedroom . Those bulbs had a supposed life span of nine years – too bad they only lasted about nine months. “Well, just great” I muttered.

A few minutes later, I decided that if I don’t know where everything is by now, as to myself and my wardrobe, that’s pretty bad, so I’d manage without the light on in the room.

I ate breakfast leisurely for a change, knowing I had plenty of time to set out for my walk. Finally a timid sun peeked through the shades, so I was ready to go. We’re back to short sleeves again with Summer-like temps sticking around for a few more days and I reached into the dresser drawer and grabbed the first tee-shirt I laid my hands on, finished getting dressed, laced up my shoes and was gone in a flash.

I headed to Council Point Park, eager to get started onto my first of two laps. Weather permitting and fingers crossed, I’m hoping to reach 500 miles by month end.

I swiveled my head left and right, looking for photo ops, but there were none. I took a gander at a few flocks of geese flying overhead, and their incessant honking was worse than the shoppers behavior in Best Buy’s parking lot on Black Friday morning.

Suddenly, I was startled when a booming voice nearby cried out “so, what crisis did you avoid?” I turned around and saw a young man who pointed at my back with one hand and guided a water bottle up to his lips with the other hand. While awaiting my answer, he had time to guzzle, swallow and have another swig, and all the time I was looking at him somewhat dumbfounded.

Finally he enlightened me by saying “your shirt – it says ‘I survived ‘95’.” “Ahhh”, I said. I know I sounded a little clueless and he probably wished he had never opened up this can of worms. I told him “I’m sorry – I didn’t realize what my shirt said. I got dressed in the dark this morning” to which he responded “oh … well have a nice day.”

TMI on my part maybe?

I’m sure he thought I was some kind of dumb bunny.

I must back up a minute. In my bedroom, one of my deep dresser drawers is filled with tee-shirts that are relegated for kickin’ around in. I’ve collected tees from various unions with whom my boss has negotiated CBAs, but the majority of my freebie shirts come from the law firm Robb and I left when we started our own firm. Wise & Marsac had multiple outings each year. There were get-togethers like the golf outing, splat ball or the water park where families gathered for a day of fun and to break bread with one another at the Firm picnic. There were a few March of Dimes Walkathons, attended by the hardiest of our personnel. The branded colors of our law firm were burgundy and gold, thus, every Firm outing had its own burgundy tee-shirt, emblazoned in gold letters signifying that particularly event.

I never went to these outings, but one of my bosses thought I should have a tee-shirt anyway, so he made a point of looking for leftover tee-shirts from the no-shows at the conclusion of each event. They weren’t always my size, but he was just being nice, so on the Monday morning when I arrived to find a X small or 3X tee-shirt folded neatly on my chair, I graciously thanked him for thinking of me.

Long after the encounter with the stranger at the Park, I racked my brain trying to remember what “I survived ‘95” signified. What was the big crisis twenty years ago?

I concluded it must not have been too important if I couldn’t remember it today, so I decided not to waste any more time worrying about it. When I came home from my excursion, I took this photo of the tee-shirt and now vow to only wear it in the house going forward!

Worry often gives a small thing a big shadow – Swedish Proverb

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Up close and personal …


Mother Nature kicked that humidity up a notch or two today because the fog took its good ol’ time getting out of town. It lingered over the spacious fields at Council Point Park long after I arrived. In fact, when the low clouds finally parted, and that tardy sun dared to peek out, it was just a pale imitation of itself. I guess Mr. Sun is well aware that it is playing second fiddle to that Super Moon this weekend, so it stepped back out of the spotlight it’s been in all this week.

Once the sun arrived, however, that wishy-washy orb cast its glow on some of Mother Nature’s finest artwork, for example, a gorgeous garnet-colored leaf that had fluttered from a tree and now lay face-down on the sidewalk. It was a perfect specimen, its beauty as yet unmarred by feet … human or otherwise.

A group of Queen Anne’s Lace looked pretty enough to gather and tie with a ribbon for a bouquet, even though it is a common weed.

And, even before I set out on my walk, I discovered an intricate spider web in my front garden, its delicate beauty enhanced by tiny dewdrops. The web was as big as a dinner plate, woven with silk and it almost looked like a dainty doily that stretched from the Japanese Maple to the living room window ledge. You really had to wonder how that lacy-looking web did not collapse under the weight of all those pendulous droplets clinging to each silky thread.

Though I loathe those eight-legged critters, their elaborate webs are worth taking a second look, if just to admire them for their durability and beauty. While I certainly don’t enjoy accidently walking into a web that has been spun overnight, today at the Park I found myself face to face with a big spider, seemingly suspended in mid-air, but actually just hanging out in his own domain, a large web which stretched between two tall bushes near the baseball field.   In the background, geese were resting after grazing before taking flight once again. I inched closer to the web and examined it, getting up close and personal with this large garden spider. It was an unusual move for me, who generally will avoid spiders, and my action reminded me of a trip to the Smithsonian years ago. One of the museums in the massive complex featured a tarantula in a glassed-in case. Given my fear of spiders, even back in ‘77, I felt brave because I could tap on the glass all I wanted, knowing it couldn’t “get me”. All that hairy-looking arachnid did was stalk angrily around its living quarters with each rap of my knuckles on the glass wall. Brave girl indeed!

On today’s early news, squeezed in between the preview of the Pope’s busy agenda in New York City and John Boehner’s sudden resignation, I heard about the Delta flight from Baltimore to Atlanta where a tarantula was loose in the plane’s cargo area. Thank goodness another plane was handy to whisk the passengers away from this unwelcome critter. It’s not like you could run out the door of an airplane flying 45,000 feet up in the air. Gulp.

Mother Nature sure outdoes herself sometimes … right down to the super-sized moon and lunar eclipse this Sunday night. That’s a winning “twofer” right in your own backyard, just look to the Heavens.

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I wanted to say “top of the mornin’ to you Autumn” …

Today we welcomed Autumn.

But, instead of our grumpy declaration that “parting is such sweet sorrow” which is usually muttered as we watch Summer slowly slip away, it sure is easy to embrace the new season given our simply spectacular weather. It sure doesn’t feel like Fall, but, of course for the longest time it didn’t feel much like Spring or Summer either when those seasons arrived.

This morning, I took along a cardigan and begrudgingly I think I soon shall be giving up wearing the capris since my calves were chilly.

This crisp weather gives me extra pep and I decided to pick up my pace a tad in keeping with that goal to get a five-mile walk done in under an hour by next Labor Day. Of course, it takes awhile to get acclimated in the Spring to be walking that many miles at one time, but I hope to get ‘er done, so stay tuned.

Even the squirrels seemed to have heaps of energy and the now-plentiful brown acorns are strewn everywhere. Those squirrels make me smile when they take daring passes to dart across your path as you near a pile of “their” acorns on the sidewalk. I always want to tell them that peanuts, especially peanut butter, are more my favorite food, rather than acorns, but those words will fall on deaf ears. Even the Google Doodle today was about these whimsical furry creatures.

Soon the grade school children will be bringing home their Fall artwork, those crayoned drawings or construction paper cutouts of leaves, pumpkins and turkeys, then asking for them to be posted in the living room window, or, at the very least, on the fridge door. Some parents will wish this handiwork would have stayed in the classroom instead.

I was thinking of my early school days as I walked along on this first day of Fall. As a young child, I remember being taught those valuable lessons, like reciting the ABCs, or counting aloud one to ten, as well as learning how to print or write in cursive between the lines. My mom and I practiced those lessons long before kindergarten, including singing that little ditty about the amount of days in each of the calendar months. How many of you, if asked how many days are in August, have to think about it? Perhaps you must dissect that childhood rhyme “thirty days hath September …”, and, in that vein, I thought the change of seasons always happened on the 21st, i.e. the 21st of March, June, September and December, representing Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter respectively. The 2015 autumnal equinox falls on the 23rd of September. Maybe too many years have passed since I learned that concept, … or maybe it’s just me.

I was conflicted about what nice quote to use to commemorate this brand-new season … perhaps some warm and fuzzy thought to welcome Autumn? Or, with the arrival of Pope Francis, how about an insightful quote from the Pontiff? But, then there was the sad news of Yogi Berra’s passing. All those years when I circulated a daily thought for the day, I often used his most-memorable and colorful, malaprop-riddled quotes.

Alas, how about if we herald this chilly season’s arrival with these wise words:

A little bit of mercy makes the world less cold and more just. ~ Pope Francis

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