Sunflowers … not ready for prime time yet.  #Wordless Wednesday #Gettin’ there!

#Wordless Wednesday – allow your photo(s) to tell the story.

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A lifelong love of lavender.

It is said that our sense of smell is linked closely to memory, thus certain smells can whisk us back to earlier periods of time in a heartbeat.

The smell of lavender is ingrained in my memory and this is because my maternal grandmother, Minnie Goddard, always smelled of lavender. Her skin, her clothes and even her bedroom, smelled like potpourri.

As a kid, all I remember about Sunday dinner at my grandparents’ house was the menu of pot roast or roast chicken – nourishing yes, nondescript and kind of blah, well yes and nothing that a kid would remember fondly decades later. Dessert was always a Canadian staple – butter tarts. So there are no FOOD smells that would evoke memories of time spent at my grandparents’ house.

But, there are scents … if that makes sense.

As a kid, when I visited my grandparents’ house there were two distinct smells – lavender and liniment. The former was my grandmother who always smelled like lavender and the latter was my grandfather, who, if the liniment didn’t wake up your nostrils, the perpetual cloud of cigar or pipe smoke swirling about him did. Even if he was the type of grandfather who encouraged you to climb up into his lap, (and he was not), who wanted to sit in that cloud of smoke anyway? And, as I write this post, I wonder if perhaps initially the lavender fascination was to combat the liniment and smoke aromas?

So, lavender was a definite improvement – sort of. Lavender scent is pleasing to the nose when you smell it growing in the fields, or in a garden. Just a little whiff of lavender under your pillow can lull you to sleep. But a lot of lavender – maybe not so much. Let’s just say Nanny liked lavender. A lot of lavender. Her nightstand and dresser drawers were stuffed with Yardley soaps that friends or relatives brought years before when they came to visit Minnie for tea, or especially around the time the annual “Ex” (Canadian National Exhibition) was on in Toronto in late August. There were always dainty sachet packets layered between nighties and ahem, what used to be called your “unmentionables” – yes indeed.

As a child, I learned early on about Nanny’s infatuation with the scent of lavender. This was especially true during her working years, due to her fondness for long, leisurely baths in the old clawfoot bathtub. At the end of a long day of standing on her feet at work, then falling asleep on the streetcar and usually missing her stop, she would wearily trudge up the stairs to the second floor where she indulged in “me time” (before that word was fashionable) with a selection of bath salts, soap and perfumed talc or dusting powder in this scent. Then relaxed and smelling of lavender from head to toe, she began to make dinner. Nanny’s nightly ritual was Yardley’s of London Lavender EVERYTHING.

When I became a teenager, she decided a rite of passage for her granddaughter was to gift me with a fancy, ribbon-tied box containing a fluffy powder puff in a round box of dusting powder, soap in a purple wrapper and eau de toilette (a fancy-schmancy translation for “toilet water” or a light cologne) in her favorite scent.

Now, I may have loved Nanny with all my heart, but I really didn’t love lavender. In fact, I thought it was a little too strong to be infiltrating my nostrils all day long – translation: it gave me a headache. But being a gracious girl, I thanked her and smiled sweetly as I would never hurt her feelings. Though she’s been gone 35 years, she never knew the truth.

Happy Grandparents Day if it applies!!!

[Vintage Yardley Lavender products circa 1960s from Pinterest]

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Every picture told a story.

About 99.9% of my blog posts tell a story and they all revolve around me. But today, to honor the events of September 11, 2001, I am going to let someone else tell the story, but in images set to music. I recently read about a University of Michigan professor who was releasing his private archive of 20 rolls of film shot in New York City on that fateful morning. This Pulitzer Prize winning photographer, David Turnley, paired his images with Bruce Springsteen’s song “Lift Me Up” to create this amazing video. The reason was simple and straightforward. He said “I am posting this work to honor—20 years later—all those who lost their lives and those who risked their lives to help.”

You can click here to see the YouTube video.

If you are on Instagram, Professor Turnley has included more photos in a six-day Instagram series available at @davidturnley.

If you are old enough to remember 9-11, (and that is 80% of us), the images we saw on the TV news and in newspapers the next day are something we will never forget.

Posted in September 11th | Tagged , | 15 Comments

Meet Mr. Hawk, my furry friends’ nemesis. #Wordless Wednesday #Ruffled feathers (his/mine)

#Wordless Wednesday – allow your photo(s) to tell the story.

Posted in #WildlifeWednesday, #Wordless Wednesday, nature, walk, walking | Tagged , , , , | 41 Comments

A range of emotions.

I will admit that I have strayed a bit from my “Seize the Day” series of excursions taken in June, but I wanted to share the news of my 10th anniversary of walking and my 60th anniversary of beginning school (gulp); there will be a post to pause and remember the 20th anniversary of 9/11 and then there is Grandparents Day … whew! I’ll resume that series on September 13th. At the rate I am going, I’ll be doing June events through the Fall.

From sad … to mad … to glad.

On August 23rd I had a range of emotions in the span of about a half-hour. Every day that I walk, I try to exit the house with my mind a blank slate – there is way too much clutter in my brain, so I like to give it a rest while I walk and just absorb nature’s sights and sounds, many which end up percolating into a post.

There are a couple of backstories to this cheery chalk art.

On the morning of August 23rd, I was not going straight to the Park as I had to drop my car off. And, speaking of anniversaries, my car will be eleven years old this week and it only has 8,760 miles on it. But, just like its owner, it is sometimes a little quirky – especially lately. For example, the driver’s side window started going down on its own and I was worried it would disappear one day and not roll back up. The air conditioner quit working in June, despite having a charge in August 2020. But the most worrisome idiosyncrasy of late is the door locks. They either don’t open at all on the passenger side, or unlock and/or lock themselves on their own volition on the driver’s side, without any rhyme or reason. Sigh.

Before leaving the house, as has been my practice of late, I set out peanuts and an ice pop on the porch for Two-Tone and her youngsters. Though I’ve not seen Two-Tone in about a month, two solid-black young squirrels, believed to her kin, have beaten a path across the street just as soon as I opened the front door. One of the two squirrels was a little more eager to run across than the other. But both scoped out the door from their nest in the tree across the street. Just two days before, one of them spotted me, then dashed halfway across the street, saw a car, double-backed and went up the utility pole. It was a cringe-worthy sight and a close call. I was sure I could see it shaking like a leaf from my vantage point. I shook my head and wondered aloud “is it time to stop feeding them, or maybe just look for them on the opposite side of the street when I go out before there is an accident?”

Sadly, I was prophetic, because on August 23rd that indeed happened. I no sooner got everything on the porch and one black squirrel scrambled through the front garden and up onto the porch. I scolded it for being careless and said “I have to take the car out – stay here or cross over now, so Linda doesn’t roll over you and please watch for the cars – you almost got killed the other day!”

I shut the door, grabbed the keys and came around the house to open the garage and gasped. I couldn’t miss the black body lying in the street. My eyes misted up and I was sad, not to mention sorry … sorry I started feeding them on the porch, sorry I saw the aftermath of my good deeds.

Then I was mad … mad at the drivers who race up/down the street in a 25 mph zone. One day it will be a child. In the Summer of 1997, I pulled a child out of harm’s way when I was out doing yardwork and saw her ride her tricycle down a driveway into the street and path of an oncoming large truck that was barreling down from Fort Street. I caught her in the nick of time and pulled her by the arm to safety. She was oblivious to what nearly happened; I was upset, but relieved and the truck driver just kept going.

As bad as I felt about this little squirrel, I couldn’t dwell on my furry friend’s demise as I had an 8:00 a.m. appointment and I aimed to walk afterward at the Park and get there ASAP. I had to share the tale, with fellow peanut-dispensing walkers, that the day before two juvenile hawks, working together, were chasing and attempting to nab squirrels, so we all needed to be careful to place peanuts near bushes where the squirrels could take cover easily. That of course, doesn’t mean the squirrels won’t run off to the middle of the Park to bury the peanuts.

I dropped off the car and began to walk home to pick up the bag of peanuts I left hanging on the cellarway railing. Then I indulged myself in a little cry and played the blame game – was it my fault versus the driver’s fault or my furry friend’s fault, who, in its zeal to get peanuts, raced across the street meeting its fate. Obviously no one said to look both ways as was drilled into my brain as soon as I was allowed to walk to school on my own – my mom was hit by a car at age 11 and spent the next four years in the hospital and had 41 orthopedic operations in her lifetime, the result of one careless moment.

So, my heart was heavy and I was still misted up, as I came upon this chalk art.

There is a backstory here as well. Just the day before, I was walking to the Park and a man was sitting on the porch of this home. He had a huge dog, that was panting heavily, sitting next to him. “Morning” I called out and he responded in kind. I stopped and said “you know, I love dogs, but I’m scared of your two dogs, especially this one. I walk by your house most days if I don’t drive and your two dogs see me and lunge at the window, barking ferociously. The big one actually makes the window jiggle. I’ve taken to walking on the other side of the street unless your drapes are closed. But then I would miss the great chalk art which I photograph and use in my blog.” He smiled and said “I will tell her you like the chalk art and she loves doing it.” He added that the dog was a Rottweiler/Shepherd mix and big and yes … scary. We chitchatted about the weather and the neighborhood and before I left I said “perhaps your dog saw us talking and smiling and knows I’m no threat now.” He smiled and told me to have a great day and I went on my way.

Flash forward 24 hours.

I was walking down Pagel Avenue with a heavy heart plus thinking about all the expenses to be incurred with the car, when I came upon the City sidewalk and leading to the front door of this same house. They were filled with colorful chalk art and inspirational messages. I have to assume my compliments were given to the young girl and this is the result … at least I’d like to think that. The chalk art improved my mood immeasurably and I took these photos to memorialize the artwork. The living room drapes were open, so I gave a “thumbs up” to the window since no one was outside. Hopefully the family members, not just the pooches, saw my gesture. I was glad I walked this way, mentioned the artwork – it all kind of came together in a positive way.

Thank you sweetie for your cheer and wise words … they meant a lot to me. And, as for these words “Keep moving forward” in this chalk art …

… the entire quote is below.

“If you can’t fly, then run; if you can’t run, then walk; if you can’t walk, then crawl; but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.” ~~Martin Luther King, Jr.

Posted in #ChalkYourWalk, walk, walking | Tagged , , , | 39 Comments

Time flies …

It simply CANNOT be sixty years ago today that I began kindergarten at E.A. Orr Elementary School. Yes … it was on September 5, 1961. I will tell you that for several years before beginning school, every afternoon Mom and I practiced math using “Smarties” (the Canadian version of M&Ms) and she gave me spelling and vocabulary lists to learn as well. Reading my storybooks was done after dinner while my parents read the newspaper. I don’t remember how old I was when I was able to rattle off “My name is Linda Susan Schaub; I live at 497 Sandmere Place, Oakville, Ontario, Canada and my phone number is Valley 7-3219.” I know it is ingrained in my brain, as I recalled it very easily to write this post.

So … for the life of me, when I zoomed in on these photos of my first day of school, what a surprise to see my name tag with my last name spelled horribly wrong. I hope that Mrs. Kellett made that spelling boo-boo and not me! Also, I note I was wearing white “Mary Janes” and it was after Labor Day! What kind of fashion statement was that back in the day?!

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“Not all those who wander are lost.” ~ J.R.R. Tolkien

Today is the 10th anniversary of my walking regimen that I began on Friday, September 2, 2011, the gateway to the Labor Day weekend. I had finished up watering and puttering around in the yard, and, though it was hot and muggy, I decided if I was going to continue to work from home, I needed more exercise than just gardening or going to the grocery store. I was concerned for my health, as I was parked in front of the computer way too many hours and this was long before blogging became such a big part of my life, logging lots of additional online time.

Heart problems run in the family on my mom’s side – my grandmother and seven of her eight siblings died of heart disease and my mom had a heart arrhythmia …

… so, I knew I had to begin an exercise regimen sooner, rather than later, besides just my exercise bike, which use had dwindled in the warmer months. I had tried to start a walking regimen a couple of times in late Fall while still working on site, usually after all the leaves were down and putting the yard “to bed” in late October. So, I already had a sturdy pair of walking shoes, but I really only walked on a few weekends back then, as the snow arrived and the ritual fell by the wayside. So, this time I aimed to make walking a daily habit … how tough could that be anyway?

I went into the house, slipped off my garden boots and swapped them for a pair of socks and those aforesaid walking shoes.

And, so it began … just one City block on my street at first, then building up one block at a time, one day at a time, until I found a route and stuck with it. I didn’t want to risk shin splints, so I walked at a slow-to-moderate pace at first.

I bought a pedometer to begin tracking my steps and I am still using that same pedometer. Next, I bought some cushioned Thorlos walking socks to give me an added bounce to my step. I was happy to be doing something heart smart.

My morning meanders took me to the footbridge over the Ecorse Creek and back. That yielded 2 ½ miles of steps and I began jotting down my daily mileage. I walked the same route through the neighborhoods, down tree-lined Emmons Boulevard where I watched homeowners’ harvest décor go up, leaves turning jewel-toned colors, then crunching under my heavy walking shoes. Soon it was Halloween and I was amused by squirrels ravaging cornstalks and chomping on pumpkin displays. Christmas wreaths soon adorned front doors and sometimes, in the early morning, holiday lights still twinkled merrily, cheering my march down the Boulevard. The Winter of 2011-2012 was kind to me, with few snowfalls. It was serendipity that I discovered Council Point Park in April 2013, and, as longtime readers know, that is my go-to spot and favorite nature nook of all.

The neighborhood gives me a chance to hear the birds singing, or splashing away in the puddles from potholes, or in the street from all the rain and I get to see and smell the flowers along the way.

So, here I am, ten years later, still savoring my morning ritual, though admittedly, this Summer it has been increasingly tough to stay motivated. In past Summers when the temps and humidity were over-the-top oppressive, I walked the perimeter at Meijer grocery store multiple times to get my steps in. It felt great walking in the air-conditioned store and I’d wave hello to the clerks in the produce section as I ambled along the apples and sashayed past the string beans. On horribly hot mornings, I hung out in the frozen section initially to quickly cool off. This Summer, however, my Meijer store is undergoing a massive remodeling effort and it’s a little topsy-turvy there, so I’ve just dealt with the weather and grumbled about it … a lot.

Last week we had heat indices in triple digits every afternoon and the humidity, dew points and temps were oppressive. It’s been wicked some mornings, but I just go out, since soon enough there will be ice, snow and bitter cold to contend with. As you know, I savored the coolish mornings by escaping on excursions, but those mornings were few and far between. We’ve had many rainy days that spoiled a walk since mid-June. I am no fan of walking in the rain, having taken the bus to and from downtown to work and to school for three decades, where I had no choice, but to deal with the elements. I’ll walk if it’s misty, but raindrops falling on my head don’t thrill me, even if they are followed by a rainbow.

I am hanging in there and still hoping to reach my goal of 1,256 miles (2021 kilometers) by December 31st. To that end, I have been walking five to six miles daily, but I realize the later sunrise will be problematic by the end of September, then black ice, followed by snow and ice, will be my enemy. I am currently at 908 miles (1,461 kilometers). Yay me …though I’d probably have gleaned more miles had I not stopped to visit with the squirrels or take pictures of fun and fantastic chalk art along the way.

This post’s title was a quote and I will end the post with a quote:

“The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say”
~J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

Posted in #ChalkYourWalk, goal, walk, walking | Tagged , , , | 72 Comments

Seize the (Week)Day #5. #Wordless Wednesday #Ms. Bunny Primps for Saturday Night Date Night

#Wordless Wednesday – allow your photo(s) to tell the story.

Posted in #WildlifeWednesday, #Wordless Wednesday, nature, walk, walking | Tagged , , , , , , | 42 Comments

Seize the (Week)Day #4 – Walk on the Wild(flower) Side.

This is the fourth post in this limited series of excursions taken on early weekday mornings in the month of June. If you missed the reason I ventured out so early, you can read about it here.

This jaunt was taken the morning of June 17th in this 40-acre nature preserve adjacent to Southgate Anderson High School. It is five miles from my home and located in a residential neighborhood. I first visited this venue in January 2019, and, though the paved pathway was clear that day, the marsh area and wooden pathways were icy, so I intended one day to return in a warmer season – so that day was today.

Once you enter the Nature Center, it is rather secluded with the Phragmites and tall Teasels towering above the path, so I was reluctant to explore too much and I was careful not to stray off the beaten path, as I understand from several people that since it is such a rustic area, its tall grasses, reeds, Phragmites and cattails are home to ticks galore. In a year where we already have a tick explosion, I was mindful of that warning and thanks to cooler temps, I donned long pants and a long-sleeved shirt for this walk.

I was grateful to see a bicyclist or two rolling through and yielded to them as it is a fairly narrow pathway. I didn’t linger too long and headed down to the Detroit River next after this brief stop.

A local naturalist named Bruce Szczechowski is an environmental science teacher at Anderson High School, and, according to a fellow walker at Council Point Park, he often sends his students into the field, both literally and figuratively, as part of their routine class assignments. I’ve heard or read that he and his students have catalogued more than 120 species of birds in this nature preserve, including raptors. Additionally, Bruce Szczechowski is active with the Detroit Audubon Society, which organization I follow on Facebook and I like seeing his photos and narratives on the various trips he takes with other birders in the Metropolitan Detroit area, including at this venue.

But, there were no birds to be found on this early morning, so I guess the phrase “the early bird catches the worm” is a misnomer?

I did see a sweet rabbit, who graciously posed for me, but I needn’t have felt it was for my benefit as it was preening. Usually, unless rabbits or bunnies are contently munching on grass, clover or dandelions, whether in the ‘hood or at the Park, oblivious to your presence, they won’t bolt. Well this rabbit was primping. I learned a few years ago that rabbits are fastidious about grooming, sometimes cleaning their fur and paws several times a day. So, this week’s Wordless Wednesday will feature Ms. Bunny primping for Saturday night date night.

I decided my mission at the nature preserve was to gather wildflowers of which there were plenty. But, I wasn’t going to bring them home in a bouquet, but instead as images in my camera. So, today’s post is picture laden. When I sorted through these photos a few weeks later, I muddled around a few wildflower websites in an effort to identify each wildflower, without much success. So I ordered this book on Michigan Wildflowers so I can I.D. the weeds from the wildflowers, rather than group them willy-nilly in a post. Perhaps I’ll be more clear-headed in 2022, when the worries about a pandemic and erratic weather are not consuming all my brain power.

Posted in nature, walk, walking | Tagged , , , , | 44 Comments

Seize the (Week)Day #3. #Wordless Wednesday #Nature interrupted. #Pull, Push, Park … Wow!

#Wordless Wednesday – allow your photo(s) to tell the story.

Posted in #Wordless Wednesday, walk | Tagged , , , , | 38 Comments