And … it’s Summer!

Hello summer quote poster design

All our meteorologists were quick to remind us that today was the first day of Summer and it is also the longest day of the year. How did you celebrate those extra minutes of sunshine today?   I sure hope you savored the added minutes in your day, because it is “National Daylight Appreciation Day” … who knew?

It makes me a little sad that we now beginning that slow journey toward Winter – that just does not seem possible, and, I know I’d better get cracking on meeting my end-of-year walking goal.  The disruptions at the house, and the weather these past few weeks, have truly wreaked havoc with my walking regimen.  Today, I found myself running errands on a sunny and dry morning.  I try to consolidate all my tasks into one outing, so I don’t lose too many walking days,  I was wearing the pedometer and managed to eke out 1 and ½ miles.  The store aisles sure don’t rival the surroundings at Council Point Park.

This last dozen days, I felt like I all I needed was the butcher, baker and candlestick maker to come a’knockin’ on my door to round out the list of visitors. I’ve had the insulation job, a plumbing emergency, Comcast stopping by to upgrade my modem, Flame Furnace for an A/C check and a handyman to do a myriad of things, including screening off the bathroom and bedroom blinds, so the sparrows and their kin can no longer make themselves comfy there.  Even though their nest was removed after their offspring had fledged, those sparrows were already active once again, gathering new nest materials and swooping in and ducking under the lip of the blind to rebuild their nest.

As you know, in real estate, it is all about location, location, location. Well, the big meanie has stopped those wee sparrows in their tracks but I felt no pleasure in evicting them.

The weather folks are predicting a hot and rainy Summer up to Labor Day – well that’s too bad as there are concrete sidewalks to pound and trails to meander along … and, don’t forget about the hungry squirrels waiting to gobble up peanuts at the Park.

The weather folks are often wrong too.

So, as to the weather … I guess I’ll just take it one day at a time.

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Proud Papa.

proud papa

Mother Nature may want to whip our weather into a frenzy, but, when the kids come home to lavish attention on dear old Dad, who is going to let a few raindrops spoil that visit?

It seems we are either planning around forecasts of Spring rain or storms, or enduring them, these days. This past week of hot weather, that felt like the dog days of Summer, arrived far too early for my liking, so I hope a cooldown of temps and less rain is imminent.

I was at Council Point Park about three weeks ago, where I delighted in the antics of multiple families of Canada Geese strolling around my favorite nature nook.

whole family

You might recall, I wrote about that one fractious gander with the ever-watchful eye as his offspring grazed nearby. As you can see, he had his head down, eyeing me warily, as a pair of goslings wandered around, nearly blending into the tall yellow weeds.

yellow papa and goslings

I like to watch those fuzzy young’uns toddling along after their parents, and, as a prudent person who regularly treads on the perimeter path, I was given ample hints to stay a few paces away, otherwise risk hissing, and wing-flapping from straying into what they deem “geese territory” … so, if you’re keeping score, the geese usually win if they fear I am a threat to their babies.

I took many pictures of the goslings and their parents that morning, with an eye toward using some photos on that one special day in which we honor our fathers.

It doesn’t matter whether your progeny are furry, feathered or human, the same very strong bond exists – a bond that hopefully will never be broken throughout the years.


I’ll leave you with this quote: “A father is a man who expects his son to be as good a man as he meant to be.” ~ Frank A. Clark

Happy Father’s Day.

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Well, I was bound and determined to get a walk in this morning. All this commotion, between the house, errands, plus the hot, humid and rainy weather, has left me scrambling with an agenda that is a little catch-as-catch-can.  It has been making me quite cranky.

I planned on walking yesterday – that is, until the alarm rang, and, before I could plant my feet onto the floor, a few raindrops sputtered on the patio roof, and soon a torrential rain was teeming onto that metal awning right behind my head.   It didn’t clear up until late morning.

You never hear the expression “catch-as-catch-can” anymore, though I recall my parents using it all the time. I guess the modern variation of this phrase would be “making hay while the sun shines”, “gettin’ ‘er done” or maybe “it’ll happen if the moon and stars are aligned just right” … no doubt there are other sayings as well.

It has been a long week and I was eager to get back to Council Point Park.

At first blush, the slight breeze felt kind of nice, as it was a tad hot and humid, but, by the time I got to the second and less-shady loop, I was wishing I had worn lighter clothes. I saw no squirrels and I had a plastic bag tied onto my fanny pack loaded with peanuts.  The loaded bag kept thumping against my thigh with each step that I took, so, I could have had a much lighter load had I known there would be no squirrels visiting me on the path today.

The geese were also conspicuously absent, so I wondered if the DNR had sprayed the grass with goose repellent.  Lest you think that last sentence was a joke, I was told a few years ago, that once the goslings are able to fly, the grass is cut and sprayed with a non-toxic, but bad-tasting substance to urge the geese to graze elsewhere, like behind the soccer field and baseball diamonds.  This keeps them from getting onto the trail and bothering the visitors who want to walk, run or ride their bicycles on the perimeter path.

On the last loop, I was enjoying some much-desired shade from a group of trees and bushes, when suddenly I came upon two women. One was pushing a stroller.  I usually see the pair on the trail walking, without the child in tow, so I was ready to say “good morning” when I noticed they were getting up close and personal with a sapling.  Sensing a possible photo op of a bird’s nest with baby birds, I quickly stepped over closer to them and said “what has caught your attention here?”  I got ready to  take the camera out of the pouch.  Both ladies smiled, their lips stained bright purple, and they pointed to their hands (likewise stained purple) where they had been holding the plump, ripe berries.  “Wild black raspberries” one of them said, in between bites.  Hmmm.  I never knew that berries grew on trees, so that was news to me.  The sapling was weighed down by many long and twiggy-looking branches, all which were laden with black berries.  It was tucked between two larger trees, so perhaps this was why the birds had not yet discovered this treat,  because they would have glommed onto them for sure.  These fellow walkers told me they have been getting berries here for years.  One lady confessed “I don’t know how to make a pie so I eat them like this” as she popped a few more in her month as if they were M&Ms, right after plucking them from the tree.  I also confessed that I was no pie maker and agreed that simple is the best option sometimes.

Well, since I was a woman on the move this morning, and making up for lost miles, I said “enjoy” and resumed my walk. I kept an eye to the sky which was starting to get about as black as those berries.

The encounter with the ladies and the berries made me think of my childhood friend Maureen. Suddenly, I knew there was a Friday flashback of berry good memories churning around in my brain, just begging to become today’s blog post.

Maureen and I lived in the same block and became friends after our family moved to the States in 1966. Her folks set up a new swimming pool that year in their backyard, right after school let out for the Summer.  It was a metal pool, about three feet tall and generously sized to accommodate both of us and a few float toys.  We’d climb the ladder and get into the water, which was gently warmed by the rays of the sun, and this was how we passed the time all Summer long.

The Hallers had a row of red raspberry bushes planted all along the fence line and conveniently reachable from the pool. While their brown hound dog frolicked around the perimeter of the pool, wishing he could jump in and join us, we’d be pulling raspberries off the bush, just as fast as we could.  We would be alternatively popping those sweet berries into our mouth and sipping a fizzy Faygo Rock N’ Rye in one of those tall and colorful aluminum tumblers that were all the rage in the mid-1960s.  Ahhhh, life was sweet at 10 ½ years old, with not a care in the world … that is, until Mrs. Haller called out the window “now girls, remember not to pick any raspberries from the bottom half of the bushes in case Brownie peed on them okay?”




[Image by Pixel2013 from Pixabay]

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Tuesday Musings.

close up planner page

From bucket lists to buckets – I saw it all in the past few days.

The joy of walking in my first 5K this past Saturday, was overshadowed by a series of incidents that left me hesitant to throw off the covers, get out of bed and start a new day that just might be filled with more calamities and catastrophes.

First, our computer system at work crashed. Thursday morning I was checking in and discovered that nasty message “site not reachable” so I called our computer guy at 5:45 a.m.  The whole system was down.  Compounding that little difficulty was the fact that I had three documents to be finalized to send to the client in advance of a big meeting and my boss was leaving for Georgia on business.  Well, great – just great.  The system was down for 24 hours, and sure, Thursday was a free day for me, but I had to scramble around on Friday, when I had other fish to fry.

Friday, I had a crew of four coming to install insulation in the house. It was an all-day job and it started raining two minutes after they began to drill a series of holes in the bricks and siding to inject foam insulation.  I predicted it would rain a month ago when I booked the install date.  (Just sayin’.)  The rain eventually stopped but the drilling didn’t.  The noise was deafening.  It rattled my nerves as I was trying my best to make up for the lost work day and keep everybody happy on the work front.

The crew left the premises Friday evening and may be “long gone” as Ernie Harwell would say, but the mess they left behind will not be gone for a very long time. I could have cried as I looked downstairs in my already-messy basement.  Well, baby steps I thought … that’s how to approach restoring order to this area once again.  I vowed to start cleaning up once I returned from the “Rails Rally” the following day.

Flash forward to Saturday afternoon. I was a few minutes into cleaning up the laundry room when I saw water in the plastic dishpan I keep under the laundry tub.  I peered in.  Then I ran the tap and watched as the water flowed down the sink and into the dishpan.  Not good!  Of course we were in day #1 of a heat wave that would see temps soar into the 90s, and the hose for the A/C drains into the laundry tub.  So, I could empty the pan every few hours, including overnight, or shut off the A/C altogether.


I chewed on those two options for a bit, then I stewed awhile and figured I just wouldn’t run the A/C. How hot could it get?  After all, I had new insulation to keep those hot rays at bay.  Why couldn’t we have enjoyed just a few more cooler days in the 60s?

So, at 8:00 p.m. on Saturday night, I called the plumber who just moved his business from Taylor into the neighborhood. He charges the same for days/nights/weekends or holidays and was willing to come out right then, but I was content to wait until Sunday.

So, Tim and Chris, the plumber and his helper, showed up at 10:00 a.m. Along the way, he fixed my small leak in the upstairs double sink as well. I won’t bore you with the details of the idiosyncrasies of a double sink, that was installed in our Bicentennial year, and the white PVC pipe that cracked up at the top, necessitating a whole new double sink pipe fixture. It had been problematic for a few months and I just monitored the tiny leak, intending to get it fixed eventually.  Yup, the kitchen pipes were a bit of a bugger of a job, but I digress.

Meanwhile … downstairs, the laundry tub pipe needed to be replaced as the pipe was corroded and I watched that leaking pipe fall apart in Tim’s hands as he hooked his wrench around it. I said a silent prayer to say thank you for not having done a load of washing and gone upstairs until the load was finished and returned to find water everywhere.  Of course, the A/C had to be shut off, while he ran to Home Depot for supplies and I watched the thermostat climb to 78 as I awaited his return and the new pipe was in place and the water and the A/C could be turned on again.

Then Tim inspected my drain in the floor – “oh-oh” he said, “going forward, you’d better monitor how fast your laundry tub drains, because if it drains slowly, we might have to clean out the floor drain.” I nodded sagely … after all, a hot water tank had sprung a leak back in ’92 and our neighbor helped us steer the water down the drain by using an oversized squeegee because the drain was not functioning well at all.

So I said “okay, let’s do it!”

All too soon I realized that the teeth-jarring drilling that reverberated in the house most of Friday was tame, compared to a jackhammer drilling two feet into the neatly tiled floor, right beneath where I was sitting upstairs in the hall. The pair cleared the drain and cemented it back up and put in a shiny new drain in the middle.  It now looks like a big gray cement donut, about two feet in diameter, smack in the center of the laundry room.

It’s a great conversation starter for those who frequent my basement like the Flame Furnace tech, who will be doing his routine Spring A/C check this coming Saturday.

I told the plumbing guys their boss sure was glad he took my call on Saturday night, almost twenty-four hours before, as I was good for business.

There have been some angst-filled hours over this past week. I shudder each time I look downstairs, which is a shambles after the insulation crew moved items and neglected to put them back in place, not to mention a fine cloud of cellulose dust that is clinging to all my possessions.  A similar scenario exists in the garage.  I now have two projects to keep me busy every weekend for the rest of the year.


Life is so full of highs and lows … gains and losses … fulfilling bucket lists to filling buckets.

On the plus side, I’ve got zero water worries now … but my pocketbook is lighter.

Oh, I’m sure that I gained a few gray hairs to boot.

And, it’s a darn good thing no M&Ms were handy, as I just may have gone off the wagon and polished off a bag or two or three.

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Miles and smiles …


Today was my first 5K event!

Even though I walk about four miles daily, participating in a 5K event was on my bucket list for awhile.

So, when I saw the Lincoln Park Schools Education Foundation Second Annual “Rails Rally” Run/Walk advertised on the City’s Facebook site, I decided to sign up. After all, the event was being held at my favorite stomping grounds, Council Point Park.

I registered way back in March, and, when I got the e-mail this week showing a map of the route and registration information for event day, I started getting excited about it.

Though it was a picture-perfect day, it was a tad hot, and I wished we would have kept those cooler temps awhile longer.

The crowd was excited and milled about the big rock at the entrance of Council Point Park as they waited for the official start time.


A whistle blew to start the event at 9:00 a.m. sharp, and,the runners, who were up in front of the walkers, broke the blue ribbon and were off.

The contingent of walkers was not far behind them.


The route for the run/walk began at Council Point Park, then followed a one-mile tour in the neighboring streets, then back to walk both loops at the Park. In the ‘hood, it was already bright and sunny, and, many people waved and cheered us on as they sat on their porch enjoying their morning coffee.  Water stations along the way were manned by volunteer ROTC students and it was an excellent way to down a Dixie cup of cool water, and be on your way again.

I had already decided that I was in this event to sponsor a good cause, and attend merely for sport and not competition. I had the mindset that I’d “take it all in”, get some photos and just kind of meander along enjoying the ambiance.  I figured I’d need to stop to feed the squirrels, but they must have been fearful of the crowds and the noise, and never came down from their trees.

I therefore soon began lagging behind as I ambled along taking some pictures and chatting it up with several nice women who were retired teachers and one was a principal. I later connected with a long-lost neighbor and caught up on old times.

At one point I turned around and saw a policeman, whose vehicle was following close behind the stragglers, and, as I walked past the car’s open window, I said “I walk four miles every day – how come I am so behind Officer?” to which he very politely said “guess it is because you are taking pictures Ma’am.”

It was not just two-legged participants at the “Rails Rally” as there were quite a few four-legged participants as well. One runner had her two large dogs with her, but she kept stopping to mop her brow with a towel or give her canine companions some water from a portable bowl.


This poor dog looked hot and tired and just too pooped to participate.


As people neared the finish line, even the walkers broke into a sprint to cross. On the digital counter, my information said I did the 5K in 54 minutes.  Not stellar stats by any means, as I usually get four miles done in that time, but I had already walked from home so that added another 3/4s of a mile to my morning walk.


It didn’t matter how late you arrived at the finish line, there was handclapping, and you were directed to the pavilion area for bottled water, bananas and apples.


Miles and smiles were our reward for participating in this walk to raise money for the Lincoln Park Schools Education Foundations, and I will look forward to the third annual event next June.

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There’s “old-school” and then, there’s “THE old school” …


It was another chilly morning, with the digital thermostat registering a mere 70 degrees in the house when I suited up to leave on my walk. Outside it was 52 degrees.  I really wasn’t sure what to wear.  Mother Nature has the weather in a constant state of flux and I have vowed not to switch on the furnace, nor to return to a heavy coat again until Fall.  It is just not right for the first week of June, although I hear we are getting a big warm-up this weekend.

But, I kind of like when it is cool and breezy, like today, over hot and sticky. This morning the sun WAS out and that was good, but it was not warming me up much.

I am still forced to take the big detour around Pagel Avenue, until the construction work is finished at the end of June. Alas, my quickest route to the Park as I go to and fro, has me passing my former elementary school twice a day.

I only attended Frank G. Mixter Elementary School for one school year, before making the big leap to junior high, which is termed “middle school” now.

It was not a year of fun, as I’ve mentioned in prior blogposts. Instead, that 1966-67 school year was filled with classmates poking fun at me, this little Canadian girl, who pronounced words differently, and, even Mr. Schreiber, our sixth grade teacher, mocked my accent and pronunciation of words, and always ridiculed me before my peers.  I will never forgive him since he made me read aloud to the class, who snickered at my recitation of whatever text I was forced to repeat.

I won’t dwell on those unhappy days for this post, but, instead will tell you that it was with much glee that I skipped out of those double doors in June 1967, once school was done for the Summer. I was only too happy to move on.

school door

But today, as I passed Mixter Elementary School, those memories came flooding back, and, the recognition that it was still another one of those monumental anniversaries – I cannot believe that I am marking fifty years since I left the stomping grounds of that old school.

My former elementary school, once a source of childhood angst, closed permanently in 2009, then reopened as a school for special needs students, ages 18-26. The students attend a day program which is geared to help them learn independent living skills, and, even more importantly, eventual employability.  At the Mixter Institute for Transition, there is even a thrift store which is operated by the students, with proceeds going toward field trips or other enrichment experiences for the program attendees.


I think the students were going on a trip as there were adults accompanying the group, and, I watched them file, one by one, out of the front of the school and queue up for the bus.  The bus driver waited patiently, as the contingent of students and other attendees, approached the bus.  Meanwhile, her vehicle was emitting diesel-fuel-ridden puffs of smoke, which noxious smell filled my nostrils in the brisk morning air.  Occasionally, she jumped up to help shepherd a student to his or her seat.

I rounded the corner and left the bus and its driver, the passel of passengers and all those memories from five decades ago behind.

I then concentrated on getting to Council Point Park, where I hustled along the trail to keep warm and get as many steps in as possible before heading home … and, oh yes … along the way, I tendered peanuts to the squirrels and positioned two more painted rocks so they were visible along the perimeter path.

Life is sweet and simple sometimes, even simpler than back at the old school.

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Rock on …


On a dismal-looking gray morning, I scooted out the door, not just because I was running a little late, but, a quick glance at the sky made it seem as if a cloudburst was imminent. I missed a walk yesterday, and, really should have gone once the sun came out, but, by then it was hot and humid and less enticing … to me anyway.

This morning, besides a bag of peanuts and my umbrella, I was toting a little treasure that was sure to brighten someone’s day. I was sure no one could miss that neon pink rock in the midst of the gloomy gray setting.  Today, it was my turn to hide the colorful rock at Council Point Park.  I first mentioned this group called “Downriver Rocks!” back on May 7th in this blog post:

Since I wrote about the rock group, it has grown in leaps and bounds and now has 2,611 members, twice as many in barely a month’s time. It seems that most of these good-hearted souls with artistic abilities are hiding their treasures at Michigan’s many parks. Though I check the site daily, I’ve not painted or lettered any rocks yet, just found one and delivered others.  My neighbor Marge, and her granddaughter Monique, painted a half-dozen rocks, and it was my “assignment” to hide their booty of colorful creativity.  I dropped off two at Southland when I visited that mall on Saturday, and, this morning I left a hot-pink monster sitting at Council Point Park.  I believe that neon-colored gem will soon be scooped up to brighten someone’s day with its goofy, lopsided grin.  I even walked around the same loop twice to check if anyone snagged it from the spot in which I left it – but nope, there it still was, even the second time around.

Those painted rocks have beautiful images or messages that are heartfelt, the sentiment may be sweet, but not sappy, or sometimes the words are simple like above.  I continue to be amazed about how many artists are in our immediate area. The rock pictured above was painted from a fellow rock group member.

There is a saying that not all treasures are silver and gold. My treasure today was breathing in deep during a brisk walk in some pretty brisk weather for June 5th … I hope you found your treasure today as well.

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