“Mummified” is the word of the day.


It was only 40 degrees with a “real feel” of 34 when I stepped out this morning – what happened to that beautiful weather we had for my last walk just this past Wednesday?

The morning was sunny and very crisp, like one of those Honeycrisp apples. I piled on a few more layers, but, evidently they were not enough, as the blustery wind worked its way up my pants and coat sleeves and stung my eyes as well – brrrrrrr!  I should have wrapped myself up like a mummy, and maybe I could have kept the cold wind at bay.

The last two days I was housebound, thanks to the incessant rainfall – you know how that goes … the rain that we never saw for weeks on end all Summer, and, now was pesky and persistent the last two days.

That rain spoiled two walks, and, I was mad because my boss had been away on business since Tuesday afternoon, so, I could have added another mile, or even two, to extend my daily jaunt, as I was not in a hurry to return home to get to work. The sun doesn’t even rise ‘til nearly 8:00 every morning now, making my dash out the door later and later, and I’m losing precious minutes and steps.  Two more weeks ‘til the time change though – I can hardly wait.

While the rain may have dampened my spirits, it sure has made those annuals and perennials perky and vibrant. Flowers that looked like near-goners just a few short months ago, have bounced back from the ashes and are beautiful once again.  And, some delicate flowers, even tropical ones, like a hibiscus tree are flourishing.  There is a beautiful hibiscus tree in front of a hair salon on Fort Street, and its orangey-pink blooms are going strong.  I had to laugh to myself since a person in the neighborhood forum on Facebook posted a picture this morning of a large deer in the median of Fort Street, not far from that hibiscus tree.  Hopefully the hibiscus tree did not become a tasty snack for a hungry deer, and, really – a deer right out on Fort Street?  It is far away from Council Point Park.  I wish I’d seen it and had my camera handy.

The flowers that are most abundant, and never get a chance to look anything but gorgeous, are the chrysanthemums. They are everywhere on Emmons Boulevard, planted in regal porch pots, or adding color to front yards in their containers right from the nursery.

During the past few weeks, I’ve collected a few pictures of these beautiful mums which grace the porches, patios and front gardens of those houses that line the Boulevard. Along with the canopy of trees that are now ablaze in Fall colors, it sure makes for a beautiful sight.

So … the street is “mummified” by the abundance of mums, and, I felt “mummified” by the added layers of clothing, an attempt to keep me snug against the elements while walking. It’s been a month today since Fall arrived, and, this time I am confident it is here to stay.

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It was a beautiful weather day. My favorite meteorologist, Paul Gross, prefaced the impending cold spell by proclaiming: “You KNOW we’ve been living on borrowed time.  After all, it’s the middle of October!”

That warning didn’t sound good.

Well, so much for that – it was good while it lasted, and we were blessed with another stellar Fall day.

The leaves are everywhere, a result of that wicked wind yesterday. My neighbor’s tree has turned a vibrant shade of red, usually the precursor for dropping all its leaves in about a week’s time.

Most of the harvest and Halloween décor on the Boulevard was restored to its former glory… that, of course, which didn’t end up in the next city … or county.

During my daily treks through the neighborhoods, and down Emmons Boulevard, I have plenty of time to take a gander at this year’s collection of creepy clowns, spooky souls, gory and ghoulish monsters, humongous spiders, plus the most macabre sights straight from the graveyard.  It seems that the mummies, black cats, and even witches, to a certain extent, are now passé.

Skeletons and bones are pretty popular in front yards.

Those skeletons that are dangling from trees, their bones rattling in the slightest breeze, could scare a body if you walk by and don’t see them first.

Then there are the bones – femurs and tibias, fibulas and humerus bones, all laying helter-skelter on the lawn as if rising out of a grave. It makes me think about “Dem Bones”, the song we learned as kids, about how all those bones are connected –  you know:  “the back bone’s connected to the neck bone, the neck bone’s connected to the head bone” and on and on it goes.

And then there’s this skeleton with his crisp white shirt and red tie, in a category all his own.

Clearly his neck bone is not connected to his head bone. In fact, I detect a little angst going on.

There are meek and mild and very cute decorations as well as this clever skeleton you see above. I’ve collected pictures of those too, all to be included in upcoming blog posts, as I memorialize my steps, while striving to reach my year-end walking goal.  I am at 631 miles at present.

Those photos and posts hopefully will be a diversion as we get through the next few weeks of election madness.

As I close out this post, so I, too, can listen to the presidential debate, (even though, as a Canadian, I cannot vote), I leave you with this heady thought:

The upcoming election: everyone has a skeleton or two in their closet, but it’s nothing to lose your head over.

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Leaning to the left …


… and the right.

… and backward … and forward too.

No, this isn’t some sort of political commentary. Nor, is it the title to the animated chant we cried out circa 1972, while we cheered on our Lincoln Park High School Railsplitters football team, i.e.:  “Lean to the left, lean to the right, stand up, sit down … fight, fight, fight!”

Instead, it is a description of how the neighborhood Halloween and harvest décor were faring as they were being whipped around by those wicked winds this morning.

I saw a few fake-‘em-out pumpkins somersaulting across the lawns, and more than a few ghosts that had broken free from their tree branches and were floating through the air. Skeleton bones rolled and rattled over porch caps and tumbled onto cement steps or deposited themselves into front gardens.  Those huge inflatable characters were in any number of positions as they bowed down, or reclined lazily, all the while straining on their tethers.

But, it was the poor scarecrows that had been beaten up the most. Their lightweight bodies are either impaled by, or strapped onto, bamboo poles to begin with, then, while those winds blew gustily, just like a day in March, all it took was a short tug to send those straw men and women flip-flopping or flying off their pole.  Straw bits were airborne and the wind wreaked havoc with scarecrow coiffures too, as it began sneaking straw from ribbon-gathered “pigtails”, or knocking jaunty caps askew and long, dry strands drifted across their sweet, smiling cotton faces.

The birds couldn’t even fly straight.

And … unbelievably, it was difficult for this tough bird to walk straight as well.

But, I didn’t turn back and go home, because that warm breeze that was a’blowin’ this morning, was not only a force to be reckoned with, but a chance to bask in Summer-like temps for one more time. It was another day to leave the long sleeves behind and enjoy the warm air on bare arms.  As I walked along, I mused that if I closed my eyes, it could be an August or early September morn, (oh, how a girl can dream …), but, once the eyelids were open again, there was no denying those multi-colored leaves fluttering down to the ground in record numbers.  That was a harsh reality check, and a reminder that this too shall pass, and we’ll return to harsher temperatures all too soon.

I only walked three miles today – these darker mornings have me leaving later, and makes it difficult to get the regular trek done to be home at a decent time to start work, so I have to compromise and take a shorter route.

But, I walked a little slower than usual, savoring the morning and enjoying the month.

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.” ~L.M. Montgomery, (of “Anne of Green Gables” fame)

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First, he swept her off her feet …


I saw Mr. and Ms. Broom decorating a homeowner’s garden and knew the pair would be perfect for my Sweetest Day post.

Corny as it sounds, can we assume that after Mr. Broom swept Ms. Broom off her feet, they were married and a passel of whisk brooms soon followed?

What a gorgeous day to spend with your sweetie … the weather was picture perfect for a jaunt to the cider mill, attending a Fall fair or a trip to the pumpkin patch. I wish we could bottle these type of days up and dole them out sparingly during the long Winter ahead.

I headed out with the camera in tow. There were a few more houses groaning with harvest and Halloween décor that I wanted to photograph in the sunshine, because the light isn’t always good for picture taking in my early morning weekday jaunts.

Today, there was an added bonus – ducks and geese at the Ecorse Creek. There were more of them this morning than I’ve seen altogether since Spring.  They were frolicking loudly in the Creek water.  In between quacking and honking, they were flapping their wings, nibbling on reeds and diving for who knows what?  I tried to take some pictures of them, but they were too far away from me and the sun was in my eyes, so with this point-and-shoot camera, all I saw was my own reflection.  I took the pictures anyway, and we’ll see how they turn out.

I meandered along on this beautiful day, hating to come home as I had some outside tasks lined up. It seemed kind of silly “winterizing” around the outside of the house on such a warm day, but, it sure is no fun checking off the chore list with frozen fingers either.

I put my own corn straw broom to work to give the house a little TLC, something that has been sorely lacking at this abode throughout the long, hot Summer, and even the Fall.

I got in a 4 ½ mile walk today and I hope that you all enjoyed the beautiful day as well.

To love is nothing. To be loved is something.  But to love and be loved, that’s everything.

~ T. Tolis

Happy Sweetest Day to you and those who make you smile.

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There was a definite bite in the air this morning.


Brrrrrrr – it sure was cold when I stepped out.

It seems like God’s memo to Mother Nature, advising her of Fall’s arrival on September 22nd, thus far was unheeded, until today.

Tomorrow may be another story.

It certainly felt like Fall this morning, and, as I strolled along and saw those wisps of breath coming from my mouth, there now is no denying that the outside water needs to be shut off, sooner, rather than later, even if we will get a reprieve and near 80 degrees over the weekend.

Those Fall outside chores are looming large, but really … how silly is this upcoming weather forecast anyway? These rollercoaster temps will cause the pumpkins and beautiful gourds on people’s porches to shrink and shrivel away, long before Halloween and harvest season are done.

With a hat plunked on my head, gloves on my hands, and an extra sweater as well, I felt strangely encumbered, burdened by too many layers of clothes and moving along like a mummy.

Sadly, after that sultry hot Summer, we must all come to grips that after this warmish weekend, with its last fling for bare arms and legs … bare trees, and not bare knees, will soon be in abundance.

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‘Tis the season for things that scare, so BEWARE!


This ghoul does not like surprises.

I kind of like to ease into my day … know what I mean?

I got up this morning, within a respectable amount of time after the alarm went off, ready to take on the day.

The furnace was softly humming, flooding the house with warmth, and, soon I was sipping my instant coffee, savoring that brew, as the liquid coursed through my body, warming my innards.

All those warm and fuzzy feelings soon evaporated though, when suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a huge centipede streaking past my foot. I let out a blood-curdling scream and set the coffee cup on the countertop so quickly that coffee splattered everywhere.  Mustering all my courage, plus, aided by a big shot of adrenalin, I slayed that sucker by stomping on it with my foot.  Still shaking, but just for good measure, I worked my moccasin sole over that near-lifeless body again and again, because the legs were still kicking!  Well that was an “OMG” moment for sure.

I calmed down, and began to sip the coffee again. Soon my oatmeal was ready.  That sweet gruel going down made me a tad more tranquil … it was comfort food, just like having warm butterscotch pudding, or a grilled cheese and tomato soup.

I piddled around doing some tasks in the kitchen, all the while scanning the floor for any friends or relatives of the squished centipede, but there were none, so I knew it was safe to leave the kitchen, and confidently went downstairs to get my coat to leave on my walk.

I don’t know what made me look at the furnace, but the orange button was coding again – three short flashes and a long flash, but the furnace was on and the heat was pouring out! What in the world?  It shut off and I reset it … then said a little prayer.

I thought to myself, it’s the 13th of the month – but not a Friday, but two strikes are already against me and things happen in threes.

I put on my coat, and took the stairs, two a time, and left in a hurry before anything else could happen. It was a dark and dismal morning, and it matched my mood, but I was happy to escape the confines of the house to clear my head.

Once I took to the streets, I had to hustle, because I was running behind because of the furnace. All was well, ‘til just before I got to the footbridge.  There is a stockade fence to my left, and out of nowhere a small dog darted out from a hole in the fence right near the banks of the Creek.  I never noticed that hole before, but out ran this little terror, or, I guess I should say “terrier”.  He wasn’t very big, but this piece of energy was all puffed up with importance, and ran circles around me barking his head off.  At first I was amused over this agitated little squirt … that is, until he circled in closer and I pictured him nipping my ankles.  Having already incurred critter bites on my ankles earlier this Summer, I dashed across Emmons Boulevard to the opposite side of the street, and, into the sprinkler system no less.  Well, grrrrrr.

I looked back and he was looking for me. “Ha!”, I thought.  Then I mused “you’re not so smart after all!”

But the joke was on me since on the return trip, because of the Ecorse Creek and the footbridge, I have to go the same way to get back to Lincoln Park and pass this very spot again. But, I was smart and stayed on the opposite side of the street.

As soon as I neared the footbridge, my nemesis poked his head out of the fence and barked furiously at me once again. Suddenly, that dog raced out into the street at the speed of sound, where a driver had to apply the brakes to avoid hitting him.  I couldn’t look and turned away.  The dog must’ve retreated since the vehicle rolled on.

Soon I heard barking, and if that dog didn’t come after me again.

But someone whistled and called him – he got his bearings and returned to the hole he had crawled out of.

I never saw a “Beware of Dog” sign so I conclude the following: he must have been a guest at that house because the pooches that live on the Boulevard have much better manners than that!

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Make no bones about it …


… I said I’d reach 600 miles by October 15th and got it done today.

Actually, had that rainy spell and furnace tech appointment not kept me grounded a week or so ago, I’d have celebrated even earlier.

Now, I will strive to beat my 2015 record of 718 miles. My friend Marge suggested I make Thanksgiving the date to get that goal accomplished.  So, dare I be so bold to choose that date, as the sun rises so late now, or an early arrival of that four-letter word, a/k/a snow, could dash those hopes right into the cold and frosty ground?

Well, I will think positively and try to make that goal attainable, and hope snow and ice are not in the immediate future.

Speaking of frosty temps, at least it was warmer this morning when I set out, but it sure was gray and dismal looking, like the sky would open up any minute. I pounded the pavement and hustled along just in case the rain arrived, and, I eked out a round-trip trek to the tracks and back, just like I did all Summer.

On my daily trip, I pass a huge horse chestnut tree, and, I think the entire squirrel population on Emmons Boulevard was congregating at or around that tree this morning. For weeks, that tree has been dropping its bright-green spiny nut casings all over the lawn and sidewalk.  Sometimes you couldn’t even see the cement for bits and pieces of those bumpy-looking spheres that had already split and fallen down to the ground, leaving the actual nut still hanging on for dear life up in the tree.

But now, those shiny, dark brown horse chestnuts litter the lawn and sidewalk and it is just like walking on an abacus. The squirrels were having their own version of a tailgate party as they sampled the shiny new nuts that just bounced onto the ground, or the half-eaten ones, and even the “nuts on the half-shell” i.e., those nuts that have fallen with part of the spiny casing intact.  The collection of squirrels were so intent on munching down on their treats, they refused to budge as I neared them.  In fact, a few looked up with a rather indignant stare as I threatened to walk right on through and crash their party.

Of course, it may sound nutty, but … silly goose that I am, I found myself sidestepping them, and walking through the wet grass and into the street, far away from their feast, not wishing to smash those nuts with the heavy soles of my walking shoes. Yup, the squirrels have me wrapped around their little finger, er paw, and that thought tickled my funny bone and made me smile.

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