Tuesday Musings.

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This sure was a long day without my morning walk, or even venturing outside for that matter.  The day has seemed to go on forever, partly because my boss jetted off to warm and sunny Phoenix, Arizona early this morning and this ugly weather day kept me hunkered down in the house, putting a kibosh on my walk.  Although it was clear at the time I usually leave, the winds were gusting between 30 and 35 miles per hour, so I decided to forego a walk today.  I was not in the mood to lose my hat, nor go scurrying after it, as it tumbled along the perimeter path several paces ahead of me.

The last very windy day when my freshly dry-cleaned wool cap went airborne and I had to scramble into the street to retrieve it, the minute I walked into the house, I went to the cabinet downstairs, where all my hair accessories are stored.  Back in the day, I was very organized about my accessories, and my hair ornaments and doodads were no different.  I still have them all stacked in pristine clear shoe boxes, with labels according to what type of hair accessory they are.  So, I pawed through a few boxes, looking for stray bobby pins for the next windy day at the Park, but they were nowhere to be found.  The grocery store doesn’t carry bobby pins either – in fact, I’ll bet a good portion of my readers are now wondering “what the heck is a bobby pin anyway?”

I used to do my long hair in a French twist or French braid and often used bobby pins to secure that ‘do in place, so I just assumed I still had some large bobby pins from those days.

Bobby pins and curlers and similar girly hair paraphernalia from the past are considered passé now.

I can remember at sleepovers at my grandmother’s house, I’d watch her putting her hair into pin curls every night before going to bed.  She didn’t even need a mirror.  Nanny would quickly spritz her hair with a setting lotion to dampen it,  then taking tiny tufts of hair, she’d deftly form a loop of hair and crisscross it with small bobby pins.  I’d laugh at her as she would have metal “Xs” all over her head.  Then she’d secure those pin curls by donning an oversized pink hairnet which she tied tight into a bow on top of her head.  As I watched this process intently, she would say “Linda, you have to do these things to look pretty when you’re all grown up; you won’t always be wearing a ponytail and a ribbon you know.”

Nanny was wise, because a few years later, my mom decided that my stick-straight hair and ponytail were okay for every day, but special occasions warranted big-curl girls, so she bought some bobby pins and put my hair into pin curls sometimes.  When I see those old pictures, they make me cringe, and, I really have to wonder where she saw an improvement?  My hair was a little lopsided – oh yes it was!  Plus, I looked about fifty years older than my real age!

CURLY HAIR 12-05-17

Oh Mom, how could you?

The things you remember sometimes when your mind starts to drift a little …

Like today, when I couldn’t go on a walk, and was up at the crack of dawn just in case that predicted rain and wind didn’t happen.  It sure was tempting to crawl back into bed, but I decided to do the Christmas cards instead.  I had a few letters to write with the cards for my mom’s friends who are in their 90s and not online.  So, that was my morning project.

While writing out the cards, I recalled my mom doing the family Christmas cards and that was when I did my letter to Santa back in the day.  I had already perused and dog-eared the Eaton’s Christmas Catalog which used to arrive mid-November in conjunction with the Santa Claus parade in downtown Toronto.  I’d pick out my favorite items and Mom would help me get the letter to Santa done to be mailed out with the family Christmas cards.

I heard a story on the radio the other day that now kids text their Christmas wish lists to Santa instead of writing a letter to the Big Guy.  How sad … that was a fun part of the holiday season when I was growing up.  I even remember getting a personal letter from Santa from the North Pole as Christmas neared.  I wonder if that nicety is still available for parents to do for their kids?

When we first moved to the States, at the old post office, which now functions as the City’s Historical Museum, every December there was a tall mailbox emblazoned with the words “Letters for Santa” outside the main entrance.  There was always a queue of children dropping off their respective wish lists, while their parents, with their car motors running, lined up along Southfield Road, while patiently waiting for their kids to zip off their letters in the hope that Santa would indulge their fantasy.

Those were such simple times, sipping hot chocolate and dunking gingerbread men into that delicious frothy drink, while carefully composing a letter to Santa describing which dolly and accessories would be the perfect present for me that year.  One year I was feeling bold and sassy and asked for a pretty pram to push that dolly along Sandmere Place.  In this picture, circa early 1960s, it appears Santa indulged me.  I remember my baby doll Thumbelina with her big pink button on her back, a magical button that brought her to life, and her head swiveled ever so slowly while I cradled her in my arms.  Even her pliable body wiggled a little and she gave a whimper while moving, until the button slowly wound down.  All the little girls had to have a Thumbelina.  I remember this pram which was beige and brown and I was pretty darn excited with those presents.

PRAM 12-05-17.jpg

Perhaps Santa should have brought my father some photography lessons since he got most of the doll carriage in the picture, but Linda and Thumbelina are way over in the corner.

My legs and feet got a rest from the perimeter path and I got a break from the work routine today, but my mind was working overtime; it was busy churning up some warm memories from years gone by.

 

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My stats are soaring …

hawk

… just like this hawk.

I’m giving myself an “Atta Girl” because, just like this hawk that was soaring high above the trees at Council Point Park, my walking stats are soaring as well.  I’ve now reached 970 miles walked in 2017.

I’ve piled on the steps and maximized my miles recently, especially these past two warmish days.  Yesterday I walked seven miles altogether!  I strapped on my pedometer before I left the house, and had a few errands which began when I arrived at Meijer at 8:00 a.m.  I had hoped to beat the crowds, but people started coming in droves by 9:00 a.m.  A few errands and outside chores, then I stole a glance at the pedometer – just a smidge under two miles.  The temps were in the 50s and just gorgeous outside, so I set out on foot for Council Point Park at 2:30 p.m.  Now, that was a first for me, trekking to the Park that late in the day.  But, who could pass up being outside on such a gorgeous day, especially when bitter cold weather is imminent?  So, that afternoon trip to the Park yielded another five miles.

It was a whole different scenario at the Park than when I usually do my morning jaunt.  Sunday is family day, and, the warmer temps had people strolling around in just a sweatshirt or light jacket, and I saw one guy jogging in a tee-shirt and shorts.  This is not your usual December 3rd weather, that’s for sure.  Kids were giggling, climbing onto the playground equipment and sprawling out on the grass, just like it was a mid-Summer day.  Sometimes on December 3rd, they might have been on the snow-covered ground making snow angels.

The sun’s angle in the Park made it better for picture-taking, because sometimes there are shadows which get in the way when I’m doing the morning stroll with my camera in tow, so I got a few good shots while there.

There were none of the regular walkers, whom I suspect were long gone from this site by the time I arrived.  Also missing was the ritual with the squirrels and my trek seemed somehow incomplete.  Apparently the squirrels don’t hang out at ground level all day,  as I saw just one raggedy-looking squirrel who was as skinny as a rake, unlike those pudgy squirrels who come running over when I show up.  He was also skittish and ran away when he saw me.  He fled into a bushy area and was more content to sit there gnawing on a dirty old pinecone, rather than to come over to beg for peanuts.  Perhaps he’s new to the ‘hood?

Many people were stringing up Christmas lights and otherwise adding holiday décor to their front yards in the neighborhoods I passed through.  I was weary by the time I got home but stopped to visit with my neighbors on each side, staying outside until dusk.  That’s probably the last time for an extended visit with the neighbors until Spring yardwork.

This morning I hightailed it out as well, getting another six miles in, despite the cloudy start.   And, it was back to the same old trip to the Park, just like any of the dozens, maybe even hundreds, of other mornings I’ve gone there.  It was the same folks to exchange pleasantries with and those rambunctious squirrels who came bounding over to see me like I was a long-lost friend … yup, a long-lost friend with peanuts.

The weather has been a treat these past two days, and I hear it is back to reality tomorrow (unfortunately), but, as long as the snow and ice stay at bay, I’ll be able to keep on walking.  Thirty more miles and I’ll reach my latest goal – 1,000 miles walked in 2017, and I’m feeling confident I’ll get ‘er done by year-end, if Mother Nature continues to cooperate.

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Hoofin’ it …

12-02-17

There I was, all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, not unlike my peanut pals at Council Point Park, when I arrived there this morning.  I went to bed very early last night, so I bounced out of bed, ready to hit the ground runnin’ when that alarm went off.  Funny … when you’re a kid, you rebel about going to bed early (well, most kids gripe about it, but, as an only child, I grew up knowing that “children should be seen and not heard” so, while I might have pouted in my bed once I was tucked in for the night, I never complained to my parents.)

Right now, it’s all about maximizing my miles, so I’ve really been hoofin’ it since the week before Thanksgiving, gathering steps and miles as I move along toward my ultimate goal.  I crossed the 950-mile mark yesterday, so I am now speeding toward my goal in earnest before the snow flies.

Though I would have liked to languish on the loops a little longer, I quickly did four miles at the Park, doling out peanuts post haste, plus had my round trip there as well.  Unfortunately, I knew I had to be home for still another house issue.  This time it was the furnace which was needy, as it had been making loud knocking noises all week.  When the furnace kicked on, it sounded like a person was inside the ductwork, banging on the pipes frantically to come out.  I probably would have been in better spirits about it, had there not been so many other bothersome house issues this year, so I was very exasperated with this latest problem.

On top of it, the knocking began on Sunday, the same day I finished up the painting.  My initial thought was “oh no – I just painted and intended to let the floor dry for at least a week before putting any rugs down or even stepping on it.”

This past week, each time the furnace kicked on and the knocking noises began, I thought of that popular  70s tune “Knock Three Times” by Tony Orlando and Dawn.  When the knocking didn’t subside, I gave in and contacted Flame Furnace to schedule a service call.  This afternoon my tech arrived, the first female HVAC tech I’ve ever had, and, after I told her the problem, and the heat was cranked up higher, the knocking began.  The tech simply wiggled the PVC exhaust pipe and it stopped knocking.  I know I never touched that pipe accidentally and told her so.  She had a few suggestions, the most-logical of which was strong winds that may have moved the outside pipe which is connected to the main pipe that runs to the furnace.

It seems there is always something to deal with when you have a house.

As I sit here tonight writing this blog post, it is a time for reflection.  It is one year ago today my beloved bird Buddy died.  For those of you who are new followers of this blog, Buddy was a mop top canary; he had a stroke and I had to have him euthanized.  It broke my heart and I still miss his personality and cheery voice.  His picture is below as well as the link to the post I wrote about him after I lost him: https://lindaschaubblog.net/2016/12/04/forty-feathered-friends-at-the-footbridge/

BUDDY

My dear friend and neighbor, Marge Aubin, drove us to the vet on that fateful day, and afterward we went down to Wyandotte to the Detroit River’s edge to talk because I was so upset.  That was the last time Marge and I went on an outing, and, in this lookback, I am remembering Marge today, because tomorrow would have been her 80th birthday.  Sadly, she passed away on August 14th following a long battle with COPD.  When I leave for my daily walk, out of force of habit I still glance over to her deck, even though the variety of wild bird feeders and bright red hummer feeders are no longer there.  That deck was a perpetual safe haven for wild birds and we both enjoyed watching them at her many feeding stations through the years.

Life sure is tough sometimes.  Perhaps, in retrospect, the knocks in the duct work seem a little trivial for me to have expended so much angst over these past few days.  Supposedly, life’s school of hard knocks is guaranteed to build character and make us strong.  So, I guess I’ll use my mom’s old expression of “Buck up Buttercup” on myself and look ahead to 2018 with a chance to start anew.

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Well, it rained on my parade …

11-30-17

… and my shoes, coat, hat and gloves.  Well you get the idea.  But, it didn’t dampen my spirits because I added more miles to my total, despite the sky opening up as I scurried home, as if I were made of sugar and might melt before I got into the house.

Of course I listened to the Accuweather forecast and studied the Weather Channel that said “no rain until 10:00 a.m.” so, I thought I’d get my walk in and arrive home dry, and be inside sipping coffee by the time the pesky raindrops arrived.

As I started on the perimeter path at Council Point Park, two different walkers cautioned me about the impending rain, adding “better hurry … the rain is coming around 9:00 a.m.”  I’d better find out their weather info source, as sure enough, as they predicted, the rain began just as I was finishing off the first loop.

The ducks were plentiful this morning and they were quacking me up with their noises as they dove for breakfast in the chilly Creek water, when suddenly I heard the raucous sound of a flock of Canada Geese flying directly overhead.  They honed in on the Creek, next to where I walking, and soon came in for a landing amidst a cacophony of honks, each plopping into the water with a big splash and skidding to a halt.  Then, when all the water droplets were gone, those geese, which numbered at least a dozen, began gracefully gliding along as if their loud landing had never happened.

The squirrels were rather scarce this morning, especially once the rain drops arrived.  Even my smiling face and proffered peanuts did not lure the rest of the bunch who were not already at ground level.  So, I admonished them collectively, saying “you snooze – you lose” to no one in particular, and I know that my words fell on deaf ears.  Of course, they know I’ll be back tomorrow, and besides, the three men who usually feed them, all arrived earlier than me today so the little rascals hit them up first!

Tomorrow is a brand-new month and I will cross that 950-miles-walked threshold, so, then I’ll need only 50 more miles to reach my newest goal of 1,000 miles walked in 2017.  There is now some talk of colder temps next week and the word “flurries” is being bandied about … maybe I’ll have to break out those hiking boots I bought in 2015, that are still languishing in their box, to get ‘er done.  Stay tuned!

[Image by Eommina from Creative Commons and Pixabay]

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Tuesday Musings.

Sadly, the sun is back to rising later again, as those morning daylight minutes we gained after the time change earlier this month, are slowly giving way to a later sunrise.

But, on sunny mornings, like yesterday and today, I was able to hustle out of the house early and get down to Council Point Park, thus gleaning more steps, an extra loop in fact, to add to my tally.  As you know, it is all about the year-end goal these days, and, I know I am racing, not only against time, with a little over a month until year end, but also against the ice and snow, which I hope stay away a little longer.  Today, the weatherman declared our 67-degree temperature a fluke, but still promised no wintry conditions will arrive for at least a week or two.

So … walk, walk, walk.  That’s my mantra.

In my entire life I couldn’t fathom walking 1,000 miles in one year, so, I hope I can achieve this feat with my feet.  My friend Evelyn suggested I bronze my walking shoes if I make it to 1,000 miles by year end.

Beautiful late Fall days like today are to be savored.  More of the regular walkers returned to Council Point Park this morning, no doubt lured by the warmer temperatures and the sunny day.

As I was enjoying the beautiful morning, my little squirrel came scampering over just as fast as his four legs could carry him, shortly after my arrival at the outskirts of the Park.  I cut across the parking lot as I always do, whether I arrive on foot, or by car.  So, while walking through the parking lot, he must have been watching me from the pavilion area, because in a heartbeat he was there, first parking his little body right next to my shoes, then impatiently dancing around me in circles while I hurried to open the Ziploc bag to dole out some treats for him.  He reminded me of a little kid with these antics, as if to say “what is taking you so long?”

So, I’ve decided to name this little squirrel “Parker” which is a definite improvement over referring to him as “the squirrel f/k/a the Pagel Avenue squirrel, who now lives at Council Point Park” … as friendly as he is, next I’ll see if will respond when called by name.

On my first trip around the perimeter path, a flash of brown caught my eye as I glanced between the now-bare branches of the bushes and trees that line the path next to the Ecorse Creek.  Then I saw some rapid movement in the water,   Suddenly I realized I was looking at a big muskrat who was mingling with the mallards.  He sure was “feelin’ the love” because, there they were – neither species being intimidated by the other, all enjoying a morning dip in the cold Ecorse Creek.

I stopped to watch them for a few minutes and saw the muskrat climb out of the water, with its fur wet and slicked back from the morning swim.  Slowly, it climbed onto one of the many half-sunken logs to share that space companionably with a few ducks.  Usually, those partially submerged trees are reserved for the turtles when basking in the Summer sun, or, the mallards all year around for preening and/or sleeping on one foot, with a downy head neatly tucked under a wing.

As I watched this mismatched group huddled together, I decided all was right with the world – the world on the surface of the Ecorse Creek at Council Point Park anyway.  Too bad the rest of the world does not get along as well as the muskrat and the mallards.

This warmish sunny day was the talk of the town today.  I would have preferred to walk this afternoon in those 67-degree temps, but this morning’s trek was delightful too.

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The Deep Freeze has returned; Autumn leaves revisited.

11-26-17

It’s anybody’s guess what happened to yesterday’s mild weather.  It was short-lived; here for a day, and now it is gone again, although we are promised temps of nearly 60 degrees on Tuesday – only Tuesday.

Once again I piled on the layers and bundled up against the blustery weather to head down to Council Point Park, where, once again, just a handful of the regular walkers were present and accounted for.  This morning there were only four of us walking on the perimeter path.  Even though the temperature was 29 degrees when I “suited up” to go, the sun was shining brightly, and that made all the difference in the world.  As long as the snow and ice stay away, I am totally fine with this cold weather, despite my grumbling about it.

I took the car for a spin and drove it right to the Park.  Just like the other day, I planned to walk, then mosey over to Pagel Avenue before heading home to see if my squirrel returned to “his tree” since I didn’t see him when I walked on Pagel Avenue yesterday.  I figured he had just stayed at the Park for good.

So today, at the conclusion of all my trips around the perimeter path, I was going to go just a few more blocks to hunt out my furry friend.  But, I didn’t need to bother, as guess who was waiting for me, sitting right next to the driver’s side door?  This is where he found me the other day, when unbeknownst to me, he had followed me from Pagel Avenue when I went looking for him.  So, I said “how long were you waiting here for me?” as I quickly poured out some peanuts on the ground next to my shoe.  I obviously forgot that squirrels don’t tell time, and, of course, once I gave him the peanuts, he quickly gobbled a couple down, then took two between his front teeth “to go” … guess I’ll never know where he came from or just how patient that little guy was.

I languished there a few minutes longer, partly to see if my peanut pal would return so I could spoil him a bit more, and I was also enjoying the sun on my face.  Finally, I fished out my keys and left.  I was not in a hurry to come home and deal with the massive carpet of leaves on my lawn, and, like before, none of them were exclusively my leaves.  Grrr.  My only tree, an ornamental maple, has yet to turn red, nor drop a single leaf.

Our Thanksgiving holiday is over much too fast and no matter what you did, hopefully you were surrounded by those people who make you happy.

I’m sorry to see the holiday come to a close – I walked 24 miles over the past four days, bringing my total to 925 miles walked in 2017.

[Image entitled “Thanksgiving – Time For Reflection”; a painting of Autumn leaves by Nancy1730 from Pixabay]

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Patience is a virtue.

11-25-17

It was breezy and almost balmy as I set out on this third day of the long holiday weekend, which sadly is zipping by all too quickly.

Is there still mayhem at the malls, or, perhaps people are patronizing their local shops for “Small Business Saturday” … or, maybe folks are content to hunker down at home, munch on a turkey and stuffing sandwich and just relax a bit.

I passed on the early morning mayhem this holiday weekend and painted instead.  I wish I could tell you I was creating a masterpiece that could hang on my wall and be admired by many, but, it is not that exciting.

I had an early morning paint session in the basement these last three days, and, most likely tomorrow morning as well.  You long-time followers of this blog will recall the June plumbing disaster where a jackhammer was used to open the drain in the laundry room, resulting in a concave cement mess surrounding the drain, in an area about three by four feet.  I painted that area over the 4th of July weekend and threw the paint out, knowing there would be no more basement drains opened up again (hopefully in my lifetime anyway).  But, little did I know, that in late October, water would be seeping from the drain under the laundry tub, necessitating a sledgehammer to open that drain to clear it.  The plumbers scraped up the original paint job during the second plumbing debacle, so, here I was, barely getting past the suggested waiting period of thirty days after the cement cured, to return to the same task that consumed four mornings in July.  The paint color this time is Valspar’s “Shiitake” and yes, it is the color of a mushroom.

I’ll tell you that all the walking I do may be good for my cardiovascular health, but it doesn’t keep me limber.  I can confirm that fact at the beginning of every gardening season when I feel like I have been run over by a Mack truck after a day doing yard cleanup.  Climbing down, squatting or kneeling to get to the back of the laundry tub near the wall was simply not doable for me because, if a centipede ran out from a hidey hole, I’d have had a heart attack as I couldn’t scramble to my feet on time.  So, I gerry-rigged a long handle to a paintbrush and painted those faraway places that way and called it done.  But, I still had to bend and reach other places that were more visible, and, a few unused muscles reminded me the morning after the first date with a paint brush, that I should factor some stretching into my exercise regimen.  I really didn’t feel like a slacker, but I guess I am.

Once the paint can was tapped shut and the vinyl gloves discarded, I hurried upstairs to see if that forecasted drizzle had arrived yet.  Sprinkles or drizzle were in the forecast for the early morn, but, being a weekend, I figured I could hold off a little longer before leaving.  After all, I had miles to walk, goals to be accomplished, not to mention a slew of hungry squirrels waiting for me down at Council Point Park.

So,  I waited an hour and good things come to those who wait.  Suddenly there was a sliver of sun and blue sky filtering through the clouds that were quickly disappearing.  So, off I went on a morn that felt balmy and breezy like the first Spring day when you leave the hat at home, unbutton your coat and carry your gloves … well, almost. A girl can dream anyway.  But, the weather sure was better than those bitter cold and blustery days of late.

So … rain, what rain?  Nothing rained on my parade.  Patience was a virtue because I added another six miles to my total miles walked in 2017.

[Image by StockSnap from Creative Commons and Pixabay]

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