Saturday, December 31, 2005

Did you stop blogging?

Of course not!

I've renamed this blog to include a 2005 tag, and along with the new year, I have a new blog.

You can find my 2006 blog at, and this blog is at

Closing the year the way that it started...

...with a bike ride, of course!

2005 was a good year for my favorite outdoors pastime - riding my bicycle! I have to say that the weather was much more pleasant on my January 1st ride (when the temperature was in the 50s, definitely an abnormal January day here in the northeast). Today was cold and gray, but dry. For the most part the roads were clean and dry, although I did slide across some wet or icy patches. Luckily they were few and far between!

Cold? It was 24 degrees at the start of my ride, with a little more warmth - 29 degrees - by the time I got home. Yes, I did say a little; 29 degrees is still cold! I have to admit I thought about not riding today, but my bike insisted! My 21-mile ride today took me to a grand total of 4101 riding miles for the year, which makes me very happy. And it took me to a new low temperature for riding.

I must have been wearing the right number of layers today because in spite of the cold temperature I was warm. I tried something new; I added my knee warmers to my biking shorts under my REI powerstretch tights. Having an extra layer on my knees made a big difference. And for the first time I stuck my Heat Treat toe warmers to the bottom of my socks instead of putting them on top of my shoes but under my shoe covers. I didn't think that my shoes would be comfortable with an extra layer on my feet; I suppose it fit comfortably because my cycling socks are really thin. It's funny, I've tried the warmers on my socks when I've been out walking, and they were too warm. But they were perfect in my cycling shoes. I wonder why.

I'd love to start 2006 on a bicycle too, but I have a feeling that isn't going to happen. I can always hope that the weather forecast is wrong. If it is, then my bicycle and I will probably be wandering somewhere tomorrow. If we get the 1 to 3 inches of snow that is predicted? Well, then tomorrow may be a good walking day...

Pineapple sunshine

Ah, the smell of a freshly cut pineapple makes me think of sunshine. It's gray and gloomy outside, but there's a smile on my face and visions of Hawaii in my mind.

Of course, the pineapple I cut this morning had its roots in Costa Rica, not Hawaii, but my dreams drift toward the Hawaiian islands anyway.

When I'm in Hawaii I always buy local pineapple, but when I'm home my choice is Del Monte Gold. I don't know if this fruit just travels better, or if it really has a better taste... I headed over to the Del Monte web site to see if they had any information about this fruit. Interesting... one fact that just jumped off the page at me is that (any variety of) pineapple takes 18 months to grow. Another thing that cropped up in my web search is that there have been law suits over this pineapple hybrid between Del Monte, Dole, and the Maui Pineapple Company. Del Monte dropped their suit against Maui Pineapple back in 2003, and it's not clear what happened with the suit against Dole. A fascinating food fight.

OK, I know it's business - but stop fighting and just keep producing this wonderful fruit!

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

A sliver of the moon...

...smiling in the brightening morning sky

What a beautiful sight, just a sliver of the moon hanging in a sky that is becoming a beautiful shade of blue. It sounds like today will be the last clear day before rain moves in yet again. No complaints here, though my tune will change if we have a totally wet 3-day weekend...

And at this point, it appears that my totally rained out Monday holiday should not have been a target for complaints. It was Sunday into Monday that Caribou, Maine got 31 inches of snow (and some other towns in the area recorded 39 inches of that white stuff). Ouch! I'm glad that our precipitation was in the form of water!

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Searching for dry roads

I have a feeling that my second day of cycling on this 3-day weekend may be followed by a non-cycling day. The weather forecast for tonight calls for heavy rain, with an 80% chance of rain continuing most of the day tomorrow. Oh well, at least I had two good riding days.

The temperature was again in the upper 40s, and the roads today seemed a little dryer than yesterday. It's quite possible that is because I stayed (for the most part) on the more major 2-lane roads. My bike and I covered 28 miles; not a huge distance, but certainly acceptable for this time of year. I'm hoping that tomorrow is another cycling day, but it sounds like my only outdoor exercise will probably be walking in the rain. Only tomorrow will tell.

An attempt to take a photo of myself and my bike in one of those curved mirrors that was positioned at the end of a driveway

Disappear? Reappear!

I have to admit, I don't like most of the decorations people have on or near their houses - but this creature made me smile. The (relatively new) blow-up decoration craze somehow appeals to my funny bone at times. This wrapped package contains a creature who pops out of the package, then slowly returns to a hiding state. Funny...

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Dancing, prancing, bounding!

It was a beautiful day for a ride today, with temperatures in the mid to upper 40s - definitely not a normal December day. No complaints on my part though...

I was within a couple of miles of home, riding on a quiet back road lined with woods and houses too. There was no traffic, just my very quiet bicycle. And as I looked down the road, I saw a deer off to the side, heading toward the road. The deer very quietly and gracefully ran across the road in front of me and quickly disappeared in the woods on the other side of the road. Beautiful, what a graceful creature! I'm glad to have shared a bit of space with her today.

The rest of my ride was uneventful but enjoyable. The roads were wet with snow-melt, but the riding conditions were still reasonable. In spite of the warm weather, ponds in the area were still ice-covered, but were sporting cracks, a few holes, and in places, a sheen of water on top of the ice.

Still ice-covered, but with a long crack extending across the frozen water.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Changing time zones?

I heard an item on the news about New Brunswick deciding to extend Daylight Savings time to match the extension already announced by the United States. That didn't surprise me, but apparently at the same time the province was considering switching from the Atlantic to the Eastern time zone. That change was rejected, but the fact that they were considering it made me remember the recent talk about the state of Maine considering switching to the Atlantic time zone.

Wouldn't it be odd if Maine switched to Atlantic time zone and New Brunswick switched to the Eastern time zone? Ah, a time zone waltz. If the changes were enacted, going from New Hampshire to Maine to New Brunswick would mean bouncing back and forth through time zones. Actually, Maine switching to Atlantic time zone might actually make sense from a daylight perspective. Doesn't it seem like the northern part of the Eastern time zone covers a really large area?

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Traffic? Gone!

I have two (major) options of routes to work, one that takes advantage of highways, and one that sticks to surface routes. Looking at my normal drive-to-work patterns, I usually end up taking the surface streets. My route takes me over I-93, and I make my decision based on the (perceived) movement on that road. Today? Joy - it looks like there must be a great number of people heading out for their holidays a few days early. There was absolutely no traffic. And hey - if I have to work, it's a much better start to the day to have an unfettered commute to the office.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

A song of the solstice

Ah, the winter solstice...

We've reached the point of the turning sun. Each day, the sun will stay a tiny bit longer. As we move through what seems to be the longest part of the year for me, at least the daylight will be once again moving toward my preferred longer days. And yes, I do realize that it will be many weeks - well really, multiple months - before the change is noticeable and usable.

"Solstice means... standing-still-sun

Such precision we have about it now! Winter solstice is when because of the earth's tilt, your hemisphere is leaning farthest away from the sun, and therefore:
  • The daylight is the shortest.
  • The sun has its lowest arc in the sky."
Quote courtesy of And thanks to alpinerabbit on the TE women's cycling forum for posting the link to this site!

Left foot, right foot... shoe, blue!

I was two miles down the road (heading to the office) this morning when I realized that I was wearing two very different shoes.

It was an indecisive morning, and instead of just picking a pair of shoes my feet each chose a different shoe. The idea was to look in the mirror and decide which I preferred for the day. But somehow the mirror never came into play, and I walked out of the door wearing a black (Merrell) Jungle Slide on one foot and a navy Jungle Moc on they other. Hey - at least they were from the same manufacturer and the same general family of shoes! I have to admit I considered just continuing to work and wearing the mismatched shoes. They both have the same soles, so I don't think that I would have hurt my feet. But I was close enough to home that backtracking 2 miles to change one shoe made sense. It did make me laugh though!

I wonder if anyone would have said anything to me about my attire if I had shown up at work today wearing these two different shoes!

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Orange feet sliding

Yesterday was a day for cycling, and today was a day for walking. The temperatures were in the 30s both days, a little warmer yesterday than today. My purple bike and I rolled down the road yesterday, pretty much sticking with the more major roads - still just two lanes though - in order to attempt to stay on dry road surfaces, to stay away from icy patches along the side and to avoid the salt crystals that are still in evidence. It was a decent but relatively short bike excursion.

I had planned to ride again today, but somehow I couldn't get excited about traversing the same roads yet again. It was slightly colder today too; the temperatures during my ride yesterday were in the high 30s. Today I don't think it got much higher than 35. Should I ride? Should I take the day off? Hey - this indecision about something I love to do just didn't feel right, and I began to realize that I needed a change.

Today's excursion wasn't on two wheels. Instead it was on two feet - after a little bit of a drive. I decided that the New Hampshire coast would be a good change of pace for me - and I was right. It was a good walking day, chilly, and a little windy. A relatively quiet ocean was on one side of the road, and there was a section on the other side of the road with a marshy area that was pretty much frozen over. There were a couple of people skating, but the reason I stopped there was to watch the birds. There was a large flock of sea gulls, mainly on top of the ice, but a few paddling around in the water. And there were three very funny ducks, orange feet sliding across the ice as they waltzed over to the water for a swim.

The air temperature was probably in the mid-30s, and I have any idea about how cold the water was - but there were wet-suited characters out surfing today!

Are you as tired of slipping around on this ice as I am? Hey - we're almost back to the water's edge - let's go swimming!

Friday, December 16, 2005

Daylight gone, slippery...

With the rain today I thought I'd be able to walk outside after work. I did walk outside, but it turned out not to be good walking conditions, and I came home much faster than I'd planned. The problem? By the time I headed out, the temperature was headed down. It was probably around 40 degrees most of the day, but it was very close to freezing when my running-shoe-clad feet headed out the door. Even though technically 33 degrees is still not freezing, I found that what appeared to be wet surfaces were actually slick and icy. Ah well, a short walk will have to do...

All set for walking without the sun... I picked up a couple of brightly flashing lights from to add to my illuminite-covered jacket. The illuminite reflects when headlights hit it, but I figured some extra always there flashers were a good idea too.

Happy to see rain!

I can't believe I'm actually saying that I'm happy to see this morning's rain. The forecast was for snow and freezing rain changing to rain, and there definitely was some of that icy stuff overnight. By the time I left for the office the precipitation had changed to a cold rain, wet but not frozen. I'm hoping that today's rain gets rid of some of our early season snow cover and cleans up the roads to make a good cycling weekend.

I suppose I'm a bit obsessed with the weather lately. It's because I really prefer to exercise outside, and both biking and walking are much better on dry surfaces. For my exercise walking, a non-dry surface is almost ok during the day, but when I'm walking in the dark I really prefer a dry surface.

This past week has been very cold and there are still icy patches on walking surfaces left from last Friday's crazy storm, so I've pretty much been sticking with indoor exercise. It's not all bad because I think I'm falling into a decent winter routine. I walked outside on Monday, but for the next 3 days a treadmill and elliptical trainer were my good friends. I'd love to get back outside today, but that will depend on what happens when this current downpour stops. I'm hoping that things clear out; from the forecast it sounds like there could be a mix of rain and snow late in the afternoon. That sounds a bit odd since the temperature is supposed to rise to the high 30s.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

A time to celebrate

...mileage under my (bicycle) wheels!

I set a goal of riding 4000 miles on my bike this year - and at the end of my ride today my total was 4004 miles. I'm happy!

Maybe it seems silly to set a biking goal to some of you. After all, I'm always on my bike, right? It was a goal I really needed this year though, proof to myself that I'm really back after last year's biking incident (or accident, depending on how you look at things) and recovery. The roads today were better than yesterday - still a bit messy in the aftermath of Friday's crazy snowstorm, but more wet than anything. It turned out to be a great riding day though, with temperatures in the high 30s, a blue sky, and beautiful snowscapes. I'd prefer that there be no snow, but I really can't deny the beauty.

It was definitely an enjoyable day to be outside. Here's hoping that the few weekends left in 2005 support more wandering on two wheels - but it's so great to have my goal for the year behind me. This way hopefully I can accept whatever conditions the weather wizard deals to us on the rest of December's weekends.

Who's that? Yes, it's me, happily riding down the road. Luckily the snow was only on the side of the road.

Sunshine on an almost frozen pond...