Tag Archives: spring

That Escalated Quickly


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Cartoon from the great Dan Piraro, as shared on FaceBook.  http://bizarro.com

Anyone else notice how we went from dead of winter to Holy-Crap-I-Just-Saw-A-Robin in less than a week? I think I even saw a rare white headed snow bird, although they usually don’t drive fly home north until April.

I was out walking the dogs a few days ago (because I’m ALWAYS walking the dogs. When I die, my tombstone will say “She really walked those dogs a lot.”) and saw my first sandhill cranes of the season fly overhead. Although I am one of those weird winter lovers, I have to admit I grinned from ear to ear when I heard them. You don’t realize how long winter is until you hear your first sandhill crane, I guess.

Saturday, the sun shone and it was 62 degrees. In Wisconsin, that’s shorts and flip flops weather. And bike riding weather. And therefore, also leg shaving weather.

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I hauled my bike up from storage, threw some air in the tires, and dug out my fancy pants bike shorts. And then I took a gander at 6 months of forest growth and had to make a decision. Was it worse to scare the neighbors with sasquatch legs or to blind them with freshly-shaven, sun-deprived, neon white legs?

You’ve heard the term “Tan fat is better than pale fat” right? Well, pale fat is better than sasquatch legs. I hunted down the pruning shears and got to work. I wanted my winter white legs to look their best in my brand spankin’ new bike shorts.

I bought my new bike shorts off the internet. With justified trepidation I might add. Cycling clothes are sketchy enough to buy even when you can try them on, seeing as they seem to be made for toddlers and anorexically thin, middle-aged men. These shorts had rave reviews on Amazon, and everyone said they fit great and the sizing chart seemed legit, so I threw the dice.

I LOVE THEM. They have mesh pockets on the side for easy storage of maps, gloves, gel packs, phones – whatever us crazy bikers can think of to stick in there. I don’t usually wear the typical bike jerseys that have the pockets in the back (see above – toddlers and skinny middle-aged men do not have BUS’s (Breasts of Unusual Size)) so this is a great idea for me. I am totally geeked out about them. Plus the price was right and they actually fit without me feeling like a stuffed sausage.

And guess what? I also bought an over the shoulder doggie holder. That’s not what it’s really called, but it should be called that because I just made that up and that’s an excellent play on words.

Okay, I didn’t really make it up – I sort of stole it from the old “over the shoulder boulder holder” joke (that’s a bra for those of you who were sheltered as a child) but you have to admit, it gives a clear and concise picture in your head and is much easier to understand than the SEO title it has on Amazon. The “i’Pet® Hands-free Reversible Small Dog Cat Sling Carrier Bag Travel Tote Soft Comfortable Puppy Kitty Rabbit Double-sided Pouch Shoulder Carry Tote Handbag”.

What?

Exactly. So I tried that out today, too. One thing about spring in Wisconsin – it gets deceptively warm for about two weeks and all the birds come back and start partying, and then it snows, rains, and freezes for a month (and the birds fall for it EVERY TIME. You would think they would learn) so you have to spend as much time in the sun as you can before it disappears again.

See below – don’t I look like Paris Hilton? I could be her twin, right?

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For the record, I’m not really the froo-froo girlie girl walking around with her poochy-woochy-kins type. But Lucky dog has a bad feet so long walks leave him limping with bloody toes. And when I leave him home, he howls – which is equally detrimental to his health because everyone wants to kill him then. This carrier worked perfectly, and will make for an awesome summer of dog walking.

Okay – I’ve rambled on for far too long, so those of you still reading – go have some cake.   You totally deserve it.

Sue

PS.  If you want to check out the shorts, you can do so here: Aero Tech Designs  I’m pleased enough that I will probably buy a second pair.  If you are interested in the doggie carrier, you can check that out here:  Over The Shoulder Doggie Holder

PPS.  On my bike ride on Saturday, I stopped to check out Wequiock Falls.  There was a guy there playing one of those wooden flutes you see advertised on cable or at art shows.  He played under the bridge, so when you stood on the observation deck, you could only hear him, not see him.  It was surreal but cool.  Just had to share.

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Cee’s Which Way Photo Challenge Week 18


Today I am participating in Cee’s Which Way Photo Challenge for the first time. According to Cee:  “This challenge subject is all about capturing the roads, walks, trails, rails, we move from one place to another on. You can walk on them, climb them, drive them, ride them, as long as the way is visible. Any angle of a bridge is acceptable as are any signs.”

You can see her entry HERE.  Links to others are in her comment section.

My entries this week are all taken at the same place – just different seasons.  Guess which season gives you wood ticks??  😉

Enter if you dare.  Beautiful - yes.  But blood sucking danger hides in the foliage... Mwa hahahahahahaha!

Enter if you dare. Beautiful – yes. But blood sucking danger hides in the foliage… Mwa hahahahahahaha!

Bare but still beautiful.  And wonderfully bug free.

Bare but still beautiful. And wonderfully bug free.

Taken on the coldest day of this past winter.   Windchills of -40.  But the sun was shining!  And no bugs!

Taken on the coldest day of this past winter. Windchills of -40. But the sun was shining! And no bugs!

Have a great day, youse guys!

Sue

Beans, Beans, The Musical Fruit


Do you see what I see?

Do you see what I see?

“What’s this bean thing on the floor?”

I didn’t pay much attention when Dave said this the first time. My husband is the king of asking the unanswerable question and I have learned to tune them out over the last 30 years. Which in turn has taught him to ask them again until I finally say in exasperation “How would I know that?”

I will admit this particular question might have been fairly easy to answer if I had gotten up off my lazy butt to go look at it but I was reading and why does he always have these pressing issues when I am trying to read or watch TV? I left my butt firmly planted on the couch and mumbled “No clue, honey,” and turned the page.

He threw whatever the bean thing was into the garbage and continued with his morning puttering – tidying up our already tidy house, wiping off counters, lamenting over the dogs dirty nose prints on the window he just cleaned.

“When are you walking the dogs?” he asked, suddenly standing over my shoulder.

Dude. I’m reading. Can you not see I am reading? “I don’t know – why?”

“Because I want to get the floors mopped and it’s easier to do it if they aren’t walking all over it at the same time.”

“Yah, yah, I know,” I said. “I’ll take them as soon as I finish this chapter. I have about 2 more pages.”

Dave began walking across the living room on his way to the basement to do some sort of manly man thing while he waited, when he stopped and bent over to pick something up from the carpet.

“Hey,” he said. “It’s another of those bean things. What the heck are these things? And why are they all over the house?” He walked towards me with his hand outstretched, until it was under my nose.

I put my book down and peered into his hand. Uh oh. Finally this man had my attention. And I finally had a question of his that I could answer, only I didn’t want to give it because I wasn’t too happy with it.

“Oh yuck. I think that’s a _____”, I said.

“No way. Really? How can that be a _____?”

I got up off the couch and Dave and I walked into the kitchen, so we could look at it in the sunlight. Sure enough. That wasn’t a bean.

“Yup, that is definitely a ____. That’s how they look after a few days on a _____.” I said, grimacing.  Dave looked horrified and he dropped the “bean” on the table.

“Why do they get like that? Is that because they are full of ___?”

“Yup.”

“That’s totally disgusting.  You know what this means, right?”  I knew what he was thinking.  He was thinking these things could be in other places in our house.  Like our bed.  The chairs.  The couch.  The blankets.  Anywhere the dogs could go. We both looked at the bean now crawling across the table and shuddered.

We had to burn down the house.

*******

I decided to put a fun twist on my entry this week for Cee’s Odd Ball Photo Challenge, and write a story to go with my photo.  Then I decided to make it “more funner” by having you try to guess what our mysterious “beans” were.  If you care to take a guess, put your answer in the comments below.  I have nothing to give away, but will gladly ship you some of our ‘beans’ if you would like them.

The photo (a clue) is one of our lamps in the living room, taken when the sun is shining thru the shade in the morning.  It gives me a nasty jolt every time I see it, until I remember it’s just a shadow of the lampshade parts.

Until next time,

Creepy Crawly Sue

PS – for more entries in Cee’s challenge, click here and check out the other entries in the comments section of Cee’s blog.  Way more fun than “beans”!!!

Biker Babe – Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge


I love my bike.  And biking.  Participating in Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Bikes and Motorcycles literally has me drooling in anticipation.

I had to go thru all my old photos because my bike is in hibernation – 10 degrees just isn’t going to cut it – and looking at all that sunshine and blue sky has me aching for spring and the satisfying sound of clipping into my pedals before a long summer ride.

Oh to have tan lines and a bottle of gatorade waiting in the fridge!

I guess I will just have to be satisfied with these photos for a few more weeks!

Ponies resting in the sun.  Mackinac Island, Sept. 2014

Ponies resting in the sun. Mackinac Island, Sept. 2014

My baby on a chilly fall day.

My baby on a chilly fall day.

Cruising the countryside with my homies.

Cruising the countryside with my homies.  Somehow I didn’t fall off my bike when I took this…

I see a theme here....

I see a theme here….

Well, I’m off to walk Daisy – it’s too cold for Lucky dog, poor guy.  I guess he’ll just have to sit home and suffer while he lays in his sun spot… 🙂

Bikingly yours,
Sue

Sue the Explorer With Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Wood and Spring


I’m taking a break from my usual fare this week, because I recently started following a blog called Cee’s Photography, and she runs photo challenges every week.  She has beautiful photos and they make me smile, so I thought I would share with you because you can never have too many smiles in a day.

I decided to participate in her Elements/Seasons series – as you all know I am a nature freak.  So, without further ado, here is my entry for Wood/Spring.

First up – photos from one of my most favorite places in all the land!  Bjorklunden (Lawrence University) in Door County.  Love, love, love that place, and for a while went every year with my sister for a ladies weekend.  I missed the last two years, a knife in my spiritual heart – I have been able to reach out to God so easily in this place.

Spring dew on lakeside branches.

Spring dew on lakeside branches.

God calling in the mist.

God calling in the mist.

This next picture was taken down by the Fox River, close to the locks.  I was actually trying to get shots of the pelicans, and happened across this bright bit of life starting it’s journey.

Life finds a way.

Life finds a way.

These yellow blooms were in my front landscaping at our old house.  Absolutely no clue what they are.  Tiny blooms in very fine leaves.  I just liked them because they are my favorite color!  Yellooooowwww!

Yellow somethings?

Yellow somethings?

Here’s something weird about me you probably didn’t know.  I love old cemeteries.  I like to read the stones and shut my eyes and imagine them as they lived, worked, and played.  When I was a kid, cemeteries creeped me out and I used to hold my breath whenever we drove past one.  Part of an old wives tail I think?  Like lifting your feet up when driving over railroad tracks.  Geez – I don’t even remember what that one was for – just remember doing it.

This cemetery in Salem, MA was especially cool because it had people in it from the Salem Witch Trials.  Interesting thing about these old tombstones is that they looked fake because they were so thin. I had to touch them to be sure they were real.  And plus, like the big kid I am, I just can’t not touch.

Salem cemetery, Salem, MA

Salem cemetery, Salem, MA

Salem cemetery, Salem, MA

Salem cemetery, Salem, MA

This next photo was taken while kayaking with the Daver on the chain of lakes in Waupaca.  There is a series of small, shallow lakes on the tail end of the chain perfect for kayaking.  I managed to not only stay in the boat, but didn’t drop my camera or phone in the drink.  I have mad kayaking skills.

Waupaca County, WI

Waupaca County, WI

We found this face of tree roots on our walk to a waterfall in the Smoky Mountains near Gatlinburg, TN.  It had just rained, so it was a slippery, muddy hike.  But totally worth it – so much natural eye candy!

Old Man

Old Man

I just really liked how all my pots looked last year, waiting for me to fill them with new life.  This year, many stand empty yet, as we have been too busy trying to get a driveway, deck, etc.  Next year, they will all be filled again, though!

Time to plant!

Time to plant!

Last spring, I road in the Menominee River Century – we did 50 miles.  On a short breather after a hill climb, I hopped off my bike and ran in the woods to grab this shot.  Did I ever mention how much I love riding?  Scenes like this play a big part in that love.

Pine trees in Menominee

Pine trees in Menominee

I know I recently shared this one, but it’s so pretty, I had to include it.  Taken on the trail thru a local bird sanctuary – it’s basically wetlands.  I was covered in chemicals or I would have been eaten alive by the velociraptors…er…mosquitoes.

Trail thru a local bird sanctuary.

Trail thru a local bird sanctuary.

And finally – does anyone know what these purple beauties are?  I see them blooming all over the place but have no clue what they are.

Who Am I?  24601!!

Who Am I?   24601!!

Those are my contributions!  I hope you enjoyed them!

A big thank you to Cee for sponsoring this challenge!  Please check out her blog, and also the other entries posted in her comments.

See you all next week!

Sue

Better Late Than Never. Random Thursday Thoughts.


Better late than never – I used to hear that a lot as a kid.  I guess I was late a lot.  Our whole family was late.  I seem to recall being the last family filing in to church on Sunday, and always getting stuck having to sit in the first row.  So uncool.  I guess it’s not surprising I am writing this blog late, and that I won’t be posting it until late either. I’m hoping it’s still Thursday when I do, but heck – I’m easily distracted.

Here’s the thing.  It’s not my fault.  It was the first warm Thursday this spring and it didn’t thunderstorm like every single weatherman predicted, so I had to take advantage and ride the Highland Howie ride.  I suppose you are wondering A) Why didn’t you write it earlier in the week so you would be prepared like you normally do and B) What the heck is a Highland Howie?

I did start writing it, but it’s not finished.  I ran into some writers block and my entire idea that sounded so great when I was out walking the dogs has been hard to nail down on paper.  Or…whatever this is.  What do you call this anyway?  In the old days, you either wrote on actual paper or typed on actual paper.  What do you call it when it’s on your computer screen?  Sorry – random thoughts.  Now you know why I’m behind.  Anyway, hopefully I will have it all figured out for next week.

Then again, I might still be running around the neighborhood taking sunset pictures like a moony thirteen year old.  Seriously.  I have taken like 20 of them since Saturday. The bonus is that an iPhone takes far better pictures than my 110 camera did 20 years ago.  HA.  Yeah, more like 30 years.  If you round down.  A lot.   Man.  Remember those old 110 cameras?  And the giant flash thingies you had to buy for them that sat on top like a plastic tower?  Oh, and you had to get the film developed and all the pictures were grainy and none of the sunset pictures looked like the one you saw with your eyes but you still kept taking them because your a big sap at heart and you like sunsets.  Even at age 50.

You can’t see enough beautiful sunsets.  It never gets old, ya know?

You know what does get old?  A crappy bra.  That get’s old real fast.  If your talking to a woman and she’s crabby, it’s probably her bra and not PMS.   Who invented these torture devices anyway?  Why do we even have to wear them?  Who decided it was such a fashion statement?  I bet a 50-year-old having a hot flash started the bra burning fad back in the 60’s.  I think it might be time to revive that.

Our moat is gone.  Dave pumped it out and then the builders brought in about 5 loads of dirt and filled in a bunch of the low spots.  And they knocked a good portion of our mud hill down, so we can actually see the entire pond, which is much better for wildlife stalking.  We have a couple of geese that keep coming back and even though they are messy, I don’t mind if we just have a couple.  It would be cool if they bring babies to the pond.  The blue winged teals still stop by and so does the white egret.

I downloaded a bird app from Cornell to start trying to identify the local song birds.  So far, I haven’t done much but drive the dogs crazy with it.  Entertaining in itself, but I was hoping to track down some of the songs I have heard.  The problem is that so many of them sound exactly the same to me.  I did realize I have heard bluejays and chickadees for years, and just didn’t know it.  And that the owl I heard was probably a great horned owl.  But that’s about it.  However, it’s still pretty cool, and I do get some revenge on the dogs.

I have more random thoughts but it’s 10 pm and most of you are probably in bed and I still have to upload all my sunset pictures because – oh yes – I am going to share them.

May the sun shine upon your faces and the warmth seep into your bones.  Yay, spring!  Finally!

Sue

Trailside Sunset

Trailside Sunset

Sunset at Bayshore Park

Sunset at Bayshore Park

Fingernail Moon over Bayshore

Fingernail Moon over Bayshore

If you look closely, you can see the dew drops on the blades of grass.

If you look closely, you can see the dew drops on the blades of grass.

Sunset over the Bay.  Notice I even got a seagull in this shot.  Am I good or what?

Sunset over the Bay. Notice I even got a seagull in this shot. Am I good or what?

I Got A Rock.

I Got A Rock.

Sunset over the bay 2nd try.

Sunset over the bay 2nd try.

Random stream close to where we live.

Random stream close to where we live.

Spring!  I'm hoping these are trilliums.  I will know soon!

Spring! I’m hoping these are trilliums. I will know soon!

Where is the Sun, Dooby Dooby! Where Is the Sun, and I Say, We Miss You! Da Da Da Da Da Da


The last time it was nice enough for a decent bike ride was April 12th. I’m writing this two weeks later (April 27th) and publishing on May 1st (Hooray, hooray, the first of May…), and the forecast for this week calls for cloudy skies and rain just about every day.

Every.

Single.

Day.

I am sincerely hoping that I am publishing this AFTER the Highland Howie Thursday night bike ride with the BSBC (Bay Shore Bicycle Club) but I’m not optimistic, because it will probably be raining.

Given that, I thought I would post the pictures I took on April 12th, with a little story to boot. I follow a blog called The Travel Tales of Life, where my alter ego Sue (also married to a Dave – Great Sue’s think alike) posts tales of her many visits to other countries, often on the seat of her bicycle. A few weeks ago, she was in Scotland with her hubby, and while he was busy with work stuff, she asked the locals what she should go see while she was in Aberdeen. Being locals, their response was “Not much here to see” to which her response was “Rubbish!” (don’t you love saying “rubbish”?  It’s really an awesome word.  I must find a way to sneak it into my day-to-day conversations.)  And her blog is filled with photos of treasures she has found while traveling, that perhaps the locals take for granted.

So, my post is basically this: Traveling is wonderful if you have the time and the resources. But if you don’t, remember to seek out the beauty in your own back yard. You don’t have to go far to find it. Sometimes it’s the way a stark tree silhouettes the sky, or a fall blanket of leaves in a cemetery, or pelicans riding the thermals while the sun reflects the dazzling white of their feathers, or the single green shoot of a spring tulip.

When I ride my bike, that is what I love the most – chancing upon the treasures God leaves for me to find in the beauty of the earth. Even when the world seems like it has been gray for so very long, I know His laws of nature are furiously working in the background, just out of reach, and that soon the sun will shine and when it does, my eyes, my ears, my skin, and my heart, will feast on richness of His design.  (Was that not just one of the most smarmy paragraphs you have ever read?  But it’s true – and the hope of spring is about the only thing that is keeping me from pitching myself into my moat right now.)

Meanwhile, Dave and I walk the neighborhood and pick up trash left over by winter winds, constructions sites, and plow trucks. We pond-stalk the geese and blue teal ducks and hooded mergansers. We walk at twilight and hope to see the deer herd running along the ridge, and carry binoculars in case the eagles are out.

So enjoy my photos of the blue sky, the sun filtering thru the trees, and a bit of left over snow and ice, and take heart knowing that the snow is now gone and the ice has moved off the bay.  Spring progress is being made beneath all this grey. And when you see the sun shine again, you will have so much more to see.

See you in a week!

cottage1

cottage2These are photos (above) of my grandparent’s cottage. Well, it used to be theirs. It hasn’t been in the family for years, but all of us grandchildren have many memories of fishing on the dock with Grandma and the bamboo fishing poles; walking out to swim while navigating large seaweed covered rocks; the huge spiders that hung outside the windows and by the boat house that we begged Grandpa to kill; finding crayfish skeletons and dead alewife while walking the rocky beach; playing croquet on the lawn, and crazy eights at the big table inside, all while drinking bug juice and getting noogies from Uncle Jim. If I shut my eyes, I can hear the bang of the wood screen door, smell the damp cedar, and hear Grandma calling us from in the kitchen.

The following photos (below) are from Bayshore Park.

Best bike EVER.  Did I ever mention how much I love this bike?  Pedal and Paddle Performance - get yours!

Best bike EVER. Did I ever mention how much I love this bike? Pedal and Paddle Performance – get yours!

There are a few trails along the cliffs at Bayshore Park.  I found this one to the left of the main entrance.

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Walking down in clip shoes was probably not one of my brighter ideas.  Doing it while wearing prescription sunglasses without bifocals didn’t add to the brilliance of the decision.  I had the nasty sensation of the ground trying to float up to my eyeballs a few times before I got smart and just took them off.  I can see decent enough without them.

sunglasses

Speaking of these sunglasses – they cost me a fortune, but I had leftover money in my flex spending account and had to spend it on something before December 31st.  Well, when I stopped to take pictures at the cottage, I set the sunglasses on my bike bag.  I totally forgot to put them on when I left, and almost lost them along the side of the road.  Before that, they were lost in the move – I found them by chance in the glove box of my car.  Not sure why I put them there, because I bought them for biking so one would think I would have stored them with my bike stuff, which is where I spent the last four weeks looking for them.

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Such a pretty place to fall on my head.  Thank goodness for the rails.

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So, I’m huffing and puffing up and down these steps, talking to myself and crashing thru the brush and twigs, when I spot some guy standing on the rocks just above these steps (He’s not in the photo.  That would have been rather stalker-ish to take his picture).  I felt like a complete idiot, because here was this guy, probably trying to get a little peace and quiet on a Sunday afternoon woodsy hike, while this buffoon in a blinding yellow jacket is stumbling about below him, carrying on a conversation with herself like a crazy person.  Then, I got a little nervous, because what if he was really a serial killer, just waiting for his next victim, and there I was, in non-bifocal sunglasses and clip shoes, a catch as easy as a B-movie actress in a mini skirt and high-heeled shoes?  As he ran in the other direction, I realized my crazy talk was too crazy for even a serial killer.  Chalk one up for menopause.

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This greeted me at the top of those steps and around the corner.  No clue what it was made for.  Besides hiding bodies, I mean.  Anyone have any ideas?

Here are a few more shots of it.

bayshore12bayshore33

I love knarly old trees like this (above).

View from a rest stop on Nicolet. You can still see a little ice left on the bay.

nicolet1A shot of the fence at the rest stop.  Pretty sure these pillars are really old, and not just manufactured to look old.  No clue when they were built.  I suppose I could find out by going to the library.  I think I might have to do that.  Get a my research on, baby!

nicolet3

And finally – a picture of my Road ID.  This is to prove to Kay that I actually do wear it.  It’s yet another of those items I frequently misplace, and never have it when I need it.  For you runners and bikers out there – it’s a smart idea to have one, especially if you run or ride alone.  EMT’s don’t have to search you for vital information, and it saves time and could save your life, too.  Get yours here:  ROAD ID

roadID

 

PS- I was right – it was raining.  No ride tonight. 😦