Monday, January 30, 2012

What I Saw Today......

It's another absolutely beautiful day.  Much warmer than my walk on Saturday.  Lots of people out this afternoon.   I met Morgan and her mom right away.   Morgan wasn't sure about me and started barking, so I only took two pictures of her, and this is the best. 

These trees are full of small pine cones.   I think I"ll need to get a tree identification book.   I wasn't really counting, but I saw at least six different types of pine trees  today.

Empty wine bottle. 
I swear, it's not mine!  I toss mine in the trash when I'm done.

I think a crow had been checking out the wine bottle too.

This little snowman was about hip high on me.

This tree is still hanging onto it's leaves.  

And a kite eating tree.  

A warned you about my thing for trees.

And here's  "Jake" the turkey.   I was quite a distance away from him, and I know  it looks like those pictures of Bigfoot that you see on TV,  but it really is Jake.   Really!

That's what I saw today.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Walking on Water

I had a huge burst of ambition today.  After breakfast I did an hour and a half of yoga.  Then I got the vacuum out and did a bit of  the required weekly housework.   Sure wish the cats could be trained to do their share around here!   They just give me dirty looks when I suggest it, and then go back to their naps.   After the chores I decided to walk down to the lake for some pictures.  Little chilly today, not quite 30 degrees, but beautiful blue sky.  
I decided to venture out onto the ice for a couple of shots back at the shoreline.

Then I started walking toward the bridge, but only after I got back on solid land.  I'm not a fan of being out on a frozen lake.  
It's nice to know this is handy in case someone goes through the ice, but I don't know if I could have gotten it untied quick enough to help anyone!  It was wrapped up pretty tight with a lot of knots in it.

I decided to keep walking around the lake, instead of turning back.   When I got to the Big Beach, I saw some skaters and walked down to say hi, and take their pictures, which involved, obviously, more walking on water.    

Stairway to Heaven?  
They took the tent down from the Pond Hockey event, but left the stairs.

This is one of my very favorite spots at the lake.  It's just between the Big Beach and Minnehaha Creek.  An avenue of pine trees.   I'll be taking a lot of pictures here over the coming year.  Just in case you haven't figured it out yet, I have a thing for trees.

I know this is not a good picture, but I had to put it up anyway.  Those are buds on a weeping willow!  I was trying to hold the branch still with one hand and focus and shoot with the other.  Obviously, I need three hands.   But even out of focus, it's a sign that spring will be coming. 

Now that I'm almost thawed out from my walk, after a nice hot latte, it's time to think about making dinner, and then get some more knitting done.

I welcome your comments on my photos and musings.  You can sign on to "follow" me.  You'll get notices when I post something new.   I'd especially like to hear from those of you who know Lake Nokomis.  Do you have a favorite spot you go to?   

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Excuses - I haz them!

I've been busy.  I haven't felt like it.  It was my birthday.   Lazy.   Cold.  Whatever.
I missed the chance to take pictures at the Pond Hockey Tournament.  Heard it was a success though.
Saturday my darling daughter, Princess Kitty, took me to Redwing for the afternoon.   A friend of hers moved down there and he's working in a lovely salon across from the St. James.   They close at 1:00 on Saturday, so we had the shop to ourselves.  Princess Kitty brought in lunch for the three of us, and there was wine, and hair cuts and color, and catching up with Andy, and it was a lovely way to spend the afternoon.  When we got home, Catman had a pot roast dinner ready.  

On Tuesday, I was still celebrating said birthday.  My oldest friend Linda, not in age, but in years I've known her, took me out to dinner.   We have never not known each other.  We were neighbors growing up, our parents were friends, our brothers were best buds.   We could walk into each other's houses without knocking.   We had sleepovers constantly.  When one of us had a babysitting job the other usually came with for company.   I was invited up to her cabin most weekends.   Her mom was a second mom to me, and my mom to her.   Sometimes we fought like sisters, but not often.  That was usually only when we liked the same boy.   We lost each other for awhile in our mid twenties and didn't really get back together until our late thirties or early forties, after the kids were a bit older and it was easier to go out now and then.   We've been in the habit of taking each other out for our birthdays, mine in January, hers in April, for a long time now.    We had her son confused when he was younger.   We had already gone out for each of our birthdays, but then went out one night just because.  Anthony wanted to know how many birthdays each of us had a year.   Apparently he thought that was the only reason we could go out to dinner together.     Thank you again, Linda.  It was a lovely evening and I am very blessed to have you for my friend!

I've been working on my knitting quite a bit also.  I'm waiting for a yarn delivery.  I was running short on the sweater I'm working on, but was able to order some more in the same dye lot.  I was worried.  This is the third sweater I've started with this yarn, and the first of the three I've actually loved.  I thought I could make it a little shorter, change a couple of little things and come out okay with the yarn, but I was wrong.  It just wasn't going to work out.  I was sad about it because I loved the pattern with this yarn, so I was thrilled that I was able to find more.    I need to work a little faster on the socks for my niece also.  They are her Christmas present after all!

I did get to the lake for a little bit today.  Catman said he saw some people trying to get a giant kite up in the air, so we walked over to check it out.    It was just laying on the ice, but I didn't even get a picture of that.  I took three shots and then my camera told me the batteries were dead.   They haven't been in there that long!!!  And, they weren't really dead.  When I got home, it was working fine again.  The three shots aren't my best, but it's all I have right now.    Here goes..........

Another downed tree.  I love how they're trapped in the ice all winter.  They add so much character to the shoreline.   Growing up, everything was perfectly manicured along the shoreline.  A wall runs most of the way around and grass ran up to the wall, and all the trees were trimmed.  But now the Park Board has been "naturalizing" the lake.   Downed trees stay.  Wild grasses grow everywhere.  Lots of habitat for the wildlife.  Some of it I like, but in some areas it's hard to see the lake and it looks a bit messy.  

As usual, there were a lot of ice fishermen & fisherwomen out, but today most of them were on the open ice.  Very few portable shelters.  It got up in the low 40's today - who needs an ice house!

I only got one picture of this fellow before my camera quit.   There have been quite a few different sculptures around the lake over the last couple of years.  This one, now a unicorn, was originally a stag.   It is made out of old motorcycle gas tanks and other parts.  The original stag's head had great antlers made out of sets of hand brakes.  Unfortunately, someone decapitated it.   But, the artist made a new head - a unicorn this time.    I like the bike pedal ears.

That's it for now.  Time to knit.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Baby it's Cold Outside!

Hard to believe 10 short days ago it was 52 degrees!  This morning when I headed off to work it was -10.   It was only 4 degrees when I stopped on my way home to snap a couple pictures.   It's a beautiful day, in spite of the cold.

They're very busy at the Big Beach, getting ready for the Pond Hockey Tournament.   They have the parking area defined on the softball fields.  Signs up everywhere.   I saw a lot of food service/vendor trucks in the parking lot, unloading their supplies.   Lots of action on the ice also.   Saw these blue huts/tents out there.  Not sure what they're using them for.  Warming areas for the workers maybe?

I saw a guy ice skating all over the lake.  Seemed a little cold to be out there, but he looked to be having a good time.   The ice is clear of snow cover, but it looks pretty bumpy to be skating on.

I always chuckle a bit when I see the various docks anchored in the middle of the lake for winter.   If they're not going to take them out of the water, you'd think they could just leave them where they belong.  There must be a reason.

I didn't see Jake the turkey today, but I've seen a lot of him since I took his picture.   I've heard he stops traffic  regularly on Cedar Avenue.   Hope he doesn't get hit.   The day after Hunter Tom identified him as a "Jake", Hunter Tom saw a coyote on Cedar Avenue near the Home Depot store, just north of 66th Street.  Wonder if they eat turkey?  

I saw a very odd thing this afternoon on my drive home from work.   I was on Minnehaha Parkway, just at the bridge over Minnehaha Creek, by Longfellow Gardens.  I glanced north, up the creek, and there was a guy riding his bike down the middle of the frozen stream.  There's a nice bike path that runs right along there, and it's clear of snow!   I wish I would have had time to get a picture. 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

I vote for longer weekends!

The weekend just zoomed by.   I didn't get out yesterday.  I was busy catching up on my housework.  Between my cold and my surgery before that,  I haven't been the most productive person in the world.   I've healed enough that I could  even do my yoga yesterday.   It felt so wonderful to get stretched out and really move after being pretty sedentary for a month.  

Today is another 40 degree day.  It's gorgeous out.   I stopped by the lake for a couple of quick shots before running to Target.   They've made a lot of progress for the Pond Hockey tournament next weekend.  It looks like they have all the rinks set up.   It's hard to tell from this picture, the light on the lake is a little flat because of the dusting of snow we got yesterday, but I think there's 20 rinks set up, give or take.   They have the pavilion almost enclosed too.   It's supposed to get down into the teens and lower starting tomorrow, so the lake should freeze enough for the festivities.   I, however, will not be going out to watch the games in the middle of the lake, but I may take in one a little closer to shore one. 

Not my best shot ever.  It will be a lot more interesting next weekend when the games are going on and the lake is full of people.

I do however like this picture of the downtown skyline.   Princess Kitty works in Capella Tower, the tall, round building on the right.  I hope to get some night shots of the skyline down the road. 

That's all I have today.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Friday the 13th

So far so good.  Knock wood.   Actually, it's been a nice day.   Got a lot accomplished at work.  No dramas going on.  My cold is almost gone and I'm feeling like myself again.  It's the weekend.  Oh, and it's National Blame Somebody Else Day.   I don't have anything going on right now that I need to pass blame along on, but if you do, today's your day.   Supposedly it falls on the first Friday the 13th of the year.

It's cold today and there's been flurries on and off.   This morning the weatherman told me we'd see the sun this afternoon, but that hasn't happened.   The pond hockey people are busy.   There's a lot of markers out on the ice, and a lot of people moving around, though I don't think they've actually put the boards up for more rinks.   They do have the framework up for the huge pavilion though.

Yes, that's open water.  It's not as close to the hockey area as it looks, but close enough.

Because it's cold and gloomy, I'm going to share a picture that has nothing to do with the lake or winter.

How's that for random?   Me and a llama.  This was last Mother's Day at Shepherd's Harvest fiber festival in Lake Elmo.   It's not everyday you get to take a llama for a walk!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Hunting Turkey

I decided to go looking for the turkey that Catman saw yesterday.  My friend Jody said she had also seen it in the same area.   I didn't have high hopes, but there he/she was!

I didn't want to get too close.  I've seen enough clips on Funniest Home Videos to know that wild turkeys are very dangerous!  I did not want to be attacked, or worse, see myself on said TV show.   I'm pretty sure the neighbors across the street from where the turkey has taken up residence have their video cameras at the ready, just waiting for someone like me to to come along and help them win $10,000, and a trip to Walt Disney World!

However, when I got home and had a chance to look at these pictures on the computer, I started wondering.  The head looks more like a turkey vulture.  No waddle visible.  I started looking at pictures of wild tom turkeys and hens, turkey vultures and black capped chickadees.  I don't know why the chickadees popped up in my search, but they sure are cute!  I love them at my feeders.  But back to the turkeys.

Or vultures.

I called my brother-in-law, Tom.  He's a hunter.  He hunts wild turkeys.   I sent him the pictures and he will take a look and give me his opinion, but they were on the way out the door, so we'll just have to wait a bit.

In the meantime, this is a small stream that flows out of the lagoon.  I'm guessing the turkey/turkey vulture/chickadee lives here.  See the culvert at the end?  This runs under the houses back there and under several more blocks of houses until it empties into a swampy area behind the 5-8 Club.    The 5-8 has been around since 1928.   Their claim to fame is the Juicy Lucy, though Matt's Bar  also claims it.   Both bars have great followings and are Lake Nokomis staples, both on Cedar Avenue.     I grew up at the 5-8.  My dad played softball for them when I was little.  We'd get to go there after games for burgers, and I always got to have a bottle of grape pop.    Funny what you remember.....

UPDATE:  From Hunter Tom:  this is a "Jake".  A young male turkey.  Thanks Tom!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

What a difference a day makes!

What a gray (or grey)dismal day.   A few snow flurries, some rain, a bit of sleet, temperature drop of about 35 degrees.  Is winter finally coming?   I really don't think we're going to see the normal 10 to 20 below days that generally come in mid January, but maybe we'll gravitate toward the single digits.  You could see the difference in people today.   Yesterday everyone was happy, smiling, upbeat.  Today there was a lot of yawning, sleepy people ready to hibernate.   I still find it amazing how weather affects people.  I do really miss the sun on days like these.   I've always said that I'd rather endure sunny below zero days in the winter vs. 30 degrees, gray, snowy, yucky days.   The sun makes me happy!   Blue sky makes me smile.  Of course, I'd rather have the sun and blue sky with 80 degrees and maybe a beautiful beach and clear water.

I only had time for a very quick two shots today.   My afternoon appointment ran late, and  I was on my way to my Wednesday night knitting group I had very little light left.  
This is the lagoon side of the lake, looking at the Cedar Avenue bridge.  The pond in the front is one of the three storm water run-off ponds, built to help control pollution into the lake. 

Catman had called me this morning on his way to work.  He spotted a flock (don't know if that's what they're called) of wild turkeys across from the lake, near Fat Lorenzo's, a restaurant across from the lake.  We've seen some turkeys near Minnehaha Falls over the last few years, but have never noticed them around here.   I did a quick look this afternoon,  but didn't see any, but will be on the lookout.  

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

All good things must come to an end!

It's another gorgeous day in Minnesota.  52 degrees.  Crazy!   But, winter is coming back, or so they say. 

I spent time at the "Little Beach" today.   Saw lots of people out walking, biking, rollerblading, and just enjoying this amazing day.     

These Weeping Willows are beautiful no matter what the season. 

 I love these pines.  Makes it seem a little like you're 'Up North'. 

Oh, shiny!  The sunlight was really bouncing of the ice.  I'm not that good with my camera yet to catch it.  Using the auto setting.   I really wanted to stop on my way to work this morning.  The full moon setting over the lake is lovely, but again, I'm not up to snuff on shooting in the dark either, but I'm working on it.  I'm using my old Olympus.  It's about 10 years old, my first digital.   It's pretty bulky by today's standards, but it's all I have right now.  I noticed the label on it states it's the "world's smallest optical 10x digital camera."  It definitely wouldn't fit in a pocket!  It has a nice 10x zoom, which I love.   Problem - I can't find the instruction manual.  I'll keep looking.  I had a small Canon Powershot, but the zoom lens broke and it would cost more to fix it than to buy a new one.   This is part of my process though, as I learn to use my camera better my pictures should improve.  That's the theory anyway.   

Monday, January 9, 2012

Are you sure it's not April 9th?

It's 50 DEGREES today, on the 9th of JANUARY, in MINNESOTA!   Crazy weather.   It should be below zero this time of year.   But I'm not complaining. 

Still not feeling great, but got myself back to work today.   Found out quite a few co-workers have also been out for multiple days with various bugs.   I did feel well enough this afternoon, and with the lovely weather, that I went down to the lake for some pictures.  

I drove over to the Big Beach.   There are two beaches at Nokomis.  The Big Beach and the Little Beach.  I think the official name of the Little Beach is the 50th Street Beach, but no one calls it that.   At the Big Beach they're trying to get ready for the U.S. Pond Hockey Tournaments.   It's scheduled for January 20-22, 2012.  Unless it gets cold pretty soon, I don't see it happening.   Two rinks have been assembled close to shore.
lot's of material ready to assemble more rinks

Couple of brave workers out marking the ice and checking the depth.  Maybe the lifeguard should be on duty!

They may be able to rent out the canoes and kayaks a lot earlier than usual this year.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

And I'm still stuck in the house......

Man, this cold is really keeping me down.   It's not in my head, I'm pretty clear there, it's a chest thing.  And a headache the last couple of days.   I haven't been out of the house since Tuesday, when I came home from work without my voice.   It's too bad too.  The last couple of days have been amazingly warm for January in Minnesota - mid 40's the last two days - and would have been great to be out taking pictures at the lake.   I heard equipment has been delivered for the annual Pond Hockey Tournaments.  Wonder if it will happen or not?   I think they have a couple of weeks yet, so hopefully things will freeze up enough for the boards to go up on all the rinks.   The ice certainly wouldn't hold all those people if it were this weekend!

So, another day of COL (cat on lap) working on my knitting, sipping a latte, and playing on the computer.  Things could be worse.   Cleocatra doesn't look happy because I made her stop playing with my needles. 

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Change of course

I was home sick again today, so no chance to take pictures, again.   I recognize that I was (maybe?) a little over ambitious with this project.  I stepped back today and gave myself the okay to not take pictures everyday.  I will take them everyday that I am able to.   Much more reasonable goal I think.   I may still blog even on the days I can't get out, even if I don't think  I have anything to say.    I can see my close friends and family grinning at that.   "Catwoman with nothing to say, ha!"   But in reality, inside of me, I am a very shy person.  Until I get to know you, and even after I do, I can be very quiet.  I talk and share when I feel really comfortable with someone.  I'm really more of an observer.  That's not to say I'm not opinionated, because I know I am.   But, that's part of this whole blog - I'm really, really stepping outside of my comfort zone.   I'm giving away some of "me", which I usually hold pretty close.   Wow - I'm growing already. 

Knitting news - oh come one now, you KNOW there's going to be knitting news.  I live and breathe knitting.
I'm loving the sweater I'm working on and the fit is great so far.   I have to get going on the 'Socks for Heidi' though.   I'll work on those some more tomorrow.    Still waiting, somewhat patiently, to hear if the two patterns I've submitted to a yarn company will be bought or not.   It would be soooooooo cool for me to be a real designer.  

I've also spent a good part of the afternoon trying to decalcify my espresso machine.   I've neglected it dreadfully over the last two years and now I'm paying for it.   I think I almost have it flowing freely again.   Now see, isn't that exciting?   Decalcifying an espresso machine.   This women really lives on the edge!

Until the next time..........

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Setting Myself Up to Fail

Is the premise of taking daily pictures of  The Lake setting myself up for failure?   It sounds easy enough until life's variables come your way.

I was back to work for two days and am now home with a heck of a cold.  Could hardly talk yesterday. Don't remember having laryngitis that bad before.  I had the Catman take a chicken out of the freezer last night.  It's simmering on the stove with some celery & onion.  Lovely smells are wafting through the house.   Makes me think of my mom!  

It would be lovely if our mom's could always be here to take care of us when we're sick, just like when we were little.   I was thinking of her last night too, when I felt so miserable, and  I remembered that she used to make me hot lemonade when I had a sore throat and a cold.   Fortunately, I had a lemon in the fridge, so I did just that.   Drinking it really brought back the memories!  And it helped my throat.  If I had had some, I probably would have gotten out the Vick's Vapor Rub too, because that's what she would have done. 

I don't think I'll be making the trek for pictures today, unless I feel amazingly better this afternoon.  I'll also miss my knitting group tonight - third week in a row!   But, I will be knitting today, and that's always a good thing.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Drive By Shooting

Not feeling the greatest today so I just did a "drive by".   This is from Woodlawn Blvd. which is across the street and up the hill.   It's warmer today, and gray.   The dark  ribbon in the center is what was open water yesterday.  It froze up a little overnight, but I certainly wouldn't want to walk on it!

Time to make some hot tea.  I have a bad case of laryngitis today.  Could hardly talk.  Fortunately, I didn't get many calls today at work!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Day One

After a false start, I have pictures!  I stopped on my way home from work, took one shot and my batteries went dead.   I had just put them in a week or so ago.  Must have been old.  So drove home, got new batteries, warmer socks, heavier coat, earmuffs, a scarf and heavier mittens (it's 19 degrees out), and made my way back down to the lake.   I was afraid I'd miss the wind/ice surfer, but he (or maybe she) was still there and had been joined by another.  Also the usual portable ice houses were out.

I was a little fearful for the ice surfers as the middle of the lake is still wide open, but they appeared to be staying far enough away from the open water.

See the open water in the background?

And in the foreground.

You can see downtown Minneapolis in the distance.  

So, I've made my start at this project.  Will I follow it through?  I guess only time will tell.   I do have a head full of ideas of where and what I want to shot during the year.  There's so much beauty around this little lake in the middle of the city.  I'm lucky to have it in my backyard.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

The Best Laid Plans.......

This was supposed to be the first day of my picture taking of  The Lake, but not sure if it will happen today or not.   We had snow and rain last night and it's quite icy out.  I'm recovering from some surgery of two weeks ago, I'm fine, but I don't think I'll be taking a walk outside and risk a slip and fall.  Really don't want to pull my incision open since it's healing so well.  

I'll be back to work tomorrow and will start my photo journey on my commute home. 

New Years Eve was quiet.   Had a nice dinner with Catman & Princess Kitty - steak on the grill & lobster tails, then watched Cowboys & Aliens.   Very strange movie, and yet, we sort of enjoyed it.  

On the knitting front - I finished my Christmas Knitting and frogged a couple of projects.  For the non-knitter, frogged is a term we use when we take a project apart because of mistakes or because you just don't like the project.  You wonder why we say frogged?  It's because we "rip-it, rip-it".  I know what you're thinking, and yes, knitters are geeks!

I decided to frog the Vitamin D cardigan I had started and use the yarn instead for the Calligraphy Cardigan.  I think I will like it much better.   I also and to take apart my Bellvadere cardigan because I over-blocked it.  I will reknit that one soon.   I also started a pair of socks for my niece Heidi.  She got my gift in the the annual Christmas Eve gift exhange, which was a custom pair of socks knit in one of my pattern designs.  She wanted something pink, so I found a beautiful rosey pink merino/silk yarn and started those yesterday. 

My needles are calling.  Happy New Year!