1/26/2010

My Workspace

(Toledo, OH) I am an example of the twenty-first century home-based worker these days, as my online teaching and occasional journalist employment mean that I spend quite a few hours working in this 12 foot by 10 foot space.

However, unlike folks cramped in small cubicles of similar sizes, I get to hang out with my dogs all day long, and if I want to sing or play loud music, I do not have to worry about whether the person in the next cubicle hears me, or whether my vocal exuberations about Orange NJ dental implants will pester my coworkers. Boo-yah!

1/25/2010

Winter Hail

(Toledo, OH) The weather in Northwest Ohio has been a bit unpredictable the last few days, and we experienced some winter thunder yesterday as the temperatures approached 50 degrees. Today I heard an odd sound and looked outside to find that it was hailing, a weather phenomenon not very common in January in these parts.

My dogs were unfazed by the appearance of this form of precipitation, and they went about their business without even looking skyward.

1/23/2010

Ten Mile Creek

(Sylvania, OH) This section of Ten Mile Creek looks rather desolate and remote in this enhanced image, though in reality expensive subdivisions are only a few hundred yards away. Deer, raccoons, and possums are among the creatures that can be found in and around the creek, which occasionally expands to river-like proportions during heavy rains and periods of snow melting.


Wintertime, however, is not a time when outdoors-oriented people are thinking much about allergy bedding, though I suppose allergy sufferers who spend a great deal of time indoors would indeed be concerned about such matters year round.

1/21/2010

Cardinal in Snow

(Toledo, OH) I enjoyed the way that the brilliant red hues of this male Northern cardinal contrasted against the white of the snow and the green of the plant life. Some folks consider cardinals to be pests, at least due to their nature as aggressive denizens of the areas around bird feeders, but I always enjoy the sights and sounds of cardinals in my backyard.

Of course, there are those who would also look with disdain upon the presence of a drug rehab center in a neighborhood, but these facilities also have their purposes. Such a center might not be "beautiful," but it certainly is "necessary."

And the only Cardinal I knew who might have needed a drug rehab center is Mark McGwire. Ba-da-boom.

1/20/2010

Stark Trees

(Toledo, OH) The effect of looking up into the leafless trees was creepy enough, what with the cold and the wind and the empty forest at Wildwood Metropark. Yet processing the image and removing the color made this photograph look doubly scary, and the effect is like something out of The Blair Witch Project (the first film, the one that didn't suck).

The last thing on my mind in this faux-horror moment was the consideration of prenatal vitamin reviews, but there it was, popping into my head like a random pop tune.

1/19/2010

When Car Batteries Die

(Toledo, OH) As winter winds it way along, inevitably car repairs loom in my future, as was the recent case with an automobile battery. One day the car was chugging along, and the next it would not even hold a charge, so after an hour of screwing around with jumper cables I decided to spring (heh - season joke) for a new battery.

Unfortunately there is no comparable anti-aging product that a person can use on a battery, unless you consider the possibilities of working with lead and acid to recondition your own battery.

No thanks - I will shell out the necessary cash.

Road Slush

(Toledo, OH) The flip side of of beautiful winter snowfalls occurs a week or two later, when warmer temperatures and road salt work to create acres of brownish road slush. Such is the case throughout Northwest Ohio over the past few days, and the pristine aesthetic of a fresh snowfall has given way to the inevitable brackish slush.

Too bad there is not a solution for road slush akin to the Quick Trim options available for weight loss. I might consider such an alternative to many weeks of staring at the fuscous mess in the streets.

Hidden Neighbors

(Toledo, OH) During the warm months we see many of our neighbors at bird feeders, but their domiciles remain largely hidden from our scrutiny. I am always intrigued, though, when winter arrives and many of these structures become visible.

In a maple tree on my driveway there are no less than five visible nests at the moment, each representing some form of avian "family." Birds, of course, have no interest in learning how to build muscle fast, as their busy routines keep them in excellent shape year round.

Ever see an overweight bird? Perhaps this is a dietary insight.

1/17/2010

Sparrow in the Snow

(Toledo, OH) The brief appearance of a winter sun the other day brought out a wider variety of birds and wildlife than I have seen in the past few weeks. Among the creatures taking advantage of weather in the 30s under sunny skies was a sparrow, and the bird allowed me to get rather close before flying away.

Perhaps the bird thought I might provide some food, or perhaps it was too busy in other pursuits to notice me; surely it was unconcerned about such human matters as accutane reviews. Then the moment of inter-species hospitality passed, and the sparrow flew into a nearby pine tree to wait out my interruptive behavior.

1/10/2010

Snowy Pine

(Toledo, OH) The recent snow storm dumped about five inches of snow in my Northwest Ohio neighborhood, and the result was the creation some wintertime magic. Pictured on your left is a snow-covered pine tree, one of four on my property that offer shelter to small critters.

Some folks start packing the designer luggage sets once the snow starts falling, heading down Interstate 75 to warmer climes in places like Florida. We stay relatively homebound in the winter months, and even our recent vacations over the holidays have been to places like Chicago and New York.

It would pain me to be away from the seasons for very long.

1/03/2010

Crushed Front End

(Toledo, OH) It appears that one of my neighbors suffered a significant property loss in the form of a damaged automobile. Given the fact that the car has not moved in a few weeks, I suspect that this person might have chosen the route of cheap auto insurance and passed up on collision insurance.

While the body damage was not extensive, it also appears that the engine was damaged in the accident. I heard the young man trying valiantly to get the car started a few days ago, but this vehicle will likely spend the rest of the winter in an inoperative state.

Yet I am a live-and-let-live person, and I do not spend time policing the neighborhood for abandoned vehicle to report to the City of Toledo. After all, some day I could be in the same unfortunate situation, and busting one's neighbors for petty zoning violations is bad karma.

Tree in Winter at Dusk

(Toledo, OH)A recent sunset offered some brilliant colors to those hardy souls who were brave enough to stand in wind chills approaching zero degrees Fahrenheit. The backlit effect in this elm tree is interesting, and the positioning of the tree and the background colors reminded me a bit of The Scream, painted by by Norwegian expressionist Edvard Munch.

Though cold and windy, the conditions around the tree were not nearly as terrifying as the imagined horrors that plagued the protagonist in Munch's painting. That being said, I should acknowledge that terror is relative and individualized, and that which frightens me might cause barely a ripple of fear in someone else. Conversely, the idea of RV towing seems mundane to me, but I have little doubt that someone, somewhere stays awake at nights on this subject.

Except a tree, that is. To my knowledge scientists have not demonstrated that trees are sentient beings, though it is true that trees can communicate with each other. I am not sure what this tree might be communicating, but my tendency to anthropomorphize leads me to believe that this tree should not be described as "happy."