Say Hello to my Little Friend – Part Two

I wrote a while back about riding my bike in the colder winter temps without my dog and feeding the squirrels  in her absence. The little guys don’t have as much to eat with the cold temps and thinned ranks of tourists on the lakefront.

I learned something new the other day. I stopped for a rest around Buckingham Fountain and was tossing nuts to a squirrel when I wondered if he would take one out of my fingers. I know they are wild animals (tiny, but still wild), but I thought if I held a long peanut, there wasn’t much chance of getting bit.

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I tried that andhe took it out of my fingers and scampered away to eat it. What I didn’t realize is that this apparently removed a barrier between us. He no longer considered my a possible predator, just a source of food. We had become buddies. The next time I was holding a peanut he ran up my leg to get it. As you can see below, I had my iPhone videocamera ready.

As you can see from the video, I was able to catch him in the act.

You can see my previous squirrely encounter here.

Tony

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Frigid February Morning

This is what sub-zero looks like. It was just below zero Fahrenheit this morning when I shot these.

The sun was just beginning to creep over the horizon at this point

The sun was just beginning to creep over the horizon at this point

Up over the horizon, but blocked by clouds…

Over the horizon, but not quite visible...

Over the horizon, but not quite visible…

Peeking through the clouds …

Brightening, but still chill ...

Brightening, but still chill …

Here the sun has risen and illuminates the ‘steam’ coming up from the surface waters which is really ice crystals.

Lovely reflection off Lake Michigan's surface ...

Lovely reflection off Lake Michigan’s surface …

This is just a clearer shot of the lake’s surface.

Last, but not least more surface detail.

Last, but not least more surface detail.

One of the things worth mentioning is that these were shot looking almost exactly due east, so you can see how much the sun has returned from its wintry trip down south. It is almost dead even on the horizon as it moves back north through spring and summer.

These photos were shot today, February first. Since the first of the year, we have added 13 minutes of daylight in the morning and 35 minutes in the afternoon, so we have a total of 48 more minutes of sunlight now than we did when the year started. Things are looking up.

Tony

Another January Morning

Here is another January morning sunrise. I wondered if the weather had anything to do with it.

Chicago has been suffering from the arrival of winter. “Chicago’s coldest blast of air in 2 years is easing—but slowly. By midnight Tuesday, the area moved into a 55th consecutive hour of sub-20-degree thermometer readings and 46 hours with wind chills below zero. Tuesday’s 11-degree high and 1-below morning low put the day into the record books as the city’s coldest of the past two years,” according to the blog of Tom Skilling, the awesome local meteorologist.

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In this frigid weather, what looks like steam coming up off the surface of the lake is actually ice crystals.

Tony

Ice Mosaic

The normal high temperature in Chicago in January is around 32 F. Last week we had several days where temps ranged up into the 50’s. As a result the usually frozen solid surface of Lake Michigan yielded.

I think the resulting ice mosaic is kind of cool.

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The sun  had risen an hour or so earlier, but was hiding in the clouds. I saw this on my morning bike ride.

Oldies but Goodies

I was just doing some year end housecleaning and ran across these two photos that I had previously sent to friends. Thought they looked good enough to share with you.

The first was a spectucular December morning.

Awesome array of colors

Awesome array of colors

The second was a photo I took one morning walking the dog. The sun hadn’t quite risen yet and there was one of those magical morning lights going on.

This is in Lakeshore East Park looking west

This is in Lakeshore East Park looking west around sunrise. The sun is coming up behind me.

Happy holidays, all!

Tony

Sausage Clouds

Funny how this view of Navy Pier yields such interesting photos. I have taken a number of them, one just a few posts back. I thought the clouds reminded me of sausages, or possibly intestines although that isn’t as pleasant an image.

Don't those clouds remind you of sausages?

Don’t those clouds remind you of sausages?

I definitely is a dark December sky.

What do you think?

Tony

Chicago River Around Sunset

I think one of the best kept secrets in Chicago is the Riverwalk, the north and south walkways along the Chicago River. The walk starts at Lake Michigan and works west. I live at the lakefront so am very familiar with this area. I walk my dog there regularly as well as ride my bike.

I shot these to photos right around sunset on a late December afternoon at the end of a bike ride. I love this time as the light is the same as at dawn when the sun is just about to break over the horizon. Electric lights somehow seem charming.

I was standing at the Lake Shore Drive bridge looking west and north for these.

At Christmas time the trees are illuminated.

At Christmas time the trees are illuminated. Don’t you love the reflections in the river?

This shot simply looks farther west along the river.

This shot simply looks farther west along the river. That tall building is the new Trump Tower.

Chi-town is one of the beautiful cities.

Tony

Late December Afternoon

After sharing our splendid December day with you last week, it seems only fitting to pass on this one, too. Today was not a splendid December day at all. The temperature ranged slightly above average at low 40s F, but rain fell intermittently and wind gusts ranged to 35 mph peppering your face and body if you were out in it. Not a fun day.

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The rains and wind kept me off my bike till late afternoon when it slowed to a trickle. I rode along the lakefront for a while as the light evaporated. I was on the way home when I caught this view of Burnham Harbor and Navy Pier in the background. I was struck by the fading light and the character of the electronic illumination which had been turned on. The lack of daylight rendered a soft focus to the photo which really fascinated me. It reminded me of something Impressionistic, especially the way the lights seemed to have been dabbed on by a paint brush, not really defined at all.

If you look close you can see the sidewalk is still shiny from rain.

Tony

A Splendorous Friday December 14 in Chicago

Triskaidekaphobics fear Friday the 13th, but we almost need to invent a new word on the other end of the spectrum for the Friday the 14th that Chicago experienced.

I posted a number of times on Fall Foliage and the experience of the changing seasons here in Chicago. Typical Fall goings on. The leaves turn colors and drop from the branches.

But, here it is a week before the official start of winter and it feels like someone has turned back the clock. To be sure, most trees are barren of leaves. But, we had spring-like conditions Friday.

Here is Monroe Harbor Bereft of boats, but glistening in sunshine

Here is Monroe Harbor bereft of boats, but glistening in sunshine. That’s Navy Pier in the background

The normal high for December 14 is 35 degrees Fahrenheit with a low of 23. We experienced a high of 49 F and a low of 31. Notice that the low is only four degrees under the normal high. In addition, we basked in a luxurious sunny day with very little wind. Most un-Decemberlike. The weather bureau reports that we have just set a record of 285 days without measurable snow. The last such snowfall was March 4. The latest “first measurable snow of season” – December 16, 1965.

Good for a double take - a sightseeing boat in mid-December

Good for a double take – a sightseeing boat in mid-December on Lake Michigan

The day started in the 30s, but worked its way up fast. I felt like it was an imposter 30s because there was no bite to the air. On my first bike ride, I didn’t take the dog, because she doesn’t ride in less than 45F weather. I enjoy having her with me, but I don’t want to be practicing animal abuse in the bargain. By the time I got home from the ride, however, the temp had risen above 40F and I knew I would have company if/when I rode in the afternoon.

I hope these photos demonstrate just what a gorgeous day we had here. Keep in mind that mid-December in Chicago could have blizzard-like conditions.

Gabi taking a rest on a bench wearing only a hoodie in mid-December

Gabi taking a rest on a bench wearing only a hoodie in mid-December

I ride my bike every day that I can, so the variance in temperature meant that I wore a different outfit. Also, I don’t take my dog with when we have less than 45 F.

Because I carry my iPhone with me on rides, I was able to record some of the day’s splendor.

This past Friday was indeed one to remember and for which to be thankful for to a generous providence.

Tony

Happy Birthday, Gabi

My little poodle, Gabi, has a birthday today. She was born on the 12th of December 2005. By a process of rapid calculation that works out to seven years old. I have to admit that I didn’t have a dog seven years ago, nor did I want one. How I got her is a story in itself.  I wrote it up for my other blog on healthy eating and living longer. If you would like to read it click here.

For the record, Gabi is a pure bred poodle. She was the runt of a teacup litter. Teacup poodles weigh around five pounds. Nonetheless, she currently stands 11 inches high and weighs just under 14 pounds.

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Words fall short in explaining her place in my life. She makes me laugh every day with her canine kookiness. I am not having a birthday party for her because she is a dog and wouldn’t understand it. But, I want to put this blog post together for her and for me.

I think one picture is worth a thousand words, so here are some of her. Below is a shot just after a grooming. Glamorous, no? Thanks to my friend, Maxine, for putting the photo together.

Next is Gabi on the Fourth of July with her festive bandanna.

Happy Fourth!

Happy Fourth!

This photo below is a prize winner that my daughter, Kate, shot. It was a Purina Dog Chow contest and the winners were displayed in Times Square. I was holding her over my shoulder and there was a fan blowing in her face.

Prize winning shot of Gabi in Times Square

Prize winning shot of Gabi in Times Square

The photo below is an ‘attitude’ shot. It is morning and I am on the couch reading, but she is ready for her walk. Her patience is running out.

Her patience is running out.

Her patience is running out.

I love this next one. She gets cold in the winter so I have bought her several hoodies. She doesn’t like the feelilng of them being slipped over her head. This shot shows her hiding her two front paws and her neck so I can’t slip it on her.

HIding her front paws and neck.

HIding her front paws and neck.


No collection of Gabi photos would be complete without one of her riding in my bike basket. This was shot by a Chicago newspaper photographer of us riding on Northerly Island. You can see the Chicago Skyline behind us. She rides several thousand miles with me each year and has had her picture taken on the lakefront hundreds of times by tourists from all over the world.

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Last, but not least, one of her puppy pics.

She was four months old here and I hadn't adopted her yet.

She was four months old here and I hadn’t adopted her yet.

Happy Birthday, Gabi!

Tony