Wednesday, May 30, 2012


I was really excited to have signed up for Ali Edward's 31 Things class at Big Picture earlier this month. I watch the pre-class video and read all the documents. I got up early on the first day to work on my assignment and wrote my first story that night. But then....

Yeah, I have been slacking. I am the worst. It's day fourteen and I haven't written a thing. I am terrible student. I was much better at this years ago - writing papers before they were due, spending weekends keeping up on my reading, even typing my notes. But once college was done, I was glad to have put that all behind me.

So at first, I just wasn't feeling inspired by the topics. Then I was just too burned out from work. Then the drama with the computer. I just kept putting things off. I did keep track of the topics, but haven't really read the topics from Ali. I kind of just feel like I can catch up when I'm ready. What's the point of crafting, writing, memory keeping, etc., when it feels like work.

Today, I did look at the topic before I went to take Penny to the vet. And then I took her to the park. And then I felt like writing. So I want to share what I did come up with after we got home...

5:30 View

Even though the sky looked like it could burst at any minute, I decided to take Penny to the park after our trip to the vet. There were four puglets, a mommy pug, another dog and a cat there to get her riled up – not to mention having the doctor check her out and the car ride.


So we drove a few blocks north to Hudson County Park. There aren’t many beautiful places here in Hudson County, but this is definitely one of them.  With the clouds overhead, it was pretty cool out and perfect for a walk around the pond.

I always feel a bit of family pride when I see the lake. My great-grandfather helped build it as part of a New Deal work program. I am so jealous that my sister lives right across the street. If she wasn’t at work, I would have called her to come bring Rocky to join us. But it’s ok, because Penny and I are slow and we could just walk around without having to match their pace.

The pond looks so scenic this time of year. The fresh greens of spring all around haven’t changed into the deeper colors of summer. There are so many shades of green. Everything was lush and a bit wet from last night’s rain storm.

Penny didn’t want to get very close to the water. She prefers the grassier side. She pulled back and dragged as I tried to get a little bit closer. I’d love to get a photo of her looking at the pond. But that wasn’t going to happen.

There’s too much going on the park and Penny didn’t want to pay attention to me, even when we took a break at the bench. There were birds, dogs, people.  Why would she want to sit and pose? We saw a few other little dogs out for walks. Penny was excited to see them, but she moved on pretty easily and didn’t start whining in that high-pitched tone, as she usually does. When you see us walking, you’d think she’s walking me. Pretty funny considering she’s 14.5 pounds. A guy walking towards us smiled and said, “She’s pretty strong.” Yup, she is.

We saw lots of squirrels, ducks, pigeons, robins, sparrows, mocking birds, a few turtles and too many Canada geese.  I like that the walkway is clean – unlike the streets of West New York – but you do have to watch out for that goose poop. A lot of the birds were resting. Two pigeons were squatting down right in one of the pathways, not budging for passers-by. And ducks and turtles were luxuriating on the rocks and ledges along the pond. One of the turtles jumped back in for a swim as we walked by. I spotted some white swans along the banks of the island in the center of the pond. There were also some kind of water birds hanging out in the middle, which I couldn’t identify. They were brown or black with long necks. Not ducks. I wish I had binoculars to see them better. I have loved bird watching since we spent a few weeks spying on birds in Advanced Bio in high school.

There are a couple of fountains spurting up in the water – I think it looks so pretty. The pond is not a perfect circle by any means and I just think it makes the walk more interesting. The view changes around every bend. From one side, you can even see the Empire State Building, even though it’s pretty hazy. I do wish the county did a better job of keeping the water clean. At some ends, there is sickish looking muck at the surface of the water, along with lots of garbage. Maybe Penny has the right idea about sticking the grassy side.

As you walk around the pond, you cross paths with all kinds of people – sometimes even twice or more as they circle around in the opposite direction. We go pretty slowly, so I am impressed when we see people more than once.

At this time of day – it’s about 11 a.m. – there are mostly adults at the park. Senior citizens, parents with young children, people exercising or walking their dogs. Some are just sitting on the benches taking a break or people watching. There’s a guy with a fishing pole. I see one lady as I walk around watching the swimming birds intently and taking notes. I see her again at the other side of the pond feeding the geese and ducks. A few pigeons landed in front of us to get in on the snacks. I think Penny wanted to join them but the geese hiss at her if she gets too close. She mostly leaves them alone. I hear the lady talking to the birds, calling them over like she knows them. I think she just told one of them to get back over there. For a minute I think she’s crazy, but then I see walking towards us and it looks like he’s talking to himself. He’s got a head piece on and is talking to someone on the phone. I think that looks even crazier.

After finishing our lap, we take the path back toward the car. I’d like to take another lap, but Penny’s panting pretty heavily and I know I’d start hurting if we did another round. I think we both could use some more time walking there. Maybe now that it’s summer – I always say this after a trip to the park and wish I’d follow through.

Penny collapses on the front seat. She’s not as hyper as she was on our drive here. We head home along Boulevard East and take in one of my other favorite local views, the New York City skyline.


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