Ringwood Botanical Gardens Revisited by Barbara Dexter

Ringwood Botanical Gardens Revisited by Barbara Dexter

It was a cold day today.  In fact the radio host on lite FM announced that everyone should stay inside unless they absolutely had to go out. Well I guess I had to go out. Call it a get away from home emergency, if you will. It was my appointed time to spend with mother nature and was there and grateful.

The field

The wind was whipping through my hair and my face was cold. But not for long.

The carriage road

As I skied down the gentle incline, my blood began to pump and I felt the heat throughout my body.


Breaking the trail

I was warmly dressed including long underwear and ski pants. My many layers helped me to warm up faster and to maintain my heat.


The snow angel in progress.

What would the day be without a little fun. Getting all snowy, even better.


The Snow Angel


The Oakland Diner

Down the road a bit, sits the Oakland Diner where we sat and had pleasant conversation, hot cocoa, and warm soup.




The artwork at the Oakland Diner was a fabulous touch after skiing at Ringwood Botanical Gardens.

A Winter Hike at South Mountain Reservation by Barbara Dexter

A Winter Hike at South Mountain Reservation by Barbara Dexter

Once again it felt like the four walls of my home were closing in on me and I just had to get outside and do something.  It was a cold winter day this day. A hike in the winter needs a little preparation, but is not undoable. Think long underwear under your regular comfortable clothing. Proper footwear and socks for warm, and dry feet are also a must. If it is icy outside, adding ice gripping attachments to your shoes goes a long way to keep you from falling and injuring yourself.

The trail through the woods.


A fallen tree covered with a blanket od snow.


Check out the root ball on this fallen tree.


Washington Rock
Description memorializing the rock


Cannon shot and powder statue
View near Washington Rock
The viewing platform
Yet another view

South Mountain Reservation has a plowed road (Crest Rd) that is available to walk on year round. It is a frequent place for families with children just learning how to ride bicycles, or with baby strollers. It is also a favorite of dog walkers.





Dr. Seuss Memorial Garden, a Short Visit by Barbara Dexter

Dr. Seuss Memorial Garden, a Short Visit by Barbara Dexter

The Dr. Seuss Memorial Garden is located in Springfield, MA in the courtyard behind the Springfield library. If you did not know it was there it would be easy enough to miss since it is not seen from the street. For all of you that remember reading Dr. Seuss books as a child, this is a must see. The  garden, although not massive has bronze statues that seem bring back the joyful times of reading “Green Eggs and Ham” or “Sam I am.”


The Springfield Library


Dr. Seuss Memorial plaque




Horton the elephant.

Who can for Horton, especially when” he hears a who?”


“Oh the places you will go.”


“The cat in the hat.”


“Thing 1 and Thing 2”




I would wait until the snow melts before visiting the Dr. Seuss Memorial Garden. It will give you something to look forward to doing. The garden is also free. Access is through the library or I believe you may be able to walk around the building.

Recent Ice Storm in NJ by Barbara Dexter

Recent Ice Storm in NJ by Barbara Dexter

I took these photos of the effects of the recent ice storm in New Jersey.  The layer of ice and snow creates a beautiful effect on the scenery that has no equal.





The trees are coated with a white, shiny layer of ice and snow. This shows how wonderful mother nature can be even in the suburbs of New Jersey.  It was a blustery, cold day on this particular day. Not to mention it was very slippery outside. I generally find it is best to wait until the roads are salted before venturing out after an ice storm. When you so, dress appropriately so you have plenty of time to see the scenery before getting too cold.

Lapland Lake Cross Country Skiing by Barbara Dexter

Lapland Lake Cross Country Skiing by Barbara Dexter

I ventured out to the Lapland Lake Cross Country Ski trails courtesy of Sue and Fred. It was a four hour drive from home that was filled with lively conversation. The cross country ski center has trails for all abilities. We started out on the green trails, or the easiest trails, because I wanted to ski on the lake and wanted to see a reindeer for the first time. Well we were also testing out my abilities after my recent biking accident, to be fair.  I was the slow one in the group, but it was perfectly ok since we were able to take in the scenery.

The green trail that runs on the lake.

For those of you that have never been to Lapland Lake, it is absolutely gorgeous. It is very quiet, with only the sound of your skis in the snow. The trails are well groomed, which makes it easier to navigate especially if you are not used to cutting your own trails or so called back country skiing. I found this to be a lovely feature. As I gain more skills, I think I will still appreciate the easier routes.

I was able to ski on an intermediate trail that had a nice gentle sloped downhill section and a gentle incline section. I also learned to corner better when going downhill, thanks to Sue. Tough I did not fall, I expect the occasional fall and dress for getting wet in the snow.

Like all good ski trails, there was a shop that offered trinkets, food, warm beverages, and you could sign up for some skiing lessons. Of course I learned of the lessons, well officially that is since I expected they would offer lessons, through a sign in the rest room. When I read it, I had to laugh.


I was a beautiful day, but as it can get cold since you are in the Adirondacks of New York State when you visit Lapland Lake, I caution you to dress appropriately.

Ringwood Botanical Gardens Cross Country Skiing by Barbara Dexter

Ringwood Botanical Gardens Cross Country Skiing by Barbara Dexter It started out as a questionable day, well weather wise. At home it was icy from our last bout of freezing rain. Though the road surface was clear and salted, I feared there would be a layer of ice on the snow. If you have ever fallen on ice, you know it is not pleasant. I said to myself, just go and see how it is. The botanical gardens are over a half hour away from home. I was pleasantly surprised when I arrived to pillow soft snow that was perfect for skiing.

Greeter 1


Greeter 2


Lots soft snow.


The sun peaking through the trees.


A view from behind me after a short incline.


Look real hard and you will see a cottage through the trees.


The trail leads through the woods.


Beautiful creek

After skiing for some time, I was able to wander around the grounds and view the manor and grounds.

Manor as seen from the road.
Front of the manor.
A gorgeous tree rowing on the grounds.
Check out the stone work and leaded glass windows.

Here are additional views of the manor and grounds. 20150207_142237 20150207_142248 20150207_142327 20150207_142442 20150207_142450 20150207_142615 20150207_142608 20150207_142954 20150207_143026 20150207_142748

The carriage house.
Another view of the carriage house.
The road leading around the estate.

It was a lovely day for skiing today. The snow was perfect. The only sound that you hear when out on the trail is the sound of your skis on the snow. With the exception of your own voice, that is. If you are thinking of going out to Ringwood Botanical Gardens for a cross country ski visit, I would go soon to take advantage of the great conditions.

Saved by a Fox by Barbara Dexter

Saved by a Fox by Barbara Dexter

Well I thought I was having an uneventful day. I put in my time diligently at my first job. This was my first research job after graduate school. I was performing pharmacokinetic analysis of therapeutic drugs in patient plasma, which simply means monitoring the dose of a drug as it breaks down in the body. At this point in my life, I did not earn enough money to sustain myself at my first job. I was forced to do additional work. On this particular day, I worked as a server and all around grunt for a catering company. I was happy to have the additional income, but it made for some long days.

I was finished for the day. I got in my old, trusty, manual shift Honda Civic coupe and pro ceded to drive home. I was not far from the catering venue, when I realized I had made a wrong turn. I was headed directly for the social security office and it was two o’clock in the morning. In my mindset at the time, which I voiced out loud, there is nobody around so pull a U-turn at the next available intersection, nobody will see. Well now, the intersection was clearly labeled, no U-turn. I went ahead and made the U-turn. Just then, there were blue lights flashing in my rearview mirror. I think to myself, so much for nobody noticing me. I am in a tux with the collar unbuttoned and the bow-tie dangling. Well to be sure I looked a mess.

The police officer approached my car and asked for my license and registration. He also asked me just what I was doing out at that hour. I told him I had been working at a catering event and I was tired. Whether he believed me or not, I had no way of knowing. He walked back to his car to run my information through his computer system.

Just at that moment I looked out my windshield and what did I see but a fox. He had auburn-red fur and a silver-white ring on his tail. He was just standing there watching me as if to say “hey what are you doing?” The site of the fox was very unusual for the urban environment. I felt myself starting to calm down as I watched the fox.

It was at that moment that the officer handed me back my license and registration then said “did you see that fox? That was so cool.” I told him I was just sitting and watching the fox. The officer then told me to go home and to be careful. I immediately thought that fox just saved me. I went home happy and surprisingly the weariness had left me.

Come to the Dark Side, We have Yarn! By Barbara Dexter

Come to the Dark Side, We have Yarn! By Barbara Dexter

I am staring intently at a picture of “Darth Vader” sitting with his legs crossed and deeply focused on knitting a bright pink baby sweater. The caption reads; “Give in to Your Feeling, Craft Something Pretty.” I enjoyed a hearty laugh from this ad. For those of you that are like me, you’ve seen all the “Star Wars” movies many times. I think the image of “Darth Vader” knitting seems oddly appropriate for my geekly and crafty self.

I enjoy knitting and have crafted many items including baby sweaters. I find knitting oddly soothing in a Zen like way. The repetitive motion focuses my thoughts away from the stresses that are ever present and prevalent in my daily life. A simple ribbing is knit two pearl two and repeat around. I watch the motion of the needles and zero in on the stitch at hand. Soon it is time for a different section then without much thought I have finished another item. I even look to my knitting and sewing room as a place where the stresses vanish, at least for a time.


Darth Vader as seen on facebook
Darth Vader as seen on facebook

“Popeye” and I by Barbara Dexter

“Popeye” and I. by Barbara Dexter

Taken from http://www.comicvine.com/forums/battles-7/bugs-bunny-vs-popeye-the-sailor-man-757492/
Photo was Taken from http://www.comicvine.com/forums/battles-7/bugs-bunny-vs-popeye-the-sailor-man-757492/

(Popeye the Sailor Man is a cartoon fictional character, created by Elzie Crisler Segar. These cartoon shorts are now owned by Turner Entertainment)

I envision a conversation between myself and “Popeye the Sailor Man.”

“I am what I am! I’m Popeye the Sailor Man! I’m strong to the finish ’cause I eats me spinach. I’m Poyeye the Sailor Man!”

Above is a quote from my favorite cartoon character, Popeye. He simply is what he is. That included his constant rescue efforts of his sweet heart “Olive Oil” from the evil “Brutus.” What a strong character he was. Popeye was very brawny and proud.

I think about him when I think of living simply and being exactly what I am. I often wondered what my conversation with him would be about? Would I start out by saying I was proud of him for his bravery, noble actions, and honesty? Or would I start by talking about spinach? I want to know why oh why would he eat spinach from a can? As there are perfectly tasty and fresh spinach leaves available? Would I state that I was proud of his ability to eat spinach when his friend “Whimpy” always wanted hamburgers? For that matter “Whimpy” always wanted “Popeye” to buy him hamburgers. There are times when I can no longer endure the vegetarian lifestyle and have to cheat. I wonder would I as “Popeye” just how he made only eating spinach work? Would I simply cut it short and say “Hi I’m Barb and I’m your number one fan.