At the beginning of the week, I was helping a woman look for books in the children’s room.  One of the books she looked at but decided not to take was a book about rivers, and the cover was so frigging adorable that I just had to take a picture of it:

River Book

Side note: I decided many years ago that if I could be reincarnated as any animal, it would be a river otter because they’re adorable and because they always seem to be SO FRIGGING HAPPY!  Well, after photographing the cute cover, I decided to see if there were any more pictures inside that would send my heart aflutter.  Well, I did find one, but not for the reason I expected:

Otter Info

Wait a minute … otters are mean and dangerous?  What the hell???  Oh, and just so that you can appreciate how much this revelation affected me, I will tell you that the following morning I woke up from a nightmare IN WHICH AN OTTER WAS ATTACKING ME.

I also did my shopping this week for my teen summer reading club, making several trips to Food Town, Walgreens, and Staples to satisfy the needs of hungry teenagers:

SRC Shopping

We had a lot of rain this week, plus a lot of days that it looked like it was about to rain any minute … except it didn’t:

Dark Skies over Kingsbridge

I had a meeting this week on one of the little streets near the Jerome Park Reservoir.  As I found my way there, I remembered how many streets in that neighborhood are very steep, and how many of those streets are connected by staircase shortcuts that are very steep (and in pretty bad repair):

Looking Down at Bailey Avenue

Oh, and while I was struggling up those hills and staircases, I learned that there’s going to be some filming in that neighborhood this weekend:

Beware the Night

Hmmm … Beware the Night, eh?  Well, according to IMDB, the plot of that film sounds pretty creepy.  I wonder if any of the “heinous crimes involving the occult and possible demonic possession” are going to be committed on or near those staircases!

And then today I went for a long walk through Van Cortlandt Park — I went in through the entrance at Mosholu and Broadway, and then walked south until I reached the end of the park at 240th Street.  Along the way, I walked in and out of the woods along different paths, including the John Muir Nature Trail, the Cross Country Course, and the Putnam Trail.  Here’s a map, to give you an idea of my route.  I only got lost once or twice, which is pretty much standard when I walk on the trails through that park.

On a Shady Path

Vault Hill

Emerging into the Sunlight

Van Cortlandt Lake

I almost made it all the way out of the park on the paths, but the further south I got the more I ran into several problems:

  • The paths were getting narrower and narrower and more and more overgrown.
  • Some of the paths were even blocked by fallen trees.
  • This was making it increasingly difficult to pass people on the paths.
  • And speaking of people, I started seeing more and more men in ones and twos hanging around in this part of the park.
  • They might have been standing around because they were lost, or admiring the scenery, or trying to vector around the fallen trees, or …
  • And then it occurred to me that I could easily be attacked here.
  • And it would be difficult or even impossible for help to get to me on time.
  • And my body could easily be hidden in the underbrush and not found for days.
  • And how did I know that these weird and twisting paths weren’t going to wind up in a dead end?

… at which point I decided to listen to my Spidey sense (AKA my New Yorker radar) and backtrack to go through a hole in the fence I’d seen earlier, which let me out over by Van Cortlandt Stadium, and I exited the park near the playgrounds and the “Kingsbridge Green.”

At which point I walked to a nearby Carvel store to buy a chocolate shake, took one last picture at the Carvel before my iPod battery died,

Carvel Ice Cream Cakes

and then I proceeded to walk the rest of the way home.