I wish I’d designed this.

I think this character is a fairly new addition at River Parks. I haven't seen him before.

The weather this week has been gorgeous — highs in the 60s, dazzling sunshine, and glorious cobalt skies — so when school let out this afternoon, I pulled on shorts and running shoes and took Songdog out to the river for a three-mile jog along the trail.

It’s not quite as spectacular as Turtle Playground, but the giant frog next to the playground at River Parks looked so cool in that pre-sunset “magic light” that I couldn’t resist stopping to take a picture with my cell phone on the way past.

Songdog, for the record, was a perfect gentleman on the leash this afternoon — no pulling, balking, or bolting — and we had a really nice run. I know it won’t last, but it feels like spring out there right now. Pretty afternoons in January are rare and precious and always delight me.

Speaking of spring, I saw a fat robin sitting in the middle of the street on my way to school this morning, and we’re about six weeks from spring training. Cubs haven’t announced their reporting dates yet, but when pitchers and catchers arrive in Mesa, Carlos Zambrano will not be among them, because Ep & Co. just swapped him to Florida for Chris Volstad. I know Z has been a handful, to put it mildly, but I’m not keen on swapping a guy with a 3.60 ERA who bats .241 for a guy with a 4.59 ERA and a .133 BA. I am especially not inclined to make that trade now that we finally have some adult supervision in the dugout. That said, it should be interesting to see how Zambrano gets along with Ozzie Guillen. I figure they’ll either get along famously or tear each other’s heads off right in the middle of the clubhouse.

Hope your day was as enjoyable as mine.