A Future

I keep forgetting. I promised myself I would write at least once a week, get back to something I loved, and I haven’t kept that promise to myself. I don’t even have a good excuse, like I was out of town, or I overslept. In the past several months, if I sleep any later than 8, it’s unusual. Neither here nor there.

As the summer goes on, it’s going to get even more difficult to write every week. There will be Saturdays when I have to work. I like to get that over with as early as possible. But if I wait too late, well, I lose my train of thought. Tragic.

Melvin at Six MonthsLast weekend was busy. On Saturday, I did a shoot for a very good friend whom I love, and her husband, who deserves her. Going through the pictures was difficult – I kept tearing up. Well, when you love someone, you want them to be happy, right? She’s happy. I couldn’t ask for anything more. They did ask for more, and they got it; before too much longer, they will be three.

I met him not long ago. I’d been in Colorado for a decade, and my friend came to visit me. She was single at the time. I was so excited to see her, a random stranger in the airport actually commented. He said he was glad to see someone so happy, and he wished us a good visit. And that, we had. Even summited Pikes Peak. We drove. Okay, I drove. That was the third time for me since I’d moved there. Real women don’t need guardrails. Besides, all they would do is delay the inevitable. A guardrail is supposed to slow you down, so it’s easier to stop. When there’s a 1,000 foot (or more) drop-off, the guardrail is just decoration.

A year later, I moved back home. Broke, broken, and lost. But that’s another story. Short version, started rough, improved. It’s not perfect, I have a few unexpected expenses, but I can buy my own groceries and gas, and pay my insurance and housing and utilities. I couldn’t do that for a couple years, there.

Once I moved back home, all the folks I reconnected with on Facebook – no, seriously, it does work like that – came out of the woodwork. I was limited by funds, but when I could, I did spend time with them. This friend, the only one who visited me in Colorado (well, she wasn’t the only one who wanted to, she was just the only one who did), introduced me to her boyfriend. We had sushi together. I saw the way she was around him, and I liked him from the beginning because of it.

Then they got engaged. He was a little gun-shy – after a certain point in life, most of the single men are ‘previously-owned,’ and life with the previous owner isn’t always a positive experience – but she made him happy, too, so he took the risk. She asked me to shop for dresses with her. What, I’m going to say no? I tried not to, I really did, but that first afternoon, I cried. What can I say, I’m a romantic at heart.

Time to Cut the Cake

Of course, first we had to have a bridal shower…a surprise bridal shower, organized by her then-fiance. How do you not love a person like that? The service in the restaurant was horrible; apparently, parties greater than 4 confused them. But that didn’t really matter. What mattered is a bunch of friends gathered together to celebrate a beautiful moment.

Then the big day came. It was soooo hot. Thank goodness for air conditioning. We bridesmaids were in charge of finding a dress we wanted to wear. She provided parameters, but within those parameters, it was our choice. I paid retail for her. I don’t pay retail for just anyone. I was glad I could do it, pay for my own dress. Only three months before that, I couldn’t have.

First, there was the signing of the ketubah. They did this with only a select portion of the wedding party. There wasn’t a whole lot of room where they were doing it. Fascinating, really, if you’re not familiar, look it up. Then began the procession. First, the wedding party – my escort was a person I hadn’t seen in decades; he looked fantastic, and happy with his partner – walking forward, arm-in-arm, into a really warm, but also sunny and bright, room full of the couple’s friends and family. We took our places, and we waited for the star attraction – the bride.

She carried herself with dignity, her father escorting her halfway, her walking the rest of the way herself, giving herself to her new life. By the time she was at the chuppah, it was over for me. Well, to be honest, I made it right up until she started her procession; then I lost it. I was pretty dehydrated by the end of the service. I don’t actually remember much of the ceremony.

She wore a tiara, and she took his name. Both were very unexpected, and neither decision did she make lightly.

After several more pictures with the wedding party, the reception began. A lively, wonderful time, it was over too soon. Well, my feet didn’t think it was over too soon, but the rest of me did.

Melvin at Six Months In February,* special news. Something I had hoped for, but didn’t really expect, happened. She told me over dinner, letting me guess, dropping REALLY big hints. I think I squealed. And cried. I swear, I don’t remember ever crying so much in such a short period of time. Eight months is a short time, okay? Hush.

So. Not much longer now, before they are three. I think I’m nearly as excited as they are.

It hasn’t changed, the way she is around him. She’s beautiful when she’s with him. She is anyway, but she’s even moreso.

Mazel tov!

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*Actually, December. The months have blurred together.

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Back on Track

It’s springtime in the middle of the US. How do I know? Well, there’s that whole calendar thing, but there’s also a wild swing in weather. We were in the 80s earlier this week, and some places were close to freezing today. I still have friends back in Colorado who keep me up-to-date about the weather out there, and, as expected, it was weirder. Snow in April isn’t uncommon out there. It is uncommon out here, but it’s not unheard of. I remember one Easter Sunday where big, fat, flakes of snow tumbled out of the sky. They didn’t stick, but they fell. It was April 19. The next year, Easter fell on the 11th, and it was in the mid-70s. It happens. It’s weird, but it happens. So, I never put away my winter blankets until May, and I get them out in September. September here can be plenty hot and humid, just like August – August is miserable. And for you Floridians, I challenge you to spend a weekend up here in August, without air conditioning. We get hot and humid, and thanks to our geography, there are no cooling breezes.

Cincinnati Bucket Boyz
Cincinnati Bucket Boyz performing at Taste of Cincinnati, 2012

Last  year, spring was very early. Well, there wasn’t much of a winter to speak of, so something had to happen. This year, spring is a little late. If it means a more mild summer, I’m fine with that. Memorial Day weekend last year had heat indices in the triple digits. Makes Taste of Cincinnati a little less fun. The beverage vendors did really well, though, and the Water Works booth was busy. Free water. Little cups. People would take two or three at a time. It was a bit warm. Horrible for me, because not only was it hot, but my blood pressure was not under control. There was no way for me to cool down. Going home didn’t help, because I didn’t have air conditioning. I did buy a window unit later that summer, after feeling the beginnings of heat exhaustion while trying to relax in my own bed. I really couldn’t get one before that just because I didn’t have the money.

Okay, I’m boring myself.

Just another long, painful week at work. Lots to do, nowhere near enough time to do it. That’s nothing new or unusual, it’s just the way it is. I’m never bored, at least. If you’re bored – as in, need something to do – in my job, especially starting this time of year, you’re doing it wrong. I have a challenging client to work with. I can get along with just about anyone. I have a hard time remaining civil to this particular person. Yes, I tried. I tried really hard. Just thinking about him makes me clench my teeth. Not good. Otherwise, I just have to deal with people who are challenging, and sometimes thoughtless, but never malicious. Not really. They’re salespeople, so they are out for themselves, and they will throw anyone under the bus if it makes them look good, but it’s not personal. Gotta have a thick skin or you won’t get far.

White Blossoms
Late afternoon sun and a strong breeze

Anyway, the magnolias have begun to bloom. Wednesday, the last warm day, I did go out shooting. I rushed out the door at work, probably took a more chances than I should have while driving home, grabbed my camera, and headed out. I thought about trying to recreate my favorite shot, but that’s probably not a good idea. There was a moment, there, that was fleeting, and I was lucky enough to be there to capture it with my camera. I took over 400 pictures at Eden Park. I haven’t finished editing those pictures, yet, but I think I got some good ones. I have gotten through a number that aren’t magnolias. I definitely got one or two that I really like. Thursday morning, I was glad I forced myself to leave the house Wednesday. It was miserable. Cold, dark, and grey all day long. Spring.

Peeking In

Another long break. I’ve had a bit going on. Some changes at work, job duties shifting, stress being added, but not hours. No, still gotta do everything within 8 hours. Yeah, I’m sorta going with the asking forgiveness instead of permission at this point. Got things to do, and not enough time to do them. I’m not abusing it, mind, not working an extra ten hours a week for nothing. But I am getting an hour or two, or three, extra. It’s exhausting. And I’ve reached the point where I think about certain files when I first wake up, or go to bed. Trying to stop doing that. That cuts into my relaxation time, and that’s really important to me. Without that, I burn out. Quickly. I’ve been here before, and I’ve gotten over it. One boss said a good processor dreams about files. No. A stressed, overworked, overwhelmed processor dreams about files. A good processor leaves it at work. Well, a sane one does, anyway.

A life well-lived
A life well-lived

My grandmother’s funeral was well-attended. Her church was able to accommodate our family. At least, those of us who were able to make it. We only took up about 7 or 8 pews. Very long pews. Twice the length of the pews in my church. We’d have taken up half the chapel if we’d had this at mine. Parking would have been just as difficult, too. A little simpler – we have two tiny parking lots, whereas her church has only one. It was interesting listening to my cousins and sister talk about her during the memorial. It was a grandmother I didn’t know. Well, by the time I came along, she was about to hit her sixties. She wasn’t doing much fishing or cooking or anything like that by then. When they were young, she was still living in her house. I think I remember going there once. After that, she was living in the senior apartments, where she stayed until she was 99. One year in a nursing home. Not bad. Especially at that age. She has an excellent location at Spring Grove cemetery. I have a few family members in there. Not all in the same place, though, and it’s huge, so I can’t begin to find them all. Hers, I’ll be able to find. It’s like a sculpture garden right there – not much in the way of trees or other foliage. In a place known for landscaping, it’s a little odd, actually. I did take a peek at the other headstones in there. She’s one of the longest-lived in there, but not by much.

I’m listening to the morning birds singing. I missed that when I was in Colorado. There were songbirds, of course, just not that many. Not that many trees, either, so that makes some sense. Right here, in my inner-city neighborhood, I’ve seen doves, robins, blue jays (jerks), finches, and cardinals. And those are just the ones I recognize. I don’t have a tree in my yard, or dangling over my car, thank goodness, but the yards around me do. I didn’t realize how much I missed that until I got back hear, and heard them. There’s only one right now. There will be more.

The news has been full of interesting things, including yet another argument that has cost people friends. Facebook turned red for a few days while the Supreme Court of the US (SCOTUS) heard a couple of cases that affected marriage equality. There are some strong feelings for and against. Personally, I’m for it. Why should we straight folk be the only ones who can be miserable with someone forever? Many think it’s unnatural, or disgusting. Many are afraid that it will mean their churches will be forced to accept gay couples, and to marry gay couples. Marriage is a civil institution. Holy Matrimony is a religious one. Many of the same arguments used against interracial marriage are being used against same-sex marriage. People fear what they don’t understand, and those who live their lives in fear will never understand anything outside of their own sphere of knowledge. There are still churches that will not accept an interracial couple, or marry them. That is their right. All that happened was interracial marriages had to be recognized by the government of every state. Regardless of your stance, a gay couple marrying will have no impact on straight marriage. It doesn’t mean we’ll be able to marry our dogs or homes – neither of those things are capable of giving consent. It just means couples who’ve been together, who’ve raised families together, have the same rights, regardless of whether the couple is the same or opposite genders. It’s okay to disagree. I will tell you right now, though, any comments spewing hate will not be approved. Disagreement, discussion, that’s fine. Keep the hate to yourselves.

Flying a kite at Ault Park
Flying a kite at Ault Park

I’ve had many things on my mind in the past few weeks, really. And I haven’t spent nearly enough time with my camera. I did go out yesterday, after being wooed and coerced. It was a friend who understands how easily one can become the victim of inertia. I needed to go out yesterday. It was a beautiful day. It was late enough, I missed much of the beautiful part, but I did go out. I did leave the house when I’d have been content to stay right where I was, in my bed, playing games on my iPad, and waiting for Doctor Who to start. Last night’s episode was meh to me. Struck an off chord in my plausibility meter near the end, there.

Opening Day is a big deal here in the home of the first professional sports team, deserving of the caps. A really big deal. There’s talk of making it an official holiday, much like Mardi Gras is for New Orleans. For over a century, the season didn’t begin until the first pitch here. Then that changed. Now we’re no longer the first game of the season, and some people are still upset about that, even though it happened almost twenty-five years ago. Mister Red HandlebarStill, people take off work, or take extra-long lunches, to watch the Opening Day parade, and the Opening Day game sells out every single time in a matter of hours, no matter how the Reds did the previous season. Incidentally, they did well last season. Starting well this season, too. Five games in, and we’re 3-2. It’s such a big deal, the Reds petitioned to get last year’s opening game moved. It was scheduled for Good Friday, and with our HUGE Catholic population, that was going to be a problem. Good Friday is a fasting day for Catholics. They would not have been able to partake of the many food vendors that come out for the festivities.  Plus, the mood would be all wrong for a celebration. It did get moved, thanks to a deal worked out with the Marlins. We don’t always get our way, but it’s nice when we do.

Time to get breakfast started. There are more birds singing outside, now that it’s starting to get lighter. It’s supposed to rain today. My sinuses tell me it will rain today. Sinuses in this city are very attuned to the seasons. Cincinnati Sinus is even almost considered its own affliction. People without sinus trouble will develop them here. Before I moved to Colorado, I was averaging 4-6 sinus infections a year. No, really. I moved to Colorado and I had one sinus infection within the first year of my moving out there, and nothing since. Now that I’ve moved back, I’ve been lucky so far; just a bit of congestion, no sinus infection – yet. I thought I had one a couple weeks ago. Turned out to just be a very nasty head cold. My voice has only just returned to normal, after ten days.

Before I go, I will leave you with this: The Bob & Tom Show, a radio show that is popular and not politically-correct – and probably not a good idea to listen to at work – broadcast from here on Opening Day. It was quite nice, actually. They explained to their audience what a big deal it really is here. On April 2nd, the day after Opening Day, they played an old routine – The First Baseball Game Ever Played. And, yeah, some of you may be offended by it. Me, I was dying, listening at work, unable to do anything until it was over. Enjoy.