Finally, there will be more daylight than dark from now until September. Spring has sprung; I can wear white now. Thursday did make it to 70 – the clock/thermometer/bulletin board at the Lutheran church down the road said it was 73. All I know is it was gorgeous, and I flipped up the sun roof on my poor little beat-up car. Even more beat-up than it should be. I *know* my car has been hit by people coming out of that church across the street, more than once. But no one does anything about it because it’s not a pretty car. Really needs a new driver’s-side door. And door handle on the passenger side. And probably fuses, since my headlights and cigarette lighter (it’s a 15-year-old car) don’t really work. My driver-side regular and passenger-side high beam work fine – I figure it’s a fuse because of that. I can’t wait until I can finally replace it. That car has been with me for a very long time, and I do appreciate it, but there are so many things that need to be fixed, it’s scrap to me, too. Not yet. Soon. Not soon enough. And really, not unless I can park somewhere else on Wednesdays and Sundays, and any other day they have some event that fills up the parking lot with people who have no idea how long their cars really are.

Ault Spring_0051a
Antique roses amid the dead leaves of last year

Still, Thursday was warm. Yesterday, the first full day of spring, was less-warm, but still nice. Sunny all day. Sunny enough and nice enough that I finally went out with my camera. Even though I’ve been having trouble with the walking thing (knee, feet – probably should see someone about that, since it’s becoming a ‘quality of life’ issue), I couldn’t pass up the chance. I had an idea –  I wanted to shoot something that showed the new season beginning. That meant I needed greenery. Or rather, future greenery. Had to go to a park. I stayed a bit longer than I planned, but I think I found what I wanted.

Other than that, work, stressful, me, tired, but finally not sick, and still trying to figure out what I’m going to do about my money for the next several months. I have a couple of ideas, it’s just a matter of making them come true. I did realize yesterday that, with my current physical condition, being a photographer full-time, doing it the way I want, taking the kind of photos I want, is not realistic. I can’t stand for extended periods of time, walking down stairs is excruciating, and walking up stairs is a little unnerving (knee). Quality-of-life issue. Kinda don’t want to deal with that. For the feet, there might not be anything that can be done; for the knee, it might mean surgery. Dodged that bullet before, but I don’t think I’ll be able to for much longer. Wear shoes that fit and support properly – your feet will thank you. Granted, I have some other pre-existing issues that make all that worse, but still. Comfortable, proper support.

Click to see the entire series. The first is actually the last panel shown.
2nd panel of native Jim Borgman’s strip comparing east and west Cincinnati to east and west Berlin.

Speaking of, this morning there was a workshop from someone in the business; she spoke about the business end of everything. I got up, got in the shower, got directions, skipped breakfast because I was running late (surprise) and headed  out. The workshop was on the west side of town. I live on the east side. Now, for those not from this area, that doesn’t seem to be such a big deal. It kinda is. Here’s a forum thread with more details for you, if you’re curious. Basically, it means that once I cross Vine street, I’m lost. Completely. Seriously. Wander around the Rockies, finding multiple routes from Denver to Estes Park? No problem. Get from Oakley (east) to Price Hill (west)? Maybe. After five tries. Yeah, that happened. Anyway, today I had to make my way to Price Hill for this workshop. I found directions and took careful note of the route. Fortunately, I have friends in Price Hill who, when I had more energy at my disposal, I would watch football with. Still do, just not as often as I’d like. Do other things, too, but those didn’t necessarily happen at their house. Simple directions, really, it involves one turn after I get off I-71. One. Missed it four times. I call it my east-side mental block.

Anyway, because of that, I already had some idea where I was going. What I forgot, and what Google didn’t take into consideration, was the construction/re-construction of the 6th Street Viaduct. I liked the old one. Sure, it was outdated and probably eroded enough that spending any time underneath it was tempting death, but it was neat. Plus, I knew how to get where I wanted to go. That route changed because of the construction. I had to learn a slightly different route. By that point, I’d been a couple more places over there, so it wasn’t quite so hopeless. Still got lost twice – that’s an improvement, right? Since the last time I’d been that way, the route had changed yet again; the directions I was given fit the previous route, not the current one. I was on my own. I had a choice to make – turn around and go home, or try to find an alternate route? I decided – I was looking for State Avenue, and by golly, I was going to find it!

Mt Echo Pavilion
Pavilion in Mt Echo, on the west side. Took me forever to figure out how to get here, even though I passed it EVERY SINGLE TIME I visited my friends.
I’m not proud.

I wandered the hills of the west, up and down, around curves, past homes perched precariously on a spit of land a mountain goat would hesitate to climb. High-traffic roads that reminded me of driving up Pikes Peak, except without the marmosets and altitude sickness, came at me one after another. I found myself in Delhi, in Westwood, in Western Hills, traversing the wilds of Lower Price Hill, East Price Hill, and regular old Price Hill. My gas gauge showed that soon, I would have to make a decision – I had enough to get myself home, of course, but I had to find a way to get there. Or, press on. Driving down Queen City Avenue, a street on which I’d accidentally landed dozens of times, quickly turning around because I knew I was in a foreign land. Once I even stopped for food and fuel. The language difference was minor, thankfully.

Right, so I was driving on Queen City when I saw a street I recognized – Grand Avenue! I was saved! Except I didn’t recognize it in time, so I drove right past it. I knew if I kept going the direction I was, I would eventually find my way home. The river was somewhere over there; as long as it was on my right, I would be fine. I patiently waited for the light to change. I could sense the animosity from the other cars. Even though mine was in far worse shape than anything I’d seen, I think they knew I was from the other side of Vine. I refused to make eye contact – eye contact means you are prepared to engage the enemy, and I wasn’t. This was their home turf. Just as I was ready to call it quits, I saw it – the road sign pointing to my salvation, the exit to State Avenue. Relief washed over me. This, I could do. I got off the viaduct and headed for my salvation. I wasn’t too terribly late yet, but I wasn’t there, either. Now, it was just a matter of pride. Home-free, I made my way up Glenway (if you want to practice your manual-transmission driving, c’mon to the western side of Cincinnati – you’ll get really good), avoiding parked cars, bouncing along the ruts and repairs and potholes that our harsh winter has left all over town. The city threw another detour at me, but I stood firm, following the signs and finding myself exactly where I intended to be. At last, finding myself in less-unfamiliar territory, I reached my destination.

Nearly ten o’clock, I was late; perhaps too late, really, to join. I looked for the address on the houses. Peering through my pockmarked windshield, the sun’s glare made it difficult. I made two trips up and down that street, looking at the ancient homes perched on their hilltops, long concrete staircases leading to their porches. I couldn’t figure out which was really the one I wanted – by that point, I was tired, and probably weak from hunger. I had found the street I was looking for. I had not found the house. Close enough. I left and went to breakfast, where I dropped my iPad just as I was paying my bill. Won’t turn on now. Yay.


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