Off-Kilter

It’s been an interesting few months. I think. I mean, I don’t really remember. My days have gone by quickly, too quickly to count. That usually happens when you’re having fun. I haven’t been having fun. As I mentioned last week, I’ve missed things. Reality and I have parted ways, it would seem, and I’m trying to get it back. I had an idea for this week, something light and humorous, but I didn’t write it down; if I don’t write it down, it didn’t happen. I did, however, do something I haven’t done in entirely too long – went out with my camera. I just got back, actually, and am in the process of downloading to see what I got. I tried out my new monopod. I find that after a while, my hands aren’t as steady as they used to be. Not sure what that is, if it’s age or indirectly related to the PKD or what, but pictures that I could take a year ago, or even in the first half-hour of a shoot, I can’t. Not without some stabilizing tool.

Oh, don’t worry, I won’t recount the exciting details of the download, or provide a timeline of the editing, and selection. Instead, I’ll just show.

It took quite a bit longer than I expected. I got distracted. The monopod, by the way, did help in some instances.

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Smale Park fountain, near Carol Ann’s Carousel, Cincinnati, OH
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Smale Riverfront Park near Carol Ann’s Carousel. Cincinnati, OH
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Smale Riverfront Park, Cincinnati, OH
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Great American Tower and Ballpark, Cincinnati, OH
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Smale Riverfront Park and the Roebling Suspension Bridge, Cincinnati, OH
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Downtown Cincinnati from Mt Echo Park.

There were frustrations. My knee has been acting up – it’s gone out on me twice in the past couple weeks so far – and my camera sensor needs to be cleaned, but I managed to make myself leave the house and enjoy myself. Not long, it was getting hot and I hadn’t eaten breakfast yet, but long enough.

Maybe next time.

Awry Away

It’s okay if you want to skip this one; it’s turned into a bit more of a journal entry than anything else. Neither a hint for help or a ploy for pity. Your patience, however, is appreciated.

I’ve added some photos if you’d rather scan a bit. – LM


 

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“Big Mac” bridge across the Ohio

Last weekend didn’t quite go as I had planned. There were so many things I was going to get done, including writing, that just didn’t happen. A bit of fatigue and overwhelming stress didn’t help any. I’m hoping for some good news next week. I’m hoping to get back to myself. I still haven’t been out with my camera much at all. I do go to the wine tasting, which is my non-work socializing for the week, but my memory is shot. For instance, I missed a memorial that I wanted to attend last night. I noted it, but not anywhere that I remembered. That’s been my head, lost. Too many things on my mind, not enough things that I want to think about.

I’m not even sure what I’m going to write about. The ideas in my head – and there were many – have disappeared almost completely, leaving me with tantalizing wisps, hints of greatness buried by an overwrought mind. I considered taking a break for a month, get things straight, but I was concerned that it would turn into six months, and that’s not something I wanted. I don’t fit anywhere, I don’t have anything I thought I would by now, I don’t have much in the way of close friends* to just be with. I don’t have any support at home; I just have me, and I suck at being supportive. In many ways, I’m becoming less comfortable in my own skin, instead of more, which is the direction I should be going, have been going for the past couple of decades. I don’t know the last time I did something I really wanted to do, something that usually brings me joy, or at least peace, without having to think about the consequences. I did go out for fun a couple weekends ago, with one of my dearest friends, and the whole time I thought of the physical toll it was taking, and how I wish I’d thought to bring a camera of some sort. Basically, I wasn’t as present as I would like to have been. It did spur me into working out a bit more aggressively, though, so that aforementioned physical toll wasn’t as great, so there’s that. It’s harder for me to see the beauty in the world right now, and that bothers me. I’m in limbo. That’s the long and the short of it. I’m lost, and I don’t know where I am or where I’m going. I think…I think something has finally broken, or at the very least, is teetering on the edge. Something always has to give, and I’m afraid it’s me. This is where my mind is, this is what makes me unfit for human consumption.

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Walking under the Purple People Bridge. Cincinnati, OH
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Pigs DO fly in Cincinnati, OH
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A little peace, a little hope. Cincinnati, OH

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*Let me make this clear – I have friends, people whose company I truly enjoy, with whom I could spend all day, and have. That’s not what I mean. I mean someone I can talk to when my world sucks, who knows when to be silent and when to be snarky, when to give advice and when to let me rant. Someone who understands me.† Those have always been hard for me to find, even when they’re right under my nose (which intellectually, I know I have), and the best is over 1,000 miles away. And if she has any sense, she’ll head to the Pacific Northwest, which would make her even farther away, but a damn sight happier.

†My own trust issues come into play here. I’ve been burnt far to many times. It would be easier for me to learn to ride a unicycle with a passenger than to allow someone see me. “Me” has been shot down and shut down so many times by people I thought I could trust, I don’t let her out much.

Finally, Suddenly August

It’s storming right now, lightning flashing, thunder rumbling, and I’m enjoying a healthy breakfast of gummy bears†. Been a few days since we’ve had one. It was bound to happen; we’ve had a series of warm*, sunny days, and at some point a cool front was going to blow through, which inevitably means storms. Nothing serious, just enough to keep me from going back to sleep. If it were a little later in the morning (wasn’t quite 5:30), and if I lived in a different part of town, I might have grabbed my camera and searched for a place to try and capture it. Not really sure where I’d go, to be honest, it’s not something I ever tried to capture here.

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Serpentine Wall at the end of June. River’s gone down a bit since then.

I took a long weekend. Too many things in my head, in my world, to deal with right now, I needed a mental health day. So I took two. Friday I slept in until 7:30 (Ooh!), and didn’t leave until time for the wine tasting. I couldn’t miss that. Really poor turnout, not sure what happened there. There were four people left at twenty to six; it was weird. Still, I stayed. What else did I have to do? Stomach hurt, not sure what that was about, hips have been bothering me, because I’m too fat for them (it’s more than that, but that’s not helping), and I was exhausted because I’d been exhausted for the past three weeks, but I wanted to go deal with people for a bit. It happens.

Saturday I met a friend for lunch at one of the many restaurants in OTR, one of my favorites, and hung out for a bit on the Serpentine Wall. We even rented a surrey, with the fringe on top‡. I did not have my camera with me. I also didn’t on Sunday, when I was at my niece’s bridal shower. It was hot. Really hot. Not complaining, the alternative is cold. I’ll deal with the walking-out-the-door-and-wondering-why-you-bothered-to-shower feeling over freezing. Today should be exciting; I’ll either do laundry (have to go to the laundromat), or re-watch Mr. Robot. It’s a good show, intelligent. It would never last on network television since it requires actual thought. I could also see about binging on Supernatural. I guess it depends on whether it clears up, and if I feel like having a day where I don’t move. Been over an hour since I got up, and it’s still storming.

In my personal world, there’s some activity for my future that I’m trying to resolve. Employment thing, been trying to get an answer and haven’t, yet. There’s also the aforementioned weight, and trying to find something I can do for exercise. I can’t do exactly what I did last time I needed to drop some serious pounds because of the kidneys. Function means I can’t do the first part of the diet, size means I’m limited in exercises. Yoga, for instance, is out of the question. All the bending would make me nauseous very quickly. Walking for a couple miles does that, too, for the same reason (disturbing the “twins”). Have to find something; this isn’t working for me.

I’m stalling. I wanted to write something about all that’s gone down this week, with the Sam Dubose case in particular. Judging from out-of-town friends’ posts on the day of the decision, the media had us on the edge of our seats, ready to explode. They completely ignored the fact that all the protests up to that point were peaceful. UC closed for the afternoon on that day, and some businesses in the area as well, even going so far as boarding up their windows. To be fair, once the video was released, if they’d come back with any other verdict, it might have gotten ugly. The prosecutor, Joe Deters, who’s not known for his racial sensitivity, felt there was no other option. Without the body cam footage, Tensing would have gotten away with what was cold-blooded murder. Especially since there were witnesses, other officers who came on the scene later, ready to believe their peer’s story, easy to do with no competing story, since the other witness was dead. They were not charged with anything. Not sure how I feel about that. On the one hand, they supported Tensing’s story. On the other hand, the human memory is very plastic. Memories can be replaced, if reinforced enough. Doesn’t matter what you saw, it’s what you believe you saw. So I don’t know.

I am not happy. Let’s get that out of the way right now, I am not happy. Indicted for murder, a police officer with a positive history has lost his livelihood because of behavior that did not fit with previous experiences. It does show the difference in the way people are treated based on skin color, something a lot of people are still unwilling to acknowledge. Our own president has faced a ridiculous amount of disrespect from people unwilling to admit that very thing. I don’t mean the ones who just don’t like his policy, and couldn’t care less about the color of his skin, but the ones who pick some irrational, baseless reason to not like him, like where he was born (Hawaii – doesn’t matter, his mother was a US citizen), or claims about his religion (Constitution doesn’t require presidents to be Christian – he is, but that’s irrelevant), or other things that have nothing to do with policy or governing. So, while I am grateful justice was done, that something went the way it should, I am not happy. One man is dead, two families are destroyed.

We have other issues as well. We have children getting shot for no obvious reason. A little girl, 4 years old, outside with her family at a block party, was shot in the head in a drive-by shooting. This has become too common. Some would believe the best thing is to incarcerate everyone. That does nothing but give them more skills when they’re released for parole or due to overcrowding. Redirection, in many cases, would do wonders for this. Yes, there are some who need to be incarcerated, who are completely unrepentant, and nothing anyone says or does will change it. Others have been misled. There are gangs. The disenfranchised are looking for somewhere to belong, something that gives them control over their own lives – or the semblance of it, anyway. Not everyone is willing to roll over and take it, not everyone has the strength to stand up and change it. There has to be an alternative. As more people with money move out of the city limits, the income drops. That’s why the revitalization of OTR is so important, to bring some money back in town. It needs to be done correctly, though, with a mix of economic levels, not just rich and poor.

See, this is why I was putting this off. There are too many things in my head, too many disjointed thoughts to speak coherently on this subject.

I know there are people who refuse to see the forest for the trees, who will not believe they are part of the problem. The fact of the matter is, we live here; we’re all part of the problem. Until we’re willing to acknowledge that – a majority, at least – then nothing will change. Not for the better, anyway.

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It’s in there, just have to make the effort to see it.

I’m gonna go get some actual food, now. The bears weren’t cutting it.
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†Haribo Gold Bears, the good ones. Not as good as the ones from Germany, which I can find at Jungle Jim’s, but still the best. I don’t go to Jungle Jim’s all that often – it’s entirely too easy to walk out with $100 worth of food that you aren’t sure what to do with.

*And by “warm” I mean hot with humidity that you could scoop in a cup and drink, air so thick you could cut it with a knife, feels like inhaling hot cotton. Are there places in the US that feel worse than that on a regular basis? Probably. No, not Florida; been there, wasn’t impressed.

‡It was a little short on horsepower – it was a bicycle surrey, so we provided the horsepower. Want to find out just how out of shape you are? Rent one of those and ride up a small hill. Surprisingly, I was not sore the next morning. I may have found something I can do for exercise.