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.

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.

Rough

It had been almost 20 days since I went out with my camera, for fun or profit.

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Dandelions gone to seed, Alms Park, Cincinnati, May 5, 2015

If it were December, or February, that would make sense; the cold and dark get to me every year. It’s May, though, and there have been a lot of beautiful days in that time. I didn’t even go out with my camera on my birthday, and that day was gorgeous! I was up and dressed; got my license renewed, had breakfast out, stopped in a bookstore, hours yet, before I had to be anywhere, and I came home instead, sitting inside, in front of my computer.

That tells me I’m unhappy.

Not just a little unhappy, either, but shading into depressed. I knew that, if I’m honest, but I haven’t had the energy to deal with it.

Even the weekends weren’t a reprieve. By the time Saturday rolled around, I had just enough energy to get out of bed and make breakfast. I only left the house when I absolutely had to. If my license and tags hadn’t expired last week, and I didn’t have friends who’d invited me to the symphony, I daresay I’d have spent my entire birthday in my house, not talking to anyone. Well, not no one, I’d have answered the phone when people called to wish me a happy birthday.

I’ve had days off here and there, but none of them were vacations; they were all sick days. There was a nasty cold, for instance; it started off like a particularly bad allergy attack, and took out my Easter weekend. Most recently, there was a sharp, sudden back (flank) pain with a slight fever that had me concerned about a possible kidney infection. I felt better by the end of the day, but I was still sore. I do have a real one coming up, a family vacation, and I still have to figure out how I’m getting there. Driving myself seems silly. Not to mention uncomfortable. Besides, I’d want to get my car into the shop to fix whatever makes my car squeal when I turn on the A/C or defroster. Without research, I assume it’s some sort of belt that needs replaced.

Of course, then I have to find someone to take me to work or home from the garage, and back to the garage when my car is ready. We have a concierge service through work that will do things like take your car to the garage, but I wouldn’t make anyone drive my car. No driver’s side mirror, so I’ve had to improvise. It broke off when the F350 hit me and caved in the driver’s-side door back in 2007. As I’m sure I’ve mentioned, I had to drive that from Tulsa to Colorado Springs. That was a bit nerve-wracking.

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Flowers reaching for the sun, Eden Park, Cincinnati, May 24, 2015

Where was I? Oh, right, sad, tired, depressed, affecting whole life, making things harder than they have to be, sapping all my energy and will. Typical for the winter, very atypical after about mid-March, the vernal equinox. Once again, I do have my suspicions for what is fueling this, and I am trying to figure out how to change, but there are entirely too many times when I feel completely alone. No one to really talk to. Not about this. So I continue to go through the motions of life, and try to recognize the bright spots when they come along.

Easier said than done.

Sunday morning, though, I woke up and felt pretty good. The sun had just risen, and I was alert. I left the house a little after 7, camera bag slung over my shoulder, and decided to look for an early morning vista to shoot. I hadn’t felt that drive to take pictures for a very long time. Even three weeks ago, when I last went out, it was forced. Glad I did, of course, but it shouldn’t have started out as a chore. This is what I do to relax, after all, a way for me to shake off the stress of the day. Instead, I drag myself home from work, maybe stop somewhere to get dinner, generally not particularly healthy, or find something at home that I can stick in the oven and remember before it burns, also generally not especially nutritious, stare at the computer, either hanging out on social media or, more commonly, play some solitary game where I don’t have to interact with other human beings, get to bed, and do it all again the next day.

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The Ohio River from the Eden Park Overlook, Cincinnati, May 2015

The “fake it ’til you make it” school of thought is a valid one, truly. You have to be committed to it, though, and have to be able to recognize when it’s time to do something more, when just pretending isn’t cutting it. The last several weeks – months, really – have been a complete blur. I wrote this during the sermon yesterday at church. I was listening, it was about Pentecost and the origins of the church, and it was interesting, but I had to get this out, and since we would be singing once the sermon ended, I needed to do it quickly. Kinda feels like open verse.

Been in a fog, a coma, for several months, now.
Days passing unheeded, unrecognized, slowly, quickly.
Life continues apace while my oblivion persists.
Occasional flickers of life appear –
here, a smile, there, a tear, a touch of joy, mirth, grief and pain,
only to slither away just as the veil begins to lift.
I am not happy right now.
There are many things conspiring to keep me where I lay,
leave me to rot on my own,
life ever so close, and yet, just out of reach.

Bit dark. Dramatic, even. Like I said, verse.

I really did go out with my camera yesterday, though, before church. And it was therapeutic. For a moment, to use my own overblown words, the veil was lifted, and there was peace. Even though the park was trashed – there are grills there, and every weekend, especially when it’s warm, it’s packed – it was peaceful. There was one lone city employee attempting to make a dent in the garbage strewn about the place, poking his pointed stick at things and lifting them to the trash bag in his hands. He must be efficient, though, because that’s the worst I’ve ever seen it look, by a long shot. Usually it looks nice there. The city puts out extra trash cans for people to use, and they still leave garbage all over. Granted, the trash cans are also full, but still. Complete lack of respect.

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The smog dome – significantly less than even ten years ago – makes for some interesting colors. Eden Park, Cincinnati, May 24, 2015

Enough of that rant. Suffice it to say, I need a change, and it needs to be big. I have an idea of what that may be, I just haven’t yet figured out how to make it happen. Well, that’s not completely true, I have laid some groundwork, it just hasn’t paid off yet. I’m back in a holding pattern, with few viable options at hand. The trick is not letting that get to me. Today’s plan – it’s the final day of Taste of Cincinnati. I haven’t been, yet. The family members who would go have already gone, so it’s just me. Not as bad as it sounds, it’s usually just me. I almost prefer it that way.

Number 112

It’s May. Finally, suddenly, it’s May. I realized this past Thursday or so that for the last several weeks, I’d been spending my time in a fog, and I haven’t figured out quite why. I have a guess or two, but I don’t like either one, since I can’t do much about them. I’ve been slowly cutting things in my personal life, things to do that are either ill-timed for me, or just too draining, so that perhaps I can be less exhausted, and have more energy to do things like go out with my camera. Yesterday, for instance, would have been a perfect day to do just that. I didn’t. I’d thought about going around and shooting the route for the Flying Pig, which just started maybe 10 minutes ago (50 minutes? I can’t remember what time it started). If I can get it together in time, I may do that this morning, since the route lies on my way to church. And if I wanted to go to my grocery store, I couldn’t. Not the way I’d normally go, anyway, since a fair chunk of the route is also in the race. As is one of my alternate routes. Actually, the other one I’d go to, which is only slightly farther, is also blocked off. I suppose there are some benefits to living on the west side.*

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Magnolias in the rain from April. Ault Park, Cincinnati

Apparently a couple of big things happened yesterday while I was avoiding the world.† There was a fight last night between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather. Apparently, Mayweather won, and pay-per-view went out.

Oh, and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have a new daughter. Won’t lie, kinda excited about that. I was hoping for a girl. Thank goodness for the generation before, with Princess Diana and Sarah Ferguson. Brought up the TV readiness of the royal family. Okay, that wasn’t nice. The Queen was an attractive young woman, one, and two, that’s not what’s important. The Queen is also a very strong woman, and has a great deal of love for the people she rules. Anyone who thinks otherwise is not paying attention. Anyway, her middle name is to be Diana if I’ve heard correctly. I don’t care so much about the name, just so long as part of it *is* Diana.

At least, that’s what I heard on the news just now. I should know better than that – it’s far less distracting for me to listen to music than watch news, and I’ve decided I do want to get some shots of the race before church. It’ll be too late after. I’ll charge up my battery to make sure I don’t miss anything. Nah, I didn’t use my flash last weekend, should be fine, right? Sure.

Friday was a celebration day at work, a play on the name of my employer. It’s an annual thing that usually means a day of not getting much done at all. You work while you can, but there are limits. After all, there was cornhole‡ to be played. Lost. By a lot. Oh, and Pictionary, which we almost won. Good that we didn’t, since my partner wouldn’t have been able to continue anyway. I had things to do, too. That one was a bit closer. I was almost relaxed yesterday. Didn’t know what to do with myself. I have a theory about my high level of fatigue on Saturdays – spent the rest of the week so tense, when I don’t have anything causing tension, I’m lost and don’t know what to do with myself. My body is confused, if you will, so accustomed to the pressure, that when it’s missing, there’s exhaustion. I know it’s not my health – recently had my quarterly checkup, and it’s all pretty much the same as it was three months ago. It’s been so stable that we’re going to every four months instead of every three. Hopefully it stays that way through all of next year, or at least through next June. Choir’s going to Florence, Italy, and I’d like to be there. Have to start saving now, of course.

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View of the Ohio from Eden in the rain last weekend. Eden Park, Cincinnati

Well. I did wash my dishes, and I wrangled the air conditioner into the window yesterday, which is a bit of an ordeal. I even managed to do it without hurting myself, which I always think is a good thing. The long and the short of that is I’d like to have energy on Saturdays to do things I want to do, not just things I have to do. I have to be careful, though, not to isolate myself. Entirely too easy to do, and not helpful. I am still a little sad that I missed yesterday. It looked like it was gorgeous, and we’re in the time of year where those are going to get fewer and farther between. This week will be 80 and above, and I don’t know if you’re aware, but we have a little humidity here in our Ohio River Valley (and Great Miami, and Little Miami, and Mill Creek, and Duck Creek – it’s a bit damp), and it can get unpleasant. I’ve been in Florida in the summer without AC, and I wasn’t impressed.

Now I need to get ready to leave. I have to make breakfast – the places where I’d normally stop if I were in a rush are also along the Flying Pig route. Mile 22 has been marked out in honor of Lauren Hill, fittingly enough. She might have been from Indiana, but it’s still part of the Tri-State, and she’s still ours. I know the story went national, but no way it was anywhere as important as it was here. It still surprises me when I see something so local go national. Devon Still and his little girl, Leah, were a local story that went national as well. The Republic of Cincinnati is a big bigger than I realize, sometimes.

It’s been about an hour; the runners – at least, the ones who intend to win – should be near here soon. I need to go meet them. And find an alternate route to church. And a place to park. That’s in the middle of the route, too. Yay, detours. Maybe next week, I’ll have some photos to share. I still have to eat, though, and bathe, all the things that make it easier to be around me. Plus, we’re going to be crammed in the loft today with some instrumentalists. Doing a Bach piece that will keep us there through the entire service, and it’s going to be warm.

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*The East Side/West Side thing isn’t anywhere near as big a deal as it was up through a fair chunk of my life, but it still comes up. and yes, I also still get lost once I’m west of Vine street. Some East Side mental block, because it’s not that difficult. Except Delhi. Delhi is insane.

†Not quite fair, I was also doing things in the house that needed to be done.

The American Cornhole Association is based just to the east of here, in a suburb of the city. I don’t remember ever seeing this much when I was a kid, and certainly not called cornhole, but apparently it snuck up somewhere while I was in Colorado. Now it’s EVERYWHERE!

Just About

Sunday again. I had plans for the day. Church in the morning, laundry in the afternoon. I washed my hair instead. Of laundry, not church. Singing keeps me sane, so that, I make sure I do. Another week at work best left unspoken. Wednesday I had a hair appointment – gotta cover those grays* – but that was about as exciting as it got. Yesterday, I got my brakes repaired. I’ve had that car since 2001; I figured by now, I probably needed them taken care of. It had been mentioned to me a few years ago, but I didn’t have the funds to do anything about it. I do now, so I did. Not going to be replacing my car any time soon (thanks, student loans), so I have to keep it running. Next thing you know, I’ll get my oil changed more often than once a year. I still haven’t driven it 100,000 miles, by the way. Apparently, wherever I go, it’s not very far from where I am.

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Another from a couple weeks ago. Shot this one blind, as it were.

While I waited for my car to get looked at, then repaired, I issued myself a challenge; I challenged myself to find something interesting along the stretch of road where I was, something interesting to photograph. There are no homes right there, nor are there factories. There are stores and restaurants, urgent care facilities and power lines. Lots of power lines.

I thought about other things to write about, much like last week, but I didn’t really dig into them much. On CBS Sunday Morning today, they did a story about Bela Fleck and his banjo playing. It reminded me that the banjo was inspired by an African instrument, which they mentioned a little later in the article. It reminded me about some of the way speople shoot themselves in the foot, ignoring experiences because it’s just not done in their tiny world. I was ready to rant on that for a bit, but it was going to be nothing but a rant, not productive, probably make me angry. Much like the special I started watching on hurricane Katrina on Saturday. I watched Mockingjay On Demand instead. I have until 7 tomorrow night to re-watch. Probably will, since Once Upon a Time has jumped the shark. Cruella deVille, Ursula the sea witch and Maleficent? Really? Fire up the speed boat and don’t forget your water skis.

Not as warm today, but still lovely, I drove around with the top down. The sun was out. I think it was in the mid-40s about then. As I’ve said many a time, that’s what heaters are for. All my rants melted away, so I’m left with a post and no burning need to write anything. Whenever that happens, I default to photos. So, a few from yesterday, experimenting with a place only a mother could love.

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Fallen hydrant on the side of the road.

 

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Contradiction

 

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Number, please.

 

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Turkey vulture between the lines

Have a good week!

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*For years, I didn’t color. I was fine with the silver strands coming in. They’d been coming in since I was 15, so they were familiar to me. Still, they started to multiply, and not in any sort of pattern. So, they’re gone now. Besides, it’s one evening of pampering and wine.†

†The wine is secondary, just like it is on Fridays when I go to the wine tasting at the grocery store. Then, though, rather than the pampering, it’s about the company and the food.

I Ate’nt Dead

Not easy to learn, the Haydn, but so worth it.
Not easy to learn, the Haydn, but so worth it.

Last weekend was busy. My choir had our Lenten concert on Sunday afternoon, a church service that morning, and a dress rehearsal on Saturday. After a long week at work, and a rough moment or two recognizing the 10th anniversary of my mother’s passing, I didn’t have energy for much else. Throw in the time change, the loss of an hour, and it was all I could do to function. It went well, I think, our performance. The audience leapt to their feet at the end, different from the usual reaction of the few who stand up for every performance, and everyone else eventually rising. The soloists were, of course, spectacular, as was the orchestra. The audience was a bit sparse, but I think part of that might have been the time change, part the weather. It was lovely outside, sunny and warm; I didn’t put on my jacket when I left, and I drove with the top down, of course. It was probably not above 50 degrees (10 C), and a little breezy, but that’s what heaters are for.

I have a few things rolling around in my head right now; I’m afraid a decent segue is out of the question today. Shall we press on?

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Near the end of the daylight at Ault Park, March 11, 2015

Meteorological spring has sprung, as of March 1st. It rained. Well, it’s spring; I’m definitely not complaining. This past Wednesday, I left work after a particularly stressful day and grabbed my camera. It was nearing sunset, and I wanted to get something showing that spring was on its way. I considered areas where there might be new life springing forth. There’s a shrub or tree outside the door at work that’s been pushing forward new branches for a few weeks now. There’s even a leaf on one of them. But it’s dark, and it’s limited, and I wanted something more. I thought of going to one of my favorite spots – reminding myself that there are SEVERAL places just on this side of town I could explore – but I saw the sun sinking and made a last-minute decision. I headed to another of my favorite spots, Ault Park. It was close. I spent a good two hours there, I think, just shooting, decompressing, working on becoming whole once more. I played with the light, which is what you do with a camera, and I think I came up with some interesting things. That wasn’t the point, though; I was relaxed, as though I’d just had a steamy hot bath and massage. The winter had been long, cold, unpleasant, and near the end, full of snow. I’d gone out for fun once in November, once in January, and once in February. That’s all. It’s not enough. I’d planned to go out today, see what I could get of the Ohio river above flood stage, but I got caught up in other things instead. It’ll flood again, that’s what it does. Hopefully not that badly; it seems the vast majority affected this time are the ones usually affected, which still sucks, but it’s not that odd. It’s not 1937, after all. Or even 1997.

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Pavilion pillar at Ault Park

I have notes about what I wanted to cover – zero-tolerance policies, the impending season, fatigue, and late bloomers (more in-depth than above). As I said, much rolling around in my head. And yet…

I was stalling. Terry Pratchett passed away this past† Thursday. Completely unmentioned in the US media, all over British media and my Facebook newsfeed. Yeah, my friends have excellent taste. See, I knew, as did most fans, that Sir Terry was stricken with Alzheimer’s disease, and that it was just a matter of time. Still, it was no less shocking when he did pass. I discovered him in 1997, I think, when, after years of reading Piers Anthony’s Xanth books, I was ready for something else. I’d heard of him, of course, just hadn’t gotten around to reading anything. I didn’t pick up the very first book, it wasn’t available. Instead, I picked up the first book I could find, which I think was Lords and Ladies*, featuring witches and wizards and elves and rude earthworks. And I read. Before I even finished reading it, I bought all the books I could find, and afford. Some months I could only get two, thanks to bills and low pay. There were gaps that took years to fill. I think I literally squealed when I saw the first three books for sale, and at a special price of $3.99. The new publisher was looking to get people interested again, and probably figured out the lack of early books was hampering them just a bit. Discworld doesn’t necessarily have to be read in order, but it can help with some of the stories. I’ve had to replace two of them so far, because I’ve read them so often. I usually start the series once a year. I haunt bookstores looking for a paperback° that I haven’t gotten yet, and snatch it up on the spot. They’re not that easy to come by, you know.

But see, he didn’t just write about Discworld; that was only his most famous stuff. I also read Good Omens, which is about the Apocalypse. Well, the attempted Apocalypse, anyway. If you’re easily offended, move on; if not, though, if you like a good bit of (religious) satire, I highly recommend it. As with his other stories, it is at once funny, touching, and deep. It makes me think, still, as many times as I’ve read it. A master of the written word, and I do not say that lightly, everything he wrote makes me think, even as it makes me laugh, or cry.¤

So once again, my world is saddened by yet another light snuffed.
Terry Pratchett - TheAustralian Ripples Quote

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†For the grammatically challenged, I will point out that there are indeed words that sound similar but are spelled differently and have different meanings. Passed and past are no more the same word than they’re, their, or there are.
Okay, I feel better now.

*It might have been Masquerade, too. It was nearly 20 years ago, give me a break!

°Here’s the thing – the first books I bought were all paperbacks, and there was no chance whatsoever of getting them in hardcover. I can’t very well have part of a series in paperback and part in hardcover, now can I? Unless it’s a book signing; then I have two copies, a signed hardcover, and a reading paperback. Which reminds me, I still have two Hollows books to get.

¤Collections of quotes, from his book, and his own mouth.
The Telegraph – 50 Best Quotes
Buzzfeed from 2013 – 26 Quotes
BBC America – 30 Quotes

Sorry…

Not feeling well today. I really need to get back in bed. I might be better tomorrow, but I’m not holding my breath. So, some old photos, since I haven’t been out for fun in over a month.

Ault Fall_0027a
Sunny fall day. Almost any time the sun is out, people come out too.
Bridal Workshop - Amanda 150a
One of my favorites from a November 2013 Workshop session.
Ault Fall_0121a
Same fall day, same park as the first photo.
Lunken Moon_0041a
I need to get up in the morning; the moon is in a perfect spot for me before 8 right now.
Mt Echo Hoops_0006a
Downtown from Mt Echo this past May

 
I didn’t want to leave you hanging. See you next week.

Missing

Missed a couple days, sorry about that. Last weekend I was in Columbus, and writing a post on my tablet did not appeal. Yesterday I was just exhausted, and still had plans for the afternoon. I didn’t go to church this morning because I hurt. I don’t think it’s from yesterday, I didn’t do anything unusual, I think I was already tired and sorry. Well, I was a bit sore on Friday, so I guess that makes sense. Yes, kidney thing. If anyone tells you there’s no pain with PKD, tell them they’re wrong, and all their degrees don’t make them right.

Sunset Whim_0085a
Eastern Cincinnati and Dayton (?) Kentucky as seen from Eden Park.

I have a few things on my mind right now. Nothing huge, just trying to figure out how I’m going to get to Vienna next June with my choir, and what exercises I can do to lose weight so it’s not so uncomfortable flying all that way. Not really a good enough reason, since I’m still not sure I’m going to be able to pay for the trip AND the flight yet, but it is a reason, and if it motivates me, I’ll take it. No, yoga is not an option; kidneys are too big, too much bending and twisting makes me nauseous. Sore too, but nauseous is the worse one. I hate being nauseous. Makes it hard to eat, and I have enough trouble doing that as it is. I suspect that part of my weight problem is the crap I eat, but the other part is I may not be eating enough. Counter-intuitive, I know, but if you eat too few calories for too long, your body goes into starvation mode and starts hoarding. I can’t eat a lot at one sitting – no room. Kidneys take up a lot of space, squish and move other organs and innards. If I eat too much too quickly, I get, well, nauseous. and violent heartburn. I take Prilosec regularly for that. Not daily, just every other day or every three days, but it makes a difference. Pepcid stopped working for me a while ago.

Sunset Whim_0120a
Eden sky while the sun sinks below the horizon.

What an exciting post, all about the gastrointestinal issues caused by my PKD. Tell you what, I’ll go back to the week before last, which did not involve a single GI conversation.

Fall showed up with a vengeance a couple weeks ago. I had to wear two layers some days, and spent an entire day in a pullover at work. I don’t do cold. That Tuesday, the 14th, it had been disgusting and rainy all day, dark, gray, and cold. People were miserable. Just as I was leaving work to go home, though, the sun decided to make an appearance. Since I’ve been making a concerted effort to get back out there with my camera, something that brings joy to my life, I did just that. Stopped at home, picked up my camera, and headed out for Eden Park, to see what I could do with the sunset. It was still chilly, but I didn’t care – the sun was out, and the clouds were spectacular. Since it was a weekday, there probably wasn’t going to be much in the way of crowds, and there wasn’t. I got to take my time and look around, stare at the sky, watch the ducks (not many) and the people (even fewer*).

The sun had finally sunk low enough that I couldn’t see it, and it got even colder, so I decided to head home. Thought I’d make a quick stop, though, pick up some apples, since I was out. Something happened, though. No, nothing bad, but only because I kept my head. Sitting at a traffic light, waiting for the signal to change, I looked to my left. The clouds had parted once more, and the sun was visible in the sky, large and orange, and sinking. I had to find a place to stand! I couldn’t stay where I was because, well, traffic, but I got through and found a place to pull over. I missed the sun itself, but I still caught the sunset. I had a few moments where I forgot I was holding a camera, and I just stared. What an incredible moment that was! And I even remembered to go back to the store and pick up apples; I was a little proud of myself for that.

Sunset Whim_0166a
Yes, the sky really was that color.

What an incredible event to catch! That weekend I spent with friends, including a karaoke evening in a fun dive bar. If I lived in the area, I could see becoming a regular. Had to be the most diverse bar I’d ever seen outside of a culturally-sensitive TV show. I had no idea that existed in this state. Our Over-The-Rhine area is being redeveloped, with nice restaurants and restored buildings, but the diversity is still missing. Oh, the original residents are still in the area, but they’re not participating in the revitalization. That’s for those with disposable income, something they tend not to have. But that’s for another post.

I did make a run back home for church. We were installing a new minister, and had a choral piece commissioned just for that. Written by Dale Warland, which is kind of a big deal, it was a beautiful piece. Simple and elegant. It’ll get performed again. Bit of excitement, though, I needed gas. Desperately. I didn’t realize how desperately, though, until I passed a Sunoco station on I-71. When I passed that exit, it looked like I probably had a good 30 miles left, so I should be fine. Maybe 2 miles out, the needle on my gas gauge dipped into the space between the white line that says you’ve got a way to go yet, and the red line which says you better hope there’s a station at the next exit, and the next exit is within a mile or two. It wasn’t – I mapped it when I got home. That Sunoco station was about ten miles from the BP station I found at the next exit. Thank goodness it was open – the next nearest station that I could have gotten to was 13 miles away. My tank holds about 14 gallons – when I filled up, I got 13.28 gallons. I’ve never let my gas tank get that low, so I was more than a little nervous. Especially being in the middle of nowhere Ohio on a Sunday. *shudder* Won’t be doing that again!

Spring Grove with Hennigan_0072b
Oak leaves mid-transition.

Yesterday I went out shooting with a former teacher of mine (still weird to call her by her first name). It’s fall, trees have begun to change, and she’d ask to go along next time I went out for fun. Planned, that is. This is the first planned outing I’ve had in quite some time. I like shooting with others – they help me see things I might otherwise miss. Definitely a good idea. We went to Spring Grove Cemetery and Arboretum. If you’re ever in Cincinnati, you should make that a place to visit. Sure, there are graves all over the place, but the grounds are spectacular. People really do use it for photo shoots – I’ve seen women in wedding gowns and seniors in formal dress, and when I was doing my younger sister’s engagement photos, I had to work around a photographer doing some family portraits. There were photographers doing portraits yesterday too. It was too beautiful out not to. Although, strong sun actually makes it harder to get a good shot. A brightly overcast day is perfect. Even light, few shadows.

A good time was had by all.

Spring Grove with Hennigan_0035a
Reflection of the trees in one of Spring Grove’s many ponds. Lakes? Body of water, okay?

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*That’s right, fewer, not less. It’s a countable amount. If pressured, I could give an actual number of people, assuming I counted. There were maybe five.

Arr!

Okay, it’s a day off, but yesterday was Talk Like a Pirate day, a high holy day of the Pastafarian religion. They didn’t create it, but pirates are sacred, so it only made sense. I mean really, a season of rebirth and new life and Easter? Natural connection there. I had a little fun with it, but not all that much, because I’d forgotten – as I often do – until the middle of the afternoon. I did get in a couple of nice piratical comments, and I even changed the language on my Facebook page to English (Pirate) for a few hours. That’s really about it, though. For the most part, my day was consumed with work, taking a break from work, discussing work, doing more work, then leaving work and debating whether I would attempt to do laundry that evening or wait until next week some time, since this weekend was out of the question.

Oktoberfest Zinzinnati 2012
The Nikes totally make the outfit. 2012

Oktoberfest weekend; can’t miss that. Oh, and the Cincinnati Comic Expo is this weekend, too, as it has been for at least the last few years. Except last year; last year we had the George Takei Chicken Dance, which resulted in a GIGANTIC crowd, particularly of people who’ve never before graced the streets of Zinzinnati. Billed as the second-largest Oktoberfest in the world – if you want authentic, well, we have those too, but they’re not this one. This one’s just a big party; a really big party with a lot of beer and food – we once hosted the world’s largest Chicken Dance, with an estimated 40-50 thousand participants, if memory serves. That record’s long since been shattered, but that doesn’t matter; the Chicken Dance is a required element of the Oktoberfest – it was originally started in honor of our strong Bavarian heritage, from the surge of immigrants in the 1800s. I’ve seen photos of the area – I can see why they settled here. A little short on majestic, snow-capped peaks, but big on bazillions of river valleys. A bit more to it than that, I’m sure, but the photos I’ve seen look a lot like home to me. Although, we do seem to have more neighborhoods perched on the side of a steep hill that’s not quite a mountain, but just as nasty to drive (I lived in Colorado for ten years – I know what I’m talking about).

Anyway, Bavarian pride, Oktoberfest second largest in world – not in visitors, which tends to be at the 400-500,000 level, but the celebration itself – lots of beer, lots of bratwurst, lots of potato pancakes, mettwurst (similar to smoked sausage or kielbasa), and lots of live music. At least four stages; I can’t remember if there’s more. Some are bigger than others. There, at least, there is a bit of tradition. Want an Oompa band? Got it. And they’re good. We might not be NYC, but we have an awful lot of artistic talent. The Naked Cowboy is from here. And NYC, Boston, DC, London, they keep poaching our conductors!

Couldn’t do laundry on Sunday either because football. Duh!

Eden View_0033a
Canada Goose eyeing me warily

I did finally get out with my camera a couple weeks ago. I may have mentioned that. Then again, I may have been otherwise distracted. I’d taken a half day the day after the book signing I attended. Figured I’d be useless by noon, but I did want to try and accomplish something at work, and going in late, well, no. I wasn’t too far off, either; I left work and I could barely keep my eyes open. But it was a beautiful day. Sunny, not too warm, not too cold, still plenty of green, not even very humid. I hadn’t been out with my camera for fun since July 29th. I’m not counting the few shots I took from my porch, since I didn’t even have to put on a bra for that. Yes, that’s a bigger deal than shoes, fellas.

It took me a while to figure out where I would go. I didn’t want to go too far because, well, I was quite tired – I didn’t get home the night before until almost 1 am – and I’m still having trouble with my feet and knees, although the feet are a bit better. The knee has been trying to go out on me for the last couple of weeks. I’m ready for it! Fine, I’m not, but I figure the whole positive thinking thing might work, right? No? Okay.

I knew I didn’t want to go to Ault Park. There, for me, it’s about the early spring flowers and the people watching. Alms park sounded nice, but it’s small. Mt Echo park also seemed like a good idea, but that was 20 – 25 minutes across town, and it was nearly rush hour when I finally left the house. No. So, I went to Eden Park.

Wasn’t that exciting?

I’m working on getting back into the habit, trying not to let this slide. It’s something I want to do, whether anyone reads or not. It’s for me. Pretty selfish, huh?

Another One

It seems the legends are dropping like flies. They’re not – three weeks isn’t exactly the same day, but it’s awfully close. Joan Rivers passed away after complications from throat surgery. Not plastic surgery; a routine surgery on her throat, something that people consider not to be a big deal. But, surgery is surgery, no matter how routine it is. So, cardiac arrest, medically-induced coma, and finally, her daughter made the heart-wrenching decision to turn off life support.

Much like Robin Williams, I knew of her since I was a kid. Granted, there wasn’t much that she did that was appropriate for kids – not even Spaceballs – but still; being allowed to stay up when she guest-hosted The Tonight Show was a treat. Even when her world crashed around her – late-night show cancelled, Vegas contract ended, widowed by suicide – she didn’t quit. Well, she had a daughter to take care of, she couldn’t. Moms do that. I had no idea what my mom had done to keep a roof over our heads and food in our bellies, keeping our lives as normal as possible, until years later. I didn’t find out from her – she never told me anything. No bad news. Considering the other positions she put me in, it seems a bit contradictory. I don’t know if she thought she was protecting me, or herself. Probably a bit of both. She did try; she really did.

Smokestacks celebrate a run or a K.
Smokestacks celebrate a run or a strikeout (K).

This isn’t about her, though, this is, well, I don’t know what it’s about. I suppose I’m really doing a stream-of-consciousness thing today. The football season started this past Thursday with a Seahawks home win over the Packers. Today, though, it *really* starts, and I am very excited about it. Mom gave me that one, actually; she’s the one who taught me about baseball and football. We never got to go to a football game together – more than we could really afford – but we’d been to a couple baseball games. Including September 12, 1985, the day after Pete Rose had his 4,192nd hit. He wasn’t in the lineup that night, but he did come out to acknowledge the fans, which was very cool. We stood for fifteen minutes for him; I counted. Classy, he’s not, but he’s ours, and we love him. Yes, he belongs in the Hall of Fame. All those asterisks and men who did things far worse than gamble, and they’re still in there. There are some who affected the outcome of games by altering their physiology. They’re not in there; Sosa, McGuire, Palmiero probably won’t make it, but they weren’t banned. Every time the discussion comes up, the overwhelming majority of Cincinnatians say yes, he belongs in there.

We have a few subtle tributes to him at Great American. Those steamboat smokestacks are ringed with bats – seven on each stack, total of 14, Pete’s number. It’s not the only one; the place where 4,192 hit is also marked with a rose garden, a sea of red surrounding  a white rose bush, where that ball hit the ground in the old Riverfront Stadium. We were very happy he was able to do it here instead of Chicago; it was a close thing, but he had to play, he couldn’t not be Charlie Hustle.

Today, though, it’s about football, and I am excited! Choir started this past Thursday too, although I manged to lose an entire week somewhere, so I completely missed our first rehearsal. Our retreat is next Saturday, though, and we have our 2nd rehearsal this Thursday. I do have a few concerns about that lost week – I’ve never missed the first rehearsal or first service of the season, and I didn’t even pay attention to when our retreat actually was. September sort of snuck up on me. There are a few other things that concern me, that may be related. I’d rather not think about that.

All that stress from work is apparently getting to me. Oh well, not much I can do about that. Not if I want to keep paying my bills, and doing things like buying a book – or rather, a voucher for a book – and a place in line for a signature, and a t-shirt. Monday night I will be at Joseph Beth Booksellers in Rookwood, getting the final book in a series signed by the author. It will be my second signed book by her. I only feel a little badly because I haven’t read the last two yet. I suppose that means that, unlike when I got The Deathly Hallows (yes, I was in Barnes & Noble for the midnight release), I can’t get home and make myself comfortable and start reading. I mean, I could, it just wouldn’t make much sense since I hadn’t read the previous book or two. There’s also the fact that I have to go to work on Tuesday. I did take a half day; Get in there in the morning, get something done, then leave before the lack of sleep catches up to me. Much better than going in late when everyone’s been up and raring to go.

Bit scattered, sorry. Having trouble gathering the thoughts all in one place. I haven’t even been out with my camera for fun since the end of July. I need to do something about that. Last time I went that long, I wasn’t in the best place. Things are looking up, though. Oktoberfest and the Comic Expo are coming up, the Renaissance Festival has begun, and I’m going twice – once with my sister, which I’m pretty excited about – and of course, the leaves are changing; perfect time to get back out with my camera. Perfect time to make myself go out.

I hope to have my thoughts better-arranged for you next time. These peeks into my brain are a little scary.

Joan Rivers Visit's "Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo" - March 29, 2011
The world just got a little less funny. Robin Williams from “Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo.”