Tag Archives: Cincinnati

Photo-A-Day: Backlog

Photo-a-DayHello, friends! Once, again I am finding myself needing to apologize. Last week, I hurt myself rather severely. This is going to sound funny, but it’s not funny. On the 28th, I had such a fit of coughing that I wrenched the cartilage away from one of my ribs. Everything hurts. The left side of my torso feels like it’s on fire, as if I suffer a perpetual case of heartburn. Bending down, reaching up, pushing open doors, lying on my back–all these basic actions are excruciating. So, it’s been a bummer of a week. Fortunately, I started feeling a lot better yesterday. The sensation of heartburn still lingers, though.

To make up for my absence, I’m offering you a bit of a backlog of photos–all taken from my phone, which doesn’t have such a hot camera. This first one was from last night. You locals will recognize it as Cincinnati’s iconic Music Hall, which borders the newly renovated Washington Park. I was at a symphony concert last night at the park with some friends of mine. This was the inaugural concert for the CSO’s new conductor, and, as the local NPR radio ads attested, it was also a never-before-seen-anywhere-on-planet-Earth outdoor concert and light show.

And while the music, light show, and the company of my friends was all enjoyable, what I noticed most were the people. A crush of humanity of every side. Now, all these people are a great thing for Cincinnati. And a great thing for the symphony. All these people completely overwhelmed me and made me reflect on the book I’m reading now, Quiet by Susan Cain.

Cain’s book made a splash last year and put spotlight-averse introverts in the spotlight. I’m an introvert myself and have found this book to be very validating. At last night’s concert, I watched myself have a classic introvert reaction to all the stimulation. According to Cain (and my own life experiences back this up), introverts receive stimuli (sights, noises, smells, people, movement, etc) from their senses simultaneously and they process it very quickly. Which means, an introvert can go to, say, an outdoor concert and “get” it quickly. After 30 minutes or an hour, the introvert will feel like, “been there, done that, let’s go home.” It’s not about being antisocial or being a party pooper. It’s about how our brains work. We short circuit with all that stimulation, and we need some down time to recharge.

So, I was watching myself have that experience last night. Because I truly wanted to see the once-in-a-universe light show and spend time with my friends, I just focused on the music and the lights and tried to tune out everything else.

Photo-A-DayThis next photo is from an event I went to last weekend–before my rib injury. This event was more my style (interestingly, I was with the same friends)–low key, a handful of people, good beer. People talked about ideas instead of just chattering.

Photo-a-DayAnd, finally, to end this post, I’ll leave you with another photo. I’m sure you’ve missed seeing Scout and Pruf as much as you’ve missed reading my posts. Here, they are. My little termites, chewing away on their hunks of wood on a summer evening.

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Photo-A-Day: Meet Me at St. B

Photo-A-DayPerfect timing: this evening–when I took this photo of St. Boniface–the bells were ringing. It was 6pm (Scout’s supper time; she knows when she hears those bells that I better put food in her bowl). I wish this photo had sound to it so you could hearing the deep, majestic chimes.

St. Boniface is a beautiful old Catholic church (and school) in Cincinnati. It feels like an anchor here in my neighborhood. Perched on a hilly corner, it sits facing a semi-major street and offers shady sanctuary on a summer’s day. Earlier today, I walked the dogs to the coffee shop and as Pruf dragged his way back home, I kept saying to him, “Just make it to St. B, Pruf. We can rest there in the shade.” He made it, so we scampered up the hill and bathed in the shade of the old trees. Scout and I often rest here with Pruf during summer walks.

As an anchor and a landmark, St. Boniface also serves as a meeting place. The dogs and I like to walk with KZ and her dog Lucy. The text messages that arrange these dog-walking dates go something like this: “wanna walk today?” “sure meet me @ St b in 5.” As the dogs and I get closer and closer to the church, we start looking for KZ in her trademark ball cap and little Lucy smiling, wagging, and zig-zagging all over the place. Even on days when we don’t have a walk arranged, the dogs will walk more slowly here, looking around, waiting for KZ and Lucy to appear. They look up at me, as if to say, “why aren’t they here? We’re at St. B. Where are they?”

Since I only interact with the outside of this building, enjoying its shade or waiting to meet a friend, I forget that it’s an active parish and school with a vibrant internal life. Some Saturdays I’ll walk or bike by and see a woman in white, surrounded by women in pastels all lined up on the steps, posing for photos, and I’ll think, “Oh yeah, I guess it is a church and people get married there.” On Sundays, there’s a bit more traffic on the side street by St. B, and, of course, during the school year, playground sounds ricochet through the mid-morning and the buses and crossing guard materialize at 2pm. The building has a life, beyond my own uses of it.

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Photo-A-Day: Rainbow Ice Cream Fantasy

Photo-A-DayAs much as this undertaking is at risk of becoming a blog of pet photos and weird food pictures, it’s perhaps more at risk of morphing into a catalog of Cincinnati murals. There are worse fates.

This gem–the title of which really is something like “Rainbow Ice Cream Fantasy”–is on the corner of 12th and Jackson, I think. It’s right around the corner from the Know Theatre. I was at the Know this afternoon, volunteering for the Fringe Festival. (I replenished the concession coolers for the smaller venues. So, if you see a Fringe show tonight somewhere other than the Know and they’re short on Sprites, blame me.)

This mural surprised me; I didn’t know it was there. And I thought it was pretty. I like the colors (how’s that for a sophisticated aesthetic analysis?). What I also like about it is how it captures the brightness and playfulness of summer from a child’s perspective.

Do you remember that? How much promise the summer held when you were little? The simplest things were so fun and exciting: catching a firefly, staying up late to watch the Dukes of Hazard, getting to play all day long because there was no school, going away to camp. Ice cream, especially, seemed to epitomize summer.

As working adults, it seems like the routine of our lives doesn’t change all that much, come summer (unless, of course, you’re a teacher or you have school-aged children). It takes a lot of effort to tap into that boundless joy and it likewise takes effort to justify that much ice cream. So, I welcome all the ways in which this mural is a reminder of how to be.

By the way, your guess is as good as mine as to what has impaled that poor bunny rabbit in the lower right corner. That’s a nice shout-out, though, to the dark complexities of childhood.

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