Fall Photo Walk, October 8

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Peak fall color is still a fortnight away, but my husband and I ventured out to a local park this morning to capture some of the brighter leaves on the margin of the forest. By the way, my husband has started taking nature pictures, too, but I have not yet convinced him to start posting them online. He will be retiring in a year and a half and plans to devote himself full-time to his vintage bicycle hobby. I’ve told him he should consider blogging about his hobby, but I haven’t succeeded in that campaign, either.

While it would be neat to have interests like photo sharing and blogging in common with my husband, I can content myself with the notion that he is a rare treasure almost undiscovered by the world at large.

This week I saw a comedy clip on Facebook about a woman who freaks out because she has started dating a man who has no social media footprint whatsoever. She and her friends are so befuddled by this that they resort to creating an ad-hoc intelligence agency to figure him out. I wish I had a link to that video, for it is highly amusing. Anyway, my husband is like that guy. He has no presence on social media aside from my images and mentions of him. I’m glad I grew up in an era when you couldn’t scope someone one by stalking their Facebook, for I’d have thought it strange that he opted out of it. Maybe I’d have wondered if he had five wives in different states or belonged to the witness protection program, and I’d have alienated him with my suspicions.

I was glad to have him with me this morning. Enough of the leaves have fallen in the forest to reveal some spooky features, like this fallen tree:

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My husband said it reminded him of an elk. Close by there was a tree carved with many initials of couples who also strolled through that forest:

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I did persuade my husband to take a little walk with me on video. I made this clip by setting my phone on a tripod and pressing record, and then I trimmed it with the YouTube app on my phone. I’m sharing that little tip with you in case anyone else is interested in creating videos of moments with those who are near and dear to you.

This morning we were chasing the light because the sky was clouding up as we were taking our photos. The moments of dull light gave us more time to reflect on how many times we’ve visited that park over the years. I am grateful that I am nowhere near exhausting my interest in this locale. I am also blessed that I can’t imagine ever growing weary of talking to my husband. Even during the spans of time that have not been easy, he has yet to run out of fascinating things to say.

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Garden, October 7

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Once again the weather is warm enough to inspire me to turn on the air conditioner in the house. Today’s forecasted high is 81 degrees, and my flowers are loving this weather.

By the way, I’ve posted more images and few little video clips of my garden on Instagram.

Do you post photos on Instagram? If so, please leave a link to your Instagram feed in the comments so I can follow you there, too.

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Once More, With Feeling: Pedestrian

I had technical difficulties with yesterday’s weekly photo challenge post. By the way, who is else is old enough to remember when TV stations would interrupt their broadcasts with the message, “Please stand by – We are having technical difficulties”? For whatever reason, my first entry for the challenge did not have a proper pingback, so I thought I would create another post, this time with a Throwback Thursday angle.

I have plenty of aging images in my photo archive that feature people walking around at fairs and parades. I took the picture below at a county fair ten years ago:

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I would guess that this trio was on the verge of starting 11th or 12th grade when I took this picture. Unlike the other cliques of teenagers on parade for their peers that day, this group did not walk in sync. I wonder where life has taken each of them and if their roads diverged, as portended by their steps.

 Pedestrian

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The theme for this week’s photo challenge is Pedestrian. My response to this week’s challenge does not show an exquisite setting for a stroll. Instead, my image is somewhat pedestrian in a different sense. A pedometer is a common (even trite) device nowadays.

The internet is full of “humblebrags” about step counts. I won’t pretend that I’m not proud of today’s number. I had back surgery seven months ago, and I can walk seven miles on a good day.

Fall Photo Walk, October 2

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I visited a local public garden this evening in hope that it was still abundant with blooms. Our minor drought has cut this garden’s glory a bit short this year. Only the ornamental grasses are still thriving.

The weather pattern is a bit different each year, but this is the first year I can recall that gardens are dying down before there are lots of colorful leaves to divert our attention.

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Garden, October 1

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I am pleased that my pink rose mallow hibiscus has rebloomed for the second year in a row. For reasons I can only guess, the blooms on this second crop are about a third smaller than the large flowers that this bush offered at the height of summer. It is possible that a steep decline in rainfall stunted the growth of these blooms, or maybe the smaller flowers are this bush’s way to rage against the dying of the light (i.e, the end of this year’s growing season).

Today has been such a busy day. It included plenty of walking, necessary shopping, and even a bit of house cleaning. I’m not sure what sparked this interest in cleaning today, but I’ve learned to seize these moments lest my family live in squalor. I even mopped my kitchen floor, a task I detest more than most chores. The floor is linoleum that has aged to the degree that it looks a bit dirty even when it is clean, making the task of mopping seem pointless.

Replacing the kitchen flooring is a project that never seems to rise to the top of our priorities. It nearly made the top of the list a year ago, but the cracking of our bathtub stole its thunder. I suppose this post is supposed to be about the garden, but this is the floor I must confront almost every time I walk outside to the garden. I glance at the worn linoleum, consider what a cluster such a project would be (the stove and fridge would need to be moved out of the way, for instance), and I feel a bit worn out just thinking about it. The vision of it exhausts me a little despite that we would hire someone to do the work.

I will close the subject of the kitchen floor with a mopping tip that my husband offered me. I credit him with filling in many of my gaps in common sense. Anyway, he told me that he mops a floor twice, once with a cleaner and water solution and the second time with plain hot water. This second mopping seemed like overkill to me before I tried it for the first time. I was stunned at how much dirt was lifted through that second mopping with water.

Back to the topic of the garden . . . My sunflowers stopped blooming a couple weeks ago, so I pulled them this week. There weren’t many seeds left on the plants because some yellow finches had been snacking on them. I am grateful that they spared me the task of harvesting the seeds, but I wish they had been less camera shy. A hummingbird has also been visiting my calibrachoa baskets, but he is even less willing to be photographed.

Temperatures have had a wild variation this week. We had a high of 91 earlier in the week, but the temperature dipped down to 39 degrees last night. My petunias and calibrachoa have well endured these challenges.

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Fall Photo Walk, September 30

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This post has a dual purpose. As indicated through its title, I will share some photos I took on a walk this morning. I will also devote part of this post to explaining why I haven’t been posting as often.

Our heatwave is over, and the weather has been ideal for the past couple days. I am so grateful that the sweltering temperatures have dissipated. It feels strange to write that we reached temperatures in the low 90’s during the first week of fall. When the heat becomes oppressive, I linger on memories of cold temperatures.

One memory in particular that helped sustain me through this recent heat hails from seven years ago. I was working nights in a freezer (a tidbit I also mentioned in my post from earlier today). To be more specific, I worked part of my shift in a freezer. Even though I had ample gear from my employer to protect me from the cold, I’d often struggle with feeling that my feet were cold when I tried to fall asleep at home later in the day.

Necessity required me to keep a strange schedule during that era. I failed to launch several times in my earlier adulthood. After each of several ill-planned goals had fallen apart, I’d move back into my parent’s house, dwell on my faults at length, and grasp another straw. By the time I reached 35 and had a child of my own, I figured I needed to stick with something, anything. The place that felt like home was a massive grocery warehouse, where I still work and have grown to love as much as anyone can become attached to a workplace.

I spent my first three years there on the night shift, and I’d devote half of my nights to the perishable section. I’d go home after work and rest for a couple hours until it was time to get my daughter ready for school. I’d feel too worn out during this first “shift” of sleep to fuss over feeling cold. Once I dropped my daughter off at school, I’d go home and back to bed. In the winter months, I’d often be plagued with “cold feet” when I’d fall asleep that second time.

I remember getting out of bed and soaking my feet in hot water, but most of the time it seemed that my water heater was too lazy to offer me water hot enough to warm up my feet. No other remedy seemed equal to this challenge without making me wake up in a sweat by noon.

During the recent heat, I dwelled on that memory several times, as if I could resurrect that chill in my feet just by thinking about it. I learned that cold is not a state of mind.

Now for why I haven’t been posting as much lately . . . About a week and a half ago, I found out why my hip and thigh have been aching lately. It was not related to my back surgery. Instead, the issue is muscular, and I have started physical therapy to remedy this problem.

I’ve had pain on a chronic basis for over a year now. In my experience, depression and pain profit from each other. I visited my family doctor and inquired if I should start taking an antidepressant again. She suggested that I try Cymbalta since it has shown promise in tempering chronic pain.

I took Cymbalta for ten days and could tolerate no more. Everyone reacts a bit differently to these types of drugs. While I am sure it has worked wonders for some people, it did not do so for me. It nearly silenced my orthopedic pain. Unfortunately, I had some side effects which were intolerable.

The main problem definitely resides in the Too Much Information file. It’s one of those facts of life that merits little reflection if things are working as they should. If this process is disrupted, it can loom large enough in the mind (and part of the body, too, I suppose) to crowd out other concerns.

There is no delicate way of relating the problem. I developed the worse case of constipation I’ve ever experienced. The whole interlude haunts me like a quote I read in an oddball book I read years ago called Holy Wisdom by Augustine Baker. Baker wrote a series of resignations or things he’d be willing to endure if God’s will demanded it of him. In one of them, he claimed that he would “not yield to the motion of nature, which perhaps out of wearisomeness would fain have life at an end.”

Over the past year, I’ve been prescribed a couple medicines that helped me with my orthopedic pain. On gabapentin, I couldn’t remember shit. On Cymbalta, I couldn’t give a shit, both literally and figuratively. I’d rather feel the pain. At least that pain is diminishing again.

Back to my walk this morning . . . Fall color has been a bit stunted due to low rainfall over the past couple months. If this drought deepens, I doubt we’ll have many picture perfect leaves when the color peaks. No matter how much rain we get, I’ll be grateful for an end to the heat by the time October is over. The temperatures may climb into the 80’s again next weekend.

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