Posts Tagged ‘Wandering ‘Nati’

More flashbacks to the Opening Day parade last year…the City wecomed Mat Latos (#55) & his lovely wife Dallas to our favorite team. I believe that’s Nick Masset occupying the drop-top next to Mr. Latos.

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So, last night was one of those nights where surreal meets real. 

You see, my internet family (that’s you) is a bit surreal to me (that’s me). How I can not only be friends with, but get support from,  a group of people which are spread across the globe, most of which I have never met, and most of whom I will never meet, is fascinating stuff to my analytical brain.

Seriously, when I get up at 4:35 in morning to dress for bootcamp – and put a tweet out there, or read other athletes lacing up for workout, it’s like we’re in it together. A community. That ‘good morning!’ back that early says ‘You’re not alone. We’re both doing this.” Somehow – it makes the effort easier. Somehow special.

You early morning workout tweeters – I love you. You mid-day lunch scavengers – I love you. You gotta go get coffee now desperate clutch on the mug – gers (not muggers, I can’t love the muggers. I’m agnostic.) tweeting out your java love – I love you. You’re my tribe.  Same goes for bloggers and facebook groups – we’re community. A family of sorts – but the good kind of family that never visits and usually doesn’t judge. My tribe. You’re all incredible (that’s you again).

Buuuuuuut…there’s always that little niggling in the back of the head that says…are those real people out there? Maybe this is like the matrix. 

I am soooo completely digressed…get there Cynthia! Last night, I got to meet surreal.

Jenny Lawson, aka “The Bloggess” – She’s NOT THE MATRIX!!! She’s real! I met her at her book signing at Joseph-Beth yesterday and she’s totally, awesomely real. (I checked for power cords when I walked around the back and she didn’t have any sticking out of her, so I’m sure. 100% human!) (Wait. She could be wifi.)(But I don’t think so. There was no humming, whirring or buffering. And I was standing pretty close.) (So, human. Definitely human.) (Don’t quote me on that.)

Anywaaay…J-Blo…that’s what I call her now, came to Cincinnati on her tour for “Let’s Pretend This Never Happened” – her memoir. Which I haven’t read. Embarrassing to admit, but I haven’t. I love her blog…if you don’t read her blog, you should totally go do that (you, again). Then her book came out and I was going to buy her book, but then I had this moment where I was all ‘wait, what if she tours again, I should wait and see if she tours’ and then I wanted to wait for the paperback, but then I didn’t want to buy the paperback before the tour, because you know, if I did then that would jinx her coming to Cincinnati. So essentially, it was for you all that I didn’t buy the book until last night. At the tour. To get Jenny Lawson to Cincinnati. Jinx-free. You’re welcome. *breeeathe*

Jenny is not only 100% human – she is 100% AWESOME! She’s in person, exactly what you would think based on her writing. Gracious. Funny. Humble. Cusses more than I do. Added to my girlcrush list.

Somehow she managed to keep a smile through a VERY, VERY LONG line of people and be charming to me even though I was towards the back of the line and it was growing late.  And I got to say something I have wanted to say to her – a THANK YOU for being such an open advocate for depression and mental illness.  I’ve never experienced either of those myself – to my knowledge – but Jenny Lawson’s frank discussion of her personal battles and humorous advocacy for our human struggles has helped me understand and have more compassion for those to whom, as she would say, “depression lies”.


I’ll also mention, that Joseph-Beth does author visits pretty frequently. I’ve seen another of my writing heroes – Jon Katz – there. If you’re local to me, or one of their locations, you should check out their events calendars. They do some nice readings and signings. And they have a bar.

Oh lovely people, how I have been neglecting this place lately.  Not for want of wishing – I’ve been thinking of lots of things to write about, but frankly, there’s been no time.  I’ve got lots of updates!!  However, some are more critical than others – and I’m going to let the gym/training plan/misc updates fade behind an event write-up* for a moment.

Last night, I had another opportunity to attend a Ballet & Beers event at the Cincinnati Ballet rehearsal studios. You may remember I wrote a bit about this last Fall for their Kaplan New Works series.  This time, the event was related to their upcoming performance – which features a triptych of Prodigal Son, Extremely Close and Concerto #4.  I saw this one on the schedule, noting that Prodigal Son is a Balanchine piece. It’s been a long time since I’ve taken in a Balanchine work. Too long. I am a girl who loves me some Balanchine. And with that realization, the tickets were bought – along with the complimentary prequel tickets for the Ballet & Beer event.

I dodged out of work early, grabbed one of my favorite gal pals, and ended up sitting next to another friend completely by accident. We were front row of the balcony. This was going to be a good day, I could feel it.  And off the rehearsal went!

We were getting a sneak preview of Extremely Close – which is described as follows on the ballet’s website:

“Taking inspiration from piano solos by Philip Glass and Dustin O’Halloran, [Alejandro] Cerrudo intricately weaves dancers through striking elements of visual art in a thought-provoking and hauntingly beautiful piece that is sure to stay with you long after you leave the theater”

In other words, it is not a story ballet – but rather a concept ballet – a visual art piece.

Unlike the stops and starts of the previous rehearsal I witnessed, this rehearsal allowed the dancers to get all the way through the piece. Let me say first – these dancers are ready to put on this piece! They looked phenomenal.  I was really happy to see Patric Palkens with a prominent role in this dance after he was so nice to me at the last event. Second, I can not wait to see what this piece looks like in final form onstage! Even in the rough, it was intriguing and beautiful. And that was without the feathers. What feathers, you ask…all week the ballet’s Facebook page has been releasing promo shots of this ballet being done on a floor covered in large white feathers. This day’s rehearsal = no feathers, but we were promised they would be there for the actual performance. FEATHERS! EVERYWHERE!

After the first run, the standard notes and working points were delivered, then some pain-point work on specific sequences in timing and partnering. Do it again…nope, more this way…still more of that…one more time. It’s actually pretty fascinating stuff. Then on to the Q & A and the beer & pizza.

I will tell you that in the Q & A session, the first question asked was one the entire audience was thinking – essentially:

 What is up with the chin thing?

Yes, there’s a chin thing. And no, I’m not going to tell you what it is right now. That’s why you go see the show. Because a blogger mentioned feathers and a chin thing. In a ballet. You’re welcome.

Gal pal, random friend & I all hang around for a beer after and it’s not long before we’re chatting up with Patric again. Seriously people, this man is stunning – onstage, he has a powerful, passionate presence that deservedly got him locked into the matinée role of Romeo in last month’s Romeo & Juliet after another dancer was injured. Offstage, he is devilishly charismatic with an excellent sense of humor. We spend a bit talking about the upcoming show – working out the chin thing (still not telling you!) and how much FUN working with the feathers has been.

I tell Patric I noticed that all the dancers were wearing socks in rehearsal rather than ballet shoes – unusual. He tells me it’s because of the feathers – the dancers are sliding around in them and they can slide much, MUCH further with socks on. All of the sliding with the choreography is what makes the visual art piece work – kicking up the feathers, watching them float around the stage with every movement. Sticking to you…every once in a while one ends up stuck on a hand or a foot and it’s the dancer’s job to pretend it’s not there. But, he tells me, then you kick your foot back and see one coming up 6-8 inches further than your foot and you understand how incredible this looks to an audience.

Incredible indeed! After seeing all the jumps and slides in rehearsal – a pretty aggressive choreography to be contrasted against the gentle calm of the floating feathers – I can imagine what this will look like in full dress out and I can not wait to see it in reality.


The Cincinnati Ballet will be presenting Prodigal Son, Extremely Close & Concerto #4 on March 22nd (8pm) and March 23rd (2pm & 8pm). A Meet the Artists opportunity will be prior to the Friday, March 22nd performance at 7pm. You can purchase tickets here.  

I would also encourage you to check out information for the Club B Event scheduled for April 20th.

*This is not a sponsored post and I am in no way affiliated with the Cincinnati Ballet.

Opening Day last year was the first time that I took my camera out specifically to practice taking pictures of an event.

I’d never been to the Opening Day Parade, or to any of the Opening Day Events. But since I’d become a much better Reds fan over the past two Summers, I decided to dive on in. Took a vacation day and headed Downtown by myself with my little Canon Powershot to see what I could make of it. Learn more about my camera and shooting in heavy sunshine.

What I found was a sea of Red. Literally. Thousands of people crowding the street, dressed in Red, with one thing on the brain – Opening Day Red.

And being surprisingly patient about the wait.

ONE MONTH REDS FANS!!!! And it all starts again. The March to the World Series 2013 begins!

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There was a King & Queen of Mardi Gras wandering about the Market, but I don’t think they could compete with this lovely lady.

Indoor market or not, if you are willing to get into a glittery purple Mardi Gras bikini & head dress, in early February, you may have bigger cajones than me.

She gets my vote for Queen of Mardi Gras!


After breakfast at Tuckers, we met Maine’s happy family of three over at Findlay Market.  The Market was having a family-friendly Mardi Gras celebration – encouraging costumes & decorations. A crawfish boil and a line-up of cajun bands scheduled to play. And color, lots of color smattered about to photograph!

One of the things that always strikes me about Findlay is that people tend to come in groups – you meet a friend there for coffee & errands, you bring the kids down to teach about vegetables, your husband comes with you to help carry the groceries. Almost no one goes alone.

The market bustles with community, relationships, connections.  Hands being held. Lessons being shared.


Dogs of all kinds. This woman and dog took up a post in front of Krause’s right as we were first walking through the market.  They were still there when we left and in all of the passing-by we did, I never once saw them alone. It seems another friend had stopped to say hello every time I noticed. For what it’s worth, I fell head over heels with the turquoise porch at Krause’s.



An ode to the vintage American diner.

Tuckers is about a block and a half from Findlay Market, on a *rough* block. The kind of *rough* block where you don’t have your purse in sight and you wonder how much damage the graphite handle on your umbrella can do if you start swinging it like a bat. The renovations going on in Over The Rhine haven’t quite reached Tuckers yet, and it is not the kind of place you would fantasize about.

Except that as soon as Maine asked if Eric & I wanted to meet her supercute family down at Findlay Market for an afternoon Mardi Gras celebration, my thoughts immediately went to the Greek Omelete at Tuckers.

Maybe, if we head down early, we can make time for breakfast at Tuckers…then go to the market…right, hon?

We do not go to Tuckers nearly often enough.

The Greek Omelete is fantastic. It is just the right amount of omelete, paired with home fries and fruit, and pretty good coffee.  Tucker’s ambience – a throwback to the old fashioned diner. There is a counter lined with stools with a single row of booths directly across from it. All walks of life fill every single seat. Over Eric’s shoulder there is a foursome of older folks, a bit of affluence exuding from them though they’ve attempted to mute it. Two college girls with the scent of old party on them walk in. We are the middle class couple in the booth by the door – I have my camera out & Eric is checking his cell phone while we wait on our food. Behind me, speakers alternate between big band and bluegrass.  A big neon clock hangs on a bright purple wall at the back, adjacent to the open kitchen behind the bar.

They’re out of the Greek omelete, but it doesn’t really matter because whatever I get is going to be good. I opt for the huevos rancheros, and have chosen wisely. The perfect amount of heat in the chorizo. Both sour cream & guacamole served on the side. The large tortilla underneath the whole affair is still crispy. Yum!


Some vendor spirit.

Like I said, City Flea is primarily an artists market. I wanted one of these for each day of the week. There is enough ambient light on this that it looks like I took it at mid-day instead of 8pm on a Saturday in Winter without a flash.


f/4, 1/15 sec, ISO-6400, 28mm

This one came out a little darker. Still preferring the no flash approach & letting the rest of the auto-settings roll with it.

f/4, 1/30 sec, ISO-4000, 24mm

f/4, 1/30 sec, ISO-4000, 24mm

One of the other lessons learned in this foray is that learning & thinking about this photography stuff from the technical aspects can be EXHAUSTING! I really liked being out with the camera, but when we got home around 9-ish, I was a pooped pup. I’m sure I’ll get a little more stamina as I learn more and the shooting speeds up.

Really wish I would’ve gotten their names – b/c if these were my peeps, I would totally want a copy of this with the caption “You’re running for President? Really?”…and then I would probably vote for them since they offered to let me take their picture. This, my friends, is what the holiday spirit is all about.

f/3.5, 1/25 sec, 18mm, ISO-6400, no flash

f/3.5, 1/25 sec, 18mm, ISO-6400, no flash

Special props to dude in the robe – it was starting to get cold. 🙂



f/4, 1/30 sec, ISO-3200, 18mm, no flash


After Redsfest, Eric & I wandered over to A Tavola to rest our weary bones over some brews and FABULOUS pizza. We lucked into a corner spot on the bar, bypassing a 45-minute wait. Then having gotten refreshed, he talked me into heading over to City Flea – a kind of pop-up artist’s market, taking place this time in Washington Park.

Two years ago, I wouldn’t have walked through Washington Park voluntarily. Architecturally beautiful, the park had become geographically undesireable – located in the middle of one of Cincinnati’s poorest areas -it’s reputation was for drunks passed out on park benches and drug dealers using it as a pass-through to evade police. Also, it was in an odd juxtaposition of being directly across the street from our celebrated Music Hall – an icon of the performing arts. How you end up with something so amazing right across from something so abandoned is a thesis, I’m sure.

All of this past Summer, I drove by the park renovations on my way home from work. The city has put a ton of attention into reworking the park, adding a dog park and some fountains, better lighting, underground parking, etc., etc…and then keeping a flood of activity there – concerts, movies, art events – and City Flea. This was our first foray to the remodeled park and frankly, the transformation wow’d me. On a Saturday night, it was packed and fun and the vendors were amazing!

Again, the camera exercise was just to get a feel for the camera, what it can do, how to handle it. Left the settings on auto-no-flash. Still felt like I was getting better product without using the auto-flash.

f/4.5, 1/40 sec, ISO-5000, 29mm, no flash

f/4.5, 1/40 sec, ISO-5000, 29mm, no flash

f/4.5, 1/13 sec, ISO-6400, 30mm, no flash

f/4.5, 1/13 sec, ISO-6400, 30mm, no flash

f/3.5, 1/32 sec, 18mm, ISO-4000, no flash

f/3.5, 1/32 sec, 18mm, ISO-4000, no flash