Friday, September 29, 2023

Springing into stories

Spring has sprung in Hamilton, even if the temperatures are lagging a bit behind the times. And it’s been unusually rainy. And windy. Still, it’s Spring 2023, and I’ve been noticing the evidence of its progress. And I have stories about all that.

The photo up top is of a hebe I have planted in a tall planter on my patio. When I shared the photo on my Facebook, I said that it was “a sure sign of actual Spring”, and it is, but it’s not the best of the blooms at the moment. That side of looked plant doesn’t look as nice. As I also noted when I shared the photo:

I also noticed it needs a feed and a pruning when it’s done flowering, BUT, it’s still alive, unlike the one it replaced.

I was given a hebe back in 2020, and bought the tall planter to put it in. I never shared any of that on this blog, as near as I can tell, but I did share a photo of it on Instagram (and, I presume, Facebook) at the time. Unfortunately, that tale didn’t end well, as I explained in a comment on yesterday’s Facebook post:
I accidentally drowned the first one because, being conscientious in the hot dry summer that year, I inadvertently over-watered it. It turned that what I thought was a drainage [in the post] wasn’t—it was a raised bump. Oops. Before I replanted [with the new hebe], I drilled several holes in the bottom of the pot, and this plant has been happy in its not swampy home.
Aside from noting the obvious fact that I should’ve verified drainage before potting up the first one, I also should’ve studied up on care of hebes. Ya don’t know what ya don’t know, and all that.

Yesterday evening then produced another photo, less directly related to Spring:

When I shared the photo on my personal Facebook, I said:
A few minutes ago, I stood up to give Leo his dinner and glanced out the window—this photo is what I saw. The tree in the foreground of the photo is leafing-out (another sign of actual Spring), and it’s the only one on the street I can see out my front window. It’s grown so much over the 44 months I’ve lived in this house! I love seeing it in Spring and Summer, less so when all its leaves fall off.
As usual, there’s a bit more to the story, beginning with teh fact that I actually first noticed that the tree was leafing out on Sunday, but it was either too windy or too rainy to take a photo, and that rainbow gave me the perfect opportunity in between heave rainfall. I added more background in a comment:
Around 20 years ago, I saw a rainbow when I looked out the window above my desk at work, and I realised that I’d seen more rainbows in New Zealand than I ever saw in the USA. That’s only continued in all the years since. Some might say this makes sense, that I found my pot of gold at the end of the rainbow when I met Nigel and moved to New Zealand. Probably so.
At the time I saw the rainbow from my desk, I’d only be in the country something like 7 or 8 years, but even then I was aware of how often I’d seen rainbows in Auckland (the only part of the country I’d lived in at that point), and how much more frequent it was than in the USA. Maybe it’s got to do with living in an island nation as opposed to in the middle of a continent? In any case, in the years since that day at work, I’ve seen plenty more rainbows, thought the one in the photo was unusually vivid in real life.

20-odd years ago, my desk faced what was known as “the Dominion Road flyover”, the only part built of what was intended to be a motorway replacing Dominion Road. In the 1960s, urban planners thought nothing of destroying entire thriving communities to build motorways (something I knew had happened in Chicago, especially with the construction of the Eisenhower Expressway).

While Dominion Road itself managed to recover from the near destruction, the flyover itself cut-off the suburbs of Kingsland and Newton (my first job was in Kingsland, the one where I saw the rainbow was in Newton). It was very unpleasant to even think of trying to walk under the thing along New North Road (Footpaths? What footpaths?!).

Both of the companies I worked for eventually left New North Road: The first stopped trading and made me redundant, eventually selling the building. The second company was sold to one Australian corporation that was then acquired by another Australian corporation (then another…). It eventually moved to much smaller premises, then moved again to another building, and is now back in New Zealand ownership (because its final Australian corporate owners desperately wanted out and agreed to a management buy-out of the company).

None of that made it into my Facebook posts! Mind you, this blog and my podcast is where I tell my stories, so that’s nothing new.

And finally, a blog exclusive! Here’s photo from last night:

There’s no story to this photo, except that I wanted to take a photo when the moon was over the solar panels, basically the same spot where I took the photo of the super moon at the start of this month, or the ballon that appeared above the neighbourhood a few days later. Unfortunately, I once again forgot about it. So, I took this photo standing slightly under the eaves (the edge the gutter can be seen in the upper-right corner of the photo, part of it glistening in the moonlight).

Actually, there IS a story here: I forgot about taking the photo because I was in a lot of pain last night. On Tuesday I tried using my drill to clean difficult parts of the kitchen floor, but I did so bending over to press the pad against the floor. That turned out to be a very bad idea, and beginning Wednesday evening, I started having lower back pain (the same spot I sometimes get it when I’m similarly stupidly careless in how I use my back). Also, I didn’t share the photo on Facebook because I was on my way to bed at the time. Priorities!

By yesterday, it was hard to stand up, and I started using one of my crutches to help me get on my feet and straighten my back. Once I was vertical, and the spasms passed, I was fine—I didn’t need the crutch to walk. Today, it was worse until I had my shower and let the warm water hit the sore muscles. It seems to have helped, and pretty dramatically, because the pain is now more of a soreness than the searing and gasp-inducing—if brief—pain it had been. I guess everything has a story. Even ordinary Spring days.

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