Saturday, I finally began to pick up steam. My room had become a pit of despair. (Actually, The Pit of Despair in The Princess Bride was grimier than my room, but MUCH less cluttered.) In a burst of energy, I updated my blog, created new spreadsheets to keep track of the apartment finances (did a mini-audit), and then started cleaning. I didn't want to lose momentum, so I stayed up until it was done at 6 a.m.
I got up at 9 a.m. and it was such a gorgeous day, sunny and 70 degrees. I decided to go for a walk to get some fresh air, exercise and sunshine. It would also give me a chance to try out the awesome camera Sandy gave me, and its amazing giant lens. Hooray! I don't have a guide book or anything, and I hadn't used a manual camera for quite some time. Actually, I've never mastered manual photography.
The day before, I'd seen some cardinals flitting around, and I hoped the awesome zoom lens would allow me to get one on film. I found a purse big enough for my manual and digital cameras. I put on some sunglasses and my iPod. This is partly because the sun was bright and music is entertaining, but partly a defense measure. Guys in my neighborhood can be very flirtatious. Some of it isn't flirting, really. It's just a cultural difference.
In Iowa, people smile and wave or nod, and maybe say "Hi," or "Morning." In Spanish Harlem, Harlem or my current neighborhood, some people say "Good morning," but men are as likely to say "Lookin' gooood, girl." Sometimes it feels like a friendly greeting, but other times it makes me uncomfortable.
Usually, if a guy seems too flirty, I give my best You're sweet, but I'm just too shy for you smile. (Erin's acting skills put to good use!) The shades and music give me the option, though, to ignore them without seeming rude. In the pre-iPod days, sometimes a guy would give me a creepy feeling, so I would ignore him, and he would get offended. "What, you too good to talk to me?" I would go from dealing with an overly-flirtatious stranger to a hostile stranger. I don't have that problem anymore. Hooray for iPods! (On a safety note, ladies, don't turn them up too high. You need to be able to hear if someone's approaching you from behind.)
I started out taking pictures in the back yard, then got some shots of the big Baptist church on the corner. Next, I walked and walked until I finally found a park I'd never seen before. I sat and watched kids run and swing and play. They were all so giddy. Just a few days before, it had been below freezing and windy. Now it was balmy.
Norfolk is a funny place in the spring. Some deciduous trees are bare, with some berries or seeds dangling. Others never lose their leaves at all. Despite the cold last week, at the least warmth, crocuses and daffodils sprung up in local gardens. I never did see a cardinal on my trip, but I did get some bird pictures and shots of spring flowers. I have no idea how my non-digital photos turned out. I haven't finished the roll of film, and I'm waiting until I have a little spare cash, but for now I have some lovely digital pics.
As I returned home, my neighbors Justin and Stephanie were out with their dogs, Tinkerbelle the pit bull and Jagermeister the boxer. The dogs bounded over for me to pet them, and I did for a good long while. I miss having pets.
It was nice to be out in the world, enjoying its beauty.