Saturday, September 29, 2007
I walked up and down Portobello Road today with the mission to find a trio - a matching set of antique cup, saucer and dessert plate.
All I found was a bunch of crap and overpriced merchandise.
I was a bit enchanted with some of the antique prints and artwork offered for between 5 and 12 pounds ($10 - $24 American). I was also on the hunt for a nice sterling spoon to give to my soon-to-be-born niece, Maevey Bean. No such luck - the closest I came was a sterling baby spoon with a G engraved on it... Can we change the name to Gaeve?
I left this London tourist destination with some special spices (Thai and Indian curries) and a couple bath fizzes from the glam/natural British purveyor Fresh.
I've had a great time here eating Thai and Moroccan food and also I enjoyed the most fabulous cupcake at the Hummingbird Bakery on Portobello Road.
Thursday night we caught a musical - Mary Poppins. It's the hot show to see right now considering it's closing in January. We found half price tickets for about $50 a piece American. The set and the music were phenomenal - the performers were out of this world. At the very end they hoisted Mary on a cable, complete with her opened umbrella. She sailed over the entire theatre crowd and vanished through a hole in the ceiling. The theatre had her lit especially well to show her shadow sailing up on a side wall and I got more than a bit teary eyed.
I cannot believe that a London production of Mary Poppins made me cry - but I suppose it has something to do with the fact I have lots of fond memories of watching that movie on television each year as a little girl with stringy, blonde hair. I also remembered performing several of those songs when in Montessori school - early in my short lived singing career.
Tonight I think we're eating more Indian or perhaps South African food.
But first, I must take a nap and recharge - it's Saturday night in London so who knows when we'll go to bed.
London has an amazing bead shop. Big wooden orbs and sparkly crystal gems and pieces of sandstone smoothed out and as big as a Kennedy half-dollar. The selection is enough to make your head whirl, and so that's why I try to make it to this bead shop whenever I'm lucky enough to visit this fine city.
So there we were, me and D-Money, combing through the trays and trays of ceramic fruit beads and Venetian painted glass designs when I was overcome by a tradition more familiar back home.
The song was Hang On Sloopy.
It poured out of the speakers at the bead shop, reminding my brain of football games and fun Buckeye weddings and cheers on the dance floor at McFaddens in downtown Cincinnati.
We were in London, England - just west of Seven Dials - when D and I broke into the O-H-I-O cheer.
The second time the chorus came around Hang on Sloopy, Sloopy hang on... I actually did the O-H-I-O cheer WITH the hand gestures.
It wasn't quite the Shoe, but I am sure any true Buckeye fan would have been just as proud to see our Scarlet and Gray pride.
Now, what are the chances I'll hear My Old Kentucky Home over here?
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Monday, September 24, 2007
Sunday, September 23, 2007
Southern Son and me bustin' a move our first night in London. October '06.
Me and soul sister D-Money at club Tiger Tiger, London '06.
This was the bar that was the scene of a terror bombing eight months later.
The infamous Knife Surrender Bin in Kensington, London '06.
I can't tell you how many blog hits I get from people wanting to know more info about this strange crime-fighting tactic.
No idea how that Bengals sticker got there.
My own, solo attempt at a Beatles album cover.
St. John's Wood, London.
Me and Flossy at the Cin Weekly Green Party. Jefferson Hall, Newport KY.
That skyline is spectacular.
The hair is not.
Me and my brother-from-another-mother, Double Platinum.
Me and Violet trying to look like porn stars. This was actually on my 30th birthday, and I am still sober in this picture. Hoffbrauhaus, Newport, KY. December '06.
GOP Big Wig and me mugging for the camera over the Christmas holiday. This is also at the Hofbrauhaus, Newport, KY. Man, that place was popular that month. December '06.
D Money returned to this side of The Pond for Christmas and New Year's. We did a nice little pub crawl and ended up at the Wine Cellar in Mt. Adams. This is one of a series of photos where we all tried our best to look like drunks.
I think D Money hit it spot on.
This is D's brother, GI Yogurt.
This is the guy you want in your corner if you're ever in a fight or playing a fierce game of Flip Cup.
I hate this picture of me pecause my hair is flat and I don't look pretty.
It must have been the alcohol.
Mt. Adams, December '06.
Happy New Year! Me, Big Blue Blood, and Salt and Pepper posing in our 2007 finest.
St. Bernard, Ohio January '07
Same New Years Eve party... Kate the Great dancing to Like A Virgin, Maneater or some other great inspirational tune.
I have no idea whose red jacket that is.
That girl in the back is totally oblivious to the absurdity of the moment.
St. Bernard, January '07
Violet and I give another try at looking like porn stars. In a bowling alley.
Who says I don't know how to have fun?
Flossy and Ground Chuck tailgating before a serious day of gambling at Keeneland. Let the games begin...
Keeneland parking lot.
Mr. Brown is probably peeing behind a tree somewhere.
D-Money comes back to America for a visit. This is D.L., our favorite bartender in Cincinnati, with two of his favorite regulars.
Treat this guy well, and he'll take care of you, too.
Hyde Park Tavern.
Hyde Park East
Me and Lenna-Lou at Taste of Cincinnati.
I highly recommend Izzy's potato pancakes, any day of the week.
Downtown Cincinnati, May '07
My sister, Bridge, and Me.
Bridge is about six months pregnant in this picture with my niece, Maevey-Bean.Atlanta, June '07.
Maevey-Bean waiting to make her big debut.
KtG and my brother-in-law Steve-O.
I don't know if you realize in this photo, but my b-i-l is a giant at 6'7".
D-Money in the back of a flat bed pick-up truck.
'Cause that's how we roll.
I like mine double-chocolate chip and Buckeye Blitz.
Hyde Park Square.
Yes, those are hillbilly teeth.
No, they're not mine.
Mt. Auburn.D-Money's return to London.
This was in a really cute jazz bar (I think maybe in Brixton?)
They made a nice dirty martini.
At Spice Bar in the Short North, Columbus
KtG, D-Money and GI Yogurt being silly.August '07
This picture is much nicer.
Bridge's 28th birthday
The whole fam-damily (minus my youngest sister, Mickdizzle)
The Watershed restaurant
Crime Lady ARO.
Taking a break from tracking down bad guys.
I'm guessing she's eating either chocolate or oatmeal.
Tweak, hard at work.
Surprisingly he's not freaking out in this picture.
Friday, September 21, 2007
Thursday, September 20, 2007
You know - the trendy kind all the girls are wearing these days. Rubber, sneaker-like soles and lines that look more like a ballet slipper or flat than a tennis shoe. Delicate straps and cute details like contrast stitching or sparkles.
I thought a black pair of those shoes would be perfect for my vacation. Something comfortable and yet understated as I traipsed through airports and museums and cafes - my attempt at being a stylish ambassador for America.
I walked up and down the aisles at DSW, scrutinizing every design and detail - some soles were too sporty for my taste. Others had clunky straps that reminded me more of an Eastern European woman standing in a bread line and less like a worldly woman soothing a case of wanderlust.
I tried on no less than seven pairs of these shoes. All the while my feet, no, my heart longed to cruise up and down the section with the sex shoes stilettos.
And so I reluctantly clutched my pair of Comfort In A Box as I shuffled toward Steve Madden, Guess? and BCBG Girl.
I was overcome with something that could only be described as Shoe Orgasm. I inhaled deeply, smelling the fine Italian leather. I cradled pair after pair of graceful heel in my hands, dreaming of dance floors and sparkling wine bars and sophisticated conversation about Nietzsche and absinthe. Every ounce of me shivered as I was overcome by the romance of the shoe store.
I paused to gaze at a shoe that could only be described as Sex on Stilts. It was this fabulous black leather stiletto. Perfectly understated - with a fine pointed toe - until you spied the shiny, chrome spike on the back. The stiletto heel was made of this gleaming, silver spike that teased of seduction and James Bond espionage.
Where in the hell would I wear a shoe like that?
This is Cincinnati, not the Sunset Strip. I am a 30-something news producer with a busy (albeit mostly conservative) social live. I am not a stripper, I am not Sidney Bristow. I have no plans to rip off a Jennifer Jason Leigh movie scene from Single White Female.
I had to walk way from Sex on Stilts, all while begrudgingly holding that box of black, un-glamorous, quasi-tennis shoes. My conscience was taunting me Ha ha! You're spending more than 60 dollars on a pair of shoes that aren't even fun! Look what your life's become! Ha ha!
I decided to give the sales racks on the second floor a whirl on the whim that something there might satisfy my craving for sweet feet footwear.
Flip flops. Wedges. Tennis shoes. Flats. Uncomfortable ballet flats. Shoes with clear heels and heels of patent leather. I found so many pairs that failed to fulfill my dreams.
And then - Sweet Mother of God - there they were.
A black, satin stiletto with a peep toe. Three and a half inches of sophistication.
Be still, my heart.
I dropped Comfort on the rack and threw off my own shoes, racing to feel that graceful curve beneath the arch of my feet.
I was smitten. I grabbed my treasure and ran away from the racks before I could second guess myself.
I headed to the register and whipped out that debit card So. Fast.
And then the deed was done. The fun stilettos were all mine. Comfort stayed behind among the leftovers on the sales racks.
And as I walked away I thought to myself, Who needs comfortable shoes in Europe, anyway?
The only thing I need there is hot shoes.
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
A bundt cake pan
A cake mix
A fahrenheit temperature reader
An eye mask
A huge bottle of the best bourbon ever
A carton of cigarettes
Three scarves (silver sequin, violet velvet and cream colored silk)
What am I missing?
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
I am a bit of a baker. I think we've already talked about that here and there and everywhere.
Last week I whipped up an easy but truly delicious chocolate cake chock full of chocolate chips and dark Dutch cocoa. It was pretty much decadence on a plate and could rival any night of bad sex.
Well. I am embarking on a baking challenge next week. I've mentioned that I am going to visit my Soul Sister D Money next week. Part of this European Debauchery includes a nice dinner at home in Putney, a meal that I'd like to help prepare in some way, considering I will be meeting her boyfriend Kingsley and fellow roommate Paul.
Now, there are a lot of things Brits do well. Their fish and chips are second to none. They brew a mean cup of tea. And how could you forget about that fantastic dessert, Spotted Dick?
Duncan Hines is apparently one thing the Brits don't do. Or Pillsbury or Better Crocker, for that matter.
So when I pack up my BCBG Girl shoes, my bevy of toiletries and cosmetics and my fun clothes, I am also packing up a cake mix and a bundt pan. London will never be the same after those people have a bite of my moist decadence.
But what's a girl to do when Fahrenheit is too hot to handle for those Brits?
If Ms. Crocker wants her cake baked at 350 degrees, then that's what she will get in the land of apple pie, baseball and Old Glory.
But in the country where Big Ben tolls? 350* checks in at 176.6 Celsius.
I don't think that one's on the oven dial.
I searched Betty Crocker/Duncan Hines/Pillsbury for some conversion offering and they only say their cake mixes were not formulated for Celsius baking.
The only thing I can think of is to bring a US made oven thermometer and hang that in the oven for said project.
Hopefully the cake turns out. I've got quite a reputation to uphold.
Monday, September 17, 2007
The number of fun social events I have to look forward to through Saturday.
The number of volunteer commitments I have on my calendar through this week.
The number of beers (Blue Moon) I had yesterday while reacquainting myself with an old friend.
The number of football games I watched this weekend (Good: UK vs. Louisville. Bad: Bengals vs. Browns)
The number of newscasts I produced today (noon and 4 pm. Allison... I miss you and hope you're enjoying maternity leave!)
The number of times that I have caught myself searching my purse for my MIA cell phone. It must be on my dresser at home. Drats.
The number of times I've tried to return a phone call involving a very unpleasant situation between a former employer and another former employee.
The number of cultural performances I have to look forward to between now and the 26th. Check out the Cincinnati Ballet's season opener New Works (this isn't ballet with tutus and toe shoes. Think techno music, athletic prowess and sex in motion) and My Fair Lady at the Aronoff.
The number of new sweaters I bought at the Gap Outlet Sunday. I love love love that place.
The number of loads of laundry I need to do - and fast.
The number of cds I will burn to save all of the pictures on my memory card so it's erased before my trip.
The number of frozen meals (I can't get enough of those Healthy Choice Steamers right now) I'll likely eat today.
The number of days that have passed since I had my full foil highlight.
The number of days that will likely pass before I decide I actually like it.
Friday, September 14, 2007
Sure, it's a salty place where four-letter-words are tossed out like pitches at the batting cage. And the humor in the morning meeting can touch on anything from the latest homicide victim to the most recent sex offender arrest.
Gallows humor and crass language is nothing new in the environment dictated by deadlines and hot news tips.
But walk into any newsroom and you'll enter a sort of brotherhood unlike any other. We fight like brothers and sisters but we love like family, too. Every day dishes up a new crisis, and so our bonds grow stronger as we we walk through the fire together.
We celebrate each other's new marriages and new babies. We dish about the fracas of family life and we share last night's leftovers. We trade joke emails and gossip about co-workers. We play ball together and meet up for drinks.
Today the Local 12 family said goodbye to one of our own. The anchor of my newscast, Dayna Eubanks, is leaving Cincinnati for an untold adventure. She helped launch the city's only 4 pm newscast over 10 years ago and has been a worthy adversary for that other lady who has a show in the same time slot.
We sent Dayna off with cake (four kinds including pumpkin cheesecake!) flowers and the punchline parting gift - a copy of the Rivers of Rage documentary produced by the station many years ago.
The goodbye was complete with kind words, a few tears and a rousing applause from a team of co-workers sad to send off such a talented journalist.
I remember when I came to Local 12 two and a half years ago. I was so intimidated by this crew. I came from a last place shop and so I was more than fearful by this top notch, number one newsroom in a market twice as big.
But these people welcomed me. They groomed me and helped me grow into my role, and I've come to love them all.
I can only imagine how hard it would be to say goodbye if I had 14 years under my belt at the Tall 12.
Thursday, September 13, 2007
It's alright as red wines go, but I'd take a glass of merlot over a cab any day.
It takes a cold, blustery wind and a roaring fire to get me in the mood for a glass of red. Something about the tannins that send shockwaves of warmth radiating through my body.
September is the time to enjoy the last of the riesling, with it's summer sweetness that just giggles of late night walks and stolen moments.
This season's Bacchanalian Society event takes over at Cincinnati's Freedom Center tonight, and the theme is Cabernet. I'm trying to get in the mood, but the gorgeous sunshine and azure blue skies are not helping.
Today's weather isn't right for cabernet. It's good for pinot or maybe a nice shiraz, what with those bursts of berry sweetness.
Hell. I'd still go for a gin and tonic this time of year. And since we're talking liquor, it's quite alright to pour yourself a long, tall drink of Woodford and Coke. I'm not snobby when it comes to Kentucky bourbon - I'll drink it any day of the year. But there's something about the sound of a flying pigskin and the smell of dying leaves that makes me dream of the caramel, oaken secret of the Bluegrass.
That's saved for something special. A good bottle (a split will do for those of us on a budget) is in order when celebrating a big moment like a baby, a wedding or even a fancy vacation (hello, London!) Korbel is pretty much Old Faithful on New Year's Eve but Cooks and all those other less expensive versions will do, too.
Unless you're talking the champagne of beer.
I'm not so much a Miller High Life girl. For some reason that selection brings to mind visions of long, frosty nails and daisy dukes. As far as domestics go, I'm cheap and easy. Miller Lite, Bud Light, I'll drink it all. If it were my choice, though, I'd order a Blue Moon, a Smithwicks or a Guinness.
I can't wait to explore the offerings on the other side of The Pond.
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
It became quite an obsession for a time - I'd tote around in my purse one of those journals with the blank pages, just waiting to hear or read a clever quip rattled off by a noteworthy someone.
Poe. Hemingway. Hepburn the sassy one. They're all in my book.
I had to stop when I noticed I was more obsessed with my daily listserv of quotes than I was with personal email.
Today, however, I heard something that inspired me to grab my pen and a legal pad.
Everything we need to know is going on right in front of our eyes.
How profound, and yet so simple.
It's so easy to ignore the reflection in the mirror or the voice in our head. Sometimes there's a confession to find in what we avoid, what we fear, what we fail to admit about ourselves. Sometimes we can discover our biggest weaknesses and challenges if we pay attention to what we're denying.
In other instances it's easy to lose the big picture because we're so fixated on the minutia. The details have a way of distorting the masterpiece that truly deserves our attention. Kind of like a George Seurat painting - you'll miss a stunning scene if you're too busy glaring at the tiny splotches of color.
I do think there is a lot to learn about life if we just pause to watch what's happening - what's happening to our relationships, what's happening to our emotions, what's happening to our goals. It's that occasional Come to Jesus moment where we discover how far we've meandered from our intended destiny.
The Tri-State has been blessed with some glorious weather lately. The mild temperatures and gentle breezes whisper that Autumn is just around the corner. The trees and plants are a bit more green than in weeks past and the warm, golden sunshine is just glorious. This morning I threw open the sunroof and took a deep breath - trying to inhale the moment.
I cruised to work and almost stopped in my tracks as I watched the glowing rays stream down from the sky.
It was a moment where I felt blessed to be alive.
...Right in front of my eyes, indeed.
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Dracula at the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park is phenomenal.
If you like special effects, a chilling classic and old fashioned drama, then I suggest you check it out. The small, semi-circle theatre is a great venue for the special effects of dim lighting, creeping fog and flying tricks. And while all of the actors were great, I especially liked the insane asylum character R.M. Renfield, played by Scott Schafer. He provided the needed levity and also a bit of depth essential to the play.
You can catch Dracula at the Playhouse in Eden Park through October 5th.
Some people are really into their dogs.
That's the take away after going to a cool dog race Saturday afternoon. I tagged along with someone who has two darling Whippets. These stunning creatures were made to race, and so that's just what some people do on the weekends.
I am considering getting a dog (despite the protests from mom and dad) and so the observation was an added bonus to the fun conversation. We discussed the fact that some dogs must have their anal glands relieved.
I don't think that's a task I'm interested in managing.
In two weeks - I will have finished my last day of work and packing for vacation.
I express to you the sheer relief I am finding in the pending time off.
Before I go, though, I am spending some of my free time researching spots I've yet to discover in London and the fun stuff to do in Amsterdam.
Some of that fun stuff includes the fine coffee shops of the Netherlands.
And some of those coffee shops don't really sell coffee.
They actually sell soft drugs like marijuana, hash and mushrooms.
Well..... I guess I did.
I'm not so much into psychodelic drugs, but I DID notice an interesting snippet in the news today. Apparently the mayor of Amsterdam is proposing a three-day wait for magic mushrooms. This proposal comes after several dangerous incidents drug-seeking tourists.
My question is this: what kind of tie-dye wearin', wide-whale coordoroy sportin', Uncle John's Band singin' shrooms fan is gonna wait three days for a hit?
Sunday, September 09, 2007
I know I've been a very, very bad blogger.
And I am sorry.
But I will try to redeem myself.
I promise a new post Monday afternoon, covering everything from blood sucking vampires to anal glands and great hash bars.
Is that enough of a tease?
Thursday, September 06, 2007
Or I could pound out a cute little ditty about how my head's been swimming with insecurities.
Or that lately I've felt like I'm a hamster on a spinning wheel.
It's just my turn to feel a little bit down, I guess.
Instead, I'll write about how it's Busy Season.
For months my desk calendar was a vast, white space with sparse commitments - a weekend trip here or a visitor there. They were nice, little occasions for me to count the weeks.
Well - Katy, bar the door because I pretty much can't keep track from one day to the next.
The Junior League is officially in full swing. This means volunteer obligations, general meetings and committee projects. I have some JL function or another at least once a week this month.
On top of that - Cincinnati's theatre season has begun. The Broadway Series at the Aronoff, The Playhouse in the Park, the Ensemble Theatre and the Cincinnati Shakespeare Festival are all cranking out amazing performances to catch.
I'm exhausted just writing this.
I need a nap.