Friday, September 30, 2011

Thursday, September 29, 2011

I've Been Taking More Kitty Pictures

We have a little band of kitties that hang around in our back yard. They are feral kitties that we care for.

We call this one "Mama" because she gave birth to "Little Sister" and "Spot" before we had her spayed.

This is Mama up close, posing for me.

This is Spot, Mama's boy kitty. The people at the spay/neuter clinic gave him his name.

This is our little black kitty, Munchkin, looking outside. She was one of of three little black kitties born outside. While her littermates were standoffish from people, Munchkin wanted to come inside. So we adopted her. Here she is looking outside. Is she looking for one of her sisters?

This is one of Munchkin's sisters looking in. Is she looking for Munchkin?

Here they are, visiting through the screen door.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

My Favorite House

This house is on the street behind me. I didn't show it on my 132 steps post because it's farther away, more like 600 steps. But I snapped photo of it because I like it so much.

Monday, September 26, 2011

My 132 Steps

My fellow bloggers, Susan and Rachel, have posted their 132 steps. Just go 132 steps outside your door and snap what you see. I walked in a couple of different directions and here is what I found.

Well, I guess you can see that I live in horse country, the way they name the streets in my neighborhood!

There is a lot of building going on around here...

Sometimes there are cows back there in that field. I like it when I hear those cows mooing.

Trees and lawns and fences. (I just realized that if I do this six months from now, there will be snow all over the place and no leaves on the trees!)

Rural America, fast becoming suburban America. It seems a little ordinary in comparison to Susan's gorgeous water view and Rachel's English countryside. But hey, it's quiet and peaceful. We have kids playing outside, neighbors walking their dogs, lots of cats to feed, and we can hear the crickets at night.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Best Six Words I've Ever Heard

The other day my husband said to me: "Let's look at properties in Hawaii".

I don't know if anything will come of it, but it's nice to have the dream and now the hope.
After living all of my life in landlocked places, this would be my dreams come true.

*** Monday Update: I was hoping he meant a full-time home. Now he says a time-share. I'm not sure I like time-shares. Maybe a little condo? Philosophical differences: he says "why would we want to move so far away at our age?" I say "if not now, when?" Lots of decisions to make at this stage of life. We'll work it out!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Best News!

The saddest news for a long time was the closing of Borders. I know many people felt the loss. I know I did. My niece Aubrey did, too; reading is her favorite activity, and she always asked for Borders gift certificates for birthday or Christmas gifts.

But now we have great news! Yesterday I was at the local mall, where Borders used to be. The building is sitting there, dark and empty. As I drove by, I noticed a new sign on the building. Joseph Beth Booksellers is coming!

Joseph Beth is coming! There are currently two Joseph Beth stores in Ohio and one is Kentucky. This fall there will be another one in Kentucky... at my mall! In the past I had to drive to Cincinnati to go to Joseph Beth, but soon it will be near me.

It's big!

It's beautiful!

It has a great kids' section:

and a cool cafe:


Friday, September 23, 2011

Why Do They Always Ruin It?

We have always watched "Today" in the morning; it was just our thing. I really liked Jane Pauley (if you are not a baby boomer you might not remember her); I really liked Katie Couric; also, I really liked Meredith Viera. But I'm not so crazy about Ann Curry. There is something "fake" about her manner on screen; she interrupts too often and she is just kind of annoying. So, I started watching "Good Morning America" more and more. Apparently, many other did the same; GMA began to go up in the ratings compared to "Today".

I think a lot of GMA's new success was due to the team of George Stephanopoulos and Robin Roberts. I loved watching George and Robin. They are both very natural, smart and funny, and they have a good chemistry. Then GMA ruined it; they put Lara Spenser on. She is way too gushy for me. The problem is, they don't just use her, they overuse her. She is on the screen all the time. She is taking up all of the air time. She is on almost every segment; we hardly ever get to see George or Robin doing anything at all any more. I really miss them.

Give Us A Break

I am a "baby boomer" so "social media" does not come easily to me. I managed to start a blog. I finally managed to get onto facebook fairly recently because I was missing out on news from family and friends. But I keep hearing about changes... so many changes. Facebook does this; facebook does that. I hear people complaining about facebook rearranging things, and I have no idea what they are talking about because I just accept what I see and don't even notice that things have been rearranged. Now, this morning, I get messages from facebook friends to change settings, apparently to disarm some new feature that facebook is forcing on us all. I have no idea what they are talking about.

Another thing... when I pull up Google, there is a blue arrow pointing me to a plus sign. I think it has something to do with a new thing called Google-plus, which is supposed to be "even better" than facebook. Oh, my goodness! I haven't even figured out facebook yet, and here comes something else to figure out. I try to stay current, I really do. But I live in a household with an equally clueless spouse and four cats. I have no family nearby who cares about this stuff. My three nieces are savvy about it all, but they are too young to be on facebook. They can show me everything about Angry Birds, but not the things I need to learn!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The President is Visiting Our Bridge

This is the Brent Spence Bridge. Maybe you have heard about it on the news. President Obama spoke about it in his "jobs" speech a few weeks ago. Today, he is coming to visit the bridge. It's being used as a symbol of infrastructure that needs work in this country. The condition of this bridge has been deemed to be "functionally obsolete", which is scary to those of us who travel over it.

The Brent Spence Bridge carries I-75 across the Ohio River, linking Cincinnati, Ohio to Northern Kentucky. I-75 carries major north/south traffic between Michigan and Florida. The bridge was completed in 1963 and designed to carry 18,000 vehicles per day. Now it carries three times as much traffic. Originally, it was three lanes, but it was changed to four lanes some years ago to allow for more traffic. With four lanes, there is no "breakdown space" on either side of the bridge. A couple of months ago a man got out of his car on the bridge when he ran out of gas; he was knocked over the railing into the river by a passing car.

The Brent Spence is a two-tier bridge. Northbound lanes are on the bottom tier of the bridge (shown above). Southbound lanes are on the top tier. I don't like traveling across the bottom tier; I always imagine that the top tier is going to fall down on top of me. I'm not sure when the photo above was taken, as the bridge never looks that empty in real life. It looks more like the one below, with traffic crawling along in both directions.

So, I guess President Obama will be on the news tonight, visiting the bridge. I imagine they will have to shut it down for a while for his visit. In case you see it on the news, you will know where it is. By the way, I think the bridge also appears in George Clooney's new movie, "Ides of March", which was filmed around here.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Downsizing is Emotional!

Six years ago, we moved away from our house near Philadelphia, in order to be closer to our families in the midwest. We had lived in that house for sixteen years, and I loved it. It was a center hall Colonial with three fireplaces. The rooms were large and it had nice details like bay windows and skylights. The back yard was wooded, with township open space behind. I loved that house at first sight, especially the minute I saw the kitchen. It was large and pretty, attached to a casual dining room that had a cathedral ceiling with beams and a skylight, wide paneled hardwood floors and a brick fireplace. It was light and airy and cozy all at once.

During the sixteen years we lived there I furnished and decorated that house in a way that suited it perfectly. The decor was country-ish, with a lot of blue and white. I felt comfortable just being there; I thrived in that house. Then we decided to move, very much with mixed feelings. (My husband wasn't quite as emotional as I was, though.)

When we bought our new house, we decided to downsize. We reasoned that the old house was really more space than we needed for just the two of us. We found a cute little ranch that had many nice features. That's where we are now. It's a nice-looking little house, but the style is completely different. The colors are more earth-toned; there are no bay windows or skylights. The things we had brought from Pennsylvania really didn't fit in. We used some of them, of course, but stored many more in the basement. We have lots of lamps, pictures, curtains, that are not being used in this house. I've been spending the last six years trying to let go of them. The problem is, it's difficult for me to let them go because they remind me of the other house.

Now we are thinking of moving to a 55+ condo when we retire. That will mean downsizing again. It's becoming more urgent than ever to let things go. It isn't any easier, though. My husband thinks I am just a "pack rat". But I guess I am hoping to recreate the feelings that I had in our other house, wherever we go. I want to use as many things as I can that I used there, so it's hard to let them go. It's hard to plan for the future while thinking of the past.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Dancing with the Stars

I never watched this show before; never really knew what all the fuss was about. However, I did decide to watch it last night, mostly because I wanted to see how Chaz Bono did. I must admit when I first heard about Chastity becoming Chaz, I thought it was a little strange and hard to wrap my head around. But then I saw Chaz doing a couple of interviews on T.V. and I was impressed by honest and level-headed he seemed. I had to admire him for his courage. When I heard he was going to be on Dancing with the Stars, I was surprised. I was even more surprised at the hate directed at him. Some people thought he shouldn't do the show. I thought that was ridiculous. I decided to watch, partly out of curiosity and partly to support him. I think he has a very positive attitude. Were I in the same situation, I would not be half as courageous.

I think the kind of negative attitude that has been shown toward him is the kind of attitude that leads to kids in school being bullied for being "different". I wish everyone could accept other people for what they are. As long as they are not hurting anyone else I don't see how being "different" is wrong.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Spenser for Hire - Intro

Not crazy about the 80s music, but a good introduction to the characters in this stylish show... there is even a scene where he's cooking!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Spenser for Hire - As a Cook?

Does anyone remember "Spenser for Hire"?

It was a T.V. show in the 1980s, starring Robert Urich as Spenser and Avery Brooks as Hawk. Spenser was a private investigator in Boston and Hawk was a tough-guy enforcer who worked with Spenser. It was filmed on location in Boston. I liked the show. The characters were interesting, and Robert Urich was awfully cute.

"Spenser for Hire" was based on a series of "Spenser" books by Robert B. Parker. I was reminded of the series in 2002 when I heard that Robert Urich had died. I decided to read the Spenser books and read them in consecutive order because the characters evolve. I have them numbered, from one through twenty-three. I think there are a few more recent books that I haven't read yet.

Robert B. Parker - he also wrote the "Jesse Stone" series, upon which the T.V. series starring Tom Selleck is based.

Spenser was an interesting private eye; he quoted poetry and he liked to cook. In every book he cooks, and the dishes are described as he cooks them. They all sounded really good to me, and I remember thinking that one day I would go through the books and write down what he cooks. That's what I am doing now.

Here is the first "Spenser" book:

In this book, Spenser makes Scallops Jacques. He takes a pound of fresh scallops out of the fridge, then cooks them with cream, wine, lemon juice and shallots. He accompanies that meal with homemade biscuits and a bottle of Pouilly Fuisse. Doesn't that sound good?

Later in the book he puts on a pot of rice to cook, then takes four boneless chicken breasts and cooks them with wine, butter, cream and mushrooms. Sounds like my kind of cooking! But he isn't finished yet. He goes on to toss a salad with a dressing made with mint, lime juice, olive oil, honey, and wine vinegar. He serves it all with Rhine wine.

Toward the end of the book he makes breakfast. After starting the coffee, he puts "six homemade German sausages" in a cold pan, starting them on low. Then he slices a "big green apple", dips the slices in flour and fries them in the sausage fat. He drains everything on a paper towel, then eats it with "two big slices of rye bread and wild strawberry jam" and coffee with heavy cream and two sugars. The man knows how to eat!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

My Exciting Week

I still haven't had my first Pilates class. It was supposed to be Tuesday; they emailed me and asked if I could switch to Thursday. I was going to go on Thursday, but my sister called and asked me to pick up my niece. My 14-year old niece has been deciding where to attend high school next year. She and her younger sisters have been attending a Montessori school, but their school doesn't offer high school. They live about two miles from the local public school, but she wants to go to a private school called Villa Madonna. Villa Madonna has an excellent reputation. Last year 100% of the graduating class went on to college.

Sarah was spending the day "shadowing" a student at Villa Madonna so she could experience what it would be like to attend. When she walked into the office to meet me, it struck me how grown up she looks. She has her hair cut in a little bob, and she was wearing the khaki pants and white shirt outfit that fits the school's dress code, with her little blue and white backpack and a navy cardigan. She looked so cute! She loved the school and decided that's where she wants to go next year. My nieces are growing up!

Friday my sister and I drove an hour up to visit my mom and stepdad, David. They are both in their 80s and are beginning to have a hard time maintaining their home. David has macular degeneration, which impairs his vision. He doesn't drive anymore, and my mom doesn't like to drive after dark or in bad weather. They still go to church every Sunday and my mom goes to art class on Wednesday. We have tried to convince them to move closer to us, but they don't want to leave their home or their community. We helped my mom get a refund for a desk she had ordered from a catalog then returned. I called the catalog company and my sister called the credit card company. We got it resolved and my mom was very happy.

Last night my husband and I went to see "Cowboys and Aliens". I thought it was pretty stupid. I like science fiction, but this wasn't very well thought out.

That's been my exciting life the last couple of days. Today we are taking our next door neighbors to the "yacht club"; it's a floating bar and restaurant on the Ohio river that is a lot of fun. (Someone called it a "dive bar on a pontoon".) It has fake palm trees, and real boats moored to it, and a "come as you are" ambience. When boats pass on the river, it rolls and creaks. It isn't really a club; just a funky place to have drinks and pretty good food. Our neighbors haven't been there before, so we are excited to take them. Last week they took us to a nice restaurant up in Cincinnati where their brother/uncle plays drums in a really great band that plays 60s and 70s music (Beatles, Eagles, Crosby Still and Nash, Neil Young, CCR). They were good! Lots of people dancing, good food, and single malt scotch. It was a fun evening.

At the Ludlow Bromley Yacht Club

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Wednesday Update

Well, my pilates private lesson was postponed to Thursday... so no pilates yesterday. Instead, I drove to Cincinnati to get my new glasses. I wanted to get Silhouettes... they look like this:

They are extremely lightweight and rimless. I called every optician in my area, but no one carries them. Finally, I found a place up near Cincinnati that carries them. So, I drove across the river and got my new glasses.

Cute little optical store, in the cute little suburb of Madeira.

I decided to try "transitions" which darken when you go out into the sunlight. I'm not sure I like them, though. They seem to look dark all the time, even when I'm indoors. It gives a funny look, like my eyes are in shadow all the time, giving me a kind of sinister look. Has anyone else found this to be true?

I don't really need them to darken anyway, because I already use Solar Shields, which fit over your regular glasses. Like this:

The eye doctor told me I have the beginnings of cataracts, so I should wear these solar shields while I'm driving on top of the transitions. She said the windshield causes the transitions not to darken enough, and the light makes the cataracts worse. So much fun getting older!

Anyway, since I was already "up north, across the river" I decided to stop in at Kenwood Towne Center, which is an upscale mall where I go when I need the Apple store. They have Nordstrom's and other stores that we don't have down in Kentucky. I visited the food court and got some oatmeal raisin cookies and a bottle of water for the drive home.

Great big food court in upscale mall.

I also browsed for a while and saw some really cute shoes and some cool designer clothing.

This morning, back in Kentucky, I lost my cool in Kroger's. I got behind one of those "coupon queens" who was taking forever. She didn't have her coupons organized, just took a bunch out of a big, thick envelope and began trying to count everything and match it up with coupons, then arguing with the cashier when something didn't work. I already had all my items on the conveyer belt, and had to pick them all up again and move them to another cashier, two rows down. I guess I was huffing and puffing, and the bagger boy was snickering. I wasn't sure if he was snickering at me or the coupon queen. Oh well, maybe I looked silly, but jeesh! Maybe they could have a separate line for those people who want to take forever counting their coupons.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Unsquare Dance

This is music from another jazz favorite of mine, Dave Brubeck... and some pretty cool dancers, too.

p.s. Gotta love Art Carney!

New Beginnings

I am starting a couple of new things. First, I signed up for Pilates classes; I begin tomorrow. I have difficulty with aerobic exercise because of Sjogren's Syndrome. I always knew Sjogren's caused dry mouth and dry eyes, but didn't realize the connection with exercise. I want to exercise, but aerobic exercise fatigues me and makes me breathless. For a long time my husband tried to convince me I was just "out of shape" and needed to try harder. But when Venus Wiliams was recently diagnosed with Sjogren's and had to drop out of tennis, I realized it must be my Sjogren's causing the problem.

I also started commenting on Huffington Post. Ever since I heard about Congress threatening to defund NPR, I have felt the need to speak out. It's a good place to air my views and share them with others.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Changing the Mood

I needed a little musical break. Here is my favorite... Al Jarreau, stirring things up at the Montreal Jazz Festival.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

September 11th

So many faces...

So many names...

So many stories...

Thursday, September 8, 2011


Let there be no doubt:

No matter what issue is being considered; whether it be global warming or evolution:

I trust Science. I respect Science. I believe in Science. I think scientists are rock stars. In our society, I wish scientists would be regarded as rock stars, that they would be role models for our kids. So much better role models than the celebrities of whom we see and hear so much.

Daniel Libeskind's Designs: A Local Connection

Daniel Libeskind is a world famous architect, known for his unconventional, modern designs. He has designed buildings that can be found in many cities around the world.

This is his design for the World Trade Center site in New York City:

His design was used for the Denver Art Museum...

...and for the Jewish Museum in Berlin, Germany:

The Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto:

Would you be surprised to find a building designed by Daniel Libeskind in a small town in Kentucky? It's true. The Ascent at Roebling was completed in Covington, Kentucky in 2008.

The Roebling Bridge is in the foreground of the photo. It was designed by John A. Roebling, who also designed the Brooklyn Bridge some twenty years later. The bridge crosses the Ohio River, connecting Covington Kentucky to Cincinnati Ohio. Daniel Libeskind taught at the University of Kentucky in the 1970s, and says the Ohio River and the Roebling Bridge influenced his design.

Some people in this rather conservative town shake their heads and remark how "odd" it is. I think it's pretty cool and "shakes up" the staid old community.