Tuesday, October 31, 2006

No Garbage Cans - But Knife Surrender Bins Abound

Just in case you need someplace to stash your butterfly knife.

Yes, this discovery warranted a Bengal Sticker Sticking

So Southern Son and I noticed some things about London. One of them being a garbage can is hard to find.

No corner garbage cans.

No tube trash bins.

You would think this stunning city would be drowning in a sea of litter, but no.

I think we noticed it after a time or two of having to tote an empty soda can or a scrap piece of food wrapping more than a few blocks, more than a few tube stops before we found someplace to get rid of the used item. In fact, someone I know (and I won't say who since the offense in question happened on his birthday) left an empty juice bottle on the ground along Portobello Road in Notting Hill.

We quickly learned - either take your trash with you and hope to find the holy grail of trash receptacles along the way, or hand the scrap back to the person who sold it to you. That's what I did at either the Baker Street or Green Park station while making my way to Heathrow Tuesday.

Now, Monday morning we noticed something that was not quite a trash bin, but something that was just as unusual a sight in London.

The Knife Surrender Bin.

What the fuck?

D Money already told us - guns are verboten in London. Even the cops are sans semi-automatics. The police carry tasers to help defend against particularly aggressive criminals. It turns out the knife is the chosen form of weaponry for those who want to unleash a crime wave in London, and these "knife surrender bins" are a method to encourage those criminals to put down the knife and pick up peace.

Some questions I have about this situation:

  • Does the city wide CCTV (London's Big Brother security move to watch virtually every single person walking and breathing within the view of the cameras) capture images of these people who are dropping knives into the Knife Surrender Bin?
  • Do criminals try to break in to the Knife Surrender Bin to try and take advantage of the machetes and butchers knives just waiting to be used for a Jack The Ripper kind of crime?
  • What does the government do with all this surrendered weaponry?

I am almost certain some bad guys would try to break in if the police put a "Gun Surrender Bin" in Cincinnati's Over-the-Rhine.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

London On My Mind

Well, the United Kingdom managed to survive the mania that is Kate the Great.

The fun started Friday night, when we checked D Money's campus bar, called The Undercroft.

The beer was cheap, the conversation was great, and the songs were about vibrators and love sick hearts. It felt just like home...

Then Miss D took Southern Son and me to the nearest village, a quaint little spot called Harrow. We went out to a local pub called O'Neill's. It was crazy - a total pub just like what you would see in the States, but the music was only techno/house music.

As you can see, we fit right in with the locals...

Saturday morning started with a trip to Portobello Road for the weekend market. Lots of great deals on amazing thinks like silver spoons and antique lace. I picked up an antique "Trio" - that's a teacup, saucer and dessert plate - for 5 pounds ($10 American). It's a set that comes from the 1920s... just beautiful. White base with a beautiful "Kentucky Blue" tasteful pattern and gold rim. I love it so...

Saturday night we high tailed it to Picadilly Circus (which isn't really a circus at all - for those of you afraid of clowns. It's more like London's version of Times Square).

It happened to be Southern Son's birthday, so we headed to a sports bar to watch, what else? Tennessee Football.

Afterwards, we headed to one of one of London's hottest night clubs, Tiger Tiger, to drink -wait for it- Tiger beer from Asia.

Yes, I know it looks like my boob is about to pop out of this shirt.

At the club, we had our fortunes told by an Irishman who can read palms. He told me I am focused on details, culture and art are important in my life, and something is missing in my life like a relationship. Who knew I'd get such an accurate fortune for free?

I danced with the fortune teller's friend - some other Irish guy whom I had a lot of difficulty understanding. The dancing was easy. Lots of crazy, grandiose movements to some crazy Abba song. And the wild thing is nobody even looked at us like we were weird. That's the thing about London - everything goes, including crazy fashions and crazy dancing. Despite my boobage, I would say I was dressed pretty conservatively for the London scene. Note to self, pack all my out of fashion clothing next time I go to London.

Sunday morning I struck out early to check out Covent Garden and the surrounding streets. Amazing crafts sold under tents by local vendors. Stunning handmade jewelry, beautifully designed handbags, photos from all over London. I walked up to a monument called Seven Dials and found a nearby bead shop to scout out one of my bigger souvenir ideas. Then I met up with Southern Son and D Money for lunch - at an old Covent Garden restaurant called Punch and Judy's.
My meal: prawns (that's what they call all shrimp) in seafood sauce, chips (french fries) and of course - beer.

After lunch we went to the nearby tobacco shop and I cannot legally tell you what I bought there, only because there is a certain embargo that involves a certain country and so that means certain items are not allowed in the United States. Yeah, I think you know where I'm going with this one. Bill Clinton would be so proud...

We walked on to Leicester (pronounced Lester) Square and Trafalgar Square and then decided to check out the National Gallery. Lots of Monets, Van Goghs, Titians (that's Tish-un for you perverts) and Degas. It was a great opportunity to squeeze in some culture.

Sunday night we went back to the sports bar to catch some Bengals action. I didn't have the heart to stay though the whole game and decided to hit the streets of London on my own and check out some of the little neighborhoods. Note: Soho is the spot you want to go if you're a freak and want to buy porn in London.

Monday Southern Son and I set out for our hotel in Kensington. Then we met Miss D for breakfast at one of the world's most amazing and unique department stores - Harrods. We didn't spend nearly enough time in that place, but I've already been once before and know it will always be there for any future trips I take to London (hmmm. August is already surfacing as a possibility).

Then Southern Son and I decided to take the quintessential double decker bus tour around London. A great way to see all the sights you notice in the movies and on the postcards. I took a few pictures of the things you'll most recognize.

Look kids, Big Ben Parliament. Look kids, Big Ben Parliament.

St. Paul's Cathedral - where Lady Diana tied the knot to whats-his-name.

No Fergie, it's called Tower Bridge.

Then Southern Son and I went on to the London Eye - the world's largest "Observation Wheel" (a.k.a. Ferris Wheel). Here's a picture of Big Ben/Parliament from 450 feet above the ground.

Surprisingly the height didn't bother this Nervous Nelly.

Afterwards, we set out to dine at a Greek restaurant I read about in one of my guides about London - Souvlaki and Bar in Clerkenwell. I thought the food was great and pretty damn affordable considering how expensive everything is in London. I'll expand on that in the days ahead.


We caught up with D Money and went on a two bar pub crawl, the second being a karaoke bar. Ahh! I felt right at home. Unfortunately the Brits have either never heard of Janis Joplin or ever considered singing her songs - I was forced to whip out my rendition of I Will Survive. Not the top of my list but a song I've mastered. It seems I impressed Nigel and Ian and Colin and all of the rest of the British blokes in the bar.

Tuesday Southern Son and I jetted up to Scotland - flying on BMI for about 130 bucks American (round trip). Edinburgh was our destination - the mission: to see as much as we could in that 24 hour time period. And go figure - as soon as we were about two blocks away from the Old Town's center, we could literally hear proof that we were in Scotland.
Hey buddy. I'll show you mine if you show me yours?

We walked up to the castle, which sits high on top of a rocky, three sided cliff.

Then it was off to the pub. A spot called The White Hart. It's very charming, with lots of cute little pewter mugs hanging from the black beams holding the plaster ceiling up. I had haggis, neeps and tatties for dinner. It was an excellent meal but kind of gross if you think about it. Haggis is mutton (ground up sheep intestines) and steel cut oatmeal. Very much like Cincinnati's goetta but perhaps a bit more crumbly. I thought it tasted delicious. Neeps are mashed turnips that tasted like a Welsh dish my family makes called Potch. Tatties are mashed potatoes - not a lump in the whole bunch, and yet completely authentic. Scotland hasn't discovered the boxed stuff yet.

Oh yeah, I drank several types of Scottish beer.

For dessert, I wanted to have what every person has in Scotland. Scotch.

Glenlivet goes down really well. Especially with ice.

Wednesday Southern Son and I returned to London, where I got to have a little alone time with my sweet friend D Money.

She and I went out to a Fusion restaurant - The Providores. It's said to be the best Fusion restaurant in London and I could tell - the food and the price tag were both out of this world. Peter Gordon is the chef behind the innovative cuisine and one of the most recognizable chefs from New Zealand. D Money and I stayed in the tapas room (it's so fun to tell people you're going to eat tapas. Lots of times they give you crazy looks like you're going somewhere without a shirt...) and had a great bottle of red wine. D ordered spring rolls stuffed with braised duck, Spanish black bean, feta, coriander and chipotle chili with cumin lime yogurt and feta stuffed hot peppers with sea salt. I ordered a cheese plate (excellent. Harbourne Blue, Monte Enebro and Colston Basset Stilton with oatcakes, fig anise bread and fruit chutney) and salted, steamed edamame.

We went on to two nearby pubs - The Marylebone Tup and Coco Momo. I can't find any pictures or relevant links to the latter, but the bar is at 79 Marylebone High St. in London. I especially loved it - graceful beautiful chandeliers, delicate white paint job, soft lighting and a super hip (or posh, as the Brits would say) bathroom.

Thursday morning I woke up and set out to soak up the last bits of London that I could.

I took the Jubilee tube line to St. John's Wood and one of the most famous crosswalks in the world... the one at Abbey Road.

Where are my Paul, George and Ringo?

There's a big, white wall that surrounds the Abbey Road Studios that fans can write messages on(the picture to the left is not a part of that wall), so I whipped out my Sharpie and wrote "Katy C. says Let It Be! 10.26.06" - complete with a Bengals sticker. The Who Dey nation lives on in London!

I hopped back on the tube and jumped off at St. Paul's. The church is Christopher Wren's most prominent design and has an amazing rotunda that you can go up to for sweeping views of London.

I opted instead to check out a side chapel to light a couple candles.

Then I moved out to the front steps to watch the crowd, the bustling streets nearby and do some journaling.

Getting Artsy Fartsy on the steps of St. Paul's. Not bad for taking it myself!

I was just awestruck, sitting there writing in my journal. Thinking about how I was sitting in one of the world's most incredible, bustling cities - thinking about how my American Made butt was sitting on the steps of one of London's most prominent buildings. It was an incredible, surreal moment that made me appreciate that very second of my little life.

I walked from St. Paul's through the streets of London Town (which is actually only a square mile, and surrounded by the boroughs of Kensington, Westminster and Chelsea - to name a few) to a tube station. My next destination: Tower Bridge.

The most recognizable landmark in London offers great landscape views of the area near the Thames.

The Tower of London is in the bottom right corner , bordered by the bridge.

One of my favorite "archetectural" photos I took on the trip.

After I was done walking across the top catwalk of the bridge, I went back to the river level to get some scenery pics of the bridge.

I wonder how that Bengals sticker got there...

I raced back to Covent Garden to pick up some turquoise, onyx and quartz beads I intend on using for a necklace I've designed. Then it was back to Harrow to D's dorm.

From there we walked to nearby Kenton for a vegetarian Indian restaurant in my guide called Ram's. It was voted several times as London's best Vegetarian Indian restaurant, and I'd concur

The food was excellent, spicy and filling.

We went hopped on the Tube to go in to London to the bar at the International Student House, or ISH, as it's called by folks familiar with its whereabouts.

We met some amazing people whom I'll expand about in a future blog.

The evening happened to be Karaoke Night, so I decided to bring out I Will Survive for one more encore in London.

Then we headed back to Harrow, a short night's rest before we had to head across The Pond and back home.

The trip was wonderful. It was so enriching to dig in to the place my good, dear best friend is calling home. I so so enjoyed meeting the people and putting faces to names - learning about other cultures and meeting people who Miss D is getting to know while she is studying abroad.

The trip to London was a priceless experience that did wonders for my soul, tought me so so much about the kind of person that I am and helped me discover what is important to me in life.

And I also realized there's so much more to see next time I go back to London.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Leaving on a jet plane...

Don't know when I'll be back again...

Wow. It's 3:15 in the morning at University of Westminster, Harrow Campus, London, England and I am trying to squeeze out a few more conscious, waking moments here to savor being on this side of the Atlantic.

London is magical. London is the kind of place that songs and stories are written about, and so I feel it's only right for me to try and dwell in what minutes - what moments I have left here so that perhaps some day I can write my own story about London.

Or at the very least, I'll have some great stories to tell the grand kids someday.

Tut tut, as D Money would say.

I have had an incredible time. I've sipped on single malt scotch in Scotland, and I had the most fantastic experience of getting my picture snapped as I walked the "zebra crossing" at Abbey Road - yes, THE Abbey Road. Just like the album cover.

I could go on and on about all the amazing things to see and and experience in this town, on this thrilling, enriching, thought provoking island that is Great Britain.

But mostly it's about the people. People from all over. People like the woman I had a fascinating conversation with about apartheid in South Africa, people like the guy whom I listened to an Ipod with to really hear what Russian pop music sounds like. People whom I should have met far earlier in my trip because they were wonderful, and I felt like I only got to scratch the surface of who they are.

I'll tell so much more when I can get home and do cool stuff with my pictures, etc.

In the meantime, I am looking forward to coming home to a place where there's a garbage can on every corner, there's a clock in every major building, venue, etc. and a place where the beer is super cold.

Yes, there are trade offs for enjoying one of the cultural meccas of the globe.

Cheers and much love,
Kate the Great

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Bloody Good

I'm here stop London is everything I remembered and then some stop Polite accents and exciting scenes stop Apparently people here do not know what it means when an American says Excuse Me stop I suppose I should start saying Get the fuck out of the way bitch stop I am trying to singlehandedly change the way the globe thinks about Americans stop Many people tell me they mistakenly believe we are all stupid and arrogant stop I guess not all of us are stop.

Kate the Great

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Mind The Gap

From the desk of HRH Prince William

Hello Musings fans,

Kate the Great apologises for this break in posting.

She is away to be pleasured by me in Jolly Old England and will not return to the United States until after our wedding. If my darling bolts at the altar - then she'll likely return by Friday October 27th. Expect an update on the blog by the 30th, though there's a slim slim chance Kate may share some trip trinkets from across the pond.


In the meantime, please enjoy some of these Best of Kate posts from the Musings archives.

Do I Smell or Something?
My Embarrassing Moment
The Last Shampoo
Cincinnati Kid
p. 174
You've Got To Be Kidding Me
Riding In Limos With Girls
Home But Not
All Dressed Up And No Place To Go But Hell
Christmas Wish
My Name is Kate And I Am a Quirkyalone
Getting Back to Cincinnati

Best regards,

Will Windsor

ps. You can read about our first kiss here. The journalist changed Kate's last name to protect her privacy. -WW

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Monty Python and The Vortex

Spamalot is awesome.

I was a bit apprehensive because of the whole Monty Python tie (I saw The Life of Brian in high school and wasn't a big fan) but I love-love-love-love-loved it.

Spamalot could very well be the best musical I've ever seen. Perhaps not so much where music performance is concerned (though the singing and score are very good) but it is definitely the most fun I've ever had at a Broadway show.

Run, canter or gallop (with your coconuts) to your local theatre to go see the show.


Who knew I loved roller coasters?

It took me almost 30 years to figure out that something that scared me as a child doesn't really pack quite the same punch when living in a grown-up body. I remember riding my first roller coaster (I think The Beastie at PKI) when I was seven. I was a sweaty, terrified mess. A couple years after that I rode The Racer, and that was another panic inducing experience.


I guess your fears diminish with age.

My sister, Mickdizzle, and I went to PKI this past Saturday to check out the haunted houses. She'd never been to an amusement park before (yes, we were sheltered as children) and so I told her we had to ride just one roller coaster to make our visit to the park legit.

We did The Racer. I had my eyes closed the whole time, and she screamed the whole time.

But we both loved it.

We checked out some other lame Halloween trail and decided to go back to the Racer afterwards. When it was all said and done, we had ridden the Racer four times and the Italian Job a trio of times before heading back to Mom and Dad's house.

But we weren't finished.

We threw on some clothes Sunday and went back for another dose of terrifying pleasure.

The tally:
Adventure Express once
Flight of Fear x2
The Racer - forwards x2, backwards once
The Italian Job once
The Vortex x3

We were too sore and dizzy to get on The Beast. That's for next time.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


Sagittarius (Nov. 22 - Dec. 21).

You need adventure like you need food and water. It's probably more dangerous to avoid danger than it is to put yourself out there.

This applies to so many corners of my life right now...

Lefty Loosy, Righty Tighty

9:40 AM Monday - I-71 N exit ramp to Dana Ave./Montgomery Rd.

Don't ever say I'm afraid to get my hands dirty.

I'd never changed a tire before, and I was totally freaked out because this all went down on one of Cincinnati's busiest interstates.

There I was, parked on the side of the road with cars zooming by to get off the exit ramp.

But I persevered, armed with my car manual, the standard jack and other tools.

No AAA, no call to Dad, no crying.

I've got a couple slices on my right hand but it's a small price to pay for the pride I came away with knowing I could do something I was always a little weary of.

I just still can't believe nobody stopped to help.

Monday, October 16, 2006

London: High Tea

So, this weekend my 20 year old sister asked me what I was going to do on the trip. I rattled off a list of things - double decker bus tour, St. Paul's Cathedral and high tea.

I got a raised eyebrow when I said that last one.

"High Tea? As in, like pot and stuff?"


No, Mickdizzle, High Tea or High Tea is a very formal tradition amongst those people who eat Bangers and Mash. The pomp and circumstance of dry tea leaves and hot water is celebrated with great reverence in England. The occasion usually includes little sandwiches (crusts cut off) made of cucumber, salmon with cream, egg and other tasty toppings.

Both high teas and afternoon teas (there is a difference) include special fancy pants things like silver tea servers, butlers with white gloves and cookies and cakes served on these special vertical contraptions that hold a tower of three plates loaded with goodies.

Oh, I forgot to tell you about the clotted cream.

I love clotted cream. It's an unusual thing. Softer than cream cheese, a bit more sticky and firm than sour cream, it has a mildly sweet flavor that's perfect for scones and other buttery breads.

For your drinking pleasure, there are more than several blends to pick. Irish Breakfast, chamomile, green tea. The list goes on and on.

I believe I'll be having high tea on Saturday, and there'll be nary a pot leaf in sight.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Hi, I'm Your Daughter. How Do You Do?

So, I've been hanging out with these strangers lately. They're a bit older than me and they're sometimes out of touch with modern day reality, but they're wicked funny.

They're my parents.

Mom and Dad recently moved back to the Tri-State, and the Good Loving Daughter that I am, I'm helping unpack their boxes and put their belongings in order. It's a lot of Hey, look at these funny pictures I found! When did you get these tacky glasses? Hey, can I have this retro, turquoise apron?

Over the course of wrapping all the brown paper bound up in about a thousand cardboard boxes, I'm learning stories, sharing laughs and getting to know the two cool people my parents have become.

But then, I guess they've always been cool. I just didn't see them that way.

Mom and I have been laughing about all kinds of things since they moved back a week and a half ago. Nothing really significant to share, usually inside family jokes or recollections about crazy people we've known in the past, but there have been a couple occasions where we've been laughing so hard that we've each had to run for the bathroom. I think I've said before I have a pee problem when it comes to major league laughing.

Dad is continuously showing me new things about the house. Dishing details about the digital satellite dish, a new development a mi familia. Telling me about the new Gigantor television he wants to get for the pub room (a.k.a. finished basement). Telling me about the recent visit by the Invisible Fencing guy, and how the dude said might actually know of me through someone I once dated.


That's when I realized my worlds are starting to overlap - my family life and my personal life. My parents have known from afar about the crazy antics of Kate the Great. Now the circumstances have developed to a situation where Mom and Dad could actually experience/hear of/discover some of my ways first hand. Eek.

Then again, these days there's less crazy and more busy.


For a while, I wondered how much time I had to spend with Mom and Dad. One day a week? A few days a week? A weekend night? Sunday dinner? This situation is completely foreign to me. The last time I lived with my parents I was a fugly teenager who stayed holed up in my room with my books, listening to U2 Achtung Baby on repeat One love. One life. You've got to do what you should. to avoid the rest of our clan.

Now It seems I can't get enough of them.

For all that bitching I did as a kid, all the name calling and shouting and running around the house to avoid the yard stick (my mother's chosen weapon), I have come to discover that my parents are Good People.

I started liking them years ago, when we developed a relationship over the phone and though those annual visits back home for the Holidays and summer clambakes. The bummer about those visits is that my mom gets tense during special occasions, so a trip for Christmas in Connecticut usually accounted for Three snide remarks, Two shouting matches and a Partridge in a pear tree.

Now my visits have a little more levity because the stress factor is taken out of the equation. Well, most of it. My mom is a pretty high strung person as a rule. My dad is Mister Cool, and the two have a way of balancing each other out. I think I got a little bit of both in me. Don't know whether that's a good thing.

I think my parents are discovering the Softer Side of KtG. I'm not so defiant anymore. Strong? Yes. Bullheaded? Okay, maybe a little bit. But Cut-Off-My-Nose-To-Spite-My-Face? Not anymore.

I just have a pee problem where laughing is concerned.

Good thing there are lots of bathrooms in the new house.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Oh, How I Love Thee, Tucker Carlson. Let Me Count The Ways.

An open letter to Tucker in honor of tonight's appearance (joined by Al Franken) at Northern Kentucky University.

My Dearest Tucker,

I've said it before: I love the bow tie. Oh, how I wish you would bring it back. I want to take it and tie you up.
I want you to tell me conservative jokes about all the bad Democrats you hate.
Tucker, we will sit around our Williams Sonoma Home/Pottery Barn living room somewhere near the Beltway in our J Crew khakis and Reef flip flops listening to Jack Johnson and the Grateful Dead as we sip on dry martinis and discuss our affinity for foreign cars.
I want to be your bad ass Betty Crocker mama, greeting you at the front door with a batch of brownies in nothing but an apron. An apron from Crate and Barrel. A cute one, maybe with the American flag on it.
I want to smile and nod when your boring politician friends come over to our house for our wild-mad-crazy summer clambake.
I will wear your navy blue coat over my Lilly Pulitzer sundress after we leave The Club in the evening.

Oh Tucker.

I want to name our babies Madison and Chandler and Muffy. The girls will wear grosgrain ribbons in their hair and the boy will get a Lacoste crocodile tattoo on his chest when he is a student at Middlebury.
We will have a chocolate lab named Trinity after your four year stint at the school with the same name in Connecticut.
Tucker, honey, I love your rough-and-tumble, fringy, quasi mullet hair. It hints at your years of wearing Birkenstocks and North Face fleece pullovers, listening to Phish and drinking iced coffee.
I want to wear your old polo shirts as I work on the craft projects around the house, probably involving a hot glue gun and decoupage.
Tucker, I want to go to Fresh Market with you so we can stock up on Pellegrino, Apollinaris, Voss and Gerolsteiner.
I can put my Lisa Loeb eyeglasses on for you so we can reminisce and talk about whatever happened to Ashleigh Banfield.
Tucker, we will take family vacations to Greenwich, Nantucket and Stowe, Vermont in the winter. We will drive around in our big ass, gas guzzling SUV with one of those Black Dog stickers and a Choate Lacrosse decal on the back.
We will have monogrammed everything.
Tucker, I love your smirky smile. It teases me, like you have a dirty secret or joke to tell that wouldn't be polite to share with a lady. Oh, please share it with me... Let me in to your little world of genteel, Conservative Contradictions.

Nobody will be able to out-preppy us, and I will love every minute of it.

Kate the Great

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

London Calling

Planning for London has hit a fever pitch. Here's what's cooking so far:

Thursday the 19th- Leave Cincinnati.

Friday AM - Arrive in London.
- Take a Double Decker Bus Tour (and included free boat cruise on the Thames). 16.5 p if booked online. The tickets are good for 24 hours and the buses allow passengers to get off at any of the 90 stops.
- Pubs at night.

Saturday - I may wake up early to check out one of the morning markets like at Portobello Road or Old Spitalfields. I don't know whether D Money or Southern Son will want to join me.
- St. Paul's Cathedral. The same place where Lady Di got married. 9p admission.
- Between 3 pm and 5:30 pm: Afternoon tea at The Strand @ the Thistle Charing Cross Hotel. At $32 American, it's not uber expensive, compared to the $70 at the Savoy/Ritz, etc.
- Authentic London club at night.

Sunday - Daytrip to Dover/Canterbury. Leave at 8:30 am, return around 6:30 pm.

Monday - Harrods. Free.

- Tate Modern Museum (I really want to see the slide exhibit that CBS did a story on yesterday). Free.
Maybe the London Eye millennium wheel. Hours 10 am to 8 pm. 13.5p admission. Supposed to have incredible, sweeping views of the city.

Tuesday - Travel to Edinburgh, Scotland

Wednesday - Return to London
- Jack the Ripper tour. 6.5p admission.

Thursday - Tower Bridge tour. 5.5p admission.

Return to U.S. Friday the 27th

There are still some holes in the trip and I am by no means nailed down to the intinerary (though the producer in me would like to have the vacation planned down to 15 minute increments). I've left out some of the major spots (Kensington Palace, Tower of London, etc.) because I've already been to them and Southern Son hasn't expressed any interest in going to them.

Any suggestions from the Anglophiles out there?

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Let Me Bitch A Minute

Because sometimes a girl just needs to vent.

I think I'm getting a cold.

I have not gotten a decent night's sleep in two nights.

I just fought off a wretched case of heartburn.

My vacuum cleaner doesn't work.

My landlord hasn't turned the heat on yet.

I've gained two pounds.

I have an annoying piece of popcorn stuck between my teeth and my permanent retainer.

A friend of mine in Colorado just sent me an e-mail telling me her newborn baby is basically fighting for her life.

I will officially be 30 in 51 days.

I hate all my Fall clothes and shoes.

I switched my blog over to Blogger Beta (I know that means nothing to you non-bloggers) and I don't know how I feel about it.

In light of the baby situation listed above, I really don't have much to bitch about.


Light at the end of the tunnel:

I am finally getting off the morning show (again). My two/three week stint has turned into an eleven week extravaganza (thus far), and I am starting to really feel it. The bouncing back and forth between evening meetings and all night productivity is taking a toll on my mental clarity, my energy level and my general passion for life.

I have become reacquainted with that boring friend apathy.

Anyway, I should be back to my dayside newscast around the first full week of November. Yippee.


The Cincinnati Ballet had a great, new performance running at their studio on Central Parkway. I volunteered as an usher Friday night at their New Works Festival. The series mixed contemporary and traditional music with innovative, never-seen-before choreographed pieces of ballet. I don't know a plie' from first position, but I really really enjoyed it.

This week I am volunteering on a Junior League project called Bargain Box (no jokes here, Double Platinum). Basically, all of the members rifle through their possessions to find stuff to donate. Then the League hands out these vouchers to various organizations and inner city schools to give people the chance to "buy" second hand stuff.

You can check out the sale at the Hamilton County Fairgrounds this weekend if you're interested in buying my Barry Larkin bobblehead or 12 Beanie Babies I donated for the cause.


Keeneland. Pictures should be on the way. I basically came home a winner, covering all my drinks and food for the day and making it to Cincinnati with an extra 13 bucks in my pocket. It helps that some old, Hispanic man bought me a beer. I didn't feel bad - he was betting thousands of dollars per race.

Gosh, sometimes I wish I could lower myself to marrying for money.

Oh well.

I am such a sucker for romance and true love.


Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

-Mark Twain

Monday, October 09, 2006

Don't Look Up

My dating guru t2ed wrote a solid post that inspired me.

T wrote about the break, welcome or otherwise, that comes when you're on the rebound.

I commented on the post about how I can deal with rebounding. I usually feel pretty good after a pint of Phish Food and a round of sappy chick flicks. Breaking up is hard to do, but I can deal with it - it gives a girl character.

I just have a tough time putting myself back on the street, so to speak.

Being single is so easy. The scenario's emotions are so two dimensional. Happy. Sad. Confused. Not Happy Because Of Someone Else. Not Sad Because Of What Someone Else Did. Not Confused Because of Another Person's Actions. My social life is simple - it's what I want, when I want, with whom I want. I can eat whatever I want, wear whatever I want. My apartment can be a mess and nobody really cares, because nobody else inhabits that corner of this earth - except me.

Single is easy.

What's hard is getting back in rotation.

I am the girl who doesn't look a man in the eye when she passes him on the sidewalk. I'm the girl who looks away quickly when she realizes a guy is checking her out. I keep my head down in coffee houses and book stores because I automatically write off every reasonably attractive man there - Why would he be interested in me?

I've got no problem with the easy targets. I can talk 'til the cows come home to the old guys, the guys who wouldn't stand a chance dating me. The rednecks. The dorks. I can chat up all those guys without feeling a twinge of nerves or insecurity. But the guys who are successful and handsome? - The guys who my friends would pair me up with? - I get all tongue tied and apprehensive and just turn away because I'd rather take a short cut around the rejection instead of bracing for something that could sting and leave me walking with my tail between my legs.

I don't think I have a confidence problem, at least where the rest of my life is concerned. I think I'm an alright looking chick who can sometimes pull it together and look like a hot tamale (or cha-cha as NB-C and Nat would say) from time to time. I know I'm smart and don't really feel insecure when it comes to the wet noodle between my brains, and I feel reasonably confident about my place in the world, including the cultural and global experiences I've been exposed to.

And I know I am a damn good cook, and that's got to count for something.

I guess I'm just not confident when it comes to the opposite sex, and I have no ungodly reason why.

I have a loving family, and they've done plenty to make me feel good about myself. I have a great relationship with my dad, so I don't think I can chalk this up to any latent undercurrent of insecurity with a father figure. I've got lots of friends and I've always been a go-getter, as my mother calls it, so I think I'm pretty well skilled in the ways of social interaction.

I just don't get it.

Why don't I have the cojones to wink at a stranger? Smile at a cute guy on the street? Strike up a convo with Mr. Tall, dark and handsome reading the Wall Street Journal at the 'bucks?

God, I've got to grow some balls.

Friday, October 06, 2006

The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

At least where horse racing is concerned.

I am so jazzed about my trip to the track. I hope the weather can hold off well. I just may break out a skirt...

Here's an oldie but a goodie about a time I went to Keeneland two years ago.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

I Could Buy You And Sell You Any Day Of The Week

Family bonding presents some interesting opportunities.

Sometimes you learn family secrets. Sometimes you learn family stories. Sometimes you get stuff.

I think I know all the secrets there are to know, and at this age I'm really not expecting to haul out the heirloom waterford crystal.

But I did hear one great story yesterday while helping my mom unpack her china.

And the moral of the story is this: looks can be deceiving.

My mother apparently walked into an Ethan Allen furniture store 28 years ago, with a 2 year old, blonde ringleted baby on her hip (I hear she was a cute kid...) My mom was doing well to be showered and dressed for public, considering all the struggles and tasks that come with raising a small child. So on this particular day in Charlotte, North Carolina, my mom was opting for comfort... battling the hot, sticky humidity of a summer day in the Deep South. All she wanted was a couch. A nice couch to put in her suburban home. And so, instead of dressing to the nines with pearls and stockings, she flowed with the rush of motherhood and threw on a pair of white shorts and a Stanford University t-shirt.

No doubt, the Summer of 78 was likely a summer that brought on the kind of heat that forces you to literally peel yourself out of the car, pulling the skin from a vinyl seat that sticks to the back of your legs when you go for a ride.


There she was, freshly showered, clothed, baby in tow and needing a couch so she could sit down and put her legs up after all those hours of chasing-after-a-wild-child-and-cooking-meals-grocery-shopping-ironing-doing-loads-and-loads-of-laundry-tidying-bedrooms- and-playrooms-and-family-rooms-littered-with-blocks-and-dolls-and-little-Fisher-Price-toys- that-roll-and-make-chiming-sounds-when-they're-pushed-by-a-curious-toddler.

A couch.

A spot that would be her refuge as she sipped on a can of Tab and fanned herself away to dreams of a cooler Minnesota.

Well, the lady at Ethan Allen would have none of that. She looked at my mom square in the eye and said in her lazy Southern drawl, "Honey. This furniture is real expensive."

No "Hi." No "Can I help you?" No "How are you doing?"

Just a terse, abrupt hello/goodbye statement dished out when someone surmises another person's position in life based on the the clothes they're wearing.

Dumb bitch.

My mother was shocked/appalled/embarrassed. Who the hell was this furniture showroom clerk and why did she snap to judgment because my mom was in a t-shirt and shorts? I mean, seriously, who wears their mikimoto pearls and eveningwear when picking out some end tables or an area rug? How did this woman assess in about seven seconds that my mother wasn't the heiress to the Folger fortune?

I mean, she could be, right?

30 years later, my mom has lots of nice couches, and lots of nice pieces of furniture. Amazing oriental rugs and fabulous end tables.

And not one of them has come from Ethan Allen.

Gosh, that woman was dumb.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Big Deal

Jean Paul Gaultier is not trimming the fat from his latest designs.

The couture designer featured a large woman (some are estimating her to be a size 20, but I believe she's got to be a bit larger than that), complete in corset and garters, in his fashion show yesterday.

The New York Post wrote a really crappy review of the model's catwalk stroll.

Other articles are far more supportive. Click here. Click here. Click here.

I can't tell whether Gaultier is trying to use the curvy lady as a defiant example in support of the waif-like, super thin model set, or whether he actually thinks models could use some weight on 'em.

Sure, the chick isn't as hot as Heidi, Elle or Kate (not The Great) but she still looks beautiful in my book.

Uh, Yeah. Hi Sweetheart...

Sometimes I feel like a real asshat.

It's a few and far between kind of feeling, since I believe I treat most people with respect most of the time. But sometimes, sometimes there are occasions when I feel like such. a. jerk.

Most of these occasions revolve around the scenario of meeting a new person - a person whose name I can't remember even though someone introduced me, like, seven milliseconds ago.

I can't help it. I do little mind tricks (like "Jelly Bean Jill" because Jill is little and curvy) or I repeat the name in my head over and over (Sarah, Sarah bo-barah. Banana fanna fo farah. SARAH!) but sometimes I just CANNOT keep the name in the wet noodle in my head that some people call a brain.

And I feel like the biggest jerk ever when that same person, the one I was introduced seven milliseconds ago, can remember my name like -that-.

I feel like I cover up my flaw pretty well. I usually greet people I know (gosh, I recognize her face. Is it Molly? Maybe Mary? Marcy?) with the big "Hey there! How's it goin'?!" I guess it's a smooth reaction I rely on when I simply cannot pull the name out of my brain. I feel like an even bigger jerk when I'm with a friend or two and I want to introduce Molly/Mary/Marcy to the rest of my gang. Instead I end up looking like the biggest heel because I won't start the round of introductions. My best friends are aware of this personal shortcoming I have and usually just jump in and introduce themselves.

Last weekend I went out to watch the Bengals/Patriots game with a friend and his friends, and I sat there the whole time next to a girl (whom I ended up spilling a beer on in my first three minutes of sitting down at the table when crossing my long legs) whose name I couldn't remember. I felt like a total bee-otch when I couldn't even apologize to this girl using her proper name.

Sometimes I listen hawkeye style for someone else to reference a person by name. a Hey Jimmy, pass the peanuts kind of thing. Sometimes it works for me. Sometimes it doesn't.

The worst part is, I still have slow recall for the names belonging to people whom I've known for years. They could be old, not-so-close friends, they could be co-workers whom I don't interact with frequently. I can usually remember the names belonging to this group of people after the first sentence or two of interaction.

Avogadro's Number. My childhood phone number. The directions to make a perfect pie crust - I got all that down by heart.

But your name?

Chances are I don't know it. And if I do, it may take me a while to remember it.

Madonna Mommy
I am so glad to know Madonna is carrying the weight of the world on her shoulders.

Check that, the weight of the world's children on her shoulders.

The Blonde Ambitious One is rumored to be in Africa to adopt a baby boy.

The following is my favorite quote featured in one of the related reports:

"For the last few years--now that I have children and now that I have what I consider to be a better perspective on life--I have felt responsible for the children of the world," she said.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


Politicians are so slimy.

I went to a political debate last night and I thought I was going to walk out covered in that green crap made famous by "You Can't Do That On Television" on Nickelodeon...

Oh, Moose. Don't encourage him.

I hate the mud slinging, I hate the I told you so. I hate the smoke and mirrors. Thomas Jefferson would be so ashamed... At least I have a better idea of whom I'll be voting for.

Two weeks and one day until I go see The Queen. D Money tells me I should pack some punk wear as the folks in London Town like looking like the Sex Pistols et al. I guess I'll be bringing along my bike chain choker necklace, my pink wig and the chunky black shoes.

I am so so anxious for the trip. Already booked: a hotel room in Kensington, a day trip to Dover/Canterbury. Southern Son is supposedly booking the hotel room for our night in Edinburgh - No roaches, Kev! I am working on the itinerary right now and really want to work in a Saturday high tea, a boat ride on the Thames, a spin on the London Eye millennium wheel and a Jack the Ripper walking tour (per SS's request).

I am really not going to be able to contain my excitement until I get on that plane.

Mom and Dad are finally Cincinnatians. I was really sad last Friday, thinking about my parents and their final drive out of 15 Island Avenue in Connecticut. I went over Monday to check out the new house. My little sister was kind of worried it was going to be a busted, ramshackle kind of operation in Symmes Township. The house is actually pretty cool. If I were a wild teenager, I'd already be plotting the kinds of parties I'd have there - complete with valet parking.

I talked about it on my MySpace page - Keeneland. My favorite event of Autumn kicks off this weekend, and I am so excited. I am one of those people at the horse track. The people who like to wear the hats, the people who like to get dressed up to the nines. The people who like to smuggle Maker's Mark in their flask. I have very few occasions to wear my big, floppy, burnt orange felt hat, so I am breaking it out for our Saturday outing.

I cannot wait.

57 days until I turn 30.

I am coming to terms with the reality of life - with a big ass birthday bash. The 24 hour party is hitting the road (some of you already know about it).

If you're interested in coming along, shoot me an email. Our destination is all about music, The Parthenon and pancakes.


Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Commando Bridesmaid

Kate the Great and The Bride just moments before walking down the aisle.

What is better than having a big ass party with some of your best friends?

I was so proud and pleased to get a chance to stand up for my good friend The Bride, who tied the knot with Mr. Taylor Saturday night. The couple started dating three years ago, and I always wondered whether Mr. Taylor would actually settle down and do away with his bad bachelor habits. It's nice to see he was wise and snagged a good one while she was still willing to be snagged.

The weekend started Friday afternoon at my old church, the Cathedral of Christ the King in Lexington K-Y. The officiant was this spry Irish priest who used to be involved in our young adult bible study (who knew Kate had such a churchy past?) who took the bridal couple over to Ireland last winter. The groom had been teasing the bride, saying he was going to show up at the church on their wedding day in a kilt. Well, Fr. Patrick and Mr. Taylor decided to pull a stunt on the bride, throwing off vestments and showing a little more than some leg under black watch plaid. It was really cute..

Afterwards, I showed up at the rehearsal dinner and was a bit confused as to where the fete was. The quaint vineyard looked like a political party convention, with signs promoting the city's incumbent mayoral candidate. Fortunately, Teresa Isaac was in the wrong place and she and her yard signs high tailed it to another part of the winery.

The party closed up shop early because we were in for a long day Saturday. By 9 AM, the bride and us bridesmaids were sitting pretty and ready to get our hairr did for the afternoon wedding. I went with something very Grace Kelly, sleek and off the face, wrapped in a big, pretty bun in the back. Afterwards, where else do a bunch of hot lookin' girls go to kill some time in Kentucky? Wal-Mart. We were walking up and down the aisles to get kleenex, complete with our big bouffant hairstyles (and the bride in her veil), teasing that we heard the big box store was running a special on husbands.

If only it was that easy, right?

Now, I'm not a big make-up person. I can usually get by with some cover up, an eyelash curler, mascara and some lip balm. But Saturday was different. I knew there'd be all kinds of pictures and videos floating out there for generations to come, and so that meant I had to spend some quality time smoothing on the warpaint. I had no idea I'd spend something like an hour + putting on the pancake and other crap on my face. I think the pimples are just starting to settle down.

The dress. Beautiful. Floor length, cranberry halter with a deep V (yes, every bridesmaid had some major cleavage goin' on) and some rhinestones at the chest. The only trouble - it showed everything. And basically I mean underwear when I say everything. So I was forced to make a decision - keep the g string and basically show it (is there something called Invisible Whale Tail?) or go sans. I guess there's nothing wrong with being the Commando Bridesmaid... though it kind of made me feel a little dirty inside.

I was a bit worried as to whether I would reveal my bare bottom secret at the reception, what with all the dancing that was burning up the dance floor. Don't you love a reception that's fun? None of that stuffy no drinking, no dancing crap here. The wine/beer/bourbon was flowing into the wee hours, fully inspiring people to break out the hippest and most old school of dance moves. The Shopping Cart, The Flight Attendant, The Running Man and The Sprinkler were all yanked out of the annals of the Dance Move Archives for a little showmanship in the crowd.

There was no contest when the bouquet was tossed. The bride stood square in front of me I think intentionally and lobbed it right into my hand. It was to my favor that most of the single chicks at the wedding stood at around 5'4" or less, puny in comparison to my 5'11" (thanks to the three inch heels). I pretty much just plucked the tightly bound roses right out of the air, much to the chagrin of my worthy opponents.

God, it's great to be a bridesmaid.

Best wishes to a wonderful couple who are embarking on the most spectacular journey of their lives.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Something's Coming

I am a wiped-out bridesmaid.

I've got all kinds of great stuff to write about and pontificate on, but I'm going to wait so I can do the big reveal with a picture of me in the dress.

It will just be so much more enjoyable that way.


No mosh pit. I said NO MOSH PIT!

I'm all about the anonymous polls I've got goin' on on the left side bar.

But I gotta call out whomever said they wanna come back as Janet Reno.


Do we need to plan an intervention?

Back to the basement Dance Party...