Thursday, May 31, 2007

Lazy Girl

I sleep in just about every other morning.

I don't mean to do it. I wake up. Grab the cell phone (the modern day alarm clock) off the dresser and press a button to stop the chirping at 6:30.

I lay there for a while, contemplating whether I'm ready to conquer the day - ready to meander through the domestic jungle that is my apartment. Clusters of dirty glasses and piles of plates, clothes strewn about, waiting to be called to duty.

Then I press the button on the cell phone again. 6:35. Really time to get up.

No movement.

6:40. One more rousing attempt by the alarm clock. At this point my brain is saying Seriously. Let's not dick around. We've got stuff to do...

And that's when the subconscious takes over and my synapses retreat to greener pastures full of grazing sheep.

It's all good in Dreamland until my brain starts wrangling with a nightmare. It happens like clockwork - every time I pay for my extra hour of ZZZZs with a crisis laden scenario that rattles me to consciousness.

Today it was a work nightmare.

Crappy shows, crappy stories, crappy attitudes. Bummer meetings telling me I'm doing everything wrong/I'm getting assigned to the Sunday Morning show/We're going commercial free.

Then I realized it was all a big, scary booga booga dream.

And for the rest of the day I dragged ass and struggled with a major case of ADHD.

Sleeping-in is sooo overrated.

Hello, Liam!!!

We just found out today that the Lima Bean is, in fact, a boy.

You can tell by the top left image that he has the family's stunningly good looks.

It's wild - he's got my sister's button nose.

I just can't wait 'til October...

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Holy Cow

The blog hit 100,000 visits today.

Thanks to all my family, friends, fans, co-workers, voyeurs, exes and enemies.

This blog would be nothing without you.


Brand Loyalty

They talk about it in board rooms every day.

Executives at toilet paper companies gather in big, glassy conference rooms to figure out how they can keep people coming back to the store for their version (is it really that unique?) of the fluffy stuff wrapped around a little cardboard roll.

Over the course of my television career, I've been in many a meeting to hear people dish on strategies that keep people loyal to a particular news station.

Sometimes your brand loyalty is influenced by your family. My parents moved the fam to Cincinnati when I was six years old. I grew up on Crest toothpaste and Ivory soap. To this day you won't find anything else in my house. I honestly can't remember the last time I brushed my teeth with anything other than Crest.

I guess I'm a loyal P & G kid.

Sometimes your brand loyalty is influenced by your friends. Political parties are definitely a brand - and most of my friends growing up came from Conservative families. I started supporting the Republican party when I was 12 years old and I wrote a letter to President George H.W. Bush.

I've been a registered Republican ever since*.

Current events have a way of affecting a person's brand loyalty, too. Just ask anyone who followed that whole Finger in the Wendy's Chili fiasco. The company took a major hit after the news was full of stories about the digitized chili. Wendy's even gave away free Frostys to try and lure people back.

It didn't really work for me, I'm afraid to say.

Most of the time, I'm a Kroger Brand kind of girl. Why pay an arm and a leg for something when the next thing on the shelf is likely made at the same factory?

That said, I've got a short list of things I won't waver from.
  • Viva towels
  • Crest toothpaste
  • Ivory soap
  • Jif peanut butter
  • Charmin toilet paper
But sometimes your conscience plays a part in your brand loyalty. I've decided that I've got to start making some personal changes to join the Green movement. One thing I'm going to have to give up - my super comfortable and fluffy Charmin. It makes no sense to have so many trees cut down to make something I use to wipe my rear end.

So I'm going to start using the recycled version.

I guess every little bit helps, right?

*While a registered Republican, current events over the recent years and my conscience have influenced me to vote against party line. Can you blame me?

Friday, May 25, 2007


She looks at the moon and wonders if he's looking at it, too.

She remembers a time when she had to lift her chin to stare into his eyes. Her mind races to that time, that past, and wonders if she'll ever see him again. If she'll ever have a conversation with that soul, in a space when no words are spoken.

Her life moved on, but sometimes her heart is stuck in yesterday.

He looks at that same moon. Miles away in a different state, a different frame of mind, but in the same plane of reflection.

He looks up at the shining sky and thinks about the time, that brief space in life when they were one. One soul, one heart, one passion. And yet so much static was in the way of their greatness. So much pride and so much ego.

His life moved on, and sometimes his heart wants to change tomorrow.

And so sometimes she thinks about him when she's melancholy. She thinks about him when she's reflective. And he thinks about her when he's dreaming. Thinks about her when he's wishful.

But so much goes unsaid.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Reply All

Doesn't it just suck?

It's a sweet, little trick the internet gods have designed - efficiency in responding to the masses through e-mail.

I reserve Reply All for special occasions, like when talking to some of my friends. Junior League Group correspondence requires RA. It's just easier to inform seven people all at once Sure! I can come to the book club, too. I love red wine. I see Suzy Q is bringing veggies and dip, how about I bring an appetizer?

RA is also handy when I want to say something to my crazy family. I know, I haven't talked to you all lately. Work is super busy and I've been doing lots of volunteer work. B- can't wait to find out what the baby is. M- haven't heard from you in a while but hope you're ok. Mom and Dad- travel back to Ohio safely.

How convenient is that? It's way better than those stupid conference call options the phone companies say you just can't live without.

RA is also a handy work tool. Yes, I'm on board with the new branding. Do we need a follow up meeting?

Some people hate RA. They hate getting superfluous messages they don't need... little memos that flood their inbox and take up space.

I only hate RA when I hit it by accident.

I did that today for the first time. I meant to send a quick, pleasant response to someone. I only noticed after the fact that I sent it off to a long list of people who received the e-mail, many of whom I don't know.

Who's the idiot now?

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


Elisabeth on The View is such a twit.

Watch her go at it with Rosie.

Check out Rosie vs. Elisabeth pt 1.
Rosie vs. Elisabeth pt 2.

Joy vs. Elisabeth isn't that bad, either.

The Scientist

I wonder if some day they will erect a statue in my honor.

A beautiful, marble bust (the girl is using some irony today) celebrating my commitment to medicine and scientific research.

Wait, you say. So, Kate's a doctor now? What happened to the tv business?

No, no, no, silly. I'm still making up the news.

I'm just broke as a joke from time to time thanks to tee vee. So I courageously sign up to participate in medical research.

Now that is some crazy shit, isn't it?

I have chosen a profession that isn't really known for its financial rewards. That means I have to supplement my ghetto fabulous lifestyle from time to time. It turns out the medical field will pay you a pretty penny (or maybe two) if you're willing to subject yourself to some poking and prodding.

Right now I'm carrying this unusual device in my purse. It combines technology and a certain prescription cream in an attempt to get rid of cold sores. I am supposed to carry this device (in it's plastic container, sealed with a three number combination lock) and some directions with me every day in the event Mount Rushmore decides to erupt along the vermilion border of my lips.

Basically, I am praying I get a cold sore over the next six months. Weird, I know, but I could be paid up to $750 for my time and trouble.

Easy money for a painful, unsightly cluster of bumps that can be covered up by the latest, greatest thing at Sephora.

Last September I signed up for a study of an experimental flu vaccine. This particular shot has already been offered in Canada for several years, so I didn't see the harm in rolling up my sleeves and taking one for the team. The $225 payout just seemed so easy for the off chance I got a placebo.

Considering I didn't get sick all winter, I think I got the real deal, and I suppose it worked.

Almost two years ago I participated in a different cold sore study. Coincidentally, I got a cold sore three days after I was enrolled. This also involved some space age looking device and a cream that's already sold by a pharmacist near you.

I managed to earn a nice little $500 down payment for my then-new car.

I don't think I'm down with trying anything truly experimental and I definitely am not interested in selling my eggs (if anyone's having a baby with my genetic code, it's gonna be me).

But I can certainly test out a shot or a cream for the sake of living luxe.

Monday, May 21, 2007


The blog has suffered a bit of a doldrum, I'm afraid to say.

I could make something up about how I was inspired by Saturday's ballet at the Aronoff. The three piece rep was incredible - Twyla Tharp's classic "Baker's Dozen" piece was just delightful. Solo piano music and whimsical gestures. The performers wore loose, flowing, casual versions of formal ware. The whole thing screamed Annie Hall to me. Just lovely.

I could also write about how I've come up with a plot for a novel. I've long thought about writing a book (I know some of you out there have fervently encouraged me to do so) and until recently I've struggled with what kind of book to write. There are, like, ten different versions of Bridget Jones' Diary out there. And loggers have raped many, many acres of beautiful forestry to make paper for crap that tries to pass as the latest Chick Lit hit. I don't want to reveal too much here, but needless to say I am happy I've come up with a literary concept I can try to develop. We'll see how successful I am.

I could also write about how I was up too late both weekend nights (you've seen the pics of the Pimp Party. Saturday night was capped off by a trip to the delicious, eclectic Shanghai Mama's.)

But I won't.

Instead, I'll mention a nugget from last month's psychic reading. My tarot reader mentioned that I have a need, a cosmic craving to go to church. He explained that as a Sagittarius, I seek some kind of justification for being on this massive, stunning planet. Hunter, as he was called, said he could tell (how, I have no freaking idea) that I hadn't been to church in a while (I felt like a priest had caught me stealing) and that I should make a commitment to return.

I'm still kind of mulling it over.

Sometimes it's hard to get out of bed to go to mass. Other times I feel like I'm not connecting with my church and so I'd rather spend time calling up God on my own terms.

Does anyone else find the humor in a psychic telling a Catholic Girl to go back to church??

Pimp Party Pics

Mrs. Hershey takes a pic of my pimped out cheek.

Mrs. Hershey and Kate the Great

Hosts Big Blue Blood and Mr. Brown

Anna Wu Tang

Some of the Ladies of Local 12

The Action Shot

Ho Fo' Sho' and Big Blue Blood compare Pimp Cups

Anna and Mike contemplate an Emmy award winning way to promo the party

Up close and personal with Charlie and Marilyn

A good looking crowd...

Friday, May 18, 2007

Foodie Duty - Nothing Edible

From Friday's Feast

List 3 emotions you experienced this week.

Name a car you’d love to have.
Black Mercedes CLK 430
Red Karmen Ghia
Black 1956 Jaguar XK140 Roadster

Describe your typical morning routine.
6:30 am - alarm goes off.
6:45- I actually lift my head off the pillow
(I start exercising sometimes at this point)
7:15 - Hit the showers
7:40 - Laugh at something funny Diane Sawyer said on GMA
7:45 - Crank up that ol' hair dryer
Around 8:20/8:35 Hit Interstate 71 southbound. Flip between 700WLW and 550KLC
Around 8:30/8:45 Read the papers/hop on the internet to find solid story ideas.
9 am - morning meeting

Main Course
Have you ever emailed someone famous? If so, who, and what did you say to them? Did they reply?
I've posted comments on Rosie O'Donnell's blog but she's never written back.

Do you listen to podcasts? If so, which ones?

Thursday, May 17, 2007


I'm supposed to be finishing Beloved right now.

It's an incredible read of colorful words that wind around a story set in Cincinnati during the era of slavery. Toni Morrison can take your breath away with her imagery. I just can't get my mind to commit to it right now.

Instead my brain is dancing around the events to unfold over the next three evenings. Tonight I'm catching up with my gal-pals in Newport for our book club reading. I've missed commiserating with my Junior League friends over fishbowl sized glasses of red wine and juicy gossip. There's something so warm and welcome about trusting friends.

Friday is an annual (although considering the last one was in October, I suppose that makes it bi-annual?) get-together with friends. I was in London for the last fete so I am looking forward to this unusual pairing of margaritas, a keg and BB guns. Yes, I said BB guns. I'm told someone got shot in the hand at the last party.

I don't know that I'm signing up to participate in that party trick. One thing I'm up for: the Pimp Cup competition. I'm the last person you'd expect to roll like a gangsta (What up, East Side!) but I can work a glue gun like a mean bitch. I'm thinking my Pimp Cup is gonna have lots of sparkles, maybe some feathers and an homage to my pimp name The Reverend Doctor Slim.

Saturday is going to be an evening that sparkles. I'm anxious to see the Twyla Tharp performance by the Cincinnati Ballet. She's quite an accomplished choreographer who has helped define today's modern ballet movement. Afterwards, it's cocktails at one of Cincinnati's hippest bars. I love love love Beluga. It's this amazing, sleek cocktail bar that will instantly make you feel like you’re in NYC, L.A. or Vegas. A DJ spins house music and the people are deliciously attractive to watch. You can't beat the cocktails (well, okay. They're damn pricey but worth every alcohol laden drop) and the sushi bar serves up your favorite rolls until the wee hours of the morning.

I'm going to be wiped out...

I'm Watching Ellen Now And...

Raise your hand if you think Harry Connick, Jr. is hot...

The music.
The tossled hair.
The pipes.
The aura of hip.

Be still my heart.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Easy Way Out

I can't think of anything to blog about - which is pretty crazy considering I wrote poetry about an annoying zit two days ago.

That said, I got a hilarious email from an old friend of mine. The ladies who read the blog will enjoy...

The Washcloth

I was due for an appointment with the gynecologist later in the week. Early one morning, I received a call from the doctor's office to tell me that I had been rescheduled for that morning at 9:30 am. I had only just packed everyone off to work and school, and it was already around 8:45am. The trip to his office took about 35 minutes, so I didn't have any time to spare.

As most women do, I like to take a little extra effort over hygiene when making such visits, but this time I wasn't going to be able to make the full effort. So, I rushed upstairs, threw off my pajamas, wet the washcloth that was sitting next to the sink, and gave myself a quick wash in that area to make sure I was at least presentable. I threw the washcloth in the clothes basket, donned some clothes, hopped in the car and raced to my appointment.

I was in the waiting room for only a few minutes when I was called in. Knowing the procedure, as I'm sure you do, I hopped up on the table, looked over at the other side of the room and pretended that I was in Paris or some other place a million miles away. I was a little surprised when the doctor said, "My, we have made an extra effort this morning, haven't we?" I didn't respond.

After the appointment, I heaved a sigh of relief and went home. The rest of the day was normal. Some shopping, cleaning, cooking.

After school when my 6 year old daughter was playing, she called out from the bathroom, "Mommy, where's my washcloth?" I told her to get another one from the cupboard. She replied, "No, I need the one that was here by the sink,it had all my glitter and sparkles saved inside it."

Never going back to that doctor.


Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Price Of Service

I started limping along towards payday almost a week now.

I covered a lot of mileage with the last paycheck, and I think on Sunday I noticed I had two dollars in my wallet. My mom had to float me a Lincoln on Mother's Day to make sure I had enough gas money (I won't even comment on the virtual armed robbery going on at the pump) to get through to Tuesday.

But I digress.

As soon as the paycheck comes in - the money goes out. It's a fact of life we all cope with, some better than others. I, unfortunately, struggle with the One Week Feast, Next Week Famine philosophy. Some weeks are better than others, depending on the frugality and the crisis of the moment I'm forced to weather.

Today I forked over $251 to the Junior League of Cincinnati. 30 bucks for the annual dinner (free beer and wine so I guess all's not lost, right?), $170 for my annual dues and then $51 for three cookbooks (to fulfill my $100 annual fundraiser contribution requirement).

The financial obligations pack a punch for a girl who struggles with money management, but I think I'd pay almost anything within reason to be a part of such an incredible organization.

The League has given me a wonderful opportunity to meet new people, explore some of the civic volunteer possibilities and discover and cultivate my leadership skills.

I've had some opportunities to volunteer at a YWCA battered women's shelter. This is a place where women take their children to run away from a dangerous, violent relationship. These children leave behind clothes, toys and books and are forced to make do with what's available at the shelter. The children there shine when they're showered with a little attention from volunteers - it's the most awe inspiring experience. I am left to reflect on how easy and heartwarming voluntarism can be.

It's pretty remarkable, actually.

And the friends - they are the crown jewels of this Queen City. These women are brilliant - they're scientists, high powered attorneys, incredibly nurturing stay-at-home mothers. They care about politics and like to backpack across South America. They are passionate.

They are born leaders.

Yeah, I think $250 is a bargain for what I'm getting in return.

Monday, May 14, 2007

To Pop Or Not To Pop

The massive zit on my cheek hurts so bad.

I dream of squeezing it and relieving myself of this wretched, cruel echo of my younger years.

I fantasize about taking a small pin and shoving it through the center of the follicle, releasing the pent up pestilence.

My fingers graze the protruding bump, second guessing my preserving discipline.

I know that any entanglement with the offensive blemish will leave behind an even less attractive mark.

My, adulthood blesses us with some wicked trinkets of youth.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Foodie Duty - Pimp This

This Friday's Foodie Duty is more of a craft project straight out of Compton, yo.

I'm going to a party next week and I'm expected to bring my own pimp cup.

Something that looks like this:

Anybody have any suggestions on how I should make the pimpest cup ever?

A ghetto prize is riding on this one...

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Parked In Reverse

Sometimes my brain hits a mental snag and I'm yanked to somewhere in the past.

Maybe it's a trip into the 80s, maybe its a recollection of more recent times. Either way, I'm pulled to a place and moment I own alone.

Smells are said to be the strongest trigger to recall a memory but for me I'd have to say it's music. It's like an equation - ELO equals Charlotte and Hilton Head and 10,000 Maniacs means Whitewater Rafting. The Eagles = high school except in the case of One Of These Nights and that means 1977.

Get it?

Memory Lane is a tune laden trip of bumps and bruises, highs and lows, and no matter how hard I try to detour around the bad stuff, I end up hitting it head on.

Sometimes I'll sit for a while, chewing the life out of a past conflict, second guessing my words and thoughts and actions. What could I have said to lead to a different outcome? Why didn't I fight more/fight less/say more/say less?

And then I come to my senses and conceed that it's my folly, thinking about the past like that.

Because there's nothing you can do to rewrite the pages of history, or its consequences, for that matter.

And that's when I like to think about the good times.

Yesterday I was struck with a vision of my grandmother from my childhood. She was smiling and I think standing on the front porch of her home. Nana was wearing her classic, big round glasses and a navy blue skirt, standing with her soft, pillowy arms crossed.

Smiling from the past at a girl-turned-woman plowing into the future, waves of love from years ago washing over me like eternal ripples in a pond.

Nana is jello and Lorna Doones and fancy scarves. Shrimp cocktail and cigarettes and talc powder. Lightning bugs, Days of Our Lives and City Chicken. Nana is a whole Caboodle of words that make up an era of my past - a place that is safe and happy and always welcoming, whether you're seven or 30.

And trips to those past moments have me wondering about the present. Is Nana proud of me? Does she see what I've done with my life? Does Heaven have a direct line to Earth so the departed can check up on their loved ones?

I'd like to think so.

Yes, Indeed.

These are the days
These are days you’ll remember
Never before and never since, I promise
Will the whole world be warm as this
And as you feel it,
You’ll know it’s true
That you are blessed and lucky
It’s true that you
Are touched by something
That will grow and bloom in you

These are days that you’ll remember
When May is rushing over you
With desire to be part of the miracles
You see in every hour
You’ll know it’s true
That you are blessed and lucky
It’s true that you are touched
By something that will grow and bloom in you

These are days
These are the days you might fill
With laughter until you break
These days you might feel
A shaft of light
Make its way across your face
And when you do
Then you’ll know how it was meant to be
See the signs and know their meaning
It's true
Then you’ll know how it was meant to be
Hear the signs and know they’re speaking
To you, to you

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Something To Look Forward To

I started 2007 in a bit of a funk because I didn't really have a special vacation to anticipate.

My ol' standby vacation on the Connecticut coast wasn't an option after my parents moved away from their stellar home two blocks away from the ocean.

And I never thought I'd be able to trump my marquee trip of 2006 - a jaunt across The Pond to see my dear D Money in Jolly Old London.

Well, Kate the Great has stopped worrying her pretty little head (is it that pretty?) over how to burn this year's vacation time.

I'll just have to go back to London.

I decided to take another trip to see my dear friend while she's still living abroad, and this time tack on another leg to the journey to explore parts unknown.


My sister, Bridge, lived in Ireland for a time and waxed poetic about her time visiting the city known for canals, beer and coffee houses.

Anyone else been to the Netherlands? What are the Must Sees in Amsterdam? Anne Frank's House tops my list, but I'm sure there are plenty of other spots to visit...

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Sugar 'N Spice

Its exterior screamed Strip Club.

With such a suggestive name and vague signage, that's exactly what I thought it was. Plopped along side Ridge Road, just waiting for a crowd of rabble rousers and voyeuristic deviants.

And so on the few odd times that I drove by, I often wondered with an air of curiousity about what kind of business went down at the ol' Sugar 'N Spice.

I really didn't think much about it when I met up with friends after Sunday's marathon. Get on the Lateral, Get off at Reading, take a left. Look for the bright pink building on the right. I chanted the directions in my head at each turn, anxious to see my friends and fill my belly.

And then it smacked me in the face.

I was going to be eating at the strip club.

I creeped in the packed parking lot, simultaneously realizing the error of my ways and wondering whether this place was any good.

I walked in and found my friends in a sea of hungry people waiting for seats at the kitchy formica bar and matching booths. My eyes poured over the syrup drowned pancake stacks and scrambled egg dishes dotting the landscape, an oasis of edibles for someone who had an early morning cheering the masses.

We waited our turn until we got a corner booth (not the unusual set-up with the strange backseat deuce addition) and then I had my first opportunity to dig in with my eyes. Creative burger combinations, eggs served seven ways 'til Sunday, and of course an extensive list of omelets.

I settled on the Greek version. Feta, olives, tomatoes and other veggies. The omelet looked like a fluffy brick of egg and fillers, and I believe I must have looked like a kid on Christmas morning when the plate was dropped at my place. Apparently, the secret to the Sugar 'N Spice omelet is a milkshake mixer. That's what they use to whip into oblivion the eggs and milk before pouring the mix into a frying pan. The mixer does, indeed, do a great job of filling the eggs with a lot of air, adding to the fluff.

Our little foursome sat there over our heavy plates and kibbitzed about California politics, immigration reform, travel and unusual greetings in Europe and of course the Flying Pig.

And we left with heavy stomachs and light hearts.


* * * * * * * * * *
Sugar 'N Spice is at 4381 Reading Road in Bond Hill. The greasy spoon is open from 7 am to 3 pm daily, serving up breakfast, lunch and homespun hospitality to fans from all over.

Email Excerpt

Sunday morning was the Flying Pig Marathon. The race goes through the heart of Hyde Park Square, and I really wanted to see it. I woke up at about 7:15, threw on some yoga pants and a t-shirt and the PINK WIG. I figured, these people are doing a monumental thing and I wanted to be really out there with my support. I got a latte at Awakenings then crossed the street to watch. The first person came through a bit after 7:30... amazing. About 9 people later the first woman crossed and I was really happy for her. There were lots of people on the sidewalks and in the grassy stretch of the square to cheer on - all kinds of people. I was a bit disappointed with the people who got all dressed up (no need to bring a Louis bag and wear heels to cheer on the runners) but it was soooo great to see all the people of different shapes and ages there running 26 miles. Every time a single person passed by, I'd start clapping and yell Good job Buddy! You look great! You rock! Keep it up, you can do it!

Every time.

I think some of the other people on the sidewalk might have been annoyed, but I didn't care. I was there for the runners, not the fashionistas. And I could tell the runners were happy... Some would come over towards me and give me High Fives and others would give me smiles (b/c the crazy ass big pink wig) and others would say Love the hair!

It really was so much fun - I want to do it again...

Friday, May 04, 2007

Dirty Girl Confession

I finally did my laundry this week.

There was a good five day stretch or so where I was so so so not going to schlep all the way to the freaky catacombs of a laundry room in my apartment building basement.

It's the kind of place where you expect Norman Bates or is it his mother? to come creeping out of a storage room, complete with a shiny, seven inch Henckels Santoku knife... ready to turn me into a Rainbow Roll.

Sounds nice, doesn't it?

The problem with avoiding the scary laundry room (and forgetting to bring the funky clothes to Mom and Dad's) is a girl tends to run out of underthings.

I weighed my options last week - do I run to Target (say it in a highfalutin' French accent with a soft G) and buy some bargain basement undies, or do I choose the even lazier (is that possible??) option:

Hand wash.

I went with Plan B.

For a while my bathroom looked like Victoria's Secret was that she liked to throw up, projectile panty vomiting all over the inside of my shower. Thongs hanging from every hook possible on my Showerhead caddy.

Drip-dry limping my way through another day of not doing the laundry.

A couple days ago I realized the jig was up. My rotating wardrobe of clothing scraped from the floor and shaken out wasn't cutting it anymore. Granted, the trying situation hadn't reached a Code Red: Febreeze Stat status, but surely I was a day or two away from teetering on the edge of Desperate Times Call For Desperate Measures.

So I got my five dollars in change (during that brief, sweet moment when the coins are popping out of the machine, I pretend I'm in Vegas and that I'm the Big Winner) and collected the mass of dirty clothing, headed for that little hell hole of a laundry room.

If you could smell me now.

Foodie Duty - Mt. Dew Cake

I think I've told you all that I'm working some unconventional hours for a couple weeks.

4 am to noon Tuesday through Friday, then midnight to 8 am Saturday.

Guess who drew the short straw at work?

Those ungodly hours have me exploring unusual ways to help me wake up and fall asleep at the appropriate times. I'm beginning to understand why Elvis so appreciated his uppers and downers.

But I digress.

This morning I'm turning to an unconventional source for caffeine. Cake. Who knew some Duncan Hines had the kick needed to wake a body up during vampire's hours?

As a drink, I pretty much hate Mountain Dew. Something about the color or flavor... I distinctly remember getting dry heaves when two co-workers were talking ad nauseum about the benefits of The Dew on the Graveyard Shit Shift.

But I am more than happy to eat a cake by the same name.

One of my co-workers makes MDC for birthdays, holidays and other celebrations. It's a citrus flavored, gooey mess of cake and syrupy sugar.

I mean, how bad can it be, right?

Try it yourself.

Orange Mountain Dew Cake recipe

1 (18.25 ounce) box orange cake mix
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 small box coconut pudding mix (not instant)
4 eggs
1 (10 ounce) Mountain Dew drink (cold)

Mix together cake mix and pudding mix. Add oil; mix well. Add one egg at a time, mixing well after each addition. Pour in cold drink. Beat well for 2 or 3 minutes. Pour into three layer pans. Bake in preheated 325 degree F oven for 30 to 35 minutes.

1 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 large can crushed pineapple
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter or margarine
1 cup flaked coconut

Mix sugar and cornstarch together. Add pineapple. Cook over medium heat until thick. Remove from heat. Add butter and coconut. Mix until butter is melted. Spread between cake layers, on top and sides.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Taste This

There are few things that make me happier than good food and good drink.

I suppose that's why I've come to accept my curvy inclinations - I've always said I'd rather be fat and happy than skinny and bitchy.

The fact is, I find immense joy in exceptional food, whether it be of the fancy gourmet kind or the more simplistic but equally tasty homespun version.

This morning my mouth is already salivating over the delicious choices I'll have to weigh when I have brunch with a friend at my favorite Cincinnati restaurant Saturday.
  • Eggs Benedict with a slice of homemade brioche
  • Omelet with veggies, Gruyere cheese and creme fraiche
  • Croissant with avocado and brie

How can you not be hungry after reading that short list?

The fact is, I have a foodie fascination with Jean Robert de Cavel, the brains behind Greenup Cafe and several other fine establishments, and also Cincinnati's arbiter of all things culinary.

Every newspaper article describes de Cavel as eclectic and humble and yet particular about his edible endeavors. The chef's newest venture will be another Cincinnati restaurant very similar to Greenup but stationed in the rough but rising Over-the-Rhine.

Oh, Jean Robert. You know the way to my heart, indeed.

I have a soft spot for OTR. Perhaps it's the stunning, timeless architecture, perhaps it's the convergence of the classes. Whatever the case, I love this Cincinnati neighborhood that's struggling to make a turn out of the ghetto.

I am eying the neighborhood as a possible location for my first foray into home ownership. I so love the loft style condos OTR offers, what with their exposed brick, industrial-styled kitchens and cathedral ceilings.

This weekend you can check out Cincinnati's premier chef and OTR, in one fell swoop.

Jean Robert will be on hand to visit with people and answer questions at the first Second Sunday on Main event of the year.

You can even get a reading from one of the area's many psychics.

Far out.

Won't Be Hungry For A While

This is what I had for lunch yesterday.

My Chipotle Burrito:


It's the next day and I'm still full (disclaimer: Chipotle is excluded from my Anti-Chain philosophy).

What's your favorite Chipotle indulgence?

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Allergic Affliction

Seasonal allergies are destroying me.

I am itchy from my head to my toes, my throat is covered with a blanket of phlegm and I am constantly coughing and wheezing. I am still rocking my Phone Sex voice but that's small consolation for the other Spring time annoyances that come with the influx of pollen.

My eyes itch. My skin itches. Even my inner ears itch. Last night my only bedtime comfort was dreams of stabbing my auditory canal with a blunt pencil.

Such is life living in the allergy-rampant Tri-State.

My health reporter did offer a positive nugget for my Springtime plight: apparently a local health research company is conducting a study on seasonal allergies, offering a 700 dollar payout.

Thank you, hay fever.

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Saturday offers an unusual decision:

Will you order a margarita or a mint julep at the bar?

This weekend celebrates the sometime combination of Derby Day and Cinco de Mayo.

After spending ten years of my life in the Bluegrass (I miss you, Ramsey's, Magee's, Atomic Cafe, Alfalfa), I have developed quite a penchant for bourbon and the number of associated concoctions. That said, I will likely choose margarita over mint julep. Something about the refreshing combination of tart lime and salt, and of course the tequila, which I also discovered while at UK.

I so, so wish I could make it to Kentucky for the Derby.

My graveyard shift Saturday morning (two Saturdays to go before normalcy returns) leads me to believe I will be too bushed for a trip anywhere south of the Ohio River. I will, however, make a quick run to my nearest racetrack to place my Derby bets before heading to a race day get-together.

Likely with a Derby Pie in tow.

The field of contenders is vast. Some analysts say Curlin is the way to go (and really, you can't go wrong with jockey Robby Albarado), while trainer Carl Nafzger says his Street Sense is the unbeatable choice.

Me? I like the name of Scat Daddy and the black and white silks of Cowtown Cat.

We'll see.

Last time I bet on the ponies, I dropped a $24 bet in an attempt to recoup the day's losses.

And I lost again. I hate that damn Exacta Box.
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If you can't make it to the Derby, Cincinnati's Fountain Square is hosting a Derby On The Square event, complete with mint juleps, food and the local Derby tradition of cornhole. The event runs from 4 to 10 pm and is sponsored by Give Back Cincinnati. Be sure to bring the Claritin if you're battling allergies, too.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

I'm Alive

I really wish this blog could be an audio file.

Right now I'm rockin' this sweet, smoky-deep Kathleen Turner voice that's more appropriate for 900 line talk.

It's a circumstance I cope with annually this time of year. Something about the seasonal allergies bringing on a change that affects my vocal cords for One Week Only. I remember a news director years ago discussing (dangerously close to Lawsuit Territory, I might add) at length about how hot he thought my voice was.

Oh well. You'll just have to imagine it, I suppose.

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Was the weather stunning in your neighborhood this past weekend?

Cincinnati was blessed with a truly glorious weekend. I spent most of Sunday batting around in my car (I cannot tell you how strongly I now appreciate having a personal set of wheels) with the sunroof open, the music blaring and the sunglasses on.

I drove downtown Sunday with the express wish to sit outside on a patio or bench and sip on something cool and sweet while reading my Thursday book club assignment (Beloved by Toni Morrison. I am so behind...) I was terribly disappointed when I noticed the sheer upheaval that's taken over Fountain Square. I know the good 3CDC people say the Square is done (and perhaps, on a technicality, it is) but the surrounding construction involving the Fifth Third Building is a dreaded eyesore that detracts from the Square renovation.

On the plus side, though:

Thousands of potted plants were up for grabs courtesy of the Cincinnati Parks Board. People dragged little red wagons and carried cardboard boxes bursting with the maroon, yellow and purple pansies. I managed to carry six potted flowers in my two hands... perfect for sprucing up my front porch.

I was pleased and rather surprised by the generosity of a city giving out flowers to its people. What a kind gesture to help neighbors of all economic backgrounds take pride in their corner of the world.

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Since the downtown area didn't have what I was looking for in the way of patios and refreshment, I headed up to my old stand-by, Mt. Adams.

There are few things better than a cold beer and great conversation, and I managed to find both at Longworth's. The old-as-dirt bar now carries one of my favorite Northeast beers and so I enjoyed a couple pints with my friend, Lenna-Lou as the afternoon sun washed over one of Cincinnati's most eclectic neighborhoods.

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The night before I was struggling with an unusual bout of loneliness. You know - the kind of feeling where you'd rather not embrace the world alone? I was dying for an evening out-and-about with friends, and unfortunately most of my friends (at least, the friends whom I called) were spoken for that evening.

After a couple hours of batting around in unfamiliar territory (I finally got a chance to check out Northside and it looks darling. I need to plan an excursion to explore the neighborhood on foot) I headed back to Oakley, practically licking the wounds of solitude. It was then that I hackneyed a plan to have a drink out and not look like some pathetic bar-fly trying to reel in Big Game.


Dinner to-go from an establishment that has a bar and a great wine menu.

I walked to the neighborhood bistro and had a magnificent glass of Sokol Blosser Evolution (zippy and enduring, and apparently so popular that Kona orders extra bottles to sell retail) while waiting for my grilled eggplant and roasted red pepper on ciabatta sandwich amazing.

I think this is the perfect technique for going out alone. You don't appear so desperate sitting at the bar by yourself and then you have the perfect out to leave when your dish comes prepared and wrapped in a nice to-go box.

I'll have to try this more often if I ever feel like I need to be among the masses without a companion.

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Final thought: My brain is starting to think it just might be ok to grow up and buy a condo.

Right now I'm dreaming of Downtown Cincinnati, exposed brick, hardwood floors, stainless steel, open floor plan, vaulted ceilings.

It's surprising how affordable that can be in the heart of town.

We'll see...