Monday, August 13, 2007

Crawlin' in Cincinnati and Getting Set For Jet Setting

This weekend I got in some good gal-pal time with my soul sista D Money.

I'll put it bluntly - It kind of sucks when your best friend lives across the ocean. The time zone differences can put a delay in emailing, which is rough if you want an immediate response.

Phone calls involve international calling cards and allowing for completely different sleeping times.

And D and I are more face to face people. Sure, we can kibitz about boys and jobs and money woes and sugarplum fantasies over the phone, but we really do our best communicating mono a mono.

D and her tragically handsome (tragic because I develop a crush every time I see him) brother GI Yogurt came down Saturday for an outing at Great American Ball Park. All I knew was the Padres were playing. My friends know I could care less about RBIs and grand slams and stolen bases. I'm more interested in the cold beer, tasty hot dogs and whether anybody funny gets on the big screen.

D, GI and our friend Mr. Pickup went to the game and then traveled on to Arthur's in Hyde Park for a bite to eat and more cold beer. I highly recommend their fish sandwich (I think it's cod, maybe?). Very light and flaky and the batter wasn't overbearing.

Mr. Pickup was dispatched back home for family obligations, so D, GI and I were left to our own devices - more drinking in fair Hyde Park. We popped in Beluga to grab a drink and soak up the ambiance on the patio - yes, the man who drives the Ferrari appears to be overcompensating for a shortcoming or two. My companions sipped on dirty Ketel One with pimento stuffed olives (rather surprised this swanky joint didn't dispense the bleu cheese or feta stuffed versions) while I ordered up a competing bar's signature cocktail, the pineapple sake martini. Beluga's bartendrix poured her own, smooth version - it wasn't overly sweet and the pineapple didn't mask the sake's subtle, sour flavor.

The Hyde Park Pub Crawl continued around the corner and down Erie Avenue to Red. Most of the dinner crowd had cleared out of the sophisticated steak and sushi establishment and a young, hip crowd fringed the bar, including present company. The bartender was kind to us, even with one sans-drinker. We ordered a Pepsi, a glass of riesling and more dirty Ketel on the rocks with olives (still no fancy versions).

Afterwards, Southern Son picked us up in his pickup truck and I had the pleasure of riding in the flatbed of said vehicle - it was my first time doing something like that. Kind of like a convertible with way more exposure. Fun.

We made it to Oakley and finished up the night with a few pints of beer at my neighborhood pub before calling it a night (a very late night.)

I had a blast hanging with D Money and her brother, GI Yogurt, and am looking forward to Round 2 in Columbus this weekend.

Brooke Astor died.

If you're not familiar with her, she was one of New York City's grande dames. Deep pockets and lovely handbags, she made it a point to champion the Big Apple's less privileged. She used her cash and clout to support outreach programs, schools and churches around the City.

The link above will take you to a lovely write up in the New York Times about Mrs. Astor. One part that especially struck a chord for me: "If she regretted anything, she said, it was that she had not visited friends in Europe often enough and that she had not been able to read, and write, all the books she would have wished."

Sing it, sister.

Nobody is going to say when they die, Gee, I wish I worked more when I was young and healthy.

Nobody is going to say, I had too much fun.

And with that said, I am balls to the wall in planning my latest trip Across the Pond. In six weeks, I will be going to London once again to spend quality time with D Money. She has more time in GB this go around and so I am looking forward to her giving me a look at some of the hot spots off the beaten path. This will be my third time to Jolly Old London and I have already crossed off my list most of the touristy spots.

I am open to any suggestions to any world travelers out there with a hidden gem in London.

D and I are also flying to the Netherlands to spend 3 and a half days in Amsterdam. I've never been there and fully intend to explore the Red Light District, the canals, the many museums and everything else that goes along with Dutch tolerance.

Good times, indeed.

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