Friday, October 31, 2008

Trick Or Treat!

"H.

A.

Double L, O.

W.

Double E, N - spells Halloween!"


That was a silly song I remember learning from Mrs. Grayson in the 2nd grade music class at Maple Dale Elementary.

Hope yours is filled with as many thrills and chills as mine!




Shameless plug: I highly reccomend y'all get your Halloween gettups together and join the "In Crowd" for tonight's Bite Me Ball at the CAC.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Fright Night

People, you've got one more night to slice and dice 'em up before the little ghouls and boys ring your door bell.



FYI - I was not really inspired - my pumpkin is the one with the polka dots.

One Leg At A Time

I really hated wearing tights when I was little.

But when I think about it - the torturous garments for my legs were just one of many signs that I had a good mom. She'd force us in to those stretchy, confining things for special occasions - like mass on Christmas Eve or Thanksgiving Dinner. My sister and I would be dressed to the nines in our velvet dresses, Polly Flinders (complete with all the beautiful smocking) or wool kilts, our legs surviving the brutal Minnesota winters thanks to our tights.

They came in all different varieties - cottony white, fuzzy and ribbed red, navy and scratchy. I always hated them. I hated tights because they were itchy. I also hated them because their tight, elastic waist would pinch my tummy and otherwise drive me crazy. I hated the tights because I didn't really have any hips to hold them up, and sometimes they'd get all droopy around my legs by the end of church.

I am sure it had nothing to do with all my running around and climbing in the pews during mass.

My sister suffered through a worse fate with her tights.

She was still in diapers, and sometimes those tights would start sliding off her trunk like the casing on a link of sausage. She'd end up with the a look that to this day my parents affectionately call, "Droopy Drawers."

Fast forward, oh, 27 years or so.

I knew the mercury was going to take a nose dive, and so I had picked up some tights over the weekend. Black and herringbone, they were far more professional looking than the white, fuzzy red or knit navy leggings of my youth.

Not wanting to take my skirts out of my wardrobe rotation during winter, I decided to break the tights out Monday morning. I put them on, one leg after another, and instantly felt transported back to the days of my youth.

And for that, alone, I believe those tights were worth their weight in gold.

Fortunately the tights stayed up all day long - I have no idea whether they were affected by my curvy hips, or my power to control myself and not climb the chairs during an afternoon meeting.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A State Divided

This guy is proposing something called the Mike Polk Ohio Secession Compromise Plan.

It's interesting, and I generally agree with the concept.

But, dude, please warn us when you want to bomb Cincinnati... Us *normal* folks want a chance to escape to the Promised Land.




Hat tip to abbylaner for the heads up on yet another great clip.

Whasssssup?? CHANGE

Yet another political video with an excellent point.



Get out and vote!

Special hat tip to loreestark, World's Best Burger, for the heads up on this clip.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

I'm Voting For "That One"

Hollywood's Old Guard bands together to show their support for Barack Obama.



Hat tip to Bluegrass Brit for the heads up on this video.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Hollywood For Obama

I don't necessarily believe that the opinions of the celebs in L.A. carry any more weight than yours or mine.

But, c'mon, people.

The fact that Opie, Andy Griffith, Richie Cunningham and Fonzie (and Ron Howard) all want you to vote for Obama???

LOVE IT!


See more Ron Howard videos at Funny or Die


And while we're at it, let's celebrate the appearance of the founder of Funny or Die, Will Ferrell, on SNL's weekly Election Special!!!


Thursday, October 23, 2008

Welcome All!

Hello friends!

Welcome to the newly redesigned Kate's Random Musings!





I've been wanting a custom layout for a long, long time (read: three years or so) and finally decided to make the investment.

This redesign was courtesy of Beth at
Ruby and Roja. Check out their page to get an idea of what kind of work Ruby and Roja can do for you - whether you are a singleton, a mommy blogger, a tech geek or a blogger with a specific genre, Ruby and Roja can come up with the perfect design for you (and they're very reasonable).

We're still working out some minor kinks (so minor you might not even see 'em) but otherwise I am super pleased with the results. I was so over the SHOCKING PINK and decided it was time for something a little more sophisticated.

I think this suffices.


I've also decided to beef up the blog and offer somewhat regular video blogging. Check out the video above for more information.

Hope you enjoy the new layout and the many fun video logs yet to come!

Love,
KtG

Java Journeys: The Coffee Shop on Madison

It's been a long time since I've come anywhere close to kismet.

The word with the Turkish roots means fate, and I can only say that fate was working slowly, letting months pass before bringing me to The Coffee Shop on Madison in the heart of O'Bryonville.

But there I sat, at a quiet table with my daydreams and a book, literally staring Kismet in the face.

As it turns out, the coffee shop is not just across from Kismet (a women's clothing store with distinctive, somewhat whimsical designs), but is just next door to Hemptations, which is perhaps what you feel when you're lured to sturdy ropes and flowing fabrics worthy of Woody Harrelson during a Letterman appearance.

Anyway.

I stepped in The Coffee Shop on Madison and instantly was struck by familiarity - Sheryl Crow on the radio - one of my favorites. I asked the barista what seasonal beverages she could offer me and decided on the gingerbread latte, deciding to forgo a repeat of last night's pumpkin spice latte.

My eyes danced around the counter tops and shelves, noticing Taste of Belgium waffles and Tom's Pot Pies, served warm from a heated case. As the barista put fresh whipped cream on my mug of goodness, I spied the chalkboard menu of drinks, including the "candy bar lattes." The flavors recalled liquid versions of the best Fun Size candy bars you'll find in your pillow cover on Halloween Night.

For a split second I regretted not ordering the Buckeye flavored latte.

I returned to my table in the side room, which was appointed with cozy love seats and several pub-height tables. My seat faced the window, and I imagined a bustling shopping district during the holidays, with rosy-cheeked shoppers dodging snowflakes and toting glossy bags full of custom stationary, designer shoes and vintage posters.

The computer found the free wi-fi signal with ease (no password needed) and I started plunking around on the keyboard as customers dashed in for their own caffeine fix. A young mother and her kindergarten-age son grabbed a love seat below some of the floral still-life paintings, waiting to meet Dad for a drink. Some young professionals sat in the back of the room, talking shop over tall, paper cups filled with something steamy.

The tunes on the radio were more familiar than the other coffee shops this week, a mix of Nelly Furtado and Amy Winehouse and other personal favorites. I think this micro-genre of music did well to fit the hip but laid back ambiance of the shop.

I sipped on my gingerbread latte (which tasted more like pumpkin pie than last night's pumpkin spice latte) what else kismet had in store for me in the days ahead.

Hopefully all good things - and a dash of spice.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Java Journeys: Lookout Joe's

Joe the Plumber doesn't hang out at Lookout Joe's.

You would think he'd frequent a joint that shares a common name, but the night of my excursion in Mt. Lookout, I discovered more North Face and J Crew than I did Dickies or Levi's (or whatever plumbers wear these days).

Lookout Joe's is a nice coffee joint in the heart of Mt. Lookout Square.

I crossed the threshold and found a couple high school students lounging on a big couch near the entrance, engrossed in anything but homework. The girl, swaddled in a hideously over sized sweatshirt, was doing her damnest to deliver her best Sarah Palin impression. I could tell it was an attempt to entice her male counterpart - perhaps Sarah Palin is an inside joke of theirs (or more likely, the inside joke of millions) - but the grating imitation came out more Fargo than Alaska Politician.

Bygones.

I dropped my many belongings with a thud on a round table near the register, swiveling my neck around in search of a barista. The evening was a chilly one, and I had a hankering for a pumpkin spice latte.

I managed to open both my laptop and my literary desire of the moment before I was recognized as a new customer. The crunchy/preppy clerk reminded me of kids I used to go to high school with in New England - you know the kind. They were the ones who wore the wide whale corduroys and nubby woolen sweaters, their disheveled hair falling over their eyebrows as they waxed poetic to you about their plans to follow the Phish tour next summer. The same, contradictory kids who loved holey Birkenstocks and beaten Merrills as much as their used Saabs and Jeep Grand Cherokees.

Yeah, the barista was one of them.

I enjoyed the WNKU tunes on the radio - a nice mix of Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash and other eclectic classics as I waited for my salvation.

My eyes flitted around the room, admiring the wall of fresh coffee beans - practically in every flavor and version you could imagine. Roasted beans from Sumatra and Kona and Colombia - the perfect collection of flavors for true coffee connoisseurs. Being more of a flavored coffee kind of gal, I appreciated the vanilla, hazelnut, chocolate and other expected flavors.

One thing I enjoy about Lookout Joe's is their huge support of the Free Trade movement. They offer several Free Trade certified coffees, meaning a variety of social, economic and environmental criteria are met in the production and sale of the coffee.

Coffee with a conscience. I dig it.

But for the high schoolers, I was the only customer in the joint. There were a few other folks on the front patio - and a couple other people came and went to buy beans or coffee to-go, but otherwise this wasn't a hangout hot spot (but then, what is on a Tuesday at 9 pm?).

I was glad to see the wi-fi, but was a bit disappointed patrons needed a key to access the network. Not wanting to disturb the come-and-go clerk, I opted to take advantage of another free-and-unlocked wi-fi network in the neighborhood.

I like Lookout Joe's. It's in a great neighborhood and I kind of like rubbing elbows with the young folks.

But from the looks of it, Lookout Joe's hasn't updated their website (or their store) since 2006. Perhaps it would be a bit busier if it was more inviting?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Java Journeys: Sitwell's

I have a little bit of an emo streak.

I don't know if it's the brooding introspection or the fabulously dark wardrobe, but I've always fancied myself a little bit jaded and hipster. It's not the kind of thing I wear on the outside, what with some of the conventionality I experience day-in-day-out, but make no mistake about it - I'd take the Cure or some Nine Inch Nails over Dave Matthews any day.

So when I set out to explore the first in this week's series on local, independent coffee shops, I relished the opportunity to step in the sanctity of a college hangout.

Sitwell's at 324 Ludlow Ave. is an eclectic mix of people and surroundings. When you walk in the door, you'll notice a long, cluttered bar to the right of the room. The center and left are filled with tables of different proportions to accomodate almost any group. Just beyond the length of the bar, you'll find a place to stand and order your to-go cappuccinos, coffees and other drinks, but you really shouldn't get your drink for the road.

No, you should grab a seat and soak up some of the awesome, funky ambiance.

I picked the furthest table from the door - a two-top all the way in the back and close to the restrooms. This was a perfect vantage point for me to scope out the crowd while flipping through the pages of my latest, favoritest book. The bartender/server took my order for a Stella (a great deal at $3.25 a bottle) and a plate of the Brie Snack - melted slices of brie topped with honey, walnuts and dried cranberries, on a plate ringed with Granny Smith apple slices ($6.25).

The server promptly dropped my beer and then returned with the fantastic snack plate. I was instantly torn between indulging my need for brie and the suspenseful story splayed on the pages of my paperback.

In between bites and sentences, I'd glance around the room, taking in some artistic photography of Anti-Bush images and the tunes playing on the restaurant sound system - a mix of indie music that is more likely to appear on a seasonal mix from Micah than in a playlist on my iPod.

I ventured to the bathroom in between Stellas and found a slightly endearing loose doorknob and a collection of kitshy postcards and photography. The space outside the restrooms held a long shelf covered with books and chess pieces and other things patrons can puruse for their amusement while at Sitwell's. Inside the restroom, I discovered a map of Asia with sketches of the people from Burma and Thailand and India and Japan and so on. The walls were covered in the scrawls of spurned lovers and dreamers and tortured students.

I returned to the main room and noticed people in chunky glasses and casual clothing typing away on their computers, enjoying the free wi-fi. Other young couples comiserated in the dim light over cups of coffee, their chatter a faint layer under the eclectic tunes played on the stereo.

I finished my beer, longing for a time I could return to Sitwell's ~ a time when I could return without my suit and with my chunky, black shoes.

Random Round Up

First things first.


I received an email from moveon.org that I thought I should share with you all. For those of you supporting Obama, you will want to take extra care in reading this... We cannot take a break through these last two weeks to Election Day.


TOP 5 REASONS OBAMA SUPPORTERS CAN'T REST EASY

1. The polls may be wrong. This is an unprecedented election. No one knows how racism may affect what voters tell pollsters—or what they do in the voting booth. And the polls are narrowing anyway. In the last few days, John McCain has gained ground in most national polls, as his campaign has gone even more negative.

2. Dirty tricks. Republicans are already illegally purging voters from the rolls in some states. They're whipping up hysteria over ACORN to justify more challenges to new voters. Misleading flyers about the voting process have started appearing in black neighborhoods. And of course, many counties still use unsecure voting machines.

3. October surprise. In politics, 15 days is a long time. The next McCain smear could dominate the news for a week. There could be a crisis with Iran, or Bin Laden could release another tape, or worse.

4. Those who forget history... In 2000, Al Gore won the popular vote after trailing by seven points in the final days of the race. In 1980, Reagan was eight points down in the polls in late October and came back to win. Races can shift—fast!

5. Landslide. Even with Barack Obama in the White House, passing universal health care and a new clean-energy policy is going to be hard. Insurance, drug and oil companies will fight us every step of the way. We need the kind of landslide that will give Barack a huge mandate.


You can help your local Obama office by clicking here for more information on volunteering. I, for one, will be spending my time volunteering for Obama this Saturday afternoon.


*** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***
Before Election Day, much of the U.S. will be observing one of my favorite holidays - Halloween. I've always delighted in dressing up in shockng, provocative costumes - everything from a dominatrix to a Liberated Iraqi Party Girl (yes, that was a more creative invention). Also on the list: Rocky Horror's Magenta and a EuroTrash Club Goer.


This time, I don't really know if I'm going to wear a costume... but I AM looking for a shocking accessory to add to my otherwise pedestrian wardrobe.


Take a look:





You like?

You can check out these shoes and other platform shoes here (though I heard there was a "hooker" store in Monroe that had these boots. I wonder if that person meant the Hustler Store?)

Sarah Palin As Rapper

I'm catching up on what I missed on SNL.

Yes, Dad, Amy Poehler did a great job.



Palin was also in the show open - you can catch it out on Hulu.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Risks of John McCain

This is something every family needs to talk about.



And while we're at it, how about you check out this video, too.



Major hat tip to abbylaner for posting the first video on twitter, and the second video on her blog.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Whaaaaat??


Ms. Tank sez: "Whaaat? Changes are afoot at Kate's Random Musings? Well, it's about bloody time. When does this shindig get started? I need a cocktail. Bollocks."

Yes, indeed, Ms. Tank.

Stay tuned - this time it's for real ;)

If You Build It, They Will Come

Sunday October 12 - 6:30 pm.

Taken from the Arby's - Montgomery Rd. parking lot (after a visit to Half Price Books).


A sweeter sign, I've never seen.

Now, if we can just get some Nordstrom's signage up at KTC, and I'd be happy.

(Someone else in the local blogosphere may have posted this, but I hadn't seen it yet.)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Campfire of the Vanities

I have a confession to make.

I have a tough time passing a mirror without looking.

Perhaps it's a gut check, perhaps I am hoping to admire something that's working for me - whatever the reason, I can't walk by a plate glass window, mirror or piece of chrome without checking myself out.

All that vanity leads me to rely on my own beauty treatments from time to time.

Right now I'm enjoying a great microderm abrasion system by Beauti Control - complete with a battery-operated brush that spins around and grinds the diamond shaped granules against the flesh, removing the dead skin flakes.

I guess I believe, deep down, this little product is going to take away my age, restore my youth and melt away the worries imbedded in my face.

My dedication to beauty is not relegated to my flesh.

At first glance, I appear to be a blonde bombshell - with a big, flowing mane of flaxen hair. As it turns out, all those golden tendrils are the product of years of chemistry (surprise, surprise - I know). Every month for the past several years, I've subjected myself to hours in a salon chair, wearing layers of sheeting and drapes while my hair was coated in aluminum and bleach.

The chaos of a busy schedule has upset the applecart that is my monthly highlight commitment, and so my roots have grown out more than I care to admit. The only benefit of this embarrassing result is that I've re-discovered my natural hair color (it's much darker than I expected) and I am now considering adding some uber dark low lights to the mix of platinum.

What does all of this mean to you?

Well, I don't consider myself high maintainance. I am pretty comfortable walking out the door with nary a cosmetic - save for a nice perfume and some drug store mascara. I am not a slave to the pedicurist and I could care less what Cosmo says about the "in style" eye shadow shades this season.

That said, even I have a few beauty regimens and commitments that I just can't give up.

I am happy to hand over my eyeliner any day - but please, please, please don't take my hair dryer.

Almost every chick has a few beauty tricks up her sleeve - the true magic is making it all look easy.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Addendum

God, this evening is an emotional roller coaster.

First, I'm drowning my sorrows in disappointment and sadness (and publishing really sub-par poetry for all the world to see) and then I am as angry as a wildcat in a burlap bag (to throw in my own Ratherism).

Some of you will walk to the end of the driveway tomorrow morning to get your Sunday paper. Others will walk to the store or gas station and pick up the edition known for its coupons and weekly advertisement circulars.

The rest of you will log on and visit the paper's online version.

Whatever your format, you will discover a paper that includes its senatorial and congressional endorsements.

Herein lies my rage.

For as long as I can remember, people have bitched about the liberal media, boldly saying working journalists weave their political leanings into the stories they craft for television and newsprint.

Well, the Cincinnati Enquirer has done a bang up job bucking the "trend."

The local fish wrap has chosen to endorse a stable full of incumbent Republicans - a rickety barn with the likes of Jean Schmidt and Mitch McConnell.

I am floored.

Jean Schmidt is the local congressional embarrassment. This is a woman who crafted the brilliant idea of building a massive depot to store the world's nuclear waste in close proximity to Ohio University.

Either this woman has lost her brain - or her heart.

And Mitch. Oh, Mitchie, Mitch, Mitch.

This man must have sold his soul to the devil.

He secured several earmarks in exchange for campaign contributions from the clients of his former Chief of Staff. Mitch McConnell accepted financial support from an Eastern Kentucky coal millionaire who was under scrutiny for unsafe labor practices. He's voted against raising minimum wage 14 times.

But friends, if this doesn't turn you off, then go ahead and become a follower on McConnell's Facebook page.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised about the Enquirer's picks.

The paper is on its last legs and management is clinging to antiquity in the state's last bastion of Republicanism - and pollsters say the Red is turning to Blue all over Ohio.

Who knew my PMS would take a political bent tonight?

Melancholy

There are days when you want to throw in the towel.
Kiss everyone goodbye and start anew.
There are days when disappointment outweighs your happiness.
When no one's there to help you through the blue.

And then I think about your lovely eyes.
And then I think about your swift surprise.
And then I think about your fleeting love.
And I know I'll be alright.

There are days when you feel like you've lost all your friends.
Overgrown paths forgotten long ago.
There are days when heartache is too much to bear.
Tears falling to the depths below.

And then I think about your amazing strength.
And then I think about your fighting heart.
And then I think about your purest good.
And I know I'll be alright.

They may come and they may go.
They may be here for the happy show.
They may vanish when it's hard.
But I know you're here in my heart until the end.

Ah so

Why didn't I read this sooner?

From Wikipedia:

Passive-aggressive behavior refers to passive, sometimes obstructionist resistance to following authoritative instructions in interpersonal or occupational situations. It can manifest itself as learned helplessness, procrastination, stubbornness, resentment, sullenness, or deliberate/repeated failure to accomplish requested tasks for which one is (often explicitly) responsible. It is a defense mechanism, and (more often than not) only partly conscious. For example, suppose someone does not wish to attend a party. A passive-aggressive response in that situation might involve taking so long to get ready that the party is nearly over by the time they arrive.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Slam Click

Do you ever feel like you want off the ride?

Flight attendants live in a constant state of flux. From one minute to the next, they're thousands of feet above the Terra Firma, headed for one of many destinations on their short itinerary. But instead of enjoying the ride next to the window seat, they're trooping up and down the aisles, checking overhead compartments, schlepping soft drinks and coffee and bringing blankets to cold passengers.

Theirs is a duty that is often as chaotic as it is thankless, and so it's easy to understand why some attendants close the door and turn the lock after a long, demanding journey. Whether they are in Miami or San Francisco or Paris or Tokyo, chances are there's always an attendant who chooses me time over tourism.

It's called Slam Click (slam the door shut, click the lock), and it's what flight attendants do when they want to watch cable television, play with their face masks and rest in a well made bed.

I don't travel as much as I'd like, but that doesn't mean my life isn't a chaotic trip through time. Lately I've been navigating a whirling whoosh of meetings, obligations, commitments and responsibilities, and so I thought tonight was the perfect occasion for my own slam click evening.

Society is expecting more and more of women these days. We are the ones expected to prepare dinner for our families or significant others. Women are out-volunteering men. We wear multiple hats a day (logistics expert, chauffeur, chef, maid, nurse, day care provider, relationship therapist, social chair, interior designer, landscape architect and courier, to name a few) whether they are married or not, blessed with children or not.

I happen to swim in a busy circle of volunteers - some of whom struggle with the hamster wheel. Some of my counterparts consistently offer the excuse, "Sorry, I'm so so busy," when explaining away a missed meeting or a failure to follow up on commitment.

That's when other women roll their eyes, astonished that someone else had the gall to offer busy-ness as an excuse. The fact of the matter is, we're all busy, and some women just happen to handle it better, and the rest of us just grin and bear it.

Call it Multi-tasking On Steroids.

I don't like to offer excuses, but the chaos can get to me, too. That's why I slam click from time to time, like tonight. I'm in on a Friday night, enjoying a couple of bottles of beer and the occasional napping between ABC's prime time programming. Low key, quality me time to help me detox from the week's stresses.

I'm not flying the friendly skies, but I still need to catch up with the jet lag of my life.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Hey Sarah Palin

In honor of Presidential candidate Barack Obama's visit to Cincinnati today, here's a little ditty I think you all should see/hear.

Hat tip to Redkatblonde for the head's up!


Monday, October 06, 2008

Grateful

I never thought I'd be thankful for the occasional pimple.

But that's my thinking after discovering an unusual news story that made me consider how grateful I am for my complexion.

But before I get into that News of the Weird nugget, let me first tell you about another event that is inspiring gratitude.

Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama is attending a rally at Cincinnati's Ault Park Thursday afternoon. The venue opens at 1 pm, and the event is expected to start two hours later.

You can find more information here: http://my.barackobama.com/page/s/ohbocincyjobs.

I am thankful I live in a country where we are allowed to exercise our right to vote. I am also grateful for the immense desire for change I sense in many, many people around this country.

Okay, back to the News of the Weird.

But first, a word of warning: you should not read further if you have a light stomach, have just eaten or anticipate eating in the near future.

The images in this story will truly disturb you.

If you are even the slightest bit queasy, I suggest you move along.

Okay, here's the story for the rest of you.

I stumbled across this story quite by accident. Well that's not entirely true, I saw the headline on CNN.com and was curious, but I had no idea how much this story would grab me.

The headline said, "Cause of 'Treeman's' Barklike Growths Revealed."

I had to peek ~ the headline made the guy sound like one of those circus freaks, and so I just had to know more, and yet my heart went out to anyone who would experience an ailment so debilitating.

I saw the first CNN.com picture, and was simultaneously captivated and disgusted.


Treeman is an Indonesian man who is experiencing the perfect storm of medical ailments. He suffers from a genetically inherited immune diffect that is unable to fight disease well - just as his flesh is attacked by a strain of HPV that involves common warts.

As you can see, this man has anything but common warts on his skin.


The extreme, bark-like growths make it hard for Dede Kosawa to distinguish his fingers and toes. Repeatedly, doctors have trimmed away the growths, prompting the gigantic warts to grow back with a vengeance.

CNN.com reports Kosawa has a hard time eating, as holding a fork or spoon is difficult for him. The man also has a tough time walking, and says the growths are very heavy on his skin.

Sensational shock is not my reason for posting this nugget. Yes, it's like watching a train wreck - you don't really want to look, but you can't turn away.

Really, gratitude is the reason why I'm posting the story and pics. After reading Kosawa's story, I was so thankful for my rosy, somewhat blemished skin. Yes, I am in my 30s and I still get pimples. In the winter, I struggle with dryness and flaking.

But my problems pale in comparison to Kosawa's, and that's something to appreciate.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Happy Birthday, Baby

My niece, Maeve, would have been one-year-old today.



Our hearts are heavy, remembering the special, fleeting gift of her life, which we were so graced to enjoy.

Later today, I will enjoy a birthday remembrance meal with my parents (Brigid and Steve are observing Maeve's birthday in Atlanta - delivering special, homemade cupcakes to the nurses who cared for Maeve at Emory's Sibley Heart Center), including a special "kitty cat cake" my mom had decided on making for Maeve's birthday many, many months ago.

Maeve is not here in the flesh, but I am certain her soul is still with us.

My parents and I are releasing a balloon this afternoon, and attached to it will be messages from them, my youngest sister, Mickie, and myself.

Below is the message I am sending Maeve.

Dear Maevey Bean, I cannot begin to express how much I miss you, but I have plenty of examples of when I think of you and feel your love. I see you when the azure sky is full of puffy clouds. I feel you when the gentle breezes kiss my skin. I smell you on crisp mornings, when the air is full of fresh hope. I see you in sparkling stars and bright sun beams - their radiance is as enduring as your spirit. I smell you in baby pink roses, blossoming for just a fraction of a lifetime and yet a gift to be treasured for eternity. I hear you hiding in the lilt of laughter and I taste you in the salt of my tears. Your spirit, your soul, your love is everywhere, and I will look for the essence of you in everything until the day I see you again. Love, Katy.

There is plenty of information online about Noonan Syndrome, as well as a support group that many families find useful.

*** *** *** ***
I've seen fire and I've seen rain
I've seen sunny days that I thought would never end
I've seen lonely times when I could not find a friend
But I always thought that I'd see you again

Friday, October 03, 2008

The Single Girl's Bible for Cincinnati

Fuck Forbes Magazine.

Yes, I dropped the F bomb, and no I'm not apologizing (well, except to my parents' friends who drop in from time to time ~ sorry for the foul language, folks).

I try to reserve my crusty vernacular for the most critical of situations, and I think this matter warrants such an expletive.

The financial magazine has had it out for the Queen City for years ~ giving Cincinnati low ranks were the Single Scene is concerned. In 2004, Forbes said, "This is not a place for love. I mean, how romantic can a city be when the lobby of its fanciest hotel, The Cincinnatian, features a large, multicolored sculpture of a pig in a tuxedo called 'Don Pigiovanni?'"

Apparently the writer was not familiar with our passion for anything porcine. This same writer lambasted our city because he was disappointed Eden Park and the Cincinnati Art Museum were empty (save for a few older folks) at 3:30 on a Friday afternoon.

Sorry, dude, we were all taking care of business at the office - generally contributing to society and trying to keep the economy afloat. My bad!

Cincinnati scored an embarrassing 39 out of 40 in that ranking four years ago. Since then, Forbes has reassessed our burg and has bumped us up to a slightly better 33.

Well, thanks.

Our score improved thanks to our high marks in affordability (#4 in the nation for the cost of living alone) and solid culture endeavours (#23 out of 40). We did not perform as well in regards to coolness and nightlife (#35 and #34, respectively).

All of these numbers and categories can be disheartening for any singleton whether you live in Cincinnati or get the pleasure of visiting Losantiville for business.

You may be asking yourself, Why the rant on Forbes, all of a sudden, Kate?

Well, I guess it comes after enjoying several solo years in Cincinnati.

That's why I've decided to come up with a "bible" of sorts for folks who are swimming in our city's sea of singleness. First, I'll tackle the nightlife. From there, I'll cover restaurants, unique date opportunities, and other great places to meet singles.

Please feel free to make your own suggestions or contribute links in the comment field!

Nightlife
Every single person I know has a thriving social life. Some of them like clubby party scenes, and others like low key evenings in quiet coffee houses. Whatever your mood - there are plenty of places to pick your poison.

Cincinnati's social destinations tend to congregate in a few key neighborhoods, including Over-the-Rhine, Downtown Cincinnati, Mt. Adams, Mt. Lookout, Hyde Park, Oakley, Northside, Newport and Covington. No doubt about it, I am talking in broad strokes now (I know there are plenty of neighborhood bars on the West Side, the East Side and in between), but those neighborhoods tend to be the hottest destinations inside the I-275 loop.

Here's a list of some of my favorite spots.

Northside
The Comet - No need to dress here. The bar always features some stellar brews on tap, but if you can't find something you like on draught, head to the case and peruse dozens of interesting microbrews and imports. Bring your appetite and toe-tappin' shoes - this bar is known for its spectacular burritos (including homemade salsas and special flavors-of-the-month) and live music.

If you want to explore the neighborhood a little more, drive back down the hill and check out Northside Tavern. Newly expanded, the hipster scene is alive and well at this establishment. More great bands here, and you can also enjoy a lovely, expansive patio.

Also in Northside - The Gypsy Hut. Another bastion for hipsters, you can enjoy a massive patio, a DJ spinning house music, ping pong and an eclectic crowd in one place.

Mt. Adams
In another day in time, I was happy to soak up the clubby scene at Pavilion. Now that I'm getting up in age, the Wine Cellar and the Blind Lemon are more my speed. Pavilion offers several levels of patios - most with spectacular views of the river and the skyline - as well as different music venues. Friday and Saturday nights showcase a band, a hip hop DJ and a house DJ all at one time. If you want to press your flesh against a stranger, this is one of the best places to go.

Longworths is another great place for younger single types. Sure, I'll bet there are a few 30-somethings who lurk around the bar, but I've always sensed it was more of a 20-something place. Sometimes you get live music on the first floor, sometimes you get dance music on the second floor. I always get a Magic Hat when I'm there, regardless of the floor.

If you care more about alcohol and less about music, you should probably give Crowley's a try. This bar is just down the street from Pavilion and has more of an Irish Pub vibe going on. My previously mentioned favorites, the Wine Cellar and the Blind Lemon, both feature live music (Wine Cellar - low key bands, Blind Lemon - acoustic guitar) and a more cozy, low-key atmosphere.

Downtown Cincinnati
You don't have to go to a cheesy country bar to ride a mechanical bull. Just visit Cadillac Ranch on 6th Street. The crowd there is a mix of YP and Gen Y - it's a great place to go after work or after a Bengals Game.

The most sophisticated bar in town would have to be Bang. No, it's not a club for NRA members, it's a venue that belies its Cincinnati roots - teasing of traits seen in Vegas, New York and L.A. Should you choose to stop by Bang for a shot of Petron, you will no doubt hear a remix of MIA's Paper Planes.

Singles looking to graduate from Bang to something a bit more low key usually end up across the street at Twist. This watering hole is anything but rough around the edges. Velvet ropes outside the door tease you into thinking you're at someplace special - and don't misunderstand me, you are - but you're also at a bar where anyone's welcome. Especially if you have the jack. Special note - martini drinkers should try the Deliciously Dirrty - it's like a Bloody Mary without the tomato juice.

Over-the-Rhine
I am not even going to justify the naysayers and talk about how safe OtR is. If you're a pussy, then don't come, because I don't want to have to give up my seat to you. Kaldi's is one of my favorite places in the Greater Cincinnati area, and yet I don't visit it nearly as much as I should. I love the Bloody Marys there and I also like their righteous selection of Cincinnati brews. This is another one of those places where its perfectly alright to come in your dirty, dirty jeans and hoodie, or the outfit you wore out the night before (and have yet to make a Walk of Shame in).

Mr. Pitiful's is another great place - an old timey bar that hints at a scene in a much bigger city. I like the subtle elegance of the decor and the superb service, which includes mixologists who are mindful of inquiring whether a single girl feels comfortable walking to her car alone.

If you are looking for live music and sophisticated ambiance, head over to Below Zero Lounge. This bar is not only a favorite for vodka connoisseurs, it's a great place to hear live music and meet an eclectic group of people.

Other honorable mentions around town:
Hofbrauhaus, Teller's and Beluga.

Next up... restaurants.