Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Sparkling and Solo

Sometimes, if I'm really quiet, my heartbeat and a ticking clock are the only things I hear.

When the world is still and my breathing is measured, I am reminded my biology and time are embroiled in a bitter race, and that there's nothing I can really do to improve the circumstances.

Let me flash back to this morning, and a lovely appearance by Meghan McCain on Good Morning America.

The "Blogette," as she's known in some circles inside The Beltway, guested along side Maria Shriver to promote The Women's Conference. The California event aims to inspire and educate women who are seeking success in life and business.

Diane Sawyer pointedly asked McCain if she thought women could have fulfilled lives without marrying. "Of course you can have a fulfilled life without getting married," McCain said. "I want women to be able to do it all."

Whoa, there, Blogarita.

Lots of women do, indeed, do it all. They aspire to a successful, empowering career while nurturing a loving relationship with a spouse or partner and raising their children. They take care of the chores of home while attending to their civic responsibilities and enjoying flourishing social commitments.

Doing it all isn't really a problem for many women.

To be fair to McCain, I get that she is trying to advocate for the success of women as they pursue any endeavor they desire.

That said, there are many of us women out there doing almost everything, and in the midst of things, struggling to find a partner worthy of our intellect, drive and heart.

I think of the women in my direct social and civic circles - bright, well educated, rising stars who are in the trenches and cultivating prominent careers in the fields of law, banking, marketing, sales and medicine. These women are beautiful, witty and fun. They are generous with their time - giving their talents and volunteer hours to a myriad of organizations.

And not only do these women work hard - they play hard.

They jet off to Dubai for a long weekend or rub elbows with the city's politicos. These women score invites to the toniest of parties and have the most amazing contacts saved in their smartphones.

Yes, Diane. We are fulfilled. And any single one of us would be considered a catch.

And yet I am mystified that this particular breed of woman has a hard time snagging her own counterpart.

I don't know if it's because these women are considered WOFAs (ed note: I tried googling Woman of F*cking Action and discovered a bunch of links not appropriate or germane to this post), or if it's because men are intimidated by these women and their drive and ambition.

Regardless, when these women get together for some girl time, we occasionally cry into our glasses of Pinot Noir and moan about our singleness.

I think about my own solo status and wonder if, as McCain desires, I'll *get* to do it all.

Sometimes I wonder if I'm just going to be the best damn aunt my sisters' children will ever have. The aunt with the awesome, two-seater sports car and nary a piece of child-appropriate furniture in my home.

Because, honestly? I'd give it all up - the fancy parties and the impressive connections, the ascending career and the noble commitments - if I had a family of my own to nurture.

But I don't have time to think about these things.

There are events to plan and parties to attend and connections to make.

I'm just waiting to see where it all leads me.

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Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

He had a voice that sometimes made me think of freshly lacquered nails gouging out a chalkboard.

As good a friend as he was, sometimes he drove me batty. Sometimes it was his personality oozing with misplaced energy, other times it was his eagerness to be witty and well liked.

Personality ticks aside, he was a great friend, and someone I trusted.

And for all the misgivings, I knew that to change him would mean taking away his kindness and mostly delightful disposition.

Relationships definitely are a case of taking the good with the bad.

Reflecting on my past and my romantic and platonic relationships, I am reminded that everyone - yes, even me - has their shortcomings.

Some of us are flaky. Others are quick to offer judgment or slow to offer depth. There are people in our lives who fail to read, refuse to exercise or eschew organized religion. Some of us are consumed by vanity, power, status or money.

Society is full of people who refuse to confront their psychological hang-ups.

Like I said, none of us is perfect.

And really, that's the beauty of humanity.

It's like we're a great sea of puzzle pieces, searching for the matching parts that best fit our own characteristics. We gravitate to people who compliment our strengths and help soften our weaknesses. We look for people who would benefit from what we have to offer, too.

But we can't change people to make them fit our lives and expectations.

Because to change someone would be to completely disregard the positive attributes they have to offer.

Finding the people who fit our puzzle piece is a talent.

Accepting their shortcomings is a gift.

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Saturday, October 24, 2009

If I ever decide to go Goth...

I'm guessing this is what I'd look like - minus the ponytails.

Going to a Halloween party tonight in Northside. Dressing as a Ghoul Scout - complete with my sash of patches and a box of Thin Mints.

I can't wait!
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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Wear It On Your Sleeve

(Ed. disclosure: this blog post is a piece I wrote for We Can Live United, United Way of Greater Cincinnati's blog. I am an employee of United Way).

I've been advocating for important issues since I was four-years-old.

It started way back on a sunny spring day in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Sunshine is at a premium during that time of year in the Twin Cities, and the weather must have made an impression on me as I played at a park with the rest of my Montessori class.

There we were, running around the swings and slides, when one of my classmates offered me a big, red, stop sign-shaped sticker denouncing acid rain.

I happily grabbed that Stop Acid Rain! sticker and slapped it on my metal, Holly Hobby lunch box.

To this day, my mom says that's when she knew I was going to grow up to be an activist.

Since that glorious day near Lake Minnetonka, I have trumpeted issues that matter most to me. I've gotten involved in political campaigns and used my personal blog as a forum to champion ideas important to my community.

I am committed to using my passion, my energy, my time to making a difference.

Whether I help make change in the community, in my neighborhood or in one person's life, I am confident my work is making our world just a wee bit better.

Everyone has the potential to advocate. If you have Facebook or Twitter, use your avatar to raise awareness for a cause that's important to you. If you have a stretch of lawn in front of your home, raise a yard sign informing your neighbors about an issue you care about.

Next time you join a friend for coffee or a cocktail, take a moment to tell them what you really care about, and how they can help support your cause.

Heck. Plaster your car with bumper stickers. Just get the message out.

We each have a voice and a channel for advocacy. It's not just about writing your lawmakers about issues that need attention - it's about telling your family, friends and co-workers why they should care about something that's important to you.

Sharing the message is one way we can rally the troops.

Even the little four-year-olds.

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Baby Steps

A quick video I captured after my evening walk - I'm taking my life in a new direction.

Note: This video probably shows the day's least attractive version of myself. Que sera.

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Frame of Mind

A few variables came together for me last night - elements that are making me make another run at running.

Well, maybe some day.

For now - it's all about walking.

I'm in desperate need of making some healthier changes in my life. I like good food and drink too much, and though that's not a crime, people can feel better about indulging if they combat effects with exercise.

Right now, my exercise output is nada. Nil. Zero. Zilch. Zip.

That's all about to change.

For one thing, at my ol' friend Thomas' suggestion - I am putting walking on my schedule. If I don't make it a priority, if I don't make ME a priority, then nothing else really matters.


Notice all the pretty teal appointments on my Outlook Calendar? Those are my appointments with myself. Those are the times when I'm committing to lace up my sneakers these next two weeks and hit the pavement - sometimes for two hours, sometimes for just 30 minutes.

Also notice this Saturday is so jam packed that you can't even see the teal appointment holder, but trust me - it's there (hence the big red, glaring star.)

My thought is this - if I put this out there, and tell the entire world (well, at least all of you), then I am going to have to follow through, or face utter embarrassment.

I am also hoping some of you will hold me accountable, and perhaps even want to join me from time to time.

I'm not making any significant changes to my eating habits - just yet. The plan is to start small, and pray this seed blossoms and brings change to other aspects of my life.

Starting small - likely the best step toward success.

This challenge also doesn't include any specific goals regarding pounds or inches lost. I have a number in my head that I'm secretly shooting for, but it won't be the end of the world if I don't get there.

All I know is, I have spectacular wardrobe of clothing that is dying to come out of the closet.

I hope to do some video blogging of this new plan from time to time.

And if you're thinking, Kate is nuts to be embarking on a new exercise regimen in the middle of autumn - believe me, you're not the first to think that way.

I just hope I can stick with walking in the colder temperatures and even snowy weather.

I must be nuts.

Maybe someday I'll be nuts and thin(ner).

Monday, October 19, 2009

Issue 9: Why This Matter Is So Important To Cincinnati

If there was an award for consistently shooting one's self in the foot, Cincinnati would be the hands-down winner.

We're a town of big ideas and no follow through.

See also:
I've got a post of my own coming up on why Cincinnati voters should say No on Issue 9. Until that's published, please check out Julie's thoughts on the matter.

As I said in my comment on Julie's post, Issue 9 will have a significant result on whether Cincinnati holds on to its best, young talent. Issue 9 will also directly result our ability to stay connected to other cities embracing the high speed/light rail concept.

If we pass Issue 9 - Cincinnati will become a dying island.

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Saturday, October 17, 2009

Flower Princess

Snapped at Coffee Emporium in Over-the-Rhine - what a sweet ride. It even has a My Little Pony taped to the bars as a hood ornament.
But for some reason I don't think this bike is ridden by a little girl...
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Friday, October 16, 2009

Shh... If You Love Wine, I Have A Secret

Sometimes I really wish I could keep all my juicy bits to myself.

Occasionally, I come across a nugget so spectacular that I grow hesitant and selfish and wish I could keep my little treasure.

And then I remember I am a generous and loving soul - and that everyone deserves to know about a good thing when it happens.

Especially when that good thing involves wine and saving money.

I took a different way home a couple weeks ago, and along the way, I discovered Oakley was on the brink of gaining a major asset - a boutique wine shop. I passed the store with the frosted windows a couple more times, hoping for signs of life. Nothing.

And then today, I discovered a buzz of activity and photocopies taped to the windows advertising, "Wines $20 or Less."


Oakley Wines (4027 Allston St. Suite B, p: 513-351-4392) is owned by Joe and Lois Santangelo. I stepped in Friday night for a quick peek and discovered a pleasant space chock full of wine bottles and a buzz of customers.

I paid two bucks for a glass, which entitled me to a tasting in the back, featuring a variety of wines. I grabbed a sip and walked around while waiting to talk to Joe. The store offers a variety of boutique and lesser known wines from around the world. Australia, France, Italy, Germany, Austria, California, Oregon, Washington - Oakley Wines carries bottles from all over.

Every bottle is 20 bucks or less - I even noticed a few bottles selling for eight or nine dollars.

Joe breezed by and told me he'd get to me in a moment. I didn't mind - I returned to the tasting table and struck up a conversation with his daughter, Fran. She told me the concept was borne out of her parents' love of wine. The Santangelos apparently have an extensive wine cellar at home; Fran said her dad realized one day that it was absurd to crack open a bottle of $300 wine on an ordinary Tuesday night.

"There are tons of exceptional, affordable wines out there, and when you bring a bottle of these lesser known wines, your friends have no idea what it's worth," says Fran.

I am certainly not as well versed as Michelle in the way of wine, but I know what I like, and I also know a good number of the mainstream bottles found at the liquor store. Cakebread, Layer Cake, Nobilo, Concannon, Black Pearl, La Crema - I know my way around the respected and even not-so-respected wines (Hello, Little Penguin, Crane Lake, Pepperwood Grove, Yellow Tail).

I like the idea of buying a top notch, affordable wine that (most) no one's heard of.

Right now, Oakley Wines is open from 1 to 6 PM Monday through Friday. Lois told me Joe has a variety of commitments on Saturdays, so for now, the store is only open by appointment on the weekends.

Once things get going, Joe says Oakley Wines may offer regular wine tastings.

I am so glad this business has opened its doors steps away from Oakley Square. Fran told me her parents' friends said they were crazy to open a business in this fledgling economy, but we both remarked people seem to be drinking even more within this past year. And no matter the status of the economy, everyone loves a good deal.

Next time you need a bottle of wine for a party, a Bacchanalian Society event or a night in - I suggest you swing by Oakley Wines.

Tell 'em Kate from the neighborhood sent you.

Earlier Alcohol Sales Starting Sunday in Ohio

Friends - no need to cross the River and head to Kentucky for brunch on Sundays. Ohioans can enjoy earlier alcohol sales starting this weekend. For years, you had to wait until 1 PM if you wanted to enjoy a Bloody Mary at Teller's or a Mimosa at Indigo.

A recently passed state budget bill pushed the Sunday sales time up to 11 AM.

Thank God. I was sick of driving to Newport and Covington to have a tipple with my quiche.

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Simple Gift

Baby puts her money on the gray horses.

Actually, I wish my wagering on the ponies was that simple. I don't place my bets by picking a pretty horse, a horse with a fun name or even my favorite jockey silks. No, I am one of those dorks who analyses a combination of the horse's blood line, ownership, trainer, jockey and whether a horse is on Lasix.

Who knew a day at the races could be such a science?

One thing that is not complicated - my autumnal affinity for bourbon. The Elixir of the Bluegrass is a perfect compliment to a chilly day at the track. It's a combination of smoke and honey and sweetness and spice. Bourbon also carries a bit of a punch, which can be nice when the chilly temperature is cutting through your woolen wardrobe.

Tomorrow, I'm heading to Keeneland with 5chw4r7z and Ms. 5chw4r7z, Red Kat Blonde and The Marketess. I'm also expecting to run in to GOP Big Wig and my old crew from Local 12.

Needless to say, Keeneland is gonna be fun.

My crew and I leave for Lexington around 10:30 AM - and I am bringing bourbon.

Since the day is going to be a chilly one, I'm inventing a special cocktail. It will be hot and zippy, a nice accompaniment for the veggie fritata I'm bringing for trunk tailgating.

Simple Gift (an homage to Shaker Village, just down the road from Lexington)
1 part bourbon
2 parts hot mulled cider
2 drops angostura bitters
lemon wedge

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Trick or Tannin

Forget the bourbon - sometimes there's nothing better than a glass of wine.

I know, I know. Those of you who know me well are likely wondering if I'm feeling well - what with my well known affinity for the elixir of the Bluegrass. Yes, I think Kentucky's brand of whiskey is pretty dynamite. But as it turns out, the Commonwealth is popping the cork on decent wine, too.

Elk Creek Vineyards is one such winery making a name for itself in Kentucky. I had the pleasure of joining a friend for a charity wine tasting at the Owenton destination last spring and was pleasantly surprised by its sophisticated yet rustic digs, which include a spacious tasting room, spa and bed & breakfast.


Elk Creek has come out with some special Halloween themed wines - I was offered a chance to review three sample bottles thanks to Michelle at My Wine Education. As challenging a task as it was, I was happy to oblige.

I asked two wine savvy friends - The Divine Ms. M and Rusty - to join me in the tasting session. Prior to their moving to Cincinnati, this couple lived in California and did a good bit of wine tasting, so I was confident they would serve up some astute observations about our trio of bottles.

First up, the Bone Dry Red ($19.99). A Cabernet Sauvignon, we agreed this selection was perfect for the autumnal season. Upon properly tasting the wine (the owner of my favorite wine shop in the world says one must "kiss" the wine to properly aerate it while tasting), we noted hints of cherry and oak.

I thought the wine was chock full of tannins but wasn't too sharp. We agreed it was smoky and rich and had a nice finish; Rusty thought the ruby red color was unbelievable. If you are looking for a great wine to serve next time you're grilling up steak and potatoes - this is it.

We followed the red with Ghostly White Chardonnay ($14.99), billed as a reflection of the limestone soils found in Central Kentucky (note: also a key factor in why Kentucky is so successful at making Bourbon). In our first sip, we noticed it was full flavored and not too sweet. We swilled a few more tastes in our mouth and discovered the crisp apple (maybe Granny Smith?) and citrus notes that Elk Creek promotes in its literature. We even tasted peach, and I thought I tasted a bit of charred sugar - like the flavor of a well done toasted marshmallow.

Maybe the wine was having an affect on my taste buds.

Regardless, this is a wine that would be perfect for your favorite swordfish or pasta dish.

Last but not least, we tried the Ghostly White - Sweet Mellow White ($9.99). This is a fruity, sweet wine similar to a Riesling. Billed as a "table wine," we appreciated the peachy citrus notes and its less substantial nature. If the Cab is a MAC truck and the Chard is a Camry, this wine is a carriage ride - complete with a dozen roses.

This wine is fruity and light and perfect for a hot summer day. It is a bit too sweet for my taste (some may feel like they're drinking Kool-Aid, others will think it's just perfect), but it is quite smooth and would be a nice accompaniment to your favorite dessert.

Halloween is a couple weeks away. When the little ghouls and boys stop by to Trick-or-Treat, perhaps you should offer a glass of something from Elk Creek to the chaperones walking the neighborhood with them.


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My Kind of Propaganda

Grab a copy of your own Shepard Fairey poster here.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Welcome to my literary playground...

New readers/lurkers may stop by today thanks to a mention in Soapbox Cincinnati's piece on their ten Cincinnatians to follow on Twitter.

What a way to make a girl blush...

The profile is pretty accurate. My tweets are deep, self deprecating, honest, revealing and snarky. I do not shill products or promote businesses (well, rarely I may tweet about something that I think y'all just have to know about).

Also - I do not have an obsession with Dhani Jones. I have had the pleasure of meeting the man several times recently through a variety of venues - he is a handsome gentleman; any single girl would be crushin' after meeting him. My conversation with the reporter was taken out of context. It's not an obsession, but admiration...

My tweets are a look at the clever and not-so clever thoughts inside my head.

Anyway - enough of the rambling. Hope you enjoy the blog and my tweet stream.


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Monday, October 12, 2009

The Price of Produce (and meat, and eggs, and bread, and...)

(ed. note: this post comes from United Way's We Can LIVE UNITED blog. I am employed by United Way and wrote this piece for the organization's blog, but wanted to also share the content here because I believe the subject matter is so important to our community).

Three days away from payday, and I am cutting corners.

So goes the ebb and flow of my financial forecast. Once the paycheck rolls in, I dole out what's required to cover my debts and financial obligations, saving what's left to fill the gas tank, cover my grocery expenses and otherwise support my thriving social life.

Life tends to get a little leaner the further out I am from payday.

Those leaner, meaner days mean cracking open tuna cans stockpiled in the pantry for just the occasion or forgoing a night out on the town for a cozy evening in with a cheap (but equally tasty) Three Buck Chuck or something comparable.

I am intimately familiar with scraping by until the day of my next direct deposit. This is less of a reflection on my salary and more a reflection on my ability to manage finances, but I digress.

Times can be tough for just about anyone.

In regards to my more frugal circumstances, today's lunch presented something of a challenge.

How does one eat a meal for less than $3.50?

Such a daunting task is possible when one plans accordingly - preparing a meal at home and packing it up before work, or toting along a one-dollar frozen meal from the discount section of the grocery freezer case.

But when an individual (read: me) is lazy and less inclined to plan ahead on occasion, said individual is forced to hunt-and-gather for food at fast food joints close to the office.

I made it back to my cube with a McChicken sandwich, small fries and small diet soda - my wallet only $3.18 lighter after the trip.

My lunch time challenge and results made me think about the cost of an average meal around the world, and how my three-bucks-and-change respite is likely an extravagance when compared to what other people have to spend on lunch.

I just crossed this interesting piece on the cost of groceries around the world, and the related explanation of how the prices were assessed. While India turns out to be the world's source for most inexpensive groceries, the price of eggs and bread is still probably too steep for a country coping with up to 42 percent of its population below the international poverty line.

India isn't the only place coping with poverty.

Right here in Greater Cincinnati, we have people struggling to cover their utility bills and rent. Local families and individuals are stretching even further, hoping to make ends meet and put food on the table every evening.

Thankfully, United Way 211 is here to help those in need. Whether you need assistance in buying groceries, or are interested in finding a quality child care program for your little one, United Way 211 is a resource for anyone needing almost any kind of help.

United Way 211 is also a great source for people seeking opportunities to give help.

You can learn more about United Way 211 by clicking here.

If you'd like to support United Way's work to create change and improve lives across Greater Cincinnati, please click here.

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We were at the Cincinnati Imports party...

...where were you?

What this photo doesn't tell you:

Notice the No on 9! sticker taped to my scarf? It's kind of obstructed by my mop of hair. Well, prior to the Imports shindig, I paraded around the Country Club gallery opening with the same sticker. That's where I was practically accosted by a supporter of Issue 9.

This character proceeded to grill me on my knowledge of Issue 9 and the ramifications of building a streetcar line in Downtown Cincinnati. This same jackass also went on to inquire about my resident status in Cincinnati (claiming Oakley really isn't in the City of) and then decry the streetcar and its ability to bring "those" people to his neighborhood in Clifton.

Funny thing, though. This guy, wearing a popped collar polo shirt and blue sport coat? He looked more Mason and less Clifton.

I extolled the virtues of the streetcar's potential and then politely declined to continue the conversation with this stranger.

I don't mind courteous discourse and debate, but this man with opposing views clearly was gunning for bear. Yes, my wearing a No on 9! sticker is an outward indication of my position on the issue, but it does not entitle opponents to sidle up and launch critical debates under the covert premise of a polite conversation about the meaning of Issue 9.

Dude, I don't come to Mason or Clifton or wherever you live and bother you. Please don't come to Oakley and bother me.

Love, Kate

Links That Make Me Think

Edith Wharton's Paris. The NYT write up sounds romantic, conjuring up images of cool walks along the Seine and in cloistered gardens behind secluded gardens. As much as I am ambivalent about Paris, this piece makes me want to catch the next flight to Orly.

Mentions about Wharton's clandestine, bound-for-break up romance with Morton Fullerton make my heart heavy - it is far worse to find what we think is love, only to have it snatched from our spirit.

The depth within the pages of Anne Frank's diary. A new book is out critiquing the literary ramifications of the journal scrawled from within the Annex on Prinsengracht. Author Francine Prose explores the editing process exacted by the teen, and also disputes claims that the Frank diary is a fraud. Prose is giving a lecture at 7:30 this evening at Rockwern Academy - click the link for more information.

The cooling temperatures mean it's time for a stronger cocktail. Autumn is here, and with it, an opportunity to sip on something a bit more spicy. Love this piece in the Washingtonian about seasonal cocktails, including those that showcase Kentucky bourbon. Love that Todd Thrasher, the genius behind Old Town Alexandria's PX Lounge, has come up with a special concoction including pear butter, apple brandy and house made bitters.

Where can a gal get a well crafted, autumnal cocktail in Cincinnati?

The French are working to combat extreme stress. Apparently, several large corporations have experienced a wave of suicides in recent months. Officials say companies have long underestimated the psychological risks of stress in the workplace. An interesting commentary on attitudes in corporate France - I wonder if the U.S. would ever seriously consider the effects of workplace stress.

Marge Simpson is taking it all off for Hef. This is a first for Playboy: featuring a cartoon cover and centerfold model. It's a tactic to appeal to the magazine's younger demo. I imagine this edition won't get stashed under the mattress by teenage boys like previous issues.

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Friday, October 09, 2009

Add "Nobel Peace Prize Winner" To The Resume

White House staff woke up President Obama around 6 AM today to inform him he's a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.

The Nobel committee unanimously agreed to give Obama the honor, recognizing his efforts to establish peace and diplomacy in international affairs.

I will admit, it's pretty remarkable our president was awarded such a prize only nine months in office.

President Obama is crusading for another significant effort - changing the dynamics of the American health care system.

What are you going to do to solve the crisis?

(Video clip snapped at President Obama's visit to the Labor Day Picnic at Coney Island in Cincinnati on Labor Day, September 8.)

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Thursday, October 08, 2009

Nein on Nine - Support The Streetcar!

"The streetcar isn't a waste of taxpayer money - it's a way for taxpayers to MAKE money."

Laure Quinlivan's Streetcar Report from Laure Quinlivan on Vimeo.

What are you doing to show your support for Cincinnati's streetcar effort?

Want more information? Click here.

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Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Oh, Snap

Sometimes you need to narrow the field of vision to see something miraculous.

In life, it's easy to get distracted by the picture. Months of commitment in a jam-packed schedule, the stresses of day-in-day-out in a long term relationship, new financial pressures when signing on a mortgage or car loan.

The art to life is digesting moments and days in bite sized portions.

Dhani Jones just may have the eye and perspective to find the beauty in life's less significant occasions.

No doubt about it, the Cincinnati Bengal linebacker has the means and access to live a life considered extraordinary by most standards. As a professional athlete, he earns a mind boggling salary and has the entree to rub those broad shoulders in more sparkling circles.

But Jones is said to be the "Thinking Man" of the NFL - the athlete who not only makes big plays on the gridiron, but leafs through pulp more stimulating than SI and the local Sports section.

This drive for intelligent, personal development may be on display this Friday evening at Jones' art show. Country Club in Oakley is flinging its doors open to show the Renaissance Man's photography - snapped during his travels for yet another facet in his character - hosting Dhani Tackles the Globe on the Travel Channel.

I've only seen a couple promotional pieces. In them, Jones appears to look through the viewfinder to capture images that simultaneously shed light on the individualism of the human condition and the collective unity of humanity. I'm looking forward to seeing the rest of the collection to see if he has the eye and artistic generosity to see the beauty in the more pedestrian experiences and people.

Can't wait to savor the moment and enjoy these pieces.

Cincinnati Bengal Dhani Jones unveils his photography show this Friday at Country Club (3209 Madison Rd., Oakley) - 7 to 10 pm.

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Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Surreal Weird


I can go there.

Regarding art, I am more of an Impressionist/Post-Impressionist fan. I've seen several of Monet's Water Lilies and Haystacks pieces and Van Gogh's Sunflowers (both the London and Amsterdam versions). I like the textured, stylized effect of the oil paint on the canvas and the range of vivid color and implied shadow.

What can I say - much of this art is vibrant, and I suppose it speaks to some of the vibrance inside me.

That said, I occasionally find a piece of modern art that provokes me to think - and that trips my trigger.

Enter Marilyn Minter's Green Pink Caviar - a short film that was developed by a modern artist who tends to show the more vulnerable, honest and damaged facets of humanity.

You have to click on the link above to see a portion of the video - give it a look, and you'll probably agree it's provocative and original.

The film shows a big, pink mouth and its tongue swirling around a series of colored, gelatinous substances, sometimes in overt, erotic fashion.

It was simultaneously beautiful, hot, raw, disgusting, ugly and sensual.

An interesting series of words that could apply to other erotic experiences.

Minter's other pieces got up-close-and-personal to subjects sporting smeared makeup, glitter, false eyelashes, sequins and other tools for enhancing beauty - but her approach is more reminiscent of a "Walk of Shame," rather than a fresh session in the powder room. The pieces speak to humanity's vanity and vulnerability, the fleeting pinnacle of beauty and the seedy side of glamour.

If you get a chance to swing by the Contemporary Art Center in Downtown Cincinnati - I suggest you stroll through Minter's collection.

It's weirdly beautiful.

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Kate's Random Musings by Kate the Great is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Kissing Heaven

A series of five photographs

Happy 2nd Birthday, Angel Maeve!
Love, Aunt KK

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Kate's Random Musings by Kate the Great is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

The Cavalry

They rode up on horseback - and one tractor.

We were in Rockcastle County in March of 1999, during a significantly rainy period of the season. An intern, I tagged along in the back of the beat up Astro - with photog Jason driving and Jeff the reporter riding shotgun.

Two months away from college graduation - this was my first real taste in knowing television news is never glamorous.

Sunday is typically never a busy news day in Central Kentucky, so the producer sent us on a round trip journey to Renfro Valley to follow up on the week's heavy rains, and find tales of destruction, heartache and devastation.

Our determined threesome knew that, at the most, we'd find some swiftly flowing creeks and a few muddy lanes missing their gravel.

For all its toaster-on-wheels appearance, the Astro (loaded with a $15K television camera, a tripod, light kit, extra batteries and other tools) sailed down I-75, headed for a community of camp grounds, Kentucky craft shops and a museum dedicated to the history of Bluegrass music.

Jason pulled us off the the exit, and we headed down into a tree filled valley (in these parts it may have been called a 'holler') with sticky, muddy roads and sparse population.

These two characters, Jason and Jeff, were kind of like my big brothers. A wayward college intern, I'd spend my Sundays with these guys chasing all kinds of random news. We ate MREs at the Blue Grass Army Depot and covered an emotional funeral and procession for a fallen firefighter. Along the way, the guys would give each other dating advice, and simultaneously tease/joke with me.

It was a fun, little dynamic that made me appreciate the camaraderie of television news.

There we were, cruising through God's creation in a crappy minivan, when we finally spied an old, graying church at the top of a hill. Jason decided to drive the Astro up the hill in the hopes we'd find some God fearing people who would want to talk about the week's heavy rains.

There we were, a college intern, a redheaded Texan and a Jew - exploring outside a church in Eastern Kentucky.

Just another day in the Lexington news market.

Jeff approached the door to the church and grabbed the door handle, discovering it was locked. He knocked, and we waited - and nothing. Time to cut bait, or we wouldn't make it home in time with a story.

First, Jason threw the camera on his shoulder and Jeff decided to tape a quick stand-up, describing on tape some of the damp, muddy and wet surroundings.

We piled back in the van, planning to zip back up 50 miles to Lexington, when we discovered the van was stuck in the muck. Jason floored the accelerator, wheels spinning, to no avail. Jeff, a man with model looks and the charm to match, hopped out of the van and tried to use a few sticks to act as a tread to help the van get out.

No luck.

Jason looked over his shoulder and offered me a gruff but joking, "Intern. Push!"

I got out and pushed. Nada.

The spinning tire started smoking, and then all of the air fizzled out like a popped balloon.


We tried using Jeff's circa 1998 Nokia cell phone, it was really of no surprise to anyone that it failed to reach a signal. Jason reached for the two-way radio that directly communicated back to the station in Lexington - it also failed to connect.

It was a fact we were reluctant to admit - it was time to start walking toward something - anywhere. We had no idea how close or far the closest home would be.

Turns out, not that far.

We walked about half a mile down a slippery, rutted road and made it to a home. A nice, gray haired lady told us she'd call the boys across the ridge, and they'd meet us at the church to help us pull out the minivan.

We walked back, thinking maybe she just dispatched a pack of high school kids.

Then they strode up - like something out of a John Wayne movie.

Four strapping men on horses, wearing rain coats that looked a little more like capes and less like trenches, and cowboy hats.

Followed by a guy on a tractor in the same getup.

The cavalry had arrived.

They used a chain to hook the tractor up to the van, the man swiftly shifted gears, and our little toaster van was out of the mud and ready to head home.

These real American heroes even put our doughnut spare tire on for us.

Jeff and Jason shook hands and passed business cards with our Kentucky cowboys, I smiled and said thank you for the help.

We got back in the van, sliding the side door closed and sat silently, save for the running engine.

"What the hell just happened?!" Jeff exclaimed, his perfectly bleached teeth gleaming as he grinned from ear to ear.

It was such a surreal experience, and though the three of us shared it together, we were certain no one else would believe such a far fetched tale.

The cavalry will always come, I've learned, even when you think all is lost and hopeless. The cavalry may be a friend, a stranger - the cavalry may be an ounce of internal strength you didn't realize you could rely on.

Somehow, no matter the crisis, you will survive it.

The cavalry will always come.

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Kate's Random Musings by Kate the Great is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Random Junk

Found in the Trader Joe's reusable shopping bag that doubles as my briefcase:

Nasty bottle of Tabasco
Disposable camera - I have no idea of its content
Brochure on Kiehl's products
An old (Spring '09) NYT Style Magazine with Eric Dane on the cover
(Ancient) Bottle of Burberry Brit
Two tiny plastic peppers - green and orange
2008 Christmas card from Mom and Dad
Hair tie
Plastic cover for one of the ends of my iPod USB cord
Baby onesie
Leopard print gloves
Custom made necklace featuring Venetian beads bought in London
"Tastefully Simple Giddyup Guacamole Mix"
Package of homemade Christmas cards featuring Cincinnati landmarks
Cosmopolitan - April 09
Hotel reservations for a trip to Lexington this month
Flight confirmation codes for a trip I took to CA in June
An empty FedEx envelope
Full color proofs for a cookbook I developed (and is available Friday)
Profile information on all of Cincinnati's city council candidates
One nickel (1983) and one dime (2002)

This doesn't even touch on the virtual junk I'm carrying in my heart and head.

What garbage is weighing you down?
What do you need to purge?
What do you need to rediscover?