Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Kosher Coke

I am the Catholic girl who has always secretly wanted to be Jewish.

Who knows when it developed - I think it may have been a combination between my elementary school crush on Stephen Rossen and weekly trips with my dad to Decent Deli in Blue Ash. Saturday mornings were made for errand running, matzo ball soup, kosher pickles, potato pancakes and Dr. Brown's sodas.

Years later, I developed a respectful fascination with the Holocaust. Beginning in high school, I started reading literature related to that era, and even wrote a rather moving poem for my age about the tragic visions in my imagination about that tragedy.

I know I wasn't the only Gentile openly weeping when I went to Dachau at 17, but part of me didn't feel like I was Christian at all. I felt an unusual common bond with the people around me.

It wasn't faith though. I realize now it was respect for humanity.

Flash forward to today and more happy circumstances. Passover. It's a Jewish holiday that I won't even begin to explain because I know this Catholic girl won't do it justice.

The one thing I know about Passover that everyone can enjoy - Passover Coke. This sweet relief comes in the same bottles as the original counterpart but is made with real sugar, as opposed to the evil, obesity inducing high fructose corn syrup.



Passover Coke is traditionally marked by yellow caps that are stamped with an OU-P. This denotes the sugary sweet soda is kosher. High fructose corn syrup is normally kosher, except for during Passover, when Jews avoid most grains - including corn.

Coke tries to make everybody happy by selling a version sweetened with sugar.

"Praise Jesus!" the rest of us exclaim.

Coke with sugar tastes better than the HFCS version, and it is especially divine mixed with bourbon.

I am thinking about stockpiling enough Passover Coke to last me through UK's football season.

Now, I know what some of you are saying. "But, Kate. You can buy Mexican Coke all year 'round at the grocery. Why be like one of those freaky people getting ready for Armageddon, when you can just swing by for a bottle at whim?"

Well, yes. But Mexican Coke is sold in glass bottles, and carries a far higher price tag than its kosher counterpart.

And a sista is always looking for a bargain.

Bottoms up!

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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Solo Status

Every once in a while, I find myself searching the surroundings of my home for the nearest weapon.

This paranoia inspired behavior is usually prompted by a strange noise in my apartment - a bump, a creek, a shuffle that is unfamiliar to me.

Typically, I only grow concerned just as a I turn off all the lights and head to my bed for the night. Sometimes I awake to a faint fear that someone else is in my house.

I know the drill. In my bedroom, I have an alarm clock and an old fashioned typewriter still in its box. In a crisis, I would throw these at someone.

In the kitchen - I have a variety of sharp, long knives at my disposal. In my nightmare fantasy, I am invincible against my invader, and he is unable to grab my knives and hurt me.

The bathroom contains the strangest defense plan - a wrench, a screwdriver and a heavy can of bug spray. The aerosol can sits atop the copy of the Warren Commission report I keep in my bathroom for random reading - right next to the toilet paper dispenser. Should someone ever choose to attack me while I'm indisposed, I would grab the can of Raid, spray, and then fly off the handle with my wrench and screwdriver.

The living room fails to have its own plan of attack. I suppose I assume this space is too messy to accommodate a madman. I imagine if someone broke in to my apartment, they'd discover a scene of clothes, shoes and bags strewn about and would deduce the place had already been hit by someone else.

I know this whole thing is a bit neurotic.

Who plans or worries about someone breaking in to their home while they're in bed? I think this occasional concern only exists because I am a female living alone.

I do not have a protector. I do not live with someone else who is assigned to the duty of investigating when things go bump in the night. I do not have someone to cling to when I grow scared in my own home.

Most of the time, I'm able to talk myself down from the figurative ledge of fear - insisting the occasional panic is all in my head. After all, if someone really wanted to break in to a home, surely they'd pick something far more high rent than my little apartment. Right?

But then I'm reminded of last summer's run-in with the peeping tom.

I guess a single woman is appealing to someone with unsavory intentions.

Watch out, bitches.

I have a can of Raid, and I know how to use it.

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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Peace and Quiet

The phone receiver rested on the desk beneath the wall cradle, disconnecting us from the rest of existence.

Dinner time was a precious communion in our family. My father traveled for a living for much of my childhood, so when Dad was home, we'd gather 'round the oak kitchen table for an exercise in uninterrupted togetherness.

Mom would bustle around the kitchen, putting on the finishing touches of a proper meal while she'd assign us kids the task of setting the table (fork to the left of the plate atop a napkin folded just so. To the right of the plate, a knife with its blade to the left and a spoon).

We'd take our seats as Mom poured milk in the kids' little, plastic Tupperware cups - usually the pea green or brick red one - the brown and yellow ones never got used because Brig chewed them up when she was a baby.

Dad would arrive in the kitchen, his tie off and his collar unbuttoned. He'd pull the phone receiver out of the cradle, the electronic, pulsating beeps indicating that our family had just entered a surreal place of unavailability.

The sounds that followed included grace, the passing of serving dishes, and conversation.

The brief disconnect with telemarketers, my father's colleagues and other callers gave us an opportunity to reaffirm our family's binding ties. We kids talked about art projects, grades that deserved celebrating and the social dynamics important to elementary and middle school children. My parents talked about the nuances of my dad's job, my mom's commitments and other talking points not interesting to a child.

The peace and quiet gave us a chance to focus on life.

25 years later, I find myself instituting my own technological time out.

I love social media. I love Twitter, texting and Facebook. Less of a fan of e-mail, I realize the importance of this swift information exchange. And of course, I am but an arm's length away from reaching out to someone via mobile phone.

But sometimes, I'm the one who doesn't want to be reached.

This convergence of technology has created a society with the absolute belief people can be reached anywhere, anytime. And though this is true, is it right?

I've had moments of discomfort with friends who grew miffed after they were unable to reach me at a moment's notice. What they didn't know was that my moments were consumed by a meeting, a play, dinner with a companion or another occasion that made me unavailable.

Technology does not equal entitlement where conversation is concerned.

And even though I feel guilty turning off the ringer or putting the phone away somewhere out of sight, I ultimately enjoy the moments of reflection, conversation or peace.

Sometimes it's okay to disconnect from the rest of existence.


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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Babies

Oh, how I love a baby.

The far off sound of cooing perks up my ears and has my eyes scanning a crowd for a tiny cuddlebug.

I love getting on a baby's level and playing, talking and otherwise interacting with these soft, fresh creatures who are just learning the ropes of how things go on this side of the womb.

In about a week, I'm going to get to meet the most precious baby in my world - my darling niece Nora. In honor of this monumental occasion (and the arrival of GOP Big Wig's THIRD baby - any day now!!), I thought I'd share with you this captivating trailer.



The documentary, Babies!, tracks four babies born in different parts of the world (Mongolia, Namibia, Tokyo and San Francicso) from birth to their first birthday.

Focus Features releases the flick Mother's Day weekend - I may just have to sneak a peek.


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Every Day is St. Patrick's Day

Give an Irish girl a pint of Guinness, and she'll turn into a happy girl.



My dear friend Chris and I were lucky enough to get our pic snapped by Sherri Barber while celebrating St. Patrick's Day on Fountain Square. It was perhaps one of the nicest St. Patrick's days I've spent outside (sunshine and almost 60 degrees - a near miracle for March 17).

Fun stuff.

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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Merry-Go-Round

I am white knuckling it on my carousel horse, waiting for the ride that is my life to come to a screeching halt.

This week has been a bit more insane than usual (is that possible?), with me burning the candle at both ends several days in a row this week.

I don't mind burning the candle on the back side of my day - but this early bird crap is, well, for the birds.

The thing is, I am learning about and hearing from so many interesting people - so I guess it makes it all worth the uber early cattle call.

On Tuesday, work required me to visit several off-site locations for photo shoots I'd arranged with some of the city's most influential people. Dr. Karen Bankston, VP of The Drake Center, and Michael Fisher, President and CEO of Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center are both receiving awards from my employer. I enjoyed the opportunity to work with these folks and am grateful they indulged a bit of my creative vision.

*** *** ***

Wednesday morning was early - well my version of early is anything that starts at 7:30 AM, considering I am sometimes still chowing down on my Special K and getting my fix of Robin Roberts and Sam Champion at that time of morning. No matter, the bright and early appointment was the monthly Cincinnati Social Media breakfast, with this installment featuring the adorable and quick witted gals of Cooking With Caitlin.

Whew, these gals are a force.

Their preso focused on how they use social media to create and promote a brand, which they've done quite successfully in the span of three years. Starting by selling Caitlin's cookies to everyone and their mother, these ladies now have a successful monthly foodie event, radio show, weekly newsletter and television gigs.

Ain't that amazing? And who better to revel in this success than three Ursuline girls? (Confession: I am still bummed my family had to relocate after I spent my freshman year at UA - it is a fabulous institution and I wish I had the chance to finish out there. Que sera...)

*** *** ***

Wednesday evening I was lucky enough to meet a bunch of people from Cincinnati's emerging technology industry. Did you know our little Queen City is becoming a Silicon Valley of the Midwest? A variety of startups are putting down roots within the I-275 beltway, and I was excited to get to meet some of these folks.

The event was sponsored by CincyTech and the City of Sharonville, both are huge supporters of the Third Frontier initiative, which aims to grow Ohio's tech industry. In May, Ohio voters will consider an issue that could renew the Third Frontier program, thereby supporting the Buckeye State's economic interests and helping more people start their own tech-based businesses.

I highly suggest you read more about the issue and consider how it could make a significant impact in Ohio's economy and the variety of technology endeavors that could emerge here.
*** *** ***

Thursday morning involved a trip to Xavier for the Williams College of Business and Women of Excellence Distinguished Speakers Series. Karen Wells, '89 XU grad and Vice President of Strategy and Menu, McDonald's USA, talked to a hearty crowd about diversity in the workplace and the story of McDonald's success.

A Youngstown native, Wells scored a basketball scholarship to Xavier. She beamed with pride as she talked about her years on the Evanston campus, and how she is already issuing a full court press to encourage her young children to attend XU.

Wells gave some great insight on how a company can be a global leader and celebrate many successes (it's diversity of all kinds at the top!). The talk was thought provoking, and I was very lucky to get to hear her pearls of wisdom.

*** *** ***
This evening, I'm about to meet up with my fellow CincyPAC board members to discuss a few plans we have in the works. This year is all about advocacy and reaching out to membership, both current and future, to educate them on issues that are important to Cincinnati.

This year's board is chock a block full of truly brilliant people; I can't wait to see what ideas emerge from this group.

After CincyPAC, I'm heading south of the Ohio to have dinner with Bluegrass Brit and Mr. G. to discuss their amazing adventures in the wild of South Africa. From what I'm told, they snapped 2500 photos on their honeymoon - exploring the country's wine region, safari in a game preserve, and time in Cape Town. Bluegrass Brit managed to finagle some special opportunities while in SA, including dining at one of the most exclusive restaurants in Cape Town, and she has indicated she's interested in sharing some of those stories here on the blog.

I can't wait!

*** *** ***
Friday caps off the week with dinner out and about (Restaurant Week! Jean Ro? Local 127? Daveed's? So many options...) and then tickets to the ballet. The Cincinnati Ballet is performing to Mozart's Requiem - something that sounds truly remarkable to me. In another place and time, I was once an accomplished singer of sorts, and I've had the pleasure of performing the Requiem. It is a haunting, powerful piece of music, and I can only imagine it will be even more spectacular set to the graceful movement of ballet.

God, I sound so culture vulturey, don't I?

*** *** ***
Who knows what adventure Saturday will bring.

I am bummed I will be missing the monthly Cincinnati Women Bloggers meeting at Covington's Bean Haus (10 AM). This month's meeting is less lecture and more meet-and-greet, something that always goes over big with a gaggle of gals. If you're a blogger, or considering making the leap to bloggerdom, I highly suggest you hook up with this group. It's a great way to network with other female bloggers around Cincinnati, and also learn some of the emerging trends in blogging/social media.

And we always have a good time, to boot.

I'm missing the meeting because I've been asked to participate in a photo/video shoot for Watch This. Alex and Allison are pushing to watch the AFI's Top 100 films in the span of one year, and many local venues are hosting weekly viewing parties. This is a great way to catch an old, beloved flick or take in a movie that's new-to-you, as well as meet some really freaking cool people from all over Cincinnati.

This video shoot is at an undisclosed location in town (hint: I think smoking jackets and twin sets are de rigueur here), and I may even break out my big-as-a-spaceship sun hat for the occasion.

Anyway.

If you've seen me, chatted with me, tweeted with me or texted and have noticed I'm a bit disheveled - the above itinerary is just an overview of the chaos that has become my life. This doesn't even begin to explain the crazy/insane/fun workload I've got cooking at the office.

Life is crazy. You know that, so why do I bother trying to explain it to you, right?

See you on the merry-go-round.
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Uhhh, yes we CAN

Wow, John Boehner (R, OH) looks like an ass in this one.



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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Gag Me With A Spoon

Here's a quality that could preclude me from the "Potential Best Girlfriend Ever" competition.

I have developed a gag reflex problem.

Folks, get your mind out of the gutter. This is not a scenario that involves anything salacious and tawdry. This gagging scenario involves two very benign activities: brushing teeth and swallowing medication.

I have no idea how it happened. I can remember as far back as college, brushing my teeth and thinking back to a girl who once said she couldn't brush her pearly whites without dry heaving. What a sad state of affairs, I thought - this chick can't even tend to her molars without hovering over the toilet.

I have become that girl.

It started happening a couple months ago - I distinctly remember noticing it before I went on vacation. Please know this chronic gagging isn't triggered by my deep throating my Oral B. We're talking a few gentle caresses on my incisors and bicuspids.

The gagging has gotten so bad that my face turns bright red and my eyes tear up. I've even had a few moments where I struggled to suppress my body's attempt to lose my lunch (or breakfast, as the case may be).

This Pavlovian reaction happens when I try to swallow pills, too. Most of my prescription drugs are small, round (think - birth control pills) and unobtrusive - except to my extremely sensitive uvula and palate.

I've taken to reading websites like this, offering tips and tricks to relax this raging reflex, but so far nothing seems to work.

Some of my research indicates the gag reflex is a combination of psychology and physiology, and occasionally is brought up by anxiety. I've weathered life's stresses before, but this is certainly one chronic, physical reaction I've never experienced.

It makes mainlining Phish Food seem like a walk in the park.

At the risk of opening myself up to lewd commentary, anyone have any tips that will help me get over this weird development?

(ed. note: any truly inappropriate comments on this post will get the ol' heave-ho, yo).
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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Waisting Away

I would be downright lying if I told you I got skinny.

But if my pants (and the daily look-at-myself-naked-in-the-mirror) are any indication, I am decidedly slimmer.This phenomenon started revealing itself several weeks ago, and my doctor confirmed it last week.

I've lost about 13 pounds since mid January.

Considering I went to San Francisco for a Restaurant Week-based trip a few days after that initial weigh in, I'm guessing I've actually lost about 16 pounds.

Not exactly chump change.

I haven't been on a scale in five days, but I know I've been extremely good since then, and by "extremely good," I mean:
  • Eating breakfast every morning (usually Special K and skim milk)
  • Taking my Metformin every morning (I'm not diabetic, but I do have insulin issues)
  • Consistently working fruits and veggies into my diet
  • Relying on treats like fat free cocoa instead of other decadent sweets
  • Restricting my alcohol intake during weekdays
These aren't hard and fast rules, but these are probably a good representation of what I'm doing to trim calories/fat out of my diet.

Next, I plan on working more water into my diet and creating a regular walking program. The weather is turning, after all, and I plan on taking advantage of the sunshine.

No one's gonna steal my sunshine, and thanks to this weight loss, I'm walking on it.

This is a blog post I wrote for the Cincinnati Losers blog. Head over there to check out my weight loss stories, as well as a variety of other inspiring posts from my fellow, wonderful Losers. - Kate


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Friday, March 19, 2010

Finding Solace

Jane Austen received her only proposal of marriage at 27.

Considering the great writer lived to 42, she was decidedly well beyond middle age by the time her sole prospect arrived.

The engagement involved practical circumstances for Austen and Harris Bigg-Wither, a family friend who, by most accounts, was unpolished and plain (though educated at Oxford).

Austen likely entered the engagement for personal reasons benefitting her family; her fiancĂ© came from a family of means, and Austen knew this would help her provide for her less comfortable parents and siblings.

But it was not to be.

Jane Austen must have realized the arrangement was a betrayal of her heart, for she withdrew her acceptance the following day.

The novelist spent the rest of her days in solitude, spending time only with family and of course the many manuscripts covering her desk.

I sometimes think about Jane Austen - undeniably a very romantic woman, and yet no great romance to call her own. I can identify with the burden of carrying around a sensitive heart, a yearning for a great love.

An unfulfilled longing.

My only blessing is that I am sure to survive well beyond Austen's 42 years. I come from good stock; my only living grandparent is about to turn 90, and my other grandparents lived far longer than other folks their age, despite poor diet and smoking habits.

I know I'll find what my heart desires.

I just need patience.

"Friendship is certainly the finest balm for the pangs of disappointed love." - JA



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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Health Care Reform - Let's Do This

First off - for the naysayers:

Health care reform is going to save the nation a heaping helping of money.

I'm not one to talk turkey about finances - gosh, I even have trouble balancing my checkbook. So I'll let the New York Times do the talking on this one. If you regard that paper as a liberal piece of fish wrap, let me paraphrase for you:

The Congressional Budget office says, "in the first ten years, the health legislation would reduce deficits by $138 billion,and the effect on deficits over the following decade would be much greater — Democrats said $1.2 trillion — although such long term forecasts are more speculative. The savings would come largely from reductions in the growth of Medicare spending, with new fees and tax increases also contributing."

I'm not a rocket scientist, but that sounds like a chunk of change, and a spectacular reason to move ahead with a plan that is fiscally responsible while providing health care access to the neediest.

And folks, that group includes a growing number of Middle Class families dealing with layoffs, downsizing and other financial calamities.

This isn't just about the poor. This is about people like your parents, your in-laws, your cousins, your friends, your co-workers.

Hell, this is about you and me.

House Democrats are poised to vote on this vital health care legislation as soon as Sunday. I live on Cincinnati's East Side, and am regrettably represented by Rep. Jean Schmidt (R). Mean Jean and I do not share a common perspective on what would make Greater Cincinnati even greater, so my hope lies in District 1 Rep. Steve Driehaus (D).

But Driehaus represents the West Side, a long time bastion of conservative thought. I give the guy credit because I think it's amazing he won in the first place. But Driehaus currently says he won't support the legislation, under the thinly veiled reason of how the bill affects the availability of abortions.

This is a total cop-out.

I get that Driehaus likes his new gig in Washington. Who wouldn't? Why would he want to return to his previous line of work (though, I imagine Greater Cincinnati's non-profits would love to have him back).

The fact is, Driehaus has an even bigger and better opportunity on Sunday.

He could leave a lasting legacy that impacts the entire U. S. of A - giving access to health care to small business owners, families who can't afford coverage, people coping with pre-existing conditions and seniors who are struggling with fixed incomes.

A change to our health care system would be a tremendous change for this nation - making us stronger, healthier and our nation's assets more solvent.

Driehaus could take one for the team (potentially) and roll the dice on his reelection in exchange for supporting the greatest opportunity for health care reform in 30 years.

We can only hope.

Click here to contact your legislator, and tell them you want them to pass health care reform on Sunday.

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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Slainte

I have celebrated my Irish heritage for as long as I can remember.

When I was a tiny thing, my German and Austrian mother would dress me in this speck of a dress - white cotton from the waist up, with a navy and green striped skirt. It came with a skinny, kelly green belt and a matching newsboy cap with the same navy and green pattern.

The getup was only complete after she pinned a round, green, "Kiss Me, I'm Irish" pin on my shoulder.

This was all an effort to humor my father and his Celtic ancestry.

Almost every year, Dad would take us kids to the annual St. Patrick's Day parade. Sometimes he'd buy us a horn or a noisemaker so we could play along to the bagpipe and drum corps. I always loved seeing the men in kilts and the people dressed up as leprechauns. I think I so enjoyed the latter because I really believed they were leprechauns.

Little did I know there was no such thing as leprechauns and there was never a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

These days I get my Irish on with some musical favorites. No St. Patrick's Day is complete without some Clancy Brothers, Van Morrison, U2 and the Chieftains. These days, I like to add a few Dropkick Murphys tunes for a little edge.

Not a fan of corned beef and cabbage (I know, I should turn in my Irish card, right?), I am always content to enjoy some Irish Soda Bread, colcannon and Guinness.

Friends, Irish Car Bombs are not a traditional Celtic cocktail - they're the invention of rowdy fraternity boys who got inventive when the green beer ran out.

Green beer is not a traditional Irish drink, either, FYI.

My favorite symbol of all that is Irish is likely the Claddagh.

This traditional ring is a token of love and is sometimes used as a wedding band. Made of a pair of hands holding a crowned heart, it symbolizes love (heart), friendship (hands) and loyalty (crown). Dating back to the 17th century, the token is tied to two phrases: "With my two hands, I give you my heart and crown it with my loyalty."

I like the more concise, "Let love and friendship reign forever."

However you choose to celebrate today, may the luck of the Irish be with you!

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Monday, March 15, 2010

All The News That's Fit To Print

If I could eat the New York Times, I would swallow it whole and then lick the plate.

I can't get enough of that hallowed newsprint. There is something so decadent and romantic about unfurling the broad pages of Sunday's edition with a cup of coffee on the table amidst the energetic sunshine of a dawning day.

Sadly, I consume most of my NYT online. Rather than devouring the fish wrap in one setting, I parcel it out in bite sized pieces, quickly savored in between copywriting or the evening's primetime schedule.

Here's a good look at some of the nuggets I think everyone should enjoy - whenever you may have the time.

The Frugal Traveler in San Francisco With His Year-Old Daughter
I swear to God, this guy likely passed us on the street a time or two. We seemed to hit up the same places when visiting in January; by the looks of his schedule, we were visiting the same places on the same days. Wild. California Academy of Sciences, The Mission District, The Museum of Modern Art - I could have written this article. Well, except I don't have a year-old daughter.

Lessons in Love From The London Stage
I was just talking to someone about London theatre last Friday evening. I've been lucky enough to see a few productions in the West End; it is delicious having a great play unfold around you while you are already enveloped by the surreal experience that is international travel. This London revival of A Midsummer Night's Dream sounds interesting, especially with the esteemed Judi Dench. I like the line Ben Brantley penned about the Dame's portrayal of Titiana, "Ms. Dench makes it clear that in acting, what really counts isn’t whom one loves but how one loves." Sometimes I wonder if that's what counts in real life, too.

Fish That You Can Invite To A Dinner Party
Fish can be risky business - it involves a narrow window of time to achieve perfection. Undercooked, and you have something that could pass for sushi; overdone involves a dry, flaky mess of flesh not fit for the family dog. I tend to prepare fish solo - not by choice, but because I rarely cook for large groups of people. That said, whenever I DO embark on entertaining, it usually involves something of the beef/pork/chicken/vegetable persuasion. This recipe of halibut with lemons, olives and rosemary sounds positively spring like, and it's something I intend on exploring in the not-too-distant future.

The Obesity-Hunger Paradox
I am grateful to know I have the income to buy all the fruits and vegetables I desire. I am also simultaneously saddened and frustrated in knowing so many low income families are unable to eat healthy because it carries a high price tag. Think about it for a minute. Have you ever compared the price differential between "conventional" bananas and the organic version? I'm guessing you go with the best, conventional bananas that Chiquita has to offer. Financially struggling families make the same comparison between a bunch of regular bananas and, oh, a low-end frozen pizza. The pizza is cheaper and will feed more people - and it's also far less healthy. The income gap is a significant driver for obesity; I am so impressed by the work of Cincinnati's FreestoreFoodbank and other places that strive to offer children and adults in need healthy dining options. (ed. note - I also highly suggest people explore the Angelfood Ministries, which offers people of all incomes fresh produce and other groceries at a very affordable price).

Pockets and Purses Give Up Their Secrets
Someday, I am certain I am going to pull out a floor lamp - complete with a glass Tiffany shade - out of my purse. My camel colored Coach Ergo bag weighs more than a human baby, and is a collection of random fracas at any given moment. Right now, that collection includes a single, leopard print glove, a "Kiss Me I'm Irish" pin, at least three kinds of lotion, a cloth coffee sleeve and a matted photo of the Roebling Bridge. It seems I am not the only one guilty of toting around a notorious amount of junk - take a look at these photos for a glimpse of what other people consider a necessity.

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Friday, March 12, 2010

Coffee Party Ready To Offer Up A Jolt

I love what a good cup of coffee can do for my disposition.

Wake me up, fill me with vim and vigor, give me the energy I need to take on the world.

That's what some local people are hoping to accomplish tomorrow morning.

Please read the following note I received from my lovely friend and fellow CincyPac board member, P.G. Sittenfeld, and get ready to kick into action!

Hi, All --

Many of you already know that this is happening, but just in case, I wanted to put the word out. Tomorrow (Sat. March 13th) from 12-2pm at Sidewinders (in Northside), Coffee Emporium (in OTR), and Rohs Street Cafe (in Clifton), thoughtful people who care about politics will be gathering at these spots to 1) be thoughtful and 2) talk about politics.

These gatherings have been put together across the country by people who are part of what they're calling the Coffee Party (as in an answer to the Tea Party), who want to have positive, solution-oriented conversations, and who believe that government definitely won't work if the people in it don't want it to. I don't know exactly what this will look like, but it should be a hearty, worthwhile way to spend the lunch hour. I'll be heading to the one at Coffee Emporium downtown - hope to see some of you!

- P.G.

ps - all are welcome, so invite any interested friends


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Go Big Blue

Kentucky launches into orbit with the team's first game of March Madness - taking on Alabama in its first round of the SEC Tournament.

Friday at 1 pm.

Let's hope the Wildcats wrap up Nashville in a Big Blue bow, take a One Seed on Selection Sunday and claim some hardware in Indy on April 5.

Everyone, it's time to do the John Wall Dance.


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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.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Work It

An apron and stilettos - that's all anyone needs to look good while cooking naked.

Photo by Chris Glass

(Ed. note: I normally don't think my body is anything to write home about. At 5' 8", I'm tall. And I'm definitely curvy; Bluegrass Brit says my rack is 38-G for "Gorgeous." But those legs. I had no idea. They're not half bad. And not an inch of cankle, huh? I've got to start wearing more skirts and dresses. These gams aren't going to look like this forever...)

I donned my peach-and-flower Crate and Barrel apron for my presentation at Ignite Cincinnati last week. My presentation was entitled, "How to Look Good While Cooking Naked." Cleverly titled but a bit misleading (c'mon people - it's all about how you pitch it, right?), I came right out of the gate explaining that I wasn't going to talk much about nudity.

I proceeded to toss to a pic of Kathy Bates wrapped in plastic wrap in a scene from Fried Green Tomatoes.

Definitely NOT looking good while cooking naked.

Armed with my trusty wooden spoon-cum-pointer, I interacted with my lively power point, which included pics of Paula Deen, a chef using surgical tweezers to assemble an artful dish, and me wrapped in blue saran wrap.

Okay, so it was only from the waist up, and it was part of a Halloween costume. It was totally kosher. Totally.

Wait, is plastic wrap kosher?

Anyway.

The whole point of my talk was this:
  • You don't need all of the accoutrements that fill up your junk drawer to cook well
  • Same with all those potions and spices and oils and extracts - you don't need 'em
  • The fact is - most people only need ten basic ingredients. Take a look at what you use on a regular basis - those are your ten necessities
  • Four "flavor agents" are the key to cooking simply and beautifully. Look for dishes that only require four elements
  • Work on your presentation. Take time to make something look beautiful. If you fail, do it again

Leading up to all this pith, I did run down some rules for people who REALLY wanted to talk about cooking in the buff:
  • Put the mandolin away. There's no need to bring out an ultra sharp blade when appendages are flying
  • Make sure you have plenty of hot pads. Nobody wants a weird third degree burn someplace unmentionable
  • The Paula Deen Rule: The Fry Daddy (or anything else that boils oil or water) is a recipe for disaster where exposed flesh is concerned
I did conclude by saying, if you really want to cook naked, cover up with an apron and a hot pair of shoes - because nobody really wants to see all that stuff goin' on when they're about to eat dinner.

Ignite Cincinnati regularly serves up a heaping helping of conversation; this month's talks ranged from P.G. Sittenfeld's presentation on the qualities commonly found in the world's happiest people, to Candace Klein's launching of an investment group to assist women starting small businesses.

The idea here at IC is people sharing their passions, exchanging ideas, interests and insights.

You don't have to wear a pair of stilettos to look good and talk about what fires you up... but those shoes just might be the key to firing up someone else.
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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, March 08, 2010

I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do

March 8, 1975.

The United Nations declared the day International Women's Day, North Vietnamese troops were days away from capturing Saigon, and The Rocky Horror Show was about to open on Broadway.

And Ann and Mike were getting married.

I'm so grateful my parents managed to make it to their 35th wedding anniversary. Like every relationship, they've had their ups and downs, unexpected rough times, and a world of blessings to behold.

As Andre 3000 says, "Thank God for Mom and Dad sticking two together 'cause we don't know how."

I'm so grateful my parents found each other and have a marriage that makes a great model for my sisters and me as we pursue and form our own relationships.

Love you, Mom and Dad!

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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, March 01, 2010

Hurrah for Hollywood

I've always been a character.

Even as far back as 1979-1980, I lived a jet set life. There I was, three or four, plotting my next great trip to Japan.

With my husband Dumas.

Who was from Africa.

Dumas was my imaginary friend, er, husband - my travel partner who joined me in the spectacular pursuit of passport stamps and Play-Doh artistry.

Later, dress-up with my sister would involve artfully draped scarves, costume jewels, handbags and Nana C's Spectator pumps. I think our time with Nana (and the frequent viewing of Days of our Lives) led to story lines with high drama. We would yell for imaginary butlers and strike the most pretentious of poses - hands on hips with ring fingers thrust out.

This was around, oh, eight years old.

I've always had a flair for the dramatic. I've worn saran wrap tube tops, sparkly red "Dorothy" ruby slippers and bike chain choker necklaces (all as an adult).

I guess I like getting in to character - and I've always prided myself on being a social chameleon.

This affinity for crazy scenarios translates into a fierce passion for the movies.

My Netflix subscription sends me three movies at a time - sometimes they're thought provoking examples of cinematography. Other times they're colorful, fluffy comedies that tickle me right in the ribs.

Whenever I go to a movie theater, I entertain the idea of sticking around for a sneaky double feature. The insane ticket price (remember when going to the movies cost a five spot?) somehow leads me to legitimize the prospect of breaking the law - especially around Oscar time.

This year's Academy Awards is serving up ten best picture nominees. I've seen four of the ten pictures and am dying to see several of the others (although James Cameron can have his Avatar).

I'm excited because this year I'll be watching the big show from People Working Cooperatively's Oscars After Party. My friend Shannan asked me to serve as a host on behalf of PWC, one of her clients at Wordsworth Communications. I am familiar with the good work PWC does in the community - they help low income, elderly and disabled people who are struggling to complete repairs on their own home - and just couldn't say no.

The after-party will be a fun way to do some good while watching the big show and mingling with a crowd of folks dressed to the nines. The evening includes delicious bites, specialty cocktails, dancing, casino games and a private Oscars viewing room.

And here's the fun part. I'd love to invite you to the party as my guest!

I have the opportunity to give away a pair of tickets to the after party (8 PM at the Carew Tower Arcade), a $40 value.

Here are all the ways you can enter to win:
  • Leave a comment on this post, telling me which movie character or movie star is most like you
  • Tweet about this blog post/contest (just be sure to leave a comment in this post telling me you did so)
  • Subscribe to my RSS feed, and leave a comment on this post telling me you did so
I'll be picking the winner Friday morning, oh, around 8 AM or so.
Good luck to all of you! And if you don't win, I hope you'll buy tickets anyway and join us to support this worthy cause.

I'll be the one dressed like a movie star.

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