Friday, July 30, 2010

Wahooo - it's Friday

The Writer's Block continues...

So I offer up two fun videos/songs.

The first is definitely the best. The second is more local.

I'm heading to the YP Night at the Ballpark this evening - can't wait to see Reds take on the Atlanta Braves!!

Tomorrow night, it's Suits that Rock at the Carnegie in Covington. I hear this is THE EVENT to network with Northern Kentucky's movers and shakers. Looking forward to it.

Here's to hoping your weekend kicks ass and take names.
Creative Commons License
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, July 28, 2010

Writer's Block

Normally I am not at a loss for words.


A combination of a bum mood and a shortage of inspiration has left me with little to say this week.

I'm certain this is just a brief phase... surely something will arouse my conviction, my love of language.

For now, I leave you with this:

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

Friday, July 23, 2010

"Lazy Day Sunday" : Rerack

I posted this on the blog exactly four years ago.

Some of it is completely random... but I really like the pith at the end. A message that endures no matter the year or age.
Random dope:

Sometimes I really hate my big boobs. They are like a catch-all for everything that makes its way into my mouth. Case in point: I spend less than 24 hours in a different television market and take along three shirts for the trip. Two of them come back to Cincinnati with ketchup on them. Both stains acquired during different meals. Thank God for stain stick and other tricks.

God, can I tell you how much I miss Lexington? Don't get me wrong - I am having a blast in Cincinnati and probably wouldn't want to live anywhere else in my life right now. But there's something about a town where basically everybody is cheering for the same team (Go Big Blue!). I'm also a big fan of all the running, white fences everywhere and the subtle genteel manner of the Bluegrass. God, I haven't been down there since April...

I guess Northern Kentucky's a pretty good compromise. (P.S. Wildcat Fans: This piece on You Tube makes me cry. 'Cause I Bleed Blue!)

My stomach is telling me I should go on a hunger strike. The hostess of Saturday night's fete really outdid herself. The morning trip for biscuits and gravy at Bob Evans was one meal I should have skipped, what with a night full of food and drink... though I don't know about those Black and Blue shots (ps. When I was looking for the recipe I found a couple others I'd like to try. Bin Laden? Bitches From Hell? Where do people make this shit up?

I hate it when my insecurities bitch slap the confidence right out of me. Sometimes I have a tough time telling those voices in my head to shut the F up, and instead all those little worries gnaw at me until I am completely turned around inside out. Doubt is such a dangerous, self destructive weapon. I am temporarily fixated with a worry that really doesn't exist (could I be any more cryptic?) and need to just put it out of my head.

As Stuart Smalley says: I deserve good things. I am entitled to my share of happiness. I refuse to beat myself up. I am attractive person. I am fun to be with. I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and, doggonit, people like me!

Oh, Lord. How pathetic am I? Time to go read the paper...

Creative Commons License
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, July 21, 2010

Let's Have A Ball

Go hard or go home.

It's a basic philosophy to which I prescribe. Whether I am entertaining, crafting copy or practicing defensive driving, I strive to outdo just about everyone else.

So when it comes to celebrating birthdays, I am known for presenting the most elaborately wrapped gift, the most hilarious card or the most amazing birthday cake.

I cannot wait to outdo everyone when I send my niece a card for her first birthday next month.

Thankfully, Nora Bora does not yet read the blog, so she will still be surprised when the postman hand delivers to her a big, pink bouncy ball.

Yes. A bouncy ball as a birthday card.

I am a genius.

Actually, all of the credit goes to Chicago-based sisters Michele and Melisa. They started their business (SENDaBALL, how apropos) in 2003 after several years of mailing balls on their own. The United States Postal Service is apparently a-o-k with mailing a brightly colored rubber ball, and I am sure thousands of recipients couldn't be more delighted.

Whether you are celebrating a new baby or need to send someone a cheery get-well message, this is a great way to raise a few eyebrows and inspire a few smiles.

Next up: how to send a pony via UPS.

Creative Commons License
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, July 19, 2010

Swimming Steady

I loved diving off the high dive.

It was around 1990. I was thirteen - a proud member of the Harper's Harpoons swim team. I'd climb to the top of that ladder in my requisite navy and red striped Arena swimsuit, pacing toward the edge of the board.

With each step, the board would bounce a little more, and I would cling to the railings a little tighter.

And then there I'd be, standing at the edge all by my lonesome, trying to summon the bravery of a thousand warriors before diving head first.

I'd look into the crystalline turquoise waters rippling below, arch forward with my hands pointed before me.

And then, plunge...

My little legs and arms would wave in a fury to propel me from the 13 foot depths until I could gasp at the surface.

It was a scary feat every time.

I always knew I could do it. I knew I'd survive. But being a girl who's terrified of heights (just looking down from atop the Empire State Building is enough to make me feel like Jimmy Stewart in Vertigo), I was always hesitant to surrender and lose control - if only for a split second.

I can't remember the last time I dove off a high dive.

These days, the breast stroke and a shady umbrella are my friends at the pool. I swim in the lap lanes with the old ladies and seek shadier spaces a la piscine to help me stave off those wrinkles (aside: ladies, I've taken to smearing on some night cream before bed - it appears to be doing wonders).

Lately, I've been toying with registering for the annual Great Ohio River Swim.

Seven years of swim team have molded me into a solid, safe swimmer who sometimes dreams of adventure swimming. I'd love to have the bragging rights of saying I swam across the great Ohio and back.

Hell, I always really wanted to swim to Tuxis Island, the island at the end of our street in Connecticut. My mom always pleaded with me to resist, saying the quarter mile distance was misleading because of the currents.


For now, I contemplate a great Ohio River adventure - dreaming about strokes and goggles and the cool water washing over me.

No high dive, but a scary feat nonetheless.

I know I can do it.

The Great Ohio River Swim hits the water at 7:30 am on Saturday, July 24. Registration is $25 prior to July 20, and $30 after the 20th through race morning. The course starts at the Serpentine Wall, crosses the river directly to Kentucky, and returns to Cincinnati's Public Landing. The distance is just over 900 meters (.6 miles). Click the link above for more information.

Creative Commons License

Old Spice Remix

I love the hot Old Spice guy.

I really love this remix of a few of his commercials.

Creative Commons License
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, July 15, 2010

Domestic Diva

Baking is my thing.

There's something about tying on an apron, working in a kitchen littered with cookbooks and printed recipes, combing through the pages with hands dusted in flour.

It makes me feel real. It makes me feel creative. It makes me feel like I have a purpose on this planet.

Even if that purpose is to roll out the best damn pie crust this side of the wavy Mason-Dixon line.

My new apartment has already given rise to a series of whimsical cooking efforts. There was the spontaneous night I decided to break the seal on some precious Indian spices I'd been hoarding since one of my last trips to London.

There was the night when I invited 5chw4r7z and Ms. 5chw4r7z over for "pasta night" with homemade red sauce - and there was nary a noodle in sight. I am still really jazzed I whipped that zucchini and yellow squash into submission, turning those summer veggies into beautiful, thinly shaved ribbons in place of pasta.

I've served up some variation of egg almost every morning before work, and am constantly dreaming up ways to take advantage of the amazing offerings at Findlay Market.

But I've failed to bake even the simplest of quiches. The easiest of muffins.

I haven't even cracked open a box of Duncan Hines cake mix.

A loyal reader of the New York Times (especially the travel, dining & wine and fashion & style sections), I practically did a jig in my little office cube after discovering a recipe for cake sale (say it with me: kek sa-lay).

A savory baking endeavor that can possibly take advantage of the summer's offerings?

Yes, please.

My brain began weighing the pluses and minuses of turning on the oven in the dead of summer. Air conditioning on? Check. Iced tea chilling? Check. Baking in one's skivvies? Check.

The train of thought charged on, racing through possible recipe alterations, grocery lists and schedule logistics of baking such a treat.

Apparently, my schedule allows me to tackle such a feat on Friday morning at 7 a.m.

Duly noted.

Honestly, the product of my effort isn't the whole point of this little escapade. Given a roaring appetite and a famished evening, I'd likely be just as content with a slice of wheat bread and some preserves.

The intention is to make something with love. To give up a little bit of my time and do something thoughtful for someone else.

And that's likely the true meaning behind breaking bread.

Creative Commons License
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, July 12, 2010

Monday Afternoon Chair Dancing

Get after it, people.

We survived another Monday.

Here's a ditty that'll make you want to shake your ass.

Just do it.

Malaguena by What Cheer? Brigade out of Providence, RI

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

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Skirtz & Johnston

I'll be honest with you.

After the Little Blue Box, my favorite kind of box is pink.

Tied up with strings and holding sweet treasures to be savored, the classic pink pastry box is a sign that you're about to experience the sublime.

Skirtz & Johnston is just the place to seek a treat to arouse your taste buds.
I stumbled across the bakery during one of my requisite trips to Findlay Market. The swell of the market's foot traffic has yet to discover this gem, which is nestled on the south side, across from the market house.

Earlier, I spied a woman eating the most stunning slice of pink frosted cake, and my sweet tooth ached to know of its origin. I just couldn't place it - not Jean-Francois' place, not the Bean Haus. My tummy growled with disappointment as I walked away with nothing but zucchini and mushrooms from Daisy Mae's Market.

I traced my steps back to Race Street, headed to my perch in OtR when I noticed a few exploring souls pacing through the alley on the south side of the market.

I'm glad I decided to follow them.
What I found was this darling, European-style bakery, complete with its own dazzling mix of mouth watering cakes, pies and tarts.

When we lived in Connecticut, my dad would come home from the office, toting a classic pink pastry box stuffed with the most divine cannoli. New Haven is very Italian, and its pastry and pasta offerings are authentic; the cannoli are spot on - creamy, sweetened ricotta piped in a deep fried pastry shell. Skirtz & Johnston has its own classic version, as well as a raspberry version ($2.50 for either).

Two women stood next to me, their noses literally pressed against the glass, drooling at the sight of these confections.
If sweets aren't your thing, you can also enjoy Skirtz & Johnston's savory offerings, which include four hearty sandwiches served on their own bread ($6.75 each). The bakery also has everything you need for a good breakfast bite - pastries, bagels and a sausage and cheese casserole ($1.50 - $3).

I tried the goetta and apricot cheese danish ($2.50).
Oh wow.

This thing was amazing. Moist and flaky, and the goetta and apricot complemented each other beautifully.

The spot also offers a nice selection of artisanal chocolates ($2) - they beckon you to come in as you pass the bakery's window.

Skirtz & Johnston is open every day but Monday - they're open from 9-4 on Tuesdays, 8-5 on Wednesday through Friday, 7-5 on Saturdays and 8-4 on Sunday. The folks there say they'll even open the doors a few minutes earlier for you if you'd like to call ahead for an order to take to the office. If you'd like to dine inside, the bakery has a space next door with several tables and chairs you can enjoy.

I think I know where I'm getting my office treat for my birthday.

Skirtz & Johnston - 113 West Elder Street - Findlay Market

Creative Commons License

Thursday, July 08, 2010


I really, really don't want to be the block's "Mrs. Kravitz."

No, no, no. Not Lenny Kravitz's wife. I'd take that role any day. What I really loathe is the idea that I'm going to be the nosy busybody who calls the police every time I see something the slight bit strange.

That said, I'm a week and a half in the new digs, and I've already called the cops more than during my five year residence in Oakley.

Granted, we're not really comparing apples to apples. For all its renaissance revival, Over-the-Rhine is not out of the woods. The emerging community still has more than its fair share of violent crime and illegal activity.

And I suppose that's my impetus for calling officials when things are amiss.

In my previous line of work, I reported many stories of gun crime, drug deals, physical assaults. Those are definitely offenses that warrant calling the police. Other people might be hesitant to report a strange vehicle stashed behind a bunch of trees in a hidden corner of a parking lot, or a street party-gone-wild on a school night.

Not me.

I know what those hidden vehicles and spontaneous debauchery can lead to.

Tolerating disturbances and minor suspicions have a way of allowing things to escalate.

Communities have been quite successful in fighting crime by launching neighborhood watch programs or "Citizens On Patrol" groups. Neighbors in Price Hill regularly reclaim their street corners by hanging out in their lawn chairs, gathering to show they don't tolerate the drug and prostitution crime that has previously erupted on their streets.

For me, that might be going a little too far.

At least on my own.

But for now, I'm comfortable to watch out my window, gaze at the gorgeous church spires and stunning architecture in my neighborhood.

And I'm gonna ring District 1 any time I see someone trying to tarnish my block.

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

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Veg Out

I gave up meat on a dare.

The challenge was prompted by a claim my father made when I was a teenager, saying that I had no discipline and could never even commit to something as trivial as eating as a vegetarian for a week.

Complete fighting words, in my book.

I took my dad to task and prescribed to a life sans-meat for two years. Cold turkey - well actually, no cold turkey. You know what I mean.


That was many, many moons ago. I now happily nosh on just about any meat I can sink my teeth into, but I still enjoy a vegetarian option once in a while.

The fact is, even though I eat meat these days, I absolutely cannot stand a meal that is based solely on protein and carb. I'd take a veggie sandwich over a Philly cheesesteak any day.

The mercury keeps rising, and that means kitchen endeavors are meant to be cool. No messing with the oven and minimal time standing in front of a hot gas burner. Even better if I can whip up something that is low carb and high flavor.

Enter the summer squash.

I was nosing around the internets and found a fantastic suggestion of using squash and zucchini in place of noodles.

What a way to get in your five daily fruits and veggies while enjoying a filling meal.

I'm having several dinner guests this week and I am certain I'm going to give this technique a try - here's to hoping they're not massive carnivores!

Summer Market Pasta
1.5 pounds of tomatoes, freshly chopped
3-4 zucchini or yellow squash,
1 Vidalia onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
7-10 leaves of fresh basil
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan or mozzarella
1/4 cup pine nuts
3 T extra virgin olive oil
sea salt
Cracked black pepper
(optional - half pound of bacon, fried to crispy)

Pour 1T EVOO in saute pan and let heat until oil is "shimmery."

Add garlic clove and onion and stir in pan - cook until onion is translucent.

Add tomatoes and stir with spatula. Simmer.

While tomatoes are simmering, peel zucchini or squash with a potato peeler into very thin ribbons.

Let second saute pan heat, then add 2T EVOO.

Saute squash ribbons for two or three minutes, sprinkling sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste. The goal here is to heat up the squash, but not overcook it. We want these "noodles" to retain some firmness, just like an al dente pasta noodle.

Toss noodles and tomato sauce (and crumbled bacon bits if desired) - top with cheese, pine nuts and hand-shredded basil leaves.


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

Friday, July 02, 2010

Rave On

You can take the girl out of the party, but you can't take the party out of the girl.

This, my parents know all too well.

Of their three daughters, I am definitely the most adventurous, the biggest dreamer, the most "wild." I love a good time - and can usually make any situation fun.

Thankfully, I'm not going to have to work too hard at making the Equinox Ball over the top.

Tonight marks the start of Cincinnati PRIDE, a celebration of individuality and diversity. The Queen City's gay community champions this weekend as an occasion to celebrate people of all walks of life, and I am happy to join in on the parade (quite literally, as you'll read on).

The Equinox Ball on Saturday night is the dressed up and celebrating spectacularly portion of the weekend. I agreed to volunteer at the event, which means I'll be working the door for an hour or so. What a fun way to welcome a great group of people and get an opportunity to check out the fabulous duds on this crowd that is always dressed to the nines.

Speaking of dressed to the nines - I initially was thinking semi-formal when I heard about this ball. I was quickly informed that this is the place where I'm likely to see over the top and awesome instead of staid and Black Tie.

Which brings me to my fun dilemma. What does a girl wear when she's invited to wear "club wear" and wants to impress a crowd?

I have been known to wear a tube top made out of saran wrap, and think this could be the perfect venue for such a getup.

Pull out your most sparkling, spectacular, feathered fabulous duds and join me for an awesome night of dancing and celebration.

I may just have some extra saran wrap on hand, if you need it.

The Equinox Ball is from 10pm to 2am on Saturday, July 3 at Duke Energy Center. Tickets are $50 in advance and $60 at the door, and I'm told the evening will be worth every penny.

If you can't make it to the Ball, join me (and other CincyPAC board members) at the Cincinnati PRIDE parade, Sunday at 11am at Fifth St. and Fountain Square. The parade will be followed by a festival that lasts until 9:30pm, complete with fireworks.

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