Friday, December 31, 2010

2010: The Year It Was

Pow, right in the kisser.

That's how I feel about the past year. The last 12 months have offered a wild ride with crazy ups that felt like sex on fire and crazy downs that felt like a sucker punch.

Fingers crossed that 2011 offers more of the former.

January - A kick ass trip to San Francisco. 'Twas my second time in that grand, glorious city, but the first time visiting during restaurant week, as well as first time visits to Chez Panisse and Sonoma (highlights include Robledo and Cline wineries).

February - LOST. It started with a DVD rental in May, 2009. It concluded with a kick ass finale a year later. I began watching LOST with the rest of the brethren last February, and the series dictated my life for the three months that followed. LOST is a good show. If you haven't watched it, I suggest adding it to your Netflix queue.

March - Two great things this month. First, I stood up and gave a presentation on the art of Looking Good While Cooking Naked at Cincinnati's second Ignite evening. It was a phenomenal, challenging experience that has really impacted my idea of public speaking. I've always had a knack for standing up and saying something to a crowd - I had no idea pictures would be so important, too. Also in March, I had probably one of the most frank and personal conversations of my life with someone I deeply care for. Was one of the most honest moments of my life and has become an example of how I strive to interact with all people.

April -  My apologies, but I can't really assign anything significant to April. Que sera.

May - The month I assumed a position on the Junior League of Cincinnati's executive board. The JLC has made a huge impact in my life, teaching me leadership skills and offering service opportunities. I've made great relationships while serving with the organization and am excited about my two-year term as Communications VP. Equally important: Lawmakers in D.C. passed important health care reform legislation. This is a milestone, people, and it will impact every family for years to come.

June - The great migration to Over-the-Rhine. June, 26, 2010 will always go down as the day my life changed forever. Sounds kind of blown up, but if you've moved to OtR or appreciate the neighborhood, you totally understand the sentiment.

July - My first brush with OtR crime. Someone hopped a fence and stole the back wheel off my bicycle. Armed with enough locks and cable to secure Fort Knox, I've learned my lesson and intend on living a theft-free lifestyle in my neighborhood. God help the bastard who messes with the scooter I'm planning to buy in the spring.

August - The blog turned six. If this isn't a milestone, then I don't know what is.

September - MPMF. I'll never forget it. There I was, jumping up and down and dancing under a tent behind Grammer's, grooving to the Tom Tom Club, when I noticed that the woman jumping along side me was none other than Cincinnati Enquirer food writer Polly Campbell. It was a fun night for Cincinnati, and meeting Polly in person was the cherry on top.

September runner-up: United Way's text-to-give effort. The Labor Day effort made for a huge undertaking at the office, but I was jazzed to get to appear on Fox19's morning show, as well as escort Cincinnati Bengal #57 to the studios for his own media appearance. In my book, any day you see Dhani is pretty great.

October - Mockbee Halloween. Where else is it acceptable to go out in public in nothing but a bathing suit and fishnet hose? I loved my Liza Minelli/Chita Rivera costume, and I'm certain it will make another appearance someday.

November - Too many to mention. OtR Field Day/United Way Future Fund event/Murder Mystery party/Watch This "On The Waterfront." The second to last month of the year dished up an amazing array of unique social endeavors. How do people in this city get away with saying they're bored?

December - A Car-Free Lifestyle. The Saab sputtered its way out of my life during the Christmas holiday. Initially a scary prospect, I am really excited about being sans car and even launched a new blog to chronicle the experience.

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Thursday, December 30, 2010

I'm Cheating On You

Stop the presses. I'm starting a new blog.

Some big life decisions have led me to think about how I live my life. For those of you who've been following along on Twitter and the blog, it's no secret - my car has given me a significant headache this past year.

It started with the crazy car exhaust drama last May, followed by some really expensive brakes drama this autumn, followed by a window smashing. Add in a new tire and a new car battery, and 2010 is chalking up to a $2000+ year for the ol' Saab.

Over the Christmas holiday, my car started teasing me with hints of major engine woes. Flickers of the fiery red Check Oil light, staccato ticking under the hood. All signs pointed to misery, and I was ready to throw the key in the door, light a match and walk away.

And that's kind of what I'm doing.

Yesterday, I called up the dealership, asked them to stand down on a $500 procedure to assess the engine damage, and began putting the wheels in motion to get rid of the damn car.

Now, I freaking love that ride. The Saab and I have had some good times - trips to New England, Georgia and Nashville. We've enjoyed the open road together, and I am a bit sad to see her go.

But the year ahead is going to bring with it new opportunities, new challenges and a bevy of kick-ass experiences.

Rather than clutter up my single girl stream with woes and wonders of life sans-car, I'm starting a new blog.

Kate's Random Musings will still be the completely random, irreverent, insightful place it always has been.

Car Free In The Queen City will hopefully be much different. This blog is going to chronicle life in a Midwestern town with fledgling (but not fantastic) public transportation options. Just as random as my original blog, CFCQ is going to be a smattering of information, stories, reflections and ramblings about life without a car. I imagine there will be a bit of an overlap (hello, blog post about single girl riding the bus to a date...), but I'm going to try really hard to keep the content different.

The new blog is in transition (read: I just set it up this morning), so please don't knock it. I've got a bit of work to do on the template and other nitty gritty details, but it's ready to roll with content, complete with its very first blog post.

CFQC even has its own Twitter account, CarFreeQC, so feel free to follow me there for kicks and quips.

Thanks for all of the support y'all have offered me through this major life decision. I'm committing to one year sans car; I'll be eligible to buy a new car as soon as Christmas Eve, 2011, the anniversary of the last time I took the Saab for a spin.

This is going to be so exciting.

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When It Counts

Money makes the world go 'round.

You don't have to dance like Liza to know that having a few more bucks in your pocket makes things a little better.

I've been a bit more in tune with my budget recently thanks to my latest car woes. If money was no object, I'd write a check, have my car fixed and be done with it.

But life is never that easy, is it?

The lovely Dork and His Pork (who was just featured in Cincinnati Magazine, btw) invited me over for some homemade bourbon egg nog and bourbon ice cream recently. It was an afternoon for two friends to celebrate Knob Creek and catch up at the conclusion of the year.

We were trading stories about food, family and our circle of friends when Jeff made the most casual comment that hit me like a ton of bricks.

"I only go out to eat when it counts," he quipped as he trailed off about other lessons in frugality.

I took pause, my brain immediately flashing the images of a hundred meals out with friends over the years. Yes, many were delicious, and most were with special people. But how many really counted?

This was a profound thought for my universe.

I have always been one of those people who will contemplate and immediately commit to the idea of dining out instead of cooking in. You see, it is a real pain in the ass to warm a pan and roast a chicken/sear some tuna/grill a steak when you are cooking for one. There's the preparation of said meal and the clean up that follows, never mind the lack of instant gratification.

Cooking for one kind of sucks.

Now, I would go through the motions and deliver a live, baby cow in my kitchen and butcher its veal steaks myself if it meant serving a delicious meal to my friends. But cooking for one? No fun, no dice.

Which is why I am so quick to sign on for a breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner out.

And this habit is raping my bank account.

I asked Jeff to back up and explain a little bit more about his mention, and he said that he really only commits to dining experiences that involve important relationships and important occasions. It was a reasonable qualifier that I tend to believe more people invoke than I realize.

The gears in my head started turning and I thought about any number of random brunches, lunches and dinners out. I thought about the thousands and thousands of dollars that I've figuratively swallowed down my gullet.

And that's when I decided I was going to make a concerted effort to only commit to meals out when they count.

I don't know how I'm going to accomplish this. Some of it involves packing more lunches (which, in turn, means more food prep at home), and some of it means making other cost-effective plans with friends. Some of it means inviting more friends into my home, and I am giddy with delight about that.

I love entertaining and I love showing my friends that I care for them through the act of cooking.

And those moments always count.

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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Come On Ride The Bus, 'N Ride It

Cars are not cool.

Okay, so some of them are. The 1956 Jaguar XK-140 in Cruel Intentions is pretty bad ass. I saw that movie and wished that I, too, had a boyfriend who got hit by a car in New York City so that I could cruise around the Hamptons in his kick ass ride.

Okay, maybe not the boyfriend-hit-by-a-car part. But the rest of it would be awesome.


My car is not nearly as cool. It's a Saab so that means it enjoys a bit of a cult following, but otherwise it's a piece of crap. GM did a horrible job of building Saabs when it fully owned the brand beginning in 2000. The 1999 to 2002 models have an inclination for developing sludge, which can render the engine completely inoperable.

And that might just be the problem I have on my hands.

A whole lot of bummer, huh?

The great thing about this dilemma is that I don't live out in the sticks. I live just blocks away from the heart of Downtown Cincinnati. I live steps away from great cultural and dining and drinking establishments (not to mention a host of really interesting people residing in OtR/CBD).

And I have fairly convenient access to Metro, Cincinnati's public transit system.

Metro currently consists of a pretty simple wheel-and-spokes busing system that circles the metropolitan area and shoots in to the city on key, arterial roads around the Tri-State.

I recently rode the bus to Clifton to visit a great pal and had a fun time watching the people and looking out the window at my surroundings. Some of my observations were really valid and legitimate. A few of them are completely silly.

First off. What is up with the people who ride the bus and talk to themselves? An old, grey haired man who sat a few seats away from me punctuated our ride with random outbursts directed at no one in particular. He smattered his rambling with, "Smitty smells!" or something similar, followed by nonsensical prattling.

The people on the bus are a trip.

About Metro. I really wish a few things about Metro. I wish its website was more interactive. I wish its online system maps weren't massive PDFs. I wish Metro had its own mobile app (for every kind of phone - iPhone, Droid, BlackBerry, you-name-it). I wish Metro had electronic signage at the bus stop shelters informing riders about which bus lines were arriving and when.

Metro really could be so much for the city, but it has a chicken-egg predicament on its hands. People in the sticks won't ride the bus unless it becomes more convenient, but Metro likely won't make convenient improvements until ridership rises. Chicken-egg.

I can't wait to see how Metro changes/evolves/improves when Cincinnati gets its streetcar system.

As the 17 bus whooshed through Clifton, I was struck by the strange logo for the urology office on Clifton Ave. It's this weird image that looks like it has a little blue heart on the end of a penis. I am all about truth and simplicity in advertising, but I think this logo is a bit much. I mean, I get it. You are a urology office. Is it necessary for you to be so balls-out with your signage?

It was a bit much for my taste.

Something else that could be a little gamy. There's a restaurant on McMillan in the heart of UC's dining mecca that has a neon sign of a lobster hanging in the window. I think the restaurant was Maki Express Sushi, but I'm not a hundred percent sure. One thing I know of: I am never hitting up the area near campus for lobster. I don't care if it's boiled, steamed, baked or stuffed.

Gyros, pad thai or pho? Yes. Lobster? No.

I don't think I've ever noticed that neon lobster in the window before. Normally I am behind the wheel and trying to avoid the college students who are playing Frogger and jaywalking. Riding the bus gave me the opportunity to gaze out the window and notice the world around me.

The next week or so will bring with it the ultimate news about my car. The road ahead could involve a couple, less expensive fixes (for only $1800) or it could reveal the possible need for a new engine, which prices at between $3500 and $6000, depending on if I go used or new.

The need for a new engine could be the death knell for Sabine the Saab. Maybe not.

The one thing that's certain: Whether I decide to fix the car or junk it and buy a scooter in early spring, it looks like I'll be riding the bus for a while.

And I'm okay with that.

It gives me a chance to watch the world around me.
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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Peace On Earth

So, yesterday was a clusterfuck explosion.

My apologies for the expletive, but it's the most appropriate word to describe what unfolded at the conclusion of my holiday break.

Rather than give you the blow-by-blow (because really, when looking at the series of events from afar, it's all a bunch of chicken shit), I am going to share with you a few nuggets of how I turned my frown upside down and made Monday a winner.

How droll.

So, there I was. Monday morning. Signing paperwork so a tow truck driver could take my almost 10-year-old Saab to the dealership for some calamity involving that most terrifying image on the dashboard - the crimson red Check Oil light. I say dealership because my two preferred local auto shops have some crazy idea of taking a break for the holidays. Both close their doors between Christmas and New Year's, leaving the rest of us to wail and gnash our teeth. Or support the dealership.

But I digress.

A couple hours later I found myself back in the safe confines of Over-the-Rhine (you know, this kind of stuff doesn't happen in my neighborhood), ready to crank up the endorphins.

Piling on the North Face, the wool and the sunglasses, I set out for a walk through downtown. After a spin through the bank, I walked to Fountain Square and decided to cruise through the skywalks. Have you done that lately? Some of the city's skywalk segments have been demolished, but you can still travel from the Westin to the Hilton Netherland/Tower Place/Carew Tower and then on to Macy's/Tiffany & Co./Palomino via skywalk. The enclosed pathways make a convenient way of getting around downtown when the temperature is making parts of your body cut glass or shrivel up.


Skywalk. I took it to Tower Place mall and discovered that, while this mall is a few pulses away from life support, Cincinnati's TJ Maxx is pretty kick ass.

There is one thing in this world that can make me feel better when I'm coping with heartache and tear stained cheeks. That one thing is shoes.

Shoes, glorious shoes.

So, there's a part of me that completely identifies with Toni Collette's character in the movie, In Her Shoes. She's the dorky older sister who has nothing in common with her younger sister. Rose is successful in her professional endeavors, but her personal life leaves a bit to be desired. And she has the most amazing shoe collection.

Doesn't quite fit me to a T, but it's close.

Shoes. The best way to make the corners of my mouth crinkle up. The best way to wash away hurtful statements and misunderstandings and disappointments. Shoes.

So very Carrie, eh?

I untied my Merrell walking shoes - the ones that still have purple on them from ArtsWave's Paint The Street - and peeled off my dingy black socks to lace up one of the most beautiful pair of shoes.

A pair of black-and-white, polka dotted, Betsey Johnson stilettos with beautiful satin bows on the side. Originally around $160, on sale at TJ's for $80.
Really, this picture does not do these shoes justice

I strutted over to the mirror, my jeans rolled up and my heart singing, thinking about stepping out of a car in these shoes as I headed to the Aronoff/a fabulous dinner/New Year's with friends/You Name It.

And the entire time my conscience was saying, "Are you crazy, woman? Your car is at the effing dealership. Are you ready for that expense?"

With some of the information that has come in since yesterday about my car, I am partially inclined to think I should have bought those shoes. But that's a story for another time.

Another pair of Betseys. So freaking cute.

After I strolled up the aisles of the TJ Maxx in these cute shoes, I was feeling pretty grand. The kind of feeling that strikes a girl when she's rocking stilettos. The kind of feeling that makes me want to say, "Okay, assholes. Who's next? Mama's kicking ass and taking names."

And then I put the shoes back on the shelf.

Common sense won out in this battle. If I really, really want the shoes, and if my budget can swing it, I'm going to go back to TJ Maxx later this week. If they're still there, it's meant to be.

The real win was successfully coping with my bum mood.

When we're babies and little kids, we can cry and scream and throw tantrums and mom and dad rush in to make us smile. They prop us up with toys or hugs and kisses or lollypops. When we're grown ups, it's up to us to make ourselves feel great.

Sure, we have friends and husbands and wives and significant others who can lend a hand and offer a pick-me-up, but we're really the only ones responsible for our own emotions.

And I am clearing out the cobwebs, erradicating the bad juju and making my corner of the world a little bit happier.

Because "Peace on Earth" begins with me, and I'm owning it.

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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Bollywood or Bust, Baby

So I am preparing myself for the Slumdog Millionaire experience.

Like most Americans, I don't know a whole lot about India. I know that I think saris are beautiful, I love the way glass bracelets clang together, and I am a huge fan of anything curry.

The thing is, India is really on the other side of the world, and its culture couldn't be more different than the Western World to which I'm accustomed.

Whereas we're all Judeo-Christian and pop culturey over here, India is a place rooted in Hindu, Muslim and Buddism and places more importance on ancient cultural traditions than fly-by-night movie stars and quasi-celebutants.

It's time for some culture shock.

Last week, Wingman and I booked a nine-day trip to Delhi, Agra in Jaipur. It's going to be totally kick ass. Meeting people with different life experiences, exploring different rituals of faith and tradition, taking a million photos of the Taj Mahal. I can't wait to visit a place that's like nothing I've ever experienced.

The one thing I'm a bit hesitant about. The heat.

So, we're going in Mid-May. Coincidentally, that happens to be India's hottest month. Temps could climb to as high as 115*.

At first I didn't think that sounded too horrible. India's heat is a dry heat, much like Vegas in August. And I've been to Vegas in August. The only difference, I can't really wear my "Vegas Clothes" to India.


Whereas Vegas Clothes involve spaghetti straps, plunging necklines and shrinking hemlines, India is more like swaddling yourself like Baby Jesus. Or Buddha. Or whatever.

Specifically, Indian travel guides suggest clothing that shows no chest flesh, covers shoulders and has hem lines that extend below the knee (and preferably to the ankle).

It sounds very Big Love.

All joking aside, I am a bit nervous about all that clothing in oppressive heat. And to make matters even more tricky, some guides suggest travelers cover their heads to avoid scalp sunburns.

I know I'll need to cover my head when I enter mosques (thankfully no burqa), and I'm totally fine with that. I want to be reverent and respectful of others' beliefs.

My primary concern is avoiding sweating my balls off.

There's one thing I'm certain of, though. The experience in India is going to be life-changing, full of sensory overload and possibly magical.

And that sounds so freaking cool to me that I'm willing to deal with any heatwave.

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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Best Christmas Blog Post Ever

I hate to disappoint you, but I didn't write it.

But the holiday blog post over at Hyperbole and a Half is so freaking hilarious, that I just couldn't let the day go by without sharing it.

It is eliciting raucous reactions in my network. To wit, friends have cried, laughed out loud (I mean audible guffawing, not the LOLing that runs rampant on the interwebs), and cracked smiles. Real smiles.


If you need a funny, or if you just want to have a great moment laughing about Christmas and one person's hilarious childhood memory, then click that link.

Or don't.

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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

See, I'm Not The Only One

The lack of a response in RSVPing is making the national news.

And to think, I only blogged about this two weeks ago.

People. Do it. Tell hosts if you're attending parties or not.

Don't respond, and I'll guarantee you won't receive another invite from said host.

Well, at least this host.

(Thanks to jenlkessler for the heads up on this one via Facebook.)

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Ain't Nothing Gonna Break My Stride

A long time ago, I decided that my relationship status was never going to impact my quality of life.

Whether I was in a relationship, married, with a standing companion or minus +1, I was committed to ensuring my life would be as fabulous as it could be.

It sounds easy, doesn't it? It sounds as simple as accepting invitations and seeking out cultural/social opportunities that are enriching, interesting and fun.

But when you're solo, it can actually be freaking scary.

I've never let my single status hinder my ability to take advantage of something spectacular. Galas, openings and new restaurants? If I don't have a date to take, I've always been comfortable with going with a gal pal or three. Occasionally, if I know I'll run into a slew of friendly faces, I'll walk into an event solo, but it's not often.

It takes guts to go alone, sometimes. At least, that was the case this past Sunday.

I had tickets to see the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra's only performance of Handel's Messiah (side note: I scored the tickets because I am an ArtsWave donor. Please consider how you can contribute to this essential cultural organization) and was excited to bring a dear friend with me.

My friend sent me a text the morning of the event mentioning a conflict. Normally I am pretty disappointed when someone backs out with short notice, but it's becoming a frequent occurrence as of late. I've realized my only options in that moment are a) bitching and complaining or b) quickly seeking out another guest.

Resigned to a morning of calmness, I decided to forgo spinning my wheels to seek out another symphony date. I sent out a few fruitless texts and was faced with the daunting proposition:

Go to the symphony alone.

Wow. In my world, that's pretty big stuff.

I decided to put on my Big Girl Panties (hint: they're a g-string), get all dressed up in silk and sparkles and head out to Cincinnati's storied Music Hall. Solo.

I walked into that grand, brick building, tickets in tow, and headed to my seats. They were just glorious. Twelve rows from the stage apron, directly in the center of the hall. Music Hall's crowning jewel, a two-ton chandelier, slightly swayed above.

A bit conscious of my singleness, I stowed my coat and bag on the extra seat and sunk in to the crimson velvet upholstery. About a half hour into the performance, I was content and proud of myself for braving such an occasion alone.

And that's the way it was. I was hell bent on seeing the Hallelujah Chorus, date or not. I knew I would have regretted it immensely if I cheated myself out of that experience.

I've got a long list of things to see/do/experience. And I'm getting comfortable with ticking them off solo.

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Monday, December 20, 2010

How Do You Do?

I promise I wasn't kidnapped.

Though my absence has grown long, I assure you my cheesy mug covers nary a milk carton. The chaos of life (birthdays, holidays, work, volunteering, you-name-it) has gotten in the way of my quality time with my computer.

But fear not, dear reader. I have a few things up my sleeves.

On the horizon:
-What happens when a chick puts on her Big Girl Panties (hint: it's a g-string) and throws caution to her singleness
-The great worries I'm mulling after booking my next great vacation (they involve sweatiness, strange bugs and the modesty of burqas. True story)
-Grammar Gripe: The best response to deliver when someone asks, "How are you?"

Okay. So there it is. If I could write this in blood on my computer monitor, I would... but that's just not sanitary.

Until then, send someone a someecard - you know someone who deserves it... and that's not saying much.

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Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Advocating On Behalf of OtR

Hi friends,

Many of you who read this blog care about Over-the-Rhine, and I wanted to share with you something that is happening right now, something that gravely threatens this beloved neighborhood's status as a historic district.

Demolition crews are currently on site at 142 E. McMicken to potentially destroy a historic building next to the abandoned Rothenburg school. They want to demo the building to make a driveway for trucks.

The problem is, the building is not in complete disrepair. All sources say the old building has good bones and can be repaired and brought up to code.

The demo of this building could potentially threaten Over-the-Rhine's designation as a National Register of Historic Places.

There are several people you can call to voice your concerns about this. Those offices include:

Mayor Mallory 513-352-3250
Cincinnati School Board 513-363-0040
Amit Ghosh (City of Cincy 352-3433)
Mike Burson (CPS 207-7715)
Charles Graves at City Hall (513) 352-4851

You can learn more information at many sites, the two below are just a good start:!/otradopt

Aside from your money or time, advocacy is one of the best ways to show you care about something. Please take a moment to make a phone call or send an email. It takes but a moment, and if many of us work together, it has the potential to make a huge impact.

I really care about this neighborhood. I love its history. I love its beauty. I love its people.

I believe you do, too.


PS - If you are also an advocate for OtR, please pass this on to someone who cares about this matter.

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Tuesday, December 07, 2010

The Etiquette of Responding

Check your mailbox.

No, really. Go. Do it. I'll wait.

Chances are, you've probably got a holiday party invite waiting for you. Now, my first line of thought is, "Why in God's green earth is somebody only waiting until now to invite you to a holiday party? Don't they know your seasonal calendar was booked in October??!!"

No matter. Maybe they just got a kick ass karaoke machine and they want to show it off. Maybe not.

Anyway. That invite you have?

It probably has a phone number you're supposed to call. You know. Something along the lines of R.S.V.P, Regrets Only or The Favor of A Reply is Requested By...

Those are standard issue language options in the world of invites.

So. The holiday party invite. Heck, any invite for that matter. Weddings, baby showers, summer cookouts, surprise birthday parties. These days, people are bucking the electronic trend and returning to the days of paper invites. And that means there's no handy dandy button to click to reflect your attendance status.

What's a girl to do?

Let's go back to that R.S.V.P. concept. It's a reference to back in olden times England when people would send men out on horses to deliver correspondence on pretty sterling plates. Those mailings included invitations that requested, "répondez s'il vous plaît," which directly translates to, "respond if it pleases you."

The intent was to have a more gracious connotation than the English version of "Respond if you please," which connotes a command instead of a request.

Now that we've got the semantics out of the way.

Emily Post. Surely you've heard of her. She literally wrote the book on manners in the early 1900s, decreeing that people are obliged to respond when receiving an invite to a party. Recent etiquette standards say it is inexcusably rude to not respond to a formal party invitation.

I'd concur.

Confession time: I am not the queen of couth. I really, really try, but sometimes even I flub up occasionally. That said, I really do strive to know the rules of manners and social courtesy. I strive even harder to live up to those rules.

I think the rules especially apply to printed invites. If someone invests the time and resources to mail out an invite, they're setting a formal tone that deserves a formal response. I'm throwing out opinion here, but if someone casually sets up a Facebook event invite or an e-vite page, then I think you're entitled to respond casually, too.

Another thing to mention. R.S.V.P. does not apply only to folks who can attend said fete. The request of a response applies to everyone. So if Aunt Millie mailed you an invite for her White Elephant party, you've got to call her and graciously decline, even if you've got a better offer.

The only exception is if the host offers, "Regrets Only," in which case you only call if you are NOT attending the party.

I've got a paper holiday invite on my kitchen counter right this minute. The hosts have requested a reply by December 11, and I am going to get my calendar in order and ring them up by their deadline if it kills me.

Such is the burden of having kind friends and lovely invitations.

I'm grateful.

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Wednesday, December 01, 2010

On Growing Older

A man thirty years old, I said to myself, should have his field of life all ploughed, and his planting well done; for after that it is summer time. - Lew Wallace

Turning 34 today, I am thick in the summer of my life.

Practically speaking, if birth marks the start of life's spring, and death marks the end of life's winter, I'm approaching the midway point. If I use my grandparents as a guide for the longevity of my life, I can probably expect to live around ninety, especially since I'm not a smoker and my eating habits are much healthier.

I'm in the July of my life, hypothetically.

And that sounds pretty freaking fantastic.

July is all about fireworks and parades and celebrations. July is warmth and tanned, exposed flesh. Thick in the middle of summer, July is juicy flavors and summer's harvest of brightly colored blessings.

July is late night talks on glowing patios with your nearest and dearest, and casual, comfortable afternoons on the screened porch with family.

The July of my life isn't quite what I anticipated many moons ago.

I thought these days would be punctuated by a baby's cries or chatter of a young family around a dinner table. I thought 34 would be more about others and less about me.

I am learning there are blessings to the dynamics of the life I've been handed.

These days bring with them a wonderful bounty of family and friends. Spectacular opportunity in a city where I've chosen to stay. Exciting, engaging and thought provoking endeavors where my social life and civic commitments are concerned.

I am grateful.

Decidedly mid-30s, but not quite middle age, I still have time to savor the last few years of really being young. Who knows what life has in store for me in the future; right now I am spry, have more disposable income and am not tied. down. by. anything.

34 already brings with it the blessings of adventure.

In a couple weeks, I'll be buying a plane ticket for a whirlwind trip to India in May. In the spring, I intend on buying a scooter for zipping around in Over-the-Rhine.

The past few years have been dedicated to plowing and planting the seeds of my life. I am grateful for where I'm blossoming.

Today is time to reap my blessings.


p.s.: I would be remiss if I didn't mention World AIDS Day, which is today. Please consider how you can help fight the spread of AIDS/HIV either through a contribution or some act of activism.
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