Thursday, September 29, 2011

Ready To Run

If you want to run, the most important thing you can do is lace up your sneakers.

So says my favorite morning show personality. John and I have both taken up running. He hit the pavement four years ago when he was diagnosed with diabetes. I started running as a part of a series of new habits I'm embracing to become my happiest, healthiest, best self.

Change can be hard, but when you think ahead to the future, you realize your hopes and dreams depend on positive action, no matter how difficult it is to embrace.

This is what I looked like a year ago.

I started running at the end of June - three miles a day, three days a week. This is all leading up to a half marathon I'm doing with Bluegrass Brit in Carlsbad, California in January.

The registration is locked in, and we're both committed.

And I am ready to run.

I've lost 27 pounds since April, and I intend on losing 23 more. I'm already diving in to my wardrobe archives (the dress above was something I hadn't worn in nine years) and have my sights set on a bikini for California.

Sometimes I wonder what's gotten into me.

And then I remember that I've crossed a threshold and I am focused on my future, my goals and my dreams, and I am doing whatever it takes to make greatness happen.

So. Running. How do you feel about it?

The Junior League Jog hits the streets of Hyde Park on October 9. (Full disclosure, I am on the Board of Directors for the Junior League of Cincinnati.) The fundraiser effort aims to support the organization's work in the community, and also train our members for effective leadership opportunities in other organizations.

The race costs 30 bucks, and comes complete with a family-friendly fun zone afterwards, if you're in to that kind of thing. Me? I will probably refuel with a beer or a Bloody Mary at one of the cozy spots in Hyde Park Square.

I hope you can join us. And if you do, I'll put you through the paces, because I am ready to run.

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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.

Friday, September 23, 2011

All I Do Is Win

I think we can agree on one thing: Only boring people get bored.

It's an axiom that has yet to be disproven.

The people who sit at home on a Saturday night (or hell, a Tuesday night, for that matter) and complain there's nothing to do are the kind of people with whom I don't associate.

The rest of us, we know what's going on, and sometimes it's too hard to pick (as Mr. 5chw4r7z has said on his blog more than once or twice).

Cincinnati is rocking it hard core this weekend, with the wildly successful MidPoint Music Festival taking over almost every inch of my neighborhood, Over-the-Rhine (well, someday it will cross over to NoLi).

If you're heading to the festival to soak up some live music, I highly suggest you take a stroll to the Midway, a blocked-off section of 12th and Jackson streets. There, you can check out the Box Truck Carnival, which is a collection of funky vendors, performances and other interactive opportunities, all housed in the back of several Penske trucks.

I also have to give a shout out to the LIVE UNITED Lounge, a project I am working on for my employer, United Way of Greater Cincinnati. We're trying to show the hipper, funner side of United Way, and I think this space, complete with sleek lounge furniture and glowing lanterns, helps us accomplish that.

It would practically be a crime if I didn't mention it, so there you go.

Tonight, before you hit MPMF, I suggest you check out the CincyPAC Party at the Penthouse. (Full disclosure, I'm the VP of this PAC, which is non-partisan and focused on YP interests in the city of Cincinnati.) We're making our endorsement announcement in high style, high atop the city in the American Building's penthouse.

I can see the top of this building from my apartment. I look at it every day, and have always wondered what it's like inside. I can't wait to check it out.

Finally, I have to say a big thank you to all of my family and friends who helped me celebrate a humbling honor. The Business Courier's 2011 Forty under 40 class is full of really engaged and committed people, and I am flattered to be included in the group.

Let's go do more good work. And then, let's go rock out.

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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Upside Down

09/22 Update: Liam went home from the hospital on Wednesday evening. He was diagnosed with viral meningitis, and from what I hear, he was quite tired and hungry when he finally made it home.

Thanks so much for all your good thoughts and prayers.

We are so glad our butterball baby appears to be on the mend.


My stoic self has turned into a soppy mess today.

You see, my one-month-old nephew, Liam, was admitted to the hospital Saturday with a high fever.

His temperature spiked earlier last week, then it went away. The pediatrician said if it returned, my sister and brother-in-law needed to rush Liam to the hospital. They did on Saturday.

My sister and her husband are very familiar with this hospital. It's the same hospital where my seven-month-old niece, Maeve, lost her fight after a two month hospital stay for complications related to Noonan Syndrome.

To be in this space of worry, heartbreak and concern is practically debilitating for me.

I feel so alone with this emotional burden, but I know it pales in comparison to the concern my sister is weathering.

I just can't believe we have to go through all of this again.

One round of grief is enough for any person, any family to carry.

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Friday, September 16, 2011

Pick Up

Whether you're 4 or 34, the same rules apply.

There I was, standing on the side of Reading Road, in a stunning, royal blue dress and my patent leather slingbacks. Some days I look passable. On this day, I looked dynamite.

It was shortly after 4:30 p.m., and I was waiting for the 43, my regular bus route to and from work.

I noticed his shiny, maroon Saab convertible, the top down and music blaring, as he traveled north on Reading. Destination unknown, the driver soaking up the sunshine of a warm, September afternoon.

I didn't think much of him, other than that his pop music was so loud it was obnoxious. After he passed, my face returned to my iPhone and the chatter in my social media streams.

A minute later, the car crawled by me until it stopped. He turned the music down and smiled. He was handsome. Dark hair and olive skin. Gleaming white teeth. He sported a casual t-shirt and shorts. And a seat belt.

He was charming.

"Oh, sorry. I thought you were a friend. But, well. Do you need a ride?"

It was completely out of nowhere.

If I was a more adventurous person, I would have said yes. And the story would have sailed on seamlessly. Cocktails and conversation about life and our respective adventures. Sunset. We'd fall in love and see the world.

We'd get married.

And that's when I heard my conscience issue a blood-curdling scream from the inner depths of my soul: "ARE YOU NUTS? THIS GUY COULD BE SOME WACKO. SAY NO, GIRL, OR FOREVER HOLD YOUR PEACE."

I have always been a sort of a Nervous Nelly. When my college girlfriends wanted to go home, as a group, with some guys we met at the bar, I'd always stand defiant. We don't go home with boys we don't know.

And we don't take car rides from strangers, either.

Was it a pick up? Was this guy going to whisk me away to some shed on the West Side and chop my body into little pieces the size of cheddar cheese cubes?

We'll never know.

My mama raised me better. Pretty Girl does not go home with Stranger Man. Ever.

Because Pretty Girl is also a Smart Girl and can find her own way home.


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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Careful Wording

"I not call you dummy. I not call you stupid. I not call you jerk."

I said those to-the-point words to my grandfather at a spry three-years-old. He and my grandmother had come down to Minneapolis to visit our family, and my Chief Counsel on Diplomacy (i.e. my mother) advised me it was best I handle this cantankerous man with beguiling charm.

Considering I am the eldest of his six grandchildren, and there are more photos of me than the five others combined, I must have heeded her advice.

But back to the introductory line. My toddler self knew there were words I shouldn't say, no matter how bad I wanted to say them.

Words, whether they're said or not, hold significant truth.

As I've gotten older, I've prescribed to the premise that honesty is the best policy. In board meetings, I am regularly the person who says the tough thing, offers the critical comment to shed perspective and inspire others to consider the whole scenario.

That's how I conduct my personal life, too.

In my closest relationships, I'm not afraid to reveal my feelings, no matter how raw they are. Nor am I timid by frank discussion about grievances and heartaches.

I'd rather put my feelings out there, warts and all, and have all parties involved know where I stand.

My intentions hold no mystery.

I don't know if that's the best plan of action. Some folks keep their emotions close to the vest; I wear mine on the sleeve, complete with bedazzling and DayGlo stitching.

I am honest. I'm proud of that.

And I can run through my days, second guessing others' motivations, thoughts and emotions, but I'm having enough fun keeping mine in check.

I not call you dummy. I not call you stupid. I not call you jerk. But my words will clearly express where you stand with me.

It's the words that aren't said that cause bigger problems and confusion.

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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Social Calendar

It's Wednesday, and we're workin' for the weekend.

So, how about we cook up some plans for the weekend in question?

Friday, if you can swing it, you should hop on the bus and get to the biggest fundraiser of the year for the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens, Zoofari (routes 1, 46 and 78 can get you there, FYI).

Yours Truly at a Zoofari Preview Party

I know, I know. The tickets are really pricey, but $160 of the $250 is tax deductible, according to my sources in the inner circle at the Zoo. So, essentially, for 90 bucks, you can nosh on bites from the city's best restaurants, enjoy open bar, and dance to a kick ass band, all while supporting one of the city's greatest treasures.

This will be my fourth Zoofari, and I can honestly say it is always one of the best parties I attend each year. This night's not just for the glitterati; several of my friends and I go every year and make a fantastic evening of dancing, chatting with our favorite chefs and watching the beatiful people.

If you'll be there, look for me - I'll be hanging on a Cincinnati Bengal's arm and selling Zooloons for the first hour or so.

*** *** ***
A week and a half ago, I was on the Purple People Bridge for Cincy Beer Fest's Labor Day fireworks party. I'm returning to the bridge on Saturday Night, but this time for Wine Over Water.

A fundraiser for the Newport Citizens Advisory Council, this event allows you to sample a variety of international and locally made wines while strolling along the Purple People Bridge.

For $20, you can also enjoy hors d'oeuvres and live music.

I imagine the crowd will be a little different than it was over Labor Day. Hey, I'm taking a little literary liberty here, but I think it's fair to say wine hath charms to soothe the savage beast.

Consider me charmed.

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Monday, September 12, 2011

Keep Calm and Carry On

That's what we did on September, 12, 2001.

And that's what I'm doing on September 12, 2011.

A few things that are doing well to improve my disposition:

Cincinnati is getting Zipcar. For those of you who aren't familiar, this is an easy (and affordable) way to briefly use a car without paying a full day's rental fee. If renting a car for one day costs about 40 or 50 bucks, using Zipcar will be a far more affordable opportunity for folks who just need to use a car for a few hours.

Other awesome cities like Portland, San Francisco and Chicago have Zipcar. The car sharing program is a stellar tool for folks who have otherwise chosen to go car-free.

Some urban type folks in Downtown Cincinnati and Over-the-Rhine have been hesitant to go car free because of the few transportation options in the city; this offering will definitely support the car-free cause.

I can't wait. This option will help me get to Symmes Twp. to see my parents much more easily.

(Aside: please check out 5chw4r7z's blog for some solid criticism of the anti-streetcar group, COAST. It seems they used social media to dishonestly and inappropriately exploit the tragedy of September 11 to disparage Cincinnati's streetcar plan. Anyone with a shred of decency would realize this type of discourse is completely out of bounds.)

*** *** ***

They say spring and early summer in Buenos Aires is beautiful, and I am considering seeing it with my own two eyes. I need a trip to plan - and fast - and I am seriously considering jetting to South America to celebrate my 35th birthday.

Nothing firmly in the works, but this could just be the trip that's worth draining my frequent flyer points.

Man, it's fun to dream.

*** *** ***
I started seriously watching what I eat and regularly exercising in June, and I am proud to say I'm down 24 pounds and counting.

Healthy behaviors are critical to living a long, rich life, and I know I need to work hard at establishing better habits if I intend to experience a life chock full of adventure and and passion.

Bluegrass Brit and I have registered to run a half marathon in Carlsbad, California in late January; I'm busy training and can run three miles in about 30 minutes. I've got to work on my distance these next few months, but for now I'm pretty pleased with my progress.

And to think - a few months ago, the thought of running a single mile wore me out.

It's amazing what we can do when we are committed, body and soul.

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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, September 07, 2011


She stood there in the rain, her French-braided hair frizzing without the protection of an umbrella.

8:20 in the morning. Waiting at a bus stop in a standard issue polo and khakis.

Seventeen-years-old. No way she was of age to have graduated from high school.

And yet there she was, standing there in the rain on a cold September morning.

Her plastic, fast food restaurant name tag pinned to the right shoulder of her red shirt.

A shoe untied. Her bus fare in her hand.

This is not where my child will be at seventeen.

This is not where any child should be at seventeen.

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Friday, September 02, 2011

Segue to a Segway

I know what it feels like in that moment someone cries out, "Abandon ship!"

It wasn't the high seas or an iceberg that got the best of me, but a runaway Segway.

We set out for a fantastic riverfront tour with Segway of Cincinnati (we scored a great Groupon deal; a 90 minute tour will normally set you back $60).

Hopping on a Segway and driving it around is very intuitive, once you get the hang of it.

I first stepped on the platform as the guide held the handle bars, and I instantly began teeter-tottering back and forth until I got my bearings. I felt a little bit silly, but he said this was normal.

After I settled down and stood still and straight, I easily leaned forward to propel the Segway forward. A little leaning back, and the Segway slowed down, stopped, and began traveling in reverse.


These guys know a lot about the city, and they offer a bunch of historic tidbits along the way. On our Riverfront tour (there are three options - Downtown and Eden Park can also be explored by Segway), we learned a little bit about the history of Over-the-Rhine, the city's old inclines and the story behind Friendship Park.

About the incline: Much of Eggleston is a virtual parking lot wasteland. If you walk along Eggleston, traveling south, you might notice a small, stone monument recognizing the old Mt. Adams incline. Beside it, there's a nondescript, white pole.

This pole is the last remaining piece of what was, up until the late 1960s, Cincinnati's most popular tourist attraction.

What was old will be new again someday, just like classic cocktails and public transportation, and I'm just waiting for the day a Cincinnati politician proposes reviving an incline.

When that happens, I'll be right there cheering them on.

But I digress.

We cruised to the riverfront and sailed through Sawyer Point toward Friendship Park. Wingman and I were zipping along the trail, keeping pace with the guide, and I got a little cocky. I leaned forward while cruising up a hill, and found myself in trouble when the hill crested and I started traveling down the other side.

The Segway sped down the concrete path at full speed, and I'd lost complete control.

Wingman trailed behind me as I sailed down the hill, yelping as I tried in vain to slow down.

My only option (I am somewhat surprised that I accomplished the following successfully) was to careen into the grass and leap off. In a skirt and Birkenstocks.

And that's exactly what I did.

The Segway sped off into some shrubbery as I landed face and knees down, my hands bracing for the turf.

"It was actually a very graceful leap," Wingman would later say, as if to ease some of my injured ego.

A few days later, I only have a faint bruise on my right knee - it could have been a lot worse if I ditched the Segway on cement.

I got back on and finished the trek - it's actually a beautiful tour along the riverfront - passing the Serpentine Wall, the backside of Great American Ball Park and through part of the Freedom Center.

Friendship Park Fiasco aside, I loved the Segway tour, and am actually really looking forward to getting on one of these funky vehicles again soon.

Just make sure there's plenty of grass around.

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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.