Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Smale Park

The newest section of Cincinnati's waterfront parks is still very new, but it's already hard to imagine life without it.  Yesterday was a cool Monday, but there were still lots of people.  The Reds are out of town, so parking was so easy.  We admired the part of the parking garage marked "players only."

The outdoor foot piano is a popular feature, whether it's a toddler just dancing on the keys or an older child trying to tap out a tune.  Thanks to everyone who had the dream for this park, who helped it come into reality, and who takes care of it.

Before the park, there was lunch across the river, at The Gruff, of course.  It was the first time for patio seating for us, and that was the popular option of the day - we grabbed the last table outside but there were lots inside.  Cheese pizza.  Fries.  Vegetable soup.  No surprises there.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Aaron On Deck

These are the weeks of the baseball tournaments.  And they do go on for weeks, if the team is winning.  I've missed most of the games, but yesterday afternoon they were starting a new tournament in a small town on the Ohio River.  It was a pleasant drive, trees and river glimpses, the river was beautiful from Friday's rain, and by 4:00 the field was dry enough, just barely.

It was the second game that day for the team, the first was at a different tournament site where they finished their bracket.  The boys' baseball tournaments are so different from Nora's softball tournament, which is an intense weekend, four games, over and done.

Last night I made a big to-do list for today.  My days have been unproductive, lots of anxiety, feeling stuck.  Not how I like to be.  This is my first step out of the muck.

My first checkmark was finishing a group of blocks for my next baby quilt.  I have been doing no quilting, no sewing, and that isn't good for me.  This quilt pattern goes quickly and it's almost like a mystery quilt, stitching the blocks on faith that they will look nice together.  Not like a group of stars or triangles.

Another checkmark will be to finish planting the sale plants I've purchased.  There are only a few now to get in the ground, and the ground is moist, good for planting.  

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Happy Solstice

Happy Summer Solstice, everyone.  One of my favorite days of the year!  It feels like a celebration, this lovely, long day.

And yes, I know that there is a self-started redbud tree in my flower bed.  Right next to the sidewalk, so it can't stay.

The past few days I've done some early morning weeding and planting since it's been a little less warm.  This morning I got an email from Duke Energy saying that I can expect my bill next month to be $33 higher than last month since it's been so hot.  Of course I know that mine will be more than that, since last month I didn't have the ac on at all.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

New Restaurant

The big garage-door-style window is open to the street at Lucy's on Monmouth during these warm days.

And the nachos are just the way I like them.  Crisp chips with real cheese melted on top, not cheese sauce.  Jalapenos in a little dish on the side.  Sour cream - to me, that's more for show than anything else.  Tiny chunks of tomatoes.  Perfection.

For those who like to know - the beer is Cougar Bait, from Country Boy Brewing in Lexington, KY.  

Friday, June 16, 2017

Let's Start This Day Again

At the Contemporary Arts Center downtown in Cincinnati, Ugo Rondinone's 45 life-size clown sculptures, titled Let's Start This Day Again.  To showcase the exhibit, the walls and floors of two big galleries were painted in wonderful shades and the skylight was colored with gels.

 One grand declared the exhibit to be creepy and the other declared it to be pretty cool.  They both enjoyed the hands-on area, then our explorations took us up another floor to the Unmuseum, which is a wonderful interactive space for kids.

The Center is in the midst of three years' free admission from a generous donor or donors.

A visit downtown isn't complete without going to Carew Tower's observation deck, on the 49th floor, even though we usually don't stay long.  Long enough, today, for the grands to marvel at all the bends in the Ohio River as it flows by Cincinnati.  

On the first floor of Carew Tower is Hathaway's Diner, which the grands love.  Nora had a cup of chicken noodle soup and a cup of vegetable beef soup.  Aaron loved his plain cheeseburger, a departure from his usual chicken tenders.

Park of the adventure is taking the Southbank Shuttle across the bridge from Kentucky.  The shuttle coming back was so crowded that that was an adventure in itself.  Back on the Kentucky side, we ended the day with a visit to Barnes and Noble (so nice to see it crowded) and to Bellevue for the first ice balls of the season.    

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Simple Gifts

My neighbor,who had never been inside my house before, gifted me with this salad as he prepared to leave for a trip.  I am grateful.  As you know, I am struggling with the divisions in this country.  This simple gift represents hope to me.  That, and our brief gardening/sharing plants conversation.

We talked about how he wants a simple fence across his back yard, with ornamental grasses on his side of the fence.  Amazing to me, my neighbor on the other side told me two weeks ago that he too wants to put ornamental grasses at the back of his yard.  Like mine.

I am picturing how this could look, with the three yards displaying a kind of unity in landscaping.  This calms me.  

Last night I went with Carrye to Modern Quilt Guild.  I hadn't been in quite awhile.  It is at a different location now, at a once-upon-a-time dairy barn that is now a beautiful venue restored by the Woman's Art Club of Cincinnati Foundation.

Appropriately, this cow lives in the front yard.  Isn't she a treat?

Thursday, June 8, 2017


Last night was Aaron's last regular season game.  Somehow, the season has flown.

For Nora, one more softball game before tournaments.  This picture is from Saturday's game, with the precious game ball tucked between her knees.

Yesterday the president came to town for a brief stop.  Somehow he got completely preempted by a Reds player named Scooter Gennett, who hit four home runs Tuesday night.  First Reds player to do that, only seventeen others in major league baseball have done it.  

And that was all anyone wanted to talk about.  Not the president's visit.  Not infastructure.  Just . . . baseball.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Joanne's Improv

In one of those boxes from Joanne, there was this pretty improv quilt top, in glorious colors.  Almost the perfect size for a baby quilt.  Aren't those white dots on green just the best?  

And that floral fabric!  It was so fun quilting this and watching those glorious pinks and reds and peaches slide under the machine.

Joanne, you and I are ready for the next NICU baby quilt meeting.

Friday, June 2, 2017


We went to the Cincinnati Zoo yesterday afternoon.  Rode the train, then sat down with a pretzel and drinks.  Looked at the video from the day before, when Fiona the baby hippo had her first outside people encounter, with the press.  Read that it might be a couple more months before she would be on display.  Sighed, commented on how we wished we could see her.

Fiona was the bright spot of this politically charged winter, born in January weighing only 29 pounds, needing a team from Cincinnati Children's Hospital to come at one point and start an IV for her.  Too weak to stand and nurse, she small drank bottles of tweaked formula to get her start.  We watched videos of her with progressively bigger bottles, learning to swim, getting lotion rubbed on her skin.  Then learning to navigate deeper pools.  Watched as she got bigger, now weighing 275 pounds.

We went down the hill to the Africa exhibit, admired the lions and painted dogs.  Turned a corner and . . . there was Fiona, swimming away with about six zoo helpers who were guiding her and watching to be sure she was ok.  Fiona!!!

It felt like a small miracle on a Thursday afternoon.