Sunday, December 10, 2017

Merry Christmas, My Little Sugar Plums!

Ray and I’s Christmas video this year features none other than Santa himself. It was a huge feat getting the jolly old elf down the chimney (especially since our chimney was built for coal and is about as wide as an Amazon gift box), buuuuut voila! 

In addition to building toys, hitching up his reindeer and spying on little children (is that you, Russia?), Santa also takes out the recycling, reads on the toilet and puts together sexy leg lamps. Hey, Santa is just like us! 

Here’s hoping all your holiday wishes come true! 

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

A Sunday Kind of Love

Our neighbors got married earlier this fall, on the last warm day before it turned cold.

I performed the ceremony, which is the second wedding I've performed. (I have another one in March that is more high stakes — it's at a wedding venue and will have about 80 people in attendance. Eek.)

Alex and Clarissa's wedding was perfect in every way. They did it at the Cincinnati Observatory on a Sunday late afternoon. It lasted about 7 minutes. Their vows were perfectly sweet and thoughtful and I read the ceremony from my phone, because that's where I'd written it. Somehow, their vows to each other and the ceremony I'd written all mentioned the same things — an apple cake, adventure and travel. 

Either we know each other better than we even imagined (probably true), or we are connected on a spiritual plane (possibly true). 

It was just the two of them, the two of us and their two dogs. 

This is my favorite photo from the day: Them in their wedding attire, wrangling Ramond and Tina to a tree.

And then Tina photobombed us.

Afterward we went to our favorite place, Forno, for dinner. Because whatever day you get married, it's nothing without bolognese and bruschetta from Forno. 

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Goodbye, Old Friend

After 13 years and 103,293 miles, the Blue Angel has a new home.

We took our final road trip together earlier this summer to Indiana, which is one of our favorite places to go. But the Blue Angel and I, we've been everywhere. She has been my trusty steed since I bought her brand new from the showroom floor in 2004. She had 12 miles on her.

We were thicker than thieves from day one. When I tell her we're leaving at 7, she's ready. Even if I'm late, she isn't. She's never complained about being early, running late, snow, rain, sleet or sun. She happily embarks.

She once (or twice) even drove me to Indiana on flat tires. 

Blue Angel + Gina: Final odometer reading.

Her original sales sticker.

She is forcefield of protection and I have had complete faith and trust in her for over decade. When I was tired, the Blue Angel drove for me. When other drivers weren't paying attention, the Blue Angel was. When I was too lazy or it was too hot or cold to add gas when I should have, the Blue Angel kept going anyway, ensuring we arrived safe and sound.

She is my faithful driver, and I am her faithful servant. I can put The Blue Angel wherever I want — the smallest of parking spots, the faster lane, any backroad or byway. We've been all over the Midwest together, hand in steering wheel, like peas and carrots. There are probably 10 posts in this blog expressively about her. She is that amazing.

But I've been driving a stick shift for 25 years. Since I started driving. And I'm tired of it. If the Blue Angel was an automatic, I'd keep her forever. But pushing in the clutch all the time, especially on I-75, is no fun.

About two years ago I started thinking about getting another car. I wasn't ready then, but I thought I might be eventually, and I needed the extra time to get used to the idea. So I've been thinking about it. And debating. But I hated pretty much everything that drove past us.

"It's no Blue Angel," I'd think.

And I worried the Blue Angel might be upset if we weren't together anymore. I knew I would be. But I should have known better. The Blue Angel has never been upset with me, nor would she ever be. Her love and loyalty is unconditional. But still, when I was test driving cars this summer and the sales guy told me that if I traded her in they'd send her to auction, I nearly collapsed.

"Auction? No, no, honey. I don't think so."

I couldn't bear the thought of her out in some old hot auction yard, with uncaring people lowballing her worth and some rando buying her without knowing her name.

No, ma'am. Not on my watch. I vowed to not let that happen. She had to go to good home.

And then, a good home found her. Which is the way the universe works sometimes. A guy Ray works with wanted his 16-year-old daughter to know how to drive a stick shift, and she needed a cute little car to learn on and protect her.

Well, then look no further than the Blue Angel, I told Ray.

When Ray and I were trading texts about it, he reassured me, "She is going to be well loved. Jason takes really good care of his cars. He's an engineer. He knows how to care of her."

"Tell him she has been well loved, and that her name is the Blue Angel. Tell him to call her the Blue Angel and she will come when called...  And tell him she prefers '90s R&B."

I admit I started to get a bit misty-eyed thinking she was going to another home. But that's because I love her, and she loves me. And we've been a team for a long time.

She was sold before I even got another car.

The family who bought her is lovely. She will be someone's first car. (A big honor, I think.) I even got to watch the girl who will be driving her now attempt her manual transmission for the first time. She did a terrific burnout. I was proud of her. I think the Blue Angel was proud too. They'll be peas and carrots in no time.

Since I'd been mentally preparing for this for at least a year, I was fine when Ray and I drove away and left the keys. If you heard that I in fact started to sob like a baby once we drove away, you aren't giving enough credit to babies. Babies hold it together way better than I did.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

As Sweet As Strawberry Wine

We've had a busy few weekends, which I am normally against. But sometimes you find yourself having fun in spite of your theory that doing nothing is the most fun there is. 

We're So Fancy, You Already Know

I scored VIP Chris Stapleton tickets weekend before last, and it was so fancy that we couldn't even find the VIP parking lot. That's how VIP it is, people. It's like the speakeasy of parking. You have to be "in" to know where it is, and clearly we aren't "in."

We eventually found it though, along with our fantastic seats and access to more private bathrooms (truly a dream come true) and the VIP bar. I've been to Riverbend plenty of times, but now that I've rubbed shoulders with the ballers of Cincinnati, I don't know if I can go back to the long bathroom and beer lines. 

We are VIP people now, I've decided. People who pee in the little toilet trailers rather than the crowded bathrooms with the commoners. The show was also sold-out, and it was bonkers in there. I was nearly separated from Ray (never to be seen again), because the crowd was moving like a rip current and carrying me away with them. (And you all know I'm not so great at rip currents.) 

I first heard of Stapleton during that thrilling 8 minutes he performed "Tennessee Whiskey" and "Drink You Away" with Justin Timberlake at the CMAs a few years ago. It was a scorcher, and I nearly lit my own couch on fire it was such an electric performance. 

If you haven't seen it, YouTube it immediately.  

But in spite of knowing only a song or two, we love Chris's bluesy, classic country sound. And the show was tremendous. I drove us home since Ray doubled-down at the beer booth, and he spent the drive downloading songs we could sing at the top of our lungs. 

Wild Wedding Nights

Then Saturday the 9th was our anniversary. Somehow four years have passed since my former Boss Man talked about "lubricant" during our ceremony. I can't tell if it feels like we just got married yesterday or as if we've always been married. Probably both. 

The four year anniversary is linen chips and salsa, so celebrating was no problem for us. We went to Nada, where I like to eat my body weight in their delicious chicken and corn enchiladas and then proceed to feel miserable for the rest of the night. 

True love will find you in the end, you guys.

Books, Records, Films... These Thing Do Matter

This past weekend was more low-key, but still filled with things other than porch sitting. I'm sure our porch is wondering where we've been... we never call, we never write... we've hardly spent any quality time on it lately. 

Three significant events in pop-culture occurred this weekend. 

First, I discovered a new record shop has opened in Oakley. It's called MetaModern Music, which is a terrible name, but no ever asks me before they make these important decisions. But still, they have a great selection and it's super close to Dewey's, so double bonus because Dewey's usually has a big line. 

I picked up these classics, which I am embarrassed I didn't already own, but the owner didn't judge me, which was nice of him, because I would have. 

In fact, let it be known that I should never own a record or book store, because I would be judging people right and left. I'd be the Jack Black character from High Fidelity. "You don't already have the Freewheelin' Bob Dylan on vinyl? I'm sorry, but you're too pathetic for me to sell this to you. Please leave." 

Second, I saw All The Presidents Men for the first time. I know. And I used to call myself a journalist. I don't know who I am anymore either, okay? Another post for another time, but I have a lot of thoughts on this movie.

Aaaaand finally — drum roll! —  we subscribed to Netflix! This makes us the last people on Earth to have it, but we have arrived! All those shows you guys talk about that I have no idea what you're saying because half the time our TV input is on the wrong setting and I don't know where the remote is to change it, well... things are gonna CHANGE around here. 

We've watched three episodes of Making A Murderer and are completely gripped. 

Sunday, August 06, 2017

Super Fans

Our first FC Cincinnati game. 

1 game
2 shirts
2 corndogs
Tie game

We are super fans now. (But we ain't votin' for no stadium.)

Monday, July 17, 2017

Back Home Again

I never much appreciated how pretty Indiana is when I lived there. 
But now I can't believe how far you can see, how big the sky is and how stunning the sunsets are. 

I prefer the rolling hills and steep ascents of Cincinnati, but the state I once saw only as stark and flat has unfolded into a stunning landscape. I even like the corn and bean fields, all plowed into neat little rows running up alongside the back roads. 

Good job, Indiana. 

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Ice Ice Baby

We got a new fridge. This may sound boring, but it's not. 

For starters, we left our old one out on the front lawn for our neighbors to admire. The residents of Hyde Park were shocked looking at all 22 cubic feet of broken appliance. Not in OUR neighborhood, they gasped. 

(Is fridge shaming a thing? If so, I'd like to submit this photo for an award.)

Secondly, our new fridge has a water spout and an ice maker. So basically I am living my best life right now. 

Ice, people. ICEThese half-moon shaped ice chunks welcome me whenever I open the freezer. 

Sometimes I open it when I don't even need to, just so I can see the piles of frozen water shaped into little presents just for me! And in a feat of modern day sorcery and physics, every few minutes, another half-moon ice cube rockets out into the bin(What's that you said, you've had an ice maker for years? Sorry, I can barely hear you as I stir all this ice around.)

Before we finally ditched it, our old fridge was clocking in at 72 degrees in the fridge and freezer. We had to throw out everything. The ice-cream. The frozen pizzas. The French onion dip. Even the little packets of Taco Bell Fire Sauce. (Though I don't think those actually need to be refrigerated, FYI.) 

Still, it was all huge loss and we were livid. Ray even gave it a close-up view of his Chuck Taylors. 

But what's worse than your fridge going out is having to go get a new one. I thought it would be fun, like I would just stand in the appliance aisle and choose from all the amazing options. Ummm, no. It wasn't like that at all.

There is counter-depth, regular depth, cubic feet, ice and water on the door or on the inside. Some of the buttons felt like I could peel them off with my fingernail; and the reviews on all of them had at least several horror stories. 

Not to mention they are expensive. It was such an ordeal we spent two weeks just using the neighbors' mini-fridge they loaned us.

I affectionately referred to it as "the kegerator." 

I call this work, "Still Life With Kegerator."

But finally we decided on one. It looks completely different than the old one, don't you think? We thought so too. 

Orrrr they are nearly exactly the same, except the new one is slightly wider. It also has LED lights everywhere, and for some reason, you can turn the deli/beverage/meat drawer different colors, like purple. I have no idea why anyone would need to do that, but ok.

Why is this purple? It doesn't stay like that, it just ghosts in for a few seconds and then ghosts out again. Why?

Lights, lights, baby.

But the real treat is that it has ice and water! Ray is pretty pumped about it too.