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.

Sunday, May 07, 2017

I'm Only Happy When It Rains

Friday was rainy and disgusting and I couldn't have been more ecstatic about it. Rainy, cloudy, awful weather makes me feel better about not leaving the house, where I can justify staying in with whatever book I am reading. (Or staring at my phone reading, which is usually the case.) 

After work on Friday I hustled to Joseph-Beth, one my favorite places on earth, to pick-up a slew of books I had reserved. I've been pretty diligent the last six months or so about not buying any books from Amazon but rather adding them to my Amazon cart so I'll remember what titles I want, and then emailing Joseph-Beth to have them put on hold for me. I love that bookstore and would be devastated to see it close, and while there doesn't seem to be any danger of that, I don't want to take any chances by buying books online anymore. 

Anyway, one of the books I got was for my friend Kari's birthday. Several of them were for my mom for Mother's Day, so those books are about murder, because those are the books my mom likes best. (Strange.) And since I had recently rearranged a few shelves to make more room for books for myself, I picked up a few for your's truly too. 

One day, maybe when I retire, or get locked into a library with a cozy bed, a delicious cafĂ©, temperature control and the Internet (my version of being an island castaway), I may actually get to read all the books I buy. And since this is liable to happen any minute now, I want to be fully prepared with lots of books. 

Then I went home, dumped the bag of books by the door and proceeded to dive back into the book I've been reading, Malcolm X's autobiography. (It's completely gripping, thought-provoking and absorbing.) 

All this to say, it was the best Friday night ever, and I didn't have to feel about it because the weather was terrible. 

Kari and Ray bday twin celebration Saturday night.

Then, I forgot to bring the book for Kari to her and Ray's birthday dinner (they are bday twins and we've made a tradition about celebrating together), and I realized I didn't have enough space after all for the books I got for myself. So... more rearranging to commence. 

Also, thank you for noticing my new reading chair in the dining room photo. Sadly, I don't ever get to sit in it because Chuck Norris has claimed it. He reads all those books through osmosis. 

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Coffee Talk

We got rid of the oversized Ikea coffee table I've had for about 100 years in favor of this sleek little number. It fits so much better in the space, it's as if the square footage of our (small) living room doubled.

I want to commit this 'after' photo to memory because this is the last time the coffee table will be so clean. Sure, we'll talk a good game about not crapping it up with stacks of newspapers, books, cat brushes, etc, but who are we fooling. (I also want to commit it to memory because the rug looks so nice. Looks are deceiving. In reality, it's beat-up and has pulls everywhere from little cat claws.) 

If you're in the market for a new coffee table, this one came from West Elm. I'd been stalking West Elm off and on for months waiting for it reappear and when it finally did, I jumped on it immediately. It's disappeared again, but I also had my eye on this one and this one. Ultimately though, neither of those would work because we needed the shelf... for all of our crap. 

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Driving (With) Mr. Daisy

The (former) Boss Man is retiring in a few years. In preparation for his windfall of free time, he’s been contemplating various hobbies and future jobs. Without fail, they are always a) dangerous or b) expensive. Usually they are both.

They also often end up with Carolyn and me as his guinea pigs. 

He is excited for us to: Be his first helicopter passengers when he gets is “license’! Be awed by his new gigantic wood mulcher! Attend the dramatic readings of what he publishes in his new cardiology journal! Eat at every Subway sandwich shop on the planet! Etc.

Basically, he is trying to kill us.

Last week he sent us this story about future retirees capitalizing on the “gig economy” and becoming Uber drivers.

Now, I’ve been in the car with the (former) Boss Man on more than few occasions, and I kid you not, he nearly killed me 9 out of ten times.

And, and this is no joke (see photo), he once rammed his Porsche through his garage wall when the brakes "went out.” Mm hmm. This is the photo Roz (his wife) took after it happened. We even ran a caption contest in the Heart Institute newsletter with it. 

Buckle up, Beechmont, indeed. 

So, let the record show that if the (former) Boss Man starts driving for Uber, those pesky sexual harassment lawsuits will be the least of Uber's problems. But just in case this one sticks, I wrote the following marketing copy for his future passengers.

What To Expect From Your Newly Retired Uber Driver

Congratulations on calling an Uber! You are privileged today to be driven by a retired mad scientist with fabulous unicorn hair. (It's so soft and bright!) Here are a few suggestions for fully enjoying your ride experience.

  1. Your driver loves puns. It's ok to groan-laugh at first because you feel sorry for him. But if it becomes too much for you — and it will! — feel free to put on your headphones and tune him out. Trust us, those headphones are going to come in super handy!

  2. You'll also need them to drown out the horns and swear words of angry drivers who will honk at you when your driver 1) kills the clutch 2) cuts off a gigantic line of snaking traffic 3) informs you that you aren't living up to your full potential.* Investing in the noise-cancelling Bose is going to be so worth that $500 price tag. In fact, you'll be willing to pay extra before this ride is over.  

  3. Your driver might suddenly stop the car and demand you get out. This could happen in a snowstorm, a bad neighborhood, or a sketchy "buffet" on the West Side where you will probably get food poisoning. All part of the charm of this "crazy scientist" driver.** Lolz. 

  4. You might have to take the wheel from your driver if you notice him nodding off, talking crazy or literally passing out in the driver's seat. That's normal! And you have a driver's license, right? RIGHT?!
  5. Don’t worry if your driver kills the clutch in bumper-to-bumper traffic. You’re in a Porche, enjoy the sudden lurch forward! That SUV tanker barreling down on the tiny convertible you're in just heightens the “wow” factor.**

  6. There will be times during your ride you will feel harassed. This is your driver having his "intellectual way with you." Let your driver know on a scale of 0 to Bill O'Reilly how seductive he is.  

If all this sounds scary, it is. But don't worry. You are sure to come away from this carousel of delights intact... mostly. Good luck! And thank you for riding with Uber!

*all of this really happened to me while driving with him, by the way. 

** this too.

*** and this.

Sunday, April 02, 2017


The last time I attended a going away happy hour for myself was nine years ago. I was at the Enquirer then, and I remember the waning days at CiN was spent taking photos of other people who also aren’t there anymore, and with Ronson drawing smiley faces on things to tell me how happy he was going to be when I was gone. 

Lies. He missed me terribly.

Last month, friends and now former colleagues threw me one for my last week at Cincinnati Children’s. I never considered when I started at Children’s I’d be there so long. Nine years. Crazy. But it was such a great gig and I got to do so much there that I stuck around and grew as it grew.

As I attended meetings and walked around the last few weeks, I became hyperaware of how many folks I knew. Physicians, researchers, friends, acquaintances, colleagues… all sorts of people. 

Over the last nine years I’ve updated countless web pages and written numerous stories about lifesaving procedures, cardiac defects and mechanical hearts. My audience was often people who were experiencing the worst day, week, month or year of their lives. And the people I worked for were the ones who offered them hope. I wrote marketing copy for ads and social media, created strategies and tactics in the hopes that physicians nationwide could offer their own patients hope through our talented staff. And I wrote about the staff and helped them tell their own stories.

Everyone I ran into the last few weeks had something to ask me, or needed guidance in some way, and I thought about how much I would miss being the go-to person. I became the person to ask because even if I didn’t have the answer, I knew who would. And if they needed a presentation, video, photo, talking points, patient story, I could write it up pretty quickly it became so ingrained in me. 

Badge photo from my CCHMC start date. 

Originally I didn’t want to have a going away happy hour, but I am glad I ultimately did. It’s always good to get together with folks and mark the occasion. (At newspapers, they give you a fake front page, complete with funny headlines and stories and what-have-you.) My going away gift for this happy hour was the Boss Man handing me food from his pocket and him threatening Rachel with germy bar snacks. (Who says hospitals aren’t fun?!)

Then, just like that, I was off to my new gig.

Two weeks ago I started at GE Aviation on the Global Communications Team. I KNOW. Majorly exciting! 

I build jet engines now. 

Well, I don’t exactly "build" them, but I help them stay aloft. Well, okay, not really. I guess "technically" I write about them and other GE Aviation stories, but still, it’s as if I build them! (I build them with my mind, okay?!) 

Tomorrow I start week three. It's been great being new again — meeting new people, learning a new business, starting fresh and seeing everything anew. 

During my interview my (now) boss walked me through The Learning Centre, where engines hang from the ceiling and sit on a long curved pedestal in a museum-like space, with placards curating the engine and when it was built. 

It was so thrilling I walked around thinking I couldn’t wait to get home to tell Ray about it. I figured that even if I didn’t get the job, I still got to see this incredible space and this museum of GE aircraft engines. I just knew Ray was going to be so jealous. After I told Ray I called my dad (recall that my dad was a diesel mechanic for the school district for 30 years), and told him about it. 

“The GE90 wouldn’t fit into the kitchen,” I told him. “Not without raising the ceiling. It might not even fit into the whole house.” I said this as though I had built it, real matter of fact, like I had snuggled the blueprint at night and learned the entire engine by osmosis.

I was already thinking of the stories I could tell about the engines, the folks who engineer them, repair them, fly them. I wondered if in addition to needing a communications person if they wanted me to learn how to wrench on them or fly them as well, because I was willing. Whatever they want! I thought.

A few days after my interview I was on a plane wondering if I was being propelled through the air by a GE Aviation engine. I took this series of photos somewhere between Florida and Ohio during a lightning storm. 

I've since learning that every two seconds, an aircraft powered by GE technology takes off somewhere in the world. Pretty amazing. 

A few people have asked me how the Boss Man handled the news of my departure. I can't remember his exact reaction, but I know that it was quickly followed by a pun. (That I immediately repressed.) 

"Don't worry, you can think of me whenever you're on a flight," I told him. "I'm basically a pilot now." 

He didn't seem overly comforted by this. Weird.