Monday, June 27, 2016

Bird Watchers

Ray says I have made him soft.

This after he took a break from grilling on Saturday to give a baby bird a strawful of water.

The storm that blew in Thursday night took out a limb on our Bradford Pear tree. (I know, they are the devil for countless reasons.) When Ray woke me up Friday morning to say he was going to borrow a chainsaw that night to cut it up (a little too excitedly, by the way), I didn’t think much of it.

Until I saw this. Not quite the 'limb' I was expecting. 

Thankfully, it missed our tomato plants on its way down. (I don't think we can handle another year without tomatoes.)

Driveway tomatoes this year. Safe and sound. Whew.

Friday afternoon after we had some tree guys come out, we noticed two little baby birds had been un-nested and landed in the middle of our concrete driveway. They barely had feathers and didn’t look so great.

I told Ray not to touch them or get too close or the mom will abandon them. This is an old wives tale, it turns out. We now know this from Google as well as experience — while waiting to see what was going to happen, something happened. One of them died.

RIP baby bird. Sorry we didn’t do more for you sooner.

But after the first death, Ray declared the backyard a state of emergency in an effort to save the sole survivor. He was Googling, peeking around the back deck to check on it, and occasionally running the gauntlet of adult robins squawking at him whenever he’d get near the baby bird.

Momma bird was also frantically flying around with a worm in her mouth to feed him, so that was good. But even if he got fed, the poor guy was still lunch on a concrete platter for the wandering cats, raccoons and other predators that go through our backyard.

I asked Ray if maybe the mom couldn’t somehow lift him into the tree.

No, he said.

What about if she had a robin friend, and they each grabbed a leg and carried him?


Maybe she was devising some kind of pulley system to get him back up into the nest?

No? Okay fine.

Then how about we make him a ‘nest’ from a Gladware container and nail it to the tree? (And by ‘we,’ I meant Ray.)

So Ray donned some latex gloves, braved the angry robin-mom gauntlet that was now the baby bird state of emergency on Erie Avenue, and moved the little guy to the Gladware, adding some some torn-up pieces of paper towel for his ‘nest.’

You just can’t shut-off the genius switch at our household.

That is until later that evening when we realized my idea was basically the FEMA trailer of birdhouses. He was in full afternoon/evening sun with no shade in clear plastic box. Brilliant.

Plus, his mom had taken offense to the shredded paper towel and carried each and every bit of it over the fence and littered it onto the neighbor’s back patio.

(Lol. That robin-mom is a litter bug.)

So yesterday Ray built him a proper birdhouse and moved him under duress from the male robin, who Ray says ‘locked eyes with me and gave me the what-for. You should have heard the language he was using.

Now every few hours Ray comes and gives me a report.

‘The little guy is still alive.’
‘His mom is out there with worms for him.’
‘He’s still there, I saw him moving.’


Talk about a bird who wants to live. He got knocked out of his nest not by the storm, but by the tree trimmers, hit the concrete, baked in the sun and watched his brother die. Then he got stuffed into a plastic box which was hot enough to cook him, all before getting moved to a penthouse by a human with weird gloves on. Oh, but he did get some water by a strange man with a bendy straw when it was 90 degrees on Saturday.

Talk about a rough weekend. And an amazing story for his bird friends when he gets to kindergarten.

Already he looks so grown up. Before long he’ll be leaving the nest and going to pre-school, then first dates, then prom

But this is why Ray says I’ve made him soft.

‘Before I met you, I sure as hell wasn’t giving baby birds water through a straw or building them birdhouses.’


Then he adds, ‘It says here that only 30 percent of songbirds survive their first year of life. Our guy still has a long way to go. We’re not out of the woods yet.’

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Here You Come Again, And Here I Go

I figured my five days with Ray being out town this past week would be filled with books, boredom and a lot of front porch sitting while eating strawberry fruit bars.


He left Saturday afternoon and I haven’t gotten a moments rest.

It started Saturday evening when I decided to take my scooter out for a spin to charge the battery. I was cruising down Riverside Drive with the hot humid air blowing my day-glo green shirt behind me (safety first) when I remembered that Dolly was playing at Jack Casino.

I had tried to get tickets but got shut-out, so I figured I’d cruise by the casino and maybe listen to my idol sing a few songs. Probably starts at 8, I imagined.

Wrong again. 

When I found out she didn’t go on until 9, I debated leaving. I needed to eat, plus, I don’t like to drive my scooter at night. Safety first, like I said.

But then all reason when out the window when I found a food truck (jackpot!) and saw everyone lined up to get in to see her.
Well... maybe I’ll just stay until she plays Jolene.

I was crossing Central Parkway on the Baby Blue Angel when I heard the first of that sweet country lilt of hers. I got so excited I found the first 'spot' where I could park — a non-spot in front of a fire hydrant in a no parking zone. 

We are outlaws, the Baby Blue Angel and me. 

'No Parking Anytime' AND a fire hydrant? Let me pull right in here.

I couldn’t see her through all the barriers Jack puts up to keep freeloaders like me from seeing the artists, but I could hear that angelic voice from heaven as clear as day.  

She sounds like she hasn't aged a day over 27, the age she was in 1973 when she recorded Jolene. 

Dolly... soo close, but soo far.

And then, third song in, I’m sitting on a bench across from the casino listening with 50 other freeloaders, when the unmistakable sorcery of Jolene’s chord progression starts. Chills went down my spine, I swear to you. And then I fell into into a music-induced trance for all 2 minutes and 45 seconds of the song.  

It was so much fun and I was having such a great time I thought I’d hang around until she played another song I really like. Since I really like all of them I figured I’d stay for another few songs and head home before it got too dark. It was already coming past dusk at this point and Ray was texting me from Las Vegas that I shouldn’t be riding home in the dark.

Look dude, I’m wearing a day-glo green shirt, I'm safest thing on two wheels!

But in my head I was morbidly thinking: If it get squished by a car after seeing Dolly, would it be worth it? Not really, but I’m still pumped to be hearing Dolly tell the stories of her songs and sing them to us as though we’re the best audience she’s ever experienced.

About then the acoustic notes of Coat of Many Colors started and suddenly I imagined my life being as rich as it could be in my coat of many colors, tapping my feet on the wooden boards of my old Smoky Mountain front porch. 

Sure, I am almost 30 years younger than Dolly, I have never lived in Tennessee in my life and my momma couldn’t sew me a coat if I were freezing to death, but this is my daydream with Dolly and I’ll live it how I please.    

I heard Banks of the Ohio, Applejack, an American Pie medley, Islands in the Stream, 9 to 5, I Will Always Love You and Do I Ever Cross Your Mind. 

(Do I Ever Cross Your Mind, her staggeringly beautiful trio with Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris, was turned into some kind of a do-wop number with one of her bandmates. Meh, I didn’t love it.) 
The whole time I didn’t see even a wisp of her wig, but I know she was there. And it was quite nice honestly, sitting out in the grass across from the casino by myself, just listening to Dolly. Even Jupiter came out for the occasion.

Hello moon. Hello Jupiter.

And the Baby Blue Angel made a friend.

It probably goes without saying from here that I ended up staying for the whole show, darkness be damned. Besides, I keep a high-visibility jacket in my scooter and even though it won’t save my life, it did make me feel better about driving home at 11:30 at night.

Spoiler: I didn’t get hit by car or attacked by a rabid nighttime stray dog. 

The Baby Blue Angel and I sailed home without incident, but I can’t tell you how many times I nearly popped off that thing when I hit bumps or manholes too hard. (They’re impossible to see in the dark until you’re right up on them.)

So, so much for my big boring Saturday night with Ray being gone. I didn’t get to relax on Sunday either because I had a wedding shower to attend followed by another scooter ride with a friend. Between all my activities, plus feeding two cats, watering the flowers and starting a new book, I’ve barely had enough time to sit on the porch and eat fruit bars.

I don’t get any rest.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Behold: Collard Greens

Collard greens from our CSA bounty this week.

The only time I’ve eaten collard greens is when they were cooked in butter and spiked with either ham or bacon, making them delicious, but also removing any remote possibility of being healthy.

And I’ve only ever had them with fried chicken. (Is it even legal to eat collard greens without fried chicken? If it is, it shouldn't be.)

But Ray and I weren’t having fried chicken, we were having grilled chicken. And in theory, the CSA is supposed help us eat better, so I searched for the easiest collard greens recipe I could find and landed on this one at Simply Recipes — Sauteed Greens with Pine Nuts and Raisins.

By some miracle we already had pine nuts and garlic so all we needed to pick up were raisins. So far, we are cooking with gas! (This is an expression Ray uses whenever something is going well.)

The first step — toast the pine nuts — went off without a hitch. (I am excellent at toasting.) But when I removed the pine nuts and added the garlic to the pan, things got intense. Lava-hot olive oil and burning garlic were popping all over the place, so I had to do a two-step away from the stove while it settled down. 

Pro tip: Be wary folks, this could happen to you, so go ahead and turn on that vent fan before you start “sauteing” this stuff.

The greens took longer to cook down than I anticipated, probably 7 minutes or so. (That may have been because I turned the heat down after being scalded though.)

The recipe calls for ¼ cup of white wine, but I wasn’t about to waste a bottle on collard greens, so I improvised with water with a splash of balsamic vinegar AND lemon. (The recipe says to use one or the other with water, but my greens and I live on the edge, so I added both.) 

Here it is cooking up real nice. Look at those pine nuts, so perfectly toasted.

At the end I added the raisins, pine nuts, red pepper flakes and water as instructed, let it boil off and then removed it from heat. 

As a result, my greens turned out relatively intact, which I think is how most people like them. But not me. I prefer mine an unidentifiable moss of green sludge and I wished I'd have cooked them harder and longer in more water. (That’s me.)

The Verdict:

A little Prince with your side of greens?
Pretty tasty. Again, I think greens are better slathered in bacon grease or ham, but what isn’t, you know? These were healthy and the combination of the sweet (raisins) with the heat (red pepper flakes) was a nice contrast. And it was super easy and fast to cook, minus nearly catching the stove on fire.

Ray said he really liked them but he is somewhat unreliable because 1) he likes about anything and 2) he’s too nice to complain about something I’ve made, so he can’t be counted on to be overly critical. I’ll work on him though. This is science.

The next few farm shares are mostly salad greens I believe, so I have a bit of a reprieve from coming up with recipes and cooking. Thank God. These collard greens liked to wore me out. 


Monday, May 09, 2016

We Bought A Farm (Share)

I am not exactly known for my kitchen prowess.

There was the time Ray and Carolyn had to rescue me from clutches of a peach crisp, and the time I had to call my dad from the baking aisle to find out what corn starch looks like. (I thought it came in a bag, like flour. It doesn’t, it comes in a plastic container. Now you know too.)

I didn’t spend much time in the kitchen with my mom growing up because even though my mom cooked dinner most nights, she didn’t spend much time in the kitchen either. 

My mom was the very person to whom convenience foods were marketed. She was a working mom who loved canned goods, frozen foods, microwaves and already-made pies. She could do those things, but why would you when someone else already had?   

Apart from a few cakes and homemade noodles on holidays, Susie Daugherty had neither the time nor the patience to follow extensive recipes or bake from scratch. 

So my mom did not teach me any old family recipes or guide me through homemade dishes… unless grilled pork chops with a can of spinach and a baked potato counts as a family recipe. (Does it?)

But she taught me how to put a meal together, which is the main thing, and to read when I was five, so I’m excellent at following recipes and improvising when need be.

But needless to say, it was a surprise to more than a few people when I joined a CSA/farm-share this spring. 

My friend and yoga teacher started a business with a friend of hers, and they launched Yogi and the Farmer this winter, specializing in one-on-one yoga instruction and urban farming in Covington.  

Ray and I are pretty good about making meals at home, but we don’t eat nearly enough fruits and vegetables, so I thought becoming part of a farm-share was the perfect solution. 

On Saturday, I was giddy to get our first share.  

The bags, containers, stickers and recipes with the recipe box are so well done, I was pumped for them. 

“Look how great it looks, Ray!” I said, showing off the Yogi and the Farmer bag. “The logo printed so well! And the stickers, so clever! And they gave us chocolate chip mint cookies with mint from the garden. I love it!” 

My interest in type and design is greater than my interest in green veggies, obviously.

But I finally looked inside the bag to find a our garden bounty. And in a surprise to no one, I didn’t know what half of it was. I had to Google image search the list of items they emailed us was coming —  lots of tender spring greens: a salad mix, collards, garlic mustard and microgreens, as well as bunching onions, kale and collard flowers and broccoli sprouts — just to be able to identify them in the bag.  

Garlic mustard? Collard flowers? Broccoli sprouts? Whaaaaat?

But it's exciting. Each week will bring a new crop to the house, and I’ll figure out (thanks to friends and Google) what to do with them. It will force me to be thoughtful and creative about meal planning all while learning to cook different things and eating more fruits and vegetables.  

We figure that even if we eat only two things from the bag each week (we split the share with our neighbors given there are just two of us, so we don’t have to eat the entire thing), that that will be two more vegetables into our diet we wouldn’t have gotten otherwise. 

This week I am going to try my first recipe using greens from the bag. My hope is to document some of this on the blog in the hopes that a) we remember what we did with some of the stuff and b) let you know what’s working and what isn’t. 

And please, if you have a CSA/farm-share or just cook a lot with seasonal vegetables, please let me know some of your favorite recipes. 

Let the creative cooking juices commence!

(And don’t worry, if we have kitchen fire, Ray is a firefighter and he’s forced me to know that we have a fire extinguisher in the cabinet.)  

Also, canned spinach is delicious.

First Recipe — 'Stove Top Spinach':
  • Get a can of spinach, maybe even the organic, artisan, small-batch kind if you want to impress guests.
  • Open the can with your can opener and pour the contents into a pot on the stove.
  • Heat up the spinach. When heated through, remove from the stove and put into a serving bowl.
  • Serve and enjoy. (Delicious. as. hell.)  

Monday, April 18, 2016

Swimming With the Scallops

Not the scallops in question, but lovely Orchids scallops none the less.

Cincinnati Magazine has come out with its annual list of the city's best restaurants. It's always a much discussed issue — a veritable what's-what and who's-who of dishes, chefs, old favorites, new favorites and soon-to-be favorites.

Always on the list is Orchids at Palm Court, and this year was no exception, with it coming in at number 3. 

From Cincinnati Magazine: 

To enjoy dinner in its hallowed French Art Deco dining room is to keep one foot planted in Cincinnati’s storied fine-dining past while sampling the very best of Todd Kelly’s modern yet grandiose sensibility.

Hallowed French Art Deco. Storied fine dining. Grandiose sensibility.

Basically, if you're looking for a place to pass out in your food, you couldn't pick it a better place than Orchids. 

I happen to know this from experience. 

Happy Birthday!


It was Boss Man's birthday. We were all seated in a back booth and I was just about three bites into my roasted chicken with rosemary gnocchi (thus far, it was exquisite) when the Boss Man said: 'I think I am having a reaction to something.'

We all stopped eating and looked at him. 

Indeed, he didn't look well. He was ashen, sweaty, disoriented.

As we stared at him his face went gray and slack, his eyes crossed and his head slowly fell into his plate of scallops.

I wondered: Did we get the bill already? Was it THAT much?

When he raised his face up from the pool of scallops a second or two later — scallops with green garlic panisse, artichokes and saffron nage — Carolyn thumped him on the arm and scolded him for joking. His wife, Roz, sternly told him that he wasn't funny.

For a few seconds we were confused. Is he joking? But he doesn't look well, and you can't fake that. He was still ashen, pale.

It was his 63rd birthday. Maybe this is what happens when you hit 63? 

We kept staring at him. He couldn't focus his eyes on any of us. 

He clearly wasn't joking. 

Booth Healthcare (Think of All the Money You'll Save!)

Roz turned him to face her. She took his hands into hers and commanded, "Squeeze my hands. Squeeze my hands." I don't know if he squeezed her hands or not but he verbally responded with an exasperated, "I'm not having a stroke."

I sent Ray to the hostess stand to tell them we were calling 911. If we were going send this stately joint into a tizzy of paramedics and IV bags, I wanted them to at least be prepared.

Then Boss Man looked at Roz plaintively and said, "I don't want to go to the hospital... Can we just go home?"

It was one of the more human moments I've ever witnessed. 

The irony here is that not 3 minutes prior he was annoyed with Roz for testing him for a stroke and annoyed with me because I was going to call 911. (Later, he would be annoyed with Carolyn. I think Ray is the only one who came out of this unscathed.)

At the hostess station, Ray (who has been a firefighter and medic for 23-years) ushered the hostess through a series of questions with 911 dispatch —  Is he breathing? Is he conscious? Is he ambulatory? Can he look at you?

I looked across the room at diners enjoying their Maine lobster, smoked lamb loin, and seared Hudson Valley Foie Gras.

I hope the paramedics don't knock over their $200 bottles of wine,
I thought. 


I admit, I was somewhat excited by this possibility. But at the same time, I thought, if he can walk, maybe he's better off in the lobby. 

I envisioned paramedics rushing into the dining room with a giant stretcher and cases full of AEDs and saline, knocking over fancy, high-backed chairs and tables, sparkling water and carefully plated dishes of lamb Wellington.

Wine stains! Chairs turned over! San Pellegrino everywhere! Running! Screaming! Scallops! 

How Not to Make A Scene in Fancy Restaurant: Go to the Lobby

I asked the Boss Man if he was capable of walking to the lobby.

Roz looked at him and told him to move to the edge of the booth. 

He just sat there.

"Slide over here," she said.

"I did," he told her.

He hadn't moved at all.

"Do it again," she said.

Ray came over and quietly said to him: "I am going to walk to beside you and hold onto you. I'm going to help you to the lobby. If you need to stop, tell me."

He said this so smoothly and so confidently it was as though he escorts 63-year-old Boss Men through fancy restaurants every night. The whole thing was orchestrated so calmly, I don't think anyone nearby even knew it was happening. Afterward, Ray told me he thought for certain that the Boss Man was going to collapse.

"Embarrassing or not, I was waiting for him to pass out so we could just get the stretcher to him," Ray told me in the lobby. "It makes our jobs easier when people aren't conscious. Then we can do whatever we need to do."

The Boss Man is perhaps lucky Ray didn't whap him over the head with a $200 bottle of wine to make him more compliant. "Just doing everyone a favor, sir!" 

Within a few minutes the paramedics arrived and took his blood pressure. 

This is a very dramatic way to get Ray to pay the dinner bill, I thought. 

And speaking of dinner, there sat all of our food on the table, abandoned and barely-eaten as we rushed around the medical emergency.
I wondered what would become of my roasted chicken. 

Is it poor form to ask for a go-to-box if someone is having a medical emergency? What if I get hungry waiting in the emergency room? I mean, this could take a while, right?

These were all questions I seriously considered while the paramedics told us that the Boss Man's blood pressure was like, 7 over 2. Or something like that.

(I would later learn that the Boss Man scolded Carolyn for not shoving his uneaten scallops into her purse for a snack in the emergency room.) 

Is This A Terrible Story? Or A Great Story?

Roz and the Boss Man are regulars at Orchids and the maƮtre de, Charles, was gravely concerned.

Could it have been the food? Was it something he ate? Did he have a reaction to something?

"Don't be ridiculous," Carolyn said. "He eats trash off of the floor. It wasn't the food."

Charles looked at me quizzically. I confirmed that, Yes, this is true — he eats discarded food from the trash. Without asking questions, Charles gave us the cake that Roz had specially ordered for the occasion, in case we wanted to toast to his health in the ER.

When his blood pressure didn't bounce back the paramedics hauled him away in an ambulance. I felt certain he'd had a heart attack and, truth be told, was pretty shook up by the events. I thought of all of the things I've written about him on my blog and what sad reminders they'd be if something serious had really happened.

But, if he recovered and it was simply him just face-planting in the scallops, what. a. great. story.

I told Roz I'd drive their car to the hospital for her so she could ride with him in the ambulance. 

Visions of me speeding through the city behind an ambulance in one of the Boss Man's sports cars — the Porsche 911, or, OOH OOH OOH! Maybe the Ferrari! — danced in my head.

She handed me the keys to the Audi.



Better than my Civic. I guess. 

Does This Mean I'm in the Will?

I pulled the Audi into the emergency room parking at University Hospital and flew into the ER, blowing right past the metal detector. 

Did you know there is a metal detector for visitors in the ER? Me either. But yeah, good idea. 

I rushed to the check-in desk and told the woman that the Boss Man had just been brought in.

“Relationship?” she asked.

I gave her my 'I'm about to ugly cry face' and croaked, "Daughter."

I tried to sound as desperate and as pleading as possible.

She wrote down my name and then wrote "daughter" after it. 

YESSSSS. Victory!

I considered asking for the piece of paper as evidence to later insist I be included in the Boss Man’s will.

Hey lady, this is going to sound crazy buuuut, can I have that piece of paper? It would just really mean a lot to me, being his DAUGHTER and all. So simple yet so profound what you have written there. I'm going through a hard time, can you tell? Just sliiiide it over to me. Thanks.

Thirty minutes later the ER docs decided to admit him. Before we left, I went back to the ER where he, Roz and Carolyn were reading 'All My Friends Are Dead,' the book I had given him during dinner.

Not exactly the book I'd have chosen if I knew he was going to end up in the ER on his birthday... Or is it EXACTLY the book I'd have chosen if I knew he was going to end up in the ER on his birthday?

On the way home, Ray and I stopped at McDonald's for Big Macs. We were starving.

The Kraken Gets Released

Early the next morning Roz texted that there was no new information.

And then, about 10:30 — with NO warning  — the Boss Man came storming into my cubicle, angry and pale-faced, with tape and gauze pads covering his arms and an IV pole practically swinging behind him. 

He was livid.

"Geezus H! What are you doing here?! Did they release you?!"

He had grown impatient waiting for the hospital to discharge him, so he just left and stomped across the street to his office.

“I’m calling Carolyn! She's going to be SUPER mad," I said. "Does Roz know you're out?!"

“Don't you dare! You've called enough people," he yelled. "You've cost me thousands of dollars!"

Official Review: Splendid

Honestly, him passing out was the best thing that's happened to us because it lead to a make-up dinner at Orchids, which we spent making endless jokes.

Are you well enough to order seafood this evening? Perhaps you should get the steak. We don’t want you to pass out again.

What wine pairs best with scallops infused with unconscious face?

Should I bring scallops over for Thanksgiving, in case you want to pass out in them?

And we were able to try all sorts of different menu items — roasted chicken, braised short ribs, butternut squash soup with granola, marinated beet salad. The flourless chocolate torte.

All of which were wonderful. And after desert they just kept bringing us more sweets, I think because the first meal had been so... adventurous.

They were plying us with so many desserts I fully expected there to be a pie in the car when the valet pulled up.

In the end, there never was an official diagnosis for the Boss Man's face-plant into his scallops other than perhaps he was dehydrated and not taking his blood pressure medication properly.

And Orchids, both times, was splendid. The food, the service, the ambiance: all wonderful. 

Dinner at Orchids is especially great when you actually get to eat all of it.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

We Belong Together (And You Know That I'm Right)

Hey girrrrl... I know you really love me...

For Christmas Ray got me Boys II Men tickets. The show was on Saturday and I was delighted to discover our seats were in the second row, center stage. We were so close they were practically sweating on me. (Heaven.)

I belted out their hits like it was 1993 all over again, and even though Ray wasn’t into Boys II Men so much back in the day, he sang with conviction. In my head we were perfectly harmonizing with them and they were wildly impressed, naturally. #WeBelongTogether

The show was at Horseshoe Casino, a first visit for us. We don’t really gamble and I am fundamentally against ugly, dirty carpet, but we decided to completely embrace the whole experience.

We had burgers at Bobby’s Burger Palace (which is apparently owned (inspired?) by Celebrity Chef Bobby Flay. I have no idea who that is but we ate his burgers anyway. (They were ok.) The fry sauce was good though… some kind of spicy stuff. (Man, I should be a food writer. I’m great at this.)

Then it was time to win millions gambling. So we headed straight for the penny slots.

Did you know that the penny slots require at least a 30 cent bet? I’m no mathematician, but that doesn’t sound like penny slots to me. And there were multiple lines or something on some of the slot machines so instead of just getting three in a row, you could match diagonally and what have you.

I didn’t really understand it. All I know is that when I played Kitty Glitter (match the cats!), the white fluffy cat got you the most money, followed by the orange tabby, then the white and brown tabby, then the ugly cat (Siamese... truth hurts) and letters followed from there. 

Which begs the question: Why were there letters? Did they somehow run out of cat photos for this game? Have they never heard of the Internet, which is made up entirely of cat photos?

Match the cats, win BIG.

Regardless, we won big at Kitty Litter Glitter. 

Drunk with our extra $3 in winnings, we took our new money to the high-roller 25 cent slots area and skipped around from machine to machine (Let’s play the panda slot!) until we finally burned through our money.

In all, we “donated” $34 to the slot machines at Horseshoe Casino. #ballers. We then salved our wounds with slices of pizza before we left. 

In sum, a wild night at Horseshoe Casino was had by all — Boys II Men, Ray and me, ABC, BBD... pretty much the whole east coast family.

And, it turns out, casino carpeting has come a long way. Or at least the carpet at Horseshoe wasn’t hideous at all.

In other recent news, Ray and I realized last night as we were driving to get something to eat that it was our 6th anniversary of meeting. (We had coffee and waffles on our first ‘date.’) 

So, happy anniversary to us! I think this makes us one of those old married couples who hangs around casinos. (YES.)

I was going to take a photo of us last night to mark the occasion but I forgot. By the time I remembered Ray was sound asleep and I didn’t think he’d appreciate me taking a selfie with him while he was snuggled into bed. 

This is what we look like now.

But here is a recent photo of us from Florida. We took a mini spring-break after a work trip I was on and spent two days sun-bathing and a full day at Kennedy Space Center, which was ahhh-mazing.

If you get the chance to go the Space Center, do so. We were there from opening to past closing and still could have stayed longer.
The actual Space Shuttle Atlantis is on full display, which is incredible just by itself.
I posted some photos on my photo blog if you want to see them.
(Just scroll a bit.)