Tuesday, December 30, 2008


As my mom and I were walking out Wal-Mart the day after Xmas we were approached by a guy in probably his early to mid-20s carrying a reporter's notebook.

He was a reporter for the Chronicle-Tribune and he was doing a story on post-Christmas shopping.

My mom immediately told him I used to be a reporter for the Cincinnati Enquirer, to which he responded with blank stares at us both. (Maybe he thought she meant the National Enquirer.)

Anyway, I felt sorry for the poor sap so we gave him a few quotes about our great bargains. It was in the paper the next day. Here it is.

It was interesting being on the other side of it. Brett is obviously still getting his feet wet in the biz judging by the quotes he used.

Afterwards my mom asked me if I missed it.

Not really, I told her.

My mom has always had the impression that journalism is "glamorous." She always used to say that, "Gina, it's so glamorous. Why would you want to leave?"

Certainly there were occasions when it was fun to slide past everyone else by flashing your press credentials, and I got to do a lot of fun things and eat a lot of great food - for free.

But more often than not I found myself trapped at school board meetings, arguing with city council members, watching people's houses burn down and sometimes watching the dead be loaded in to ambulances after car wrecks.

"Do you think that guy thinks his job is glamorous? Standing the rain in the Wal-Mart parking lot asking people about their holiday bargains," I asked my mom.

"Of course Gina! He got to hear about my $4 pajamas!"

She's funny.

Also funny, this site, Stuff Journalists Like, speaking of journalists.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Holiday Highlights

My mom was super excited about the new denture cup my dad got her. Merry Christmas mom!

I got kissed by a really cute girl... and got to catch up with other old friends.

Bonded with this cute kitty in the drill bit aisle.

Watched Adam wield his athletic prowess over this mechanical beast.

Hope everyone's holiday was as rockin' as this!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

3 Feet of Festive

We're waiting for Santa Claus.

What I'm Giving

I have a terrible time getting gifts for people. The problem is I'm not very thoughtful under pressure. In May I could probably think of something kind and sweet for everyone. But around the holidays, forget it... Everyone gets a popcorn maker.

I have a particularly hard time getting things for my parents. They never tell me anything they want, which means to find something they might like I have to search the stores as well as their souls.

Here's what I'm giving the impossibles this year. We'll see if they like them.

Who knew this existed (probably OMGReds.com ) but there is a DVD set of all 7 seven games of the 1975 World Series, featuring the Big Red Machine vs. the Boston Red Sox.

Each game is it's own DVD and it all comes in a nice little box. I got it for my dad, who talks about the Big Red Machine with such reverence that growing up I thought he knew them personally. ("Johnny Bench. Best catcher to ever play the game; I ain't lyin' to ya now," my dad would say.)

I think he'll like it.

I also got him the Muhammad Ali "The Greatest Collection" DVD, featuring three fights in their entirety (vs. liston; vs. Foreman "Rumble in the Jungle"; and vs. Frazier "Thilla in Manila") and lots of highlights from other fights.

Guess who's Christmas is going to involve lots of baseball and boxing? (My mom will be thrilled.)

My mom reads like she might at any day loose her eyesight, so I got her a bookstore gift card. It's what she likes but it's not very thoughtful. She also sends lots of cards with random and funny newspaper clippings in them so I got her a box of nice cards from the Cincinnati Art Museum. Maybe she'll fall madly in love with them and that will suffice as my "thoughtful" gift. But I bet she likes the gift card to Borders better.

I also ordered her some pecan torte coffee she was raving about at Thanksgiving. "Gina, this was $10 a bag! This is expensive coffee. Try it!!!" I couldn't order just one bag on Amazon so she's getting a box with four bags of it. She'll hate that pecan torte coffee in no time!

What I'm really giving them for Christmas though is me. No matter how long I stay (which usually isn't longer than a day) my dad always asks, "Why you rushing off?" Which always breaks my heart a little. So this year I'm staying TWO whole days. I'm excited to watch baseball and boxing and drink pecan torte coffee and go to the bookstore.

Merry Christmas to all.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Sleep Tight, Ya Morons!

Imagine if you hadn't yet read your favorite book.

What it'd be like to read it for the first time again. Rushing home to pick it up. Wishing for weekends to spend more time with it. Studying the rhythm, the tone, the way it's put together. Falling in love with it again.

It's been years since I read The Catcher In The Rye and I still count it as my all time favorite book. There are a few that have come close, but when I really think it about, Holden still wins. I don't remember when I first read it - I must have been in middle school, maybe high school - but I remember it affected me to the core. It transformed me. It changed the way I talked (I nearly broke my crazy neck), added colorful new characters to my world (I know a Stradlater when I see one), and most significantly, it transformed the way I thought about books.

From then on I knew that literature could have a tremendous impact, first on me - and later I realized on culture, on society, on nations.

The Catcher In The Rye is the reason I have a degree in literature as well as journalism. I couldn't settle on one or the other because I knew I'd likely be a reporter, but because of The Catcher In The Rye I couldn't not study literature.

There wasn't one class in any of my literature classes that even mentioned The Catcher in the Rye, but I'd still spend my evenings in Bracken Library digging up criticism of Salinger's book instead of doing whatever it was I was supposed to be doing. What does Holden's red hunting cap symbolize?

What someone thinks of the book, and what their lasting images of it are, is important to me. It's one of the things I ask people when I'm getting to know them... Does the phrase, "Sleep tight, ya morons!" mean anything to you?

I can't think of one person who has ever told me they haven't read The Catcher In The Rye, though I'm certain half of them were lying. (Phonies.) Except last week. I met someone who told me he'd never read it, and I was shocked. Shocked he hadn't read it, and shocked he revealed such a gap in his required reading.

I could feel the giddyness rising up inside me and a glint forming in my eye. "You have to read it now! Like, right now!"

It's pretty exciting to know someone who's reading it for the first time. I'll be able to live vicariously through him. Hopefully it's not awkward when I call him up every night to ask where he is in the book, what just happened and what's his favorite part so far.

I think I'm going to start reading it again too. It's been years since the last time and I'm curious how it will read now. We'll be a book club - of two.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Fruit + Cake = Weird

Not only does it still exist.

But people actually buy it. (Probably only as a joke though.)

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Thursday, December 18, 2008


A colleague gave me some of her homemade fudge today. Awww yeah!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Here Comes Santa Claus

Oh, I know what you're thinking. You're wondering where I got this stylish Santa sweater with the furry santa suit, collar and hanging balls.

You're thinking, "Wow. I wish I had a sweater exactly like that."

Well, too bad because it's probably one of a kind. I mean, they don't just mass produce quality sweaters like this. You got to know people who know people. You know what I'm sayin'?

Fortunately I know Susie Daugherty (she happens to be my mom) and when I told her I needed a heinously awesome sweater for a Wine and Wool Christmas party, she was on the case.

Three days later I received a package from Indiana with a note that said, "I asked for the ugliest sweater they had, and this sure was it. It was $6. I don't want it back!"

Ha. She doesn't want it back. I find that very hard to believe.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Friday, December 12, 2008


It's been in the 30s at night, yet I've been sleeping with two fans on and the window beside my bed wide open. I still wake up about 4 a.m. covered in sweat.

In an attempt to punish the new owners of my apartment building the manager is punishing me with heat. (Well, this is my theory anyway.)

Porterhouse Apartments has been run by on-premise manager Jim for about 25 years. He keeps a meticulous yard, is a master plumber and an all around true jack of all trades. Jim seems able to repair just about anything, and install new flooring while he's at it. What's more, he's super friendly, and whenever there is a problem you just call up Jim on his cell. He's great to have around.

But about a month ago we residents were notified with a note on our doors (rife with typos) that the building now has a new owner and that we need to start mailing our rent to them, rather than walk it across the courtyard to Jim.

Sure enough, the Auditor's Website says the property was bought for a cool $1.7 million to CliftonRents last month. This ends decades of family ownership by the Castleberrys, who still appear to own lots of expensive property in Cincinnati. My building was name for the son, Porter Castleberry. Hence the name Porterhouse Apartments.

(Side note: Imagine if your last name was Castleberry... and your family was rich to boot. What a fairy tale. It's hard for me to imagine people have those lives - Oh, I'm just going to my big fat Castleberry mansion in the sky. Ahhh.)

But back to the story... So Jim is very upset about this sale. (As I am... I love Jim!) The family kinda snuck around and sold the building, and now he's unsure of his standing. CliftonRents has its own maintenance people and they haven't been particularly forthright with him about what will happen.

So I think downtrodden Jim has been cranking the heat in civil disobedience. It is seriously blazing hot in my apartment half the time. While everyone else is snuggled up in down comforters with the windows locked tight, I'm kicking the sheet off me and I have the window wide open.

I don't pay heat so I can't control it. I figure Clifton Rents will figure this out soon enough and I'll be freezing when they cut off the gravy train. So I'm not really complaining, but it's kind of weird to look outside through an open window at 11 at night knowing it's 25 degrees outside.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

What To Say? What To Do?

This morning I received an email from a woman in my dance class who's nephew just graduated from journalism school. He wants to be a "writer."

She wanted to know if I had any job leads for him.

Later in the afternoon I received an email from a victim of the Enquirer layoffs, someone who spent her entire career in newspapers and now faces an uncertain future as a middle-aged woman with nothing on her resume but newspapers.

How do I reconcile these two emails?

Since I started working at Children's a year ago I've had probably a half dozen people - some of them I know, some of them I've never met or heard of - contact me wanting a job. All of them were from the Enquirer. Reporters. Copy editors. Editors.

I know how fortunate I am. Doors aren't closing behind me and my colleagues aren't being layed off behind them.

So what do I say to them? Do I tell the new grad to flee newspapers before he becomes ingrained or gets layed off? That seems pretty pessimistic, but that's my instinct. And what do I say to the veteran suddenly unemployed and facing the real possibility of not finding a job?

If there is a balance between this youth and experience I don't know how to level it.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Two Ways of Looking At A Black Kitty

With flash.

Without flash.

And the Wallace Stevens poem I took the title from, stanza 13 being my favorite.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

A Plea

Dear Dessert Makers:

The season of baked goods is upon us, and I feel compelled to speak out.

I don't understand why you insist on adding nuts, chocolate chips, caramel, peanut butter, icing and other such damaging additions to brownies.

If you want to crap up cookies and cakes with nuts and M&Ms and what-have-you, fine with me.

But the brownie is already perfect. Leave it alone.


Tuesday, December 02, 2008

We Too Shall Come To The End

It's been what, 6 months? Longer?

I finally finished Then We Came To The End last night, Joshua Ferris' funny and much praised book on office life and lives.

The setting is a Chicago ad agency filled with cubicles of overthinking copywriters (What's another word for "now"?) and overwrought designers (Do you like this font? Or this font? Does this kerning look weird?).

Anyone who's worked with creative people who agonize over word choice and white space and logo design will find the office Ferris describes to be hilariously (uncomfortably even?) familiar. Yet he speaks to the heart of every cubicle dweller with lines like, "Our mornings lacked promise."

But I didn't find Then We Came To The End to be a funny book overall. It is sharp in observations and entertaining one-liners. And Ferris is spot-on with office politics, pettiness and jealously, but he also captures the community, friendship and companionship that those who are lucky find at work.

I had hard time getting in to it in part because there are so many characters, few of whom I cared enough about to keep track of. There are a few bright spots - such as the crazy who sends emails quoting Walt Whitman and later causes such pandemonium after being fired I couldn't stop myself from laughing. And there is the unhappy husband of a doctor who can't find his footing. While his wife is saving lives and making an impact he's charged with figuring out what makes people want to buy crap they don't need. (I somehow related to this guy.)

Overall though, I didn't connect with the characters. It's Ferris' writing that makes the book standout, not so much the story.

I did enjoy the ending a lot, and after I read the last line I felt my breath suspend for a seconds as I took in.

A year or so after they all leave the place they found so miserable (and that many got "layed-off" from) they meet at a bar to catch up and find out what happened to everyone. Those people who seemed so insufferable now seem so... agreeable, likable even.

This is what I remember about office life in the places I've worked. The shelter you find in the handful of folks you forge friendships with, and the times you share with those people, commiserating in hallways and bonding at happy hours over your collective "misery."

I'm lucky to have made some lasting friendships at the places I've worked. And it's always entertaining to reminisce on those days when we shared cubicles and printers and florescent lights. But it's also a bit melancholy. It's like being reminded of time's savage passing, who you were then, who they are now, has it really been that long, where are you going from here? I always have this rose-colored nostalgia for things.

As the title says, we come to the end. Then when we do we miss what we had and the misery of that time seems... not so miserable.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

And I'm Spent

The four day weekend was packed.

Saw Four Christmases on Wednesday night. It was pretty good for a holiday confection movie. Of course I'll watch Vince Vaughn in just about anything. (I'm one of only four people in the world who saw Be Cool.)

I went home for Thanksgiving for the first time in years. So much family packed into the kitchen that we had the equivalent of the "kids card table." I ate my body weight in noodles and pie as I silently counted our blessings.

I had the benefit of seeing the Radio City Christmas Spectacular with a 7-year-old on Friday. I told her I looked exactly like a Rockette as I did kicks in the living room before we left. When we got to US Bank Arena she saw a lifesize cutout of the dancers and looked at me and said, "You don't look anything like a Rockette." Hahaha - cute kid. I know she only said that because I didn't have my hair pulled back. Right? Right?

On Saturday I brunched and shoe shopped with Kari, just like old times. She and Julie were back in town from NYC and we all celebrated Saturday night with dinner at Nada and '80s dancing at the Gypsy Hut. I don't understand why those two insist on going back "home." Like having a job and living in a giant, diverse city with so much to offer is that cool. Psshhht.

After all this (and partially because of last night's revelry), I didn't get out of bed today until 1. Then I went shoe shopping again, only this time at the Running Spot. Like I need another pair of running shoes, but seriously, they were on sale, how could I not? And besides, I'm going to have to run off all the pumpkin pie I've been eating.

Speaking of pumpkin pie... Mmmm, I do believe I'm gonna have me a piece right about now. Hope everyone had a fabulous Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Radio City Christmas OMG

I'm just home from seeing the Rockettes and Omg, they were awesome.

The Radio City Christmas Spectacular was truly fantastic. I expected it to be fun and entertaining, but it was so much better than I imagined. It was light-hearted and sweet and had giant dancing bears and toy soldiers and ice skating - the stage even caught fire at one point - but the Rockettes were the stars, kicking eye-high with stunning precision and poise.

I gleefully applauded as I studied them and wondered, What have I done with my life? I could have been a Rockette... I could have been a contender!

Turns out, I really could have been a Rockette. Maybe. Ok probably not. But according to the Radio City auditions web page I meet the "requirements," which are: "ROCKETTES must be between 5'6" and 5'10 1/2" tall (measurements will be taken). Rockette candidates must be proficient in jazz and tap."

Proficient? I could tap and jazz the roof off US Bank Arena!

Ahh well. I'll be a Rockette in my next life for sure.

Get Well Soon Merle

We were sitting in my parents' living room chatting about country music — Merle, Willie, Waylon, pretty much all the boys — when my dad asked his sister if she had found Merle's address.

Yes, I sure did, she assured him.

Did you send Merle a card, my dad asked.

I did, she told him. A get well card.

"Merle?" I asked. "Merle... Haggard? You sent him a card?"

I was confused. Did we suddenly switch topics to a sick family member? Or were we still talking about country music singers?

"Yes," my aunt said. "Merle Haggard. He's very sick. He has cancer. He's truly in a fight for his life."

"What did the card say, Wanda?" my dad wanted to know.

"It said: 'Get well soon. A friend in Indiana.'"

I started to laugh at how casually they were referring to "Merle." As though it make all the sense in the world that my aunt would send him a get well card, like he was an ill relative. 

"If you had Merle's address you'd want to send him a get well soon card too, wouldn't you Gina?" my aunt asked me. "I'll send you his address, hon — let him know he has a friend in Ohio too."

I reckon I'll be sending out a card soon.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sunday Fun-Day

Obviously this is not my computer (gasp!), but the pot pie is all mine.

I spent the afternoon at the Coffee Shop on Madison, drinking an iced soy latte and reading the New York Times.

It's been a while since I've tackled the Sunday Times in print. I had missed it and looked forward to today all week. $5 sounds like a lot compared to reading it for free online, but it's not the same. Not the same at all.

Adding to my afternoon contentment was eating a delicious Tom's Pot Pie, which The Coffee Shop gets delivered every morning. Damn it was good. Big hunks of chicken, thick pot-pie gravy, a sprinkling of vegetables (I'd have preferred more vegetables though) and a thick flaky crust. Yum. I was full for hours afterwards.

O'Bryonville was bustling too, which was nice to see. Carolers were dressed up and singing on the corners, balloons tied to meters announced the real beginning of the shopping season with the start of the Running Spot sale, and folks filed in and out of Kismet and other shops.

I stopped in the Running Spot for a new watch and got to say hello to several old colleagues. Bob, the Running Spot's owner, stopped me to tell me the Running Spot was named Store of the Year by the 700-some independently run specialty running stores in the country. (There is apparently some group or club or association they are all members of, complete with a yearly meeting and awards ceremony.)

He was so proud of it he had the award encased in glass with little runner's lights flashing around it at the front of the store. It was endearing.

I don't know if it was the sun finally shining again and the warmer weather or what, but today seemed just about perfect.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Shattered Dreams

My dreams of being a part-time waxer/full-time ringtone maker/possible paralegal were all shattered this week.


Tragedy At Fajita Night

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Bravo Paavo!

Last Sunday I waited for what seemed like forever for a table at Green Up cafe.

Waiting. Waiting. Waiting. Standing in the breezeway waiting. Waiting. WAIT! Omg, it's Paavo!!

You'd have thought Barack just walked in. I grabbed my phone and started snapping pictures, hopeful I'd a decent one off before we got seated. But because the hostess at Green Up SUCKED, he got seated before us (even though we were there first) and as he ascended the stairs I snapped a few more shots.

Then, as brunch luck would finally have it, we got seated right next to him!

He was with a woman who I presume was his wife, their two kids (do they have two kids?) and another gentleman.

I didn't hit my stop watch but it seemed to me it took his wife about 30 minutes to order some pancakes and tea... then again she was also ordering for the kids, so that probably takes longer.

Midway through the brunch the older gentleman fell off his chair and landed on the floor... on his back, like FELL OFF HIS CHAIR. Paavo was saying, "Bad chair. There is something wrong with that chair," while his friend worked on getting up off the floor.

Like Paavo, I thought the chair had broke. I was thinking, What an outrage! A chair at one of Jean-Robert's restaurants just broke and threw Paavo's friend on the floor!

But actually no, the chair didn't break. When the guy got back up he hopped right back on the same chair. Weird.

But the best part, after the falling off the chair drama was over, Paavo looked at him and very calmly but sincerely asked, "Are you ok." The guy responded casually, "Yes," and that was that.

Wildly entertaining.

Honestly, once I realized he was ok it was all I could do to not crack up, I mean the guy fell off his chair right in front of me. And I was also wildly impressed with how nonchalantly the table dealt with it. A little while later Paavo's son fell off his chair, but he's a kid so... that sort of thing happens to kids.

Later his little girl ran around taking photos with Paavo's digital camera. I did my best to ingratiate myself to her - I was smiling, posing, I may have even waved, I can't remember - in the hopes of her taking a shot of me and having a photo of myself on his camera. But it didn't work. She was a well-behaved little girl and wasn't going to get in anyone's face with a camera.

Unlike me! Enjoy this badly lit photo of my brunch idol.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Can't Touch This

You probably don't know this about me, but I am freakin' master at Ms. Pac-Man.

Billy Mitchell is afraid of me, and rightfully so. I grew up in Marion, Indiana, where there is nothing to do but play video games and toilet paper people's houses. (Friend's houses, of course.)

I flexed my Ms. Pac-Mac my prowess last weekend at Western Bowl, sending several friends chasing ghosts and fruit in a futile attempt to beat me. Ha. Fools.

I might roll 3 gutterballs in a row, but I'm agile and deft when it comes to the hand-eye coordination of eating pixels in a maze of digital lines.


Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Black (Kitty) Power

I came home from work tonight to find Cassady gorging on Ocean Explosion cat treats and moving the furniture around.

"What are you doing, Cassady?"

"Whatever I want." Then he raised his paw at me.

Obama's win has gone completely to his head.

Gooood Morning! La la la la la la la!!!!

The weirdest polling location ever...

...someone's garage

This morning I woke up before the alarm for the first time... ever?

I woke up tired and happy and elated and thinking it was almost too good to be true. Was it real? Did I dream it?

It was truly a remarkable night.

Like most folks telling tales of going to the polls yesterday, I have my own voting story.

I got to my voting place about 5, all rarin' to color in my block when they told me my poll location had been changed.

Uhh, what?! When? Then one of the volunteers (who was a sweet man about 75 years old) tried to give me directions to my new voting place.

I just got pump-faked by the board of elections! I told a friend. If you think you're going to keep me from voting you got another thing coming Hamilton County BOE!

Of course the directions to my new voting place are wrong, but I find it eventually and it's... In someone's garage?

Oh yes. In someone's garage. (See photo above.) Whoever lives there is a machinist, judging by the two giant lathes with metal scraps curling out of them.

Inside this garage are about 6 voting booths, a covered pool table with about 3 inches of dust on it and a fire place with fake wood in it.

Well of course my address doesn't match my driver's license so I have to run back home (praying the entire time) that I have a bill or something proving I'm legit to vote there.

But I just paid bills and I'm not sure if I have one and if I have to cast a provisional ballot I'll totally flip and if Barack doesn't win Ohio it's all my fault and... Deep breaths, deep breaths. There's your cell bill. Oh thank god.

So I strap on my helmet and decide to ride Stella there because I feel like she's good luck, and she is because then I'm presented with my official ballot, which I darken in for Obama so thoroughly I wonder if I'm bleeding ink to the other side.

I'm not entirely unconvinced they didn't just shove my ballot into that fireplace as soon as I walked out. It wasn't exactly "official" looking there in the basement/garage, you know.

But anyway...

As the returns rolled in last night I felt immense pride for Ohio, and even more pride this morning for my home state of Indiana. Finally!

And can I just say, Michelle Obama rocks my world. I've never thought too much of First Ladies. Yeah, First Ladies, whatever, who cares. But I'm beyond excited about Michelle. I can't wait to be completely obsessed with her!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Congrats to Tammy and Derek Camaro-Hair!

About a month ago I decided to go as an 80s bride for Halloween - poufy white dress, big hair, blue eyeshadow, frosty-pink lipstick, white pantyhose. You know, me in 1987 minus the wedding dress.

My friend Missy quickly followed suit, envisioning the awesome 80s bridesmaid dress she could wear as my Halloween maid-of-honor. And we decided Adam would be the 80s husband (mullet, mustache) and Dave would be the best man (mustache, gold chain) to round out our "Wedding Party."

It was like the Halloween gods were smiling on us. My friend Mare just happened to have gotten married in 1989, and she kindly loaned me her wedding gown, complete with layers and layers of lace, a crazy-long train, lace sleeves and a beaded gauzy neck. Missy found a poufy-sleeved peach bridesmaid's dress on eBay and paired it with some bitchin' white heels.

But it was the guys who took one for the Halloween authenticity team - each growing beards so they could have 80s porn mustaches for Friday night.

The excitement of our costumes sparkled in our eyes like 80s glitter.

Adam and I adopted the names Tammy and Derek Camaro-Hair for the party "our reception", and I spent the evening yelling at "Derek" that he was ruining our wedding night by boozing too much and not carefully enough carrying my long-ass train around. Helloooo bridezilla!!

It was like an actual wedding in many ways. For one, Mare's dress was about a size too small for me. I feared gaining an ounce of weight before Halloween knowing I wouldn't fit into my wedding dress if I did - just like a real bride! We staged a bouquet toss and "Derek" inappropriately took off my skanky sexy garter. HOTT.

I also couldn't go to the bathroom by myself because I couldn't adjust the tiers of wedding gown or unzip by myself. (When you see real brides heading to the bathroom with a slew of bridesmaids it turns out it's because she can't pee with all that dress on.)

My "maid-of-honor" and "husband" also spent inordinate amounts of time trying to "bustle" my train.

It was actually kinda cute when several girls - dressed as Kim Kardashian and an FBI agent - rushed to Missy's aid yelling, "We need to bustle it! We're bustling!!!" And they all fussed with this 19-year-old dress to make it more manageable and to keep me from killing myself tripping over it.

Unfortch, it didn't help that much.

I was on my way to sneak a photo of some couple that was mashing beside the dance floor (very wedding reception!) when my giant dress got in the way of my 4 inch heels. Wedding dress, veil and blonde wig went up in poof of white, and then we all came crashing down to the floor. How embarrassing. And on my wedding night! Thank god it didn't happen during our first dance to Journey's Faithfully.

I looked around for "Derek" to help me up and saw that rat-bastard pounding a gin and tonic in the corner, probably seconds away from hitting on my maid-of-honor.

Whatever, though, because I totally got macked on by Bret Michaels. Talk about an 80s dream come true!

It was the raddest Halloween ever.

Friday, October 31, 2008

I Just Had This Conversation

FRIEND: Do you have dinner plans?

ME: Ummm... kinda. I'm ordering pizza.

... Pause ...

FRIEND: Do you still like Chipotle?

... Longer pause ...

ME: Uhhhh, yeah.

FRIEND: I want to go to Chipotle. If you wrap yourself up in aluminum foil tonight you get a free burrito.

ME: You want me to wrap myself up in aluminum foil?

FRIEND: I'm going to.

ME: As much as I'd love to see you in aluminum foil, I don't have time. I have to get my wedding dress on.

Four Days... And Miles To Go

I'm trying to keep busy. Stay occupied. Keep my mind from idling.

But I'm distracted. Yesterday I left for work without my laptop. Today I walked out of the house without my phone. I keep forgetting where I parked my car.

I've been to the gym 3 times this week (I hadn't been in 8 months). I'll do anything to keep from thinking too much.

I've made sure I have something planned every night. Tonight I'm going to a Halloween party. I'm intent on not saying anything random like, "Happy Halloween. Aren't you excited to vote?" Tomorrow I'm meeting a friend for brunch. That should burn up a few hours. Sunday I'm going scooter riding.

Monday I am worried about. I have no plans. Maybe I'll go to the gym again. But I bet I'll be up all night regardless - staring at the walls, looking out of the windows, idling picking things up and putting them back in the wrong place.

Soon. Soon it will be over. I can't wait to stand in line. Then the real anxiety begins.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Murder We Wrote

You probably already saw this on the news, but it was a massacre yesterday at the Jeffersonville Outlets.

And by massacre I mean Mare, Missy and I killed it. It was a triple murder. The outlets never saw it coming and didn't stand a chance.

It's been months (plural!) since I've gone on a good shopping binge, but I more than made up for it Saturday afternoon. And like the good shopping partners-in-crime that they are, Missy and Mare were completely supportive. We hoarded sweaters, ran for different sizes, bogarted dressing rooms and left no shoe, bag or fall sweater untouched.

And thanks to Mare's knee surgery, we got to park in front with her handicapped tag, which meant easy and frequent trips to the car to unload our purchases. (Hey, we're helping the economy, ok?!)

My fave purchase of the day was these red, patent-leather high-heeled penny loafers, which are so scandalously fantastic it's probably illegal for me to even have them. (I thought of my fashion-forward shoe-maven pal Amy P. as soon as I saw them.)

Mare found the Coach bag she'd been dreaming of (dreaming of it from the second she saw the little beauty) and was able to get it marked down, even though it originally wasn't. Is there anything better than that on a shopping trip? Hell no. (I caught her caressing the leather against her cheek.)

And this green pea coat practically fell from the rafters heaven for Missy. We agreed with sisterly "Oh-my-gods!" and "Ooh girl, it's perfect" that it was made for her. (I think she even did a little twirl in the mirror.)

Now begins phase II - Operation Closet: Things Are Gonna Change Around Here.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Ahhh Crap!

I effed up the election!

Sunday, October 19, 2008


This morning I was up before the sun, watching people much fitter than I head to the starting line at the Columbus Marathon.

I was all excited heading up there Saturday, chit-chatting with
Dean and Adam in the car about their goal times and the folks in front of them they were going to mow down.

Being the super encouraging friend that I am, I advised them to "not suck it" and "don't embarrass yourselves."

Dean was hoping to school some dude in the half-marathon who's dating a chick he likes, so he had that for motivation. Adam was working on his fourth marathon in a row and wanted to run faster than light. Or something like that.

My goal was to get up early enough to get a steaming hot latté before hitting the start line to watch them take off.

We bumped into Beth, a friend from the winter running group, in the hotel lobby. I took photos of everyone decked out in their tights and shorts, while I kept toasty in my jeans and winter coat.

Dean ended up killing the half, coming in at 1:39. Not sure if he beat that dude, but he held his own fo' sho. Beth totally smoked the half as well, setting a personal record while looking fab at the same time. And Adam, though complaining his legs were "shredded," also finished with his fastest marathon time, with 3:34:37.

As for me, I didn't meet my latté PR (pre-race) goal, but I was able to secure one after the start, so obviously it was another successful marathon for me. This makes what, 10? I've walked probably 26 miles spectating during all those. Woo-wee. My legs feel shredded just thinking about it.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Happy Birthday To Me

I used to do this thing where around every birthday I'd write something. Usually it was an existential essay-type thing about what I wanted for my birthday. Like a yard. When I was turning 22 I wrote that I wanted a yard.

I still don't have a yard, but I do have an adorable balcony with vegetable plants and a nice view of the moon at night, so that's even better. No mowing.

A lot has changed since my last b-day. Two of my closest friends moved to New York. My BFF had a baby. I started a new job. I moved and am living solo again. I've made some great new friends.

It's been a good year.

So what would write that I want for my birthday this year? Hmm... there isn't much I want for. But I know I'm thankful for what I have.

• Old friends. I got to spend some time today with a good friend who recently lost someone dear to him. I'm grateful he thinks of enough of me to spend two hours eating mediocre Mexican food and reminiscing.

• I'm thankful my parents are in good health. Thankful my dad's stent placement went well. Thankful my mom's rheumatoid arthritis is in check.

• I'm happy for my friends who are loving life in other cities (I'm looking at you Detroit and NYC). I miss having a crew to rely on, but I can tell when I see photos of them smiling and laughing that they're really just masking how sad they are. (Right, right? I mean you guys actually really, really miss me, right?)

• My iPhone. Truly everything at my finger tips. And thanks to the New York Times and AP News applications, I too am having lots and lots of fun... even sans friends who moved away. (Cuddles up next to iPhone.)

• A cozy place to call home... With my books arranged just-so on the shelves, candles burning and fresh flowers in a Mason jar.

• Facebook. Thanks to Facebook I got more birthday wishes this year than I've ever gotten in my life. That kid does deserve $1 billion!

• I'm thankful I lived this long. It was tenuous for a bit, but jokes on cancer. Ha. Suck it.

• And I'm thankful for my new Dolly Parton album Jolene... on vinyl! Next to my Kenneth the Page bobblehead and my Serenity by Jan candles, it's like totally the best birthday ever.

I'm fittin' to eat an Obama Busken cookie to celebrate all this good fortune. (Confetti!)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Friday, October 10, 2008

Why I Went

Barack Obama, 2008 - Ault Park, Cincinnati Ohio — More photos here

I went because I wanted to be part of something progressive.

I went because I wanted to be surrounded by diverse folks who share a common purpose.

I went because I feel we're on the cusp of something great... or at least that we can be.

I went because I didn't want to look back and have to say, "Barack Obama was in my back yard and I didn't go... because I had to work."

I went because I believe in universal health-care; because I believe in helping the afflicted; because there should be an end to the deceitful war in Iraq; because civil rights are rights and civil liberties are fundamental; because I'm against the continued defacing of the constitution; because the low-road to the White House is not the road I'd have my president take; because agents of intolerance should not be vice-president; because I believe that he is change and we are change.

I went because as Obama said yesterday to thousands under a cloudless sky at Ault Park, "I can take four more weeks of attacks from John McCain... But this nation can't take four more years of the economic policies of George W. Bush and John McCain."

I went to champion sea change.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

The Weekend Was Busy


Watching the Soapbox Derby

Supporting food booths runners

And eating

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Speaking of Debates

Oh yeah, drink it in! You know you're jealous of my bootleg disembodied-Barack-Obama-head t-shirt my mom bought from some guy in a parking lot in Marion.

I've been debating taking advantage of Ohio's early voting week. The pro is that I'd get to vote right now. (YAY!) The con would be not getting to experience the polls on election day.

Last night Ronson and I were chatting about early voting over fajitas and cheap margaritas and he asked if there was anything that could happen between now and election day that would change my vote.

Which launched us into this outrageous scenario:

Not even if Barack Obama came to my house, took my library books out from the apartment (that aren't even overdue) threw them into the courtyard along with my personal books, set them on fire, did a hoe-down dance around them while they burned...

And not even if John McCain personally stepped in to stop this madness while at the same time Obama pushed Biden off his VP ticket and added Palin and then the two shot a wolf from a plane right above my courtyard as my books burned... would I consider voting for McCain/Palin.

If they shot my cats instead of the wolf, maybe. But still, probably not.

On a related note, I am STOKED for the debate tonight. Woo hoo!!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Thursday After Work...

I went to get an MRI at Proscan, which happens to be located in Paul Brown Stadium.

I entered the black gate where the players enter.

As I waited for a Proscan employee to rescue me from the bowels of Paul Brown Stadium (she said it'd be about ten minutes) I ate a snack from a machine filled with cheese danishes, donut sticks, Hostess cupcakes and cherry fruit pies. Not very healthy snack options for our athletes I don't think.

I noted the direction of the "Bengals locker room and interview" and "Photographer check-in" sign as I ate a bag of Cheetos.

Then I was picked up by this sweet ride and was driven about 30 feet to the Proscan office. I guess some people needing MRIs can't really walk.

After my appointment was over the nice girl who came to get me kindly drove me around the inside stadium in the golf cart. For fun. On our journey I saw several Ben-Gals going to practice, one of whom had long, bouncy dark hair and was wearing a black sports bra and leopard print boy-short underwear. And tennis shoes.

"That girl is in her underwear," I said to the Proscan girl as we drove past. "I wish I could get a photo of her six-pack."

Alas I didn't get a photo of her, but I did get this photo of the field.

Then the Proscan girl warned me about this dummy, which she said always freaks her out when she drives past. I can see why.

What To Eat For Dinner on Debate Night

Given these tough economic times, spaghetti seems in order. Spaghetti with meatballs... made of wolf shot from a plane.

And TUMs.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Mmm... Cupcakes

Up until a few weeks ago my running shoes were exactly where they landed when I took them off after getting home from running the relay. Right here.

They only moved after three months of sitting there because I moved, and I figured the guy moving in to my old apartment wouldn't appreciate my Mizunos lingering in the dining room. (Or would he?)

But I guess I'll have to dig them out of the box they're still packed in. This via IM today with two of my "friends." I'll call them "Missy" and "Adam."

Missy: Run with me. I'll be by your house at 9.
Me: PM?!!! It's dark.
Missy: Sack up Gina. It's gonna make people cry we'll be looking so good!

Me: Dang. I just got told to "sack up"
Adam: Haha! hope you have some warm running clothes. it's going to be cold and dark.
Me: If I get hit by a car it's totally your fault
Adam: I give it 2 weeks...if it begins
Adam: you two talk big, but I know you're a couple of cupcakes.
Missy: AAAWWWW SHIT. it's so ON
Me: New life goal - to beat adam in a race.
Missy: dude, i am going to club his knee
Me: tonya harding-style. If that doesn't work i'll just sign up for a race under his name and walk it - i'll destroy his reputation!

Adam: So when does this running adventure begin?
Me: like i'd tell you
Adam: don't be bitter pumpkin pie
Me: stop calling me confectionary names

The sad news is, I'm feeling more and more like my muffin top cupcake spillith over. I'll be sure to wear my reflective arm band.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Black. Fiiiiin.

Would you wait in this line for Black Finn? What if there was a dance off?

The only thing I knew about Black Finn prior to last night was never to go there.

"It's awful. And scary. Don't go there," friends warned.

It's also the subject of one of the funniest news briefs I've ever read - the one where the shirtless, shoeless dude (who's also covered in vomit, natch) is passed out on a sidewalk downtown unable to utter anything but "Black Fiiiin." (Sadly this story is no longer available online. Foolish. Because I bet it could rack up some excellent repeat hits numbers.)

Knowing all of this, of course I had to go!

And so it was that last night was the perfect storm for Black Finn. My friend Lori, who didn't know any better, was in town and my friend Jay was DJing.

We roll up about 11:30 and for serious y'all, the line out front was snaked all the way around the building. For Black Finn? Umm... all right.

But we know people who know people, so we hit the ally entrance - that's the VIP entrance for you fools who don't know. Mmm hmm. Very important people. And we find the very important people in the ally acting like how you'd think people at Black Finn might act. Yeah, like that.

Some chick was using her scarf to pretend-strangle some dude while the two of them yelled at each other, but in a playful "We're the VIP entrance entertainment" kind of way.

Anyway, like I said, we know people who know people so we skirt these fools and get in.

Aaaaand whoa. I can totally see how you might end up shirtless and shoeless and covered in vomit by the end of the night.

Lori got frisked on the dance floor by some striped shirt wearing dude, who she told her name was Gina. Real cool, Lori. And I got karate chopped in the back by some 6'7" giant who was in a dance off. It was an accident, but still. That shit hurt.

That's the other thing about Black Finn - dance offs. And lots of them.

Need less to say, it was awesome.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Some people are just familiar. It's like you've been knowing them your whole life as soon as you meet them. They're good people. A good soul. A long-lost friend.

The fire chief of Fairfield is like that to me. He must be 30 years my senior, but we got on like peas and carrots when I was a reporter there. We easily and quickly developed a professional friendship, and then a personal friendship. I spent hours in his office gossiping, then 20 minutes talking business.

I would sometimes find myself competing with Cincinnati's news stations and the Enquirer during big stories. I reported for the underdog then, the small paper of just 35,000, while the others had bigger mastheads and expensive cameras. Didn't matter though.

When big stories hit as they occasionally did, and the rest of the CIncinnati media that normally ignored Fairfield descended, the fire chief would part the fray for me. He ushered me into his giant red SUV many times so I could get to fire and accident scenes, and we'd drive right past the rest of the swarming media, and he'd never even act like he was going to roll the window down for them.

Suckers, I thought as we drove past. Ha!

He used to say, "You're not my ex-wife. You can't talk to me like that," whenever I'd boss him into giving me information. So whenever his secretary would tell me he was busy and couldn't pick up the phone I'd have her tell him it was his ex-wife, and he'd pick up, knowing it was me of course.

The last time I saw him was at a surprise anniversary party for him. I hadn't seen him in a few years and when he walked in and saw everyone clapping and staring at him, he paused for a minute, walked straight over to me and gave me a giant hug. The kind of hug that kind of lifts you off your feet for a minute.

He introduced me to his daughter at that party, and a few weeks later I had the pleasure of hanging out with her and him at a restaurant in Fairfield. She and I chatted at the bar and she told me how much she loved her job as an ultrasound sonographer.

Yesterday I was browsing Cincinnati.com for weather headlines and saw this one, and read that his daughter was killed. She and her husband both died during the wind-storm when a tree fell during a fund-raising motorcycle ride for Fairfield families of military personnel who have died in Iraq.

She was young. In her late-20s. And they'd just had a baby about six months ago.

I can't fathom what agony my dear friend is in. It just doesn't seem right. Doesn't seem right at all.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Everyone Knows It's Windy

Stella got - JACKED UP!

Last night I showered by candle light. It was very romantic. It's like I'm dating myself.

I also ate Taco Bell by candle light. I know what you're thinking: Gina treats herself right, mm hmmm.

The wind knocked the power out at about 3 yesterday and it still wasn't on this morning. I imagine I'll be throwing out everything in fridge when it comes back on. So long chicken and ice cream!

In even sadder news than the ice cream - Stella got knocked over. I went outside yesterday evening to find her on her side, her cover still on her. She didn't cry though.

(Thanks to The Association for the super catchy song and title of this post.)


Sunday, September 14, 2008

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Seven Years Ago Today

I lived in O'Bryonville with Craig. He called me before I went to work and told me turn on the TV. I did. I was stunned. Angry. Heartbroken.

I went to work at the Running Spot. We had about five customers all day. At the morning meeting we sat silent for a few minutes. I choked back tears. I hoped for the best.

To this day when the clock reads 9:11, I say a little prayer. For peace. For solace. For everyone.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

What I've Been Doing

I moved. And got a new bookcase.

The cats are settling in.

This is the view from the kitchen counter.

I've been eating homegrown tomatoes at the counter.

Had my photo taken with my boyfriend Barack. At the Marion Mall.

My mom made peach cobbler with peaches from my late brother's peach tree.

But what I've really been doing instead of blogging/returning phone calls/unpacking is playing with my new iPhone. It's pretty much the best thing EVER.