Sunday, April 28, 2013

Our Yard, In The Middle of Our Street

Spring has brought all kinds of surprises to our yard.

It seems like every day another mysterious plant pops up, and it's been fun seeing what will sprout up next. 

It's like lawn sorcery. This is our first spring in our house, so we have no idea what perennials are buried there.

Actually, we don't know anything about plants in the first place, let alone plants we didn't put there, so whenever a new one comes in we just name it what we think it is, but who are we kidding, we have no idea.

Last weekend the green plants around the Japanese Maple came in like gangbusters. (We only know it's a Japanese Maple because there's a tag on the tree that says so.) So we stood around last Sunday afternoon holding tiny lawn rakes and admiring them, saying things like, 'Oh, the hostas are really coming in strong.'

Then we Google hostas and realize what we think are hostas probably aren't.

Then we're all, 'Oh, the plants formerly known as hostas are looking really good.'

It's like Prince is in our yard. 

Like Prince, only green and probably not Jehovah's Witnesses.

I spent the better part of Sunday afternoon trimming these crazy Spidery Pouf Balls (official name) we have.
Our yard is smaller than our living room, which is really small. But you'd be surprised how long it takes to give these things haircuts.

Unruly Spidery Pouf Balls

Unruly, I say.

The neighbors' Spidery Pouf Balls are cut way back, so taking a cue from the Joneses, we decided to cut ours back too.

I trimmed them just enough to make them tidy but left them long enough that they should feel free fro-out this summer, if that's how they chose to express themselves. (Trimming them into mullets didn't look as funny as I thought it might. Disappointing.)

But they look way better with haircuts.




Keeping up with the Joneses on our street is no easy task. Everyone has perfectly manicured yards, perfect bushes, perfect flowers, perfect landscaping.

Then there is our yard. We have yard envy. Even our yard hates our yard.

As I was getting Edward Scissorhands on it, sending clipped bits of Spidery Pouf Ball flying, I fantasized about trimming my neighborhoods neatly shaped bushes into different animals.

I thought if I snuck around in the middle of the night and turned everyone's perfect rows of bushes into fun animals - a bunny, a kitten, maybe a small bear - people would come out of their houses in the morning delighted to find these sculptured surprises.

It would be the talk of the neighborhood. Everyone would chatter about when the 'Silent Sculptor' (that's what I'd named myself in my fantasy) would strike again, and they'd all secretly hope they'd be next.

This is where our yard would finally shine.

While everyone else has neat little rows of landscaped shrubs in their yards, we have a horrendously gigantic and overgrown bush in front of our house.

As the Silent Sculptor, I'd save it for last and turn into a gigantic dinosaur so that our yard would be the prized yard, finally.

I told Ray my idea and said he should do this for us, since I don't know how to sculpt bushes into animals. Unfortunately, he doesn't know how to do it either.

No biggie. Some neighbors may end up with butchered bushes while we get the hang of it, but that's the price they will have to pay for a neighborhood playground of fun shrub animals.

But judging by the superior haircuts I gave the Spidery Pouf Balls, this is definitely doable.

Soon our yard will be the envy of the neighborhood. Soon.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Days Were Just Packed

It will be at least a few more days before I forget my Friday night visit to the new Incline Public House. That's because I forgot the leftovers in my car all weekend.

I found them Monday morning when I was leaving for work. Whoops.

It's not because the food wasn't good though. It was.

Friday night Ray and I decided to try a new place and Incline seemed like a nice departure from OTR and downtown. I didn't realize it was so far on the West Side, but that's because I'd never been to Price Hill before.

We made friends with the women seated next to us and when we told them we came from Hyde Park they asked if we brought our passports. I told them a sherpa brought us and that we packed snacks for our long journey. Which I actually did.

If you guys want to try the food but don't feel like driving to Price Hill tonight I'll share the leftovers from my car with you. But all you really need to know about Incline is that is has Summer Shandy on tap, a great patio and delicious spicy pickle fries.

Shandies, a view and good food. You're all set for summer now.

The tour of new places continued Saturday night at 50 West Brewery.

It was too crowded to try one of the beer flights I keep seeing everyone post photos of on Facebook, so we winged it and got pints. I had the 'most approachable' beer (I forget what it was called) and Ray had the Thirty-37 pale ale. I forget what Kari and Brandon had, but I ended up trying them all because I am not afraid to swap beer spit with people. On second thought, I guess I did have my own version of a beer flight at 50 West.

Between the far west Incline Public House and the far east 50 West Brewery, we crisscrossed our great city leaving a wake of beer foam behind us.

Back in the day Kari and I used to frequent this Mexican restaurant in Mt. Washington called Los Portales. It's called El Rancho Grande now, but we still affectionally refer to it by the nickname we gave it years ago, LoPo.

I hadn't been there since Kari's going away party to NYC almost five years ago, (I was grieving), but now that Kari is back we went for dinner after leaving 50 West.

Dear sweet baby Jesus in the manger, I forgot how amazing this place is. Deliciously spicy salsa, divine enchiladas and burritos as big as your head. I'm a regular again. Even Ray was bullshit about it, all 'Why haven't you brought me here before?!'

Because I am Mexican-restaurant-next-to-Bigg's failure, that why.

So yeah, we basically ate every meal out this weekend, but at least several of them were at new places. You can't say that all the time.

Since we were disgusting pigs and ate a bunch of crap, we hit Lunken for a few laps on Sunday. Man it was great to get the bikes out and sweat a bit. I haven't so much as pretended I was going to exercise in the last six months since I've been either cut open or been waiting to get cut open again, but now that the surgeries are behind me, I'm itching to workout and sweat again.

I think my scars are looking pretty good though. Don't you? Yeah, I'll probably still wear a bikini. 

The middle one is raised, like I was branded in a fraternity that specializes in mid-line abdominal incisions.

Oh, I forgot... Friday night after dinner we went to Unwind in Hyde Park, the wine bar just off the square. I'm a big fan of this place, mostly because I'm a big fan of wine bars.

Unwind is always crowded and Friday night featured a special array of people in vests. I guess the statement is 'I'm outdoorsy but don't want to get too hot while drinking indoors.'

I get it.

But that's how the Incline leftovers ended up in my car all weekend. Ray got kinda drunk at Unwind and forgot to grab them when he stumbled out of the car.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Shark Bait

I recently discovered that the shark oven mitt I've been using for 10 years...

Is for 'decorative' use only.

This discovery changes nothing.