Sunday, December 30, 2012

No Idea What I'm Doing- Chapter 3

I transferred the plants to a variety of found containers (trying to do this as cheap as possible)

They grew well for awhile and now seem to have stopped growing. I'm guessing because Ohio sunlight is rare

I  put the tomato plants in paint buckets. I have one grow light on these two.

We have a wonderful snow here!

Hurray for snow!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Date Night and Serial Killers

Clifton Gorge

Crossing the Little Miami River

Little Miami
The Saturday before Thanksgiving Weekend we had a date night. We went to John Bryant State Park and Clifton Gorge Nature Preserve. When I was in college my mountaineering friends and I would drive from Cincinnati to this park frequently to do rock climbing. I hadn't been back to this park in a long time.  We pulled into the parking lot late for the season, around 3:00 pm and sunset started at 5 pm. We walked 4 miles on top of the gorge and then 4 miles down below the gorge along the Little Miami River. The footing is unsteady in most spots, so it's not a brisk walk. I was a little worried at one point that we'd be walking in the dark.

You know I have an overactive imagination concerning serial killers and at one point on the path I felt threatened by some other visitors. A group of four people that looked like they came to woods to do illegal activity, not enjoy the outdoors, were lounging in the middle of the creek on various rocks or tree branches. They were acting obnoxious and strange as if on blotter acid.  We were up above them on the ravine top, and I was trying to figure out how to avoid walking past them once we crossed the river to return to our car. There was something about their appearance and behavior that made me think of kidnapping and torture. Remember the movie, "Last  House on the Left?"  I said something to my husband, and he acknowledged the same feelings I had, but we kept walking.

Forty minutes later we were on the other side of the river. A middle aged man was running up and down the path yelling for someone. He seemed frantic and stopped some young people on the path and asked if they'd seen his son and described him to them. Then off he ran again shouting out the boy's name.  We never came back upon the group of scarey people and I wondered where they had disappeared to as we walked past that spot on the river. My imagination started going wild at that point. My husband commented on how frightening it would be to lose someone in the woods, especially as the sun was going down and the air was getting colder. Still, we walked on in the dimming light.

After our hike,  we went into the neighboring little hippie town of Yellow Springs and had dinner at Ye Olde Trail Tavern. Ye Olde Tavern was built in 1847 along the stage coach. I like to sit in the booth next to the old fireplace and imagine people cooking there in the olden days.

Except for the serial killer anxiety, this was one of my favorite date nights of the year so far.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

No Idea What I'm Doing-Chapter 2

I got a shelf up as cheaply as possible: already had plywood and the brackets were $1.75 from H.D.

Most of the seedlings sprouted except oregano. Parsley is teeny tiny still.

I transplanted the larger ones into containers I already had, like milk jug, coffee can, paint can liner and a pot I found in the garage.  I don't think the coffee can is working for that cilantro plant, though. 
I did buy two grow lights that you clip onto something. It was a big expense for me at $44 for two lights. I haven't taken the grow lights out the boxes, yet. The contraption doesn't look too simple.  Plus, I need to install "something" for the lights to clamp onto. The daylight is getting shorter. Ohio is overcast more than 50% of the time.  I need artificial sunlight for at least 6 hours. While at the nursery looking for the lowest price grow lights I could find, I was fascinated by all the lighting choices and gadgets, costing hundreds of dollars. I can see how someone can go crazy over indoor gardening!   It's been fun to watch them sprout and grow. I still don't know what I'm doing, yet here they are!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

I Have No Idea What I'm Doing

Home Depot had these seed starter packs on clearance for 50 cents. I couldn't resist. I've never grown anything from seeds before. I'm not counting the grade school project of putting a bean in a wet paper towel to watch it sprout.  I have no idea what I'm doing. I've learned from the internet that growing veggies inside in Ohio in Fall and Winter I need to add a light source so they get over 6 hours of light a day. I've learned to not let them dry out. However, I have mold growing on the pellets from too much moisture. At least I think that's why there is mold growing on the little pellets.

Sitting on top of the turn table is probably not the best place for them. So, my next DIY project is to put up some shelves across this window.

I just hope they don't die.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

I Actually Cleaned Something

This "wall hanging" was a special gift from my daughter. She knows how I am.
These frig magnets were gifts from people who know how I am. (& still love me)
When I say I actually cleaned something, it really is a big deal! (I should have a magnet about cat hair. "Cat" is a long-haired Himalayan, so yeah, we have cat hair!)

I did indeed actually clean something and that something was the kitchen pantry. I'm not going to embarrass myself online and tell you how long it's been since I cleaned the pantry. The truth is one of my kids cleaned it last. But since I'm an empty nester now, well, that leaves only me.  So when I began to smell a stench in there, fearing a dead field mouse, I knew that I had to tackle the pantry. We live near a golf course so when the weather gets a little chilly the critters will find their way into any home that isn't sealed up tight. Whatever it was in there, it smelled dead.

First I emptied out all the crapola on the shelves. I found a rotting potato. No mouse. Still, Gross!

I took out the shelves & scrubbed everything down.

I scrubbed the shelves and then painted them--4 times!

I painted the ceiling and all the walls, even where you can't see!

I started the project on Saturday morning. I was surprised at how much food had expired, some of it from 2004!  I told you this was an accomplishment! I threw away or put away all kinds of weird things I'd stuffed in there over the years because I didn't know what to do with it. I put orphaned wrapping paper with the wrapping paper, vases with the vases, threw away odd trinkets, Christmas tree ornaments & Lego parts. Those don't belong in a kitchen pantry. What was I thinking? I spent hours looking at cute pantries online with charming paint colors and motifs. After several more hours of creative house indecision, I decided I couldn't decide. Good Ole' bright white paint to the rescue. Sometimes Good Enough is Good Enough.
It took three coats of primer and two coats of Ultra White Behr to just get it done. White and clean is better than 10 years of grime & rotting potatoes and the occasional dead field mouse.  I bought some hardy, vinyl taupe-colored shelf liner from the Home Depot Sunday morning before church and put everything away on Sunday.  I need to call my mom now. "Mom, I actually cleaned something!" She'll be amazed.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Off to College

August began with the Wedding in the Pasture, proceeded immediately with a  Florida road trip, and ended with my youngest going off to college for the first time. The night before the big move. Sam told us to be ready at 7:00 am, and I thought, "yea, right."  Morning came and it was a bit confusing to see my son awake with bright alertness and  energy as he packed up his car with surround-sound equipment, computers, video gaming gadgets and such. This is really weird, I thought. Mornings with him are usually slow and groggy.  Instead, he kept urging us to hurry up in an exasperated voice as I sipped my coffee and watched him work around me. A  few skateboards and frisbee golf discs were rounded up. Then I marveled that I didn't have to remind him to pack clean undies and toiletries. As I watched him stuff socks and shampoo bottles into a duffle bag I thought,  "Hmmmmm, he must be serious about this college thing?". With that, I shook off the morning stupor and packed up some Nutella, Peanut Butter, bread, butter knife and three 12 packs of sodas, bedding and towels into a couple clothes baskets and hauled them to my car.
The sky was one of those bluest of blue skies on an amazing summer morning. So, rare in Ohio.

Hurry up! Car packed mostly with electronics
8:30 am last pose with Dad
An hour and half later, we pulled into the parking lot at Wright State University and was met with an army of volunteers in golf carts, who worked in systematic machine-like order.  Sam was sent by a volunteer to get his dorm key and we parents were told to load the golf cart. Olin and I climbed into the cart with the volunteer and she whisked us into a long caravan of overloaded carts off to the dormitories in the woods. When we arrived at Hickory Hall more student volunteers grabbed all of our stuff and quickly carried it up two flights of stairs into Sam's room were he was waiting. Only 40 minutes passed from the time we arrived to setting down the last electronic piece on his room floor. Sam introduced himself and us to his two new roommates and their parents. We had all arrived at the same time. The boys seemed to have a lot in common: guitars, skate boards, and video gaming. 
Sam's new home for the next 9 months.

Monday, October 1, 2012

August Vacation

Sunrise on St. Augustine Beach

Sunrise on St. Augustine Beach

We went on a sailboat through the bridge to the ocean

We love breakfast at the Bunnery in the Old City

on the sea wall before our sailboat trip
After the Wedding in the Pasture we left for St. Augustine, Florida in two cars. After a year and half living "at home" Becca was heading back to Florida to live. She moved to Gainesville since she enrolled in graduate school at University of Florida. Rachael and Kevin had recently moved back to St. Augustine from Princeton, NJ. So, St. Auggie would be home base for our week in Florida. The drive down was slow going because I had to do some of the driving and I drive slowly with periodic stops due to panic attacks. After 17 hours we finally got to St. Augustine.

I woke up and walked out onto the beach from our condo and when I did, I cried. The beach was being dredged and large construction machinery were clanking away, and at the water's edge there was a straight six foot drop to the "real beach."  I went back to the rental office and told the agent I was breaking the lease no matter what it cost and moving to another condo a couple miles south to enjoy the beach as nature created it. I had worked extremely hard long, stressful hours and I wanted a peaceful, serene beach vacation. The rental agent offered me the off-season rate if I stayed. So I did. I learend to tune out the earth movers and ended up enjoying the "wall of sand" while it lasted.

The extra money we saved on the rental went toward a sailboat ride in the bay out to the ocean.

We love St. Augustine for some reason. The old city. The beach. I could stay for a very long time there.

On our second day we drove Becca's car loaded with her worldly possessions to Gainesville to check her into her apartment. That day turned into a stressful, chaotic day.. She had rented her place sight unseen based on beautiful internet photos of a darling apartment. (Now if I had known this, as a real estate agent, I would have advised against it. But I didn't know the details of how she came about her rental). We got the key to unit and found the door had previously been kicked in. The unit itself was not only tiny, it was sub standard housing. Before we picked up the key, as I sat with her in the rental office and went through the rules with the rental agent, I saw all the signs of a "slum lord."  All my years of experience in Columbus working in real estate near the largest university in the country, I am very familiar with the tell tale signs of slum lords. These landlords take the rental money and don't put any back into maintaining the properties. The complex and unit was a stressful environment. I myself have lived in the real ghetto before. This community was worse than that. There were tears.

Biking on Anastasia Island State Park
Hypo Cafe
So the day was spent trying to find suitable housing for Becca. Which was never found.

What was to be a 1/2 day excursion to Gainesville ended up being an all day and evening trip. I took no photos of Gainesville. Sam, Olin, and Becca's boyfriend prayed for Becca before we drove back to St. Auggie. There were more tears driving back in the dark.
Quirky Vilano Beach pier.
Sailing past Mission's cross-site of the first Christian Mass in the N. America
Sunset at quirky Vilano Beach over the Intercoastal
However, visiting with Rachael and Kevin and their dog Clancy in our beachfront condo was wonderful. Hanging out with all three of my kids was vacation in itself. We ate gyros from the place next door. We swam in the pool and we had some really great days of boogie boarding and rafting in the waves.  I got a great tan. I took my two "girls" and we got manicures and pedicures.We went out to dinner. We had breakfast at the Bunnery. Kevin and Rachael were having a bit a housing crisis themselves. And, happily, the day before we left they found a nice house to rent.

Just wish we could be there permanently.  So this was the overview of our early August vacation.

I Actually Cooked Something

Barbecued Shrimp & Peach Kabos

If I am to cook, it must be super simple and taste delish. So, I thought I'd share a big accomplishment in my life this past week.  Here's how to make it.

12 skewers
1 Tbsp. packed dark brown sugar
1 tsp. chile powder
1 tsp sweet paprika
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper ground
1 pound of shelled and deveined shrimp, big ones
3 peaches, cut into 1 inch chunks
1 bunch of green onions, dark green parts trimmed, cut into 2 inch pieces.

Lime to taste and garnish
Get the grill ready, whatever grilling method you use.

In a large bowl, combine the brown sugar, chile powder, paprika, cumin, cayenne, salt pepper. Add shrimp, peaches, and onion; toss until evenly coated.

Thread them onto skewers alternating the pieces

Grill 3 to 4 minutes or until shrimp becomes opaque throughout, turning once.
Plate it up and chow down!  4 servings at 135 calories per serving. So, this fed Mr. Seriously Though and myself just fine, so really for us, it serves 2!

We finished the evening with a fire in the back yard fire pit, dazzling stars, full moon,  Ardbeg single malt scotch, and amazing Artuero Fuenta cigars.

Yep. My life is pretty good.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Wedding in the Pasture

The month of August was a whirlwind. First, my dear friend's daughter got married on their farm. I had the honor of being their agent when they purchased this Amish farm. All the guests climbed into the red wagon and the Amish neighbor drove the team way out into the pasture by the woods. You couldn't even see where the ceremony was to take place from the top of the hill (those white specks in the photo are portable chicken coops--past that). The reception was held in one of the barns and they had brought their antique bedroom furniture and living room furniture outside and decorated it with lace and the most beautiful roses and flowers. Huge hoops with chinese lanterns and streamers hung from the rafters. Table were set with linen, lace, crystal candle sticks and a hodgpodge of glass vases and mason jars full of fresh flowers. The bride's dad drove the small Amish buggy all the way back to the ceremony spot in the back pasture for the processional. All this was done in 101 degree Ohio temps. It didn't rain! I felt like I was in a music video. The family is in the music business, professional musicians, so the whole affair was rather spectacular. We drove home that night at 11 pm, only to pack up car at 4:00 am and head to Florida.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Note to Myself: Young Adult

Note to myself:
I watched the movie Young Adult the other night. Brilliant. The writing, the directing, the acting is all brilliant. The writer's name is Diablo Cody Diablo (Brooke Busey-a real life stripper and peep show perfomer) LOL. . One review I read negatively reported it was a movie about a drunken woman and they were subjected every 10 minutes to her hangover mornings. This critic has no idea what art is. The alcoholic's repeated morning ritual of hangover, dehydration, and "what the hell did I do last night," is the story of their lives. Simply said, the movie is brilliant.

This note to myself is not about alcoholism. It's about writing. The movie inspired me. What the hell am I doing with my life? Why am i absorbed in this digital world of email, text messages, facebook, and television? It's numbing my mind and killing my creativity. I've made excuses my whole life as to why I'm not writing.

Mavis Gary has an awakening moment. "I need to change."
It takes 180 days of doing the same thing to become a habit. It's not 21 days like you always hear about. It's 180 days.

Note to self: I need to change.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

My Lazy Day

Today has been my lazy day. I got up early to see my son take off for college orientation, an hour and a half drive away. I was supposed to go too, but he wanted to go alone and I was OK with it. So I came back in the house at 6:30 am and brewed some coffee. The temp outside was heavy. Warm moist air just hanging there even as the sun came up.

Alone in my house, I had a cup of coffee and watched the birds flit about outside the windows. I tried to the read bible a little. Specifically I was reading in John where Jesus said He has to leave so He can send the Comforter and the Comforter will tell what is to come. I just sat and pondered that for awhile.

I was lazy all day. I stayed in my jammies and when it started to rain I went out in the rain for awhile. It hasn't rained in over a month and half. It poured. It was wonderful.

On facebook my real estate friends were posting photos of the flooding streets from their i=phones and advising people to stay home. So I did.

I put a chair out in the garage and raised the garage door and just sat there watching the rain come down. I was in my jammies and my clothes were damp from standing out in the rain for about 20 minutes. I brewed another cup of coffee and sat in a soccer chair watching the birds dodge rain drops. I think the birds were thrilled with the rain because they were making all kinds of crazy chirps at each other during the down pour.

I tried to read some blogs. I read a few new ones. I read stuff people put on facebook. I actually did a load of laundry and unloaded the dishwasher.

That is it. Evenutally it was 5:00 and I threw on some make up and clean dressier clothes and drove to a property inspection. After that was over, I went back to being lazy.

I went to Stauf's Coffee House and sat outside with a 1/2 steamed milk 1/2 coffee. The sun was now shining and the people were out and about. Spagio's cafe patio was full, Jeni's Ice Cream had a long line spilling out onto the sidewalk. A motorcycle club parked their bikes all up and down the street. I went for a walk on both sides of Grandview Avenue and window shopped.

Olin came with me and we peered into the window of a brand new real estate brokerage in a super-hip and trendy new store front. We sat on the benches outside the brokerage (which was closed) and I wondered if I would like that location for my own business and whether or not I should switch brokerages so I could get this location.

Then we spotted a couple friends across the street walking home from a lawn concert at the library. We flagged them down and they jay-walked over to us and we had a great evening visit on the benches.

Saying goodbye to our friends, we headed home. That was my lazy, lazy day.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Twice in One Week

I've come here twice in one week now. This is Jeni's Splendid Ice cream. Local organic dairy and ingredients. Oddly satisfying mixes of flavors such as whisky and pecans, salty caramel, cayenne pepper. The milk fat is deliciously high and so fresh and almost like eating creamy butter.

Jeni's is a Columbus company and she has grown her business to multiple stores here. Now she has two shops in Nashville, so there is no doubt in my mind you'll be hearing more and more about Jeni's.

Personally, I think it's worth the long wait in line. No matter what day of the week, Jeni's will have a line.

Last night after dark I got a craving for Jeni's that wouldn't go away. Sam was watching movies online and Becca was sippin a glass of wine and I'm not really sure what she was doing. Who wants to go to Jeni's? I asked. I wanted to go to the shop 4 miles from house in my quirky, old neighborhood. Sam said he'd go but wanted to go to the Short North. That's our art, restaraunt/bar district. Saturday night its' the place to go to be seen. No parking would be left and the sidewalks would be shoulder to shoulder.

I didn't put on any makeup, didn't change into spiffy clothes, even though most of the ladies would be in summer dresses with stilettos. Like I said it's the place to go be scene, I mean seen. After driving around and around and trying to not kill any pedestrians that overtake the streets we found a parking spot and joined the crowds.

On a summer night it was rather pleasant to be out and about, window shopping along the way and eavesdropping on bistro diners as we walked past their tables. The ice cream was indeed, Splendid.

You can order Jeni's online and get ice cream mailed to you. Yum-o.

To Da Lou.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Thrift Store & Disturbing Thoughts

Since I had new kitchen cabinets and counters installed I found I have less storage space. The result has meant leaving a pile of bread and bagel packages out on the kitchen counter. I've been searching for an attractive bread box online to solve this problem. The ones I like are over $50! I decided to go check out the thrift stores in hunt of a bread box. While at the Goodwill store I found this Jack LaLanne juicer for only $4.99! Cool, I thought. I've always wanted a juicer but no way was I going to pay $100 to $150 for a small kitchen appliance that I might use once and decide I don't like.

I put the juicer in my cart, and being thrilled at the find, I snapped a photo of it with my new Droid. While I was slowing making my way up to the checkout counter I began to having disturbing thoughts. "Who owned this juicer before?" "What did they put in it?" "Did they clean it?" "What if...a very cruel, sadistic person put a racoon in it? Or...a serial killer cannibal owned it and they put human body parts in it?"

Immediately, I made a hurried rush for the shelves and put the juicer back.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Hot Month, Hot Real Estate Market

This is a snapshot of just one suburb of my town. All those little triangles represent homes that are "In Contract." Most, but not all, will become the "Solds" of June. There are fewer homes for sale, and a lot more people out there wanting to buy. However, prices are still pretty low. It's reasonable to assume if this trend continues, prices will push upward. We are having multiple offers on many houses. If the house is cute,in great condition and not over-priced it will likely get multiple offers and be sold within a month or two. Especially if it is NOT a short sale (pre-foreclosure).

No wonder I'm tuckered out a bit.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Old Decaying Truck

When I earned the trip to Palm Springs last November, we went horseback riding in the Linkdesert. We turned onto a dirt road in the middle of nowhere and wound our way up the hillside. This old truck was on the side of the car path. I had to share after seeing Patrick Tillet's old truck photo

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Cincinnati Overnighter

What is this? Two human babies nursing from a jackal. If it's supposed to be famous, I'm ignorant. Maybe it's something from Rupyard Kipling's books? We stumbled upon this in Eden Park in Cincinnati. We walked across the street from our hotel into Eden Park. I had literally rolled out of bed, had my coffee, and walked across the street early Saturday morning. It was a gorgeous morning in the Ohio Valley.

The night before after a day of extreme job stress Olin and I drove to Cincinnati and checked into the Marriott Springhill about a mile from Reds Stadium. My college friend, Cyndy, met us at the hotel and together we took a cab to the bars across the street from the stadium. There we met up with a few more college friends of mine. Though we hadn't seen each other for awhile, we just picked up where we left off the last time we were together. People change, grow apart, move to other parts of the world. Yet, when we reunite we are suddenly college-age again.. I'm so lucky I met these adventurous people right away as a freshman in college. We were all members of the Mountaineering Club and they took me on several awesome outdoor pursuits for which I am truly thankful. I think when you challenge yourself physically and mentally with other people, sleep with them in a small tent in the blistering winds and cold rain on the side of a mountain, you form deep relationships that last a lifetime.

After joining up and sampling some micro-brewed beers we walked to the Reds game. Our seats were in the LAST ROW at the top. I am not kidding! You couldn't go a row higher. We are the mountaineers after all and we climbed up very high into the sky for the game! The game was a blast as all professional sporting events are. I forgot my camera so I can't share what a great view we had of the Ohio Valley and Ohio River and all the hills in Cincy and Kentucky. Then the best fireworks ever commenced until midnight. We parted ways in the street knowing we'd see each other at Dr. Larry's the next day. Olin and I and my friend Cyndy walked about downtown among the festive crowd until we stopped at a cafe for late night shakes and wings and a cocktail or two. Our cab didn't get us back to the hotel til almost 2 am.

We rode the elevator to our floor with about six 20-something guys carrying a case of beer. I said I sure hope you aren't staying in the room across from me. Guess what? They were! Oh well. It was a bachelor party so I certainly wasn't going to complain to the management.

The next day we walked over to Eden Park. We headed to the overlook of the river and it was Paddle Fest! Thousands of canoes and kayaks were on the water. I told Olin we are doing this next year for sure! You can't tell from the photo just how many canoes there were.

From there we drove across the river to Dr. Larry's tye dye party. We've attended this annual event many times over the past ten years! He has a great view of the Reds stadium. The tye dye creations were so fun to look at. Again, no camera! I blogged back in 2010 about this event here

At 3pm we had to jump into my car and head back the 2 hour drive so I could attend my husband's niece's baby shower. His 91 year old mother drove down 2 hours for it, plus his 80 year old aunt, and his cousin came 6 hours from Indiana.

It was a busy two days. Then today, I attended a house-warming party for a young couple that used me as their Realtor. Now this house-warming party made me LOVE my job. So fun to see the family enjoying their home that we worked so hard together to get. This couple came to use me as their agent through the internet on one of my listings. After we met, I believe we looked at 85 houses all over the city. After spending this much time together, I'm so thankful I was invited to the party. I loved meeting their friends and family. I didn't take any business cards even though I knew at least one person would ask. My purse supply of cards was gone and I just didn't want to deal with it today. I only wanted to enjoy my new friends in their new home. So fun to see how they transformed a bland, older house into a warm, classy home.

What a weekend.

To Da Lou!