Saturday, June 30, 2007

Hobbies We Aren't Very Good At

Chris and I both have the tendency to delve head first into hobbies / projects we just aren't very good at or committed to. For example, you may remember the DIY Diary posts from last month...yes, well, the majority of the cabinet doors are still not hung.

As I mentioned earlier today, we biked down to RiverFest. The biking 14 miles total, although tiring, went okay. Since we already have the bike equipment (ie bike and helmet) we can keep that hobby. We can't, however, buy a canoe. Having a free (and legal) chance to canoe on the Scioto River today left us going mainly in circles and hitting a large tree. Canoeing, not so much for us. I thought rock climbing would fare better, but neither one of us made it too far up the wall. Guess rock climbing is out, too.

Am now going to take a nap, make dinner and light the fire pit for s'mores...all things we excel at.


This morning we were determined to the get to the Clintonville Farmer's Market earlier than last week - it seems things go fast, really fast. It didn't so much happen. Well, we got there a whole hour earlier than last week, but still were greeted primarily by a slew of zucchini. We did get some string beans which I will lightly steam and mix with olive oil and garlic scabs (thanks to Lisa of Restaurant Widow for cluing me in that you could do something with these guys I have growing in the backyard). We also got some grass-fed hamburger patties. After Chris talked to the farmer last week, he is a convert to local grass-fed beef. To go on the burgers we bought a couple of tomatoes (not sure how these are ripe yet because mine here are just getting the slightest tint of yellow) and some cucumbers to make a feta, cuke, tomato salad.

After attending the farmer's market, we pulled a couple of weeds out back because we were inspired. After the rains of this week, all of our plantings are looking great. I managed to get a nasty mosquito bite on my cheekbone. Ouch.

We're planning on biking downtown to attend RiverFest today. It's a smaller festival, but has some neat opportunities to learn about watershed, a chance to canoe on the river and a rock climbing wall. I've always meant to go and have been wanting to test my bike (and myself) on a longer ride, so thought it would be a good opportunity.

So it's only 1ish on Saturday and already so many things are planned or in the works. I feel positively domesticated.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Something Wicked This Way Comes...

No, I'm not going through my annual Shakespeare phase, tomorrow we are going to see Wicked. I'm excited about this for various reasons. One because I had the foresight to buy tickets back in December. Columbus has a history of selling out touring Broadway shows pretty quickly (remember the first time Phantom came through?) and this show is no exception. Some crazy people stood in line in the rain early one morning to get these tickets. Needless to say, I didn't. I'm also excited because we are going to celebrate my dad's birthday and my parent's anniversary. All good stuff there.

I saw the show in New York a couple of years back and I'm interested to see it again and on the road. I saw it with the original cast (except Galinda who had the night off) and the show was simply fantastic.

I read the book years ago, so along go in fact, I think I might have been in college at the time. The first time I read it, I was taken in by the Wizard of Oz connection. What a great idea to write the prequel to a much loved American icon! The book really kept the political undertones of the Frank Baum book in mind and though at times it was hard to get through, Wicked became a favorite of mine.

A book becoming a favorite of mine means it gets revisited, so upon subsequent readings, the story took on new meanings for me. The Wicked of Witch isn't so much evil as she is misunderstood and made out to be bad by a society heading the opposite directions of her ideals. I was happy to see this theme became such a focal point of the musical and I can't wait to revisit the theatrical version again to see what else I get out of it.

Monday, June 25, 2007

My Life Through the Years of Com Fest

Another summer has been marked by the passing of Com Fest. For those uninitiated by Com Fest, check out the home page and read the guiding principles. For you impatient folks, I'll give you the quick synopsis: Com Fest is short for Community Festival and it is a large, free festival in the Short North / Victorian Village area of Downtown Columbus. Primarily known for it's laid-back hippie styling, cool music and unbeatable people watching, Com Fest is an annual Columbus tradition the weekend following the first official day of summer.

I can look back over the last several years and mark what was going on in my life by what happened at Com Fest. There was the year I walked around terrified about running into an ex. There was the year, I flat out refused to go because of the fear of seeing the said ex (silly, sad little me). There was the great year when brother, Nicole and I huddled under a tent in a torrential downpour. Then there was last year, when Chris and I fought because he kept calling it Commie Fest. He had never been and didn't see the allure. Hours later he was passed out on a curb and Com Fest had won another fan.

This year, Com Fest was another memorable year in my life, having learned that when going to a Festival you should just go to the Festival and not to nearby bars afterwards. You'll have a much easier next day. Even hippies have to grow up at some point.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Lettuce After Rain

Who is tired of hearing about my lettuce garden? Great - you all seem contented! I'll carry on. As I mentioned yesterday, it's been rather hot, humid and somehow dry here in Columbus for the past several days. Today, like in some book of old, the rains finally came. (I was a really big fan of all the Laura Ingalls Wilder books, so bear with me.) These rains did wonders for my poor little lettuce. Where it used to be wilty and limp, today my dinner salad was full of crisp flavor. Even Prada, who has developed quite the taste for homegrown lettuce, asked for seconds. Yesterday she simply sniffed her leaves, looked at me in disgust and walked away.

Anyway, what I did with the lettuce is worth sharing:
2 cups of fresh lettuce
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 tbsp honey
salt, pepper, cayenne to taste
olive oil
2 tbsp blue cheese crumbles
half green apple

Take the honey and put it with a small amount of water in a pot or pan. Add spices. When it boils, add walnuts, stir to coat. Take off heat after about 1 minute, let cool. Dress greens with small amount of olive oil. Add slightly warm walnuts. Sprinkle on blue cheese. Dice apple, place along sides. Enjoy.

This salad was very delicious with all the strong flavors. For those counting, it was 10 Weight Watchers points. I'm off for a walk now.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Now that it is a balmy 98 degrees out there, I thought the time right to revisit the early days of Spring in our garden. Now, the tomatoes are lucky if they get watered, the lettuce is gasping for life and trying not to be taken over by weeds and the hanging baskets, are, well, hanging by a thread. But there were glory days in our yard...behold the days of light sun and plentiful rain:

And my favorite part of the yard, especially when it is 98 is under the shade in the hammock swing:

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Gone to Black

Going against my ancestry, I was never a huge fan of the Sopranos. Or, if you agree with my Uncle Charley who would loudly proclaim that the series was a stereotypical mockery of Italians, staying with me ancestry. Either way, I couldn't take the violence and language. I don't consider myself a prude, but some of the episodes I did watch were just way too much for me. This being said, I did follow the plot of the series through the occasional watching, conversation and weekly review online. I know who Pussy is, how Christopher died and why Carmela was so pissed off. Since I wasn't a huge fan of the show, I think the ending was very fitting and poetic. But then I didn't need to have my questions answered; I just wasn't that invested.

You can barely turn on the television or surf the Internet without hearing / reading some one's take on the ending of this groundbreaking series (these types of stories always use the adjective groundbreaking). On the way home tonight, listening to NPR tonight, I heard a new take on this issue. Daniel Schorr suggests so many people responded so badly to this ending because the rest of our world is fading to black with no answers. We didn't want it to happen again.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Sleeping in at 29

All week I was so so excited to sleep in this morning. After painting the kitchen the entire Memorial Day weekend, working in the office, entertaining clients at our Memorial Tournament hospitality house last Saturday and Sunday, and then working in the office all this past week, I needed an actual weekend! Why then at 8:30 this morning was I awake? I tried to go back to sleep, but found it useless. I used to be a champion sleeper. Noon was like the crack of dawn for me. I would laugh when people said they slept in until 9. Now I seem to be one of those people.

Maybe I can take a nap later...

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Thursday Night Games

For the past five years or so, I have played in a sand volleyball league at a local bar. Our team survived break-ups, moves and the endings of good friendships. Not surprisingly, the team seemed to get worse and worse every year. By last year, I don't think we won a game the whole season. Even the drinking on the patio ceased to be fun most nights. Without a discussion, we all kind of decided Thursday night volleyball was not to continue into 2007.

Suddenly finding my Thursday summer nights free and having nothing good on television, I jumped at the chance to play kickball with a couple of work friends. Yes, kickball. It seems this deceptively simple game has moved off the playground and into the young professional scene in cities across America. As I have mentioned before, Columbus is making efforts to attract and retain young professionals. There is some debate about who these young professionals should be: bankers and lawyers or the burgeoning creative class. I'm not going to comment on that debate here and now, but I will say if the presence of two kickball leagues in downtown Columbus is meant to attract and retain any young professionals it is going to be the bankers and lawyers. The kickball teams are full of wholesome looking young women and ex-frat boy young professional men. This isn't being said in criticism: kickball is surprisingly very fun and our team won which made it even more fun.

One of my friends mentioned he wouldn't dream of playing kickball as an adult because he remembers too clearly the gym class nightmare of being picked last. The people playing kickball now are playing because they have fond memories of the school yard sport and want to knock back a few beers at local bars before and after the games. I say long live kickball in Columbus and bring on more organized sports which keep people, whoever they may be, in the downtown center longer on week nights.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Best $1 Spent at Target

Target is a place that makes me happy. So many things can be found at Target. It's great for shampoo and disposable clothing. It's a good stop for kitty litter and cheap shoes. The Zen snack mix is a good mix with the $9 bottles of wine they have. Target has everything. If you have noticed in the past few months, they have introduced the dollar aisle in the front of the store. This is fun shopping because not only is everything just one dollar, but the section is usually themed. I super love themes! Once I found a really cute "handmade" wedding card in the dollar section. One of my favorite purchases has been garden markers (they were stainless steel and even came with a marker - I should have gotten two sets because now half my garden isn't labeled and when I went back for more they were gone). However, this past trip to Target featured summer fun. They had various outdoor serving ware, smore sticks, camping accessories and water toys. Chris said I could get one item (he was paying, so I decided to put up being treated like I was three). After much decision, I settled on a badminton set. It came with two rackets and two shuttlecocks. We were playing last night in the kitchen and this is a quality badminton set for only $1. I never really liked playing with a net anyway. This will be a great addition to summer fun.

And, yes, I'm only a Target shopper. I won't set foot in Walmart, but that is a post for another time.