Sunday, July 24, 2016

Tom's 60th Coming Up

 With Tom's 60th birthday coming up this Thursday (07/28), we had an early celebration doing the things we both love. Earlier I bought him a patio umbrella (which he had already picked out himself) and some flowers at Stockslager's which he wanted to plant at his apartment. Mom and I each gave him cards. We also take each other out for our birthday; he chose Cracker Barrel, lusting a bit for their Coca-Cola cake.

 But first we stopped at the Central Parkway YMCA where Tom is a charter member. They have been closed for about a year for a major renovation project. They gave an advance look to members on Wednesday (Tom attended) and then re-opened on Thursday. We stopped on the way to Florence, KY where we planned our lunch.

This branch was built in 1917 so it's approaching it's centennial. Even from the outside, the $27 million dollar project is evident. New windows  were installed and the brick sand-blasted. It looks like a new building. Read about the renovation by clicking here.

 The  front desk has moved and it's much more spacious. Since the reopening was just two days prior to our visit, it was a busy place. I have access via my Silver Sneakers membership but I had to fill out a form and was given  a new YMCA members tag.

 Before we exercised, we toured the building. The swimming pool is something we'll have to visit soon.

 There are plenty of new, modern (electronic) exercise machines. This is a great place to burn calories and enjoy the camaraderie. Tom and I used the running track on the 3rd floor. It now sports windows (before I remember nothing but a block wall). Many areas of the facility have a commanding view of downtown Cincinnati's skyline.

 We didn't stay very long, hungry for lunch. Instead we ended up on southbound I-75, mostly sitting in stop-and-go traffic.

 I never did see anything to account for the hold-up. Tom thought it was mostly the entry-exit ramps causing traffic to slow to a bottleneck. We never saw an accident or construction that blocked traffic. While approaching Florence, Tom's digital thermometer gave the outside temperature as 97° (it peaked at just 91° at home).

 Tom peruses the menu and settled on a large  chicken/spinach salad. Then later, that special cake he really came for.

 I ordered their vegetable plate: hash brown casserole, macaroni and cheese, broccoli and okra. A couple of biscuits were included, too (I brought one home for Mom).

 The drive back to Cincinnati was as slow as the drive south. Traffic was congested mostly in the area just south of Cincinnati. But even while sitting there, the view is spectacular.

 And so Tom's advance birthday celebration came to a close. A great day with a great guy. May there be plenty more ... for both of us.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Saturday Night Out

 Tom and I attended Germantown's Saturday Night Out yesterday. It's mostly a car show (rods), but also offers a few food vendors and music. We got there about 3 pm and that was too early for all but the cars.

  A good shot of Tom and I, I think. I just had a birthday last Wednesday (7/13); I turned 67. Tom's is not far away from a birthday, too (7/28); he'll be 60.

 This is looking east on Center Street from Main Street. Most of the cars were here. Others were parked at the Germantown Senior Center, Huntington Bank and in the Germantown Public Library parking lots. A few were parked on Main Street,

 Fire engine red!

 Dad would have loved seeing these rods.

 The sign said, "Honk if something falls off."

 Terrific paint jobs ...

... and most engine compartments displayed a variety of chrome.

 Tom admires this old automobile.

 Candy apple red?

 This purple truck was parked in front of the renovated Germantown Engine House. I remember the building housed The Germantown Press some years ago. That's Tom in the shot.

 One last view, from Market Street, north on Main Street.

 I have no idea how many of these events Germantown has every year but it seems like I used to remember four or five during the summer months. This has been going on for many year. We didn't stay long - less than hour - since neither of us are particularly interested in cars. Still, it was a pleasant day to get out and enjoy the village ... and each other.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Picture Rocks Bike Tour

 Bob will be on a Picture Rocks Bike Tour from August 7 through August 12.
 Material will be posted here as it arrives.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Cats of Ancient Egypt

 Tom and I attended the current exhibition at the Cincinnati Art Museum in Eden Park yesterday: Divine Felines: Cats of Ancient Egypt. For additional information, click here.

 While I always enjoy the museum, I found this display less than exciting. I'm not even sure there were new pieces shown. Still, it was a chance to visit the museum and that always means a good day.

 Here are a few of the pieces that I was most attracted to ...

 I'm amazed at the workmanship on these pieces made thousands of years ago. The tools must have been crude by today's standard and yet the work is intricate and precise. Can you imagine sitting in a room in the desert, probably with inadequate lighting - and no air conditioning - and crafting these pieces?

 In the background is a "cat coffin". Mummified like humans, many of the Egyptian cats were buried with care.

 This cat was carved from a solid block of wood.

 Even before we went to the exhibit, Tom took me out to lunch for my birthday (coming up next week). We went to Melt Eclectic Cafe in Northside ...

 We each had their Avocado Melt, a somewhat pizza-like dish. Quite good and scalding hot when brought to the table. We shared a salad and each had a Mexican Coke in a green glass bottle.

 While Tom and I wait for our meal. he's facing the street and can enjoy the passers-by.

  I, on the other hand, am back-lit by the street. The birthday boy will be 67 on July 13.

 We had a full day. Before the art museum we stopped at Findlay Market and I bought a couple of home-grown tomatoes ($2/lb). We'll see whether they're as good as they look. I had hoped they were grown locally but I suppose it's a week or two early for that. "They might be home grown," Tom said, "but most likely in some southern state."

 "I think it would be more accurate if they called them field-grown."

 Then, after the museum we drove by the Cincinnati Gardens, a venue formerly known for hockey games and concerts. Tom wanted me to see the building before it was razed. The Beatles played here on August 27, 1964 (to see a sample, click here). I attended their concert two years later at Crosley Field (also razed).

 After the recent hot weather, yesterday was cooler (low-80's) and much less humid. Finally, a nice Saturday we could enjoy together.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Fresh Blueberry Molasses Cake

 I'll have to admit right off that I seldom follow directions. This time was no exception when I made a Fresh Blueberry Molasses Cake featured in the current issue of Yankee Magazine. It always seems to me that people complicate a recipe unnecessarily ... when to add this, when to add that, how to combine.

 Though I used the amounts specified, I went my own way with the mixing and all turned out well. Would it have better had I followed the directions? I can't know, but I think not.

Fresh Blueberry Molasses Cake

2 cups all-purpose flour (I used bread flour because that's what I had)
1 teaspoon baking powder
2/3 cup molasses
2/3 cup boiling water
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter (I used margarine)
1/2 cup light-brown sugar
2 eggs
2 cups fresh blueberries

Bake at 350° for 50 minutes to an hour (see below)

 I simply softened the margarine in the microwave, then added the sugar. The eggs came next as well as every ingredient except the flour and the blueberries.

 Once I had the batter well-stirred, I added the flour. The mixture is fairly "wet", though many cakes are similar in consistency. Finally I carefully folded in the blueberries, careful not to crush them.

 An 8" greased glass pan is perfect for the recipe (I did not flour it, too).

 The cakes cracked a bit on top. I tested it at the 45 minute mark and found it done.

 The cake is strongly-flavored, just as you'd expect for a molasses cake. The blueberries add a whole new dimension, adding darkness, mositure and flavor. They "cook" inside the cake and are soft and perfectly done at the same time the cake is finished.

 While still warm, we cut a couple of slices and added whipped cream and a few fresh blueberries as garnish. Ice cream would be a wonderful addition.

 This may be a "classic Maine treat" but it's a high-class dessert anywhere.

Credit: Yankee Magazine, July 2016. Click here for their recipe.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Cincinnati Pride - 2016

"And that's how you make a terrorist die in vain"
   - Steve Hartman, CBS News

 On Friday's CBS News, Steve Hartman's "On the Road" segment was timely. He described a gay teen who had just come out (via a Facebook post) in Alabama. and his fear of acceptance. The quote at the beginning of this blog was Hartman's powerful way of ending the story. It referenced the slaughter of 49 people at the Pulse gay bar in Orlando on June 12.

 And so yesterday, we made that terrorist die a lot more in vain. WLWT (channel 5 in Cincinnati), reported the turnout for the Cincinnati Pride Parade to be in the neighborhood of 90,000. Tom and I were among them.

 Rainbows were the color of the day.

 Tom and I spent our time at the corner of 7th and Vine.

 Police presence was extraordinary. Patrolmen were at every intersection I viewed and swat teams, with automatic weapons were also located strategically. Preparations for our safety were wonderful.

 Where did the flags come from? This is one of the places.

 Pooches were plentiful. One more a rainbow tutu.

 What about that guy's shoes?!

 Yeah, I'm really there.

... and so is Tom.

 The quote: If you're not gay friendly take your bitch ass home!

 This is the proper way to watch a parade on a hot day.

 Must have been hot under there!

 A numbers of guys wore just underwear, This guy was part of a Rocky Horror Picture Show float.

 A bathtub, complete with bubbles.

 During the parade all kinds of give-away's were tossed (sometimes handed) to us: candy (which Tom was still picking up after the parade ended), rainbow wristbands, cup insulators, printed material, Mardi Gras beads (in rainbow hues), condoms and lube.

 Loved this display of Pride and the person in the foreground offering a salute. I can't say gal or guy since drag was a common sight.

 This is the end of the parade. Now to Sawyer Point where the Cincinnati Pride Festival was held.

 Tom sides up to a cardboard cut-out of Hillary Clinton.

 The Belle of Cincinnati paddles lazily by..

 Tom was intrigues by the guys in kilts.

Across the road from Sawyer Point was a religious group with bullhorns telling us we should repent, that there was still hope we could be saved. "You don't have to be this way," one man bellowed. Then there was this opinion.

 Another view of the placards that honored the Orlando victims. These were carried in the parade.

 And then Tom and I started the long walk back to our car at the Garfield Garage at 7th and Vine. We enjoyed some of the sights at Smale Park on our return trip.

 Me with a couple of bronze statues. They reference Cincinnati's Black Brigade during the Civil War. Read more here.

 A love this statue of a mother and child pointing towards the Ohio River. Shades of Uncle Tom's Cabin.

 Downtown Cincinnati had lots of Pride banners. Altogether, a wonderful day, though quite hot (88°). We ended up at Tom+Chee for gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches and endless soft drinks. Mostly, though, it was a place to simply cool down.

 Finally, here's a look at our route as we parked our car, watched the parade, walked to Sawyer Point, returned via Smale Park and ended up at Beerfest (see the previous post). Google estimates our walking (the light blue line) was about 3.5 miles. I'd have put it closer to five.