Monday, April 29, 2013


Adventure - we just can't get enough. Although Leah had big Saturday plans (and I stayed home and knitted a stripy sock, so you know I was perfectly content), she confessed to me as she was leaving that she was actually looking forward to our Sunday activities; AKA, get in the car and drive aimlessly. Adventure!

Stop Number One: Blanchester, OH.
Sometimes a girl just has to answer the call of nature. The Sav-A-Lot in Blanchester provided not just facilities, but delightful treats! First of all, I LOVED vienna sausages as a kid. LOVED THEM. But now, I don't eat pork. I thought the joys of vienna sausages were lost to me forever. But look! Chicken vienna sausages! I jumped up and down in the aisle. Secondly, we both have a sincere belief that pumpkin flavored things can and should be enjoyed all year. Presenting - pumpkin spice pudding. We got two. Third and lastly, I thought I would be the only one to giggle with childish glee in a small town grocery store - until Leah saw Kung Fu Panda Pez dispensers. The face says it all.

Stop Number Two: somewhere along OH 132.
As with any road trip, there was roadkill. Yuck, I know. But sometimes roadkill means vultures! Now, I know this isn't the best picture, but trust me. This is a Black Vulture. It was the road and when we drove by (three times - I really wanted a picture) it flapped ponderously up into a tree and waited for us to lose interest so it could go back to its meal. We see Turkey Vultures all the time, mostly soaring around on thermals. But this was our first confirmed Black Vulture sighting.

Stop Number Three: Edenton, OH.
Edenton is your typical speck along a rural route kind of town; one auto related business, one convenience store, a smattering of stationary and mobile homes, and one abandoned school building built in 1917. I particularly liked the tower. Can't you just see yourself with a crossbow, standing guard in that tower? No swarms of zombies are going to break into your compound, no sir. I thought the wisteria creeping out of the chimney lent it an air of charming ruin as well.

Stop Number Four: Point Pleasant, OH.
This is the Ohio River, where it intersects with Big Indian Creek at Point Pleasant. And across the street...

is the house where Ulysses S Grant was born. According to the plaque out front, he was born Ulysses Hiram Grant but when he went into the army, they messed up and called him Ulysses Simpson Grant. When he pointed out their mistake, they informed him that his name was now Ulysses S Grant. So don't mess with clerks, people. If they get cranky, the consequences can be severe.

Stop Number Five: Higginsport, OH.
Higginsport was a larger town right along the river, and the rest of it was in much better repair than this abandoned school building (it says Higginsport School, 1880). You could see shelves and furniture through all of those broken out windows. It was genuinely creepy and imposing. I could only get the second story in the picture, but I think the crazy angle conveys the feeling. If you're ever in Higginsport, please do check out The Dinner Bell ( and if you like catfish then you are certainly in luck. It comes with a whole salad bar and sides and even corn muffins, which honestly tasted more like corn pound cake. Corn pound cake? Is that a thing? It should be.

Stop Number Six: Brown County Rural Water District, on Route 132.
I promise I'm going to get a better camera any minute now. But see that clump of sticks level with and to the left of the top of that lamp post? That is a Bald Eagle nest. Really!!! There were two very kind photographers there, with tripods and huge long lenses and really strong binoculars which they actually let us use for a little while. One of the eaglets kept peeping out over the edge of the nest. A ways on down the road we saw one of the adults soaring overhead. According to the Brown County Tourism Bureau, the eagles have returned to this area to nest every year since 2005.

Stop Number Seven: Near Dover, KY.
Because I cannot resist a plaque, especially in Kentucky. The plaque held details about the Castro-Metcalfe Duel, fought near the spot in May, 1862. It's a tragic story of a man obsessed with revenge. Find more at Hard by the plaque was a small cemetery. I'm still amusing myself with the continuing adventures of Anna E. Goff, Immortal. She could be roaming the Kentucky countryside as we speak, perhaps teaching her great great grandchildren the secret art of pie crust, or taking advantage of changes in the status of women by running an avant garde art gallery or flying crop dusters. The possibilities are endless.

Stop Number Eight: Augusta, KY.
Augusta is impossibly charming. There is a row of buildings along Riverfront Drive dating all the way back to the 1790's. The Rosemary Clooney House is there, and even the ones with no plaque at all are beautiful. We walked around just a little bit here and it is definitely going to get a return visit, probably with my parents in tow. I'd also like to explore Chandler's at the Beehive, a tavern in a building erected in 1796. They had a wonderful candle chandelier hung outside the front door.

We finally took KY 8 all of the way back to Newport and (after a quick stop for just a tiny bit of bourbon) headed back home. Another weekend of adventuresome success!

Today: At least twelve. That's the number of stops I want on the next road trip.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Type or Flight?

All right, that's a terrible title. I am of course referring to the common problem of having a lot of "go" and no "do", as a friend used to say, or to be more specific, being at work on a slow day when there are about fifteen things you would like to be doing elsewhere.

There is something about clock watching that brings a special kind of exhaustion. All of the energy I've poured into trying to arrange a weekend visit with friends, researching the dates of local fiber festivals, and realizing (OMG, for real) that my partner is going to be in a wedding in 56 days and has not, as yet, made any preparations - including purchasing a foundation garment or even nerving herself up to do so - all of this energy has been careening around in my brain since this morning. When I leave work in 45 minutes, I will be too mentally tired to think about anything but possibly going to knitting group and, if I'm very lucky, taking a shower.

You'll notice that all of this energy was spent thinking about doing things, not actually doing them. This is because (while I love my job, and I do!) my brain has been all over town but my body has been right here behind this desk, transferring calls and answering emails. I try to tell myself that I'm being useful but I know darn well I could have been at home making soap.

I've also had way, way too much time to think about what I truly want for dinner. That way lies madness in both culinary and caloric terms.

Anyway, a day like today means that it's past time for me to get out my calendar, assess my bank balance, confirm dates and times, and generally get a handle on what I'm doing with my life for the summer. Because whether work is slow or not, the next time I have a chance to turn around it will be November and I'll be trying to do holiday knitting or some other crazy and highly unlikely activity.

Today: 35 minutes. Then my time will be my own again, at least until tomorrow morning.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


Sunday morning, nothing to do? Get in the car and take a road you've never been down! Adventure!

Eat a rueben and homemade lemon meringue pie at a retro diner.

Take a hike into a ravine and enjoy some lovely wildflowers.

Go on out to happy hour after that, and tumble into bed happy and exhausted.

Adventure. Everybody needs some. Today: 130 miles. One round trip adventure.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Making Space

I've finally gotten around to putting away the last pile of random boxes left in the corner of the living room. It's about time, since we moved here in January. As I look around, I realize I've committed a cardinal sin of furniture arrangement; that is, "Everybody up against the wall!"

So, how am I going to square my desire for a grown up apartment with our propensity to loll about on the floor like a couple of undergrads? I suppose that grown up bohemian will have to do. At the least, I have a cozy corner where I can knit and look out of the windows into the woods.

Despite that (and the neighbors of questionable hygiene downstairs), I love this place. I'm listening to varied birdsong and watching squirrels scamper up and down in the trees. We have plants, and all of our books are out. There's an entire room in which to keep the art and craft supplies, a linen closet, and this morning I woke up with spring sunshine full on my face.

It's been a long time since I felt settled in a place and even then, there were a lot if things I didn't like about it. This is the first place that I chose. It's a great comfort to come in the door and think, "This is the place where I belong."

Today: 850. That's enough square feet to make a home.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Spring is coming...

It's a shame all I'm knitting are wool socks.

Today: 5. That's how many socks I've knit so far this year.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


How do we know the difference between HERE and THERE after we've made the trip? I've never been the person who can start a story with, "The year I turned six was the first time I...". I am not naturally delineated.

But I do love measurements. Yards, inches, miles; hours and seconds and decades. Bar graphs and percentages and pie charts and of course, the great big ruler of them all, a database - just so many measures of this or that, connected in myriad ways by logic and code.

Even the best measurements are just a cast, a mold, an impression of the thing itself. A picture is not a moment, a transcript can never be an education. The essential and undefined me isn't contained in words or works or in anything, really. But I do find that the way out is often longer than the way back. To put it another way, when I get to where I'm going, I'd love to see where I've been.

Today - 13,883 days. That's 38 years old to you and me.