This is a long blog this time. I need to catch up! So, grab a good cup of Joe (aka Coffee, Java) or a nice big glass of wine and settle in for the tales of your wacky friend Erin….
Okay, you will love this! I am down in Florida and I write three weeks worth of blogs. Then I completely forgot that I wrote them. I just went to write about Florida and realized I had 3 weeks prior in here. OH MY GOSH!!!! I am so the girl (yes, I turned 35 for the 10th time on Friday, and I am still a girl) that goes into the living room to email a friend and discovers a food magazine and stops to look at the pretty pictures and decides I need some water and go to the kitchen and see the almonds, eat those, forget the water. BY-PASS the living room, go to the den and start watching TV, and then remember I was supposed to send an email. Go back to the living room to send it, find another pretty picture in that mag on the way to the computer and pick it up and realize I never got the water! Go to get the water and the silver wrapper as alluring as the gold one in Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory PULLS me to the chocolate. I again don’t get the water. Don’t send the email. Go sit in front of the TV. and realize I haven’t sent the email or gotten the water. The only thing I got was the chocolate because the pretty pics made me hungry! WELCOME TO MY WORLD. Hence, I also forgot to send 3 weeks worth of blogs. How is that for a seriously roundabout explanation for forgetting something!!!
So, let me take you back EONS ago…before the trip to Florida, which will be the next blog….
I went out for coffee with my dear friend John, a lawyer, who exchanged a prestigious law firm job for mediation. He is a closet poet and a good one. We met at the Coffee Emporium, which I was thrilled about because I crave the Aztec coffee it is so similar to the Mexican Latte at Sidewinders.
We talk a lot about writing. When I got my first book published, John took me to dinner and gave me this framed piece of art he made with a picture of a stone carved book he took in Central Park and a famous Camus quote in it. It was so sweet and I was so touched by it. It was really cool!
I thought of a great group of people to put together to talk writing. Three former reporters from the Enquirer, one being my old editor, Clark, my friend John and my friend Lisa. I think the brainpower from all of them would be frightening, astonishing and cool as hell to witness. I just want to sit back and watch them all interact. I think it would be fascinating. I am going to make it happen, if I can. I had to wait till after Lent to make it happen. Clark gave up socialization for Lent. NOT KIDDING!!!
Back at the Action Auction I was trying to help my friends get ready for the 5-day event. I was assigned the job of editing scripts. That was fun, but what was more fun for me was writing the scripts for the Chairman of the Auction, a friend of mine named O’dell. I was very tempted to send him a message and say, “Yes, you can thank me for making you sound so good on television, but opted not to do it. Wonder if he noticed my writing style and said, “That’s my wacky friend Erin”, but I doubt it. It was a lot of fun! I spent a few hours a few days editing and writing scripts for Action Auction. I really like that group of people. Nice, nice folks.
I really was meant to do volunteer work. If I ever strike it rich that is what I plan to do!
I am chairing the Legal Committee in my condo. People thought I should be the social chairman because I am a girl, but thankfully, I was chosen for (and really wanted) the Legal Committee and so I was thrilled when they tossed me there instead. I had my first meeting in my home with coffee and coffee cake.
We had more than enough material to discuss. I really like the group I chose. Here was my criteria. I wanted people I liked, trusted, respected, could contribute to the discussion and would offer great insight. I didn’t ask my two best friends in the building. I asked people that I thought would be best in this role. It was fun!
My favorite restaurant on Sanibel is called THE TIMBERS. Years ago, the owner had someone cut out of wood this extraordinarily large fish and it was painted in pastels. When the restaurant got a face-lift, my folks got a fish. It hung in one of our houses in Florida, and since was relegated to the garage. My mom didn’t want it, or had nowhere to hang it, so it came back to Cincy with me at Christmastime.
During the stressful winter, I decided to paint the fish in colors that were more appropriate to my style and hang it. It was therapeutic to paint. I would get super stressed and I painted and it felt great!
The other therapy was a vent and bitch session with my two closest friends in the building Vivian and Shirley. I vent and bitch and they listen. True friends. It used to be French lessons, but it has turned into a chat session. Last Wednesday night, it was a movie night. We watched THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO. I love my 80 + year-old friends! Age is a number and that is all it is! Don’t ever forget it!!!
We don’t dress like this for movie night. Just Downton Abbey parties. HONESTLY!!!!
Must confess that the Malaysia flight was a doozy. Where the heck is that plane? Where did it go? Is it really in the ocean off Perth? Or did it vanish? I think it is sitting in a hangar in some faraway land and the people are being held hostage and they are waiting for the right moment to expose this! Yes, I am a fiction writer.
I flew in and out of Kuala Lumpur years ago. I remember wearing my scarf like a berka, because I was the only one in the airport that originally had an exposed head. Not good. I am sure they QUICKLY surmised I was an American.
I had this crack of dawn flight with a layover and I was wiped out! So, I sprawled out on a metal bench in my $2 Thai pants and my $2 Bali shirt and my Berka over my head, but I got cold, so I took the Berka off the head and wrapped it around me like a blanket and I am sure many, many people passed me as I was lying there head exposed, cheap clothes, chances are drooling on myself or the bench and people said, “Do you think she is an American?” I remember taking a nice little nap on that terribly uncomfortable metal bench and sleeping like a baby. I was drooling. I am so sure of it. Maybe that is why no one bothered me? My $40 Target watch had died. I was so sad by that, but I had replaced it with a lovely Rolex I had bought in a market in Bali for $5. Such a deal! Target watch or Rolex? And the Rolex is cheaper.
It could have been my flight in or out of Kuala Lumpur. How many people thought it could have been me? I am sure they didn’t take the plane with the gal that thought it was more important to wrap her scarf around her arms instead of her head, with drool stains on my $2 shirt and my fake Rolex and my clown like Thai pants. They would have looked at me and thought this one is going to be trouble. Let’s find another flight!
I went to meet my friend Julia at Bronte’s. I had the Pear and Bleu Cheese salad with lettuce, pear slices, bleu cheese, toasted almonds, golden raisins, shrimp and pear poppy seed dressing. We had a ball. We always do! She is uber liberal and I am not, but when I talk to her, I realize I am more liberal than I realize. Fiscally, I am so conservative, but socially, I am so liberal. I almost fall of the charts. Kinda.
So, I dated this dufus, the cancer leaving one that professed his undying love to me until I had to shave my head. THAT one! Well, he was really good friends with this guy named Ed and I became friends with Ed’s wife, Mindy. Love Mindy! I always joke that she is the best thing I got out of that relationship! She rocks! And I love her kids!
They used to live about 10 minutes from me in Clifton and then they moved to the country. I went to visit them. Their house looks out into trees and countryside. It is a beautiful, although 55-minute drive there, but they are SO worth it. The kids are so great! If her daughter doesn’t hear from me, she sends me emails. THAT day, they did a magic show. Some of the tricks, I could tell what they were doing. Other tricks, no clue and some tricks I thought so that is how they do it.
Mindy made these awesome brownies called BRAINY BROWNIES from a recipe book from the SNEAKY CHEF and it gets kids to eat healthy things without them ever knowing it. I found those brownies addictive. Made with chocolate, spinach and blueberries. I would have never known and as I write this, weeks later, I have just finished three with a glass of milk. They are healthy brownies! Give me a break! But ya’ll know I can rationalize ANYTHING!!! Ruby and I did a dance. Then we took the dogs for a walk. I love their one dog Bunny, who is a rat terrier with seriously long ears. The newest member is Barley and he looks like a cross between a yellow lab and a Bassett hound. Imagine that combo for a moment. He is cute.
We had fun! I am happy for them to have land, space and be in a beautiful part of the Cincy countryside, but selfishly, I wish they were still 10 minutes away!
I love Mindy. She is such a wonderful human being. A great mom! She is just amazing with those kids and they are so great and so fun and easy to be with! My friend Temple said that is the secret. You want kids that not only you love being around, but everyone else does too!
I had a book signing in the building. I get so nervous for book signings and then I get there and it is so nice and fun! I sat down and people came in and out to buy autographed books. It is still so odd to sign books. But what I love is the stories it brings out of people. A little old lady named Barbara came to the signing. She has written 8 cookbooks. She talked about what she wrote and how she came about it and it was really fascinating. I had never had the time to really talk to her beyond elevator talk, so it was nice.
The staff at the Hammond North every year put on a St. Patty’s party for the owners. It is so sweet! Literally! They fill a table with sweets, coffee and dress up in green and we all walk around and eat, drink and chat. I really love so many of the nice folks in the building.
I sat and talked to Hot Rod, I still don’t know her real name. (Well, I finally do! Only took over 2 years.) She is such a sweetheart and a spitfire. She used to zoom in and out of the garage, hence the nickname. She was in a car accident and so she has tamed down quite a bit. She questioned whether to get another car or not, and then decided to. I told her she was too young to be car-less and she is totally with facilities. She is a pistol. I just love her.
A gal Wilda came up to me and told me she started to read my trashy novel and it was too raunchy. No one has ever told me it was raunchy, but I don’t think it was a compliment, but I am going to pretend it is! I love Wilda so she could tell me it was complete crap and I would still love her.
I went and watched the first half of the Cincy v. Harvard game with my friend Viv on a HUGE television. I went to UC for undergrad and Harvard for grad school. Who was I to root for? My dad said it was a no-brainer. He hates Harvard. They are too liberal for his tastes. Probably the ONLY dad in history to say, “Why did my daughter go to Harvard! He ALWAYS sings some song to me about “Don’t let my son go to Harvard, only let him go to Yale!” I always say, Suck it up, babe! I went to Harvard and I AM A GIRL. NOT A SON!” He giggles and roots for UC. He went to UC. So, did my mom and she is a HUGE UC fan, so she was a little torn. My dad was not torn AT ALL. So, I stuck a Harvard bumper sticker on his car. THAT’LL teach him. Every time, we walk by it, he looks and says what is that red thing on my car. I respond, “It’s CRIMSON!”
I was torn till the game started going and I rooted for Harvard. I went to UC and I had an okay time there, but I loved Harvard, and even though I worked my butt off, terrified of flunking out. I had a ball there and in Boston. So, I am more partial to Harvard. I watched the second half of the game with my friend Bill in the building on his smaller (than Viv’s GINORMOUS TV) in his studio. I could barely see the screen, I think it was hard to go from 80 inch TV to normal. Sad but true. (No, I am not getting old. I am 35 for the 10th time!) Well, the company was so good it didn’t matter!
Went back to the Sleepy Bee with a family friend named Marion. Channel 9 or 12 can’t recall which, did a news piece on “Amazing Marion”. She is 95 and still plays 18 holes of golf. She and her hubby married on the day my mom was born in 1941. (My mom is going to kill me for this!) Marion and my grandparents had been great friends for a long time. My grandparents died and my mom and Marion stayed close and now that I am in Cincy, Marion and I are close. She is a really cool lady!
I took a picture of this cool glass fused thing in the restaurant.
I forgot to take a picture of the gluten-free pancakes (how UN-me) that were made with almond quinoa and buckwheat flour, local eggs and almond milk. They sound like cardboard, but they are so delicious and healthy and the maple syrup is so good you will be tempted to lick the plate, but I refrained. I thought it would be rude.
While we were there, I saw a lawyer I worked with years ago. He is 80+ was one of the best divorce lawyers in the city for a very long time. I went and talked to him. I had always thought so much of him when I was a kid.
Whether you want time to pass or not, it always does! I bet he really feels that way!
There is this wonderful gal in my building named Jo! She lived not too far from me in Wyoming. Didn’t know her in Wyoming. She is one of the prettiest ladies in my building. She also couldn’t be nicer and easier to talk with!
She has two sons. One is here locally and a teacher, don’t get ideas. He is too young for me. And the other is in NY with what sounds like a fascinating architect.
Jo and I are pool buddies and for a while before Carolyn left for the winter, I was lucky enough to tag along with them for breakfasts. They try different places.
Jo had never been to Sugar n Spice, which is one of my favorites! My mom attended Walnut Hills High School, which is this fabulous public high school in Cincy and is in the top 50 in the country and she is all too quick to boast of all the famous people that attended her school throughout its history! Well, Walnut kids hung out at Sugar ‘n Spice and my mom goes back to childhood when she steps in the joint. Funny thing is, I do too! I just love that diner feel.
Jo and I decided to split two omelettes and one was better than the other!
The Mexican Omelette, which was chorizo, onions, cheddar, sour cream and homemade spinach sauce. Holy moly! It was killer! Then we shared something called “Not So Kosher Omelette”, which was kosher salami, bacon and cream cheese. For me it is hard to go wrong with salami in anything. It was good, but not as good as the other one.
Jo and I sat for an hour and a half and talked. I told her what Josh had said and she said, I have wondered it too. Why are you here? I really appreciate my friends telling me this!!! I need to hear it. I am happy here, but I like to hear it. Sometimes, I need swift kick in the pants. Usually though, I really prefer a gentle nudge, and this is what I got.
But I would miss friends like Jo, Carolyn, VIv, Shirley, Mary Lou, Karen, etc….but they say they will all come visit and I am holding them to it.
My old neighbor, Martha invited me out for sushi. We went to Wild Ginger. The last time we went, which was probably almost a year ago, she ordered a sashimi bowl. This time, I decided to follow her. It was basically a bowl of rice with raw fish on top. Yellowtail, salmon, tuna, etc. It was so yummy. Sushi makes me happy. I am completely convinced they put some opium derivative in wasabi that makes you crave it like a drug.
Before and after the dinner was pretty interesting. I went to drive to dinner and my car was dead as a doornail. I had driven in the morning with no issue. That night, dead. I started calling neighbors in the building to see if they had jumper cables. No luck. This wonderful couple that I know from the pool had just returned from Florida and they had a jumper box, so they offered to help me, but it was not charged so it didn’t work. Luckily, my friend Nancy in the building, her roommate, who I have only met once drove by and asked what happened and when I told her dead battery she offered to take me to meet Martha and it was on her way! How nice is that!!!!!
After dinner Martha and I went to Graeter’s, because she like everyone else knows my weakness. We came home and I called AAA. The guy showed up and he was the chatty Cathy. He was there for OVER an hour and talking about every single thing under the foot of the sun. Nice guy, but it is 10pm on a Friday night. Do I really want to be in my garage talking to the AAA guy? Nice guy, but come on!
Next day, I go meet Lisa and Mindy at Lisa’s totally adorable art gallery called BROADHOPE. I highly recommend it. It is a co-op of artists and they are extremely talented and offer classes there and it is just very cool.
Broadhope Art Collective:
3022 Harrison Avenue
Cincinnati, Ohio 45211
(Directly across from Westwood Town Hall)
We leave there and go to Django in Northside for lunch! I normally don’t do this but the waiter was talking and I was completely fixated on his perfectly full lips and the idea of chewing on them, his blue eyes that were stunning, his red hair and the sadness I felt knowing he was 100% gay! Now that my friends is a travesty!
He left and I had to ask Mindy and Lisa what he said the specials were and I explained why I missed it. I couldn’t get beyond his lips. (Can I blame it on the Spring air?) When he came back, Mindy was biting her lip to not laugh at what I had said. It basically ended up being a lunch of really good food that included two baskets of chips, a big bowl of guacamole, and our individual lunch entrees on top of that, and us laughing our….heads off. You know I want to say asses, but I am a lady!
Laughter is so the best medicine, but when and if that fails it appears yoga is next! I went to a restorative yoga class at the Wellness Center. It is now called Cancer Community or something like that! It was so wonderful! I felt so restored.
There is a wonderful woman in my building named Phyllis and we met in the laundry room years ago. I asked where she was from and she told me Australia. I told her I had lots of Aussies friends. She asked if I had ever been and I said yes. I asked where she lived. She said Tasmania and I am sure you have never been! I proudly said, Oh yes, I have!!! She was so shocked and so thrilled. I told her about my adventures in Tassie and the wonderful people I met there named Maree and Murray and I stayed in their home and they had friends visiting from Perth named Tom and Sandra and we all still keep in touch! Love the Aussies! Here is a pic of Tassie for you….
Here is a pic of my Tassie & Perth friends:
Well, Phyllis has been trying to play matchmaker with one of her son’s and I, but it is just not going to work. I think dating someone in the building or that comes to the building is kinda like that expression, “Don’t eat where you shit!” Her daughter Laura married an adorable former Olympic skier from New Zealand, and they live in Monterey, CA. Beautiful husband, beautiful kids, beautiful town, great job, and Laura gets breast cancer. So wrong!!!! She was just here visiting and my friend Stephen arranged for us all to go to lunch together. Laura and I sat in the backseat on the way to the Club gabbing about chemo, losing our hair, foods to eat, foods to stay away from and how tired one gets. She had on a killer wig and looked fabulous and she was in such great spirits. I am so glad we were able to talk.
She invited me up for Mexican Dominoes and I went. It ended up being Phyllis’s 4 kids, 3 spouses, and a grandchild. I went up for an hour to visit and got sucked into this game and three hours later, I was still there, still losing. Counting the domino dots with my fingers and felt slow as molasses. Phil has a fun family. I had a ball. So much so that I called to say bye to Laura before she left and they said come on up, and I was there for hours again playing this game that I can’t win!
Look at all the dots to count!!!!
My friend the sculptor invited me to see his studio on a Saturday when people can tour the artist studios. Pendleton has such wonderful spaces. He is so talented. On my way in, a man named Vince Gray who does pointillism and I kept getting lost together and finally we introduced ourselves to each other and talked. He told me he just sold his first painting for $1500. I congratulated him. He was so excited and proud and should be. Here is a guy that delivers FedEx packages in the day and does his art at night. That is passion and dedication. He invited me to a show in Evendale on May 2nd. I may go! You should too! But first go see my friend, Bill’s work. It is knock your socks off good. He is so talented. I don’t have permission to put a pic here or use his name. That would be impolite. I just emailed him and asked if I can use his name and he said yes. Yippee! Okay, go google: BILL FEINBERG SCULPTURE.
Well, I told you about my friends Jack and Edie that lived upstairs and Edie sadly passed away. Well, Jack keeps kosher and so what do you get someone who keeps kosher. BAGELS! I brought back a dozen from New York and was impatiently waiting for Jack to organize our bagel party. He was so excited! He bought lox, he bought pickled herring, which sounded and looked awful, but wasn’t so bad. I had to taste it. He wanted to wait for his daughter to visit. He set up the place with help from daughter Wendy, who is such a nice and cool person. He asked me to come up and see the place and what he did for the party and make sure I had the bagels and that they were defrosted.
This is where I got the bagels in NY. I got them from Bob’s on University near NYU.
Sunday at 1pm, minus Kate and Lynn, the out of towners were the group that was there for Edie’s last party. Viv, Shirley, Kitty, Wendy, Jack and I and we ate like kings! And he was happy! I asked if we should do this once a month and he said, “No too much, but maybe every 6 months!” He misses Edie so much! That kind of love is so rare and wonderful. If you find it, hold onto it forever!
When I was in high school, my friends and I were out in a town called Indian Hill driving in my mom’s convertible and looking for a party. We somehow ended up in the parking lot of the Little Red Schoolhouse talking to another equally large convertible full of boys. One was a guy named Jason, who I had a crush on, crush ended, that was it, but about six years later I was asked to be a date to attend his wedding to a gal named Shannon. My date and I arrived late, I barely remember it. I just remember that Chapel at Summit being beautiful!! Now, fast forward another twenty plus years. I am in the waiting room for my lumpectomy with my boyfriend, who was my date to that wedding (of Jason & Shannon) and I didn’t like him very much back then, but I was gaga over him 20 + years later. Who is sitting in the waiting room with her mother but Shannon, who I have not seen since her wedding. I’m telling ya, Cincy is so small in so many ways! We talk. We emailed a couple times after, and I don’t see the bride aka Shannon because we just don’t bump into one another. (Some times the city can be big too!) The other day, she sends me the sweetest message through Facebook. I was so touched by it. Thank you SOOO MUCH, Shannon! I loved your note and it meant the world to me!!! She saw my blog on Facebook and she read it and has been reading it since and wanted to write and tell me that and that I seemed so relatable. I relish being relatable!!!! (Even thought I am not sure how to spell it.) Mostly, because I had an icky stepdad that taught me you should always make it clear that you are better than others, and a father who said you talk to the sweep cleaner the exact same way you talk to a federal judge. I ALWAYS knew my dad was right and I have always gone out of my way to make people feel comfortable around me and with me, none of this you are in a different socio-economic level than me and I want you to know it crap! So, when Shannon said relatable, I thought someone who barely knows me, sees that and she made my day! MADE MY DAY! WEEK! MONTH! YEAR! I wrote her back and told her so and now all you blog readers, her included, will see it. Sadly, she will see I had a crush on her hubby when I was 16, and hopefully she will laugh. But the book sales are slow and I was wondering if I really have what it takes to be a great writer, and maybe it is just a hobby and then I get this awesome boost from Shannon who I haven’t seen in almost four years and it just made me smile from ear to ear!
So, the moral of the story is….you never know how your words will impact someone and how a small gesture can mean the world to another person. So, to Shannon, thank you!!! And to everyone reading this…if you see someone doing something you think is great, tell them, you may change a life or a person’s path or course….how cool is that…it is like that X-mas movie “It’s A Wonderful Life!”
So, I am a hopeless romantic. I could deny it, but I would be lying. I told you about my dear friend Betty dying and her love letters with her hubby, and a soldier before him, so when I was asked to be friends with a soldier in Iraq via Facebook. I said yes. I usually only accept friend requests from friends, but I took it as an omen. And what a great story it would have made. HOWEVER, he was getting ready to retire and he was looking for a wife, and maybe kids and it was too much, too fast, and really not where I am right now. I will meet someone au naturel. Bump into him on the street, doing a volunteer job, or in the grocery when we are both testing melons, or I am so hung up on the nursing home thing( you know I am convinced about me and the 80 yr. old toothless man, when I am 80)….and if I don’t…that is okay too, because I have great friends.
Until we meet again…
Enjoy! Eat, travel, laugh…often….
p.s. I know not as many food pics…I will try to get better. I keep eating it before I remember to take a picture of it. Whoopsy!