Monday, May 28, 2012

Jim Marine pic 1

Jim Marine pic 1, originally uploaded by authorwannabe.


Monday, May 21, 2012

Quote of the Week

(excerpt from a conversation between my 11 yr old niece and I when I asked her about why she checked out a certain book from the library) me: "You know you can get a free download of Pride and Prejudice." her: "I can also get it free from the library." Maybe you had to be there...

Thursday, May 10, 2012


Mom, originally uploaded by authorwannabe.

Happy Mother's Day Mom!!!

Friday, May 4, 2012

May 4 Memorial

May 4 Memorial, originally uploaded by authorwannabe.

42 years ago today...

Friday, March 30, 2012

Australia postcard

Australia postcard, originally uploaded by authorwannabe.

Off to Oz now! See everyone in 3 weeks!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Cindy at Corn Rows

Cindy at Corn Rows, originally uploaded by authorwannabe.

Best Things in and around Columbus

The Krema Nut Company - they have the absolute best peanut butter and jelly sandwiches around! I also sampled some of their candy, and that was tasty as well. Purchased, but haven't yet tried the peanut butter ice cream, but I have high hopes.

Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams - Where else can you enjoy quirky flavors like Queen City Cayenne or Wildberry Lavender? Of course they always allow you to sample them before committing yourself to a whole scoop, but I've rarely ever been disappointed. I even bought half a dozen pints to share at Christmas. Polished off the final one last week!

Matt the Miller Tavern - Having been there for two different meals, I can tell you that both their Sunday brunch and their regular dinner choices, as well as their wine selection are top notch, not to mention the friendly service. Our waiter even remembered us, though it had only been a couple weeks since our last visit. A bit awkward to get to being so well-hidden off Perimeter Loop in Dublin, but once you find the secret way in and out, you're good to go!

The Corn Rows and Chief Leatherlips - you've got to love Ohio oddities, and we have two of the best, both of which you can enjoy a picnic and sometimes a live concert nearby.

WOSU & WCBE - Some cities are lucky enough to have just one public radio station, but Columbus is blessed with three - 89.7 News, Classical 101 (both WOSU), and 90.5 (WCBE). Of course there is some overlap with the same programs being aired on different stations at different times (over saturation), but that's okay if you miss it the first time around. I am especially grateful we have Classical 101 to satisfy those of us who prefer music only to news and other programs sometimes.

The Columbus Metropolitan Library and all its branches - I'm not sure how many volumes the system owns as a whole, but it's got to be close to a million. I've rarely (except some foreign titles) been unable to find a book I'm after, which saves me lots of $$$ being able to borrow it. Too bad they can't afford more digital licenses so there's not such a long wait to borrow the digital version of a book. That may come with time I suppose...

Sophie Ryder's Dancing Hares and the Splash Park in Dublin. Kids and adults alike can have hours of fun examining all the various objects embedded in the over-sized sculptures. Can't beat ducking in and out of the fountains during the summer - free fun for the whole family, and several covered tables to eat your lunch at while the kids play or you read a book on your lunch hour away from work.

Franklin Park Conservatory - This beautiful oasis, enhanced even more with the addition of all the fabulous Chihuly glass, is first class and right up there with the conservatory in Pittsburgh, Washington D.C. and several others I've visited around the world. Nature lovers, gardeners, photographers and the like will all find something worthy of appreciation in this little slice of paradise. Their cafe and adjoining gift shop are also worth visiting.

Columbus Topiary Park - I've never seen anything quite like this (with the exception of Disney properties), and it's fun to visit during any season. Having lived in Columbus for several years now and having visited multiple times, I am enjoying seeing the foliage fill in around their metal frames little by little. For those who don't know, all the topiaries are arranged to depict George Seurat’s painting A Sunday Afternoon on the Isle of La Grande Jatte.

The outdoor summer concert series on the lawn of the Chemical Abstracts property. I've only ever attended one concert, but thoroughly enjoyed it (except for feeling like I had to burst on the way home). The sound system was good and I appreciated the fact that they have screens so you can see the performers on that even if you can't actually see the stage. I also like how you can bring food and drinks onto the property. Nothing better than a picnic under the stars while enjoying a little music!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Well, it's that time of year again. The one day a year when all things green doesn't refer to environmentally friendly. Even though you don't need to be Irish to celebrate, I'm always envious of those who are, whether they're Irish American or actual Irish born. This is their day. They can celebrate with reckless abandon - the rest of us be damned.

It's funny how in America a lot of people assume those with ginger (red) hair are Irish. I've been to Ireland. Not a single one has hair that color, at least not naturally. In fact, the real Irish people are mostly brunettes.

Ireland isn't called the Emerald Isle for nothing. It's green because it rains there a lot. I think it rained every single day I was there (18 yrs ago), but it didn't rain all day every day. In fact, I even remember the sun coming out sometimes.

Still, it's a beautiful, peaceful country, and you won't find friendlier people anywhere. My pen pal, whom I met when I visited, is one of such people, as were his parents who were surprised and proud of me (I think) that I was traveling alone (24 and just out of college). Even though the signs were in English and Gaelic, it wasn't too difficult to find your way around. Plus, I had everything planned out well in advance, so I was leaving very little to chance.

Besides meeting my pen pal and going out with him, a few other memories come to mind - like seeing the cottage where J. Bruce Ismay (the owner of the Titanic) supposedly lived out his last days; having the best meatloaf dinner in a pub with boiled potatoes and carrots. I was so cold and hungry that it really hit the spot. Too bad Ireland lost their World Cup match that evening. I remember spending several days in Connemara. As it was kind of wet and cold, I wasn't very motivated to do much, so spent most of my time hanging out at the youth hostel with the other 'yanks,' including one who had gotten a job there apparently. I met a lot of nice travelers including a nice Australian girl (who was bumming around for about 9 mos I think) and a trio of German girls who followed me from town to town. Not so sure it was friendship as much as a translator they were looking for.

Back to 2012...

Tonight while listening to the Pogues, I made Guiness bread using a dry packet mixture purchased at World Market. I wore a green shirt today and may or may not wear it again tomorrow. Not planning on going downtown for the parade. I'm not much for crowds and parades that may or may not be lame (like most of the small town ones I've attended). I'm also getting my hair colored tomorrow, but think I'll stick with my traditional brown and skip the green streaks.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close poster

March 12, 2012

Today is a rather grim anniversary for many. Not only is it the one year anniversary of the tsunami that wiped out quite a lot of Japan, but it is 10 ½ years since the terrorist acts of September 11, 2001.

With the beautiful warm and sunny weather we're experiencing today (at least in Central Ohio) it's rather difficult (at least for those of us who didn't lose anyone in either tragedy) to feel the sorrow that so many are probably experiencing.

On Friday evening while doing a bit of channel surfing I came across a documentary on National Geographic showing actual footage of the tsunami – both before and after. Having seen video of the tsunami which hit Thailand and other nearby countries, I thought I'd know what to expect, but it still took me very much by surprise. I had always assumed a tsunami was a tall wave with a curl surfers only dream about (much like in the famous Japanese painting). However, the wave doesn't have to be tall to be destructive. It's the speed of the tide as much as anything. It didn't seem like the Japanese had much warning, which may explain why there's still 20,000+ people missing today.

Today my husband showed me a video which demonstrates all the seismic activity in Japan last year continuing to present day I think. Each earthquake is illustrated by a round blip ranging in size depending on the magnitude of the quake. Although the seismic activity was always high, it's only as it gets closer to March 11 that the blips suddenly start hitting the screen with a frenzy not unlike that of paintballs hitting an ill-fated victim out on the field. This continues for several months before finally tapering off.

Going back to the anniversary of September 11, I didn't do anything on the 10th anniversary as it fell on a weekend, and I don't think the weather was very agreeable then. The town where I live, Hilliard, had a special dedication ceremony in their newly created First Responders Park, which contains a flag pole and several pieces of the World Trade Center. I'm not aware there were actually any victims from Hilliard, but the mayor always has to try and top everyone else, so this is where our tax dollars go.

On the actual day it happened, 10½ years ago, like most people, I was at work, but had just come back from lunch about an hour or so before (living in England, we were on GMT) it happened. My office mate and I were alerted to the events by a co-worker whose wife caught them live on television. We were fed several e-mails in rapid succession, and I'm sure there was some discussion about it, but basically we continued working and then went home at our normal time. Of course I turned on the telly, which is when I saw the true extent of the damage. It was only when I saw images of people jumping from the towers that I broke down and cried. I remember later talking to my parents about it. My mother was so distressed that she accidentally backed into someone's car in the parking lot where she works (but no major damage done). I probably talked to my in-laws that night too, and maybe my uncle in California too. I can't remember. My husband was supposed to have some sort of a work do that evening, but it was cancelled in light of the day's events. The most touching event came at the end of the week when my company (the dozen or so of us) went upstairs to the library/conference room for the 2 minutes of silence being observed country-wide. I was a little teary-eyed by the sympathy my co-workers showed for me that week, an act of solidarity I will never forget.

The day of the tsunami, last year, I heard about it over breakfast while listening to NPR. When I got to work I saw some videos online, and just kept checking back periodically to see the extent of the destruction. Later my husband and I made a donation to the American Red Cross and I bought a t-shirt for charity with a picture of Japan on it with the date and a red circle where the epicenter was.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Davy Jones & Maureen McCormick

If Bad Things Come in 3's....

then I've had my trio for the week.

On Monday afternoon, upon scanning the news headlines after lunch I was astonished to see report of a student in Chardon (about 30 miles away from my hometown) opening fire on his fellow students in a high school cafeteria. In total, there are five victims, 3 dead, 1 just released from the hospital, and another still in serious condition. The student who fired the shots is being held in a juvenile facility, but will likely be tried as an adult, on at least 3 counts of murder (depending on the outcome of the 4th victim).

Although I was shocked and saddened by Columbine and Virginia Tech, it never really hits home until it literally hits home. As the aunt of four nieces and three nephews, two of which attend school probably less than 30 miles from Chardon, and the oldest of which will start high school in the fall, I can't help but fear for their safety every day. The world is a scary place to grow up in these days, and I'm just glad we only had to put up with the occasional bomb scare (like the time where it turned out some of the outdated chemicals in the chem lab were more volatile than the bomb that was never found). My thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of both the victims and the shooter.

One final thought - earlier that same day a co-worker and I were having a conversation about how easy it is to buy guns in Ohio, as opposed to Maryland, where it can take up to a couple months. Maybe Ohio ought to toughen up on their laws a bit more. It should be made as difficult to buy a weapon as it is getting a mortgage for a house, and there should be as much paperwork involved too.

On Tuesday my husband called in sick to work after suffering a mild bout of food poisoning. Okay, so that's not anywhere near as dramatic as Monday's events, but it still counts when it disrupts your life and its routines. He's back at work today, but still feeling a bit rough. I also have a coworker still out sick with some sort of a stomach bug too.

Like on Monday after lunch, I was scanning the news headlines while checking my e-mail and saw a news flash that my favorite Monkee, Davy Jones, who was just 66 (which I realize makes him old enough to be my father), died of a heart attack this morning. Not only had I seen him on the short-lived Monkees TV program, I remember the time he made a guest appearance on "The Brady Bunch." I bet Maureen McCormick is probably more distraught by this news than I am. I also recall a couple guest appearances on "My Two Dads" back in the 80's where he played a friend of Joey (one of the dads). I remember him still looking pretty hot while wearing some sort of a gladiator uniform for one of his concerts. I guess there's no hope for a Monkees reunion now (not that there ever was since Mike Nesmith has completely disassociated himself with the other three after his mother invented White Out of Liquid Paper or whatever).

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Moments in Television this Week

Rarely does anything ever make me laugh out loud, which is why it was so nice when I came across a couple moments in some of my favorite TV programs this week.

In last week's episode of "Modern Family" Hayley and Alex torture their little brother by dressing him up as a girl the family affectionately calls "Betty Lou." If that's not humiliation enough, when his parents come home and see him like that, they immediately whip out their camera phones and Claire, the mother, tells him to smile because she didn't get a very good picture last time. Phil, the father, says something like, "We've missed you Betty Lou." Okay, so maybe this shouldn't be funny, but I think what amused me was the parents' reaction. I pretty much expected them to scold their daughters for what they did, but instead they seemed to appreciate the fact that they managed to get their little brother into a dress and make-up.

The other thing I found funny this week was a scene in the new program called "Are You There, Chelsea?" based on the books by Chelsea Handler. In the episode, Chelsea and her co-worker, Nikki, and Chelsea's roommate, Dee Dee are on a chartered fishing boat with two gay doctors (whom they don't know are gay). Dee Dee, the resident fishing expert, is in a cabin cutting up their haul while chatting with the young and geeky captain. She pulls a fish out of the cooler and sees it's still flopping around a bit, so she gleefully picks up her small wooden club and whacks it up side its head before slapping it down onto the cutting board to cut up. Okay, so physical humor like that where someone or something has to suffer is perhaps a bit juvenile. What's funny about this scene is that Dee Dee is usually a very mild mannered and somewhat naive young woman. To see her inflict violence on anything doesn't really fit with her character.

Not only did my favorite shows amuse me this week, but they moved me almost to tears once too. In this week's episode of "Parenthood," the character of Max Braverman, an 11 year old with Asperger's makes a new friend. Due to his condition, he hasn't had many, or really, any friends for that matter. While sitting out of gym class one day, he starts talking with his classmate, Micah, who has spina bifida and is in a wheelchair. Even though it's a brief conversation while both play with their Nintendo DSLs, they obviously hit it off, because Max spontaneously invites Micah to come over after school. Both sets of parents meet each other. Micah's parents express their gratitude that Max invited him over since Micah hasn't really had a friend before. Though Max's parents don't really make that same admission out loud, we all know that's what they're thinking and are tearfully grateful for the same reason. How could you not be moved by that?

Friday, February 10, 2012

February blahs

Like most people during this time of year, I've got the blahs. The cold, gray, dreary weather, coupled with an unfulfilling full-time (busy on and off) job (I know I shouldn't complain), and a new hobby (tap dancing)* that takes more practice than I had imagined, have left me feeling drained of motivation to do much outside of planting myself on the couch as soon after dinner as possible.

*My friend recently e-mailed me this: "I had the strangest dream about you last night, I dreamt that everything finally clicked with you about tap dancing and you tap danced your way into the office from your car this morning! It was a fun little dream!"

On a brighter note, sticking to my new minimal dessert resolution and not eating hand-outs at work, I have managed to lose my winter weight. Last I checked I was back down to 115 lbs (which, I have decided, is my goal weight to maintain). Hurrah for sticking to resolutions!

Lately everyone (my sister and friend at work) has been telling me about all these good movies they've seen lately. When asked what the last movie I saw at a theatre was, it was (last month) "We Bought a Zoo." I think the last movie I saw with my husband was "The Descendants" the day after Christmas.

Anyone who knows us knows this is most unusual. We used to go to movies practically every weekend - rain or snow or shine. We were the ones who used to brag to everyone else about the latest movie we just saw. I remember berating a co-worker because she usually preferred to just wait for a movie to be released on dvd before going to see it.

So what happened? Movie prices went up; the couch got more comfortable; we got old, tired, and just lazy perhaps. I do, however, hope to get out at least once this weekend since it's the time of year again when The Gateway Cinema near (OSU) campus shows several Oscar nominated shorts programs (animated, documentaries and live action). We may just see the animated ones as I seem to recall finding some of the others rather boring and/or depressing, and sometimes I nodded off (esp. when seeing more than one program in a day).

This weekend a new series of "The Walking Dead" starts, while in a couple weeks "Downton Abbey" ends its run (until autumn), so we'll go from watching a gentile English period soap opera to a blood and guts zombie piece set in the south. Combine the two and you have Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (yes, an actual book - avail. for $10.36 on

We're slowly planning our trip to Australia for next month. Just need to book a couple hotels up in the Cairns region, and then I think the details are all sorted. Part of me is anxious as I feel I desperately need a vacation right now. The other part of me sort of dreads it as I fear all the creepy crawlies that I hear are South American-sized. Of course shaking out your shoes before putting them on is something we had to do out in Arizona (scorpions), so it shouldn't be a big deal. Also, staying with unfamiliar relatives for a week (when a weekend was just long enough for me previously), doesn't thrill me. At least there will be wine...

Friday, January 27, 2012

Russ' Surprise 70th B-day party

held on Boxing Day (12/26) 2011


On Saturday January 28th, my favorite uncle (well truthfully, my only uncle really) turns 70. He's not the first one to reach that milestone in our family. That would be my father-in-law who did it first in 2009. Both look pretty good for their age and are in good health, which I hope I'm blessed with when I'm in my golden years.

When thinking about that whole aging thing, I'm not sure I can picture myself growing old gracefully since my favorite t-shirt says, "Growing old is mandatory, but growing up is optional." Some days the teenager in me has control. Other days it's the old person calling the shots. I doubt I'll be a member of the 'Red Hat' club either, but I like their style.

Anyway, here's to you Russ. Best wishes for many more happy years to come!

Monday, January 23, 2012

3 Horoscopes for the New Year:

Not that I am someone who regularly checks her horoscope (only when I am reading Columbus Alive and The Other Paper), but I thought it would be fun to see what advice they had for me for the new year. By the way, I am a Pisces.

1) Go ahead and make that resolution to live a healthier life. Consider pulling together a few friends or family members and make a date to skate, play ball, or exercise together.

2) One of Alexander the Great's teachers was Aristotle, who was tutored by Plato, who himself learned from Socrates. In 2012, I'd love to see you draw vital information and fresh wisdom from a lineage as impressive as that, Pisces. In my astrological opinion, you need much more than a steady diet of factoids plucked from the Internet and TV. You simply must be hungry for more substantial food for thought than you get from random encounters with unreliable sources. It will be time for you to attend vigorously to the next phase of your life-long education.

3) This weekend you are meant to formulate your dreams for the future. While giving and receiving gifts is lovely, the chance to plant the seed of your ideal life comes only once a year. Santa can bring you a camera, but only you can decide what you want to capture with it. Wednesday is a perfect day for listening to (and singing along with) your heart. Turn off the I-Pod and make your own music.

So, how have I followed their advice so far? Like most other people, I always resolve to eat healthier. As you read in my previous post, I've decided to try not to eat more than a single piece (or two) of chocolate for dessert when I am at home. Otherwise, I find it too easy to open the cupboard and graze on whatever's in front of me, especially later in the week. I am going to exercise more willpower here. I'm not much for team sports, so no plans to do anything physical with the family. However, I did enroll in a Tap Dancing class, in which I share the floor with several other ladies (and one man!). It's a decent enough work out when you're tapping your way across the floor. Not only are the steps harder than they look, it's also difficult at times, to tap hard enough to make a sound. However daunting all this might be, I haven't given up yet, and plan to see it through to the end (by the end of Feb.).

As far as finding someone to further enlighten and educate me, until Oprah agrees to be my own personal guru and spiritual advisor, I'm still on the lookout for that person. In the meantime, I try to listen to my mother and my doctor, and even occasionally my husband : P

My dreams for the future....

To have a big enough house that I either have a walk-in closet, or enough spare rooms to convert one of them.

To publish a book, become rich and famous with no pressure to make every book an instant bestseller, and no pressure to write all the time. Oh, and to also have a Golden Retriever lying at my feet while I write, just like Dean Koontz.

To star in a hit movie - the kind that people will always look back on fondly. I'll be happy knowing I was part of it, and that it will be my legacy.

To be a famous photographer with photographs permanently on display at all the big museums around the world.

Okay, so some of these goals are more attainable than others, but if they were all easy, they wouldn't necessarily be dreams.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

My New Year's Resolutions

1. Watch one old black and white movie per month.
(maybe start with "The Shop Around the Corner" with Jimmy Stewart).

2. Read a book a week.
(I've quite easily accomplished this task for several years running).

3. Try to play disk frisbee at least once.
(before I finally get rid of the frisbees I bought for this).

4. Write in my blog once a week.
(Okay, not making a great start so far, but will strive to be better about this).

5. Get rid of one thing a day.
(pretty easy, but I don't think food and packaging should count).

6. Learn how to actually use my Nook color.
(I'm at least reading a guide book right now).

7. Take up a new hobby - tap dancing.
(I start on Saturday)

8. Restrict my intake of junk food - don't partake of food others bring in, can only have one small sweet (that isn't fruit or vegetable) that is less than 100 calories Sun - Thurs. after dinner. Try not to overdo it on the weekends. Okay, this is fairly detailed, but I am really bad when it comes to eating sweets. I suppose I should also limit my intake of white wine since that's probably a contributing factor as well.

9. Try to go to the gym at least twice a week and then exercise at home at least one other day. (I have paid my gym membership, so hope to start back next week - I already used my stationery bike yesterday).

10. Make at least one new recipe per month.
(to justify all the cookbooks, magazines and recipes I've hoarded over the years).

My favorite two resolutions of Gretchen's are:

Act the way I want to feel, and Lighten up.

I am also going to try and follow Gretchen's advice to tackle big projects by breaking them down into 15 minute increments. I think the first thing on the list will be a photo album I've been putting off creating for several years. I am debating how much effort to put into this or do what Gretchen did - just get it done. It may not be perfect, but it's finished. She's right. If you don't think you'll look at it that often, then how much work should go into it? For me it's more a matter of choosing what pictures (from the hundreds of digital I took, and then of the ones I photoshopped) to put into it that have been my biggest obstacle. Then it will be a matter of remembering what order to put things into.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

new cat pillowcase

new cat pillowcase, originally uploaded by authorwannabe.

This is the front side of the pillowcase, which was made from a tea towel.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Thinking Outside the Box

One of my favorite blogs is called “365 Dresses,” which is where young Marissa of southern California, takes outdated, ugly or damaged items of clothing, and turns them into something chic – usually a dress or top of some sort, but occasionally she'll make accessories. Being young and thin, most everything looks good on her anyway. Also, living in southern California, one of the warmest places in the U.S., certainly affects her style choices (like eliminating sleeves from a lot of the items).

In my own creative way , I've done something similar by transforming objects with one purpose into something completely different.

1) a t-shirt and tea towel into a pillowcase – I decided to make this because the t-shirt was way too big to wear (I already have enough nightshirts), and wanted to preserve the towel from getting too dingy. All I did was cut out the body of the t-shirt so it was more or less rectangular, and then sew it back to back against the tea towel. Someday I hope to learn how to create buttonholes so I can close up the open end.

2) two cloth tote bags into two pillows – Needless to say I have plenty of bags, including totes, so I decided to make them into cushions. First I cut off the handles and removed the pockets, then ripped out the stitching so each was a single square. I then pinned the squares back to back before sewing them on my machine. I think they look pretty good if I do say so myself. My cat particularly likes them too as she sleeps next to them (on an Ikea chair) in our spare bedroom.

3) The pockets I now use to hold spare batteries in my camera case – didn't do anything too them, but someday might stitch the openings to stop the fraying of the material.

4) a Christmas ornament turned into a necklace – It's an ornament in the shape of a martinin glass I believe, which I recently purchased in an after Christmas sale. Although it's a little big, I thought it would still be kind of cute. After trying different chains, I settled on a black shoelace-like string that I probably took off another necklace. Cheap and cheerful jewelry!

5) a couple keychains turned into necklaces – I recall, in the last few years, taking at least a couple of my keychains and putting them on sterling silver chains where they would get more use worn around my neck, than tossed into a box with the rest of my keychain collection. One was a miniature Diana camera I ordered from and the other was a heavy silver keychain with a picture (drawn in black) on it and some words in German below (a souvenir from Austria).