Welcome to my world! I always thought it would be fun to be the ruler of my own place, and now I can be! I see it as an island within a big city full of life, culture and lots of laughter. Consider yourself a citizen.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007


I'm a Simpson! And you can be too at Simpsonize Me!.

Just upload your picture and check off a few options and your heading to Springfield!

Monday, July 30, 2007

Kayaking? ME!

That's right! I said it and I did it. It was, as I have mentioned before, the one NON-NEGOTIABLE thing I was to do while visiting Ohio! Dave Grager, bottom photo, thought he was going to have to rescue me, but alas, it never happened. Instead, he took me on my first kayaking journey on Newport Lake in Mill Creek Park in Youngstown, Ohio.

We did all the requisite skills on a kayaking trip. We rowed, we got out and I had to get in while the boat was floating, and we even had to portage the boat through some shallows!

Friday, July 27, 2007


Uli Westphal is a photographer from Berlin who has found beauty in a collection of, well, deformed, fruits and vegetables he has come across in Berlin's Super- and Farmers Markets. Mutatoproject serves to document and archive these survivors of biological variety.

See more of his work here at the Mutatoe Collection.

Thursday, July 26, 2007


I shared with you news of my biopsy on July 11, and today was the surgery from that biopsy. Actually it was an excision of a left-side supraclavicular mass. I had a cyst-like lump towards the base of my neck.

I was at the hospital at 5:30 AM, for those of you who know me, I aint a morning person! Was wheeled into surgery about 7:30 and woke up at 8:45. THAT was weird. I remember taking two maybe three breaths of the anaesthesia and then nothing. It could have been a minute later when I woke up.

I was home with my little bottle of pills for pain by 11. I finally took one at 3:00.

I am sore, sleepy and thankful all went well.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

15 minutes and then some

The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh is a must see for any fan of art…that's everybody!

We saw a great show that included the work of Keith Haring. But the museum itself is pretty damn cool. Many of Warhol's best are there. The time capsules are crazy! Displays with his Reeboks, classic striped boat shirt, skinny jeans and wigs, screenings of his movies and artifacts of the Factory fill 7 floors.

The best was getting immersed within the Floating Silver Pillows/Clouds (photo mine; video from youtube and I have no idea who those people are).

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Tuesday, July 24, 2007


Frank Lloyd Wright's architectural masterpiece is found in Mill Run, PA, in the Laruel Highlands of the Allegheny Mountains, about two and a half hours southeast from Youngstown, OH. It was budgeted at $5,000, that's a lot of 1932 dollars. The final cost, like many of Wright's buidlings, was over budget at $125,000!

I have seen pictures of it, television shows about it, but until you actually walk through it, you have no idea how truly amazing it is. The rooms are smaller than I had thought, but welcoming, full of custom built furnishings and details only Wright would think of like a desk with a notch in it so a window can swing open; corner windows that both swing out to reveal a cornerless unobstructed view, a natural stone fountain that runs into the building and then down a slight opening left for just that purpose!

I never knew there was a guest house! There is! And to get there you walk under a single side supported "awning" made from folded concrete. As Elise, our tour guide explained, folded concrete is actually stronger than slab. How you ask? Well think about it like this analogy, as Elise explained. A plain old potatoe chip when used for dip often breaks, it has no structural integrity. But when you use a Ruffle, essentially a plain chip with lots of little folds, it becomes quite strong! Yeah it does!

The photo above, I actually took. I am quite certain everyone has this photo. It is THE view, shown whenever someone speaks of Fallingwater, a visit to the gift shop proves that! There is even a path that takes you down to it so you can get the money shot of Fallingwater, a must see.

Monday, July 23, 2007

4our Days in Ohio

The top 10 reasons my trip to Ohio this past weekend was so freakin' great! Many of these will be posts in the coming days.

10 - Checking another state of my map - never been to Ohio and spent at least one night, and stimulated the economy!

9 - Handel's Ice Cream - With flavors like grape, cotton candy and cake batter, who couldn't love it?! I had their most popular, or so I am told, Chocolate Pecan. WHOLE pecans in really creamy ice cream on a sugar cone. . ..mmm!

8 - Panini sandwich - In Clevland we had a sandwich that was like no other I have ever had! It had cole slaw, nice and peppery AND french fries ON THE SANDWICH. You just have to try it.

7 - Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh

6 - The Rock N' Roll Hall of Fame. . .CLEVELAND ROCKS!

5 - Fallingwater - See Frank Lloyd Wright's masterpiece in Mill Run, PA!

4 - Pie - I love me some pie! And Grandma's home-made pies were quite the treat! Peach on Saturday and blackberry on Sunday!

3 - Cabbage Rolls - Colleen Grager's to be exact! YUM!

2 - Kayaking - Right! I kayaked. It was a non-negotiable item of the trip. Dave just may not have talked to me again had I not kayaked. Was great fun!

and the number 1 thing that made my recent trip to Ohio so great. . .

1 - Seeing best friends and meeting their whole family, even Evan, at their home!

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Thursday, July 19, 2007


In just a couple days the mystery will be solved! Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows will be in all the bookstores.

Interesting though, the book cover from the UK is quite different than the series done for the US.

Mary GrandPré, the illustrator for the Harry Potter books here in the US, has been drawing since she was five years old. She went through a Salvador Dali stage when she was ten or twelve and later graduated to copying black-and-white photos out of the encyclopedia. However, she really grew into her own while attending art school in her mid-20s. There, she developed her love of pastels and "soft geometry."

There have been several people working on the covers done in the UK. There are actually children's versions and adult versions. Jason Cockcroft illustrated the non-scholastic edition cover for Half-Blood Prince, and I believe he has done Deathly Hallows as well. Michael Wildsmith took the cover photo for the adult edition.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

A little greener

I am by far a tree hugger, but I am getting a little greener. Frequent readers here know I am making the switch to compact fluorescent bulbs. I am also recycling more. Weird how little actual trash I have when you start being aware of your recyclables!

I just read that if every American using an ATM did NOT request a receipt, it would save a roll of paper more than two billion feet long, enough to circle the equator 15 times.

I have seen some reciptes. Imagine how much would be saved if the receipts were just a bit smaller!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Ew! Snails!

But if you call them escargot. . .

Alright, I'll admit, snails have never been on my list of things to try. But I first did at a rather nice restaurant four or five years ago. It was a 7 course fixed menu, one of the courses. . . escargot. Thankfully, the little critters were plucked from their shells and served in a rather nice sauce. I cannot remember what kind, but remember it was really nice.

Fast forward to Tuesday night. I am treated to a bounty of culinary treats as one of my newest clients is a soon to be opened restaurant called asparagus. One of the appetizers I was served was their version of escargot (shown above). Three words. . . A-MA-ZING! I dove right in and served one up on a garlic toast piece and savored the delicacy. The sauce was amazing, sweet and spicy.

Tammy Pham is the chef at Siam Marina with two locations in Calumet City, IL. This dish is baked snails in a special Thai spicy sauce and served with homemade garlic bread. So humbly named for such a truly delectable treat.

Asparagus should be a real treat too. I saw it Tuesday evening and it is a beautiful, warm setting in Merrilville, IN. If ever in the area, you must stop by and make sure you try the escargot (they say it will be on the menu at the new restaurant).


Thursday, July 12, 2007

Another look inside. . .ME!

These ARE my teeth, all of them! I went to the dentist, after 20+ years. Hey, if it aint broke. . .

I figured I had two cavities, one lower left and one upper right, the worse of the two. Well after a complete set of xrays, some poking and prodding including measuring my gums the verdict is in. My roots are very nice he said. Long and strong. Nice that they are all my teeth too he said.

I have one bad cavity, the lower left?! I was shocked as that one doesn't hurt. He said yes, there is a small one in the upper right tooth as well. And he feels two other minor ones starting.

But the really fun part is that I need a deep cleaning. No surprise. But what is a deep cleaning you ask? It requires anaesthesia! They say usually just a topical, but they will what my tolerance is. A deep cleaning is a scaling and root planing. Lots of intensive scraping very old tartar that is built up. It will take place over two appointments a week apart. One half of me mouth one week, let that heal and then back at it again the following week.

When this is done they say I get to be on a regular schedule for visits and cleanings!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


image not my actual ultrasound

I have a lump on the left side of my neck. My doctor during my annual physical said we should have it looked at. Most likely just a lymph node, which should be removed if it is a problem. Okay.

Off to a surgeon I go to see what this is. He ultrasounded it and I got to watch. I saw my wind pipe, my thyroid, which looks just fine thank you, and then over to the side I saw my carotid artery, thick and healthy. Then cruising to the left we saw the offender. He said it looks like a cyst. Might be a lymph node. He is pretty sure it is not cancerous. He decided to take a needle biopsy. Stabbed in the neck not once, but twice (anaesthesia and then the needle biospy. OUCH!

I asked if it matters, cyst or lymph node, and if it should be removed. He said it should. Then why the biopsy? Let's remove it and then see what it is. He says let's see what it is and then remove it. Fine.

Test results should be back Thursday.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Things aint what they seem.

This strange little house appears to be three dimensional. Even up close. And when you walk by it and around it, it still appears as though it is three dimensional. Perhaps the illusion is reinforced by the hill it sits upon or the tree nearby.

I do not know who the artist is, but it is really quite a charming little environment. It is outside the Richard Meier designed High Art Museum in Atlanta.

Monday, July 02, 2007


I am quite excited about going to Ohio! That's right, O-HI-O!

Going to visit one of my best of grad school mates Señor Dave Grager in sleepy little Y-Town, Youngstown, July 19 - 23!

Some random facts about our 17th state:
The first ambulance service was established in Cincinnati in 1865.

Cleveland boasts America's first traffic light. It began on Aug. 5, 1914.

Ermal Fraze invented the pop-top can in Kettering.

James J. Ritty, of Dayton, invented the cash register in 1879 to stop his patrons from pilfering house profits.

"Hang On Sloopy" is the official state rock song.

Cincinnati Reds were the first professional baseball team.

Akron was the first city to use police cars.

Cincinnati had the first professional city fire department.

Akron is the rubber capital of the world.

Ohio senator John Glenn became the oldest man to venture into outer space.

Cleveland is home to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The popular television sit-com, "The Drew Cary Show" is set in Cleveland.

Seven United States presidents were born in Ohio. They are: Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, James A. Garfield, Benjamin Harrison, William McKinley, William H. Taft, and Warren G. Harding.

Ohio gave America its first hot dog in 1900. Harry M. Stevens created the popular dining dog.

Ohio became the 17th state on March 1, 1803.

East 105th Street and Euclid Avenue in Cleveland was the site of the first pedestrian button for the control of a traffic light.

50% of the United States population lives within a 500 mile radius of Columbus.

Ohio's state flag is a pennant design. It is the only state flag of that design in the United States.

Cleveland became the world's first city to be lighted electrically in 1879.

W.F. Semple of Mount Vernon patented chewing gum in 1869.

Jesse Owens grew up in Cleveland. He won four gold medals in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin.

Okay, that was a few more than a few!