Wednesday, August 27, 2014

11th Wedding Anniversary

August 30 was a Saturday 11 years ago, too -- the Saturday that Paul and I got married.

Eleven years would have seemed like a lifetime back in 2003, and it feels like I've lived at least three different lives since we tied the knot. But hopefully I'm like a cat and have a few to spare.

I'm not going to lie and say I don't feel older. I feel older, I look older, I act older ... I hope. But I'm even happier now that I was 11 years ago, and that's what counts. Happy anniversary, Paul.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Edith at 21 Months

How can it be that my baby turns two in three short months? Nevertheless, it is so. Here's my toddler last Thursday, on a rainy summer day.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

One Year in Our "New" Home

We've had a permanent address in Ohio for a year now -- we closed on our current home a year ago today and moved in a year ago tomorrow, a month to the day that we moved back from New York.

I love the house now just as much as I did then. Of course, it's not all sunshine and rainbows. I really wish the upstairs floors didn't creak so much. On nice days I sure want the painted-shut windows to open. The stairs to the basement are much too steep. But these are small potatoes in the grand scheme of things. I'm happy with the biggest purchase we've ever made.

Of course, I've had a few what-ifs. Not only "what if we would have stayed in New York?" but "what if we would have pulled the trigger on the house in Upper Arlington?" We came close to making an offer two or three months before we saw our current house, but we decided against it. No regrets. I love our house, our street, our neighbors, our location.

It didn't take long for this place to feel like home, and I know more neighbors here that I ever have in any other house before. Here's hoping that it's more than a lucky start -- that's it's the first year of many more happy ones to come.

Monday, August 18, 2014

A Quick Walk Through Dumbo

You can't really call the Dumbo neighborhood of Brooklyn up-and-coming anymore. I'm not even sure it's the next new thing. Maybe it was the last new thing.

Even though it's been on everyone's radar for quite a few years, I was rarely there. It's not well-served by the subway system, so it's rather inconvenient to get to. When we lived in New York, I was in Dumbo for a wedding reception and ... well, I think that's it.

But when we were in New York in June, we happened to walk through the neighborhood in order to get to Jane's Carousel. The quaint streets and interesting views under the Manhattan Bridge made me wish I would have explored Dumbo more thoroughly. Next time.

View of the carousel.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

A Quest for Sesame Pancakes & Jallab Juice

One of the biggest things I miss about New York is the food. New York has both quality and quantity -- really, really good food at many, many places. Columbus, too, has great food, but it's just not on every street corner (although it's coming closer, which is perhaps a post for another time).

But there are two foods in particular that I'm missing right now: one that I enjoyed the last couple of years of our time living in New York, and one that I was just introduced to on our trip back in June.

First, the old: a sesame pancake with vegetables from Vanessa's Dumpling House. As I wrote after trying this for the first time in 2011: "The pancake was really more of a sandwich in the shape of a pizza slice, filled with cilantro along with julienned carrots and cucumbers. So delicious, and really a meal by itself."

The bread is nicely crisped, and the seeds and whatever oil and/or spices they use give it a unique flavor. I made it my meal regularly -- and twice in June. It's only about a $1.50, but I would gladly pay more.

And the new: jallab juice, purchased at an old favorite. One of our last stops in Bay Ridge in June was Al Safa, the restaurant just across the street from where we used to live. It was our last morning in Brooklyn, so I splurged and ordered a glass of jallab juice: a mixture of rose water and date juice. Just sweet enough, deliciously refreshing and a wonderful complement to a crispy zaatar pie.

Now, to find these in Columbus. Help!

Monday, August 11, 2014

"Sunday Afternoon" in Columbus' Topiary Garden

I've lived in Columbus a total of nine years, but it was only last month that I finally visited the city's well-known topiary garden. The garden, a recreation of Georges Seurat's famous painting "Sunday Afternoon on the Isle of La Grand Jatte," is located at the Old Deaf School Park downtown.

That's one thing that I got wrong all these years. I thought it was near the current deaf school, which isn't all that far from where we live here in Clintonville. But the old deaf school, which was in operation from the 1890s until 1953 (according to the self-guided tour paper I picked up at the park), is located behind the main library and just a short walk from the city skyscrapers.

The topiary garden has been there more than 20 years and sits on a seven-acre park with more than 200 trees. Climb the small hill in front of the topiary and stand off to the side of a relief of Seurat's painting, and you can clearly see how it took the form of trees. Even a pond is included, said to represent the River Seine.

Edith and I visited the garden on my birthday in mid-July, and it was a lovely way to spend a perfect summer morning. Next time, I'll bring lunch.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

We Move Out, Robicelli's & Lock Yard Move In

I was upset when two new storefronts opened in Bay Ridge just months after we left our old Brooklyn apartment for Ohio. Mainly because I wasn't there to welcome them and patronize them often, both being less than a mile away from where we used to live. Luckily we visited both on our return trip to New York in June.

The first: Robicelli's. This husband-wife team opened a gourmet market in Bay Ridge not long after we moved there -- in fact, Paul won second place in a sandwich contest there. But they later closed to focus on their booming cupcake business, delivering to stores around the city. Now they have a Bay Ridge storefront again, this time focusing on their baked goods.

And they are delicious. The chocolate cream pie justified all the raves I had read about it, and the biscuits were amazing. The one thing I didn't try on this trip -- the cupcakes. But I've had them before, and they live up to the hype. I did get my Robicelli's cupcake cookbook signed, though.

The second: Lock Yard. Not far from Robicelli's is this beer garden, a real beer garden with a large outdoor space (by Brooklyn standards, anyway). I don't know what's best: the beer selection, the sweet potato tater tots or the fact that it's kid-friendly, at least during the day. Parents actually have meet-ups there with the kiddos.

I'm sorry I'm not in Brooklyn to spend all of my money at these two places. But as I type that, maybe that's a good reason to be glad I don't live down the street. Either way, they'll be part of our regular rotation on our return trips to Bay Ridge.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Springtime in the Park of Roses

A major perk of our location in the Clintonville neighborhood of Columbus is our proximity to the city's well-known Park of Roses. We can walk to it.

It's obvious how the park got its name. In the spring the park fills with buds, making for a beautiful walk. The park is always pleasant, but in the springtime it's spectacular. Here's what it looked like earlier this year.


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