Sunday, April 15, 2018

Cherry Blossoms and a Blue Sky

A few years ago, our neighbors asked if they could plant a cherry tree in our yard where  both families could enjoy it. The fragile sapling is now a fine tree, larger than the Japanese cherries lining the Tidal Basin, bursting with familiar barely-pink blooms. To stand under it and look straight up is to be immersed in the essence of spring: the beauty and vigor of new growth and a blue, blue sky.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Big Letters at the Neon Museum

Where do the old lighted signs go when a casino or motel is torn down? In Las Vegas, the lucky ones end up in the Neon Museum. Sign up for a tour of the Neon Boneyard and you will see everything from a giant four-leaf clover to humble hand-painted motel signs to Liberace's signature in glowing pink neon. During the day, I was struck by the true colors of the signs, the patterns of the light bulbs and the weathered textures. Here you can see layers of less pristine signs behind letters from the old Stardust Casino. At night, masses of glowing bulbs and lines of neon take precedence. Unrestored signs and isolated letters in artistic groupings slowly change color, bathed in spotlights that add a mysterious atmosphere. Learn more about this intriguing museum here:

Sunday, April 1, 2018

March for Our Lives Signs On Display

A friend and I went to the March for Our Lives In Washington. We were two little drops in a sea of of more than 200,000 filling Pennsylvania Avenue. More of a gathering than a march, people of all ages and ethnicities listened politely and respectfully to the consumately articulate teenagers voice their concerns. Homemade signs were plentiful. That afternoon, as the crowd dispersed, people began weaving their signs into the fence surrounding the National Gallery's Sculpture Garden. The impromptu display expressed a variety of fears, frustrations and hopes. It ran for the entire block and turned the corner. Eventually, workers came to clean it up. I am grateful to have experienced this ephemeral and heartfelt art gallery.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Snowy Daffodils

On the second day of spring we awoke to snow-covered lawns and big flakes swirling in the air. Most of the early spring flowers had opened at least a week ago. Now the daffodils and hyacinths hung their heads, struggling under the weight of the snow. It looked as if a pastry chef had swept in overnight and sprinkled our gardens with a heavy coating of sugar. It was magical but also distressing. Across the street lives a stately old magnolia, whose big pink flowers had opened a few days ago. Petals were shriveling and dropping almost as fast as the snowflakes were falling. But the daffodils will be okay.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Evergreen With Spiderweb

I saw the glimmer as I walked past the Christmas-tree-sized spruce that stood near the sidewalk. It was a spiderweb, nestled low among the silvery-green branches. Droplets of rain shimmered and glinted in the breeze. Nature's embellishments are sometimes half-hidden and often fleeting, but that adds to the delight when you discover them.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Flooding Along the Little Miami

When the Ohio River began to flood, the water also flowed out into the tributaries. Even as it all began to recede, there were still long stretches where the trees, normally well away from the banks of the Little Miami River, stood knee-deep in the water. Luckily, houses are not allowed to be built along the flood plain. During dry seasons, this swath of land may seem to be wasted, but in times when the river rises, those trees are a reminder of why we must allow, to some extent, for the natural ebb and flow of a river.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Two Cheese Coneys

The first stop for many returning Cincinnatians is their favorite chili place. Ours is Skyline. Two cheese coneys, no onions, please. Cincinnati is home to a host of chili parlors, all serving a concoction very different from what most of the nation thinks of as chili. Although there are disagreements over who invented it, all the versions have a fine, almost soupy texture and include a hint of cinnamon in the mix of spices. Ideally, the hot dogs are Kahn's and the American-style cheese is shredded and piled on so generously that you can barely see what's under it. A recent foodie trend is for what is sometimes called Ugly Delicious. These messy, aromatic coneys definitely qualify. And what, you may ask, are those oyster crackers for? They are for nibbling on while you wait for the cheese to melt enough for you to be able to pick up the cheese coney, of course.