Memories of the 2009 Presidential Inauguration

dc 001We weren’t able to make it this year, but 4 years ago we attended Barack Obama’s first inauguration in Washington, D.C.  It was very cold, very crowded, and very exciting.  It was fascinating to be a part of the crowd of 2.2 million present that day.   It was pretty chaotic, but in a friendly, happy way rather than in a scary one.  We had tickets to be sort of close to the Capital’s steps, we got there pretty early, and it didn’t matter.  There were simply not enough event staffers to properly direct the massive rivers of people.  Luckily, we didn’t end up trapped in the tunnel like so many others.  And the speakers and jumbotrons sure helped!

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Afterwards, we had a great time taking in all of the interesting Obama-themed stuff street vendors were hawking.  An abundance of t-shirts, to be sure:

dc 158Fist bump?

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Should've read “Time for Change”






Plus all sorts of other items. Some, like coffee mugs, didn’t seem weird.  Others, like hot sauce or bottled water, did.


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While there may not have been the same atmosphere of hysteric, giddy hopefulness at the second inauguration, I’m sad to have missed it.  I hope that moving forward, people and politicians alike can ease up on the extreme I’m-right-you’re-Satan tone that a lot of debate has taken on lately, and instead figure out a way to work together for the betterment of all.  We’ll see.


A Sledding Odyssey

My husband and I took a few days off right after New Year’s Day.  There was still quite a bit of snow on the ground leftover from our Christmas storms, so on one of those days we decided to bust out our sleds and go find a good hill.

Not as easy as it sounds.  Central Ohio is fairly flat.  You kind of have to look around for hills.  But I thought I had the perfect one in mind:  the sledding hill out at Highbanks Metro Park.  Yes, a hill devoted to sledding!  It’s relatively steep, there’s a nice long run at the bottom so you don’t sled out into a road, they have a little hot chocolate shed nearby, they put hay bales around any hazards– it’s a pretty plush setup.  I’ve noticed this sledding hill for years while hiking in the park, but had never tried it before.  Off we went.sledding 005Only to find that the hill was CLOSED!  There was a big stern sign saying the hill was not open to sledders.  We went out several days after the snow fell, and I think all of the previous sledders had packed down the snow on the hill to the point that it was pretty much just a thick sheet of ice.

After a short hike on one of the park’s many trails:sledding 003

we set off to find another sledding option.

This time, we decided to try a hill behind the Groveport Recreation Center.  Not very high or steep, more of a large bump, really.  But again with a nice long open run at the bottom.  No dodging trees or cars!   Unfortunately, not enough other people had attempted to sled that little bunny hill.  The snow wasn’t packed down enough for the runners on our old-school sleds to work.  It was like trying to sled in wet concrete.  No amount of pushing would get the sleds moving.  Utter defeat.

By now we were rabid to sled down a hill, any hill, gosh darn it!  My husband used his phone to try to goggle another likely spot.  And he thought he found something.  Sycamore Park in Pickerington supposedly had sledding.  It was about 45 minutes until sunset.  We decided to try.

sledding 008Victory!!!  The sledding hills at Sycamore Park formed a kind of basin or natural amphitheater.  Some of the hills were higher than others, the snow was perfectly packed, the run at the bottom was long and obstacle-free, and there was even a nice jump on one of the hills.  And since schools were back in session, we had the whole place to ourselves.

sledding 017I even managed to catch some air off the jump a few times, it was great fun!

sledding 014Our old-school, wood-with-metal-runners sleds worked perfectly here.  Nice speed with a good long glide off the bottom of the hills.  We’d picked the 2 of them up for maybe $3.00 at an estate sale a while ago, it was fun to finally put them to use.sledding 018Good stuff!  Our sledding odyssey was totally worth the effort.

An added bonus?  Sycamore Park turned out to be home to the Fairfield County Bicentennial Barn.  Ohio celebrated its statehood bicentennial in 2003.  As part of the festivities, a barn in each of Ohio’s 88 counties was painted with the bicentennial logo.  I’ve seen some, but mostly because, being visible from highways, a few of them are quite easy to view.  It was an unexpected pleasure to bump into this one on our sledding excursion.

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Faux Bois Lamp

Ah, January sales!  Gotta love it when things start getting seriously marked down.  40-75% off the regular price?  Yes, please.  I don’t usually buy new, and buying new at full price?  Atypical.  I can usually wait, do without, or find a comparable used version for less.  There are some stores I don’t even want to step foot in unless I know they’re having major sales.  Anthropologie is high on my list for that category.  The folks at Anthropologie are very clever.  It often feels like they’re marketing right at me.  Only my tastes quite exceed my budget!  But when I saw this cutie marked down 44% on their online store?

013I ventured out to their nearby brick-and-mortar store, hoping it would be there.

You see, I’ve been missing the light from my Christmas tree.  Isn’t it a shame that Christmas happens before January and February?  February can be so grim!  I could really use some twinkling Christmas lights in February.

It’s nice to have a soft light shining out of the dining room when I’m hanging out in my living room at night.  (You can see into the dining room through 2 different doorways from our living room.) But leaving the dining room fully lit doesn’t make sense:  it’s not necessary, it’s not green, it’s not cost-effective.  There’s no point in leaving an empty room blazing with lights when we’re not in there.  But a little light in there is nice.

Basically, I wanted a light fixture that would fall somewhere between being an over-sized night-light and a year-round Christmas tree.  I’m glad I trusted my hunch and purchased this bone china faux bois lamp.  Love the added glow it gives to our cold dark winter nights.  And its kitschy/sculptural good looks when it’s not in use are an added bonus.


Mosaic Menagerie

Ventured out to catch the “Marvelous Menagerie: An Ancient Roman Mosaic From Lod Israel” exhibit at the Columbus Museum of Art before it leaves town.  This large and stunning mosaic was unearthed during a road expansion project in Lod, Israel in 1996.  It is believed to have been created around 300 AD.  It was reburied until funds were secured to properly preserve it, which happened in 2009.  After its U.S. tour (exhibitions at 5 museums), the mosaic will be put on permanent display back in Israel, so I really wanted to make sure I saw it while I could.

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It was wonderful.  And very macho.

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The mosaic teems with all sorts of exotic animals- many of them either being devoured or, conversely, hunting their prey.

CAMmosaic 014I had fun trying to imagine the sort of Ancient Roman semi-psychopathic tycoon who would have commissioned this for the floor of his villa!  (In a very Stewie Griffin-esque voice)  “Yes, well, that’s nice, but how about some more blood, some more images of domination, let’s add some more of that, shall we?”

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“There we are, that’s the stuff.”

All kidding aside, the mosaic was very impressive.  There was so much movement and vitality.  The level of detail was incredible.  And there’s something so tactile about a mosaic, you can’t help but imagine the hands that worked on creating it, the feet that walked across it.  When they were removing the mosaic to preserve it, they found foot and hand prints from the ancient craftsmen who created it in the bedding layer underneath the tesserae.  It didn’t photograph well, but there was a chunk of this bedding stuff with a footprint on it displayed as well.  Shivers.   Just too cool.

Also cool?   I liked seeing all of the different kinds of fishes that were depicted as well as the stylized undulations of the geometric borders.

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CAMmosaic 013To learn more, check here: If you get a chance, I highly recommend stopping by the Columbus Museum of Art to see this treasure.  Hurry, the exhibit ends 1/13/2013!

Holly Hill

Sunny day off, snow on the ground, seemed like the perfect opportunity to visit Dawes Arboretum in order to enjoy it in its winter glory.  Well worth the drive.

018Holly Hill houses a huge collection of hollies.  The berries really pop against the snow.

Dawes 003 Dawes 021 Dawes 028  My eyes get quite hungry for color when I’m outside during the winter, so Holly Hill was particularly rewarding.

Dawes 034 020Things have been unrelentingly gray lately. I really appreciated the seeing the bright blue of the sky today!


If you get a chance to go to Dawes Arboretum in the winter, I highly recommend it!  I’d also recommend parking at the visitor center and hiking back to Holly Hill rather than taking the auto loop.  It was a bit hairy due to the ice on all of the hilly bits.  Our vehicle actually got stuck, but staff very kindly unstuck us with their tractor and a minimum of teasing.