I miss my blog!!
Major updates coming soon -- promise!



"A great flame follows a little spark."


Happy Birthday!

A big happy birthday wish to my friends and colleagues, Byron and Patrick! I hope you have a great day!



I love the Opera. It really suits me ... it's like a play, musical and the symphany all rolled-up into one -- plus I get to interact by reading along -- it really keeps my attention. Not to mention it is soooo over the top! The sets and costumes are always quite extravagant -- this time was no different! JNK and I went to Verdi Giussepi's Aida on Saturday night ... it was spectacular! At times there were 60+ performers on stage, and a parade of animals - no kidding - including a camel and zebra (crazy!) - we really enjoyed it.

Going to the Mountains

JNK set off on a snowboarding trip to Big Sky Montana the week before last ... as I didn't grow up skiing/snowbording, such trips aren't the most appealing to me. JNK had a great time on the big mountains and visiting fellow UK architecture alum Tara in Bozeman.

In the meantime, I found my own way to the mountains, albeit a smaller version (which actually suits my fear of heights much better anyways!). I spent a few days in Asheville and Black Mountain, NC, where I had some performance testing done at Asheville Velosports, moutain biked at experimental-forest Bent Creek (man did I hit the deck hard!), and did 3 fun training rides with teammies! By the end of the weekend, I was very excited for the 2008 race season with my new team and quite ready for a day or two of recovery!


I was fortunate to be able to meet up with my Coach, Jim, to do some training north of Winston-Salem while he was in NC this month to do some training of his own. Timing was fortuitous, as it was also Jim's Birthday. But not only is he my cycling coach, he has been my cooking mentor for quite some time, too ... so it was a pleasure (and challenge!) to make a great birthday dinner (lamb chops, roasted red potatoes, asparagus) in his honor. It was tons of fun to see and hang out with the gang at the farm and get in some great training!

Great Movie

I have really enjoyed some of the Cohen Brother's movies - The Man Who Wasn't There and O' Brother Where Art Thou, in particular. Some, though, like Ladykillers and Intolerable Cruelty didn't really seem to me to show the genius of the Cohen Brothers potential.

If you don't like slow-paced, violent or disturbing movies with anti-climactic endings, you might not like this movie. But the character development and casting is fantastic, and the cinematography is delicious. Favorite scenes of mine were those shot in Llewellen's trailer, through the reflection of the old TV screen.

Still reflecting on the holidays ...

Ok, so I can be a bit slow to get through things this time of year ... blog entries, gift giving, thank-you-note writing, and ... decorating? I didn't get any holiday decorations out this year (that isn't saying much, though, as all that I have fit nicely in a storage chest). But when JNK and I made the obligatory trip to 'off-site' storage (yes, different than the 2 on-site storage units we have) to dig out the Paella cookbook for the Dinner Party, I found my Christmas stash and couldn't help but pull out my favorite Christmas decoration - this great candle. The embossing on the side says:
"Give me something useful like Contentment and wrap it in the comforting Embrace of Family and tie it with a bow woven by Friendship"
Perfect. I've enjoyed burning it ever since - long after most have packed away their holiday cheer. As an aside, I've been enjoying a lot of Mojave 3 lately ... especially the album 'Ask Me Tomorrow'. One of the tracks, 'Candle Song', reminds me of my own Christmas Candle.

I have to give a shout out to my awesome little sis Carrie for her 'gifts that keep on giving' ... my ploy to get her addicted to Starbucks has not only worked, its paying off in spades now that she is a store manager in snowy Erie, PA ... where I have a hunch they sell loads of hot coffee and hot chocolate! This cycling jersey was an fantastic Christmas gift (I love green!) and she recently sent this burr grinder - which, of course, every self-respecting coffee connaisseur uses to grind their beans - and a 1/2 pound of the Starbucks Regalo organic espresso beans. As a long-time fan of Illy, JNK and I were quite impressed with this new bean! I must admit, though, that I'll still resort to the convenience of the Illy pods on weekday mornings when I'm stumbling out of bed and need that quick shot. Yum!



It was a gorgeous 64-degree sunny day here in Charlotte and my first mtb ride since September ... way overdue, by the way - it was so much fun. A few of us from the dinner party group met at Sherman Branch near Mint Hill, NC to ride the trails. It's only on a bike trail that I can think up such quality thoughts as "if single-speed bikes had gears, single-speed riders would definitely ride top-mount-thumb-shifters like these" and actually say that outloud.

One of my favorite things about riding the mtb is that it's OK (almost expected, really) to wear not-so-matchy, not-so-proper cycling gear ... and the more retro the better. Today I pulled out my all-time favorite and first-ever cycling jersey that I bought while working at Bikeworks (Sylvania, OH) in college - I've always loved the colors and it's quite possibly the softest jersey ever. Not sure that it quite qualifies as retro, but it's definitely a blast from my past.

Dinner Party!

It took me less than 2 weeks to put my new Paella pan to use ...

It was great to have Karyn, Ben, Tom, Melinda, Robin, Chris, Chad, Andrea, Jeanie and Arleigh over for a dinner party to help me try out the new pan and toast to a great 2008 ahead.

1st Sale Purchase of 2008 ...

Some things are just meant to be ... I had my eye on these boots at Nordstrom's before Christmas (they are very cool - sporty, yet fancy in that euro-chic sorta way), but they didn't have my size. I did, however, receive a generous Nordstrom's giftcard from Ken B over the holidays and decided to pop-in over lunch to see if my size had surfaced ... and voila! Not only did they have them, but they were also well over 1/2 off ... and only cost me 1/2 my gift card! So I did what any self-respecting seasoned shoe-sale-shopper would do: I ordered a second pair in another color (those who know me well will recognize this as a pathaological shopping pattern of mine ...)

Happy New Years

I had a great New Year's traveling to Charleston, SC with JNK to visit good friend and UK alum Mark (missed you Shannon & Ainsley). It was just my speed to make a nice, healthy dinner for the guys and get to bed at a decent hour! The weather was fabulous - we spent the morning touring and walking along the waterfront.

December 28

A big welcome to Ellie (Eleanor Margaret Knuth) and congratulations to proud parents and Emily and Dennis -- can't wait for a trip to Columbus, OH to see you you guys and meet Ellie soon! Best wishes!

The Delivery

John M is a really fun friend. Great to ride with and talk to -- and is the benefactor of my much adored Assoc Airblock bibtights. About a month ago, he sends this book to the apartment:

As it turned out, John M had test-drove a 911 Turbo and, while still being in love with the '96 911 993, just couldn't get the Turbo off his mind and was feeling compelled to upgrade. The obvious problem for John M was, then, what to do with the normally-aspirated 911? JNK to the rescue. Upon delivery of the Turbo from the Windy City to the Queen City of the Midwest, a blockbuster deal was struck and the Queen City of the South's auto census became +1:

What do I really think about the 911 acquisition? Two things: first, I'm quite glad I learned to drive a car on a manual, and secondly, that's a lot of guilt-free spa treatments!

Christmas! The Recap ... (finally)

The Christmas trip was tons of fun. As previously mentioned, I left from the Queen City of the South (Charlotte) for a short work trip in the Steel City (Pittsburgh), then headed to the Queen City of the Midwest (Cincinnati) for a Fri-Sun visit with Cinci friends. Then, on Sunday, JNK and I headed to the Fountain City (Bryan, OH) for a family holiday party. I was thrilled to make this event, as I was able to see lots of wonderful extended family that I didn't get the chance to see during my Thanksgiving travels. Then it was onward to my parents in the Heart of the Irish Hills (Brooklyn, MI) to celebrate Christmas with my parents and sisters through Christmas Eve. Headed to the Glass City (Toledo, OH) for the fab perennial Christmas Eve party @ Mark+Patty's; then Christmas day OH Turnpike back west to grandma's in Blakeslee, OH for Christmas lunch then hopped back on the Turnpike east to make it to Christmas dinner in Rossford, OH - founded by Edward Ford of the Libbey-Owens-Ford Glass Company (ever see the Laverne & Shirley-type cursive letter 'L' on the bottom of your glasswear?). After days and days and days of great reunions with family, way too many presents and way too much food, JNK and I journeyed back to the Queen City of the Midwest to stay over at our good friends, the Gatch's and have a good bike ride with John G. Then a funny thing happened to keep us in Cinci for a couple of extra days ....


An NKY ride, a 911 test drvie, a new baby and visits with friends

We were apparently successful at bringing some warm SE weather to Cincinnati with us as it was 55 degrees + on Saturday. I was eager to ride with Cinci friend and former training partner Melissa - and it was a great day for long, easy miles. So we met up with a small group of cycling friends at Lunken terminal for a 4.5-hour ride in northern KY. I was assured the ride would be tame enough, as the group was governed by John G on a fixed gear (42x15?). Here's a funny thing that I've noticed about moving away from places and returning to ride: it takes coming back to discover a great new route. We did a new-to-me ride to the Ryland Heights, KY area, including the Lambs Ferry loop - a very cool stair-stepping, switch-backy climb and descent with max grades of about 18%. So good to spend time chatting with Melissa, Drew, John M (thx for gifting to me the Assos tights!) and new-dad Paul. Here's a shot of Melissa and I at about 3hrs - yes, I'm having my second breakfast at that point:
After the ride and a little recovery, we went to John M's for a test drive of his on-the-market 911 (so fun), visited Paul & Peggy with new arrival Katarina (Congrats!), had dinner with Jeff & Kristin and drinks with Jim and Maria - such a fun, full day in Cincinnati.

Onward to the Other Queen City

On Friday, I made the cross-Ohio trip from Pittsburgh to Cincinnati, where I would return the rental car and meet JNK, Bonnie and Tommy for dinner at Ruthai's Thai Kitchen on Mt. Lookout Square - a favorite Cincinnati restaurant within walking distance of 656 Delta. Speaking of, it was bittersweet to drive by the old house - the new owner hasn't bothered to take down the once-lush Boston Ferns hanging on the porch, which is shame since they are now undoubtedly dead.

It was great to catch up with Bonnie and Tommy for dinner, even if sitting tatami-style for the long dinner became a bit uncomfortable -- but I loved the sushi tuna & avocado salad that I have yet to find at any other Thai restaurant. Bonnie, we hope that your family holiday plans come together (better late than never!) and Tommy, we'll keep you posted on the January dinner party in Charlotte!

Pittsburgh, the Steel City

It was a great, successful trip to Pittsburgh. Travel to PA in December can really be a mixed bag weather-wise, but on this trip, it was wonderfully mild. I stayed in Oakland and enjoyed an early morning hike at the nearby Schenley Park - with a gorgeous view of the valley, rivers and skyline of downtown. A highlight of trip was getting dinner from one of my favorite local restaurants - Alla Famiglia - in the Southside/Mt. Washington area. I owe a big thanks to business colleague Steve E. for sharing this Pittsburgh gem with me.

"It takes two to speak the truth - one to speak and another to hear." Thoreau

I listen to music when traveling more than at any other time. It's a familiar comfort that keeps me company and gives me pause for reflection. Here's my faves playlist for this trip:
Girlfriend - Matthew Sweet from Girlfriend
Such Great Heights - Postal Service from Give Up
Hands - The Raconteurs from Broken Boy Soldiers
California Stars - Billy Bragg & Wilco from Mermaid Avenue
Venus - Air from Talkie Walkie
Stone on the Water - Badly Drawn Boy from The Hour of the Bewilderbeast
Pretty (Ugly Before) - Elliott Smith from From a Basement on the Hill
Blue Veins - The Raconteurs from Broken Boy Soldiers
What is the Light? - The Flaming Lips from The Soft Bulletin
A Fond Farewell - Elliott Smith from From a Basement on the Hill
The Shining - Badly Drawn Boy from The Hour of the Bewilderbeast
All I Need - Radiohead from In Rainbows
The Scientist - Coldplay from A Rush of Blood from the Head
The World can Wait - Over The Rhine from Films for Radio
Goodbye (This is not Goodbye) - Over The Rhine from Films for Radio
Jolene - The White Stripes from Blackpool Deluxe
Warning Sign - Coldplay from A Rush of Blood from the Head
I Will Sing You Songs - My Morning Jacket from It Still Moves
A Murder of One - Counting Crows from August & Everything After
A Feast of Friends - The Doors from An American Prayer, Scattered Sun
How to Fight Loneliness - Wilco from Summer Teeth
Guess I'm doing Fine - Beck from Sea Change