Random Thoughts on Symmes

… inept, but trying real hard

Having a conversation only she can understand April 4, 2008

Filed under: Children,Family,Food,Fun!,Quotes,Random,Uncategorized — Layni @ 11:58 pm

Sitting in Chipotle with Ashton enjoying a bowl & perusing the latest issue of CityBeat  (local indie newspaper) and I don’t know if y’all remember this or not, but when you’re a teenager it’s very important for people to think that you are like totally plugged in to the music scene.  Like somebody might ask you if you’ve heard the latest CD from Congress Freckle and you’d be all, “Um, it sounds familiar.”  So we’re reading the music section and she recognizes a band like, I don’t know, Placenta Boathouse or Gopher Factor or the Vernacular Fasteners or some such brilliant name and she’s all,

“Oh!  Placenta Boathouse.  They’re really good.”

I ask,

“Are they a local band?”

To which she replied, being sure not to make light of their evident popularity [somewhere] and with complete sincerity,

“Well, they’re not from here.  But they’re totally local where they’re from.”



Headed down South February 28, 2008

Filed under: Events,Family,Food,Friends,Fun!,Photos,Quotes,Random,Travel,Uncategorized — Layni @ 1:58 pm

That’s right, y’all.  This weekend my Mom, sister-in-law & I are takin’ the money and do indeed plan to RUN.  All the way to Louisville, KY in fact  [or as the locals call it, ‘the Ville’.  Or is that just me?]

Anyway, for Mom’s mumblemumble-eth birthday, my SIL & I gave her a gift certificate for a weekend at a Bed & Breakfast of her choice in the town of her choice.   


[That’s Mom.  The one in the festive sweater.]

And one thing you should know about my Mom is that she’s accomodating [I mean, there’s other things worth knowing about her, but for the intent & purpose of this post — the fact that she’s accomodating is the one we’ll be discussing].  So, anyway.  While researching & trying to decide on a location, she totally took my SIL & my interests into account [thanks, Mom!]  Like, she knows we both love antiques, assumes we love shoes [on account of we’re females] and has, over the years, picked up on the subtle hints that we like wine.  Because we drink a lot of wine.  She’s very good.  For these reasons, she decided on Louisville — because apparently they have it all. 

We’re staying at the Inn at Woodhaven.



This actually is our room.  I call dibs on the jet tub.  Jodi called the cleverly disguised, keg-of-wine bolster on the settee.

Ok, so here’s the plan: 

We’re picking up my SIL tomorrow @ 3:30 so should get to ‘the Ville’ around 5:30.   

After checking in & getting settled, we’re heading downtown to experience F.A.T. Friday Hop [Frankfort Avenue Trolley].  The last Friday of each month, they offer free trolley service up & down historic Frankfort Ave.  The street is lined with fun specialty shops, antique stores, galleries & cafe’s and they all stay open late!  Parking is FREE [!] and so is the trolley.  Should be fun AND cheap and the weather is supposed to be in the 40’s!  Wheeeee!  Oh, & did I mention that the businesses pass out FREE snacks!?  Do!

Saturday, after breakfast at the B&B, we’ll head back out to visit a few of the historic homes that Mom has selected.  Wherein I promise not to touch anything

Saturday afternoon we’re going to the Louisville Antique Mall.  And you guys, it has 5-stories!  Of stuff!  Which I’ll likely need to have some of [which is why Harold took the back seat out of the van.]  Oh, yeah.  I’m ’bout to get my shop ON.


After that. 

As if the day could get ANY better.

We’re going to …

A freakin’ ZAPPOS SHOE OUTLET !!!!!!!    

::: Heavenly music plays :::

:::Clouds part:::

:::Sun shines:::

:::Angels weep:::

Wherein, I may need to have these:


and I mean, hello …  these are really cute!


[holy crap!  I was seriously just gone for 45 minutes at Zappos.com!  “I’m coming cute, plentiful shoes all $29.95 or less!!!!  I’m coming!!!”]  If you have a specific request, send me a picture & the size.  I can do that for you!

Finally, we’ll round out our anticipatedly fabulous weekend dining at the wonderfully tacky, world renowned, vegetarian/organic friendly, Oprah featured Lynn’s Paradise Cafe


Where a picture of Jodi & I as the fork & spoon WILL happen!  [see on the right of the pic?]  And also they have fried green tomatoes.  And martini’s.  I have to tell y’all I’m more than a little excited to get out of town this weekend.

I’m really looking forward to “Mom’s” get-away.  After the week I’ve had, I need it!  I also think it’s a good thing that they don’t have debtors prisons anymore.

“Again it might have been the American tendency in travel.  One goes, not so much to see, but to tell afterwards.”
– John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley in Search of America

I’ll definitely be sure to tell y’all all about it when I get back!  Send up travel mercies for us & have a great weekend!


Sometimes I read. February 12, 2008

Filed under: Family,Food,Friends,Quotes,Random,Uncategorized — Layni @ 3:50 pm

Ok, so I haven’t actually read this book yet, but I’m excited about it & I totally plan to.  Shut up.  I do too!  It’s Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto.   I’ve read excerpts & seen several articles & from what I can tell, it embraces all that makes me appear like a big ol’ weird-o with regards to my views of food & how I feed my family.  So, if for no other reason that to handle ME when I go off on a, “you’re definitely going to grow a third nipple & then die! tangent – do yourself a HUGE favor and read it.  His concepts are not entirely new (William Dufty shared many of the same concerns in regards to refined foods in his 1975 book Sugar Blues), but America has been so misled by the food industry and by nutritional scientists that it’s simply not possible to have too many people writing on the subject.

Mr. Pollan very smartly states on the cover of the book what he refers to as, “the short answer to the supposedly incredibly complicated and confusing question of what we humans should eat in order to be maximally healthy.”


There you go.  It’s so simple, yet somehow feels like a revelation.

He goes on in the book to detail how most of what we’re eating today is not actually food and how many of the ways we consume it are not actually eating.   He tells us to try eating like our grandparents or better yet, like our great grandparents, thus avoiding refined, processed, chemically enhanced “Frankenstein foods”.  Then maybe we can die happily of hard work &  old age and not linger for years with food-induced, totally avoidable diabetes, high-blood pressure & heart disease. 

Bear with me.

It’s no easy task.   Basically you have to ignore most of the thousands of new food products introduced to the market every year, ignore the health claims of nutritional scientists and the U.S. government, navigate your way through various pitfalls such as restaurants, dinner with friends, picnics and church socials, and spend a little time cooking for yourself.

Nobody is going to get it perfect all the time.   I mean, let’s face it – who isn’t tempted by the flavored season salts at the movie theater or tricked by terms like, “All-Natural” [ok, right, see… dog turds are ‘all-natural’ but would you eat one?  Gaw!]  Anyway, that’s not the point.   At the end of the day it’s really about finding pleasure in real food.   Can y’all handle that?


Christmas. We’re bringing it. December 3, 2007

Hi y’all.  I hope everyone had a great 1st weekend of December … um, weekend.  Ours was very nice.  Thank you. 

Today is my Mom’s birthday [HaPpY BiRtHdAy MoM!], so to celebrate we went to dinner last night at Palomino’s downtown Cincinnati.  Coincidentally, it was during the same time that Santa thrilled the crowds gathered on Fountain Square by repelling down the side of the Macy’s building — you know, as told in all of the old Christmas stories.  Right?  Anyway, it was all very exciting.


Did not plummet to his death.  Christmas is still on!

After dinner we headed to Larry & Jodi’s so they could borrow the children to decorate their tree.  Just one more service I provide – child labor.  We had a surprisingly FANTASTIC cake from the BonBonerie, which I honestly didn’t think I would like, on account of it was some sort of spice cake – which I typically don’t care for, but this was a black raspberry spice cake with buttercream frosting & CARAMEL people!  Yum-o!

Anyway, all of this was followed by the annual taking of the family pictures.  And since it’s late & I need to get to bed [curse you Tin Man for being on twice tonight],  I leave you with overwhelming evidence that family fun can be had with a bunch of dorks & a tripod.


Mom, unaware there’s a cat toy on her shoulder.  Laughs anyway!   Classic.

23 days left until Christmas!  Enjoy the holidays everyone!


Happy organic, free-range turkey day November 20, 2007

Filed under: Events,Family,Food,Fun!,Photos,Random,Uncategorized — Layni @ 3:58 pm

Well, a plan has been brought forth.  A determination has been made and I will be hosting Thanksgiving this year.  My beautiful sister-in-law [SIL] will be taking one for the team by hosting Christmas.  Because we’re team players, foe-sho.

Thanksgiving is this week, were you aware?  Surprisingly, I am not as woefully unprepared as usual.  A menu has been made, dishes have been delegated, the food has been purchased, [also the wine, hi!], plus a detailed timeline [because that’s just what I do] and we’ve got ourselves a plan, people! 

My SIL offered to buy the turkey, which, in and of itself is sickly amusing and ironic on account of, um, she’s a vegetarian.  She made this sacrifice because they live near a market that sells fresh [hurray for not having a slow-thawing dead bird in my kitchen for days!], free-range, vegetarian fed, private-school educated, no antibiotic or hormone administered turkeys.   Which is all I would agree to serve.  It is maybe a little disconcerting to know that this poor little fella, who is now ‘resting’ comfortably in a corrugated box in my refrigerator, just days ago, was a carefree, free-frolicking fowl.  Learning French and wearing a little Montessori jacket.  Until ::: dum dum dum ::: “the order was placed’.  Very sad and YET, on the bright side, the market only fills placed orders.  Meaning no turkeys will be wasted because they were deemed too big or too small or because they didn’t have large enough breasts.  Which can be very damaging to a turkey’s self-esteem. 

Also, the stipulation was, that if she got the turkey that I had to provide “plenty” of wine [we suspect she’s a lush, but we don’t talk about it Ü].  So I stopped at Jungle Jim’s the other day to pick some up.  Which let me tell y’all, there can be comedic advantages to buying wine.  Like when the checkout kid asks if you would like a box for ‘all that wine’, then you get to say, “Nah, I’ll just drink it in the car”, then watch their reaction.  See?  Wine fun!

So that’s taken care of.  Now I just have to, you know, do everything else.

Also, on a completely unrelated note. 

OUR BABY IS HERE!  OUR BABY IS HERE!     Oh, what?  I didn’t tell you?  We’re getting a new Boston Terrier puppy.  [Well, what did you guys think?]  Because since Kalabou died, Max has been sort of mope-y and not quite himself AND let’s be honest y’all, he’s no spring chicken himself.  So a new puppy to lift his spirits, hang on his ear, bite at his ankles, take bathroom breaks with & share his toys with was just the thing to keep him young & spry, was our thinking. 

So we found out on Friday that our puppy had arrived [She had 2, but sadly, only one made it.  We were going to take two] and went to see her on Sunday.  Anyway, it’s a little girl & we named her Millie and we should be able to bring her home around Christmas

Here she is [I apologize for the crappy camera phone pics … I’ll post more visible ones soon]:


I can has vision?


I can has snuggle?

So anyway.  If I don’t get around to stopping by before then, from our house to yours have a wonderful Thanksgiving.  Give everybody a hug.  You can blame it on me.


Yeah, toast! November 16, 2007

Filed under: Events,Family,Food,Friends,Fun!,Random,Travel,Uncategorized — Layni @ 12:17 pm

Happy Friday!  Made even happier by my manager who just told me to go-the-heck home!  Wheeeeee!  Thanks Michael!

I am leaving.  Of course, I am.  But I first wanted to whip out a quick blog update about my upcoming weekend and a funny story involving toast.  Because toast is funny.

When I leave here [here being the office], I am heading to Costco.  People.  Costco.  Have I ever mentioned that I love this place so, so much?  Do.  I mean, what isn’t to love about like 500, 000 square feet of stuff I never even knew I needed!  Oh, ok.  I might be a little off on the footage.  I DON’T KNOW HOW MUCH A SQUARE FOOT IS, but Costco has a SHITLOAD OF THEM.  And all of their square feet are stocked with things like wine and salmon and cutlery and pillow-sized bags of asparagus and organic milk and throws and movies.  And MUFFINS!  All of which I am pretty sure I need.  I have come to look forward to my weekly Friday stroll through aisles that smell of delicious baked goods.  Plus you have to be a member.  Which makes it seem very restricted & elite & exclusive-y.  YOU can’t shop at Costco if you aren’t a MEMBER.  Just keep that in mind if you’re thinking of stopping by.  Which I would definitely recommend to EVERYONE, by the way.  Except on Friday afternoons please, because I don’t like crowds.  But if you do.  Say hi.  I’ll be the one with a 4′ pointsetta, set of hard-sided luggage & drum of salsa in my cart.  Because I maybe need all of that.

Tomorrow morning I’ll rise too early in the morning to go torture myself at body sculpting class [so help me, I better look like Gisele Bündchen by Christmas.  I hope body sculpting can make me taller.]  

Then I’ll hook up with my scrapbooking peeps [Holla!] to make my Christmas cards and laugh alot and maybe eat some chocolate [oh, damn it … Gisele by Christmas.  Right.]

Then Saturday evening we’ll head to my brother & sister-in-laws house for the 5th annual Beaujolais Nouveau party.  Harold so looks forward to it each year.  On account of he likes to discuss cheese.  And the properties of cheese.  And the biting flavor of this cheese as compared to that cheese.  Then of course, the wine.  I, on the other hand, will totally enjoy myself.  Weeeee!

Sunday I have a coffee date with my lovely friend Holly.  Because she wants to ‘connect’.  She mistook my oncoming cold [and subsequent & current loss of my voice.  Hi.] as a sign we needed to bond.   She’s on to something there, nothing draws me near like coffee.  Maybe wine. 

So anyway, I’m heading out.  But I wanted to tell you this funny thing that Harold said [imagine!]  Have I ever mentioned that Harold loves, loves, loves toast?  Does.  More specifically, just bread.  Any type of bread.  Especially english muffins.  Seriously.  We go through more bread in our house than any other item.  Loaves a week.  LOAVES, people!  So last week Costco had a two-pack of Thomas’ English Muffins for like, $3.50.  I haven’t bought these in a long time on account of they don’t come in ‘organic’.  But I relented & bought him this package of happiness wrapped in plastic. 

He did a skippety dance.  I think he cried.  And by Tuesday we were already down one package.  He has NO CONTROL.  He’s addicted.  Really.  And this is evidenced by the following voicemail I received at work:

Harold:  “Hey, it’s me.  I’m not sure what’s going on.  I think I’m stuck in some kind of time warp or something.  Seriously!  I got Maddie off of the bus & walked across the street to talk to Chester for a minute.  I came in the house and made an english muffin :::raises voice::: CURSE YOU ENGLISH MUFFINS FOR BEING SO DAMN GOOD and I looked at the clock.  It was 4:09.  I went into the living room to eat it and when I came back to the kitchen to throw away the napkin, I looked at the clock and it was now 4:04!!!  So.  Not only are english muffins freaking AWESOME, but they also save you time!  Seriously, when you eat them, time not only stands still, it actually goes BACKWARDS!  They’re AMAZING!  This conversation is off the record.  Thank you.  Goodbye.”

I promptly forwarded the voicemail to a friend.  Because technically that’s off the record.  I mean, I didn’t type a transcript of it or anything.  Oh, wait.  I just typed it to y’all.  Hi internet!  Oh, well.

Everyone have a good weekend!  Maybe tomorrow I’ll have something interesting to say.  In the meanwhile, I’d better go do some Costco shopping, because my family is counting on me to pick up 2 gallons of pineapple salsa, a Jack La Lanne Power Juicer and a really FANTASTIC sharp cheddar.

Also, if you have a minute, check out this hilarious homage to Harold’s favorite food by Haywood Banks.  


Probably taking it too seriously November 13, 2007

Filed under: Food,Fun!,Quotes,Random,Uncategorized — Layni @ 3:27 pm

As seen today on the Food Network recipe site.  

User Terri from Port Ludlow, WA writes: 

04/10/2007 at 01:06pm

I made this salad to go with a prime rib dinner for a special event. I had never made it before and I have to say that it was delicious, none of it was left on a plates  [here’s the best part!]  Thank you for making me look like a genious

No, Terri.  Thank YOU for proving you’re not.