Friday, August 31, 2007

September 2007 Events and Day Trips

Well, the Valley Vineyards annual wine festival is cancelled this year. I'm extremely disappointed. It's a lot of fun and I hope they'll bring it back next year. But now I need something to fill in the gap.

Luckily, the Kentucky festival season kicks off in a major way in September. There are dozens of fun festivals happening this month all over the tri-state. It's hard to pick out just a few.

So, what Kentucky festivals and events do we have to look forward to in September? Plenty:

Civil War reenactments and Renaissance festivals aren't my thing (and probably shouldn't be grouped together) but there are so many of these happening this fall I'll address them separately in another NKN post.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Northern Kentucky Roller Derby Tryouts

Ah, if I were only a little younger and not so afraid of bruises:

If you're interested in becoming a part of Northern Kentucky Roller Derby, try out for the Black-n-Bluegrass Rollergirls this Sunday, September 2nd.

Roller Derby tryouts will be held at the Independence Skateway, 1637 Independence Rd., Independence, KY from 11:00 am - 1:00pm.

Visit the Northern Kentucky Roller Derby website for more information.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Favorite Memories of Riverfest Fireworks

Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky's Labor Day fireworks celebration is a fun, usually memorable event to spend with family and friends.

One of my favorite memories of the Riverfest Fireworks is kind of a silly one, but it really stands out in my mind:

I'd just moved here the year before from Oregon and it was my first time going down to the Ohio River to watch the fireworks. I was still in high school and at the time, they had alcohol sales during Riverfest. My friend Shawna came racing over, after excitedly purchasing $50 worth of beer tickets from some random guy for $25. The prospect of drinking almost unlimited draught beers (they were cheap) for the remainder of the day had her jumping for joy.

The joke? Riverfest beer sales had ended 20 minutes before. Shawna was mad, but I couldn't stop laughing- it was a clever way for that fella to unload his unusable tickets and to recoup some of his money.

I have a lot of wonderful memories of the Labor Day fireworks celebration in Cincinnati and in Northern Kentucky. The music, the fireworks, the people watching- it's always a unique experience. If I can drum up any more G-rated stories, I'll share them with you on Northern Kentucky News.

So tell me.

What's your favorite memory of the Riverfest Fireworks?

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Nancy's Kickin' Summer Sangria Recipe

I love, love, love red wine, and used to bring home Pinot Noir from my favorite winery in Oregon all the time, but it gives me headaches... The Sangria recipe my neighbor Nancy made for a party didn't cause me any undue pain. And it was quite tasty! Deleting the sugar made it really smooth and the strawberries were a nice touch.


Here's the Sangria recipe. I really just used it as a guideline though.

I used Franzia box Chianti, deleted the sugar, eyeballed the gin (I used lime flavored) and used way more than a splash of OJ (prob. 2 cups). Also, I just kind of guessed on the ginger ale. I figured if it tasted too strong I could always add more ginger ale and OJ.

Sangria Recipe Ingredients:

  • 1 Bottle of red wine (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Rioja, Zinfandel, Shiraz)

  • 1 Lemon cut into wedges

  • 1 Orange cut into wedges

  • 1 Lime cut into wedges

  • 2 Tbsp sugar

  • Splash of orange juice

  • 2 Shots of gin

  • 1 Cup of sliced strawberries or raspberries (may use thawed or frozen)

  • 1 Small can of diced pineapples (with juice)

  • 4 Cups ginger ale


Pour wine in the pitcher and squeeze the juice wedges from the lemon, orange and lime into the wine. Toss in the fruit wedges (leaving out seeds if possible) and pineapple then add sugar, orange juice and gin.

Chill overnight. Add ginger ale, berries and ice just before serving. If you'd like to serve right away, use chilled red wine and serve over lots of ice. However, remember that the best Sangrias are chilled around 24 hours in the frig. - allowing the flavors to really marinate into each other.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Rehabbed Homes: A Story In Photos

From Valentine's Day, when we cursed the cold. Doesn't it look inviting now?

Kevin LeMaster has some beautiful photos of rehabbed homes in NOFO (North of Fourth), SOFO and Licking Riverside on his Building Cincinnati blog. Also, use Kevin's link to the "walk score" program to determine the walkability of your neighborhood.

I am a 94.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

supersize my salvation

The non-denominational Solid Rock church sits about 30 miles north of Cincinnati, flanking the highway. It's bordered by a truckstop and a couple of enormous flea markets.
Over the years, the church has swelled from a small gathering place to an enormous complex. It's fronted by a 60-foot sculpture of Jesus with his hands raised to the heavens in supplication and a fountain that spews water heavenward, too.

The church also has a comprehensive website. Because apparently, you can no longer get people to attend religious services without advanced search engine optimization. The website features live church services, a webcam and e-tithing, to make paying church dues easy. You can email in your prayer requests for faster blessings and order DVDs, books and gifts for the faithful. The website promises a "dynamic, cross-cultural, non-denominational place of worship, where all are welcomed and loved."

Non-denominational is the catch-all for any religion that isn't aligned with one of the mainstream churches, and has no national affiliation outside of their own church. No checks and balances. Other non-denominational churches feature on-site health clubs, gift stores and mini-cinemas.

It's franchised religion. And like a canonized Chipotle, they're popping up all over the country.

The Vineyard (VCF) is another non-denominational church that's sprung up in greater Cincinnati. Clearly winning the non-denominational war of "megachurches," they have multiple locations worldwide. A franchise. Or maybe it should be called a fanchise.

The Vineyard is a "hip" church. Cool singles and trendy young families attend services and social gatherings. Their PR machine cranks out releases espousing the Vineyard's "greener" approach to worship. Instead of hymns, they warm up services with a rock band. And a charismatic pastor who asks the congregation to give a "shout out" to the lord. They call themselves the "power evangelists."

It's the cult of personality.

You can order ball caps, t-shirts, laptop bags and more in the merchandise section of the Vineyard church's website. They even have an order form for a statement of faith brochure!

Doesn't anyone else think this is bizarre?

Isn't religion predicated upon intense study, and contemplation of faith? Can you really become indoctrinated with a two page pamphlet?

One year at Halloween, some kids from a local Vineyard church stopped by during the trick or treat hour. They refused to take candy. Instead, they forced us to take what they were giving away. They shelled out light bulbs in baggies, with canned messages talking about lighting the way, and promoting the church's services. Bewildered, we took the light bulbs and asked again, are you sure you don't want candy? They smiled eerily and again professed they didn't want anything, they only wanted to give. Compared to all of the greedy little Bart Simpsons running around demanding "another one," it was damned creepy.

I'm disenfranchised with the franchise. I was religious when I was little. But as I got older, I refused to attend church. And my feelings were reinforced in high school, when the Jim Bakker-Oral Roberts-Jimmy Swaggart scandals hit like a one two three punch, further convincing me that it was all a sham. A moneymaking machine.

I still respect and support others' rights to go to church. That's their choice. And I know that churches do many good works. The amount of money generated annually by churches for worthy causes has to be in the hundreds of millions. They rally around members of the congregation who have fallen on hard times. That sense of community is to be lauded and admired.

And I still think about going back. But like everything else in my life, I've over thought returning to the church's fold so much that the idea of setting aside my Sunday mornings to attend services overwhelms me now.

Besides. If I wait long enough, I may not have to make time to go to church.

Because really. In this world of super-sized salvation, can devotional drive-throughs be far behind?


Saturday, August 25, 2007

Riverfest Hot Spots: What's Your Favorite?

OK, with the countdown to Riverfest rounding the last lap, I have to ask: What's your favorite place to watch the fireworks?

For me, it's a toss-up. After spending many years on the Ohio side, I defected to Northern Kentucky. When I lived in Mansion Hill, my neighbors threw a kick-ass party every year, and we'd hang out All Day drinking, maybe stop in at Mansion Hill Tavern to say hi (and have a tiny drink) and of course, wander around town chatting up the National Guard and generally soaking in the craziness. Then when the show started, we'd meander down to the river to watch the fireworks. In Covington now, I've continued to enjoy their party, though I wander over later in the day to enjoy time in my neighborhood, first. Last year they were out of town so I went to a party in Southgate, and the homeowners had a second story deck which commanded fabulous fireworks views.

I'll probably find myself back in Newport once again for Riverfest this year.

So, where will you go to watch the fireworks?

Coming Soon: Favorite memories of Riverfest.

Covington Riverfest Rules

Plans for the biggest party of the year are well under way. From the city, some rules of the road for Riverfest:

Areas of Covington, Kentucky with restricted access during the Riverfest Fireworks include: Downtown Covington north of 4th Street; DevouPark; Drees Pavilion; Kenton Hills; The Bluffs Condominiums and the Historic Licking Riverside Neighborhood (north of 4th & east of Madison).

Please be advised that if you, your building, your organization, etc. will be hosting an event/party in or near the impact areas of the Riverfest event and will be having guests needing to enter the area, you must:

1) Provide your guest list to the Police Department prior to the day of the event;

2) Provide a contact name and phone number for someone that can be reached at the
time of the event, in case a problem arises.

It is also advisable that you provide your expected guests with the information below describing the rules and procedures for the day of Riverfest.

The contact at the Police Department this year is:

Sgt. Dave Finan, Jr. 859-292-2252 office and 859-760-2252 cell

Additional Information:

Madison Avenue will remain open to allow access to public parking lots and garages until they are full or 5:00 PM, whichever occurs first. Once the parking lots and garages have reached full capacity, Madison Avenue will be closed to through traffic north of 4th Street. (Exceptions are: TANK bus servicing the transit center, invitation holders to the Corporex function, or Metropolitan Club and hotel guests with room keys and parking passes.)

Rivercenter Blvd. will also be closed west of Madison.

Handicapped Accommodations: Handicapped Access will be available on Madison Avenue at all times. Transportation of handicapped/disabled persons from public parking lots and garages or from the Command Post (at the Convention Center, Rivercenter Blvd & Madison Ave) to their destinations will be provided by the Police Department. If this accommodation is necessary for you or your guests, please call Sgt. Finan on his cell phone at 859-760-2252 and they will make arrangements to pick the person up and take them to their destination.


Covington is alcohol-free in all public places in the Impact Area. Anyone wishing to bring alcohol to a private party must have it into the restricted area before 5:00 pm. At 5:00 pm the Police will begin checking all coolers and will not allow anyone with alcohol to enter - private party or not.


Ø No Glass containers
Ø No Bicycles, Roller Blades, or Roller Skates
Ø No Skateboards
Ø No Fireworks
Ø No Pets are permitted in the area
Ø Coolers will be checked at checkpoints
Ø No Motorized Vehicles are permitted on the floodwall area
Ø NO VENDORS are permitted in the Restricted Area

1. All streets north of 4th street and east of Madison Ave. are closed to all vehicular traffic at 5:00 p.m. (Ok, they say 5:00 p.m., but last year they closed much earlier; I know because my guests were told to turn their car around. If you live in a restricted area and you're having a party, have your friends arrive early.)

2. The Suspension Bridge will be closed to all vehicular (except Tank Buses) and pedestrian traffic at 5:00 p.m. The bridge will re-open when Safety Officials determine it is safe to do so.

3. The Clay Wade Bailey Bridge will close to pedestrian traffic at 5:00 p.m. It will close to vehicular traffic at 8:00 p.m.

4. Certain areas within the Impact Area will be posted as "No Parking Tow Away Zones". Vehicles parked in these areas will be towed starting at 9:00 a.m. on Sunday, September 2, 2007.

5. Devou Park/Kenton Hills and the Bluffs condo complex will have restricted traffic beginning at 12:00 noon. Access to these areas will be restricted to residents and guests only.

6. Vehicles will not be permitted to leave the Impact Area until authorized by Safety Officials. The safe evacuation of the pedestrian trafficleaving the Riverside Drive viewing area will be their first concern. The Safety Officials will coordinate the traffic movement as soonas all pedestrians have safely cleared the area.

Be safe and have fun at Riverfest this year!

Part II: Can Latonia be saved?

A while ago, I wrote about the struggles the small town of Latonia, Kentucky has faced. Land-locked, and generally used as a pass-through to I-275, the town has struggled to find their identity. Rumors swirling around one of Latonia's big employers pulling out have not yet come to fruition, but seem an inevitability.

In order to thrive, survive, and grow, Latonia needs to establish its own identity. An identity that’s separate from their current identity as the public housing landing place (Many residents from the recently demolished Newport, Kentucky public housing development were relocated to Latonia) and the shortcut to Taylor Mill and I-275.

Some ideas for improving and imprinting Latonia, Kentucky’s unique identity:

  • Establishing a Web presence will only help Latonia in its quest to survive. A Web site, blog and business owner’s site is mandatory.
  • Reviving the Latonia Business Council is critical to establishing the town's identity. The council should be working hard to push some positive press in local media.
  • Latonia should become more visibly active in the Northern Kentucky chamber. Making their presence felt by actively participating in events.
  • Continuing to work with city council members from other towns in Northern Kentucky is a must; asking for their advice and input will only help Latonia in its quest for growth and identity.

Public relations strategies Latonia, Kentucky might consider include:

  • Shut down the surrounding streets, re-route traffic, and have a city celebration in downtown Latonia. Make it an arts festival and people will come from all over to buy paintings, get temporary henna tattoos and to ooh and ah at custom designed jewelry.
  • How about some chamber music in the charming town square on a soft summer’s eve?
  • Black and white photos ranging from Latonia's tattoo parlor customers to the lovely historic buildings in the area would build charm in the blank storefronts flanking the main thoroughfare. Today they're more representative of an abandoned town that's on it's way down.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. What could Latonia do to improve their identity? Your thoughts?

Friday, August 24, 2007

Hangover Cures: What's Your Favorite?

I could use a little help today with finding a good hangover cure.

Here's the best ones I know, from my parents, who have 50+ years experience perfecting hangover cures:

  • Take preventive action. When you get home on the night in question, take two aspirin and drink a HUGE glass of water. This one came from my mom. I modified it with input from a friend who's an RN and told me aspirin upsets the stomach, so a non-aspirin pain reliever is best.
  • Go to the track and drink bloody marys. This one is from my dad. Hair of the dog, and all that.
Here's my favorite hangover cure: Punish yourself. I like to do a bunch of chores that I've been putting off and generally make myself feel miserable. I don't know the psychological ramifications, but man, it always makes me feel better.

I'm open to suggestions, so tell me: What's your favorite hangover cure?

Cleaning Up Covington: The Dirt on Northern Kentucky

An article in the Post this week talks about complaints from 12th Street residents in Covington, who claim that trash and weeds are taking over.

A few things to consider about trash in Northern Kentucky:

  1. When I lived in the Mansion Hill area of Newport, we had trash pick-up twice a week. This greatly contributed to keeping the city clean.

  2. Call CSI waste management services (who provides trash pick-up for Covington) and ask for a recycling bin and you'll be waiting for a while. My bins kept getting stolen, and it took half a dozen phone calls to CSI and several months before I received one. Then two, then three.

  3. The suspension bridge in Covington looks better than it did a couple of years ago. I saw a guy peeing off the side the other night, but that's nothing new.

I worry about the garbage strewn around in Covington's riverside district. It piles up before and after Reds and Bengals games. Here's my concern, an idea I've had for a while now: I think that some people, when they are away from home, lose their manners.

You see this on airplanes, which are dirty enough to freak out any germophobe (ahem), in airports and in areas with a lot of traffic, like riverside and the Levee. Like it's ok to be a slob when you're away from home, because somebody else will clean up after you. I don't think these people are throwing trash on the ground in their home or even in their neighborhoods. But it's almost like bad-boy behavior, seeing what you can get away with when no one is looking.

Greener cities impose stiff fines for littering, and even stiffer fines for repeat offenders. It's something that Northern Kentucky might consider, as they continue to develop residential and business properties and attempt to attract out-of-towners to the area.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

the interview

there’s another aspect to being a thirtysomething single woman that no one ever prepares you for, but happens all the time.

I am at a party hosted by a couple I know. We are drinking, they are smoking dope, and everyone is smoking cigarettes on the porch so the kiddies won’t be infected when they come home from grandma’s tomorrow. The wife and I start talking, having one of those really good I’m-a-little-drunk-so-I-guess-I’ll-tell-you-all-about-it kind of talks when suddenly, it happens. She starts talking about threesomes. Actually, what she says is that she and her husband have discussed it, and they’ve decided that if they both had someone in mind that they thought was a really beautiful and really special person, they’d “accept her into the marriage.”

So none of this would have fazed me at all, it’s just drunken bullshit as far as I know, until I half turn and realize, her husband has suddenly moved as fast as his big ass has ever moved across the deck to stand about three feet away from us. And he is doing that thing that people do when they are eavesdropping but pretending not to listen. I can tell by his stance, he’s quivering like a horse at the gate, that he is not only listening, he is ready to be on call if requested. A quick glance between the two of them, and I’m removing her hand from my arm, saying I need to run to the bathroom- and instead I ran home. They’re a good looking couple, but anytime a potential new relationship involves the word “they,” I suspect it’s not a good option for the long term.

I don’t what it is about single women in their thirties, well, maybe I do know, but I don’t know how we’re expected to be able to save someone else’s broken down marriage. As if a marriage that “accepts a third person” can really be saved, anyway.

I’ve found that my options here are pretty open. Another time I am on a houseboat and one of my favorite couples of all time, an older hippie couple who host huge festivals on their farm and smoke pot like other people smoke cigarettes are talking to me about camping on their property. I can’t wait; the idea of waking up outside, with the sun rising over the pond and the big blue sky overhead enchants me. I don’t go camping anymore and I miss it a great deal.

They are telling me about organic food, a nightly bonfire and live music, and I am practically swooning when the missus suddenly grabs my arm- “We like you so much, Lisa. So. Much.” Her husband, missing about three of his crooked teeth, gently takes my other arm. “We’ll have a beautiful time.” Shit. I walked right into that one. The other people on the boat heard about it through the houseboat grapevine and laughingly told me if I hadn’t figured out those two were swingers by now, I deserved whatever I got in the pasture.

Well how am I supposed to know? When I prepared for interviews after college, I only read a bunch of stupid books that forewarned me of standard questions to anticipate and gave me a bunch of useless advice to follow.

I’d like to rewrite those interview advice books to be more applicable to my life- a book that I could have got a lot of use out of, as it turns out:

  • Turn your weaknesses into strengths. How about the other way around? Instead of always coming off like some balls-out sex kitten, what if I start telling everyone the truth: I really just like to lie there. Seriously. I don’t want to do any work at all in bed.
  • Shake each interviewer's hand and thank each interviewer by name. This one’s pretty good actually. I guess instead of blushing and stammering and looking wildly for an emergency exit, I could make direct eye contact, shake their hands and thank them profusely for asking to have sex with me. “Thanks, John. Thanks, Liz. I’ll keep it in mind and give you a call when something opens up.”
  • Send a thank you note as soon as possible after the interview. I never sent thank you notes to anyone who interviewed me. Screw that- I called and reminded them why I was a good fit for the job. But in the case of a potential threesome, maybe a thank you note is just the ticket. I’ll have a friend write up the cards, and they’ll read something like this:
“Dear Jessica and Dave:

Thank you again for taking the time to talk to me about the opening in your marriage. I look forward to the time when I can drive a wedge between the two of you, further severing your already weak marital bond.

I can’t wait to hear more from you about the position, er, positions and the specific “job” Dave mentioned he had in mind for me.


The Most Misunderstood Person You’ve Ever Met.

p.s. If I’m going to be involved in the marriage, Dave needs to throw out all of his Dockers. I hate Dockers.”

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Places I’d Like to Go: Ideas for Road Trips

Of course. Coming off of a long road trip, I'm already thinking about the next one. I like road trips. In fact, I always do all of the driving. It's one of the best ways I know to connect with friends and family or just to take some time to reflect upon things and I highly recommend it.

There are a million places I want to see. I get funny ideas in my head about places I want to go. I'd like to go to Japan and Bhutan and India, sure, but there are a lot of things I'd like to do that are closer to home. Some road trips I want to take in the near future:

Salem, Massachusetts on Halloween. My brother did this one year and it sounds amazing. Winding your way through the town's stocks and gallows and then doing the "witches tour," where you see crazy things like a door gouged with nail scratches. From the "witch" that was trapped beneath. Psychics and Tarot card readers and the rest of those folk also arrive en masse.

Savannah, Georgia. I was less than an hour away from here last week and on many other occasions, but we never seem to make it off the island to go. Primarily because we don't want to stop drinking long enough to go sightseeing. My friends went to Savannah on their honeymoon and did the Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil tour, that actually starts, appropriately enough, at midnight. It goes through the Mercer house from the book and into the old Bonaventure cemetery, too.

Darwin, Minnesota to see the world's largest ball of twine. Silly, but I got this in my head a while ago and now I want to go. Just to say I did.

Door County, Wisconsin to see the restaurant with the goats grazing on the roof. Again, pretty dumb… But at least here I could eat some good cheese. And I don't need much of an excuse to go to Wisconsin, anyway. I will probably move there someday.

Camping in the mountains in North Carolina. There's an exit sign in the middle of nowhere way up high that advertises camping. I'd like to see what it looks like.

Pheasant hunting in South Dakota. My friend's dad does this every year. I don't want to kill any pheasants. I just want to see the route and maybe see a couple of the birds. If the timing was right I would hit Sturgis too. I have been to the area many times but never during the biker rally.

Sedona, Arizona, or Taos, New Mexico. Either one would be good. Hiking without the work. The views are so close to the beginning of the trails that they even appeal to this lazy hiker.

One of my other brothers is working on visiting all of the ballparks. I like that idea, too. They flew from California to Boston and back on the same day on one of their trips. I don't know if I could pull that off. But I do love baseball!

So where do you want to go?

Let me know and I might add your ideas to my list, too. Doesn't matter if you've been there or not… Just let me know why the road trips appeal to you.

the angry blogger

While on vacation, a friend mentioned wanting some help from yours truly to write a letter. Not just any letter; an angry letter. I asked why he didn't just tell the other party what was wrong, and he gave me a rather unsatisfactory answer.

Unsatisfactory to me, I guess, because why wouldn't you just be upfront and call or sit the person down to tell them what's wrong? That's what I would do. But maybe that's just me. So I didn't give my friend a hard time. He's a good person and I think he means well. But I did tell him this:

Once you put it out there, there's no taking it back.

This has been on my mind a lot since I started all of my blogs. Because when I find myself mad at someone, whether I am generally aggravated or really pissed off, it's hella tempting to post a note about them online. Heck, I've written reams of pissed off blogs. But I haven't published any of them.

At least not yet.

Don't get me wrong. Some of my favorite bloggers are filled with angry impotence and lash out in rage at other people all the time. That's what makes their blogs so fun to read. It's seeing how everyone gets mad from time to time, and the ability to turn these moments into something funny, or thought provoking, well. That takes some skill.

But my worry is this:

Maybe posting the pissed off blogs will make me feel better. Maybe it won't. But what if it hurts someone else? How will that make them feel, reading that someone else has a low opinion of them in general or that they did something specific to hurt me?

… What if, whatever they did to upset me was a mistake?

Because once it's out there… It's really out there. Even if you delete the offending item, it's still on the internet. Deleting cached pages takes more than just a "remove this item from my list" click of a button.

I didn't write the letter. I tried to give my friend some food for thought, without pushing my opinion all over him and then just left it at that. I asked him about the letter again just before we left, and he was rethinking the whole thing.

Hopefully, he'll pick up the phone instead. ~

To Drive or Not to Drive: There is No Question.

Back from SC and getting back into the swing of things today.

First I receive an email from the city telling me that the 15th Street Viaduct in Covington has been closed because it's structurally unsound. Then I receive a follow-up email saying that the bridge is not closed, it is just being investigated.

Either way, I don't think I'll be driving on it for a while. Jeesh!

Update: The 15th Street Viaduct in Covington has been closed pending an investigation by the engineering department.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Makin' Some Changes: The Kenton County Library

So I noticed today at the Kenton County library that they have author's bios posted throughout the stacks. Cute. I asked about it when I checked out the new John Sandford. "It's something new that we're trying," the librarians told me. "They're thinking about turning the Covington library into more of a retail space." Huh?

"A retail space. And," she queried, "what would you think about us walking up to you when you're browsing, and asking if you need any help finding anything? Would you like that? Because that's what we're talking about doing next."

"Absolutely not," your faithful blogger responded. "I think that's the worst idea I've ever heard. One of the things I like best about the library is the ability to get lost in my head when I'm looking for books."

I won't reveal the library employees' thoughts on the subject. However, they did tell me that if I, or anyone else, also thinks that this is the "worst idea they've ever heard," they can visit the Kenton County library's comments page to share their thoughts with the Covington's library director.

I sent him a note already, to get the ball rolling.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

red flags

Visiting someone you love while they are in prison pretty much sucks. There’s no getting around it. I think the part I hate the most, aside from seeing them in lockdown, is getting buzzed through the gates. They don’t even give you time to ring the bell. You walk up to the first gate and it buzzes and unlocks. The second gate opens on its own too. Someone somewhere is watching. They see everything.

Conversation is stilted by their embarrassment. Their fears at having you see them. Broken down. Small. Totally dependent on other people to let them eat, drink or go to the bathroom. Child-like.

And then there is the constant worry that someone has been totaling up the hours that I should be spending behind bars. (A strange game that a friend introduced to me: think about the times you’ve went over the speed limit, etc., and then try to total up all of the fines you haven't paid.) The hours I should spend rehabilitating, for my many infractions, both large and small.

I was exhausted by the time the visit was over. Not from the pale ale my friends and I drank late into the night. But from all of the nervous tension building up to the day. I mean. It’s just so hard. My back was aching. I know it’s not from sleeping on too many strange beds during vacation (but how I longed for the sinking comfort of my own bed by the end of my trip), but from my worry. My anxiousness.

We talked about things of consequence. We talked about violence behind bars. Walking back and forth in a confined space for hours at a time to calm down. Quash the angry rage. We discussed integrating back into society after being away for so long. And we talked about red flags.

Red flags. A term in “group” that signifies indicators that you are heading down the wrong path. That you may undo all of your good work. That you are crossing too many lines in the morality sands.

I wish that I had the presence of mind to identify my own red flags. To avoid dangerous situations that may prove harmful to me or to others. Here are a few red flags I thought about after my visit:

Very screwed up men. Brilliant, lovable men who are far too charismatic for my own good. Men who want to make me forget my definitions of morality. Men who make me want to save them, because with all of my love I know that I could. I really could.

But how many years should I get for falling for the wrong kind of man? Do I get a suspended sentence for stopping just short of doing something truly stupid? Do I receive one count for each bad relationship? Or do I get a compounded jail sentence for every stupid act?

How many years are in a life sentence, anyway?

People who want to use me. Drain me of my creativity and make me doubt myself, taking advantage of my goodness. Generally lead me astray while sapping me of my individual strengths. I’m a good “judge” of character, but even I have been fooled. Do I get time off for not returning phone calls? For cutting them out of my life?

My addictive personality. Throughout my life I’ve struggled with addictions. To alcohol. To other people. If I promise to try to stick to three beers or frozen drinks will the court be more lenient? What if I promise not to get caught up in the moment but to slow down, stop being so impulsive, and to really think. About my actions. How they affect me, and how they affect other people.

Is that considered “rehabilitation?”

The list goes on and on. I know my rights. I’m allowed a fair trial just like every other half-wit who thinks and acts with her heart, gets silly drunk or makes bad decisions. But who will be my judge? Is it you? Is it me?

And finally…. If I really and truly rehabilitated. If I could prove to the court that I’ve learned my lesson and that I won’t repeat my past mistakes. Will I be half as interesting as I am now?

Friday, August 10, 2007

Leon Russell at Covington's Madison Theater

Leon Russell plays the Madison Theater tonight in Covington. That's kind of a big deal.

There's a petition circulating online to induct Leon Russell into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame.

And why not? The singer/songwriter/piano player/guitarist has put in the years, working with everyone from Jerry Lee Lewis to the Stones to The Byrds. He started playing out when he was only 14 and his colorful music career spans more than 50 years.

Buy tickets for the Leon Russell concert at the Madison Theater online or at the door.

Madison Theater, 730 Madison Avenue, Covington, Kentucky 859.491.2444.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Covington After Hours: Neighborhood Improvement through Community Partnership

The next Covington After Hours get together, a program designed to foster neighborhood improvement through Covington city and community partnership, will be Wednesday, August 8th from 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. at the Cock & Bull in Covington's MainStrasse.

Bill Moller, Covington's Asst. City Manager and Suzann Gettys, Ombudsman and Neighborhood Services Coordinator will be on hand for questions and information.

Covington After Hours is co-sponsored by the Friends of Covington, the Covington Business Council, Mainstrasse Village Association and the Latonia Business Association and is held on the second Wednesday of each month.

For more information about Covington After Hours, visit the Friends of Covington website.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

the flirt

I’m a flirt. I know it. My friends know it. You only have to talk to me for about three minutes and you’ll know it too.

I’m an indiscriminate flirt. I flirt with men I am interested in, grandmothers and little girls. No one is safe from my wide-eyed attentions. But I’m also a careful flirt in that I refuse to bat my eyes to get what I want from someone. No. I don’t do that. For me, it's just a harmless form of communication.

I was reading a book recently where the main character, a married man, kept saying that it was fine to flirt with other women. Healthy. He drove the point home by flirting with other women in front of his wife. I couldn’t tell if the character really believed flirting is fine, or was just hammering the point home over and over again to indicate that he knows it’s wrong, and he’s trying to convince himself otherwise. It got me thinking. Thinking about flirting with someone else, when you’re in a long term relationship.

I ran a poll on the blog, fully aware that a lot of the blog’s readers are men. A fact that I always find surprising, since in addition to posting news and gossip about the region, I also post a lot of really random blogs about my life. Those are the most popular; I get the most comments and emails from readers on them. Again, from men. Who understand a lot more than we give them credit for, and in my experience are often the more sensitive of the sexes. The fairer sex, if you will.

The poll’s question was this: If you’re married or in a long term relationship, is it ok to flirt?

Flirting Poll Results

I say yes, my partner says no, so I don’t do it. 0%

I think it’s harmless, yes I flirt! 29%

No, it’s not ok. It opens the door for other stuff. 14%

No, it’s not ok. It disrespects my partner. 55% +

Your responses indicate that most of you think that it’s disrespectful to flirt with someone else when you’re in a long term relationship or married.

Given the fact that a lot of this blog's readers seem to be men, the answers surprised me. I expected a lot of people (read: men) to say it was perfectly harmless to flirt.

I was also surprised by the number of people who differentiated between flirting as a prerequisite to “other stuff” happening and being disrespectful. Surprised, because in my own experience, this has been next to impossible to try to explain to someone else (read: men; women have complete understanding of this concept).

Where am I in the poll? I’m in the “it’s terribly disrespectful to your partner” camp.

Sorry, guys.

I know I should be all “it’s great-and healthy-and fun,” but I just can’t get on board with that. When I’m in a relationship, I don’t “see” anyone else. Literally. I get so wrapped up in the person I am with that attractive men are like West Chester; nice to look at but I wouldn’t want to live there. And if I am with someone who flirts with someone else in front of me, it makes me mad. Actually it hurts my feelings, but I’m a stubborn cuss and instead of crying I’ll feel the white-hot burn of a thousand suns. So will you, if you’re the unlucky flirter.

No, I don’t think you are going to cheat, just because you are flirting. Please. But it’s disrespectful. Very. Disrespectful. The woman you are flirting with thinks your partner is a schmuck for putting up with you. We know that they think we are schmucks and it upsets us. That’s the real problem.

But I’ll go out on a limb and say if you’re in a long term relationship and you’re recklessly flirting with whoever strikes your fancy that may not be the real problem at all.

I asked some of my friends for their input on why someone in a long-term relationship flirts with other people. This is what they gave me:

  • Flirting with other people when you’re in a relationship is often a sign of insecurity. Your way of showing the world, I could do better, if I really wanted to. See how many people want me? Sure, my husband or wife might be kind of average-looking, but I’m a stud / vixen and still attractive to others. Relationship flirters need to know that they still have “it.”
  • Flirting with someone else may, subconsciously, be a way of trying to hurt the one you are with. Woah. That one came from a really good guy friend in California and it is way too deep for me to get into. But I thought it was interesting to think about.
  • Flirting may also be a way to try and make your partner jealous. To fire things up in an otherwise lackluster bedroom department. Fire up the dead embers of a once bright flame. You get the idea.
  • They may just need the attention.
  • And in some cases, they’re “fishing” flirters. The cheaters are pretty obvious. It’s the “I’m only kidding around if you are” flirters that bother me the most. It’s a careful pause after a comment that was slightly too risqué, a moment where the flirtee has an option; to respond in kind or, in my case, to pretend like I didn’t get the joke.

It would be disrespectful to do otherwise.

OK, OK, now go ahead and leave a bunch of comments telling me I’m uptight, judgmental and that you’d never THINK of cheating; flirting is just “healthy” and “fun” for everyone involved. It has nothing to do with how unhappy you are… right?

And the next time we meet try to come up with some other topic of conversation than how your wife/girlfriend/significant other’s out of town for the weekend. Or how lonely and misunderstood you are.

And definitely do not “accidentally” graze my butt while you impart this exciting piece of news.

No Pass / No Drive Law: New Kentucky Drivers License Law Affects Teens

Under the new No Pass / No Drive law, teen drivers in Kentucky will be denied a driver's license unless they pass the majority of their classes and have fewer than nine unexcused absences at school. School drop-outs risk drivers license penalties, too. And teen drivers in Kentucky may lose their license if they can't keep up with the curriculum. It's up to Kentucky schools to provide information to the Transportation Cabinet if students are failing classes.

I'm all for promoting better grades in school, and using incentives to keep kids in school. But the No Pass / No Drive laws feel kind of intrusive, like something that should be enforced in the home, not by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.

And what about kids who are already struggling in school? Will they really want to take harder classes, knowing what the penalty for failing will be? Also, I worry about kids who drop out specifically to work. Yes, it's all well and good to say school is king, and that's how I was raised, too. But it isn't always realistic. Hopefully, the No Pass / No Drive appeals process will work in favor of kids who are struggling to make ends meet.

Also, I am curious to see how the schools and the Transportation Cabinet in Kentucky stay on top of all of this. Is software developed or in the works that does notifications for them automatically? Or will this be a lot of extra work that they have to do manually? That will be key to the No Pass / No Drive law's success.

I guess it's kind of moot to debate the issues; the No Pass / No Drive law has been steamrolling across states for more than a decade. Presumably there is a lot of positive data to support rolling it out in Kentucky.

Your thoughts?

2007 First Friday Parties

Covington's 1st Friday Gallery Hop is Friday, August 3, 2007 from 6-10 pm.
Visit Covington Bars, Restaurants and Galleries up and down the historic MainStrasse district during the 1st Friday Gallery Hop. Munch on appetizers and enjoy a glass of wine (or two. or three.) and check out the latest works by local and national artists.
Bar Monet was on the list sent out by the city. Has Bar Monet reopened? The last I heard they had shut their doors?

Shop Bellevue! also has their 1st Friday celebration on August 3rd, from 6-9 pm. This week Bellevue is doing an Elvis Scavenger Hunt which sounds kind of... scary. Participate to win tons of prizes donated by businesses in the Bellevue Renaissance district on Fairfield Avenue.

Newport's Hop stretches from Monmouth to York Street and runs from 6-10 pm. Participating galleries and restaurants in Newport include Mammoth Coffee, York Street Cafe and the Stained Glass Theater. If you stop in, ask about other places to visit on the 1st Friday Gallery Hop route.