Adventures In Cincinnati

I know it’s been a few days since my last post, but a busy weekend coupled with a sore behind from sitting on the floor a lot is certainly not conducive to my writing process.  My husband has very little furniture in his place in Cincinnati.  A dresser, a nightstand, our futon that was in our guest room, a desk and an office chair.  I was able to use the desk and chair the day I got there until he got home and the remainder of the time I was on the floor.  Ouch.  My behind is still recovering.

We went to dinner at Ando, Thursday night.  It really is the best sushi I’ve ever had.  It’s a little mom and pop place and the couple that own it are from Japan.  My husband is there weekly so he’s gotten to know them quite well.  We were both a bit hungry when we got there so we ordered some edamame, shishamo (grilled opelin), and oshitashi (boiled and rolled spinach garnished with sesame seeds and a light sauce).  That was just to start.  Then there was the nigiri and rolls.  It was all wonderful and fresh.  Although there was some shoyu in the oshitashi sauce, which means gluten.  My husband raved about the homemade desserts so I had to try the only one they had that night.  Coffee jelly with a scoop of pistachio ice cream and a scoop of coconut ice cream.  Keep in mind that this is homemade, so even the ice cream was fresh.  It was the best pistachio ice cream I’ve ever had.  The coffee jelly wasn’t overpowering either.  And when I say jelly, if you are familiar at all with some Asian “jellies”, it’s a super firm jello.  So firm that it retains it’s shape when you cut it.  Yes, I know I shouldn’t have had it and it wasn’t good for my body.  However, I know dessert eating isn’t a habit I’m going to get into again.

Coffee Jelly with Pistachio and Coconut Ice Creams

Friday was interesting.  I was still waiting on that email to complete the report that needed to be done.  I fixed us a healthy breakfast and we both goofed off on our laptops as I waited for that email.  It was after 1pm when I finally gave up.  I’ll admit to being pretty irritated that I had wasted an entire morning of a beautiful day waiting for an email to do work on my day off.  I could have been at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens taking pictures.  We did have an excellent lunch after walking around the Kenwood Mall and Trader Joe’s.  My husband kept telling me about a great Greek restaurant with awesome gyros.  I absolutely love a good gyro.   I wondered if I was going to have to order mine without the pita and get strange looks.   Dino’s Euro Grille is a fast casual place. You order at the counter and they bring your order to you.  The menu is on a big blackboard.  I happened to notice that there was a “Gyro Bowl” which was basically gyro fillings on a bed of rice instead of on a pita.  It came with a pita on the side and asked for it without.  The cashier asked if I wanted toast and I explained I couldn’t have it because of the gluten.  She was very understanding and she said she’s noticed a lot more people are having problems with gluten and that they normally order the same thing when they come in.  I’m sure the gyro is wonderful on the pita because even though I asked for no pita on the side, it came wrapped in a paper.  When I gave it to my husband, I could feel the texture of it through the paper and that slight oily feeling.  It was oh so soft.  If it weren’t for the gluten issue, I definitely would have had it on a pita.  However, even without it, it was scrumptious.  It looked like the amount of 2-3 gyro fillings and I ate every last bit of it.  I probably shouldn’t have, but I also knew that we probably wouldn’t be eating dinner until after the chado demos that night.

After all of that, I was a bit worn out and needed a nap.  I woke up with just enough time to get ready to leave.  The Krohn Conservatory, which was the destination for the evening, is downtown and we were going to hit heavy traffic.  Heavy wasn’t even the right word.  Mega.  We  wound up going the opposite direction for about 15 minutes and turned around into even more mega traffic.  At least we made it with time to spare.  There were only 3 total to do the chado demos and prepare the matcha for tea tastings through the evening.  It was going to take 2 of them to do the demo – 1 to prepare and 1 to be the guest – so I got drafted to help prepare the tea tastings.  I was instructed very well and was put right to work.   They had us set up at a window, but we found more people tried the tea if we prepared it and took it out to them.  We had to serve sweets with the matcha.  The sweets help to cut the bitterness of the matcha.  I’ve heard many people at the demos that have never tried it do the “Bleh!” when they don’t like something, followed with, “It needs sugar.”  I’m guessing these are the people who always drink sweet tea.  It was actually nice because I didn’t hear that once all night Friday.   The sweets were not the ones they normally use.  They were bought for them to use, so after the last demo, we all tried one.  They aren’t sweet sweet.  It was just a slight hint of sweetness.  They were rather tasty and Kco was dancing while she ate hers.  I’m not the only one who dances when eating something good!  I realized later that they likely had flour in them.  More gluten.

The Sweets

I had the opportunity to talk to a cancer survivor that night, as well.  She came up for some matcha and started telling me about her recovery and what she is trying and that she had been thinking about matcha because of its health benefits.  She then mentioned she had neuropathy as a result of chemo.  Since she opened the door, I asked her where the neuropathy was and then told her my story battling neuropathy.  I wrote down the name of the oil I used for it and the website where I bought it.  I hope it works for her, too!

The night wasn’t all work, even if it seemed that way.  I did get to take pictures of the butterflies from Japan in the exhibit and pictures of the flowers in the main part of the conservatory.  Cincinnati-Dayton Taiko Group was also there.  I’ve seen them perform several times before and they are always fun to watch.  I managed to get my first iris pictures of the year, too.  I was really happy about that.

The last demo ended at 8:30, but it was nearly 10:30pm when we left the conservatory.  I spent at least 3 hours on my feet straight.  I was tired and hungry.  Because it was so late, we wound up at IHOP.  I got a spinach and chicken salad, which was supposed to have fried chicken pieces, but they let me substitute for grilled chicken.  While we were waiting, I realized, IHOP is to a pancake-aholic what a bar is to an alcoholic.  It was difficult to not order pancakes.  If we didn’t have plans to meet with a friend, her son, and her granddaughter the next morning, I probably would have.  I knew if I did though, I’d have a hard time moving in the morning.  I didn’t eat all the salad and saved the rest of it for my breakfast.  It was actually even better the next morning cold.

We spent the morning and a good part of the early afternoon at The Creation Museum with our friend, Miyako, her son, and her granddaughter.  Her son takes her granddaughter there weekly so her granddaughter was able to tell us all about the exhibits as we walked through.  The museum was absolutely packed and I didn’t get to take the time to really study everything because I was getting slightly claustrophobic and would have to skip through and get away from the crowds.  It was interesting for me, raised as a Christian, to see science from a Christian point of view which I had never seen before.  Science was always taught to me from a purely secular point of view and I was never exposed to the Christian point of view before.  You could say it was eye-opening.

There were a few powerful periods for me.  The first was the example of Mt. St. Helens and how canyons can be carved in minutes vs. millenia.  I was living in Aloha, Oregon when Mt. St. Helens erupted.  So, the videos and pictures brought back those memories of watching the ash plume from my living room window and the worry I had for a friend who was at Spirit Lake the weekend it erupted.  The next, was the video at the end of the self-tour, The Last Adam.  It was the bringing together of the last of the 7 C’s the Museum presents in the main exhibit.  If I could remember what all the C’s were, I’d tell you.  However, I do plan to go back on a weekday when it’s hopefully not as crowded and take my time going through it.  Anyway, the video was about Christ and the sacrifice He made for us on the cross.  I will admit that any visualization of His crucifixion brings me to absolute tears.  You should see me watching The Passion Of The Christ.  The last was the planetarium show where the universe we know was present as just a speck of sand.  It was amazing.  I had a Star Wars moment, too, and had to fight the urge to blurt out, “Stay on target” in a monotone voice during one part.  The grounds of the Museum are beautiful.  The daffodils were already gone and so were some of the tulips, but there was still a lot for me to take pictures of.

We all went to Rafferty’s for lunch.  I thought about being bad, but instead had the chicken salad with fruit.  It was better than I remembered.  We have 2 Rafferty’s in Louisville but it’s been years since I’ve been to one.  Needless to say, we had a blast and I’m sure we’ll be seeing more of Miyako and her family.

We planned on driving around once we got back into Cincy, but we had to make a pit stop so my husband just took us back to the apartment.  I wound up taking a nap instead.  Oops.  I needed it though.  That was a lot of walking around and the gluten from the day before definitely was affecting my energy.  When I woke up, my husband had looked up movies, but wasn’t interested in any playing, so we were going to watch one on Netflix Instant Watch.  I had it in my head that I wanted popcorn if we were going to watch a movie.  We headed out for Kroger to get the fixings, and instead wound up at Ando again.  Have I mentioned how great that place is?  We sat at the sushi bar this time and I was transfixed by the sushi chef and his knife skills.  Near the end of our meal, I was intently watching him fillet an entire fish.  My husband thought I was still hungry.   I guess my eyes were open wide while watching the sushi chef.  I had to explain that I was just watching.

After the movie watching, we both played around on Facebook a little then went to bed.  I woke up over 10 hours later.  I couldn’t believe I slept so late when I got up.  My husband showered and I putzed around before we went to Chipotle for lunch.  Yes, Chipotle.  Yum!  I had a Vegetarian Burrito Bowl.  Rice, black beans, grilled veggies, pico de gallo, cheese, and guacamole.  It was filling enough that I didn’t eat until I got back into Louisville last night.

When we got back to the apartment, I didn’t want to just sit around and wait to leave, so we went back out.  My husband did his Target shopping and then we went to a nearby mall to walk around and look.  By the time we were done, it was nearly time for me to leave.

I’m not terribly fond of Sundays anymore, but I am thankful for the time I do get to spend with my husband on the weekends.