Monday, March 20, 2017

My Birthday Weekend

Saturday March 18, 2017
Tonight when I went to mass I noticed Fr. Bob (our pastor) had temporarily taken over the role of Welcome Greeter (which is what I usually do at the 5:30pm Sat mass). I went over and apologized for not signing up this evening because of having to get over to my sister’s for dinner straight after mass. He said, “It’s okay Cindy; you do it plenty of weekends.” (or something to that effect). I was absolutely over the moon that he actually knows me by name, and I texted my husband Andrew to tell him so. Andrew said he wasn’t surprised. I guess I shouldn’t have been either, but it’s still the first time he’s ever addressed me by name.

After mass Andrew and I drove over to my sister’s where my brother, his girlfriend, and my niece were staying for the weekend. Apparently earlier in the day they had had lunch at the Thurman Café in German Village. The Thurman Café is known for their really tall burgers – most made with ¾ lb of meat. Not only do you have to use two hands, a bib and a towel are also helpful between bites. I’ve never had the pleasure of eating there (though Andrew has), but am hoping to go there sometime in the future.

Because they were all still full from lunch, it was a slightly delayed dinner, but Andrew and I really chowed down once dinner was served (tacos), and a really good dinner it was. My sister is definitely a much better cook than me, as is Andrew too.

After dinner and dessert (I brought over leftover Zucchini pineapple cake, a cherry pie, and some chocolate cupcakes) we eventually retired to the living room where we watched several episodes of “Everybody Loves Raymond” before Karen decided it was finally time to play one of the games we brought. After a few half-hearted rounds of “Name Five,” we decided to call it a night and headed home around 11:30pm.

Sunday March 19, 2017
On Friday when I was looking up places to visit on my Birthday, I was a bit crestfallen to discover that many of my choices (restaurants & museums) were closed on Monday. I momentarily debated whether or not to still take the day off, but decided if nothing else, perhaps I could always work on some of the many art projects I keep putting off. I ended up compiling two lists – a Sunday list and a Monday list and consulted with Andrew over which he preferred. We ended up going with our Sunday list, which consisted of the following:

Brunch at either Super Chef or I-Hop
A movie at the Gateway Film Center
Afternoon tea at the Cambridge Tea House
Go book shopping at Half Price Books (& bring in my box of books to sell back).
Go out to dinner

After comparing menus, we decided on I-Hop where I ordered the Red Velvet French Toast (no syrup necessary). It consisted of two slabs of cake fried and served with cream cheese frosting drizzled over them. Definitely the best French Toast I’ve ever had! I decided to just have one piece and save the other so I’d still have room for tea and scones later.

The movie we selected was called “Kedi,” which is the Turkish word for cat. The film was an hour and a half long documentary about the many street cats that reside in and around Istanbul, and the kind souls that care for them. Like dogs, cats too, have personalities, and this movie featured seven such cats including: Sari (the hustler), Bengu (the lover), Psikopat (the psycho), Deniz (the social butterfly), Aslan Parcasi (the hunter), Duman (the gentleman), and Gamsiz (the player). I think Deniz was my favorite because he was such a lover boy. I was absolutely amazed by their caretakers’ generosity. These people spend their hard earned money on food for dozens of cats. One of the men said he had had a nervous breakdown several years earlier, and feeding the cats was the best medicine for him. All in all a pretty poignant and fascinating film that I would definitely recommend and watch again.

After the movie when we pulled up to the tea house (whose parking lot was absolutely overflowing), Andrew noticed that pretty much everyone was dressed up (and we were both in jeans and sweatshirts), so we decided to go the nearby Chocolate Café instead where we both selected a different dessert and beverage and sat amongst our scruffy breathren (incl. a table of ladies who looked like they were having a great time).

I chose a Black Cherry cheesecake while Andrew had a slab of a multi-layered chocolate cheesecake that was probably three or four times the size of my more petite delicacy. Andrew had a chocolate coffee drink while I tried the Chocolate Chai Tea, which they told me was Chai Tea flavored with milk and some chocolate from their processing vat. It was more chocolately than tea flavored, which was perfect for me. I might try making that at home some time.

After loosening a button or two on our trousers, we made our way over to Half Price Books where we split up for about an hour to have a look around, elbowing our way through the masses. Once a quarter on a Sunday they send out 50% off coupons which always brings the public in in droves. It’s good that people still like to read (though they also sell lots of other kinds of items incl. games & art materials). Between the two of us we probably spent about $40 (and got $10 for my box of books & dvds), but got an armful of stuff, so we left satisfied.

We decided to go to Café DaVinci in Upper Arlington for dinner. The last (and only) time we were there was for lunch on Andrew’s 40th B-day. I’m not sure what I had then, but this time I opted for the Ravioli Grandioso, and they certainly were rather large Raviolis. Café DaVinci is unusual in that you order at the counter and they bring it out to you, but the rest of the restaurant is a little fancier than your usual fast food joint. We sat in the corner and enjoyed a peaceful dinner (Sundays aren’t too busy). I was grateful I had had time to take a nap beforehand since the Chianti definitely made me feel a little sleepy.

After we got home I was scrolling through Netflix and came across a program called “Escape to the Country.” It’s like the British Countryside version of House Hunters. The episode I selected was Herefordshire, though one of the properties was actually in Gloucestershire (though the couple didn’t select that one). Unlike when Americans parade through homes (and make comments both good & bad), this couple seemed wowed by every single thing, and with typical English reserve, kept quiet about that which didn’t please them (except for a set of steep stairs they spoke out about). I had Andrew add the series to our queue, so I look forward to watching future episodes.

Monday March 20, 2017
Third cloudy, dreary, day in a row (saw some sun briefly Sat a.m. though). I groaned when I looked at the clock and saw that it was 8am and still pretty overcast. I know you shouldn’t let the weather get you down, but when it’s three days in a row, it’s difficult not to let it get to you.

I spent the morning sorting my art supplies and then putting the boxes on a wooden shelf I had brought up from the basement. On Saturday I had mostly emptied out my closet in an effort to finally get organized. Though I didn’t get all the way finished, I did make fairly good progress and was pleased with myself.

After lunch (Andrew fetched me a wrap from Jersey Mike’s) we drove to the Gateway Film Center to see “My Life as a Courgette.” (or Zucchini as it was listed on all the American posters). We’re still not sure why they insisted on the translation, but God forbid someone be confused by their vegetables. Anyway, the film was in the tiniest theatre which had since gotten new super comfy recliners. Hence, having just eaten lunch and sitting in a darkened theatre, it didn’t take me too long to nod off. I missed a few subtitles here and there, but got the basic gist of the film. It was a stop action animation film about a group of children (in France) living in a foster home where, at the end, two get adopted out by a kindly cop who brought one of the children to live there in the first place after his alcoholic mother dies. It’s a really good movie and I should probably watch it again to see what I missed. Hopefully it will be available for streaming at some point.

After the movie was over we popped in to Barnes and Noble, and then walked down High Street to Buckeye Donuts, which is open 24 hours and is famous for Prince having once stopped in there. They definitely have a fairly good selection, though nothing really out of the ordinary. Had Andrew not been there I might have selected a fair few to bring home, but donuts really are better fresh (not frozen). After doing eeny, meeny, miney, moe, I selected a red velvet donut with cream cheese frosting, and sat down to eat it while watching students stroll past the Wexner Center across the street. It was definitely worth the walk, and even though the donut had probably been there several hours, it was still really tasty. I hope I burned some off some calories on our long walk back to the Gateway Film Center.

When we got home I made a mug of hot apple cider before going into our library to open my presents from mom & dad. I figured I would save them til last so I had something to look forward to later in the day. It was definitely worth the wait. Mom and I were on the same page with it being a Cat-themed wknd (though we skipped the Cat Café having already visited there, and it was closed on Monday). Besides the little Herb garden mom bought me, I received two other Laurel Burch gifts – a trio of purses and a lightweight t-shirt (which I can’t wait to wear once the weather finally warms up a bit!). The smallest of the purses will be perfect for my new phone while I wait for the case (for the phone) to arrive.

Russ bought me a book from my Amazon Wish List. I tried one of the projects from the book (about Image Transfers), which was fairly easy, but ended up being kind of lame. Still, I think the rest of the suggestions are much better, so I think I will probably consult with the book from time to time.

All in all, not a bad Birthday. I only wish the weather had been better (and more things open today, though I wouldn’t have wanted to spend all day out in torrential rain).

Thanks to everyone who texted or sent me a card. Every kind thought is much appreciated. I am lucky to have so many wonderful friends and family. Take care all and have a great week!


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