Monday, July 6, 2009

Back home


I really do mean to try to be more regular with my posts from here on out, but if this morning is any indication, it will be a challenge. What used to take seconds is taking hours at the internet speeds I have here--at least that's the case today, when my air card has to try to read signals through a cloud cover. It literally took 2 hours to upload pictures of our Cincinnati trip to Picasa, and a half-hour to upload the one song I'm playing today to Hipcast. I had intended to show you a photo album of the trip, but half the day is already gone. If I didn't start writing now, I never would, so I had to put off arranging the uploaded pictures into an album until later.

The picture above shows the status of the construction project as of last Tuesday, before we left for Cincinnati. The ground clearing had been completed and the pad for the actual house was laid and flattened--that's what you see there. The driveway meanedering through the woods is becoming a reality, and the idea of the house peeking through the woods as you approach it is becoming clear. We're going to visit the property later today to see what more, if anything, was done while we were gone. If there's anything to show, I will.

Really the thing to talk about today is the wonderful time we had in Cincinnati with Michele and John. Michele was the other Peace Corps volunteer in my city, Kumasi--we've been close friends since that time 40-odd years ago. She and John were scientists with Procter and Gamble. They started their careers with the company in upstate, rural New York, and we used to drive up there from Arlington for great, sometimes snowbound Thanksgivings. After many years they moved to P&G headquarters in Cincinnati, so now we go there to see them. John is the foodie to end all foodies. He loves the chance to cook for an appreciative audience, and for three days he had three happy captives (here's Steve, Michele and John after Wednesday's repast)hanging on to his every pinch of salt. Pulled pork with coleslaw and 3 other sides awaited us when we arrived after the 12-hour drive Wednesday. Thursday was a "round the world" sample menu of 10--yes 10--different dishes, starting in Mexico, and ranging through Germany, France, Asia and the Caribbean as we progressed for three entire hours. Friday was pork tenderloin night, and Saturday we had a traditional July 4 feast John-style, with, among many other things, a mixed grill and my potato salad (I was beyond flattered to be invited to contribute).

Michele and John also love to show off their adopted home town, so in addition to all the home-cooked food, we toured the best breakfast places (oh, we didn't just pig out at dinner!) in fascinating and beautiful little corners of the city, and did a walking tour that took us across the Ohio River into Covington and Newport, Kentucky, the two cross-river suburbs that have their own distinct charms. Cincinnati is a beautiful city I wouldn't think twice about living in except for the dominant rightward trend of its politics....

We're off to inspect the property now, and maybe find a Goodwill store to buy a secondhand microwave oven to heat up our Cincy leftovers.....

6 comments:

michele said...

We loved having you all visit! John was over-the-moon to have other foodies to cook for. He entertained himself for a week plus planning the menus and shopping for the food for the 'Ralph and Steve Food Extravagaza'. (He's a biochemist by trade, so now that he's retired the kitchen is his laboratory and fun.) We do have other Cincinnati corners worth a visit (and John has lots more recipes), so we look forward to your next visit. In the meantime, we are eager to see the new house unfold. Love.

Ralph said...

And of course, Michele, out of sheer sensory overload I neglected to mention your gardens. That's worth a post in itself. I'll get pictures up soon for all to see...

Jenny said...

My husband and I lived in Cincinnati for a year when we first got out of college, so I understand the love of the city, but also understand your observation about it's conservative bent. We got married by a justice of the peace in Newport--not a fancy wedding at all, but it seems to have worked! For years our favorite way to celebrate our anniversary was to return to Cincinnati and check out some of the good restaurants and go to the fabulous art museum and the conservatory in Eden Park. We lived nearby in Mount Adams (our vote for coolest neighborhood when we were there in 1970-71).

Ralph said...

We didn't get to Mt. Adams, Jenny, but we did see some nice places. A pretty and prosperous town, it seems, even at a time like this.

Zoey and Me said...

I have to say you guys do get around. Nice shot of the pad. I thought you might get lucky and have a basement. We can't here in Florida but that's another thing I miss about living up north. Glad you're back online even if it is a chore till the big move in day.

Ralph said...

A basement wouldn't be possible this close to potentially (barely) stormy water, Z&M. We;ll miss the extra living and storage space, but we'll have a "bonus room" upstairs and some storage area there, as well.