Happy Saturday morning all:

A neat bit of insight:

“Just remember, once you’re over the hill you begin to pick up speed” ~ Arthur Schopenhauer

I can hear you now, Dirk must be on one of his; “age is catching up and he’s depressed about it” moments. Wrong! Actually I am referencing the initial project (pro-ject for my Canadian friends) that I embarked on at the new condo. I am finally seeing completion. DSCF0184

Leave a building sit for an extended period of time. And, replace a 5-foot in diameter sewer line right outside where traffic (including 70,000 pound semis) slams by while navigating over 1-inch thick steel plates and some damage can be expected. The plaster walls in the condo took the brunt of all this.

But, victory is mine. This coming week the walls will be like a baby’s bottom and then we can proceed with the remake, i.e. paint.

The heart – of our old piano is still beating.

Faithful readers of these Ramblings will remember that last January Tevita and I ‘slaughtered’ the old beast – our 1889 Steinway Regular Grand Piano.

Before you yell; “you did what?” Please note that the beast was a four feet by nine rectangle, weighed somewhere near a ton, and was impossible to keep in tune. We tried to sell in; no luck. We tried to donate it, including the University’s Conservatory of Music (CCM); no luck. We tried to give it away; no luck. Marcia even spotted a truck with big letters “Piano Movers” and asked them; certainly they’d take it to the dump for a measly $300; for a fleeting moment that seemed like a bit of luck.

Anyway, as I said, Tevita and I slaughtered it. But, with much care, several of the key pieces were carefully removed and stored.

Now, with a condo in our near future, the moment had come. Marcia’s wish to take the old keyboard with attached hammers and transform it into a small buffet table, one which could fit perfectly in the bay of the condo’s dining space, came into fruition. Over the past couple of weeks I managed to get the job done. I even managed to take the old piano legs and use them as the footing for the buffet table. Yes, that piano’s heart continues to beat.


Luminary Sunday – was last weekend. Street after street was lined with glowing luminaries. The weather was a perfect mid-forties with no wind. Some folks had fire pits and cookies by the end of their drives. The other section of our neighborhood forms a large oval and there they had a horse-drawn carriage offering rides.

So what did we do? All of the local clan gathered at our house. The little ones played with the old train set while the adults got organized, and then we set out.

DSCF0173           DSCF0152

We strolled and we strolled and strolled (vili rode in the three-wheeled stroller), as did many of our neighbors. And, when we got back to the house Marcia had hot chocolate waiting, complete with marshmallows.

It’s amazing how the mood in a neighborhood was magically transformed by just some paper bags, some sand, and a candle. Or was it transformed by the people experiencing a sense of community? All I can say is that it was good.

Animal Planet – is alive and well; for the first time in my memory the ‘Nati experienced a January in December. Normally we’ll have a cold snap and then a wave of warmth – to the point where it’s occasionally possible to take the Duck for a spin and sometimes even with the top down. DSCF0185

Yesterday we had between 5” and 8” of snow. This week overnight lows will be in the teens with one or two single digit nights.

Fifteen minutes ago I took a break to watch a neighbor try to get out of the hollow of our side street with her big Cadillac CSX. By then I’d been listening to her tires spinning on the roadway for at least ten minutes. It took her another ten to finally make it out. I casually mentioned to Marcia that; “Gail just put twenty-thousand miles of wear on her transmission and tires.”

Should you wonder, yes, last evening I shoveled the sidewalk and the driveway.

Mother Nature still rules.

Fini – Today, please give Donn a Happy Birthday wish. Then, as always, make it a great week.

From the Archives
Friday, December 09, 2005
Evening all:

Welcome to my evening post. This evening post thing will not be a trend setter ‘cause I value relaxing on my Friday evenings. However, since I am planning to head for Atlanta around 4:00 AM I thought that this was the way to go. It even leaves me time to make sure to fill the coffee thermos which Marcia made ready for the journey.

My trip is a quick, up and down skip into the Atlanta area to pick up a Cap for Marcia’s new truck. I snagged an almost new Leer truck cap (new it’s nearly $1,000) for $76.25 on eBay. Since these things are almost impossible to ship I bid in such a way that springing for a couple of tanks of fuel to drive down, install it, and drive home would still make it all worthwhile. I will have plenty of windshield time so feel free to give me a howdy-do hello on my cell.

Watching a little TV this week I was absolutely gobstruck [word of the week]. Four times over our town made network television coverage—and believe it or not all of it positive. The two most mundane dealt with contestants on those never-ending “reality” shows. The racing one has a family from our area and the one dealing with backstabbing survivalists features a young woman from here; ok, enough about that since I only wanted to talk about the other two.

So, here’s a little about the much more interesting two items. Last week’s “Week’s Best” site I connected to a video clip of a house with 25,000 Christmas lights all flashing to a Christmas carol recorded by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. This particular little clip quickly circled around the globe as the number-one “must see” internet item. It turns out that the home on the clip is located in one of our suburbs. The sad news is that one day after it was featured on the NBC Today show traffic in the neighborhood backed up so much that it forced the family to turn off the lights.

But best story of the four is about a woman architect, Zaha Hadid, who not only is the 2004 recipient of the prestigious Pritzker Prize, architecture’s Nobel, but also is the first woman to be named a laureate. It turns out that the flood gates opened for her and her struggling design firm after completing a building she designed here in our humble town. Our Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art sits on a compact corner site in downtown Cincinnati. The façade presents like multiple drawers sitting half open, jutting out of some piece of furniture, moreover it’s the interior space that just awes you.

I guess that what this piece of information brought home to me is to, at least once in a while, pay a bit more attention to what is around and about. I pass by or near this place on a fairly regular basis and until I spotted the story about Ms. Hadid on the CBS Sunday Morning show had no idea that this world-class jewel is part of our community.

Marcia and I are absolutely ready for Wednesday—the day that Adrianne arrives for the holidays from her Peace Corps assigned location of Tonga. This will be the first time since July a year ago that we’ll be together. To make it even better, Kirstin and Derek will be arriving the next day (thanks much Vince for sharing them for a few days). This promises to be an amazing week. What a marvelous way to start the holidays, it couldn’t be any better!

All of you reflect on what’s around and about you and make it a great week.

12/09/2005 10:24:00 PM

One Response to “A Beating Heart”
  1. Pieter Pastoor Says:

    over the top – that piano transformation is genius – awesome