Thursday, January 31, 2008

First Trip Back to Cincinnati

After four months in San Francisco, Max and I made our first trip back to Cincinnati. I needed to check in with P&G and report progress and plans for the future, and we also wanted to be introduced to our new grandson, Anthony. It was a whirlwind trip that was busy every minute, but it was great to get back and see everyone again.

I didn't realize how homesick I was until we arrived back in Cincinnati though Cincinnati can never compete with San Fran in the beauty of the views (the bay, the ocean, the hills, the hills, the hills) there is something that just takes my breath away when I come around the "cut in the hill" and see Cincinnati in the distance across the Ohio River- And we don't have to pay $5 to cross the bridge!

It was winter in Cincinnati, but it was a welcome experience to be in winter again. Our San Francisco temperature varies between 40 and 55 all winter long, so getting out in 20 degree weather was a nice change. I know its hard to believe but I've been cold here in San Francisco. There is no CENTRAL HEAT- or INSULATION- so the homes I visit can be so cold I never take off my jacket and scarf- And RAIN and RAIN and RAIN- I feel soggy- as it rains day after day. So the crisp cold of winter felt great- cold that counts! (Notice I'm now a "native" of San Francisco. I complain of the weather just like the natives!)

On Friday night we went to our favorite local restaurant, Gabby's. Michael and Liz, Mary and Taylor, and Amber and Jason joined us there and as usual Max wanted to document the event with a pictures. It's amazing how much Taylor has changed in only the 4 months we had been gone. He has certainly become a little boy instead of a baby.

Gabby's is such a great restaurant- and it was so nice to get pizza again that tastes great. Dino saved us a great big table so there was plenty of room for all. I think what is especially nice about Gabby's is that Dino- the owner- and his wife Marianne have become such wonderful friends over the years- And of course our favorite waitress who brings us our drinks even before we've said a thing! There is no place like home.

It's always great to spend time with Michael and Liz.

They are getting excited about moving into our house when Amber leaves this Spring, and I am thankful for having them there after Amber departs for graduate school. Amber has her applications in to 5 different graduate schools, and we are awaiting her decision about where she will next live. Stay tuned to the blog and we'll keep you up to date on the comings and goings of our gang.

Saturday morning brought our other favorite eating spot, The Half Day Cafe where we had breakfast with Amber and Linda Wise, and who would have guessed, but we took another picture.

Notice that Don is smiling. Now I must admit part is the company of Linda- she always makes Don laugh- But additionally Don is getting use to saying "cheese" on command- Thanks to all who noticed the scowl- I'm loving the new "enthusiasm"!
And Half Day Cafe is doing terrific- still the best place to go for breakfast- alone or with a friend. Thanks to Dale and Patty. By the way- everyone should go online to "" and vote them the "Best Breakfast"!

Max needed some heavy duty Mall exposure, so she and Amber took off to warm up our charge card. I miss the MALL. I'm rather adrift in a boat in the middle of the ocean- water, water everywhere but not a drop to drink! There are stores all over the place here (the small boutiques- not chains) But I find I have neither the budget- nor the body- for the small boutiques (too small!) Why I even found a pair of boots (finally after looking at over a dozen shoe stores here) that I liked- the price tag over $500- I didn't bother to ask if they had my size! But in Cincinnati there is the MALL just waiting for me to come home.

And you wouldn't believe the money I saved Don- And all the new clothes AND BOOTS- two pairs actually- And it was so much fun to spend the day with Amber- besides she was terrific helping me find just the right clothes and shoes.

I went to visit Elizabeth, my God-Daughter and daughter of Rimma and Kevin Driscoll. Elizabeth is a 3 year old that seems to be going on 12. We had lunch, read books and played some games before it was time for her nap. Below is a picture of Elizabeth.

Saturday night was dinner with Amber and Jason at one of our favorite Italian places in Cincinnati.

But once we were served it was obvious why Ohio is one of the "fattest" states in the union. The portions we were served were easily twice what we typically get in SF and a whole lot more than we needed. That was a good lesson for us to remember when we do come back. We've both lost weight here in SF due to exercise and healthy eating and we don't want to slide back into our habits when we return. We need to stay a bit more to make sure the changes become permanent. It is so easy here- just a few hills and you've burned the calories from dinner. And of course you have to walk if you go out to dinner- there is absolutely NO PARKING near any restaurant.

Sunday began with breakfast at Gabby's and our favorite breakfast burritos before we headed to Columbus to see more of our family.

Sunday brought a trip to Columbus to see Sarah, Deseree, Shawn, and our newest family member Anthony Allen Griffey. Mary and Taylor, and our friends Fouad and Mary drove up with us and Michael and Liz drove separately. On top of that Pat and Kelly and their family met us at Sam's house. We are all very grateful to Sam for allowing us all to gather at his house. As always, Sam is the perfect host and we all had a great time at his house. Unfortunately, Jan was down in Florida visiting Sara. So she missed the party.

So we had a great reunion of family and friends. Here are some great shots of Anthony.

I forget how tiny they are when they are new. And how perfect they are for a Grandma. Anthony stayed curled up while I held him for oh so long! PERFECT JOY!

While we were all getting acquainted with Anthony, Taylor was having a great time with Lucas learning all about trains. I think this will create some new ideas for Taylor for next Christmas.

And it was also the occasion for Max to finish her major knitting project that she started on our drive to SF. She made Anthony a Baby Blanket that turned out to be a quilt. It was a bit doubtful that it would get finished by the time we needed to leave Columbus, but Mary Ezra, who is a real pro at knitting, put in a great effort to finish off the final rows and get it done.
So while I held Anthony Mary just kept right on knitting-

I was the "baby hog" one more time!
Max cut the last thread of yarn after Mary finished it and the final product was presented to Sarah and Deseree.

As you can see below, this blanket should last him through quite a bit of growing. It was Max's first "baby blanket" and it turned out to be a bit larger than the baby.

Maybe I got just a little overly ambitious- Anthony will have to "grow" into his baby blanket!
And of course Semper made the trip-

Though Amber has been taking such good care of him he's rather taken with her now. But Amber was glad Don was home- he had to get up with Semper and Brutus at 5am instead of her!
And we got to spend the day with our niece Kelly and her beautiful family. We missed the football game (Pat coaches) and Shelby's (our great niece) volleyball game in Bluffton- Just one more reason we get homesick for Ohio.

And finally on our last day in Cincinnati we had dinner with the Peairs. But before dinner I had one more day of shopping with Amber- this time Jason joined us. And we even found our way to Target.

I first met Mary Jo when she was Michael's kindergarten teacher. Don and Mary Jo have become great friends with whom we always enjoy sharing an evening and a meal. Mary Jo is a great cook. One of the things we miss most about being in San Francisco is being away from our friends. It was great to see them again if only for an evening. Just getting to eat Mary Jo's cooking is worth the price of the ticket home. We didn't get to play bridge- the flight back to San Fran was too early- But we have the cards ready when they come here to visit. By then I'll have to learn all over again.

To all our friends and family in Ohio. We miss and love you and look forward to every occasion to be together! PS- can you see the pretty pin on my sweater? It was a special gift from Mary Jo that she found for me on one of our trips up to the White Oak Inn B&B in the hills of Ohio.


Anonymous said...

It was so great to see you guys! We love you all so much and are so glad to be a part of your family. I love to experience this "trip" with you through the blog. Have so much fun with Amy and Shawn... Lots of love from back HOME...
Kels & Co.

Anonymous said...

Wow, everyone looks great! Good work on the smile Don. The picture of you and Anthony is very cute. Shelby looks just like her mom, I thought I was looking at two pictures of Kelly! love, brandy