Monday, October 31, 2005

Halloween hysteria

I just discovered something quite hilarious. The Courthouse has been offering free metal detector scanning to ensure that there aren't any hidden chunks of metal in some poor unsuspecting kid's Halloween candy!! Oh my god. I can picture it now. All the little fairy and goblin costumed children lining up waiting for the scary 6 foot plus muscle-bound gun-weilding Courthouse guards to snatch their chocolate off them!! Hahaha.

I know that Halloween is supposed to be scary and all, but that is certainly a novel way of adding another level of fear into the mix...

Monday, October 24, 2005

I'm sick of talking about hurricanes ("Go Wilma!" ugh...) so here's Ben. He is 3, and I am looking after him on the weekends for the next six weeks.

So, here's a question for you - what time of the year is it...? Hahaha :-D Oddly enough, pumpkin related paraphernalia actually began appearing around here in SEPTEMBER. (It feels a bit like Christmas does when the reindeers burst onto the scene in October. :-) Peoples front yards have witches and pumpkins and broomsticks strewn all over them, baked goods in the supermarket have begun turning orange and black thanks to the help of a little food colouring, and Ben already has three very elaborate costumes lined up for next Sunday!!

I guess I will be going trick or treating, huh?

The Jack O' Lantern

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

More ponds

To counteract the ugly smog below, I took some pretty pictures of a new pond I found this week in my neighborhood! I can't believe I never saw it earlier? Better late than never, I guess. :-D

Saturday, October 15, 2005

For anyone who thinks the smog in Christchurch is bad?!!

Ok, so here's the side of American city life that I have been trying not to think about or talk about on this blog so far! But I have been remembering lately just how much everyone back home considers that Christchurch has a "smog problem" at certain times of the year.

Well... this is Cincinnati's "clean air".

This has been the view of downtown since May. Smog so bad that you actually smell it in the air as you walk down the street - any time of the day, not just in the evening when everyone's fires are stoked and roaring!

Nice, eh? Cough... splutter...

Looking from my suburb across to the downtown area ... mmm, yummy!

Friday, October 14, 2005

Crazy classes

I just read the funniest blog entry in a while! Mainly because it partially involved me. :-) Fran (who is the new exchange student from NZ who came over here in August) spoke about our "Foreign Relations" class (at like this, as she was trying to describe what subjects she is taking over here:

"Foreign Relations: Errrr, not really sure, I think it was the War powers but who knows. Katrina and I sat in class panicking today as a very erudite conversation about the consitutional powers of the president to wage war took place around us and Katrina got called on and we both just about died. Had a little chat with Professor Wuerth afterwards and she said she won't fail us if we aren't chiming in every two seconds with things to say thank GOD!!"

Oh, I am laughing so hard right now that tears are practically rolling down my face!!! Thanks Fran! You cheered me up. :-)

So ... if you haven't figured by now ... class has been just a little bit stressful lately. Ugh. Too many assignments. Too much crazy constitutional research. Too many late nights typing up difficult essays until 2am and then getting up again at 6. (Come to think of it, I can't actually remember right now when I last got more than four hours sleep in a night?!)

Then there's been juggling my hours of work at the Courthouse, plus my additional hours working for the Greater Cincinnati Legal Aid Society (another wee "project" that I've been busy with this semester).

Oh well. At least I'm not bored! :-) Today is friday too. The friday before Fall Break! Yay. A week off from classes. HOORAH!

...Not a week off from crazy researching and writing though. Just no additional stuff piling up on my plate until, say, 9am on Monday 24th. :-D I wanted to be able to go and do some sightseeing this break like I did in the Spring (remember New York?!) but the word "impossible" comes to mind with everything due in 10 days time. Sigh.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Falling leaves...

Yep. It's finally Fall!!! No. It's Autumn. Oh, whatever ... the leaves are changing colour, YAY!!! :-D

To be honest, I don't know why I'm quite so excited about that, because it only means that a large dump of snow is just around the corner. Hmmmm.

Anyway - this pretty little leaf was one of many covering the top of my car this morning. I can tell I'm going to have to start scheduling in "leaf clearing time" each day from now on! (If you click on the image to make it bigger, it looks even more beautiful! :-)

As well as leaves, there was also a lot of fog. Very. Thick. Fog. I guess that's what you get for living next to a great big river...

Tuesday, October 11, 2005


..... Is it just me, or does anyone else also not have the slightest clue what Happy Sweetest Day is???? Huh?

A trip to the local bookstore this afternoon revealed a massive card display that looked awfully, strangely and suspiciously like Valentine's Day. My brain tricked me for a second and had me thinking we were actually still in February, hahaha! But I took a closer look and discovered that there really is such a thing as ... Sweetest Day.

I was confused. So ... a little extra-curricula research turned up the following:

"Sweetest Day is always celebrated on the third Saturday in October. In 2005, Sweetest Day is Saturday, Oct. 15.

Sweetest Day, which began as a day to do good deeds for the underprivileged and forgotten, is now an occasion to remember loved ones and friends who enrich our lives with their love and thoughtfulness. Love and friendship are popular themes on Sweetest Day cards, often with expressions of appreciation. Sweetest Day has become very much a romantic day in most locations.

Observance of Sweetest Day is prevalent in the Great Lakes region – where the holiday originated – which includes such states as Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio (Ah-ha! Ohio! :-) and Wisconsin. As people have moved from these areas to other parts of the country, the custom of celebrating Sweetest Day has expanded across the nation from Maine to Florida to California.

Greeting cards, tokens of affection and appreciation, gifts, and spending time together are ways that people celebrate Sweetest Day."

I don't know about you, but doesn't this just sound like a fine excuse for squeezing in another Valentine's Day before next February? Just a thought ...

Monday, October 03, 2005

The rest of the weekend...

Ok, so ... Chicago. :-) I had a great weekend there. It involved a lot of walking up and down the "Magnificent Mile" (read: a street with lots of shops, art galleries, clubs, bars and restaurants). I also managed to restrict myself to one, itty, bitty, $20 purchase. :-D What iron strength I have, hahaha! (I could hear my bank account cheering all the way from Cincinnati. :-)

We also had a couple of extremely yummy dinners ... one at The Cheesecake Factory (the taste of which has to be experienced to be believed) and one at this cute wee Italian Restaurant complete with 90 year old Italian musicians serenading their customers. Unfortunately, somebody at our table mentioned it was my birthday. Some serious birthday serenading ensued then for, like, the next 10 minutes! Aaargh.

After that, we spent many hours chilling out at the bar in the Sears Tower where the photos were taken. Lots of other places were visited that night too, but after 1am it all became a bit of a blur...

On the sunday morning I accidentally stumbled across a Violin Shop! I was so excited that I managed to convince everyone else in the group to trot inside with me and sneak a look at them all! :-) Fortunately, a massive thunderstorm rolled in around that time, so it was a fine excuse to stay put for the next hour(!) and play a variety of very expensive Polish and Cambodian violins, hehehehe!

By midday on Sunday we were ready to leave, so began the drive back to Cincinnati. What should have taken us no more than 5 hours became a 10 hour marathon effort when the person in charge of the map (not me I will add, but a US native!!) set us off on the wrong highway, then promptly nodded off to sleep. I also fell asleep ... and woke again just as the sign: "Welcome to Michigan!" floated by the car.


Clearly we were NOT meant to be in Michigan(!) but the 'upside' was that I got to add another State to my list of where-I've-been-in-the-USA, hahaha!

So ... by 10 o'clock that night, I had travelled through all of the following States in a day: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, back through Indiana(!), Kentucky, and Ohio. Phew.