Avocado toast and then some

There are certain things in life that elevate and attach to the senses: music, visuals, scents and tastes that reinforce synapses and hold a tighter corner of the mind…

I had heard raves again and again about the avocado toast at Mom ‘n ‘Em. I know this menu item is a punchline to many a joke, but hear me out. They have perfected a combination of garlic, sesame seed, cilantro at this Camp Washington coffee shop to sear into memory.

So much that I had this very menu item yesterday and raved about it to Casey so much we came back this morning to celebrate his totes-vaxxed-ness.

Highly recommend, that is, if you like avocado toast — or maybe even if you’re a skeptic.

While we sipped on our (also excellent) coffee waiting for the order, we watched folks drive by with loud stereos while the sun shone through the newly sprouted leaves of a Japanese Maple.

A Japanese Maple lit from the sun, photographed below the leaves
Japanese Maple with sunlight

From there we drove up to Staples and got supplies to print off passport photos because I have failed 5 times getting self-produced photos printed at drugstores around the area. (They kept scaling them and the rules for passport photos are very specific.)

Unrelated to picking up ink and paper, they had a setup with fake videoconferencing at the store. I think they did a really good job with expressions:

A fake videoconferenceing screen at a display of desk at an office supply store
Fake videoconferencing set-up at Staples


My nephews stopped by with some new bags of seed bombs. I am excited to find out what these will grow into.

Hollywood Video

Driving around trying to figure out if there were any good food options after a trip to the post office. Found this old Hollywood Video in North College Hill and thought it was rare to see so much of the signage intact. As did this YouTuber.

Unrelated to this moment, Earlier this day I was reading a post on Fonts In Use about Half Moon Run’s album art, which turned into watching a video, digging it and then reading up on the designer Alex Tomlinson and enjoying all his work.

Hollywood video abandoned with video return box

The Candy Drawer

My dad’s mom, Me-Maw Glass, was the hub of the family. We’d go to her house after church and on weekends to eat and fraternize. There was a playground within a block when the weather was nice, and there was almost always some card games happening in the kitchen — mostly Canasta and Euchre.

Her home was small, the front room led through her bedroom to the kitchen. There were no doors for privacy. And the top drawer of her bedroom dresser was filled with candy. We were allowed one piece per visit.

I try to keep a drawer of snacks on hand, but lately it’s starting to resemble the one my Grandmother kept. And this is why I’m fat.

Hugging friends

A lot of things happened this day, but the best part was seeing Tom and Wendy and sharing hugs.

The weather was stupid good. Tom made this pulled BBQ chicken (gated link) from America’s Test Kitchen that almost made me want to cancel my meal-kit delivery service and buy a subscription to their magazine.

Post note: I have since gone on to make this recipe and it is exceptionally good, but also a lot of work (and totally worth it.)

Van Wormer Hall

I’ve passed this building countless times and always take a beat, never knowing its purpose or history. It wasn’t hard to dig up information about what used to the first official library building at the University of Cincinnati that opened in 1901. Prior to this date the collection was strewn about classrooms at the University Building on McMicken Avenue. This and more info from The History of University Libraries — a 16 page PDF about all the libraries at UC.

The building was designed by Samuel Hannaford, same architect of Music Hall and many other fine buildings around the city and region and named for primary funder Asa Van Wormer.

The dome was added during extensive renovations in 2006. It’s no longer a library but serves as administrative offices.

The old Save-A-Lot

I can’t tell if this is covered up graffiti, intentional art, or both. This also marks the second day in a row where I document a closed grocery store in a round about way.

They tried for the longest time to bring this back to life as a community owned market, but the challenges ran deep. The latest incarnation for this lot is retirement housing for LGBTQ seniors – a first for our city and fitting that it may find a home here in Northside.

A closed grocery store covered in covered up graffiti
A long closed Save-A-Lot grocery store in Northside, Cincinnati

You can see the faded sign with their old, old logo – preferable to the branding journey they’ve since been on:

Save-A-Lot logo history

In other news, today was Independent Bookstore Day, a made up holiday I can totally get behind.

Right across from this lot is our still new pretty new but still totally awesome Downbound Books. I was there to pick up the new Anthony Bourdain book that collects his favorite places, brought to fruition by Laurie Woolever. At this point my attention is best served by non-linear stories.

College Hill Station

In place of a Kroger in College Hill they’re building 171 apartments, retail space, and a big parking lot. It’s called College Hill Station.

For no reason, this is the most interesting thing I snapped a photo of today, but it was a very dense day (It marked my first totally vaccinated.) I have a draft to sum up the moment proper, but this snapshot felt too disjointed and honestly? It’s hard to write it out.

A new building under construction

Art by Brian Elston

Back in the late 90’s I worked at an old warehouse in downtown Cincinnati with a dozen folks and we made websites. We had one of those elevators with the exposed scissor gates, desks made out of doors on sawhorses, and fresh fruit almost every afternoon at 3pm—that time of the day when you need a break from screens and everything.

I consider these years among my favorites as we tried to strike a balance between work and fun. Sometimes? We succeeded!

Brian Elston was a part of our crew and he always brought a sharp angle to whatever problem was at hand. He approached solutions from a human perspective. His needle leaned toward artist, but he has an inherit sensitivity to design as a practice.

Recently I had the thought: I need more art in my life and he had this painting that spoke to me.

I love getting really close in and finding an infinite number of compositions.

You can see more of Brian’s art at his website.

Abstract painting detail
Abstract painting detail
Abstract painting detail

Late afternoon reflection

Worked out with Larry virtually in the morning in a chilly room. (It snowed a bit overnight…) We’re starting to see some limits of my resistance bands and dumbbells (I’m getting slightly “stronger.”) One thing that never fails to break me? Push-ups.

Dag I loathe those.

I do them begrudgingly because all said and done? Physical exertion is the easily one of the best things for mind and spirit.

The snow eventually melted by afternoon, and the sun was shining through the studio and I took this smudge filled reflection on the monitor.

I still loathe push-ups.


Today I:

  1. Had Zooms with folks in Ireland for some projects.
  2. Photographed Paul’s Boutique for the favorites section. Above? An outtake of the glorious rainbow on the spinner.
  3. Watched the Apple event where they introduced AirTags, a purple iPhone (mom would have dug that!), kind of pretty new colorful iMacs and an impressive upgrade to the iPad Pro. All these things are lovely and cute and probably awesome, but no, I need none of these things.
  4. And though it is a holiday of sorts, I did not toke up but how much easier would it be if I just made post titles the date?
Apple announces their new iMacs as seen streaming on an iMac Pro on a messy desk