A Messiah to Remember

What a beautiful performance by Collegium Cincinnati and Cincinnati Boychoir of Handel's Messiah the lovely Robin and I enjoyed this afternoon at Christ Church Cathedral in Cincinnati (the program forbade photos during the performance so I had to content myself with the above picture, taken about fifteen minutes before it started).

It was truly wonderful. The musicians and soloists were outstanding, and it was delightful watching the young men of the Collegium and Boychoir sing their parts enthusiastically and flawlessly. It was also entertaining to watch the boys stifle yawns and overcome restlessness while standing for the whole performance. And I must have forgotten how high fifth- and sixth-grade boys could sing!

Many thanks to those who planned, executed, and hosted this performance. It was a Messiah to remember.

Awaited 2014

For the third year in a row, the lovely Robin and I were blessed to attend "Awaited," the spectacular Christmas presentation of Crossroads Community Church in Cincinnati (see my posts from previous years here and here). Crossroads distributed 100,000 tickets to this event within twenty-four hours of making them available. Cuh-razy!

In many ways, this year was my favorite, as the original songs and creative carol arrangements have become more familiar, and I anticipate some of my favorite moments.

If you missed out on ordering tickets, don't despair. They make room for walk-ins at every show, and encourage people who can't use their tickets to return them for re-distribution.

It's become a Christmas tradition for us to return, and to share the experience with those who haven't yet attended. Performances continue through December 23. Check the church website for information.

RedsFest 2014

 Thanks to an early Christmas present, I got to attend RedsFest at the Cincinnati Convention Center yesterday!
 It is a gathering of Reds players and fans unlike anything I've ever seen. What a blast!
 Rosie Red got to meet a celebrity soon after we arrived.
 And my almost-three-year-old grandson Ryder got there just in time for a team photo.
 Ryder proved that he can steal home faster than Billy Hamilton....
 And swing the bat better than a healthy Joey Votto.
Reds pitcher Mike Leake asked to take a photo with me, so I stopped for a moment to oblige him.

It was a fun way to spend a Friday afternoon and evening, and a fitting cap to a year in which I visited both the National Baseball Hall of Fame for the first time and the Reds Hall of Fame for the first time.

Castillo San Cristobal

I took the above photo on my trusty iPhone in January 2014 on a visit to Castillo San Cristobal in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Barn 'n' Bunk's Fall Festival

Sunday afternoon, in the company of the lovely Robin and Aubrey and Kevin and Calleigh and Ryder and Avery, I got to go to the Barn 'n' Bunk Fall Festival in Trenton, Ohio (salute!).
We ate and drank and walked and jumped all around; in fact, Calleigh took three or four turns on the jumpy thingy by the corn maze. I'm pretty sure that's the official name. Hope I'm not violating any trademarks. 
It was a beautiful day for a hayride, though Avery didn't deem it exciting enough to wake up. 
With Calleigh's expert leadership, we navigated the corn maze. We raced ducks. We ate popcorn and sugar candies and drank cider and root beer. We browsed the shops and stalls. We saw some old friends. 
We even got to measure how tall we are this year. And, of course, we bought a few pumpkins to bring home. It wore us all out. Well, the adults, that is. The kids just keep going and going and going. 

Barn 'n' Bunk is located at 3677 Wayne Madison Road in Trenton, Ohio.

The Grape Leaf Diner

It just looked like a nice diner. So the lovely Robin and I stepped into The Grape Leaf Diner in Holland, Ohio (near Toledo), last Friday evening for dinner.
Turns out it was fairly unique experience, featuring mostly Lebanese cuisine (which I'm not sure we'd ever had, though we have thoroughly enjoyed Greek and Armenian dishes numerous times).
Our server was very helpful, the food was ready quickly and served hot, and the servings were enormous. After sharing a salad and chicken noodle soup, I had the Mixed Grille Kabob (above) and Robin ordered the Chicken Ghalaba. The food was delicious, though far more than we could eat. 
I would have loved to have tried their baklava, but there was nowhere to put it.

The Grape Leaf Diner is located at 909 S. McCord Rd. in Holland, Ohio.