Wednesday, August 7, 2019


Just got back from Middletown, Ohio -- setting for the Hillbilly Elegy book and where Ron Howard is now shooting the film version. We were there to visit Hubby's big bro and his family, and on our first day there, the guys did what they always do. They got up early and headed out in search of the manliest, greasiest breakfast they could find, and we wives didn't dare interfere. It's a tradition! Sister-in-law Priscilla is not a morning person, so by the time she was up and moving, the guys were back and ready to head out for a day in Cincinnati. First stop? Findlay Market, reminiscent of the wonderful covered markets you might find in Paris and Provence.

Mike and Prisi were leaning towards grabbing some yummy sausages or salads and going outside to eat, but Hubby and I wheedled a bit and convinced them to try the cute cafe we'd spotted across the street, so we could sit in air conditioned comfort. Turned out to be our best decision of the day!

Apparently Jean Robert has other larger, fancier restaurants around town, but this little cafe specializes in delicious French omelettes, salads and sandwiches made on wonderful French bread -- just what you might crave after a morning shopping at the market!

Then we were off to the Taft Museum of Art, where they just happened to be hosting an exhibit called L'Affichomania -- The Passion for French Posters!

Our last stop before heading off to meet the kids for dinner was at my favorite little gift shop/bakery from our last visit there, French Rendez-Vous. Priscilla had called ahead to reserve some fresh-out-of-the-oven chocolate and almond croissants for our breakfast the next day, and we bought a couple of yummy macarons to munch on while we wandered the rooms filled with French antiques and tablecloths from Provence.

The most amazing thing about the day? We did not even plan this French-themed day. It just happened!

Monday, August 5, 2019


Gee! Guess it's been a while since I posted, huh? Perhaps I should have warned you that we were headed up north to visit Hubby's family in Ohio. However, before we left, he had a little surprise for me. First we drove over to San Antonio and checked into Hotel Valencia -- the same one we stayed in when I won that amazing mega-prize-trip to San Antonio a few years back. They've remodeled since then, and it's even better now! Once we were checked in and spiffed up, we walked a few doors down to a little cafe, midway between our hotel and the infamous Majestic Theater, where John had made dinner reservations. I thought the name sounded familiar, but it wasn't until I headed to the ladies room and saw a framed sketch that I realized this was the same Bella Cafe with the cute little awning that used to be down on the Riverwalk. We tried to go there several times with our best buddies Paula and Tim, but they were always either closed or full. Now they are catering to the theater crowd, and offer a wonderful prix fixe menu on show nights.

From there it was just another block or so down to our ultimate destination, where one of my very favorite bands from our college days happened to be playing. But, even if that band hadn't been playing, it would have been worth the trip just to see the inside of this amazing theater -- a relic of bygone days. One thing we love most about San Antonio is that they seem to lean more towards preserving and protecting their lovely architecture, while Austin has a tendency to raze and replace!

When is the last time you rode in an elevator with an elevator operator in it?

To tell you the truth, when John told me who we were going to see, I was a bit shocked. I didn't even know they were still alive, much less touring!

So, imagine my surprise when the performance was actually so good that it got an audience full of people my age and older (and quite a few young ones too) up out of their seats, singing along and waving their iphone lighters in the air!

Best of all, once the concert was over, we only had a five minute walk back to our hotel, where we got a good night's sleep, a delicious breakfast, then had a very short drive to the airport and our flight out to Ohio!

Does it get any better?