Congratulations Paul and Karen

Right around this time forty two years ago the Webner family moved from Akron, Ohio and made Columbus our home. The first person I met the day we moved in was my neighbor Paul King and we became friends from the beginning. He later was one of a number of people who roomed at my condominium in Rittenhouse Square.

Twenty five years ago he asked me to be a groomsmen in his wedding and tonight I was invited to celebrate his marriage to his beautiful wife Karen along with their family and friends. They are two of the happiest people I have come to know and have raised two of the most respectful children, Chris and Katie I have ever been around.

Paul and I still get together a couple times a month to have lunch and sometimes if we are lucky Karen will join us. As one gets older you reflect on the many friendships you have that have lasted through the years and I am fortunate to be blessed with the friendship of both of them. So Happy Anniversary Paul and Karen, wishing you many more years of happiness to come.

82 and Going Strong

Tonight several of us went to Gallo’s Kitchen and Bar to celebrate the matriarch of the family, mom Webner’s birthday. She has been celebrating all week.

We started with arancini rice balls with pomodoro sauce and fried oysters with remoulade sauce which were really delicious. For dinner mom opted for the filet mignon with homemade worcestershire sauce, while Amy and I had the seafood creole which included walleye, catfish and shimp over rice and Margaret went for the creole seasoned chicken.

Of course we had no choice but to top of the meal off with desert when we all shared a scoop of pistachio honey and dark chocolate ice cream. Thanks to TG for the appetizers. Happy Birthday mom – wishing you many more to come !!

Dream Job with the Dream Team

Over the weekend I saw a Pew Research poll that said 85% of baby boomers are not happy with the way things are going and I am happy to say I am not one of them. Years ago in my twenties I was the host at a small steakhouse and I always thought it would be fun to try my hand at it again when I retired.

After almost thirty years in the insurance industry I got my opportunity to do it again at the Windward Passage a quaint seafood restaurant in northwest Columbus. Each week I typically work a few lunch shifts and a couple of dinner shifts for some spending money now that I am officially retired.

Pictured above are my favorite “lunch bunch” – from left to right – Ashley, Amy, me, Sonya, Dana and Katie. These ladies some who are single moms and some who work two jobs to make ends meet are the ultimate team players, always pitching in to help each other without any complaints. I have to say it is truly a joy to work with them on a regular basis.

So if you are up in the Henderson Road area Monday through Friday stop in for lunch between 11 – 2:30 for one of the restaurant’s reasonably priced lunch specials and have one of these gals wait on you. You will find it well worth it and I guarantee you will want to come back !

What in the Heck is Going On ?

Look  (both hands chopping in a downward motion) – I’ve recently retired and figure I have done everything right okay – never carried any debt except for an occasional credit card bill and my mortgage payment (considered good debt). Always lived well within my means – paid cash for all of my cars – sold my house for a good price and traded down to a small condo back in 2004 which I recently paid off.

A week or so ago the Federal Reserve released a statement saying that they are keeping interest rates at or near zero through at least mid – 2013. So basically what they’re saying is this is a great time to buy or re-finance a house – thanks Ben (Bernanke) but you see I don’t need a house right now, I have one that is paid off ! Keeping rates low means interest rates on credit cards will remain low – thanks again Ben but I don’t use my credit card except when I am taking a trip or in case of  an emergency and I always pay the one credit card I have off every month.

YOU SEE BEN WHAT I WOULD LIKE IS SOME KIND OF RETURN ON MY MONEY FOR CHOOSING TO SAVE AND IT LOOKS LIKE I AM NOT GOING TO GET A GOOD RETURN FOR AT LEAST THE NEXT COUPLE OF YEARS. BEN, I DON’T WANT TO INVEST TOO MUCH OF MY SAVINGS INTO A RISKIER INVESTMENT LIKE SAY THE STOCK MARKET BECAUSE I AM RETIRED AND I AM GOING TO NEED THE MONEY SOME TIME IN THE NEAR FUTURE – I MEAN A BIRD IN THE HAND IS WORTH TWO IN THE BUSH ISN’T IT ?

So yesterday I’m opening my mail and I come to an envelope that says – Important Information About Your Property Value 2011 Reappraisal. I’ve read numerous stories on the internet about home values dropping like rocks and of course Columbus Ohio is no different right, so I open the envelope and WHAT – my condo is now worth 25% less than what it was in 2005 the last time my property was appraised.

THIS REALLY SUCKS ! Ahhhhh – they say that blogging is therapeutic and you know what I think it is, I feel so much better now ! I wonder what tomorrow will have in store for me !!

Saturday Night Concert

I can’t think of anything better to do on a comfortable clear summer night in Columbus, Ohio than to enjoy an outdoor concert at Lifestyle Pavilion with a couple of friends. What a great venue for a concert !

So thanks to my friend Courtney we had box seats to see Ray LaMontagne (the g is silent) and the Pariah Dogs on Saturday. Never heard of Ray LaMontagne and the Pariah Dogs ? No problem neither had the three of us (a fifty something, a forty something and a thirty something), but the rest of Columbus must have heard of him because the place was packed.

Per Wiki Ray was a tutor in Maine, until he woke up one morning at 4 a.m. and while getting ready to go to work he heard the Steven Sills song “Treetop Flyer” on the radio. After he bought the album he decided he wanted to become a singer song writer and he has become a pretty good one at that.

A little research on the internet revealed that the song he is most well known for is “Trouble” (the background song for the commercial where the dog takes his bone to the bank) and his musical genre is listed as folk blues. I particularly liked one of the songs he played called “For the Summer”.

I think it is fair to say that this thirty seven year old is not your typical musician of this day and age. He reminds me quite a bit of folk music singers from the late sixties or the early seventies. His music is very mellow and laid back which gets your toes a tapping, but at times leaves you wishing for a song or two that is a little more up tempo.

The man himself seemed to be quite shy as I can’t remember his interacting with the audience in attendance much other than to say thank you a few of times for their applause. If you like bands that are a little bit different and you get the opportunity to do so I would definitely recommend seeing this band at least once.

Welcoming The Green Space Of Columbus Commons

A view of Columbus Commons from one of the Rich Street entrances

Yesterday it was a beautiful, spring-like day in Columbus, and after lunch I took a walk down to Columbus Commons — the latest green space in downtown Columbus.  The area has just been sodded and is close to being completed for its grand opening in May.

At one of the Third Street entrances

Columbus Commons is the park that has replaced the late, lamented Columbus City Center mall.  After the City Center became a derelict place abandoned by all retailers and shoppers, there was a vigorous debate about what to do.  The decision was to tear the structure down and replace it with a park.  The result is Columbus Commons — 9 acres of green space with benches, tables and chairs, and a carousel.

My first impression of Columbus Commons was that it is big.  It has enormous central lawns that apparently will be used for kickball leagues.  (Let’s hope the park also has a good underground sprinkling system so those broad and inviting green lawns don’t turn brown and brittle in August.)  There are newly planted trees along some of the wide gravel pathways, large flower beds bordered by short iron fencing, old-fashioned black metal lighting, and plenty of benches.  Some of the entrances are brickwork, with pillars and large circular planters.

The view from the corner of High and Rich Streets

Downtown Columbus needs green space, so Columbus Commons is very welcome.  The park looks to be well-designed, and if it is kept properly planted and tended it should be an attractive place for an outdoor lunch on a warm summer day.  The park also allows for some unexpected and attractive vistas of downtown buildings.

The big question many downtowners have about Columbus Commons is:  who will use it, and how?  Will it become a haven for drug deals and aggressive panhandlers, or will it be a place where the burgeoning Columbus food cart scene sets up shop and caters to office workers happy to get a green space break from their cubicle-oriented lives?

Mary Mary NOT Contrary

 

Mary Jo Kilroy

I read Bob’s blog regarding the race in District 15 and found an interesting article which points out several reasons why Mary Jo Kilroy may likely hold on to her congressional seat.

It’s hard to fault her for voting for what her constituents want and as this article points out a large part of her constituency is young voters at Ohio State and government workers who work in and live in and around Columbus.

While Mary Jo had been in Congress the two biggest pieces of legislation that were passed were the Healthcare Reform Bill and the Financial Reform Act both of which I was in favor of. Mary Jo participated in writing the Financial Reform Act.

The article also mentions the fact that there will be additional candidates that will most likely pull votes from Stivers who has been employed as a banking lobbyist and is a pro-life Republican.