Friday, February 21, 2014

Renew Your Friendship with Findlay Market

I'm fortunate to have good friends. Some are from elementary school, others from college or from my own teaching career. Some of my friends are moms who shared PTA meetings, soccer practices, and musical rehearsals. Others became really close friends just through chance meetings or brief introductions. We've all changed, moved, and grown during the years of our friendship, and I sometimes wonder how we keep it all together. How is it that after periods of separation we pick up right where we left off?
I've realized that good friendships take work. I've lost track of some of my high school friends because one or the other of us didn't make the effort to maintain the relationship. We got busy, or tired, or didn't have the money to travel, or just plain forgot to stay in touch. With others, however, we've found a way to carry on because friendships are a two-way street. My best friends always seem to find the time, the energy, the money, and the memories to stay connected. Just when we need it the most, we seem to reach out.
For many of you, Findlay Market is like an old friend. You know she's there, and you like to call her your good old friend. You tell stories of the times you've been together, and you dream about summer days and good times to come. But, like all friends, it takes work to maintain your relationship with Findlay Market. Too tired to stop? No energy to shop? Too much trouble to park? Too cold? Too wet? When you finally make the effort to visit, you find something you loved about Findlay Market is missing. Maybe that kid you liked behind the counter no longer works there. Maybe your favorite product isn't stocked anymore because not enough customers came during the winter to justify carrying it. Or, worst of all, maybe your favorite shop has gone out of business.
The merchants at Findlay Market work hard all year long to maintain their relationships with their customers, but sometimes we worry that we're doing all the work. Make time, stop by, reach out. It takes two to make a lasting friendship.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Go for the Gold

Another week. Another snowstorm. During this winter that never ends, it's nice to break up the monotony with the Winter Olympic Games.
I've always been a fan of the Olympics. After watching Jean-Claude Killy tear down the mountain in 1968, I wanted to ski. After seeing Peggy Fleming spin like a top, I wanted to skate. Inspiration aside, I lived in the Midwest, not the Minnesota/Wisconsin part of the country with mounds of snow and frozen lakes; but rather, I lived in the Mississippi River Valley near St. Louis, where, for kids, a few inches of snow was cause for celebration.
The winter that stands out in my mind must have been a lot like this one. We got snow, and more snow, the kind that was so deep it snuck over the top of my boots. Nevertheless, I couldn't wait to get outside to play in it. The highlight of each week was when my parents took us to the local golf course to go sledding on hills that seemed like mountains to me.
Several other families joined us, and each Sunday afternoon became a big winter party. Up and down the hills we went, pretending to be Olympic bobsledders or crashing like out-of-control skiers. Finally, exhaustion and wet socks caught up with us, and we retreated to the golf course clubhouse for a big burger, a bowl of soup, and a hot chocolate.
As I watch the Olympics this year, I know the athletes are inspiring the next generation. Kids who are watching may not turn out to be the next Bode Miller or Gracie Gold, but maybe they will be inspired to go out and play in the snow. Maybe they will share family fun on a make-believe mountain followed by good food and warm conversation. Memories like that are golden.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Why Wait for Oktoberfest? Let's Do Febfest!

Welcome to February, surely the grayest and dullest of months in Cincinnati. The holidays have past, the Super Bowl parties are over, and it's still a few weeks until the Reds head for spring training. Some years ago, we decided we needed a way to break up the boredom of winter. Mr. Daisy Mae suggested we get together with friends who also have cabin fever and share traditional German food like we all love during Oktoberfest. We'd call it "Febfest" and share some Gemütlichkeit when we really needed it…during the blah days of February.
Twenty years later, the tradition continues. We get most of what we need from Findlay Market including cheese from Gibbs or Krause's, and sausages from Kroeger & Sons. We use Daisy Mae's own potatoes for homemade potato pancakes, and finish off the meal with an apfelstrüdel baked with crisp Granny Smith apples. Of course, no Febfest is complete without German-style beer so we support our neighbors at Christian Moerlein brewery or Rhinegeist right here in our Over-the-Rhine neighborhood. For those who prefer wine, we pick up a bottle or two from Market Wines at Findlay Market.
It's really easy to have a German celebration with the help of local Cincinnati small businesses. You should try it! Shop locally, celebrate internationally, and have fun with good friends, good food, and good drink.