Wednesday, June 30, 2010

I Heart My Real Job!

So, as you know by now I have two jobs. There's my annoying ("temporary") part-time job at Sbux that drives me insane and deprives me of sleep, then there's my real full-time job in Preservation Services that can be boring at times, but can also be very interesting and creative. I love my real job! It keeps me from losing my sanity when it comes to Sbux. My real job is everything Sbux is not. It allows me to be the introverted and semi-creative person I am...and occasionally it can be very a slightly book nerdy kind of way (aka the best kind of way).

Recently we received these Hamilton County Morgue Records from our Archives and Rare Books Library. The library was just awarded a grant to have these records digitized, thus allowing people to access them without even putting there hands on the deteriorating text. But, before they can be digitized they had to come to us to be disbound. Disbinding books for digitization is something we only do once or twice a year (because we don't have many digitization projects) and it can range from being a quick and easy task to being an arduous and messy one. It all depends on the construction of the book, how it was made, what materials were used to make it (i.e. cloth, leather, the type of paper, the type of adhesive, etc), and if it was sewn (and what type of sewing) or adhesive bound. We lucked out with these, they were sewn with tapes which is very easy to take apart. However the ledgers were fairly messy since they were bound in leather that has deteriorated over time, which leaves a reddish-brown residue on everything it touches (aka red rot). And some of the spines were also lined with leather...messy!
Here's an example of one of the ledger cases (i.e. cover).

Here's some of the gross bits and pieces that are removed from the textblock during disbinding. It's mainly bits of thread, the tapes (the cloth bits in the upper right hand corner), and bits of leather or cloth and adhesive that is removed from the spine.

In the end you are left with this...a stack of single signatures devoid of thread, adhesive or leather/cloth! Ready to be digitized!

And here's a picture of the sad, lonely cases after the textblocks have been removed, disbound, and placed in separate boxes to be digitized.

Usually, the things we get to disbind for digitization aren't particularly interesting (last time it was some sort of university Engineering records...yawn!). But that wasn't the case with these morgue ledgers! The ledgers were from the late 1800's and the early 1900's (up until the 1930s) and contained detailed descriptions of the various deaths the morgue encounter during that specific year. Most of the records were very specific, including the date, time of arrival to the morgue, name, physical description, occupation, marital status, who the body was identified by, what affects accompanied the body (i.e. purse, $2, pocket knife, etc.) and, most interesting, how the person died. One student even had a morgue ledger that included pictures of the was freaky!

Here's an example of the text, as I'm disbinding it. Notice the thread in the centerfold holding it together...this is snipped to help expedite the process.

I know, it sounds morbid (and it kind of is), but everyone in the department got really into reading through these records as we disbound them. There were 5 of us who did the disbinding: myself, another staff member and three of our students. As we were disbinding we would read off interesting or peculiar deaths to the others at the bench (that's what we call the area where we do all our conservation/repair work). Something about these records was so fascinating. It was so interesting to see the ways people died, and particularly how that change as the decades progressed. With the records from the late 1800s there were a lot of wagon related deaths and Railroad deaths. But as time progressed there were no longer any wagon related deaths, instead it was primarily railroad and street car ones...and later, in the 1920s and 30s, automobile deaths made up a large portion of reported accidents.

There were also the speculative ones, the ones that weren't crystal-clear. Like a number of fetuses found in sewers, dumpsters, and alley ways (I had one that was found in a toilet and another that was found at the zoo). We started to wonder if these fetuses were the result of illegal abortions, although nothing to that effect was mentioned in the records. Then there were the eerie deaths that were crystal clear. In one ledger I was disbinding, a woman died from an unsuccessful self-abortion (yikes! and ouch!!). In another a husband murdered his wife with a pair of ice tongs...

Here's a photo I took of the first half of the record.


And just in case you don't know what ice tongs look like...those are ice tongs! Ewww!

In addition to murders, there were a number of drownings, suicides, and sudden deaths/natural deaths. We were also astonished by the number of people who fell out of windows and down elevator shafts, accidentally! I had one ledger where a husband and wife were both struck by lightning, however it did not list the specific circumstances of the event. My favorite of all the interesting deaths I came across in the 5 morgue ledgers I disbound was the man who died from eating a "tainted ham and cheese sandwich". No lie! I guess that's what you get from poor refrigeration!

Sure they were morbid (as was our fascination with them), but it was also very interesting! I think what makes these ledgers particularly intriguing is the ability to view them so many years after the fact, when we have no emotional connection to them personally. The ledgers allow us to view these peoples deaths subjectively, since we did not know these people and they died nearly 100 years ago, yet their stories are real. And unlike what you see on CSI or Law & Order...they're lives/deaths are tangible. Each record lists the individuals residence and the address where they were found, and all of them are located in Cincinnati...some just down the street from us. It's a strange paradigm that allows us to feel safe and secure (since these people died so many years ago) yet somehow connected, if only minutely. I don't know if that makes any sense to you...but it was a pretty cool experience.

Most importantly, from disbinding these morgue ledgers I've learned to stay away from wagons, trains, automobiles, street cars, open windows, swimming in the Ohio River (why would you do that anyway...yuck!), open elevator shafts, and ham and cheese sandwiches! And Antoine, if he's holding a pair of ice tongs!

Sidenote: Happy 100th post folks! Thanks for reading...those few of you who do read this!! Sorry my 100th post had to be so morbid! I promise to make the next one cheery!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Summer Songs

I've currently got a couple albums rotating in my [piece of crap] car stereo that I'd like to share with you (hint, on the pictures to hear the songs).

The first I've mentioned before, but I just have to mention it again, "Plastic Beach" by the Gorillaz. I heart the Gorillaz, I have from the first moment I heard them. It's about as hip-hop/rap as I get (and yes, I "attempt" to sing's sad). This album is particularly cool, because it features a pretty impressive lineup of music people including the likes of Mos Def, De La Soul, and Lou Reed. My fav, by far, from the album is "Superfast Jellyfish".

That is the epitome of awesomeness!

Another album I'm LOVING this summer is the latest Black Keys, "Brothers". This is their sixth album, and I'm smitten! My favorite from the album is probably "Howlin for You", I think it's a great example of what they do best...blending Patrick's rhythms with Dan's soulful yet energetic voice, all surrounded by some solid guitar! The surprise of the album for me was the first track, "Everlasting Light". It features Dan singing in a much higher key than he normally does, and I love it! It reminds me of Jim James from My Morning Jacket (one of the favorite bands)...yet you still have that very Black Keys feel...

I love this song, it makes me think of Antoine!

The last cd I can't seem to get out of my cd player (not because it's stuck but because I am stuck on it) is "Up From Below" by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. It's complete hippie craziness and the perfect summer cd. I know, they're weird...they've got this very cult feel to them and the lead singer, Alex, (who's last name is the same as mine, and might be part of the reason I like them as much as I do) has this very Jesus and/or Charles Manson vibe about him...but their songs are just so joyful!! My favorite song from the cd is, of course, "Home"...

How could you not love's just so freaking sweet!

I will admit this to you, and only you...I bought the album solely for this song (which is not something I ever do...okay, maybe when I was thirteen...but not in my adult life)!! And the first couple times I listened to the cd I didn't care for it...mainly because I just wanted to get to track 6 ("Home"). But now that I've actually listened to it I'm quite enamoured with it, or at least the first half. I still don't care for "Jade" (aka track 5), but tracks 1 through 4 are pretty fantastic! So if you're in a very hippie, dancing-around-like-a-goofball-with-a-giant-smile-on-your-face kind of mood then definitely give this a shot!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Home Alone + Exhaustion = Freaky Freaky Nightmares

Clarification: When I say "home alone" I am, unfortunately, not referring to the 1990 Macaulay Culkin classic...
God, I loved that movie when I was little! I could identify with Kevin, not because my parents left me home alone, but because I too had an affinity for plain cheese pizza!

No, I'm talking about being home all by my lonesome. Antoine's parents and brother live in northern Kentucky, about 40 minutes away from us. Well, his mom and brother left Wednesday to drive down to Texas (where they are from). So Antoine is staying with his dad, who is semi wheelchair bound (from a stroke), until they come back. That leaves me home alone with just the cats to keep me company (while I text Antoine every other minute). And, when I say "keeping me company" I mean Missy hiding away somewhere about 95% of the time, Gui following me around and randomly licking my feet while I'm in the kitchen and then attacking one of the other cats, and Buddy staring at me! It's...interesting! And very lonely!

Anyway, since Antoine has been gone I've noticed that I've been having nightmares, weird freaky nightmares! Wait, you deserve a little background on me first. I am notorious for not having dreams/nightmares. I chalk it up to being an incredibly sound sleep with no memory whatsoever. So, even if I do have a dream I'm not aware of it, most of the time that is. So when I do have a dream and I remember it is quite the momentous event for me! Except when it comes to nightmares...because I'd really just rather not remember those!

A couple weeks ago I started having these weird serial killer dreams where this Halloween/Ed Gein-esque killer was after me and my family. They were the kind of nightmares where you wake up thoroughly freaked out and wanting your mommy! Not fun. But then they stopped (whew!)...and I slept peacefully for a week or so until Wednesday night (my first night home alone). Then came the spider nightmares! Now, normally I'm not all that scared of spiders (unlike my sister who is deathly afraid), I'm afraid of silly things like squirrels and birds pecking my eyes out (thank you Alfred Hitchcock!). Well, these dreams made me a little wary of spiders from now on. In that one night I had two separate nightmares...both involving evil attacking spiders! The first involved Antoine and I finding this dead tarantula. We thought it looked cool and decided to take it home (wtf?)!

Now, why in the hell would we want to take this home?? Even if it was dead!

So, where driving back home and all of a sudden I notice this tennis ball sized welt on the side of my face. And what do you know...the "dead" spider was missing from the center console where it had been sitting, supposed "dead". Somehow, once we got home it followed us into the house and, long story short, was finally killed in a showdown between it and Buddy! Not just normal, run of the mill creepy staring, in my dream Buddy had samurai like skills and was actually attempting to protect yours truly! Baffling, I know.

The second of the spider nightmare was very much like the movie Arachnophobia, which I haven't seen since I was probably 13 years old. I remember two things about that movie...1.) being thoroughly freaked out and not being able to sleep for a couple of nights afterwards and 2.) how amazingly funny John Goodman was as the off-the-wall exterminator, Delbert!

I think John Goodman is freaking awesome!!
Now I don't remember much of my Arachnophobia nightmare, but I do remember the spiders being very similar to those in the movie...and very deadly. And unfortunately my dream did not include the likes of Delbert to rescue me from the spiders (nor samurai Buddy).

A couple nights after my spider nightmares I proceeded to have a VERY strange dream that I'm not even going to tell you about because it was so disgusting. Trust don't want to know! Luckily I haven't had any more nightmares since then, but my sleep has been very crappy lately...and I blame it all on Antoine and his absence from the household! It's weird how you get so used to a routine and how not having someone there can throw everything out of whack. I'm looking forward to tomorrow (when he comes home) so much!! I can't even express how excited I am to have him back in the house with me! I've missed him!

Sidenote: Now I desperately want to watch Home Alone and Arachnophobia!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Sickness and Frozen Yogurt (not related)...

I apologize for my absence from posting recently, I've been rather busy at work and, what with two jobs, rather busy outside of work attempting to find sanity and have a normal life (not as easy as it sounds). And during my 2 day hiatus I've been in the process of getting sick...yet again. Nothing says summer like a head cold, don't ya know!? So, as of late, my main focus has been trying to stay awake. Even when I don't have any drugs (the over-the-counter kind) in my system my head still wants to slam onto the desk and drift into unconsciousness. I just don't get it!

On the plus side, I got free frozen yogurt last night, which is always good! There's this awesome little frozen yogurt chain in Cincinnati (and now Columbus) called Yagoot, and I just love it!
Yagoot frozen yogurt is tasty and 99% fat free! Added bonus, they've got a great selection of fresh fruits (about nine types) and different toppings (cap'n crunch, vanilla wafers, chocolate chips, yogurt chips, granola, etc.) that you can get loaded on top! And the fact that they're super generous with their toppings makes it even better. But the most awesome thing about Yagoot is that if you sign up for their special offers and promotions (at the bottom of this page) they'll email you with a certificate for a free small yogurt with one topping every time they have a new flavor come out (which is about 2 or 3 times a year)! It's a pretty sweet deal (hahaha, get it!?).

Anyway...last night they reintroduced their mango frozen yogurt (pictured above, courtesy of Yagoot), which they'll feature throughout the summer, and Antoine and I headed over to Rookwood for our free frozen yogurt. It was crazy busy, but we expected that! But the girls at Yagoot can hold their own and the line went fairly quickly! Antoine went first and got his small mango yogurt with strawberries on top. I opted to pay an extra $.50 so I could have two toppings...strawberry and vanilla wafers (delicious).

The mango is probably my second favorite of all their flavors I've tried! The first is, hands down, the strawberry (but then, I'm a strawberry kind of girl). Fortunately for me they always have strawberry and plain yogurt on tap, and then an additional seasonal flavor. Other seasonal flavors have included banana, pomegranate, and pumpkin. I've liked them all, although I was totally wild about the pumpkin or the plain. I really think they need to come out with a blueberry yogurt, that would be so delicious!

As far as options go, it's not just cups of yogurt and toppings! They've got a selection of creative alternatives, such as the Saylor, which is basically a yogurt float with red creme soda. Every time we venture into yagoot I always say that I want to try the Saylor, but then I am always distracted by the loveliness that is their Whirled Famous Shake! Their shake consists of your yogurt of choice and then three toppings all blended together with just a tad of milk. I generally get strawberry yogurt (surprise, surprise!) with blueberries, bananas and cap'n crunch (or strawberries, depending on how I'm feeling that day)'s so freaking delicious! Mmmm, I want one right now!! I highly recommend you try one...or at the very least, check out Yagoot's website, and sign up for their promotions! But don't wait until a new flavor comes out to try Yagoot (if you haven't already)...GO NOW! Run! It's yummy deliciousness will be there, waiting for you!

**Update: I have now tried the Saylor! It was yummy, but I'm sticking with the Whirled Famous makes me swoon!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Evil Dagger Eyes

There's a certain someone in my household that cannot stand me! And, believe me, the feeling is mutual!

This guy.

It's no secret that Buddy and I don't quite get along. It's obvious that he's my least favorite in the house, and I'm his! There's always been some animosity between us, from the first time he scratched my couch. It wasn't just the action of his claws shredding through the couch's cream colored upholstery, it was the fact that his eyes were on me the entire time...waiting for me to notice what he was doing and get upset. It's that glare he gives me! That f#@k you look on his little cat face that makes me want to drop him on my best friend's doorstep (she loves him) and run away forever!
A couple of months ago Buddy started doing something new...staring at this....


It doesn't matter what I'm doing or what time of the day it is...he STARES!! I can be sitting on the couch with Antoine watching tv and Buddy will sit at the other end of the room just staring at me! Just at me, not Antoine (because he loves Antoine)! It's freaky! He also does it in the morning when I'm getting ready for work. He'll pick a spot on the floor near the door in the bathroom, sit, and STARE. No good can come from this! Now, when I was little my mom let me watch almost any Stephen King movie I wanted and it's a good thing she did because now I know that a seemingly normal cat can, at any moment, turn into this...

Church from Stephen King's Pet Sematary

Do you see a resemblance? I'm definitely going to watch my back and sleep with my eyes open from now on!

So, if you live in the Cincinnati area and see in the news that some woman was attacked and killed by her cat...that's me! It was nice knowing you!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Etsy: Cricket Press

Since it is Friday I figured I'd celebrate with an Etsy post! As you may have noticed from the title, this Etsy post is inspired by my recent trip to Louisville! While at the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft, I fell in love with an exhibit of handprinted art by Cricket Press. This husband and wife duo of Brian and Sara Turner designs and hand prints screen printed and letterpress gig-posters and artwork. They also create card sets, invitations and announcements, all out of their home in Lexington, Ky. I just love their aesthetic and lucky for us...they're on Etsy!

They've got a variety of stuff up on Etsy, including music posters, art prints, mini-prints, card sets, books/journals, coasters, and calendars.

Here's just a few:

Mates of State - Screenprinted Gigposter
18" x 24" music poster

Sea Wolf - Screenprinted Gigposter
14" x 18" music poster

100,000 Fireflies - Original Art Print
12" x 18" art print

Thistles - screenprinted art print
12 1/2" x 18" art print

Red Dress - Original Screen Print
14" x 18" art print

Canary Collection II - The Birdcages
6" x 8" mini art print

Canary Collection II - The Goldfish
6" x 8" mini art print

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Louisville Recap: Day Four

Sadly, Monday (aka Day Four) was the day we had to leave our campground and Louisville to head back to Cincinnati. The disassembly of the tent went surprisingly well and before we knew it our car was all packed up. While packing though Antoine and I were feverishly trying to decide where to go for breakfast. Sure, we could stop at a Mickey D's and get some Mcmuffin-thingy, but that's McDonald's are around every corner and we were craving something exclusive to Louisiville! Truth is, we knew what we were craving...and we knew we would need to drive through Louisville to get back home anyway. So, technically, it wouldn't be too out of our way to go back to Lynn's for breakfast! Would anyone really judge us if we did...I mean, you saw the pictures...that food! And it tastes better than it looks! So knowing that, at the very least, we wouldn't judge each other for wanting to go was off to Lynn's Paradise Cafe yet again!

It wasn't nearly as crowded this time. However the same girl was manning the hostess station as the day before so we weren't too surprised when she said, "Hey, weren't you guys here yesterday?" When we bashfully replied, "yeah", we all had a little chuckle and she welcomed us back!

On our second visit our seats were more "front and center" and I was able to get some pictures of the dining area. The day before we were seated in the corner of the restaurant...not ideal for picture taking!

Don't you just love how crazy it is on the inside!? Trees in the middle of the dining room! Vibrant paintings and artwork throughout! Even giant mirrors clustered at the center of the bar area.

Antoine anxiously awaiting breakfast!

Antoine's biscuits and gravy, which he obviously didn't finish because it was such a massive portion...but a delicious massive portion!

I couldn't help myself, I just had to get the scrambler special that Antoine had gotten the day before! It was just too tasty! The only difference was that I asked for homefries instead of fried green tomatoes, because I don't like tomatoes. I end up only managing to finish my eggs and most of my homefries. I buttered and jammed the biscuits and took them to-go for an afternoon snack...YUM!

Again, we were unable to resist the mesmerizing powers of Lynn's gift shop and we had to buy something!! Antoine bought us these little zombie finger puppets and a little tin of bacon flavored mints to share with his friends at work. (Sidenote: the guy zombie (pictured on the left) is now missing his right hand, as one of the cats (probably Guillermo) got a hold of him and decided to bite it off! I'm starting to wonder if the cats aren't zombies!?)

The outside of Lynn's is littered with fun, brightly colored animal statues. Here's some that I missed the day before! If only moose were silver with hot pink zebra stripes...that would make them even more awesome than they already are!

Cute little turquoise dinosaur that reminds me of Baby.

Here's a building just down the street from Lynn''s an art supply store (go figure!).

After leaving Lynn's we were on our way back to the highway when we spotted an antique mall and figured what the hey, let's stop in and check it out! It was a pretty substantial antique mall with a ton of awesome junk, but in the end we decided to get these bowling pin salt and pepper shakers! Apparently, now we are collecting salt and pepper shakers! But please, do NOT get us salt and pepper shakers for Christmas, birthdays, or just because...we don't want to be THOSE people!

So, that was Louisville! I had such a great time and was sad to leave (except I did miss Gui really bad! He, however, didn't miss me as much!). Antoine and I will definitely be going back and visiting again in the future! There's so much to do in Louisville and it's such a fun, artsy city, which I wasn't expecting! It's very clean and the people are friendly! The downtown is far superior to downtown Cincinnati, for sure! And, the super bonus, it's only a two hour drive way! And if you drive a little bit get whiskey/bourbon...for FREE! Can't beat that!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Louisville Recap: Day Three

Day three (aka Sunday) was our day of rest! After a crazy busy Saturday exploring downtown Louisville, I left the agenda for Sunday pretty open...including time to sleep in! After sleeping in and some much needed showering we were starved and ready for our first stop of the day: Lynn's Paradise Cafe (aka heaven on earth!).

This is only a glimpse into the awesomeness that is Lynn's! It's wildly and wonderfully eccentric, and damn, they've got some GOOD food!

BEHOLD!!! Antoine was smart enough to get one of the delicious specials...and unfortunately I can't remember the name of it. But I do remember the menu stating that it was featured on one of Bobby Flay's Food Network shows (and even though I think he's a major douche)...I thought that was pretty cool. Scrambled eggs with roasted red peppers, Jarlsberg cheese, and ham, topped with onion straws and accompanied by fried green tomatoes, a special garlic Parmesan mayo (for said fried gr. tomatoes), and an enormous biscuit (which came with butter, sorghum butter, and delicious strawberry jam). Oh my, it was so delicious....I can't even properly describe it!

I, being the pancake lover that I am, opted for the Crunchcakes. It's two gigantic pancakes made with cornmeal and whole wheat flour jam-packed with homemade cinnamon granola! Yes please! These pancakes were different from your normal, everyday texture and flavor! They were quite tasty!

The thing about Lynn's is everybody and their mother in Louisville knows it's that place gets packed. We got there around 10:30am and had a 45 minute wait. But the time just flew by since the waiting area is also a gift shop filled with a variety of fun gadgets, gizmos, t-shirts, and wacky hats and sunglasses. Antoine and I, of course, got sucked in and had to buy something.

Once I saw these adorable little salt and pepper shakers I just had to get them! And for under $7, they were a steal! I just love them! As soon as I got home I emptied our old salt and pepper shakers, filled these guys up and put them front and center on the kitchen counter!

After gorging ourselves on the delicious food at Lynn's we decided to roam around the area before we headed to our next stop. Lynn's is surrounded by a couple really great vintage shops and boutiques, and I highly suggest exploring them if you're in the area. There was a fantastic little boutique called Regalo next door where I picked up two new pairs of earrings (ice cream cones and owls). Then at the Nitty Gritty we perused a great selection of vintage clothing, hats, sunglasses, and jewelry. After exploring the local shops we made our way to the Speed Art Museum. The museum's general admission is free (with donation suggested), however we were interested in their special exhibition, The Most Famous People in the World: Karsh 100, which was $10 each.

The also had a Contemporary Glass exhibition going on while we were there. I absolutely loved this colorful and interesting!

So gorgeous! I can see why Louisville loves glass so much!

The Yousuf Karsh exhibit, which consisted of black and white photographs of famous politicians, artists, authors, scientists, humanitarians, actors and musicians, was very powerful and beautiful. Some of my favorites from the exhibit included:

George Bernard Shaw

Georgia O'Keeffe

Ansel Adams (one of the only portraits where the subject was smiling)

I have to say, if it hadn't been for the glass exhibit, the Karsh exhibit, and the Andy Warhol pop art (particularly the Dracula) as you entered the museum, I don't think I would have enjoyed the Speed Museum that much. The rest of the museum was okay, but not I'm glad we went when we did.

After the Speed Museum we decided to make our way back to our campground. Days before we had seen all these signs for the so-called "Most Awesome Flea Market in the World", located just one exit south of our campground. Feeling adventurous and having a good portion of the day left we decided to check it out. Now, I grew up going to flea markets with my grandparents and Antoine and I have been to a couple together. So, it's fair to say that I know my way around a flea market. And this flea market is NOT the most awesome in the world. I was definitely underwhelmed! I've been to better! We got there around 1:30pm and they didn't close until I wasn't expecting it to be as sparse as it was. To me, it was all a bunch of crap...nothing really peaked my interest...except the tiny brown blue-eyed Dachshund puppy for sale (that may or may not have been from a puppy mill)! It wasn't a total bust though...I got an ice cream cone and Antoine got some fries.

After the lack-luster flea market we stopped off at a pretty decent nearby antique mall! We didn't find anything there either, but it was fun to look around at all the cool stuff they had. Then we headed back to our campground to lay on a blanket in the grass, enjoying some fire cooked hot dogs and tasty s'mores! The perfect end to a fun, yet fairly relaxing day.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Louisville Recap: Day Two

Day one of our Louisville trip was a success. We got to sip some bourbon and see the Kentucky countryside. Luckily we were able to set up the tent without a hitch, and just before the rain came...

So, what did I think of my first night officially camping? Not bad! Setting up the tent was pretty easy, as was inflating the air mattress. Keeping the air mattress inflated was a different story. Due to a hole in the mattress (that we didn't find until the last night) the air mattress would completely deflate after about three hours or so. So every couple hours we'd wake up on the stiff ground, get up, and inflate the mattress again. Not the most enjoyable experience, but we managed. All other aspects of camping were awesome! Outside, under the stars. The rain wasn't too bad and our campground was clean and fairly quiet. Plus we managed to get one of the more secluded spots in the campground, away from all the RVs and brood of children!

Day two started off bright at early. After our showers, we headed 30 minutes north to downtown Louisville. As planned we went to Proof on Main for breakfast.

Proof is the restaurant located in the 21c hotel. I think when Antoine and I go back to Louisville this is where we'll be staying. It's kind of pricey, but I think it's worth the price. 21c hotel is a boutique hotel that houses a fairly large museum full of contemporary art and a restaurant (Proof) that displays featured exhibits as well. Plans are in the works to put a 21c hotel in downtown Cincinnati (and in Austin, as well).

For breakfast at Proof I got the hazelnut french toast (pictured above)...YUM! Antoine got the biscuits and gravy which was also quite tasty!

After breakfast we explored the hotel's art museum. I was surprised by how extensive it was. There was an excellent blend of various types of art: interactive, pop art, photographs, black light, mixed media, etc.

Following our delicious breakfast and our tour of 21c's museum we made our way over to the Louisville Slugger museum just down the street.

We lucked out again (like at Maker's) and happened to be there on a day that bats were in production. It was an interesting tour and I think Antoine really enjoyed it!

Next up, the Belle of Louisville...
One of the last remaining original river steamboats still in operation. We took a sightseeing tour; they also offer lunch and dinner cruises (but I had read on trip advisor that the food wasn't very good).

It was a nice, fairly sunny evident from the sunburn I got while standing in line to board.

It was a relaxing two hour ride along the river. We managed to get two seats at the back of the boat under the shade. The sights, besides for the city skyline, weren't that great, but it was relaxing.

Louisville skyline

After the Belle of Louisville we started walking toward the Kentucky Museum of Arts and Crafts, the next stop on our list, when we spotted a sign at the Kentucky Center for a Swell Season concert that night. The price of tickets was a bit high, but as we were leaving we noticed this...

An Art-o-Mat! I had heard about these; old, retired cigarette machines that have been transformed into one-of-a-kind art machines. (Our conservator had told me about them, and mentioned that a fellow book artist in Cincinnati attempted to start up her own that sold one-of-a-kind miniature books, but sadly her attempts were unsuccessful).

Discovering this was probably my favorite unplanned happening of our trip! For $5 you could buy your own piece of art that came in a cigarette sized box! I, of course, could not pass this up!

We chose this little guy, listed as a lavendar scented Wee Monster by Anne Thalheimer. I think these Art-o-Mats are such a great idea. After pursuing their website, I discovered that that is the only art-o-mat in Kentucky and sadly enough, there's only one in Ohio (and it's not in Cincinnati)! I think Cincinnati really need to get one, so I can come buy some art every week!

Next up was the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft. I think this might have been my favorite non-food related planned activity of our trip! The museum was cheap...$5 for adults and free to students (confession: Antoine and I still have our student ids and we use them to get student prices...we're bad people, I know!). Anyway, the museum has a cool gift shop filled with lots of goodies and two levels of exhibit space.

There were several exhibits involving glass, including glass sculptures, glass vessels, and... jewelry.

Then there was an additional exhibit of the handprinted art of Cricket Press. There were about 70+ handprinted gig-posters and art prints created by the duo at Cricket Press. I had never heard of them before, but immediately fell in love with their style!

These two were two of my favorites, although it was difficult to narrow it down with some many interesting prints! I wanted one so badly (and still do)!

After the Art and Craft museum we started walking down Main St. toward Glassworks (our next stop) when we saw a group of people gathered around this large disco ball thing...

It turned out to be part of the Louisville Science Center. We decided to pass on the Science Center (we had Glassworks on the mind), but we still had a little fun before leaving!

Too much fun!

By the time we made it to Glassworks they had already started their last tour of the day, but we were able to go into a room adjacent to the gift shop and view the glassblowing studio through a window. A couple of people were blowing glass vases while we were there and it was so fun to watch.

The gift shop was also pretty interesting, with a variety of glass items for sale, from earrings to sculptures! Beautiful and pricey!

After a long, hot day walking around Louisville, Antoine and I were ready to go back to the campground and relax on a blanket in the grass. Plus, by that time I had a major headache and was in desperate need of some Advil and a pudgy pie or two.

First up, Antoine made some pizza pudgy pies...yum!

Then some delicious blueberry pudgy pies...complete with powdered sugar!! Delicious, and a perfect way to end a great day!

Stayed tuned for Day Three tomorrow!