I'm not an everyday blogger... If I have something to say...this is where I will say it. You will also find links to my specialized blogs.

Live your life in such a way that when your feet hit the floor in the morning, Satan shudders and says... 'Oh shit....she's awake!!'

""Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO what a ride!""
— Unknown

Sunday, November 20, 2011

As we move from 2011 into 2012…


…We once again celebrate the friendship and support that our friends and family have provided throughout the year. We are thankful for the opportunities that we’ve been given. We are thankful for the love and friendship of our family and friends. We are thankful that we have the opportunity to make a difference in the world in which we live.

As is our tradition, there was a little fundraising going on in the Smith-Roberts household. Ann participated in the Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon and raised $850 for Dayton Project Read and Room-to-Read. We hosted Rooftop Rubi for Dayton PRIDE and a DVAC Artist’s Palate featuring the artwork of Julie Anderson and Lizabeth Whipps. And with the help of YOU, our FRIENDS, we raised $3,251 since last year bring the total contributions to LOCAL non-profits to $10,551!!! How easy it is to make a difference!

We had one new objective for 2011…that we didn’t exactly accomplish as planned, but I blame weather…to travel to one place that we have never visited before. We had found that we were traveling to the same places over and over and over. We planned a Cheese and Beer tour of Vermont with Ben and Julie Puterbaugh in September. Unfortunately, Julie’s work schedule wasn’t cooperating and Vermont was under water. Hopefully, we’ll make it happen in 2012.

We did manage to do a little traveling in 2012.  Sunset view from our room: The Standard HotelWe started the year in NYC in January with a stay at The Standard Hotel. Why January in NYC you ask? Because it is the only time I can “afford” to stay at this hotel. Situated above Highline Park in the Meatpacking District and known for the views (in and) out of the windows, it is a fun place to stay. Plus it has a great bar with fabulous views. Even if you don’t stay there, the Top of the Standard is worth a visit (just don’t wear shorts…because they won’t let you in). 249581_10150202752535976_640965975_7600070_5271304_n2012 was a year of traveling with friends. April found us in California for Passport to Dry Creek 2011. We were joined by Deb Cronin, Don Dawson, John Germroth, Randy Hamilton, Rob Leonard, Rodney Player, David Strohscher, and Lillian and Dave Sullivan. This was our second year making this great wine trip, Apparently, we had so much fun that we booked hotel reservations for 2012 three days after returning. There will be no redeye flight in 2012. Read more about our 2011 Passport trip. 2011-07-08_08-21-18_692In July we drove to Princeton NJ  to visit Bruce and Ellen Holroyd. We really miss them and are anxiously awaiting their return to Dayton (hint, hint). We even made a day trip in to NYC (okay, we had never been there before so I think it has to count as our never been before even if we made a trip in to NYC ) including a visit to the Bloomberg offices, found a fabulous place to stop along the PA Turnpike (Out of the Fire Café), and some of Bruce’s cooking including dinner with friends Holley and Larry Thompson and Leigh Sempeles. We even got to see the NJ bald eagles from Bruce and Ellen’s guest room. In September, John Germroth planned a driving trip East that included a visit to Dayton, OH and the opportunity to join him in NYC. So once again, John and I piled into the car and drove to Princeton NJ where we had dinner with Bruce and Ellen Holroyd and left our car before taking the train into The City. We also had a chance to stop and visit Kentuck KnobKentuck Knob, a Frank Lloyd Wright home in PA. Other highlights include the Bryant Park Fall Festival, a self-guided walking architectural tour, and lots of fire escape photos. Oh, another place we had never visited! Again, you can see the 2011 travel pattern repeated but we have really enjoyed the addition of driving vacations that allow us to spend quality time together…if you consider quality time John browsing YELP to see where we will stop next…and to find out-of-the-way places we would never have found.

And what is a year in the Smith-Roberts household without change? After 3 years with LexisNexis, Ann is now Director of Solutions Development for Digital Divide Data (DDD). DDD provides job and educational opportunities to disadvantaged youth in Cambodia, Laos, and Kenya. DDD was recently highlighted in a NY Times article on local sourcing, employing socioeconomically disadvantaged people in Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), and was featured in Thomas Friedman’s book The World is Flat. While leaving some great people at LexisNexis, Ann will once again be working with Cynthia Hauck and Lori Silverstein who are responsible for tempting her in the first place. And, yes, a trip to Cambodia is being planned for early 2012.

And a quick update on our family: Grandma Evelyne fell and broke her other hip in February but has once again recovered remarkably well. She got out of rehab just in time for a Stewart Family dinner hosted at The Firefly Building. We hosted the Stewart Family again in September at the request of Uncle Bill Stewart. John’s sister, Karen Roettele, has returned from Kuwait and has settled in Denver, CO. Sydney Ann Lewis turned 21 years old…talk about something to make me feel old! Henry  Pitman, who cannot be in High School, and Caleb Malone are no longer allowed to grow up. Jason Lewis is engaged to Amanda Lovejoy and will get Alexia, a beautiful 1 year old in the process. Brian and Jennifer Roettele added Jacob to the clan. Carol Roberts retired from teaching. Cancer is having an impact on several family members including Carol’s sister Dee Auffrey, Uncle Bill Stewart, and Rick RobertsDad has just completed chemotherapy and we are awaiting good news. We are hoping that 2012 brings us a better health year.

And we wish you HEALTH and HAPPINESS for 2012 and beyond!

Happy Holidays!
Ann & John

Friday, September 16, 2011

Vacation 201109–Day 1

Have I mentioned how much I love NYC? Probably not yet this month!

We left the car with our friends Bruce and Ellen in Princeton NJ and caught the NJT train into the city. NOTE: Even the last express train of the morning is crowded…at least on a beautiful Friday. This trip we are staying at the Marriott Courtyard Bryant Park (40th St. and 6th Ave). This is going to be a good location…convenient to the subway, fairly easy cab access, and the Bryant Park Fall Festival is going on.

So we arrive starving and I haven’t thought too hard about where to eat. Fortunately, Croton Tavern is right next door to the hotel. This turned out to be a great surprise. I ordered a Ferrari-Carano Fume Blanc and we started in on lunch of Thai Coconut Chicken soup, Noir Rare Tuna in citrus marinade, Mussels and Chorizo in white wine broth. Thanks to our servers recommendation, we ended with the Chocolate Obsession – think chocolate, espresso, more chocolate, caramel with a side of espresso ice cream.

After that we needed to walk so we headed down the street to the International Center of Photography. All three current exhibits are definitely worth the visit. The current exhibits are: Remembering 9/11; Harper’s Bazaar: A Decade of Style; and Signs of Life: Photographs by Peter Sekaer. The surprise for me was how much I enjoyed the Harper’s exhibit…this is about so much more than fashion and style. And my favorite part of the 9/11 exhibit was the little room in the back where they had a collection of photographs that had been submitted and printed on paper.

2011-09-16_18-22-20_507Our good friend John Germroth arrived later in the afternoon so we met him for a cocktail at Croton Tavern – well, it’s handy! Then we headed off to see a little of Burnt Sugar the Akestra Chamber free at Bryant Park. Then it was off to Empellon.

I stumbled upon this restaurant because of an article in Food Arts magazine – a trade magazine that my friend Nik shared with me because the same article included Anne Kearney of Dayton’s Rue Dumaine. Now, I wouldn’t normally seek out a mexican restaurant on vacation but this is a not-to-be-missed restaurant. I asked for a cocktail to start that “didn’t contain brown liquor – "yes, tequila is okay” and wasn’t too sweet. Our waiter pointed me to the Por Que No? A cocktaill made with silver, cilantro, serrano, and pineapple juice. So good I had two which was okay except that as we left the restaurant I couldn’t feel my lips. This is a great place to share items. We started with the Red and Green Chorizo Queso followed by the Smoked Plantains with Crema Sopes. Our tacos were the Skirt Steak with Mojo de Ajo (olive oil, lime juice, toasted garlic) and the special Chanterelle Mushroom Taco (tequila and other stuff I don’t remember). I was too full to even entertain dessert…okay, the 2nd Por Que No could have been dessert.

And, of course, a little walking after dinner.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

And we are off…on Vacation 201109

As I was leaving meeting with my boss, he indicated surprise that we were driving to NYC instead of flying. One primary reason is that I’m tired of giving control of my time to the airlines. Too frequently the flights have been delayed or cancelled…making travel 2 to 3 times longer than originally planned The second more compelling reason to drive is what you find along the way.

We left Dayton Wednesday night about an hour later than planned. John didn’t get out of work when expected and had to take groceries to his mom. It was a beautiful evening. Because we left later than expected, we knew we weren’t going to get close to Pittsburgh in time to have dinner at a decent hour. So John set off in search (via his cellphone) of a place for dinner along our route. Our primary restaurant locator is OpenTable. While OpenTable is great if you know what City you want, it is not as great for locating places along the route you are traveling. We’ve become a fan of YELP. Check out the map, move the map, then search for restaurants in that area. Then you can check out the reviews.

2011-09-14_19-09-04_983And that is how we ended up at Muddy Misers Cool River Café in Zanesville OH. Do not be discouraged because it looks like a biker bar but definitely ask to be seated on the patio. They had a nice Carr Cabernet and we shared the Walleye Rubin and the onion rings. Definitely not small portions. Lots of other things on the menu looked good as well so this won’t be our last stop at Muddy’s. One other thing about Muddy’s is that as you head out to the highway, go east and you will get to drive on the World Famous Zanesville “Y” Bridge.

2011-09-15_08-12-53_161We spent the night in Uniontown PA because so that we could visit Kentuck Knob the next day. Kentuck Knob is a Frank Lloyd Wright home near Fallingwater that has recently been opened to the public. We reserved spots for the 8:30am tour and it turned out to be a private tour. Besides the beauty of the house and FLW’s ability to fit a home with its natural surroundings, my favorite part was the original owners. Mr. and Mrs. Hagan (think Hagan-Daz) brought some common sense to Wright’s design. And when they realized that he would never visit the home, they made some very practical adjustments without losing site of Wright’s design. Unfortunately, it was a cold rainy morning so we didn’t get to spend much time on the grounds which are also spectacular including over 30 sculptures around the property.

After Kentuck Knob, we headed to a little place that we had found on our last trip through the Pennsylvania Turnpike – Out of the Fire Café in Donegal, PA. We each had soup – Mushroom for me and Tomato for John. They had large chunks of vegetables and were delicious. We shared the citrus house-cured smoked salmon sandwich. Definitely worth a visit. If you are coming for dinner, it is BYO wine.

And we would have missed all of this had we flown.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

We Were Here: The AIDS Years in San Francisco

I was invited to attend the screening of the documentary We Were Here (Produced and directed by David Weissman; Editor/ co-director Bill Weber) at the Neon Movies last Thursday. Special Thanks to Brent Johnson and Josh Stucky for the invitation and to Jonathon McNeal for making it possible to see this powerful film right here in Dayton OH.
I don’t go to many movies but I am grateful that I had the opportunity to see this film. Regardless of your involvement with the gay community, this film makes an impact and can only leave you emotionally drained. The film is a series of interviews with six people who lived through the AIDS epidemic and devastation in San Francisco combined with images from the time. The images are powerful…they capture the love as well as the despair…and the devastation. If you have a chance to see this movie, do not miss it!
I hope that this movie continues to raise awareness that HIV/Aids is still affecting people…not just in San Francisco but right here in Dayton OH and across the world. And HIV/Aids is not limited to the gay community.
Watch the trailer: WE WERE HERE (trailer) from David Weissman on Vimeo.
For local HIV/Aids related information here in the Miami Valley, visit www.arcohio.org.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

How To Create A Social Media Scrapbook : All Tech Considered : NPR


Heard this story on NPR last night...it is pretty cool...and yes, I am now on Memolane!


NPR – All Tech Considered

A new service called Memolane promises to feed your nostalgia by tapping your social media history. It lets you create a graphic online album using content from Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, Last.fm, Vimeo, Foursquare and other outlets.

Read the entire story!

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Blog Facelift

Today my blogs got a facelift. Wanted something new and fresh. Stop by and let me know what you think!