No More in Darkness

In a previous post, I proclaimed that I wanted to be a lifetime learner. Specifically, I said the following:

I would like to learn more about the history and craft of stained glass. It would be my first entry into the visual arts, which I've neglected for my entire life.

Well, I've been reading up. As I've learned more, I've found that the church we attend has some beautiful pieces. There are some grand, exquisite works with painted glass and stained glass, but they're not my style right now. I'm more intrigued by the series of windows on the north wall. The best, in my opinion is the western-most window in that group (see picture above): the colors, the geometric patterns, etc. It clicks. The picture doesn't do it justice. I spent a large part of one Sunday morning just enjoying the light pouring through the window. The thing that is most enchanting about stained glass is that it is both an art and a functioning part of a building. To be successful, designers can't get carried away or over-indulgent with any one element because everything in the piece is a slave to the light. There are so many constraints, but the ultimate product can be otherworldly.

The other aspect that I most love about stained glass is that, due to the fact that it is functional, every piece is a living work of art. Glass breaks, buildings shift, things have to be replaced. It's tough to tell from a distance, but most aged windows have obvious patches (see close-up image below). I'm sure that bugs some people, but I love this part of the process, the restoration.

Young Mandolin Prodigy

Last weekend, we had some friends (Ruby and Yenny) come over to eat dinner with us. They just had a baby a few months ago, and he came along for the fun. Addy wasn't sure what to think at first, but she became excited at the possibility of running/crawling around with someone who is closer to her size. Fun was had by all.

Our friends asked if we'd play some music, so I got the mandolin out to play:

Now, most of you know that I don't know nothin' 'bout birthin' no babies, but I do like playing with kids once they're old enough to interact. I'm not really sure at what age that ability arises, but I found it amazing how clearly Christian Samuel could interact without using words. When I was playing the mandolin, his eyes were darting back and forth between my picking hand and my fretting hand. It was obvious that he was putting the whole mandolin-playing thing together. Pretty soon, he started holding his hands to mirror mine (see picture).

After that, he wanted to get his hands on the instrument and start his burgeoning bluegrass career. Most kids usually just want to strum the instrument, but not this kid. He had both hands at the ready, strumming with one hand and pushing strings to frets with the other. Watch out, Chris Thile. You might have started young, but I've got one that's going to put you to shame over here in Cincinnati.

Where Every Padgett Knows Your Name

I know. I know. We've been out of touch. To go ahead and make some excuses, we've been settling into our new routine and we're enjoying television more than the internet. Plus, all of our blogging friends have a lot more to write about than we do; it makes it tough to write about everyday things when everyone else has magnificent things to talk about. So, now we're getting some extra stories into our arsenal.

Anna and I got tickets through the firm that I work with to the Chamber of Commerce's VIP event at Cincinnati's Oktoberfest. Oktoberfest is a downtown street fair that takes over 5th; we live on 7th. There are tons of food and drink vendors lined down the street and a ton of bandstands (see video below). The Chamber brought in Jim Koch, founder of Boston Beer Co. (Samuel Adams) and Cincinnati native. Fun fact: about a third of Sam's line-up is brewed right here in Cincinnati.

Along with Jim, came George Wendt. You might remember him as Norm from Cheers. We had a ton of fun listening to the two of them banter back and forth. It really felt like our two worlds (New England and the Midwest) were colliding again. It wasn't enough that they had to bring a Segway store (a NH-based company) into Over-the-Rhine . . .

Check out the video below for some good Oktoberfest music. Also watch for the first guy to pass through the shot (on the right)--the entire reason for making the video. This guy lives for Oktoberfest.

Happy Birthday, Addy!

Our dog Adelaide turns 4 years old today. Happy birthday, Addy! Here's a picture of her awaiting her celebratory cake:

Kicking and Screaming

As a lot of you know, I started work this past Tuesday. After starting, I got an e-mail that said the firm was offering free health screenings. Recognizing a great benefit, I quickly signed up . . . perhaps too quickly.

After signing up, I realized that I would need to fast and be emotionally prepared to have my finger pricked and bled onto a small strip. Fasting is not a problem (I regularly skip breakfast), but drawing blood makes this a "medical procedure" in my book, triggering a certain level of anxiety and obligations on my part.

I am a notoriously bad patient for medical professionals. When I was little, I once kicked one of my doctors (Dr. Todd) in the shin. I also kicked and screamed through a very minor procedure, embarrassing my mother. As Anna could assure you, I am a terrible patient. With this history, I always feel like I have a reputation to preserve, so I go out of my way to make life difficult for medical professionals. It's quite possible that I'm one of the causes of the nursing shortage in America.

With that background, I was ready to go in and really give some grief to those nice ladies doing the health screenings. I was quiet to begin with, planning on really yelping out once the finger-pricking device made it's debut. The lady sterilized my finger and rubbed it off with a cotton ball, and I looked around for the blood-letting weapon. When I turned my head back around, she was wicking the blood on my finger onto the strip! She had used a little cube that I hadn't recognized to stab me, and I hadn't felt a thing! Caught off guard, I gave up my act and just pouted for the rest of the screening.

It turns out that I'm in pretty good health--though I probably eat hamburgers too often. I do appreciate the screening. I particularly appreciate the free pedometer they gave me along with the advice to take 5,000 steps per day (or at least shake around a lot). Still, I'm disappointed in myself that I didn't give my nurse lady the thought that she didn't get paid enough to do these %$*& health screenings. I'll give myself a break this time, but I expect better performance in the future.