This article goes out to my homegirl Tiffany (and kitty-cat Cleo), who asked for more information about the Buckeye State. Here's a few facts I can immediately access from memory (i.e., without having to go to Wikipedia):

0) Ohio is nicknamed the “Buckeye State” (redundant, but included for completeness).
1) It is the seventh largest state (by population)
2) The capital of Ohio is Columbus.
3) The three largest cities are Columbus, Cleveland and Cincinnati
4) It is the only state whose three major cities begin with “C”
5) It is bordered by Lake Erie to the north
6) To the south is the Ohio River, from which the state derives its name (duh!)
7) It borders Pennsylvania, Indiana, Michigan, Kentucky and West Virginia.
8) It is tall in the middle and round at both ends
9) Miami University is in Ohio, as opposed to the University of Miami in Florida. This causes much confusion.
10) The Cuyahoga River, which runs through Cleveland, is famous for catching on fire several times. (Generally speaking, rivers are not supposed to do that.)
11) Interstates 90, 80 and 70 all run through Ohio.
12) No Republican has ever been elected President (of the USA) without winning Ohio.
13) The Cincinnati Reds were the first professional baseball team (which begs the question, who did they play against?).
14) The Ohio state quarter has an astronaut and the Wright Brothers' plane on it (as the Wright Brothers and a few astronauts are from the state).
15) William Howard Taft, the “fattest president”, is from Ohio.
16) The Buckeye is a tree, actually the state tree of Ohio.

You can find out lots of things I don't know about Ohio here and plenty of other places by googling “Ohio.”

Please feel free to contribute your own Ohio facts in the “comments” section!

Winter food ideas from our WCB friends…

With the extremely cold nights and now the driving rain, winter is again upon us. My least favorite season, but an excuse to stay in and work on projects. Also to cook warm comforting food, like the Mexican Black Bean Soup With Sausage from our weekend-cat-blogging friends at whatdidyoueat.

This is a warm, protein-rich and spicy comfort food perfect for winter. It isn't that hard to make either, though I think mine came out a little too liquidy. But hey, it's a soup. Garnished with fresh avocado slices and combined with warmed soft tortillas and a red wine for a nice dinner. Plus, one recipe leaves quite a bit of leftover for the week, which probably isn't getting any warmer.

moring walk and sea lion

Was out for my morning walk along the ocean, armed as usual w/ a large cup of coffee and a cell phone. I often encounter a lot of cats in the residential blocks between my house and the ocean, but today I came a rather different critter: a young sea lion on one of the little beaches here. Nothing unusual about sea lions in this area (I often hear their barking from my house), but I never saw one in this beach before. Upon closer look, it seemed rather sick and ematiated and in quite a bit of distress – and the poor little guy seemed to be getting worse.

Fortunately, we have a local group, The Marine Mammal Center, that operates a 24-hour rescue hotline. I gave them a call, hopefully they can help.

As I sit out on the patio writing this post, I can hear more barking sea lions off in the distance.