Sunday, September 04, 2005

PD article: Tired of defending love for Cleveland

Well, no one will probably read this post, since it's been soooo long since I posted, but here it is. It seems likely to be my last, unless I get a second wind and decide to come back.

I guess I need time for other stuff, not least going out and having fun here in Cleveland, and I don't really have time to concern myself with who else knows how much fun they could be having here. This article seemed like a good way to wrap up.
Tired of defending love for Cleveland

I hope some of the postings will still be useful for people looking for a new place to eat, etc. I use it to remind myself of places I want to go back to.

Thanks loads to Christine for being my #1 reader, or, at least, commenter, and for all her information and advice and thoughts about Cleveland.

Mrs. H

Monday, July 18, 2005

Cain Park

On Friday, we went to Cain Park to see Lyle Lovett. Lyle was great; his Large Band blew us away; Cain Park was awesome.

All I'll say about Lyle is that I've gotten sort of jaded about him in recent years, but seeing him live was so fun and engaging and just sort of brilliant. Also, he talked some about Austin, and between Lyle and watching Lance in the Tour this month, I've been pretty nostalgic for Austin. (And no, Austin is not like the rest of Texas. Not that the rest of Texas doesn't have a certain charm, but not the kind of charm I'd necessarily like to live in the midst of.) But this is suppose to be about Cain Park.

Cain Park is smack dab in Cleveland Heights, in a park. Well, it IS a park but then there's the part of the park where they have performances, and that's what I'm talking about. There's no parking lot; it's just woven into the fabric of the neighborhood. And they provide shuttles from a nearby shopping area. But we saw lots of people walking to the show.

The people working there were almost disconcertingly friendly. They have, you know, food and drink they sell so you can have a picnic on the lawn. It's cool. What else? The place just had a good feeling. I was really psyched to be there.

It had been wicked hot and humid, but it cooled off a little and didn't rain on us. Also, it seemed like just about every fifth female there was pregnant. What do you suppose that's about?

Anyway, there's ton of stuff going on there. Here's their calendar. And you can become a Friend of Cain Park for $35, and they save seats in the front 2 rows for Friends.

Cool breeze, finally

It's storming here. I'm sitting on the porch with the laptop. People are hurrying home from their evening walks, soaking wet. It's nice here. Have I mentioned that?

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

What to do?

Here's a good article about what to do in Cleveland during a visit.

Worthy of the spotlight

Monday, July 11, 2005

Cafe Tandoor

Dr. Jay and I went to Cafe Tandoor not long after we moved here, and, for some reason, I wasn't particularly impressed. But we went again last week, and I LOVED it! I can't eat the hot foods like I used to, and we got some nice things that weren't too spicy. I got an eggplant and tomato thing; Dr. Jay got...darn. Oh, wait the menu's online.

Navaratana Curry or Navaratana Tofu Curry · $9.95: Mixed fresh vegetables, paneer or tofu, & cashews in a tomato based curry
Baigan Bharta · $9.95: Tandoori roasted eggplant, mashed & mixed with tomatoes, onions & pea

One of our friends got something with cauliflower, which was also great, and another got this

Tandoori Mixed Grill · $18.95: A sampling of tandoori chicken, chicken tikka, a tandoori prawn, seekh kebab & boti kebab, served sizzling with onions & bell peppers

I only had a little bit of the mixed grill, but what I had was awesome.

Monday, July 04, 2005

You can't say we're not patriotic.

What could be more all-American than going to a baseball game on July 4? We took the RTA to Jacob's Field to see the Cleveland Indians play the Detroit Tigers.

Our real motivation for going was that a friend in NYC told me it was going to be "Dollar Dog Day", and since we didn't have any cookouts to go to today, we went to the game. I managed to actually pay attention and watch for almost 2 innings. It was hot and sunny. The dogs, I'm afraid, weren't great, but the Indians did win, so that was very nice for all the people there at the game, who seemed to actually care about that.

Shaker Square

So, Shaker Square! It's cool. In addition to being the site of a great farmers' market on Saturdays, there are lots of restaurants, shops, and a movie theater. If I moved to Cleveland as a single person not looking to buy a house, I'd move into one of the cool, old, and attractive apartment buildings within walking distance of Shaker Square and the RTA station that's there. A Dave's Supermarket is going to move in there, so I guess you could live down there and not ever have to use your car!

Sushi on the Square

A while ago, it seemed like summer then, but I guess it was spring? We tried a new sushi place in Shaker Square (have we talked about Shaker Square? I'll post about it.) It's called Sushi on the Square.

The sushi was good, as I recall, but what's really stuck with me is the seaweed salad we had, which was crunchy and sesame-y and so good! Sorry I don't remember more!

The weather

The weather this weekend so far has been awesome! Warm and sunny in the day, but not so warm that the house becomes an oven (we close the windows and shades on the sunny sides of the house). Then at night we open up the windows and there has been a delicious cool breeze blowing through where you just need a little cover to snuggle in.

God, I love it here.

The Original Pancake House

Ok. So I just found out this is a chain. But I had never heard of it, and was still under the impression that it was one of a kind when we went yesterday. And it was really good.

It's called The Original Pancake House, and it's in a strip mall down on Chagrin east of 271. (The Cleveland area has really changed my view of strip malls. I've learned that just because something is in a strip mall, it doesn't mean that it's bad or cheesey. There are some really great restaurants around here in strip malls.) It's conveniently across the street from Trader Joe's and down the street from Wild Oats, so you can use it as a reward for doing your grocery shopping.

It's really nice inside. Sort of fresh and colorful and soothing at the same time. And they are serious about pancakes there. I mean. There are like 18 flavors of pancakes on the menu, and then all the egg dishes come with a side of pancakes. Which altered our ordering strategy (normally: one savory and one sweet and we share) somewhat. We ended up getting eggs benedict with smoked salmon (YUM!!!) with a side of buttermilk pancakes and then a feta, sun-dried tomato, and spinach omelette with a side of buckwheat pancakes. The omelette was really good, and huge. Dr. Jay LOVED the buckwheat pancakes and kept claiming that they tasted almost chocolatey. (I didn't taste any chocolateness. I think this says more about how often Dr. Jay eats chocolate than it does about the pancakes...)

On the way out, we saw some beautiful, I guess it was orange, juice. It was so brilliantly orange, I guess it must have been fresh squeezed. We'll have to look into that next time.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Johnny Mango

Last night we wanted to try something new, so I got out my list of places I want to try, and Dr. Jay chose Johnny Mango's. So we went to the one in Willoughby (pronounced willuhbee? I thought it would be willowbee, but was laughed at by my husband).

Johnny Mango's is in a little downtown that had some artsy shops and a number of restaurants. Who knew that was there?

Anyway, JM's is a pretty cool little place, decorated in kind of a "the Islands" way. They have a bean, a veggie, and a grain each day. I don't know how often it rotates. Dr. Jay ordered the Bangkok BBQ Chicken (with white meat; they said that cost extra, but that the leg and thigh would take 30 minutes to cook and we were starving, since it was almost 9 pm). It was sort of sweet and teriaki-y and maybe slightly fruity. He also go the veggie of the day, which was chard (which I love) in a sweet and sesame-e sauce. The grain of the day appeared to be white rice, and the chicken, greens, and rice together were like candy. There were also some borracho-type beans that were a little bland, but easily ignored for the other stuff.

I got a special for the day, fish tacos with mahi. They were good, and had a little kick to them, and lots of cilantro. (And crispy taco shells, which, when was the last time I had a crispy taco?) I, too, had the boring borracho beans, but, again, I ignored them an concentrated on eating the tacos and all the stuff that fell out of the tacos with the white rice. Then there was some kind of non-creamy and totally delicious slaw. I'm afraid that's all I can say, other than I kept seeing some kind of gourd seed in it and it was tangy. Mine also came with a grilled banana with lime. I accidentally tried to put the lime on my tacos instead of on the banana. The banana was good, but mostly a novelty, and not quite the same as a plantain.

Next time, we want to try the bread and slather of the day. When we were there, the bread was "backpacker" and the slather was like orange-mango-ginger or something. What would that be like? Backpacker? I'm game.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Mentor Headlands (the Beach!)

Dr. Jay and I went to get up close and personal with Lake Erie last Sunday at Headlands Beach State Park. It's weird how much it's like a beach on, say, Long Island Sound. Small waves, not that cold, kind of pebbly. I kept forgetting we were on a lake.

On the other hand, it was pretty crowded, and you can't swim out that far, maybe only 30 feet, and then just as we were getting in, the lifeguards blew their whistles and made everyone get out. So in those ways, it was less like the ocean and more like a pool.

It's also the northern terminus for the Buckeye Trail, and there's a lighthouse on a spur of land at one end of the beach that we walked out to.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Time Zone

Have I mentioned that, being near the westernmost edge of the eastern time zone, it gets light later and stays light later than it does in, say, Connecticut? Which is cool, because who really needs it to get light at like at 5 am? (Other than people who have to get up at 5.) All it does for me is wake me up too early. But staying light till past 9 pm, like it does here. Well, that's something.

Does that make sense? It stays light roughly an hour later at the western end of a time zone than it does at the eastern end? I like it!

Coventry Village Street Fair

Last night we went to the Coventry Village Street Fair . It was a nice evening to be outside, and there were lots of people walking up and down the street, talking to vendors, eating, and running into their neighbors. There are two more this summer, and we plan to go back.

Cool Cleveland blog

Hey! This guy is so busy having fun in Cleveland, it tires me out just reading about it.

Cool Cleveland Blog

I'm getting some great ideas from him about local events to check out, like the St. Demetrios Greek Festival going on this weekend.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Beautiful day!

Man, the weather today is awesome! Sunny and warm. So hard to come back into the basement when lunch was over. And the weather icons in my browser show a little line of suns. I hope the weekend will be like this!

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Burning River Fest

As Mrs. Aitch mentioned, we recently went to the Great Lakes Brewing Company (GLBC), and while we were there we found out about the Burning River Fest. It's an environmental festival at Voinovich Park on August 13. GLBC contributes, as does EcoCity Cleveland. EcoCity Cleveland's a great website if you're looking for ecological balance in this old town built on heavy industry. There might be another post about EcoCity Cle. in the future.

Anyway, we were really impressed by the Burning River Fest. If you dontate $25 dollars or more to the Burning River Fest Fund, you get a BRF t-shirt = free shirt + good advertising to help the environment. Mrs. Aitch and I are going to contribute our small part. As the back of the t-shirt says, "I Support the Great Lakes Burning River Fest... You Should Too!"

Sunday, June 19, 2005

More on the garden

The gardening is proceeding. We've constructed raised beds and planted a combination of the seedlings I started, seeds, and plants we bought already started.

A while back I went to Gali's Florist and Garden Center to get some gardening stuff, and it was nice and the people were nice and helpful.

Cleveland Originals

An organization for "Independent, locally-owned restaurants in Cleveland and Northeast Ohio": Cleveland Originals.

#1 Pho

Ok, one last post will wrap up the visit with the library school friends that took place in April...

I have posted before about Vietnamese food, and pho in particular. #1 Pho is practically next door to Pho Hoa (a more dedicated noodle-house type place that is FAR less visible from the street) that I've posted about before. #1 Pho probably has more atmosphere than Pho Hoa and a more varied menu selection. As I recall, we all really liked our food, and it was a very nice experience.

I have mixed feelings about recommending #1 Pho, because I think they probably take a lot of business from Pho Hoa, and the last thing I want to have happen is for there to be FEWER noodle options in Cleveland. Ok, I would definitely recommend #1 Pho, but PLEASE try Pho Hoa, too. They specialize more and is more of a mom-n-pop kind of place, and there should be room for both of them, right?

If I was in charge of things, I would move Pho Hoa to Coventry, where they could have a more visible spot with more natural light, not to mention being EXTREMELY convenient for me. Surely, Coventry is ready for Bubble Tea? Plus, there must be students at Case who would go for the cheap and delicious sandwiches and bowls of noodles. If I prayed, I would pray for Pho Hoa to move to Coventry and be a smahing success.

Lake View Cemetery

When the library school friends came a while back, we decided to check out Lake View Cemetery over on Mayfield near Little Italy. It had been highly recommended as a place to take out of town guests, but we were skeptical. But I've never heard of a cemetery that's so much like a park and that has so much going on!

We went up in the Garfield Monument to see the view, which was nice, but would have been better if it had been less foggy and rainy. On a sunny day, I'm sure it's gorgeous. But the monument itself was pretty interesting, and the docent there was happy to tell us about the history of the monument. She also recommended we go to the Wade Chapel in the cemetery, which turned out to be an excellent idea.

The chapel has these fantastic Tiffany glass windows and mosaics, and, the day we were there, a fabulous docent who engaged us for a good half hour, telling us local history, the history of the chapel, explaining the symbolism of the murals in the chapel, and pointing out interesting details and technical points of interest about the chapel.

We hadn't planned to go to the chapel, but it turned out to be a highlight of the visit! It's free. I highly recommend it.

Udupi Cafe

We went to Udupi Cafe for the first time when my library school friends visited. It was soooooo good. We've been back three times since, and it might be one of those things (like Ramen--see previous post) that every time I eat it, I go, Oh, it's never been THIS good!

Most of what I know about the place, I learned from this article in Scene: The Other India.

My advice: when you enter at the front of the restaurant, march in purposefully and try to make eye contact with one of the many servers who hang out at the back. No one greets you at the front, and we had trouble once being seated, hidden, in a corner, by someone who may have been a busperson. So, that time, the service wasn't great, but the first time we went, the waiter explained the menu to us and made recommendations, and was just generally very helpful, so I think it was just bad luck.

Also, the first time we went, we got the Chana Bhatura and the Masala Dosai. One of the times we went, we decided to get something different, and ended up ordering somethings that, I have to say, included some tastes that were foreign enough to me that I did not like them. So we've gone back to our two favorites, and we crave them when we haven't been there for a while. If you go, and you can't remember what things I'm recommending, there are labelled pictures of four dishes all over the restaurant. These two are in opposite corners of the poster. One is the giant puff of fried dough, and the other is the GIANT pancake/crepe thing folded in half.

And the fat in the yogurt in a sweet lassi cuts the heat better than water, so you should probably get one of those, too.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum

The last stop on the Bun tour today, was the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.

We went there a few months back when my library school friends visited, and we love it. Dr. Jay's aunt and uncle got us a membership, so he and I get in for free, so we don't feel bad about going over and over, and we don't feel we need to see it all when we go.

It totally surpassed my expectations. It's a very professionally run museum, but hip and irreverant (as you might expect) but very respectful to the music without being, I don't know, too star-struck. Every time we go, I discover a new favorite part. The first time, I felt like I could have spent hours in the interactive exhibit showing how musicians have influenced each other. I also felt a very strong desire to put on Jimi Hendrix's clothes. I guess it put me in touch with my inner Jimi Hendrix, because I didn't feel that about, say, David Bowie's costumes, and I love David Bowie. Oh, and there's a wall about censorship, with clips of interviews, etc., that's very inspiring.

This time, I loved two things I missed the first time. One was the Jimi Hendrix Surround Sound Theater, which is about what you would expect: concert footage in a little theater with surround sound. The other was an MTV exhbit with clips of videos that tell stories about MTV as well as the evolution of music videos. I love music videos, even though I haven't really gotten to watch them since 1989 when I left for college, so I was fixated. I told Dr. Jay that if I ever run away, he might want to check there first.

The last thing about the RRHoF is that they have a deck that looks out over the lake, and it is just beatiful out there. It's right next to the giant Wall prop from The Wall. You can't miss it.

Great Lakes Brewing Company

As I said a few posts ago, I'm not a beer drinker. Neither is Dr. Jay. But the more I heard about the Great Lakes Brewing Company, the more I liked it, so we went there for lunch with the Buns after the Trolly ride.

What did I hear? Well, I'm glad you asked. First, they have great names for their beers, like Holy Moses, the label of which features a picture of Moses Cleaveland parting Lake Erie, with the Cleveland skyline in the background. Then there's another called Burning River, which I probably don't need to explain. They're cool.

But also, Dr. Jay has gotten into this vermicomposting thing, which I won't get into in this post, and they do that, too. Here's a page about all kinds of cool stuff they do. Supporting local farmers, concern for the environment.

So we went for lunch, and it was really good. I had bratwurst, pierogis, and cabbage. The bratwurst was juicy, and mustard wicked hot, the cabbage a little sweet (so nice after the mustard!), and the pierogis chewy, potatoe-y, salty, and delicious. Poppa Bun had the Walleye Bites appetizer as an entree, and it was great, too.

Some of their desserts looked pretty cool, too, but we didn't try any today. We sat outside at the GLBC, and we could see the West Side Market from where we were. And across the street, on Saturdays, there's a craft/flea market. I didn't have much time to look, but I can tell you there was someone selling vinyl LPs and someone else selling really cool jewelry made from found objects. And across the street was a place called Talkies Film and Coffee Bar which we didn't try, but I'm intrigued. I guess they show old movies somewhere in there, but I didn't see them anywhere.

West Side Market, revisited

Ok, we've revisited it MANY times since I posted about it back in, I don't know, January?

After Lolly the Trolley, we dropped by the West Side Market. One thing to add about the WSM, (other than the cake I just ate) is that if you go early in the day, parking is easier. If you go LATE in the day (4:30-ish?) parking is easy AND many of the vendors are trying to move items they don't want to pack up, and are sometimes ready to bargain.)

We didn't stay for the lovely bratwurst, though. We went right down the street to the Great Lakes Brewing Company...

Lolly the Trolley - Cleveland City Sightseeing Tours

A friend of mine got us a gift certificate for Lolly the Trolley before we moved here, and today seemed like the perfect day to use it.

We did the one hour tour, and I learned so much and felt so great about Cleveland. I would highly recommend the tour to be one of the first things you do when you visit, so you can get an idea of what else you might want to do while you're here. I learned a bunch about buildings and public art downtown, the history of the city, and things to do.

I know that tours like this are designed to shine a flattering light on an area, but what can I say? I'm a sucker. Information about the ethnic groups who moved here over time, the church that was the last stop on the Underground Railroad before the ferry trip to Canada and freedom, and the Gay Pride parade that was going on downtown today overwhelmed me with respect for my new city. Not to mention the glittering Rock'n'Roll Hall of Fame, the lake full of sailboats, and the apartments and condos that the tourguide pointed out as having been added to areas of downtown recently.

Cleveland ChopHouse

The Buns love a good steak, so we asked around and decided to go to The Cleveland ChopHouse for dinner last night. It's in the Warehouse District, where we never really go, but we should. I had a house salad, which is very solid and right-on, which is to say: neither frou-frou nor a plate of iceberg lettuce. Then the New York Strip with the Cheddar Mashed Potatoes. The steak was excellent. The mashed potatoes were amazing. They were really heavy and rich and cheesy, but not stringy or gooey like you might think. They went so well with the steak.

I'm no steak expert, but I would happily go back when more people from out of town come and want to take us out. Also, they brew their own been, which I think is cool, even though I don't like beer.

Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority

I've been meaning to post about the RTA (Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority) for a while, and this seems like a good time to start, since the Buns took it from the airport.

You can get it in the basement of the airport, so it's easier than taking a shuttle to a car rental place, and cheaper!

Today I love Cleveland more than I ever thought possible

I love it when people visit us, because we get to be tourists in Cleveland. Dr. Jay's dad, Poppa Bun, and stepmom, Momma Bun, visited us last night and today from the southeastern US, where they live. We had an amazing 24 hours.

It's a lot cooler this weekend than it was for a while (it was like in the 90s there for a long stretch!), and though the day started off overcast, it became sunny with a blue sky and fluffy clouds.

I'm going to try to write about what we did this weekend so I don't get even farther behind. Dr. Jay and I just ate an enormous piece of chocolate mousse cake from Vera's Nationality Bakery that Poppa Bun got for us at West Side Market, so we'll see how long that keeps me going before I crash. Since I brought it up, the cake. Oh, the cake. So cocoa-y and dark and not too sweet. Dense, dark cake, cocoa-y mousse between the layers, and frosting that was maybe half way to ganache? I don't know, but I recommend it highly.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

CMJ Rock Hall Music Fest

Oh, cleaning up some old drafts I have laying around. The CMJ Rock Hall Music Fest has passed, but it sounds like they're going to do another next year. It sounds pretty great, for those who aren't too old to stay out late...and not so packed yet that, like SXSW in Austin, it's impossible to get in to see any acts if you're not, like, a record company executive or press.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Mad Greek

A restaurant over at Cedar Fairmont (the intersection of Cedar and Farimont!) is a place called the Mad Greek. We've been there a few times, and really like it. It has the disadvantage of being across the street from Aladdin's, which we LOVE, so we don't end up there as often as we might. And my parents loved it when we took them there.

They serve a combination of Greek and Indian foods. I've mostly concentrated on the Greek, and I think the Moussaka has been my favorite. As I recall, it has eggplant, ground meat, cheese, and pine nuts. Really good.

And I'm not usually too concerned about decor, but the feel of the Mad Greek is that you're in a walled garden in the Mediterranean. Which is especially like a vacation in the middle of winter! They might have a patio in summer, too, but I'm not sure.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Western Reserve Historical Society

Ok. This place is very cool. Went here in, um, December, and just getting around to posting about it.

The Western Reserve Historical Society is very similar to one of the places I worked in Cali. The focus is regional history. They have a museum as well as a library and research center that is used quite often for genealogical research. They have an aviation and car collection, and maintain some historic houses to tour.

This is the kind of place I love, because it makes history fun. It gives history shape and substance but is interesting and hip at the same time.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

New York Times Travel Section: 36 Hours in Cleveland

This is my favorite part:

"Clevelanders remain, by nature, a self-deprecating lot. But before long, calling their town hip, cosmopolitan - even splendid - won't sound so ironic."

Hurrah! I couldn't have said it better. Here is the story; I'm sorry they make you log in.

The New York Times > Travel > Escapes > 36 Hours: Cleveland

I would have included some other things that I consider more important, but I guess that's what this blog is for, isn't it?

So behind!

Aw, man, I am so behind on posting! I've been in New England for a cool and cloudy visit with my parents, family, and friends. And before that, there've been projects: buying furniture, working in the yard...and then getting ready to go away.

But the weather's beautiful here. Sunny, warm. Walking the dog in my neighborhood last night and then this morning, it's so peaceful. Things are in bloom, there are birds and bunnies. Friendly neighbors. It's good to be back!

Monday, May 02, 2005

One last post/therapy session for tonight

When I was in college in Connecticut, after having grown up in Connecticut, I spent a summer in San Francisco. While I was there, I was amazed by how just generally psyched the people there were. And I noticed that while people in Connecticut had an attitude of, "Well, this is where I am, I don't really like it, but, you know, I can't really go anywhere else," the people in SF, where it's sort of a novelty to find a native, were more like, "Hey! I'm here because I came here, and I wanted to come here, and wow! it's cool. I wait tables at a cafe and share an apartment with 5 other people, but here I am! Yahoo!"

I guess you could make a case that there is more inherently cool about SF than Connecticut, but to me, that didn't seem to explain it all.

I feel the same way about Cleveland and Austin, and I won't believe it comes entirely down to the weather. No one in Austin is from there (it seems)--and there's actually a movement to keep new people out (motivated, I think, mostly by transplants), to keep it small and retain its character. But the people there that I saw working in the airport in the middle of the night seemed to have that, "Hey! I came here because I wanted to be here, and now I'm doing my thing here at the airport at 12 am! Yahoo!" In contrast, I've noticed that when I tell (some) Clevelanders that I moved here from California, after the first wave of "Are you nuts?" there's sort of a wistful, "Yeah, I'd really like to go there to check it out, but I'm stuck here" thing. And I want to say, "Go! Visit! Move! You can do it! Have some faith in yourself! Have some confidence!"

But then maybe that brings me back to that last post about who am I to say something's not actually keeping people here against their will. Economics, for example. I don't know. I just want to help.

My friends who visited over the weekend were all amazed at what Cleveland had to offer. They felt there was a lot of potential here, just like I do. Maybe we just need to have an exchange program, where we bring in some people from other parts of the country who will appreciate Cleveland, and send some Clevelanders to Arizona and California so they can maybe get some notion that Cleveland's not so bad after all.

But then we'd get into the whole problem Austin's having, where as people move there, the cost of living goes up, hurting the people who lived there in the first place. Except maybe for the people who bought their homes in 1980 for, what, $70K that would then be worth $500K?

I don't know. I just want Cleveland to be all it can be!

I really am rambling now. Time for bed.

Third post tonight, this one on Cleveland's possible inferiority complex

For a while now, I've been noticing that while I (and others I've met both in person and online) feel that Cleveland has tons to offer, the rest of the country has ultra-low expectations of it (the image of burning river rather than plentiful streams in parks, for example), and many of the people who live here, well, they just refuse to appreciate what they have going for them.

Which brings me to another thing that's slowed me down with the posting (see previous two posts). I get frustrated with this attitude typified, I think, in one reaction to us almost breaking the snowfall record before we actually ended up breaking it (darn, I can't find the Plain Dealer column I'm referring to!). Anyway, the columnist was all, "we can't even win when we're competing with ourselves, how lame is that? Plus, who wants to win something like having the most snowfall? We can't even win something we don't want to win." Or something along those lines. And I was like, Geez, we just can't win with an attitude like that, can we?

So I did a search and found this article about Cleveland's inferiority complex:
Cleveland on the Couch

But then, recently, a native told me that there are people here who miss the yellow haze of pollution that used to hang over the city, because that meant there were jobs here. I was shocked that anyone could even think such a thing.

THEN, I started to get disgusted with myself and my attitude of, "Oh, you silly Clevelanders! What are you moaning about? I mean, *I* moved here from a more expensive part of the country, and *I* have job, and *I* think Cleveland's great!" I started to make myself sick, and I couldn't stand the thought of inflicting myself on anyone via the blog.

Another reason I haven't posted, besides being busy

Another reason I haven't posted in a while (other than being busy) is that for a few days in there, I was sort of over Cleveland, and I felt my enthusiasm, over the winter often bordering on hysteria, waning, and I found myself feeling a little disgusted by everything I saw. This started just before my trip to Austin, and for a few days, I was shocked that I could have ever wanted to leave Austin.

I have pretty much always felt about Cleveland (well, since I got here) that it has the potential to be this really cool place, a lot like Austin. A liberal haven in a possibly less liberal state, strong local culture and arts and music scene, things to do outdoors, ethnic and regional food variety, etc.

But I've had some thoughts about this. In fact maybe too many thougths for one post. Maybe here it will suffice to say that maybe Cleveland doesn't want to be Austin. (Have you ever heard the song by Dar Williams called "Southern California Wants to be Western New York"?) But Cleveland just seems so sad, and I can't help trying to find ways to help it be happier. When I arrived in the Austin airport in the middle of the night, I noticed that the people working in the airport looked so happy. Is this only a product of the weather? I just don't think so.

Where have I been?

Well. Where haven't I been?

No, really. I went to Austin for a long weekend. Austin, where I haven't been since I moved from there almost 3 years ago. It was so good to see friends (and friends' babies!) and see the city where I spent 8 1/2 sometimes intense and formative years. I ate more than is morally defensible, and on the last day it was like, "Ok. We'll go now to get a barbecue sandwich; then we can leave for the airport, and on the way we'll stop at Taco Cabana for tacos to eat on the plane!"

It was so lovely to be in a city where I know so much about what to do and where to go. Restaurants? libraries? books? hiking? swimming? views? zoo? friends? holistic doctors? I know where to find it. Not the case here (yet), never the case in California, and no longer the case in Connecticut.

I got to see friends from massage school, library school, and work, and it was awesome.

Then, this past weekend, two other library school friends came here to Cleveland with their S.O.'s. We did lots of fun stuff that I hope I can get around to blogging about, and they seemed to come away with a feeling that Cleveland is pretty cool and has a lot to offer.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

An example of what we have but don't appreciate?

Cleveland seems to have a sort of inferiority complex and acts like it has nothing going for it. To me, this seems like a shame, because I think Cleveland has a huge amount going for it. I think Cleveland just needs an attitude adjustment and maybe needs to look at what it has that you can't get in other places.

There is an old Victorian house in Medina that is being sold for $1 to a man who is going to spend $100K to move it to California. This is still a bargain for him, because 2-bedroom bungalows in, say, Oakland, go for a half million easy. Obviously, an offer of a Victorian house for $1 if you can move it away is not a normal thing here in Northeast Ohio, but still. My point is that we have cool old houses here that people in other parts of the country would go nuts for. And they don't cost anywhere near half a million.

Here's an article from the Plain Dealer about it:
California or bust (feelin' blue)

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Suburbs lesson and Parks and Rec info

Outside of Cleveland is a ring of suburbs called the "inner ring" suburbs--which, after living in the sprawling Austin, TX, seem to me more like "neighborhoods" of Cleveland (and, according to Yahoo! maps and yellow pages, it's all just "Cleveland")--that are the cool places to live, with older houses with lots of dormers and cute yards and wood floors and little neighborhood shopping areas with restaurants, etc. This is as opposed to the "outer ring" suburbs, where the new houses and McMansions are. (hisssssssss!)

Anyway, at least some, if not all, of these inner ring suburbs have their own parks and rec happenings. Unfortunately, lots of them aren't listed online, but here's a link to the pdf of the City of Cleveland Heights Parks and Recreation Brochure for Spring/Summer 2005. The South Euclid/Lyndhurst brochure has tons of dance classes and home repair classes, but I can't find it online.

But the Cleveland Heights one should give you a sample of the bounty that awaits you, too, in lovely Cleveland, O.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Aladdin's Eatery

After the bike ride and garden centers yesterday, I spent the rest of the daylight hours raking and moving rocks around, trying to make sense of what's in the yard so we can decide what to do with it next.

As it was cooling down and getting dark, I picked Dr. Jay up from work, where he'd been all afternoon, (ick!) and we went over to Aladdin's Eatery for dinner. We were so hungry from our ride and his work and my work outside, and the food was soooo good. We ordered an appetizer, which was basically Aladdin's version of the meat pie at Amir's (see past posts), that we made short work of, and then he got chicken shawarma and I got beef shawarma, and it was so delicious, too. But we weren't quite full, so we ordered some hummous. So creamy and delicious and beautiful with a little olive oil drizzled on it, a cucumber slice, a tomato slice, and an olive and some parsley. We scooped it up with the nice soft pita. Finally full, we came home and went to bed. What a good day!

We actually go to Aladdin's pretty often, but somehow it never made it into the blog until now. When we were in town for 2 days last May looking at houses and deciding if Cleveland was somewhere I thought I could live (not necessarily in that order?), we went there after our first day of house-looking. We spread out all our papers and maps and flyers on one of the tables and got out the laptop to download the pictures we'd taken and narrowed down the houses we liked the best and made a plan for the next day. Fond memories, but am I glad I don't have to do that again any time soon!

Gardening: first foray

I've never lived in my own house before where I had a yard to garden in, but I've often fantasized about growing vegetables in my yard, so now's it's time!

Yesterday I went to Heights Garden Center on Cedar between Lee and Taylor for seeds, seed-starting supplies, and advice. I talked to a woman there who was really helpful, but a line started behind me and by the time we finished discussing my lawn, I felt like I had to let her help someone else, so we didn't even get as far as raised beds or vegetables.

Then I went over to Petitti's at the Richmond Mall, where they were also very nice, and got some supplies there.

I got seeds for collards, Beefmaster (!) tomatoes, parsley, Brussels sprouts, Waltham butternut squash, and zucchini, plus some Genoan basil that my mom gave me when they were here recently. Keep your fingers crossed!

Saturday, April 09, 2005

The Beachland Ballroom

Waaaaaay back in January, we went to The Beachland Ballroom to see The Sadies ("not your average surf, garage, country, rock band"). Oh. I guess we actually went to see Neko Case, who was very good, but we were totally taken with the Sadies. They opened and also backed Neko Case up, so there was a lot of Sadies, and it was great.

Some of their lyrics, well, they're creepy. But in a kind of American Traditional Bluegrass "I took her into the woods and killed her" kind of a way. I might say the cumulative effect, at least on the album we bought (yes! we actually bought an album! That's how much we liked the Sadies!) is sort of mysogynistic, but Sadie is one of the people who dies, so and they seem to identify with her, so...wait this is supposed to be about the Beachland Ballroom. Oh, but one more thing about this. We found a site about murder ballads which is pretty funny the way it has the synopsis of the key points of each song at the beginning.

ANYWAY, the Beachland Ballroom. It was nice, reminded me of places in Austin. Smokey, but what are you going to do? Seemed to be a refurbished fraternal society's building. And not very refurbished, as it still has painted scenes from (I assume) a European country on the walls. To be honest, I can't remember, I think it was an Eastern European country. And I guess there are two venues at the Ballroom, and I guess we were in the less intimate one. Of course, the show didn't start till after our bedtime, which made it very hard to stand up and stay awake.

Bike Ride in the Emerald Necklace

This morning we got up early and went to another park in the Clevelend Metroparks, this time the North Chagrin Reservation (I've never heard of parks called 'reservations', either). We went for a bike ride the length of the park, which turned out not to be wicked long, but from one end to the other and back was plenty after a winter of not much exercise. It was sunny and warm and cool in the shade. Another beautiful spring day!

Then we went for a little .75 mile hike to the Squire Castle on the reservation, which was cute and interesting, at least for a stone and brick building with nothing in it. But there was a description of what it was like when it was in use, and it was pretty cool to imagine it back then with plaster on the walls and furniture, etc.

We wound up the trip with a visit to Corky and Lenny's, where I got some corned beef hash and poached egg that really knocked my socks off. The hash was light on the potatoes and sort of pureed, unusual but delicious. We got some corned beef and stuffed cabbage to take home with us!

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Another beautiful day!

Ate lunch fast today and yesterday so I could go outside for a walk in the sun during lunch.

Spring definitely feels different after a long, cold, snowy winter.

And the daffodils! You should see them. Everyone's got the bulbs goin' on.

Monday, April 04, 2005


Ahh! Baseball season started yesterday, but, as I was just informed my a co-worker, yesterday's game didn't matter because it was the Red Sox and the Yankees. It really starts today, because the Indians are playing.

I've never cared at all about baseball. I've been to a few games and always concentrated on the hotdogs, etc. But it's a pretty big deal here, so we'll see if they can suck me in.

I don't want to be a bad sport, but I have to say, that once I really looked at that Cleveland Indians logo, I was shocked.

Time change fever

Last night after dinner, the weather had cleared up, the sun was shining, the snow was melting, sky was blue, and the breeze was cool. We threw the dog in the car and went back to the Cleveland Metroparks Euclid Creek Reservation where we skiied a while back (see previous post). It was muddy and snowy, but we had a great time. We explored a part of the park we hadn't been to before, and tried to get the dog to catch snowballs and go down a slide. My favorite part was that Dr. Jay and I took turns on some swings, while the other held onto the dog, who was decidedly agitated by the swinging. At first he hopped around like he wanted to play, but finally resorted to barking insistently.

Hurrah for DST!

Saturday, April 02, 2005

"Cleveland sets snowfall record with spring storm"

Oi, vey. It's disgusting out. All day it seemed like slush was falling from the sky. Anywhere I went there was about 4 inches of slush to slog through. And then the temperature started falling this evening and it got bone-chillingly cold and damp. Ick. Much better in the house.

Winter Wonderland

I got up today, and Dr. Jay, who had been up for a while before me (he's preparing for the time change by getting up 15 minutes earlier every day--he's not very good at getting up early), was like, "Surprise! It's a winter wonderland outside!" and I was like, "Haha, very funny," and he was like, "No, I'm not kidding."

And he wasn't. It isn't even below freezing, and all this snow is sticking everywhere. It seemed to me, that back when it was technically winter, nothing would stick unless it was really cold.

Whatever. This probably won't last long, right?

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Vidstar Video

Where we were in Cali, I had a devil of a time finding anywhere to rent movies other than Blockbuster, who seemed to be relieving itself of any inventory that wasn't totally mainstream. We finally started borrowing videotapes and DVDs from the library.

The library system where we were was pretty good, and our branch had a really good selection of movies. Also, items reserved online usually got to our branch within a couple of days, and I don't think I ever looked forsomething I couldn't get.

We tried that with the library here, because I'm all for libraries and Dr. Jay is all for free (there were small fees at the library in Cali, both for borrowing DVDs and for reserving items, but they didn't amount to much) but our branch has a tiny selection and items on reserve can take weeks or months to arrive. (There are not, however, any fees associated with borrowing DVDs or putting items on reserve.)

So we needed another alternative, and we found Vidstar Video, a good, old-fashioned, hip, local video store over on Coventry. It seems like a tiny place, but they also seem to have everything.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

We opened our windows today!

It was 70 today! My god, spring is finally here!

When we came home today after work, it was broad daylight, and warmer outside than in the house!

Spring really does feel better after an actual winter. Of course, I felt sort of hot and itchy and headachy today, but, as I recall from growning up in New England, I always got sort of sick when spring came. My mom called it spring fever, which is sort of funny because, a) the thing everyone else calls Spring Fever is a relaxed and positive thing, like Senior-itis; and b) I read somewhere that Spring Fever was originally actual illnesses that people used to have by spring in the olden days from not eating any fruits and vegetables all winter. And neither of these seems to apply to me.

Everyone says that it will get cold again and might very well snow, but I don't care.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Angela-Mia Pizza

My parents, Mom and Dad are in town, helping us work on the house. We were all busy today with house projects and needed something easy for dinner. So we decided to try a new pizza place. After a little searching online, I found Angela-Mia Pizza and decided to give it a try.

I didn't realize it was in East Cleveland in what might be considered a Bad Area until after I had ordered two medium pizzas and a large salad. So Dr. Jay and I piled into the car and went to pick up the food. It's take-out only, and the most remarkable feature of the decor is the thick plexiglass window protecting the employees from us. Anywhere there were holes in the window, like for passing pizza boxes, money, or cube-shaped objects such as salad containers, there were plexiglass doors that the woman behind the counter and I both got a laugh out of watching me try to navigate.

And the food? Everyone really liked the pizza. I found the canned mushrooms to have a metallic taste but the crust was very nice. Right in between "thick and doughy" and "thin and crispy." And the pizza was not at all soggy or greasy. The salad was iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, black and green olives, and peperoncini.

We were all very happy. I think we'd go there again, but we might think twice about going after dark. I felt very safe, but I guess the plexiglass must be there for something.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

"Visitors bureau to promote city's rich arts scene"

Article from the Plain Dealer. (Will the link stop working in a couple of days? I hope not.)

Imagine. Promoting arts in addition to sports. What a crazy idea!

Visitors bureau to promote city's rich arts scene

Friday, March 18, 2005

Things that helped me get through the winter

Well, just two days till the first day of spring, and I seem to have survived the winter in good shape. I know, I know, we still may get more snow, and it won't get warm right away. But I feel pretty confident that I'll get through the rest.

So, how did I do it? Well, I'm glad you asked. I was so sure it would be horrible, that I was determined to do whatever I could to prevent becoming cold, wet, and depressed.

Right after the first of the year, I started a Pilates class at the local recreation center. I'm now almost done with my second 6-week class, and I love it!

Along with the Pilates, I walked the dog for 10 to 30 minutes every night. It was dark and cold, but it got me out.

My Muckers! Ok, so I just found out that they're actually called Derby. But anyway, they're made by Clark's of England. They're so comfortable, like slippers, and I wore them every single time I walked the dog and they kept me dry and happy.

And under them, I wore my SmartWool Expedition Treckers. So warm and dry! Thick and comfy! And green. Hurrah!

Then there's my GoLite "Portable Handheld Light Therapy Device". No Seasonal Affective Disorder for me! Dr. Jay's aunt got me this for my birthday, and we both use it. I think it's helped us both.

Oh, and Dr. Jay's sister gave me a long black wool coat from J.Crew that was delicious when it was cold and snowy. AND, my long underwear. A few different brands and models, but it went on every day after work and didn't come off till bedtime.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Anatolia Cafe

A few weeks ago we went out on a Friday night not really sure where we were going to eat, and we ended up at Anatolia Cafe, a Turkish restaurant with yummy, yummy food. (The link's a little wonky, but hopefully it will turn out to be the right one...)

I got some lentil soup, which was pretty good, and hmmmm. I don't remember. One of us got shish kebab, I think, and the other...maybe an eggplant thing? Whatever it was, it was awesome. Maybe stuffed eggplant? The eggplant was the one we really fought over.

This isn't a very good or helpful post, is it?

Well, what was definitely good was the custard we had for dessert. Very firm and unusual. But soooo good.

Eat at Joe's

Before we started our day of home-remodelling-shopping fun, we stopped at Eat at Joe's to try their breakfast.

I got an egg/cheese/bacon/kaiser roll sandwich. Very good in an almost fast-food kind of way. Dr. Jay got 2 eggs over medium, sausage, hash browns, and whole wheat toast. The sausage was delicious but sort of reminded me of McDonald's. The eggs and toast are basically what you'd make yourself at home; nothing special but fine. The hash browns (with plenty of Heinz ketchup) were plain but totally delicious in a french-fry kind of way.

I want to go back and try their pancakes.

Oh, and the bill came to $8-something for all that and OJ.

Famous Gyro George

We were out today looking at furniture, floor covering, bathroom fixtures, and lights, as well as getting shades cut for our windows. It was past time for lunch, and we were tired and hungry and looking for a place to eat other than Subway or Rally's. Dr. Jay suddenly said, There! and turned into what looked like a reclaimed Arthur Treacher's, a place called Famous Gyro George.

It was crazy inside, with all kinds of pictures of Cleveland, Marilyn Monroe, Greece, and boxing, as well as big signs announcing the menu all over the walls and ceiling and windows. They are open 24 hours and serve breakfast all day and night, normal stuff like "The Clevelander" (2 eggs, 3 sausages, and two pancakes, or something like that) as well as a gyro omelette.

We ended up getting both getting the "regular" which was a nice greek-style pita, lettuce, tomato, onion (well, we left off the onion), a huge pile of gyro meat, and a big tub of garlic sauce. It was really good. Juicy, delicious, definitely too big to eat as a sandwich.

Dr. Jay thinks it might be a great place to get pancakes in the middle of the night.