Sunday Night Sky

After some big thunderstorms rolled through our area, this is how the sky looked at sunset. No, I didn’t do any photoshopping. This picture accurately shows the color of the sky. It was strange to see. I wanted to share with everyone.

Buying Local

Just how much do you love Cleveland? Could you see yourself changing your habits to help out the economy and local businesses? I’m going to to do that during the week of July 3rd through the 10th as part of Buy Local Week.

If you’ve read my blog in the past, you know I’m a big fan of Northeast Ohio. I grew up in northern Wayne County but spent five long years living in other parts of the country. I came back to this area because it had everything I wanted. Now, I want to continue doing my part to see this place flourish.

Someone recently tipped me off to Buy Local Week. It’s an attempt to keep more of the money we earn here in our area. So, how do you do that? Skip that fast food restaurant and eat at a locally owned business. I’m happy to have a meal in Kamm’s Corners at Si SeƱor, P.J. McIntyre’s, Backstage Bar, West Park Station or Panini’s. Try some Kamm’s Lager. It’s brewed by Thirsty Dog Brewing Company in Akron. While we’re on the subject of Kamm’s Corners, if you haven’t stopped by the Farmers Market on Sundays, you should definitely check it out. Instead of stopping at a Starbucks for a cup of java, check out the local coffee shop. I have to recommend Savor The Moment on Rocky River Drive. It’s an experience.

Supporting an artist from Northeast Ohio is also a good way to buy local. This week, we enjoyed a beautiful night at Cain Park in Cleveland Heights, listening to the sounds of Robin Stone. Instead of staying on Cleveland’s west side, we crossed over to the other side of the Cuyahoga River to support someone else’s neighborhood and experience something different.

Get the kids involved, too but skip Chuck E. Cheese this time. Look for a summer carnival or street festival in your area whose proceeds will benefit a local organization. They’ll probably have kids activities, face painting, food and more fun. It’ll get the kids outside for some fresh air and Vitamin D, too. Don’t forget the sunscreen!

Here’s your chance to experience Cleveland, patronize some local merchants, and keep your money here in our area. The folks at COSE have some suggestions for you. Check them out.

Good luck,

(Here’s a quick add to this post. When Lowe’s and Home Depot didn’t have the bricks I wanted, I found them at a locally-owned business. Ideal Builders Supply and Fuel came through. My front sidewalk looks great again.) Guess I should have tried the local guy first!

Malley’s Story

[as told with lots of help by Katie]

Adding a cat to the household took a lot of thought. Okay, it was an impulsive decision.

Before we headed to the Cleveland APL, we looked online to see what cats were ready for adoption. We quickly knew it wasn’t the cat that looked like it was hissing at the camera. We found a couple of options on the website and went to the facility.

We looked at a bunch of different cats. There was some disappointment that the APL didn’t have any very little kitties. We found one little cat that was only 8 months old. The little animal was very skinny. The APL person told us that the cat was found on the street. We decided to take the kitty home with us and give her some food.

When we got her home, she looked around the house searching for a place to call her own. She decided that one of the chairs at the kitchen table was one of her spots. The other spot was a chair in the computer room.

We couldn’t believe how much she liked to be held. She didn’t want to leave our laps. We were a little sad because she kept sneezing. After a couple of days, we decided to take her to the animal hospital. The vet told us she was very sick. They decided that they needed to keep her for a couple days. When we went back to get her, she was a lot better. We had to give her some medicine to help her keep getting stronger. After a couple of days, she became more healthy and started being more playful. We spent some money to help her get better but think it was worth it.

Now, Malley likes to play with her scratching post. She also really enjoys our neighbor’s plastic ball that was accidentally left at the house. Malley is also now eating her food a lot more. She likes to play under the bed and attack people’s feet. She knows how to bite when she’s playing without it hurting. When we go upstairs, she always follows us. She likes to race us to the top.

She didn’t like Pounce Seafood moist treats but likes Friskies Natural Sensations chicken flavor. We wonder if it’s the seafood or the moist treats that she doesn’t like.

Right now, Malley is sleeping on the chair in the computer room. We’re glad she calls our house, home. By the way, Malley was the one who was hissing at the camera. She’s never hissed at us.
& Photobucket

The Hooley Lives Up To Its Name

The idea of a ribbon cutting ceremony was not enough to mark the completion of a streetscape beautification project. Steve Lorenz, Executive Director of the Kamm’s Corners Development Corporation, along with the board and staff, decided to start a new tradition, The Hooley.

For hours, police shut down a section of Lorain Avenue while thousands of people enjoyed the Cleveland Police Pipes and Drums, the Brady Campbell Irish Dancers, bands and other performers. Tents by local businesses lined the street. You could smell the food from blocks away.

Clevelanders never need a reason to get together to have fun. The Hooley was designed to entertain the entire family. Lorenz, his board and staff have a reason to feel that they accomplished that goal. As far as I’m concerned, The Hooley was a big success. The weather even cooperated. I’m sure there are a lot of people with sunburns today.

The Hooley also marked the debut of the new Kamm’s Lager. The beer will only be sold at area nine businesses. Each of them have a customed tap handle resembling the Kamm’s Corners’ clock. I’m sure the hands don’t show five o’clock by mistake.

A horse-drawn carriage delivered kegs of the brew down Lorain Road to the establishments. Thirsty Dog Brewing Company in Akron crafted the beer. Apparently, they did a good job because it sold out in many locations during the festival. The beer wasn’t the only sell-out. Green t-shirts with The Hooley logo were also in high demand.

During our time at the festival, we ate at the Backstage Bar. I’ll wager it has some of the best cuisine in Kamm’s Corners. Try the Potato Soup!

The Hooley is to become an annual tradition. This year’s festival set the bar fairly high.

A Sad Day!

I don’t know if I’m breaking this news but…

I hear that Rock Bottom is closing in the Flats. Yes, it is one of my favorite establishments in Cleveland.

It was special to me for so many reasons.

First, you couldn’t ask for a better staff. I felt like I became an honorary employee.

When I didn’t feel like cooking, I’d make the short walk over to the restaurant for some food.

It was the first place I met my girlfriend.

I took my friends to the Rock. I also met new friends there.

Ah, table #241!

One of my proudest moments – my name on the Rock Bottom barrel.

I can’t say enough about the coupons and the free gifts I got by having the Mug Club Card.

Sadly, I’m probably among the reasons the restaurant is closing down. I don’t get to frequent the Rock as much as I once did. I hear the last day is May 30th.

Here are some memories.

So sad to see you go, Rock Bottom!

Is Foursquare The Next Big Thing?

With smartphones everywhere and the interest in social media increasing, Foursquare could be the next big thing. I’ve been using it for a couple of months now. Already, it’s easy to see the different ways it could benefit people and businesses.

Foursquare is a geo-social application that works with the GPS in your smartphone. When a user visits a location they have the ability to check-in and are rewarded with points. Each week, you compete against your friends to top the leaderboard. As you continue to check-in, you are given badges. They show your overall activity on Foursquare.

The other key component is the Mayorship. The more you check-in to one location, the more chances you have to become the mayor of the establishment. People who become mayors of different places take great pride in doing so and are usually not happy to let them go. Of course for other people, the idea is to become the new mayor and oust the current one.

At the very basic form, Foursquare is a way for friends to tell friends where they are located. If a friend is at a restaurant and you’re in the area, you could jump on Foursquare and get that information.

I believe the marketing ramifications for the business world are endless. A local restaurant, Greenhouse Tavern is jumping on the Foursquare bandwagon. It’s giving its employee discount to its Foursquare Mayor.

Starbucks is already involved in Foursquare and it’s not the only business that’s getting hip. Just the other day, I saw this pop-up on my iPhone when I checked in at a Panera Bread. A yellow box flashed up on my screen to alert me of a new deal that Carrabba’s Italian Grill was offering. As you can see if you prove that you’re the Mayor of the restaurant, they’ll give you a complimentary dessert. It’s not as involved as giving your customer an employee discount but it’s just the start of what companies are starting to do for their repeat customers.

So how has Foursquare changed my habits? I’m now checking in a lot. I see that a lot of people end up in the same locations in town. We’re all fighting for the mayorships of some of the most popular places in the Cleveland area. I have to admit going somewhere and buying an ice cream cone just so I could check-in. By the way, I’m mayor of that location now. Ironically, I can not claim a mayorship at any fitness locations at this moment. You must keep checking into those locations to gain mayorships or at least once.

I’m looking forward to see where Foursquare goes from here.

Dance With Me

What can I say, I like to dance!

When everyone else was doing their homework in high school, I had mine finished and had the tunes cranked for dancing. I’d watch my body in the living room picture window and my feet’s reflection in the fireplace glass doors.

I never thought dancing was hard but so many people make it that way. Johnny Cash sang “get rhythm” and that’s all you need to do. It’s finding that beat that’s so tough.

Weddings are my place to show off. Give me a little Rob Base and I can’t pass up the dance floor.

I don’t have a problem saying I’m a good dancer, I’ve been told. It’s in my blood. My parents developed their own line dance and have no shame showing it off.

Word of my dance awesomeness makes its way around and I get requests to just cut a rug. That never happens. It’s like tellling a comedian to be funny and make you laugh.

So if you’re lucky maybe you’ll see me break it down once and your reaction will be the same, “man, that boy can dance.”

Goodbye Sterling Elementary

The building front the frontI got up early on my Saturday after suffering a nice headache during the overnight hours. I wanted to make the trek down to Wayne County to see my elementary school for the last time. The 8am wake-up call wasn’t a welcomed one. I knew if I did not force myself to show up for the auction they held, I’d regret it.

Our family has a lot of connections to the building. My grandparents both attended the classes there when it wasn’t just an elementary school. My mother attended elementary school there as did my sister and me. My mother even worked there.

The turnout for the auction was apparently good even with the weather being a little less than desirable. The rain, drizzle and colder temperatures may have kept some people sitting at home.
I knew I had to remember my camera for the occasion. I wanted to get some last shots of the place because the wrecking crew came to town to bring the building down.
The school has gone through some changes over the years. The district decided to put another classroom on the front of the building. They also added a place for kindergarten and space for an art room. Other than those additions, the building hasn’t seen a lot of remodeling over the years.

I didn’t attend kindergarten at the school. Instead, classes were held down the street in the United Methodist Church basement.

The step!My first grade teacher was Mrs. Welday. I don’t have a lot of memories from that first year but I’ll never forget Stephen Bates and me playing Star Wars on the step in the classroom. We both had Stormtroopers and we had a fight over whose was whose. Mrs. Welday promptly came over to the step and took both of them away. Certainly, it was a lesson learnedMrs. Bise (former Mrs. Wedley) in her classrom. I took a picture of the step and the classroom. You’ll see Mrs. Welday (now Bise) in another photo talking.

The room was on the end of southeast side of the building. I assume the steps were once used as away to get outside. I just remember the teachers opening them during the fall and the spring to increase the airflow through the rooms. There isn’t any air conditioning in the building and sometimes the place could get warm depending on the outside temperature.

Mrs. Elzroth's second grade classroomMy second grade room later became the room where I attended some of the classes for sixth grade. Mrs. Elzroth taught that grade. It was basically directly above my first grade classroom.

The cot was directly over the stairs

The blackboards you see at the front of the room would be where Mrs. Smith would write endless notes for us to write down in our journals about whatever subject she was teaching. I know everyone had writing cramps from trying to stay up with her pace. I can remember her being two boards ahead of me and needing to copy some of the notes from someone else.

During the second grade, I think I spent a lot of time on the opposite side of the building on the sick cot. You can see the space in the picture where the cot was, just above the stairs. I think my “sickness” was my way to get out of school. My aversion from education had nothing to do with Mrs. Elzroth. It had more to do with just being able to stay home and watch TV, I think.

Mrs. Glessner's third grade classroomWe were one of the first classes to use a new room that was built in the front of the school. Mrs. Glessner, I think, was proud to have that as her room. It smelled like freshly laid carpet. It actually had carpet. Few other rooms in the place got that treatment. It also didn’t have the old slate looking chalkboards. It was a lot warmer than anywhere else in the building. Mrs. Glessner had an old bathtub that was covered in carpeting. I wonder if she still has it or where it went. It’s almost difficult figuring out which classrooms are which with all of the chairs, desks and cabinets being gone.

Mrs. Renninger's fourth grade classroomJust across from my first grade class was where Mrs. Renninger’s fourth grade classes were held. It had a step just like the first grade room. I remember switching to other classrooms during that year but I only think I had one other teacher, Mr. Forrer. I know I’ve written this in a past post but Mrs. Renninger’s lasting impression on me was reading “The Great Brain” series of books to us after recess. Mrs. Renninger wasn’t necessarily happy with my fidgeting. I apparently excelled at that during my fourth grade year.

Mrs. Elzroth's fifth grade classroomFifth grade took me upstairs and to the opposite side of the building to a room just on the other side of the sick cot. I was happy to have Mrs. Elzroth teaching my class again. She liked me and I liked her. We also got to change classrooms again to Mr. Ocepek’s room that was across the hallway. I got to talk to him yesterday and he’s changed a little bit but after a few words, you could certainly tell who it was. He talked about his poking sticks that would motivate kids when they weren’t listening or otherwise disengaged.

Mrs. Carpenter's sixth grade classroomI didn’t have to go far for sixth grade, it was just one room down from my fifth grade classroom. Mrs. Carpenter taught the class. I believe it was one of the biggest rooms of the school. I wonder what it was back when the school had kids attending high school there. The room was next door to the office. A reason to behave and listen. Mrs. Carpenter had a reputation as being strict. I don’t remember a lot of kids getting out of line back in her classroom.

I didn’t get to spend a lot of the time during the auction in the rooms. A lot of people crowded the place looking, hopefully to take home some memories from the school. I did snap some shots of the lunchroom, the kitchen, music room, the speech room along with a couple other pictures I couldn’t pass up getting a snapshot.

The lunchroomThe kitchen serving areaThe dishwasher

The music room

Dirty dishes window

Mrs. Chapman's handwriting

The building served three generations of my family well. Soon, the demolition crews will come in and have their way. A park will be built on the property.

It says it all!
Not anymore…

So long, Sterling Elementary…

Ping! Clipper Conundrum

Let’s just agree that we all have our little idiosyncrasies. Some of us have more than others.
I always carry fingernail clippers. I’ve become loyal to the Trim brand over the years. The cut is even and your clippings don’t shoot across the room. You can also use them for many other things. I’m sure MacGyver has a pair of them in his pocket too. I’m not so sure about MacGruber.
At any rate, like many other people, I’m occasionally prone to losing things. Not as much as other people I know, no names of course, because I don’t want to end up in the dog house.
After losing a pair of fingernail clippers (why do we say pair?) I bought some new ones. Problem was, they didn’t live up to the old ones. They didn’t cut as evenly. People, especially friends and loved ones, found themselves in the danger zone when my fingernails got too long.
I couldn’t have this!
I took matters into my own hands and called the W. E. Bassett Company. I’m not opposed to calling a company, especially if I’m loyal to their product. The people told me the clippers aren’t made in the U.S.A. anymore. Turns out they are now made in China. All you have to do is check the clippers. They say “China” as opposed to “USA”.
The nice people at Trim took my complaint and mailed me out three new pairs of American-made clippers. I’m glad they had some extras. Here’s hoping they get more customers’ complaints and bring the work back home where people really know how to manufacture fingernail clippers.
Here’s the best news, now no one has to dodge my clippings anymore!