Monday, June 18, 2018

June 18, 2018 Happy 30th Anniversary Mrs. Christy Mazrimas-Ott

Chrissy, I can't believe thirty years have gone by so quickly. It's been a long and winding road, but like the Beatles sang "it always leads me here, lead me to your door." We laughed, we've cried. There's been ups and downs and just like a roller coaster, it's been a thirty year thrill ride. Thanks for riding in the front seat with me for the past 30 years. We have jokingly said that we don't travel, we just go places and wander aimlessly. I have wandered aimlessly in some incredible places with you over the past 30 years. Here's hoping we can wander aimlessly for another 30 years together...even if we have to do it with canes or walkers. You didn't actually marry a DJ, but you did marry a music geek. So here are 30 songs from when we first met in 1985 through today that will always remind me of our time together so far. 

Apparently Pearl Jam doesn't let you put their videos on a blog. Just click Watch On You tube to watch this song.

Here's the lyrics:
Yes I understand
That every life must end
As we sit alone
I know someday we must go

Yeah I'm a lucky man
To count on both hands
The ones I love
Some folks just have one
Yeah others they got none

Stay with me
Let's just breathe

Practised on our sins
Never gonna let me win
Under everything
Just another human being

I don't want to hurt
There's so much in this world
To make me believe

Stay with me
All I see

Did I say that I need you?
Did I say that I want you?
What if I did and I'm a fool you see
No one knows this more than me
'Cause I come clean

I wonder everyday
As I look upon your face
Everything you gave
And nothing you would take
Nothing you would take
Everything you gave

Did I say that I need you?
Did I say that I want you?
What if I did and I'm a fool you see
No one knows this more than me
I come clean

Nothing you would take
Everything you gave
Hold me 'till I die
Meet you on the other side

And here's one extra song to start our soundtrack for the next thirty years as we continue to walk forever by each other's side.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

June 17, 2018 Our Sunrise Hike at the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore

I got up at 4:30 in the morning to take the dogs to the beach before the temperature rises to the mid 90's. It was already 79 degrees and muggy. I stopped along Kemil Road to watch the sun rise over the wetlands.

It was unusually quite this morning.

It was already too hot for these two.... our next stop was Dunbar Beach.

Unfortunately the biting black flies were everywhere on this very calm and still morning.

Looking east across the dunes...

....looking west.

The three of ran straight into the lake.

The cool water felt great.

We walked east into the light.

It was a beautiful morning to be on a beach.

The low sun lighting up the sand and long shadows.

The rain water runoff into the lake.

Nola shaking off the water and the flies.

The 1933 Chicago World Fair Houses of Tomorrow that were moved here after the fair closed.

You can see the massive erosion that has been occurring for the past few years.

The old man walking down the beach.

The holes in the dunes are being used for nesting by the small birds flying all around us.

That eroded wall of sand is about 20 feet high and moving closer to the house.

Nola enjoying the beautiful sunrise.

A rare moment that these two were walking together in the same direction.

Oslo with the orange glow of the sunrise on him.

We walked to Lakeview Beach, then I had to force Oslo to turn around. I could tell he was getting too hot and tired but he is so stubborn about going back to the car...

...he loves being outside especially at the beach.

We probably were in and out of the water fifteen times in the hour or so we were on the beach.

Boat parking on the beach.

Another relaxing walk on the beach...

...stopped to smell the flowers.

We walked back on Lake Front Drive to check out the houses.

Check out the NPS website for information about touring these houses. The NPS does rent these out to private citizens. I believe there is some kind of agreement about rehabbing and maintaining the houses too.

Sometimes, it is worth getting up before the rest of the world and walking along the beach in quiet solitude. I hope everyone has a great Sunday. Happy Father's Day to my dad who took me to beaches throughout my childhood...I am forever grateful.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

June 1-3, 2018 Our Weekend in Cleveland...Stop Laughing...This City Is Full of Great Neighborhoods

June 1st
"Washed under the blacktop
Gone beneath my wheels

There's nothing that the road cannot heal" - Moab by Conor Oberst
I love to travel. It seems like I have spent most of my life traveling. The first half of my life was spent traveling to visit family. The second half has been a combination of visiting family and going somewhere that I have never been. There are many ways to travel. But today's blog is about my favorite way...a road trip. My car, my music and this time a somewhat familiar destination...Cleveland. I lived in Cleveland for 15 months back in the 1980's. I have been back a few times since then. Like most Midwest cities, the 1970's were not kind to Cleveland. The union factory jobs disappeared, white flight to the suburbs emptied many once thriving neighborhoods and Midwest cities like Cleveland, that helped make America the world's most powerful nation, became known as the Rust Belt. The defining event in making Cleveland a symbol of America's decline was when the heavily polluted Cuyahoga River caught on fire. Since then, Cleveland has been mostly forgotten by people not from this area. I had a wonderful time in Cleveland this weekend. But first, we stopped in another Rust Belt city for lunch on our way to Cleveland...Toledo. If you want to know a city, eat at a local diner. 

Schmucker's Good Food and Home Made Pies. We were probably the only ones here that the wait staff didn't know by name. We had tasty sandwiches and huge slices of pies in a very friendly place. A good start to our road trip.

Over the years we've stayed at small locally owned inns, Bed & Breakfasts or VRBO's instead of hotel chains whenever possible. Chrissy is great at finding places like this one, Stone Gables B&B on historic Franklin Street in the Ohio City neighborhood.

The owners Jeff & Connie have restored this beautiful 1883 house into B&B on one side and apartments on the other side. This is one of many historic houses on Franklin Street. Our friends, Tom & Laurie, drove up from Kent to show us around Cleveland this weekend. 

With Tom and Laurie as our tour guides, we walked through the Ohio City neighborhood on our way to dinner. We passed this place, Momocho, which Chrissy had on her list of places to eat in Cleveland. 

Before dinner drinks at the Great Lakes Brewery. Of course I had the Turntable Pils, I'm a DJ. We had a very tasty dinner across the street at the Flying Fig...also on Chrissy's list of places to eat in Cleveland. This is a farm to table, locally sourced restaurant that gives back to the community. This is the kind of restaurant we try to support whenever possible. 

We originally we going to drive here tomorrow, but then we saw that Flogging Molly and the Dropkick Murphys were playing here tonight. So our plans changed. After dinner we walked up 25th Street to The Flats along the Cuyahoga River to see two of my favorite Irish punk bands. We passed this mural along the way.

The view from our seats with downtown Cleveland across the river.

Flogging Molly putting on a great show as usual.

The Cleveland Fire Department showing off on the river.

Terminal Tower colorfully lit...which was how I was feeling after drinking a few beers...

...and enjoying a ragged, beautiful mess of a show by the Dropkick Murphys, which ended with Kiss Me, I'm Shitfaced and Skinhead on the MTA for the first time in years.

On the walk back to Ohio City for drinks at the Old Angle Tavern, we walked past the St. Malachi church...

...and after drinks we walked by the Franklin Circle Christian Church on our way back to the B&B. 

June 2nd
"All this energy callin' me
Back where it comes from

It's such a crude attitude
It's back where it belongs

All the little kids goin' up on the skits go

Cleveland rocks! Cleveland rocks!
Jumpin' Jane Jean, and moonin' James Dean go
Cleveland rocks! Cleveland rocks!
Cleveland rocks! Cleveland rocks!
Cleveland rocks! Cleveland rocks!
Cleveland rocks! Cleveland rocks!" - Cleveland Rocks by Ian Hunter

 After a very entertaining conversation over breakfast with other guests staying at the B&B, our first stop today was at the Platform Beer Company. Tom & Laurie are members and they picked up a six pack this month's new beer special. 

We drove over to the east side of Cleveland to the University Circle neighborhood. On our way to the Cleveland Museum of Art we drove along MLK Drive through the Cleveland Cultural Gardens. This was an impressive park with various ethnic gardens showing the diversity of the people that have settled in this city. We walked through several impressive exhibits at the Museum of Art but we came to see the Danny Lyon Destruction of Lower Manhattan exhibit. As a New Yorker who loves photography, history and the downtown area of Manhattan, I really enjoyed the photographs more than the subject of destroying entire neighborhoods in the name of progress. 

We continued our art theme by stopping by the artist tent for the Parade The Circle event happening next weekend. 

We got to see several artists putting together their costumes and themed parade floats.

I noticed a lot of towers all over the city. Whenever I walk through older cities in America, I can't help but notice the impressive churches that tend to be the tallest buildings in the neighborhood.

We spent three days together and this might be the only picture I took of our tour guides, Tom & Laurie.

The impressive Severance Hall.

Local artists adding some artistic flair to electrical boxes on the street.

I believe these photos were taken on the campus of Case Western Reserve University.

I am a big fan of large art sculptures...

...and large soft pretzels. We had lunch on the campus of Case Western at their brewery, The Jolly Scholar where the most expensive craft beer is $3.99. I might have to go back to school and finally get a college degree.

Church of the Covenant on Euclid Avenue.

We stopped by the Hessler Street Fair.

Chrissy standing on Hessler Court, a wooden road.

They will put out the fire and deliver you a pizza.

I am such a history geek. I stop at all Historical Markers.

I also love street murals. 

This mural goes for about 60 feet on Mayfield Road at the entrance to Little Italy.

We had a beautiful day to walk around Cleveland.

I am taking a wild guess that Holy Rosary Church in Little Italy is a Catholic church.

Sometimes a really good cannoli can make me believe that God exists...

...Presti's Bakery has good cannolis but not God affirming cannolis.

We stopped back at the Hessler Street Fair to see the local zydeco band, Cats on Holiday.
They were very entertaining and I was glad we circled back to see them. Chrissy and I both love street fairs especially ones with live music.

I had to get a picture of Case Western's college station WRUW's slogan. 

As we wandered somewhat aimlessly back to the car, I found a few interesting things to photograph.
This was a mirrored window on a small diner in a park.

This carriage house used to be a live music venue which sadly closed recently.

This incredible tribute to Ohio's first African American woman from Ohio to be elected to Congress. 

This elaborate tile tribute also covers the history of African Americans in Cleveland.

Chrissy mentioned daiquiris while watched the zydeco band earlier today. So Tom found a place that sells daiquiris. We had drinks at The Standard in the Collinwood neighborhood before dinner.

Chrissy was happy to see this on our table at the Standard.
We ended our night with dinner at Mama Catena in Euclid. The food was good at this family run restaurant. But since we were there at closing time, I was looking at all the family photos on the walls. Then several family members started telling us which photos were of them in their younger years when they lived in Italy. Needless to say, I thoroughly enjoyed the stories that were told about the family and their move to America. Also how the dishes their parents made for them as children are now served at the restaurant. Moments like this can only happen at a family run restaurant, so try to support them as often as you can.

 June 3rd
"I took a walk through this beautiful world
Felt the cool rain on my shoulder
Found something good in this beautiful world
Felt the rain getting colder"
 - Parts Unknown Theme Song by Josh Homme and Mark Lanegan
We started our Sunday with a tasty breakfast on the front porch of the B&B. Then I took a walk around the block to check out the neighborhood.

There are some beautiful homes in this area of Ohio City.

This famous house is known as the Castle House.

You just don't see craftsmanship like this is houses built today. 

A stunningly beautiful house.

I was getting texts wondering where I went so I had to cut my tour of the neighborhood short...

...and we went to the Cleveland Zoo. This is the obligatory butt shot of animals. The keepers were doing a training exercise so the elephants were facing them.

This guy was giving me the hairy eyeball and I was about to drop my gloves, but Chrissy held me back. 

A couple of head shots.

This guy was moving around at a fast pace for a giant tortoise.

This fearless little girl was having a blast feeding lettuce to this giraffe with a head bigger than her. 

She has a future as a zoo keeper.

You can walk under this tiger. It started raining and we were using him as shelter...

...then nearby lightning with a huge thunder crack spooked him for a moment. We found shelter nearby...

...and took these pictures when the rain let up.

I believe tigers are the most beautiful animals on the planet.

They should be shot.

Our next stop is the wonderful West Side Market. It is worth a trip to Cleveland just to visit this market. It's a shame that every city doesn't have a place like this one. You hear me Rahm Emanuel.

Here's a few photos from some of the over 100 vendors at the market.

I had to get this for Patty Trakan.

This is like walking in heaven to me. 

We picked up a few items for the rest of our road trip.

Then we headed across the street for lunch at TownHall.

Chrissy is smiling because the sun came back out.

We had dessert a few doors down at Mitchell's Homemade Ice Cream.

They make the ice cream right here and it is delicious. This is another great business that gives back to the community. Check out their website, they list were all their ingredients come from and how they renovated this old theater to be environmentally friendly and sustainable. This is another local business you should support.

Our tour guides took us to the Hope Memorial Bridge so I could see the art deco structures on the bridge known as the Guardians of Traffic. I found this posted on Lorain Ave on the way to the bridge. Being a skeptic, if this person's life is so full with Jesus in it...shouldn't they have better things to do that post notes on light poles?

Our merry group wandering aimlessly through Cleveland.

These are impressive structures on both sides of the bridge.

Great views of the Cuyahoga River and downtown Cleveland.

A perfect day to walk around sightseeing.

Graffiti with a message.

We were there earlier today.

The Indians were out of town. I still haven't seen a game here. 

Glad to be here. 

Sure the Cavs play here and are in the NBA Finals but I was excited to see they have an AHL team here...the Cleveland Monsters.

Another Cleveland History lesson in tiles. Someone loves tiles in this city. There used to be two different markets in this area where the baseball stadium and the arena are located...Cleveland's Central Market and the Sheriff Street Market.

There is a history lesson told with tiles, photos and words on this bench outside Quicken Loans Arena.

We walked through some revitalized areas in downtown Cleveland.

This was America's first indoor shopping mall in 1890.

This grand building, now known as The Arcade, is like walking through history. 

Tom decided to show us the biggest outdoor chandelier in the world. Lucky for me, we walked past a few great old buildings with the setting sun shining on them.

This old bank was repurposed as an upscale grocery store that has self serve beer and wine available for you while you shop...

... but first two classic old buildings were just begging to be photographed.

Tom and Chrissy were already shopping on the alcohol level of this very impressive grocery store.

This is why I hate to see old buildings torn down in the name of progress...

...because no one makes buildings like this anymore.

While Tom was talking local craft beers with other shoppers... 

...I took pictures of the merchandise...guess who wanted a picture of this beer?

This whole level was filled with craft beers.

Another one for Chrissy.

Somebody at Columbus Brewing Co. might be a Wilco fan.

This beer is brewed in Westlake, OH. One of many places I have lived.

Wine on Tap in a grocery store...Heinen's of Downtown Cleveland.

Walking along Euclid to Cleveland's Theater District...

...and the world's largest outdoor chandelier.

Next stop was Public Square. This is Moses Cleaveland. They liked him enough to name the city after him but not enough to spell it correctly.

Terminal Tower

The Soldiers' and Sailor's Monument

A Brooklyn artist Lek put these protesters in the park to remind people that protesting is a protected right of our democracy.

Tom L Johnson...never heard of him, neither have I. But you should read about him. This is what a real politician should do. I do not believe any of the people in politics today deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as Tom L. Johnson. Another link about him.

After walking around the city for hours, we took the RTA back to the West Side Market.

I am a train geek so I was more excited to take the train today than the rest of my group. But I also believe in using public transportation whenever possible.

I was taking pictures of the bridge and didn't realize that Chrissy and Laurie's reflection was in the window. I thought this was a cool photograph.

We were the only ones on the outbound train, but the inbound train was packed because the Cavs were playing tonight in the NBA finals.

Tom & Laurie were heading home and dropped us off at Momocho where Chrissy had a flight of three margaritas...spicy mango, cucumber and red bell pepper.

We also had the sampler of guacamole...traditional, sheep's milk Gouda with roasted garlic & agave nectar and pineapple with Chile habanero & mint. This place has a unique take on Mexican food and we highly recommend checking it out if you are in Cleveland.

To be truthful, I was surprised how much I enjoyed Cleveland. Put aside what think about this city, come here and explore for yourself. There is so much to see and do that I can't wait to visit again.