After reading my list of favorite romantic comedies, my 70-something dad wanted to share his favorite ”romantic but not real tear-jerkers” movies:
Archive for February, 2009
I just had to give a shout-out to Amy Steiner and her pottery classes at Quirk Cultural Center (part of the Cuyahoga Falls Parks and Rec program). I enrolled my youngest in the “Mudpies” class, where parents can take the class with their 3-to-5-year-olds. What a great experience for both of us! In just three 45-minute sessions (one per week), my daughter made 5 bowls, a snake, a hand-print plaque and a heart shelf-sitter. With help, she made things with her hands, used the pottery wheel, glazed and painted her pieces, and more. Amy is so supportive and passionate about pottery and children’s exposure to the arts. The price was great too – just a total of $13 for residents and $16 for nonresidents. She also has classes for older kids (6-9, 8-10 and 11-16) as well as adults which I’m sure are just as excellent (though prices do go up). Anyway, we’re going to take the class again it was so much fun!! Plus, we’ve got these great ceramic bowls that fit just the right amount of candy!!
I love tradition, and I especially love our family’s newest one – “dates with Mom and Dad.” I realized that as much emphasis as I put on doing our special family activities, I never gave much thought to making sure we had one-on-one time with the kids. So beginning last September, we now have monthly “dates” – a total of 7 each month (each parent gets a date alone with each of our three children, which makes 6, plus my husband and I have a date). We ask the kids what they want to do, then we post the list on the refrigerator (the kids can change their mind about what they want to do at any time, but it’s good to have something written down). The dates are really casual and inexpensive and just a couple hours long – a trip to the playground, a hike, a museum, a movie, sled-riding, miniature golf - but they have to include at least a snack like an ice cream cone. Our “dates” became an immediate hit and we all really look forward to them. It’s a nice change to be out doing something fun with just one child, and it’s nice for the other kids and parent to have time with each other at home, too. I hope it’s something we can continue for a long time because these dates are creating some really special memories and an even closer bond between us.
If you have children 4 or under, they’d probably love The Children’s Museum of Cleveland, located near University Circle. It’s not very big, but there’s enough to keep them busy for a couple hours, including a water play area, little grocery store, climbing thing and rotating exhibits (currently they have a huge room with over 70 tons of sand and all kinds of sand toys). They say the museum is geared for kids eight and under, but I think it’s really best for the younger kids (which is a plus because not a lot of things are). One of the things I like best about this museum is that there is always such a mix of kids playing together. One thing I don’t like is that the museum does not participate in any of the reciprocating museum programs. They do offer an annual membership which is worth it if you plan to go several times a year. If not, the cost is $7 for kids (ages 1 to 12) and $6 for adults (13 and older). You can save a couple dollars with a AAA membership card ($1 off each admission) or a Giant Eagle card ($1 off each child’s admissionl). Use the money you save to stop nearby in Little Italy for a yummy treat!
I was thrilled to see the work of one of my very favorite photographers, Edward Weston, at the Akron Art Museum yesterday. The exhibit showcases 115 of his vintage photographs until April 26. I admit that visiting with the kids was not ideal, but what I quickly viewed was enough to completely awe me!!! The photos are so beautiful and dreamy and perfectly lit and dramatic and perfectly composed and developed. Digital cannot compare to his mastery. Just amazing. I plan to go back … alone … so I can really give his work my full attention.
On a related note, we were all at the museum to participate in the Saturday “Family Drop-In” Day. Using scraps of fabric, we applied buttons, socks, markers, beads, etc., to each create our own square, which the docents then stitched together to make one piece of art. We now have this 5′ long wall hanging that is totally unique and will always be a snapshot of our family on Valentine’s Day 2009. The activity was free, including the snacks!! You can’t beat that! The museum has done a fantastic job with every event I have attended so far, including their Halloween party and two art classes (pop art and origami) designed for kids and their parents. Budget cuts unfortunately will reduce programming, but I’m sure the museum appreciates support for what activities they do have. (Consider becoming a member; admission is free and programs are offered either free or at a greatly reduced cost.)
Just a quick review of how much I loved loved loved “Hairspray” the musical, which we saw from our $10 “Smart Seats” tickets at the Palace Theatre in Playhouse Square! I’ve been wanting to see this production for the last six years and after waiting that long, I was afraid I might be disappointed. But — yay! — I wasn’t! It was so well-done! The casting, scenery, music, acting, singing, choreography, story — everything just came together in a perfect package. I just love the story and how Tracy, her mom and her dad are so okay with being who they are (even if they’re not the “norm”), and what a loving and supportive relationship they have. And how Tracy just does the right thing. Great, great show!! (the Web site is really cool too). I’d go see it again in a minute!! (P.S. I’d be remiss in not mentioning that this musical was extra-special to me because we took my darling teenage niece – her first “Broadway” show – making this an even more wonderful memory for all of us!!!)
The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad has specials on weekends until the end of April – just $10 a rider. We took the 3+ hour trip yesterday – leaving from the Akron Northside Station at 11:35 a.m., traveling north to Rockside and then returning to Akron around 3 p.m. We didn’t buy our tickets until we got on the train, and they said if we bought 4 tickets, we’d get the fifth for free, making a good deal even better! It was the perfect day for the trip but we were still surprised by how many other people went (I guess it’s not as much of a secret as I thought it was!). Snacks and drinks are sold on board, but we packed our own lunches since we’d be traveling during lunch time. The journey was really beautiful with the white snow contrasting the brown bare trees and all the different scenery as well as the wildlife (a bald eagle, deer and the heron nests). After the ride, we continued on with the train theme and had a snack at the Trackside Grille in Quaker Square. It’s always sad to go to Quaker Square now after knowing what it was like in its heyday, but it’s still fun to eat in an old railway car at Trackside (though the food’s a little pricey for what it is) and check out all the other train memorabilia. All in all, a pretty and peaceful (and relatively inexpensive) way to spend a gray Ohio day.
When I’m 59, I want to be able to rock and roll and run across a stage like Bruce Springsteen! 59!! Unbelievable!!The Super Bowl halftime show was simply amazing, and after buying his new CD “Working on a Dream” six days ago, I’ve been listening to it pretty much constantly with no end in sight! I won’t go into my Bruce tribute now – we’ll save it for later – but suffice to say, after buying “Darkness on the Edge of Town” at the ripe old age of 12 (it was just the third album I had ever purchased with my paper route money – the first two were from The Cars and Foreigner, both new acts at the time!) and seeing him at my first-ever rock concert (from the “nosebleed seats” at the now-gone Richfield Coliseum) at the age of 14, I’ve been a long-time fan. Anyway, it’s great to see he’s still “The Boss”!