This past Saturday morning, our family decided to check out the “Homegrown Saturday Mornings” at Lock 3 for the first time. They are held the last Saturdays of the month from May-October. Because it was early in the Ohio growing season, there were only a few vendors. But what they did have was impossible for us to resist: fresh chocolate-covered strawberries as well as fresh raspberries and strawberries. We picked up a children’s book about the Soap Box Derby but we did skip the wine tastings. The kids helped out at the “Children’s Science Investigation” and made the beginnings of a crystal. We were in and out of there early — before the live music began at 10 or the Trolley Tours at 11 — but luckily the Peanut Shoppe across the street opens at 9, so we were able to pick up a few more yummy treats before getting on with the rest of our day! Check out their schedule for the rest of the season — I know we’ll be back!
Archive for June, 2009
I was never really a Michael Jackson fan and I am one of the 12 people in the country who never bought one of his CDs or albums. I was in high school when he became wildly popular with the release of “Thriller” but I was a diehard Bruce Springsteen fan and although I wouldn’t (usually) change the station when a MJ song came on the radio, I much preferred rock to R&B or pop (I did grow up just outside of the “rock ‘n’ roll capital of the world”, after all). So I never followed his career and I tried to avoid the disturbing details of his personal life as they emerged through the years. So although I respect the influence he had on contemporary music, I feel pretty unaffected by his life and death.
I will say one thing, however. In the mid-90s I spent quite a bit of time volunteering with inner-city 5- to- 7-year-olds, talking about all kinds of things. For the first year or two I spent with them, all I heard about was how they all wanted to be MJ. They thought he was the coolest, the best. He was such a positive role model for these kids, many of whom had no males in their lives. But not long after, as stories of his eccentricities (to put it mildly) emerged, the kids mocked him and wanted nothing to do with him. It made me feel sad — these kids had so little, and what they did have — an African-American who made the world happy with his talent and song — had become a subject of ridicule.
Which leads into the much-debated question … do celebrities or public figures have a responsibility to be good role models (or at least not get arrested)? I’ve had my share of people I really liked do things that I really didn’t like (extra-marital affairs being the #1 offense) and yes, it bums me out. And yes, it does make me feel differently about them. I try to separate their professional lives from their personal ones, but sometimes it’s not easy. I understand that they’re human too, and sometimes I think errors in judgment are easier for them because they’re often out of touch with reality and they have the money and fame to do what they want more freely.
I don’t know. All I know is that kids, heck, many of us, need heroes, someone to look up to. And it’s great to see people use their talents to sing or dance or play sports in a way that inspires. But when they can also be inspiring off the stage, or off the field, well to me, that’s a true star.
I don’t know if it even has a name anymore, and the “for sale” sign has been in the front for years, but that mini-golf next to the Dairy Queen on Brecksville Road in Richfield has been around for as long as I can remember. It’s actually about the only place in the area I remember going with my family as a kid that’s still there. I went there as a kid, I took my nieces and nephews there when they were kids, and today, to carry on the tradition, I introduced my kids to it. You can’t beat the price — $3 for adults, $2 for kids 12 and under. Sure, it’s all broken down and the figurines are peeling and poor “Bugsy” no longer has ears and the windmills and other moving parts don’t work anymore. But … it’s a slice of history. And it’s inexpensive. And no one is hardly ever there so you don’t feel all this pressure from the “serious” golfers behind you. And, when you’re done, you can walk across the parking lot to get a hot fudge sundae! See ya on the golf course!! (P.S. The first time I saw the “for sale” sign in front, I cried, thinking the last vestiges of my childhood would soon disappear. But since the sign has been there for a few years now, the course-that-has-no-name doesn’t seem to be going anywhere soon!)
The Log Cabin Gallery’s “River Impressions” show opened this past weekend in Peninsula, and it’s a great place to buy unique gifts while supporting local artists (like me!). It’s open Fridays-Sundays from 11-5 through July 19. I’ll be working Sunday, July 5, so if you’re in the area, stop by and say “hi”! (Make it a day by hiking or biking the Towpath, gallery-hopping and eating al fresco at Winking Lizard or Fishers!)
This morning we all went for a bike ride on the Towpath. We started at North Street and headed south (toward downtown) until the path’s end by Spaghetti Warehouse, turned around, then travelled north past our starting point, going a bit farther, until the kids were ready to return to the car. What I’ve always loved about the Towpath is how the scenery changes so much along the way from Akron to Cleveland. The trip downtown on the Towpath was a first for the kids and it gave them a different perspective of the city. They especially liked the bridge over Route 59. But you get to see waterfalls and all kinds of beautiful wildflowers, too. Best of all, the biking/hiking traffic you get around Peninsula is non-existent here. There are other people, but it’s not the hoards you’ll have to battle there, which is especially nice when you’re biking with kids. So next time you’re up for a bike ride: think Akron! (P.S. We started off with breakfast at the Wally Waffle on nearby Locust Street. Or if you prefer, stop for a beer afterward and sit on the patio at Barley House or Ohio Brewery Co. on Main Street.)
Usually the kids’ meal premiums at fast-food restaurants are tied into movie merchandising and/or just plain junk - but Chick-fil-a does it right! Currently they are including books which show with words and photographs what schools are like around the world. And in the past, they had CDs which taught kids simple phrases in other languages. I don’t know what else they’ve offered, since I’ve only gone to Chick-fil-a twice, but what a wonderful concept! To give kids for “free” something that is educational and will expand their horizons, especially exposing them to other cultures. What I also like about Chick-fil-a is not only is their chicken tasty, but the children’s play area is set off so you can’t eat in there. And they have Purell wipes by the door. Impressive!
If you missed the “Tremendous Treehouses” exhibit at Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens two years ago, you can kind of make it up by going to see this year’s “Barkitecture” (dog house) exhibit. We went last Saturday (we actually took four other family members in addition to the five of us and had a picnic brunch on the grounds to celebrate some events there – it was fun, easy, different, yummy, and best of all, I didn’t have to clean up my house for a party here!). My kids LOVED the treehouse exhibit and were so sad to see the treehouses gone. But I’m happy to report that the dog houses were a big hit with everyone, young and old. They’re big enough for the kids to climb inside and they are SO clever! I think the overall favorite was “Joe” but they all had their own charms. See for yourself! (On Sunday members can bring their dogs – I’d love to know what the dogs think of them!)
Here’s a hook to get your kids to go to an art museum: take them to see William Wegman’s “Fay” at the Akron Art Museum (until August 16). The exhibit shows a large collection of photos and videos starring Wegman’s dog and her offspring in a bunch of crazy poses and other offbeat stuff like teaching the alphabet or juggling fruit. This wasn’t one of those exhibits I rushed out to see, but I thought the kids might enjoy it. And they did! (The photo of Fay dressed like Cher was a big hit with my daughters). It’s hard to describe, but if you’re looking for a way to spend a rainy afternoon, stop by. Kids are free; adults are $7.
So back in January I wrote about my decision to “go gray.” Now that the color’s fully out of my hair (it took about a year) and I have a short cut, I have a beef about “being gray.” That beef would be people’s reactions. They bum me out!! First of all, people who haven’t seen me for a year literally do not recognize me. I feel like I’m in a witness protection program. And it’s like people can’t get out the words “your hair’s gray.” Instead I get, “Your hair is … uh, uh, shorter … than last time I saw you.” Honestly, my hair’s been this short before, people. It’s like being gray is the white elephant in the room. Let’s not mention it and maybe it’ll go away. I can’t stand the awkwardness so I say, “Yeah, I decided to let the color grow out of my hair.” Sometimes people will say, “You just look so … so … different.” Not, different, good. Or different, natural. Or different, brave. Or different, striking. Or different, artsy. Just … different. Then they usually try to talk me into coloring my hair again. You know, people, going gray (and being gray) is not an easy decision. I was actually really surprised at how dark my natural hair color is, and how much gray I actually have. If anyone is shocked by their appearance, it would be me! But you know, trying to cover up my gray isn’t going to make me 25 again, or even 35 again. I’m not trying to look twice my age, and if anyone assumes I’m my kids’ grandma I’ll freak, but you know, aging is a fact of life. Oh it’s not an easy fact of life, and there are plenty of things about getting older that I’m really struggling with. But I’m done with the hair fight. It is what it is, and it was kind of cool to find out what was actually underneath all that color. Besides, I earned every one of these grays, baby. And as the graygirls.com Web site says, “It’s not about the hair, stupid. It’s about being yourself.”
My husband and I spent a near-perfect day on Saturday. My BFF watched my little ones (the saint that she is) and my husband and I headed out, bikes in tow, to one of my favorite places, Presque Isle. We picked up a pizza on the way into the park (I had drinks and snacks packed). Biked for almost two hours on the paved, scenic trail. Took the water taxi over to Erie (a fun boat ride). Hung out for an hour or so on the outdoor patio at a waterfront restaurant. Took the taxi back; sat on the beach for a while (fell asleep). Left the park, stopping for a late dinner midway home at Ferrante Restaurant and Winery. Presque Isle is about 2-1/2 hours from Akron. Go – take inline skates, your bike or a stroller as well as a picnic and your beach stuff, even your kites. I dare you NOT to have an incredible time!