309: Hot and steamy cycling adventures

Under the bridges on the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail in Stark County

As promised, I have some photos from yesterday’s cycling adventures.  No self portraits are included.  It was a 3H day (hot, hazy, and humid).  I was not a pretty sight by the time we finished our six mile ride.

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148: Lake Erie thaw

(A view of Cleveland and Lake Erie from Lakewood Park.  Lakewood, Ohio.)

We went north yesterday.  An hour north, to be almost exact.  For the past few years friends have been inviting us to attend the Ogrefest at The Brew Kettle in Strongsville, Ohio.  We usually decline because of the hour-long drive.  The Ogrefest is, after all, a chance to sample a variety of good beers and who wants to drive all that way to get home after a few hours of sampling beers?  Bad idea.  Really bad idea.

For those that don’t know, I used to brew beer (at home).  M does it now, when he feels like it (which hasn’t been too often lately but we’ve both been vacationing from beer).  We enjoy sampling beers at places that brew their own, especially hoppy beers such as IPA’s.  So that was one reason to go.  Getting together with friends was another reason to go.  And…  I have a pair of Shrek ears.  Where else could one wear a pair of Shrek ears that would be more appropriate than an Ogrefest??

(Accurate depiction of what your eyes look like the morning after.  Shrek ear in the background.)

So we did a little planning this year and decided to go.  We had enough points at a certain hotel franchise for a free night and there happened to be one of those hotels close to the Brew Kettle.  We parked the car, checked in at our hotel, and took a cab to the Brew Kettle where we had a great time with our friends.  Thank you, friends!

As a result of the Shrek ears, I met a guy who said he couldn’t resist coming over to talk to me.  If I’m ever single again (hope not!), I now know how to pick up men. Wear Shrek ears.  One of the Brew Kettle folks said he should give me a vest to wear and call me Ms. Ogrefest.  I thought that was hilarious.  I’ve never been a Ms. (or Miss or Mrs.) anything other than as the wife of M.

(The Beer Engine in Lakewood.)

We’re out of practice when it comes to that sort of evening out.  I was feeling a little rough around the edges this morning.  The plan was to go further north to Cleveland to do a little shopping at the West Side Market and then make our way south and do some more shopping along the way at places we usually visit about twice a year (Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods being two of those places).  Because we were fairly close to Lakewood, I also wanted to stop by a store there to look at Vibram FiveFingers.  I like the pair I bought last summer and want another pair that I can wear on the treadmill and to just walk around in when I go out and don’t care that I’m wearing shoes that look like Shrek feet.

We decided to skip the West Side Market but we did go to Lakewood.  I bought a new pair of Vibram FiveFingers (the women’s Sprint, if you want to know).  While we were in Lakewood we decided to check out the Buckeye Beer Engine.  Not necessarily for the beer (although a little hair of the dog didn’t hurt).  Some of our friends keep recommending the place, and their menu looks good.   The food was excellent.  I especially like their blue cheese slaw.  I may try to duplicate that at home.  It was one of the best versions of coleslaw I’ve ever tasted.

(Lakewood Park, Lake Erie in the distance.)

The city of Lakewood, Ohio is located along the shore of Lake Erie.  It was such a beautiful day and we were so close to the lake that we had to go have a look.  It’s amazing what a difference a few weeks and some warmer temperatures can make!

(Walking towards the lake.)

I don’t know how far out the thaw goes, but it looks like it’s pretty far out there.  There is still a lot of ice near the shore, the opposite of what we’re seeing here with our pond (the edges are thawing first).

(Lake Erie.)

There were a lot of people out and about.  Lots of parents with their children playing in the playground.  We even saw a cameraman filming for one of the local news channels.  Probably getting footage of people out and about on this beautiful day in February.  It was nearly 60 degrees (F).

(Ice near the shore.)

We walked around out there for about a half hour.  It was quite windy but even so, much warmer than we expect it to be this time of year.

(Cleveland skyline in the distance.)

There is an excellent view of the Cleveland skyline from Lakewood Park.  Lakewood is about 10 miles from downtown Cleveland, and appears to be a nice community with plenty of shops and restaurants.  I could see myself living there.  But I bet it gets pretty brutal there when it’s cold and the wind is whipping off the lake.

(Cleveland skyline.)

It was a fun little excursion.  And now that I’ve had my vacation from my vacation from alcohol, it’s time to go back on my vacation from alcohol.  (Confused yet?)

At home

Things changed a bit at home overnight.

(Yesterday’s view of the pond.)

(Today’s view of the pond.)

I skipped the early rising and yoga practice this morning.  I just couldn’t do it.  There are some people who sleep better after imbibing.  I am not one of them.  It tends to keep me up most of the night, almost as if I had a big shot of caffeine to go with it (which I did not).

As Scarlett O’Hara was fond of saying, tomorrow is another day…


90: Frozen on the Solstice

(A message from M.)

The real sledding hill is officially open, as I discovered this morning when I looked out at the pond and found that M had written a short message in the snow almost in the middle of the pond.

You can see the pathway he shoveled in this wider view of the pond.  It didn’t take long, after seeing the message, for M the Younger, Merdi, and I to bundle up and go outside to try out the hill and see how far we could get on the pond.  I went for my walk first so only managed one run down the hill.  I was too tired to walk back up the hill again.  Lazy me.

(Looking down the sledding hill.)

In my defense, even though the snow has packed down a bit since it originally landed and accumulated, it’s still a workout taking a walk around the pond.  By the time I’d been to the woods and back, I’d worked up quite a sweat.  We were all pretty warm as the temperature today was in the mid-30’s.

(Draped.)

There were a lot of birds back in the woods.  I think that’s because the creek is the only open and running water now.  There were plenty of animal tracks back that way, too.  I was able to identify the raccoon, the deer, and the cat tracks.

(Today’s view of the creek.)

Yesterday’s trip to Cleveland was fun.  We took a quick trip to the West Side Market and then went to the Rock Hall.  We spent so much time at the Rock Hall that we didn’t have time for anything else since we had to be back home in time for M the Younger and Merdi to welcome their friends who came over to spend time with them and have dinner at our house.

(Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.)

Our home was filled with laughter and chatter last night as the young (compared to us) ones caught up with each other in terms of what’s been happening in their lives.  M and I made a deep dish vegetable pizza with a salad to go with it.  M the Younger, Merdi, and their friends made cookies for dessert.  The pizza was delicious and quite filling.  The cookies were ooey-gooey-chocolatey goodness (and it was fun watching the kids make ’em).

This morning, before the sledding fun,  we watched the movie “Up!”  I thought it was a wonderful movie, full of adventures, with some sad, almost bittersweet, sections to the story.  It was also a good reminder about commitments and the promises we make, and how well we keep them.

(Buried in the snow.  The only visible part of the pink flamingos.)

That’s about it from the Bogs for now.  I’m hoping to get caught up with everyone via blogs and email this evening and tomorrow.  We took M the Younger and Merdi to the airport a little while ago and they should be winging their way back to Colorado by now.

The house feels quiet… and a little empty…

But it should be noted that I am grateful to have had time with my sons, their wives, and my granddaughters over the past few days.  Things are now as they should be, and I can’t ask for more than that.  🙂


89: Hold my place, please

(Lock 3 in Akron on Saturday night)

M and I are still enjoying the company of M the Younger and his wife, Merdi.  We’re heading up to Cleveland to the Rock Hall, maybe the A Christmas Story house, and the West Side Market.

Our youngest son and his wife will be with us until tomorrow night.  Life should slow down a little after that.  For a few days, maybe.

My outdoor time will involve walking around Cleveland.  If I don’t get in the full 30 minutes there, I’ll take a walk around the pond later.  Just wanted to let you know I’m still chugging along with this commitment.

Today’s weather, by the way, is sunny with snow flurries, temperatures in the low 20’s, and breezy (making it feel like it’s about 14 degrees out there).  I’m not sure if it will be warmer or colder up in Cleveland by the lake (the lake being Lake Erie).

(A consultation before the ride down the hill.)