Christmas in Cleveland, Part I
Yup, it's my first time back in the states since we moved a year and a half ago, and there is no place that epitomizes America to me more than Cleveland, Ohio. We're mostly adjusted to the time difference (it's pretty much backwards), but there were a few rough early mornings and afternoon naps.
Cleveland is cold, dead, and flat in the winter. There was some snow when we got there, but it was gone after a few days. The streets are wide and seem almost empty. Houses are immense, and the yards humongous.
This is Matt's house (Jeff's nearest-oldest brother), where we are staying, mostly:
We've been busy every day, so there's no way I'm giving a blow-by-blow. Here are some highlights:
We all discovered ourselves awake at 6 am, so we went to go surprise Will & Ben at Appetite, their bakery/deli with the awesome food, before it was even open.
Our first night out, in Madison, at a sports bar to watch a football game. We were there in time to catch the Jager Girls, but resisted the urge to drink the shots. There was some dancing, of the sort you just don't see in Japan.
We went to see the Gore Gore Girls at Beachland. Jacki, Noelle, and Valerie met us there.
We went thrifting. The thrift stores here are beyond compare when it comes to bargains. Leather jackets for $5. No kidding.
We've been visiting places we used to live. We are driving all over Cleveland anyway, so swinging out of the way to see an old house for 2 minutes seems no big deal.
This is where I used to live, near Coventry, before I was married. The apartment stretched the whole depth of the building (called a 'railroad flat' for this reason). It had 3 bedrooms, (filthy) hardwood floors, and cost, I think $545/month.
This is Record Revolution, which used to be a great record store on Coventry. It is now 1/4 of its former size and has like 25 records and some bootleg DVDs, which is what got them in trouble in the first place. Very sad.
Sunday, while the Davises were all at church, the small boys and I went to go visit Blix where he is living at his Uncle Will's. I drove for the first time in a year and a half!
Then we all met at Appetite again for a big Davis family brunch.
I got picked up by Jennifer (Halloway) Creadon, whom I hadn't seen in over 15 years, probably. We went out to Noelle's for a big "let's introduce our kids" party.
We passed the Terminal Tower, lit up all pretty for Xmas.
After, Jeff & I ended up at her place (and her husband Dan's) in Chardon, drinking, discussing Cleveland's future (ha), and making pies til about 4am, when I passed out on the couch.
Xmas Eve we opened family presents at Matt's (D had to be woken up for it), . We ALL slept there and Xmas morning, we did Santa's presents.
That's my niece Analee with M (and D asleep in the bg). She's from Guatemala. Total Davis.
The whole gang:
This was the scene Xmas morning:
In the afternoon, we went to my (step) sister Dawn's for Xmas with the Silvermans (yeah, I know, that sounds funny). The food was so Ohio: kielbasa, ham, pork loin, scalloped potatoes, green bean casserole, deviled eggs, and of course, Jell-o mold.
The neighbors, picked up last year, apparently. Total characters:
Dawn had made a collage-in-progress of old photos. I loved watching my hair go through so many transformations. This is a favorite:
Day after Xmas, we went to Marc's to track down Paul, who still works there after 15 years or so. We also discovered cheap produce:
After all the meat and potatoes we've been eating, we had to make a salad. Glorious.
Last night, we went to The House of Swing (Where Jazz is King). They never seem to play either swing or jazz, only blues. My dad and Joyce were there for awhile (after having driven past the place for over 20 years), and then we were joined by Jacki and Jenny Jacobberger!
M was spending the night at Noelle's since he and Marcus had gotten on so well, and D was at grandma and grandpa's, hanging out with Analee. It's the halfway point of our trip, so a separation was a good idea. Jeff has gone to pick up M, and I am refusing to leave the couch until I have to. Which is in just a few minutes because we are all going to get our teeth cleaned and going out to dinner. To a Japanese restaurant. Yeah.
I could write a lot more detail, but I am out of time, and honestly, too tired to type anymore. Go see all the entertaining pictures and see the real Cleveland here and here.