Friday, October 28, 2011

police blotter: anything goes

IDLE CHATTER, NOTTINGHAM COURT: A Nottingham Court woman told police that she heard a suspicious vehicle idling outside her home around 9:20p.m. June 16.  Officers responded and observed that the idling sound was actually the woman's refrigerator.

ASSIST, MAYFIELD ROAD: An extremely upset resident called police at 2:10a.m. June 17 because her cat was stuck behind a couch. Responding officers safely rescued the cat.

SUSPICIOUS SITUATION, BUNKER HILL DRIVE: A complainant told police at 9:57p.m. June 12 that his doorbell rang, but when he answered it no one was there.  However, he stated he could see what looked to be blood on the walkway.  An officer investigated and determined the substance was likely pizza or spaghetti sauce.  There was no damage to the complainant's property.

SUSPICIOUS SITUATION, BRITTANY PLACE: A woman told police at 4:50p.m. May 26 that there was a red bag in the street in front of her house with "infectious waste" written on it.  Police found only an empty cup and cigarette butts in the bag.

LOVE THY NEIGHBOR, EAST OAKLAND ROAD: Police were called to the 24000 block of East Oakland on May 9 and again on May 13 due to conflicts between neighbors.  The first time, a resident claimed to have taped their neighbor shining a laser pointer into his house, and later, the police were called due to a threatening exchange.  No charges were warranted, but according to court records, people on both sides of the fence have already participated in a mediation program in an attempt to resolve their differences.

STOOL SAMPLE, W. LIBERTY: A W. Liberty Street female spoke with police at 5a.m. May 14 about testing her stool sample for parasites. The woman was carrying her stool in a Ziploc bag.  Officers would not perform any such test, and the woman decided to go to the doctor on Monday for testing.

NORTH ROYALTON: A 66-year-old woman reached a new low July 20 after North Royalton police removed her from a bingo game at Holy Trinity Ukrainian Autocephalous Church on State Road.  After a two-year absence from the game, the woman paid $21 for a bingo package and took a seat in the church hall. According to police reports, she swore at another player, who then got up to complain to management. While speaking with bingo staff, the woman accused the player of cutting in line and pointed her finger into the player’s face.  Because of the woman’s colorful history of bingo outbursts, security personnel decided she is no longer welcome on the church property to play. Police issued the woman a misdemeanor citation for disorderly conduct.

COMPLAINTS (SOLICITORS), CAMBRIDGE COURT: Residents reported June 9 about 1p.m. that two white males wearing aprons came to their door asking them if they wanted salad.  They were tracked in a red car and advised that they needed to register with the village.

CRIMINAL MISCHIEF, COOK AVENUE: Someone put cheese and lunchmeat all over a vehicle overnight between June 10 and 11.  A threatening note was also found.

CRIMINAL MISCHIEF, WEST ROAD: A caller informed dispatchers on July 23 that someone propped up a cardboard cutout of a cat in the roadway between lanes east of the roundabout near West Road.  An officer confiscated the cutout.

"ROUGH" SCHOOL DAY: A Garfield Elementary School student contacted police around 10:52a.m. May 7, and said that he had been having a "rough" day so far with his teachers.

ARMAGEDDON, SYCAMORE TREE: In the wake of Harold Camping's prediction that the Christian rapture would occur on May 21 and the end of the world would begin, the world and media was abuzz last week while following the story.  Apparently, the affects of Camping's prediction stretched to Medina.  A Sycamore Tree Drive resident stopped an officer on May 17 and desired to speak with him about Armageddon.  No action was taken.

Welcome to Ohio.

Thursday, October 27, 2011


The second weekend in October is the prettiest one of the season.

Because it's so predictable, we have festivals planned for this particular weekend every year.  Enter the Fall Foliage Tour.  It's a route you drive yourself that winds down country roads and has options for historic stops and photo ops along the way, including Chatham's annual Apple Butter Festival.

This is the place where homemade bean soup and chili are cooked in large kettles, and donuts are made to order.  There is also a craft fair (featuring our friend, Karen), and a local minister dressed as Johnny Appleseed.  Not to be missed.

And, of course, the apple butter.

(I was sure to buy the big jars this time.)

There were fourteen places of interest and nine host sites along the tour.  We chose four places on the map to visit, in addition to Chatham: York Historical Campus (York Historical Society), John Smart House (Medina Historical Society), the Medina County Home, and the 2011 winner of the Medina County Big Tree Contest.

Yes, a tree.

As we pulled up to the York Historical Campus, we were met by two large John Deere tractors that stood watch outside a spacious barn. The barn housed several tables of baked goods and vintage wares: arrowheads, instruments, pipes, guns, blankets, signage, and a loom from the early 1800s.

Cindy was a lovely gal who told me all about her childhood growing up with a father who made banjos from car parts and wooden dolls that danced on platforms.  When I asked her if she would play something on one of her father's banjos, she agreed with a shy smile, and proceeded to pull out finger picks from her pocket.  I think she was hoping for requests.

Next door to the barn was the Historical Society.  Staged inside of a one-room schoolhouse, we were greeted by a singing quartet and a sweet old lady dressed for the occasion.  We took turns sitting in the cramped desks and reading aged diplomas on the walls.  I wonder what life was like for that first graduating class.

While touring the John Smart House back in Medina, we came across this original beehive used by Amos Root during the founding years of his company (a company that would later put our city on the map).

Another stop of the day was at the Medina County Home.  Billed as a tour of a historic house, we learned en route, the property is actually a fully functioning 60-bed care facility.  From the elderly to mentally disabled, this place is funded by the city and has assisted hundreds of residents over the years.  

During our visit, we saw the laundry room and "Herman's Hide-A-Way."  Herman is a senior resident who used to spend time in this little nook carving wood.  He is wheelchair-bound now, but not before branding his corner with a carved sign.  I would love to know what it's like to live inside of Herman's mind.  His body may be frail, but I like to think his mind is still as sharp as his carving tools.

This, my friends, is the prize winning tree.

And the sun bather at the beginning of this post?  He greeted us with his tan on our way out to the parking lot.

Now, the fifth Saturday of October is coming up and I will say, the weather has taken a turn.  The weekend of the Fall Foliage Tour was gorgeous.  We have had a wealth of rain and wind lately, which I suspect will become snow in a month's time.

Thankfully, we've been through this before.  I think we're about ready to trade our flip-flops for Sorels, and not give a second thought to weeding or mowing the lawn, or to that dang groundhog who has taken up residence in our yard.

They do hibernate, right?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Sunday, October 16, 2011

life & death

Yesterday was a long day.  A beautiful day.

Dear friends of ours have tried to have a baby for years, and finally their dreams came true.  They are due to give birth to their first son on December 7th.  They have a six year-old daughter named Jenna who is very excited about being a big sister.  Yesterday, we celebrated their miracle with a Notre Dame-themed baby shower.

I was there when Russell adopted Jenna a year ago and the three of them became a forever family.  And I've prayed with them for this child to come.  The inscription I wrote in the baby's card was this, "You are the hope of our hearts, and the answer to our prayers.  We can't wait to meet you!"  So much joy.

Earlier that morning, we celebrated another life.  

When Chris and I moved to Ohio nineteen months ago, I started collecting moms.  My actual mom lives across the country, so I needed to add a few others to my mom supply (you know, to have my mom hugs close to me).  Carolyn Clark was one of them.

It started after Chris and I became friends with the other pastors on staff and their wives.  Truthfully, we all hit it off right away.  Talk about provision!  We moved to Ohio in March and by mid-April I was as sick as a dog.  Melanie (married to Pastor Mike)'s mom cooked me a batch of chicken noodle soup and had Mel deliver it to me right away.  Carolyn was instantly in.  Her soup was perfect for my sore throat and a boost to my spirits.

Three months later, after the purchase of our home, Carolyn went to the new house and assessed all of the plants and flowers and vegetables growing wild there, and sent Mel to me with a list of what we were dealing with.  She did this on another occasion when Mel and I were talking about natural exfoliants (did you know that loofahs occur in nature?).  It seemed, every time I had a question about food, recipes or gardening, Carolyn had the answers.

On Valentine's Day of this year, Mel surprised her mom with a day of pampering.  They came to my salon that morning and I gave Carolyn her first facial treatment.  It was just us girls, and what a sweet time we had.  It was a joy for me to show her love in a way I knew well, just as she had done for me.

Like my mom, Carolyn has suffered from cancer in recent years.  Mel and I became a strong support for each other, as our moms would take turns getting sick, having surgery, or being admitted to the hospital for chemo-related side effects.  Even when she was at her worst, Carolyn would ask how my mom was doing.  I experienced this first-hand just a few weeks ago, as I sat beside Carolyn's hospital bed and read a couple of chapters to her from the book, The Help.  Mel arranged for a rotating group of ladies from the church to sit by her bedside and read this story she had wanted to hear.  The best part was all of the unsavory language the book contained.  Funny well-placed cuss words.  It's one thing to read it quietly to yourself, and another to read it out loud to your mom.

During that visit, Carolyn told me stories about her childhood growing up in Maryland.  I was drawn to the details, touched by her adoration for family, and amused by her wit.  We laughed a lot that day.

Carolyn was also a master quilter, a hobby she took great pride in. At her funeral, her longtime friend, Mary Lou, shared anecdotes about their years together, many of which included quilting.  Not even a snow storm could keep those ladies from a quilt fair!  

Another story was shared about their quilting group.  Apparently, you need a large quilting table to handle the size of those blankets.  So, the ladies would gather around it, while the children sat on skateboards underneath helping to guide the quilting needles.  Mom would poke hers down through the fabric and a child underneath the table would poke it back up.  A sort of dance would occur, while grown-up lady conversation was had, and the kids listened in.

Surely, there's a Norman Rockwell painting of this somewhere.

At the reception, Carolyn's family had all of her quilts displayed around the room with cards attached explaining the occasion for that particular blanket or wall hanging.  Mel even posted this on her Facebook page last night, "Family snuggle time on the couch with all of our quilts made by Grammie Clark.  Best way to remember my mom!  She was the best!"  

Carolyn was honored well yesterday.  Even Neil Diamond's hit single made an appearance.  What could be more fitting?

Here's to you Baby McAllister!  Here's to you, Sweet Carolyn!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

walking tall

© photo credit:

Today I found out I am 5'4" tall.

Why is this significant?  Because my whole adult life I thought I was 5'3.75".  I would always tell people 5'4" because it was a nice even number, and (aside from flip-flops in the summertime) I tend to wear shoes with an added lift to them.

I was living a lie, until now.

Honestly, I can't remember the last time I had my height checked. I find that nurses are always quick to have me stand on a scale (ugh!) but rarely measure how tall I am.  Today I went with my friend, Amanda, to her foot doctor appointment.  After the nurse measured her (she's a towering 5'7"), I asked if she would measure me.  

Once with shoes on (5'5") and once with shoes off (5'4").  I had her double-check that last one.  She assured me I was a true 5'4" tall.

Amanda is my witness.

This must be what it feels like to win the lottery.

Monday, October 10, 2011


I pretty much live for Fall in Ohio.  

It comes on quietly and exits with a shout.

Right now, the leaves are changing colors.  In a week, I predict they will be at their full vibrancy of reds, oranges, and yellows.  I will probably talk about this every October while we're living in the midwest.  It's a season that only lasts about six weeks, but it leaves a mark. 

When in the Seattle area recently, I drove around my old neighborhood (Everett, WA) and took pictures of all of the schools I attended before college.  While nostalgic, the most striking thing about that tour was the house I spent my elementary school years living in and the liquor store we used to ride our bikes to for candy and video games.

Our house used to be green.

The store used to be yellow.

And while I'm mentioning it, remember the big green house we lived in for the first three months we were in Ohio?  

It's now pink.

Like the writer of Ecclesiastes reminds us, there is a time for everything.  A season.  There's an up side and a down side, everything changes.  We can see the trees changing, and lives around us changing.  There are heavy hearts and hearts rejoicing.

God has made everything beautiful for its own time.  

Sunday, October 9, 2011

pig roast

My vegan friends are going to hate this post.

Personally, I'm an omnivore with a leaning towards vegetarian.  The thing is, I like meat.  Not so much red meat, though an occasional Red Robin "Banzai Burger" or B Spot "Symon Says" burger call my name.  I eat mostly chicken and fish products.  Sometimes I cook with tofu and tempeh and other meat substitutes, but more for variety than anything else.

After watching the documentaries Fast Food Nation and Food, Inc. (Forks Over Knives is next on my list), I am more mindful about the sources of my meat.  Hearing about the horrible ways animals are treated in mass-produced warehouses or, worse yet, seeing videos or photos depicting that abuse, makes me sick.  I realize their aim is to convince you to swear off eating animals altogether, but I'm quite fine with having some meat in my diet.  I'll just spend an extra couple bucks to get the kind that is raised in a humane way.

Last month, our church's Marriage Ministry hosted a pig roast.

An actual pig.  On a spit.

It was my first pig roast.  It was both shocking and fascinating to see a huge swine on a rotisserie.  I was delegated the event photographer that day, so I made it my duty to document the pig and, of course, the crowd and other activities, but it was that pig that had me mesmerized.  

The animal was purchased from a local butcher, Tom Keller, who raises animals for county fairs and 4H projects, and for sale to the public.  T.L. Keller Meats will also process your farm animals for a fee.  Jim & Jen Stropko were the husband and wife team that supervised the pig roasting process, and I like to think that I supervised the eating process.

I had to turn my head a couple of times during the carving, especially when I could identify crispy body parts.  I will spare you any more details, but am proud to say that I gnawed on an ear, and dove right in to the meat after it was served.

Words cannot describe how juicy it was!  

The whole evening was lovely.  We had forty-some couples attend and what started with a pig on a spit, ended with a bonfire and fireworks.

Not a bad way to say goodbye to summer.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


2011 had one of the wettest spring seasons on record for NE Ohio. This made my Seattle heart happy, but put a damper on corn production for the region.  Apparently, it takes 100 days for our corn to mature, which means the peak just happened.

I have to say, the sweet corn around here is some of the best I've ever eaten!  While I wish the weather hadn't been so harsh on the farmers' livelihood, I am grateful to have this vegetable late in to the year.

Shucking corn is even a favorite pastime of mine.  Not that I shuck corn without the purpose of consuming it, but when the occasion arises, I find it to be relaxing and reminiscent.  I remember watching and helping my mom shuck corn when I was young, and I find that I still shuck corn the way she taught me.  I take out a paper bag and sit on the front porch before pulling the husks apart.

The paper bag and front porch parts are a must.

I also love that corn can be eaten in it's original form straight from the grill (or boiled water), then can change in to so many other lovely things after it's scraped from the cob: soup, bread, salad, pudding, relish, casserole, creamed corn, and something called hash.

Turns out, I'm not the only one who likes corn.  In fact, I Googled "corn poems" and came across 29,000,000 results.  Who knew?

The following rhyme came from a local author named Robert Allan Williams, who looks like this:

© photo credit:

Sweet corn, sweet corn, so roasting hot,
I'll sing a merry tune if I may eat you up.
Sweet corn, sweet corn, warm in the pot,
I'll dance around the room and whistle through my cup.

Candy corn is also popular this time of year, but I find that the real deal is sweet enough for me.  

Bring on the singing and dancing!