My family lives in the Cleveland area. Being an only kid, my cousins were my surrogate siblings as we spent every summer together. It had been a long time since I visited and now that I had time to spend a bit more time with everyone, I hit the road! First stop, Ann Arbor!
I was connecting with blogger Vicki of I Need Orange. We'd never met, so over tea and scones at Zingermann's we connected for the first time. And like all blogger meetings, it was delightful! (And delicious, too!)
Then on to Cleveland. First stop, cousin Patty. Patty is a terrific painter -- the one person in my immediate family with a gift -- self taught and quite amazing. After years of not painting or drawing, which she did a lot as a child, she started painting again.
Then it was on to Chagrin Falls and cousin Mutty and her family. There were lots of good talks, good dining and lots of pet fun.
We also mostly observed as Mark prepared a Sweetest Day gift for his Katie, whom I would meet later.
I'll do a separate post on this one -- it's a good, fun treat and easy to make. Reviews of the finished project were excellent!
There was time for shopping (which I'll cover in a separate post) and enough time to have a really good visit with my friend Jane who moved back to Cleveland several years ago to be nearer her aging parents. In a great irony of life, her parents live across from Cousin David! We ate at Luna in Cleveland Heights and I give it high marks!
Then it was over to Beachwood, another east side Cleveland suburb. David's birthday was a big part of the reason I went to Cleveland now. We had a jolly family celebration -- presents and a great dinner with David's famous and award-winning chili and cake.
(The candles are a combination of numbers to get the right age!)
Even Herbie the dog was having fun!
I had the chance to meet see the "next generation" of young men and their women -- here is Joe and Angie...
...and Mark and Katie.
Of course there were shopping trips (another post on my favorite shop soon!).
...a look a holiday decorations...
and what was, for me, a delightful spotting of deer in David's yard!
He tells me that when you have a garden, these aren't nearly the welcome, pastoral guests I might think...
We saw one whole flock one evening (when my camera wasn't handy) and two friendly does the next morning.
It was autumn and lovely. Even though most days were rainy or cloudy, I still got a bit of color.
And I loved it!