Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas in WNY (12/23-24/2013)

Monday, December 23, 2013
Okay, this isn't Cleveland, but it is the holidays! Stopped in the Buffalo Zoo; they have a new entrance:
We were looking for the baby gorilla, born in September. Saw these two taking it easy:
Mom is hiding her little one under the hammock:
Gorilla timeout?

Meanwhile, the baby polar bears are growing up. Luna turned a year old in November.
Here, we believe it is Luna, seems to want to escape the exhibit area.
She was trying to jump up against the window:
Meanwhile, Kali, the Alaskan orphan, played with his pickle in the pool:

Tuesday, December 24, 2013
The Buffalo Christmas tree:
There is not just one, but three, Christmas cacti in bloom:
Merry Christmas!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Holidays in Cleveland 2013

Thursday, November 28, 2013
Happy Thanksgiving!
Since we were not able to travel, and no one came to visit us (boo hoo!), we at first decided not to have a full turkey dinner. Kent made reservations at the Sans Souci in the Renaissance Hotel in downtown Cleveland.
Although we had a "white" Thanksgiving, the day was decent for taking advantage of free admission at the Cleveland Zoo. Some local color:
Callicarpa spp/Beautyberry:
Most of the animals were indoors. We went indoors into the Rain Forest.
Acalypha hispida/Chenille plant:
Crassula ovata/Jade plant in flower:
Our token animal picture; Aonyx cinerea/Asian small-clawed otter:

We headed downtown to the Renaissance Hotel which is like a wing of Terminal Tower. Established as the Hotel Cleveland in 1918, it became the Sheraton-Cleveland in 1958, then Stouffer's Inn on the Square in 1978. In 1993 it was purchased by Renaissance International. The hotel has two restaurants, the finer one being a Mediterranean-themed Sans Souci restaurant, full of cozy little "rooms." A limited menu was offered for the day.
Since Kent had then decided to make a turkey dinner, we chose non-turkey entrees. I started with a Ohio City truffle and rosemary pierogi and Kent had the lobster bisque. We were given an intermezzo of lemon sorbet (two scoops!) with a drizzle of chocolate and sprinkles of sugared spearmint. A lot more than just cleansing the palate. My main course was beef tenderloin, mashed potatoes, and asparagus with hollandaise sauce. Kent had braised lamb with creamy polenta and spinach. We took our desserts to go, the buckeye pie and caramel torte with pecans.

Saturday, November 30, 2013
Today was the last Open House of the year at the B&O Roundhouse, home of the Midwest Railway Preservation Society. A brick storehouse that may one day be a museum:
Although much of the roundhouse (1905-1919) is made of 3 layers of brick, the roof and wood components were made of locust:
Locust wood does not burn or rot.
Our tour first took us through the machine shop, with a couple big lathe machines:
Calibration of the lathe turning:
Don't know what this is; what at first looked like a basket is made with electrical parts?
The first preservation project of the society is this vintage wagon-top C-2423 Class I-12 B&O caboose:
Back in the yard, the cab of the 4070 Mikado locomotive:
The "reefer" which is local slang for a refrigerated car:
Built in 1924, this car did not have mechanical refrigeration, rather, it had thick walls made with horse hair, and used blocks of ice to keep its contents cold.
Some giant springs:
The turntable for the roundhouse:
They opened one of the big doors to let us in the roundhouse:
Here is the rest of the 4070, the 1918 USRA (United States Railroad Administration) GTW (Grand Trunk Western) Class S-3-a 2-8-2 (wheel configuration) Light Mikado steam locomotive:
Well, not the rest of it, but a major part of it, where all the steam is generated. The locomotive is being completely overhauled.
Kent next to the section of 8 wheels:
This is how the 4070 is supposed to look, as when it performed in the movie "The Natural:"
The Burning River N Society/Model Railroad Club set up a display for Open House:
N scale has only 9mm between the tracks:
We took a peek into the Amtrak kitchen car, originally built in 1946:
Pantry shelves or sleeping berths for the cooks?
Outside, a trackmobile that can run on the road or on the tracks:
It was being used to pull one of the Pullman coaches to give visitors a ride.
The 1930 Nickel Plate (New York, Chicago & St. Louis Railroad) Pullman #90 (it also was in the movie "The Natural"):
The 1934 Nickel Plate Pullman #62 (it also was in the movie "The Natural"):
This Pullman is said to have ghosts, since it was in a railroad accident. Although the passengers in the car were not hurt, because the steam locomotive came to rest on its side next to the car, the people were steamed to death.
A Whitcomb 65 gasoline-mechanical locomotive:
Looking towards the area of the roundhouse that collapsed, stalls 11-15:
And beyond to the mills of Cleveland:
Inside the Pullman #62:
Next we went inside the 1924 Mount Baxter Pullman sleeper and parlor car, with lights to alert the porter:
The curved ceiling unfolds into a bed:
"Modern" lighting:
The parlor or lounge:
This Pullman featured in the 1984 movie "The Natural" starring Robert Redford.
We stopped in the C&O caboose that is used for the gift shop, before heading downtown.

Our next stop was the Main Library of the Cleveland Public Library. For Winterfest, they had a model railroad display, and a tuba concert:
We walked through the Arcade, which was decorated for the holidays and a harpist was playing seasonal music:
We stopped in the Chocolate Bar for hot chocolate and to share a slice of turtle cheesecake:
In Public Square, for Winterfest there were tents for vendors selling locally made items, and food trucks. The mounted police horse wore holiday hats:
The Ritz-Carlton hotel had a large gingerbread house in the lobby:

Monday, December 2, 2013
This year Hanukkah coincided with Thanksgiving. The Woodmere Eton Shopping Center hosted a lighting of an ice sculpture hanukkiah for the sixth night. An electric hanukkiah stands next to the rabbi (with hat) and (infamous) Mayor Merle Gorden of Beachwood, OH (behind the rabbi's left shoulder):
The ice sculpture hanukkiah:
In the parking lot, we saw a car with a hanukkiah strapped to the roof!

Our holiday decorations; the fireplace:
The (leaning) tree:
The tree lighted:
The "winter scene:"
Brynne's mirror:
At night:
Master bedroom mirror:
At night:

German nutcrackers and smokers:
Debrekht nativity:
Glass figures nativity:

Saturday, December 7, 2013
We took the rapid transit downtown. First dinner at Noodlecat, with their famous steamed buns/"Asian sliders:"
 At Winterfest, we did not stay for the lighting of the Christmas tree. Now we were able to see it without the crowds:
The former Higbee's Department Store is now the Horseshoe Casino:
("ings" is unlighted.)
The front of Terminal Tower with a horse and carriage ride:
The grand staircase at Terminal City Mall:
We were downtown for the NBA Cleveland Cavaliers game vs. the Los Angeles Clippers at the Quicken Loans Arena. For the mathematically challenged, the scoreboard now tells you the difference between the two teams' scores:
Wow, we are leading by one point!
Go Cavs!
(The Cavaliers won the game 89-83.)
A covered passageway takes you from the arena to Terminal Tower to catch the rapid transit:

Friday, December 13, 2013
Luckily, the day was relatively balmy and clear. We had tickets for "Glow," the holiday festivities at the Cleveland Botanical Garden. Inside there is a display of gingerbread houses interspersed with Christmas trees decorated by area garden clubs.
Gingerbread House Competition 2nd prize winner:
The 1st prize winner was the Old Stone Church (Public Square):
3rd prize winner:
The Fairport Harbor lighthouse:
Cute little church:
House with a playground:
A pink Victorian:
Dragon castle?
Pretzel stick fence:
The Polar Express tree:
A cruise ship:
An RV:
"A Christmas Story" house:
Lots of ribbon candy:
Nice detail:
Umm, the North Pole?
An Ikebana Club tree:
Mittens tree:
A buckeye angel decoration:
Gingerbread village with train:
The Great Lakes Science Center:
More garden club trees:
Halloween town:
An orca approaching unsuspecting penguins:
A "Dog Retreat:"
This creation was falling apart, and had some electronic component:
A bird's nest:
The Cloud Forest (with snow outside!):
Caligo memnon/Owl Butterfly:
Brunfelsia grandiflora/Yesterday-today-and-tomorrow:
Schlumbergera sp/Christmas Cactus:
Now we are in the desert, with Euphorbia pulcherrima/Poinsettia:
The botanical garden grounds were not all that extensive.
Some lighted gingerbread kids in a giant nest:
Trees in the Japanese Garden:
The train ride:
After exiting the botanical garden, we walked through Wade Park.
Ice sculptures:
Environment of Lights Installation at Wade Oval: Fantasien von Heimat/Fantasies of Home; (Dioramas: Robin Heinrich, Mark Jenks, Meagan Krapf, Ian Petroni. Background Towers: Jesse Rhinehart. Entrance and Totem: Robin VanLear.)
This diorama is titled "For Love:"
This is "For Life:"
This one is "Foreclosure:"

Thursday, December 19, 2013
Icicles on the bird feeder:
B Spot beer can display from below:
B for B Spot:

Saturday, December 21, 2013
We returned to the Quicken Loans Arena downtown, this time for the AHL Lake Erie Monsters ice hockey match against the Rochester Americans:
The Monsters won in overtime, 3-2.

Saturday, December 28, 2013
Clear skies today, for a trip to the Cleveland Museum of Art:
We are here to see the Lantern Festival exhibits. "The Suburban Hawk" Angel by Story Rhinehart:
"Han Dynasty Reflections" by Robin VanLear:
The Christmas tree in the Atrium:
At the exhibit of "Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads" by Ai Weiwei, we have Kent the Ox:
and Tamiko the Horse:
The museum has one of Rodin's "The Thinker" sculptures:
This one lost his feet when a pipe bomb left on the base exploded in 1970:
No one has been charged with the vandalism.
Wade Park and the Museum:
Branta canadensis/Canada Geese:
The Lagoon and the Cleveland Art Museum:

Tuesday, December 31, 2013
We have had a White Thanksgiving and a White Christmas. Now for a White New Year!
This was the "lentil-barley soup" at Tommy's on Coventry Road:
More like a lentil-based vegetable stew!
Happy New Year!

Sunday January 5, 2014
Evidence of snow:
Evidence of cold temperatures:
Icicles on our house
Frozen water of a missing downspout
One-story long icicle
Water frozen on the wall