Saturday was a crazy busy day for me.  I headed to a class at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, followed by my weekly docent class there.  I had volunteered to work at the coat check later in the day for the West Side Market Centennial 100 Gala.  My shift was set to be 8:30PM – 11:30PM.  So after my classes, I headed to the West Side Market for a few photos.

It was a cold, dreary day.  But, the set up and preparations were fun to see.  There were several tents up.


I took note of the West Side Market Café since that was where volunteers were going to meet.


Several food trucks were on site.


The valet service was well staffed and ready for the VIP attendees to start arriving.


The black box in the middle with the big hose is the heater!


One of the pipes went straight into the coat check tent.


After taking a photos, I stopped at the Market Garden Brewery for a quick dinner.  Soon enough, I headed to the WSM and checked in.  Aseela gave me my badge.  I told her that I knew I was early, but I was just going to hang out and if she needed anything to let me know.


5 minutes later, I was holding a radio – just in case someone showed up to volunteer and we needed her.  She wasn’t gone long, but I was glad to be available to help.  After that quick stint, I took a few minutes to walk around the venue.  The VIP attendees had started to arrive.



Symon’s stand was one of the most popular.


I hung out in the café most of the early evening.  Around 8:15PM, I headed to the coat check.  It was super nice to have the heaters.  Everything in the coat room was smooth.

It was crazy during the night to listen to the radio traffic.  I’ve always enjoyed the behind the scenes look at events.  From a lobster allergy to get a trash can changed, it was not dull.  When people started to claim their coats, we were totally entertained.  Many guests had too much to drink.  So, hilarity ensued when they would try to find their claim ticket.  Our table was used for cleaning out many purses and pocketbooks.  We had more than one person tell us that their coat was the black one.  (Over 80% of coats are black.)  By the end of our shift, it seemed that everyone had received their coat back, so that was successful.  We were asked not to take tips since we were volunteers.  We had suggested a tip jar marked – all proceeds go to the market, but it was shot down.  That was really dumb.  We spent 3 hours trying to explain to people no tips, we are volunteers, keep your money, etc..

Also, we were in the middle of the “goodie bag” drama.  Each attendee was supposed to get a goodie bag that included the special “Butchers Brew” from the Great Lakes Brewing Company.  But, 900 people and 800 bags was not going to work.  They decided that each couple would get a bag.  The staff quickly figured out that wasn’t going to work.  They set too many bags out at once, which gave the appearance of “plenty of bags”.  People were taking at least one per person, in some cases 2 or 3.  We weren’t in a position to be the bag police, but we watched it from the coat room.  At the end of the night, they were short bags.  I would be ticked if I spent $250 or more on an event and didn’t get the beer and I don’t even like beer.

I had fun watching the event.  I’m glad that the attendees all seemed to have a good time.  The event raised a lot of money for the market and that was the idea.

I should note that as volunteers, we were not permitted to partake in the food or beverages for the guests.  We were supposed to have dinner and water provided.  It was mediocre at best and I was glad to have eaten before I arrived.

 Posted by at 9:50 PM

With Sandy this week, our Trick or Treat was postponed until this evening.  It worked out great for us since we had Stephen’s birthday party on Wednesday.

Our Halloween started with the kids enjoying It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown on TV.  It was taped earlier in the week.  Stephen was able to get home a bit early and brought us Chinese take out for dinner.  As soon as we ate, we got the kids ready.

Meet our shape monster and shape princess.


I’ll take 39 degrees and no precipitation for Halloween.



Besides deciding that a coat was in order, she also needed mittens.


Nick wanted to be a monster for Halloween.  I asked him what the monster looked like and he didn’t know.  I thought for a bit and they were learning about shapes at school.  I said, “I know, you can be a SHAPE MONSTER!!!!”.  He loved the idea.

My mom helped with Nick’s costume.  We started by looking at poncho and other costumes that could be made out of a sheet.  A bit of sewing later and he had a costume.  Then, we used foam pieces and cut out tons of shapes using cookie cutters.  I glued them with a hot glue gun.


Of course, he had to practice his roar.  He later decided that he didn’t want to be recognized, so the mustache was born.


If big brother was a shape monster, then Sally had to be a shape princess.  We had borrowed a princess dress from a friend.  Stephen worked on a tulle skirt for overtop of it.  Using foam, glue gun and cookie cutters, the skirt was turned into a shape skirt. (In the photos above, Sally has a heart on her nose. If brother has black on his face, I want it too.)


She was so excited.


Both kids loved their unique costumes.  I loved that they were the only ones dressed like that.  I can’t wait to see what next year brings.

 Posted by at 8:01 PM

Because of Sandy, our Trick or Treat was moved to tomorrow, so we decided to pick up our share today.  I didn’t want to be in a rush to put it away, have dinner and have the kids ready.  This is our last pick up for the summer season and also the coldest/wettest pick up.  I planned a nice butternut squash soup for dinner from the freezer today.  It’s a great day for soup.

Here’s a group shot of today’s pickup:


Here’s what we were expecting to receive this week:

  • 1 bunch carrots with tops
  • 1 head jumbo white stem bok choy
  • 1 lb. ground pork
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 head broccoli
  • 1 butternut squash
  • 2# turnips
  • 1 bag salad mix, lettuce
  • 2# bag of sauerkraut
  • 1 quarter peck Empire apples
  • 2 frozen pizza dough balls
  • 1 package goat feta cheese
  • Baby Peppers (came in last week’s package)

The carrots will make a nice simple side dish.  Everyone likes them in our house, so these won’t last long.  The pork and beef is intended for meatloaf.  Maybe Stephen will make his famous meatloaf this weekend.  That would be delicious.


I’ve started looking at lamb recipes and found a Lamb and Feta Stuffed Cabbage recipe.  I think the feta will go into that recipe soon.


We were almost out of apples again.  Those will go into oatmeal.  I can’t get enough winter squash.  I’ll be roasting this along with pie pumpkins that I picked up today.  Uses are endless.


For the first time, we received fresh sauerkraut.  I’m excited to try it, but I am also glad that it will keep a while in the fridge, so there’s no hurry.  This broccoli looks outstanding.


We’ll have it as a side along with pizza for dinner tomorrow.  With Trick or Treat, we’ll need an easy to clean up meal.  The lettuce will go into salads tomorrow or Saturday.


I’m not sure about the bok choy, but I am thinking a stir fry like we made with the Napa cabbage last week.


I don’t have any current plans for the turnips, but I am glad they will last a while.  Maybe we’ll make soup later in the week.

I’ve enjoyed trying out the large package this year.  I’d never go back to the small.  I love the bag size for us.  It worked really well.  I’m not interested in the full access package.  I like getting the variety in the large and then supplementing with extras as needed.