What a lovely weekend we had! Friday night, I had planned to go to a local high school football game, but it looked like rain so we stayed home and watched the debate. J was utterly bored and fetched her book just a short way into it. I didn't feel like I learned anything new, but was glad I watched. The one I'm really interested in is Thursday's Biden/Palin debate. If Palin does as well as she did for Katie Couric's interview, it's definitely going to be a Biden win. I am sure they will be working hard on prepping her, but really. The evening was livened up by dinner. I made Caribbean-style pumpkin soup (with tomatoes, black beans and cumin) and some oatmeal bread. There is nothing like fresh bread.
Saturday morning, we met a few members of the youth group and a few adults to go work at Transitional Housing Inc, a center in Cleveland that helps get women on their feet after homelessness. They have an impressive array of services. A group of us worked on cleaning a room to prepare it for its next occupant and another group worked outside with lawnmowing, edging and weeding. It's nice to be able to help and I think it's good for us to get out of our own little world and talk to the women who are going through the program, too. They fed us lunch and gave us a tour, which was really nice. The woman who gave us the tour is almost through with the program and did a great job telling us all about it. I feel like we learned a lot more from her than from the director. My favorite part of the tour was seeing the beautiful serenity garden the women created overlooking the river and downtown Cleveland. One of the women, who was moving out the day we were there, wrote a bunch of grant proposals & organized the women to put the garden in, as well as a community veggie garden. It was just really cool to see.
After we parted from the group, we prowled the West Side Market & then checked out Lelolai Bakery. I've been wanting to go there for a Cuban sandwich, so it's good to know where it is. Next time we hit the market, I want lunch there. We just had a snack. J had a really good café con leche and a guava quesito while I noshed on a beef empanada and a Tropi-Cola Champagne Soda. Then, we poked around some stores in Ohio City (a snobbish vintage clothing store and a friendly art gallery) before heading back to the 'burbs to walk the aisles at the craft stores. We had dinner at a cheery little bar called The Rusty Barrel, which has fabulous cheeseburgers and private t.v.s at the table. I love the t.v.s because it means we can go there for J to watch the game and I can watch Food Network or something like that. We watched a couple episodes of "Ace of Cakes." Good stuff.
Sunday, we went to church (where I thought I was going to have to sub for our pastor when he had to run home to help his wife, who is fighting a brain tumor) and stayed for coffee hour long enough to make dinner plans for Wednesday. Then, we did some errands related to our D date. Finally, we got home and prepared to begin our long-awaited decoupage & daiquiris date, a brilliant choice on J's part. We spent the afternoon happily crafting, listening to music and (at least me) drinking strawberry daiquiris. I made a Christmas gift for Graham and a prayer box while J worked on a marvelous gift for my ma. I also started on an advent calendar I am making for her. It's an old shutter and I am making little tags out of bottle caps, with numbers on the back and pictures inside. I was pretty nervous about using the drill for such tiny things, but I did just fine. Maybe my granddad's spirit was guiding me since I was using his drill.
After we were done crafting, J made us a splendid entree salad with all kinds of delicious things: beautiful lettuces, bell peppers, broccoli, red onion, radishes, chicken, blue cheese, bacon. She topped it off with her plant's orange cranberry dressing, which is great! We had it with some leftover oatmeal bread and the "Cuban" bread (more like challah) we got at Lelolai. Will I never find good Miami-style Cuban bread in Ohio? Had I not had any expectations that it would be Cuban bread, I would have loved it.
I even got control of the remote for the second evening of the weekend! I very rarely get the remote & we usually watch crime dramas like CSI or Law & Order. Sunday night, I subjected J to Stacy & Clinton & their opinions on all things fashion. What fun!