“I don’t know why you’re in the middle. You’re the most accident-prone”

So said my lovely mother last night when she and I (and my sister, Nicole) went to a beading class. The groupons we used had been purchased last Christmas. It’s November. So we went to the Lake Erie Artist’s Gallery (www.lakeerieartists.com)

In any case, we headed off to the Eastside. For those of you not from the Cleveland area, there is a definite rivalry amongst people that live on the Westside of Cleveland and the Eastside. I am a Westsider, born and bred. How I explain E v. W to people is this:

The Eastside is where a majority of the old (and SERIOUS) money is. There are a lot of really wealthy areas, a lot of quirky ‘artsy’ neighborhoods and a bit more diversity. Most of the Jewish population of Cleveland lives on the Westside. The museums are on the Eastside, the major hospitals and a lot of the “culture” is located on the Eastside. However, along with a lot of good, there is a downside. Besides having some of the nicest areas in the GCA (greater Cleveland area), it also has its worst. I’m not kidding. East Cleveland is famous for being one of the most dangerous places in the country. Yay, Cleveland!

The Westside’s income disparity is not so drastic. It’s still a mostly blue-collar area of the city, with a few “nicer” suburbs. But you probably won’t become a victim of violent crime in a majority of the the Westside. It’s mostly bars and Catholic churches. You think I’m kidding but take a drive. Bar, church, bar, church. I love the Westside.

So the three of us headed out to the weird little shop in Shaker Square (a seriously cute little area of Cleveland with shops and restaurants). I’m not sure what I expected, but when we got there, we were the only 3 people in the class. The “instructor” was a nice enough lady but we could tell she would have rather been working on her own designs than teaching us anything.

Also, the phrase “teaching” should be used loosely. She essentially handed us a few boxes of beads and said “have fun!” Don’t get me wrong, she had some lovely beads, but I think for what it was, it was INCREDIBLY overpriced. And we got ours 50% off. And it was STILL overpriced.

We had a lot of fun, though. Mostly because I love hanging out with my mom & sister. And it’s always funny to see how differently the three of us create. My mom decided to make a very simple. very tasteful, patterned bracelet in very neutral shades. Nicole made a very tasteful, patterned bracelet in lovely purples and greys. Me? I made a very obnoxious bracelet with about six different colors (including HOT PINK PEARLS! woo! be jealous) that had absolutely no rhyme or reason. If I liked it, it went on the bracelet. Again with the rampant narcissism. I don’t care if other people like it. If I like it, everyone else should like it too.

finished product! (notice the fabulous hot pink pearls)

The finished product. Notice how awesome the hot pink pearls look.

Anyway, as I was trying to finish off the bracelet and tighten the crimping bead (but without a crimper, apparently they are too difficult for us beginners to use) I ended up breaking the crimping bead and my ENTIRE bracelet ended up on the floor. I’m glad I didn’t have a pattern because I would have been even angrier trying to replicate said pattern.

But I did end up on my hands & knees under the table, collecting little beads and cursing under my breath (ok, maybe it wasn’t under my breath). This, after mocking my mom for being really slow & boasting that I was the first one done. Needless to say, I ended up as the LAST one done.

Since it was late & we were starving (Nic couldn’t eat anything they had at the class as it was all full of gluten), we decided to have dinner at Yours Truly. (www.ytr.com) If you live in the Cleveland area & have never been to a Yours Truly, do yourself a favor and head to one. Immediately.

Here’s my mom & Nic outside the restaurant  I need to tell Babs she needs to smile more.

Yours Truly has one of the best (& most varied) menus. And the entire menu is available all day. I’ve been there with my girlfriends and have had meals that include omlettes, milkshakes and fries (either their ‘notso’ fries or the sweet potato). Healthy, probably not, but SO delicious.

The three of us ADORE sweet potato fries. And YT makes some of the best I’ve ever had (only Sweet Melissa’s makes better ones). And they serve them with yummy honey mustard. If I ever come back as a food, I want to come back as sweet potato fries.

Look how delish they look.  Washed down with an icy cold diet coke and you’ve got the beginnings of a perfect meal.

Mostly it was just nice to spend time with Nicole and my mom. Since Nic has lived in Columbus (and works insane retail hours), I don’t get to see her as often as I’d like and I DEFINITELY don’t get to spend as much time with her and my mom together as I’d like. I’m anxiously awaiting her return to the C-L-E.

Here’s the two of us, mugging for the camera. And no, we’re not drunk. We only had a glass of wine each.

 Nicole is trying to take a nice photo. I am trying to make her laugh.

Driving home, we started talking about what we consider the most quintessential “American” band. I picked the Beach Boys. Nicole wanted more perimeters. I told her the Spice Girls didn’t count (as they are British). Do any of you have thoughts on the most quintessential “American” band? Just curious.

She left this morning & I went to mass. I’m embarassed to say how long it’s been since I’ve gone. Also, I can’t really remember (so that gives you an idea of how long it’s been). I’m going to talk more about Catholicism & my thoughts on religion and spirituality at a later time. For now, I’ll just say that I had forgotten how much I love going to mass. I love everything about mass: the prayers, the music, the homily and (of course), the Eucharist. We have a new priest at my parish who is young (only a few years older than I) and I’m really excited about the direction of the church under Fr. Joe!

My (mis)adventure in writing a novel continues. I’m closing in on 9k words (seriously! it’s insane) & I love writing the story and I am so grateful to NaNoWriMo for introducing me to a fantastic community of other young, female writers that inspire me & make me laugh. Chick Lit Cheerleaders are the best.

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