We are on the move again. Read on.

Last January Dave and I drove from Cleveland to Tucson and stayed there a month. Since we have wintered there before, it felt in many ways like coming home. Dave picked up his pickle ball and I was swimming in the outdoor pool in January.

From Tucson we drove to Encinitas California and dropped our car off at Cousin Judy’s. Flying from San Diego to Auckland New Zealand took 36 hours door to door so when we arrived at midnight on Feb 2 we could quickly start our jet lag adjustment by flopping in bed and falling asleep before our eyes were closed. Our travel for two months in Kiwiland is documented on our blog called Karen’s and Dave’s New Zealand Trip. We can wrap up the trip by saying YOU SHOULD GO.http://arpsite.com/

After returning to California at the end of March we took 6 days to drive across country back to Cleveland. Near the end, it felt like a horse going to the barn. We were anxious to get home and stay awhile.

Life quickly returned to normal with Dave helping our landlord and his best friend, Dan Gray, and also keeping up with several of his projects. I returned to volunteering, being outdoors, going to the gym, enriching my various dentists, and catching up with family and friends.

Greg at the beach

Greg at the beach

Greg spent part of the summer taking a driver evaluation class to update his driving skills. He still looks forward to his car shows and listening to opera. Every Thursday I take great grand niece Connie Archinal “swimming.” At 3 she takes great pleasure in pouring water over my head. She will soon be joined in the water by her new sister, Dot, in the “share everything” adventure.

Connie at the pool

Connie at the pool

In September I joined my 4 hiking buddies for trip #20 in the Rocky Mountains. The highlight is always being together for a solid 5 days but this year’s memorable hike was at 12,000’ and in a sleet storm.

For the past two years we have been looking at small ranch houses. We knew we would eventually need to move and the matter was decided for us when investors showed a big interest in buying the buildings on our corner. Of course, we wanted a small ranch that was move-in ready with storage (garage and/or basement and big closets). What we bought is a small ranch. But boy did we get a bargain! I’m calling it our half price house and it DOES need work. In the summer our new address will be 1454 Taft Ave. Cuyahoga Falls Ohio 44223.1454 Taft Ave.

Hopefully, we can get some of the work (update the kitchen, add a bathroom, drywall, floors, and some added storage) done while we are keeping warm in St. Petersburg Florida this January, February, and March.

So we will be leaving downtown city life and moving to a bedroom community where I lived over 15 years ago. All our grocery stores, parks, movies, library, and restaurants are very close. It will be back to having a yard and views of dog walkers, and backyard barbeques instead of trains, planes, and freighters on Lake Erie.

It looks like new adventures await all of us in the New Year. I’m glad to be part of the excitement and waiting to hear what the future brings for you.


Karen and Dave

Year #20 Kay, Karen, Carolyn, Margy, Judy

Year #20 Kay, Karen, Carolyn, Margy, Judy

They said it would never last. There were five teachers who got together to follow the footsteps of Bob Vogel into the Grand Canyon. That first year it was Judy Brookhart (4th grade, Admissions Director), Carolyn Howell and Karen Goodwin Patterson (OTS History Department), Kay Burdette (Curriculum Director), and Sandy Yocum (Art Department).  Aside from working at Old Trail we were and are very different personalities but we had, and still have, one thing in common. We love to hike.
We all trained that first year not knowing how strenuous the hike would be but we switchbacked  down to Havasupai Village in the Grand Canyon with ease. And we proved that we got along with each other very well.

Since then we’ve hiked in many National and State Parks around the US and Canada: Zion, Bryce, Olympic, and Monument Valley to name a few. For year 10 we hiked in Banff.  In 2015 we hiked at the Rocky Mountain National Park.

Eventually, Sandy Yocum left the group and Margaret Liske (OTS Librarian) joined us. We also went from Bed and Breakfast housing to renting our own house (making sure we had a hot tub and plenty of wine glasses!).

Maybe it’s the outdoors, the meals, the shared giggles or tears that have kept us together. But certainly walking on narrow paths has taught us to watch each other’s backs both figuratively and literally.


Coming or Going?

In July Scene magazine featured an article about the houses that needed to be demolished in Cleveland. As of July 2015 159,000 parcels of land in Cleveland have been evaluated from the street level.  That was about 25% of the properties.  The survey currently shows that about 8,000 structures in Cleveland will require demolition.  It is estimated that this is a $100 million problem. Of course, the number could go much higher when the survey is finished.

Rehabbing houses costs more than building new but either way, there is not a lot of interest from private investors to build or restore buildings in many blighted neighborhoods.  Often the houses are torn down and what is left is a vacant lot. To partly solve the problem the city has stepped in.

When I drive from our place to University Circle I pass a lot of new housing on both Cedar and Carnegie and some on Euclid as well.  I also see that the Opportunity Corridor is coming through to the Cleveland Clinic. The Forgotten Triangle will be getting new life and, for those of us who travel from University Circle to points south, the new boulevard will be a welcome addition. Most of this building is paid for through taxes and grants.

Some of those empty and abandoned houses in the triangle will be replaced with new housing and, hopefully, small businesses to support the neighborhoods.

Although the campus district, where we live, is not the same as those areas from 55th to 105 St, we live and work in an area that was long forgotten and neglected. Now our empty buildings are attracting interest from investors who want to convert these old factories and light commercial buildings to housing for students and others. Many people, including myself, have written about this resurgence before. Now people outside Ohio and outside the country are taking notice.  We talked with a building inspector who was busy inspecting part of 500 houses in a neglected part of Cleveland. Why? Middle Easterners have bought up the houses and are going to resell them.

So while more than 8,000+ houses in our city need to be removed, many are being saved and rehabbed and whole neighborhoods are coming back.


Making steel

Making steel

In another observation about the growth, Dave and I recently went on a water taxi ride on the Cuyahoga River from Merwin’s Wharf south to the last stationery bridge where the river is no longer dredged. I was heartened to see all the working factories and river traffic. The taxi is owned and operated by Cleveland Metroparks.  Someday, after I90 is completed the water taxi will travel north and ferry people from one side of the river to the other. (I’m not sure why this is a Metropark enterprise and not a private enterprise).

Like many Clevelanders, I had no idea that there was much heavy industry left in our city along the river. Somehow I thought most of our steel and cement was manufactured in Southeast Asia and shipped here. Maybe it still is. But, by gosh, there were huge cranes moving ore, and piles of sand, gravel, and salt piled up along the banks, and even boat houses for sculls and their crews. It’s not just restaurants, clubs, and bars along our river.


When the Republican debate was here the before debate TV coverage showed Cleveland as a “Tale of Two Cities.” If you look hard enough, that is true of every city. There is always a “wrong side of the tracks.” But I guess I’m a glass half full kind of gal. I see Cleveland as a city of young hopeful people with lots of ideas and ability to take some risk. But there are generations of people who have lived here forever who are also supporting these changes even through controversy.  Hooray for their vision.