A few more orchids and unusual animals

Orchid Mania…Part 2


In my post yesterday, I wrote that there were plenty of colorful sights to see at Orchid Mania. The wonderful display of orchids was probably the most colorful, but there were also some exotic animals. My favorite orchid was the one I posted yesterday and the deep purple one at the top of this page was a close second. Here are several others:

And the colorful, exotic animals? Butterflies for one, but I wasn’t able to get any butterfly pictures. The butterflies were released at 2 pm, but they dispersed so quickly throughout the garden that I never had a chance for a photo opp. A few animals were willing to pose however. How’s this one for exotic? Check out the tail, the tongue (I think it is) and the little hands gripping the stem of the plant.


A woman with a spray bottle was squirting water onto the leaves of the plant, and the thirsty critter was licking it up.


The lizard was stretched out behind a glass window in his own little habitat.


Finally,  there were several large tortoises. Unfortunately they weren’t so good about posing either, but were still interesting to watch. I caught this one when it was taking a nap, but because he was pretty big, I could only get a picture of his face and front legs.


If you would like to experience Orchid Mania, there is still time. It’s well worth a visit, and it doesn’t close until Sunday, March 5th. Don’t forget to take your camera for some challenging, colorful, and unique photo opps.

That’s all for today. Thanks for visiting!
Trail Walker

Cleveland’s Westside Market

Clevelanders love the West Side Market like that loud, colorful great aunt who has ties to the Old Country. She’s brash, one-of-a-kind, completely unapologetic and the absolute best to show off to your friends!

The quote above, from a website about “Things to do in Cleveland”, is a great introduction to this unique market, one of the best places for locals to do their weekly shopping and at the same time introduce one of our city’s jewels to their out-of-town guests. When Gretchen and Alec were visiting in July, we took them to this 100-year-old market on West 25th Street in Cleveland. Although it may seem strange to non-Clevelanders, we lived in the eastern suburbs-east of the Cuyahoga River-for many years before venturing across the river to check out the market. Don’t get me wrong. I had been to the west side many times over the years. I actually like the west side, but I had never been to this historic market, not until our daughter Alison invited me to go with her and Emmy a couple of years ago. Now I can’t believe I didn’t go sooner…much sooner. It is a fantastic place to find food of all kinds, a truly multi-cultural experience, and great fun.Once inside the market, it is easy to be overwhelmed by its size, the hustle and bustle of the crowd, and the tasty foods on display up and down every aisle. Take a look at this gallery to see what I mean. This is definitely one time when pictures will speak louder than words.

Another feature that attracts repeat customers to the market is the vendors themselves. Their work is hard. Rising early, sometimes before dawn, in order to reach the city and set up their displays before the market opens, they work long hours. Many of the market’s stands have been run by the same families for multiple generations. They are well-known and respected by their customers, which is why so many people return again and again, week-after-week, to do their shopping here. And like the foods they sell, the venders, themselves, are varied, and, although they must work long hours, it would be unusual to encounter one who isn’t helpful and courteous. In taking the pictures for this blog, I try to get permission from the vendors I photograph, a smile or a thumbs-up signal, to let me know it’s okay to snap the picture. Some are busily engaged with serving their customers, and don’t even notice me, but those who see me will usually take a few moments to pose for the camera. Take a look and see what I mean.

If you are fortunate enough to be in Cleveland some week on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, or Saturday when the market is open, make sure you set aside a few hours for a visit to the Westside Market. You may even want to plan for lunch or a snack break while you are there, and, if you are smart (and hungry), you will leave with your dinner in your hands, as well as enough fresh fruit, produce, and delicious baked good to last through the week. The Westside Market has been named “Best Food Lover’s Market” by Food Network Magazine, so you are sure to find your visit worthwhile and will soon be making plans to return for another visit.

Thanks for joining me for this photowalk. I hope it made you hungry!
Carolyn aka Skip

I love a parade!


When I was growing up in the dairy farm country of southeastern Pennsylvania, the annual July Fourth parade was a huge event. Everyone would bring their lawn chairs or blankets and the entire community would gather along the route, visiting with neighbors as they waited for the parade marshall to arrive, signaling the beginning of the parade.

Children shouted back and forth, turned somersaults in the grass, and called to their friends across the street. Excitement was high.

After all, it was the 4th of July, Independence Day in the United States, and in rural Pennsylvania we celebrated the 4th in a BIG way. It didn’t matter that the parade wasn’t very long, that every fourth or fifth parade entry was a fire truck, a milk truck, or a Boy Scout troop marching down the street behind their leader. The parade was a huge event in our little country town, and after the parade we could all follow the marchers to the carnival grounds at the end of the parade route. There we could ride the merry-go-round and other rides, eat cotton candy, win prizes at the  penny arcade, and stay out until long after nightfall, when we would finally wend our way home through the darkened streets.


Living in suburban Cleveland, Ohio, I had often heard  of something called Parade the Circle. This annual event, now in its 26th year,  takes place in the University Circle area of Cleveland. The Plain Dealer newspaper described it as…an artful event of floats , musicians, stilt-walkers, dancers, parading artworks and more, featuring more than 1200 participants, including more than 80 groups and 44 local and international artists from across the U.S., Trinidad and Tobago, Puerto Rico, Brazil and beyond.  The newspaper headlined it as Showtime at the Circle, and what an amazing show it was and so much fun! My daughter, Alison, grandchildren Michael and Emmy, and I arrived at 10 am for the parade that was scheduled to step off at noon, and, like the families waiting for the parade in my childhood days, we passed the time chatting and being entertained by the little children playing along the curb.  Anticipation was high and everyone was in a celebratory mood. And then the parade began with a group of colorfully costumed “creatures” (pictured above) leading the way. And it truly was a grand show. The parade participants interacted with the crowd along the curb; small

No invitation needed for the little kids to jump in and be part of the parade.
No invitation needed for the little kids to run out and get involved.

children and some bigger ones, left their seats and ran out to become part of the parade, jumping rope, running under the parachute and “high-fiving” the costumed creatures passing in front of them.

The excitement continued for almost two hours, and when the last costumed character passed by, the crowd rose from the curb and fell into line behind the last marchers,  heading to their cars for the ride home. As we walked to our car, I said to my daughter, “That was a far cry from the July 4th parade in my hometown.” The excitement was equally high and celebratory at both events, and the families were just as excited, but there wasn’t a single fire engine or milk truck in sight in today’s parade. I didn’t see any scout troops either, but there were plenty of children and they were all having the time of their lives. “I’m coming back next year,” I said to Alison and she agreed.

Click a picture in this gallery to scroll through more of my many pictures of the parade. It wasn’t easy to capture the spirit of this event on my digital memory card, but I hope, by scrolling through these images, you can sense the spirit and enjoy the interaction between participants and watchers .

Thanks for joining me on this unusual photowalk. I hope you enjoyed the parade. If it reminded you of some special memories of your own, why don’t you share them in the comments or, better yet, blog about them. Making and preserving memories is an important part of blogging.

Carolyn aka Skip

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