Month: October 2014

Food Adventures: West End Tavern, Lakewood

I’ve started to branch out a bit around town and sample the divine culinary variety in and around the Cleveland area. I hope to continue my adventuring to include not only food but for right now that’s just about all I’ve done. These aren’t going to be “reviews,” per se, but just recounts of my adventures including who I was with, what we ate, and how we liked it.

Soooooo without further ado, here’s the account of my first trip to the West End Tavern in Lakewood.

A few weeks ago I went to the wedding of two friends of mine from Heidelberg. I got to see a lot of awesome  friends I hadn’t seen in a long time and we got really drunk. On Sunday, upon waking, the only thing one friend wanted to find was “a place that served alcohol and breakfast” that was close by. We ended up going to brunch at the WE Tavern.

We had to sit at the bar, because it was absolutely packed. Two friends got mimosas, I got a bloody mary. Because, of course, the only thing to cure an open-bar-wedding hangover is more alcohol. Also bacon. But we’ll get to that part later. The mimosas were super pretty and also pretty delicious! They were served with flowers in them and had a good amount of sweetness. The bloody mary was incredible! I never really liked them that much (alcoholic beef stew, ew!) but it was soooooo good. Spicy and tart and also a little savory. It blew me away so much I just had to get another one. Whoops.

Okay, so, the food. I got the West End omelet. I didn’t get toast because, well, gluten. The omelet was the bomb! It was a good size (I couldn’t even finish it- though that might have had something to do with the one and a half bloody marys I had just ingested) and had a sizable amount of all the fixins. The home fries weren’t the best (not crispy and kind of under seasoned), but  I was hungover and there was ketchup so I ate all of them.

The staff was friendly and expedient, making sure we always had anything we needed. Prices were awesome and totally worth it! I was going t think of some algorithm to effectively rate and compare my dining experiences, but instead I’ll just tell you I liked it a whole hell of a lot and I will totally go back there sometime!

Thanks for reading, folks! Comment to let me know if you’d like to know anything different about my adventures with food or if you’d like to suggest a place I should adventure!

Coming up in the Food Adventures “series:” Happy Dog, Jack Flaps, West Side Market, and Brown Sugar Thai. 


You’re Smarter Than You Think You Are!

Hey folks! It’s been an interesting week at school/work.

So the main thing I do when I tutor is test the students on their reading ability. Every day.We read passages sixty seconds at a time and I record their errors and their Words Per Minute (WPM) right in front of them! Yay. Cynicism aside, I’m really growing attached to my students regardless of what I do, just because of how lovely they are.

I have this student that on our first day read 7 WPM. Seven! She’s in the second grade! I came to find out that her parents don’t read with her, she’s never owned a book, etc. Three days after our first initial read, she started off by reading 20 WPM. It almost tripled in just three days. The only thing I remember telling her on her first day was, “come on, you’re smarter than you think. Stop worrying about being perfect and just try.” Right after I said that she improved. And she has just continued to improve. She got a book from the library the other day and ran to me yesterday when she saw me just to show me her new book. It probably has 25 words in it, but she will read it. And she will get better. And it makes me so damn proud to be her tutor.

The night after I first read with this young lady, I went to my third shift at Family Restaurant. I was less nervous than the previous shift but was still trying very hard not to suck. At the end of my shift, the girl who was closing with me came up to me and said (something akin to), “calm down and stop trying so hard to be perfect. Don’t focus on not making mistakes and just focus on doing the best you can. You’re better at this than you think.”

It clicked. Sometimes you have to be given the same advice you just gave in order for it to actually take effect.  I realized that I was actually not doing badly. I hadn’t even really “messed up” since my first night.

Tomorrow night is my 8th shift. I feel much more comfortable with what I do and all I get a little stressed about is my timing, which should come naturally after a few more weeks. I don’t stress when I go into work anymore. I love,  love, LOVE the people I work with and really enjoy the environment. Having encouraging and kind people around me makes me want to get better.  And I love that feeling.

So basically, whenever you think you’re bad at something just give yourself time. You wouldn’t expect anyone else to learn a new skill in one night, so why are you expecting yourself to do so? Everyone needs to take a breath and realize we’re human, we make mistakes, and we are most definitely our worst critics.

You, all of you, are smarter than you think you are.

Creating Your Own Happiness

Hey folks! This might end up being less depressing than it starts out but who knows!

Okay. So, I got a job working at Family Restaurant (not the actual name) in September. I started out as a host and I just moved up to server. In fact, tonight is my first shift as a real server. Last Monday I started a new job as a tutor in an elementary school nearby. I have two jobs, now, like a real adult trying to pay off student loans!

Anyway, I looked forward to both jobs for different reasons. Family Restaurant was conveniently located so my sister or her cohabitant could easily drive me to and pick me up from work (have I mentioned I spent all of my “car” money on going to Nicaragua? No? Well, I did). I have never been a server before and they had a sign in their window and cohabitant told me it would be easy to get there. I needed a job and I was interested in seeing what it was like to work in a restaurant so I went in and got hired. I looked forward to the tutoring job because it was a volunteer-ish position (we all know how much I love volunteering for education!) and because I would get to work with kids again!

It turns out I’m not that good at being a server. I know I’m still in training, so I’m going to give myself four weeks to see if I’m cut out for it, but wow, I’m really bad. And it turns out that the great working with kids job I’ve landed is really just a “do everything the teachers don’t want to do” job so I haven’t even gotten the chance to teach yet. I’ve been leveling reading and checking letter fluency. I know I am helping their education and probably making a difference but I’m not teaching, and it was totally a teaching job I got hired for. What I’m basically trying to say is that neither of these things have turned out to be what I expected. Which is okay. But as of now, they also have turned into things that don’t make me happy.

I was talking to my mom yesterday about how I don’t feel happy with where I am. I feel like my fire is being extinguished a little bit, and that’s sort of a depressing thought. I feel stuck and sedentary and not like I’m doing what I really want. Logically, I know that we can’t always get what we want. But can’t we at least all find happiness in the majority of our daily life? This is where I think my mom and I have differing opinions. I think.

Imagine you are in a great place in life. You enjoy your job (for the most part), you are living comfortably, and you are happy in general. Now imagine a friend of yours is extremely unhappy. It could be their relationship, their family, their job, or just about anything. What do you tell your friend? “It will all work out, just stay positive!” or something like that, right?

Now imagine that you and your friend switch places and you hear that advice.

“Just stay positive.”

It’s hard. It’s hard to stay positive when you’re unhappy with work, or your lack of “extra” items such as a car or a phone. Or just anything. Do you really want to hear that when you feel so down? My mom told me that we make our own happiness. Everything can be spun in a positive light. I can make myself enjoy my job(s) even though they aren’t anything that I expected and actually don’t like them. I can make myself find the silver lining in all that I don’t initially enjoy. I find myself wondering if that is really true. Can I truly enjoy doing something that just isn’t personally fulfilling or that I don’t feel is a good fit? Can I make it fit or will that just end up hurting me like Cinderella’s stepsisters trying to fit into the slipper in the original story?

I guess right now I just have to wait and see. I have promised myself that I will stay with each job for four weeks and see if I get better or if things change. If, after this month, I feel the same as I do now, I’ll stop being miserable. I will create my own happiness by either figuring out how to force myself to like things I don’t actually like or I will change my circumstances. Either way, I keep telling myself I can do anything for a month. Right?

Any advice is accepted and appreciated.

Until next time!