My Parma Pastiche

Last night, my Sweetie and I ended our eight-day run as the world’s most amazing “Human Companions” to Xander, The Wonder Dog, a giant schnauzer owned by two of our dearest, closest friends. Overall, my Sweetie and I had a GREAT time – Xander is an exceptional dog (we are exceptional dog-sitters, too!), our hosts were super generous, leaving us a beautiful house chocked full of yummy food and a big-ass TV, a Wii, a PS2 and an amazing backyard. I feel kinda’ guilty, like we should pay them for letting us stay-cation at their house. Anyhow, it was a great, great visit and we would/will do it again in a minute…

In a previous post, I think I mentioned our friends live in Parma, a large “suburb” of Cleveland – it’s not really even a suburb; Parma is pretty dang big! Anyhow, it is always fun to “live somewhere new” even if it is on a stay-cation. You see new people and new things – it’s just fun. So, with that in mind, I’d like to share with you my impressions of Parma – this is my “Parma Pastiche…”

One thing I didn’t know about Parma before actually “living there” was just how beautiful the city is – sure, it is a little “urban sprawl-y” but there are many, many areas that are nice and green and Parma has more crazy wood benches just plopped everywhere than I have ever witnessed in any city. I guess it speaks to a more laid-back pace of life and I like that…

bench in nature

These images were all taken by the lake we walked Xander around almost every day. The lake is the centerpiece of a huge apartment complex, well-maintained and pretty nice. There are benches all around the lake, which is populated with mallard ducks, Canadian geese and, for at least two days in a row, this blue heron (I think it is a blue heron). Those wood benches are all OVER Parma, and I think that is awesome.

Another thing I didn’t know about Parma is just how sentimental the residents there must be. This can be witnessed by the amazing number of roads, all with variations of the same name: York Road/Olde York Road, Pleasant Valley Road/ Old Pleasant Valley Road/West Pleasant Valley Road and so on…

York Road / Olde York Road

I find this “attachment” to names charming, although as someone with no sense of direction, I also found it to be a bit challenging at times… I mean, who names streets like that?

A couple things I had heard about Parma were confirmed during our stay there. Parma is definitely a city of immigrants. Parma has a Polish neighborhood, a Ukrainian neighborhood as well as a fair sprinkling of Indian and Middle Eastern peeps as well. I think it is kinda’ cool that each of these groups maintains the “history and traditions” of their old country here in their new country. My great grandparents immigrated from Germany in the late 1800’s and wanted nothing more than to “be” American. My family has few traditions tying us back to our German roots and, to be honest, I miss that… Anyway, nothing brought this situation home more than when I stopped to buy some perogies on my way to work Friday morning…UAYA perogies sale

When I entered this room, I felt like I was somewhere else – there were like nine sweet little old ladies all “stuffing and pinching” perogies, talking in a language I didn’t recognize. When I asked if I could take their picture, they all smiled and adjusted their hairnets – it was ADORABLE. I mentioned I had Polish friends (my Sweetie is Polish) and they asked me if I was Polish; I said no, that I was German and then one of the ladies started rattling off German to me! When I “Nein’ed” them and delivered the only sentence I know in German – “Ein kaffe und ein bracht” (one coffee and one bread), they all giggled, laughed and clapped their hands. It was amazing – as are their perogies.

O.M.G – they are mouthwatering…

Something else I had also always heard about Parma was the local fascination with yard decorations. I must say, I was unprepared for the array of lawn decor I encountered there: Virgins, Holy Families, Angels, Lighthouses, Kissing Dutch Children, Concrete Geese in Festive Holiday attire – if you can imagine it, it exists in a yard – in multiple YARDS – in Parma. It is actually kinda’ sweet – you see, my Mom had a “fascination” for yard decorations as well. Now, the thing is, before you judge, the lawns in Parma are all impeccably manicured. Short of cities in Florida, I have never seen such well-manicured, well- landscaped lawns anywhere besides Parma.

Parma Ohio LawnsThe house in the top image had, left to right, a lighthouse, an angel, a concrete goose (on the porch) a skipping child and, outside the image on the right, a Virgin and two lovers on a park bench. The Upright Bear lower left is from a house that has not one, not two but THREE tree carvings like this along their front lawn (and this is the SMALLEST one!) And finally, the bottom right image is, I swear, a portion of the Tivoli Fountain with a small lawn jockey as well (sorry for the blurry image – this was taken on the fly while walking an impatient 75 pound dog, LOL!) Now, granted, the yards above are all a bit extreme but again, every sidewalk and driveway looked like that had been edged with tweezers, the bushes and flowers all well-placed and planted. So, listen – people in Parma like lawn statues. So what? My Mom in Shelby did, too.

So, in summation, this is what I learned from my stay in Parma – it is a nice city that may be a little quirky but who wants to be average, right? Everyone there is very friendly; I would definitely live there. Plus, I learned that, the MINUTE we live somewhere where dogs are allowed, we will have one. My Sweetie loves dogs – and to be honest? – I guess I do, too…

I would love to see this beautiful picture every day. So pure. So sweet. So happy…

my Sweeties

  My Sweetie and Xander, heading off “into the sunset…”


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