The Week in Review

And so, with 1:15 remaining on the play clock, I plead, to no one in particular, “Please, please, please just let the Buckeyes get to the Final Four & that will be enough for me!”………………………………..wellllll…………… will be enough for me……………………………until sometime this coming Saturday anyway….LOL!! And oh how I love, love, love Aaron Craft…….he makes me want to stand up & cheer which I had many occasions to do on Saturday night, right family???!!!  I even resurrected an old Watterson cheer to inflict on my fellow Buckeye fans as Craft came to the free throw line………Sink it Aaron, sink it……..put it in, put it in, put……it……in!!!!!! (once a cheerleader, always a cheerleader:)!)   I confess that I did do my share of booing also as the refs alternately seemed to see some fouls that were not there while missing many that were so obvious, even I saw them!!!!  Anyway, I’m so happy I don’t even care that my bracket was busted after only the second round.

Once again, it was a fairly busy week as we all were outdoors taking advantage of the earliest spring weather I can ever remember.  The temps have been in the 70’s & 80’s producing an abundance of daffodils & hyacinth & causing the early budding of the magnolia, cherry, crabapple & pear trees.  Of course, being the standard bearer of the “glass half-empty” personalities, I do have to mention that the forsythia bushes have also, just this past week, come into their yellow bloom & if you are a member of the Clark family, you will remember Mom’s  ever famous edict that there would be three more snows once the forsythia bloomed.  And so it is quite possible that in a couple of weeks we just may be sporting stocking caps instead of Easter bonnets!!!

Meanwhile, some of the nieces who gathered with other family at Christine & Mike’s for St. Patrick’s Day challenged the “old” Aunt (or did I challenge them??) to a game of “Pig” on the basketball court &  then dared to see how she could handle Mike pitching the wiffle ball to her!  I did lose out on the BB court to those “pesky” nieces (Katie, Erin, Maddie, Chelsea, Leah…….you know I love you!!), but I did smack the old wiffle ball pretty darn hard (used that “political visualization” thing again  LOL)!!   Getting back to the subject of the weather, last Sunday evening just as I was pulling the lasagna out of the oven (and yes, as you can guess, it all began with that “pot of boiling water” !) the tornado siren began to wail, but given that the entire family was famished, we chose to eat first & listen for the freight train (that’s the sound they say you hear when a tornado is heading your way).  Even Tommy & Maria who live in Hilliard (where the path of the storm was beginning its track) checked in to see if we had gone to our lower level (ok, ok, our “lower level” is a Clintonville basement & not a very pretty one at that!!……..another reason to wait for the sound of the freight train!).  As I  told the slightly worried grandkids……………………we will just turn the TV on to our local NBC meteorologists whose news station is 4 minutes away & directly west of our house to watch & see if they run for cover.  Then, if we see them abandon their post, we know we still have time to head to the “dungeon”.  Now just so you know, we did eventually go to the basement even though Jym (why does he spell his name that way?) Ganahl was still on the air so that the grandchildren would understand that we do take these warnings seriously.  Fortunately, while we experienced torrential downpours for almost an hour, along with quite a bit of hail, the storm passed without further incident.  Oh, except for the fact that after all of the family left, when the rain had stopped & all was once again quiet & calm & just as I had settled in to watch some March Madness……………………the electricity went out!!!!  Funny thing about Clintonville……… can have one street with power & the street right behind you has no power, or you can even have electricity at your house, but your next door neighbor loses his.  Anyway I seem to be the only family member who lost power, but as it was already 9 PM I decided to just stay put as my laptop had an hours worth of battery left which gave me sufficient time to read up on some politics.  Did you notice how I just dropped that “p” word right into this posting?????????

Now, you all know me, I cannot let this pass without some kind of comment & I always, always, always (as Crick would add) have something to say:).  Don’t worry Jenn, Meg, Steph & Chris, this will be very benign.   I just want to thank Cecilia for stepping out of her comfort zone to go with me to the Federal Building on Friday for the Nationwide Rally for Religious Freedom, a non-partisan, ecumenical, family friendly event where hundreds gathered to show their opposition to the recent HHS mandate.  While I do try my best to keep my political commentary light hearted, I am firmly convinced that our nation is at an extremely critical crossroad as we face two very diametrically opposing ideologies in the November election.  I pray every day that God’s blessing will be upon us all & that “Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, the Patroness of the United States of America, will protect our nation from all harm, physical & spiritual”.   “Nuff ” said!   Wwellllllll………………………not really, but as Archie Bunker once said to Edith, “Silence is golden, so stifle thy self!”.  I will therefore, “stifle myself”!   (Note to the younger generation…… “All in the Family” television sitcom from the ’70)s.

I continue to struggle with technology………..aarrghh!!!……… and as Jessica & Christopher have generously offered to add me to their Verizon account & my phone was due for an upgrade, I acquired a touch screen phone with a full keyboard.  Now, one would think that having the touch screen feature would lead to fewer user errors…………..right???  Sooooooooo, I told Jennifer that I would pick up her, Sam & Natalie on Friday evening to attend the St. Andrew Fish Fry (seems like over the past few years, more & more Catholic parishes are hosting Fish Fry’s during the Lenten season (do they not know about the infamous “pot of boiling of water”????…… meatless pasta is waaayyy better)………anyway, as it was raining when I pulled into their driveway, I decided to call her on my new cell phone to let her know I was waiting in the car.  However, since her home number is not listed in my contacts, I used my “exciting” new touch screen to place my call.  Sooooo, being the informal person that I am, as soon as I hear a voice on the other line I say, “Hey I’m sitting out here in your driveway!!!” and the voice on the other end replies, “Oooohhhhhhh noooooo you’re not……………………(lots of laughter on the other line!)………..& I believe you have a wrong number!”  Apparently, I ” let my fingers do the walking” (remember the old Yellow Pages commercial?) & they walked onto the 6 instead of the 3.   This scenario is a fairly familiar one for me………… I really should learn to be more cautious…………..years ago I wanted to invite Tommy over for dinner (he was single at the time & so I imagined him to be desperate for even one of my home-cooked meals :)).  Once again, I picked up the phone & when I heard the voice on the other end, I said, “Hi………Tommy?”  He replied, “Yes it’s Tommy.” I continue, “Hey, I’m having lasagna (did I ever mention that lasagna is the one meal at which I excel? Thank you Dawn for your recipe!), salad & garlic bread for dinner tonight & I thought maybe you would like to join us.”   The response……..”Well, it sounds really great & I would love to come, just tell me who you are, where you live, what time & I’ll be there.”  I say, somewhat confused,  “Is this Tommy?”  He says once again, laughing out loud, “Yeah, I’m Tommy, but I don’t think I’m the Tommy you are looking for, although I’m really hungry & I sure would like a home-cooked meal…………………keep me in mind if you don’t find the real Tommy !”  Now who would ever think that by inadvertently dialing a wrong number, I would end up calling someone with the same name as my brother??????

You know, I really do not know how to “stifle”………….on the one hand, I feel as though much of what I write is so much insignificant chatter, but then, it proves the point of how much I am missing Crick.  After all, he was my “sounding board” who either let it all “go in one ear & out the other” or provided a vehicle for an overdue “discussion” (reference once again the King’s Island Main Street incident).  I think about him everyday & he occasionally “haunts” me in my dreams (LOL).   And while at times, the missing of him can be so overwhelming in all of its finality, I can, for the most part, find comfort in focusing my memory on his happy-go-lucky, “just be glad you woke up & were able to put two feet on the floor” optimism & his  love of all that was good in each of us & in the world.   Knowing how he would want me to face every single day, seeing the “glass half-full”, energizes me to try to live gratefully in each moment.  Several weeks ago while driving to work, I switched over from talk radio to music & I heard this song for the first time (having never before heard of Gary Allan).  It seemed to mirror some of what I have been feeling the past several weeks and so, from the bottom of my heart, I thank you Crick for the beautiful ride:).   

“In this life, the Lord allows His saints to enjoy many sweet blessings, but none are more precious than those which occur deep in the valleys of disappointment, pain and heartache, where He without fail draws near.”                   George Lauderdale


P.S.  And please, please, please just let the Buckeyes & Aaron Craft make it to the championship game :)!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Bowling, Basketball, “Fab Five”

Gutter Ball or Strike????

I will give you a little hint………………………………………….the bowling ball I am holding weighs about eight pounds…………………………….the shoes, should you be able to zoom in on them, appear to be a relic of the 1960’s……………………………the bowler (a “relic” of the 1960’s herself!!!!!!), wearing her traditional black & white, has not been to a bowling alley in years & received a big fat “D” in her bowling class while at OSU (quite pathetic, I know).  And so, ……………………………….you would be more correct if  you were to have answered “gutter ball” to the question posed in the picture.  However, I do have to mention that I did manage to knock down every pin on at least one occasion.  I resorted to a  secret “weapon” (remember that I am aligned with the TEA party……LOL)  at my disposal………………..I tried to visualize the bowling pins as certain members of Congress……..LOL!!!!!  I only said that b/c I know that there are those of you from BOTH sides of the political discourse who would have no problem with resorting to that type of visualization  & besides I love to give my kids a reason to roll their eyes at me!!!  The back story to the pic is that Stephanie, Jennifer, Megan, Jessica, Jess’s Mom (Deanna), Christine, Jo, Kathy & I decided to  “get active” this past weekend  & headed to a nearby bowling alley for some exercise & as it turned out, one heck of a lot of groans & laughs!  Jessica had a bit of an edge as her grandparents own a bowling alley in Canton where she began bowling as a little girl………………………..she even sported her own bowling ball & bag!!!  Come to think of it,  she even had her very own wrist support…………… wonder she scored better than “I” ( I was going to say “me”, but I don’t think that is grammatically correct even though it sounds better!)…… wonder why I am so obsessed over correct pronoun usage when obviously none of my punctuation is grammatically correct……….!!!!!!!!  Anyway,  as I look back over my scores, I think that I should probably just stick to golf & trust me, given my golf handicap,  that definitely reflects on a pretty depressingly low bowling average!!!!

And while I am on the subject of sports (so much safer to discuss than politics or religion!)…………………have you filled out a bracket for March Madness?  We have one going on in the family & once again, I made an ID – TEN  – T  error which is the lingo the help desk techs use for people like me (id- 1o – t) who fail to, either completely read the instructions given, or fail to comprehend them (LOL).  I had decided that I would fill out two bracket forms hoping to give myself a little better chance at winning, but apparently I neglected to hit “save” for my 2nd entry………………………..I’ll keep you informed on how I am doing with my one &  only entry………..when you have some “skin” in the game (woo hoo…..$5 !!) it makes watching the games even more exciting!!  I happen to have the Buckeyes going all the way………………..yes, all of you Clark nieces & nephews the “dreamcrusher” herself, has a dream.- Ohio State as “National Champions”  (I just pray………oops, Aunt Evie would frown…… are not allowed to pray for your team to win………… that would be an unworthy request!……………so I will hope that the Bucks, who won big in the first match-up, can make it through the next round (so as not to spoil St. Patrick’s Day for us!).  I kind of hate to see the basketball season come to a close…………..the grandkids are all signed up for their respective baseball/softball/t-ball teams &, ugh!……………I really, really find baseball sooooooo  slow &, well, …………boring (just hope the “Yankees” didn’t hear me say that! – besides, I can watch them play on TV in my air-conditioned home, not out in the hot sun with the bees, gnats & mosquitos LOL).   I had a good laugh at Luke’s last basketball game…………………..his coach, Brian Byrne, a longtime family friend,  was called for a technical midway through the last quarter.  A look of astonishment swept over the faces of all of the parents in the bleachers b/c Brian is the most positive, fun-loving & fair coach any kid could ever hope to have.  And then, we heard the referee (with a huge smile on his face) yell out that the technical was called on Brian for naming his team the “Mashed Potatoes”!!  And yes, that was the team’s official name which apparently had its origins from Brian’s 0wn childhood basketball team.    Tommy must, therefore, think that food is the main ingredient when it comes to the naming of basketball teams b/c earlier in the week he had asked Stephanie to take him back to see the Pork Chops play again.  Stephanie was puzzled & asked him who the Pork Chops were & Tommy explained that this was the basketball team that Stephanie had taken Luke & him to see, the basketball players who did all of those amazing tricks………………………..hey Tommy, that would be the “Harlem Globetrotters”!!!!!!!!!!!

TGIFriday Kids + One!!

Ah yes, the mind of a child……………almost as curious & interesting as the mind of an OTHSMC (over the hill, scatterbrained, mathematically challenged!) 1960’s relic.  LOL   Now the ride home from school with the TGIFriday grandkids provides loads of very “curious & interesting” data.  Last Friday as the “Fab Five” squeezed into my Nissan Altima (sshhhhhh……..don’t tell the safety patrol!!) the chatter began………did I know that Mrs. M was moving from the 6th grade down to the 2nd grade & Mr. S. the math teacher, was  moving to 7th grade & the remaining 6th grade teacher Mrs. B, who is well……..not quite mean……….but pretty strict as well as tough, is probably going to make Sam’s life next year rather unpleasant?………………oh, & at recess, Joe (who is Joe?) got smacked in the nose & there was blood everywhere…………….even all over his light blue IC school shirt (by now I’m feeling sorry for Joe’s mom, whoever she is!)……………..and……………did I know that Natalie was grounded from all electronics over the weekend?………………..her preferred punishment, as opposed to not being allowed to enter her next Irish step-dancing competition…………………….all b/c of a stupid chair!!!!!  Ah yes, according to Natalie (the FDQ “family drama queen”) she was being punished for the simple act of moving a chair………………………….really Natalie?????……………..well, upon further questioning, it seems that Jennifer had asked her to move a chair & Natalie was not very respectful of her mother’s request……………….actually, Natalie proceeded to inform me that what she had really wanted to say to Jennifer was, “Well, why don’t you just move it yourself?!”………………..G-A-S-P!!!!!!!!!!!…………………….she hastened to add that, of course, she didn’t say it out loud………………………(imagine what her punishment would have been then!!……she can’t be punished for her thoughts or can she, Jennifer??).  Whew………. I can hardly wait to hear this Friday’s chatter.

It is in these moments with the grandkids that, strangely enough, I feel not only Crick’s absence, but in some mysterious way, his presence the most.  He was always, always, always at the center of their chaos (&, as we all know, most of the time he was the cause of it!!!!).  And when the grandchildren all take their leave,  as I go about the task of checking to see what was left behind  (today it was the National Guard cap that Crick had given to Sam, as well as Eddie’s chew toy & leash………………………….have I never mentioned Eddie?? he is the “granddog”!!………………………& yes, he was here along with all of the two-legged grandchildren :)…………………………………I wonder if Sam & Jennifer have missed these items yet!)……… anyway……………..I think back to that moment in which the faulty Christmas lights came on, &, crazy as it may sound, a sense of peace fills my soul.  For I know in my heart that through these nine rambunctious, thoughtful, funny, competitive, curious, loving,  creative, outgoing grandchildren, the essence of all that defined Crick lives on.  And as he often told the school kids at Glacier Ridge, “My eyes are on you!”.  That is how I like to think of him now…………………………..his eyes on all of us :)!!!!

“Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”                           Matthew 5:4



This Week’s Jumbled Thoughts

"Reading" The Three Little Pigs

How in the word did the week fly by so fast??  At this pace, my “bucket list” is going to be pretty tough to complete!  Prepare yourselves, in no particular order, here come my jumbled thoughts

For one thing,  I have switched to the HTML mode (don’t know what that is? well neither do I, but apparently it is different from the visual mode (WYSIWYG……”what you see is what you get”) which is the way I have posted the previous journal. So, I figured I would test this out to see if it is easier to write using the HTML (“how to mangle letters”???). If anyone knew how long it takes me to accomplish a single technological task or to decipher the extremely foreign, yet touted as “oh so easy” directions, they would wonder how I have managed to ever hold a job. Actually, I am hoping that my “one day a week job” is not in any jeopardy as I am still struggling to figure out Microsoft Excel…..those darned cells just don’t merge my way LOL!! Whoever devised all of today’s technology never heard of the KISS Principle “keep it simple, stupid”!!!! Well,there, that is one thought down…………here come the rest.

The grandchildren have served to keep me on my toes of late. The two youngest, Josh & Mayce, were they to join forces to be unleashed into the world at large, they could very well become our nation’s greatest defensive weapon. The rest of the world would literally be quaking in their boots (LOL)! I have nicknamed Josh “the demolition man” ……..last week Christopher came over to the house with just Josh & Sydney & while Chris & I were engaged in discussing the latest political blogs, we had to rescue the kitchen from Josh who had, on 5 separate occasions gotten into the refrigerator, each time removing & rearranging various food items. One of those times, he had taken out a container of blueberries & turned it upside down, spilling out the entire contents & as I tried to pick them up off of the floor, he began backing up, stepping on & smashing the blueberries, not only onto the floor, but also onto his shoes & before I could catch him, began running out into the living room where my newly cleaned carpet awaited him (fear not Tom, your hard work was spared as Christopher caught him before any damage could be done (FYI……. Tom Brown’s Carpet Care……the best Columbus has to offer – no charge for the free advertising Tom!!). You know, even at 17 months old, they have the darndest memories – every time Josh comes over, the first place he goes, even before removing his coat, is into the kitchen & stands directly in front of the cabinet where I always keep my beloved M&M’s pointing & speaking in his “Joshese” until he is given his “fix”!! Mayce, on the other hand uses her more accomplished verbal skills to command your attention. She already has quite a vocabulary & loves getting on Stephanie’s I-phone while she walks all over the house chatting away to whoever happens to be on the other end (kids are such great imitators & Mayce has obviously been very observant of her parent’s mode of communicating LOL!!). Now the first thing she does when she comes over to the house is to point to my laptop & repeats over & over, “Papa, Papa”……… seems that one day when Stephanie stopped by, I was working on burning a video to a DVD (reference the above KISS principle!!:)) that I had taken of the Schultheis Sibling OBX vacation & Mayce saw Crick sitting around the table playing cards with everyone & so now she always wants me to play the video so she can see him:(. Once she has seen Crick she is happy, & not having the brute strength of “demolition man” to open & begin cleaning out my refrigerator (lol), she insists that we watch the You Tube video of the 1940’s version of “The Three Little Pigs”. When Olivia was born 12 yrs ago, I began reading this story to the grandkids & now the You Tube version has become Nana’s “signature” story (See picture above) The little ones just love to “huff & puff & blow a house down”. I continually remind them about the “smart” pig who didn’t speed through his chores, but worked long & hard completing his task of building a strong house before taking time for some fun. (do you suppose there is a subliminal political message in there somewhere???).

Did I mention the “p” word??? Oh…….yes……… I…….did…….which leads right into my next thought……the primary election taking place today. Given my passion for what is going on in our country (remember, I didn’t seek this all out……it was Aunt Evie’s fault…she is the one who asked me to find out who Bill Ayers was!!), I decided that I would volunteer at the phone bank for Rick Santorum & and so I spent 3 hours over 2 days calling eligible voters, most of whom are, as yet, still undecided. I did make sure to immediately identify myself & that I was calling on behalf of the campaign. Somewhat surprisingly, most of the people actually answered their phones & were very polite & often most willing to engage in a little give & take regarding the differences between the candidates. No matter which side of the aisle we find ourselves politically, we are fortunate to remain, for now at least, free to cast our vote for the candidate of our choice. Sometimes the process is a little messy, but the freedom to give voice to our religious & political views without fear of any reprisal is not only a great privilege, but also a very grave responsibility. Did I just get up on that darned old soapbox?? Seems as though I did (it does seem to come out of nowhere though), guess I had better move on, huh?

Let’s see……….on Wednesday, the K thru 4 IC students were at Mass & Monsignor Missimi came down off the altar for his homily to walk up & down the aisle asking the students if they had ever made a promise to their parents, & if so, what had they promised. Lots of little hands went up & as Monsignor called on them, their replies were fairly typical, “clean my room”, “do the dishes”, “make my bed”, “do my homework” & then the last little boy Monsignor called on said that his promise was “to take a shower” LOL!!! Then Monsignor called on him to come out into the main aisle & asked everyone if this little guy wasn’t the most sparkling clean kid ever??!!! You just never know what you’re going to get with kids:). Monsignor also spoke to them about the Lenten practices of prayer & sacrifice. And he asked them if they all would be willing to make a promise to him that every morning when they got out of bed, they would first kneel down & say a prayer asking for God’s help & guidance. Of course, they all raised their hands that they would promise. I should remember to ask Luke, Natalie & Sophia how that’s going for them!!! On the subject of sacrifices, when I picked up the “TGI Friday grandkids” from school last week they were discussing Lent & what they were planning to give up & I chimed in that I thought it would be a great idea for Natalie to “give up talking” to Sam & for Sam to “give up talking” to Natalie……………….what a peaceful 6 weeks that would be for Jennifer & Jim!!!!!!! (LOL)

One last thought………….I had to go out to the Beightler Armory this past week to have a new military ID taken for insurance purposes. As I entered the building, several National Guardsmen dressed in their fatigues & boots were waiting to sign in & I couldn’t help but think of Crick & how happy & proud he was to have been one of them for 20 years. He always had a deep, abiding respect for the military & I know from all of the citations he received while he was in the service that that admiration was equally reciprocated. Every Guardsman I came in contact with at the Armory always prefaced or ended a sentence by calling me “Ma’am”. It is only when I am among military personnel that I am ever called “Ma’am” & it never fails to call to my mind, how my Dad (who was the youngest Major in the US army during WW II) insisted that all of his children reply to any adult as “Yes/No Sir or Ma’am”…….how times have changed!!! Anyway, getting my ID consisted of having my picture taken & getting a fingerprint of the index finger of each hand……………funny thing about those fingerprints……….they kept registering as “invalid”…………….now how in the world do you have an “invalid” fingerprint???? Maybe it has something to do with the fact that the index finger of my left hand was fractured one Christmas night 5 years ago when I tripped over Riley (Christine & Mike’s golden retriever, & yes, I know, how could I not see such a big dog?…………………..Mike’s home insurance agent wanted to know the same thing!! And whenever Mike reminds me of how I raised his insurance premium, I remind him that an insurance premium is cheaper than the lawsuit I could have brought against him for allowing his dog to lay right in my path!! LOL)

More & more thoughts are popping up into this cluttered mind of mine especially as the results of the primaries are coming in………..better sign off for now as it is getting very late. Before closing out this post, I found what I thought to be an appropriate ending excerpted from one of my daily readings:

“I the Creator of the Universe, am with you and for you. What more could you need? When you feel some lack, it is because you are not connecting with Me at a deep level. I offer abundant Life, your part is to trust Me, refusing to worry about anything. It is not so much adverse events that make you anxious as it is your thoughts about those events. Your mind engages in efforts to take control of a situation to bring about the results you desire. Your thoughts close in on the problem like ravenous wolves. Determined to make things go your way, you forget that I am in charge of your life. The only remedy is to switch your focus from the problem to My Presence. Stop all your striving & watch to see what I will do. I am the Lord.”


P.S. March Madness is almost upon us………..can the Buckeyes find some much needed momentum coming off of their victory against the Spartans????????????!!!!!!!!!!

P.P.S. Several people have asked about how to receive a notification when a new blog is posted. At the bottom right hand corner of the post there is an icon & if one clicks on “follow” you will be prompted to provide an e-mail address & will receive e-mail notifications each time there is a new post:).

March 9th

P.P.P.S  AAAGGGGGGHHHHH……….okay, so………………………..I clicked on & it seems a different view of the post showed up with the “follow tab” on the top left corner of the page!!!!!  Heck, maybe I am not meant to be “followed” !!  You remember the old “Follow the Leader” game????  Who knows where you may end up “following” moi….. LOL!!!!!! Anyway, as this is a “learn as you go” process & I am instructionally challenged:), it takes this old girl many hours of trial, error & frustration before the light bulb  comes on (an “incandescent” one mind you!) & I realize that I simply needed to add a “widget” (more blogging lingo) in the sidebar & voilla!  you can sign up for the “journey”………………..just don’t forget your life jacket!!!!!!!