It is hard for me to imagine that a couple of weeks go by and as I think to myself about updating my “nut” status on the blog, I begin to hyperventilate (that is, you know, what some of us mildly OCD “folks” do when we over think things!! LOL) as I wonder how to put into thoughtful, entertaining words of the oh so common daily events of a “seasoned nut”. I always tend to agonize over a word here or a word there and before you know it the 1200 – 1400 word allotment that I try to hold myself to turns into a three-day, several hours a day commitment. I guess it is similar to a movie producer who strives to put forth a marketable product and spends days/weeks/months before a ninety minute film is ready to be viewed. Therefore I have issued a challenge to myself…………..I will simply think and type on this one and only day of Saturday, October 20th………….I will not check Thesaurus a hundred times or worry about the sensitivities of my family members who may get mentioned (gee, have I ever really done that???????), nor will I google to fact check any “political” commentary I just might happen to “mention” now that the election is only 17 days away (did the math in my head………..google would have been accurate to the minutes, seconds!!!!
Right now I am sitting in the convention center in Chicago with Jim, Jennifer, Olivia, Sam, Natalie and Megan while Natalie competes in the Chicago Feis.
Monday, October 22nd
Okay………….so that didn’t work out so well. I was thwarted on Saturday in my attempt to write and post a blog on the same day by making sure I did not miss any of the six dances in which Natalie was competing. I was further distracted when Jim searched for the OSU/Purdue game update on his i-phone and we learned that Ohio State was losing to Purdue with three minutes left, that Braxton Miller was injured and out of the game, and that Kenny Guiton was trying to stage a comeback. I believe we were the only ones in the Convention center who gave up a cheer for the Buckeyes stunning OT win………….not much interest at a Chicago Feis for the outcome of an OSU game :). Natalie did well against some very tough competition, placing in all but two of her dances. I could go off on one of my tangents about how a seemingly innocent desire to pursue an interest in dance (or insert, any sport) can take some parents to the brink of bankruptcy!!! LOL It seems as though someone is always devising a better shoe, a more elaborate dress complete with sequins and bling, sequined socks, sparkly hair accessories, short-haired, long-haired or pony-tailed wigs (if you want to compete as an Irish step-dancer you must have plenty of fake curly hair!!). And then, you must have special shoes to practice in, shirts and jackets identifying your dance school and, of course, the “right ” equipment to cart all of this to and from the competitions which take place miles and miles away from home keeping the hotels, convention centers, fast food restaurants, BP, Speedway, etc open for business. OMGosh…………the free market is alive and well in Irish dance!!!!!!!!
Crick is whispering in my ear, that I have definitely “gone off on a tangent” and by now everyone knows that my “soapbox” extends far beyond just religion and politics and I should remember what my coffee mug says about me!!!!!!!!
I had planned a different recounting of the past two weeks, but I am thinking I should share part of the adventure that was Chicago and a couple of the thoughtful and generous blessings which continue to come my way.
Chicago, despite being the hometown (?) of “you know who”, is quite a fun and exciting cosmopolitan city. Jenn and Steve (Schultheis-side nephew and my :) Godson) graciously offered us the use of their Lincoln Park condo for the weekend. We arrived late Thursday night, welcomed by the city lights of downtown Chicago, and settled into their three-story row home with a roof top deck. As Friday was the only day for us to take in the sights and sounds of the Windy City, we decided to head to the Magnificent Mile and the Navy Pier. Although the day was overcast and cool with a forecast for rain we dressed appropriately, bought an all day bus pass and caught bus #22 to Michigan Ave. We walked up and down the Avenue venturing into the Nike store, the American Girl Store (Megan took Natalie in there), and the Lego store where there was this amazing Lego built church, a perfect replica of the real church building just down the street. We then walked to the Navy Pier for some souvenir shopping and ohhhhhh nooooooo …………………guess what confronted me?????? …………………. two life-sized cardboard pictures of POTUS and FLOTUS (that would be the President and First Lady), and so I did what just seems to come naturally to me!!!! LOL I hope you can all fully appreciate the effort it is taking me to refrain from jumping up on my “political”soapbox!!! The Navy Pier would be a great place to stroll on a bright, sunny, warm day with its outdoor eating areas, boat rides, etc. I guess I will just have to make a return visit to stroll the Pier, see the museums, the aquarium and do lots more “window” shopping. There was just one thing that kept calling out to me before we decided to call it a day, and that was the giant Ferris wheel. Normally, I would run like the wind as far away from such an imposing feature as I am truly terrified of heights. The memories I have of my very last ride on one was many years ago at the Ohio State Fair when Crick lured me onto one that was probably only half as high as the one at the Pier. He promised he would not rock the chair, but just as we got to the top, the Ferris wheel stopped for what seemed like an eternity and Crick just could not resist. And so, with me pleading and begging, Crick began to gently rock the chair slowly back and forth grinning and laughing telling me how safe we were and couldn’t I, “just enjoy looking all around at the amazing “Columbus skyline”?” I can’t remember my response, but I guarantee you his actions certainly provoked another of our “discussions”. Anyway, since he seems to be constantly on my mind, especially these past few weeks, I made a decision that I would beat down my fear and climb aboard (besides, I took note that this over 1400 ft. monstrosity, was moving at a snail’s pace and the sides were completely enclosed, and the people accompanying me on my mission were “safe”……….Jennifer, Megan and Sam. Of the four of us, I think Sam was the only one not sweating bullets as we hopped on………fear of heights is apparently a hereditary trait which I passed on to most, if not all of our kids. I just told myself not to look down, but to listen to Crick’s advice to me from all those years ago to, “just enjoy looking around at the amazing “Chicago skyline”………………….and so I did…………………….. and it was amazing!!!
Having survived the Ferris wheel and as it was approaching five o’clock, we chose to walk back to Michigan Ave. to catch the bus back to the condo. Now here is where it began to get a bit muddled. Jim had his i-phone with GPS mapping and he plotted our “journey” back to the bus stop. A light rain was beginning to fall, the weather turning slightly cooler and the traffic intensifying with cabs, ambulances, BMW’s, Mercedes, Jaguars, Cadillacs and buses all competing for the right of way. It was a people watcher’s dream, but I couldn’t slow down to enjoy it all as we wanted to catch our bus before the rain increased. Blocks and blocks later we all turned around to ask Jim which corner we were supposed to stop to catch our bus, and, having checked his GPS for what seemed to us like the hundredth time, we were told to look for a bus headed to Clark St. We finally thought we were at the right stop, when three jam-packed buses stopped to let off a few passengers, but we quickly realized that all of us would not fit on any of the three buses. As the doors to one of the buses was beginning to close, Jennifer asked the driver if the next bus would get us to our destination and he informed her that we were, in fact, at the wrong stop and would have to back track to the previous block. Long, long story short……..we had just reached the appointed location when the rain began to pour as we hurriedly ducked into the protection of the bus shelter. Fortunately, the downpour was short-lived and soon a gentleman joined us to wait on the arrival of bus #22. Somehow a conversation began as to our individual destinations and he asked us why we were waiting at this particular location because, he said, this bus was going to take us back to the Navy Pier that we had left an hour ago. He said it would eventually loop around and get us to where we were headed, but in the rush hour traffic that could be quite awhile. He told us to walk yet another block away and assured us we would be able to catch a ride on the correct bus!!! By now, we are all getting hungry and a bit tired after already walking most of the day, and then Jim suggested that perhaps we could just start walking all the way back to the condo…………I do believe I gave him the look that I used to give Crick right before a “discussion” ensued. To his credit, Jim relented and we pursued what had now become in each of our minds a “journey to the center of the earth”!!! LOL We not only had that very kind native Chicagoan to thank for our safe return home, but also another Chicagoan, a woman, who, after we had finally boarded the correct bus, listened to two other women advise us incorrectly as to which street was the one closest to the condo. As the bus driver approached this one intersection the woman got up, walked past us all, and said, “You get off here with me!”. She sounded so authoritative that we all did what she said and exited the bus with her and gratefully found ourselves back among the familiar surroundings of Steve and Jenn’s Lincoln Park neighborhood. Whew!!!! A word to the wise…………like the American Express slogan…………….”Don’t leave home without it” (a print out of the bus routes to the Magnificent Mile)!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I feel so blessed to have been given this wonderful opportunity to see Chicago as I continue to feel God’s presence in my life in so many little ways. Over the past couple of months, I have been the recipient of things great and small and each one warms my heart and brings comfort to my soul. Mike (brother-in-law) has taken care of my “three blind mice” problem which nearly did me in (hint……….never let your grandchildren know how deathly afraid you are of anything!!!!!!!), and then gave up an entire Saturday thatching and re-seeding my entire back yard…………..I thought about lying down on the grass like Crick did when I was doing the yard work last year and commenting (like Crick did to me) about how one really shouldn’t work so hard, but last year I had control of the thatching rake, and, as I having a healthy respect for large, sharp yard tools, I decided against tempting my fate with Mike!! LOL By the way, the yard is looking much more lush and green than it does in this pic. Then there was the e-mail from my former employer, Dr. Liz, who wanted to know if I had received in the mail her two tickets to the OSU/UAB game that she had sent knowing how I would love to go to a game. Unfortunately, I never received them and we were both disappointed, but a day before the game, son-in-law, Jim came up with two free A deck, 40 yard line, club tickets to the very same game…………………….Liz, you must have some amazing ESP !!!!!!!!! And, most recently I received a wonderfully uplifting card and very generous gift from my lifelong friend, Beth who, when Crick was stationed in Korea for almost two years back in ’67-’69, spray painted gold a plastic bottle of “Joy” (the detergent) & presented it to me with a handwritten gold embossed note that stated that the bottle represented the “joy” that I would be filled with once again when Crick returned home. Beth and I have shared 12 years of school, we have shared the same faith and the same values……………..and the same politics!!, we’ve each raised four children and we have experienced and shared the many, many joys and sorrows of this life even though we have been separated by many miles throughout many years………….in all of these ways (great and small), God has graciously touched my life with His :).
Interestingly, I just read this last night while I was thinking of Crick and how much I was missing his presence. God surely knows my thoughts and He always helps me to see His way.
The best response to losses or thwarted hopes is praise. The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord. Remember that all good things………….your possessions, your family and friends, your health and abilities, your time………….are gifts from Me. Instead of feeling entitled to all of these blessings, respond to them with gratitude. Be prepared to let go of anything I take from you, but never let go of My hand. from Jesus Calling
P.S. How did the Yankees lose four straight games to Todd’s Tigers???????……………..oh yeah, they couldn’t hit the broadside of a barn!!!! Guess I will reluctantly cheer for the Tigers over the Giants…………….and wait for next year :(
P.P.S Hey! I did this post all in one day and I never consulted the Thesaurus once, I don’t think I have offended any family member, I didn’t “google” any political facts, but………………………..I did go over my 1200 word limit!
P.P.P.S. Tommy, standing at the kitchen counter on a TGIFriday night just after we had lined up four boxes of pizza for dinner, can’t decide which type of pizza he wants so he begins to say, “Eeny, meeny, miny, mo……..catch a China Ho……….my Mother says to pick the very best one………….and y-o-u are it!!!!!” I don’t know where he gets this stuff…………….Joe????????????