The One Day, No Thesaurus, No Googled, No Offending Post

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

TNT

TGW

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????????????

Da-Da-Da-Dad

I am temporarily (as in the next few hours!) leaving behind the political world of the “right-wing nut” (although I guess I do have Neil Cavuto on my television screen right now :) ) so that I may focus on the day-to-day life of just a “regular nut”!!  As my poor, weary, harassed family and a few “lucky” friends are all too well aware, the looming election has me revved up and stuck in overdrive!!!!  LOL  So, I am forsaking politics for the moment to pull out of my hat some hopefully entertaining topics to take all of our minds away from the seriousness that surrounds us.  I was asked recently how I remember from one blog to the next what went on in my life a week, two weeks or even a month ago, and the fact is,  that I can’t remember.   For instance, I might have forgotten all about Tommy, Stephanie and the “shark tooth incident” if I hadn’t put a “note to self” in a word document that I keep on my computer desktop.

One thing that I can quite vividly remember is that I celebrated my 64th (oh!! that kinda hurt to write that) birthday on the 19th, a date which I now share with Mayce who was born on my birthday two years ago.  Josh turned two on the 12th and so the three of us celebrated several times with cake and ice cream over the course of the week.  By the time we had arrived at my celebration, the candles (minus about 54!!!) were placed on a half eaten birthday cake which was what was all that remained from the day before when Dr. Lori and Dr. Ira had thoughtfully surprised me with the cake at the office.  Jenn, Meg, Steph, Chris, Jim, Joe, Jess and all of the grand-kids made certain that my birthday was a joyous one.  I received a pair of much-needed shoes (athletic, tennis, walking, aerobic…………..not sure what to call them…………………I just know not to call them “running” shoes!!!!!), a “Go Bucks” Pandora charm, and a Jewel Kade necklace (JK is a  Party Plan vintage jewelry company that Jennifer began selling for part-time).  As you can see the two-sided charm has the S monogram on one side and our wedding photograph on the other.  Now I can always have Crick’s  “goofy”, but always engaging smile close at hand :).  My grandchildren also honored my birthday by restraining themselves from commenting on my “short, poofy” hair, my boring “black and white” wardrobe and my “wrinkled” face!!!!! (each of these telling observations have been highlighted in previous blogs).  And………………..speaking of grandchildren …….they continue to prove to be quite an entertaining group.  Since the beginning of the new school year I have added a couple more TGIFriday kids and now have to switch cars with Jessica or Stephanie as my Altima cannot safely accommodate eight of them.  I actually only have six of the grand-kids at I.C., but Tori (my niece and Christine’s daughter) is in Sam’s class and Tommy (the “shark tooth in the head” almost five-year old) didn’t want to miss out on the action.  Given their varying ages (from 13 down to 5) and their very different personalities (Sam, the “teaser/instigator”, Natalie, the “actress”, Olivia, the “unflappable”, Sophia, the “director”, Tori, the “commander”, Luke the “mastermind”, Sydney, the “informer”, and Tommy the “rookie instigator”) it usually isn’t too long before battle lines are drawn!!  LOL  The other day when they were all here, they found any number of plastic baseball bats and a few badminton rackets in the garage and were seen circling the outside of the house with bats and rackets raised……………………..no one was crying and I saw no blood……………………..and so I remained inside to enjoy the temporary peace and quiet.  I later learned that they had been playing “Hunger Games” (??????????)………………..and yes, in case you are wondering, I was puzzled as to the purpose of their “game”, but I decided, for once, to remain blissfully ignorant and asked no further questions. LOL!!!

You know, my wise, very wise Mother once told me when I was probably “whining and complaining” too much about the frustrations of motherhood that you can try to mold your child’s personality, but you will never change that personality.  Oh my gosh, she was dead-on!!  I have been an over-anxious, OCD  “nut” my entire life…………………..I have told this story on myself more than once………………….when I was about eight or nine years old we were living on Chatham Rd. in Clintonville and I was walking with some of the older neighborhood kids to the rec center which was just down the street.  We were waiting to cross High Street and when the traffic cleared, they all started to cross, but I wouldn’t budge.  They came back to get me, but I said that I wasn’t allowed to cross there because there was a sign that read “Presbyterian Crossing” and I, of course, was a Catholic.  Now I don’t remember exactly what they said, but I am quite certain it was something like, “Ma-ry Mar-ga-ret……..you are…………. a “n-u-t”……………………. a “nut“!!!  That sign reads Pedestrian Crossing, not Presbyterian!!!”  I don’t think I was even embarrassed, more like…………relieved………imagine what my life might have been like if I would have had to become a Presbyterian just to get across that road!!!!!!!

Another little observation about the “from birth” differences of my entertaining grand-kids concerns the communication skills of Mayce vs Josh (there are, of course, exceptions to this but you know the saying…………………………basically, men are from Mars and women are from Venus!!!)  Mayce and Josh are the youngest of three in each of their respective families……………Josh started walking at eight and a half months, was running by his first birthday and climbing all over everything in sight shortly thereafter. Mayce on the other hand didn’t start taking steps until she was beyond her first birthday and running came quite a bit after that, as for climbing….well, let’s just say she is still very cautious.  However, when it comes to verbalizing……………Mayce was all over that milestone………………..she was talking in coherent sentences at just about the time Josh had figured out how to climb out of his crib!!  Meanwhile we were all left wondering when Josh would finally begin to let us know what exactly was going on inside that head of his.  Until a couple of months ago, he spoke in some foreign language known only to himself but now, he is slowly revealing those innermost thoughts to all of us (hint………it’s short and swe………………well, it’s short!!!)

After watching that video if you are curious as to whether Josh has any words other than “Dad” in his vocabulary, I can assure you he has acquired quite a few now.  Just last week Jessica picked up Josh after I had been watching him for a short period and she said that when they returned home, Josh blurted out this entire sentence to Christopher…………………………………”I had fun with Nana……………………..I cleaned” (ya’ gotta’ get them when they’re young………………after age seven, they’ve learned that “cleaning” is no longer any fun!!!!! LOL).

One last reference about my age……………………………….. I was given a survey from Bob Evans this week to receive a free coffee, and when I got to the end of the survey, one of the last questions you are asked is what age group you are in………………I was appalled to learn that I am teetering on the very edge of the last and oldest group!!!!!!!!!!!!  Seriously though, when you are fortunate to live over sixty years in this world, you discover that God blesses you the most with lasting personal relationships which impact you all throughout your earthly life.  As I have stated many, many times over the course of the past two years, I have indeed been richly blessed!!!   And as my life continues to unfold in unexpected ways, I have grown more attuned to seeing how God works in the world each and every day to reveal Himself to us through the kindness and goodness of those around us.

I am perpetually with you, taking care of you.  That is the most important fact of your existence.  I am not limited by time or space; My Presence with you is a forever-promise.  You need not fear the future, for I am already there.  When you make that quantum leap into eternity, you will find Me awaiting you in heaven.  Your future is in My hands;  I release it to you day by day, moment by moment.  Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow.

I want you to live this day abundantly, seeing all there is to see, doing all there is to do.  Don’t be distracted by future concerns.  Leave them to Me!  Each day of life is a glorious gift, but so few people know how to live within the confines of today.  Much of their energy for abundant living spills over the time line into tomorrow’s worries or past regrets.  Their remaining energy is sufficient only for limping through the day, not for living it to the full.  I am training you to keep your focus on My Presence in the present.  This is how to receive abundant Life, which flows freely from My throne of grace.               from Jesus Calling

So do not worry about tomorrow: tomorrow will take care of itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own.                         Matthew 6:34

TNT

TGW

P.S.   The narrow Buckeye win not withstanding…………it has been a very good sports week…………………I am 3-1 in my FFFL league and in second place!!!  The Yankees have at least clinched a play-off berth and still lead by one game over the Orioles!!!   If the Reds and the Yankees end up, by some miracle, in the World Series, I am going to have to re-mortgage my home to get tickets…………….Crick against me…………..what could be more of a contest?????!!!!!  LOL