“Cheap”, “Un-Genius” Thoughts

calvin & writing

I have been feeling a bit like Calvin the past few days.  I have opened up “Oscar” and tapped out a few words, then, having re-read a couple of sentences………….hit delete, and then sat……………and waited………….. and waited…………….and waited……………..and waited and………………………………..nothing!!!!  Unfortunately, my artistic talent is non-existent, evidenced early in my life by receiving a “D” in the subject of art in grade school and so, unlike Calvin, drawing Martians was not an option.  So I am pretty much winging it right now, having set a goal of finishing this blog post sometime today.

Being not quite as confident in my “genius-ness” or my mental activities (ahem!!) as Calvin, I will simply attempt to keep the blog from reading like a page out of the novel Ivanhoe!  What is that, you say?  Never heard of one of the great pieces of literature???  Why back in the day, when I was sitting in freshman English class at Watterson, we would open the 544 page paperback and Sister Michele would instruct someone to begin reading aloud all about Medieval England, Richard-the-Lion-Hearted, Robin Hood, Prince John, the Normans, Rebecca, Lady Rowena and of course, Ivanhoe.  I know I will probably offend some lovers of classic British literature, but to a fourteen year-old, the reading of this particular novel in class was an almost insufferable way to await the ringing of the bell signalling the end of class.   Oh, and lest you think me truly a “genius” for the ability to call to mind, after fifty years, the cast of characters…………………….remember……………. Google is never more than a click away!!!

Aarrgghhh………………inspiration……………………..where are you???????????????  I, am as of this moment, only 280 words into my 1200 word, self-imposed word limit, and two days beyond my Sunday evening goal  of completing my post.  How can this be???  I am usually never at a loss for sharing an event or an opinion.  For example, I had plenty of words streaming through my consciousness after watching the President’s press conference Monday as Christopher (phone call),  Dr. Lori (text message) and my Twitter account can attest.  But strangely, I am struggling to put together an entertaining, coherent paragraph to reflect upon the “diary-of-a-nut”.  Perhaps I could begin with a brief video of the grandchildren as we once again celebrated Crick’s birthday without him.   It would have been his 65th (I remind myself that in twenty years, that will actually sound young!!), and I had planned to prepare a spaghetti dinner for the 17 of us, as well as Christine, Mike, Leah, Katie and Tori (so sorry Crick, I know you would have preferred us to celebrate the day with your favorite roast beef entrée, but I vetoed your “in absentia” vote as, after all, roast beef does not begin with a “pot of boiling water”!!!).

Stephanie happened to stop by early with Luke and Tommy and nine helium filled balloons.  It seems that Tommy had asked Steph about getting a gift for Papa and Stephanie came up with a great idea……….once all of the grandchildren had arrived, they were given a small sheet of paper and were asked to write a note to, or a memory of, Crick.  The notes were then attached to each of the balloons and right before we put the candles on the cake, the kids went out into the backyard with their balloons, notes attached, and on the count of three released them into the night sky.   Earlier when we had

Sending the birthday wishes heavenbound
Sending the birthday wishes heavenbound

gathered the grand-kids all together to take some video of them holding the balloons, we asked if anyone would like to share their messages…………Tommy wrote that he remembered how great Papa was at fixing things, Olivia remembered fishing with Crick and also how Papa used to take his finger and run it through the icing on the cake letting her lick the extra dose of sugar from his finger……..LOL!!  Sydney recalled the memory of Crick catching a small shark on one of our beach vacations and Natalie shared how much she missed him and signed it your “Kosovo” granddaughter.  (side note………I was thinking about why she referenced

"It Is What It Is" another of Crick's infamous sayings!
“It Is What It Is” another of Crick’s infamous sayings!

Kosovo as she was only nine months old when Crick began his overseas tour, but now as I reviewed the video, I saw that when Sophia came over that night she had asked to wear Crick’s army cap and his dog tags which I had placed on top of Crick’s military flag and so this might have been Natalie’s inspiration).  Luke, Sam and Sophia were a little shy about sharing their notes, but Luke let Stephanie read his before he attached it to his balloon and on the backside of his remembrance, Luke wrote, “I hope that things are going well for you in heaven”.   I just love all these “young-uns” (as Grandma Heubel used to say)…………..they make my heart smile when I need it most!!!!!!!!!

As Stephanie’s birthday was the day before Crick’s, she and Joe, Jennifer, Jim, Megan, Jessica (Chris was at work), and I met for dinner and then headed out to the newly opened Hollywood Casino.  Now I am not much of a gambler but I do know full well how quickly twenty dollars (you can easily detect what “high stakes roller” means to me!!!) can slip through one’s fingers.  Therefore it was with some reluctance that I finally took a seat at the penny slot machines, pulled the lever and watched the reels spin round and round hoping to eventually find myself staring at three matching symbols and collecting an exciting return for my ‘”extravagant” investment…. LOL!!  Well now…………………here is what I learned…………………those three and five reel machines are great at letting you win an occasional token amount which just entices you to keep feeding the machine more and more of your hard-earned money.  The secret then is obviously in knowing exactly when to quit!!!!!  Thanks once again to “Google”, here is what I subsequently learned:

The psychology of the machine design is this………………there are 13 possible payouts ranging from 1:1 to 2,400:1. The 1:1 payout comes every 8 plays.  The 5:1 payout comes every 33 plays, whereas the 2:1 payout comes every 600 plays. Most players assume the likelihood increases proportionate to the payout.  The one midsize payout that is designed to give the player a thrill is the 80:1 payout.  It is programmed to occur an average of once every 219 plays.  The 80:1 payout is high enough to create excitement, but not high enough that it makes it likely that the player will take his winnings and abandon the game.  More than likely the player began the game with at least 80 times his bet (for instance there are 80 quarters in $20).  In contrast the 150:1 payout occurs only on average of once every 6,241 plays.  The highest payout of 2,400:1 occurs only on average of once every 643=262,144 plays since the machine has 64 virtual stops.  The player who continues to feed the machine is likely to have several midsize payouts, but unlikely to have a large payout.  He quits after he is bored or has exhausted his bankroll. (emphasis mine)

That last sentence is exactly right as evidenced by this cashout voucher which I took home with me at the end of the night!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Seriously, my head hurts from just reading the above paragraph let alone trying to IMG_0424comprehend the math behind it…………………….suffice it to say……………..the Hollywood Casino has seen the last of me :)!!!  (besides the fact that the Clark/Heubel families have been trying to win a lottery or a jackpot of any kind for generations, only to discover that we should simply resign ourselves to the “living paycheck to paycheck jackpot”!!).

Hey……………….I just looked down at my word count and see that I am now over 1200 words……………….I may get this blog published yet.  Of course, unlike Calvin, the world is getting my thoughts pretty darn cheap………LOL!!  Oh no, I think that last sentence may have left me vulnerable to some unsolicited commentary :)!!

And now………………………….in conclusion…………..this “un-genius” has one last, final thought.   I will not label it “cheap” although it is completely free of charge, yet worth its weight in gold, especially as it does not originate from me, but comes from the One who is the Genius and who, through His words, has once again spoken directly to my needs and concerns this past week.

Let Me prepare you for the day that stretches out before you.  I know exactly what this day will contain, whereas you have only vague ideas about it.  You would like to see a map, showing all the twists and turns of your journey.  You’d feel more prepared if you could somehow visualize what is on the road ahead.  However there is a better way to be prepared for whatever you will encounter today:  Spend quality time with Me.

I will not show you what is on the road ahead, but I will thoroughly equip you for the journey.  My living Presence is your Companion each step of the way.  Stay in continual communication with Me, whispering My Name whenever you need to redirect your thoughts.  Thus, you can walk through this day with your focus on Me.  My abiding Presence is the best road map available.               from Jesus Calling

Remain in me, as I in you. As a branch cannot bear fruit all by itself, unless it remains part of the vine, neither can you unless you remain in me.   I am the vine, you are the branches.  Whoever remains in me, with me in him, bears fruit in plenty; for cut off from me you can do nothing.   Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; these branches are collected and thrown on the fire and are burnt.  If you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for whatever you please and you will get it.        John 15:4-7



P.S.  I received this text from Jennifer of her pork tenderloin meal as I was driving home from work Tuesday (and yes, I arrived at the right office on the right day at the right time!!!).  And to think that I thought she was texting me an invitation to dinner!!!!!!!!!!!  LOL

Dinner anyone???  All I can say is, "Like Mother, Like Daughter"!!!!!!!!!!!
Dinner anyone??? All I can say is, “Like Mother, Like Daughter”!!!!!!!!!!!