P.S. The M&M Wars

calvin & sitting on the couch

Every morning in my in-box I receive an e-mail from the retired Calvin & Hobbes and Cathy comic strips.  The creators of these two cartoons were so spot-on with their humorous characterizations of human nature and human relationships that whenever I read them, I realize that the thoughts, feelings and emotions of this “nut” are far more widespread among the populace than Crick may have realized when he christened me a “nut”. :)  When I saw this particular strip, I thought, “OMGosh……………this has definitely been the story of my winter!!”  Up until a few months ago, I was a two-mile/day walker, but something happened this winter to squelch my motivation to put on my coat, scarf and gloves (I, unlike Calvin, never wear a hat……..remember?? that would mess up my “poofy” hair!!) and march out into the cold, brisk, windy Ohio weather.  I seem to be able to come up with all sorts of rationalizations…………….it’s too icy out and I would not want to risk falling and breaking any old bones…………………..its raining………………………….it’s too late…………………it’s too early………………….the grandchildren are coming over…………………I am needed to baby-sit………………..I have to watch the President’s speech ………………………just threw that in to see if you were paying attention LOL!!!! (ooohhh nnnooo…….. I suddenly feel a panic attack coming on at just the thought of “you know who”!)   Well, you get the idea!!!  Maybe now that I have just announced my laziness to the blogosphere, I will be sufficiently shamed into getting myself off of the couch!!!!

As a matter of fact, I have been staying pretty busy, if not “active” …………………..the grand-kids have been winding down their basketball seasons and with five of them playing, I was able to attend at least two games for each grandchild over the course of the winter……………I might have gotten to more if some of their games weren’t played on the other side of the city or at the crack of dawn on a Saturday morning (or in the middle of my Bob Evans’ breakfast LOL!!!!).

I am also happy to report that Stephanie has passed her RN national licensing exam and is hoping to find a part-time nursing position within a hospital setting.  We are all very proud of her accomplishment in pursuing her “dream”, especially given that her dear, “dream-crushing” Mother initially thought she was crazy to try to add one more responsibility to her already hectic family schedule.  Kudos to Stephanie, Joe and the kids for the many sacrifices they all made to see this endeavor come to fruition……..the paybacks are certainly going to be worthwhile.  In addition to Steph’s recent achievement, the entire family is looking forward to welcoming Jessica into the Catholic faith community at the Easter Vigil Mass on Holy Saturday.  Every week since the middle of  October, through a process of inquiry, discernment, prayer and instruction, she has been preparing to accept the teachings and practices of the Catholic Church.  I feel greatly honored to be chosen by Jess to serve as her sponsor and to attend the instruction sessions with her.  It became not just Jessica’s spiritual journey, but mine as well.  A journey enabling me to, not only develop a greater appreciation and a deeper understanding of the truths of the Faith in which I was raised, but also an opportunity for me to give witness to Jessica’s prayerful dedication in following the path God has set before her.

As my fingers were hovering over the keyboard, I realized that like the OSU basketball team, I sometimes struggle with “transition”:)!   With the motley collection of thoughts emerging from my addled mind, it is not always easy to find a phrase that will make a smooth “transition” from one topic to another.  Maybe a picture is best at this point:

OSU-69   Northwestern-59
OSU-69 Northwestern-59

My youngest brother, Tommy (please note I chose youngest over baby) rescued his oldest sister, Moi (please also note that I chose oldest over big……….yes, at this stage of my life I choose to be older rather than bigger!!!!!!) from what could have been a very boring Valentine’s Day evening at home.  Many thanks to Maria (Tommy’s wife) for giving up what should have been a special day for the two of them so that I could sit in her seat to watch the Buckeyes play up close and in person.  On the ride down to the Arena, I asked Tommy if he had any concerns that the Kiss Cam might possibly focus its sights on our section.  We decided that nah……..the Kiss Cam would just assume that Tommy was being a wonderful “son” who was treating his “Mom” to a night out (arghhhh…………….the trials of having a sibling seventeen years younger than yourself!!!).  Fortunately, the “better” Buckeye basketball team showed up as they fought their way to a decisive win over the Wildcats.  This game was to be the Bucks only win in a two-week period that saw them lose three out of four Big Ten games……………guess Tommy and I were their good luck charms!!  (Note to Thad Matta……………………………..I (good luck charm #1) am making myself available to attend the Big Ten and NCAA tournaments…………………….just sayin….. LOL!!!)

Since I had been looking for some extra income over the last several months, Stephanie, Jennifer and I came to a mutual agreement to help each other out……………….I, (their OCD neat freak Mom) would clean their homes and in return, they would enrich my piggy bank.  While I was at Jennifer’s I found this note on the floor in Natalie’s room which she had written to her older sister, Olivia.  I thought that it gave some pretty good insight into how sibling relationships develop from the earliest ages :) so she granted me permission to share it.

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It seems that Natalie felt that Olivia was acting above her station in life and that if she would just “Do what Nana says” (I am still not sure how I became a party to reforming Olivia’s behavior!!) then Olivia could elevate herself  once again to the status of “the best sister I know” (in Natalie’s words) LOL!!   Natalie is never ever short on drama!!!!!

I often think of Crick whenever I encounter these situations with the grand-kids as I know how much he would enjoy their antics (and egg them on of course!!!!!!).   You know, he can still cause me an occasional sleepless night such as the few that I randomly experienced during our forty-two years of marital bliss :).  These typically followed one of our famously animated and impassioned “discussions”.   Hours later, after Crick had quite effortlessly put the unpleasantness between us into one of those little boxes inside his head, closed the lid on the box and fallen fast asleep;  I would lie wide awake, rehashing all of the ways that he had not seen my point of view and trying to figure out how I could turn the next “discussion” into a learning experience for him (LOL)!!  Anyway, several nights ago I found myself unable to shut down the old restless mind, as little unexpected memories of Crick kept popping up into my consciousness.  The very next day, I clicked on my Facebook page and saw this post that my sister-in-law, Rayne had shared:

I needed this today.  Thanks Misty.

When I read this, I thought to myself that perhaps Crick had been channeling Rayne (LOL)!!!  Once again, it seems so coincidental that the moments when I seem to struggle the most, someone or something always, always, always intervenes to bring comfort and hope to my sagging spirit.

from Jesus Calling:

I am all around you, hovering over you even as you seek My face.  I am nearer than you dare believe, closer than the air you breathe.  If My children could only recognize My Presence, they would never feel lonely again.  I know every thought before you think it, every word before you speak it.  My Presence impinges on your innermost being.  Can you see the absurdity of trying to hide anything from Me?  You can easily deceive other people, and even yourself; but I read you like an open, large-print book……………………Since I live in you, let Me also live through you, shining My Light into the darkness.

TNT

TGW

P.S.  I just remembered that I wanted to ask if anyone has ever heard of M&M wars????!!!  I was having breakfast with Christine and Bobby the other day and we were reminiscing about our childhood experiences.  They are both in the “younger” half of our family of eleven and were lamenting to me that after I had left home they were so poor (cue……. “how poor were they?”)……………………”they were so poor” that when Mom was passing out M&M’s they only received a small handful; and so in order to make them last longer, they would spread their “small” portion out on the carpet, sorting them by color.  They would then pick up two M&M’s place them between their index finger and their thumb and then press the two M&M’s together.  Usually one of the M&M’s would get crushed a bit while the other remained intact.  They would then eat the crushed one, pick up another and repeat to see how long the intact M&M could last…………………..if it survived for any length of time, that one M&M would eventually become a multi-colored candy having born the battle scars from crushing so many varied colors of M&M’s!!!!!!!!!!!!!  OMGosh……………….today’s generation has absolutely noooooooooooo idea of how to have a really good time!!!!!

P.P.S. I knew if I kept writing long enough, I would finally come up with a title for my blog………LOL!!!!

A Tale of Two Cities (Sorry Mr. Dickens)

2013-01-26 11.26.56
2013-01-25 22.43.46My three-week absence from blogging has a little something to do with the above pictures…………………it was truly a “tale of two cities”!!!  The warm, sunny, serene beach picture was taken the very same day as the cold, dreary, snow-covered driveway picture.   I am somewhat reluctant to confess that I took the beach picture and Christopher took the picture of my driveway which we then texted to each other.  I further admit that upon receiving Chris’ text, a huge smile appeared upon my face :) for I was enjoying beautiful, blue skies and warm, sunny weather in the middle of an Ohio winter having been, once again, the recipient of an all expense paid trip to Disney World and the Florida coast as a Christmas gift from Stephanie and Joe.  Oh, and perhaps I should also mention that the “gift” came with a caveat………………..they and the three kids were going to go along with me!!!!!!!!!!  Thank goodness I have no illusions about vacationing with families (or a husband and wife, for that matter!!!) or trips to amusement parks.  After all, I once spent an entire day at King’s Island when the air temperature was 103 degrees (we actually witnessed brush fires along the median strips on I-71 as we headed to the Park that morning!) with four kids, several brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews and one crazy man (guess who???).   As my sisters and I dragged ourselves around the Park, snatching small blocks of ice from the lemonade stands with which to saturate our sweltering faces and limbs, Crick paraded by us with a toddler sitting atop his shoulders and the other kids trailing behind him, all the while muttering that it is was not hot and that he had paid over one hundred dollars to get us in that day, and come hell or high water, he was going to get his money’s worth!!!!!!  Needless to say, it was a day that has been permanently “seared” into our memories!!  LOL

Anyway, we arrived in Orlando, picked up a rental van and headed to Disney World where we were met by 017Jeannie and Bob (Crick’s sister and brother-in-law).  Bob is retired from Disney and was able to get us all into the Magic Kingdom free of charge where we spent the day keeping watch for Mickey, Minnie, Cinderelly, (as Mayce calls her) Snow White, etc.  I am definitely not an “Amusement Park” person as rides either terrify me or make me ill, but I was coaxed onto the Thunder Mountain roller coaster (pretty tame by most people’s standards) and discovered that this old body could still withstand the twists and turns, head jerks and lurches and even find that I rather enjoyed the ride.  After an overnight stay at Disney, we headed to a resort along the coast which could only be designated as a bit of Paradise on earth.  Stephanie must have inherited her Mother’s idea of “camping”…………………………..meaning the more amenities the better!!!!  Jeannie and Bob joined us for two and a half days of lounging around the pool and hot tub, walks along the beach and spending the evenings around the gas fire pit roasting marshmallows for s’mores.  Of course, along with the good, occasionally comes the bad, and on the plane ride home I began to feel feverish and ended up confined to home for four days with a fever virus.

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Peggy, Mark, Janie, Joy, Rayne, Jay

One thing I find myself repeating over and over is that…………………………………my life is never, ever boring!!!!  Before I left on my little trip, Peggy decided to get the Schultheis sibs together for card night.  Now, while we all may have been missing Crick and his outrageous comments and antics which always managed to keep the evening “lit up” so to speak, Mark and Jay did their best Crick “impersonation” in that, not only did they keep upping the ante all night long, but they also managed to successfully bluff their way to winning much of my hard-earned cash (please note the number of chips sitting in front of Peggy, Mark and Jay and then note the small stack at my empty place at the table!!).  Furthermore, they both strategically worked together to constantly harass me by placing a very real looking plastic cockroach (a remnant from our OBX trip) on my chair, under my cards and in my coat pocket!!  I feel as though I should charge them for the entertainment I so unwillingly provided for them!!! :)

Now, you might think that someone who has rather loudly pronounced that “gambling” is not her thing would not then further promote loss of “wealth” by inviting all of her siblings and in-laws for another card night…………………….but that is exactly what I did!!  However, being the hostess, I was able to establish the maximum amount per chip and because of the greater number of players the pot built up pretty significantly

Carole, Tommy, Kathy, Cecilia, Mike, Billy, Dawn, Tom, Maria, Jo, Me, John, Bobby, Christine
Carole, Tommy, Kathy, Cecilia, Mike, Billy, Dawn, Tom, Maria, Jo, Me, John, Bobby, Christine

with little personal loss as we spent the evening playing “pass the trash”.  It has become tradition that when playing this particular game with either side of the family, whenever someone loses all of their chips and exits the game the remaining players take great pleasure in singing:  http://youtu.be/n6RoOwSKI7M?t=1m47s.

For the occasion I had bought a six-pack of Crick’s favorite Warsteiner beer and as we were all seated around the table Billy offered a silent toast to Crick.  The fact that Crick can still be a subject of conversation whenever either side of the family gathers speaks volumes about his impact on everyone, and I cannot adequately express how comforting it is for me to have others bring his name into our conversations.

As always, the grandchildren continue to provide me with many funny moments……………………last Sunday morning Tommy called me asking me to come over and clean because their house was, in his words, “a mess”.  It seems that Stephanie had told Tommy that he needed to help pick up some of his things and then they would have to sweep the floors and Tommy just looked at her and said, “Let’s just call “Cleaner Nana”!”  And so he did…………when I asked Tommy how much he was prepared to pay me, he replied that he thought ten dollars was a fair amount.  I quickly informed him that my cleaning services were worth way more than ten dollars and then quite suddenly the line went dead.  A minute later my phone rang again, this time it was from Stephanie’s cell number and again it was Tommy………….I asked him if he had just hung up on me and he explained “My phone was out of minutes!”……………..what???!!!………………….a five year old has his own phone plan??????  (Not really……it was apparently an old phone with expiring minutes).  And then there are the two-year olds…………………..just the other night the grandchildren were all over and Megan overheard the following exchange between Josh and Mayce after they had each asked her for a glass of water.  After she had given them each a glass and turned to walk out of the room, she heard the sound of glasses clinking together and two small voices shouting “Cheers!”.  Now I swear, they didn’t pick that up from me!!!!! :)  On a more “serious” note, I received a picture text from

Sydney told me she drew this when she thought Obama was a girl!!!!
Sydney told me she drew this when she thought Obama was a girl!!!!

Christopher of a drawing Sydney had displayed in her class room which he and Jessica discovered when they attended Immaculate Conception’s open house!!!!!!  OMGosh…………………………………I must pray harder for the future!!!  One granddaughter (Natalie) is fretting about the environment, and now Sydney has abdicated to the other

Having received this picture text from Stephanie, the children are a bit worried that I may have a "problem"  LOL
Having received this picture text from Stephanie, the children are a bit worried that I may have a “problem” LOL

side as well!! LOL!  I mean………. is it any wonder that I now find myself draining the last few drops from a bottle of Riunite, pouring them into a wine glass and covering the glass with aluminum foil to carry along with me whenever I am invited to any of the grandchildren’s homes for dinner?????!!!!!  Ha, ha, ha!!!    

As I always like to pass along the inspirational texts which bring me peace and hope and encouragement each day, I have chosen another of my favorites from the book Jesus Calling.  This daily devotional with its accompanying Scripture passages has helped me to see how the Word of God, throughout all of the ages, has remained constant and trustworthy and that by continually seeking God, we always, always, always find His Presence and His peace.

I am with you and for you.  You face nothing alone………..nothing!  When you feel anxious, know that you are focusing on the visible world and leaving Me out of the picture.  The remedy is simple:  Fix your eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen.  Verbalize your trust in Me, the Living One who sees you always.  I will get you safely through this day and all of your days.  But you can find Me only in the present.  Each day is a precious gift from My Father.  How ridiculous to grasp for future gifts when today’s is set before you!  Receive today’s gift gratefully, unwrapping it tenderly and delving into its depths.  As you savor this gift, you find Me.                                        from Jesus Calling

Since what we aim for is not visible but invisible. Visible things are transitory, but invisible things eternal.       2 Corinthians 4:18

TNT

TGW

P.S.  When we were at Disney, the kids and I found a photo booth……………the last time I was in one was when I was in grade school………….it is kind of nice to know there are some things that haven’t changed!!

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