Mary Madness, March Madness, Mayce Madness

A future Rachel Ray???
A future Rachel Ray???

Who would have guessed that this adorable little chef would one day become an adult with an ardent passion for not cooking???   Memo to parents……. you should never presume that childhood pastimes will necessarily evolve into legitimate adult pursuits (for some of you Moms and Dads, that may come as a huge relief…..ha, ha, ha).  I imagine that you can guess that the “adorable” little girl in the photo is me and my helpful assistant is my Grandpa Clark who, if memory serves me correctly, was a life long Democrat……………….. but never fear………………..I loved him dearly anyway:)!!  I came upon this picture while on a mission last week to organize some photographs which are now, not only in multiple storage containers in my bedroom closet, but also in a gazillion locations on two different laptops and on my cell phone as well.  Remember the time before computers, laptops, i-phones, i-pads??  Our photos and videos were stashed away (what do I mean “were”??!) in mismatched photo boxes (i.e. shoe boxes!) cluttering a small space behind a closed closet door.  Now they fill up some kind of virtual space on all of our technological devices downloaded to who knows where……….a dropbox, My pictures, Crick’s pictures, Snapfish, Kodak Gallery, Picasso, Windows Live Photo Gallery, Shutterfly, Facebook, etc., etc., etc., – OUCH!!!  My head is beginning to hurt from just the thought that now those pictures must also be organized, first into specific folders, and then made into a slide show (and because of my OCD personality I would also feel compelled to add some music!!) and then downloaded to CD’s!!!!  Yikes!!  If I take on that project, I would have to surrender hours of reading my political blogs thereby depriving all of my “ok for political e-mails” family and friends who so anxiously await my daily “rantings” in their respective in-boxes LOL!  

The "precious" little chef turned a bit dorky with her "spit" curls, but is still pursuing her culinary "talent" with Billy looking on!!
The “adorable” little chef turned a bit dorky with her “spit” curls, but is still pursuing her culinary “talent” with Billy looking on!!

Uummm, where was I going with all of this??…………….oh yeah………..back to the picture.  It was quite coincidental that the picture above and the one here on the right were discovered the day after I went on a bit of a minor household organizing spree.  This was prompted by my discovery, upon returning from the grocery, that I had just purchased four cans of tomato sauce to add to the five that had (surprise, surprise) been sitting in the kitchen cabinet!!!!  I hate it when that happens!!!  And so, as I was making room for the nine (argh!) cans of tomato sauce, I began looking at the other cans, etc. in my cabinet and unearthed some real genuine artifacts!!!! LOL  Shocked at the length of time some of these relics had been “hiding” in the cabinet, I decided it would be a great kindness to my family if I checked some of the items in my refrigerator as well.  Needless to say, there was quite a purge going on in my kitchen that afternoon.  So, if you happen to receive a dinner invitation from me in the next few weeks, please know that while your health will not suffer from any out-dated food products……………….the queen of “Baked Tupperware” (reference 11/20/12 blog) will be resurrecting her recipe box from its shelf in the basement (I subscribe to the “out of sight/out of mind” motto when it comes to cooking) in order to find an entrée that requires nine cans of tomato sauce!!!!!

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If you have ever been to Ireland, you may have encountered this “landmark”………………can you believe that some Irishman actually chose my name for his pub?  Some years ago when my niece, Michelle was participating in an overseas study program in Ireland, Stephanie threw financial caution to the wind (translate……she did not take her dreamcrusher Mother’s advice) and traveled on a wing and a prayer to the land of leprechauns and blarney stones.  As she drove around the countryside she saw this sign and felt compelled to stop to take the above picture…………oh, and I do suppose she just might have ventured inside to sample a bit of their Irish ales and lagers :)  This all leads right into a discussion of the significance of the month of March in the Clark/O’Schutheis families.  For one, it marks the move from winter into spring (although there are many years, such as this one, when the ground-hog got it all wrong despite the fact that just a few days ago the temperature rose to 70 degrees…….for example, yesterday produced some snow showers and today I woke up to 23 degree temps).  In addition, the days are growing longer and as a bonus, we have already made the change to daylight saving time. This worked out perfectly when we all gathered at Christopher’s this past Sunday to help Sydney celebrate her sixth birthday.  It was the one warm and sunny day and so we could turn the kids loose outside to run off all of their pent-up winter energy.

Dad (who died 10 yrs ago on March 29th) presenting Jimmy's Xmas gift....a picture of the Irish countryside
Dad (who died 10 yrs ago on March 29th) presenting Jimmy’s Xmas gift….a picture of the Irish countryside
Written in an Ancient Order of Hibernian Publication upon Jimmy's death in 1984
Written in an Ancient Order of Hibernian Publication upon Jimmy’s death in 1984

There will be some wearin’ of the green this month as we pause to honor the Irish heritage of my Dad’s side of the family.  When I was growing up we celebrated the day very simply with a dinner of corned beef and cabbage (oh, how I envied all of the DiSabato’s, Balzano’s and Benedetti’s!!!) and occasionally Mom would produce a few Shamrock Club buttons to pin on our school uniforms.  During the 70’s my brother Jimmy, who was a wounded Viet Nam veteran, became immersed in the political struggles of Ireland and eventually joined various Irish organizations and worked diligently to promote Irish causes.  He succeeded in rallying the entire family around their heritage, taught us to enjoy Irish Rebel music (not to be confused with Mom singing “Too-Ra-Loo-Ra-Loo-Ral”!!! LOL) and encouraged us to embrace St. Patrick’s Day and all of its festivities.   The 19th, 21st and the 24th of March are the dates of his death in 1984, his birthday and the date when he was injured in Viet Nam in 1967.  I am sure that he is smiling down from his heavenly vantage point on Megan, who shares Jimmy’s birthday, as she mentors Natalie in all of her Irish step-dancing endeavors.                                                                                                                                                                               

I will blame Mom for suggesting I pose for this picture!!!!
I will blame Mom for suggesting I pose for this picture!!!!

Of course, we also have March Madness to look forward to…………………one of my very favorite sporting events of the entire year!!!   Trying to pick winners for each bracket this year is going to be a roll of the dice………….seriously!!  As I have watched various teams from the different leagues, it seems that especially this year, the adage is true that on any given night, any top ranked team can go down in defeat.  The Buckeyes made it to the Final Four last year, but to get there again seems to much to hope for. (I know, that sentence ended with a preposition!)  My high school alma mater, Bishop Watterson is, like Ohio State, having a great basketball season.  Last weekend I went to the Fairgrounds Coliseum with Stephanie, Joe and the kids to see the Eagles win the district finals in a thrilling overtime victory.  Going to the Coliseum was like going back (waaaayyyy back) in time as it was built in 1918 and has been a legendary and traditional high school basketball venue.  Very few changes have been made over time to alter the looks and feel of “The Barn” as it was once nicknamed,which made it possible for me to transport myself back to a time when as an awestruck cheerleader I entered the 5,000 seat arena to cheer on my classmates who had also made it to the districts.  By the way, as of this writing, the Eagles have advanced to the State semi-finals!  E – A – G – L – E- S  Gooooo Eagles!!

"Sweet" little Mayce posing with her princesses
“Sweet” little Mayce posing with her princesses

Remember the story of Jekyl and Hyde?  Well I believe that perhaps Mayce (age 2) is beginning to exhibit some similarly disturbing personality traits.  A couple of weeks ago, Mayce was sweetly and quietly playing with her Fisher-Price play house and the F-Price prince and princess when Stephanie observed the following:  Mayce was pretending that the prince and princess were having a nice, pleasant conversation when suddenly Mayce, looking sternly at the prince, picked him up from the floor and forcefully placed him inside the play house.  Curious as to what prompted this, Stephanie asked her for an explanation and Mayce informed her that she put the prince in a time-out for hitting the princess.  And then, leaving the prince to sulk in time-out and the princess to recover from her injury, Mayce decided to next focus her attention on her little baby doll.  She apparently decided that she wanted the doll to sit up in a chair, but was having difficulty getting the dolls legs adjusted, so she asked for Stephanie’s help.  Steph picked up the doll adjusted the legs and sat her back in the chair.  Mayce took one look, promptly determined that her doll was still not sitting according to her specifications, so she tried to force the doll to sit up straighter, but the doll unfortunately slumped over.  Mayce angrily grabbed the doll, threw it against the wall (g….a….s….p!!), stomped over to pick the doll up from the spot where it had fallen and then marched over to the fireplace, threw the doll over the fireplace screen (no fire burning thank goodness), shouting, “You’re in time-out!!”  Some pretty scary stuff……….guess I am going to have to watch my back whenever I am spending time with her LOL!!!

Wanting always to leave you with words of encouragement and hope, especially as we are now approaching Holy Week I offer you this:

Bring Me the sacrifice of thanksgiving.  Take nothing for granted, not even the rising of the sun.  Before Satan tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden, thankfulness was as natural as breathing.  Satan’s temptation involved pointing Eve to the one thing that was forbidden her.  The garden was filled with luscious, desirable fruits but Eve focused on the one fruit she couldn’t have rather than being thankful for the many good things freely available.  This negative focus darkened her mind, and she succumbed to temptation.

When you focus on what you don’t have or on situations that displease you, your mind also becomes darkened.  You take for granted life, salvation, sunshine, flowers, and countless other gifts from Me.  You look for what is wrong and refuse to enjoy life until that is “fixed”.

When you approach Me with thanksgiving, the Light of My Presence pours into you, transforming you through and through.  Walk in the Light with Me by practicing the discipline of thanksgiving.                     From Jesus Calling

He came as a witness, to bear witness to the light, so that everyone might believe through him.                       1 John 1:7



P.S.  I just wanted my family to know that I had added a P.S., but then had a change of heart since it is Lent.  I decided to make the small sacrifice and deleted a political statement that I had been tempted to make regarding bumper stickers!!!!!!!!!!!! :)

P.P.S.  I do not understand why the font on my blog suddenly changes size, but I will figure it out…….it is trying my patience :)!!