Spring Is Coming………..Spring Is Coming………..Spring Is Coming!

calvin ocdStrangely, reading the Calvin & Hobbes comics makes me feel more normal, and less of a “nut”…………..I knew all along that there must have been an underlying reason for my purchase years ago of every Calvin & Hobbes book ever published.  Little did I know how much I would come, at this stage of my life, to appreciate the similarities in some of our thought patterns and approach to life’s puzzling questions!!!    Before I dragged myself outside to shovel the three inches of snow last weekend, I paused to consider if it was even worth my effort.  But………………the thought of even more snow (which was scheduled to fall …and never did) piling up on my very long driveway coursed through my OCD mind and before I knew it, I was shoveling away.  I pause as I consider divulging this next little nugget of information, and I only do so in the interests of future generations of OCD minds (LOL)……………………………………….are you ready for it??????????  Here it comes…………………………………………….as I shoveled, I noticed little pieces of the driveway’s crumbling black top, along with the pesky oak leaves which somehow have continued to fall throughout this interminable winter, mixed in with the pure white snow   I eventually began to chuckle a little to myself as I controlled my “need” to dump a shovel full of pure white snow on top of the ugly mixture.  Perhaps I should submit this issue to the Dr. Keith Ablow segment on Fox & Friends………..”Am I normal or am I nuts?”!!!  

elmer fuddAs I looked back over this blog, I realize that it has, once again, been almost a month since my last post.  February has come and gone………and while I have been working hard on my PMA (positive mental attitude), Punxsutawney Phil has not made it easy.  His pronouncement of six more weeks of winter means that we still have, in theory, another week or two to go, (to say nothing of the three snows after the forsythia bloom!). but in keeping with Crick’s “glass half-full” mantra……….daylight savings arrived on Sunday!!!  An extra hour of daylight and some snow-free/ice-free sidewalks may be just what I need to kick myself out of my cozy home to resume what used to be a daily walk. February proved to be yet another very busy month…………the good mixed in with the not-so-good.  Besides all of the non-stop shoveling and shivering, we basketball fans who can usually count on the Buckeyes to brighten up the dreary months of winter, have been mostly frustrated and disappointed in how this season has evolved.   What is it about shooting free throws that seems to elude the Buckeyes?  Oh, and what is it about players who are nearly seven feet tall, but can’t put the ball in the basket when they are standing right underneath it, or worse yet, miss the dunk????  Well………..at least I won’t feel compelled to fill out an NCAA tournament bracket with Ohio State going beyond the first round!!  Gee…………I hope I don’t sound too sarcastic!!   LOL  What has been more entertaining for me this season has been watching the grandchildren play for my old grade school alma mater, the I.C. Rams. (“I.C.’s got a real team……a team that’s really on the beam…….we’re gonna win…….we’re gonna fight……I.C.’s gonna win tonight!!”…………….yep, those were the days……………and here is a “throwback” picture to prove it!!!!!).

We even had to make our own pom-poms!!!!!!
We even had to make our own pom-poms!!!!!!

And while I did not see ALL of their games, I did get to see each one of them play at least once.  I must admit that getting up at 7 AM on a freezing cold/snowy Saturday morning to drive across the city for an 8:00 game did not hold much appeal to me, and so I was, I admit, rather selective about when and where I would show up.   Grandparents, I have learned, must be careful of this tactic, however, because some grandchildren like to keep “score”.   Let me explain.  Sophia, Sydney and Tommy all played rec center ball as I.C. does not have basketball for K-3 grades.  Because Sydney and Tommy both played at a convenient time and for the same team, I ended up going to watch them play several times, but because Sophia played on Friday evenings when the TGIFriday after-school-care chaos reigns in my home, I did not get to any of her games until the end of the season.  On one of those Fridays as I was telling her that I would be coming to her game the following week, she looked at me and said that she was glad to hear that, because I had been to three of Sydney and Tommy’s games and none of hers!!!!  Whew!!!  I really did not think that it was such a big deal to the younger ones to have me in the bleachers, but I am very relieved to know that as their seasons came to an end, I did not disappoint anyone!!!

Sydney & Tommy What a hoot their games were!!!
Sydney & Tommy
What a hoot their games were!!!
Shannon & Evie
Shannon & Evie

In addition to basketball, we celebrated yet another Clark family Baptism……..Shannon and Dave’s daughter, Evelyn Juanita, who was named after our beloved Aunt Evie and Shannon’s Grandma Downey.  From what the Clark and Downey families know of these two infamous namesakes, little Evie has some pretty big shoes to fill, and if she inherits any of their character traits, there are sure to be some fireworks in her future!  LOL.

1234873_297761880374314_1250940698_nI was honored by Olivia (oldest grandchild) to stand as her sponsor for her Confirmation which took place a couple of weeks ago.  When we attended the practice session a few days ahead of the Sunday that the Bishop was to come to administer the Sacrament, the eighth-graders were being given some final instructions,by their teachers, one of which was that when the Bishop began to question them about the specifics of the sacrament of Confirmation, they were told to politely raise their hands, stand up to give their response, and then wait for the Bishop to signal to them to be seated.  Well, Confirmation day arrived, and after the Gospel was read, the Bishop stepped down from the altar and proceeded to address the students by posing this very first question to them,  “What is the meaning of the word, ‘confirm’?”   OMGosh…………………….for a good two minutes (or so it seemed) not one single, solitary hand went up…………..there was only complete and total silence…………………I looked back to where the eighth-grade teachers were sitting and saw looks of sheer horror on their collective faces :)!!  The Bishop graciously “saved” the moment for them by providing a little assist and gradually Olivia and her classmates rose to the occasion and proved that they were in fact, well prepared and ready to become “soldiers of Christ”.

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Are you wondering about the insertion of these next two photos ??  I shall explain.  As I noted in the last post, my very funny brother, Bobby, has been undergoing treatment at the James Cancer Clinic at OSU since October.  He had a five and a half hour surgery on February 20th as part of his overall treatment plan and while the surgery was successful, he developed post-surgical complications which kept him in the hospital for almost two weeks (we attribute this to the “Clark curse” as in, “if anything can go wrong, it will”…….. as in, “if you see a light at the end of the tunnel, it’s probably an oncoming train” {my Dad}…………as in, when “our ship comes in”, it will probably be the Titanic {my Mom}…………see my “glass half-empty” attitude has been fostered all along by my family upbringing….. ha, ha ha!).  At any rate, navigating the vast complex that is The Ohio State University Hospitals requires that one come supplied with a bag full of bread crumbs to be strategically dropped along the endless hallways to enable one to retrace their steps back to the outside world.  And then, once you find your way back to the parking garage (provided that you can remember which garage you parked in!!!) you also need to arm yourself with cell phone pictures depicting the exact location of your car.  Thinking that I was quite clever in coming up with this idea, late in the evening on one of Bobby’s first nights in the hospital, Christine and I smugly headed back to my car.  Now, I knew that I had parked on level #2, but there is a #2 north and a #2 south and apparently, we must have been initially searching for my car in the wrong direction or had unwittingly walked right past my car because as we perused the cars, my car seemed to be M.I.A.!!!  Armed with my key fob, I hit the panic button and we could hear the extremely loud beeping as the sound echoed off the walls of the indoor garage.  We could also hear a voice calling out for someone to stop the beeping, but I couldn’t figure out which of the four buttons to hit and the beeping continued until Christine grabbed the fob and miraculously found the button to bring forth silence.  We then headed off in the direction from which we “thought” we had heard the beeps, but upon walking up the ramp, the car was no where in sight.  As we were now wary of hitting the panic button again, we felt that we could for sure find the illusive car by simply hitting the unlock button to hear the single beep.  This we did……………..again…………….and again………….and again for close to fifteen minutes, all the while passing other hospital visitors who amazingly had no trouble at all finding their vehicles!!!  We would walk a little ways, hit the button, hear the beep and then look at each other and ask, “Didn’t you hear the beep coming from over there????”  After which we would walk in that direction, only to discover that when hearing the beep again, the sound seemed to mysteriously come from where we had just been!!!  I believe that perhaps the only reason we finally found the car was that our Guardian Angels felt obligated to rescue us given the amount of entertainment our dilemma was providing them!   Once we stumbled upon the car, the only challenge left was discovering how to navigate the whole exit process with its confounding protocol on how to pay for your escape!!!!!!!!!!!!!  (But that is a whole other story!!!).  

Perhaps not coincidentally, as we await the beauty and new “life” of spring, bringing forth all of its comforting warmth and colors, we Christians, who have just recently entered into the fasting, reflection and prayer of the somber Lenten season, are also awaiting the promise of a new life, a life that Jesus brings us by leaving His tomb on Easter Sunday.   Instead of closing with a devotional reading and Scripture passage, I would like to share a song that I first heard last March while on a retreat with Jessica as she prepared to enter into the Catholic Church.  It touched my soul in a way that music often does for me, but with a  much deeper element of  reflection, comfort and peace.  I often listen to it before I fall asleep at night as it never fails to bring me to that place where I feel connected to the spiritual side of myself that is often lost in this hyperactive world in which we all live.  When it was presented to our group, and after listening to a beautiful lecture about the significance of “light” and “darkness” both in the Scriptures and in the rituals of our Catholic faith,  the lights in the room were turned off and we were asked to close our eyes as the music began.  I hope that you too will be blessed with the peace that permeates this beautiful hymn. 




P.S.  The Yankees are coming………………….the Yankees are coming……………………the Yankees are coming!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!