Back in the Saddle

Well…….I am “back in the saddle again”!!!  For all of you post baby-boomers….this  phrase was from the signature song of American cowboy entertainer, Gene Autry, who not only had his own TV show in the early 50’s, but is also famous for writing “Here Comes Santa Claus”, Frosty the Snowman”, and Rudolph, the Red- Nosed Reindeer”.   Ahhhhh…….the wealth of information that is dispensed via my “diary”…….keeps one coming back for more and more!!! Bahahhahaha!

Well, I suppose you are all wondering why I was “out of the saddle”.   Mostly, it has to do with my family’s penchant for sharing everything, including nasty flu germs.  I don’t mind having to share an occasional head cold as the price for spending lots of time with the grandchildren, but I prefer to draw the line at strep throat, a 4 day fever/cough/congestion, the Type A and Type B flu (please tell me there is not a Type C !!) and a 24 hour stomach virus!!!  All of these descended upon the family the week before and during and after Thanksgiving… we are well-known for our rather bizarre paranoia of any and all illnesses, but the truth of it is, that it didn’t seem to matter how diligently we tried to “isolate” the “pariahs” among us…..most of us eventually fell victim to at least one bug.  Homes have now been re-sanitized and meticulous hand washing methods have been reinforced :)…….soooooo bring on the holidays………we are ready to celebrate the season!

Eight days later:

I interrupt this post to bring news that since I began writing (I am rather not in to “finishing” tasks these days!) eight days ago, the family has had four more unfortunate members come down with the flu…….it really doesn’t matter which one anymore, but we are now thinking that perhaps an exorcism might be in order!!

Okay, enough sick talk……..I will proceed to call upon my feeble memory to find what lurks there in the dark, dangerous recesses of my diminishing brain cells for some entertaining moments of the past five weeks.  Well, first of all you have to hear what my dear youngest sister, Christine did the other day!!!!  Ooooo….. this story is just so rich………….. I absolutely love, love, love it and mostly because she just happens to have had a birthday and is fifteen years younger than me!!  I began texting her (mine is the green) after I happened upon the Charlie Brown Christmas special which most of my family knows is one of my least favorite of all times……I find most of the Charlie Brown specials rather depressing………I blame it on the jazzy music (can’t stand jazz or the saxophone music of Kenny G!!):

IMG_1592 IMG_1593 IMG_1600 IMG_1594 IMG_1596

And, the Christine “bloopers” got even better.   The next day she called me from Costco’s in a bit of a quandary about what meat selection she should purchase for the Clark family Christmas day gathering.  She was deciding on a ham, but questioned whether she should buy the bone-in or the boneless.  Then the topic switched over to Christmas Eve dinner and Costco’s choices of  roast beef, etc. and so I would guess that it was the combination of the changing of topics, and, the fact that she called upon the “pot of boiling water” cook in the family (for that choice alone, her sanity should be in question!) that this would not end well for the “aging” Christine!!  LOL Here then is her text to me:

IMG_1599How Mom must be smiling now………a couple of us were just recently reminiscing about how in the world Mom ever got ready for Christmas, especially after the births of Christine and Tommy #’s 10 and 11 who were born respectively, on the 15th and 17th of December.  Is it any wonder presents were occasionally misplaced or that she was still writing out Christmas cards in the corner of the living room on the 26th of December???  Who did the grocery and Christmas shopping, the laundry, the ironing (yes, she still ironed clothes in the 60’s), the wrapping, the cleaning, the cooking, the baking?????  Even as a teen-ager, I don’t recall ever being aware of how stressed she must have felt because I don’t remember ever hearing her complain…………she and Crick were so alike in that regard, handling all of life’s ups and downs with a smile in their heart.  They both drank from the glass half-full, and woke up happy they were “able to put two feet on the floor”!  How greatly they both are missed!

Pay no attention to the tree behind us....actually, this may have been the year of 3 scrawny Christmas trees..why tinsel was necessary!!  LOL
Pay no attention to the tree behind us….actually, this may have been the year of 3 scrawny Christmas trees..why tinsel was necessary!! LOL
Kathy and Jo heading back to the "Safe House"!!
Kathy and Jo heading back to the “Safe House”!!
A few of the "Pariahs"!!!
A few of the “Pariahs”!!!

Well, if I am ever going to get this blog posted in the month of December, I am going to have to step up the pace and gloss over many of the family activities of the past six weeks. For example……the Thanksgiving Day dinner that became a mini catastrophe due to 13 of us becoming carriers of germs that no one wanted and so our original group of 26 dwindled by half at almost the last hour.  Therefore, the turkey and all of its fixings were ever so cautiously exchanged with Bobby, Jo and Tom, Kathy and Bob and their families with a hope and a prayer that it was only the food that was shared and nothing more sinister!!  I will only briefly mention here the fire in the oven as Jennifer and I were checking on the potatoes.  As I have no oven mitts or pot holders (after all I do have a plaque in my kitchen that reads: Kitchen for Display Only!) we were using a kitchen towel to move one of the casserole dishes which then came in contact with the burner on the floor of the oven and quickly caught fire!!  Jennifer pulled a “Mary Margaret” and yelled out “What do we do, what do we do?” while I unthinkingly grabbed for another nearby dish towel and beat the fire to death!!  Where was the firefighter son??  I believe he was in the living room watching football!

Jo and I watching the BB Buckeyes
Jo and I watching the BB Buckeyes
Jo & I watching the BB Buckeyes
The “Adult” (a.ka. old folks) Gag Gift Christmas Party 2014

Between Thanksgiving and now, the Clark and Schultheis extended families have been busy (besides passing around various flu germs) celebrating birthdays (just to name them all would add another thousand words to this blog!!), celebrating engagements (congrats to Erin and Casey), attending bridal showers (congrats to Sean and Emily who will be married on New Years Eve), attending Christmas pageants and concerts,  OSU basketball games, and always, always, always congregating to watch the younger offspring participate in any number of sporting or musical events.  But no matter how busy the families are nor how large our numbers grow………..we never, ever fail to gather during the holiday season to share chaos, laughter, love, joy, hope and the memories of all of those past Christmases, and the family members who now remain with us only in spirit.

A few of the almost 100 Schultheis clan who welcomed Santa as an honored guest!!
A few of the 90 Schultheis clan who welcomed Santa as an honored guest!!

As we all finish our preparations for the holiday, I would like to share a thought from a homily which was given a few weeks ago during our Sunday Mass.  This particular sermon touched on a matter that I had never contemplated before and its message has continued to intrigue me.  The congregation was asked to consider the fact that each and every one of us, in our own moment in time and beginning thousands of years ago, was called into existence by our Creator.  We know from Sacred Scripture that there will come a day when this earth shall pass away.  And so, we were asked to ponder the fact that once that day arrives, there will be no other human being created, for there will be no earth to inhabit.  How blessed are we then, no matter what our present circumstances, that you and I have been uniquely and lovingly thought of, and created, for the glories of heaven……..for all eternity.

I speak to you from the depths of eternity.  Before the world was formed, I AM!  You hear Me in the depths of your being, where I have taken up residence.  I am Christ in you, the hope of Glory.  I, your Lord and Savior, am alive within you.  Learn to tune in to My living Presence by seeking Me in silence.

As you celebrate the wonder of My birth in Bethlehem, celebrate also your rebirth into eternal life.  This everlasting gift was the sole purpose of My entering your sin-stained world.  Receive My gift with awe and humility.  Take time to explore the vast dimensions of My Love.  Allow thankfulness to flow freely from your heart in response to My glorious gift.  Let My Peace rule in your heart and be thankful.                                                From Jesus Calling

Lord, you have been our refuge through all generations.  Before the mountains were born, the earth and the world brought forth, from eternity to eternity you are God…….A thousand years in your eyes are merely a day gone by.”                                                                            Psalm 90:1-2, 4

Christmas is indeed a wondrous season, an opportunity to remember all the ways that God has touched our lives and our world.  I will close with just a very short video of seven of the grandchildren who at the request of, and through the generosity of my employers…..Drs. Ira and Lori…..presented a “random act of Christmas kindness” to several Target shoppers.

Wishing everyone a peaceful and blessed Christmas.



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A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words………..And Then Some!!!

What better way to begin this new post than with a slideshow and video presentation of the grandchildren acting and posing as their alter-egos!  Actually, I didn’t intend to include all of these photos, but then as I was preparing to “spill the beans” (that is kind of what I sometimes feel I do when I write about me and the family…..ha, ha, ha) for this month’s post, I just couldn’t resist a bit of tattle-telling, so to speak.  As the saying goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words” and these particular pictures sort of ring true in matching up with a grandchild’s particular personality profile.

For instance, the very first picture is of Mayce in her “curtain dress”.  The story behind this dress is that Mayce recently became enchanted with the Sound of Music and particularly with the Do-Re-Mi song where the children in the movie are relieved from their  military style attire by their new nanny (Julie Andrews) who dresses them in clothing made from her bedroom curtains (hard to believe the Von Trapp children felt that idea was a step in the right direction…..LOL).  At any rate, while Stephanie and Mayce were shopping (a pasttime they both enjoy, by the way!!) at Old Navy a couple of weeks ago Mayce suggested that they look for a”curtain dress” just like the ones worn by the girls in the movie.  Stephanie, in an attempt to ward off a potential Mayce melt-down, cautioned Mayce that “curtain” dresses were not exactly a staple of Old Navy’s inventory!!  Well, wouldn’t you know…………..there, on a rack of discounted children’s clothing, was the pièce de résistance…………the one and only……….. “curtain” dress!!  Mayce was thrilled………..Do-Re-Mi’s 2014  “curtain dress” rendition by Mayce “Von Trapp” Baird is now not only endearing, but also quite authentic!  .

The next photo in the gallery is of Josh and Mayce taken one random day as they showed up wearing their version of “Nana” fashion……… and white!!!  (You see, I dress just like my mind thinks…………… and white!!  LOL).  Actually Josh doesn’t normally mimic my style, he typically models himself after his Great-Uncle Mike…………… Josh will choose from his closet each day a very narrow selection of short-sleeved tees paired with knee-length gym shorts that he (like Mike) has worn all through the winter, much to the dismay of his parents.  Chris and Jessica have done battle with Josh every single day of this long, harsh winter, fighting him tooth and nail, finally arriving  at a compromise……………Josh had to put on a long-sleeved shirt and gym pants over top of his “Uncle Mike” attire whenever he had to leave the house!!

I am not quite sure what to say about the next picture in the gallery!!!!!!!!!!!…………….it seems as though whenever Tommy and Sydney are together, they never fail to give me a reason to smile :)  This particular photo was snapped after Tommy and Sydney “disappeared” one evening while we were all over at Chris and Jessica’s for a recent Sunday dinner.  They had gone upstairs, rummaged through Sydney’s “dress-up” clothing and then apparently searched Christopher’s closet and when they reappeared…………voila!!!……….Little Bo Peep and Buckeye Guy!!!!!!!  I am saving this one for their high school graduation………there could just be a little blackmail lurking in their futures LOL!!!

The next two characters in the slide-show are of Sam and Sophia which were taken this past Halloween.  Sam, unsurprisingly, stepped right into his role as a mafia kingpin, thus fulfilling Jennifer’s once upon a long time ago fear that Sam would end up as a juvenile delinquent!!  LOL  You see, Sam like many red-blooded American boys (and yes, I am stereo-typing!!) could sneak a forbidden candy treat or provoke his little sister Natalie into endless bouts of hysterical crying, and yet profess, quite convincingly, that he was oh so innocent.  Every now and then Jennifer would confess to me wondering, in the deep recesses of her mind, if Sam possessed any conscience at all as the punishments and reprimands seemed to seldom phase him.  Having grown up with five brothers, I continually reassured her that if my brothers had not become jailbirds (well……….not permanent ones anyway……………just kidding, brothers!!!!!!!!!!!!! LOL)…………Sam”s conscience would eventually find him and, along with his kind-hearted nature, both would serve to keep him on the right path.

Sophia, interestingly, also exhibits a personality that is somewhat reflected in this choice of costume. She has this deep-rooted sense of right and wrong, fair and unfair, just and unjust (some might say that she inherited a few of her Nana’s genes!!).  She can be “Little Miss Sunshine” or she can be “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” :).  One might also say that she has a bit of a “Catholic” conscience…………with the proverbial angel on her right shoulder and the devil on her left shoulder………..her guilt usually will lead her to the telling of the truth eventually………..even when she has not been found out!  I can remember when she was only four or five years old, I had given her some chocolate candy which she happily took from me and went on her merry way.  A short time later she came back into the kitchen to find me to confide that she had been told earlier by her Mom that she was not to have any dessert that night.  Sadly and sheepishly she returned one of the uneaten pieces of candy explaining that she didn’t want her Mom to be mad at her :).  I love that kind of honesty!

Olivia’s photo showcases a small milestone of sorts for her, in that in preparation for her Confirmation, she actually had to go dress shopping for what may have been the first time since her First Communion (okay, okay…… I guess she has actually worn a dress or two since then, but she is definitely not what one would call a fashion diva!!!).  I can remember when I went along with Olivia and Jennifer to look for the First Communion dress, Olivia was content to sit in the dressing room while Jennifer and I scoured the store bringing dress after dress back for Olivia to try on.  Because Olivia seemed so nonchalant with the entire process, Jennifer and I narrowed the selection down to three and then, satisfied with our choices, asked Olivia which one she preferred.  With little hesitation she happened to choose my personal favorite, and when pressed for the reason for her decision, Olivia simply said that it was the one dress that had scratched her the least!!!!!!!!!!   Olivia…………… are a chip off the old block……….your Papa is definitely smiling down on you :).

I decided to add the above video so as not to let Natalie and Luke off the hook when they both realize that Nana has been busy “showcasing” their cousins on her blog (or to put it another way…….. “spilling the beans”)!!  One of the favorite cousins’ activity, when they are not outside playing soccer or dodge-ball , is making up a play or putting on a self-made musical performance.  This video was taken one TGIFriday afternoon after Natalie and Luke had put their collaborative heads together and asked me to review their “innovative” routine. Obviously, they are not yet ready for prime time, but if “Tiny TIm” & his song “Tiptoe Through the Tulips” could become a one hit wonder, you never can tell!!As long as I am sharing pictures of the grandchildren.

I may as well share a few pictures of myself to let you in on some of what I have been up to in the past few weeks.  To keep it short and sweet I will simply add that the photos will reveal an increase in my political activism and that I have finally, (thanks to my brother Tommy and my niece, Melanie). made good on a challenge (involving the 2nd Amendment) that I had presented to myself shortly after Crick’s death.

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When I get to this point in my post, I usually pause to consider what, over the past few weeks, has brought me a measure of comfort, peace, hope, courage or inspiration that I can share with others.  As I reflected on this today, I recalled that one Saturday morning last year, as I was driving to one of the grandkids’ baseball games, I happened to tune in to our local Catholic radio station and heard the most inspiring priest delivering a talk on prayer.  I actually drove out of my way just so I could hear the talk all the way through to the end and on Monday morning I called the radio station to find out how I could obtain a recording.  Long story short, I discovered that the priest was Father Larry Richards, the pastor of a parish in Erie, Pa.  He has established A Reason for Our Hope Foundation in answer to 1 Peter 3:15,  “Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope.”  The mission of the foundation is to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ and His Church through multimedia resources.  I have since ordered several of his CD’s as well as MP3s and have rarely been so spiritually moved as I have been by the message Fr. Larry brings to his listeners regarding the truth of God’s love.  How fitting then as we approach the three most holy days in the Catholic church’s liturgical observances—the Triduum (Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday) — that I should discover this particular you-tube video presentation of Fr. Larry which reflects on the words Jesus spoke on the Cross just prior to his Last Words,  “I thirst”.  I believe that you will find the video very worthy of your time.

Wishing everyone a Happy Easter!



Don’t Know Much

Some may have noticed my summer hiatus from the Diaryofanut blog.  It has not been intentional, rather it just seems that life kind of got in the way of life, and I simply found myself unable to focus on my diaryofanut writing.  If I am honest with myself, I would have to blame it all on my “obsessive” need to read, and the subsequent “compulsive” need to comment, on far too many political FB posts.  After which I would feel as though the wiring inside my brain had short-circuited much like the electrical grid when its circuits become overloaded.  As today marks the 46th anniversary of the historical union of DH (dear husband) and TGW (the good wife),  I feel called to re-engage with the blogosphere by republishing a post from several years ago.

Top row: Jimmy, Joy, Jay, Feller, Johnny Middle Row: Cecilia, Kathy, MM, Crick, Lee Bottom Row: Christine, Tommy
Top row: Jimmy, Joy, Jay, Feller, Johnny
Middle Row: Cecilia, Kathy, MM, Crick, Lee
Bottom Row: Christine, Tommy


MM in Mom's wedding dress with Ce 1959
MM in Mom’s wedding dress with Ce 1959


MM and Cecilia 11 years later
MM and Cecilia 11 years later
"Say cheese"!!! LOL
“Say cheese”!!! LOL

Memory can only tell us what we were,
in the company of those we loved;
it cannot help us find what each of us, alone, must now become.
Yet no person is really alone;
those who live no more, echo still within our thoughts and words,
and what they did has become woven into what we are.
~ Jewish prayer 




This week I have been on a bit of a sentimental journey as today is the 42nd anniversary of the day when the “glass half-full” wed the “glass half-empty” and an incredible journey was begun.  I have countless memories of the “good, the bad and the ugly” (which brings to mind the actor, Clint Eastwood…..which brings to mind an empty chair…which brings to mind a certain political convention……but for today, I will stay on topic, so that you may all rest easy!!  LOL).  The little strips of typewritten paper which I inserted above were several of thirty-eight which Crick had attached to thirty-eight roses he had placed throughout the house to be discovered by me when I had returned home work to celebrate our anniversary four years ago.  Without a doubt, this was the single most romantic idea he had ever conceived!!!  As you can see from the “new-found political activism” mention, the year was 2008……the year I became, not just any “nut”, but a “right-wing nut!!!  And of course, you will notice the words “stubbornness” and “ways you get mad” (I do believe, he just might have been recalling the “King’s Island Main Street incident”!!!………which, I must confess, was unfortunately not an isolated event!).  I am  quite sure that Peggy and Mark will take particular note of the “NOT my fishing and camping partner”, for no matter how awesome Crick tried to make the idea of camping out in a hot, stuffy tent, sleeping all too close to terra firma, among the creepy, crawling insects, the squirrels and raccoons, and those pesky, chirping birds; I have always, always, always preferred the creature comforts of home.  And foremost among those thirty-eight for which Crick was expressing his gratitude, were his children and grandchildren, for whom we both always, always, always agreed were our greatest blessings. 

First lease
First lease

As I was looking through some pictures, I came across the lease for our very first apartment which was on North High Street just up the road from St. Michael’s where Crick graduated from grade school.  Along with the lease I also discovered that I had kept  our first checkbook ledger and thought that, as one of  the slips of paper above indicates, I was the family “financier”, I should share how far $400/month salary would take you back in 1970.  I was struck not just by the fact that our rent was only $100/month, but that our very first check was to Columbia Gas for $2.56.  Looking further down the list I took particular note that there was a check written to Ohio State University for $255.00 which was to pay for Crick’s tuition for fall quarter that year!!!  Today, that amount would hardly cover the cost of one book!   I also noticed that a check had been written to Agler-Davidson (a once popular sporting goods store) and now recall that the amount was to cover the cost of some football equipment as Crick and a couple of my brothers had this cockamamie idea that they would join a local semi-pro football league which was being tried out in Columbus.  Crick and Johnny played for the “Blue Angels”……………what? you’ve never heard of them??????  Not surprising, the league went bust shortly thereafter, but what I do remember is that there was this little tiny bit of a………. dare I say………..  “discussion” between the newly wedded, blissful couple about the wisdom of spending money on something so unnecessary as football equipment!!   So now, you all know why I became the “financier”!!  LOL  I just know that Crick is pacing back and forth up there in the heavens telling anyone who will listen to him that he knew this would happen one day………..that my hanging on to letters and incriminating pieces of the past would come back to haunt him.  I still have in my possession, almost three years worth of letters that he wrote to me when he was in the Army……..Fort Knox, Fort Sill, Fort Carson and Korea……….yep, whenever he remembered my box of his letters, he would go on and on about how I should get rid of them because, you know, they were just dust collectors and a lot of ancient history.  Welllllllllllll,  I have always loved history and now one of these days I am just going to have to re-read all of those letters and really tick Crick off!!!!  :)

I actually have been on a mission of sorts the past two days to put together some pictures from forty-two years ago, as my own small way of honoring this day and all of the memories attached to it.  And as I was sorting through the various photos, and a few of the cards that I had kept of anniversaries past, I remembered something.  One year, probably twenty years ago (gosh was 1990 that long ago???), Crick and I had surprisingly presented each other with the very same gift!!  Now this is even more remarkable because we did not always exchange gifts as money was usually tight (due in part to a very stingy financier!!!).  This particular year however, we shockingly presented each other with…………………a cassette (CD’s were just becoming popular, but we were obviously not on the cutting edge of new technology !!!) of  a hit song by Linda Ronstadt and Aaron Neville titled “Don’t Know Much”.  It seemed to touch us both in the same way about how we  each viewed our relationship………and so I listened to it again for the first time in quite a while and realized how perfectly it suited us.  I decided to see if I could put the pictures and the music together and after a lot (A LOT!!) of trial and error this is how it turned out.  (click the arrow on lower right hand corner of video for full screen)



P.S.  Remember that last wedding picture in the video??  This was a re-enactment forty years later……………………………….you just can’t account for “maturity” LOL!!!