Archive for May, 2006

Poison Ivy

You know it occurred to me you always hurt the ones you love.  Last Saturday seemed like a perfect day to do some yard work.  Get the yard in shape for the Memorial Day parade, pull some weeds, get ready to plant some maters.  (That is tomatoes)…

 My wonderful and dutiful princess bride felt somehow convicted to help me.  She really is a trooper.  Donna was willing to risk the possibility of an alergic reaction to Honeysuckle and other flowering trees to get outside  and help me.  Some years her allergies are terrible and other years not so bad.  Two years ago she tried to play golf in the Mollette Memorial and was severly overcome with sneezing and red eyes and tears and coughing and just a whole lot of bad things before we made the turn.  We all tried to convince her to go home and I would have gone with her (I think) but no, she stuck it out and declared well that is the end of that, I am not going to risk that again for golf!!  And that is a shame she really has a nice swing.

But I digress, back to Saturday.  So we pull all the ragweed of of the main flower garden on the Van Buren side of the lot and it looks pretty good.  We move a few hosta plants (I know its the wrong time of year but) and we are just about done.  Oh lets pull a few of these "little trees" out of here.  So I actually crawl into the flower bed between the porches and you know there are vines attached to these "little trees".  So I start pulling them out and handing them to, you guessed it, the lovely Mrs Y. 

I had one bump on Sunday, could have been a mosquito bite, did not think much of it.  I actually broke our first but I typically dont have much of an allergice reaction to much of anything.  I must have eaten a lot of dirt as a child.  Later Sunday Donna did start to break out some but nothing too bad.  By noon Monday she was in a full blown mess.  Her left arm is one big itchy blotch that covers half her arm.  But she is a trooper and went to the Mollette Fraley and friends picnic and stayed basically till we were safe to leave. By that I mean that by the time I asked if there was anything I could do to help I was told my timing was impecable and they were already done and only thing remaining was for the straglers to leave. 

Donna did not sleep well last night and I feel awful about this.  I can still see myself handing here the poison ivy.  This is what happens after living too many years in the South.  They dont have poison ivy down South.  They have poison oak.  You can tell by the fact it has 5 leaves on it.  I learned that the same way in the South as I relearned Saturday about poison ivy. 

We tried (actually I tried them on myself as a guinea pig) several home remedies.  Included were rubbing alcohol, purel, hydro-cortisone cream and my favorite, chorine bleach.  Also suggested but not tried was starch, either from pototo or corn starch.  Spray starch was suggested but we did not have any on hand.  Chlorine bleach seemed to work the best for me.  Almost like a chemical peel, if you like that.  If I had not thrown that last bannana out, rubbing the affected area with a bannana peel would have been tried. 

Donna did go to the doctor today and got a shot.  They also gave her a prescription for Hydro-cortisone cream and some steroids.  Our PA told her to warn those around her that the steroids will make her cranky.  Well that should be a new experience.  In 15 years I do not think I have ever seen her cranky.  What a blessed, God given pleasant person she is.   I thank God for her every day.

Well, fine job I did protecting her.  I must be off…


Religion shapes Savage’s vision for the Browns… reprinted without permission…

A smirking fellow was walking out of the Northeast Ohio Celebrity Luncheon Club the other day.

He had just heard Browns General Manager Phil Savage present this idealistic vision:

“I really believe that if we can get enough people on board — and I think we’re well on our way to doing that — we’re not only going to win, but we’re going to win in the right way, the way that the fans want us to win.

“And that is with dignity, with class, with true professionalism. That’s really what we’re striving to get to.”

As Savage greeted audience members nearby, the smirking man said, “Nobody cares how they do it. Just win, baby.”

There was some truth in this. When the Indians were winning with world-class sourpuss Albert Belle in the mid-1990s, no one seemed to be boycotting Jacobs Field.

Given a choice between winning with creeps and doing so with decent men, though, only creeps would really believe it’s all the same. Don’t you think?

There is little question Savage thinks he’s trying to build a winner with his version of good players who are good people.

If you want to know Savage and want him to work for you, it is important to know his view of goodness is through the lens of Christianity.

Owner Randy Lerner, who is Jewish, surely knows.

Since Savage joined the Browns last year, he hasn’t worn his religion on his sleeve, but he isn’t acting like a government official afraid to cross the line between church and state, either.

At the luncheon, from a perch overlooking the Prestwick Country Club practice tee, he said: “I’m not an overly spiritual person. If I was to go play golf with you guys, I’m sure I’d hit a few shots and probably say a couple cuss words. We’re all human.

“But I have found through the years that having that relationship with Christ on a consistent basis helps you to remain calm in a storm. That’s one thing I’ve learned over the last year and five months.”

Savage said his faith steered him through the late-season mess in which it appeared he had been fired by President John Collins.

“When you are a Christian leader, you can provide an effective, positive and reassuring leadership,” he said. “I went through that situation there at the end of the year, and I think I emerged really being a stronger leader, not only inside the organization, but outside as well.

“People saw that, hey, there’s no wavering there. He’s just doing his job and going forward and … he’s got someone who’s on the attack, and on the offensive, but it’s just bouncing off, and it had no impact at the end of the day whatsoever.”

Savage understands the risk of public expressions of religion, as he did in an understated but direct way at the luncheon.

“People say, ‘Phil, you’re a Christian G.M. Does that mean we’re only going to have all Christian players on the team?’ Absolutely not,” he said. “We want Christian players who can play football well.

“We want guys who can play football in a good way. If they happen to be a Christian, I think it’s a positive.

“The teams I’ve been associated with that were really big winners … there was always a core group of guys who were somewhat the foundational strength of the team. Not necessarily in an outward way, but in a core, quiet, humble way.

“We have a number of players like that right now, Phil Dawson being one. He’s a kicker, yet he has great respect in that locker room because of the man that he is.

“I think Charlie Frye is going to emerge that way after he becomes more acclimated and actually gets on the field and plays, but we have a number of guys that are that way.”

A certain bad-boy thread snaked through Baltimore’s Super Bowl season of 2000, Savage’s former team.

Now, with the Browns, Savage is dealing with an embarrassing situation involving Reuben Droughns, a running back he traded for last year. Droughns was arrested on a domestic violence charge three days after being acquitted in a drunk-driving case.

Perhaps there are times when Savage is conflicted, praying through real-life episodes of “Playmakers.”

“There are storms out there brewing, and you don’t know where they’re gonna come from,” Savage said. “But they certainly can be overcome by just the attitude and the presence and the belief that God is with me, so … I’m gonna be OK through this situation.”

Reach Repository sports writer Steve Doerschuk at (330) 580-8347 or e-mail:

Tressel Bridges the Gap…

COLUMBUS – Ohio State coach Jim Tressel will be paid almost $2.4 million this season as part of a new seven-year contract.

Tressel has yet to sign the contract, Ohio State spokesman Steve Snapp said Thursday. Snapp said the sixth-year coach and Ohio State officials have agreed in principal to the deal.

The contract is retroactive to Feb. 1, 2006, and runs through Jan. 13, 2013. Tressel will receive almost $1.9 million in salary this season, in addition to a $500,000 signing bonus. In the final year of the contract, Tressel will be paid $2.7 million.

“Jim Tressel is one of the finest football coaches in the country and we felt it was important to get him near the top nationally in terms of compensation,'' Athletic Director Gene Smith said.

Under his previous contract, set to expire after the 2008 season, Tressel would have been paid around $1.8 million this season.

In five years with the Buckeyes, Tressel is 50-13 and his teams have shared two Big Ten titles and won the 2002 national championship. Ohio State is 4-1 in bowl games and 4-1 against rival Michigan under Tressel.

Asparagus Bratwurst

The National Asparagus Festival is a three-day event celebrating the harvest of asparagus in Oceana County, Michigan.  A variety of activities are offered each year as the Festival alternates between the towns of Shelby and Hart, Michigan.  The N.A.F. Board of Directors invites everyone to come join the fun and excitement as the County celebrates this important harvest each spring.

Some of the annual Festival events held from year to year include:   Arts & Crafts Fair, "Spear-it" 5K Run/Walk, Children's Parade and activities, Joe Foster Golf Open, Asparagus Royale Parade, Asparagus Food Show and much, much more.

Baseball Card and Mom (reprinted with permission)…

By Terry Pluto

My mother used to buy me baseball cards — five packs for a quarter.

That was back when there were five cards to a pack, and a huge, pink, sweet, sticky piece of bubblegum as a bonus. The cards were wrapped in something like wax paper. Only one company produced the cards: Topps.

My mother didn't care much about baseball, but she knew I loved the game and collected the cards. She came home from work at the bowling alley, often exhausted, with a cheeseburger, some french fries and the baseball cards.

I thought that was a great supper.

Sometimes, she added some cupcakes from Hough Bakery.

Some people would not consider Mary Pluto to be an ideal mother. She worked from the time I was in school, and she was a pioneer in the area of women teaching bowling. She also was the first bowling coach at Cuyahoga Community College-West, coaching the men's and women's team. She taught bowling classes at the college, which was special because she never attended college.

But she knew bowling, and she really knew people.

She could encourage. She cared deeply about her students. She spent a lot of time with them.

She didn't like to cook. She didn't keep an immaculate house. She was always 15 minutes late for everything.

But she was creative, and was the disciple of unconditional love. She was my biggest fan, which means so much more to a child than the perfect house or a dinner out of the Miss Manners textbook.

With Mother's Day coming, I thought about her. She died in 1984. I recently wrote a column about that. If you missed it, please read the April 1 article Missed chances can haunt.

Most of all, take this weekend to tell your mother that you love her — and tell her why you love her. Even if it's just for the baseball cards and cupcakes. And if you have some issues with your mother, see if you can put them aside. Work on forgiving, because time is short.

Or if your mother has been missing, addicted or a real troubled soul, perhaps there was a grandmother or someone else who filled the gap. Treat that lady like a queen. She deserves it.

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