Archive for January, 2012

Christopher Ritchey- The scholarships continue-Thank YOU

Thanks to the generosity of Chris’s friends, our friends, readers and the immediate family the scholarships given in remembrance of Chris have continued.
This week Chris’s sister Nikki and I had the privilege of viewing the applicants of the Chris Ritchey Leadership Award – Lorain County Community College for our input. The task was somewhat daunting as every applicant was very deserving. We submitted our top choices and will await the final decision by Lorain County Community College.

I am also pleased to say that once again thanks to some very special people in my life and Chris’s the scholarship in Chris’s name at Cleveland Institute of Art continues for another year and builds . Thank you so much for your donations I cannot begin to tell you what it means to myself, Chris’s Dad, sister, Nana to be able to have this living legacy in remembrance of Chris.

Should you wish to donate to either scholarship


Debra L. Richter
Alumni and Scholarship Coordinator
Lorain County Community College Foundation
1005 N. Abbe Road
Elyria, OH 44035
440.366.7758 – Office
440.366.4078 – Fax

If you would like to contribute to the Christopher Ritchey Memorial Scholarship at CIA please do so by sending the check to :

Attn M. Kinsella
Cleveland Institute of Art,
11141 East Boulevard,
Cleveland, OH 44106
mark Chris Ritchey Memorial Scholarship

January 31, 2012 at 11:13 am Leave a comment

Murphy’s Law or Mother’s intuition……… which came first

I knew it!!!!! – I remember looking at my daughter a few months ago and thinking to myself

she’s pregnant

– I told my mum- then a few weeks later lo and behold an excited pregnancy test – she was 5 weeks-

No! you have to farther along – you can’t be 5 weeks I knew at least 7 weeks ago. I told Nan

But they all snickered and said

Oh just mum and her premonitions again

and when last month she looked a little bigger than she should be at 32-3 weeks they did an ultrasound and said

oh no the due date is still February 15th.

HMMMMMMMM I think there are wrong – Gavin came 2 weeks early and I figured Murphy’s Law would get me again . I somehow knew that whilst Christopher was having his 1st stem cell transplant in Cleveland I would be running between hospitals and I was right even though Chris was due out of the hospital a week before Nikki was due however Murphy was not to be denied and I ended up to-ing and fro-ing between Cleveland and Elyria.

I looked at my daughter last Friday night and told her Dad

you better pack a bag

. It was going to be his job to stay at the house with Gavin whilst mummy and daddy went to get the new baby. I was ignored, but I packed mine.

Of course according to Murphy the time was ripe – the previous Wednesday Gavin decided to give me his cold and not being a young it was three days coming – three days staying and three days going. I said to Nikki please hold out til Wednesday when I will be over this “gift from your son”.

Sunday just as I was ready to down a shot of NightQuil and crawl into freshly washed bedding that beckoned the weary – the phone rang- I grabbed my bag my husband grabbed his bag ( Oh wait he didn’t have one because

“there is plenty of time she isn’t due for weeks”

MALE non Murphy thinking

The family birthing unit at EMH was the destination- I was not impressed the first time and was decidely unimpressed this 2nd time – more on that later. Braedyn made his appearance into the world just after 6 in the morning . And although they maintain this 6 lb bundle complete with eyebrows etc. is 36 weeks – Murphy and I know better he had at least two weeks on them………

I have realized just how old I am trying to keep up with Gavin, whose energy is seemingly limitless and whose imagination gets us both into trouble- when the dog gates become a makeshift Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and a muddy Scout rushes into the room. Bath time – is an experience to be believed – Gavin nightly tries to prove Archimedes wrong and the water he displaces usually ends up soaking me. One towel for Gavin , one for the floor and one for me.

I have loaded logs with a crane, eaten all sorts of make-believe food- there goes the diet- been sent to the naughty chair more times than I can count for telling him No- flown an airplane, dumped all sorts of things with a truck , danced to Hot Diggity Dog and watched Toy story 5 times without ever seeing the whole thing and that was just today……..

to be continued

January 28, 2012 at 1:32 am 6 comments

Baby Update from Nag Nog – Lorain Dude 2

UPDATE – Lorain Dude One meets Lorain Dude Two

or Gavin meets little brother Braedyn Hunter see there is this Celtic thing going on with these names 🙂

or AAA RAIN as Gavin calls me- I will be a tad busy for the next few days to blog so the site will be hit and miss…. Gavin is needing a personal “Nanny” in order to give Mummy a rest when she brings home DIRTGavins moniker for him ( as at the moment he is still nameless- but we should know soon. He came in at 6 lbs and they say a month early but I always thought Nikki was farther along than they said 🙂 – He is 18 inches ( I believe) couldn’t quite hear as Dirt was crying his head off. But all things intact 🙂

But the “Nana” and Poo Bah paid a visit this morning

93 three years between the oldest and youngest generation

Safe in the arms of love

to be continued…………………………….

January 24, 2012 at 8:10 pm 13 comments

Lorain Dude times 2- It is a Boy!!!

A little early …. more later .. news not babies

January 23, 2012 at 5:27 pm 9 comments

Things I have learned in the past three days- Amies (Hardy) – Amie

You learn something new everyday apparently:

In the back and beyond of -or in the beginning or my “working” career I was a temp for the fashion industry in London. One particular job of work was for a receptionist for the Hardy Amies-( Ready to Wear) Salon

I was chosen from other temps because of my diction and lack of noticeable “dialect” also the “ready to wear salon” was trying to cash in on the “youth market “ of London’s swinging 60’s. My first morning ( being new to the world of fashion and only being back in London from Canada a short while I had no idea the hierarchy of the London fashion scene and who was who ( Hardy Amies was the designer to the Queen) . I made the mistake of answering the first phone call ( reading from the “script” I had been given )

Good Morning Hardy AMY Ready to Wear – May I be of assistance?

Within mere seconds of my first call- my outer room filled with models , managers ( even the cutters) and then this very tall elegant older gentleman- whom I was soon to find out was Hardy AMIES presented himself– that is the only way I can describe him he “presented his presence into the lobby”.

photoby Patrick Lichfield (Thomas Patrick John Anson, 5th Earl of Lichfield),photograph,August 1970

He did not talk directly to me – you could feel the cold annoyance permeating from him though. My 17 years and the invincibility of youth did not come to my aid- I half rose out of the chair ( which was uncomfortable – I believe on purpose so that your back was straight and anyone coming into reception was met without a slouch.) not knowing whether to run or curtsy.

I was lucky ( I think) not to be instantly dismissed. A Mr. Seth spoke up for me -I know had I been in the Haute Couture salon – well I wouldn’t ever had been hired for that salon- I was not elegant, tall , swanlike or talked with the proverbial marble in one’s mouth ( and that was the criteria for their receptionist) I know even if I had been all those things I would have been thrown out unceremoniously.

As it stood I was given a 2nd chance and I remained the receptionist through the “showing season” – ah the tales I could tell…. and then I moved on to the recording industry.

As I was locked in my self- inflicted confinement last evening I was surprised to learn this man who scared me to sit straight had actually served in WW2 and had run a spy network and all sorts of daring plans to deal with Nazi collaborators-

The Queen’s dressmaker Sir Hardy Amies was yesterday named as one of the men who helped to plan the murder of dozens of Nazi collaborators in Europe towards the end of the Second World War.

Mr Darlow said: “When we went to see Hardy Amies, he said ‘sorry, old chap, I can’t remember a thing about it.'” He said Sir Hardy would have nothing to feel ashamed about. “Organising the assassination of Nazi collaborators across Europe was an act of patriotism. I admit, though, that it is hard to reconcile the Queen’s dress designer with this.”

At the out break of World War II, with his language experience Amies was called up to serve in the Special Operations Executive. Amies suspected that SOE’s commander Major General Colin Gubbins did not regard a dressmaker as suitable military material, but his training report stated:

“This officer is far tougher both physically and mentally than his rather precious appearance would suggest. He possesses a keen brain and an abundance of shrewd sense. His only handicap is his precious appearance and manner, and these are tending to decrease.

I was shocked as I watched the program and fascinated but considering he always knew what exactly was happening in both salons within seconds of events I think he probably used the tools of the trade from his war experience in his business. ( explains a lot) And he certainly wasn’t precious in appearance when he presented himself in the Ready to Wear Salon- I wasn’t the only one sitting up straight and that went for the clients as well as the staff. 🙂

I also learned from my stint in his salon – presentation is key – and the first person you deal with is just as important as any CEO or CFO.

I have also learned :

Even if your eyes are red and sore with crying everyday for these many months.
Your face is puffy and the wrinkles and lines of care are etched deeper into a sagging skin-
Your limbs no longer limber, you walk slower , and trail behind – that the food of comfort has added to an already plump frame.
Your hair, no longer shiny bright and well groomed
It matters not you are without makeup – you are not dressed to flatter- your manicure decidedly lacking –
No, it matters not to this little child who also makes his presence known loudly and joyfully at your arrival- because, all things aside he sees the patient playmate – a playmate and one who has time to enter the world of make-believe and throw snowballs and helps fill up his trucks with the cold white stuff and makes hot chocolate – you are beautiful once again in the eyes of youth .

January 20, 2012 at 3:47 pm 11 comments

I am folk weary – God with us or Gott Mitt Uns

It has been a “ripping emotion” few days. I have been defensive , very, very angry, speechless and disgusted on top of my already “emotional puddle person” that I am since I lost my son. I have pounded at this poor keyboard till I have probably broken this one too. “Old typists never die they just kill computer keyboards”.

Kenneth Ritchey

Apart from the pain, beneath contempt and disgust I feel about some “folk” and their selfish controlling impact they have had on my life, the lives of those I love more than life itself and my son’s death and -some of them “family”

I have learned I am not alone in having to deal with the “dregs”

Over at Busters House Blog – Lisa wrote a post- found here
“You could have healed Gabriel if you had faith.”
as Lisa said in a following comment:

I know why Gabriel died and so do all of you. I’ll spell it out for those who are new here: CONGENITAL HEART DEFECT, HYPOPLASTIC LEFT HEART SYNDROME. Period. I can usually deal with it when strangers tell me why they think he died (God’s plan, angels needed, blah blah etc.). Smile, nod in polite agreement, thanks and move along quickly, thinking all the while “they have no fucking clue”. This one hurt to the core. Moments like these yank me back to year one day one and hold me there for a little while.

I spent that day pounding the keyboard because I know how disabling it is to be taken back to the most terrible time in your life and to be hurt to the core. Lisa is my friend and I wanted to take away her pain and to show this “faith salesman” up for what he was.

I researched the arguments about God / Gods / gods, faith and beliefs literally taking apart the history of organized religion as we know it- bringing in all the hypocrisy, past sins and present of organized religion as it crosses from one belief into anothers – the post got lengthier and lengthier and the plethora of links turned the post text green.

Yes, I can debate the inconsistency of religion and beliefs – point out the sheer nonsense and illogical thinking in ALL faith systems but what would it serve? Am I going to change the thinking? NO! I can only “believe ” in my own beliefs and why SHOULD I take it upon myself to influence others?

Here am I right in the middle of a Christian community and predominately a ” Roman Catholic city” . My ways are not their ways and my beliefs are not their beliefs and yet “their ways” have been forced upon me and my family by their parishioners and their priests/ bishops and their “culture” etc. Recently I was told that because Chris was cremated that negated his chance for resurrection and he was doomed for eternity ( nice thing to impart to a grieving mother).

I wonder if that person had been born in a predominately Indian community whether they would have “preached ” the resurrection theory – probably not-

“The Indian religions, such as Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism and Buddhism, mandate cremation. In these religions, the body is seen as an instrument to carry the soul. As an example, the Bhagavad Gita. According to Hindu philosophy the human body is a combination of five basic natural elements; namely agni (fire), jala (water), vayu (air), prithvi (earth) and akasha (space/ether). When one dies, fire (agni tattva) ceases, and that living form is sent to its original state of creation. Fire (in the form of cremation) is used to complete the fifth element.

What one believes depends upon your culture, customs where you are born and where you live. It does not make your belief right or wrong ;you are usually in the middle of the majority for that area. I am not of the Indian culture but having an ancient heritage myself that had similar beliefs before the birth of Jesus Christ and the “organized “catholic church” ( the true definition of the meaning of catholic) a person who belongs to the universal Christian church- I can understand the beliefs of some of the Indian religions.

I would like to think “COMPASSION for those that grieve “ knows no boundary among the organized religious beliefs just the common denominator of humanity . Let me let you into my world and others who have lost a child once again – IT IS DIFFERENT FROM ANY OTHER LOSS IN YOUR LIFE-

Heart Thorns by Chris Ritchey

Unless one has lived through the losing of a son or daughter and had to watch as their grasp on the spark of life fades along with the hope – the sheer exhaustion of hour after hour- day after day – night after night and the tremendous toll it takes on your heart, body and mind – the ability to breathe, to stay strong fighting a losing battle and yet not daring to give up – just incase there is the slightest chance.

You have no idea the sheer terror , questioning , hoping , praying , the deals made with God, the what ifs – why is this happening- are we being punished – what can I do ? You are scared to leave their side to rest incase the worst happens whilst you aren’t there . You are mentally, emotionally and physically at the lowest ebb – you are desperate and as you quietly scream internally, you hedge your bets clinging onto anything that would take away the pain and heal your child as you watch your child fade before your eyes and the helplessness overwhelms you.

You hope against hope that even if YOU aren’t worthy of compassion or of “God’s benevolence” that one of the, in Chris’s case, thousands of people world-wide at least “one” would be deserving of having a prayer answered. .

When you outlive your child there is a guilt – a guilt that you wake in the morning and they don’t and that somehow you were lacking. You have no idea that even after death the wounds remain with you every day- you can relive those days in a flash all at once – everything you felt and hoped and dreamed and the utter despair floods in – you are at the mercy of grief.

So for some troglodyte of humanity to tell a grieving father that had he had faith his son would have been healed sickens me. There are times I want to leave this community , to run away but I would take my grief with me no matter the culture .

I am sick of politicians bringing God into everything nationally and locally – I am sick of the God Squad of athletes praying for a touchdown or a goal. I am tired of the self-righteous, pontificators of “their particular” brand of religion being forced upon one because they are in the majority of thinking in any one area. I am sick of wars based upon religion with all sides proclaiming God/ Allah/ Buddha/ Zeus/ Jehovah or whoever is on their side.

We KNOW nothing We just know the “stories and the fables and the experiences of others” passed down through a few thousand years- we only know what we believe and have “faith ” in and the caveman as he crawled out of his cave and saw fire from the sky had his beliefs too. We are just as ignorant and in more than one occasion lately it is the ignorance rather than the compassion that is at the fore.

You have your way – others have theirs and “I am sorry” and a touch of a hand will suffice to those that grieve. For those that preach at me about forgiveness- just because you say I should doesn’t mean I am able or willing to forgive the cataclysm of selfishness that has been thrust upon my family by those who can……..

to be continued…………………….

January 17, 2012 at 9:51 pm 12 comments

Guess who came to dinner and stayed – Guest Blogger Misty

Photo Mark Teleha

Ok! my turn to take over the blog! SWMBO ( She who must be obeyed) is in a rare snit this morning ( not that that isn’t unusual) I am hearing her going on about preferring dogs to most people– this is unusual because she really isn’t what I consider a “dog lover” -so those people persons must have done something really annoying.

I don’t know what she has to complain about I have ended up with this house guest who doesn’t seem to be going home . Infact the way he behaves he thinks this is his home. Now he, a rather yippy Pekingese named Tetley, belongs to the one they call Nana.

They have both been here to stay before -for a couple of days at a time- and I would be relieved when they left. But they have been here since the hot days of summer. There was a lot of commotion those first days they arrived. But now things have settled and it looks like the “Tetley” has decided he likes it, I have a feeling he is here for the duration. He has taken over the house!

Hurumph! he sleeps where he wants – EVEN is allowed on the couch and SWMBO’s lap – I am not allowed to do that – I tried the other day to jump on her lap and wa told ” You big lump get off you are too big” – well I may have put on a couple of pounds – I have to make sure I get my fair share of biscuits because Tetley is always in the doggy biscuit barrel. In fact he eats like there is no tomorrow, he is the one getting decidedly pudgy if you ask me – The Nana can hardly pick him up anymore .

One good thing is though that I get extra treats from the one they call Nana so it is OK if she stays, but her “Tetley” is spoiled if you ask me. He likes to bark at pussycats, squirrels and the mailman but has NO CLUE how to stalk his prey quietly – I have missed more squirrels since he has arrived, as for pussycats most of them are bigger than he is – he has a nerve getting in their faces- I have to protect him from them more often than not.

I even protected him from the black and white type and what thanks did I get for throwing myself between him and the danger- a face full of stink and yukky bath stuff and sentenced to the den for two days with the door open. And HE wouldn’t come near me and just laid on the couch with I swear a grin on his face. There is gratitude for you!

In fact he won’t even go out in the morning until I get up ( my one place of sanctuary- he isn’t allowed in the “HWTHSBO’s ( He who thinks he should be obeyed ) bedroom. But Tetley barks and barks at the door until I get up and he follows me out- can’t a girl get any peace and privacy.

The other day all hell broke loose here in our hood- Tetley got out of the fence after another dog- ( not that he could do anything if he tried)- SWMBO was in her pajamas trying to get through the gate and couldn’t – she wasn’t happy because she was saying some very nasty things about HWMBO’s “junk”- doesn’t she know all those buckets etc are needed and are his treasures. I thought I would help and decided I could squeeze through . I thought I might head Tetley off if I went the other direction- all I got for my efforts was MISTEEEEEEEEEEEEE- just you wait- get back here……..

The man from the next street cornered Tetley for SWMBO but she still couldn’t get out the gate (although I did) and Tetley was growling and spitting at the man ( just like a cat if you ask me) so he was scared to pick him up. SWHMBO was yelling to HWMBO to get up, come out and get the dogs. I don’t think he could hear her and as I was on the trail of some delicious smells in the front, I thought the Nana would get him. Apparently she didn’t because she didn’t have her hearing aid in.

SWMBO was getting very angry- paths and junk and gates and hell to pay. There was also something about retwisting her knee and being in pain. I guess she managed to get HWTHSBO because he got hold of Tetley, who was still growling and spitting at the man, then he came and found me down the road..hmm even he wasn’t too pleased with me- can’t understand it I am a “tracker” after all.

Well finally we all came into the house and SWMBO wouldn’t talk to any of us except the Nana. ( that wasn’t too bad actually) for the rest of the day but HWMBO did have to move some of his treasures and spent most of the of the day clearing the path.

Still I suppose it could be worse Tetley makes for good company when everyone is out and is so annoying that I look good by comparison. Oops – gotta go Tetley is going to have a bath and I better make myself scarce unless they decide I might need one too!

January 15, 2012 at 3:40 pm 5 comments

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