Sure the smog makes it hard to breathe, and even the football team chose to leave…

Posted On August 1, 2009

Filed under favorite things, my town

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but they came back and so will we, to O-H-I-O

Dear Cleveland,

Are you honestly surprised? 

The recent trades of Cliff Lee, Victor Martinez, Ryan Garko, and Ben Fransisco have put a damper on our plans, sure.   But why all of this negative energy?  If you’re a Cleveland fan – not a lightweight fan – but a real, honest, bleed orange and brown (or wine and gold, or red and blue) take-it-to-the-grave sort of fan, you’ve gotta let this one go. 

I’ve only been a Cleveland fan for 23 short years.  And honestly, most of those I was more consumed by *N Sync’s dance moves than I was with Oral Hershiser’s MVP.  I like to call those the dark years.   But I watched J*$e M&#a blow the ninth inning.  I heard the cheers when Tim Couch went down.  And I covered my face in shame as LeBron stormed off the court.  I know Cleveland.  I know that we’re more than The Drive or The Fumble or The Shot.

For reasons beyond my reasoning, people fall in love with this town.  CC Sabathia, Victor Martinez, Omar Vizquel, Brady Quinn, heck, even Manny Ramirez love this town. 

My point here is not to say that you shouldn’t be frustrated.  The sign of a Cleveland fan is constant frustration.  I mean, Cleveland, we’re nothing if not frustrated and angry, right?

No, no.  My friends.  This talk I hear about finally giving up, about not attending another game, about teaching your newborn children to root for another team, is bologna.  You can’t teach your child to root for another team.  It’s in your blood, remember?

If you give up now, all these years of heartache and anguish over your teams will have been in vain.  But, if we dig our heels in, maybe, just maybe, one day it will happen and you’ll be able to lean over to your possibly grown child and say, “I never doubted them for a second.”

you see i’ve been through the desert…

Posted On July 17, 2009

Filed under my town, travel

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…on a horse with no name

I’m seeing a trend now.  When I should be packing, I blog.  For a while I just thought that packing worked me up into such a tizzy that I needed an outlet to express my packing rage, and so I blogged.  Now I’m thinking it’s more of an excuse to NOT pack. 

This week has been a full one – and has left me with dark circles under my eyes, but a great excitement for the future.  God has answered prayers, faithfully, again.  And I, once again, am surprised at how, well, surprised I was by that. 

Dustin has moved into his cabin in the woods for the rest of the summer, and I’m loving having a place outside of my small town where I can go and enjoy the sounds of trees and water and birds and not hear the trains rolling through or my neighbors yelling at their kids to come inside before they have to start counting to three.  I’m also enjoying have people to cook for, and am slowing finding out that I do actually like the challenge of creating a meal, I just don’t like doing it for myself.   I like listening to Dustin playing the guitar and am dealing with all the dude movies I watch when he and Clinton are around.  One of these days maybe I’ll get them to watch You’ve Got Mail. 

And with that said, I’ll leave you with this quote from that movie, a quote that resonates with me at times like these.

Sometimes I wonder about my life. I lead a small life. Well, not small, but valuable. And sometimes I wonder, do I do it because I like it, or because I haven’t been brave? So much of what I see reminds me of something I read in a book, when shouldn’t it be the other way around? I don’t really want an answer. I just want to send this cosmic question out into the void. So good night, dear void.

PS I’ll be in Vegas all next week, so follow my trip on twitter 🙂  http://twitter.com/mchochola

here comes the sun and i say…

Posted On June 14, 2009

Filed under my town

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…it’s alright

I love summer.  I love love love summer.  This weekend I got to go home and eat mom’s strawberry shortcake and spent most of the day Saturday in a suite at the Indians game watching the game and then Major League.

And today after church I walked with a friend down to the local park for Strawberry Days.  We ate chicken fingers and strawberry smoothies and listened to local junior highers try to win the talent show (not for too long though…)

And we walked back and played badminton, watched a few episodes of the Gilmore Girls, and now I’m home watching the Indians on ESPN, reading more craft blogs for inspiration and wishing time could just stop.

-sidenote- i just absolutely love Mike Rowe.  Even his Ford commercials. 

I need to figure a way to become independently wealthy.  I figure then I could spend my days training for the Olympic badminton team and decorating the bakery that I would open.  I would name it Aprons and everyone who worked there would wear their personally designed apron.  Even the dudes.  And yes, guys would work at my bakery.  The old ladies in town would eat it up.  And I’d have them use the Rosie the Riveter oven mit that currently hangs in my kitchen.  Because while the irony of a Rosie the Riveter oven mit is funny, a guy using a Rosie the Riveter oven mit is just hilarious.  Maybe that’s just me.  And I digress.

I have more thoughts…deeper thoughts…on why I’m so so SO much happier here in the summer, but those will come in the next blog.  It’s the top of the sixth and Cliff Lee is owning the Cardinals.

Until then, I’ll be the one pretending…

Posted On May 28, 2009

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…I’m perfectly fine with this living life here on my own

I have lived on my own – by myself – for a year now.  The bigness of that hit me today.  A whole year by myself.  While there has been so much good that has come from this past year – there were also many times I found myself wishing to be anywhere but here.  Winter in Western PA is dreary and cold and long and to be perfectly honest, it got lonely quick. 

I found myself living vicariously through my facebook friends who were traveling the world, meeting famous people, getting married, having kids and totally in love with life.   I was waking up, going to work, and coming home to a cute, but quiet, house.

I remember telling my mom when I graduated that I felt like all my friends were setting sail on all these adventures and I was standing on the shore just watching them leave, instead of setting sail myself.  I knew God had called me here.  I knew there were adventures that were ahead of me.  I knew that graduating wasn’t the end, but the beginning.  I knew all that.  But still there was so much in me that wanted something else.  Something different. 

All year people have asked me for updates on my life – how is the job?  how’s life after college?  without fail I would say my job is awesome, but I hate living in Grove  City.  I hate living in Western PA.  Inevitably they would laugh and make some sort of Cleveland/Pittsburgh joke and our conversation would move on.  

All of this to say, I have one major problem – no – fear.  You see, for months I really did hate living here.  I felt cut off from campus because I wasn’t a student anymore, but I felt cut off from this city because I didn’t have 2.5 kids or was 73 years old.  I didn’t fit here.  I cried a lot and went home a lot.  I prayed every night for God to change something – to make it better.

I haven’t done most of those things for a while now.  And this fear that I have is that I’m satisfied to be here.  That I’ve found my place in this lonely town and I’ve come to terms with it. 

You’re probably thinking, “OK great then – your prayers were answered, life is good, move on.”

Yeah, there’s part of me that’s thinking that too.  But then there’s this part of me that says I’m still missing out on those adventures.  I’m still standing on the shore and I’ve just gotten used to it.  I’m missing something by being here.

I’m living a small, quiet life.  I have a small group of close friends that are spread from New York to Louisiana. I haven’t ever been to Europe or traveled across Africa.  The closest I’ve come to meeting anyone famous is this past weekend when I was about 80% sure I ran into LL Cool J in the airport.  Literally.  Into him.  And it’s moments like that that make me think maybe I’m better off staying at home anyway.

i never thought home would end up where i don’t belong

Posted On May 20, 2009

Filed under my town

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In my town, it wouldn’t be at all out of the ordinary to see a man in a civil war uniform walking down the aisle of Wal-Mart.  In my town, everyone knew who the hot produce guy was that worked at the veggie stand.  In my town, it’s not surprising that someone bought the remaining liquor licenses with no intention of opening a bar or alcohol-serving restaurant, but wanted to ensure no one else could.  In my town, kids still stand on my corner and sell lemonade for 50 cents.  And I buy it every time.