Calling an audible…

I have encountered my first curveball within a curveball! I didn’t anticipate this being a thing, but sure enough, it has happened! It appears as though I am not allowed to complete the challenge I had selected for this week due to hospital and FDA guidelines, rules and regulations. Whoops!!

Challenge #5a:

“Pass out Tootsie Roll Pops in the lobby of Children’s Hospital greeting people with a great big smile!” –  A dear family friend (this person wishes to remain anonymous.)

Turns out you’re not allowed to do that. There are policies against passing things out, bringing food into the facility, interacting with the patients, etc – a very long laundry list of reasons why I cannot spread joy to sick children via sugary goodness.

While I understand their reasoning for having such policies, I am pretty bummed because I was really looking forward to this activity. Incidentally, I have a basket full of tootsie roll pops and blow pops tied with cute little ribbons, naturally, sitting in my kitchen with no place to go. I have, however, contacted their volunteer department to find another way to spread cheer around Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and Medical Center at a later date.

This brings us to our next option.

Challenge #5b:

“Climb the steps at Holy Cross-Immaculata in Mt. Adams and reflect. Or pray the steps (Holy Thursday – Good Friday) if that sounds interesting.” – Melanie Chavez

challenge5

challenge5b

Melanie came up with several great ideas, and fortunately, they coincide with a few other options so I’ll still be able to complete her other challenges, as well. Now, obviously the Easter Holiday has come and gone so I clearly didn’t do the Pray the Steps portion, but the physical fitness aspect of it was definitely appealing.

For those of you that are unfamiliar, Praying the Steps at Holy Cross-Immaculata is a tradition of the local Catholic community that has been around for over 150 years, since the church began construction in 1860. Many people continue to participate every year based on nothing, but memories. Grandparents bring their grandchildren to participate in the same traditions they had as children.

Some begin the “Pilgrimage to the Immaculata,” which takes place at 12:01 AM Good Friday and proceeds for the next 24 hours, at the base of the steps on St. Gregory street. Every year, anywhere from 8,000 to 10,000 people climb the 93 steps, stopping at each one to recite the Hail Mary, all the way up to the church where they proceed inside to pray in the Immaculata. The steps were originally wooden, but have since been replaced with reinforced concrete multiple times by the city of Cincinnati, as it is their duty to maintain them.

Praying the Steps in 1934.

Praying the Steps in 1934.

Others begin at the base of the Mt. Adams Steps Pathway, where Eastern Avenue meets Pete Rose Way. While I’ve tried to figure out how many steps there are on the latter route, it seems to be escaping me. I’ll go back and do it again and count this time.

My best friend Jenna does these steps regularly for exercise so I gave her a call and we decided to meet up yesterday afternoon and give it a shot. Gus and I met Jenna down at The Banks and we walked by the ballpark over to the steps, climbed up, climbed down and then walked back through Sawyer Point, ending with some downtime on the lawn in Smale Park.  The incredible weather made this a wonderful little afternoon.

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As we reached the foot of the Immaculata steps, it occurred to me that I should probably say at least one Hail Mary, just for effect, though I am not Catholic, or practicing much of any faith, for that matter.  It is at this moment that I let down every religion teacher I have ever had…again.

I, Katie Hayden, do not know the Hail Mary.

I really tried to remember it, but all I had were the first line and the last three lines… “Hail Mary, full of Grace […] pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.” Which, duh. No wonder y’all feel so guilty all the time. Such a somber message…

And so, Jenna proceeded to take me through the Hail Mary, as I repeated after her line by line, until we got through it. For shame, Katie. At least 6 years of Catholic, school, religion class everyday, and I cannot recite the Hail Mary!? Fail.

We reached the top and, heavy breathing aside, I felt great! I am pretty proud of myself, and Gus, who at one point looked like he wasn’t going to make it! Jenna, I’ll totally do this with you again! I’m thinking a couple times a week and my rear will look fantastic by the end of the summer!!

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What goes up must come down! That made me a little bit dizzy and I almost fell a couple of times.

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After a nice stroll through Sawyer Point we headed to the Schmidlapp Event Lawn at Smale Riverfront Park for a lil R&R in the sun!

One tired pup...

One tired pup…

This little adventure reminded me of all the great assets Cincinnati has to offer that do not cost a single cent to enjoy! Did you know that Cincinnati has over 400 sets of stairs and pedestrian pathways hidden amongst our winding seven hills?  I’m looking forward to investigating more of them to see where they might lead!

The timing on this couldn’t have been more perfect as I am currently serving on the Hospitality Committee for the Cincinnati Parks Foundation Hats Off Luncheon.  It’s a luncheon held every year to promote the parks and raise money for different portions of the development. I absolutely cannot wait for 2015 when all of the construction will be completed, the carousel, public boat docks, children’s playground and so many more bonus features will be a part of our riverfront. Cincinnati is about to be sooo cool, y’all.

If you’re interested in attending, the luncheon is May 23rd and tickets are still on sale, though I believe it’s almost sold out!  http://www.cincinnatiparksfoundation.org/page.aspx?pid=388

Shameless plug…

See ya next week!!!

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