Tuesday, December 23, 2008

My Child Made me Proud

Miles made me very proud last night. He was moaning about how he had to go xmas shopping for his friends. I patiently explained for the nth time that someone with no job and no money was in no position to buy gifts. Since I have a job and make money but choose NOT to buy gifts he really doesn't want to have this conversation with me. He agreed that one of his friends gifts could be purchased after he got his xmas money from his grandparents and aunts and uncles, but the other gift was for a girl that he really likes and that he wasn't gonna see til after the holidays. He really wanted to give her something and I understood that. So I said, "Why don't you make her something?"

Oh Lord! He fumed and snorted and told me in so many words how stupid that was and how she would laugh at him.

20 minutes later he came back in the room and asked me what he should make. I started listing things...a cd of his favorite music, a video (he and his friends make up skits and film them all the time and they are usually pretty funny), bake her cookies or brownies...

He stomped off snorting at my ridiculousness again.

I just sat there in the living room watching the news and shaking my head.

20 minutes later he came back in the room and asked if we had any white t-shirts. I said no, what are you thinking now? He said that he was gonna take a white shirt and write all of their in-jokes and funny sayings on it. I thought that this was a marvelous idea and I said that I would happily drive him to the craft store to buy a plain shirt to write on and I'd even buy him a set of colorful Sharpies to do it with.

He was thrilled!

So up we jumped and put on our shoes and ran to Michael's. He found a shirt and markers and I looked for new stamp pads for Sheldon and me to use for letterboxing and we were out of there and headed back home. The shirt cost a grand total of $3.99. I told Miles that I would pay for the markers as I had been lusting after them for a while but didn't have a good excuse to buy them for myself until now.

We got home and he immediately set to work on decorating the shirt. He did the front and the back and the sleeves and even the collar band. He was so tickled with himself when he was finished. Of course the fear is that the girl won't be impressed, but I have met this child and I'm pretty sure she will be thrilled. I will let y'all know how it goes.

I was so proud that my lectures haven't fallen on completely deaf ears. I told him while he was working so diligently that he could make me some new ring tones for my phone as my xmas present since he has been whining about not having money to spend on me as well. He knows how to make these on the computer and I am dying for some new ones, so this is a fantastic gift for me!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Meet Sheldon

So since I introduced JJ and how we met, I thought I'd explain my relationship with Sheldon as well.  Sheldon is a high school math teacher who I met last March on Match.com.  We started talking online at the beginning of March but didn't meet in person until March 31st.  He was very slow and cautious at the beginning but something kept me hanging in there.  He would write me one email a day.  No matter how many questions I asked, or how many times I gave him my phone number he just ignored my enthusiasm and took his time.  It turned out that I was the first person he dated since his marriage had broken up two years before, so of course his reticence was completely understandable.

Our first date was a lunch on a Sunday afternoon.  It was fun and flirty  and neither of us ever ran out of things to say.  At the end when he walked me outside, he asked me out on a second date and opened his arms for a hug.  I was smitten.  Within a couple of weeks we traveled to NYC together to see "Spring Awakening" on Broadway for my birthday.  We had a marvelous time and learned that we make fabulous travel companions.  Since then we have taken several weekend trips and one-day road trips together and we always enjoy each other's company immensely.  

In May we went to Willamsburg together and he was saying wonderful things to me like "you are the love of my life" and I got REAL stupid!  Instead of just soaking it all in, I decided to be a martyr and send him back out into the dating world.  I didn't want him to miss out on playing the field.  He had been with his ex-wife for 20 years and I was the very next person he met.  Now, I kick myself daily.  We have remained friends, we still see each other, we still talk most every day.  I love his kids and they love me, I have met his brother, his co-workers, his ex-wife and next week I'm going to Boston with him to meet his father and sister and her family.  He is my best friend in the world, I love him dearly, I would love for this relationship to go back to the romance we started in March.  He's not there anymore though.

JJ is such a Sweetheart

Hi All,
I had a lovely visit with JJ yesterday morning.  He is such a sweet sweet man.  He has talked me off a ledge more often than any fwb should.  You haven't heard me mention JJ before so I thought I'd introduce him.  I met him in August of '07 when he placed the most marvelous ad on Craigslist.  He was living in NYC at the time but was coming to the DC area for a wedding.  The ad was lighthearted and funny.  He was looking for a "Cinderella" to accompany him to the ball.  He stated that the invitation included a visit at a spa, a new dress from the local mall and designer shoes to cap off the outfit.  Every girl's fantasy, right?!  I was booked for that weekend but I immediately wrote to him and said that I couldn't attend the wedding but when he was done with Cinderella he could call me Sleeping Beauty!  Well, he immediately wrote me back and we emailed and IMed for the next 3 or 4 days.  That conversation started on a Sunday and that Thursday he actually flew from NYC down to DC to meet me in person and then flew back 3 hours later because he had an early morning meeting!  What a way to sweep a girl off her feet, huh?!   We struck up a friendship that has long outlasted the Cinderella that he took to that wedding!  He is one of my biggest cheerleaders and although he chooses not to be in a relationship with me or anyone else until his kids are grown, it hasn't stopped us from creating a really strong bond.

Oh and just to be clear, Sheldon knows about JJ and JJ, of course, knows about Sheldon.  I don't lie about any of this to anyone.


I finished reading Twilight and absolutely loved it.

I am feeling pretty inspired by Stephenie Meyer right now. She said some things on her website and in interviews that I have seen that really made me think I could write stories that people may actually want to read. I'll let you know when I start!

Wonderful Life?

Hi All,
It is 6pm Sunday and I am happy to announce that I am finally succeeding in losing weight.  I am the lightest I have been in 3 years!  I had lost another pound when I weighed myself this morning at Sheldon's house.

I have had an interesting weekend, Sheldon's ex-wife had a holiday party last night for all the foster kids they have taken in over the years.  She specifically invited me and I was honored to be included.  It was a lively group and my eyes were opened as they usually are when you meet someone in person that you have been hearing about for months.  Sheldon commented later on how quiet I was, but there was little for me to say and it was quite entertaining watching all of the boys telling stories on each other and cracking themselves up.

Today Sheldon finally made me sit through "It's a Wonderful Life".  He couldn't BELIEVE that I had never seen it (you probably can't either) as it is one of his all time favorite movies.  He has been quoting lines from it to me the whole time I have known him.  Most of the movie is sad and dark, dreams deferred, dreams lost, etc.  I couldn't believe that it was a Christmas movie, much less that it was his favorite.  In the end, of course, everything comes out all right and George realizes how lucky he is...but personally I still feel sorry for him.  Sheldon compares me to George and says that I am wealthy in friends if not in dollars, and although I appreciate every single one of my friends, I won't be asking them to help me pay my mortgage, ya know?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Random Sentences Thrown Together

Hi All!
It has been a crazy time in my life lately.  I have been fighting a migraine.  I have fired 2 employees.  I have seen the fabulous band O.A.R. in person.  My son has moved back in with me.  AND I have a new roommate as well.  I am ready for things to slow down now!  I am reading two books that I am totally loving!  I bought a new DVD player so that I can entertain myself when there is nothing on tv.  Giving up cable wasn't as hard as I thought it would be, but giving up TiVo is way harder than I expected.  So between Netflix and the library I am a happy girl.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Thornton, Arkansas

Hello My Friends,
As you know I have been sending clothes and housewares and coats and books to Thornton, Arkansas for several years now. Every time I send a shipment I get the most wonderful thank you notes from Miss JoAnn. They make you laugh and cry all at once. Usually they are 2-3 pages so I have never typed them up for you, this one however was less than one page, so I decided to retype it for you here. I have typed it exactly the way she did. Many of you have donated to her already so this note is for you too! The last shipment that she is referring to is all the Weekenders samples that I sent down. It was several thousand dollars worth of brand new clothes in various sizes.
She thinks I do too much, but I never feel like I do enough. She is in her 80's and has been taking care of this town for more than 50 years. I ship boxes down every single month, sometimes one, sometimes twenty or more, if I have gotten lots of donations. If you have anything you'd like to give, baby clothes, school supplies, winter coats, shoes, boots, mittens, scarves, canned or boxed food, sheets, towels, kitchen items, clothes, socks, books, magazines, ANYTHING and you'd like me to ship it, feel free to bring it to me. If you would like to ship it yourself and get your own thank you note, her address is JoAnne Cayce Charities, 315 South Second Street, Thornton, Arkansas 71766.


Dear Sarah,
I have so much to thank you for, I don't know where to start. We got the packages mailed and everything you mailed us. We love and thank you so. We also got so many things sent by you over the period we have known you to thank you for that it makes us weep to think how you have given of your self and finances to our people. We will give away This Saturday in two days and watch the people grab and cry. We got everything you mailed us and do thank you. I feel you do too much but you are so giving and sweet I can't seem tell you not to hurt yourself.

Thank you for everything. The give away will be this Saturday and we are so busy getting ready we had to ask the people NOT to call unless it was an emergency. The school supplies and every thing else is almost ready inside the gym. The Supplies will be given outside from big trucks to kids and parents and grandparents. The kids will go wild.

You are so good to us and we appreciate everything you have done and all your concern. We are so proud of everything. Daniel left for college but will be home for the weekend and he will be so happy that the school supplies are finished and as much as is all ready. He will have to pick up some donations and take them to gym. I have tried to get babies clothes for newborns ready and get them delivered before they are all gone. Some babies are here and some due this week. We try to help those who can't come and are expecting.

Daniel is so happy he got to sort and fix as many things before he left as he did. He took off one day and went fishing. He got huge cat fish and he dressed them til he gave out an then took the rest to the poor. He got from 6 to 12 lbs fish. He could hardly drag some of them in they were so big. I cooked them before he left and he ate til he was filled and we all did, with fries, salad and hush pupplies.

I love you and thank you,
JoAnn Cayce

Monday, December 8, 2008

Kevin Bacon and Denis Leary love me, just so you know...

I have had two nights in a row of the *coolest* dreams!

Saturday night I dreamt that I was a houseguest of the family that was featured in a documentary that I watched recently. The documentary was called "The Farmer's Wife" and followed a poor farm family in Nebraska for 3 years as they fought to keep their farm and their marriage together. I really liked the couple in the story. I researched them afterward I watched the show and found out that they eventually divorced and were both happily remarried. In my dream I went out there to visit. I was staying with the wife, but we visited the husband on his original farm as well. It was a wonderful dream and I really enjoyed myself. Her new husband was very wealthy and they had a gorgeous house with tons of rooms and their property bordered a huge clear lake that was really beautiful.

Last night I dreamt that I was working on a tv show! It was a combination of "The Closer" with Kyra Sedgwick and "Rescue Me" with Denis Leary! Kyra and Denis were in a relationship, and I played a woman that Denis was flirting with to try and make her jealous. It was so great, I haven't acted in years so that was a surprise! Plus, of course, Kevin Bacon was hanging around the set so I got to hang with him to. I was telling him how I was gonna see him in concert in a couple of weeks (which I really am) and he promised to bring me up on stage.

So there you have it, I am hobnobbing with celebrities while unconscious. Don't you wish you were me?

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Aunt Purl said it better...

This girl cracks me up and this time she said it better than I ever could...


Poor Mama

My poor Mama has been going through a continuous nightmare for the last 3 years and this week was just one more chapter in the ongoing saga.  5 or 6 years ago my mom had both her knees replaced.  3 years ago she was hit, out of the clear blue sky, with a systemic staph infection that was mis-diagnosed for 10 days until she was almost dead!  When she was finally taken to different doctors at a different hospital, the situation in all its gory glory was revealed and her life was saved.  I won't go into all the gory details here but basically she had 10 surgeries in 7 days and that was *almost* the least of it!  

After that they put her on antibiotics for a year and she was fine. In the meantime, she missed seeing my baby sister graduate from college, the first of the three of us to do so.  Then, a year later they took her off the antibiotics (against her better judgement) and the infection came raging back.  This was 2 years ago, and my grandmother was losing a long battle with breast cancer that had metastasized into her bones.  My grandmother was 95 at that point and no one expected her to last as long as she did, so Mom didn't want to have the anymore surgeries until after Grandma was gone.  Well, no such luck.  The infection began eating away at her healthy bone where the artificial knees were attached and they had to go back in.  By this time we had taken her to Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, MD and she had the best joint doctors in the country, if not the world, working on her.  So last January it was decided that to kill the infection once and for all, they would REMOVE her knees and replace them with "spacers" until the infection was completely gone.  Read that sentence again...no knees at all until the infection was gone!  My 96 year old Grandmother died the day before they released her from the hospital with no knees.  I had already told her that I would kidnap her from the hospital if necessary so that she would not miss the funeral.  Mom had said her goodbyes before she went into the hospital as we all knew this might happen.

This is December.  She still is fighting infection.  They put one knee back in August and while they were in there they found a blood clot which just complicated everything that much more.  Two days ago she was scheduled to have the other knee put back in, but when they had her in the operating room and under anesthesia and were prepping her, they found a small infected cyst in her groin area and that was the end of that surgery.  Honestly, it is like a comedy of errors.  There have been so many mis-steps and mistakes and bad reactions along the way.  My brother and sister and I feel so helpless to make it better.  Through it all Mom just keeps soldiering on, hoping that this is the week the tide will turn in her favor.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Words have such power

When I started working at my current job 2 years ago this was the sign over the kitchen sink:

"At this point if you place dirty dishes in the sink you can either wash your dishes or place them in the dish washer or take them home. Due to the lack of your assistance in keeping the kitchen clean. Thank you"

This sign did no good whatsoever. There were still dirty dishes in the sink every single time I went into the kitchen. I would go in and wash my own dishes and then wash all the other dishes in the sink because it just seemed petty to leave them there. Sometimes there would be nice rubbermaid or tupperware pieces and I would feel the urge to swipe them for myself. I always controlled myself though. Then one day about a year ago, the sign got on my last nerve and I changed it to read as such:

Fair Warning

If you leave your coffee cups, glasses, dishes, plastic containers or silverware in the sink for someone else to wash, you may never see them again.

Fair Warning

And since then there are hardly ever dishes left in the sink and if there are I feel perfectly justified in keeping the pieces I like! Isn't it amazing how writing something clearly and stating the consequences for not following the rules makes all the difference?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

No Shoes, No Shirt, No Sheldon

Well, he did it again.  For the second time in less than a month Sheldon broke up with me.  This time he informed me that he didn't love me and he had never loved me and never thought he would.  Don't hold back, tell me how you REALLY feel.  I'm okay, I guess I wasn't very surprised this time.  He pulled all the same "it's not you it's me bullshit", but I'm not buying that either.  I know it is me.  But, I am who I am.  Everyone says that the right guy is out there for me, but I'm really not convinced of that.  My poodle may be the only "right" guy for me.

New Recipe!

I tried a new recipe last night that I found on Kraft.com. It was SOOOO yummy! I don't know what to call it though, the website had a mix and match option, so they didn't really name the version I made. Maybe I should have a "Name the Casserole" contest?  It is very simple, here's all you need:

2 cups frozen hash brown potatoes ( I bought the kind that are diced small)
2 cups diced cooked chicken
1 cup shredded cheese (I used a combo of cheddar, mozzarella and parmesan)
1 small can of corn
1/2 cup bbq sauce

Stir all that together, put it in a casserole dish and bake for 30 minutes at 400 degrees.  That is it!  So yummy, so easy, my favorite kind of meal.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Why I hate Xmas

Several years ago I stopped celebrating Christmas. This was not because I suddenly had an aversion to the birth of Christ, but because I was sick to death of the commercialism that had overtaken the season. I didn't want to exchange $50 gift certificates with people who hardly spoke to me the whole rest of the year. I have said for the last 4 or 5 years that I don't want things I want memories. Let's go to a play or a concert or out to dinner, or just play cards at home. Spend the day hiking the AT with me, or biking the W & OD Trail, don't just buy me another sweater I won't wear or another knick knack to gather dust. I just saw the video below and found out I'm not the only one! Pass the word...it isn't about the gifts...it's about the love!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Another Day of Working Out

I am proud to say I got off my butt for the third day in a row!  Friday Sheldon and I went hiking/letterboxing, yesterday we went to the gym and I swam 50 laps, today we met at the gym and I worked hard on the treadmill.  I walked uphill for an hour, walking over 3 miles and burning 324 calories.  Feels good!  

It also feels good to be home.  I left Sheldon's after the gym yesterday and today I only went over to his house for a little while.  This is important because I'm not sticking around with a knot in my stomach waiting for him to shoo me out.  I'm leaving of my own volition, because I have other things to do at home.  I'm leaving him wanting more.  For probably the first time in our relationship I am letting him miss me.  This isn't a trick or a game I am playing, far from it, in fact it is just because I finally feel some confidence in where we stand, and how important I am in his life.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The International Feast

It is the Saturday night after Thanksgiving, the traditional night of the International Feast.  Never heard of it?  Well if you were part of my extended family and friends you would know exactly what I am talking about.  Ten years or so ago I started a tradition that grew and grew and grew.  Then my marriage broke up and the tradition died with it.  It didn't have to die, I just didn't have the heart to do it the first year and haven't felt the need since then.  Today is the first time I have actually missed it.

The way it started is that my brother was visiting from Florida and my cousin was visiting from Colorado that first year.  Both my parents and my aunt and uncle are divorced so the two boys were gonna have 2 turkey dinners each.  I wanted to get all of us together but obviously I didn't want to serve another turkey dinner.  So I came up with the "anything but American food" idea.  Not that I don't like American food, I do...but I wanted a theme for my party and that seemed like a good one.  I only invited my grandmother, mother, sister, brother, dad, cousin and aunt that first year and they all came.  I told them that they could bring anything they wanted but it had to be from another country and then I gave them a list of possibilities, such as Swedish Meatballs.  I bought a sushi platter from my favorite sushi restaurant, a selection of imported cheeses and crackers from the grocery store, chicken kabobs and hummus from my favorite Afghan restaurant and a few other items.  My mom brought Danish ham rolls, my sister brought Spanish clementines etc.  The food was a hit and the party was fun.  

Later when I told my friends what I had done they all thought it was a fabulous idea and wanted to be invited the next year.  So, when November rolled around again I sent invitations out to a larger crowd.  Because I live close to the nations capital I also have lots of friends from other countries and most of us have lots of different nationalities in our family tree, so soon I had quite a menu with special items from Brazil, Ukraine, Italy and other countries.  That second year I went to a local flag store and bought the flags that represented the guests who were coming.  Now a new tradition was born and I continued to collect small flags and ornaments from as many countries as I could find to decorate the house.  One year I put my Christmas tree up before the party and decorated it with white lights and all the flags.  It was my International Tree and I loved it.  

At about this same time I was taking a Folklore class at GMU and we had to do a paper on a family tradition that we had started or witnessed, so of course I had the perfect topic.  Needless to say I got an A on that paper!!

The party grew and grew, the last year that we had it we actually rented a local hall that has a homey feel and a fireplace at either end.  We had a huge crowd that year and had tons of fun and tons of food.  

And then...my marriage ended, I stopped celebrating Christmas altogether and I never had another International Feast.  Today I am thinking that it is time to revive the tradition.  I'm not sure if I will wait til next Thanksgiving or plan one sooner.  Have to think on that.  If I do it again, do you want to come???

I love Saturdays!

I just went to the gym.  I love my gym so much, but unfortunately I have to give up my membership because it is just too expensive.  I love it there though.  There is always a lap lane available and they don't close down the entire pool for swim team practices and swim meets like the county pool does.  Plus they have a steam room and sauna which I adore.  Today may have been my last visit...my free month ends on December 4th.  I made it worth my while though...I took Sheldon with me and he was impressed as well, and he doesn't impress easily!  He worked out upstairs while I swam laps.  50 laps thankyouverymuch!  Felt wonderful.  It so relaxes me and melts all my troubles away.  I still feel like working out some more today, so I may go for a bike ride this afternoon.  I had to get out of the pool because my head was starting to hurt from the changing pressure of being plunged in and out of the water for almost an hour.  My weight is down 3 pounds so I am happy with that and hoping the trend will continue.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Sarah's Famous Corn Casserole

Corn Casserole
1 can of creamed corn
1 can of regular corn, drained
1 stick of butter
1 cup of sour cream
1 box Jiffy Corn Bread Mix
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place butter in a 9x13 pan and put pan in the oven to melt the butter while the oven heats up.  (You can do this separately, but this way you only dirty one dish!)  After butter is melted, add corn, sour cream, and corn bread mix.  Mix well.  Bake about 30-40 minutes, until golden brown and firm.  Remove from oven, sprinkle with mozzarella and bake another 5 minutes until the cheese melts.

Voila!  So easy!!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I was born...

So where do I start? What do you want to know? Everyone has a story. I was born a poor black child...no wait, that was Steve Martin in "The Jerk". I was born and my family was poor but we were white. I was born in 1965 in Roanoke Virginia to two college students making their way in the world, in the 60's. My brother was born in 1970 and my sister didn't come along til 1980. We tease my Mom about how she had one each decade. People used to say that my sister must have been an accident but Mom would always cock her head to the side and say "Well, the truth is they were ALL accidents." So there you have it, I was an accident...but I don't think any of us would change that now. Today I am 43, divorced, mother of a 14 year old son who is the apple of my eye. I have a 6 year old miniature poodle who adores the very air I breathe, and a small condo that suits me perfectly. I live in the suburbs of Washington, DC and work just 4 blocks from the White House. I'm pretty sure you'll be learning a lot more about me in the days to come. It has been a long strange trip and everyone has a story.