Craving Steak

  food steak       OR      HAMBURGERS  ???

My mom used to remind me, “Why settle for hamburger when you can have steak?”  She was commenting on waiting for God’s best match to come along rather than settling for just any old man who halfway sweeps me off my feet.  As my age approaches closer to the other end of my twenties, I have begun to wonder where exactly you find these magical steaks.  A couple of years ago, I put on my dating shoes and have decided to journal my most recent attempts at broadening my horizons.  While there have been no love connections, had it not been for the endless amounts of horrible experiences, I would not have material with which to provide you such great entertainment; and thanks to Starbucks, I not only have a growing addiction to Chai Tea, but due to a new shop popping up on every corner, the entire franchise has provided me with a safe place to meet these men without having to go to the same one more than once.  Can you imagine?  The woman behind the counter turns to her co-worker and comments, “Here’s that poor girl again…I wonder how long this one is gonna last?”  Sometimes I imagine my dating life as one of those bad scenes in a romantic comedy where the woman accepts offer after offer, wishing only after five minutes that the night would end and she could return to her refuge of Ben & Jerry’s and fluffy slippers. 

After each date, I contact my closest girls and relive the past sixty minutes spent in utter agony.  We then provide each man with a label and lock it up in the vault for future material in our monthly girl night comedy routines.  It is with great honor that I now allow you in to that small piece of my life…In no particular order…

There was the “99 cent taco guy”: Date location: El Torito; Occupation: Employed by Pepsi; No admitted Criminal Record.  I think his name was Max.  So, Max and I met around 8:00 p.m. and at exactly 8:47 p.m. I was safely locked inside my car with the radio turned up and racing toward home.  Max had little to say while we sat at the bar in El Torito pretending to watch ESPN but unable to have any real type of communication due to the deafening noise around us…undoubtedly it was the excitement over the cheap tacos, 99 cents to be exact that caused the uproar in the room.  Mr. Max had the decency to offer me a taco (cost: 99 cents) and since I turned my head to ignore its arrival, he had no choice but to pay for the check.  At approximately 8:51 p.m. while on my way home, 99 cent taco guy decides to call me and ask to accompany me back to my place.  No thanks, taco guy…perhaps next time you could at least secure a table in the formal dining room, although I can think of nothing worse than spending the 47 minutes sitting face to face with you while thinking of something clever to talk about.

 Then there was “salad guy”:  Location: Strings Italian, Occupation: Worked at Sac Airport, No reported criminal history.  Since I blocked his name out of my memory, I’ll just call him Tom.  Tom and I meet at the restaurant on Valentine’s day 2006.  Tom looks nothing like his picture and is in fact dressed in extremely tight pants in all black with eyeliner darker than mine.  Tom says he loves this place and eats here all the time.  Tom; however, appears confused when the salad bowl arrives.  Amidst conversation about his failed dating life and a recollection that not one of his thirty one dates in the past two months have resulted in a second date, Tom removes the salad tongs from the obviously communal bowl of salad and proceeds to pick out the unwanted items in the bowl.  Suddenly, Tom stops and says, “I’m sorry, I hate it when people eat before I’ve got my food!”  Tom puts the salad aside and waits for my own gigantic bowl to be delivered to our table.  Not once, even at the end of the meal did Tom ever realize that he deprived me of my salad nor did he ask the waitress why I never received mine.  Was it that or his love of satanic music that put me over the edge?  Poor Tom…he seemed in shock when I told him that “no, there won’t be a second date!”

Then there was the man who had been divorced twice with four children from who knows how many baby mommas…Or the two different men who finally admitted that they weren’t  exactly legally divorced from their wives (and of course, one with a criminal history).  Or the one who said his wife was the one who cheated and they didn’t have the money to live in separate homes.  I would like to note for the record, your honor, that this information was unknown to me prior to accepting an invitation to meet for dinner.  Obviously had the previously stated information been shared there would have been no need to shower or even…shave my legs!

But perhaps, my all time favorite, goes to “grill guy.”  Occupation: Worked in a recording studio or so he said…  Grill guy learns that I am a social worker for CPS.  Following our first date, I realize that I would rather poke my eye out with a fork than see him again.  The next morning, I receive a text message that reads, “Your boy needs $1500.  I designed a gold grill that’s ready at the jeweler but I only got half the money.  You think I could get a loan?”  To which I promptly respond, “Even if I had the money I would not loan it to you for a grill.”  To which I read, “You work for Social Security, I know you got it!”  To which I reply, “Is that where I work?  Sorry, grill guy, you’re gonna have to find another ATM!  The bank of Kelli is closed!” 

Despite all of this craziness, I am realizing one very important thing.  Yes, every once in awhile, there is a desire for the simplicity of a good hamburger; it’s easy to find and it satisfies a quick craving.  But the fact of the matter is, at the end of the day, the savory steak is always going to grab my attention and has a flavor that lasts a lifetime.  So while I wait for my steak to marinate to his potential, I am growing rather fond of my nights filled with fuzzy slippers, personal growth (’cause learning about myself hasn’t been all that bad) and the occasional dance with Ben & Jerry’s; knowing that somewhere out there is a steak searching for his perfect seasoning.

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New York!

I returned yesterday from an incredible five day trip to New York to visit my sister, my brother-in-law, Moi and my two nephews, Moses and Cyrus.  As a social worker with CPS, vacationing becomes more than just a chance to take a trip…it becomes a necessity in order to re-focus and allow my blood pressure to return to a more normal state of functioning!  Having said that, the past five days were a much needed rest and extremely low key!  My itinerary was as follows:

Monday, February 25th: 8:40 p.m. – Depart Sacramento for the hour flight to Las Vegas.  Listen to all the crazy 21 year olds talk about how exciting their hangovers in Vegas are going to feel once they reload the plane two days from now!  9:50 p.m.- Exit the plane and learn to block out the excessive sounds of slot machines for my two hour layover.  11:50 p.m.- Depart Vegas and sit in between two men, one of whom has a sharp odor that just won’t go away. 

Tuesday, February 26th: 7:45 a.m. – Thank God for land (and fresh air) and watch as my sister pulls up to baggage claim to collect me in their rented Kia.  9:00 a.m. until bedtime – sleep, talk to Lori-Lynn, sleep, play with my nephews, sleep, say hello and goodbye to Moi as he heads for the studio, sleep, watch American Idol and make judgmental comments about how I would have done it differently, sleep and laugh about how lazy I’ve been today.

Wednesday, February 27th: Happy Birthday, Lori-Lynn!  We woke up to sunshine instead of the predicted snow storm.  Moi took the day off from recording and we went into New York City to celebrate.  We decided to experience most of the city driving in the car due to the cold weather.  I was in awe at how similar my Hollywood viewpoint of New York actually mimicks reality.  The buildings are huge and the streets are packed with too many cars and inpatient commuters on foot.  Even the construction workers look just like they are portrayed in the movies.  As Moi braved the traffic, I enjoyed soaking in the sights and taking random pictures of things I don’t see on a daily basis.  Next to me in his booster seat, Moses (age 4) continued to ask, “Are we in New York City NOW?”  As the day wore on, that comment changed to…”Are we STILL in New York City?”…”When are we LEAVING New York City?”  After the hour it took to find a safe parking structure, we headed for the ferry hoping we were not too late to see our lady the Statue of Liberty.  A mere two minutes too late, the information rep. informed us that we could take the Staten Island Ferry, a free ride that runs every 30 minutes and runs right by the statue.  As we waited for the next ferry, I came to understand that it was the ferry for daily commuters in and out of the city.  Looking around, I saw that no one made eye contact except for the occasional look at the girl from California who dared to look into the crowd rather than down at the floor.  It was an awesome experience!  The Statue of Liberty is beautiful and met all of my expectations of what the Statue of Liberty should look like and it was fun to experience the journey next to New Yorkers who do it every day. 

Afterwards, we went to a tasty dinner in Little Italy where we sang “Happy Birthday” to my sis over Tiramisu.  Not solely from this trip, but more and more I realize how amazing my sister is.  She’s extremely strong and has grown so much over the years as she has learned how to be the wife and support to her musician husband and the mother to two children.  I recognized on this trip how settled she is and how happy she seems and her ability to have a joyful contentment in all circumstances.  As we grow older, I think we’re figuring out that the most important parts of life come not during the elaborate moments and expensive vacationing trips, but during those memories that are forming on a day to day basis…When I sporadically book a trip to NY just to visit with my sister and during that trip, when Cyrus finds his toes or Moses jumps up and down and says, “I love you!”  Or the excitement and pride that brews from listening to Moi’s latest hit knowing that his entire soul was poured into every lyric, every strum of the guitar…

Thursday and Friday looked pretty much the same as Tuesday.  I enjoyed resting and hanging out with my sister and the boys.  Lori-Lynn kept asking me if I wanted to go out and do something and I was completely content to love on the kids and hang out without a lot of activity. 

 Saturday, March 1: Lori-Lynn and I took the boys to the Long Island Children’s Museum.  They have awesome exhibits and Moses loved building with the blocks and drawing on the computers.  The National Circus Project was in town that day so we watched a circus show, minus the animals.  Moses was so cute as he tried to pretend he wasn’t a bit nervous before it started…I asked him if he wanted to sit on my lap and he shook his head no but quietly slipped his tiny hand into mine.  A few minutes later, he climbed into my lap for the remainder of the show.  He’s so sweet!  Saturday night Moi had the day off so he picked up some pizza and the infamous rice balls and garlic knots I’ve heard so much about…so friggin good!  Why can’t we do it like they do it in New York?  It was hands down, the best pizza I’ve ever tasted!  We watched a couple of movies and I played Candy Land with Moses and his friend, Trolly, who wasn’t exactly “real” or “there.”  It was so much fun! lol  And again, we laughed about how far I traveled just to hang out in the house and chill.  I loved every minute of it!  It’s not often that I get to see my family so a jam packed itinerary was not my highest priority.  

On a side note, my youngest nephew, Cyrus who turned four months old while I was there is one of the sweetest babies I have ever met.  He is such a happy, fun loving infant with an adorable smile and a laugh that is contagious.  I snuggled with him as often as possible and coerced Moses to join us when he would slow down long enough for a quick hug!  Cyrus apparently found his voice while I was there and decided that he would exert his new power by screaming through American Idol or while we watched a movie.  Moses is a great big brother and loves his Cyrus!  They laugh together and appear to have a genuine bond and a secret code known only to them!  High five to my sis and Moi for such amazing children!  They have worked hard as parents and it is definitely paying off!

DID I SHAVE MY LEGS FOR THIS???

This week my older and much wiser sister, Lori-Lynn, informed me that my life is crazy enough to start a blog, so…let the games begin!  With great thought, my title is intended to illustrate the chaos that represents my daily journey.  In the infamous words of country musician, Deana Carter, “I bought these new heels, did my nails.  Had my hair done just right…As I head for the door I turn around to be sure did I shave my legs for this?”  In high school (ten distant years ago), my good friends Michaela and Tricia and I thought this was the greatest tune.   We could imagine what it must be like to get all dolled up for that exciting first date only to come home an hour later, disappointed with the results.  I wasn’t a strong dater back then, but I was mature enough to recognize that sometimes what we expect to happen in life is not what at all takes place. 

Looking back, the last twenty-eight years has been that for me…It has been an amazing road filled with excitement, disappointments, love, loss and great accomplishments.  So, on the days I question whether or not shaven legs were worth it…The answer is always yes!  Without the occasional nicks and cuts I have gathered from this crazy thing called life, I would not be who I am today.  I would not take the time to laugh out of delirium or cry with abandon.  I would not understand the gift that is family and the blessing of a truly intimate friendship.  And as I grow in my faith as a Christian, I recognize that it is only God who gives me the strength to get up one more day and yes, shave my legs!