Friday, March 30, 2007

Chrissie's weekend "distraction" - Stars vs. Bars


At a loss for what to do this weekend, I’ve decided to look to the “stars,” for answers.

GEMINI: You’re intent on solving a relationship dilemma. The only thing that makes it complex is a lack of information. Once you know the truth, it’s all very easy to understand.

Hmm, I was hoping it would read more like, “Stay in and watch a movie, your mind needs some rest.”

But instead it’s telling me to go find those answers I’ve been looking for, those answers that deep down I don’t really WANT to find.

The stars could be talking about ANY of my “relationships.” They could be referring to Mr. Mixed-Signals, Mr. Baggage, Mr. Convert, Mr. Quiver-Lip or Mr. Coming-Soon.

In reality, my “relationships” (or lack-there-of) are a black hole of information. And what I DO know, is NOT what I WANT to know, so I take what sounds nice and play “dumb.”

I think my horoscope should have read something like...

“Seek out help from Mr. Budweiser, he’ll solve all your relationship woes... you can find him in myriad places around the Hudson Valley.”

Sarah's Old Fogey Weekend Pick


You don't have to be an old fogey to enjoy historic Hyde Park. I know it sounds like something your grandparents would do -- stroll down the trail at the Vanderbilt Estate -- but trust me, you can plan an amazing day there too!

Get up early on Saturday. Throw on your sweats and sneakers. Grab a bottle of water and your iPod. Get in your car and go to Vanderbilt.

After a stretch in the parking lot, head north along the paved trail, and don't forget to take in the amazing views of the Hudson River Valley. The trail will swerve left toward the river and slope downward. Don't be alarmed. The best is yet to come.

In just moments, right in front of you will be a knock-your-socks-off riverfront park. When I saw it the first time I said, "How come NO ONE has ever taken me here!" There's even a beach a short walk from the park for people who prefer some additional privacy.

To complete your workout, find the Hyde Park Trail, a wide -- and very muddy right now -- path through the woods that runs along the train tracks, with views of the river. Follow this path back to the mansion, but save some energy for the climb up the gargantuan hill. I opted to walk this part (yeah, that's right, opted!).

In total, I was told the loop is about 2-3 miles -- the perfect workout on a Saturday morning. And as a BONUS -- you get to scope out a potentially amazing spot for a picnic date.

The moral of this post? Give "historic" sites a chance.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Screwed if you do, screwed if you don't.


“It says DECLINED,” the lady at the pizza counter announced – I think over the PA system -- as she handed me my bank card back.

Declined? DECLINED? What do you mean DECLINED! Are you sure? Did you switch my card up? Can you try it again?

But I did not go there. I did not make a scene.

In fact, after being on the other end of this situation, as a waitress for the past 8 years, who has had to lean toward my customer and whisper, “Sorry, but your card, umm, doesn’t seem to be working right now,” I realized the best thing to do was to slap a different piece of plastic on the counter and get out of there ASAP.

The worst part is I was buying pizza for someone I was interviewing that night, and I didn’t even get to have a SLICE.

When I finally got to log on to my computer at home, and get instant access to my bank account, I saw what happened. My leasing office screwed me over, or I screwed myself over. I guess it depends on how you look at it.

Basically, and probably illegally, I dated my rent check for April 1st, and being the responsible person that I am, I mailed the rent out last week, in order to avoid the $3 trillion late fee dished out for checks that do not arrive by midnight April 2. Yeah, it’s that BAD. So anyway, my EVIL Rent Guy cashed my check EARLY – two days before pay day – on March 28. What the HECK is wrong with him? I'm a former grad student, with enough debt to buy a small tropical island. You can't cash my check EARLY!

There in front of my face was a NEGATIVE BALANCE, in bold red.

Mom if you are reading this, please don’t panic – or drive to my apartment and slap me. All I had to do was transfer some funds. No biggie.

What is a biggie is the $29 bank penalty fee and the embarrassment of being ousted in public as financially handicapped.

Chrissie, I guess you're screwed if you don't mail your check in on time, and you're screwed if you do.

"Props for coughing on the rent-collector"


Rent is due on the first of every month.

But I learned a few months back that if it’s post-marked by the 5th, you’re in the clear.

If you mail it out sometime between the 6th and the 20th, you’re charged a $50 late fee, and you get an embarrassing and threatening letter on your front door.

However, what I DID NOT understand, until this month, was that you MUST call the rental office and tell them it’s “in the mail,” by the date on that threatening letter. (Even if it’s NOT in the mail, it WILL be, so apparently that’s close enough).

How did I learn this piece of important information regarding near-homelessness?

Well, by coughing on the rent collector of course.

Last week, when I was sick as a dog and glued to the one corner of my couch that didn’t make me feel like a corpse, someone knocked on the door.

I pulled myself up and "peeked" through the peephole.

Outside, there was a middle-aged man with a stack of papers in his hand.

Ooo! I won the Publisher's Clearinghouse Sweepstakes!” I thought in feverish absurdity.

“Oh, wait, it’s probably the rent-guy,” I realized as the temperature dropped when I opened the door.

Cough, cough, cough, a squeaked, “Hello,” followed by cough, cough.

“You’re sick, aren’t you?” said the rent-guy.

“You’re A SMART ONE,” I thought.

He backed away as if I had the plague and forcefully handed me the “papers.”

“Rents late,” he barked.

As I walked back into my over-priced apartment, I glanced down at the papers he had given me and discovered that I would be charged a $450 processing fee.

NOT because my rent was late, but because I hadn’t called the rental office and told them it was “in the mail” as I had every other time.

I guess I’ll be sure to keep them posted on the status of this new “fee.”

Unfortunately, what they DON'T know at the rental office is that the ONLY WAY I can afford to pay this fee, is if that guy from the Publisher's Clearing House Sweepstakes actually knocks on my door in the near future.

Oh, and I promise, NOT to cough on him.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

I remember THOSE days


Once upon a time, the exs and the coulda-beens left messages on my cell phone too. Those WEREN'T the days. Thank god for caller ID! It's way more efficient than the old "I'm washing my hair" excuse.
Chrissie, here are some other believable excuses, just in case you answer your phone:

"I'm eating, can I call you back?"

"I'm about to go into a movie, I'll talk to you later."

"I'm about to lose you..." Click.

"This connection is awful, the static is giving me a headache."

For others visit, including real sound effects, visit Life Hack .

What are your excuses?

Spring is in the air… and desperation is in full bloom.


A quick glance at my missed calls list yesterday proved to me that spring had sprung.

Ahhhh yes… there’s something about sunshine, warmth, and the smell of winter’s final thaw that brings the “almost-boyfriends" out of the woodwork… or I guess out of the melting snow heaps.

It seems that loneliness expands right alongside the mercury.

Yesterday peaked at 70-degrees of couples-anxiety.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

New Rules are A-OK!


For about a year I've been (happily) going to mass with Chris and the more I go, the less I feel like an outsider, even though I'm not allowed by the Church to receive Communion, nor do I know exactly when to kneel and when to stand (there's a lot of that during mass!).

I wasn't put on this Earth to say that one religion is better than another. But what I do know is that I feel close to God when I'm with Chris in his Catholic Church -- and, I feel close to his priest, and ultimately, I feel close to him. (See Chrissie's post below for the right reasons to convert!)

My God hasn't changed, but the rules have changed, and if the rules make the people in my life happy, then the rules are fine by me.

Am I going to hell?


Honestly, I hadn't evaluated my relationship with God until recently. It was just something that was there. I was raised as a Protestant, attending church regularly on Sundays, until I was a teenager, when sleep was a top priority.

When I met my boyfriend Chris, and we had our first discussion about religion, I was surprised how hurt I felt when I learned about his STRICT Roman Catholic beliefs. For his whole life, he's been going to church, chanting: "... we believe one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins... "

I translate that into: "My girlfriend is going to go to hell."

Religion mut


"Dad, what religion are you?"
"Well, I'm a Christian," my dad said.
"Yeah, I know that, but you also own a shofar, and you go to a temple to worship, so what does that make you?"
"Well, I don't really look at it like that," he danced around the question.
"I don't have a religion, I have a relationship with God."
"Huh?" I said.
"What I mean is religion, to me, is a bunch of rules. That's not important to me. My relationship is," he explained.
This is perhaps the best wisdom I've ever gotten from my dad in my whole life.
But I haven't made up my mind. I still may convert to Catholicism.
My mom weighed in on this also.
"Do what you want, but I think it's strange to tell your confessions to another person for forgiveness. What I do is none of 'their' business," she said.
Seems both my parents aren't into the RULES.

Try something new… Like becoming a Jew!


I recently found out that my ex is thinking of converting to the Jewish religion for his new girlfriend of 6 WHOLE months!!!

Imagine that! The guy who couldn’t commit to monogamy for me can commit to a lifelong change in religion for his new lady friend.

I wish I knew how to say “hypocrite” in Hebrew.

Now, I’m not against conversion for the person you love, but I think it should be the person that you plan to marry too. It should be a person that you plan to spend the rest of your Jewish days with… it should be someone you’ve known longer than a few months.

DO convert so that your children can have a wholesome upbringing without religious confusion on top of everything else.

DO convert so that you can give the family of your mate the wedding and lifestyle that they’ve always dreamed of.

DON’T convert to prove to her that it is true love... because I know better than anyone else that you’re a gem at 6 months… give it 6 more and the real YOU comes out.

But hey, the last I knew…
YOU were a Christian.







Is there ever a RIGHT time to convert for your partner?

Monday, March 26, 2007

You get what you pay for- how my cheap shoe became a floatation device and then a conversation starter


I walked around Blockbuster with a mission, to find The King, a movie I’d recently seen the trailer for while watching Terry Gilliam’s creep show Tideland. Once I got what I was looking for, I sauntered up to the cashier and realized suddenly that my right leg was 3 inches shorter than my left.

“OH NO! I’VE SHRUNK! AND ONLY ON ONE SIDE! This is a NIGHTMARE!!!”

After a moment of panic I realized the reality of the situation, I hadn’t shrunk, but my shoe certainly had.

You’d think that after you dish out 20 bucks for a pair of stilettos that they’d make it through at least a trip around the video store. How could the soft carpets of Blockbuster make me shrink?

I casually bent down to pick up my tiny heel the width of a Bic pen and began tiptoeing my way back to the counter. The usual “click-clack” of my heels had been replaced by an indiscernible “click-silence, click-silence.”

I was a fashion amputee.

After my freak-parade through Stop N Shop to buy Super glue, I mended my garbage shoe and returned it to its previous state: cute, cheap shoe. At least now I was armed with a good story to tell my friend over dinner.

It’s not everyday that you have a reason to put your shoe on the table, but when you do, you know you own a shoe with character.

And you can’t buy that for 20 bucks.

Her soldier man


Reunion part III

When my friend Erin didn’t get an e-mail from her soldier husband who is stationed in Iraq, I started to worry.

"Does he e-mail you every day Erin?" I asked, that Saturday night.

"Ya, pretty much," she said, logging back in her Yahoo account, even though it had been only moments since she last checked. I can’t imagine. I just can't.

During the reunion, I grilled Erin about her wedding plans (they only had a small ceremony before he got shipped out of the country). Then I begged to watch her wedding video. Then I asked her to tell me everything – how they met, do they live together, what’s his family like, are they going to have kids and so on... Then I concluded that she is so in love with him.

In the morning, still no e-mail. I felt just a pinch of what I believe Erin’s life without her husband is like. It feels like a fist of fear twisting deep in the gut.

When she left the room, I couldn’t help myself. I searched the word "Iraq" in Google news. “Yesterday was the seventh deadliest day in Iraq” a story from Associated Press read. "74 soldiers dead," it went on.

What are the chances, I thought. There aren’t any, I forced myself to believe.

I logged off the computer and went to find Erin.

I’m sure he’s fine, I told her. Hang in there kiddo!

Later that night, when I saw my boyfriend, I guess I hugged him extra tight.

"What's gotten into you?" he asked.

"I'm just happy to see you," I answered, but he didn't know the half of it.

Boys are NOT ALLOWED


Reunion part II:

One of my friends, Jenn was feeling a little sleepy when we were at the bar in Brooklyn, and apparently, the table of men sitting near us, one in particular, thought snoring was their sign to talk to her.

So one of the guys slides in on the booth next to Jenn, as her head bobs up slightly, and her chin isn't resting on her chest any longer. He looks seductively at her eyelids and says, “Today’s my birthday.” That’s when I burst out laughing! Are you kidding me? The birthday line?

First of all, he refused to take out his license and prove it. Second of all, if it was true, he was obviously throwing a Hail Mary attempt to get some action on his birthday, by asking my very intoxicated, and near comatose friend where she was staying that night. Third, and finally, who cares if it’s your birthday. Get away from my friend!

I ALLOWED him talk to her long enough for me to get a few more good laughs in, and then I sent him on his pathetic way, which happened to be to another section of the bar, where he found another set of ladies.

Why is it that men cannot fathom the concept of a girls night?
We were not put on this earth so that you could have a "buffet" at 4 a.m. Saturday.

The Missing Piece



The reunion update:

Sometimes I feel like there’s something missing. After this weekend, I realize there is. I’m missing my best friends.

When I first saw my college roommates again during the “reunion” (see post below) I didn’t feel like myself. I felt unsure of who to hug, who to kiss, who to kid with, who to link arms with. It’s been TWO YEARS since I last saw some of them.

After a few moments of being around them, I began to remember what it was like sharing a house and our lives. All of the sudden, I was back. We were back. They were, no, they are “my girls” again.

Amy (the aspiring culinary master) made us a killer meal, while we sipped on wine and looked through photo albums. “So, who is your new man?" "What does he look like?" "What’s your apartment like?" "How is your job?” were questions thrown around like pillows at a childhood sleepover.

Pretty soon we transitioned from the surface to the real deal life stuff – a girl struggling with a broken heart, a girl feeling isolated in a small town, a girl trying to motivate to make her acting dreams come true, a girl dealing with change in every facet of her life. I found myself talking about problems that I didn’t have anyone to tell. But my girls cared and even though it’s been so long, they still know me best.

Before I knew it, it was 3 a.m., and we had just downed our last shot of the night in the Brooklyn bar we chose to go out to. It was time to head back to the apartment, but I didn’t want the night to end.

The next day, I entered the subway, headed home, feeling the way I did when the girls all packed up after graduation and moved out of New Paltz. SAD.

How much is too much?


With plans Saturday evening to see Murali Coryell at Mahoney’s, my friend met me at my place dressed to impress.

Apparently, her choice of shirt had made her boyfriend ask, “Why do you have to wear that?”

It wasn’t extremely low-cut.
It wasn’t showy or “tramp-y.”
It was nice.
It was feminine, and it was “eye-catching.”

It was something that either of us would have worn without a second thought a few years ago, and I made light of his comment by telling her she looked great. “Guys don’t understand that we want to look good for ourselves sometimes too, it’s not all about them.”

After all, she DID look great, but she began buttoning up her cardigan anyway, saying, “Oh man, I knew I shouldn’t have worn it.”

As the evening wore on, and the glances and comments came to her, her discomfort began to show.

When the guy next to us bought her a drink that last button was clasped and she was again the girl her boyfriend approved of.

That’s when it hit me, if we can't wear v-necks anymore without feeling "exposed," we’re getting old.

She reminded me of my own mother who has insisted on occasion that her crew neck shows too much.

The 21-year-old next to us, donning a tank top, seemed MORE than comfortable in her skin, and we were tugging and pulling all evening like old maids hiding their bodies.

As the second half of our 20s approaches and 30 looms in a reachable distance, all that skin seems like way too much.




But who got to decide that anyway?

Friday, March 23, 2007

Plan A: Acoustic-Guitar-Guy


Any of my close friends could tell you that I’ve recently been guilty of uttering the following words…

“This scene is getting old, I sort of just want to sit and listen to some singer-songwriter-guy play the acoustic guitar.”

(I guess there are worse things I could say, but as the resident “fun-maker,” this one doesn’t always go over so well).

And since my Saturday night will be spent “dancing for MS” with Dr. Mudd, (see previous post), I decided that I needed to make plans BEFORE the show as well.

VOILA! The PERFECT solution.

Murali Coryell
is playing at Mahoney’s Irish Pub and Restaurant at 5 p.m. on Saturday.

Dinner + singer-songwriter-guy+ acoustic guitar = everyone’s happy.

I watched Murali Coryell perform in our “studio,” and he might actually be the reason I uttered those acoustic-seeking words… Here's video from the Poughkeepsie Journal, see for yourself!

PHOTO credit: Singer/guitarist/songwriter Murali Coryell, photographed at Dooley Square, the former JD Johnson building, in the City of Poughkeepsie on March 10, 2003. This photo was taken by Lee Ferris.

Miller-WHERE?


If you are looking for something local to do this weekend, may I suggest a visit to Millerton? It has fabulous stores, like Harney & Sons tea tasting room, Irving Farm's coffeehouse, shinny objects at Gilmor Glass and a luxury clothing boutique called O’Halloran Co. Just park and stroll.

If a near hour’s drive seems far, keep in mind that views and farmland along Route 44 and Route 22 are out of this world, including one part of the road in Amenia that curves drastically, giving the driver a panoramic view of Silo Ridge golf course, mountains and open space. MAP IT

Get there early. Small towns close down by 6 p.m.

PHOTO credit: This photo was taken by Chris Davis Cina and published in the Poughkeepsie Journal on March 23, 2007. The caption read: "Breathtaking vistas are available all year long as you drive down Delaverne Hill on Route 44 heading into Amenia."

Feel free to posts what you love about this town!

A gathering of old friends


I think I deserve a badge of recognition for what it took to get my former SUNY New Paltz roomies together for an intimate reunion this Saturday. Basically, I sent out an e-mail four months ago that we should get together, asking how does March 24th sound, and that date is finally here! So come tomorrow afternoon, I’ll be journeying on a train to Grand Central and on a subway to Brooklyn.

One of my friends is traveling as far as Syracuse. Another is coming from Long Island and another from Manhattan. The final member lives in Brooklyn, and we’ve chosen to crash her (probably teensy-weensy) pad.

I can’t wait to hear about my friends’ new lives, especially the Long Island lady, who is planning her February 2008 wedding to her man, who is fighting in Iraq. That is what will make the hours of planning well worth it.

Why is it so hard for women to do this sort of thing? Or maybe it's just my experience.

I’ll write an update on how things went on Monday.

Plus, I have another post coming up on something you can do that's local and fabulous!

From Team Leader to "Groupie"

Three years ago, I was part of the Multiple Sclerosis Walk.

Well, to be honest, I was a passionate team leader, whose close family member was struggling with a possible diagnosis, and I wanted to show her I cared.

I did not raise an immense amount of money.
I did not come in first place.
I did not get any answers afterward.

And as I received my invite a few days ago to join again, I tossed it aside without much notice.

The diagnosis is still up in the air.
No one can give us a straight answer.

So what would I be walking for?
More questions?

Then, as I perused the local ads for happenings this weekend, I found that cover band, Dr. Mudd, would be playing at the Keltic House in Fishkill. This particular local band helped me celebrate my birthday AND my college graduation.

And it just so happens that on Saturday night, they’re playing a MS Benefit show.

Hmmph.

Now although I’m not one to believe in “signs” I couldn’t help but think that someone, somewhere was trying to get me involved.

The diagnosis isn’t clear.
The prognosis isn’t good.

But if I don’t want to walk, I can certainly dance right?

Walk for MS OR Dance for MS

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Top reasons why being in a long-term relationship is better than being lonely, ooops I mean single:


1. You can start wearing your real underwear.

2. You are now the designated co-pilot during long driving trips – and that means you can take a nap, read a book or watch a movie while your loved one does all the hard work.

3. For all your friends who taunted their relationships in your face with their mushy stories, "Oh my god, last night, my boyfriend was so wonderful, he made me dinner, rubbed my back for hours and called me 'Pooky wooky bear'", it's payback time! Get ready to barf.

4. No one tries to hook you up with their really “nice” friend, co-worker, cousin, etc., who calls you babe and slaps you on the butt on the first date.

5. By now your man realizes that bad breathe, hairy legs, body odor and chub are just part of the wonderful package that is you.

6. You can stop talking to your cats. They will only ever be able to MEOW, no matter how much you wish otherwise.

7. If you were to get drunk, climb up on the bar and start removing clothes, your man would stop you, whereas your friends would video tape you and post it on YouTube.

8. Your wardrobe doubles to include worn Ts, baggy sweat pants and comfy sweatshirts – and your mate thinks you look great in them.

9. Diamonds.

10. You can give your liver a rest. Trust me, it needs it after all the searching for Mr. Right in a bar you’ve been doing.

11. You can make your mate get you things, like a glass of water, aspirin or a beer, when you don’t feeling like moving a muscle.


12. You don’t have to keep your promise to marry your best friend if you both are single at 35. Phew!

13. If a strange man tries to hit on you, grab you inappropriately or grind against you while dancing, all you have to do is say the word (to your man) and that jerk is a goner!

Top 10 reasons it's better to be free than tied down in a relationship


1. You get that nice big bed all to yourself (pink pillows and all).

2. Eating dinner means making what YOU want, pizza or brownies, your opinion is the only one that matters.

3. You're in better shape than all your "doughy-in-a-relationship friends," and they know it.

4. When you meet someone you click with, you never have to say, "I can't go out with you Mr. Soul Mate, Mr. Good-Enough-For-Now is waiting for me at home."

5. Checking in means going to the bathroom and making sure your lip gloss isn't smudged. It DOESN'T mean bringing your cell phone into the bathroom stall with you so you can say those magic, instigating words to your boyfriend, "I'm running late..."

6. Your parents don't ask you embarrassing relationship questions that are laced with their disapproval, like "How's Mr. X, I hear he still works at the Mobil."

7. Free Drinks!!! And by FREE I mean GUILT FREE! No one cares who's buying them for you, and you don't care if he can afford to or not!

8. You can flirt endlessly with the most attractive guy in the room while your friend who's hitched can only look on with envy.

9. All your clothes are cute since you're always on the prowl.

10. Last but not least... You know deep down that the best is still yet to come.

And then there's me...


Someone once told me I was "too young to be so jaded," but what did THAT GUY know? I'm not here to advocate single-hood for a lifetime, I'm simply here to point out some of the perks, especially since nearly everyone who's not hitched is suffering from couples-anxiety.

I've been there, I was a "serial monogamist" for almost 7 years, and I've found in my time alone that there's more to ME than meets the eye, and there was much more to me than the girl that dated those two guys.

Forget tying the knot (for now)...

I'm here to let the ropes swing free and say that being alone and being happy isn't impossible... it's amazing. So put away that pint of ice cream and shave your legs already... You never know when Ben or Jerry might stop by and scoop you right out of "single-hood."

Don't miss your chance to enjoy it.

Welcome



I’m Sarah, a reporter at the Poughkeepsie Journal, who wanted to do something stimulating (and perhaps dim-witted), so I decided to co-author a blog about stuff I think is both fun and thought-provoking, and hopefully you will too. Trust me, the last thing the Internet needs is another BLOG that is a snoozer!

My partner-in-crime, Chrissie and I are going to be writing about stuff from two very different perspectives. Basically, she is cheerfully unattached and I, besides being an old maid, am in a healthy relationship (probably the first one in my whole life). We agree to disagree on a lot of things. She’s a spender, I’m a saver. I’m a do-it-yourself gal and she’d rather find it in the store. Her night starts when she gets home from work, when mine ends. Hopefully, we’ll inspire you to share your feelings too.

Okay, now that the formality is over with, let’s have some playful girl talk.