Sunday, January 31, 2010

Gaga Day in the Square

This past Thursday I found out that a group of College of Charleston kids were putting together a dance-a-thon for National Lady Gaga Day at Marion Square downtown on Friday. The dance-a-thon was to last only 30 minutes and would be a fundraiser for Haiti. In a short span of time, these kids got sponsors in order to pay for a dance floor and also got a radio station to volunteer to play Gaga tunes for the dance. How fun! I knew immediately I was going to be there.

When I got home from work I told Robin that we had to practice our 'Bad Romance' dance moves. After dinner we came home, cleared our "dance floor" in the living room and turned on the Bose. The next hour or so was hysterical. We got the basic moves down and in the meantime scared all of the dogs!

The next day I had a doctors appointment at 2:15 and after we were supposed to meet Teresa at Krispy Kreme at 3:45. My friend Troy was supposed to meet us down at the park and I tried multiple times to reach Mark to no avail.

We got to Krispy Kreme a little early so we decided to have a donut and a coffee. I called Mark again and he didn't answer. Soon after I received an email from him with the lyrics to "Shake Ure Kitty" and he ended it with "I am there!" I was so excited that he was coming! It had been ages since I've seen him. He finally called me and we arranged to pick him up at his house.

In the meantime, around 2:50 I received a text message from Teresa saying she was Jeep shopping with April and wasn't going to be able to come... that it was taking longer than she expected. WTF? Okay, first of all, I invited her because we hadn't seen her in a long time and thought it would be cool to hang out with her. Her coming or not coming didn't hinder my plans BUT I thought it was incredibly rude how she handled this. If she knew she was going Jeep shopping with April she should have called me earlier and told me that she might get delayed or possibly not be able to come. She had over a 24-hour notice about this event and she never once let me know that there might be a problem with her making it. We waited there for her. She could have called earlier so we didn't waste our time!


We headed over to Marks house and picked him up and headed to the Square. When we walked up closer to the dance floor I suddenly felt really old. I turned to Mark and Robin and said "You know, we are old enough to be most of these kids parents!" How sobering! But... old, or not, I wanted to dance to Gaga! We bought a t-shirt and found a place on the dance floor.

Before the music started the organizer of the group said a couple of words but the sound system was so horrible that you couldn't hear a word. When the music started it was the same way... you could barely hear the music! It was hard to dance when the music was so faint and the screaming girls were so loud! We ended up moving to the outer edge of the dance floor for breathing space and to look out for Troy.

I checked my phone and had missed Troy's phone call so I called him back and we eventually hooked up. In the meantime, Mark had taken my camera to take photos of people in their Gaga-esque outfits and was telling everyone that he was with different, non-existent newspapers including the "Lesbian Times" He was killing me!

After the music ended and our donation for Haiti was given we decided to get something to eat so we headed over to the Kickin' Chicken for a bite to eat. Good food and great company! We talked about going back to Troy's house to play cards but decided to head out. Robin, Mark and I ended up going to Kaminsky's for dessert and coffee. A delicious end to a really fun evening.

One of the events organizers (I think!)

Mark... striking a pose

I love this shot!

This one too! I wish I knew the people so I could send it to them!

Mark, Troy and I

Dancing by myself

"I love this record baby, but I can't see straight anymore..." - Lady Gaga

There were lots of scary panty lines.

"ohmygaga!" Me and Robin

Monday, January 18, 2010

Dum Spiro Spero

I'm sitting here watching a documentary on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. They were discussing and showing images of the March on Washington in 1963. I sit in amazement at what Dr. King had accomplished in his short, impressive life.

While watching footage on the March, I was reminded of the National Equality March that Robin and I attended in D.C. last October and thought to myself that the gays need a MLK on their side. I started thinking of who could possibly fill those shoes and came up empty. We have Cleve Jones, David Mixner, Joe Solmonese... is there anyone who has a voice powerful enough to change a Nation regarding equality for the GLBT community?

I was left wondering how the African American community defeated and rose above all of the ignorant and narrow-minded people and achieved equality (The fact that they had to do that all astounds me!) Is it because some people think African Americans don't have a choice - they are born black and some people think being gay is a choice?

During the March in October we walked past a mixed-race couple standing on the side of the road with the most brilliant sign and I knew that our effort was not in vain.

I can only hope that I'm alive WHEN it happens for us on a National level.

Sunday, January 10, 2010


Last night Robin was working and I really wasn't in the mood to cook anything so I decided to go to Hardees for dinner. I normally avoid it since my niece works there. I thought that if I waited late enough, she would have already gone home since she's still in high school. I would have gone elsewhere, but Hardees now has these little "mini chimis" that are quite tasty and that is what I was craving. This is one of those Hardees that also carries "Mexican" food, which I find to be a little odd. I wonder how that goes over in "Little Tijuana" "aka Goose Creek", home of the roaming taco trailers?

I waited until after 9pm thinking that Nicole would be off, but as soon as I pulled up to the drive-thru I knew it was her on the speaker. Crap! I placed my order and pulled up to the window and I could see her peeking out the window to see if it was me. She opened the window and looked at me. I could tell that she was really nervous. I said "Hello Nicole" and she said "Hello" and I said "How are you?" and she said "Fine". I handed her my credit card and she closed the window. While she waited for my order she was busy ringing up other customers. I'm glad she wasn't involved in preparing the food because I would never have eaten it for fear of consuming spit or dirt... that doesn't mean I didn't examine my food before eating it!

When my order was ready she handed it to me and I said "Thank you" and she said "You're welcome" and I was gone. Before she came back to the window I thought seriously about reaching out to her by saying that I am always available and am just a phone call away, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it because the hurt I have encountered from Nicole and Kayla outweighs my kindness and open and forgiving heart. I know deep down she is not a bad kid, and I truly think that Nicole, Mercedez and Devin are just victims. Kayla, on the other hand, is a bad seed and total product of her environment. Deep down I feel that Kayle is not a nice or kind person at all.

I wish it wasn't like this. I wish I had a relationship with my nieces and nephew but that means that I would have to have contact with my sister and really, I could live the rest of my life without talking to her again. I managed to do that nicely for the six years after Dad passed away, but being the executor of the estate I have no choice but to talk to Janine. I made a promise to my Uncle that I would handle things fairly and I have kept that promise, but I will be so happy when all of this is over and I can erase her from my life permanently.

My feelings on this were solidified recently when my sister pulled her latest stunt. When Robin and I met, I was staying over her house and let my other sister Traci and her girlfriend Tonya stay at Mom's. They were supposed to be paying 1/2 of all the utilities, but this never happened so I finally had to kick them out. Another factor in that decision is that they said they were bringing over two cats and a dog but actually brought a dog and EIGHT cats that tore up the furniture, chewed through cords and made me miserable. They had to go! For two months there was no one living in the house and Robin and I would come by every couple of days to get the mail and check on things.

At one point, Janine called me and told me some sob story about how she had to move and her new place didn't allow dogs and asked if she could keep her dogs in Mom's back yard. I really didn't want to say yes, but I did. For over a month she had her big dumb dog and her little dog in the yard and would occasionally come check on them. It was very hot outside and I really felt sorry for the pets. I kept asking her when she was going to find a home for them and she gave me a different story every time I asked. I personally emailed rescue organizations and no one could take another unwanted pet. I hated to even do that since I think it's absolutely irresponsible to just dispose of your pet because it's inconvenient for you. Janine wasn't being very proactive so I gave her a deadline. I also gave her an extension and then I was through. I told her we were going out of town and upon our return I wanted the dogs gone. I guess she found a home for them. I never asked.

In the meantime, I was working with the mortgage company trying to get the house out of foreclosure. I applied for their assistance program and was initially turned down. After many sleepless nights, phone calls, faxes and stressful moments, I re-applied and was accepted but we had to put money down to get the house out of foreclosure before they would set up a payment arrangement for us. Robin managed to borrow the money and we made the initial payment and then they took the other payments that we were behind and added them to the monthly payments. Our new monthly payment is now actually larger than the actual mortgage payment because of this. Regardless, we made it happen.

When I talked to Traci about all of this she said that her memories were with Mom and Dad and not tied to the house so she could not care less what happened (until we sell it, I'm sure!) Janine said that she would like to move in because she had to move anyway. I told her that I didn't know if that could legally happen since the house was still in probate and Mom, at one time, had her legally evicted by the magistrates office because she refused to leave. What Janine didn't think of is that she couldn't just move in. The house was in foreclosure and payments were behind. The mortgage company would not allow someone to simply move in and start paying. This just confirmed how ignorant she was to what was happening. She's so wrapped up in her own little world that she is oblivious to reality.

After dealing with the MAJOR stress of getting the house out of foreclosure we moved in with the intent of fixing it up so we could actually sell it later for a profit. We have already done several things and are slowly making progress. I really think my parents would be proud that we saved the house and are fixing it up.

About two weeks ago I received a text message from Janine that said "Are you home? I need to talk to you, something serious has happened." I knew I should have ignored it but I sent her a text telling her I was home. She called me and started rambling about how her best friend was in jail and she had to bail her out because everyone thought Janine set her up. She said the only money she had was her bill and rent money but this meant she would not be able to pay her rent so she and the kids needed to move in with us.

Ummmm. What??

I asked why her friend was in jail and why they thought Janine set her up. Janine said several times "I can't go into that right now, it's complicated!" I said "How can I help someone who won't even be honest with me?" Again, she stated it was complicated. She then went on to say that she knew that I didn't care for Kayla and Nicole and they could stay at a friends house so it would be just her, Mercedez and Devin. I told her I didn't have the space and she said "You have the spare bedrooms and the (unfinished!) room over the garage!" I told her that the spare rooms are still filled with Mom's things, including the room over the garage. I told her there is no way I could do that and reminded her of when Mom allowed her and the kids to move in and they stayed for eight months until Mom had her evicted.

Janine went on to say that she talked to the probate judge who looked at Mom's Will and said she had a right to be in the house since she was named 1/3 beneficiary. I told her that this was common knowledge even before Mom passed away and then I asked "Where have you been while we were attempting to save the house?" and she said "I didn't have any money" and I said "Neither did we! We had to BORROW it!" and then I said she hasn't done shit to help with ANYTHING since Mom died. She hasn't even raked a fucking leaf in the yard. All she has done is ask for things! I have been more than kind to her, even giving her Mom's ring that was left to me!!

I was so furious that she just expected to waltz in the house after not doing a damn thing to save it. She has never done a responsible thing in her life! All three of us kids have screwed up here and there and Mom and Dad have bailed us ALL out, but she is now 43 and needs to wake up! Her meal tickets are dead and she has absolutely estranged herself from all relatives. She has no one.

All I can think about it how poorly she and the kids treated Mom. When I was in Ohio, Mom would call me and complain about both Janine and Traci and how they would never come by or call her. Traci had a cell phone for a year and made me promise to not give Mom the number because she annoyed her. Janine and the kids were horrible to my Mom. Her kids totally disrespected her and Janine would bitch her out whenever my Mom would discipline one of them. Twice my sister kicked my Mom out of the car and made her walk home from long distances. This is a woman who could barely walk across the house without stumbling!

I told Janine I just could not disrupt my life to accommodate her. Robin works nights and I work days and it would not work out! She said "so, you are not going to help me?" and I said "no" and she said (again!) "I have a right to be in the house!" and I said "Well, go get an attorney and do what you've got to do!" and she hung up. I haven't talked to her since then.

A couple of days later I went to probate to turn in some forms and ask for an extension since I had to hunt down Janine to get her to sign the "Receipt and Release" form, which states she has no claim against the estate after receiving her name on the deed as 1/3 owner. I needed to get Janine's address for the Register of Deeds and it took several phone calls and text messages to just get that! When I asked for the extension, the probate clerk looked at the form and said "Ohhhh. I'm gonna give you 6 months!" I said "You know my sister, don't you?" and she said "Yeah" - it's pretty bad that even probate is aware of what a snatch she is!

Wow. I didn't mean for this blog to be all about this. Makes me think of the Anna Nalick song "Breathe"...

"If I get it all down on paper, it's no longer inside of me,
Threatening the life it belongs to"

I don't really talk about it a lot, except with Robin. I have had people say "come on, it's family... you have to like them!" and I really don't agree with that theory. Janine has been nothing but a thorn in my side all of my life and like I mentioned before, I will be so glad when probate and eventual sale of the house is over so I don't have to think about her again.

I'm not sure what will happen with the house, but right now I have to go with what my heart tells me. My parent's always lived in Navy housing and this was the first home they ever owned and they were proud of it. My Dad loved his yard and it was once one of the nicest in the neighborhood. I would love for it to be that way again. I just want to do the right thing... the thing my parents would appreciate and be proud of.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Gold Bug Burger

I left work early today to head to my doctor's appointment. My original 3-month follow up was at the end of January but I moved it up since I have been having a couple of issues. Since being back in South Carolina my allergies have been out of control. My eyes water so much that I have not been able to wear eye makeup for over a month and the post-nasal drip is enough to make me gag... literally. Also, on the right side of my neck, toward the back, is a knot. At first I thought it was a swollen gland but the more time went on the larger it got. For the last month the skin over it has been red and itchy and sometimes it throbs. I simply call it "my tumor" but Dr. Eads seems to think that I am not going to keel over from cancer, BUT he did use the word "benign", which kind of freaked me out a bit. Initially he wanted a CAT scan but changed his mind and put me on a round of antibiotics to see if that would take care of it. Fun!

After my appointment it was time for lunch and we were trying to figure out where to go. We always end up at the same old places and we were trying to think of something different. Neither of us could think of any place we wanted to try! I need to keep a list of places that seem interesting, or have been suggested by friends. Like I have mentioned before, since being gone from Charleston for so long I have lost touch with what's out there as far as dining choices. I used to bitch all the time when I was in Ohio about the lack of independently owned restaurants. It seemed all the restaurants in the greater Dayton are were chain restaurants that you could experience in any town in the U.S. - Boring! Charleston has a HUGE amount of great, independently owned restaurants that I need to rediscover!

After tossing around dining choices I remembered that we have always talked about going to Poe's Tavern on Sullivan's Island. Poe's is named after Edgar Allan Poe who was, at one time, stationed at Fort Moultrie on the Island. He is said to have written many of his stories here. Friends have said that Poe's has the best burger in the Charleston area so we decided to head to the beach!

First off, when you go to Poe's in the Summer you might as well bring a tent to camp out because it is packed! This is probably the main reason that I have always ignored it before. I don't mind a wait, but I do mind a crowd. In the past, when I have driven by, the patio looks cramped and elbow to elbow. When you are in 100+ degree heat that's not so much fun, really. Today there was no wait, but as soon as we sat down the restaurant seemed to fill up quickly!

The burger of the day sounded very promising since it was VERY similar to my favorite burger of all time from Red Robin - the Whiskey River BBQ Burger, so I ordered that. When Robin and I first started dating I really wanted my favorite burger, but the nearest Red Robin was in Columbia, which 1 1/2 hours away... we drove there anyway! Cheese, onion straws, BBQ sauce... soooo good! My high hopes were quickly shot down when my burger came out and I cut it in half. The burger that I ordered to be medium-well was cooked to a mere (and gross) rare. Ugh. When the server came back I told her that my burger was supposed to be medium well and she then picked up the plate to examine it as if I was not telling the truth. I guess she agreed with me because she took it back to the kitchen.

After a bit of a wait, my burger - round two - arrived and I cut it in half. When I did this, I realized it was actually the SAME burger that I sent back. Because I had cut it in half initially and then cut it in half the second time, my burger was now cut into quarters and held together by the bun. I started laughing and showed Robin. The inside of my burger was still very red. When the server came back I pointed it out. She said "How exactly do you want it to look?" I told her "I want it medium-well" but what I really wanted to say was "Ummmm, NOT RED!!" She offered to take it back to the kitchen but I knew that just meant I would be eating spit later so I declined. I still can't believe they cooked the same, cut in half-cheese covered burger that I had before. Wow!

So, Poe's Tavern... well, it's out of the way to go to, so MAYBE if we are in the neighborhood in the middle of winter we MIGHT give it another chance!

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Hooked on Phonics

You know how much I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE funny Freecycle posts... well, this one made me laugh out loud!! Oh my! Methinks the parent needs it more than the child!

---------- Original message ----------
From: codeyshyann <>
Date: Sat, Jan 2, 2010 at 7:31 PM
Subject: [goosecreek_freecycle] WANTED: cassette tape player

i am trying to my duaghter how to read with hooked on phonices, everything is on tape. We live in goosecreek on the navybase thank you so much


Hominy Grill & Snuggies

Today my friend Rob was in town visiting from Boston along with his partner Steven and Steven's baby, Kofi. Robin and I met them downtown at Hominy Grill at 10am. I had never been to Hominy Grill but I heard their food was fantastic. It's been on FoodTV and the Travel Channel so I was really looking forward to it.

When Robin and I got there we put our names in and were told it would be a 20-minute wait. Shortly after, we were joined by Rob, Steven and Kofi. It was so wonderful seeing Rob and finally meeting Steven and Kofi! I had not seen Rob since our 20-year high school reunion July 2008! We waited out in front of the restaurant since there was no standing room inside. It was the coldest day we have had in Charleston so far. What should have been a 20-minute wait turned into about an hour! When we were finally seated they put us right next to the door so each time someone left or came in we got a bit of an arctic chill! Since we had the baby they allowed us to move to another table in the back, which was much warmer!

Brunch was actually very good. I ended up getting the cinnamon french toast with apple maple syrup and pecan butter. Robin and Steven got the shrimp and hominy grits and Rob got the country breakfast. My french toast was nothing short of amazing!! I MUST get the recipe for it! The apple maple syrup wasn't even the consistency of syrup. It looked like creamy caramel. Sooooo good! It actually made the wait in the bitter cold well worth the visit. I'll definitely be back!

After eating, Robin had to head home since she was scheduled later today and hadn't been to sleep yet. Rob, Steven, Kofi and I took a drive around downtown for a quick tour. We didn't get out of the car since it was so chilly. After the tour and goodbye's I headed to Bed, Bath and Beyond to refill our supply of Keurig and Tassimo coffee & tea. I was looking forward to enjoying a nice cup of tea while cuddling on the couch in my new Snuggie, which Robin bought for me on the way home from work this morning. I guess she saw my status post on Facebook last night where I was complaining about being cold and how I wish I had a Snuggie!

Soooo sweet!

Lucas and his dog bone getting in the picture!


I think Lucas and Jake are a bit jealous!

Friday, January 01, 2010

Blue Moon on New Years

Last night we had the most spectacular Blue Moon.

Robin and I were coming home from errands and were stopped at a traffic light and the moon seemed so close, full and beautiful. It was surrounded by perfect clouds. I really wish I had my camera with me!

Later in the evening we took the tripod to the backyard to try to get some photos. It was a bit of a hassle since there were so many fast-moving clouds. Also, the tripod I was using was my Mothers and it is not very user friendly. Actually, I'm not quite sure why my Mother even had a tripod. Makes me wonder where she got it.

The next blue moon on New Years Eve won't occur until 2028! Isn't it amazing?

For our first New Years Eve together, Robin and I went out for an early dinner then came home and watched some television. Neither of us are party people and we really didn't want to deal with checkpoints or drunk drivers so we opted to stay home, which was nice. We watched a bit of CNN with Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin (who we love!) and then switched it over to Dick Clark. Don't you almost have to watch Dick Clark?? He's practically been a part of every New Years I've had (minus those spent at bars or parties!) I'd love to experience Times Square on New Years while he's still around... seems like it just won't be the same without him.

After a quiet night with such a beautiful moon and a wonderful New Years kiss, I was so happy that I would be waking up the following morning to a new year after experiencing one of the best and worst years of my life. It was nice to say "good riddance" to 2009!

For this first day of 2010, Robin went out and bought some hoppin' john and collard greens for dinner. This Southern tradition is said to bring luck for the New Year. I haven't had any in over six years and considering my luck in that time span I need all the help that I can get! I hope it works!

Hello 2010!