Saturday, June 25, 2005


The most dreaded phone call you can receive while you’re away at college is when your parents call you to tell you that one of your grandparents was rushed to the hospital in an ambulance for chest pains. This past week my grandmother (Grand-Dot) was rushed to the hospital for just that. Growing up with a mom who worked full time, it was Grand-Dot who practically raised both my brother and me. Being half way across the country during a crisis like this is very difficult. The need to talk to her and be there for her is immense. Known as “Grand and Pop’s girl” I’ve always been told my need for routine was primarily due to Grand-Dot. For instance, at Grand-Dot's it was Grocery Store shopping on Mondays and Thursdays, Tuesdays were laundry days, Wednesday and Friday were Pop’s golf days. Monday was egg breakfast, Tuesday was cereal, Wednesday was Pop-tarts, etc. etc. (You get the picture). The funny thing is…I’ve grown to be much the same way except most days I have cereal (measured out in a cup) with a piece of fruit. I keep a remarkably explicit work-out schedule routine that would make Grand-Dot proud. I grocery shop Sunday nights and do laundry on Fridays. I always loved my Grandparents routines and though some call it anal, I love the rhythm of it. You don’t want to know about the written journal I kept in high school keeping track of what I wore to school each day.

My grandmother’s condition is now stable. However, she did have a mild heart attack. It was determined that she might have blockages. Despite the heart attack, my mom told me the first thing Grand-Dot said to my mother when the doctor walked in to check on her again was, “See, I told you he was good looking.” Then she asked the handsome young doctor, “Are you married? We’re always looking for a nice young man for my granddaughter.” Thanks Grand, for thinking of me! She’s a riot.

Update: As of Wednesday night, Grand-Dot had quadruple by-pass surgery. She is slowly recovering. Before her surgery, the surgeon assured her that he would be giving her “all new pipes”. Grand-Dot’s response, “Does this mean I’ll be a good singer?” Get well soon Grand! I love you! You are constantly in my thoughts and prayers.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

The Bad, the Bad and the Ugly

As a single young woman with a bag full of recent stories about blind dates, dating an ex, meeting a man in the grocery store, and dating a bank customer, etc. etc. etc., I have to admit that all have been nothing more than futile efforts for me when it comes to finding a good man to date. Recently, I had a blind date - a double date, where I was paired with the best friend of a good male friend of mine. He was actually a very nice guy. I just wasn’t attracted to him in my usual sense plus he was only visiting the area so hardly a reason to think of it as anything more than a night out. Blind dates have the reputation of being indisputable disasters, but if you double with friends, it usually means a non-committing, safe night out. I would blind date again only because…well because…a girl’s gotta eat. Lessons Learned: #1 Never expect anything out of a blind date except the opportunity to be fed. #2 Be aware of your best friend’s taste in men, there’s a good chance her idea of the cute blind date she’s setting you up with will keep you asking yourself throughout the entire evening, “what the heck was she thinking?”

Dating an ex is a major no-no. It was your typical state of affairs…girl starts to realize that the ex wasn’t as bad as the rest of the losers she’s dated in the past couple of years. Somehow all of those annoying things about your ex seem to have miraculously been erased from your memory. (When this happens, ladies, give yourself a good slap in the face and snap out of it!) Although he’d been gone for two years, and he was really looking good, in the end, and I do mean this time THE END, the whole thing was a mistake on both our parts. Lesson learned: Remember Humpty Dumpty.

The chance of meeting Mr. Wonderful at a grocery store while knocking on cantaloupes is a ridiculous myth. Alexis and I met a friendly man one night while shopping on the fruit aisle at Kroger. After a 15 minute conversation he invited us to have dinner with him at his house. Supposedly, he’s a great cook. No, we did not meet him for dinner! Don’t worry. Good thing since a month later my boss (who is like my new protective father away from home) told me he’d read in the newspaper that this same guy was recently arrested for indecent exposure outside his apartment complex! So, that’s it for talking to friendly men in the fruit aisle of the local grocery store. Lesson learned: Always wash your fruit extra well!

Oh, and that customer I dated. My mistake! Oh, he was cute all right. It’s just that I had to shell out $30 for wine and cheese since Kroger would not accept one of his checks EVER AGAIN. Ugh! The funny thing is since he’s a customer I know his checking account had money in it. In spite of that, Kroger’s bells and whistles went off when he tried to pay with his check. So, in order for me to prevent a brawl between the cashier and my date, I paid…This, my friends, was the beginning of a first date disaster. Would you believe this guy had a rottweiler and thought it was funny when he pointed at me and gave the command “GET her!” Thank god the dog continued licking my leg and ignored his good master. Lessons Learned: “Do not buy the wine nor drink from the vine on a first date.”

I love my fellow employees at the bank. My dating life has become the entertainment for my near middle-aged bank co-workers. They’ve told me, “We’re living through you, Tara”. They not only want to hear about my dates, but they want to protect me, fix me up, and, of course, offer me all the free advice I can handle. There’s Danny, my protective father and manager, Debbie, my “cool mom”, Suzanne, “my older sister”, Brian, “my protective brother”, and the other Brian, “the frat guy pervert who Danny tells me not to listen to”. And like my life back home, I’m still the little sister.

With the many dating anxieties a single girl experiences today, this single girl still maintains a positive, optimistic attitude when it comes to someday finding love. It remains my constant practice that a man begins with a clean slate. As the minutes tick by and then once again I hear those dreaded screeching fingernails chillingly coming down that once meticulously clean slate, I know it’s time to once again push the eject button on my parachute for virtually a safe landing, alone on my own two feet…While alone isn’t perfect, it’s ok for now. Even so, I still believe in my heart that someday, somewhere out there is the right man for me. One who will gently take a mere piece of chalk and write I love you on that slate.

Thursday, June 16, 2005


I use to be able to run outside my house during a sunny day in June to get the mail at the end of our driveway, and return inside with a tan. By August every year, my baby-like skin would have a beautiful deep natural tan and my brown hair would naturally turn a very light brown with glistening blonde highlights all over thanks to the sun.

Yesterday I went sunbathing at my friend Weronika’s house and after only a couple hours came back with a sunburned stomach, which felt like I’d started a fire! I also forgot to flip sides evenly, and like an egg cooked over easy, my back remains white. I use to have the tanning process down to a science. Looks like I’m going to have to not only buy aloe gel today, but I’m going to have to retrieve the sunscreen for next time. What on earth is happening to me? What, am I fading like Michael Jackson? Am I going to have to put up an umbrella when I get out of my limo….I mean my ’99 Corolla? Is sunburn part of a curse that begins at age 21? I’ve waited forever (well, 21 years to be exact) to turn 21 and now I’m being cursed with…sunburn? Maybe turning 21 means it’s time to become acclimated to darkness. After all, bars are dark inside. Umbrellas surround the outdoor tiki bars in order to keep 21 year olds out of the sun. Sun screens go up to numbers like what…48? Now that I think about it what did Elton John mean when he sang Don’t let the sun go down on me? Was he worried that he’d fall asleep on the beach and turn lobster red? Hmmm.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Rachael Ray, My Mom and Me

This past year for the first time in my life I am learning to cook. Growing up my mom did everything. I never had an interest in learning to cook. In fact, even coming home at Thanksgiving time, my mom would ask me if I wanted to learn how to prepare the turkey and my response was always, “, I think I rather sleep in”. Even last year after begging my mom to teach me to cook, she said, “ok, I’ll be getting the turkey ready at 9a.m.” I changed my mind and slept through the preparation. This year in Bloomington, I have my own kitchen, and a very tight budget so in order for me to survive I had to learn to cook for myself. I don’t eat processed food, and I am very particular about what I eat. I don’t eat high fat or high carb meals. So basically, I had to learn to make low fat healthy meals.

My mom and dad are big fans of Rachael Ray of TV’s Food Network fame. Rachael’s show, “30-minute meals” is where my mom gets many of her new recipes. She tries them and then shares them with me. Over the phone she mentors me on how to prepare and cook everything so that I have a delicious new and exciting meal for myself, or as Rachael would say, "A delicious, healthy meal all cooked in 30 minutes or less". Most of my recipes include fish, chicken and pork. I’m not really a beef eater and rarely eat pasta. I cook fresh vegetables every night and/or with a baked or sweet potato on the side. Another great recipe place is My mom and I find a lot of easy and healthy recipes for us through that site. By being a necessity, cooking has become a self gratifying accomplishment for me. To be honest I used to think what a horrible wife I would be someday since I trembled at the thought of boiling water. Now, I’m a regular, June Cleaver from Leave it to Beaver. (I kinda like wearing pearls in the kitchen.)

This Thanksgiving I am destined to stuff the bird, and learn how to make the greatest mashed potatoes on earth. My butt will be out of bed by 9a.m. this year. Bon Appetit everyone!