Wednesday, December 29, 2021

"Keep Going"

 (a coloring page that I have pinned to my bookcase)

It's 2021, and we're still in the middle of a pandemic. 

I haven't really talked about Covid-19 much on this blog, but here goes. My neighbor below me might have it, as I hear him (her?) coughing in the night and there seems to be a pretty stringent cleaning protocol going on in the halls. At one point, I realized someone was wiping down the outside of my apartment door. 

I have two people close to me that have it: a former neighbor from Pittsburgh, and someone from work. I wasn't sure if I had been exposed, so I quarantined over the Christmas break and took a test on Monday. Thankfully I was negative, but so many aren't that lucky. Omicron numbers are high, and people are saying that Biden has failed at ending the pandemic. 

And yet, life goes on, even if we are crawling through the fog. I do believe there is light at the end of the tunnel. 

But we are still waiting. And the crawling isn't easy. Today my phone devotional in the YouVersion app asked me to reflect on two questions: 

  • God, what are you showing me in this waiting?
  • How might I reclaim this waiting period for Your glory and the good of others? 

I've been talking about waiting in dating, and last night my friends reminded me that dating is a marathon, not a sprint. But I'm also waiting, with every person on this globe, for this damn pandemic to be over! Yesterday I started to get ready for my virtual story time later in January. (We do storytime on Facebook Live, Tuesday-Thursday at 10:30 EST). Because it will be posted online, I need to look up permissions from publishers to read their works. And while it helps me, it also makes me sad that permissions have now been extended by most publishers to June 30, 2022. That's six months away! Is that to say that we will still be in the pandemic in six months? I mean, ugh. 

And some people, with Long Covid, will be forever waiting for their strength to return, no longer able to run. It's really horrible. 

Last night I cried out to God for a parking space. And asking for that small thing, that He cares about, because He cares about me, prompted my heart to cry out for all the other things on my heart. Funny how it works that way. So there I was, on South 295, radio and GPS blaring, just calling out to God. 

And while I don't claim to have all the answers, my parking spot (after driving around the neighborhood in the dark) was indeed steps away from my final destination. And while I shared bread with my friends (OUTSIDE, socially distanced), they confirmed that enough was enough, I needed to let go of Mr. Saturday night. (see last post.) I needed to date "up." Wait for someone better. This was something I had been holding onto, and I had prayed about it, on 295. 

There's that cough again, coming through the floorboards. It stops me, cold. 

I know that the writing in this post is all over the place and not fleshed out. I know that given time, I could pull so much more out, make the paragraphs flow better, the transitions smoother. But it's 6:08, and I need to hit publish. 

And once again, as I look at the formatting, I realize that it may be time to take this blog to a different platform. I've been on Blogger since 2005! Old habits die hard, but maybe 2022 this blog will be on Word Press. 

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

"...--or only a story, maybe."



I talked to Mr. Saturday Night. It played out so differently in my head. Well, I have another dating story to add to my arsenal. He was cold and distant and I thought, I didn't have THAT great of a time that I need to go out with him again. In some ways, I was following other people's lead. Other people wanted me to give him a second chance. I knew that it wasn't a match, not just a bad date. But I didn't trust myself, I trusted other people who said I should give him a second chance. 

At one point he was mansplaining what he thought I was doing...No. I do not need to text him for a third date. 

I am still learning. 

I am still learning.

I am still learning. 


The problem with spelling my name: his sister has the same name, spells it a different way.

The reason we didn't walk together: he had to use the bathroom. 

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Following the story to its end...

I have decided to give Mr. Saturday Night another chance. We'll talk tonight, because I can't stop thinking about him, and I was just really disappointed about how Saturday went. 

I don't have this memorized, but I knew I'd find it in the blog. 

When I grow tired of my students, as I always do--

staring at their faces till my sockets burn,

I remember one girl told me

how she followed a boyfriend home--

found him in tears--

He rocked on the bed

screamed at her to Get away

So she turned off his light

and closed the door,

and sat on his floor till morning.

When I think of this girl speaking

in her gentle voice with its rough edges

I think how teaching is like crouching sleepless

in a darkened room refusing to get up

knowing nothing will come of this,

--or only a story, maybe.

(Anon., found in Small Victories, by Samuel G. Freedman.)

Monday, December 20, 2021

I am still learning (pt 2)

Okay, here goes. I don't have therapy this week, so I can't talk it over with her. 

Dear (you know your name), 

I was very disappointed at the end of our second date. This seems to be a trend for me, but is unusual to me because since I date so infrequently, I'm pretty selective and only do first dates that become relationships every 5-7 years.

I fell asleep during the movie. I guess you did ask if I didn't like it. I said long day, dark room, which was true. 

We walked for about 30 minutes and the whole time we barely talked, we weren't even walking in concert. 

Ugh. Okay. Your family ran a bookstore mission in West Africa and you thought people needed more life things than pamphlets. It's taken me a day to process that I agree with your disappointment there. 

You've seen a lot of movies during Covid. I guess with social distancing etc that's not horrible. You pointed out that I was more careful. Well, I work in the public and I was living with my parents who were in their late 70s. 

You tried to correlate my love for my young niece/nephew with the fact that I'm a children's librarian? That didn't even make sense! They are my family. 

You didn't seem thrilled about your own family--I kind of want to be with someone who likes their family, but I guess you get what you get and I'm incredibly lucky to have a great family. 

You wanted to split a $12 taxi fare? really? 

You parked in the garage. How bourgeoisies. I was so proud of finding a spot on the street. (Hunting for it did eat up time, but it was time I had to spend.)

I don't know. I just didn't feel like I liked you enough that we could be friends. Anyways, I'm not dating the next two weekends anyways. (Christmas/New Years.) 

Oh, your comment about (redacted) made me think I didn't want to share eventually that I have mental health issues. 

But clearly you have gotten under my skin, so stay tuned. 

Sunday, December 19, 2021

"I am still learning"

 (Leonardo da Vinci)

I had this on my bathroom mirror for 20 years. I cling to it, especially at times like these.

I had a ehhh 2nd date last night. After which, I made a point of driving around my neighborhood and looking at the lights. 

Tips for men: if you are walking somewhere, especially for a long time, (2 miles?) walk together. 

We just didn't share the same values. I am much more cautious about Covid (it weeds them out!) and when he talked about extended family it wasn't with tenderness. 

These are things that are not anyone's "fault," they just are. And we're in our fifties, not much is going to change. Our personalities are pretty set. I have to date differently than if I was 25. 

My mother called me and asked me to give him a chance for a 3rd date after I had already sent the "Dear John" text. She shared some of her experience, and I shared mine. We were in concert by the end of the call, always a good outcome. 

I think I'm going to start a notebook. Where I take notes on each guy. It's too easy to just swipe, swipe, swipe, and when I hit the "Like" on Match and have to write something, my mind goes...blank. (Insert gif of Meg Ryan from that movie about bookstores and Tom Hanks.) 

I got about 4 hours of sleep last night. Today we celebrate my brother's last day of being 39, which is to say, he turns 39 on Monday. What a joy. 

Friday, December 17, 2021

Being Alive (take 2)


Someone to hold you too close... (Which I highly doubt will happen tomorrow.) 

Yesterday I shared the lunchroom with my coworker Klein, who just got out of a 21 year marriage. So of course he's full of how sacrificial marriage is and how I shouldn't think the grass is greener on the other side. 

I said, you sacrifice things by being alone too. I've never had the teamwork of a long term relationship. I've never created something with someone else. Aside from my parents, I've never shared the burden of housework. I wanted to do this myself. I wanted to make something of myself before I started a relationship, be a Mary Kay director, be an author. But I'm 50 now and none of those things have happened--it's time to couple up. (I did not say any of theses things after the first sentence to Klein.)

No, never been married. No, no children. Lots of life experience, though. 

We're going to see a Wes Anderson film. The last one I went to, I walked out of--just checked the Rotten Tomatoes tomato meter and that movie got better ratings than this one. But I liked the previews better than the other movie he suggested. Well, I didn't even consider the Matrix. I haven't seen a Matrix movie for 20 years?

Listening to the "Company" soundtrack as I write this. It's all about relationships. 

This blog post really has nothing new in it. But I'll hit publish, because it's almost 8 a.m.

Oh, and my therapist said that probably the reason the romance isn't flowing is because men in their fifties who are on Match are probably tired and worn out. 

Thursday, December 16, 2021

Being Alive

(Stephen Sondheim, Company)

Dammit, with the Frenchman, I lived a version of a romance novel and now nothing seems as romantic. Plus, I'm not "dating" the last two weekends of the year, so I've stopped swiping on Match. So I have the current guy...who is just a normal guy, and doesn't seem smitten. (But what if he is and I just can't tell because my version is warped?)

I have been spoiled. 

The philosopher pursued me for months. I finally gave in and we had a very interesting year, my longest relationship was almost 25 years ago!!!


Last night he asked me about my blog. I said, it's about me, that's why it's anonymous. I had to correct him on spelling my name. 

I mean, I had to. If we're going to have any kind of future, he has to know it's Sarah, not Sara. (My actual name has so many spellings, but you get the drift.) 




Yes, that's the post. I see my therapist in less than an hour, on Zoom. 

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

our souls are restless...


It's bedtime. But I have been up, laughing and deciding with my church meeting friends. (Me, I'm an elder, on Session!) We have been looking at how to spend money and whether we should fund the requests before us. We use a "filter." It asks questions like: does this jive with our sense of geography? does this jive with our sense of welcoming the stranger, however hard or easy that is? 

I am listening to quiet Christian music but all my senses are alive. I want to read poetry into the night. I want to fall in love. I many things.

My Ikea chicken sits on my candles that smell like Snickerdoodles, a gift from the woman I said goodbye to with a final text, "I don't want to talk." It seems so long ago. It all seems so long ago. 

I have been in this apartment forever (or six months.) A full liturgical season of ordinary time? Almost all of Advent? It is almost Christmas, so much so that my brother's birthday will be celebrated next Sunday. 

I have a date on Saturday!! A second date!! I'm friends with a guy at work, wise with dreads. (Are dreads wise? I am drunk on tiredness.) He likes this guy for me. I do too, obviously, or I wouldn't be wasting a Saturday on him. Waste is a harsh word. Spend. I wouldn't spend my time and imagination if I didn't enjoy the company of the man I hope to see again on Saturday. 

I have found the little plaque I got at Goodwill ages ago. I keep finding things in this puzzle apartment of mine, boxes still strewn from my May move. Edged in gold-ish leaf, in fancy scrawl, it says "Prayer changes things." I do believe that. 

And on my bookcase, where I can see it when I look up, is a colored page that I didn't color. It says, "Keep Going." I am. Dammit, I'm keeping keeping on. 

Nothing better than you, Lord, nothing is better than you... (my iPhone sings to me.)

I feel like I've been on a long journey of pain and sadness and finally now, "Shame into Glory." "Mourning into Dancing" "Graves into Gardens" "Seas into Highways" "You're the only one who can." (sings my iPhone.)

Nothing, better than you...

Sunday, December 12, 2021

"My soul magnifys the Lord"

 (Mary, in the book of Luke 1:46)

It's Joy Sunday once again, and I remember it as the day when my sister Joy was baptised. She would have been 45. 

Yes, she died as a baby, in my parents' arms at Georgetown Hospital. I never met her. Letting my parents hold her as she died was rather revolutionary for the time. 

Over the years, our family has healed from this loss, and from the loss of Peter, who lived and died when I was in 2nd grade (about 3 years after Joy). 

But now we have my sister E and my brother J, who were also born in the Christmas season. My brother arrived kicking and screaming in the 24 days leading up to Christmas (Advent) and my sister arrived in the 12 days of Christmas leading up to Epiphany. (We didn't meet her until March, so I can only assume she was also kicking and screaming--boy did that girl have lungs!!) 

What joys they are to me, and now even to a second generation as I love spending time with my sister's children. I am a doting aunt. 

When we heard that Peter had died, in true second grade fashion, I said, "oh, rats!" I have no memory of this--my memory of memorial services for both Joy and Peter are blotted from my memory and I rely on my parents memories. 

A very special family photo session happened for the Christmas of 1982, when J was a wrinkled baby and B was still small but clearly older. 

Do you have children in your life this Christmas? What traditions will you share with them? Yesterday we put up the Christmas tree with Poppy (one of her nicknames.) Decorating will happen on a different timetable, maybe next weekend? 

I gave her her birthday gift, an "indestructables" story book in English and Spanish, and a sippy cup with a snowman from Target. I took lots of cute pictures that (pout) I can't share. (I totally understand my sister and brother-in-law's policy of not sharing pictures online but I'm a pretty good photographer!! And she's so cute!!)

What else? Oh, I went on a date yesterday, a photo walk in Riverbend Park. The guy I went with, G, had a blast, taking pictures. I took some nice ones, but felt like I was carrying the entire conversation. Afterwards, I came home and took not one but TWO naps. I have a date with a librarian tonight. I'm learning to not give out my phone number unless I feel a spark. I'm learning that it's okay to not have a good date. 

We shared a meal merely because I was STARVED. But he was honored that I took him to the park, and pleased that we shared a meal. He pulled in for a hug as I dropped him at the Metro, and told me which app to download for editing my pictures and that please would I share my pictures with him. I went through my pictures last night and saw that I hated my landscapes, but liked my closeups. I have a certain eye. So the date wasn't a total bust. It got me into nature, I took a bunch of photos I like, and I got a lot of steps. I walked 2.8 miles yesterday!! (Over 7,000 steps!) 

Today my church returns to in person. We did in person over the summer, but weren't prepared to go from outside to inside right away when the weather got cold. I'm in charge of recruiting greeters and we have some for the next two Sundays. (Well, today and next week.) I'm excited to be in our tiny space again, but will miss the hugs that we sneaked while outside. Damn this pandemic. We are learning so much. 

Saturday, December 11, 2021

"Add a little pain every day"

 (Libby Mosier)

So...this writing thing. I want to keep doing it. So I have to build endurance. And the only way to build endurance is through practice and adding a little more pain every day. So here I am, second day in a row, with only a small inkling of what to write.

Doors and labyrinths. These were the two themes in my session with my spiritual director yesterday. She read me part of a Jan Richards poem that had doors, and while I was waiting for her to get some water, I did the finger labyrinth that sits on a table in her office. 

There was a movie, years ago, where there were doors all over New York and the thing was to find them to get to the other world. If you know that movie, message me, I really want to watch it again. 

The first thing in my notes from my session yesterday is "I don't know." That that is a healthy posture and one that is open, like a door, to a new place. The next note is "What feels ok?" This is a big question in dating. Do I need to talk to this person before seeing them in person, or do I feel safe? What feels ok is a corollary to "what feels good?" another BIG question in dating. 

The next thing in my notes is "look @ thriving." My director talked a lot about thriving, that the kind of talk I was talking was about thriving. That felt good. 

Let go

Step into


Because you have to let go of things (old junk mail, old magazines, old trash in your car) to step into thriving. Case in point: yesterday I spent hours just going through old mail, filling the recycling bin. Yesterday I went through my car and found many treasures among the fast food wrappers. Socks, books I bought on my last trip to Pittsburgh...I have 4 days off at MLK weekend. I was thinking to go to Pittsburgh (where else?), and I invited my SIL, but if she can't go, maybe I'll go to Philly!! And visit Libby! Writing literally takes you places!

Faith --> thriving

Just notice. 

Noticing is big. I noticed yesterday that I was able to stay quiet longer, lingering in the quiet, which is something I find very difficult. 

The first time I did a labyrinth was in the basement of Bellefield. I have a poem I wrote about the basement of Bellefield, I wonder where it is. Anyways, now I know of many labyrinths, the herb garden at the Garfield Farm, the cloth labyrinth at East Liberty Presbyterian, the one outside the Lutheran church on Arlington Ridge Rd, and there's one on the land of the church where I go for Spiritual direction. Oh, and the finger labyrinth, which I found a little disappointing because it wasn't a real labyrinth, it didn't go all the way through back to the beginning point. Which I think is the magic of labyrinths. It doesn't look possible that you will get to the middle that way or that you will get back to where you started. 

                                            Photo by Fabrício Severo on Unsplash

We talked about Stephen Sondheim's death and "Being Alive," and how neither of us had seen "Company," the musical that song comes from. 

I think I'll end here. I've run out of things to say. Please go to the link for the lyrics of "Being Alive" if you don't know the song, they are exquisite. 

Friday, December 10, 2021

"These boots were made for walking..."

 (Nancy Sinatra)


Last week, I had a boyfriend for exactly 7 days. We went on 2 dates, wrote many texts, and had one phone call per day until Thanksgiving, his birthday, where I called him in the morning to surprise him, and after that we had two phone calls per day. 

After the second date, I un-matched on the app, and blocked his phone number, I was so frustrated. Luckily, he found me on WhatsApp to say he realized that I had blocked him and to whimper "I would never block you." I say luckily because in all the ghosting that's been going on, it gave me a chance to get some closure, and to really break up with the words I wanted to say. 

No. I didn't want [redacted]. 

No. I didn't want him to just turn on my TV for background. 

No. I didn't want him to offer once to pay for the meal that I ordered on my computer and not INSIST. (The money isn't the issue, the manners are.)

AND No, I didn't want someone who said one thing and did something else. 

I wanted to eat out, he wanted to eat in, I caved. I wanted pasta, he wanted pizza, I caved. And so I was hating us both by the end of the evening, every time I said no and he didn't listen. I let things go farther than I wanted them to, yes, but I didn't give him a second chance to fool me with a third date. 

I heard something at a wedding this summer that has stayed with me. The pastor said there are three things before the bride today: the aisle, the altar, and him. If she's not careful, she'll carry these things with her into the marriage: "I'll alter him." Boy did that stick with me, because I have tried to change, waited for change, prayed for change. No longer. I am a fifty year old woman, do not cross me. 

Fortunately, there had been a lot of fuss--folks in an online support group thought he was catfishing me. Somewhere in there (when? where?) I got whiff that he might be a narcissist. So I knew what all the red flags were, because I read a million and one internet articles. 

What did I learn? That I do want a relationship. Just not with him, or his type. 

12/10/21 update:

My therapist's take: he's not a narcissist, he's just French. Europeans (and French in particular) have different ideas on dating and sex. Oh--gotcha. Because, yeah. 

He did give me a gift, though. I want to date now. I liked having a boyfriend. So along with going out with girlfriends tonight to dinner and Christmas lights, I'm going on a photo walk tomorrow and dinner at my favorite fast food joint, PANERA. With two different guys!! I don't plan to date the last two weekends of the year (Christmas/NYE) so I'll get it in this weekend! My subscription to Match runs out middle of January, so then I have to decide what to do. 

I was chatting online with this one guy but we were becoming pen pals and he finally cut me loose, that he didn't want to lead me on. Well, his mom just died two weeks ago, so he's not really "available" and I've been there before. I spent six months with a guy whose mom had recently died, about ten years ago. Believe me, it was not fun. (See "aisle alter him," above.)

Also, the new "chapter" of SATC (Sex and the City) has dropped on HBO. All the episodes. I only watched the first one. But boy, did they try to cram EVERYTHING into that one episode. More on that later, maybe.