If you’re ever in Cleveland …

You must stop and eat at Melt Bar & Grilled.

I had the best sandwich of my life there and I am sad for the rest of humanity who is not within traveling distance to experience the joy that is Melt Bar & Grilled.

Seriously, you have no idea.

Melt is a local prized possession but you out of towners really must experience it in all it’s glory.

But this really doesn’t capture it. It’s really something you have to experience yourself because:
1) This ain’t no ordinary grilled cheese sandwich. My Melt tonight was the October special: Mom’s Meatloaf Melt: Homemade Meatloaf, Chipotle Ketchup Glaze, Garlic Mashed Potatoes &; Muenster cheese. It was bliss on bread. I could go on and on and on about this sandwich for days. My husband’s Melt: The Municipal Stadium, had bratwurst, vodka kraut, grilled peppers and American cheese.
2) The atmosphere – it’s cheesy, but in a tongue in cheek sort of way. There is tons of cheesy Halloween, Easter, Christmas, Valentine’s light up decor, Cleveland and rock n roll memorabilia everywhere. The menus are old record covers. Half the restaurant is taken up by the bar and counterseats.
3) The staff – is excellent! Every waiter/waitress we have ever had there has been EXTREMELY knowledgable about the menu and very extensive beer menu (and bottled soda/root beer). Most, if not all of them, remind me of the laid back, fun staff at your local live music shows – tattoos, piercings and alls – but they all have brains and personalities which I really dig!
Be warned – the only problem is the wait for a place to sit and eat your delicious sandwich BUT it is worth it. From a local, the best time to go is right between lunch and dinner rush, obviously. However, if you are there during the madness, put your name on the list, hang at the bar, grab an appetizer and DO wait. (You can also get takeout, but why miss out on all the fun)

So … if you are ever in Cleveland, please be sure to check out Melt. I highly recommend it. There is one on the West (Original) & East Side and a rumored South coming soon!

WEBSITE: http://www.meltbarandgrilled.com/

Lake Tahoe

We’re in Lake Tahoe on our honeymoon.

The wedding was beautiful, the marriage is better. Everyone kept commenting about how happy we seem. The truth is we really are that happy.

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We’ve already weathered a lot of storms. It’s simply breathtaking to be here. Yes, Lake Tahoe is gorgeous and so peaceful, but I’m talking about being in that place in our relationship … partnership. It’s certainly something that I’ve never experienced before. We’re soaking it all in.

What else can I tell you?

Umm… let’s see. We love it here. We got a free upgrade to a convertible Mustang from a Ford Focus because we’re on our honeymoon. It’s been so amazing to drive around Lake Tahoe with the top down. We found an amazing little french bakery with the best chocolate croissants. We found a little lakeside seafood joint with actual garlic fries and strong rum-runners, which led to us making out in the car by the lake while Labor Day fireworks were going off. That was a magical moment. Our neighbors banged on their ceiling to tell us to quiet down. ITS OUR HONEYMOON, FOLKS. teehee. I cut my hair the first day here. I couldn’t take it anymore. We had IN&OUT Burger for the first time.

Oh, and somehow I got an anonymous text the first night we were here from our area code back home, 330-000-0000 that read: why didnt you wait for me? WTF is that? It send chills down my spine. I don’t even know how one sends or receives an anonymous text but I’m not wasting this precious time worrying about that

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We’re going to take a sunset dinner cruise before we leave.

I miss my babies.

We ran away together

Last weekend proved to be just what I needed. A little time away.

Jer and I went back to my hometown of Hoodbridge, VA. (Woodbridge) Got to visit with family and old friends, which is always refreshing to ones soul. Also can serve to remind one that somethings/people never change, and that is sad. Anyhoo…Jer had never been to D.C., so I took him to do some of the tourist things, like seeing the Capitol, White House, etc, etc…then we went to The Smithsonian museums. He had never rode the subway before either which I found amusing. I devirginized him of many things and that is always fun.

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It was also my cousin’s husband’s 30th birthday. There was a gathering of friends and lots and lots of laughing. My cheeks and sides hurt the next day from laughing. Also a good thing. Plus, I finally got to meet my nephew. He’s adorable and looks just like his Momma.

This weekend. Ugh! I had some kind of intestinal bug thing, that was awful. The kind of thing where you can’t even keep water down but you somehow have some kind of yellowish looking water coming out of every orphus of your body. TMI, I know. I lost 5lbs in 2days. You never really forget how much you hate throwing up. I realize these things happen, but was a little disappointed because since I was gone last weekend and this is my weekend with the kids, I had wanted to go play in the snow. Instead we ended up laying in my bed or on the couch watching movies.

Today we celebrated Jedi’s 6th birthday. It’s actually Thursday, but it’s EX’s visitation night and while technically, I’m supposed to be able to keep him home on his birthday, I just want to keep the consistency of the visitations going. We went to this really cool train themed restaurant downtown and got to have lunch in train car. We had a blast.

There were some subtle reminders that things were not as I had planned them to be in my son’s life. A lot has changed from his last birthday to this one. But as I looked around and saw how much love and support we had around us, I just had this overwhelming sense that everything was really gonna be alright.  I guess life really is what happens when you’re busy making others plans. And when plans fall through, life goes on.  Sometimes on a better note than you could have ever imagined.

Going “home”

So things here in Virginia are crazy fast and busy. A lot of things have changed. A lot more development for growing population. A lot more congestion due to growing population. Others things haven’t though, like being able to pick up right where you left off with old friends. Actually having intelligent, insightful conversations without worrying about false pretenses and cattiness. Those are the things I love about here. Those are the things that still make it “home”. I like that people can accept others for who they are instead of who they want them to be. Or that they can applaud you in your efforts without feeling inferior. I like that there is a lot of diversity and tolerance. I really dig that.


I went back to my old neighborhood yesterday. It was wicked cool to watch Diva play on the playground at my old elementary school. Also very cool to take her back to the house I grew up in and introduce her to Momma Robinson. Momma Robinson was my high school sweetheart’s mom and I adore her. She’s very straight forward and real. She’s got that strong, vibrant, confident black woman thing going for her. I love that. I love the way she inspects everything I say and gives these deep responses with a smile. It was also nice to hear her say that she misses me and that I was the one who got away. That her son still talks about me and she wishes things had turned out differently, but as she then said….”Child, everything happens for a reason.” I concur.


After seeing Momma, I drove by another ex’s house. I didn’t stop to see if he was there. I just wanted those memories to flood in. Then, I went to lunch with two of my old girlfriends from high school. We picked up right where we left off. And there was a lot more relating about now then reminiscing about the old days. Lots of good food, better conversation. Lots of laughing. Funniest thing was they demanded they sing “Happy Birthday” to me. And for some reason the waitress got the idea I was 21 and told the whole restaurant. I was uber embarrassed until she said 21 and then I jumped up and did a little cabbage patching and said “WHOO-HOO, I’m  21!!!!” lol. Immediately, a guy approached us and offered to buy drinks, but we passed and played the driving with the kids card. But even without the booze….it really was a good time.


It was also super thoughtful of my cousin to meet me at the door when I got here Thursday night with a birthday cake. AWwwww….


Today is actually her baby shower, but also the day I’ve gotta head back to Ohio. Ive got sooooo much school work to do,when I get home. Actually there are lots of things to deal with when I get home. But I really miss the boys and will be delighted to hold them again.

Louisville

Well…that was fun.

We got to Louisville around 4pm Friday. I got to meet my cousin Bry’s little boy for the very first time. I guess he’s around 9mos old and he’s darling. Adorable. He was in a great mood and came right to me. Was all smiles and cute enough to make me ponder having another one myself. This is why my husband had the snip-snip. Every time I hold a baby, I get the hair brained idea to have another one.

Anyways, we had just gotten everything out of the car and into the house when a really bad storm blew through. I got to see my cousin Li and her boyfriend for a bit before they went to dinner and they were kind enough to invite to see a movie with them later. At midnight we caught “You, Me & Dupree” I could have done without the movie, I didn’t really care for it or maybe I just had higher comical expectations…but the company was good.Her boyfriend even paid my way…love that. Then treated us to a little snack at Steak n’ Shake afterwards. I think I got back to my Nana’s around 3am, fell asleep around 4 and then got up with kids at 7.

Took the kids swimming Saturday afternoon and then kinda hung out and visited with family. We tried to go out for a big family dinner at the fabulous BarBQ place called Mark’s Feed Store, but it ended up being me, the kids, my Dad and Li and her boyfriend. Which was just fine for me. I was really impressed that the boyfriend made it through a whole dinner sitting next to Diva and was not even phased.  Went home and went swimming again. Stayed up late talking to my Mom and Nana. Sunday we swam all day long. I have the sunburn to prove it. Then almost everyone came over for a family cookout. Food was delicious. I’m a big fan of meals I don’t have to prepare myself.  Then my Mom and I forced Nana to sit down and watch “Elizabethtown” with us. I really like that movie for more reasons than I can explain, but if you haven’t seen it it’s worth the watch. Got up yesterday morning, packed all of our stuff up and headed home.

It was good to see everybody and it was a relatively uncomplicated visit. Just don’t like seeing my grandmother so thin. That was hard to take and made me worry about her.

Oh and then there was the bathroom incident on the way home.  We stopped for the millionth time for Diva to use the bathroom at a McDonald’s.  I put her in one stall, telling her to do her business and I’ll come back and clean her up and then went in the stall across from it.  “I’m dooooooone” she says as always and I again remind her to wait to get off the toilet so I can come help. “I’m coming.” I reply when I hear the toilet flush in her stall. Not a big deal but I figure I need to get in there before she pulls her pants up and I get a chance to wipe her when I hear “Uh-oh” followed by “Sorry, Mommy, sorry Mommy.”  and then water starts coming under my door. I open the door to find Diva standing in the middle of her stall with her underwear, shorts and shoes soaked. It overflowed. I had to toss everything in the trash and carry her out of McDonald’s in nothing but a t-shirt.

((((((((((sigh))))))))))

And we’re home….for now. Diva and I are leaving Thursday (which is also my birthday) to go to my cousin’s house in Virginia for her baby shower. It’s also right around where I grew up in Northern Virginia…so I might go see some old friends while I’m there.

My new classes start tomorrow. Say prayers or do whatever you do for me.

Moving Along 7/17/06

“I try to take it a day at a time, but sometimes several days sneak up on me at once.”

I know I’m not the only one who has this problem, otherwise the previous eloquently phrased statement would not exist. It’s probably being abused on a t-shirt somewhere but, until I see it commercialized, I’ll embrace it.

I’m happy and bummed all at once.

Bummed because finances suck right now, gas is way too freakin expensive and you need gas to get places outside of Ohio where the mentality and company is all around better. Ok, that’s really not fair. There are wonderful people here who I adore. I’m just bitter over small incidents that will probably be frivolous in the big scheme of things. Anyways, things just aren’t coming together the way I need them to and I’m annoyed cause I just really want to go see my cousin for her baby shower and damnit, damnit, damnit, if financial obstacles don’t keep getting put in my way.  Like aside from the ridiculous gas prices, there is this whole thing with Jedi’s arm and the ER co-payment and ambulance bill and the run around I’m getting from the YMCA’s insurance group. Then getting an unexpected sky high water bill because it was an actual reading instead of an estimate and we’ve had estimates since before we had to reseed the yard and water it everyday. Bummer. And then of course there was the shut-off notice on the natural gas bill. I don’t know if it’s the same everywhere, but our gas provider has a budget program where you pay the same amount year round instead of $300/mo in winter and $20/mo in summer.  So our budget amount used to be $64/mo every month all year. Then it went to $86/mo every month all year. Well in February it jumped to $264/mo every month all year. That’s a freakin car payment. I don’t have an extra $200/mo. So I couldn’t pay it. I’ve been paying $100/mo and so now I have this big bill. Insanity. Oh, and, since my birthday is on the 27th, and my registration expires…I have to pay to renew the tags on my car. ugh!

At least there is my trip this weekend to go see my family out of town. At least that can’t be pulled out from under me because I’m going with my parents on their dime.  Very nice.  Things on a personal level are coming more together than I thought possible, although I’m still pretty cautious and expecting the cycle to kick in again at any moment. I can’t help it.

Jedi is doing better. He even tried riding his bike yesterday and was back to jumping off the couch. He was even excited to go to the YMCA this morning again. And if I had a $1.00 for everytime somebody stopped me during my hour long workout that took two and half hours to ask me how Jedi was doing while I panted and gasped for breath, I at least wouldn’t have the financial problems anymore.

We’re home.

We had a very uneventful week away which was exactly what we wanted. Boring? Probably by most standards, but it was just what we needed. I kept saying, “..listen.”

………………………………long pause…………………………………………

Then he’d say, “I don’t hear anything.”

Exactly.

We had this fabulous whirlpool that could probably fit three adults that we nearly overflowed with bubbles. We went hiking up in the mountains and through a cave. We went panning (where you sift through dirt to find fossils and gemstones) Slept til 11am. Mimosas every morning with breakfast. Made a little bed on the floor in front of the fireplace then got all snuggled up and watched movies. Sat out on our deck that looked out on the woods in nothing but a blanket, holding hands and drinking wine.

It was lovely. Longest alone time we’ve EVER had.

Nana’s Here

My Nana made it in safe and sound yesterday. I gave her a round of applause when she pulled into the driveway with Mom & Dad. I really didn’t let myself get too excited about her coming until I saw her, cause I was afraid some circumstance would arise, as it usually does, keeping her at home. But she’s here. YAY!!!

We had family dinner at Mom’s. BarBQ’d chicken, Mac n cheese, green beans, corn, cake, pumpkin roll, coffee….and then I had to undo the pants. It was good to watch Nana sit and eat. Seems like whenever I see her at home she’s on her feet, always moving, always doing something. But she ate a full plate of food. She would go to get up and one of us would have her sit. Although, of course, she insisted on making her own coffee. Then we got her to sit again and she had a piece of cake and a piece of pumpkin roll. Maybe we can fatten her up a bit before we send her home. God knows she needs some meat on her bones, cause there’s hardly anything left to squeeze when you hug her.

Husband and I decided to have breakfast out this morning. Pickle seemed better this morning until we sat for breakfast. He kept having these blank stare seizures while we were out. At one point he was just sitting there staring and started to get heavy eyes and then they were closed. I reached over and touched his face with my hand, and said his name, which he barely opened his eyes for and then everything starts running again and ding! he’s up and back with it. It’s heart breaking to watch. Another doctor may be necessary. I trust his neurologist but, call it instinct, something just isn’t sitting right with me…I think there is something else.

Husband is off doing a side job for a couple hours today. Has two more tomorrow. His company switched to 4- 10hr day work week, so he scheduled a full day of side work on his day off, Friday. He’s trying to get extra spending cash in hand beofre we leave for our anniversary vacation.

I can’t believe it’s almost here. Whatever will we do by ourselves – ALONE for a WHOLE WEEK ? Well, of course, there’s that, a lot of that, but then what? Being without the kids will be strange and quiet. I know the fridge will be stocked with beer. Who knows we might do the old people thing and take some golf lessons. Cause we can drink beer and golf, right?  I also saw that they offer spa treatments so I’m thinking about secretly booking a couple’s spa package for the morning of our anniversary. It’s something I know he would balk about doing if he knows in advance and he wouldn’t go by himself, but I think it’d be good for him, especially with all the physical work he does and of course I’d enjoy it too.

I’m very excited, only 15 more days…….

Louisville

This weekend was FANTABULOUS!!!

We got in Friday afternoon around 3pm and immediately went swimming, CANNONBALL! Baby Girl was afraid of the big pool, but loved the hell out of the little wading pool Nana had set up in the back yard. It was great to watch the girls play together. They are sooo funny. Plus, it turned out to be my Uncle’s birthday. He’s very ill but we managed to get him to the table for cake and ice cream. I made Hubby go to Ceasar’s in Indiana for a little gambling and although he didn’t win anything it left me and Ni and Li alone for a girl’s night in. We got a chance to chat and giggle and grab some much needed munchies from White Castle! (“Cause we just can’t seem to get enough f***in’ cheese in this vehicle”)

It was great!

Saturday night we all went out to this bar in Lousiville called Jim Porter’s. From the outside it didn’t look like much but we really thought it was pretty cool. They had like 3 different bars inside. It was like a dance club, a blues bar and a honky tonk all in one. I didn’t get to do as much dancing as I normally do when I go out, but the company was GREAT!!! We managed to take over the only two pool tables in the place and my cousin C and my Hubb played on one table….I think they were actually playing, while all the girls (me, my cousin (who fake IDed herself in- Glad she did), C’s girlfriend Taylor, and my Aunts) all tried to play on the other. We were all just a little buzzed and preoccupied talking.

I was ready to go home by Sunday though. Mostly cause it’s just really hard to keep a two-year old under control at somebody else’s house.  You know, it’s not like when you’re at home and they can just run around the whole place and play with their own toys….people have different schedules and all.

I hugged everyone bye and got all teary when we left. I love my family, I truly do. Driving away I was looking out the window thinking about how I didn’t get a chance to tell Li bye and how I wish I had when who do we spot in the rearview but my Aunt Che and Li right on our tail, waving and flashing lights to get our attention. We pulled over and I got to my hug which was important because for us this weekend came with a lot of resolution for which I am very thankful. It’s about damn time.

Only gripe: GAS PRICES!!!!!

It cost $35 to fill up my tank on the way down and another $45 to get home 

……………………………………….but it was worth it.

I am having a KICK ASS weekend!

First off, Sherwood and Jo got in last night and they brought us all kinds of goodies. Sherwood brought me up a 17” flat panel computer monitor, Jo got me some of my favorite Victoria’s Secret lotion (she didn’t even know it was my fav).They also brought me fresh blueberries (my fav) from their farmer’s market and got the husband field peas (his fav – he’s weird). They brought the kids this big inflatable pool that’s big enough for all of them to get in. They got them bubbles and a keyboard with microphones, an ant farm, some horseshoes and some really cool Disney Store shirts. It’s so great to have them here and isn’t because they brought stuff with them. I like Jo, Sherwood’s fiance’, a lot better than his ex-wife.

It is very weird to watch the husband and Sherwood together though because they look so much alike.

Plus, everything got worked out yesterday so that I can go to Jason’s wedding next month. Since Jason’s wedding is in Indiana and it just so happens that most of my Mom’s family lives about 2 hours away in Kentucky. So now Mom is going to go with me, husband and Baby Girl to visit with everybody and since we are going to drive her up, which she was really excited and grateful for, she will babysit her while we drive to the wedding. It also just happens to be the same weekend that my cousin will be there with her daughter and my Aunt and her brother, who lives in New Mexico, will be up with his girlfriend too. So I will get to see EVERYBODY!!! And to top it all off, we won’t have to get a hotel room because my Aunt Che is going to put my Mom up for the weekend and my Uncle said we can crash at their place. I really couldn’t have planned for this to work out any better.

Favorite part of the weekend: It just so happens that Jo really enjoys going to yard sales. So, I finally got to go this morning and made a major score! I managed to find one on those little tykes white/pink plastic toy boxes for $5!

It really doesn’t take much to make me happy.