Tuesday, November 29, 2011

5th Place

Two weekends ago, when I sat between Claire and Noah on the long drive to Alamosa, I had the following conversation with my darling nephew:

Me: "Noah, aren't I just the most beautiful girl in the whole world?"

SIDE NOTE: I realize I had just set myself up. I know that this conversation could go any direction but I had entertained him for the past two hours and I was feeling pretty hopeful. My mistake.

Noah: "No. Claire is."

Claire: "OH Noah! That is so sweet! Thank you so much." What?! Claire? I am the one who has fed you a beef taco for the last 20 minutes. That has to count for something! And I am pretty sure I have cheese in my hair.

Noah: "You're welcome."

Me: "Okay, who is second?" Fingers crossed...

Noah: "Gram. Gram is second."

My Mom: "Oh, why thank you, sweet boy."

Me: "So...does that make me third?" I realize I sound desperate.

Noah: "Nope, you're fifth. Joseph's wife is third." My stinking brother starts to chuckle.

Me: "As in Mary? Jesus' mother?"

Noah: "Yes. Mary is third." Wow. I didn't even know he knew what she looked like. Shoot, she must have had it going on.

Me: "Okay, that's cool." I mean, how can you compete with that?

Noah: "And my mom is fourth."

Me: "Well that's good. You're mom is pretty. So then I am fifth, huh?"

Noah: "Yes, you are fifth."

Me: Why, thank you Noah! I am happy to be fifth."

Noah: "Why? Why are you happy? Fifth is the worst."

And with that, I gave him another beef taco. And I made a mental note to not base my self-esteem on the opinions of a six year old.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Operation: Camper Card-A-Thon

On Thanksgiving, after an impeccable meal that was full of all forms of carbohydrates, my mom and I drove to Alamosa to see my dad. Thankfully, he was allowed to have visitors and we stayed down there and chatted with him for three hours.

SIDE NOTE: The first time I came to Camp Alamosa I must admit that I was nervous. No one tells you what it is like to visit someone in any type of correctional facility. It's just not a conversation topic that comes up often. Let's face it, it's uncomfortable and awkward and scary and weird. But if you DO want to talk about it, I am your girl. I've got this weirdness covered.

While we were chatting, I met one of dad's new friends named David. David is probably in his late forties and has a mustache and beard and wears glasses. He was shy and had a very kind face. He and my dad had kitchen duty a few weeks ago and they struck up a conversation. And from this conversation, my dad learned that David has been in the system for 22 years. And not once in those 22 years has David had a visitor. Not once.

No one has ever come to see him.

No one has ever come to give him a hug.

No one has ever dropped by to give him an encouraging word.

And this made me so very sad.

How does this happen? How do you forget about someone? He is someone's son, brother, uncle, friend. He is a person made in God's image. He is a person who has made mistakes and is doing his best to pay for those mistakes. But he is someone who also needs to be loved. And the more I visit my dad, the more I see other men just like David.

My dad said that one of the most encouraging things these men can receive (other than you driving all the way to Alamosa to give them a hug. But you know, that may be awkward) is a card in the mail. I have been sending a card to my dad at least three times a week and he said that these cards mean the world to him. Sometimes I even slip in a joke or a picture or a crossword puzzle.

So, here is what I am proposing: A Camper Card-A-Thon! And there is no better time to kick this off than with Christmas just around the corner. Just buy one extra Christmas card and send it to Alamosa!

Here is the plan:
1. Buy a card and stamp
2. Email me at sarahdellie@hotmail.com for the name of a camper and the address
3. Write something funny, serious, thoughtful, kind or all of the above
4. Mail the card

That's it! And in return, I'll do my best to get any feedback I can when I visit my dad.

I have already seen how much this can make a difference. I have seen one of these men tear up because someone remembered him, someone who didn't even know him, sent him a card. It is a real, tangible way to show them love. And there is nothing more powerful than love.

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh ; rather, serve one another humbly in love."       ~ Galatians 5:13

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Daddy's Girl

Don't you wish you knew what he was saying?

Probably something like "Hey, short stuff. I dig your overalls."

Yep, I am sure that is it.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

I Brought My "A" Game

You guys are the best. THE BEST, I tell you. Thank you so much for your dating encouragement. Truly, it gave me the confidence I needed to actually show up last night.

Overall...it was the best blind date I have been on.

It was better than the date when the guy asked me to a movie but didn't pay for my ticket. It was better than the date when the guy asked me 25 intense questions and later admitted that he was testing to see if I was "wife material." (This was also the same date where I was asked if I liked to hunt.) And it was better than the date when the guy took me out for ice cream and then proceeded to only talk about his ex-girlfriend.

The bar was obviously low, my friends.

But as blind dates go, this was a good one. I brought my "A" game, which is saying a lot because I don't know the last time anyone saw my "A" game. I wore a pink flowery shirt, dark jeans and little heels. I was charming and witty and tried not to speak in a southern accent.

SIDE NOTE: When I get nervous, I get really twangy. It's weird, I know.

And he was very nice and we had a lot in common. He has even lived in Kazakhstan. WHO LIVES IN KAZAKHSTAN?? Well, actually I work with several people who do, but still, Kazakhstan is a rather obscure country. And he bought my coffee which is good because that is a deal breaker for me. Don't ask me to coffee and then expect me to pay for it. That is a lame-o move.We both went to the same college AND studied history. For all I know I could have had a class with him! And he is the middle child so he understands my angst.

However, there is one red flag. Can you guess it?

His favorite thing in the world is to go HIKING. Are you flipping kidding?

Dear Jesus, what are you doing to me?

But I told him that I love salsa dancing, and since most guys do not like salsa dancing, that should balance us out.

We ended up chatting for two hours and by the end of the night, he had invited me to his birthday party. I am not sure I can make it but it left the door open...whatever that means.

So there you have it! That was my date. As an experience, it redeemed many of the other less-than-stellar blind dates I have had. And for that, I am extremely grateful.

And on that note, happy, happy Thanksgiving, you turkeys.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Blind Date

Confession: I have a blind date tonight.

That thought almost makes me puke, and not because of this guy who has seemed exceptionally nice via our email conversations, but mainly because I am a dating kindergartner. These things make me nervous and goofy and doubt every piece of clothing I have ever bought. Thankfully it's just coffee, but still. A lot can be said at coffee. A lot that you wish you could take back forever.

I admit that I am not in the best place to date right now. Maybe I am never in a good place to date but this specific time seems particularly hard. However, life is still happening whether I choose to participate in it or not and I admit that a cup of coffee does sound good (of course this could have something to do with me needing a caffeine fix on my lunch break).

So, we will give this a whirl. It can't be too bad, right? I'll make sure to bring my most dazzling personality along with me.

So, Mr. Blind Date,

If you are reading this blog, I apologize in advance if I accidentally spill my coffee on you or talk about my musical theater days. I'm just nervous. But I do have some mad baking skills and frequent flyer miles. And if you are ever in trouble, my dad has a few connections for you.

Awkwardly charming,
The FC

Monday, November 21, 2011

Old School

It is Thanksgiving week, can you believe it? I am not quite sure how we arrived into late November. I feel like October never really existed. But apparently it did because Claire is now living with a man. And blissfully, I might add.

Yesterday, we loaded up the car and headed south to Alamosa to have a Thanksgiving lunch with my dad. He is not allowed to leave the facility on Thursday so we took advantage of a gorgeous Colorado day and celebrated Thanksgiving a few days early. The restaurant of choice: Chili's. Nothing says "count your blessings" quite like chips and salsa. You know you agree with me on this one.

The trip down was fairly uneventful. However, I ended up sitting in the middle between Claire and Noah, with a coffee thermos between my knees and an occasional Star Wars Lego in my lap. There was one point, while I was helping Noah eat yet another beef taco, when something made me laugh. And this laughter turned into hysteria which turned into a complete meltdown of all my abilities to act like an adult. I could not breathe and tears were streaming down my face. When this happens, I end up making these high-pitched squealing sounds that resemble a frightened pig. "Dainty" is not the word I would use in this situation. Noah just stared at me, which made me laugh even harder. I really can't tell you how I got to that point but I will say it felt really, really good. And now he has a charming memory of his demented aunt to tuck away into his memory for all eternity.

Dad is continuing to do well. He has a bit of a cold right now, but what do you expect when you have to share a room with 7 other people? But his resilient spirit has not changed. He seems to be making friends and has earned the moniker "Old School." Apparently he is on the older side of most of the residents and many can tell that he has had extensive schooling. I may have to call him that myself!

Our lunch at Chili's was fabulous and we spent the remainder of our time at Walmart. This has become a routine of sorts. I am thinking I could get all my Christmas shopping done just by visiting my dad regularly. And besides, he has always said "If you can't find it at Walmart, you don't need it." You just can't take the Oklahoma out of this man.

All too quickly we had to drop him off and we decided to snap a few pics in honor of our first Thanksgiving with this forced living arrangement. Sam and Dad look quite stellar:

But then it was my turn. Obviously my father/daughter moment wasn't appreciated by all. Punks.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


I have been asked often how much it costs to stay in jail for a month. And I am here to tell you that $450 is the going rate.

It's like paying rent only without your own bed and couch and ability to leave.

This seems completely and utterly ridiculous.

I'm thinking it is time to plan a jail break.

Who's with me?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

We Are All Just One Scissor Kick Away

This past weekend my mom made the solo trip to Alamosa. She said dad is doing well and trying to keep busy. And they even got in another trip to Walmart. I am learning that it is the small things in life, like discount shopping, that really make a difference.

I, on the other hand, was able to catch up on dishes and laundry and take in a modern dance performance in Boulder with Sam, his friend Jon and Noah. Three boys and me. Watching modern dance. In Boulder. I have never put those words together like that before. It takes a moment to sink in, doesn't it?

But let me tell you, it was amazing! Like So You Think You Can Dance amazing. These people can bend their bodies in ways that defy all logic and gravity. And they are able to do super cool scissor kicks. I long to do a scissor kick. It's a dream of mine.

Sam has a good friend named Gwen (what up, Gwen?!) who performed in the show. She was in almost every routine and she is incredible! She is everything I wish I could be, both physically and rhythmically. It's really not fair but I am trying not to be bitter about it.

I have become such a huge fan of modern dance. It almost makes me want to buy a leotard.


And these boys? Well, they were inspired as well.

They are all just one scissor kick away from having their own show.

Bravo, boys.

And bravo, Gwen!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Strangers in Spandex

So do you remember the Fitness Challenge I mentioned way back in August? Well, I didn't. I had pretty much crossed it off of my priority list. I was so amped up to get fit and not eat cookie dough for dinner but then my life exploded and I clung to all forms of carbohydrates for comfort.

Also, Autumn decided to arrive and bring with it pumpkin cookies and salted caramel mochas.

And Claire decided to get married in a ten-day time period that didn't leave room for spinach salads and P90X.

And the judge decided to send my dad to camp and I found that emotional eating does have its rightful place in my life.

And Halloween candy finds its way to my desk and convinces me that it is a perfect meal for lunch.

However, there is a silver lining in this emotionally crazed feeding frenzy: I have begun running again. I have done it for two days in a row so it is practically a habit. And even though I loathe every second of it, I do feel a lot better afterward. It is a great time to get out some built-up aggression towards the court system and think through some strategies on how I can smuggle in a pecan pie to my dad in two weeks. You know, normal things like that.

Exercise does have its benefits, there is no doubt. I am even thinking of joining a pilates class every Wednesday afternoon. But I admit, I am a little nervous about it. As many of you may know, I lack a certain graceful quality in my disposition. And I always feel awkward when I am trying a new exercise in front of people. There aren't many situations in life when you are forced to bend and stretch next to a perfect stranger in spandex.

Does anyone else have this issue? Am I the only one that gets nervous? Would you like to join me some Wednesday and bend and stretch next to me? At least you wouldn't be a perfect stranger. And I am fairly certain I'll dig your spandex.

Thursday, November 10, 2011


Did you know that you have to pay to stay in jail?

It's true. You have to pay for every night you stay there.

You have to pay for your paper-thin mattress and your processed food and your lack of freedom. Men and women, under confinement, are expected to come up with money.

Does anyone else see the irony here?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Teacher

My dad is many things. He is a banker, a business man, an expert at making scrambled eggs, he is a lawyer, a petroleum engineer, a fan of Westerns and double chocolate brownies, a man with impeccable rhythm and dancing skills and a pretty incredible grandpa. He also bought me a horse when I was 12. An actual HORSE. How do you top that, people? And if that weren't enough to make you want to copy his resumé, he is also a teacher. And he is putting this to work at his new digs.

But first, let's get a little back story, shall we?

The oil and gas industry is booming right now. If you don't believe me, just call up anyone in North Dakota and they'll tell you they have a rig in their backyard. I heard a statistic the other day that truck drivers are getting paid $150,000 to drive oil rig trucks right now. $150,000. That's a lot of money. Shoot, I am just a mullet away from becoming one myself!

Hailing from the oil-filled state of Oklahoma, my dad was working in this industry as a petroleum engineer during the oil boom of the late 70's and early 80's. And for the past year and a half, my dad has gone back to this industry, loving the people and the work that is associated with it. And his employer loves him too, enough to put him on extended leave during this time instead of looking for someone to replace him. That blows my mind; yet another testament to how God is working.

My dad is also surrounded by a lot of men who have little to no education, and with a felony record, have little to no hope of finding a job once they are released. Some of these guys are repeat offenders and their prospects of finding a new line of work is slim. This need became evident within the first 24 hours of my dad being at Camp Alamosa. So he decided to do something about it: he began teaching classes on how to work in the oil and gas industry. And he began by opening the book of Genesis and talking about how the world was created.

At his first class, five guys showed up. At his second, this number nearly doubled. I have a feeling by week 4 he may need to ask the warden for his own office. If my dad wasn't cool before, he is wicked cool now. God is using my him to give these men hope. And there is nothing more powerful than hope.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Camp Alamosa

On Sunday, my mom and I went to Alamosa again and this time we brought Sam and Noah with us. There's nothing like a little testosterone to make this week's trip entirely different than last's. And this became painfully obvious when we stopped three separate times for beef tacos. How is it that boys can eat so much and yet I am the one that needs to wear Spanx?

 My world is so unfair.

The trip was beautiful and uneventful and we made it to Camp Alamosa just in time for lunch. We have decided to rename the corrections center "Camp Alamosa" in an effort to help Noah understand where my dad is living. Since it doesn't look like a typical jail and because he is able to walk around and sleep in a bunk bed, "camp" seems like the more appropriate word.

And besides, telling your fellow first-graders that your grandpa is at camp is much cooler than saying he is in the clink.

Dad looks great. He was wearing jeans and sweater and was so happy to see us. He also introduced us to one of his new friends, who was gracious enough to find us some chairs to sit on. They call him "Bama" since he is from Alabama and he looked like any nice, normal guy that you would see in your neighborhood: blond, curly hair, jeans, flannel shirt, nice smile. I think dad said he had a couple of children back home. I will write more about my dad's new friends soon. There is just so much to tell about them.

Dad had gotten permission to leave camp for three hours, which reinforced my absolute confusion over our correctional system. HOW IN THE WORLD can they let my dad go to Walmart (or any other place for that matter) and yet they won't let him come home? It boggles the mind, folks. Boggles.

Regardless, it was great to walk around with him and shop for ink pens and laundry soap. It almost felt like he was going away to college. Afterward, we went out for Mexican food and ordered tacos. Obviously. I also read him many of your blog comments and emails. He was overwhelmed by the support. Your words matter, my friends, so keep them coming.

Before we knew it, the three hours were up.  My dad was patted down, blew in a breathalyzer and waved good-bye. And we promised we would be back next weekend. But next time, hopefully without the tacos.


I'm a little ticked off today.

Okay, make that a lot ticked off.

My dad should be at home.

The judge should be exiled to a remote island full of snakes.

And I would like to sleep through the night.

I do not like this situation at all. I kind of want to scream and kick something. And I have a plethora of very choice words in my head. "Dang it" not being one of them.

Life. It isn't fair. Not one bit.

I think I will just sit in a puddle of mad today and wallow in it for a while.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Socially Awkward

It's confession time.

Apparently, in my attempt to be more transparent and vulnerable, I have also become more socially awkward. And that is exactly what every single, 31 year old girl wants to be.

I am not sure why this awkwardness is becoming more apparent in my life right now, but it is out in full force. I am thinking I could be a Saturday Night Live skit by next weekend.

A few examples:

1. On Tuesday, my sweet friend Jenn brought me dinner. It was an amazing gift and it was so good to see her smiling face and talk for a few minutes. Of course during this time I happened to shed a few tears (I have become a faucet these days) but I wiped them up and continued on with our visit. It wasn't until after she left that I looked in the mirror and I realized I had a little snot on my face.

As in snot. On my face.

What am I, a toddler?

I am really sorry Jenn.

2. Later that evening, my fabulous friend Melissa came over to hang out (it's true, I have incredible friends).  We made cookies and talked about babies and work and hair and justice, you know, the norm. And as she was getting ready to leave she said something funny and I am pretty sure I slapped her on the butt. No, I am serious. I think that happened.

But the question is WHY? WHY did that happen? The world may never know but I am pretty sure Melissa felt violated.

I am really sorry Melissa.

3. And then on Wednesday night I had dinner with my incredible friend Sara. Sara and I went out to a restaurant that had a revolving door. And everyone who knows about revolving door etiquette knows that you should never cram yourself into the same wedge as someone else. I mean, unless you just got engaged or you want to ensure your grandmother comes out on the other side, you should just wait until the next wedge swings around.

But not me. Oh no, I just stepped in right behind Sara and for three whole seconds I felt like I had just violated the code on how to be a proper human.

I am really sorry Sara.

So you see, folks, with every act of authenticity comes an equal but opposite reaction of extreme awkwardness. I apologize in advance if I offend you in any way or make you question your friendship with me. It is definitely not my intent.

It's just my freak flag flying high.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The New Bachelorette

I was at my mom's house for dinner on Tuesday when my dad called from the pay phone. That's right, there are still pay phones and apparently they are all owned by the Department of Corrections.

I picked it up and it was music to hear my dad's voice. We exchanged the normal stuff, you know, like "how's kitchen duty going?" and things like that and then he said:

"Hey Sarah, a few of the guys here asked about you the other day." He was referring to my visit with him last Saturday.

Me: "What? You mean the other guys who stay there with you?"

Dad: "Yeah. They wanted to know who you were."

Me: "And what did you tell them?"

Dad: "I told them you were my daughter."

Me: "Oooookay."

Dad: "And I am thinking you may have a few dates lined up the next time you come down here."

Me: "Wow, Dad. I am not sure what to say to that."

Apparently I'm a big hit with felons. Awesome.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

His Getaway Car

My mom and I took a trip to Alamosa on Saturday to visit my dad and to take him a box of his things that he is allowed to have with him. It was overwhelming to see him. It had felt like months since that Monday in the courthouse yet in reality it had only been five days.

The facility is located on the outskirts of town and is made up of several buildings. But there is no fencing or barbed wire around it, which makes the thought of this being my dad's new temporary home much more comforting. And a lot less ominous.

I pulled in the parking lot and my mom went inside to check in. I sat in the car, checking emails and Facebook, not wanting to go in but also wanting to see my dad. But then something caught my eye and I looked up. And there stood my dad.

My mouth fell open and I dropped my phone. I thought he was supposed to be locked up in some small room somewhere?! I looked around. Do they know he is out here? I threw open my door, and whispered loudly:

"Quick! Get in, Dad! Let's go. We are almost to New Mexico!"

My dad just stood there and grinned. My mom laughed. Unfortunately, he could not go with me but he was allowed to come out to the car and walk around the facility.

Darn it! I am sure my plan would have worked.

He had on his white shirt that he wore under his suit and his suit slacks. He looked handsome, kinda like an Oklahoma James Bond with a slight twang. We were bringing him new clothes because he gets to wear his own, which is such a bonus because let's face it, a striped jumpsuit really doesn't look good on anyone.

They allowed us to stay an hour, which was an hour more than we thought we could since not all of his paperwork had been completed. However, the guys in the front office were gracious to us since we had driven all the way from Denver and we were allowed to sit in a common room with him and chat. It was pure heaven.

And then I reminded him that my license tag was up for renewal and I asked him if he could make me a new one. He said he would do his best.

He is such a great dad.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Rymer Tron 5000

He has come from the future to eat your candy.

He will also clean your lint trap if you ask him.

Just don't make him sneeze. It won't be pretty, folks.

But he does come in peace.

And will politely knock on your door if you have any leftovers from last night.

No one else in the neighborhood had a costume this cool. Even the nine year olds thought so.

Nice job, Rymer Tron. I hope the future is as awesome as you.