Saturday, December 31, 2005

Best of 2005...Sara Style

This is my version of the BEST OF...just like all the magazines! However, my list has no scientific evidence to base its opinions. Just my simple version of the truth in 2005. As for 2006, I look forward to a new year with excitement for my new job to begin in August, several trips to the midwest being planned, and turning 30.

Best Albums of 2005
Another Run Around the Sun by Ben Taylor
Catching Tales by Jamie Cullum
Plans by Death Cab for Cutie
Get Behind Me Satan by The White Stripes

Best Trip of 2005
Cross Country Trip To PhiladelphiaEven though it has been quite an adjustment for me, I know that we are lucky to have so much opportunity. It was exciting to travel together and start something completely new together. There are so many people who wish they could make a fresh start and we did. Granted, we didn't really need a fresh start, but I can say that it has been good for us.
Runner Up: Midwest Airline Trip to Iowa...Remember the warm baked cookies?!

Best New Toy of 2005
My Smart Lime Green Mini iPod I love it. I love it. I love it. It makes me happy when nothing else can. Not simply because it is lime green and very smart, but because it is all mine. It carries all of my music. Most of the music means something to me. It reminds me of people and places of importance. My time on airplanes has greatly improved since purchasing my ipod.

Best Secret Skill of 2005
Amazing alphabetizing and Shelving Skills Actually, I am sure many people could do this job. However, I would like to say that I get great joy out of alphabetizing and shelving DVDs. There is something about finding just enough space for the movie. Making the shelves look nice and having an empty cart to roll to the back of the store. It is sort of like a game to me. And I am always the winner.

Best Movies of 2005 That I Haven't Seen
Usually, I have seen many movies that I can place into this category, but this year, I haven't been to the theater much. So, this is the list of movies that I still need to see and might place them in this category.
Good Night, Good Luck
Brokeback Mountain
Walk the Line

Best Feats of Strength of 2005
Five PRAXIS Exams Finally completed, the PRAXIS exams have been the thorn in my ass for months. I have passed them with flying colors and can't wait until I have that allusive Pennsylvania Teaching License in my hand.
RUNNER UP: Going two weeks without internet in August when we first moved here.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Just Say No

See this? This right here is the last time you will see me eating McDonalds until 2007.

I have made a promise to myself to not touch the stuff in the year 2006. There are many reasons for such a bold committment. First, I want to acknowledge that Wes, a high school pal, told me that he had not had McDonalds in 2005 when I saw him at the high school reunion. Wow. I was impressed with his abstinence from the golden arches. It didn't occur to me until Tim and I started discussing what we could change in order to be healthier human beings. I said, "We should stop eating at McDonalds." Tim was not interested in this venture, but I recalled Wes and his decision to not eat McDonalds in 2005. Right then and there in the airport, I declared 2006 a McDonalds free year!

In nine months, I will be thirty years old. I would like to be as healthy as I possibly can be. This means so much more than a weight thing. This means that I will drink eight glasses of water a day. This means that I will do my yoga to help with my chronic hip and joint issues. This means that I will walk on my treadmill five days a week. This means I will go to bed at a reasonable time rather than stay up late to do nothing important. This McDonalds.

You might be asking, "Why McDonalds? You could just go to Burger King." Actually, I couldn't. In my neighborhood, we only have a McDonalds. It is not one of those places that have fast food joint after joint. So, if I take this one thing out of the equation, it is not even an option for me.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Our Memphis Christmas

We've returned from another Christmas with our family. In the past five years of marriage, no Christmas is ever the same. 2005 is no exception. With all of the tradition, we've been lucky enough to experience new events to make each Christmas stand out from the others. Christmas 2005 was the Christmas when we went to Joe and Ellie's house for the first time. Joe, Tim's brother, and Ellie, his wife, were the perfect hosts. From beginning to end, they kept our stomachs full of delicious treats and savory meals. We played lots of Scrabble, Trivia, and watched lots of football. Tim's parents were there too so it was some great family time.

Along with the traditional Christmas activities, we experienced Memphis sites. The Peabody Hotel allowed us to see just how frenzied a group of people can get over five little ducks and a pond. If you know about the Peabody Ducks, then you know how these little ducks live in the beautiful hotel and make their enterance every morning on a red carpet and into the duck fountain for guests and tourists to enjoy. It was at the Peabody Hotel that I think I discovered my first "stiff drink" know the type...the type that JR Ewing might have poured after a hard day of digging for oil. I had no idea what I was ordering and I thought I would take a risk. Turns out that I enjoyed a scotch and soda. I drank it and felt quite warm afterward.

Since Memphis is the home of The Blues, we had dinner at BB King's restraurant on Beale Street. Ribs! Ribs! Ribs! And Sides! Everyone enjoyed the ribs with exception to Tim. I didn't want him to miss out on the experience so I shared some of my ribs with him after he finished his enormous pulled pork sandwich. Unfortunately, there wasn't live music that evening at the club, but they were playing one of my favorites, Al Green, during dinner. I am looking forward to the next trip to Joe and Ellie's!

Wednesday, December 28, 2005


I went to a casino in Tunica, Mississippi yesterday. Casinos are a funny thing. No matter where you are...Las Vegas, Minnesota, or Tunica, the minute you step inside those doors, they are all the same. I always feel a little guilty when I go to casino. I feel like an enabler to the addicts like I am saying, "What you do is okay because I am doing it too". I try to stick to the penny and nickel machines since I accept long before I enter the casino that I am not there to win money, but rather loose my money.

The kind of gambling that I do at the casino takes no skill or thought, just a way to waste time until Tim comes and finds me and tells me that he has lost at the Blackjack table.

I am not offended or turned off by casinos or gamblings. I find them facinating in all their gawdiness and misplaced hope. Where else can you go where smoking is so revered that they place ashtrays in the restroom stalls? They bring you free drinks. They make the slot machines sound charming with their bells and rings in order for you to have no idea if your machine is winning or not.

It seems that I might be a bad gambler since I never win, but I think that make me a good gambler because I rarely return. They won the battle, but I won the war.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Customer Cream of the Crop

I wouldn't want to think of myself as a close-minded person that pigeon holes people into labels or cliches, but sometimes I simply cannot help myself. When a person works in the retail world at this time of the year, she gets to not only participate in this madness, but also observe. Little do these frantic shoppers know that they are being used to amuse me when I am knee deep in DVDs. For those of you who have little experience in the retail heaven, let me educate on the breeds of folks that seem to come to my store. For those of you who live and breath the retail hell, you can relate and probably add to this list.

The Zombie-She is like a deer in the headlights, but instead of headlights, it is a display of DVD television box sets. Who can blame her. TV box sets are so much more demanding on a last minute shopper's psyche. She had no idea that she would have to choose between seasons! One to Ten for Friends! Should I buy season One or Two of Arrested Development? Oh My GOD! Felicity! THEY ALL LOOK THE SAME! How is she supposed to know which season her teenage daughter wants to own more than anything else this Christmas. This is when I step in to break the zombie trance to offer my wisdom and suggestions in all things television.

The Rumpmaster-This is the customer who not only uses her hands to gather items that cannot be lived without, but elbows, feet, and headbutts if the need arises. Even though she thinks she is being smooth without anyone taking notice, she tries to make her way to the nearest Borders employee using nothing less than her big rump. Yes, the rump can make for a nice wedge between people when there is crap to buy. When this much body is involved in the shopping experience, those books and DVDs are bound to fall to the ground. Now, who is going to help this customer if she just finished wedging herself to the front of the line. Be careful with this strategy!

The MOST IMPORTANT PERSON IN THE WORLD-He is under some holiday delusion that he is allowed to wait until there are only two shopping days left and he should be allowed to treat everyone around him like garbage. He lets the Borders employees know he is there by saying, "Um. Um. Excuse Me! Can I get some help????" when there is obviously three people ahead of him. Sometimes, this person mistakes what normal people who were not raised by wolves know as appropriate social cues. Like, "Who was next in line?" He takes as, "Well, I am very important and I waited too long and now I WANT HELP WHEN I WANT IT! I don't care who was next. I AM NEXT!" Then, it boggles his mind when he is completely ignored for the three people in front of him.

The Hard-To-Please-She is not happy. Never. No matter what cartwheel you try to attempt in the middle of the bookstore. You gather her book, but she wants it in hardcover. (Sigh). You get her the calendar she wants, but the boxes are too small. (Sigh). You bring her the CD that she has requested, but she wants two and that is the last one. (Sigh). You show her the nice selection of datebooks and she goes after the one that is a little worn and it is the last one and you can't find one in the back. She huffs and says, "Well, I guess this will have to do." (Sigh). Then, it is time to check out and the line is too long. She turns to you and says, "Why is the line so long?" I have to fight every instinct to scream, "Well, if you didn't wait until the day before Christmas, you might not have to wait in this line and you have been happy with what you are choosing to purchase!!!!!!!" Oh, and of course, she doesn't thank you for your help.

The VERY Rare Beast called NICE CUSTOMER- He says 'thank you'. He says 'Happy Holidays'. He says 'It must be hard to work during the holidays here.' He is happy when I bring him the book that he requested. I want to hug him and ask him back to my apartment to have supper with Tim and me and become our new best friend. But instead, I go out of my way to get him everything on his list even if it means calling three more Borders stores because he is nice. And that makes the difference.

Friday, December 23, 2005


Note to self...

Don't start watching the television show LOST a day before you leave for a plane ride. It can be disturbing.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Sad Music Can Make You Sad

My ipod is a clever little machine. I clipped the ipod to my beltloop and started washing the dishes this morning. This was a distraction for me since I had spent the morning stewing and dwelling and thinking...three things that I am quite good at over the last four months. The dishes seemed like a good way to let me think about soap, suds, dishes, and drying rather than other stuff that seems to creep into my mind every so often.

It started off with some much needed upbeat pop music. A little Hall and Oates can go a long way for my psyche. I was enjoying "Private Eyes" and then, the clever ipod started a string of dreary, downer songs. It is my own fault. Along with my penchant for 80's Pop and 70's disco, I am a huge fan of the singer/songwriter who usually write songs with sad lyrics. So, here I am...washing dishes, trying not to think about things in a negative way, and the damn ipod won't go a long with the plan.

I searched for a playlist that would be appropriate for some mindless dishwashing and all I found were playlists created for friendship, inspiration, and Christmas. Even though Christmas is lovely, it just wouldn't do this morning.

So, I decided that this was my ipod's way to teach me a lesson. If I wanted upbeat, positive music, I would have to fill up the ipod with such choices. Sounds like a metaphor for life, huh?

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

My New Job

Okay, this big surprise is not a surprise to many of you because I have already told you.

After months away from my favorite profession, I was offered and I accepted a teaching position at a private school here. I will be teaching Kindergarten for the first time in my teaching career. This is a huge professional challenge. Some people look at Kindergarten like it is easy and should be all naps and playtime. I agree with some of that...the playtime thing. I think Kindergarten should be fun and social, yet I feel like I have the responsibility to make these children's first learning experience positive, healthy, and enjoyable everyday.

To prepare for this big change in teaching environments, I am doing a lot of research. I have been reading two books, but want to continue after that. I am attending a Kindergarten conference in March. I have begun planning my themes and units so that I have meaningful songs, poems, and learning activities.

So, that is my big news.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Stochastic...A Fancy Word for RANDOM

These are the random thoughts for the day...

Tomorrow, I start the last three days of work until I have five whole days off. Do you know the last time I had five whole days off? Well, it wasn't that long ago actually. It was WAY back in August when I just finished up three whole months off of work. In the next three days, I will deal with frantic holiday shoppers who have waited to the last minute for gift buying. I will also run into a few buyers who I will be able to find their items and they will be so appreciative...they might even hug me or the adult high-five. We'll see.

I did something really, REALLY embarrassing today. Too embarrassing to blog about. All I can say is that I am embarrassed and glad I am leaving the state for a few days.

I have been going through a bit of a dry spell when it comes to emails. On Saturday and part of Sunday, I didn't receive a single email. This is amazing since I am an email fanatic. I write lots of emails and love to receive them, but I think people are busy. Maybe this is it. Maybe this is how it is going to be. I have been through the allotted four months of adjustment and people are cutting me off.

Tonight, I will find out who THE CARVER is on Nip/Tuck. Oh, Man. I am so excited.

I have big news to announce on the blog, but not tonight. Another night. My show is almost on.

PS....It is not a HUGE announcement...most of you already know...just the strangers and a few others do not know. :)

Monday, December 19, 2005

A Holiday Rant

Has anyone else heard about this so-called "War on Christmas"? This might just be the most ridiculous media driven hype that I have heard in a long time. A few political pundits are so concerned that people are saying Happy Holidays rather than Merry Christmas.

What are they so worried about? First of all, Christmas is not the only holiday in the month of December so it is a good choice to use the term Happy Holidays. If you are so inclined to throw Christmas around in your vernacular, say Merry Christmas. I am 99% sure that no one is going to jump down your throat for this friendly gesture. For example, I was greeted several times in October with "Happy New Year". Of course, it wasn't the new year for me, but it was for many of my students' parents whose families celebrate Rosh Hashanah. I enjoyed receiving such kind words and I am pretty sure most people will agree. Secondly, it is a nice thing to say to someone. When else in the year do we greet anyone with anything than mundane phrases as "How are you?" or "Hello". I find it refreshing that we have permission to wish people "Happy Holidays". "Happy Holidays" is as good as "Merry Christmas", "Happy Hanukkah", or "Blessed Kwanzaa". It covers all that you want to say to someone.

People and the media are getting after retailers for taking the Christmas out of Christmas. The American Family Association is all up in arms with retailers who did not include the words "Christmas" in their advertisements this season. Who do they think they are!!! Do they think Christians have a monopoly on the family idea?! Terrible. They have this idea that they have been oppressed Christians for two hundred years in this country and they aren't going to take it anymore. I think it might be the other way around.

I love Christmas. It is one of my favorite times of the year. I am a big fan of all things Christmas, but I am not so self-absorbed to assume that everyone else loves it too. Or for that matter, celebrates Christmas. This should not be a time of year where we point out differences and throw around well-hidden bigotry. It should be a time where you celebrate Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/Whatever You Choose with your family and be thankful. I think more people should say "Happy Holidays" to each other.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

It Doesn't Hurt to Ask

Dear Santa,
I know that I haven't written in a long time and I know that the last time I did write, I included a lovely drawing of your house at the North Pole, but I have decided to draft a letter letting you know how good I have been this year.

I have been a patient girl. When I wanted to lay on the horn at drivers who don't seem to use traffic common sense, I simple cussed under my breath and cursed their vehicle. My patience has shown at my job when people have mistaken me for their personal shopper when I am a mere movie and CD shelver. They insist that I take their list that is about fifteen items long, run around the store and gather these items while they sit and have a leisurely read at the magazine counter.

I have been flexible. I understand that life is different now than a year ago. I know that my life has taken a different road than that of elementary school teacher. I have looked on the bright side of things and taken it all with a glance at the past and a stare at the future and asked myself, "What else can I do?" So, I find myself in a new job with new people and it is all very good for me. And I know that.

I have been friendly. I have reached out to new friends. I have reached out to old friends. I have maintained friendships and relationships with my family. I smile often and laugh liberally.

All that being said, Santa, it is time to get down to it. For Christmas, I would like...

- A refridgerator that dispenses Diet Coke rather than water.
- To stumble upon cheap airline tickets to visit friends and family.
- My friends and family to stumble upong cheap airline tickets to come and visit me.
- A proper scrapbooking store to open in my neighborhood.
- Health, happiness, and world peace to all.

All that sounds quite reasonable.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Long-Term Hair Plan

I know there will be several people that disagree with this decision, but I have to keep it real.

Starting today, I am beginning a long-term hair plan. I know what it will take. I also have the option to go back to the shorty-doo that I have sported for a good five years off and on. I have tried this plan in the past, about two years ago when I made a wager over a Miller Light and a quick clink of the glass.

Eventually, my hair gets to a point that it is unmanageable. When I say "unmanageable", I mean bumpy, yet straight. How is this possible? Great question. Well, I have terribly thick hair that people with thin hair say, "Oh, you have such nice, thick hair" but when you want to get through the awkward stages of a long-term hair plan, it can be the kiss of death.

I recently looked at a picture of me when I was in the throws of one such long-term hair plan. I had it pulled back with the age old hair tool, the navy blue bandana. Maybe...just maybe this was cool in 1995, but not in 2005. I need to learn to manage this hair in all of it's unwieldy stages. SO, once I get to a point where I need more than a hair dryer and some decent product, I will need to be diligent. Tireless.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Shopper VS. Seller

I have a whole new appreciation for the person on the other side of the cash register this Christmas season. Until this year, all my jobs besides teaching elementary school have been in the food/restraurant industry or some cushy university job. I had no idea the pressure and stress that could be placed on a person who's sole purpose is to provide the customer with that one and only special gift for their loved ones. I find myself doing things that I normally do not do.

I run to find that Bette Midler CD. I panic when I see that Sound of Music is sold out...again. I convince customers to buy the extended version of Lord of the Rings because it is completely worth it...or so my husband says.

However, with all these new retail experiences, I am also experiencing the oh-so-ugly side of Christmas shopping. In my small experience, I believe it is a 20:80 ratio. Twenty percent of customers are kind, thankful, and courteous during their shopping experience. Eighty percent are rude, abusive, and down right mean. I can understand that some retail workers are unpleasent too, yet when faced with a smiling and helpful worker, I would like to believe that a customer would behave the same.

BE PATIENT. Just because I work in a bookstore doesn't mean that I know EVERY SINGLE TITLE EVER WRITTEN. Last night as I was assisting another customer, a woman came up to me with the hope that I would be able to assist her with her 'quick question'. As I was bending down searching for a title in the stacks, she said to me, "I just have a quick question. Where is the book titled blah blah blah?" I had no idea and wouldn't have an idea until I was able to get to a computer to look the title up. However, that did not keep that customer from rolling her eyes at me and showing me her added disgust by sighing a deep and annoyed sigh.

BE PATIENT. Do people believe that they will be the only person holiday shopping when they leave their house on a Saturday afternoon? You would think so by their reactions to the other customers. I was helping a woman using the computer to look up the titles that she was looking for. As I did this, one customer kept walking around me, adjusting her body so she would appear larger. This was an attempt to get my attention because she needed help too. I noticed this and said, "I'll be with you right after I assist this customer". That acknowledgement did nothing to ease the customer's mind because she started to creep into me until she was hovering about three inches from my side. She was invading my space. She was either very curious about the other customer's books, really into me, or frantic that I would forget her.

BE NICE. Just because I make eye contact with you doesn't mean that I can help you at that moment. I was assisting another customer and answering some questions and I glanced at another customer who was waiting for me. As soon as I made eye contact, he took that his sign that it was his turn. I couldn't stop helping the first customer simply because the man was tired of waiting. So, I informed him that I could help him after I was finished addressing the other customer's questions. Roll of the eyes. Stomp of the foot. Finally, I was able to help him, but he wanted something that we were sold out of. As I suggested a few of his options, he kept interrupting me and bossing me around. "Call another store. Give me the phone. Go check the back." I was being very patient, but he kept bossing me around in a very, very rude way.

I can imagine that someone might leave a comment talking about incompetent retail workers and that is why they become rude or frustrated, but I am nice and have a clue so what are the excuses for this behavior? I have never behaved this way. But then again, I wasn't raised by wolves.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Pop Quiz

I created a quiz last November, but I thought I would try again. I have made the questions pretty easy to build your Sara SELF-ESTEEM. Good luck.

PS...You will have to leave an email address to take this quiz but you won't receive SPAM from it.

Take my Quiz on!

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Wisdom Vs. Wisdom

Tim gave me quite a compliment today.

"If our neighborhood had an ice and snow scraping contest, I would put my money on my wife."

I felt some pride in his words. He is right. I would clean house on all of the men and women in this neighborhood. Most men take pride in the jobs their wives hold, the great roasted chicken recipe they make on Sundays, or the great shape in which they keep their bodies. However, Tim appreciates that I have not just an ounce, but pounds and pounds of common sense. He often says things like, "Man, I am glad you are not crazy," after watching some television show.

My stock was raised this afternoon as we returned from the grocery store to find quite a sight in front of our apartment. We are surrounded by intelligent graduate and law students from several of the private colleges and universities in our area. We can tell which school they attend by the conspicuous labels we see in their back windows that shout, "Hey, look at me...I go to a private college that is elite and special and completely overpriced!". However, no matter how smart and well-read a person is, nothing can take the place of innate logic.

A woman who fit the mold of graduate/law student was attempting to scrape her car. It had about a half a foot of snow on it. I might not have noticed had she not been using a huge metal shovel to do the scrapping. Now, any mentally sound midwesterner or life-long northeasterner would recognize the absurdity in this action. First, she was doing obvious damage to the beautiful slate-gray Volkswagon Passat that her wealthy father had bought her before he signed her tuition check. Can you imagine the scratches to not only the paint, but also the windows?

I said to Tim, "Should I help her? Should I give her advice?" He only said that I might get cussed out or she might accept it. I decided that I would let the young woman handle it. She continued to use a squeegy type device to scrape at her windows. Little did she know that just turning the car on and cranking up the defrost would aid in her quest, yet that did not occur to her.

So, here she is attempting to break the ice on her windshield with the end of the shovel. She eventually made her way into the car to go on her journey. All I can hope is that it took her to the nearest hardware store where she purchased a proper scraper and car brush.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Snow Day

I am not trying to sound North Dakota hearty, but I cannot believe we had a snow day! All the school districts are closed today. I woke up and looked out the window and saw about six to eight inches of thick, wet snow on the ground. That is a lot of snow, no one can argue with that. The timing of the snow was also a reason for the snow day. It snowed from 4 AM to 9 AM...right in time for a pleasent commute, right?

All this being said, I am not in Iowa or North Dakota where people have the attitude of 'it's fine'. If you can see some road or the hand in front of your face, you're going to school. Also, we don't have the small, tiny roads to plow. We build our roads big and spacious so there is room for busses, snowplows, cars, trucks, semis. We all drive on the ice in peace.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

How To Be a Good Friend

I have the greatest friends. I have had some of my friends since I was thirteen years old. Some, I have had for only a few months, but I dig them all. You know, not everyone is a good friend. It takes skills. Some people come by these skills naturally and some acquire them because a connection is made and a friendship develops. I think I am a good friend, but I can do a better job. Here are some goals and advice to us all. I will try not to be too preachy. And...a few pictures of my friends.

Shout of the day...FRIENDS!

Give. Not an easy task. People are eithers givers or they are takers. We don't want to admit to ourselves that we are takers, but we can all fit into that category a few times. I hope that I am more of a giver than a taker. I give my ear when a friend needs a listener. I give a cookie if they need a snack. I give them a call if they need me. Some people would call me a sucker for being a giver and not always being given to, but no one ends up at the end of their lives and say to their loved ones, "Man, I wish I would have taken more from the ones that I love."

Maintain. It seems that making friends is easy. It is the maintaining of relationship that is difficult. Before you know it, they can wither and that person no longer knows everything in your life. They have no idea about your family, job, or passions. You hear from them on birthdays and Christmas. And all you feel in your heart is that bittersweet pang that is telling you, "I wish I still knew her/him. I wish she/he was part of my life. She/He brought something special to my life." I think this is the hardest piece of friendship because we all get busy, but it yields everything you put into it.

Laugh. I want friends that make me laugh. We can laugh at old stories, people, ourselves, movies, and ideas. We can consider ourselves the most clever people that we have ever met. Our cheeks can hurt after talking to one another because we smiled too that possible? I want to laugh about the time when you fell asleep with a McDonald's hamburger in your hand because you had too much to drink that night. I want to laugh at the stories you tell about your crazy and quirky childhood. I want to laugh about how you used to drive a Camero.

Connect. I don't think it has ever been easier than right at this moment to connect. With email, cell phones, and text messages, a friend can connect with a friend in a short but thoughtful way. Doesn't it feel good to get a phone call, email, or note? After you read this blog, send an email to a friend that you want to let know that you are thinking of them tonight.

Listen. Not only to the words being said, but the words that are left unsaid. Sometimes friends want to just be with a friend without all the talk. Sometimes they just need someone to listen to their problems, adventures, or ideas without always making about the other friend. There are moments in life where friends are strong and there are moments in life where friends are weak. Just be whatever that friend needs you to be.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Rules I Live By

We all have this internal conversation with ourselves that help us get through each day. This voice inside us tells us the dos and don'ts of this life. I know a few people who live by a stricter set of rules than myself, but here are a few of my standard rules.

Rule #1
I never watch a movie that I already know the ending. For example, I have never seen Titanic , Pearl Harbor, Miracle, or The Passion because they are all based on true events. Yes, I know the directors and writer have spruced up the script with love stories and emotional moments, but basically, I know the ending. The boat sinks.

Rule #2
I do everything in my power to avoid Barbra Streisand. The worst song is "Jingle Bells". Have you heard it? It is terrible. I know some people adore her, so I usually just keep my thoughts to myself, but it is rule if I have control over the radio. I have few others on that list...Gloria Estefan, Def Leppard, and Mariah Carey.

Rule #3
I never make my bed. The only exception is when I am staying at someone else's house as a guest so I can appear as though I am a neat and tidy person.

Rule #4
I like chocolate, hot fudge, or caramel on my ice cream desserts. I detest fruit on my ice cream. It's not messes with the perfect consistancy that is created by the chocolate and ice cream mix. Also, I never get sprinkles because they do nothing for the flavor of the ice cream treat. Nuts are a different story.

Rule #5
As Jerry Seinfeld once said, "I get my coffee on the outside." Me too. I own a coffee maker, but I only break it out when my parents visit or I have guests that enjoy coffee. On all other occasions where I need coffee, I find the local coffee shop or convience store.

Rule #6
When given the choice on how I would like my Diet Coke, this is the ranking...Fountain Pop, Cold Can from Machine, Cold Can From Refridgerator, Cold Bottle from Store, Cold Bottle from Refridgerator. I know...I am a very comlex person.

Rule #7
It is perfectly acceptable to revolve your day around snacks. If you want to have a complete meal-free day, just have snacks.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Challenge Revisited

I am trying this again...there was trouble in bloggerland yesterday. Things just didn't seem to be working.

This is a picture with 75 bands symbolically shown. It is pretty interesting. I found 35 bands on my own. Use the link to view the photo in a larger format and you can get a better look. If you find a band, leave a comment and share it. But don't be too greedy and list a ton, just a few.

I'll start...Radiohead.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Sidewalk Chicken

Remember that scene in the movie Footloose when they are playing "Chicken" with the tractors and at the end a few of the actors yell, "Yee-Haw"? Okay. Now, replace the tractors with designer handbags and sidewalks and replace the "yee-haws" with an air of bother.

I think you now have an appreciation for the game of chicken that I play when I go shopping. Why is it that I am always the one to step aside or move so that there is room for us all on the sidewalks outside the shops? I don't recall this being an issue when I lived in ND or Iowa because I always shopped in large malls with lots of room. Here, I can be found shopping at the shops that have beautiful window displays with very narrow sidewalks to view such windows. Yet, when I walk down the sidewalk with Tim at my side and we see another pair approaching us, we like to predict if we will move of if they will move. It is always up to me to play CHICKEN because Tim will always move aside...such a gentleman. He likes to say things like, "Doesn't look good" or "I think you are going to lose this one, Sara." And, he is usually right.

These women and MEN! Rarely step aside. I am not sure why. I know why I move. I move because it is polite. I move because it is awkward not to move. I move because there is not enough room for everyone to walk side by side...that would leave four across and there is not room. We counted how many people stood strong with this game of CHICKEN. TEN! Ten out of eleven did not move to the side. I give them plenty of time to step aside. When we are playing the game, I wait until the very last minute to move to give them plenty of opportunities to step aside.


Friday, December 02, 2005

We've All Been There

10. Having to think long and hard about beverage choice. You can't drink milk because it will only make the phloem worse. You don't want to drink Diet Coke because it has no soothing qualities to it when you feel as though your throat has been ripped to shreds. Because your throat is ripped to shreds, the orange juice burns. Hot tea makes your mouth very dry. It leaves with water.

9. At some point, your teeth turn red from too many wild cherry menthol cough drops. I guess it isn't too bad. Now your teeth match the red in your eyes that has been caused by lack of sleep and that terrible dryness.

8. Something is terribly wrong when you prefer the smell of Vicks Vapor Rub to anything else in the world. You crave it only because your right nasal cavity is no longer functioning.

7. You find yourself holding onto your ear like you are an infant, but no matter how much pressure you place on that ear, it still hurts.

6. Every pair of pants that you pull out of the laundry hamper has a minimum of three tissues in the pockets. You are left feeling disgusted with yourself because you were too delirious to throw away the used ones...gross.

5. You find yourself wandering your apartment at 3 AM longing to find a sleeping spot that will allow for proper clearing of the right nostril, but also allow you to assume some horizontal position. It usually ends up being on the couch with two pillows propped up behind you and a small throw blanket as coverage. All this usually results in a terrible night's sleep.

4. You are sick but not that sick. You must go on living your life, going to work, doing errands, and all that comes with the life of a 29 year-old woman.

3. You have no interest in looking nice. Why look nice when you feel so terrible. So, you end up wearing an old, gray sweatshirt over a comfy, yet far beyond its prime shirt. Forget any cute shoes! It will be sneakers until this right nostril clears up.

2. Even though you want to eat that yummy looking snack, why can't taste it.

1. The sneezes. They come at a rate of four in minute which leaves you frozen, waiting for the next sneeze...looking ridiculous to everyone around you and at the conclusion of this display of nasal explosions, you are left with three used tissues in your pocket...gross.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Tales of the Puffy Vest

I can't believe how nice it is outside today. It is November 30 and it is a balmy 60 degrees and sunny out. I have no frame of reference here. Is this normal for Philadelphia? In Iowa and North Dakota, we would be stunned to find ourselves going to a car that hasn't been running for ten (Iowa) or twenty (North Dakota) minutes. Although I would take this lovely forecast anyday to ice storms and biting windchills, it does pose a wardrobe challenge.

I have been getting by wearing my beloved puffy vest. I like it just fine for most temperatures. I rarely need the full comfort of a coat, yet then the temperature changes...not drastically, but overnight. I get up, dress for the day, put on the beloved puffy vest, and head to the car. AH! It is too warm for the PUFFY! However, I am far too lazy to go back upstairs to my apartment so I wear it, thinking that I will remove it once I get in my car. This doesn't happen because once in my cozy car, I completely forget about this plan because a good song has come on the radio and my mental dialogue starts in...

"OOooo. I like this song. They don't play this song enough."

It is only when I am standing in line at some annoying line at the bank, buying stamps at the post office...that I realize, UGH! I am hot in my beloved puffy vest! I hate this feeling. It starts in my lower back. I feel the heat. It creeps up my back onto my neck and before I know it, I want to throw the puffy onto some table that is reserved for people filling out change of address cards.

At least in North Dakota and Iowa, I was always safe with the assumption of cold.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Cookies and Connections

I have tasted many cookies in my lifetime. I am a fan of the peanut butter blossom. I enjoy a nice chocolate chip. I won’t turn away even monster cookie.

There continues to be one cookie that tastes better than all cookies.

Each Christmas season, my mother along with her two sisters would gather at my childhood home. Sugar sprinkles in hand, they continued the ritual of making and rolling of the dough. Santas, stars, and bells would be cut and gently placed on the cookie sheet. Years went by as I sat on the sidelines watching this yearly tradition where I saw each sister in their assumed job descriptions. My mother was always the roller. She made the dough and had the art of rolling and cutting down to perfection. She placed the cookies on the pan and passed it to my Aunt Sandy who would place them into the oven and watch over the cookies as to not burn the once-a-year treat. The cookies were removed once the edges became a yellow-gold and passed to my Aunt Joy who held the position of sugar sprinkler. She would sprinkle the cookies with colored sugar and I would be called in as a back up at this point.

The cookies have proved to be the perfect Christmas cookie because they can be sprinkled, frosted, or left completely plain to be enjoyed. The perfect cookie is a sugar cookie. Most sugar cookies that require frosting are hard and sometimes tasteless, but this cookie stays soft and has a yummy taste of almond and vanilla.

With years of apprenticeship under my belt, I am now able to complete the whole cookie process on my own. My mother could complete the cookie process on her own too, but how lucky she was to have her sisters to experience this Christmas pastime year after year. How lucky I am to have watched and appreciated the art of the perfect Christmas cookie and the connections this tradition brings to the past and the present.

1 ½ cups powdered sugar
1 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon almond extract
1 egg
2 ½ cups of flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
Creamy Decorator’s Frosting (Below)

Mix powdered sugar, butter, vanilla, almond extract and egg in large bowl. Stir in flour, baking soda and cream of tartar. Cover and refrigerate at least 3 hours.

Heat oven to 375°F. Divide dough in half. Roll each half 3/16 inch thick on lightly floured cloth-covered surface. Cut into assorted shapes with cookie cutters, or cut around patterns traced from storybook illustrations. If cookies are to be hung as decorations, make a hole in each 1/4 inch from top with end of plastic straw. Place on ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake 7 to 8 minutes or until light brown. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely, about 30 minutes. Frost and decorate cookies as desired with Creamy Decorator’s Frosting and colored sugars.

Creamy Decorator’s Frosting

2 cups powdered sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoon milk or half-and-half

Stir together all ingredients until smooth and spreadable. Tint with food color if desired.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Bee Geeish

I think this is the longest that I have gone without writing a post. I was in North Dakota celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday with my family. Usually, I complain a lot about airports and more specifically, the people that are at the airport. However, we had a very pleasant flying experience. Everything was on time. I was able to sit by Tim and not any other soul. It is not that I have anything against strangers, but I think I end up sitting by some unfortunate ones. I am not kidding here...once, I had a guy ask if he could have some of my peanut m&m's. I denied him out of plain respect for manners and fashion decency. He was sporting a Three Stooges T-shirt. I detest the stooges.

My friend, Kecia, told me that she always has Ginger Ale when she flies. I decided I would start doing this. I would choose a drink that I only drink when I am 30,000 feet. I decided to do the Ginger Ale. Very nice. I told Tim about this change in beverage choice and he was shocked, yet supportive. So supportive that he too drank the Ginger Ale.

And I swear to God that the young man across the aisle from me last night could have been related to the Gibb Brothers of Bee Gee fame.

This is short, but I will be writing a lot this week because I am inspired.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Diet Coke

Sometimes I know that I am addicted to Diet Coke when I finish a 20 ounce bottle and secretly and silently long for my very own fountain pop machine in my home. This is not normal. I need to drink more water. Can a person get addicted to water in the same way, or at least develop a strong longing for it...without being stranded on a desert island? That's it for today. That's as good as it gets today.

Monday, November 21, 2005


I know I have a tendency to become easily obsessed with things, but I always stick with it. I am not a woman of fads. Which means...I have lots of obsessions. Currently, I am obsessed with SUDOKU.

The rules of Sudoku are simple. Enter digits from 1 to 9 into the blank spaces. Every row must contain one of each digit. So must every column, as must every 3x3 square.

I like this website because it lets you use easy, medium, hard, and evil to choose the type of SUDOKU game you would like to play. They also time you. For my first SUDOKU game, I was able to finish in 10 minutes and 13 seconds. My last game, I was able to finish in six minutes, 35 seconds. So, you get better, but to start, I wouldn't worry about the time. That is just an added bonus when you finish. This type of thing reminds me of the puzzles that I used to give my students for some fun brainteaser activity. Some students would love it and some would dread it. I think my readers will feel the same. But, you should at least try it. You might be surprised.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Fearful Five-Year-Old

I have been requested to write about my childhood, but I think I might disappoint. I lived a charmed childhood with two parents, an older brother who sometimes took it upon himself to torture me using all five of my senses but for the most part was always there to watch cartoons, build forts, or tell really funny stories. I lived in a great neighborhood where there were loads of children around my age. It was pretty simple.

So simple, in fact, that when I sat down to think about the vivid memories, I seem to have catagorized them into emotions or feelings. Today, FEAR is the winner.

Turns out, I was a very fearful child but I was the only one who knew it. Maybe my parents knew it with the repeated visits to our door at bedtime to make sure I had locked it, over and over and over. Maybe they knew it when they found me hiding underneath their bed when they were watching a werewolf movie on the television. But, I think they knew it every Friday night when the family gathered in our basement where our only television was located and the terrifying Incredible Hulk played. I sat on our couch along with Sean, my brother, knowing that at any moment Dr. David Bruce Banner might get angry and turn into that terrible green thing.

I would always ask my dad, "Do you think he is angry?"

No one ever told me when the good doctor was getting angry and I was too little to actually follow the storyline so I waited in fear to see the first tear of the pants and the first red in his eyes. I would beat it out of the family room around the corner where I could hear the television but could not see it.

I would yell back into the room, "Is he done?" I have memories of Sean telling me it was all over and I would wander back in and see The Hulk throwing cars and bending light poles! He'd laugh and I would return to my refuge behind the wall and wait. Why would I put myself through this each week? The alternative was just as scary...sitting upstairs by myself as everyone else watched The Hulk!

New Sidebar Attraction

With inspiration from Amanda at LaLaLaLola, I have decided to share the Friday iPod Shuffle each week on my sidebar. I will press play and shuffle on my beloved lime green iPod mini and see what comes up first. I think it is interesting that the first four artists are artists that I have either recommended through my Amazon link or I have written a post about them with the exception of the obvious guilty pleasure "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" by Sir Elton.

With Christmas coming up, I know you want to be all commerical and spend, spend, spend! So, use my link if you are going to order from Amazon and I can get a little coin in my amazon account to spend, spend, spend! This week, in preparation for the holiday season, I am recommending my favorite holiday book called Holidays on Ice by the hilarious David Sedaris. It is a short but sweet book. The perfect gift for the literate with a sense of humor.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Big Brother Will

Today's shoutout goes straight to Baby Will! Well, I guess he is a toddler now, but I really enjoy him. He is one of the sweetest babies that I have ever played with. He is all boy too. He loves trucks, dogs, and putting things in other things. He smiles liberally and likes to just hang in his crib rather than cry like so many babies do. Will is about to become a big brother to three...yes, three...younger sisters. His mom is going to be having triplets at any moment. My advice to Will is the following...

- Be patient. You will never have bathroom priviledges first. The girls take longer and hopefully, your mom and dad will share their bathroom with you.

- They will want to dress you up. This is not a challenge to your manhood, rather, a celebration of your flexibility with your sisters.

- It is fine to use your action figures along with a story line about Barbies going to the mall. Your sisters will appreciate that you will always be Ken when they all want to be Barbie.

- Stand your ground. Even when the girls want to watch Powerpuff Girls and you want to watch Yugi-Oh, you can always win with the whole, "I am the oldest" arguement.

Does anyone else have advice for Will?

Wednesday, November 16, 2005


"And all the roads we have to walk along are winding
And all the lights that lead us there are blinding
There are many things that I would
Like to say to you
I don't know how"

I am sucker for lyrics. I love somes songs based strictly on a lyric. Yesterday, I was baking some chocolate chip cookies in my little kitchen after work. All was right with the world. I had wxpn, my new favorite public radio station, on my little kitchen radio. Then, they played "Wonderwall" covered by Ryan Adams. It wasn't a big deal at first, but as I listened to this awesomely acoustic cover, I stopped my stirring of the chips just to listen. Sometimes the original artist just doesn't sing the song where I could appreciate it.

I wish I could link you to this song.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Some Borders Love

There are lots of perks to working at Borders. Last night, I checked out the free promo shelf to find three Christmas CDs and a Susan Tedechi CD. Awesome and free. Along with free music, we were able to buy music, books, and other things at 40% this past weekend. So, in my Borders world, I get free music, good discounts, and hours of entertainment telling stories of customers. I am no longer a one trick pony with only magazine displays, but now I stock movies and music and prepare the new releases...I am more a four trick pony. I am working about 22 hours a week at the bookstore along with my preschool job. That is a little look inside my working life...anything else might be a little boring to read about.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Smut Update

What it is it about my personality that allows myself to become OBSESSED with television shows? Why can't I be normal and just enjoy a television show without knowing exactly what is going to happen from episode to episode? Is it normal to go online to read the episode guides of my new favorite show, Nip/Tuck, just like I did for Six Feet Under and The Sopranos and Arrested Development? I think it comes down to my aversion to surprises and my impatience for the next DVD to come in the mail.

I am waiting for disc 3, 4, and 5 for season one of Nip/Tuck. The show is so dirty. I love it. It is set in south Florida with lots of hedonism and twisted story lines. It is a soap opera, but with very conflicted and flawed characters. I think that a television show has to have interesting characters to keep me interested. This is why I turn away from most sitcoms and crime dramas on television right now...they focus too much on the plot rather than the characters.

My friend, Jodi, has been recommending Nip/Tuck for sometime to me and I have been too wrapped up in Arrested Development, Six Feet Under, or other shows. But now, I have to depend on other shows since Six Feet Under is finished and sadly, Arrested Development will be cancelled after this season (Stupid Fox Network). After I finish with Nip/Tuck, I am moving on to season one of Lost.

Today, I was standing in the back of the Borders preparing new releases and I spied Nip/Tuck DVDs. I wanted to buy them very badly, but decided to be patient for my smut.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Can't We All Be Nice to Each Other?

When I was teaching, I would hear my students use the phrase, "SHUT UP!" when they wanted a classmate to be quiet. I would always have a conversation with them where I would tell them that there are always two ways to say something...the nice way and the mean way. For example, if you say "SHUT UP!" or if you say, "Can you please be quiet?" The same response is going to happen except with the first, the person will be mad at you but be quiet and second, the person will just be quiet. This rule applies most of the time.

I would like to have this discussion with adults. Why do adults have such a hard time communicating in a respectful manner.

I know sororities have a bit of a bad reputation in this day and age, but I learned a lot by being in a sorority. I was not the typical sorority girl. I just really enjoyed living in a beautiful house with a great cook. I liked that there were always some social gathering to go to or girls to sit up late and have a chat. I could have done without a lot of things that were part of the sorority, but the greatest tool that I took from my four years in a sorority was how to learn, live, work, and communicate with a variety of personalities. When you have so many personalities, a person needs to learn a variety of communication styles in order to get from these people what I wanted or needed.

We always had weekly meetings at the sorority house where we took care of the 'business' of the week. At the end of a meeting, people could share issues, celebrations, or personal 'traumas' that were going on in their lives. Some women would go on and on screaming their heads off because they were mad about something or at somebody. This never seemed to solve any problem. I usually listened. I never could figure out why people would take a public forum or meeting to tell someone if they had a problem with them.

So, even at age 29 and no longer living in a sorority house, I see this kind of display of communication that yields nothing but frustration and anger. I understand that people get frustrated and what to vent their feelings, but for pete's sake, close the door and find a confidant. Or, even better, go up to that person and tell them what has been bothering you, but please wait until you have had sometime to think about it.

Are there different standards for conduct depending on the business we are, retail, education, social...or can we just use one standard? Hopefully, a higher standard. I think I am at my best in a professional setting. I have always used a respectful manner when addressing any problems or issues, but like anyone, I can let my behavior slip and start to go off on someone...usually in my personal life. I know this was a bit high and mighty, but I just wanted to complain and reflect a little on this. It has been on my mind this week.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Blast Off

With a flush and a swirl, my toilet, like so many other toilets, does exactly what it should do with one sounds like it is a space shuttle ready for lift off.

This is a new development in our bathroom. It started out as a low hum after the prior mentioned flushing and swirling occurred. It is a combination of a rumble with a vibration. It gets louder and louder with each flush. When I am laying in bed and I hear the toilet flush, I later see the results of the wall begins to shake.

At first, I didn't really notice it because we have the R100 train in in our backyard and we've gotten quite used to that rumble, but this is a crescendo of a flush. Right near the end of the flushing cycle, I start to believe that the toilet might just explode. Maybe I should call someone about this.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Occupational Hazards

Ever heard of SCOOPER's WRIST?

I didn't think so.

Let's flashback to the summer of '95! You walk away from your high school job at the local ice cream shop only to feel a throbbing of your right wrist as you turn the radio knob on your sweet, sweet Chevy Celebrity. Holy Cow! The wrist is swollen like nobody's business! The best thing you can do is go home and ice it and hope it is recovered before tomorrow's mad ice cream rush.

I thought my occupational swelling was finished as I entered the teaching profession, but before I knew it, I was back in the retail world stocking magazines, hulling boxes, and ripping periodicals apart. If only OSHA knew about SCOOPER'S WRIST and now, what I like to refer to as MAG THUMB. My thumb has now taken on a swollen look because I use it at length to organize and hold back magazines as I organize them. After every shift, I feel my right thumb pulsate with pain. I think I need a new technique to adjust and organize the magazines. I was coloring with the crayons today at preschool, and I could feel my grip put a twinge in my thumb. UGH...MAG THUMB!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Again, Tim?

I don't think anyone wakes up and says, "Man, I am going to watch Grumpy Old Men tonight!" But, for whatever reason, that is exactly what I found Tim doing as I returned from work last night. I walked into the apartment and heard the familiar Tim laugh. I walked over to see a familiar, but unappealling movie on the television.

Tim and I continued to have a discussion that seems to repeat itself several times a month.

I asked, "Haven't you seen this movie, like, 100 times?"

Tim replied, "Well...yeah. But not for a very long time, especially unedited."

What this discussion implies is the vast contrast in movie pathologies between Tim and myself. First, Tim can watch a movie over and over and over and over. If it was anything Lord of the Rings related just multiply those overs by 10! His love of Clint Eastwood westerns are equally Tim alone. Maybe it is because Tim is more selective than myself. I will watch many movies once. Tim will watch few many times.

If someone were to look at our movie collection, they would see science fiction, westerns, and dumb comedies. Because of this rewatching compulsion, I have refused to buy Tim certain movies for his birthday or Christmas...(true, he could go and buy them himself, but he won't.) If we own it, I will then be forced to at least listen to them from another room. Take Trains, Planes, and Automobiles for example. This movie is so annoying to me, but he LOVES it. He laughs every single time at the exact same parts.

Thank goodness, there are always new and inappropriately funny movies coming out so that both of our movie needs can be met...a new movie for me....sick and toilety humor for him.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Muffin Madness

I am just one of those people who notice life's little incidences.

About 5:30 last night, I decided to bake some lemon blueberry muffins. Sounds good, right? Well, I thought so. I had my kitchen completely clean...the way I like to start any cooking or baking endeavor. I had my music playing in the other room. I had my spiced cider candle burning. It was just the way I like it. Life was peaceful.

The muffin pan had the yellow wrappers all placed in a neat fashion. The batter was complete with the exception of the blueberries. I moved to the sink in case I dripped a little blueberry juice. I took a fork to finish opening the can of blueberries after the can opener did it's work. I must not have realized my strength because I flipped the top of the blueberry can off and it went flying across my clean kitchen. With purple drips all over the floor and counters, I scarcely noticed that my blue cardigan and white shirt was covered with blueberry juice. I went to my room to take off the sweater and caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. My face was COVERED in blueberry juice. I couldn't help but burst into laughter all by myself. I thought to myself, "These muffins better be good."

I returned to the kitchen to clean up and finish the muffins. I sat down after such 'commotion' to enjoy the messy peacefulness. And they were good.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Making My World

I feel more positive today than I have in a very long time. I think it is probably a number of things. First, I think I have gained some much needed perspective from my Iowa trip. I was able to see friends who I knew I had an important and lasting connection. It really affirmed for me the type of relationships that I have with them. Even though we are very far apart, it can be as fun and thoughtful as it has always been.

Lives go on. That is what I learned from my Iowa trip. People move on and grow on and keep walking forward with just a glance behind them once in awhile. That is what this weekend was.

My friend, Penny, gave me this magnet when I moved. It said, "Wherever you are, it is your friends who make your world..." This was never more true than right now. I would like to think that I make my world. So, that is my goal and wish, to make this world. I think from an outsider's view, it may seem like I have embraced this new surrounding with trips to NYC and constant crepes, but I think I need to dive in.

I have never been concerned about how this move would affect my family relationships because they are family. I can call them everyday and not worry if I am bothering them or misjudging the importance of that relationship. But with friends, it is different.

Next weekend, I will take my sixth and final PRAXIS exam to become licensed to teach in Pennsylvania. Although it is my final test, it is the beginning step to finding a job. This sort of thing really motivates me.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Iowa Revisited

I have returned from my trip to Iowa. It was fantastic from start to finish. First, I love Midwest Airlines. It was my first time flying with this airlines, but the free, warm, like homemade chocolate chip cookies that they serve to their fliers were delicious. They have first class seats throughout the plane including that nice extra leg space. We were running late out of Philadelphia so I had to run to my connection in Milwaukee. Normally, I only run when someone is chasing me, but it would have been terrible if I had missed this connection because it would mean that I was stuck in Milwaukee, and no one wants that. When I got on the plane, all of the other waiting fliers gave me a few dirty looks. I couldn't help it. I wanted to go to Des Moines just as much as the rest of them. But it was nice that they waited just for me.
Bright and early Friday morning, I met my friends Kelli and Jason at a midwestern favorite, The Village Inn. A haunt usually for the retired and the hungry. Waffles were enjoyed by all. This was the beginning of seeing my favorite friends in Iowa. I am an easy laugh, but I tend to laugh a lot with Jason. We talked about school, our lives, and all things in between. Jason gave me a shirt that says 'I Heart Pizza' but the word pizza is an actual picture of a slice of pizza. My friend Ryan is helping me model the sweet t-shirt. Thanks, Jason. I will wear it with pride.

The rest of my Friday in Iowa consisted of hanging with Kecia and Jodi. We drank some margaritas at a time that was close enough to noon and we did some shopping. I have yet to find a proper scrapbooking store in Philly so I loaded up on supplies from one of my two favorite stores, Archivers. We ended up that evening at Kecia's house where she hosted a party for Northwest, my former school. Lots of Northwest friends came to hang out. I was so happy to see people that I knew and they knew me. We stayed up late laughing and talking. Good times.

I'll just give you a bulleted list (my favorite kind of list) of the highlights from the weekend...
- Fountain Soda...a staple for Jodi and me.
- Taking turns sharing our favorite ways to hypothetically beat someone up...I like to hypothetically punch with my middle finger knuckles out and finish with a slap.
- Finding many inappropriate uses for leftover pumpkins and goards.
- Watching Jodi's husband practice his wrestling moves on Jodi.
- Eating Crab Rangoon since it is hard to find out east.
- Laughing so hard that my stomach hurt by the end of the weekend.

Thursday, November 03, 2005


I am leaving for Iowa tonight. I am thrilled.

So, I will return with lots of pictures and stories to share on Monday. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Way Back Wednesday

Shelly and I were like peas and carrots. We had a charmed childhood upbringing on our little street. At every moment of our childhood, there were at least five or more girls our age living in our neighborhood. We would always play with other girls in the neighborhood, but everyone 'knew'...Shelly and Sara are best friends. I would loan Shelly out to her friends Kristi or Kristi. She would loan me out to Kelly down on the other end of the street, but we would always return to each other to play.

Shelly wrote a shoutout to me on her Second Impressions. This is the second shoutout that I have received in blogland. It was quite special. Thanks, Shelly.

A Question

Lately, I have found myself asking this question...


Do you know the answer?

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Ghosts of Halloween Pasts

It is surprising that Halloween is not my favorite holiday with my penchant for costumes, but it just cannot compete with Christmas. Not to say that I have not enjoyed a Halloween costume a time or two. I have worn many that hold fond memories for me...some not so fond.

Raggedy Ann-As ninth graders, it might not have been the coolest costume idea, but my friend Janelle and I thought this would be a cute idea. I sewed two red yarn wigs, one with bows for me and a Raggedy Andy wig for Janelle. We were going to a Halloween party and it only seemed reasonable that we would go dressed as a pair because we were always 'quite a pair'. I think my boyfriend at the time was a nun at the party. Can you imagine that picture?

Clown-Normally, I think clowns are creepy, but I was a cute clown. My mom sewed some great costumes when we were little. She created an angel, Indian, and clown costumes with her sewing machine. I remember my mom drawing big, red circles on my cheeks so I would have a proper clown costume. I wore this costume for more than one year because I really liked it. Plus, I think she made it big enough to fit the required snowsuit for a North Dakota Halloween.

HoBo-I dressed as a residentially challenged person in the fourth grade. Why? I have no idea. I thought it would be fun to dress up in old, beat up clothes. The strange thing is that I was not the only HoBo in the class. I also remember that I got in some serious trouble right before the class party because I wrote a mean note to a girl classmate the way fourth grade girls do.

Greg Downer-Who is Greg Downer, you ask? Well, he was a man on our college campus who was famous for very few showers, lots of keg stands, wearing a Primo Beer shirt, and a pleather jacket straight from some 70's detective show. He was in a fraternity that was famous for throwing water balloons at women as they walked by the house or streaking the campus. We had a similar pleather jacket at the house, so, we thought it would be SOOOOO funny if this was my costume along with the Primo Beer shirt. I went two days dirty so I could get into character. Looking back, it isn't so funny. But still a good memory.

Mental Patient-The traditional high school dance would make most girls want to dress in something cute like a little flapper outfit or cowgirl, but I thought it would be funny if I dressed up like a mental patient and he could be my doctor. That is not normal. I wrapped an ACE bandage around my head and wore a hospital gown with the hospital booties for my feet. I think someone should have said something to me like, "Sara, can't you just be a witch." No one did. But that was also the year that my friend Marisa dressed as a Hugo's cashier when they still wore the polyester neon green and navy blue jumpsuits and her date dressed as the bagboy. So, I wasn't the only "creative" one.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Greatness Revealed

A friend of mine likes to buy GREATEST HITS CDs because it saves you the time and space that multiple CDs take up. I agree with him on many levels. Elton John's Greatest Hits CD that came out a few years ago is a great example of the GREATEST HITS CD. It has all of the familiar Elton songs in a terrific two disc set. The theory of the GREATEST HITS CD is that some people only like the songs that are on the radio and do not want all the B-Side types. The Beatles would be a hard one for me to buy anything other than the GREATEST HITS CDs. I like The Beatles, but I am not a diehard fan like some. It would cost a lot for me to try to collect all of The Beatles CDs.

Even though I love GREATEST HITS complilations, I also like to have all the CDs of certain artists...Sarah McLaughlin, Shawn Colvin, Indigo Girls, Fleetwood Mac, Van Morrison. I like almost every song they sing/write.

So, yesterday, I was preparing the new releases for Tuesday. I love this part of my job. I like to see the new CDs and movies that are coming out. It reminds me of artists that I need in my music collection. Yet, I was disturbed to my musical core yesterday when I pulled out the copies of NSYNC GREATEST HITS.

"What? Didn't they have something like three songs?" I mutter to myself in the back room where there is only myself to answer this rhetorical question.

Seriously, I think there should be a rule. One rule should be that the band/artist has to have at least twelve songs on the GREATEST HITS CD and every single one has to have been GREAT! Yes, GREAT is subjective, but you can use radio play, chart location, or singles sold as an indicator. You can't just throw on a random song from one of the three albums that NSYNC put out and claim it as GREAT just to fill an album.

In the same box, I pulled out Blink 182 GREATEST HITS.

"What? Didn't they have something like three songs?" I mutter to myself in the back room where there is only myself to answer this rhetorical question.

I get that I am not a bigwig at some music house, but give the public a little credit and who are these people that believe there is a HUGE market for a NSYNC GREATEST HITS CD. They should get fired. I understand a Bob Dylan, a Dolly Parton, and EVEN a Journey GREATEST HITS CD, but a Richard Marx, really???? Please.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Nasty Squirrels

Preschool projects require lots of preparation. Creativity seems to be needed for most of the preschool planning as well as the preparation. Yet, today, I was able to take a simple walk around my neighborhood to prepare for tomorrow's lesson. The students will be creating fall wreath collages with a variety of fall items.

I took my paper bag in hand, ipod in my pocket, and puffy vest to keep me cozy and I began my quest for colorful leaves and fall-like objects. Leaves were not a problem. We have so many varieties of trees in my neighborhood that I was able to collect an abundance of hues, yet nuts were the problem. Those greedy little squirrels have left none for the preschoolers. Yes, my negative bias toward the squirrel shows no sympathy for their fall task of gathering nuts for a cold winter. At one point, I had gathered two very large acorns and placed them in my sack. Little did I know, but I was being watched. With a scratch of the bark and a squeek of the squirrel, I was notified that three furry-taled animals were watching me. I can't say for sure, but I believe in my squirrel paranoid mind that they were letting me know that this was their territory and if I knew what was good for me, I'd go and fall hunt somewhere else.

Well, I am not one to mess with squirrels so I did exactly that. I walked in the other direction because the last thing I want today was to be attacked by nut hungry squirrels. Twigs, leaves, and pinecones were the loot I was able to gather. Preschoolers will have to be satisfied with that.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Grown Up Dreams

I am not sure why, but this idea of dreams keeps showing up in my conversations, readings, and thoughts in the past few days. Not the type of dreams that we have deep in a comfortable slumber, but the type where we plan, obsess, daydream, and achieve or, in most cases, abandon in time. The kind that begin somewhere between five-year-old dress up time or t-ball practice, mature throughout high school as we fill out college applications, and either progress into a life’s ambition or smolder out for a variety of reasons.

After thinking about this, I am starting to believe that dreams are a completely different thing than goals. Goals are the sanitized and tidy version of dreams. Goals can be achieved and followed with a step-by-step process. Dreams are a lot messier. Dreams seem to be the more selfish version of goals. Dreams revisit us throughout our lives when we feel that pang of sadness when we see a reminder of the dream that was lost.

I think I have achieved my professional dream of becoming a teacher, yet my dream has been going through a revision process lately with this year off of elementary school teaching. I guess, my new dream is to teach again. But there is more. I am the type of person who might have a dream, but has no idea what it is. All I know is that I want more. Not in a materialistic way, but more living. The only thing is that with dreams come sacrifice. I know about sacrifice, but I sometimes wonder how much I would be willing to sacrifice to achieve a dream. Then, I wonder, what will this dream yield me at the end of my life. Will I say to myself, "Man, I am glad that I gave up ______ so that I could ______". Or, the scarier conversation would be, "Man, I wish I hadn't given up ______ to have _______". I guess a person just has to hope for the best and trust their instincts. The problem is that most people fight their instincts. I know I do.

I know a few people who are perusing their dreams even though their dreams would be easily placed in the impossible or difficult box, but they are not being deterred no matter the struggle or bends in the road. This can be impressive, yet I sometimes wonder what drives these people.

I think I will focus on a personal dream rather than a professional dream right now. I have spent ten years working on the professional dream, I think I would like to have a personal dream come true. I wish I could tell you what that will be, but I don't even know it myself.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Four Year Old Affirmations

My life as a teacher is rarely mentioned in this blog for the simple reason that it has always been a difficult job where a person can keep personal and professional separate. This blog is my personal life. But...there can be exceptions.

There have been definite differences between teaching elementary school and teaching preschool. By fourth grade, students do not hug their teachers, sit in their laps...nor should they! They don't love singing songs in the classroom. They are just a different crowd. I love the fourth grade crowd though. I miss them.

However, there are parts of the preschool crowd that I dig. I like messy paint. I like puzzle making and block building. I love it when a male student loves wearing the bridal dress during playtime. I like the songs that we sing.

Today, I received some long awaited affirmation that I was doing this preschool thing well. A young girl stood in the middle of the room and said in a quiet voice, "Help."

I replied, "I will help you."

It was quiet as I zipped her zipper so she could leave for the day and she said, "Sara?"

I looked up from the zipper and she continued, "Sara, I like you."

I think that is all any of us want to hear on a daily basis.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Nicholas Sparks or Bust

I do not need much of an excuse to take the train into the city, but last night I was on a mission. For the lover of romance books, Nicholas Sparks is Shakespeare. With novels that follow themes like ' Love and Forgiveness', 'Love and Redemption', and 'New Love', many soft-hearted book lovers would make their way to Center City last night for their chance to meet and listen to Nicholas Sparks.

Although I am not a fan of romance novels, my mother adores Nicholas Sparks and waits patiently for each of his new novels to be published. I thought it would be terrific to venture to the Philadelphia Borders store to stand in line and get a book signed for my mother.

We arrived about thirty minute prior to the author speaking about his new book and his writing process. He was wandering around the crowd signing books, taking pictures, and making small talk. The crowd was about 100 people when we arrived. The majority of the crowd were women with piles of books in their arms, staring starry-eyed at the young author. At one point, a middle aged man right behind us told a friend over the phone, "He is very good-looking." I thought this was funny because it was the beginning of many women stating the same thing, but with different adjectives that varied from "hot" to "sexy". He just looked like a guy to me. I think it had something to do with the fact that these women adored this man because of the words he had written.

At one point, this elderly woman with her husband started pushing their way through the crowd. She made it to the front and raised her voice to say, "I just want to get a book signed. I don't want to get killed." I didn't notice any vicious looking women in this crowd or women threatening this old lady. I think she was just being dramatic. It was funny at the time though because people were very well behaved and even though she was the one being rude, she accused the very well behaved people of threatening her life.

Finally, I went through the line to have my one book signed for my mother. I said to Nicholas Sparks, "My mom is a big fan." He said to me, "Oh. You're not?"

Ah. Ah. Ah. Ummm.....

"Well, she really likes your books. She lives in North Dakota so I am here for her."

That seemed to make him feel better. I don't think he needs my affirmation, but if he does, he can go cry in a big bag of money.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Not Much to Say Today

I don't have much to say today. I guess, I want to draw your attention to my sidebar. There is lots to see, understand, and appreciate. First, let's take a look at the links. You have to do a few things to be placed on my links. I have to know you, read your blog, or think you are fantastic. One or all of the three can get you on the links. I have given shout outs to these links before, but today's shout out goes to my childhood friend, Shelly. She writes clever posts on Second Impressions. Maybe I think this because in 75% of the posts, I am a supporting character. Check her out.

Now, let's look at the obsession. Usually, this is music related but this week, it is caffeine related. As most know, I have a severe caffeine addiction that started back in my student teaching days when I was student teaching, taking two classes, and waitressing too. I was up to six Diet Cokes/Coffees in a day. Either will do. So, now, my friend Courtney and I have discovered The Gryphon coffee shop. It is so nice. My favorite dessert is the chocolate cake with cheesecake in the middle.

How about that quote?! I try to place quotes that express my thoughts, feelings, frustrations for the week. Some people think that quotes are a way for people to steal other's words. I think this blog illustrates that I have plenty of words. I just like other's words more.

My Amazon recommendation is a glimpse into what I dig. Right now, it is ABBA. A very guilty pleasure.

Well, have a great day. Tomorrow, I will have more to say.

Monday, October 24, 2005

It is Not Too Early

On Saturday, I walked into Bath and Body Works in the mall. I don't normally stop at this store, but I really enjoy their candles and needed to pick up a few. I am so glad that I did. It was beautiful in all of its commerical splendor. Whoever does their design and marketing earns their paycheck because it felt like December 25...even though it was more than two months away. The store literally sparkled. I still only bought the candle that I had intended on buying, but I spent time just walking around and enjoying the displays.

I will never be one of those people who complain how early Christmas starts. Maybe if I loved Halloween I would care how Christmas seems to steal it's thunder, but I encourage the hostile take over of orange and black by the sweeter green and red.

Christmas in October is lovely because it gets your mind working on all of the things I love about the season. I start thinking about Christmas cards, Christmas baking, everything Christmas. I never want to be accused of wishing time away, but I would like to extend the Christmas season into October and have everyone else embrace that idea. This happening is unlikely since Christmas for some is stressful and painful, yet I love everything about it. I try to hold off on the Christmas music until at least November, but Bath and Body Works did not.

Sunday, October 23, 2005


I had this royal blue corduroy jumper dress when I was in the first grade. I wore it with a white turtleneck with color hearts all over it. I wore it in my first grade school picture. I can recall a lavendar pair of corduroy pants with an elastic waistband from my primary years too. I bet if I think back to my favorite outfits age five to twenty-nine, corduroy would be the textile of choice.

I know lots of people associate the season of autumn to ideas like apples, pumpkins, or leaves, but I can't help but think that it is the time of the year that I can break out the corduroy. Am I the only one who adores corduroy?

Let's take stock here...I have two corduroy jackets, a corduroy purse, corduroy pants, a corduroy blanket, and a corduroy shirt. Some fabrics are just comforting. Some are terrible. Because for as much as I love corduroy, I detest several other fabrics. Most people do not think as much about their love and hate for certain fabrics, but I have no choice. Along with fall comes the rekindling love for corduroy, it also makes my skin SUPER, DUPER dry. I am so itchy. I am one dry woman. So, I cannot embrace fleece, anything made of yarn, or flannel of any kind. In order for me to wear a sweater or sweatshirt, I must wear a turtleneck or undershirt. I have definite sensory issues. It can all drive me up the wall...or at least under a corduroy blanket. With all of the fuzzy stuff out there, I can take comfort in corduroy. We all can.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Dream a Little Dream...

Sometimes I wake up from my restful slumber wondering what kind of FREAK I am becoming!!!

I wish I could write my own scripts for my dreams and choose the characters, but somewhere...deep, VERY my subconscious, there is a little man with a typewriter frantically writing the most messed up and bizarre dreams that force me to question my own sanity. All the while, he is laughing because he has an ironic and haunting sense of humor.

If this is not true, then how can one explain the fact that I had a dream about a boy from high school whom I had no social minglings, we were not friends, we were completely ambivalent to each other. He was on the basketball team. He was VERY tall. If memory serves, he had no personality that would leave that type of imprint on me, especially not to dream about twelve years later. And I can say twelve because I think he moved our sophomore or junior year!

This guy's name was Kelly. In the dream, we were at a campfire and he was talking about his religious walk and how he had become 'saved'. I am sitting on a log of some type with my mouth hanging open in shock because I cannot understand why I am with this guy and why this guy who always seemed to be so shallow has now found the Lord. I ask the people around me to explain this to me and they are just disgusted by me to question someone's faith walk. I am the outsider in a big way.

Now, as for dreams, I have several recurring characters in my dreams. I even have recurring scenarios.

My most recurring dream drama is as follows...
I miss work. I have to come up with some lie or excuse why I had missed work. One of the more memorable dreams that followed this drama was when I missed teaching one day only to have my principal find me hanging out at McDonald's. We were sitting in her office and I decided to tell her that I had forgotten to take my medication. In my dream, I completely rationalized this lie because she could not fire me because a mental illness could fall under disability discrimination. She bought it and I was off the hook.

Keep in mind, the boss changes to whoever is my boss at the time. It always has me lying to them and they always believe me.

My recurring characters in my dreams are as follows...
-My Aunt Sandy...she is always in some sort of trouble in my dreams and it is my job to save her.
-Old Boyfriend(s)...we are always reconciling and being friends.
-Churches...I am find myself sitting in them staring at the alter and I have no idea why I am there.
-My old school...This is new one since I have moved. I am usually in the hallway and talking with teachers, never students.
-An old student...This particular student made a big difference in my life. He taught me a lot. I am always his teacher and he is always in some sort of trouble too.

I have this theory that women remember their dreams more than men, but I could be totally wrong. I do have moments as I am coming out my dream where I tell myself to remember 'this is a good one'. By good one, I mean MESSED UP!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Money Talks...or at least Blogs!

Yes, I am 29 years old and I will stick my head in a $50 dollar bill. I think this is worthy of a comment. So, this is a blog call for some affirmation. If you read this today, leave a message. It can anonymous, you can leave your initials, or sign in. I am not ashamed to ask for some sort of confirmation to know who is interested in this little slice of me.

My Quest

I am in the middle of a challenge, if only to myself. I am asking myself the question...

How long can I go without buying groceries?

I usually go about once a week. I usually enjoy my trips to the local grocery store, but since moving here, I have not embraced the local grocery store. Sure, it is nice and clean and somewhat organized, so I have no reason for this challenge except out of pure laziness.

I suppose when I get tired to staring in the pantry wondering what I should make for breakfast/lunch/dinner, I will drive myself to Genuardi's, the grocery store, and pick up a few things.

I think I would be quite successful at this quest if it were not for the essentials...milk, bread, cereal (for Tim). But I have a gift of putting together meals and snacks without really having that much stuff around. For example, if I want some dessert, I can make JELL-O. All you need to make JELL-O is water. I seem to always have JELL-O in the pantry. If I want a snack, we seem to have an unending supply of granola bars. I could always whip up some cookies because I was trained well from my mother to always have chocolate chips and baking ingredients in the pantry. There is always some sort of pasta and sauce in the pantry.

HECK...I can make it at least three more days, but we did run out of milk today.