Thursday, June 30, 2005

Happy 4th of July Weekend


Today, I am leaving for St. Louis. We will be taking in a St. Louis Cardinals game on Saturday and spending time with family. Have a great July 4th!

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Music and Scrabble...It Doesn't Get Better Than That

Absolutely, most certainly FANTASTIC!

I love it when something so entirely makes my day. Tonight while playing some Literati with my cute friend, Sara, I was searching for a public radio station that was playing one of my favorite programs World Cafe. I stumbled upon a great website. It lists all the programs that are being played on various public radio stations. This is great because my local station does not offer World Cafe, but it was a favorite when I lived in North Dakota. It is called publicradiofan.com. So, I was able to listen to some quality music as I laid down some serious Scrabble tile!

I am encouraging others to get on the Scrabble bandwagon. I have Mathman to thank for introducing me to Bugcafe.net where you can have on-going Scrabble games through email. Currently, I have two games going. First, it is neck and neck with Amy, yet Mathman is ahead by many, many points. Bugcafe.net is not time consuming and very simple. If you are interested in getting a game going with me, send me an email and I will set it up.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Mini Movie Review: Closer

I watched the movie Closer last night. This might be a small and limited review of the movie, but I thought I would put it out there…

Before I go on, let me say, I liked this movie. It may not seem to be the case after you read on, but I did like the movie. If you have not seen the movie, without giving the plot away, it is about adultery and the enormity of commitment.

The title is deceiving because there wasn't a single relationship in the story that was close. In my opinion, the relationships and choices made by these characters were isolated and detached. With the exception of Natalie Portman’s character, Alice, the characters fell as a casualty to temptation with total disregard for the people in their lives.

It is rare that I watch a movie and I dislike most of the main characters in the film. I couldn’t find sympathy and consideration for people/characters that lack all self-control in their lives. Maybe there was a deeper love between these characters, but I was left wondering since the movie jumped ahead months at a time. I guess as a viewer, I have to either assume that their relationships reached beyond sex and lust and entered that set apart place of reverence and love or believe that these characters were as shallow and na├»ve as their actions illustrated.

The word love was used so often in the movie, yet the actions shown by the narcissistic characters illustrated nothing but indifference for the ones they claimed to love. The actors must have done a good job for me to dislike them this much. This is not a ‘feel good movie’, but one that will lead to great discussion.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Five Things...Maybe Four

Five things society at large enjoys, but that I, for the most part, just don't get...or enjoy...


MELONS-I think they smell like garbage. No matter if they are fresh or not, they remind me of rotting garbage. Watermelon, cantelope, honeydew...I can't stand a one. The most appalling of all is artificially flavored watermelon candy, gums, or sorbets. I used to have to fill the sorbet machine at the frozen yogurt shop that I worked at in high school and college with watermelon sorbet. I would gag. The worst is when the melon is mixed with the other fruit. I am that awful person that picks for the strawberries and grapes in a fruit salad. When restraurants offer a side of fruit, it is usually all melon. Jerks.

CILANTRO-I believe that cilantro is such a strong herb that it ruins everything it comes in contact with. There is nothing worse than a delicious salsa that has been contaminated with this aggressive and somewhat rude seasoning. Along with spinach, it does tend to get stuck between your teeth. Beware.

WATER SKIING-Really, this applies to all lake, river, and ocean type water activities. I am fearful of the huge boats. Even though the boats have just as much power as cars, there are no traffic lights, police, or driving lanes in a lake. For all I know, a boat might not see me and run me over. I know, this all stems from fear, but sometimes fear is a good thing. I will watch from the shore or in the boat with a well-suited life jacket around my tense body.

COUNTRY MUSIC-When I was in junior high, I embraced country music. I even watched the country music channel. Then, I realized that I was only listening to country music because the boy I crushed after liked country music. Unacceptable! I realized that all country music follows the same themes..."I love you and I lost you and my life is sad without you", "I am proud to be an American, where at least I know I'm Free", and "I am a down-home country girl/boy and I like to sing about down home things like the Chattahochie or Wal-Mart". Shocking, I know. I know some will strongly disagree, but that is okay. Go ahead and continue to listen to country music. I will continue to rock to Van Halen and reflect to Patty Griffin.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Sara, the Do-Gooder, Strikes Again

My do-good nature has back fired in my face again!

Remember when I tried to help with Habitat for Humanity and it was distasterous? Today, it was the Humane Society.

My mother and I returned from coffee to find an adorable black and white Shitzu on the burm of her yard. She was almost in the street. We called her to us and she started to follow us around the yard. She had no tag, just a red collar. My mom was sure she 'knew' all the dogs in the neighborhood and she didn't know this dog. She was gentle and kind. We discussed what we should do. We waited for 30 minutes and decided to bring her to the Humane Society because if someone had lost their dog, they would surely call the Humane Society to see if some Do-Gooder had turned it in.

I carried the dog in my lap to the Humane Society. We left her and on the way home, I called the Humane Society twice because I had not asked what would happen to the dog if she remained unclaimed. They said after five days if she went unclaimed, they would put her up for adoption. They also said that they do put animals to sleep! Unacceptable. I quickly started going through scenarios in my head about how I could come back up to North Dakota in five days and adopt this dog.

We arrived home. I was in great distress.

The men that were working on a sidewalk in front of our house came up to us and asked, "Did you guys find a dog? That dog belonged to your next door neightbor."

We both screamed "NO!" We felt horrible. First, why didn't we go and knock on anyone's door? We should have. My mom kept saying, "No, they have a black dog. Not a black and white dog."

I called the Humane Society again to tell them we knew who the owner was. They assured me that he was already on his way to pick up the dog. When the neighbor returned home, he was not upset. He felt as guilty as we felt. He was dog-sitting for his mother-in-law and that was why my mom did not recognize the dog. He was frantic because he thought he had lost the dog. He assured us that the dog now had a tag and would be watched more carefully. We were glad that the kind dog would not be put to sleep. It all worked out in the end, but I learned an important lesson...

Knock on doors and check with people before bringing a dog to the Humane Society. Next time, I will just wait and play with it in the yard for awhile, hoping an owner will show up.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Where There is Smoke...

...trust, there is fire.

Tim and I have been the owner of a 1993 Chevy Corsica for quite sometime. It started to have some troubles in March 2004. We decided it was time to buy a new car. We stored the car in our garage until this week when we got it in working condition to drive to North Dakota. My father is a skilled mechanic and was going to continue to work on it and sell the car.

I was following Tim from Iowa to North Dakota. My car was filled with teaching supplies that will be stored at my parents home until next fall when I search for a teaching job. We thought this was the perfect plan. However, we had made it through half of eastern Minnesota when Tim realized that his beloved Corsica was smoking and making some unfortunate sounds. We pulled off at a gas station to assess the situation.

Yes. There was smoke.

Tim gave me the task of looking under the hood when he slightly lifted the hood. I gave a peak.

Yes. There was fire.

I informed Tim of the flames and he ran to get a fire extinguisher from the store clerk. I moved away from the vehicle. All I could imagine was the scene from most action movies when the car blows up. We got the flames out and unplugged the battery. Tim had been using my purse as an oven/car mitt when opening the heated hood. So much for the lovely cargo khaki purse. We had to leave the Corsica there until tomorrow and Tim and my father will go and get it.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Mystery Classmate and My Faithful Readers


I love a good mystery. More importantly to my self-absorbed nature, I like to be in the middle of a good mystery. Since I lead a pretty ordinary life, it is the little adventures and unknowns that keep my life spicy.

One of the greatest mysteries in my life at this moment is who reads my blog. I know my mom reads my blog. I know Dree, Fredette, Jodi, and even Jason reads my blog, yet I have a mystery reader.

Not until a couple of weeks ago did I realize that a former classmate from high school was reading my blog. This was facinating to me. I have plenty of friends from high school that read this blog, but they have known me for years and seen me through many changes in myself. It makes me wonder what a person might think of me after ten years and stumble upon this blog.

I share a lot of opinions and thoughts here. I would love to read a blog that a person from high school wrote. Someone who I once knew. I would love to read what they are thinking and feeling at this time in their lives. Heck...I would love to read anyone's blog that I know. It is a little unfair that I share myself with all of you and I get nothing in return (with the exception of Dree, Fredette, Anna, Matt, Mathman, Rachel, Amanda, and Melanie).

I sound bitter. I am not. I am just kidding around. I love that you read my blog and wish everyone read my blog! I am so happy that my former classmate makes my little corner of the Internet a stop everyday. Thanks for being faithful readers, readers.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Rant: Ill-Behaved Parents

This is going to seem harsh, but honest.

Today was the second day where I witnessed total and absolute disregard for others in a public place by parents.

Now, please read this post with the idea that I love children and usually look upon them fondly. The children are not to blame in either of these examples. It is the parents. Usually, I do not judge parents because I am not a parent myself and I can appreciate the pressures of being a parent....however...

Last night, I was eating at a local pizza restraurant. The restraurant wasn't a Chucky Cheese type that catered to little children. It was just a pizza restraurant. A family was sitting next to us. The father's cell phone had such an obnoxious ring that each time it rang, everyone turned to look at him. Not only did his cell phone ring loudly and often, but he also had a walkie-talkie where he conducted some sort of business as he ate with his family. Everyone in the restaurant could hear his conversations. Then, his wife screamed "Shut Up" three times at the three children, ages 6-10, while they dined. The family was finishing up their meal so the two boys decided to run around the restaurant with their glasses of pop, spilling all over themselves and the floor. They were yelling phrases like, "I want a blue one!" and "Hey! That's my sucker!" when digging through the sucker bucket at the restaurant. The children and mother did not take one sucker, they each took three suckers. Then, I saw one boy suck on one of his suckers and throw it on the floor. The children were climbing under tables that they were not even sitting at. They kept opening the door and slamming it shut. The mother and father said nothing. They just watched and ate their pizza. It was a train wreck.

Today, a similar situation. I accompanied a friend to a medical appointment. I was waiting in a waiting room with five patients. One who had obviously been in some traumatic accident and was in great pain. In walks five children, ages 3-12, and a mom. She told the oldest girl to watch the children as she went into see the doctor. The kids were out of control from the get-go. Even though this waiting room was equipped with a toy area, a big screen TV on the Disney Channel, and multiple children's books, the children decided to play chase, yell, push chairs over, and fight. The girl who was only around 12 years old did not know what to do. She was obviously a sister and decided to join the fighting and yelling. The boys were told twice by the desk nurses to sit and be quiet, but they ignored the women. Three waiting patients moved to the other side of the room to avoid the chaos. The mother returned from her appointment 25 minutes later and gathered up her crew and left. The toy room in shambles, the books scattered all over the floor, and patients giving each other empathetic shakes of the head.

So, am I out of line to be annoyed at these parents? Am I a judgmental woman to believe that these children should have been kept in line by their parents? Am I harsh for believing that children should have supervision in public places? Am I unreasonable for believing that it is the parents' responsibility to teach children to behave appropriately in public settings?

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Let's Rock!


Jodi, Sara, and Heidi...Rocking in the Park!
It was so hot on Saturday in the park.

There were 30 good minutes when I thought I wasn't going to make the long haul that the rock-n-roll spectacular required. I wanted to make Skid Row, Slaughter, Bret Michaels of Poison fame, the AC/DC tribute band, and the other thousand bikini-clad, mullet wearing, air guitar playing, and all around wild crowd proud. I wasn't going to let them down.

Here I was...A Lilith lover in a crowd of 80's hair rock lovers. I was in disguise. I couldn't resist the draw of lawn chairs, snacks, friends, and a day in the park. The music was secondary. Even when hair bands were hip, I was very unhip because I hated them. Now, with a little nostalgia under my belt, I really enjoyed all of it.

The AC/DC tribute band was enjoyable because I recognized all of the songs from Tim's radio choices. He also likes to sing AC/DC in the shower. Skid Row was great only because of the dude in front of me that played not only air guitar, but air drum, air bass, and I believe a little air KEYtair. Sometimes, he'd break into a bit of interpretive dancing for the Skid Row novices in our area who maybe couldn't understand the lyrics.

It was an observer paradise at the park. I loved watching all the people. Every kind of person could be found wandering amongst the food stands and beer tents. Yes, these very same people later would be throwing those beer bottles, but who can blame them. They were in the spirit of rock legends like Bret Michaels. He was great. He came out singing all the Poison favorites! My personal best was "Nothin' but a Good Time". It almost inspires me to buy a Poison itune. It would be a nice guilty pleasure to add to the collection. Bret also allowed people who had contained their passions all day to release them through lots of groping and kissing during "Every Rose Has a Thorn" by other concert goers.

I made it through the day because of the secret port-a-potties we found behind the food vendors. They were well hidden and were our groups little spot. I drank lots of water and applied lots of SPF 45. The only glitch in a perfect day in the park was the two trips I made to the First Aid tent for them to flush out my eye because I think I got some SPF 45 in it. I wasn't the only person in pain. Heidi (on the right) used the SPF 15 and burned like a son of a gun. I was proud of my pale skin at the end of the day. Three times the charm for applying SPF 45. I stayed away from alcohol since I felt that I would dehydrate just fine sitting in the sun all day. I didn't need the alcohol to help with that process. I stuck to the water.

Awesome fun.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

The Finger

I got flicked off tonight. I am still not quite sure why.

Tim and I were returning from a store. We were driving down our street. The pick-up in front of me slowed down, yet did not put on his signal. So, I waited patiently. Then, I realized that he wanted to back up into his driveway so I reversed to give him some more room. As he pulled in, he shot me his middle finger.

I was shocked. I had no idea what I had done to receive this gesture. I asked Tim and he was confused too. He couldn't think of any reason that this guy should have done this.

What I should have done is pull over and ask him why he did that, but who knows? He could have been a violent individual and I just wanted to know.

I have no idea. What do you think?

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Rant: Jessica and Those Boots


Jessica Simpson and I are in the biggest fight right now.

She doesn't know it, but it does not minimize my disdain for her at this very moment.

I had no idea that Jessica Simpson would take one of my favorite karaoke tunes and make it available to the pop masses. I like to break out "These Boots Are Made For Walking" after throwing back a few beers. It is a crowd pleaser and a tune that most people forget that they adore.

Now, Jessica Simpson with her good lookin' bod' and her Daisy Duke likeness has taken this retro and hip song and made it all...unfortunate. That is the only word I can use to describe what she has done to this song.

It wasn't bad enough that she shanghaied "Take My Breath Away" by Berlin and "Angel" by Robbie Williams, but now she rips off Miss Nancy Sinatra. Is nothing sacred?

If I didn't know better, I might say that Jessica Simpson has no talent.

Monday, June 13, 2005

My Apartment and a Few Hang-Ups


Our New Apartment
Our trip to Philadelphia was successful. We have leased an apartment.

I had several apartment appointments, yet it was the very first apartment that we looked at that we chose. We felt weird about it. We kept thinking, "Well, we should look at more appartments," But, we loved the first one. It is only 2 and a half miles from Villanova University and in a beautiful setting.

There are many things that I love about Iowa, yet I have already found myself loving Philadelphia too. For example, I know that I will love that I can walk to the bookstore, the bakery, and many other little shops near my apartment. It will be a different way of living since now, if I need something, I have to go to the supermarket or Target. Around our apartment, you will find a row that goes for what seems forever of shops and restraurants. I look forward to the exploration of these shops.

We went out to eat with some professors and their spouses, and all of them kept saying, "It is really hard to get into these school districts." That is NOT what I needed to hear. I am starting to feel like I may NEVER teach again. They didn't mean to sound negative. They didn't know that they were playing into the 100 insecurities that I have about moving out there, and my professional happiness being a huge one. However, I am not concerned because I already know that having my own classroom is not an option this school year. That gives me an entire year to explore and research what I need to do to get a teaching job for the next year.

And finally, I had this feeling like I might be standing out as a midwesterner in Philadelphia. Not that this is a bad thing, but I just had this feeling. It was confirmed when my waiter at a diner said, "You're not American, are you?"

I replied, "Um...Yes, I am American. Why?"

He said, "Well, you don't sound American and you don't look American. You look and sound like you could be from Sweden or Denmark."

Hmmm....I thought for sure he would say Canada since I do come from North Dakota and that is a lot like Canada.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Airports Bring Out the Worst in People

I am still in Philadelphia, yet I felt some blogger's guilt not posting for a few days.

Let me tell you about my first adventure. Not really an adventure, but more a glimpse into the self-absorbed nature of the air traveler. I've said it before on this blog and I'll say it again, people are at their worst at airports.

They lose all manners their parents once taught them. They lose all sense of empathy for others. They completely disregard tact and good natured kindness.

I am not saying that ALL people are like this, but it is inevitable that you run across at least one or two. That is exactly what happened to me more than once, but I will share my favorite.

The flight from Des Moines to Minneapolis was very average. However, I really needed to use the restroom after the flight. I stood up just to stretch my legs as we were waiting to leave the plane. A family behind me started pushing me into the woman in front of me. I let them get by and the woman in front of my turns around and snaps, "We usually wait and get off by rows. I have a plane to catch, you know?!"

Join the club, lady.

So, I said to her, "I was being pushed into you, not being pushy." Then, I sat down and told Tim what she had said to me.

Then, rude lady in front of me says to me, "I am sorry that I sounded snappy, but I have a plane to catch."

Join the club, lady.

I replied, "Yeah, you already told me that."

Then, she tried to redeem herself by helping a young mother with her bags. Whatever. She just added to my opinion of people at airports and planes.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

A Step Closer...

I am leaving for Philadelphia tomorrow. We are on our way to look for our new home.

I was watching the third season of my favorite show, Six Feet Under, when I heard a bit of cliche wisdom right when I needed it. Ruth, the passive aggressive mother, told her son that life is fleeting. We can't just wait.

With this move, I feel like I am doing something people should do. I am stepping out of my comfort zone and doing something new. There is a lot of uncertainty with this move, but uncertainty has gotten a bad and undeserved reputation. Uncertainty offers risk and challenges. Two things that are often viewed negatively. I see them as my reward for the move.

I was at school today with a friend who needed to grab a few things from her classroom. I saw the 'new teachers'. I thought I would feel regret or sadness, but instead I felt glad. I felt glad for these new teachers and the opportunity they will soon receive.

I am one step closer to being ready for this new chapter.

A New 100 Things

I am considering making a new 100 Things list.

I wrote 100 things about myself last summer, but erased it because I was bored with it.

I think I can do better.

So, today, I will start my 100 Things list. I challenge you to do the same. It is a lot harder than it seems.

It will be something to look forward to on this blog.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Happy 29th Birthday, Tim.


I am baking a chocolate cake of my own for Tim's birthday today!

Tim is 29 today.

He is a simple man. I asked him what he would like to do for his birthday, and he said, "Watch the Cardinals on TV".

I asked him what he would like for supper for his birthday, and he said, "Easy Strognoff".

I asked what he'd like for dessert for his birthday, and he said, "Chocolate cake".

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Happy Birthday, Midwestern Position

Today is the first birthday of my blog.

With such an important occassion, I thought I would link to a few of my favorite/interesting/revealing posts from the past year.

Put on your reading glasses and live in the past with me.

The Midwestern Position's First Year

Weekend

Do you know how long it has been since I have had a weekend to do whatever I would like to do with it?

Answer: At least a month.

Even though I would like to entertain you with escapades and adventures, all I have to show for my weekend is one strawberry-rhubarb pie that I made with loving hands. Most of my weekend was filled with walks, some quality time with my friend Jodi, babysitting for a friend, and bringing casseroles to a friend who just had surgery. Today, don't get too excited...I will wash and vacuum my car.

So, even though it may sound like complaining about a boring weekend, it is my favorite kind of weekend, a relaxing weekend. Maybe I will have more to write about this week as we will be in Philadelphia. Have a great Sunday.

Friday, June 03, 2005

My Golfing Secrets


Today, I start my fifth summer of golf.

I am the worst. Really. I am not just being self-deprecating here. No matter who joins our golfing group and no matter how many times they say my most hopeful of phrases, "This is my first time. I will be bad," they are always better than me.

I am not a competitive person, yet it just sucks to be so bad at something that you enjoy. I actually enjoy golf, yet am a miserable player. I think I like everything that goes along with the game of golf.

Golf is the only game that you don't have to run. You can have Diet Coke while you play the game. It is outside in a beautiful setting. It is a social game. I get to have a nice walk.

So, I am mentally preparing myself for some mild embaressment of hitting the ball onto a completely different fairway. Usually, some retired men in pastel colors just smile or shake their head at me. I smile and wave. Sometimes, I might even throw in a shrug of the shoulders.


I also do a lot of "self-talk". Here is my speech before I hit the ball...I am giving away all of my golfing secrets here.

"Okay, look at the ball. Bend your knees. Nice and easy.
Get under it."


I Love the Internet

I am overwhelmed. I am in the midst of apartment searching via the Internet. A place like Philadelphia has many, many, many apartments. We only have four days to find the perfect apartment.

Perfection might be unattainable.

Before the Internet, how did people do things? I mean, it offers itself up as the best resource for everything. I wouldn't even know where to start looking for an apartment if it weren't for the Internet.

So, today's shout out goes to the Internet.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Not a Handy Girl


Sometimes my drive to DO GOOD, turns into a nasty experience of DOING NOTHING.

Why do I feel the need to sign up to do something or say yes to something I know darn well I have no talent or interest in doing???

Does anyone else have this problem?

Today, I went into Des Moines to volunteer with some co-workers at the Habitat for Humanity project. At first, I thought to myself when saying yes to this event, "Sara, you can do that. You used to help your dad around the house." But my optimism soon transformed itself into low-handyman self-esteem as I helped unload the buckets and buckets of tools.

There were so many red flags that this volunteer experience was not for me. First, the tools that I was unloading were completely alien to me. They were all so sharp and electric. Which made way for another reason I should have stayed in bed. I have a fear of tools. I am not kidding. I even fear the hammer, or more importantly when anyone other than myself is wielding a hammer. What if they don't see me and I get those two teeth in my head. You never know! The final nail in my handyman coffin (get it, nail!), was when the leader of this project began instructing the group on their tasks. It was as if she was speaking a FOREIGN LANGUAGE! I had no idea what a trellis is!

I could go on and on about my misadventures being less than handy, like how before I even hammered one nail, I was stabbed with my own nail in the thigh. Or, how we were worked side by side with women from a local correctional facility and they were forced to wear name tags that said "Violator" with their pictures and names written underneath it. My "violator's" name was Shelby and Shelby liked to tell me about "her man" and whenever Shelby mismeasured something she'd say, "Well, Sara, you have to be precise. Now we have to do it over. Go get that two by four." I was not going to argue with Shelby even though I had yet to be trusted with the tape measure.

I did a lot of standing around today for the simple reason that I am not a handy person and I know that now. I should have known better.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

The Start To the Summer of Fun


Yesterday was the last day of work for me. I thought I would be really emotional, but I wasn't. I think I avoided all the sadness by keeping myself busy. Instead of standing around and talking about how sad I would be when I left my favorite job, we stood around and entertained ourselves with rediculous humor.

First, we had a chair race tournement. We had time trials in the morning and the tournement in the afternoon. I am very proud to say that I made it to the final four. I was the only female among four althetic men. Sadly, I could not compete against the football coach. He smoked me. The afternoon was peppered with packing and final preparations for my empty classroom.

Finally, we met at a co-workers house for snacks and drinks.

Along with some 'ghetto s'mores' (fudge stripped cookies and marshmallows rather than the traditional graham crackers, Hersheys, and marshmallows), we sat around the fire pit and had an excellent time. It is one of those times that makes me wish we could sit till late, late into the evening. However, most were tired from a long day of chair races and packing.

Even though it was an end to something very important to me, my teaching time in Iowa, it is also the beginning to something special...the Summer of Fun. The fire pit was only the beginning.