Sunday, December 31, 2006

A Year in Review

Battlestar Galactica
Some might say that I am a television snob. Some might say that I am a television junky. I guess both would be right. When I find something I really like, I watch a lot of it. With so many good shows coming to an end (Arrested Development, Six Feet Under, Sopranos), I am pleased that there is no end in sight for BSG.

Buffalo Chicken Cheese Steak
Okay, people. This is a very special sandwich. I know that most people reserve the term 'special' for events like recitals and people like life-long friends, but it is no exaggeration for this sandwich. The chicken is diced very thin and served on a fresh and soft hoagie bun. The best part is getting the blue cheese dressing on the side. My favorite BCCS is served at a hole-in-the-way shop called Campus Corner near Villanova University. I'll take you there when you visit, but will have to lay off the BCCS with my new healthy lifestyle. This special sandwich will be for special occasions only.

New Jersey Transit
Most people would not put anything from New Jersey on their list, but I am a big fan. I am no longer a Chinatown bus traveler. I have found a more relaxed way to travel to New York City. With only a few transfers, I can arrive at Penn Station in just a few hours.

A Day Late Song Discoveries
It usually takes me anywhere from a month to twenty years to fall in love with music. Take the fetching Shakira for example. She has been around for several years, but it wasn't until this summer when I developed a slight obsession with her. Then, there is Joni Mitchell. Why did it take me so long to discover her greatness? I have always been a fan of the super-smooth Al Green, but I heard "Take Me To the River" by Al and I thought I was going to go crazy! Simply fantastic!

Writing For Me
I just took about an hour to reread some of the posts that I have written over the past year. I give myself a hard time for writing garbage sometimes, but when I reread some things, I feel good. I am so glad that I took some moments to revere what is going on in my life, from simple to the most complex. I just reread what I wrote after losing my friend Mike. I am so glad I wrote it. I am so glad I read it. This blog is as big a part of my life as my morning coffee or my phone calls home to my parents. It is important to me because it reminds me of where I came from and filled with hope for where I seem to be going.

Friday, December 29, 2006

The Big Question

I am not sure what I thought I would learn from my boycott of McDonald's in 2006. More than anything, I wanted to see if I could do it. It was simple enough. This is how I achieved such a lofty goal, my friends...

Just don't go there.
Don't stop.
Don't crave.
If you crave, replace it with something else.
Share this challenge with others.
Recognize that it is unhealthy on many levels.

When I stopped to reflect upon these strategies for anti-McDonalds success, I realized that these are strategies for a real, more frustrating part of my life. If I can apply these ideas to a fast-growing McDonalds habit, can I apply them to an all around healthy lifestyle of eating?

Just to see if I can do it?

People thought the McDonalds goal was silly at first. Just another quirky thing that Sara is doing, yet I think it was a baby step for what I am going to achieve in 2007. Over the past few days, I have developed what I believe will be a plan for success with my own health. Let me tell you about since one of my strategies is to share the challenge with others.

I have started using Sparkspeople which is an online support site that has message boards, recipes, food tracking, exercise tracking, goal setting, and more. I want to use Sparkspeople just as I use Blogger, my news sites, and email. The second piece of my success in 2007 goal is working as a team. Tim has decided that he would like to live a healthier lifestyle too. I can't tell you how much this helps. We can keep each other in check. Not let each other make excuses.

There is more to my plan, but it is boring and you probably know what it takes to be healthy. This is the weird thing about me. It isn't the pants size that motivates me or how I will look in the mirror. The biggest motivating factor is just like with McDonalds...Can I do this?

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Card Givin'

People have strong opinions about a lot of things.

Bacon vs. Sausage
Hardwood floors vs. laminate
Sugar vs. Splenda
Starbucks vs. Dunkin' Doughnuts
Authentic vs. Knock-offs
Capitalism vs. Communism

Okay, that last one was a bit dramatic, but you get my point. I realized after the third or fourth complaint that people also have a strong opinion about Christmas cards too. This was the first year in six years of marriage that Tim and I have not sent a photo and/or newsletter of some sort. Instead, I bought what I believed to be lovely holiday greeting cards, wrote a message in each card, and sent it with great care and thought.

I thought that I could get away with it since Tim and I rarely change in a physical sense and not much happened this year. True, we bought our first home, but that is about it. Then, there is the blog. I thought that people had more than enough information about me at their fingertips if they really wanted to know the dirty details of my life. I even throw a picture or two on the blog.

It didn't matter what I thought, people want a picture or letter. More than one person shared their annoyance that I had left out the letter and/or picture this year. I am not going to sweat it because I rarely sweat anything. I don't begrudge the ones who want the photo or newsletter. They just want it for their keepsakes and all. They want to put us up on the fridge next to the other babies and families. This year, we are there in spirit alone.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas, Chums!



Top Reasons to Love Christmas

  1. The Baked Goods-From a very early age, it was the one day that you could eat anything you wanted. The baked goods table was set up with fudge, caramels, cookies, brownies, and candies galore. There were no parents standing guard or reminding you of the tummy ache these tasty treats might induce. Instead, the treats were yours for the taking. I was reminded of this childhood indulgence when I observed my little cousin, Ian, eating what must have been his fourth brownie in less than an hour. All the grown ups just sat and watched and smiled.
  2. Christmas Eve Church Service-Where I might be a bit of a heathen the rest of the year, Christmas Eve is the night where I go into the church and sing my heart out. I know all of the words. I know some of the harmonies. I even love the pre-teen soloists that have gotten up the nerve to almost sing in tune before the service. The candlelight service never loses its edge with a beautiful rendition of "Silent Night, Holy Night".
  3. Giving to Others-I love to find or make the perfect gift for others. I may strive for perfection, but it is rarely achieved. I would like to think that I have a 80% perfection rate when it comes to the perfect gift. I like to sit and watch them open each gift. It doesn't even have to be from me. I like it when anyone opens any gift. I like to see the surprise and pleasure they get. Even gift cards have the potential to be the perfect gift because I can see people's anticipation of choosing something just for themselves.

Friday, December 22, 2006

"Naddafinga!"


I am not sure if this is a true memory or a memory that I have made up along the way as I was constructing my own little version of my childhood. Nonetheless, it is as real to me as the nose on Rudolph's face.
I had to have been about seven years old when I first saw the movie A Christmas Story. It was at the theater with my friend Shelly and if that day was like many others, I am sure our brothers were a few rows behind us.
I knew at the time that I didn't 'get' all of the movie, but I still thought it was funny. As years went on and I would watch this holiday classic each year, I thought it was funnier and funnier.
Even the commercials that lead up to the 24 hours of A Christmas Story on TBS are hilarious to me. I love the it all. I love when Ralphie says "Fudge". I love when the old man loses his turkey to the dreaded Bumpuses's dogs, and my favorite part during the whole movie is when Ralphie beats up Farkus stringing together expletives like a pro.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Culture Shock

I have lived away from North Dakota for about five years now. Each winter when I return home for either Thanksgiving or Christmas, I rarely notice the unique culture that exists in this little nook of the country. However, this is the first time that I have had a small dose of culture shock as I return to my cold, friendly, and laid back hometown.

At the grocery store this morning, I pulled up at 8AM. In Philadelphia, this would be a mental death wish because people would be getting all the things that they need for their morning meetings, like coffee and muffins. It would be a pretty busy place. However, the grocery store is calm and quiet. Just a few elderly people pushing their carts, eyeing the baked goods in the famous bakery. As I carry my bags to the car that I had locked out of habit, I see at least three cars that are running without any people in them. Each of them runs a good chance of being unlocked too. This would NEVER happen in Philly.

I was driving down what is Grand Forks's busiest road when I realized that there was no need for me to drive so aggressively. There wasn't any traffic although it was about 9 AM. Later in the day as I drove my mom to Starbucks, I merged between two cars. She scolded me to "squeezing in", but it is my natural way of driving now. Here in North Dakota, one puts on their signal for a long while, waits until there is at least room for four cars, and then slowly merges. Who can blame me? I have had to adapt to a new way of driving in Philly.

Don't get me wrong. I love North Dakota. I also really enjoy Philadelphia. There is something about this calm, kind, and relaxed way of life that I am thankful that I get to enjoy at least once a year. I am sure that there will be more moments during my week here, but for now, I will just adapt.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Donut Lovin'

I am the type of person that falls into good and mostly bad habits at a quick pace. Two is the number of times that I will do something and suddenly it is a habit. It is a good thing that I stayed away from naughty stuff in my adolescence and beyond because I could be a different person than the semi-functioning adult you see before you today!

My newest and not-surprising habit is a stop at the Dunkin' Doughnuts before work each morning. This might sound familiar to you since I have given plenty of shout outs to DD on the blog, but trust me, this is different. Each morning, before I even open the DD doors, the DD woman has my hazelnut with cream and sugar ready and on the counter. She is very friendly and I appreciate this gesture with a tip in her cup.

On Saturday morning, the same scenario played out, but I also ordered a breakfast sandwich for my train ride. She handed me the coffee, the breakfast sandwich, but an extra bag too! I look inside and it is a glazed donut.

"For me?"

The DD woman nods and tells me to have a good day. I was blown away by this fried and glazed gesture. People don't just do this in Philadelphia so I will add this to my "Reasons I Dig Philadelphia" list.

NYC For the Weekend


I feel quite accomplished this weekend. I took the train to New York City to visit my friend. She lives in Brooklyn so I also took the subway with one transfer to see her. She gave me the directions, but I managed it all on my own. I think now that I did it on my own, I can do it anytime.

I will never take the Chinatown bus again. This was so much more relaxed.

We checked out the Rockefeller Christmas Tree. The tree was spectacular, but the illuminated snowflakes that fell from the Rockefeller Center behind the tree added the magical touch. Shopping in midtown Manhattan was the busiest outing I have ever seen. We walked in baby steps as we checked out the window displays. It was chaotic.

One cannot forget the food when NYC is in conversation. We ate at Mama's in the Village. home style Soul Food. I wished for my camera as I sat down with my fried chicken and mashed potatoes.

It was the perfect weekend to get me ready for two more days of teaching and then, HOLIDAY BREAK!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

PO'ed

It takes a lot to piss me off, but some jerk on the phone really did a number on me tonight.

So, we've been receiving calls for a man named John since moving to our new house and our new number. I always politely say, "I am sorry. You have the wrong number. No one by that name lives here." This usually works. But! There is one guy who keeps calling. Tonight, as I told him my line, he replied with "Well, I will try back later."

I tried to stop him and tell him, "No, don't try back later because he will still not live here," but he hung up. So, I called him back with the caller ID number. He basically told me that he is going to keep calling until I can prove or the phone company can prove that John doesn't live here. I said, "That is harassment."

He said it wasn't illegal which makes me think that he is a bill collector or something to know that it is not illegal. So, I said, "Well, if I need to call the phone company like you said and tell them that we are the only people living at this number, then, I will not expect anymore phone calls from you otherwise it is harassment."

I cannot tell you how mean and assholey this guy was. He was terrible. He kept putting words in my mouth. He would not identify his company or his name. What is up with that? Any ideas?

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Where Have All the Barbies Gone


Kids grow up so fast these days.

I was sitting at a table with a few of my kindergarteners when one of the girls asked, "Miss Sara, what did you like to play with when you were little?" The answer is a simple one. Barbies. Barbies. Barbies. A few paper dolls thrown in as long as they were Barbie brand.

The five year old that asked the question just looked at me and said, "I am too old for Barbies." What?? I am almost positive that I played with Barbies long after I should have been playing with Barbies, maybe 12 or 13. How can a five year old be too old for Barbies? I bet I could sit down and play a proper round of Barbie.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

A Crazy Kind of Love

There is an exception to every rule. Even for a person like me who is a big believer in rules.

Along with Gloria Estefan, Def Leppard, and others, Mariah Carey is not allowed on my beloved ipod. Heck, they are not allowed anywhere I am currently in control of the radio/television/ipod.

However, I have this one little guilty pleasure at Christmas time. I love that song that Mariah Carey sings, "All I Want For Christmas is You". I think it has to do with the fact that it is sung on one of my favorite holiday movies Love Actually.

That's okay, right? I can hate on something all year through and break the lovin' out during the warm and fuzzy holiday time. Something that would be repulsive to me during any other drive time karaoke session can hold some enchanting ability to make me sing and bounce back and forth in my car without shame. And it is exactly that. I have no shame. I know something like five people in the whole state of Pennsylvania so I am never embaressed when some guy looks over at me while I am doing my best Mariah screech.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Nigella Crush

Over a year ago, I wrote about the concept of having a GIRL CRUSH. Calm down, boys. It is nothing more than being completely infatuated with another girl who has something quite special to offer the world. Scarlette Johanson, Doris Day, and Anne of Green Gables are just a few of my past girl crushes.

I am happy to add the fantastic Nigella Lawson to that list. I knew this woman existed, but I recently watched her cooking show on food network, Nigella Feasts, and I am totally enamoured with Miss Nigella. I love how she loves food! I love food! I love how she is not a stick figure, but instead she is curvy and so classic. Everything she makes looks so good. I also love how she has her children in her kitchen.

Usually, I like anyone who loves food as much as I do.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Coffee Mishap

I am not sure why I keep making the same mistakes. Not that I have ever given birth, but I think my life is kind of like that...you forget what it was like so you go and do it again.

For example, let's take Starbucks. I haven't gone to a Starbucks since this summer when I was without my beloved Dunkin' Doughnuts in the midwest. Besides the high prices for their drug, their coffee is never hot enough for me. When I am in a routine with Starbucks, I always remember to ask for "extra hot". Tonight, after a bitterly cold shopping trip to some outdoor stores, I stopped off at a Starbucks for a peppermint mocha, perfect for the holidays. I was so overwhelmed by all the options of coffee treats and crap that they were selling that I forgot to say "extra hot". Bummer. I got into my car and brought the cup to my lips for a moment of grand disappointment. I couldn't wait to get home and warm it up in the microwave.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Light Up My Life

The Philadelphia folks do it up right with their Christmas lights. In my new neighborhood, I am just a few houses away from what can only be a Griswold inspired light display. Not only that, but Tim and I are making plans for next to visit Longwood Gardens and walk through their light display with coffee (me) and hot cocoa (Tim) in hand. I guess they decorate the lights of the garden and it is something quite special.

Something occurred to me tonight. I was driving through a very upscale neighborhood when I realized that every house looked like it was right out of a Lexus add. You know what I am talking about...huge mansions with amazing, perfectly placed white lights.

Something else occurred to me too. These are not the type of people that get up on the ladders and spend hours placing each white light in the perfect location to make their homes appear more festive than the next. They hire this type of work out. I am not sure what I like better. The garish displays in my neighborhoods that regular folks spent many Saturdays perfecting or the obviously tasteful and swanky white light displays. I will say this...I do not like the blowup decorations. I like lights. I don't the plastic nativity scene that lights up. I like wreaths on fences and candle lights in windows. Let's keep it simple, people.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Moment of Zen


This isn't the first time that I have had a musical beef with that Jessica Simpson. Remember when she covered "These Boots Are Made For Walking"? Terrible. That is one of my top five karaoke songs. Now, NOW! she takes it upon herself to honor the busty one, the lyrical one, the humble one...Miss Dolly Parton! This video says it all. Don't worry, you won't be dumber for watching it. I tested it for you.

Car Thoughts


I was driving down the road this afternoon and the relationship issue of burning bridges kept flowing through my mind. I am always amazed at how easy it is to mess up a relationship. On the other hand, some relationships can weather many storms.

I sometimes wonder if people know and appreciate the harm they do by doing nothing. By doing nothing, a person can basically injure a relationship through the ever-powerful tool of apathy. Can a bridge be burned through detachment? Or does it deteriorate through simple neglect?

Just some thoughts today.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Things That Never, NEVER Get Old For Me

  1. Soft serve ice cream.
  2. Taking pictures with my camera.
  3. Rapping to Biggie in my car.
  4. Saturday Night Live skits involving, but not limited to, Will Farrell, Bill Murray, Bill Clinton impersonations, Bob Dole/Real World, and Mike Myers.
  5. Fantasizing 'bout having long, shiny hair.
  6. Plaid.
  7. Longing for the central time zone.
  8. The Philadelphia accent.
  9. Wedding dances.
  10. My email when it says NEW MAIL!
  11. Waterslides and roller coasters
  12. The Nutcracker Ballet

Oh, Snap

Well, I think the cold snap has begun in Philadelphia.

Today was the first day that my toes were very cold during recess. I think circulation gets worse with age. I recall standing out in the North Dakota recesses when I was required to send the children out unless it was 32 degrees BELOW zero and my feet didn't get so cold so fast. Maybe I have lost my North Dakota edge that I wear on my sleeve. Whatever the case, I am going to buy some boots. I need to buy some cute boots, not ugly ones. I won't wear ugly boots. However, they have to be warm too. A challenge.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Home Sweet Home

Before
This is a photo of our living room as we viewed it when we put an offer on the house. Enjoy the baby blue walls and peach trim.





After
This is the living room after we painted it HUMBLE GOLD and white for the trim. Of course, our stuff is in the living room now. We are currently on the hunt for a picture or something to go above the fireplace. I am also a little home decor challenged so I am stumped with what should go under the tall white shelf above the book shelf. Any suggestions? The doors leading to the three season porch are still taped and ready for painting, but for now, they remain peach because it is too cold and I will end up painting them shut. I am also looking for suggestions for drape colors. See the window by the steps? I am not sure what color I should use there.

Check out some more pictures of this room. I will add some photos of the dining room once I have done a little more work to it. I am not sure if I need anything above the television center. What do you think?

One thing that I noticed as we put things away with this move, our stuff seems smaller. We've always had little apartments with very little wall space. Our wall decorations seem so small, like they are trying hard to fill a big space.

Holidays Are Here Again!

Saddest Christmas Song: I'll Be Home for Christmas

It is such a tease of a song. "Please have snow and mistletoe and presents on the tree". What is the point of all of that if you are there "only in my dreams"? Although it is a bummer of a song, it is also one of my favorites. I have stumbled upon a version sung by the group HEM. Beautiful. Check it out on itunes.

Funniest Christmas Song: You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch


I am not sure when this ditty became a holiday classic, but it is great. I was driving yesterday and getting my curse on when this song came over the radio. I couldn't help but be amused. It is more than a song, it is all the times that I watched this cartoon as a child and enjoyed it each season. With lyrics such as " You're a foul one, Mr. Grinch. You're a nasty, wasty skunk. Your heart is full of unwashed socks. Your soul is full of gunk," you have to enjoy it for it's eight year old humor.

Favorite Christmas Ritual: Decorating the Tree

We have this little Charlie Brown Tree that has followed us from apartment to apartment. Each Christmas, I receive more ornaments from students and the little Charlie Brown tree greets them with open branches. Now that we have a larger space for our tree, we just can't seem to get rid of it. It is perfect for us. No mess, no fuss. This is actually an activity that I do by myself. As a child, I always decorated the tree with my dad. We both loved pulling out the ornaments each year and pressing the buttons to hear the music or carefully placing each memory on the tree. Now, with my own ornaments, I like to remember the child, friend, or family member who gave me each ornament.

Favorite Gift to Receive: Christmas Cards!

I love going to the mail each day in December (sometimes into January) and receiving a pile of red and green envelopes filled with photos and greetings. People are so clever with their letters and updates. Although I know what most of my family and friends are up to on a daily basis, I still love to get the photos. For the past two years, I have scrapbooked the Christmas photos and I can look back and see how the children and families have grown. Although we do not have children, we still send out a photo each year. I usually do a letter too with our favorites from the year, but this year, just a card and a photo.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Movie Night

Tonight, we will watch Spinal Tap. I hope it isn't like Blazing Saddles. Everyone thinks it is great and I couldn't stand it. People always have a list of favorite movies, but I can never think of any. Sure, I like The Godfather and Good Fellas a whole bunch, but other than that, I am usually stumped. So, after much consideration, I am adding two more movies to my list. This might surprise some people but I am adding Elf and Something's Gotta Give. I love both of these movies. Both clever and laugh out loud funny.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Irreplaceable

I kind of think that I am like most people. Most people have favorite things. Attachments that are hard to let go or leave behind. It seems so superficial to love something that can be replaced. When I am trying to convince myself that I can replace these beloved "things", I find myself convinced that they are irreplaceable.

My mother made me an orange, twin sized quilt when I was a small child. It has brown yarn tied throughout the blanket. There is a slight tear in the right corner of the quilt. The stuffing is barely there and the blanket is made up of mostly two pieces of worn cloth stitched together on all sides. My orange, twin sized quilt is one of my most prized possessions. It is a comfort to me when I am sick. It is what I reach for when I need warmth. I have been toying with the idea of storing my quilt to ensure that it is forever with me. My mother even gave me a replacement quilt that she had made for her bed. It is orange and made of the same material, but it isn't quite the same. It isn't worn in all the right places. I don't see myself giving my orange, twin sized quilt up to the vacuum sealing bags just yet.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Adult Thoughts...and Not the Dirty Kind

Do you ever have moments when you say to yourself, "I can't believe I am a grown up." Being grown up has lots of advantages, but I can name several disadvantages. First, grown ups have to clean their own bathrooms. I hate cleaning the bathroom, but as soon as I publish this little post, I am going to be scrubbing a toilet and floor. How glamorous.

Grown ups also have to pick up milk on the way home from work and if you forget because you are too busy jamming to "All Through the Night" by Cindy Lauper, you have to get in your car and get the stinkin' milk anyway.

Being a grown up means that most things are planned out for you. There are few surprises in my day. Surprises usually come in the form of a phone call from a friend or a boogery nose at kindergarten...theirs, not mine.

Budging Update

For all those that are curious, I was midwestern nice with the elderly budger. I said nothing. I let it go. I like to pride myself on my decency for decorum and respect in a season of lost etiquette.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

What Would Sara Do?

Waiting in line at Kohl's today, an elderly woman started to make small talk with me. She pulled her cart up behind me and started in about the lines. I just smiled and nodded my head. It was like any small talk session, but I felt her cart creeping in on me. The line curved a little and as we approached the curve, Granny took this as her opportunity to BUDGE in front of me.

I know this was a strategy rather than early onset dementia. So, I had a choice. Call this budging, old person out on her rude shopping behavior and run the chance of her shaming me for not respecting my elders. OR I could ignore this lapse in etiquette and wait for her turn rather than mine. What do you think I did?

Monday, November 27, 2006

New Music

It is no mystery that I have a slight obsession with Cat Stevens. I have so many adolescent memories wrapped up in Cat's melodies and lyrics. Why a child of the late 80's and 90's would connect with this 70's folk god is also a great mystery, but it all started with "Peace Train" as I listened to the oldies station. It was followed up with the Cat Steven's tape that I never returned to a friend because I truly believed that I loved it more. Still have it. In my car.

So, you can imagine my joy now that Cat has a new CD out. He is no longer Cat, but instead, Yusuf Islam. All I can say is that I love Yusuf! My favorite song on the new CD is "Heaven/Where True Love Goes". I don't think the whole CD is fantastic, but most of it is amazing. Now, if you are into the Nickelbacky/EMO rock, you won't dig on Yusuf. If you love Cat, you'll love Yusuf.

At Last

Finally! My home is complete because I FINALLY have internet. I have some serious updating to do on this blog, online Christmas shopping to do, and writing quality emails to chums. All I want to do is belly up to the computer and spend a ton of time on the computer. Does this make me a huge nerd? I think so.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Stupid Verizon

They may not know it, but I am in a HUGE fight with Verizon. For four days in a row, they have stood us up. They were supposed to come to the house and hook me up with some sweet internet, but they let me down. I am a little bitter that I am no longer updating the blog, checking email with gusto, and reading the news like I am capable of. Up yours, Verizon.

On the otherhand, we got so much accomplished this weekend. The dining room is painted, boxes are unpacked, and we were able to enjoy some much needed TV time. Our TV wasn't turned on until Sunday night so we bought Scrubs, Season Four and we are lovin' it!

So, with luck and little anger, I hope that Verizon will pull it together and get over to my 'hood and hook me up.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Shorty

I am without internet at my new house. We've waited for three days for Verizon to get it right. They are quite forgetful and will say they are coming and then, they don't. Oops.

I do not like being without internet AND cable. I need to be informed somehow and yet, I am surviving on the radio time I get driving to and from work.

I have so much to say on the blog regarding my house, my life, Thanksgiving, and more, yet I do not have the proper internet time to construct worthy posts.

So, for today, this will have to suffice.

Top Five Stressful Things In My Life
1. Painting is a tedious task that has to be done.
2. I miss my old grocery store.
3. The hardware store is fast becoming the replacement for the craft store and I don't like it one bit.
4. I am making a Thanksgiving meal on Thursday and I haven't bought one ingredient.
5. Painting is a tedious task that has to be done.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Home

Whoa. I haven't posted since Tuesday! I hope I still have readers out there.

Basically, I have been busy with moving and school stuff. School stuff is boring so let me tell you all about my adventures in home owning.

First of all, I think I have a knack for handy work. Just this morning, I finished painting the banister, taped the dining room so I can paint this week, and hung a mirror. To most home owners, this seems simple, but again, we are not handy people. Along with my feats of handiness this morning, Tim and I hung three sets of blinds (one in the mudroom and two in the bathroom), raked the leaves, changed light plates, put together a bed, unpacked all the boxes, and cleaned some of the hardwood floors. Things are really coming together.

I anticipate in one week you will be feasting your eyes on photos of my handiwork. I don't want to post them until the rooms are completed.

It seemed very appropriate that last night we chilled out on the couch, ate macaroni and cheese, and watched Battlestar Galactica. When we can do that, we must be feeling like it is home.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Votin'


I voted in my third state today.

The very first time that I voted, I was 18 years old and couldn't wait to be part of this beautiful democratic system. My polling place just happen to be my high school so I voted and then, had a delicious breakfast bagel at the high school deli.

I have had other memorable voting experiences besides the first time. I remember the year that Bill Clinton ran against Bob Dole. I was living with my college roommate who was/is a strong Republican. She would sport Bob Dole pins and stickers like it was going out of style. I encouraged this type of enthusiasm because it is better than apathy. Maybe it was easy to take since there was no way that Bob Dole would beat Bill Clinton. The man needs Kryptonite to bring him down.

Today was special for many reasons but the most important of all is that I might be part of Rick Santorum's undoing. It could be special because of the elderly man that kept telling the polling ladies that his name was Forrest Gump and he really wouldn't come clean about his real name. Or at least when I was there.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Paint It Like You Own It

I have been saying for years that Tim and I are not handy people, but I think I might have been wrong. It was just that we were never put into a place to be handy. All this changed this weekend as we started our first home improvement project.

Like many couples, we have assumed certain roles in our marriage. I have always been the person to do the leg work leading up to any task or job that we do together. This was no exception. After two trips to the Home Depot and the Sherwin Williams store, I had gathered the items needed to paint our living room walls, trim, french doors, and fireplace mantle. After school on Friday, I started taping the walls. I was almost finished with Tim arrived and suggested that we get started painting the first coat even though the plan was to start on Saturday morning. I am so glad we did because it was a longer job than I even anticipated.

Decked out in my favorite long-sleeve t-shirt, one the I usually reserve for days when I am sick and need something comforting, and Tim in rolled up jeans for reasons I am still unsure of, we entered into what might be our most ambitious team effort of our marriage. Our weekends for the first six years of our marriage have been spent sleeping in, coffee on the outside, long drives, and doing really whatever we want. Those days are over now that we are homeowners, or at least, until the house is up to my aesthetic standards.

For everything that we love about the house that we just bought, there are still a few things that need immediate change. The peach trim and baby blue walls were job numero uno on that list! It just wouldn't work with our warm colored furnishings and I just could not do it. So, we/I settled on Humble Gold.

I was a bit frantic as it was applied because I didn't want a sunshine yellow, but rather, a warm mustardy gold. It wasn't until the white trim was painted that I started to realize that I had made the right choice. These photos were the product of Saturday's work. We worked all day today and are left with two walls and the banister that need a second coat of white trim and the touch up work.

I'll be sure to post the final product once we are all moved in and the tape is removed. Check out the peach trim. Sometimes all you can do is just shake your head in wonder.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Big Day

We are closing on our house today. Big day. I have to say that it is more stressful than joyous at this point. Once we get the keys in our hands, we'll be thrilled but until then, we will sign until we get hand cramps.

We've waited a long time for this day. We've watched all of our friends and families buy their first homes while we have moved from apartment to apartment. There are so many exciting things going through my head, but the one clear idea that stands out is the idea of warmth. I know that our home will be warm and inviting. It will be a sanctuary for us where we can leave in the morning and return to at night.

My excitement has translated even into the mundane duties that homeowners have. I can't wait until the spring when I can mow the yard and trim the landscaping. It is tempting to buy more than one color of paint because my mind is already planning out each room. Although it will cost money, I am even excited to have a tree removed that is crowding the house.

The house has given me a new role other than friend, daughter, wife, teacher. I am now a handy person. That is easier said than done, but I think I have a handy woman laying dormant inside of me. I couldn't have spent so much time with my father and not learned a thing or two about fixing and putting together.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Never.

When I first started teaching, I knew this woman who loved to say, "Never say never". She was always referring to her delinquent sons, but in this case, I am referring to my list of nevers. This is a hard thing to think about because I would like to consider myself a person who takes risks and would enjoy doing many things in life. I thought, "Oh, plastic surgery," but then, I remembered that I have one thing I would get work done on...I am not telling.

So, here is my list. I would never...
  1. Eat bugs on purpose.
  2. Go on a reality television show even if I had a good shot at winning.
  3. Go to a Gloria Estefan concert.
  4. Be a republican.
  5. Put on fake nails.
  6. Use a tanning bed.
  7. Skip a meal.
  8. Go to a psychic. I used to think it was interesting but now I just think it is self-absorbed.
  9. Skip Christmas.
  10. Water ski. I tried it and it scared/scarred me.
  11. Be a published author.
Those are just a few.

Carry This

We are surrounded by cardboard. As I write this, I can't actually see Tim sitting across the room because his chair is behind a pile of moving boxes.

We close on Thursday. This is a big week for us. Both of us have busy weeks at school and then, we are buying this house. In the next two weeks, we will paint the living room, move our boxes, have some men move our furniture, and make it our new home.

This will be the fourth time in five years of moving for us. We are experts with the move. I can pack up our little apartment in no time. I think I have about five more boxes to go.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

How About 25 Cents?

I went to my first flea market today. It was put on by my school as a fundraiser. It might have been that everything was for a good cause, but the prices were cheap. I noticed that there were two types of flea market shoppers. First, there were the experts. They had rubber gloves on as they rummaged through the treasures. They haggled prices even though things ranged from 25 cents to three dollars. Then, there were people like me. I walked around thinking, "Hey, that is nice. Ooo..that is cute." I never really felt the need to buy anything. Just look.

I looked until the rugs caught my eye. I am moving into a house that has hardwood floors throughout. I am in the market for rugs. I rolled out two of them and settled on the ten dollar geometric rug. It wasn't one that I would pay more than ten dollars for, but it will be perfect in the guestroom until I find one that I prefer.

I am not sure I am going to start going to flea markets every weekend, but it was a fun morning.

At Last

Finally. I am so glad that the St. Louis Cardinals won the World Series last night. Not so much because I am a baseball fan, but because I am a Tim fan. He has been a diehard fan since he was a child. He is a true sports fan. He has the right mix of hatred for rivals and hope for a championship. After an embarrassing loss in the World Series two years ago, he was vindicated last night with the Cardinals' first championship since 1982.

Now, we just need the Vikings to win the Super Bowl, but I won't hold my breath.

Friday, October 27, 2006

UGH

I think I might be a quitter. I have been doing this healthy lifestyle thing with my eating, but I am a quitter when it comes to my working out. I was on a kick when I wasn't teaching, but I am so dog tired after wrangling five year olds all day. This is a hindrance for my goal to do RAGBRAI next summer. I am currently in no shape to bike across Iowa. Man, I make myself mad sometimes.

I need to get on the bike/treadmill/weights and quit making excuses. I have maintained a 16 pound weight loss since August, but I haven't lost any extra weight and I need to in order to do Ragbrai. I annoy myself.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Thanks, Joni

Every once in awhile, something blows my mind. Tonight, I heard "Case of You" by Joni Mitchell. How does a folky/acoustic/lyric lovin' music lover get to thirty years old and never have heard this charm of a song? Mind blowing.

I am not kidding. I bet I have listened to "Case of You" about 20 times tonight as I work on my lesson plans. The same thing happened with "Woodstock" when I heard it on Six Feet Under and thought, "I have to have this song." I love that Joni Mitchell can shake me up.

Although this is the clear winner tonight of recent downloads, the following come in as close runner-ups...

  • Take Me to the River by Al Green
  • Bell Bottom Blues by Eric Clapton
  • Rock the Casbah by The Clash
  • Freedom '90 by George Michael
  • Blue Monday by New Order
I love having my mind blown. Any suggestions that you can give me? I am looking for songs and artists that it is a clear shame that I haven't heard or embraced.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Pet Peeve #1

I can't stand it when people are late. If you know me at all and have spent anytime with me while we are waiting for someone, you know that tardiness makes me go crazy. Out of all rude behaviors, this one lack of manners is the worst.

I know people who are late don't really think about the people that are waiting, but what blows me away is that most people that are late DON'T EVEN APOLOGIZE! Some even come in acting annoyed that the people who are waiting are annoyed. I don't get that.

It is my opinion that when people are late, it means that their time is more valuable than mine. I know this a 'chip on my shoulder' view, but it's my pet peeve.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Swiss Farms

In Pennsylvania, they have Swiss Farm. Swiss Farm is a drive up grocery. Can you believe it?! I hit a new lazy low. I have been curious for some time to check out the Swiss Farm, but was nervous that I didn't know what to do...like when you order a cheesesteak in south Philly and have to get the wording just right "whiz with". But, I just took my chances. As I pulled up, a nice girl came out of the little building and asked what I wanted. I didn't really need anything so I said, "I'd like some ice tea, orange juice, and bacon."

I am such a nerd.

She returned with my groceries. Basically, you can't get EVERYTHING at the Swiss Farm, but you can get a lot of junk food, a lot of beverages, and a lot of basics. I will add Swiss Farm to my list of things I like about Pennsylvania.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Recipe of the Month: Pumpkin Bundt Cake

I've got this thing for pumpkin. I love it. I love to eat almost anything made with pumpkin. I think it is one part nostalgia, one part pumpkin spice passion, and one part comfort food.
My favorite ways to eat pumpkin food is TCBY pumpkin frozen yogurt, pumpkin squares, pumpkin pie, and pumpkin bundt cake.

So, today, I made pumpkin bundt cake, a recipe that I picked up in my first years of teaching in North Dakota. I have fond memories of making this treat for my book club when I lived there. I remember passing the recipe on to my Grandma Maxine. Now, I am passing it onto you. It is simps'. It tastes great with some whipped cream and mixed nuts sprinkled on it for crunch.

Pumpkin Bundt Cake
1 (18.25 ounce) package yellow cake mix
1 (3.4 ounce) package instant butterscotch pudding mix
4 eggs
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup canned pumpkin
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup Whipped cream

In a large mixing bowl, combine the first seven ingredients. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds; beat on medium for 4 minutes. Pour into a greased and floured 10-in. fluted tube pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 50-55 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 15 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Serve with whipped cream if desired.

Greatest

WXPN, the local public radio station, is again doing its fall countdown. Last year, it was the 885 best albums of all time. This year, the 885 greatest artists of all time. It doesn't matter your musical taste, you will be represented on this list. Well, unless you are the Hillary Duff-lovin' type person. If not, then you can check out the list and see if your favorites are on the list. It is also a great resource when you are trying to make your next musical selection on itunes.

Friday, October 20, 2006

A Prediction of Sorts

My weekend is less than glamorous. I have boxes to pack. I have an apartment to clean. That is about it. I suppose Tim and I will take some sort of side adventure.

Oh, wait! I do know the highlight of the weekend! We are going to pick out paint for our living room in our house. We have a few weeks before we close, but I want to have that ready because we are painting the entire weekend that we close before we have to move all of our furniture moved it.

Oh, wait! I am finally going to get my Pennsylvania driver's license. Maybe I was holding out hope or something, but I think it is time since I have been living in the state for over a year. However, I moved three years ago from one apartment in Iowa to another and never got a new one.

Oh wait! I am going to talk Tim into going to the Reading Terminal Market tomorrow. He doesn't know it yet. I am craving some yummy baked goods that can only be found there.

I guess I will have a great weekend.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Kindergarten Feats of Strength


I carved three pumpkins in one half hour with nine kindergarteners...that is 3o minutes, yo.

The kids named them Sugar, Boo, and Rex.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Wintersong


I felt the Christmas spirit welling up in me this weekend as I purchased two Christmas songs from itunes. I have no shame when it comes to my VERY early enthusiasm for the holidays. However, I have Halloween to thank for my newest Christmas CD.

I was on the hunt for a little book called It's Pumpkin Time tonight. I went to Borders and I was out of luck. I stopped by the 2 for 3 table to see if I needed anything. I almost bought The Tender Bar, but thought to put it on the Christmas list...see...already thinking about Christmas. Then, Sarah McLachlan caught my eye as she was all a glow on her new CD cover. I had it in my hand and almost bought it at Borders, but decided that I would pick it up later.

I had to go to Barnes and Noble to see if I could find that darn It's Pumpkin Time. I found it along with ten other copies and rejoiced a little in the kids section. I think I might have even hugged the book. I was so happy in fact that I went in search of that new Sarah McLachlan CD. I decided to celebrate finding It's Pumpkin Time with a little Christmas time.

Now, I do have a small list of artists that I love EVERYTHING they do. She is in the top three. This might have been the perfect combination of Christmas spirit and favorite artist. I made a mistake a few years back when I purchased the James Taylor Christmas album and it was a bust. That mistake was to be repeated (don't laugh) when I bought the Kenny Loggin Christmas CD. I love Kenny but was not impressed with how Kenny did Christmas.

I am currently on track 7 and loving it. I like the cover of Joni Mitchell's "River" and look forward to hearing the entire album. Granted, it is no Burl Ives, but Christmas music could always use a new twist along with the classics.

Monday, October 16, 2006

What a Deer

One of my biggest fears is to hit a deer when I am driving. Living in North Dakota and Iowa, this was always a possibility if we traveled outside the city. I thought my fears would be alleviated now that I live in an urban area.

Not so.

It was dark and I saw something cross the road as I was driving. I thought to myself, "Man, that is a big dog". Then, I realized that dogs are not that big and they aren't that fast. It was a deer in the middle of the suburbs.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Karaoke-Yeats Style


Last night was not just any old karaoke night with friends. It was magic. Karaoke magic!

***Cue "The Final Countdown" by Europe***

Well, if it wasn't magic than it was definitely a fantastic set of coincidences. First of all, karaoke wasn't in the initial plans for Courtney's return to Philadelphia, but this brilliant plan evolved from several pints of beer, the glare of the roast beef heat lamp on the bar at Yeats, and the karaoke fantasies of three people. Courtney, Stephen, and I spent Friday evening belly up to the bar and joked about what songs would be karaoke favorites. As this continued, it became apparent that we would all be returning to Yeats for the Saturday night karaoke.

Along with the company, this evening was unique because neither Stephen or Courtney had sung karaoke. This poses a special challenge of choosing the perfect first song. I gave them my usual speech about not being selfish and by choosing something by Creed and we all agreed Creed is always a bad idea in all contexts. I warned of fast lyrics and repeating lyrics like the dreaded "Suspicious Minds".

Stephen and Courtney did not disappoint. Stephen sang "Just Like Heaven" by The Cure and Courtney sang "Midnight Train to Georgia" by Gladys Knight and the Pips. Like most karaoke bars, the crowd was supportive and always cheered for each song no matter how out of tune or ambitious it might be. Besides Courtney and Stephen losing their karaoke virginity last night, the other singers were entertaining. From the suited man who crooned "On the Wings of Love" by Jeffery Osborne to the middle ager who had a near perfect Cat Stevens voice, the evening did not disappoint.

As each singer chose his/her songs, we were amazed at the choices. It seemed that almost every song that was sung had been discussed the night before as potential hits. Not just the usual suspects like "Son of a Preacher Man", but obscure ones like "Paradise By The Dashboard Light" by the Loafed One. I now believe that Stephen has some karaoke psychic abilities because of the coincidences between Friday's predictions and what was actually sung.

I think Courtney and Stephen are hooked as they should be.

Our French Dining Experience

I always wonder as I am walking the streets of downtown Philadelphia why I wait so long between visits. I am never disappointed with the people watching, consumer adventures, and culinary delights that await me surrounding Rittenhouse Square. Saturday was no exception.

My friend Courtney came to visit all the way from West Virginia. In the tenure of our friendship, we've prided ourselves on the new experiences in and surrounding Philadelphia. As hunger set in and that lone street vendor hot dog wore off, we searched for a delicious, yet reasonably priced cafe for lunch. The Caribou Cafe happened to be at the right place at the right time for us. We could have enjoyed the outdoor seating, but decided on a quieter dining experience.

I had no idea, but I guess brunch goes through four o'clock on Saturday because we were only offered a brunch menu. I am always okay with breakfast foods at anytime of the day so we ordered on. I tried to give Courtney a brief French lesson, but it didn't stick as she ordered a VERY flavorful seafood gratin and I had the quiche of the day. Although it was a French restaurant and the menu was in French, the fare tasted like any other tasty brunch.

As ever, I am pleased to add on more Philadelphia restaurant under my belt, around my belt, and usually over my belt. I think I would love to go to The Caribou Cafe in the spring and enjoy the outdoor seating.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Another Pointless Post

I have been thinking about a few things...
  • I wonder if you can start to like something that you have disliked for as long as you can remember. For example, I have never NEVER liked the 80's band Journey. I know that is offending if not down right sacrilegious to Journey lovers, but there was something I didn't like. The other day, I was driving and "Faithfully" from Journey came on my ipod because it was on a mixed CD that a friend gave me. I didn't flip to the next song. Instead, I sang along in a big, Steve Perry/Journey-lovin' way
  • I am trying something new. I am trying to see how cheap I can live. That might not work this weekend since I am hanging with a friend in Philly, but outside of the weekend, it's my new thing.
  • I don't like cliche advice or thoughts like when the Rolling Stones say, "You can't always get what you want, but you get what you need. Ah, yea". It just annoys people. It isn't what they need.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Just the Facts

Here's what is going on...
  • I think 30 Rock is a pretty funny show.
  • I am reading a biography on Betty Crocker and she didn't even really exist.
  • I really like John Mayer's new CD (and it has nothing to do with my dreams)!
  • I have started planning our Thanksgiving meal because it will be the first time that we will be making a turkey. People tell me that it is easy.
  • I bought some moving boxes on ebay.
  • Not much is going on this week.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Move Along

I think there is something wrong with me. Today is a warm 70 something degrees in the middle of October and I am annoyed. Most people would love the warm weather to stick around as long as it could. Not me. Maybe it is from my North Dakota upbringing that I am ready for winter coats in October, but I am ready to say "WRAP IT UP, Yo" to summer.

I like jeans, thick socks, hooded sweatshirts that are far too old, and puffy vests...ohhhh...puffy vests. I like when my morning coffee warms me up and not just wakes me up. I like the smell of crunchy leaves around five o'clock in the evening. I can't get into my apple and pumpkin lovin' when the weather is this warm. Doesn't Mother Nature get it...it is time to move on.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Gettin' Lucky

Last night, I was at the local pharmacy store CVS. I was standing at the photo center making copies of old photos of my family. It takes a little while to print these photos so I took it upon myself to people watch.

I live in a community where there are over five colleges and universities so there are always young adults milling about. Last night at the CVS was no exception. As I waited for my photos, three separate men walked up to the counter to buy condoms. I was left thinking two things...first, good for them. They are being responsible. But the stronger thought was this...

Do people really get that lucky?

I have been accused of being naive for most of my life. There have been multiple times in my teens, twenties, and now my thirties where everyone else 'gets it' and I am left clueless. Maybe this is one of those times. I just remember when I was 19 years old and it didn't even occur to me that this would be one of my 'tools' for a fun Saturday night. All I needed was a case of Busch Light (hey, I lived in North Dakota), my pals Reddog and Amanda, and a few bucks in my pocket for a late night Taco Bell run. Then again, I am not a dude. Maybe this is just wishful thinking.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Watch This


I guess the lesson here is...Never say never.

I am married to a fan of the Sci Fi genre of television, movies, and books. I have endured six years of 'dilithium crystals' on Star Trek and 'wookies' on Star Wars and during all of these hours, I rarely understand what is going on. It is as if they are speaking another language during most of the dialogue.

Along with the BBC's The Office and Arrested Development, my friend Amy has suggested the television show Battlestar Galactica. I assured her that I am not the friend of sci fi. She knew this so she told me that there are human stories and quality character development in this show.

Before placing Battlestar Galactica into my Netflix queue, I downloaded a free preview on itunes and watched it. It was FANTASTIC! I could hardly wait to get the mini series to see the rest. I am not the only non-sci fi watching that is watching sci fi these days. This article sums that all up. So, never say never.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

North Dakota and Don't Forget It

Every so often, I am called out on my accent here on the east coast. I think I have a generic midwestern accent, but through the thick Philly elocution of the english language, I am at times called out as a 'foreigner'. See...if you have not spent the last 20 years in the Philadelphia area, you will never be "from Philly" so you must be from somewhere else.

After a long conversation with a 'native', I was asked, "Are you from Canada?" She asked it with such enthusiasm like she was going to share a really fantastic tale from the Great White North. I replied that no, I wasn't from Canada, but rather from North Dakota. As I said this, I saw her face sink. This was not as glamorous as maple leafs and hockey. What she didn't know was that, oh yes, North Dakota has hockey.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Kindergarten Wisdom

Kindergartener: So, Miss Sara, what are you going to be for Halloween?

Miss Sara: I was thinking about either a princess or a fairy.

Kindergartener: That is an easy one. Be a princess. You don't want to mess with those wings.

Miss Sara: Really?

Kindergartener: Oh, yes. They are just a pain and not really worth it.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

What's Going On?

I remember when 9-11 happened and it was the first time that I felt that I had to stop watching the news. I am feeling the same right now when I watch the news about the Amish one-room schoolhouse that was part of a terrible and heartbreaking tragedy. I don't even know these people who have lost their little children and I just don't understand this sort of violence against innocence. I can't even begin to imagine the families' pain.

From a teacher's perspective, I know that teacher will feel pain. On a daily basis, you do what needs to be done to keep the children in your classroom out of harm's way, yet someone who needed help found their way into this classroom and took so much. There is no way that any teacher, student, or parent would have thought it would have ended so badly. I am just feeling disturbed tonight.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

John & Me

I have made a habit of emailing my friend Jodi a vivid description of my dreams. I only email her the ones that abide by the following rules:
  1. Illustrates that my subconscious is not only a shallow and ridiculous place to be, but also a fantastic world where celebrity meets the everyday people in my life.
  2. Reveals something about my subconscious that only a pseudo-psychologist friend could respect.
  3. Leaves you with the unnerving but irresistible question, "Why am I friends with this crazy person?" as you shake your head back and forth.
Because most of my friends read this blog on a daily basis, I have decided to cut out the middle man (email) and just post the messed up dream that I had last night.

Check John Mayer gazing past his guitar in the photo that I have posted today. This is how he was looking at me last night in my dream. John Mayer and I were an item and all I could think about in this dream was DON'T MESS THIS UP, SARA! I knew John was only one interaction away from realizing that I was not all that great. We had a relationship that was reminiscent of an eighth grade romance where we might hold hands or talk for hours as we sit on steps. And I just kept thinking DON'T MESS THIS UP, SARA! Keep in mind, I had no thoughts of Tim in this dream. It was as if I had never met him.

Okay, analyze on.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Clock

Darn that inner alarm clock!

From a very early age, I had a bedtime and a wake up time. I have never been a person that fights going to bed, and I have never been a person that has a hard time waking up to an alarm. I guess it helps that I go to bed at 9:30 each night when I am teaching school.

So, after a very long week and a very active day in kindergarten, exhaustion set in around 8PM. It didn't matter that it was Friday night and many thirtysomethings are out and about at local waterholes and restaurants. I had found a very comfy spot on the couch. By 9:15, I was off to bed. I was ready to cuddle up in my blankets and turn off the alarm clock so that I could sleep in on a Saturday morning.

This was not meant to be. My inner alarm clock wanted me to get up at 6AM just like the weekdays. When I can't fall asleep, I try to think of the color black but even that little trick failed me this morning. I was up at 6AM on a Saturday morning and I don't even have kids. The only up side to this is that I got a lot done today.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Friday!

This has been my first official busy week since probably April 2005. I have neglected most parts of my life that fall out of the realm of professional duties. With a long weekend approaching, I plan to busy myself with a lot of nothing. I will have no plans because those are great weekends. A little lunch on Saturday with Tim. Some football watching on Sunday. And Yom Kippur is on Monday so I have that day off of school! Maybe a weekend will bring something worthy of blog mention.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Things I Want To Do...

  1. Ride a mechanical bull. I know this can sometimes look ridiculous and kind of slutty, but I think it looks very fun.
  2. Find a reasonable airline ticket to North Dakota.
  3. Buy new bed sheets that are really, really soft.
  4. Listen to Christmas music even though it is September. It starts sooner and sooner each year for me. I am going to fight the urge as long as I can.
  5. Write an interesting blog entry and not bore myself.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Where Have All the Bills Gone

I dig Bill Clinton, always have. When I listen to him speak, he inspires me. He is genuine. He cares. I wish I could vote for him again. I know there are people who can't forgive him for the poor decisions he made in his personal life, but I can.

Here he is, after serving eight years as President, and he has created the Clinton Global Initiative. Are there any other former Presidents who have done this much when their tenure is over? This weekend, Richard Branson pledged 3 Billion dollars to the Clinton Global Initiative to help develop renewable energy and fight global warming. This is just a small piece of what Bill Clinton is doing with his time. With his Global Initiative, he is working to solve global issues affecting the world like poverty, HIV/AIDS, reconciling religious and ethnic conflicts, and improving the lives of people all over the world.

I wonder what George W. Bush will do after 2008?

Saturday, September 23, 2006

100 Days

I am 100 days away from completing my 2006 New Year's Resolution of not eating McDonald's in 2006. For some, this could be an easy goal and for others, they are shocked by such a sacrifice. I am surprised how easy it has been. Can everything we give up be this easy? What if I decided that I was going to give up television for one year? Could I do it? The same principles come with TV. I watch too much of it as I ate too much McDonald's. It is bad for kids just as McDonald's is bad for kids. It is everywhere as McDonald's is.

No. I have sacrificed enough.

I will say that I had two almost failures in these 265 days. I was in Nevada, Iowa with my friends this summer. We had just spent the day at the pool and there was a McDonald's that we passed as we got on the interstate. It was discussed to grab a shake for the road. At that moment, I almost fell off the wagon, but we all decided not to since we were on our way to a great dinner. The other was a simple breakfast sandwich craving. I wanted that darn McMuffin that is laced with some addictive crack-like substance. Instead, I went to Dunkin' Doughnuts and enjoyed their sandwich. Good, not great.

I will need a new goal for 2007, but I might stick with the McDonald's goal too.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Very Funny

I love it when my expectations are met and exceeded.

The Office on NBC tonight was fantastic. Okay, the story was about the outing of a gay co-worker in the office. Of course, Michael had a great deal to do with this since he is socially retarded. At one point, I was laughing out loud and this is a rare thing for me to do over a television show.

Although the NBC version is the tamer of the two versions (the other being the BBC), tonight was reminiscent of the very inappropriate BBC version. Buy this on itunes or watch it on reruns.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

WWKS-What Would Kevin Say



This may sound like an ending to The Wonder Years, but that is the kind of mood I am in.

I went for a walk tonight and I really needed one. I needed to get out and get some perspective and focus. A person needs to reflect on what they can do and what they can't do. I realize that things might annoy me and bother me, but when it comes down to it, I have to let it all roll off my back. There are more important things going on.

Vague and very Wonder Years.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

#2 Covers

As if this photo is not disturbing enough with the feathered woman 1985 hair, but now, in the year 2006, someone is deciding that Richard "Hold Onto the Night" Marx really was a good idea after all.

Check out the turquoise bracelet. Priceless.

Clay Aiken came out with a CD today that is basically a cover CD of really mediocre songs. He starts it off with a mild bang singing "Right Here Waiting" by Mr. Dick Marx. Out of all of the cheesy ballads from the 80's, he picks this one. Come on, Clay. What about "Meet Me Halfway" by Kenny Loggins or something from the super sappy Chicago?

The one exception to the mediocre song choice is "Every time You Go Away" by Paul Young. It still sounds like Clay Aiken doing karaoke, but it is at least a good tune.

Keep in mind, I was a CLAYMATE during his run on American Idol. I even enjoyed his first CD, yet I am annoyed by this. A person should really do something special on their second album because it means you might stay around. Clay did not follow through. I reserve about 10% of my musical capacity for cheesy, pop ballads and I don't think there will be a spot for Clay this time around. It is already filled with Heart's "These Dreams" and "Alone".

Monday, September 18, 2006

It's Over

SPINACH is like that first puppy love who shows you what life can be like only to turn out to be that stinkin' cheating boyfriend.

Being from North Dakota, a salad consisted of Jell-O and marshmallows or a nice iceberg lettuce until I met you, SPINACH. You showed me there was a world outside of Ranch dressing and croutons. Along with your passionate vinaigrette, you showed me that fruit could be part of my salad. I didn't just have to settle for shredded cheddar cheese in my iceberg lettuce, but I could have goat cheese or a tangy Gorgonzola.

But then, you cheated on me and broke my heart. It was at the Genuardi's with that fantastic salad bar. I never wavered from my choice. I was never tempted by the romaine or the iceberg. I was devoted to you, yet you were not loyal. You were even cruel with that horrific food poisoning of September 2005! I thought I could never trust you again!

In time, I started ordering you in the restaurants again. I tried the delicious honey mustard salad with pears at Christopher's. I started to chop you up in my homemade pesto. But then, you had to go and do it again! Her name is E. Coli and it makes us sick! You make us sick! I don't know if I can love you again.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Sunday Morning Thoughts

Yesterday, I felt like I was digging myself out of a pile of things I had been putting off. Terribly boring things like bills, paperwork, letters to be mailed, blah, blah, blah. But after many stamps, many opened envelopes, and checks written, I am caught up. I can re-enter my life without anything hanging over my head for at least one day.

Let me tell you how shallow I am. I have been a bit of a believing heathen in the past few years. I believe yet I don't go to church. Basically, it comes from my severe love for Sunday mornings. You know the type...coffee, political shows, sleeping in, brunch out. However, the time has come (and this is where you see how shallow I am). I am thinking about joining a church because I would like to make some friends and not just with Jesus. I have one person that I hang out with, but she is gone for a few weeks for work. I have great friends, but they happen to be two to seven states away. I guess I am need for proximal friends.

The Lord is not the only one who is trying to find me friends. I am going to a scrapbooking club next Saturday. I found this group through meetup.com. They have several clubs, but this is one where I can go and meet people and if they are not kindred spirits, at least, I can scrap.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Hey! I'm in My Thirties!


My 30th birthday was celebrated in very Sara fashion.

I started the day at Kindergarten where I stumped the children on whose birthday it was. It couldn't occur to them that their teacher actually had a birthday. We did it up right with some cupcakes and frosting made and enjoyed by the Kindergarteners.

I received several cards, presents, and phone calls throughout the week so it really is the birthday that just keeps giving! It is so nice to be thought of on your birthday. Tim and I went to my favorite Thai restaurant where we enjoyed a sampler appetizer platter, spicy noodle, and some basil fried rice. We couldn't eat it all so we have leftovers. Yum.

After dinner, we went to the new Zach Braff movie The Last Kiss. I knew it was about a guy who struggles with having no more surprises after he turns 30. How depressing. I am not of this mindset. The movie was good for several reasons. First, I love a movie that makes people want to talk about it even after it is over. I liked the music throughout the movie. I thought it was a real portrayal of people at the edge of a so-called adulthood. Go see it. Or rent it when it comes out. At the very least, check out the soundtrack.

Friday, September 15, 2006

A 30 Year Old Midwesterner


Why 30 Will Be a Great Year For Me...

I am still thinking big. The idealism of my twenties has just grown and evolved. I am in a place where these idealist ideas can be cultivated because I have the time and resources to explore them. My big ideas for my 30th year are to complete RAGBRAI, create a haven for us in our new home, and start my own business in the scrapbooking world.

My professional life has been reignited with nine little souls that enter into our classroom with their minds, hearts, and hands open and ready to learn. I feel a great task has been placed into my hands to teach these children.

In my 30th year, I have already made plans to build and maintain the relationships in my life. I used to think it was unhealthy how important I place the people in my life, but I've realized over the past year that it is because of my friends and family that I have a very rich life. I will make seeing friends and family a priority. I will never apologize for my exuberance for my relationships. At the end of the day, I know I have shoulders to lean on and I will be a shoulder to lean on.

Each birthday, I take the opportunity to be more self-absorbed than normal so, thanks. Life is good and getting better.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Right Place, Right Song

You might recall when my friend Courtney and I went to a Cuban restaurant in Philadelphia called Alma de Cuba this spring. Ever since that experience, I have been trying to find out the artist and name of the song on their website. I even resorted to emailing them to ask this burning question, yet I heard nothing.

Fast forward to this evening...

Tim and I walked over to Borders to explore a little. Tim picked up the sixth Harry Potter book in paperback. I had no ambition to buy, but I was enjoying the browsing. As we looked, we heard the exact same song overhead as is played on the Alma de Cuba website. I couldn't believe it. I went to the information desk to see the artist, but it was just a track number for a Putumayo Brazilian album. I went to dig in the world music stacks. I was no fool. I knew this was going to be a challenge because the world music section was always a tough one to find anything. I found three different Brazilian Putumayo albums. I took a listen on the listening machines and found it!

I think that is a strange story.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

A New Pod


Dear Shiny Green ipod,
You were my first. You were the one who showed me how much I could love the mix of technology and music. I don't want you to think that we are breaking up. We will still hang out. I'll see you in my car when I listen to you on the road. There will be times when I don't want to bring my new, sleek ipod to the gym. Don't feel like #2. You are always #1 because you were my first. You will never lose your spot on the Midwestern Position's Friday Mix. That was for you and will always be for you. The sleek, new ipod will have other uses than just music. I will store and view my photos on it, watch television and movies on it, and listen to music on it, but remember, you were always the one that shocked the school teachers' lounge with your shiny lime green styling and your new ways. This was long before people knew and appreciated an ipod. You've inspired others to get ipods because I would always say how much I loved you. So, think of the new ipod not as an enemy, but as your new little brother. We are all one big Apple family.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Yada


Why is it that every time I watch Seinfeld, I always see the same episode. It is always the one where Elaine steals the Castanzas' TV Guide, Kramer tries to sell his cigar store Indian, and Jerry is dating the Native American but has difficulty controlling his Native American slurs.

Although I know the show is funny, I more annoyed when I watch it than anything. First of all, George's shallowness drives me crazy. I know that is supposed to be funny, but it just drives me crazy. But there it is. That is what the show is all about shallow nothingness. I only like Jerry and I only sort of tolerate Elaine. But Kramer and George send me over the entertainment edge.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Oddities and More

Quirks. That is what people call idiosyncrasies in their own personalities. Sometimes these quirks should really be categorized as flaws, habits, and/or ignorances, but using the label 'quirk' cleans it up a bit and makes it cute or acceptable.

We all have them. Things that are truths in our lives that might not be understood by everyone who knows us. See, we think we know people, but how well do we know their quirks. I think I know Tim's quirks, but I know there are some still to be discovered. I wonder if Tim knows how much I enjoy the smell of cigar smoke? This is a quirk. Most people are repelled by this aroma. I was driving behind a car today and I could smell it. I almost wanted to follow him as he smoked his stogie in his convertible.

What I appreciate is when people embrace and offer no apologies for their peculiarities. I am sure most people do not enjoy Christmas music or Christmas movies all year long, but I love it. Right now as I write this, I am listening to Elton John's "Step Into Christmas". I enjoyed Will Farrell's "Elf" earlier this week like it was below zero and I was watching for the first time.

I can't wear earrings that actually touch my ears or any other part of my body. They must be hoops or earrings that dangle without touching me. I always have these good intentions with big earrings that have the possibility of touching me, but I take them out before I leave the house because I just can't do it.

I offer up my quirks as a confession and as a call to all to confess. Come clean.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Northern Exposure

Nostalgia is a powerful thing. I know a person who likes anything associated with 1992-1993 because he loved his life during those years. I am not sure if I have years that have a stronger pull than others, but I definitely have 'things' that have that pull.

Today, I watched Season One of Northern Exposure. I watched this show way back when but didn't really appreciate the clever personalities and writing in this show. I think I should also mention that my Hollywood boyfriend, John Corbett, is in this show. This show also makes me crave the wilderness and peace that they show in Alaska, but northern Minnesota would do.