Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Flower Power

In front of my school, two simple daffodils have blossomed among the wood chips. I really enjoy daffodils. They mean so much. Most people associate tulips with the coming of spring but the daffodil is the big sister to the tulip who shows up a little earlier to make sure it is safe for the tulips to come out.

I think my love of the daffodil developed in the spring of 2003. I had spent the last school year commuting thirty minutes each way from one Iowa town to another. I was never a person who hated the commute, but I would tend to lose time during the commute. I would get into my car and before I knew it, I would be pulling into my parking lot, not realizing where the last thirty minutes had gone.

I realized that I needed some benchmarks along the way home to take note of my time. Or at the very least, an inner dialogue with myself.

"Oh, the horses are out today. Oh, they really like each other today."

"I wish that ice cream shop was open all year round."

"Is that a deer ahead or is that just a really big dog?"

About ten minutes before I reached home, I would drive by this sprawling farm that had the most beautiful driveway. Most people can't appreciate a beautiful driveway, but on each side of the gravel path, daffodils would bloom. At first, it was just a few and in the coming week, the driveway was lined with a stream of yellow. Although the daffodil season was short, the driveway didn't disappoint. After the daffodils, the tulips came. After the tulips, the variety of summer blooms. The driveway became the last benchmark before I would reach home.

The two little daffodils at school did not compare to the huge lot of daffodils that lined that country drive, but it made me think of Iowa, spring, and how life should have little benchmarks to make us remember and think about where we are going.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

A Lesson By Dante

I am finishing The Girls Guide to Hunting and Fishing by Melissa Bank. It is a light read about a woman and her journey in her twenties, where she came from and where she is going. It's the type of book that a person can get through in a few days. It is the type of book that a person can read and not think twice about...with one exception. In the book, a character tries to enlighten the main character by sharing what Dante defines as Hell...

Hell is proximity without intimacy.

Is it just me or is that powerful to anyone else?

If we step back and think about our relationships, how many of us are living in this special type of Hell? Not that I have some deeper insight into the human heart than anyone else, but I certainly have insight into my own process. I can't stand relationships without intimacy. It doesn't fit like a tight high heel shoe doesn't fit. I want to fix it, get intimate, connect until it does fit.

I shared this idea with a few people. They either felt the importance and implications in their own lives or they completely dismissed it. I am not talking about the physical intimacy between two people, but rather, the emotional intimacy between two people. This intimacy can ebb and flow too. I have had relationships where the friendships and feelings are so important and strong that a day doesn't pass without talking or listening to them. Then, with that same friendship, time passes quickly, without a notice that you no longer feel the need to talk things over with him/her.

Maybe the worst kind of Hell is the kind where a person reaches and gives of themselves to have intimacy with a person...friend, family, colleague...and there is no one there who wants to receive it. Is the giver in Hell? Or is that person who refuses the connection?

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Just in Case You Were Wondering...

I like Anne Taintor stuff, Diet Coke, digital cameras, greeting cards, soundtracks, steak, malts with lots of malt powder, taking classes, courdory, notecards, getting my eyebrows waxed, sudoku, mixed CDs, candles, secret hiding spots, small surprises, strawberry jam, chapstick, folky-guitar singer/songwriter music, powerful moments, mojitos, patio parties, getting my back scratched, scratching backs, wedding dances, Hall and Oates, scrapbooking, throwing pottery on a wheel, North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, sitting with Tim on the couch, plain M&Ms, candles, family folklore, Heart of Glass by Blondie, Steak-n-Shake, gardens, chocolatey cereals, scratching things off with coins to see if I won, The Music Man, and open windows.

I don't like flip-flops, sleeveless shirts, big surprises, Oprah, Bill O'Reilly, sunflowers, soft and mushy apples, big dogs, narcissism (ironic, I know), saxophone music, contrived drama, tragedy, laundry, melon, dry skin, stepping on a Lego, tanning beds, holey socks, cilantro, redundancy, excuses, puppets, Extreme Makeover Home Edition, tardiness, television (unless it is in DVD form), Revenge of the Nerd movies, people who ask me when I am going to have a baby, that I don't have enough storage space, losing people, eating my words, commerical radio, people who speak loudly on their cell phones in restaurants, and pancakes.

Friday, March 24, 2006

An Update

1. I traveled to Philadelphia where I unloaded items off a truck for the Kindergarten. We didn't have to pay for any of the items on the truck, but something about it just seemed kind of Sopranos. We were in a less than desirable neighborhood with a fire burning behind the truck, and unloading this truck. I am sure it was all very legal because the school wouldn't be involved in something that wasn't, yet it was surreal.

2. I went to the student center at the college campus where the school is located to get a sandwich this week. Because I am such a klutz, I knocked over the milk for the coffee and it went everywhere. The sandwich maker came from behind the counter and comforted me by saying, "It's okay, Baby. It happens all of the time, Baby. Don't worry for a minute, Baby". I know some people don't like it when people call them Baby, but I do!

3. I sold more stuff on Ebay. I love it. However, in discussion about my new Ebay obsession, a friend at work told me that a friend of hers once sold used make-up on Ebay. Gross. And someone actually bought it!

4. Tonight, I will scrap with my friend Courtney, enjoy Margaritas, and watch Villanova play basketball. Go Nova!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006


I had a delicious lunch today. I had left over taco salad. I was enjoying my lunch when I looked at my plate and realized something quite odd when one is enjoying a taco salad. There was not a piece of lettuce or greenery on my plate. Can this really be a salad if it lacks one of the main ingredients that make a salad a salad?

I think this depends on who you ask . If you asked my grandma, she'd say that a salad could be as simple as some green jello with carrots or if you ask one of my former co-workers in Iowa, they'd tell you a delicious salad can be as simple as some Kool-Whip, marshmallows, some fruit cocktail, and some crushed cookies on top. It's called Cookie Salad. Of course. I thought this was great growing up because we could have dessert as a salad. My aunt Sandy would make a jello salad with mandarin oranges or bananas. I loved it.

Growing up, taco salad was one of my favorite things that my mom would make. It would start with some crushed Dorito chips rather than lettuce. Top the Doritos with seasoned ground beef mixed with some kidney beans. Add shredded cheese and just for color, add some iceberg lettuce.

Not until my high school years did I even know that there were any other kinds of lettuce except for the iceberg variety. Now, I can enjoy spinach salad, Caesar salad, romaine, dandelion, and most other varieties. However, I still love a non-salad salad.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Going Postal

I really believe that my life is being taped for some amusing television show about a near thirtysomething who flounders through her daily duties and runs into mayhem at every task. I never see these things happening to other people when I am out and about in the world.

For example, I entered the post office and there was a line of six people. I didn't have to pay for postage because it was all set to go. I decided that I was going to place my package into the big, blue postal box. I walked over to it, looked at my box, looked at the blue door to postal freedom, and realized that my box would not fit. Without even a second passing by, the large (and let me add LOUD) man behind the counter started yelling,

"Ma'am! Ma'AM!! MA'AM!!!"

By the third MA'AM, I knew that he was screaming at me. I slowly turned around and he explained (and let me add, LOUDLY) that I needed to place my box on the counter because that blue box is only for letters. It was one of those situations where everyone in the post office was staring at me, a few with smiles. A few shaking their heads because I was taking up their postal time.

I walked up to the counter, head hung low for my shame was deep. As I walked toward the door, an elderly woman said,

"That will teach you."

I wish I was kidding, but I am glad she did because it makes my life so much funnier than if she would have said nothing. I smiled at her and agreed, lesson learned.

Monday, March 20, 2006

But You Already Knew That...

1. My husband: is a funny guy.

2. Never in my life: have I received a speeding ticket.

3. When I was five: I had three boyfriends.

4. High School is: a time to figure out who a fourth of you have the rest of your life to figure out who the other three-quarters are.

5. My parents are: a model to follow on how to have a happy and long marriage.

6. I once met: a five year old who knew all of his states, capitals, nations, and capitals. Impressive.

7. There's this girl I know who: swears like a sailor.

8. Once, at a bar: I danced on the bar in a 1980's pink bridesmaid dress.

9. Last night: I watched the raunchy documentary The Aristocrats with Tim. He thought it was great. I thought it was kind of gross.

10. Next time I go to church: will probably be a wedding or a funeral.

11. When I turn my head left, I see: a map of the Napa Valley which I purchased and framed after our first trip.

12. When I turn my head right, I see: Tim trying to write his notes for Computational Chemistry, but he is getting distracted by Star Trek, The Next Generation.

13. How many days until my birthday?: 179

14. If I was a character written by Shakespeare I'd be: surprised...I don't know my Shakespeare very well.

15. By this time next year: I will be in my thirties.

16. A better name for me would be: Sarah

17. I have a hard time understanding: Algebra and why people don't respond to emails.

18. If I ever go back to school I: will study educational administration or computers.

19. You know I like you if: I call you.

20. If I won an award, the first person I'd thank would be: my parents.

21. Take my advice: Stop taking a hands off approach to life. It doesn't just happen to you. You make it happen to you.

22. My ideal breakfast is: A McDonald's sausage, egg, and cheese McMuffin

23. If you visit my hometown: You'll probably be cold and/or watch some hockey.

24. Why won't someone: Invent a lotion that will actually hydrate my uber-dry skin.

25. If you spend the night at my house: You'll be well fed.

26. I'd stop my wedding: If I didn't want to spend every day for the rest of my life with Tim...but I do, so I am married to Tim!

27. The world could do without: Cilantro.

28. I'd rather lick the belly of a cockroach than: hear someone clip their fingernails.

29. Paper clips are more useful than: Oprah.

30. If I do anything well, it is: Bake.

31. And by the way: I didn't have much to write about tonight, so I did this completely narcissistic theme.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Knock It Off, Hollywood

Is NOTHING sacred?

I am sure that I have fumed about this Hollywood nonsense before, but why can't they leave well enough alone? Have they not learned lessons from Bewitched, Dukes of Hazard, and Beverly Hillbillies? I cannot believe that they are considering making DALLAS into a full feature movie. The names they are tossing around make it even worse because that J. Lo is ranked number two as my least favorite celebrity type and they think she can do justice to Sue Ellen. To think of it???

My fond memories of DALLAS range from sitting in our living room with my parents only understanding a quarter of what was actually happening on the television set. I didn't understand that Sue Ellen was a drunk and I didn't understand that JR was actually a total ass, but instead, I thought he was fantastic. He had that fun accent and wore those huge hats. Sue Ellen was beautiful and she had a lot of big hair. I liked that.

And even at the young age that I started viewing DALLAS I knew that Bobby was the handsome one. He had that big hair too that I enjoyed so much.

DALLAS had a bit of a renaissance for me during my junior year of college. TNT started airing the reruns every night and in order. I started watching this show again and would become very upset if I missed it. Tim and I would watch this show with his roommate, Josh. After the show, Tim would leave Josh and me to discuss the finer points of the evening's episode. We loved it like it was the first time. We could finally understand all the innuendo and smut that DALLAS had to offer, not just big haired Texans.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Mixin' It Up

Mandy over at Angel Flying offered a holiday mixed CD during the holiday season. Well, I am going to take that idea and run with it. I am in the process of creating a CD for the readers of The Midwestern Position. You should be rewarded for reading The Midwestern Position!

I am not sure who or what will be on this mix, but it will represent a nice mix of songs that matter to me for some reason or the other. All you have to do to get this mix is email me at and it will be yours. I will not stalk you or send you junk mail. Unless you want me to.

So, who's in?

We All Have Our Favorites

Why do we have favorites? After spending money on matching dishes, we always find a mug that doesn't match, doesn't fit. Usually, this mug has some touristy flavor to it or says something about you. In my case, I have a tie for favorite mug. The runner up is a rainbow painted mug that was given to me by a favorite chum, Jodi. I like this mug for sentimental reasons, but I also love it because it holds a lot of whatever I happen to be drinking. It is the quantity, not the quality. The quality is terrific, but it just holds so much stuff!

My favorite mug was given to me by a student. She had been my student for two years. She knew me pretty well in my professional role. She gave this mug to me for Christmas and was so proud of herself when she gave it to me. It said, "I'm In Charge Here". She cracked up laughing when she gave it to me. She said, "Isn't that funny? It's so true." Then, she just walked away. She was right. True and funny. I would be quite sad if Tim dropped this mug on the floor and broke it. I would be sad because I would not have that mug to remind me of that young girl. If it broke, would I still be in charge? Probably.

I have always had propensity for ranking items in my life from mugs to meats. I just like to line things up that way. I like to give them the rank that they deserve in my esteem. I used to have this sorority t-shirt that was my absolute favorite to wear for pajamas. It had fish on it and it was tie-dyed. Let me just say, that tie-dyed shirts are the best sleeping shirts. They are all stretched out and soft. This shirt now has some paint on it and has acquired a few holes, but I still love it. It still remains number one in the ranking of favorite t-shirts with my 1999 Newman Center Bike Race t-shirt a close second.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


Some relationships start with a drop and you know it will never end. As affairs go, my passion for coffee seems to have a very on and off again status. We spend time together in a very intense fashion…trying all sorts of new adventures. Latte. Cappuccinoo. Mochas. Black. Then, we decide to see other people…a cold fountain pop or a refreshing Mojito. Then, I always come back to a favorite coffee house or a simple Dunkin Doughnuts Hazelnut.

A friend of mine decided at age 35 that he would ‘give coffee a try’. Usually, people get hooked on coffee in their college years for the caffeine or the social aspect that coffee offers during those years when we all had time to have coffee for hours and hours. So, not being versed in the variety of coffees and ways to ingest nectar of the addicted, he went to a Starbucks and tried an Espresso.


That is like the crack of coffee. He should have started out with a mild Latte or Cappucino whereas that would be like the weed of the coffee world. Of course, he was turned off of coffee for probably another fifteen years. I wish I was there to help him choose a delicious treat with some whip cream or vanilla flavoring. Coffee can be good or it can be bad. But usually, it is good. I think a budding coffee drinker needs to be mentored into the brew club with the ease and gentleness that only an addict can offer.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

8 Simple Truths

Truth #1
There is only one day in the purchase of a bunch of bananas when the bananas are perfectly ripe. The banana is yellow with only a few brown marks of ripeness.

Truth #2
Just because everyone else seems to think Radiohead is the greatest band from the last 15 years doesn't mean that I have to believe this.

Truth #3
No matter how long you have known a friend and how well you know this friend, she/he will surprise you.

Truth #4
No matter how lone you have known a friend and how well you know this friend, she/he will disappoint you.

Truth #5
The minute you realize that you need a haircut, it is the moment you also realize that you have no time for a haircut for at least one week, leaving you with a horrid head of hair.

Truth #6
Just because everyone else seems to think Barry Manilow is far from the greatest man in music doesn't mean that I have to believe this.

Truth #7
Some people can't see the forest through the trees.

Truth #8
Some people use cliches and rarely understand their full meanings.

Book Talk

I shocked my friend Jodi the other day. She was reading a book that I had agreed that I would read too. It was an easy read and I had no reason not to complete this book, but I simply abandoned the book for a variety of reasons. The main reason is that I found no connection to my own life in this book. I am not going to go into the title or justification behind this abandonment, but I just gave up. I couldn't get through it.

I guess, I am a quitter.

On the other hand, I am reading A Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion. This was a gift from my friend Amy. I love that Amy and I have gotten into this lovely habit of regifting books to each other. Isn't that such a great idea? Some people get attached to their books, but the more I love a book, the more likely I am to give away...usually to Amy. These books have been serious in nature like A Year of Magical Thinking to fascinating like Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer. I think I gave her a ridiculous book of short stories once that had very little depth or meaning. She gave me my first David Sedaris book. She once bought me a book as we walked down a street in Philadelphia at a stoop sale.

I am at the point now where I have no business buying any new books. I have so many books that have remained unread. I am trying to decide between Pride and Prejudice since I just saw the new movie, but that might be a little ambitious. I just lose interest in classics, especially ones that I have seen a movie or heard the story. I will have to decide soon since I have a chapter or two left in the Didion book.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Time for an Update

Let me give you a quick update...

I Made Coin on Ebay!
Seems that someone in California did want to buy my stuff. I made a nice profit of $15 on my first Ebay sale. I am rather proud of myself for this latest venture into entrepreneurship. It has inspired me to sell again, but bids are not coming in quickly. This is actually one of my favorite sets of stamps and I will be sad if it doesn't do well for sentimental reasons. It's listed on the sidebar.

Kindergarten Frenzy!
I attended a kindergarten conference on Monday and Tuesday. I have been visiting a number of private schools in the area for observations. I have been meeting with a number of people to discuss kindergarten. These are all important and mentally draining. It inspires me to teach. I am so excited to have these little folks in my life.

Balmy in the East!
Today, it was 70 degrees. Can you believe that? It was fantastic. I walked home from work and was reminded of the months when I first moved here and would walk to and from work. The smells were the same. The sights were the same. I saw people walking up and down Lancaster Avenue coming in and out of the pubs. I saw lots of puppies and dogs on leashes. Although the sounds, sights, and smells were the same as August, I am not the same as I was in August. I am doing so well. I wasn't so well in August. I was so Iowa sick...I can't claim it as home sick since Iowa was not home either. I had gotten used to missing home (North Dakota), but I had to get used to missing Iowa. I still miss it, but I have started to build a life here in PA. Today was one of those days that I really liked where I live.

Blog Promise
I promise to update more often. I love my blog.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006


How can a person be so tired and so motivated in the same minute? I don't know the answer, but I know the feeling.

I have just finished two full days of kindergarten workshops so I am full of new teaching ideas. But, I am exhausted from driving and thinking and talking and listening and doing. I came home and started organizing and planning. Yes, kindergarten is far off, but I like to be prepared.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Stitched Up

Yesterday morning, Tim and I were waking up. He looked at me and asked, "Where did you get that scar on your arm?"

I was surprised that he did not already know the answer. I wish that I had a story of sandbox building gone amuck or some run in with a ferocious cat, but instead, it was a discolored mole that I had removed when I was a child.

As a child, you hear stories about stitches and broken arms and some part of me wanted stitches and broken bones like everyone else seemed to have. They'd have stories of falling off jungle gyms or broken glass. I had two little stitches for a lousy mole. I told him the story and he nodded and that was the end of the conversation.

What was wrong with me that I coveted stitches and broken bones. They seemed so glamorous to me. The rush to the hospital. The doctor. The cast. The crutches...ohhh...the crutches were my favorite. The classmates' names on the cast. The cut off cast to display in your bedroom for years to come. I had none of that. I was able to survive childhood without a single broken bone and only a few stitches.

The one piece of medical fuss happened in my friend Shelly's front yard. I was lying on the ground for some reason. All the kids from the neighborhood were in her front yard playing a favorite game, CHASE. I am not quite sure why I would be laying down, but I am sure it was for theatrical effect. Unfortunately, Robbie, a neighbor boy, knocked a bike down on top of my little head. It wasn't long until the blood was rushing from my head. I don't remember if I walked home alone or if a friend brought me, but I remember my mom and her two sisters crowding around me trying to see the wound. There was a lot of blood so they agreed that I was to go to the Emergency Room.

This was my chance. My dramatic medical story that I could share for years to come.

I remember two things from my time in the emergency room. The doctor could guess my favorite food of the time...macaroni and cheese. I thought this man was a genius. I couldn't believe it. Now, in my old age, I see that every eight year old's favorite food is macaroni and cheese. I also remember the disappointment I felt when I heard that I would only be receiving two stitches.

Two stitches.

It hardly seemed worth it. I wanted to return to the neighborhood with a story to tell about my 41 stitches. Maybe one of those bags with clear liquid.

As an adult, I am thankful for my unbroken bones and unstitched skin. I like to think that it is because of my graceful nature and common sense that I made it through childhood in one piece.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Buy My Stuff

I finally started selling on EBAY! I decided that I could do this and see what happens. I only have one item listed on EBAY, but I wanted to start small and see what kind of response I would get. This might shock some people out there, but I am trying to sell my rubber stamps. I have realized that I no longer rubber stamp as a craft or hobby. They take up a lot of space in my little apartment.

I had some good times with my rubber stamps, but it is time to share the love with my EBAY buyers. I hope someone wants to buy this set. I hope people want some well-loved stamps. I am a little nervous about this venture.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

All Aboard

Although I love coffee and almost everything coffee related, I have not jumped on the fast moving CHAI TRAIN. Everyone loves CHAI. CHAI this. CHAI that. I just don't dig it. Maybe CHAI is for the coffee faint of heart...people who can't handle the hard stuff. The wine cooler of the coffee world.

Now, don't confuse the CHAI TRAIN with the beloved BIG TRAIN that I only get to enjoy when I am in Grand Forks. It is something that my mom and I love to do. We drive over to the coffee hut in the strip mall parking lot, give our requests, and drive away with our frozen coffee goodness.

Maybe CHAI would be okay if I could try it when I didn't have so many other delicious options. Why would I order a CHAI when I could order a mocha, a latte, or a cafe au lait? Maybe if someone bought it for me? Anyone? Anyone? However, I encourage the CHAI because it is the beverage that most people drink if they are non-coffee people and they will go to the coffee shop with me and no longer spout, "I don't like coffee. I'm not getting anything." Just get the CHAI.

For now, I will let everyone drink the CHAI like it is going out of style and I'll drink the lonely coffee.