Friday, April 28, 2006

Take a Break, Sara

The world was showing me little and some not-so-little signs that I have been to busy working twelve hour days over the past three days. It all started to catch up with me this morning when I was walking up the steps at school. The school is an old building with beautiful stone steps. I was waving and talking to a student and her parent. I was so busy being social that I completely missed the fact that those stone steps have a huge, protruding stone piece that my sandal caught and sent me flying flat on my face. There I lay. My lunchbag about three feet in front of me. A little five year old standing over me asking, "Are you okay, Sara?" I hop up and say, "Boy, I hope my lunch is okay." The little five year old says, "I hope you are okay."

I spend the day teaching school and head off to Borders for the third night in a row. I was in a great mood. I go up to the information desk to greet some co-workers. They all looked very serious so I said, "Why are you all so serious???" It only took one person to gesture to the woman who was not-so-obvious to me passed out cold. She had two people attending to her while the serious co-workers were calling 911. Because I am self-absorbed, I felt embarrassed that I didn't see the poor lady and I was all chipper. Awkward.

I thought taking a water break later in the night would be nice so I stood at the bubbler. Without anything to distract me, I dropped my cup of water all over the floor and my pants. Nice.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Left Rather Dry of Inspiration

Do you hear that sound?

It is a sort of sucking sound.

It is the sound of all creative juices being sucked out of my brain. I have nothing to write about. More likely, I have no time to write anything worth leaving for the few that stop by my little corner of the internet. I have a week and a day left at Borders and I anticipate a flood of creativity after my soul has been set free from the retail ties that bind me.

Don't abandon me.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Six Feet Under, Again

I stayed up until 1:45 AM last night because I lack all self-control when it comes to watching one of my favorite television shows Six Feet Under. I had discs two through four and enjoyed them. Because I have to know the ending of movies, books, and shows, I had read the episode guides online. I knew what was going to happen. Something sad happens. I won't ruin it for you, but I found myself on the couch crying buckets.

I usually do not cry at movies or television shows, but this was particularly sad. I always find it amazing how a character that doesn't really exist can get a person unglued. For example, I was sad for David who is a character in the show. He doesn't exist, yet there I sit, crying with that throat thing. The throat thing where you think your throat is going to explode because you are holding in your tears. I think it is because David could be anyone or everyone.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

See Ya, Borders

My retail life is coming to an end. I have put in my two week notice at Borders. I thought about working through May, but I don't want to. I am lucky to have a sugar daddy named Tim so that I can quit this job. I still have my preschool job and my kindergarten job on the horizon. Because I like lists, I will list what I got out of my stint at Borders...

1. Lots of free music. With my love of the semi-obscure music scene, I was able to obtain several promo CDs. I will listen to almost anything. I came home with everything from the soundtrack to Brokeback Mountain to Genesis Ultimate Platinum Collection. All together, I think I acquired over 15 CDs. On one day alone, I came home with six CDs.

2. An appreciation for all things retail. I was never a rude person before I worked at Borders, but now, I understand the plight of the retail worker. Just believe me when I tell you this...they are doing their best. They want you to be happy. I am sorry that I cannot read the customer's mind or have every single movie ever flimed on hand. I understand that retail workers are people too. They always appreciate a kind gesture rather than a huff and a puff, "FINE!" if they can't find the item you are looking for.

3. A few chums. Although I would catagorize most of my collegues at Borders as near-to-insane, I will catagorize a select few as clever, insightful, and creative. I like to hang out with just those types of people.

4. A good discount. I will miss the 33% off music and books, but I will have my Borders Rewards coupons which are almost just as good. By the way, if you haven't joined and you frequent Borders, you should get a free Borders Rewards card. I did get quite good at pimping the Borders Rewards when I was behind the register.

5. Jeans with faded knees. I never knew this would happen to me. All of my jeans have faded knees because I am always bending down to shelve a DVD, find a book, or search underneath CD racks for some obscure Rod Stewart CD that a customer might just die without. This is a good excuse to go shopping for new jeans.

6. A minor in psychology. Like earlier stated, most of the people that I worked with at Borders suffer from some sort of personality disorder. I was able to observe and diagnosis a narcassitic disorder. Not one, but several people suffered from this disorder with no hope on the horizon for recovery. That might sound harsh, but I can assure you, completely true.

7. An all together better sense of what is out there in books, music, and movies. I loved shelving because I was able to see the new things that came into the store. I was able to check out the back of movies and books and add them to my mental list of things that I want to experience.

Thanks Borders.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

BBQ Burns Brain Cells

I rarely find myself in a setting where I have absolutely no idea what is going on. Last night was one of those exceptions.

I went to Famous Dave's Restaurant. The food, drink, and company were fantastic. I ordered ribs, potato salad, and a tea. Courtney accompanied my to this midwest favorite. Tim missed out because he was working late on a project. At one point in the evening, I got up to use the restrooms. I followed the signs and found two doors. One said POINTERS and the other said SETTERS. I had no idea what this meant. So, I waited for someone to come out of the doors so I would know which was the women's bathroom. I waited and waited and no one came out. Finally, I turned to the waiter who walked past me and I said, "I have no idea what a POINTER or a SETTER is? Is that an animal thing?" Without saying anything, he pointed to the little signs that said WOMEN and MEN above the door.

I felt stupid, but come on!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

A Nice Day

Today is spectacular. A nice 75 degrees. No wind. Not a cloud in the sky.

I couldn't resist but to take myself for a walk around the village of Bryn Mawr. I got ready for the day with my rolled up jeans so they can feel like capris and a comfy, well-loved t-shirt. I put the smart, lime green ipod on and I started my walk. I had tasks to complete within this lovely walk. I needed some hairspray and I needed to mail a package at the post office.

I took the long way. I walked and walked, but I love how Bryn Mawr has benches along the main street to sit and watch all the excitement of the day.

It wasn't until I was standing on the busiest corner, waiting for the walk sign to flash that I had this recurring thought pop into my head, "Man, my life is good." It wasn't the nice day. It wasn't the beautiful spring blossoms. It wasn't even the music playing in my ears. It was the woman standing next to me in nylons, high heeled shoes, navy blue suit, and a pile of papers and folders in her arms that made me realize how cushy my life is. I was on a walk in my home made jean capris, cozy t-shirt, ipod in hand, Diet Coke in bag, and just about to sit on a bench to relax outside. I would hate to have a job where I have to go there wearing a suit and stuck inside all day.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

itune Frenzy

When I get an itunes gift card in my grubby little hands, I follow a certain pattern of behavior. First, I get nostalgic. I find myself drawn to oldies, but goodies. Goodies, of course, is subjective. I am not sure if everyone would consider Boston's "More Than a Feeling" a goodie, but it definitely brings me back to my childhood bedroom where I used to sit on the floor with my cassette tape playin' boom box right next to me as I do my homework.

To my shock and slight embarrassment, I realize that I do not possess the classic by Rick Springfield "Jesse's Girl". How could this be? I have "Love Somebody" and "Human Touch", yet completely missed the wedding dance standard! No worries, downloaded immediately.

No music collection is complete without an addition to an already large Madonna collection. "Vogue"? Check. "Crazy For You"? Check. "Burning Up"? No!!! I do not have "Burning Up"! I must own this little gem.

The Pretenders have become a recent obsession. I think it is the combination of lyric, deep voice of Chrissie Hynde, and momentum that I hear in the insturments behind her voice. Today, I purchased the bass driven "My City Was Gone". AHHHH! Everyone should love this song.

When I finally get the nostalgic that is so deeply connected to music in my mind, I move onto the smaller category of most loved artists. Lyle Lovett always enters my mind when I purchase music. I like to go to his page and see what I need to have in my collection. Today, I purchased "Nobody Knows Me" and "That's Right (You're Not From Texas)". A person doesn't have to love country music to adore Lyle Lovett. He is so talented and his voice is modest, yet beautiful. Of course, I can't mention Lyle Lovett without telling you to listen to my favorite "Private Conversation". If you are to own only one of his songs that would be my recommendation.

Thankfully, I live in Philadelphia where I am graced with the beloved that plays really, really great music. They list their playlists so I can always check out the music that they play and then, stalk those artists on itunes. This leads me to the last step in music buying. Sometimes, the artists are so obscure on wxpn that I cannot find them on itunes. Today, I wanted to purchase Jose Gonzalez's music, but itunes did not have a lot of his music. So, I went for Rufus Wainwright. Right now, I am loving "Hallelujah" by my man Rufus. Just a piano and Rufus. Very nice. Very haunting.

Although nostagia leads several of my itune purchases, I learn about music from the radio and friends. I like to discuss music and artists. If you have some recommendations or comments on my suggestions, I would love to hear them.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Diaper Dish

I guess a woman gets to a certain age when her girlfriends become mothers. The same women that I danced until dawn with and the same women that I slept in tents with when we were only fifteen years old are the same women that now have an unlimited amount of insight on diapers.

I don't exaggerate. On an evening out with my maternal girlfriends, they spent fifteen minutes discussing, and at times, debating Huggies to Luvs to Pampers. I found myself in a rare instance where I have nothing to add to the topic. I just sat there and drank my beer. I didn't think I was being rude. I sat there, looked at the friends having this discussion, and finally, I added, "This cannot go on. Not that I am not interested in diapers, but we can find something else to talk about." They all laughed and agreed that we could find something more to discuss.

I think I might have been rude, but with lifelong friends, I think you can be a little rude. We moved on to other topics, some high brow and most of them low brow.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Check Baby, Check Baby, 1 2 3

I thought I was in a time warp today at the grocery store.

As I was standing in line with the many North Dakotans buying their Easter hams, I saw what appeared to be people with their checkbooks. Yes, these people were taking their time, writing the given amount to pay for their groceries.

I don't think I have written a check in public for about three years. It is either cash or card for me. This transition occured when I realized that in Des Moines and Minneapolis, it was rare to find a restaurant or establishment that would actually take a check.

I think North Dakota might be one of the last places where the check is still accepted. This is not to say that I am mocking North Dakota or their way of doing things. Quite the opposite. I like that in North Dakota your name and your signature still means something. It means that you are good for it. It means that people are honest and really do have money in their accounts. It means that people are not rushed to change simply because technology tells them to. It means that being quick and easy isn't always the right way to do things.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

A Pet For Everyone

My parents have this place in the woods that is a weekend home but will soon be a home when they retire. My parents have never had a pet in our home. The closest they have come to a pet is when my brother and sister-in-law lived with them for a short while with their apprehensive cat, Abby.

Now that they are living in the woods across from my uncle's farm, they have some feline and canine friends. Of course, they just visit and go back to their homes, but my parents are so funny when they talk about them. To my parents, the animals do not have names in the traditional sense. The cat is referred to as Short Tailed Cat. To explain the reasoning behind this name would be redundant. They tell stories about Short Tailed Cat and how she'll visit and bring home dead squirrels. They describe Short Tail Cat with endearing terms like brave and friendly.

Although they enjoy Short Tailed Cat, they also have an animal visit them called Black Dog. Again, they don't say "Oh, there is that black dog again." No. They would say, "Oh, there is Black Dog," as if it his name. In their minds, it is his name. I think Short Tailed Cat is their favorite because it doesn't jump and they consider Black Dog kind of stupid with the way it will block the door and jump on guests.

Short Tailed Cat and Black Dog are everyone's pet in the woods, I guess. They come and go and entertain and bother whoever they please whenever they please. Even though my parents have not been pet lovers, they like the ones that visit and stay outside so Short Tailed Cat and Black Dog are okay with them.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Not one. Not Two. Not Even Three. But Four!

Here I am cuddling with my newest friends, Lola, Lucy, and Lauren. They are sisters and were born in November to my friends Tim and Marisa. They have this great big brother too, Will. I have showed my love for Will on this blog before, but let me love on by saying that he is the perfect toddler. He kisses, dances, and falls without crying. He is terrific. The girls must be taking after their big brother because they are so chilled out. I guess you have to be when you are a triplet.

Babies have a way of being born to the right parents. Tim and Marisa are so relaxed and easy-going with their family. A friend can see right away when you walk in their house that these babies and one toddler are very loved. Everyone is happy and enjoying themselves as well as the parents. Some might be all frazzled with four little ones, but Tim and Marisa have a way of making it look easy when anyone with a brain would know that it is far from easy. Like all of my friends' babies, I am excited to see these little ones grow and change. I look forward to getting a good dose of triplets and Will when I am here in Grand Forks for a visit.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Riding with the King

Damn you Burger King! Damn you and your delicious Jr. Whopper with Cheese Value Meal!

Actually, I should be shaming myself on this blog. I have been clean for over 90 days from the evil that is McDonalds, yet when I was driving down Gateway Drive in Grand Forks today with my brother, I could not resist the calling of the Whopper.

It has been easy for me to resist fast food in my neighborhood because McDonalds is all that we have. I just follow the advice of everyone's favorite first lady, Ms. Nancy Reagan...I JUST SAY NO! But then we have the crowned one. I haven't had BK for sometime and by sometime I mean not since the summer of 2005.

The result of such a breakdown of self-control...complete and absolute rejection on the part of my stomach. Following the last bite of the Jr. Whopper with Cheese Value Meal, my stomach has taken to taking the boxing gloves out of the closet and pounding the inner wall of whatever organs happen to be down there just to remind me that I am a weak, weak, weak woman.

Home Sweet Home

I am a tired cookie tonight. I left before the sun even came up to travel to Grand Forks for the week. I am thrilled to be here with my family. I feel like it is a nice reward for me after a hard working spring at the bookstore and the preschool. I have been so busy with planning and observing kindergartens in the area that I haven't had a lot of relaxation time.

I have big plans this week. I am going to continue some observations, but only one morning at a school in Grand Forks. Wednesday will hold an adventure. I will be traveling to my friend's cafe to have lunch. She just started this business venture with her husband and I want to give them some of my business. The most important thing for me this week is to hang with my parents, my friends, my brother and his wife, and enjoy North Dakota.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Bananas Are Good For One Thing

I make an abnormal amount of banana bread. I would say that I make banana bread, banana cake, or banana muffins at least once a week. It is true that banana bread is one of my favorite things in the world, yet this is not the reason for such a banana frenzy. It is also true that I love to bake. Baking is a very relaxing and satisfying activity for me.

The reason for such a super-concentrated amount of banana sweets in my house can all be blamed on good intentions. I buy bananas to eat as a fruit. However, I get distracted and end up neglecting the bananas for an orange, or more likely, a piece of candy. As a result, the beautiful, yellow bananas turn into a perfect ingredient for a baked good. I am sure this is a metaphor for my life in some way, but I won't go into it.

I have two terrific banana bread recipes. My Grandma Mabel has a recipe that calls for one cup of brewed, room-temperature coffee that is so moist and flavorful that I highly recommend it. I also use Marilyn's recipe. Marilyn is the mother of one of my best friends and she is known as a great cook. Marilyn's is also very moist and flavorful, but instead of coffee to keep the bread moist, she uses sour cream. I have been testing out banana cake recipes and have finally found a really good one that uses allspice with an allspice cream cheese frosting. I am still looking for the perfect muffin recipe. With all of these recipes and bananas, Tim and I could not eat all of the baked goods, nor should we! So, Borders and school are the recipients of baked goods. They have come to expect banana goods. If it isn't banana, they are shocked.

I recommend that you try Grandma Mabel's recipe sometime. It won't disappoint.

Grandma Mabel's Banana Bread
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup Parkey Margarine
2 eggs
2 smashed, very ripe bananas
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 cup room temperature brewed coffee
1 level tsp. baking soda dissolved in coffee

Cream sugar, margarine, and add egg once creamed. Add smashed bananas. Mix in flour and baking powder. Blend in coffee and soda mixture. Pour into greased loaf pans and bake for 50 minutes to an hour. I make one full loaf and two mini loafs with this recipe. It can make two regular loafs. Happy baking.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Sara's Midwestern Position on Aging

I was challenged by my friend Steve that I would not keep up on the Midwestern Position. Not the blog, but the posts where I cut the crap and give my very honest and somewhat judgmental opinions on a variety of topics. Today is no exception.

It might seem odd that a twenty-nine year old would be sharing her opinion about aging, but I age everyday, just like you. My opinion is not focused on the aches and pains usually associated with aging, but rather, the nonsense that is associated with aging.

I was driving down a neighborhood street in Grand Forks when my mother said something I considered to be sage wisdom when she started telling me how many of her colleagues complain about getting older...

"Sara, I don't know why they complain. What is the alternative. You die."

Right she is. I can't stand it when a young person says, "I can't believe we are twenty-nine. We are getting so old." Are you kidding? That statement is annoying to me on so many levels. First of all, I have loved every age that I have ever been so I am assuming that I will love 30, 40, 50, and beyond. I plan to live to be a healthy 97 years old and I hope that I never say, "We are getting so old." I just believe in time as a blessing, age as a token of growth, and everyday as an opportunity to do something.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Cash, Planes, and Crepes

Last night, I was at the Philadelphia airport waiting for my friend, Janelle. For some odd reason, the planes were all backed up and she couldn't get to her gate. Unfortunately, she had to wait on her plane for an hour after it landed. In these cases, I like to put on my sociologist hat and do some observing.

The man sitting next to me smelled very good. He was very tall and had slicked back black hair. I didn't really take notice of him until he pulled out this WAD of one hundred dollar bills. I have never seen someone with that much cash except when I am watching The Sopranos. He took what had to have been over three thousand dollars and split it up into two rubber bands. It was probably a 30-70 split. Finally, a woman who I am assuming was his wife was greeted by the tall, nicely smelling man with the big wad of cash. He handed the smaller wad of cash to the woman and they walked away, hand in hand. It makes you wonder about their lives and what it is that he does for a living. He definitely would physically fit in with the Tony Soprano crowd. He had a gold pinky ring, a sharp dresser, and THAT BIG WAD OF CASH!

Janelle was finally able to depart her airplane and we took off for my nook of Philadelphia. We enjoyed a nice meal at one of my favorite Main Line Italian restaurants, Primavera Pizza Kitchen. They give you generous portions and their Caesar salad is wonderful. Today, we will go to the Reading Terminal Market and eat crepes.