Friday, June 30, 2006

Slip Slidin' Away

I am not sure if I could have had a more fantastic day.

My friends and I all gathered into the big Envoy and traveled to Nevada, Iowa where we enjoyed the pool and waterpark. We lined up our chairs, spread on the sunscreen ranging from SPF 5 to 50, depending on the person, and spent the afternoon rotating between activities that were offered at the pool.

I couldn't help but notice the waterslides. First of all, I love the kind of waterslide that requires a tube, but this waterslide gave you an option of one person or two person tubes. I asked all of the women if they wanted to try the tubes. Three out of the six women were pregnant so that left me and either Penny or Jodi.

It didn't take much arm twisting for Penny to decide to tube it with me. We climbed up the steps along with the eight year olds. They educated us on waterslide etiquette and strategy. I took the front and Penny opted for the back. She didn't realize that she would have to straddle me, but it all worked out as we went down the slide. The funny thing is that neither of us know how to swim but are the ones flying down a plastic ramp towards water of a mystery depth.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Ms. Mary

I love how music has the ability to catch you off guard.

One minute you think a song is as good as it is going to be. It is already a really fantastic song. Then someone comes along and covers that song and it becomes something I could never imagine it being...even better! This is how I feel about U2's One. An already perfect song and then, Ms. Mary J. Blige comes along and covers it.

I am going to go ahead and say it is the best thing I have heard in a long time. I am not sure what it is about her. I don't even own any of her CDs, but everytime I see her perform on television, I am completely entranced. I remember watching an awards show a few years back when she performed No More Drama. It was so much more than a song. To me, it seems like she is always telling a story.

Covers are a funny thing. I think we like them because we know them, yet covers rarely match the original if ever excede the original, but One does this.

Two Truths and One Lie

I don't know my own home phone number.

I have a $13.25 late fee at the Ankeny Public Library.

I have planned my own funeral.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

The Pizza is Good!

Along with most things this summer, a new habit has formed for the chums in Iowa. Every week since my return to the beloved state, we have gathered at Bill's Pizza in Ankeny, Iowa.

The restaurant offers a setting where we are encouraged by Bill to sit, relax, and enjoy the afternoon along with some yummy pizza. One of the first things you notice about Bill's are the characatures around the restaurant. They are of local "celebrities" and/or friends of Bill. It's fun to see if you can guess who is who.

But, back to the pizza!

The pizza is VERY good. I am sure that any pizza that we tried at Bill's would be delicious, but we have a soft spot for the DUTCH OVEN. Creative in its name, it offers onions, green peppers, sausage, pepperoni, and Canadian bacon on a perfect thin crust. A large has been perfect as we have three regulars and one rotating guest each week. Two slices a piece.

Having the DUTCH OVEN would be enough, but we always start with the side salad. It comes with not one, but TWO containers of the house dressing, Creamy Parmesan.

Finally, the service is complete when Bill brings out our bill and fresh baked chocolate chip cookies! Can you believe that?! Free chocolate chip cookies!

Maybe if we keep up with our Bill's Pizza habit, we can end up on the wall of celebrities!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

My Scope of Hope

Some days, a person needs some inspiration or guidance. Today, I decided to read my horoscope. I rarely do this, but I had the urge and I don't fight urges.

So this is what it said...

Your ability to value and translate complex ideas is sharp today. Be an interpreter.

Okay. This part is okay, but I was looking for a little more reassurance or foresight so I read on...

Outwardly, you may be the picture of confidence, but inwardly, you're shaking in your boots. It's time to cultivate a sense of faith. When you're ready to take the leap, the ground will be there to support you.

I guess that'll do. Now, what I do with this advice is another thing.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Monday's Walk

"In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks. "

John Muir

Instead of our regular summer routine of lunch out and then, off to the pool, Jodi and I decided to try to take in the nature that is around us at The Ledges State Park. I had visited a few years ago with Tim and tried to hike some trials. I remember the trails being very steep and rugged, yet I wanted to try it again in the summer.

Neither of us are expert hikers, far from it. The last time I remember doing something in nature with Jodi was a canoe trip that we were pretty much guilted into participating through school. I think that is how much I can take nature. I don't like to camp in a tent. I don't like to cook anything other than a nice s'more over a campfire. So, I think I will just stick to morning hiking trips.

I thought we did pretty well for our first time out this summer. We took a trail with some wood steps and parts of the trail were quite rugged. I can completely understand why people take walking sticks too. There were several times when I could have used one.

Lovin' Cherry Limeade

This is my new favorite thing...Cherry Limeade from Minute Maid. It is the perfect thing. It is best served over ice. I have always enjoyed limeade, but to add this cherry twist to it is a summer drink dream. Enjoy!

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Forrest, Forrest Gump

Where Tim can watch several movies over and over again, I can watch only a few. Forrest Gump is one of them. It was on TNT tonight and I had no plans on watching television tonight, but he had me at "Mama always says..."

It isn't just the simple Gumpisms that entertain me, but also how much I appreciate how much Forrest loves in his life. Each of his relationships place him in a role of underdog and in each situation, he stands out as the one who knows how to care, respect, and unconditionally love these people. He adores his mother. He is a kindred spirit with Bubba. It doesn't matter to him that Lieutenant Dan doesn't have legs. His love for Jenny never changes, stays unconditional no matter how poor she treats him.

Everytime that he stands over Jenny's grave and tells her about the day she dies and how smart little Forrest has become, I get that familiar lump in my throat and find myself getting the rare tear in my eyes.

Although I have opinions about movies, particularly romantic comedies, and how I don't like cheesy movies, I will always enjoy Forrest Gump for its humor and sentiment even twelve years after its release.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Deck Envy

I am so happy about the new tradition that was started this afternoon at my friend's house. After spending a few hours on the deck of her house drinking frozen cosmopolitan, it was agreed that this would be a weekly event for the rest of my time in Iowa.

There is nothing I enjoy more than sitting on a deck on a nice day. I think my parents instilled this virtue in my soul from an early age. My father likes nothing better than to sit on his deck with a cool drink at the end of a work day or spend a Saturday evening grillin' and chillin' on his deck. My mom likes to sit in the rocking bench with a magazine or simply, watching the yard. It has always been a gathering place in my family. Last summer, I spent time at my parents' house and friends would come by to visit. We'd always end up on the deck.

In my own grown up version of life thus far, I have only had the privilege to have one deck. I loved it. I sat out there whenever the weather permitted. I planted tomato plants and herbs. I look forward to the day when I can enjoy my very own deck again, but until then, I will take advantage of any invitation from friends to use theirs!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Frozen Treat Wisdom

Tim loves Mr. Freeze Pops. They don't have to be that brand, but any sugar flavored frozen water in a plastic tube like wrapper. Any flavor. Any time. However many he wants to enjoy in one sitting.

"I could eat them all day," Tim proudly states.

Usually, I adore all frozen desserts, but I don't like the Freezer Pop genre. I know this is a shocking and bold statement, but it comes down to one simple engineering problem with the pop. I can't stand the side of the tube. It always cuts the side of my mouth. It is too sharp. Yes, the sugary, artificial goodness in the tube is sometimes worth it on a hot day, but I will usually pass for something more in the ice cream/popsicle family.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

It's Back!

We can all breathe a big sigh of relief. My digital camera is back in my grubby little hands so that I can document and share with the world all that is Sara's World!!! I know my friends will be pleased as I will now bring it to the restaurants we frequent, the pool where we swim, and wherever my heart desires to document my life.

It is actually a snowball effect of sadness without the digital camera. I can't take pictures, therefore, I cannot scrapbook. UGH. I can't take pictures, therefore, I cannot post funny pictures on my blog. I can't take pictures, therefore, I cannot blackmail my friends through email. Such a vicious cycle without the camera.

Monday, June 19, 2006

My Weekend in Food

I have sat here with a blank screen hoping for some inspiration. Then, I decided to do a montage of my weekend hoping to find something to write about. However, all that I see is the relaxing weekend that Tim and I spent in Iowa. Let me tell you all the fascinating details of my life...

First, we stayed home Friday night to relax. We were both exhausted from a week of travels and we just really needed an evening to rejuvenate ourselves.

On Saturday, we ventured down to the Des Moines Farmers Market. This is one of my favorite things in Iowa. Mixed in with the fresh produce, you will find delicious food vendors, arts and crafts, and fantastic baked goods. Tim enjoyed some fresh brewed Root Beer where I enjoyed some Crab Rangoon, a midwestern Chinese food classic.

Since our return to Ames, Iowa, we hadn't explored downtown Ames so continued on to downtown. We stopped at a restaurant called The Spice. It was a Thai restaurant, but much nicer than any Thai restaurant I have been to. The atmosphere was simple and sophisticated. Red, black, and white decor. Each dish was served with a delicate presentation. We ordered the chicken and pork satay as an appetizer. I would tell you more of my choices, but I cannot remember what they were called.

We found this pond/lake in northern Ames where we took an evening stroll on Saturday night with a stop off at our favorite midwestern treat hut, the DQ. I had a chocolate cone.

Now, you are all caught up on what I ate this weekend.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Summer Reading List

It is that time again to start thinking about doing something 'worthwhile' with my summer. For as long as I could remember, I always considered summer as this mythical time that I would do, read, eat, see, think, and experience more. I guess that is not such a bad thing if it motivates you to actually do, read, eat, see, think, and experience more. So, as part of that pattern of behavior, I present The Summer 2006 Reading List! Some will be first time reads and some rereads.

That is a good start.

Friday, June 16, 2006


As Tim and I sat at the baseball game on Tuesday night, the huge television screen showed three songs that the fans could cheer for to hear during the eighth inning.

  • You Shook Me All Night Long by AC/DC
  • Dance, Dance by Fall Out Boy
  • Red, Red Wine by UB40
After the third song was revealed, the 12 year old boy in front of us says to his buddy, "They always pick a few oldies".


Well, this idea was affirmed about 30 miles into Iowa. We were listening to the radio when we enjoyed Fame by David Bowie and Little Red Corvette by Prince. After the songs, the DJ came on to inform us that we were listening to the best OLDIES station in Iowa. Huh? I thought oldies meant The Beach Boys and Elvis. I remember listening to the OLDIES with my parents during our car rides and they were songs from the 50's and 60's.

I guess this makes sense because that was in the 80's. So, we were listening to songs from 20 years ago or more. Now, amazing as it seems, the 80's is 20 years ago. I listen to the OLDIES.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

We Made It

We have arrived in Iowa. We traveled for two days with a stop in Pittsburgh to see the Pittsburgh Pirates play the St. Louis Cardinals. We had awesome seats. We were right along the third base line about four rows up. The weather was perfect and we had a fantastic view of the Pittsburgh skyline. Before the game, we explore the Three Rivers Artsfest. The art was good, but the food was even better in our eyes.

Yesterday, we drove from the eastern border of Ohio to Ankeny, Iowa. We were welcomed by our friends Kecia and Eric. We enjoyed their porch and good conversation. Today, we moved our few things into our summer sublet. It is on the seventh floor of an apartment across from the University. I am surrounded by coffee shops, pubs, and ethnic foods. I am excited to try out the different restaurants in my neighborhood.

Monday, June 12, 2006


Along with having the fantastic opportunity to head to New York City for a day trip, a person has to make choices because you can't fit it all in. There is just too much to do. Thank goodness it will always be there. It never gets old for me.

I had only one thing on my mind...for over a year. We headed to the Gershwin Theatre to see Wicked on Friday night. About a year ago, I had checked out the book
Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire from the library, but I wasn't quick enough. I had to return it to the library because more patrons wanted to read it before I finished it. Then, like many other things in life, I forgot about this little gem of the literary world.

Then, I was watching this program on PBS where
Kristin Chenoweth sang "For Good". I loved the song and did some quick internet research to find out that it was from the musical Wicked. I started listening to the cast recording of the entire show that was loosely based on Maguire's book.

Thankfully, I was able to do some longterm planning to go to the city this weekend and see the show. The story of friendship and tough choices
exceeded my expectations and I loved every minute. I am always impressed when the music, the lyrics, and the story leave a person with their very own connection to stories that were considered complete at one point and it extends that connection into a whole new understanding of a story.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Some NYC Thoughts

Is it just me or does New York City seem like a foreign country to you? I know that sounds naive, but it is the only place that I have traveled to within the US where I feel like I don't speak the language, know the rules, and where there is a high possibility that I will get lost. Of course I use my fancy American dollars to buy the very American Starbucks coffee that seems to lurk on every corner of Midtown, yet I know as soon as I leave the familiar surroundings of that chain, things get complicated.

As I traversed the cross-streets and traffic lights of Manhattan, I observed for the first time what I saw as Ugly American Syndrome. It was at this moment that I solidified my "foreign country" theory about NYC. This was the first trip to NYC that I stayed completely in Manhattan without venturing off to Brooklyn. Most of my time was spent in Midtown where the Broadway shows and high interest tourist destinations dwell and I think that is why I saw so much UAS-Ugly American Syndrome.

The symptoms of this range from the look of disgust and fear in a person's eyes as they pass a street performer playing a song or the peace you see come over their face as they pass through the doors of Starbucks. In such a Starbucks, they can be with their "own kind". As I waited for my hazelnut latte, a woman wearing a NYC sweatshirt came up to me and asked in her thick southern accent, "Where y'all from?"

Was it written all over my face that I was not a native of the island? Of course it was. I was standing in a Starbucks because I wanted to make sure I got what I wanted. As I explained my geographical location to this friendly woman, she proceeded to tell me all that she had done the day before. She continued our conversation about the lack of bathrooms in the city and where she was from, you could just use any old bathroom without a problem. It's not that I am not a friendly person and don't enjoy some chit-chat once in awhile, but it crossed my mind that no where else, North Dakota-Iowa-Philadelphia, would a woman come up to me and start telling me what she had accomplished and her bathroom activities from the day before .

Her behavior wasn't that UGLY, but I think it is safe to say that I could imagine her saying to her friends back home, "Well, New York City was great, but...well...the people there just weren't friendly." Of course they were not friendly, because you only spoke to tourists. The conversations that I heard as I waited in line for the many destinations that we visited, people kept complaining about this and that about New York. I just don't get it. They come to New York, a place where people live and work and expect it to change for them, some folks from Nebraska. I think the same rule applies for NYC as does any foreign country or tourist destination, the tourist must adapt to their culture rather than the culture adapt to that one tourist. I might have even forgot that rule as I stood in line at Starbucks.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

New York, Take Four

I will return from New York City on Sunday. I will tell you all about my Broadway adventure and my meal on the town. We will be visiting the Statue of Liberty too.

Midwestern Rant, Oh Yes, Midwestern Rant

So many people know the answers to their problems, but don't solve them. So many people know exactly what they must say and who they must say it to, but don't. Why do we hold back as humans? Is it fear? Is it the possibility that our thoughts and ideas will be rejected...or even more terrifying...accepted and validated.

In our own little fantasy worlds, we say what we want. We say it to those who need to hear it the most. Those few individuals that keep us all wound up in anger, disappointment, frustration, and/or hurt feelings.

Until then, we stew.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Happy 30th Birthday, Tim

Tim will always be three months older than me. He will always have three more months of knowledge to share with me. Starting today, he gets to tell me what it is like to be 30. Tim isn't one for dramatics so I am sure he will say it feels a lot like 29. He is probably right.

A toast to Tim on his 30th birthday...

May you always have the sense of humor of a 12 year old boy. May you always start each baseball season wearing your St. Louis Cardinals hat to class just to show 'em whose side you are on. May you always love your work just as much as you love your play.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Happy 2nd Birthday, Midwestern Position!

It's time to give myself a shout out!

It seems that I have been able to keep this Midwestern Position nonsense going for another year. I wonder when I will get over the whole idea of a blog and move on to other adventures?

Will I be 80 and still be logging into my Blogger account everyday to share with my fellow seniors about the latest musical obsession or the Argentine Tango class I just couldn't resist in the all purpose room at the Senior Center?

Will my readers still be around to give their two cents on whether orthopedic shoes are really that important or can I just keep wearing the Birkenstocks that have been so good to me for the last 50 years?

Here are my blogger's birthday wishes...
  • I wish to dress up as a professional wrestler where I get to grab the microphone and make my best threat into the camera....okay, that is quite a fantasy. Not the nearly naked type female wrestlers of today, but the cliche man type wrestler from my 1980's Saturday morning childhood.
  • I wish to run into more celebrities so that I can blog about them and how much I loved them in know...that movie.
  • Instead of tap dancing, I hope to register for some dance lessons that require me to be swung, dipped, twirled, and/or twisted by my lovely husband. He is unaware of this request, but he reads this...
  • I want to make downward dog my new best friend. I want yoga to be my new thing rather than iced coffee.
  • I want, as my Midwestern Position birthday present, ALL of my readers to leave a comment, wish, question, and/or two cents. Thanks for reading!

Sunday, June 04, 2006

What I Am Lovin'...

Scrubs...I have always watched this in a very touch and go way. For Tim's birthday, he received season one. We've watched several episodes in a row and I have to say that it is one of the funniest things I have seen in a long time. I wish I had this sort of cleverness in my daily life. AHHH...24 episodes. Life is good.

IKEA...How can things be this cute and be this cheap too? I refuse to pay $100 for a floorlamp. Refuse.

Eggshell Blue and Brown...I don't usually fall for the trendy trends, but I really dig this color combo. It is completely opposite than what I have in my house, but I have a plan. I want my bedroom in these colors and I want my bathroom in this color.

Fantasizing About a New Hair Color...I want to get highlights. I am waiting until I go to Iowa where my ever-stylin' pal, Jodi, is going to set me up with 'her girl'.

Bloggers...aren't we great?! Really! A long lost North Dakotan friend has started a blog and I can't wait to check out her little corner of the WWW. I wish all my chums blogged so I could stop wondering what they are up to.

Lime...all things lime. Limeaid. Lime candles. Lime colored shirts. Drinks with Limes on the edge of the glass.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Bad Behavior

Today is the last day of my week without Tim. He has been in Iowa for the week preparing his summer research, but will return to me tomorrow.

Now, I eat a lot of unhealthy foods when he is here, but my unhealthy eating habits change when he is gone. Yes, they are still unhealthy, but in a way that I get very few vitamins or anything else good for me. At least when he is here, we might go for a few slices of pizza and I might get some protein from the cheese or go for a cheesesteak and eat some meat. But, when he is away, I eat a lot of the following foods...

Bagels and Cream Cheese. I eat a lot of it. Breakfast, lunch, midafternoon snack.

Iced Coffees. This comes for boredom. I get restless and want to go somewhere, but I don't want to go anywhere that requires me to buy anything more than two dollars.

I have a feeling that he is eating just as poorly as myself. Our sublet is in campustown across from the university and it is a junk food paradise. I am a little nervous that I will have a DQ within walking distance for a month and a half. Oh, by the way...I am going to Iowa for a month and a half with Tim this summer. You can look forward to lots of posts since I plan on having a great summer.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Yes, Things That Suck

I have heard through the blogging grapevine that the Midwestern Position has become a hot bed of cynicism. I don't know where these people hang out but I am thinking it is just right of reality. And who cares if I want to be negative? Can't I be negative once in awhile? I think if I had to put a percentage on it, I am positive about 95% of the time and I can rant like the best of them the other 5%. Thank goodness I have friends like JZ who encourage my inner bitch. There is something completely cleansing when she calls and we go to town on some topic, complaining about whatever we wanted to complain about.

So, this topic is in tribute and partially authored by JZ as we chatted online and discussed the more general subject of Things That Suck.

1. Middle aged dudes that drive sports cars and "pull over" in the right lane when they are still in the right lane blocking all traffic behind him to talk on his cell phone that he barely knows how to use. That is what parking lots are for, Dude.

2. Diluted/syrupy fountain sodas. What a great disappointment for a thirsty soul.

3. People who have to have the last word and the final dig.

4. Well-deserved sunburns. Does the grosser than gross pealing ever stop. I am like a monster from some horror movie.

5. When your beloved digital camera is in the shop and you'd like nothing better than to take some sweet photos and post them on the blog.

6. When you walk by a window and catch a glimpse of yourself and think, "UGH. I look chubby today."

7. When you have been a dedicated and obsessive reader/watcher of a series of books/television series and it comes to an end. You covet what people have who have just started their Harry Potter journey or Six Feet Under journey.

8. When you say something important....something with meaning and no one responds.

9. Awkward hair stages. I deserve some sort of medal and it better be worth it. I have come to a realization that I will have to go and get my hair colored in some way. When my hair is short the dirty blonde look is acceptable, but the longer it gets, the drabber it gets.

10. Mystery bruises. I looked down on my hand and there is this huge, purple knob on my middle knuckle. Did I beat someone with the knucks?

Feel free to add to this list. There is no shame in the negative. It has really gotten a bad rap if you ask me and if you've got a problem with it....go start your own blog. So there.