Sunday, July 30, 2006

Painters and Painting

There are actions between women that show that they are true friends. Letting her have the last slice pizza. A late night phone call for any number of reasons. Helping them with home improvement projects.

Kecia and I proved our friendship in her dining room on Saturday as we converted it into a warm, inviting playroom. We couldn't have been happier with the results. Armistad Blue on the bottom and Spanish Bluebell on the top.

I always forget what a mess I turn into when I am painting. Kecia was all over that with the Clorox wipes. They work like a gem because I would wipe my hands and it would come right off even when it was dry.

Two more days in Iowa, staying at Kecia's and then, we are off to North Dakota to enjoy friends and family.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Not Even Ten

My friend and I were trying to brainstorm a list of rock bands that have been mostly male but with a female lead singer. We couldn't even come up with ten. This came up because she was watching the new season of Rock Star on CBS where singers compete to be the lead singer for Supernova, a band of alpha male rockers like Tommy Lee and a few others that I can't remember. So, this is what we came up with...
  • The Pretenders
  • No Doubt
  • Heart
  • Jefferson Airplane
  • Fleetwood Mac (they are debatable since two of the three singers were women)
  • Blondie
Can you think of any more?

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Yuck. Cleaning.

Today, I am spending my day cleaning my apartment and packing up our few items that we brought to Iowa.
When we arrived in Iowa, the apartment was very dirty. I couldn't believe that a person could live like this. It might not have been her fault since she was gone for a month or so, but some of the filth was definitely there for a long time. For example, the stovetop thingys. They are dirty, but were dirty long before I came here. I wiped them a little, but we hardly cooked enough to make a mess. If it were my apartment and I was leaving it for someone else, they would be clean. So, I have decided not to clean them. It isn't like I get any of the deposit back. I didn't even make a deposit. I am leaving this apartment a lot cleaner than when I arrived at it.
I am very glad that I cleaned my apartment in Philly from top to bottom before I left because now we can return and it will be semi-clean. True, I will have to get to cleaning it again because after two months away, it will be mighty dusty and such. I think I am ready to be back in our cute, cozy apartment with a great couch, a hard bed, and all my beloved kitchen tools.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

RAGBRAI Challenge 2007

Today started out like any other day, but I was surprised when I was confronted with a complete and oh-so-right-for-me inspiration.

I was driving down a paved country road when I was stopped at an intersection by hundreds and hundreds of bike riders. They were all taking part in the seven day bike ride called RAGBRAI (
The Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa).

The most impressive part about this display was the diversity in riders. The riders ranged from grade school age to senior citizens and everything in between. There were serious bikers and the not-so-serious bikers.

Aaron from Mathman's Ramblings is a rider this year and I have really enjoyed reading about his adventure. The one thing that has me a little nervous is the camping thing. I hate being stuck in a tent when it is storming. I hate storms in a big hate kind of way.

I asked two of my Iowa friends if they would do RAGBRAI with me next summer and they both stated a very clear NO. I would like this to be something I do in my 30th year. Something big. I would like to see myself get really obsessed with this and have it become something that I can do and be proud of myself for doing. Now, I just have to find someone who will take this challenge with me.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

A New Cheap Toy

My friend has lent me her itrip so I could decide if this was something that I needed to own. I had a feeling that I was going to have to make it my own. Anything related to my shiny, green ipod usually finds its way into my hands.

I went to the Apple store in the mall today to make the big purchase. I walked up to the counter with an itrip in my hand, ready to lay down some cashola, when I asked the young man, "So, is this a good one?"

He informed me that it wasn't actually that great and I should consider buying the old school adapter with the tape attached to the ipod which you play in your car tape player. I was shocked because I was just reminiscing about the old days of car CD players with the tape and cord contraption. He assured me that it was old technology but better than the itrip.

His honesty impressed me further when he told me that it was only 20 dollars and they did not have any in the store. He directed me to Best Buy where I could find this new toy.

The Apple man-boy was right. It works like a charm. Very clear.

Monday, July 24, 2006

A Favorite Place

Today, I am going to tell you about a place that I love.

In Grand Forks where I grew up, there are surprisingly a lot of great local restaurants that you cannot find anywhere else but in Grand Forks. We have this amazing Mexican restaurant that has never found an equal. Even non-locals say this about my hometown Paradiso. There is also this fantastic bar and grill called The Blue Moose Bar and Grill that serves this secret recipe spinach cheese con queso. No matter what is going on, we must order some.

Along with these tried and trues in my hometown, there is a coffee shop that makes sense to me on any Grand Forks day, hot and humid August or dry and windy January. The old, downtown architecture and the dark tables only made darker by the dim lighting make this the perfect spot for any type of morning/day/evening that a coffee lover would like to have. It sits on a corner. I like that too.

Like any hometown favorite, there are moments. These moments make up the big love for this place.

  • During our first grown up summer, a group of undereducated and searching friends gathered at Urban Stampede only to be surprised that it was Tarot card reading night. Amanda coughed up $10 to find out what we all knew about her already.
  • My high school pally Dan and I went downtown to this new coffee shop only to realize that we were the youngest and worst dressed in the whole joint. WHOA. This is some special grand opening that we were obviously not invited to, but hey, we took Theatre 100. We could pull it off.
  • I stood staring at the menu with words like Latte and Espresso. No idea. So, I took a risk that yielded a lifelong affair of an addiction when I ordered a large Cafe Mocha. It wasn't just the chocolate. It might have been the espresso, but I know it was the whip cream. All together, it became my staple drink. Extra hot, of course.
  • Walking down the sidewalk with a friend only to find yourselves standing outside the only adult bookstore in Grand Forks. We couldn't help ourselves
  • Countless important conversations.
  • Countless coffees to go while you hope that you don't get a ticket for parking in an illegal space.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Julia and Maria

The great thing about having great friends is that they produce great kids! Three year old Julia and Baby Maria are no exception. I was entertained by Julia's spinning and story-telling on Saturday. Maria had me entranced by her calm spirit and baby perfect cuddles. Then, I can't talk about Julia and Maria without giving the credit to Ryan and Janelle for sharing their girls with the rest of us. I look forward to the next time.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Oh No, You Didn't!

Over the past two years, I have used this blog as a place to share events, both happy and sad. I have expressed opinions, both political and uneducated. I don't hold back when I want to give a friend or family member a proper shout out. Tonight, The Midwestern Position cannot hold back an additional annoyance.

Since I was a young girl, I have had opinions. I was the girl who did not shy away from my viewpoints even as I weaved my way through the conservative crowd I had chosen as my friends. It never failed that I would be in a discussion where my exuberance would 'shine' through.

As much as I would be passionate about my opinions, I held the same excitement for the simple things like music or books. In any situation where I would share my thoughts about any subject and show some enthusiasm, a person would say the most dreaded thing a person could ever say to me...

"Settle down, Sara."

Now, a person could say this to me or they could say "Relax" or "Calm down". Either way, they will get more wrath from me than they could have ever expected before they uttered those stifling words. How dare a person tell me to settle down, relax, or calm down! I will say whatever I want in whatever agitated, inspired, and/or passionate tone that I please. Thank you very much.

If you have known me for years and years, you know what I am talking about. You have probably heard someone say this to me and seen the reaction it calls for. It isn't that I don't think people mean well by these words. They are usually trying to make nice or make everyone happy and comfortable. They also do this because I am not fitting into some prescribed idea they have about me. They might think, "Hey, this is not the positive, light thinking Sara I know" or "Whoa, I am not okay with someone loving limes that much."

Or, they could be thinking, "I wish Sara would shut up."

Go ahead, readers. I know you want to say it.

Monday, July 17, 2006

My Alliance

Because I know you are dying to enter my subconscious, I will tell you about my dream last night.

I was on a reality television show where I was on a team of physical misfits with one exception...Lance Armstrong. I was supposed to be scaling rock and climbing mountains with these out of shapers and Lance. Lance wasn't the leader of the team. He was just there with us. At one point in my dream, I was dangling from a railroad bridge that crossed a river. Right next to me was Lance. I remember telling myself in my dream, "Sara, stay close to Lance. He'll know what he is doing."

He turned to me and smiled like he had dangled all his life. The next thing I knew, I was swinging across the railroad bridge like I was on a playground and it was the safest thing in the world to do. Lance and I had an alliance. There was no ending to my dream, but I have a feeling that we won the challenge.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Six is the Magic Number

This has been a weekend of highs and lows.

First, my new friend Amy had her first child. Welcome to the world Payton Michelle. I enjoyed visiting Amy and Payton in the hospital on her first full day. She was beautiful and her mom was glowing with happiness.

After that special event, my friend Heidi traveled to Ames where we had dinner with our husbands and an evening out with some former co-workers from school. Unfortunately, we went to a very smokey bar which then led to the low of the weekend.

Maybe I would have gotten a summer sinus cold with or without the bar, but it definitely didn't help the situation. I had a small headache all day on Saturday as I shopped with my friends, but I carried on with high hopes for the evening.

You see, Saturday was our wedding anniversary of six years. Tim and I had plans to go out and eat dinner and then, meet up with friends for drinks afterwards. However, when Tim picked me up from my friend's house, I was driving to the restaurant and turned to him and said/whined, "Hey, can we postpone our anniversary?"

I knew what his answer would be. He is so easy going. He didn't shock me when he said, "Sure. How about Taco Bell?" It was perfect. So, we went home and put some season two of Scrubs in the DVD player. I took some allergy/sinus meds, applied the beloved Vicks rub, and got my proper sick on for the evening.

Even though it wasn't our dream anniversary, something about eating Taco Bell, watching one of our favorite shows, and chillin' on the couch seemed like the right way to celebrate our six years of wedded bliss.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Gratitude is My Attitude

If I haven't told you this lately, I will tonight.

I love my life.

Why you ask? Well, I get to sit home during one heck of a thunderstorm and watch six episodes of Sex in the City, walk to Thai Kitchen and order a mean order of Pad Key Mao (oooo....spicy), and consider the agenda of my less than busy Friday. Seriously, I have it good.

This is not a boast, but rather a gratitude post. I am feeling thankful for the simple fact that I am a happy person. I had a difficult time adjusting to my life in Philadelphia, but even now as I spend time in Iowa, I look forward to my future in Philadelphia. I am looking forward to our return to the east coast where both of us will start a new school year with enthusiasm. I think it is always a good time to take a look at your life and say, "Man, I have it pretty good."

Thursday, July 13, 2006

auf Wiedersehen

Like always, I will share my television lust of the moment.

I love me some Project Runway! I am far from a trendmaster. I don't remember the last time I paged through a Vogue magazine, yet this show is fascinating. It could be the creative designers and how we get to watch nothing become something. It could be the inflated egos of the male contestants all vying for the alpha male spot, or it could be that I can't wait for the ultra-gorgeous Heidi Klum to utter "You're Out.
auf Wiedersehen" as she boots one of the contestants.

Last night, one of the contestants had my dream job when I was nine years old. He designed dresses for Barbie! Can you believe that?!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

"I Want To Be Alone"

Today, I went to The Devil Wears myself. This is not the first time I have written about my going to movies by myself, but I am compelled to comment further as I became annoyed at the pity that was shown to me when I shared this with a friend. When asked how I spent my afternoon, I shared my entertainment choice and this friend responded with an "ohhhh" so deep with lament that I couldn't tell if she felt sorry for me that I went to the movie alone or in my choice of movie.

I couldn't help myself. I replied with a quick, "Oh, no. You know I enjoy movies by myself." This is no lie to cover a lack of friends. Midweek matinees are my favorite kind of movie to see. Alone.

Enjoying this kind of isolation confuses people. Not all people. I know plenty of isolationists like myself. Just as I seek out detachment from others, there are people that must be with companions at every turn. There is no right or wrong way.

On the outside, I appear to be the type of person that would want to be with people all of the time. In my life, I have rarely been in a situation where I haven't been "with" someone. I grew up with a brother. I lived in the dorms in college. I lived in a sorority house. I married young so I have always had Tim. I have had friends to call up for a partner. My parents were always willing to hang out too. No matter the context, I have always sought being alone.

I remember seeking the privacy of my bedroom when I was younger. I was lucky enough not to share a bedroom. I had all of my favorite things in my room where I could just be. I was able to listen to the music that I wanted, read what I wanted, and be whatever I wanted in my room. As an adult, I realized that I could have this sort of anonymity and isolation in my everyday, mundane activities.

Sunday, July 09, 2006


I think it happens in every small to medium size town in the midwest. The annual summer festival brings beer gardens, food carts, and cover bands doing their best tribute to Journey's "Wheel in the Sky".

My friends and I started the evening by hanging out on Amy's deck where she had prepared delicious guacamole, salsa, and fruit dip. After a few mudslides, we experienced Ankeny's Summerfest. We should have stayed on the deck where we were having a fabulous time.

Thank goodness that I was with some fun chums because Summerfest will forever be called Bummerfest. First of all, it was partially our fault. We got their late so it was already dark and very crowded. Like everything else in life, food became the savior of Bummerfest. The brightly lit fair food carts drew us away from the drunk crowds with their promise of fried treats and variety of cool beverages.

Jodi and I couldn't resist the promise of the Jumbo Plumper Corn Dog. Penny enjoyed the Walking Taco. All of our hands were in the big bag of kettle corn as we stood around deciding to stay or go.

Although Bummerfest was a bust, the deck fun made up for it ten fold. I guess, you get to a certain point and you just want to hang out with the small group of friends that you enjoy rather than the thousand you have no idea who they are.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Mouse Potato

As I browsed through the many online news articles of the day, I had an embarrassing realization. I am a mouse potato.

Don't know what a mouse potato is? Well, think couch and replace it with a computer mouse. It is one of the newest words in the dictionary, I guess and the newest label I will place on my personality.

It isn't something I am proud of, but its roots lie in the need to communicate, connect, and be entertained. Those are not such bad things. I think being a couch potato is worse than a mouse potato. At least with the computer, I am reading or writing to people. Yes, like the television, there is some trash out there that I read like People magazine online. It is a guilty pleasure. It simply replaces the nightly entertainment shows on television that seem to annoy me so much. On the more educated side of this personal debate, I do get all of my news from the internet. I read two newspapers online. I check several news sources each day. Of course, who can forget my horoscope!

I won't be too hard on myself about this whole mouse potato thing. If it weren't for this trait, this blog would not exist and that would be tragic, right? Right.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

My Movie Boyfriend, Part Three

What do Chris O'Donnell, Jason Bateman, and John Corbett have in common?

They are my Hollywood boyfriends.

Oh, you all have them! Don't look so scandalized. Why else do we buy those People magazines.

It has never been the obvious choice for me when it comes to my Hollywood boyfriends, but rather, a combination of the characters that they play, their voice, even the lines they deliver in the shows. Today, I started to watch season three of Sex in the City and realized how much I still enjoy him. So, who is your Hollywood boyfriend or girlfriend?

Regarding Rostov

Check out my adventurous and clever friend's blog, Regarding Rostov. Amy is spending the summer in Russia as she enriches her graduate studies in journalism.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

We're Back!

Missed me?

Well, I have been in Missouri with my in-laws celebrating the holiday weekend. Seeing family and friends was a huge part of our Midwestern Summer 2006 so this was perfect. We had a really great time. In order to keep my pattern of brief posts, let me condense the week like a good can of soup.

As you can see, Tim enjoyed feeding the animals at the Springfield Zoo. Tim's mom works at this zoo, so we received a well-informed tour of the zoo. It was a pretty hot morning at the zoo, and SnoCones were in order.

I didn't realize this until later in the weekend, but we were in the Ozarks! It didn't look like what I thought the Ozarks would look like, but I guess jugbands and really large families were a bit out of touch. We did go to Branson, Missouri which is part of the Ozarks where they had some shopping, but we didn't go to any of the shows that have made Branson so famous and that was just fine with me.

Last night, we went to a Springfield Cardinals baseball game. This is a double A minor league team, but it had the feeling of a major league ballpark. First, we had fantastic seats right behind homeplate. I had to really pay attention to the game rather than my favorite baseball game pasttime, people watching. However, I did keep an eye open and saw a reality television star sitting right behind me. To most, his 15 minutes might have passed and not been recognized, but to me, I knew him as Aaron, the second Bachelor in ABC's show. As I was trying to figure out why he'd be there, I remembered that he was from Missouri. Strangely, it was the only season that I watched this ridiculous show.

We had a great time. Just another piece to our fantastic summer of fun in the Midwest!