Sunday, October 29, 2006


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

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

Carry This

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

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

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

Saturday, October 28, 2006

How About 25 Cents?

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

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

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

At Last

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

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

Friday, October 27, 2006


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

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

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Thanks, Joni

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Pet Peeve #1

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

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

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

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Swiss Farms

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

I am such a nerd.

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

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Recipe of the Month: Pumpkin Bundt Cake

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

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

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

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


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

Friday, October 20, 2006

A Prediction of Sorts

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

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

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

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

I guess I will have a great weekend.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Kindergarten Feats of Strength

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

The kids named them Sugar, Boo, and Rex.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


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

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

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

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

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

Monday, October 16, 2006

What a Deer

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

Not so.

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

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Karaoke-Yeats Style

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Our French Dining Experience

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

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

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

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

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Another Pointless Post

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

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Just the Facts

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

Monday, October 09, 2006

Move Along

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

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

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Gettin' Lucky

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

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

Do people really get that lucky?

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

Friday, October 06, 2006

Watch This

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

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

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

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

Thursday, October 05, 2006

North Dakota and Don't Forget It

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

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

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Kindergarten Wisdom

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

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

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

Miss Sara: Really?

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

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

What's Going On?

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

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

Sunday, October 01, 2006

John & Me

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

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

Okay, analyze on.