Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year

It's New Years Eve. So what. I know that sounds like a bit of a Scrooge response, but when I think about New Years Eve, my memories are cold - cold- cold in North Dakota. In college, my friends would go out to the bars and actually wait outside in a line in 20 below weather. No thanks. Not being a big fan of crowds, I just avoided most establishments where I might have to squeeze next to some over zealous party-goer.

However, I do have great memories of my parents getting together with my aunts, uncles, and many cousins with lots of treats and fatty junk food. My mom would always bring little smokies. I was always a fan of the meat and cheese tray. The grown ups would play cards or games and we would just play and be wild.

So, tonight, Tim and I will bring in the new year exactly like we like to do it...at home. We love to hang out, eat some dinner, watch a movie, and hang out.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

More Peanuts

I received the biography Schulz and Peanuts this Christmas, so it seems perfect to make the trip to Santa Rosa, California to enjoy the Charles M. Schulz Museum. I enjoy Peanuts and enjoy them more and more as an adult. Even Tim made the comment that he might just have to start reading Peanuts again.


I realized after reading more about the characters of Peanuts and their personalities, there is someone for everyone to relate to. For me, I am a little bit Marcie, a little bit Lucy, and a little bit Linus.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Christmas in California


We are in California celebrating Christmas with our family on Tim's side. We have a new member to our family, baby Leah. She is our first and only niece. The week will be spent hugging, holding, and playing with Leah.

The weather did not keep us from our destination, but it did delay us. We were two hours late leaving Philly and two hours delayed in Chicago. It never bothers me when we are delayed. I am happy to be delayed if it makes for a safer and calmer flight. Plus, Southwest Airlines gave us a free drink for our troubles.

We hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Red Wine Hurts

Tim confessed to me the other night that he wished that we had some wine in the house. He was in the mood for a glass of wine, but we rarely have any kind of alcohol in the house.

We don't have any kind of problem with alcohol. We just do not drink it at home or on a regular basis. We are more beer drinkers when we have friends over. This is only because I can drink beer. I have come to know that I suffer from red wine headaches when I indulge in the drink.

I see other people drinking wine and loving it. People look sophisticated and quite classy when they enjoy a glass of wine with dinner, but it is just not worth the headache followed by nausea. However, I can drink white wine. It just seems that our daily life very rarely requires such a luxury as wine. Water, milk, soda, and juice seems to work just as well.

Because of this red wine ailment, we are no longer in the running to join a wine club that a friend invited us to join. When I told her that I can't drink red wine and assured her that I like all of the foods that accompany red wine, that didn't seal the deal. They wanted wine lovers.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

You Don't Know Sarah

On VH1, I was wasting precious time watching "The Best Songs of the 90's" the other night. I agreed with about one in ten of their choices. For example, I wouldn't say that Right Said Fred's "I'm Too Sexy" was one of the best songs of the 90's, but I would claim from the rooftops that Sarah McLachlan's "Building a Mystery" was one of the best songs.

The thing that bothers me about these shows are the celebrity pundits that comment on the songs and artists. For example, some d-listed celebrity goes on and on about how much they love "Building a Mystery" and finishes by saying,
"I can't wait until I hear more from Sarah."
What? So, that song came out in 1997. Ten years ago. Since then, Sarah McLachlan has had two studio albums, a number of live sessions, and a few remixed albums. Why do they find the most common and uneducated, musically speaking, celebrities to comment on this stuff.

Since I am all salty about music right now, let me share some of the sweet about music. I am loving the following songs right now.

Never Said by Liz Phair.
Anyone Who Had a Heart by Shelby Lynne...an amazing cover of an old Dionne Warwick tune. Completely sad.
The Way I Am by Ingrid Michaelson...it just happens to be on an Old Navy commerical.
Chicago by Sufjan Stevens
Falling in Love at a Coffee Shop by Landon Pigg...also on a commerical for diamonds when the guy gives his gal a necklace in the car.
True by Spandau Ballet

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Nothing More Than a Whisper

I had a run back in 1994 when I lost my voice for an entire month. Imagine. A 16 year old girl who thought she had lots to say but was completely unable to do so. It was the trifecta of overuse on my vocal chords.

Lots of talking.
Lots of cheerleading.
Lots of singing.

Well, long and boring story short...my voice came back. I quit cheerleading for that and even better reasons. I started using my voice properly.

Before 1994, I would lose my voice for an entire week during all of my summers at Bible camp where you would sing, scream, yell, and whisper every waking minute. (The whisper for the times that you were supposed to be reflecting and talking with God but really whispering about that oh-so-cute boy who you wanted to hold your hand at campfire.)

Until this morning, I thought laryngitis was really just a memory from my childhood. Then, I plugged in the ipod and tried to sing some REO Speedwagon on my way to get coffee and nothing. Okay. Maybe a squeak.

Well, I can add one more chapter to the lost voices of Sara. I am currently without a voice. Thankfully, I just completed my last day in kindergarten for the semester. A kindergarten teacher without voice is really no good. I am planning on taking tomorrow to nurse my voice back to its normal state. I can't be driving in the car without doing my best to serenade my favorite 80's ballads. That'd be a crime.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

"If There's a Cure For This..."

I think my itunes has a personality and likes to play jokes on me. I like to pride myself on the diversity within my itunes and its 2432 songs. However, tonight, when I was updating my sidebar and the ipod random mix, it picked five doozies.

It wanted to remind me that I like old, cheesy songs too.

All Night Long by Lionel Richie
Cracklin' Rosie by Neil Diamond
Love Hangover by Diana Ross
Will You Still Love Me by Chicago
I Haven't Got Time for the Pain by Carly Simon


Sunday Night Grumps

Someone asked me if it is legal that I play music on my blog. I have no idea. I like to think that these are lesser known artists and would be happy to have their music shared with others with my glowing recommendation. I am not sharing in the way that you get to keep these tunes on your computer, so I am going to keep sharing the goods.

Tonight, I have chosen the songs based upon a different friends Sunday night depression. I get that. Not that I am depressed, but I can see how Sunday nights have a way of making people, me included, feel grumps. So, to be the antidote to the grumps, beautiful music, everyone!

Dilemma

I am having a dilemma of conscience.
The CVS Pharmacy has broken my number too pet peeve. My pet peeves are in this order.
  1. Tardiness...especially if you walk in and offer no apology for your rude behavior. My time is sort of precious, at least to me.
  2. Making work for me...I have a job and all of the other kind of grown up responsibilities. I do not need anyone making more work for me.
  3. Tailgating...not the fun kind with beer and snacks, but the kind that is aggressive and able to cause your insurance to go up because I am filing the claim even if you want to pay. You need to be taught a lesson and I am just the gal to do it.
Okay, I am getting distracted. The CVS has made more work for me. I had them print some photos that I had emailed to them this morning. I picked them up and went to work. I opened the envelope and my pictures were there along with two photos of a lovely family and a CD.

I know this family's photos were placed in the wrong envelope. I was bothered. I did not want to go back and give them the CD and photos. It was their mistake, right. Why should I go back and get them out of a pinch. UGH.

This is why...I would want someone to do that for me. So, I did not want to go back today, but I will go back tomorrow.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Constant Cookies

This is the first year since 2000 that I have not done a colossal cookie baking day for Christmas. When I lived in North Dakota and Iowa, I would always bake and bring an enormous cookie and treat tray to school to feed the overfed teachers. However, I now teach in a tiny school and most people are pretty healthy. I could send the tray of treats to the university with Tim, but I just haven't found the inspiration for cookie making.

Don't feel too sad for our empty cookie canisters. I received a box of treats from a student and we've enjoyed the brownies and cookies, but it made me reminisce about the Christmas cookies of my childhood.

In my family, Christmas is the one time of the year where all of the aunts bring their treats in beautifully designed trays. Tray after tray filled with caramel covered marshmallows, rolled sugar cookies, mint brownies, homemade fudge, and more. It was the one time of the year that you could eat cookies all day long and a grown up would just sit and watch and smile. You could have a dinner sized plate filled with only sweet treats and there would be no recommendation to eat a vegetable. It made the grown ups happy that we loved their Christmas cookies.

I do not have a memory of stomach aches or other self-induced ailments. These types of free-for-all cookie frenzies still occur at our family Christmas. Each year, there are more little cousins added to the brood and the binging continues. I would be disappointed if it didn't. It is a great family tradition.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Lofty Ideas

It is fast approaching that time of the year where a large number of mediocre people make lofty goals and aspirations for the upcoming year. I am one of the mediocre people who find lofty goals worthwhile and usually, completely unattainable.

So, why after so many failures do I still find these impressive ideas so appealing? I am not too proud to say that the loftiest New Years goal that I have ever achieved was not eating McDonald's during 2006. So proud, in fact, that it has a permanent spot on the sidebar of this blog.

Here are a few of my ideas. As always, weight loss is numero uno.
1. Lose weight. I won't bore you with the specifics of this goal. Just trying to live a long and healthy life.
2. Learn to sew. I want to make cute aprons and capes for kindergarten. I want to sew valances for my sun room.
3. Learn to swim. I am still embarrassed about the fact that I am in my thirties and still cannot swim. I doubt that I will do this.
4. Read 52 books. Yep, a book a week.
5. Stop reading celebrity gossip websites. God. I am confessing tonight.
6. Not eat McDonald's in 2008. Totally do-able.
7. Eat fish once a week. I hear that could be good for me.
8. Run a 5K. This is the long shot, people. Kind of like biking across Iowa. I need to find someone who is interested in this. The whole running thing is hard. I have to add more and more because I want to lay on the sidewalk for two years after I run for a minute.

Any other ideas?

Monday, December 10, 2007

A Cool Place

If you have been wondering where I have been, look no further than the great white scene of North Dakota.

Brrrr.

When I touched down in Grand Forks, the pilot came on the speaker to announce that it was 15 below zero. That wasn't even the coldest it was all weekend. At one point, the news reported 25 below.

It just made sense to have this insane cold weather when I am visiting Grand Forks because it seemed that everything that I experienced in Grand Forks was classic Grand Forks. For example, I spent more time watching hockey in less than a 24 hour period than I have watched in five years. Not just any hockey game the rivalry of the University of North Dakota and the University of Minnesota. Just so you know...they split the series.

It was a good visit. It always feels good to be home in the midwest.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Collections


I have done a lot of thinking about this.

At this point in my life, I do not have any collections. I do not collect albums. I do not collect any figurines of any sort. I abhor stuffed animals of any kind. All collections have always seen to be quite impractical. I don't want a collection that collects dust.

I have always enjoyed collections that other people have. I saw a snow globe collection on television and even enjoyed it, yet I would never have that type of collection. Impractical.

It occurred to me this morning as I made coffee. I turned from my coffee maker to my cupboard that held my coffee cups. I have 12 lovely purple cups from our dishes that we received for our wedding, but I NEVER choose a purple mug. There are at least four other mugs that I will drink from before I choose a purple mug. This morning, it was a seasonal favorite that was given to me by Tim's mom, the white mug with a Christmas deer.

I stood and sipped my coffee and realized that I should collect mugs. Not just any mugs, but great mugs. Mugs that are unique and different and meaningful.

The mug in the photo is a perfect example. That notepaper is such an important part of my daily life as I try to teach 14 five year olds how to write. I see that paper every day. Even after my kindergarten days are over, I will think of kindergarten when I drink from this mug. Therefore, I am buying this mug. For my new collection.

As I began to write this post, I realized that I have even wrote about two of my beloved mugs already. The rainbow mug that Jodi gave to me and I think of her every time I drink from it. The "I'm In Charge Here" mug given to me from my student when I taught in Iowa. See. I have had mugs on the mind for quite some time.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

To Help You Get Into the Mood...


Shrinking Christmas

Let me boast for a moment...I am finished Christmas shopping.

This was a premeditated move that I have been thinking about for months. I was going to do 80% of my shopping online. I exceeded my goal and purchased 95% online with only gift cards and one item bought in a store.

And my former Borders co-workers will not like what I am about to say, but...I was astounded by the discrepancy in price between Borders and Amazon. It makes sense. Borders only sells books and music. Amazon sells EVERYTHING. They can cut prices. So, no matter my loyalty to Borders, I had to go with Amazon because the prices were almost half on everything that I purchased.

Another goal for Christmas this year was to make Christmas smaller, in the material sense. I have spoken to more than three people who have also made this their goal. They are not buying presents for everyone that they usually do. I have heard people talking about smaller gifts. For example, instead of an impractical gift like another Christmas decoration, a person was going to give a bag of coffee beans. Lovely. In my extended family, we have decided not to exchange names. Lovely.

I do not want to make Christmas smaller because I am a Grinch. The opposite in fact. I want to enjoy all the parts of Christmas other than the gifts. The baking. The songs. The lights. The TV specials...especially Charlie Brown. The cards. The photos.

Along with my change of attitude towards Christmas, I am not sending a Christmas letter. I struggle with this every year. Nothing changes in our lives and I do not want to share the mundane details that occur in everyone's lives. So, instead, I am writing my cards and adding a favorite recipe from 2007. I think I will make that a tradition. Lovely.

Are you shrinking Christmas?

Thursday, November 29, 2007

I Like Movies

The other night I was laughing with my friend Amy about how we can still learn lessons from John Hughes movies. Well, at the most, maybe we can really just waste a weekend afternoon as one of many play cable.

As I thought more about John Hughes movies, I remembered one of my very favorite, Some Kind of Wonderful. Most will say Breakfast Club or Vacation, but I remember this movie striking a chord with me when I was a moody and melodramatic teen.

Short story if you do not already know this simple story...poor, somewhat nerdy guy pines for beautiful popular girl while his tomboy best friend pines for him and resents beautiful girl. Like most John Hughes movies, there is a happy ending. The guy figures out who he should truly love and who he should share his teenage years.

Tim and I have had so many discussions about Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. I do not like that movie and he thinks it is gut-busting funny. I am actually annoyed by the movie. I think it is John Candy that annoys me because I also take issue with The Great Outdoors and I know that many people adore that film.

So, in the interest of dialogue, I am sure you have a favorite John Hughes film. If you don't know what he wrote, click on his name.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Black Friday

The build up to Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, annoys me to no end. Just as the media builds the hype and the commercials claim the biggest deals, I am just as busy claiming that I hate it and would never do it.

However, I realized that for the last two years, I have actually gone out to the stores and the malls. I had company during both years and shopping seemed like a good idea. I think the trick is not going at the crack of dawn. We went to the new Philadelphia Premium Outlets. I had no idea how close these outlets were to my home. There are many stores that I have very little interest, but they had a Merrell store, Eddie Bauer, and a few others.

I am proud to say that I am 80% finished with my Christmas shopping and I have only purchased one of them at the stores. I have some odds and ends to finish, but most of the gifts are wrapped and under the tree.

Monday, November 19, 2007

I'd Read It If I Could

I feel like I have not had any time to just browse a book store the way I like to browse a book store. At least when I worked at Borders, I could just grab a book that I had been eyeing for weeks on my way home. Now, I have to make a deliberate attempt to visit the book store.

So, here I am tonight without a book. I finished the book that I was reading last night and wonder what I will do when the sleepy hour rolls around and I find myself under four blankets and wanting something to read.

For me, books offer a time to be thinking about something. That sounds strange because my mind is a blur and a buzz all day as I wrangle and teach five year olds. Yet, I am not finding time to reflect and dig deep into my thoughts. I see it as a selfish time for me when I am having cozy reading time.

So, in honor of cozy four blankets after a nightly hot cocoa time, I list my next reads...that is when I get myself to the book store.

Schulz and Peanuts: A Biography
by David Michaelis
After watching a PBS show, American Masters, where they told of Charle Schultz's life, I have had a mild obsession with Peanuts. I have always loved Peanuts and have a special affection for them since Schultz was from Minnesota. Having read my share of Peanuts, I knew they were dark, but I always thought they were funny. Even if they were making fun of the sad and mean parts of childhood, I thought they were funny. So, it turns out that Charles Schultz was a bit of a downer. I just want to know more about him and how he could create this ironic and clever story for so many years.

The Assault on Reason
by Al Gore

I am going to read this for the anticipation of 2008 and what I hope is a great change in this country. I am ready for people to start having conversations based on reason and logical ideas. I feel it turning around as I read and watch the pundits. People are on the road to recovery with questioning and thinking about the world and our place in it.



Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist
by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

This young adult book is right up my 16 year old mentality. I have told many people that although I exist in the body of a 31 year old, I revert back to 16 year thoughts every once in a while. I love the idea that these two music lovers are drawn together. I like the idea of alternating chapters written for each teen. This is a perfect example of the type of book that is the opposite of all of the five year old decision-making that I do all day long.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Angry Nut

I was reminded again why I have pledged to stay out of the stores this holiday season.

I stopped at The Head Nut, this great little store near my home where you can get spices, nuts, baking items, and fresh roasted coffee. I always get my pecans, almonds, and walnuts there because they are so fresh and really cheap. I brought my friend there to show her this gem of the neighborhood. However, when the woman behind the counter started yelling at a man who made a snide comment, it all turned ugly.

She wanted us to make an organized line and the man said something like, "Well, there isn't a sign." She got super salty. She said, "I do not need your aggravation." It only continued when her co-worker came into the room and chewed them out for not having customers go out the right door. Just lots of yelling as we wait patiently for nuts.

I felt like I was in Seinfeld and wanting soup. I worried that I would get the angry nut lady and she might yell at me for not knowing exactly what I want. Thankfully, I didn't get her.

The thing with customer service at little shops like that is that people will still come because it is special. There isn't another store where you can get the diversity of treats and goods that The Head Nut offers. However, I get why she was so salty. People can be jerks. She probably takes a lot of grief from people because they come into her store and want what they want at the expense of her sanity.

Friday, November 16, 2007

You Asked for It


When I was a junior in high school, I had to take speech class. We were asked to give a speech about a person that we admired. Flashback to 1994. Knee deep in the Clinton presidency. I had big love for Bill and Hill. More than a normal 17 year old girl should have. However, little did I know that my speech teacher was a big, big republican hatin' Hillary type.

Well, this love has not changed. Fourteen more years later, I am really wanting Hillary to make it all the way.

All of the democratic debates lately remind me of a Saturday Night Live skit with Darrell Hammond as Bill Clinton right after the whole impeachment mess when he comes out to the rose garden at the White House and he says, "Next time, you best bring kryptonite. I. Am. Bulletproof." Right on.

Keep in mind, I also like Obama and Edwards, but I prefer Hillary. They bring their best to the debates and she is such a skilled debater and defender, that it just bounces off of her. It's like she could say, "Nice try."

I like that she is tough. I hope she gets even tougher. Not the crazy, hawkish tough that we have right now in the Oval Office. You can't come out of the Clinton presidency and not have the toughest skin in politics. She is wicked smart, people.

Now, I am not going to go into the ins and outs of her stands and their stands. Nor should you. Or at least on MY blog.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Time Wasted Well

Wikipedia is my new favorite way to waste my semi-precious time. I love the thread of learning that occurs. For example, I decided to look up Tom Selleck because I had read something about his conservative politics, which led me to Magnum, PI, which led me to "Jump the Shark"...a reference to when The Fonz jumped a shark while on water skis in a Happy Days episode. The show was nearing the end and was doing its best to keep viewers. I learn the funniest things just by typing in one reference and seeing where it leads me.

Wikipedia makes me feel less stupid. If there is a reference or a historical event that is mentioned in the news or in a show, I just type it into Wikipedia and my mind is at ease. Sure, it is not 100% reliable, but I am not writing a term paper. I am just being curious.

I spent at least 40 minutes last night reading about The Sopranos. Wikipedia is there for when I need more of something good. I watched the bittersweet last episode of The Sopranos and was left with wanting more. Wikipedia was there for me.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Baking Helps

I am starting what will be a very stressful week.

I have parent-teacher conferences.

I will be getting ready to host my second Thanksgiving.

I have honed some pretty good coping skills for stress over the years. I make lists. I spend extra time at school as to feel prepared for my conferences. I make lists. I spend extra time with my recipe books. I make lists. Well, you get the idea. My computer space is covered with grocery lists, student lists, recipe print outs, report cards. I think it might just be the perfect storm for me. We'll see. I am going to take it day by day with a large coffee instead of a medium.

On a brighter note, I have enjoyed a new cookie recipe that is perfect for this time of the year. I am definitely a seasonal baker. I like to make things with seasonal fruit and spices. So, this week's recipe is Soft Ginger Cookies. I froze them and have high hopes that they will freeze well. Enjoy.
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup margarine, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Sift together the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together the margarine and 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, then stir in the water and molasses. Gradually stir the sifted ingredients into the molasses mixture. Shape dough into walnut sized balls, and roll them in the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar. Place the cookies 2 inches apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet, and flatten slightly.


Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Listen to Rosie

I am still loving Rosie Thomas and wanted to put a few of my favorite songs together for you. Remember...RT writes a lot of bummer songs and a lot of love songs. The whole love song thing is one of my secret music behaviors.

La Promenade


Who knew that Renoir would be the force that propelled me to drive into Philadelphia again for the second time this weekend! With my coffee in my cup holder, Courtney and I ventured along Kelly Drive to The Philadelphia Museum of Art to take in the Renoir Landscapes exhibit.

Along with some high art, we took in some general entertainment at the movie house. We saw Dan in Real Life with Steve Carell. Not my usual type of movie to see in the theater, but it was cute and simple and just the right thing. Unless you are the lover of romantic comedies, I would wait to rent it.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Midwestern Endorsement: Rosie Thomas

Sometimes, I just love Philly.

Sometimes, I just love me in Philly.

Last night, I drove downtown to catch a show at World Cafe Live with my chum, Courtney. We heard the lovely and real Rosie Thomas. She only writes two kinds of songs, downers and love songs...my two favorite kinds of songs!

I loved that she was wearing just regular trouser jeans that I would wear to teach kindergarten and she had this amazing stage manner where she showed her sense of humor. I kept thinking, "I think Rosie Thomas and I should be friends."

*Sigh*

I guess I will just listen to her amazing music instead.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Open for Suggestions

Inspire me, readers. I am taking suggestions for all things. The following is the list of things I would like some suggestions.

  1. Music
  2. Books
  3. Websites - keep it clean, people.
  4. Beverages
  5. Cozy comforts
  6. Haircuts
  7. Blog topics
  8. Quotes

Let's Share

Along with Dream Dinners, my new obsession is Simplify Media. This is a revolutionary idea where you share your itunes library with your friends. It is not the illegal kind of sharing where I actually get to put the songs in my library, but instead, I just listen to their library when they are online.

I love it.

Right now, I can listen to Jodi's, Sara's, Amanda's, and Courtney's music. If you want to share music too, just invite me and if I know you, I will say yes. It is my first name and last name all lowercase.

This is what I love about sharing itunes right at this moment...
  • I am using Amanda's music as a bit of a time capsule to my junior high days. I can listen to "What She's Doing Now" by Garth Brooks on Amanda's tunes and go right back to the early 90's when I couldn't get enough of Garth. Oh! And "Burnin' Bridges"...I love that one too! She has a mean collection of early 90's Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith music. What? You didn't know that about me? You didn't know that I used to jam in my bedroom to christian rock in my pre-teen years? Proudly.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Minty Booze


I do not find myself in a liquor store very often. Every once in awhile, I might have to get wine if we have guests, but even then, I have no idea what I am buying. I just make sure it is over $15 and hope for the best.

However, today, I needed some creme de menthe for a cake that I was making. In the midwest, I could find mint syrup in the ice cream aisle at the grocery store, but not here. As I left the grocery store, I couldn't even think where there was a liquor store on the way home.

I found one and wandered without having any clue where to look for this. I saw signs for wines, vodkas, brandies, rums. So, I walked up and down each aisle. I couldn't find it and finally asked a man where to locate the creme de menthe section.

"Section? Try one bottle."

Okay. You don't have to embarrass me Liquor Man. I drink beer. I keep it simple. I am not going to be ashamed of my lack of booze knowledge.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Ooo...They are Back

The smut is back.

NIP/TUCK returns on October 30. Set your TIVO if you are fancy and tech savvy. If you are like me, just cuddle into your couch and get yourself ready for ridiculousness that is Dr. Christian Troy and Dr. Sean McNamara.

Look how good they look. They look like they are ready to make Hollywood beautiful.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

My New Thing...Hopefully

Although I love to cook, my energies are low during the work week and I have been quite lazy with my meal preparation. Not only are my energies low after a day of kid-wrangling in kindergarten, but I tend to run out of ideas for dinner. It doesn't matter how many recipe books that I look at or how many recipes that I try, I end up cooking the same boring meals...if I cook at all.

My friend Sara was telling me about her meal preparation store that she goes to once a month. I was interested.

So, next Saturday, I will go to my local Dream Dinners and prepare 12 meals with three servings each. The food is all bought, cleaned, and prepared. I will put the meals together and they provide the tins and covers so I can take them home and freeze them. I think it is a pretty good deal, cost wise. Sure, you are paying for some of the convenient, but I will gladly do that so I do not have to plan and cook 12 meals during the work week. That leaves only eight days where I will have to think of something to cook, but Tim provides dinner every Thursday night. So, that really means that I only have to think of four meals a month!

We have a few meal preparation stores around Philly, but I will start with Dream Dinners. I might try Super Suppers next month. This is my new favorite thing. I am already looking at next months menus at these stores to see where I want to make December's meals.

I do love to plan meals and cook meals, but I will save those energies and creative juices for the weekend meals.

Friday, October 19, 2007

You're Late

Okay, I know I can do better than writing about Dane Cook.

I am not sure how a person can complain about 75 degree weather this late into October, but I can. I am ready for turtlenecks and cords. I am ready for the leaves to change. I love fall and I love being able to pick up a coffee and go for a long drive with Tim on a Sunday. And I wait. The leaves are still on all of the trees and they are mostly green. C'mon!

I am going to a football game on Sunday and I would like nothing better than to wear my puffy vest and sipping on a hot cocoa.

I Don't Even Want to Include His Name in This Title

Who is this Dane Cook and why is he being forced upon me?

I have been forced to watch my fair share of post-season baseball this fall. I guess this guy Dane Cook has a few promos where he talks about the glory that is October. Whenever I see it, I make the same comment to Tim.

I have no idea why this guy is famous. I am sure there is a good reason, but I have never seen him in a movie. I have never seen his comedy act. I attribute this to a whole generational gap that I am thankful for. I think if I was in college when Dane Cook became famous, maybe I would know him. However, he could be my next door neighbor. I wouldn't know.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Midwestern Recipe: Pumpkin Bread


I am a big fan of sweet breads. I like this seasonal treat because it is moist and flavorful. So moist that it really needs to be eaten in two or three days.

1 3/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. soda
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup margarine or butter
2 eggs
1 can of pureed pumpkin
1/3 cup milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Combine all ingredients with the milk and vanilla last. Bake in oven for one hour at 350 degrees. Check with knife. It is done cooking when the knife comes out clean.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Another Tribute

If you are a reader of The Midwestern Position, than you know how I love puffy vests.

Some might see the turning of the leaves or the arrival of Halloween candy as the first sign of fall, but for me, fall means a new puffy vest.

Don't be deceived by this red puffy. My new puffy is kelly green. Quite vibrant and eye catching. I plan to add a cream scarf and the cream hat that I already own to complete the stylish outfit. Did I tell you that my hat has a puffer on it...you know...the puffer ball on the top of the hat.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Question of the Day

Do we ever stop making the same mistakes over and over again?

Does everyone make mistakes over and over again or is there hope for me and all the other people whose foresight is completely obscured by emotions, excuses, or some other unconvincing arguments.

When I look at other people and the choices they make in their lives, it seems that they make the same choice/mistake over and over. It got me thinking about the decisions that I have made in my life. Anything from my ability to lose a little bit of weight, only to gain it back again to accepting unacceptable behaviors from the people in my life.

I guess I am one of many. Sometimes, I will think this is a good quality. For example, I give lots and lots of second chances only to be disappointed. Then, I usually start making excuses for people's behaviors and think my standards are too high. Finally, I get pissed and let them know exactly what I think.

Or even worse! I let it go only to make the same mistake again that leads to frustration.

Let's take weight loss. What it comes down to is that it bores me. Bad. It can keep my attention for about a week. Even when I think about the positive consequences in my life, I still cannot stay motivated to make healthy choices. For example, the beautiful and delicious buffalo chicken cheese steak that I have written about with great love before on this blog. I know that if I eat the whole thing, I will be uncomfortable, but it is so good. So, I make the mistake and eat it...even when I know, but my foresight is obscured by bleu cheese.

I am sure I could think of more mistakes/choices that I continue to make, but I do not need a shame spiral tonight.

Oh and that excuse about "we all make mistakes" is no good when you keep making them. It is time we all start learning from our mistakes.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Because I Can...

Let me complain a little...

The other night, we were returning from Delaware where we had enjoyed babysitting our little cousin, Emmeline. She is three months and so cute. We were on the interstate where they were doing some repairs at midnight. There was only one lane open. The left lane.

Warnings were given for many, many miles prior to the narrowing of the lanes into one lane, yet so many people just kept driving in the right lanes. When it was finally time to squeeze into the left lane, Tim let one person in and kept driving. One guy who drove by all the people waiting their turn in the left lane wanted in and Tim did not let him.

So, he threw up his aggressive middle finger to let us know how victimized he felt.

Really??? So, Mr. Aggressive Driver, you think because you did not show courtesy to all the people waiting patiently in the left lane that we should show you courtesy. When you give people the middle finger, it doesn't encourage us to be courteous to you.

People just have more guts when they are surrounded by metal and glass.

However, just the other day, three teenage girls crossed the street in the middle of a very busy road and not at the crosswalk. They made people slow down and stop so they could cross. So, I honked. Yes, this might have been seen as aggressive, but I wanted to let them know they were not be courteous. However, they let me know with a synchronized middle finger that they did not need the reminder.

Let's just all be nice.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Midwestern Endorsement: Pushing Daisies

Last week, I wrote about my disappointments with some of the fall pilot shows. However, Pushing Daisies do not fit into this category.

Instead, I love Pushing Daisies. It falls somewhere between a mystery and fantasy with lots of quirks in between. The narration reminds me of Ameile which is one of my favorite movies. Unlike so many of the television shows on each evening, it has an interesting concept.

Ned - the guy in the tie - has the skill of returning people to life with his touch, but if he touches them again, they are returned to being dead. Some mystery solving happens along with clever and witty writing between characters.

I see this show as being innocent and simple and not messed up with torrid story lines and annoying self-absorbed characters. I will be watching Pushing Daisies on Wednesdays at 8/7 central.

Down and Sort of Out

I like to claim that I have an immune system of steel. This is not the case this weekend. I felt it sneaking up on me with dry throat. I felt one nostril closing up with whatever mystery gunk is up there.

Well, I woke up with a full blown cold. Solutions...
  • Coffee (of course)
  • Dayquil
  • Childhood orange quilt
  • Reruns of half-hour television shows
  • Tim's laptop computer for Wikipedia...to look up things that pop into my head...to do some online shopping...to write this entry.
  • A great husband who will get me glasses of water and make frozen pizza for me.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

No Place for a Deer


Sure, they look cute and fragile, but they are damn fast.

I am rarely put in a place where my most basic verbal instinctive reaction occurs, but today as I drove home from school with a quick stop at the coffee shop, I revealed my words.

I screamed with my window down "HOLY SH..". Why? Well, I didn't expect to have a huge HUGE deer run in front of me in the middle of the city. Not just any deer, but a several horned buck that just kept running down a residential street. I am glad that we were perpendicular rather than parallel because I am sure I would have crashed into something because I couldn't look away from this rare and strange scene.

I just hope there weren't any children around to be shocked by my crass, yet gut verbal reaction.

Monday, October 01, 2007

TV Can Be Quite Good...These Are a Big Maybe


New shows rarely impress me. I usually will find one show a season that I am into. I entered into this new television season with high hopes for two shows, Chuck on NBC and Dirty Sexy Money on ABC. However, after watching the first episodes of each show, I think they both have fatal flaws...at least in my eyes.

Chuck is clever enough. There are nerdy jokes which I like, but Chuck has downloaded all of the world's secrets into his mind. It will look like someone is going to die or some disaster will happen, but then Chuck reaches into his downloaded subconscious and can figure out the mystery at the last moment.

I am going to give it one more shot tonight with Chuck. I am going to hope that Chuck doesn't have an 'aha' moment during the last five minutes of the show to have an easy solution. Granted, it is a comedy and I should expect holes in the story, but I have high television series standards.

Then there is Dirty Sexy Money. What is there not to like about Peter Krauss. Dreamboat. However, unlike his earlier series Six Feet Under, these characters are an open book from the first 20 minutes of the series premiere. I hope they have not pigeon holed the characters so that there is very little character development.

I think television executives should know better now with excellent shows like The Sopranos or Six Feet Under that are character driven with a slow and unwinding art of story telling. With Dirty Sexy Money, I feel like I know the characters and their possible story lines after only one episode. I try to stay away from shows that are event driven rather than character driven.

This might be premature and I hope I can eat these words, but television executives dumb down shows and I think this is a big mistake. We are big boys and girls with brains. If you write it well, we will watch it.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

My Weekend

New Ringtone
I used to have Shakira's "Hips Don't Lie" as my default ringtone on my cell phone, but now, I have the theme from one of my favorite television shows, The Office. I look forward to my phone ringing.

Raised Flower Bed

We worked very hard on landscaping this weekend. I would post a picture but it won't be complete until the spring when we fill it with soil. We plan on using our fall leaves to get it all healthy for the spring planting. We placed 60 edging stones and it looks lovely. It will be a raised bed where we plan to really get green thumbs.

More TV Love
We watched the first two discs of Heroes, Season One. I love it. I knew I would but I just couldn't commit to watching it every week. I can commit to The Office because if I miss something, I won't be far behind the story.

Christmas Present
I purchased my first present for the Christmas season. I have a grand plan. I want to be finished with Christmas shopping by December 1. My other goal is to buy 80% of my Christmas gifts online and not enter a single mall. When I purchase gifts, I am going to ask, "What will this person REALLY enjoy?" Giving gifts is a tricky thing. I feel like as a 31 year old woman, I do not really need to receive presents, but I love to give presents. Tim and I do not exchange Christmas, Valentines, or anniversary presents. You get to a certain age and realize that if you want something, you go and buy it. However, that is the challenge of gift giving...I want to buy things that people have not thought of buying for themselves, but they will love it just the same.

Mixed CDs
I get big joy out of mixing CDs for friends. I mixed four CDs. I like to have a theme for each disk that is specially chosen for the receiver of the CD. The four themes follow...
- 80's songs that are underappreciated
- songs that you should know
- songs I am loving right now
- songs to work out to

Three out of four of those these are kind of bossy.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

More Than a Phone?


Sometimes I feel old.

I was in the Verizon Wireless store after school. My phone had served me well for over two years but was no longer holding a charge. It was time for my upgrade.

Like any trip to the cell phone store, it takes FOREVER to get something accomplished. I just wanted a phone. Instead, I had to sign in at the kiosk for service. Then, I waited for about 25 minutes even though my name was first. Everyone must have been on break.

Then, my name was called. A woman told me about the phones that would be a good fit. She told me, "I am going to let this all sink in and I'll be right back with you."

I knew this to be a lie. I knew she would help another customer and it would be another 40 minutes before I saw her again.

Yep. She helped a woman who must have been signing her life away because it took FOREVER for her business to be finished. So long, in fact, that I was able to observe two fourteen year oldish girls walk from cell phone to cell phone and have the same conversation over and over. It went something like this...

Girl 1: Do you like this phone?
Girl 2: Do you like this phone?
Girl 1: It's okay if you like this phone.
Girl 2: Do you like this phone?
Girl 1: No. I just don't get this phone.

Really. Over and over they would discuss if they liked each phone. Am I missing something? What is there to like? It dials. It rings. It opens. I know there is a whole world of texting out there that I have been able to avoid on a daily basis, but I had a hard time thinking about a connection in my own 14 year old world.

I guess I would have to say that my telephone that was plugged into my wall in my bedroom would have been as important as these girls' cell phones. Granted, I did not have long discussions about whether that phone was good enough. I just felt old and grateful that I was not 14 years old.

Finally, another Verizon person came to the counter and I got my phone.

Monday, September 24, 2007

We'll See in the Spring


I am having low gardener self-esteem. I tried my best to split some hostas in my yard. I had this space that was all cleaned out and needed something. I have so many healthy hostas, I thought I would share the hosta love. However, they are pretty wilty. I am treating them very well with lots of water.

I also planted some bulbs for the spring because they are some of my favorites. Hyacinths, daffodils, and tulips will bloom. This weekend, we have big landscaping plans because we are going to build a raised flower bed using edging stones. We are going to fill it with soil and compost to prepare it for the spring when we will split some more hostas and will add some more perennials.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Bothered

On Friday night, we went to my favorite Thai restaurant. I was looking forward to an evening with Tim since our week was pretty hectic. We could just have a nice evening where we could just talk. However, it wasn't in the cards.

Instead, we had this guy (roll of the eyes) who was sitting next to us. Let me describe him for you. He laughed in a LOUD high-pitched cackle. He ate his food and many, many pieces of it fell out of his mouth when he ate. Some of it got caught in his very hair beard.

I should have been concentrating on my husband, but I couldn't. I just couldn't. I sound judgemental. I am judgemental. I judge those who make eating at a restaurant unbearable. It wasn't just me that was uncomfortable with this guy because the couple on the other side of us were bothered.

I wish I could be the type of person who can ignore others when they are without any self-awareness, but I can't. Never have been.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

At Least I Tried

Hmmm...What should I write about? I do not feel like I have anything going on. Okay. Let's do one of those random type posts. Let's do what I am diggin' right now.

Weeds. I love that show. It is not heavy duty, just some funny weed selling in the 'burbs. Like I have written/complained about before, I hate when I run out of DVDs before they have more seasons out. I am left just wanting more.

The Biggest Loser. I have never watched this reality show before, but before I knew it, I was hooked. I think it is really inspiring, but I wish people didn't get kicked off. I want them all to lose and get an opportunity to do that...but they do. They'll get to keep working on it at home like the rest of us chuckleheads.

Chili. It is hot, spicy, and so yummers. Granted, it has those magic beans, but I can handle it. I have had leftover chili for two nights in a row with a dollop of sour cream on it. De-lish.

Fall. I am getting the first feelings of fall with the cool morning and evenings. I have broken out the hot cocoa and the jean jacket. As a kindergarten teacher, my calendar is based on seasonal themes...apples, leaves, pumpkins...Do people not entrenched in fall themes get into it as I do? However, I am dreading the leaves in my backyard. Oh well, I will look at it as exercise.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

31 Years

Well, it is that time of the year again. I like to take my birthday to be reflective and all about me. I blame my mother. Not only did she bring me into this world, but she threw great birthday parties for me.

At 31, I know that I lead a quieter life than most. I do not go out on the town that much. I prefer to be at home with Tim. Rather than go out to eat on Saturday nights, I like to spend the late afternoon cooking something yummy for us and always with a dessert. Friday nights are even quieter with our ritual leftovers from the week and some television.

At 31, I am doing the job that I love to do. I am exhausted each day, but I leave knowing that I have put my all into those kindergarteners. Each day, I stop and get my coffee, drive to work while I listen to the news, and start my day with emails to friends.

At 31, I have a great relationship with my family. They've always respected my choices and my voice. No matter where I move or how far I am from the midwest, I keep those ties tight.

At 31, I have come to understand that you do not need friends less and less as we grow, but more and more. Thankfully, I have found friends who know this is true.

At 31, I am living with the funniest person that I know who accepts me for exactly who I am and never asks for me to change.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Welcome Leah Renee


Tim and I became an aunt and uncle for the first time on Friday, September 7, 2007.

Congratulations to Joe and Ellie!
Welcome Leah Renee! I can't wait to hug on you.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Heartbreak List


Using the beloved itunes and ipod, I listen to two podcasts a week. I listen to Car Talk and This American Life. They are free on itunes and bring much joy, reflection, and humor to my life while I clean the kitchen, drive to Ikea, or participate in general life activities.

I listened to a particularly connective episode of This American Life this weekend. It was from last week and it was titled Break Up.

It has been awhile since I went through a break up, let alone one where I was being dumped, yet this topic hooked me.

Like all episodes of This American Life, there are several stories throughout the hour, but Starlee Kine's tale of heartbreak hit a nerve. She tells about her relationship with "Anthony", the corniest relationship she ever had. The kind where they talked for hours, listened to hours of music...corny music too...and to make it even more corny, he dumped her on New Year's Eve. She tells about how they listened to a lot of Phil Collins during their relationship. At first, it was an ironic-lark kind of thing, but then they found a true appreciation for Phil Collins.

Starlee talks about love songs and more specifically, break-up songs. I don't have much use for them anymore, but I do like them because they are just so darn sad. When I was broken up with once, all I did was listen to sad songs and would search out the saddest song I could find. My friend Janelle was really into this past time. When we were in junior high, we'd talk about how it was better to be in the depths of despair than content. Man, I am glad I am not 15 again.

After the break-up, Starlee turned to music. Well, I don't want to tell the story because she tells it so much better. Listen to it here.

So, in honor last week's This American Life, I will share my top ten Break-Up Songs! Feel free to add to the list. There are just too many to have just ten. And don't be surprised if there are some deliciously guilty pleasures on this list.

  1. You Oughta Know by Alanis Morissette
  2. Ain't No Sunshine by Bill Withers
  3. Somebody's Crying by Chris Isaak
  4. I Just Don't Think I'll Ever Get Over You by Colin Hay
  5. With or Without You by U2
  6. Bell Bottom Blues by Eric Clapton
  7. Dreaming With a Broken Heart by John Mayer
  8. Can't Let Go by Lucinda Williams
  9. Against All Odds by Phil Collins
  10. You Were Always on My Mind by Willie Nelson

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Midwestern Observation


Either I wasn't paying attention or this is a new phenomenon, but it seems that most cars have some sort of decal decoration in their back window or on their bumper stickers. I am sure that back in the day, we couldn't derive that much information from a person's car.

Maybe we could assume if they were a clean person or a dirty person by the dirt on their car, but now, I could do a reasonable character assessment based upon their many, many decals.

I decided to keep track of the decals, license plate covers, and bumper stickers in just one day and I was able to learn that people feel the need to let all of us other drivers that they...

  • are an Army Wife.
  • are paying tuition at many, many colleges.
  • use Apple computers.
  • love the Dave Matthews Band.
  • have been on some great vacations.
  • have a child who is an honor student.
  • hate some brands of cars...this one is because some little cartoon is urinating on the brand.
  • support a variety of causes that range from Autism awareness to Supporting our Troops.
  • are Democrats.
  • are Republicans.
  • are soccer moms.
  • love Jesus.
  • want to impeach Bush.
  • are Evolutionists.
  • love the Philadelphia Eagles, Phillies, Flyers.
  • miss Dale Earnhart.
I am sure if I continued my unscientific observation for longer than one weekend, I could come up with some more details of these drivers' lives, but I will just be amused at their attempts to add to their identity through car decals.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Weekend Update (a week late)

Let me get you up-to-date...it has been awhile.

Sara came to visit me and we had quite a weekend. Our first stop was at the Jersey Shore. I was told that I could anticipate crowds and traffic. I guess it is something that a person has to put up with on Labor Day weekend. However, we had NO traffic and NO crowds. As you can see from the picture, the beach was clean and quiet. Usually, I fear water that is not inside a swimming pool, but I was brave and ventured into the ocean. I think I need swimming shoes because I hate the bottom mystery sludge.

Of course, my newest tourist stop for visitors is Amish country in Lancaster County. We went to a town called Intercourse, Pennsylvania where Sara couldn't resist posing with this t-shirt. We took a buggy ride around the country side, enjoyed some homemade root beer that was sold to us by a young Amish girl, and ate delicious soft pretzels.


We ended the weekend in Philadelphia at World Cafe Live where we had dinner before we saw Mark Olson. He was the lead singer in a band called The Jayhawks. It was great and that is no surprise. The band that opened for Mark Olson was not that great, but we tolerated it to get to the reason we were there.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Election 2008 Post #1

I am so annoyed that Fred Thompson has decided to run for President. Sure, anyone can do it, but I do not like having the possibility of having him as President. Another gray haired suited white man. I watched Fred on television today as he stumped in Iowa and the man is not dynamic. I get the feeling that he thinks this is going to be easy.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Boss


Normally, I don't love Bruce like most Philadelphians love Bruce. Like I have written before, they are big fans. Well, yesterday, on the beloved WXPN, the DJ played Bruce's new song "Radio Nowhere". It is so good. So good that when it was over she said,

"That song rocks. Let's hear it again."

I have never heard a DJ on any station play a song two times in a row. It kind of blew my mind, but after I listened to it again, I agreed. It was completely worthy of the double dip.

And to make your day even brighter, "Radio Nowhere" is FREE!!! this week on itunes. It is kind of hidden and not displayed as a free weekly download. Instead, you have to search Bruce Springsteen and click on his new album Magic.

Enjoy.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Year Eight

For those long time readers, I am feeling like I felt almost three years ago...professionally speaking! This is a very good thing.

It is the beginning of a new school year and I have this feeling that it is going to be a great year on every level. Because of the what comes our way in life, we (I) sometimes have a difficult time living up to 'the way it was'. I left this amazing working environment where I clicked with my peers both personally and professionally. I felt confident in my skills. I am building back up to that place after these past two years of change and transition. It usually doesn't take me this long, but time has flown and even though we still live in the US, living in a metropolitan area is culturally very different than the cozy midwest.

So, I am juiced (but not in the steroids kind of way)! I can't wait to start my school year with 13 newly five year olds.

I have been making my home visits and each of them are charming and sweet. The training that I received at the Responsive Classroom is a huge piece of my excitement, but after one year of kindergarten under my belt, I now can proudly say that I have a slight clue about five year olds.

And because I want people to still check in on the Midwestern Position, let me give you a little teaser for upcoming posts...

  • Recipe for my favorite treat EVER! Ever.
  • Sara from Minnesota is coming to town and we are going to have many adventures. Two words...Jersey. Shore.
  • My latest WAWA adventure...remember the victimized woman who they wouldn't sell the cigarettes to, well, it's always something at WAWA.

Dream Big

I must be having some blog guilt or something because I was dreaming about blogging.

Last night in my dreams, I was waiting for the WXPN Free at Noon concert. I was sitting at the back of the room and there were very few people there. Then, Eric Clapton walks on stage. I cannot believe my luck that I am at this concert for free! Soon after, the doors bust open the place is packed because word has gotten out that Clapton is playing for free. And all I could think about was, "I should really blog about this.".

So, I just did.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Recipes I Want To Attempt

  1. Bread Pudding - The Pioneer Woman made a yummy sounding bread pudding, but I need just the right audience to make such a treat. This would be the type of treat that I would make and feel quite disappointed if no one wanted some because they just don't understand the beautiful thing that is bread pudding. I'll use her recipe to start.
  2. Peach Pie - I just discovered a place where you can go and pick your own peaches and raspberries. Doesn't that sound like the perfect combination? I am going to make my way over there this week so I can make a yummy peach pie for when my pal Sara comes to visit. She likes fruity desserts and I like to make goods that show I was thinking of their favorites.
  3. Apple Dumplings - Are you sensing a theme? I tell my friends all of the time how I do not like fruity desserts, but the more I think about it, I do! I just like my fruit surrounded by crusty goodness and a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream. I saw these in one of my cookbooks and they served it with caramel sauce. YUM. I am getting fatter just writing this post.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Endorsement Time...

Television: Big Love, Season 1
As I have said before, I love that television comes on DVD now. I am a big fan of religion on television and this show is more soap opera than drama. The characters on this show are so awesome. There is a mold for every quirky personality.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Skatin' Fool

I don't know why I thought that I would have retained my roller skating skills from 1985, but I could barely stay vertical when I slipped on the roller skates on Friday night.

While visiting my high school friends in Minneapolis, we always do something adventurous. Sometimes it is karaoke. Sometimes an amusement park. On this occasion, we strapped on the skates and skated around and around in circles to 70's funk music. It was a time warp, but my skills were lacking. I was skating into the wall in order to stop. I hoped that the other skaters were watching where they were going because it was all I could do to make sure I was not falling.

The part that I wasn't prepared for were the other skaters. I couldn't believe the tricks and moves these hard-core skaters were performing. They were bending down and spinning and scaring me because I had a feeling that they were going to take my unskilled self out.

Oh, and there is a reason why you can't drink alcohol and skate. It isn't a good idea.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

You Know You Are Back in Philly When...

You are standing in line to pay at the Wawa, a local convenience store, when a very angry woman starts yelling that she wants to speak with a manager. The manager is busy restocking the candy aisle. She pushes past the 12 people/audience standing in line to tell her story of victimization to the manager.

Apparently, the cashier had the nerve to ask for her identification when she wanted to purchase some cigarettes. When she handed it to him, he asked for her birthday. She told him. He refused to sell her the cigarettes.

Well, that was her side of the story. When the manager asked the cashier what was going on, he shared his side.

Keep in mind, this was being yelled from the candy aisle and not in a discreet conversation. We were all witness to it all.

The cashier said that she called him a 'stupid asshole' and he won't sell to her because of it.

The angry woman denied that she said that even though WE ALL heard her.

The manager didn't care about the cashier's dignity. He told him to sell her 'the stupid cigarettes'. He wouldn't so she went to the next cashier. She should have done that in the first place. Ah...Philly.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Hairspray (and of course, Zac)

I went to see Hairspray last night in the theater. It hasn't happened yet where I go to Hairspray and not leave with a little crush on the character of Link Larkin. Last night was no exception.

So this teen heart throb, Zac Efron, plays Link in the movie. I guess I have been living under an adult rock because I had not heard of him until this movie. He is in High School Musical which children ages 6-16 love.
I am going to go ahead and say it is totally normal for a 30 year old married woman to have a teen heart throb crush on a movie star. Normal. Very normal.
As for my John Travolta hesitations, I think he did a good job. He just had a different take on the character. I enjoyed watching him dance and wiggle as a woman. There are so many parts to this musical and movie that I love, but I really enjoyed the "Without Love" song during the movie. Link singing to Tracy's picture was pretty funny and again, he is quite cute.
Again, totally normal.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Tatos and Matos

Maybe I am looking in the wrong spot or something, but I am having a hard time finding road side farm fresh produce stands in Philadelphia. Granted, Philadelphia isn't really the bread basket of America like Minnesota, North Dakota, and Iowa seem to be.

Even though I do not get my fair share of peaches-n-cream corn in Philly, I was able to enjoy an ear when I visited my friend Steve P. in Minnesota. The corn adventure started when we pulled up to the road side stand to find a welcoming sign. I love when food is abbreviated to 'matos and 'tatos. I forced Steve to stand by the sign to take a picture. I think he knew it would end up on the blog.

We took the corn home and husked it. It was Steve's suggestion that we grill the corn. I have not been very successful with grilled corn. It usually burns, but I did my best not to balk at this idea. Steve's stock is pretty high with me but it was raised even more when he grilled the peaches-n-cream corn to perfection. Everyone at the table agreed that it was their favorite item of the night.

Monday, August 13, 2007

My Weekend By the Numbers

$122
The cost of speeding on Minnesota highways.
I received my very first speeding ticket. I was going 70mph in a 55mph. The patrolman educated me on the Minnesota road system since he saw me as an outsider with my Pennsylvania plates. Lesson learned.

3
The number of bear sightings this weekend.
My parents have a home in the northern woods of Minnesota. They are surrounded by nature of all sorts. This weekend was the first time that there have been so many bear sightings that I can remember. I saw my first bear when I was driving out of the woods. He just crossed the gravel road and barely noticed us.

At least 10
The number of times people hinted that I should have a baby.
We had three sweet baby girls at the family picnic and I really enjoy holding the babies. However, this started to remind people that I am nearly 31 years old and do not have a baby. This is a fact that I am perfectly happy with, but to many, this is odd. I am happy to hold and cuddle on other people's children for the time being.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Stormy Night

When we first moved to Philadelphia, we had to relearn the meaning of certain sounds, smells, and expressions. I was reminded of one of the first instances last night as a midwestern summer stormed brewed in the skies of Iowa.
Sitting in my new living room in Philadelphia on a clear blue day, I hear what I have always known as the tornado siran; but this did not make any sense to me. I ignored it and went on with my day and hoped for the best. This happened several more times until one day I realized that after the tornado siran I would always hear the blare of fire engines.
A-ha!
But this caused me to have a concern that I would not recognize the siran when there was an actual tornado. It took me a while, but I soon understood that Philadelphia does not have summer storms like the midwest. They like to act like they can brew up a storm, but it is not the cracking thunder and earie orange sky kind of storms that appears April through October in the heartland.

Monday, August 06, 2007

On the Road Again

If you have been worried because The Midwestern Position has not been updated for awhile, don't be concerned. I am still alive and thriving in Iowa as Tim and I tour the midwest. So far, I have been hanging out at my good friend Kecia's house. We've enjoyed coconut cake, playground time, and visiting. After we travel through Iowa, we'll stop in Minneapolis for a brief time, and hang out in Grand Forks. I can't wait to see my parents and spend time at their place in the woods.

I'll keep this brief, but aren't my friends Kecia and Jodi cute?

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Learnin' to Teach

I am attending this conference this week called The Responsive Classroom. I am exhausted every evening. I am even more tired from the conference than I am when I teach kindergarten. This is not so good since I should be getting ready for our big road trip across the country, but instead, the bed draws me in.

As a teacher, there are these moments that change you. I feel that happening at this conference. Ideas that I once prescribed to are no longer acceptable. Theories that made sense to me before seem without purpose. The fact that this conference is actually worth the money is a rarity and I couldn't be happier. The fact that I am participating in the conference in August just makes me all that more excited to start a whole new crew of five year olds.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Midwestern Rant: It's All About Me Shoppers


Here's the deal, people.

The self-check out is beautiful thing when you are at the super market. In theory. Why then, do people make it into an ugly mess with their enormous shopping cart of food for the week.

The self-check out is NOT NOT NOT for your weekly groceries! It is for the shopper who carries the little hand basket with a few items. The shopper who just stopped in for some juice and eggs. Don't be one of those people who are soooooooo bothered with human contact that they cannot be bothered to have a trained cashier check out their weeks worth of groceries.

C'mon.

Oh, and I will give you the dirty "I'm judging you" eyes. You deserve them.