Thursday, June 28, 2007

Music I Am Diggin: Sara Bareilles

Every once in awhile, a pop song will catch me. It'll take up space in my mind and I can't get enough of it. I drive down the road and sing along. I figure out the lyrics and realize that they have nothing to do with my life. BUT I DON'T CARE! I love this song.
Lyrics I like...
"Head under water
And you tell me
To breathe easy for awhile ."

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Philly's Hot (96 degrees) and Humid

1. Go to a movie. Even a mediocre movie will do. Today, I went early and stayed late to the matinee showing of Ocean's 13. Maybe I don't like gambling enough. Maybe the fast moving camera shots were too wild for me. But it was probably just the morning heat that caused me to really only comprehend 60% of the movie. Whatever. I like the Brad Pitt eye candy.

2. Gather all of the fans in your house. Take great pains to place them at a strategic angle so that the maximum amount of fan relief occurs. It is fine if it feels like you are in the middle of hurricane season. It is relief and that is all that matters, friends.

3. Although this might not work for everyone, wear as little amount of clothing as midwesternly possible. By that I mean...put your modesty aside and just wear the embarrassingly short shorts and tank top. BUT ONLY AT HOME.

4. Freezer Pops. Shakes. Iced Coffees. Water. Diet Coke. Just keep it coming. Flowin' nice and easy.

5. Go to the bookstore. After all of the magazines and books that I have put away, I deserve to just sit in a Borders and use their air conditioning. I will read many magazines. I will browse many books. Heck, I could even finish a book.

6. I wish I had a sprinkler. Is it okay for an almost 31 year old woman to run through her own sprinkler without any children near her?

7. Complain. This is only a temporary fix and yields very little in the relief department.

8. Stay at work. This is Tim's strategy.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Free Music for Me

Living in a big city does have its perks. As I have stated before on this blog, I love WXPN, the local public radio station in Philadelphia. Not only do they have amazing music every minute of everyday, but they offer their Free at Noon concert series. Completely free!

All you have to do is register to see some brilliant artists. They are usually artists that are performing somewhere in the city that evening, but if you do not have to work on a Friday at noon, you get to see them for free. There have been many performers that I was unable to see because I was teaching, but summer lets me head to the city for FREE MUSIC.

This Friday, I will see The Polyphonic Spree. From what I have seen on television and read about The Spree, they are to be amazing live. They no longer wear their robes, but I am thrilled to have this opportunity.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Night by Elie Wiesel

This post will serve as another reminder that my high school literature experience was less than exceptional. Along with a number of books that I should have read by now, I have experienced Night by Elie Wiesel for the first time.

The book has sat on my shelf for over two years. I think it sat for a reason. I passed it up for a little fiction or melodramatic memoir because like people, books come into your life at exactly the right moment.

I returned from the United States Holocaust Museum for the first time wanting to know more and understand more about this tragic time in our world history. I have never been one to avoid the indescribable sadness of the Holocaust in movies or books, but I had yet to feel compelled to know more. More or less, I would watch a movie, think about it a little, discuss it a little, and move on to something else.

That is sort of sick, I know. How does a person not become completely affected by these stories? I realized only after my visit to the Holocaust Museum that it was because all of the movies and books that I had seen did not show the horror in all of its horror. It wasn't until I walked through exhibit after exhibit that I came to comprehend the complexity of the Holocaust. Before my visit, I did not realize the events that led up to the concentration camps. The 6 million lives lost.

When I returned home, I found myself remembering parts of the museum experience. The shoes. All of the shoes that belonged to those who died. I remembered Elie Wiesel's quotes on the walls. I knew the book was somewhere on my bookshelf. I dug it out. It sat on my bed stand for two nights. I finally opened it and started to read it.

Like the museum, it was vivid. It held only truths. It was so ugly and it was also so beautiful. The ugliness of hate in the treatment of the Jewish people and the beauty of love that the Jewish people had for one another. Fathers and sons. It usually takes me weeks to finish a book. It took me two days to read Night by Elie Wiesel.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Midwestern Music Shout Out: Kate Walsh

If you don't know who Kate Walsh is, you should. She is an amazing songwriter/singer from England. itunes had Kate Walsh as one of their free downloads a few months ago and it became apparent to me that the music goddesses were looking down on me and smiling. After obsessing over this song, Tonight, I bought her first album, Clocktower Park. However, I was bothered that I could not get her second album, Tim's House yet on itunes because it was only released on the UK itunes. UGH.

I wait no more. Tim's House is out on US itunes and I own it. As you should.

Fish and Farm Fresh Produce

I am taking this summer as an opportunity to discover new grocery markets. I am just tired of the big, unimpressive grocery stores where the produce is just so-so and the deli is a battleground.

The Farm Fresh Produce Market is known for a great deli with a fantastic potato salad, but since I am on the wagon, I am only able to sample the Potato Salad. It was delicious. Yet, the pineapple and grapes were very good and very cheap. Even more important, the green beans were quite special. And by special, I mean 99 cents a pound and garden perfect.

Along with the Farm Fresh Produce Market, I bought some tilapia from a seafood market. I have never cooked fish at home, but I am glad we tried. We grilled it. I am glad to think that I can now add another food to our menu. I was always afraid of fish, but I realized that fish is like all other meats. It could be great. It could be a nightmare.

The Brand New Me

Along with the third birthday of The Midwestern Position, I thought it also needed a face lift. I haven't messed with the look of the blog for quite some time, so I hope you enjoy it.

I am always amazed what a little something new can do for a spirit. I know that I just need a new pair of shoes or a new lip gloss to think that I am really something. Let's hope that this new look can bring some new and creative ideas to The Midwestern Position. I feel like I am on the verge of some rants, ideas, advice, thoughts, and endorsements. Stay tuned.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Whoa...Happy Belated Birthday, TMP

I had completely forgotten to celebrate The Midwestern Position's third birthday!

I have been writing this little nook of the internet for three years now and I still find the experience worthwhile. One of the great things about a blog are the archives. I am able to look back on any given date and check out what I was up to one, two, three years ago.

If this blog serves anything in my life, it serves as documentation that I am livin' the life. Even if that life consists of a good game of Scrabble, a new recipe, an unhealthy obsession with music collection, a deep affair with Dunkin' Donuts, or adventures in my new geographical location.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Midwestern Endorsement: Edy's Fruit Bars

When a chubby person is 'on the wagon', it is a rare thing that she gets to truly enjoy a really yummy treat. However, Edy's Fruit Bars are my salvation from crappy artificially flavored sort-of food. I am going through a Lime Stage so the Edy's Lime Fruit Bars are my favorite.

Go ahead. Try 'em. If you say that any other popsicle is better, we are in a huge fight. Huge. Don't mess with a hungry chubby person.

Meet Charlotte

I know what you are thinking.

"Why would a person need three ipods?"

You are right. A person does not need three, but it is nice when you do. I was recently gifted a new ipod shuffle. It is pink and holds 240 songs. It is small and convenient. It is so much easier to bring with me when I want to exercise.

I gave my mini green ipod to my mother, but she is returning it to me because she never uses it. I have plans to fill it up with Tim's favorite music and give it to him.

I am spoiled because I packed all of my workout clothes and got ready to walk on the track near my school when I realized I had forgotten Charlotte. (That is the name I have given my shuffle...Charlotte the Shuffle....Little sister to Iris the ipod.) I almost considered not doing my two mile walk because I didn't have Charlotte with me. That is ridiculous. So, I just listened to the birds and the wind.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

15 Bags of Mulch and Counting

This is actually a little after we started OPERATION MULCH. My friend Penny visited from Iowa. Penny is a master gardener. This picture doesn't show it, but I had these really tall 'plants' growing in the very back of the landscaping. Penny informed me that these were, in fact, weeds. Very, very tall weeds. I couldn't believe it. They were so hearty and flourishing. I guess that is why they are weeds. So, we came up with a plan. I would pull the weeds, Round-up the weedy area, and mulch. Lots and lots of mulch.

I am not sure this photo does all of my work justice. I have used 9 bags of pine mulch in the front. I have overcome my disdain for worms, spiders, and crawly bugs. I have played the odds and when I didn't know if a plant was a weed or plant, I assumed it was a weed. I have been wrong too many times before. I like that you can actually see the rocks now.

This is the side of the house. Lots of rocks. Lots of weeds. Lots of ivy and violets. The violets are nice when they are blooming but they have overtaken along with the ivy. Tim and I are in disagreement about the ivy. He likes a lot of it and I don't. Now, you may not be able to see this, but the weeds go back and back. This was about six hours worth of work or as I count my time now...about four bags of mulch.

Right now, it will remain empty until the fall when I divide some of my monster hostas. Tim and I are working on a plan for this area. We need a new fence on this side of the house and we want some sort of rustic path. As you can see, the ivy is taking over. We found some slugs and that was gross. I let the spiders, worms, and crawly things go because I assumed they were doing something worthwhile in my landscaping, but I am not sure about slugs. I think they are trouble.

I know. There is no BEFORE because I forgot. It is for the best really. This was a mess. A lot of overgrown iris plants and weeds. I had no idea there were even rocks under the weeds. Two bags of mulch.

I have started mulching and weeding the back landscaping. I am using black mulch and I like it. I never thought I would have so many opinions about mulch.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Bad Boys, Bad Boys

I can't remember if I have written about this obsession before...

Every Saturday night, we watch Cops on Fox. It never gets old. Now, I realize that I have revealed that Tim and I have a mild social life if we are sitting home on Saturday nights, but hey, this is no surprise to most of you.

We are always waiting for the foot pursuit, the tazer, the shirtless excuse, the 'how-did-that-get-there' conversation after the officer finds a crack pipe, and a favorite of ours...the k-9 pursuit. The k-9 pursuit is a rare scene because most perpetrators realize they are no match for the dogs.

Some might think that it is voyeuristic that we watch the sad situations each Saturday night, but it has become habit for us. We are no longer shocked when the police pull up to the domestic situation only to find a shirtless man explaining how he is being abused by his girlfriend or when the police try to pull someone over only to see the car start a chase because he had some warrants.

My favorite Cops episodes take place in Des Moines because I can recognize a few places. I also enjoy Boise, Idaho because they are midwestern folksy. For example, two people were involved in a hit and run and by the end of the episode one of the people involved was crying and apologizing to the other. They hugged before the cops put them in the car. Of course, Las Vegas yields some great episodes.

Again, it never gets old.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Northeast Spectacular

Washington, DC - It was the first time for all of us in our nation's capital. I can't wait to go back because there are so many things that I want to see again and things I didn't get to see. The Holocaust Museum and Arlington Cemetery were somber but among the most interesting sites in DC. By the time that we made it to the Capitol, we were exhausted and a bit ridiculous. We were taking action shots and senior picture poses in front of the Capitol. That's freedom, baby.

New York City - I am a fan of the double decker bus. It wraps up NYC in a nice little lazy package. I didn't have to figure out the subway system to and from certain locations. We'd just hop on and off. We made it to the Top of the Rock again. Forget the Empire State Building. I've done it and waited three hours for it. I have done Top of the Rock three times and never had to wait for the same view. For Jodi and Penny, this was their first time to NYC and we were on a time budget. We had a little more than 24 hours to see the city. We finished off this trip with the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.

The Landlord

Have you seen this yet? I love it. Some people were all "a baby shouldn't be saying those words..."

Come on. She is so cute.

The Landlord

Monday, June 11, 2007

On the Move

I visited Washington, DC for the first time. My friends Jodi and Penny are visiting from Iowa and I am taking them on an east coast spectacular with stops in Washington, DC, New York City, and Philadelphia.

I will be giving a full update on Thursday when I have the time to write it up proper.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Movies Schmovies

I should have nothing to complain about when it comes to having a lot of entertainment resources, but of course I will.

I used to be more than content to wait until independent movies were released on DVD when I lived in North Dakota and Iowa. However, since moving to Philadelphia, I have had opportunities to enjoy smaller movies at my favorite movie house, The Bryn Mawr Film Institute. However, the Bryn Mawr Film Institute is a bit of a tease.

I wanted to see the movie Perfume and waited and waited since it was on the "Coming Soon" section of the website. Then, months after the release of the movie and long after it was on the "Coming Soon" section, it never came. They just removed it from the "Coming Soon".

It is fine. I will survive and watch it on DVD this July when it comes out. However, the same thing could happen with another independent movie called Once that I want to see. The music in this movie sounds great. The Bryn Mawr Film Institute is teasing me with placing it in the "Coming Soon".

I like what I see in the trailer too. I just hope that I can understand their Irish accent. At least if I get it on DVD, I can do subtitles.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

I Was Runnin

Through the years, I have borrowed a phrase from my friend who used to say that she only ran when she was being chased. This rule has served me well. Actually, no. It has gotten me nice and soft along with my high sugar and carb diet. So, tonight, with the help of my friend, I ran.

Not only did I run, I ran 0.75 miles. This is HUGE, people! This is how I did it. I ran on the outside ring where the slow people run. I walked the first lap, ran the second and the third, walked the fourth, ran 3/4 the fifth, and ran 1/4 of the sixth. Anything that I did that wasn't running was speed walking including the last laps. Altogether, I walked/ran two miles.

This is what I noticed about tonight's happening...
  1. When I stare at the ground, it makes me want to fall over.
  2. Stop running if you think you are going to lose your cookies. This will serve you well.
  3. Having someone to encourage you helps.
  4. Don't worry about others. Everyone is doing something healthy and that is the important part.
  5. Wear the right pants/shorts. My pants kept falling down because they were tie strings rather than elastic.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Don't Get Too Comfortable

Inspired by Rachel, I have decided to share my recent shoe purchase with the readers. If you are a long time reader, you know that I just made the leap of faith to flip-flops last summer. I made some careful decisions and now own a total of three pairs of flip-flops.

This is the flip-flop purchase for summer 2007. My shoe summer shoe philosophy is this...

Don't love them too much because they are going to be nasty by the end of September.

Not deep or pretty, but grossly honest all the same. It is not that I am a gross or nasty person or that my feet are unkempt, but summer just has a way of beating the hell out of shoes. Maybe it is the trips to the park with all of the dirt. Maybe the fact that I go into the summer shoe season with this downer of an outlook, but they are not nice enough or clean enough to keep around until next summer.

And why should you break them out again when there will be a whole new batch of cute flip-flops priced under twenty dollars? This rule really only applies to flip-flops and canvas shoes.

Exception to my flip-flop rule: A good and proper brown sandal can make it through many seasons.

Please Sign the Guestbook

Actually, you don't have to sign my guest book, but I would love it if you did. This is a feature from I really like this site and the varieties that it offers for sharing photos.

What is not to love about geography and pictures, right?

Friday, June 01, 2007

Sorry Lookin' Post

I just don't have anything to write about. I wish I did. I will choose a random and vague topic and go to blogger town on it.

Topic #1: The Hotness
Normally, I would reserve this term for some dreamy newscaster, but in this case, I refer to our computer room. No longer will it be called the computer room or former baby cage (it was the nursery for the people who used to live here), but it will be forever named "The Hotness". Not because sexy things happen in that room, but because it is super hot in temperature alone. I wish I could spend lots of time on my cute imac , but The Hotness does not allow it. I can pull a fan in here and that'll work for awhile, but with this old house, I will have to wait for a window unit.

Topic #2: itunes Shame
How many songs is too many songs? I was listening to my "Purchased" playlist in the car and realized how many songs I had actually purchased. Thankfully, I realized that many of the songs were purchased back in the good old days when I could win a free song when I would drink Diet Pepsi and have a winning cap. I miss those days. Plus, I had a lot of caps because the whole school was in on it. At that time, I was the only one with an ipod at the school and people were happy to feed my addiction. So, should I be ashamed at how much I spend on music or should I just buy 'em up.

Topic #3: The Good Life by Jay Mcinerney
I spied this book when it first came out during my Borders tenure, but would never splurge on a hardcover book. So, I picked it up a few weeks ago and have been reading it. It starts the day before September 11, 2001. The plot focuses on bad marriages and how tragedy, in my opinion, gives people a reason to be honest. These characters start changing their life only after this tragedy happens, but the changes they are making could have happened even before this. Sure, I might be being hard on the book, but the dialogue is super cheesy and there is a lot of justified cheating in the book. I give it a C.