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.


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

Midwestern Recipe: Banana Crumb Muffins

Bake these and bake them now. These are so yummy! I made them on a whim this afternoon because I had some well-intentioned bananas that were ripe ripe ripe.

I stumbled upon this recipe on my beloved Allrecipes.com. It is a five star recipe and over 1500 people have rated/reviewed this recipe. That means it is good.

I just had one and I think they are better than a bakery. I am happy to add this to my ever growing brunch recipes.

Midwestern Hint: My mom always says to use Parkey in all of your baking. I have tried other butters and margarines, but Bette is always right. Parkey is the best.


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 bananas, mashed
3/4 cup white sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon butter


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease 10 muffin cups, or line with muffin papers.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together 1 1/2 cups flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, beat together bananas, sugar, egg and melted butter. Stir the banana mixture into the flour mixture just until moistened. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups.
  3. In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, 2 tablespoons flour and cinnamon. Cut in 1 tablespoon butter until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Sprinkle topping over muffins.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 18 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Internet Treat

The internet is a fantastic waste of time. Today, I wasted approximately 25 minutes creating a Simpson character that resembled me. Notice, the donut on the shirt. I was hoping for a cup of coffee, but the sweet treat will do. It also looks like I have one heck of an overbite which is not the case. I was going for a chubby cheeked look.

Then, because I just couldn't resist the temptation to waste more time, I created Tim as a Simpson character. Notice, Tim's shirt has some nuclear sciencey thing on it. Tim looks like he has some fancy shoes which he would never wear in real life.

I can't wait to create all of my friends and family. No. That would be too much time wasted. You better do that yourself. Here's the link.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

"Where Words Fail, Music Speaks."

~Hans Christian Andersen

"Fade Into You" ~ Mazzy Star

"Falling" ~ Ben Kweller

"Here You Are" ~ The Greencards

"Laugh So You Don't Cry" ~ Andy Davis

"More Than This" ~ Roxy Music

"There's a Girl" ~ The Ditty Bops

"These Arms of Mine" ~ Otis Redding

"White Daisy Passing" ~ Rocky Votolato

Along with the Rolling Stone playlists, Entertainment Weekly playlists, blogs, and the itunes essentials, I will someday have all of the songs that I need to have.

Please note, without knowing it, I have become an Otis Redding fan.

Out of the purchased songs, my obsession of the evening is...wait, let me educate you for a second...

ob·ses·sion [uhb-sesh-uhn]
1.) the domination of one's itunes with a particular song over and over and over again
2.) insisting that everyone needs to love particular song as much as I do at this moment
3.) follow any thread that originated with the particular song because all songs that follow will be considered for future purchases since the source was said obsession

I am obsessing about "More Than This" by Roxy Music. Therefore, I am researching and loving Bryan Ferry. I am listening to all covers of this song.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

An Easy One

What were you doing ten years ago?
Making smoothies at TCBY! Seriously. I spent many hot July nights making a variety of frozen yogurt treats. Asking the important question, "What toppings do you want with that?".

What were you doing one year ago?
I am going to bet that I was hanging out in Iowa, watching television, recovering from a day at the pool, and eating Taco Bell. Tim and I ate a lot of Taco Bell last summer.

Five snacks you enjoy:
  • String Cheese
  • Nutri-Grain Breakfast Bars-Apple Cinnamon
  • Lemon Cream Pie yogurt
  • Yoplait Yogurt Smoothies
  • Popsicles

Five songs you know all the lyrics to:
  • Let's Stay Together by Al Green
  • You're So Vain by Carly Simon
  • 9 to 5 by Dolly Parton
  • Ghost by Indigo Girls
  • Mad Mission by Patty Griffin
Things you would do if you were a millionaire:
  • Travel
  • Have a ceramics room/cottage where I have my own wheels and kiln
  • Share the wealth
Five bad habits:
  • Snacking
  • Speeding
  • Avoiding Exercise
  • Saying "like"
  • Avoiding the dishes
Five things you like to do:
  • Go to movies
  • Listen to music
  • Hang with friends
  • Hang with Tim
  • Hang with my family
Things you will never wear again:
  • A Scrunchy
  • A strapless dress
Five favorite toys:
  • ipod
  • computer
  • grill
  • catalogues
  • cable
Where will you be in ten years:
Right here.

Dum Spiro Spero

Some days are bad. There is not a rhyme or reason. They just happen.

On the other hand, a person has to ask themselves what part they had in their bad day. Following my new found philosophy of reason over emotions, I will act within reason and pull up the boot straps and move on.

Will a new pair of shoes help? No.
Will a night at the movies help? No.
Will a milkshake help? No.

The only thing that will encourage a brighter outlook are my own forward looking eyes. I will focus on the good, the lovely, the reciprocated, the just, and the belief that there are better moments ahead.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Shamin' Sara

There are a few things in life that I have to use the motto "Fake it 'til you make it". Going to the dentist, I have to psyche myself up and fake that it'll all be okay. It isn't just one thing that I hate about the dentist, but a list of disgusting and shame-filled conversations that take place at the dentist.

Dental Assistant: Sara, do you floss everyday?

Sara: No.

Dental Assistant: Sara, looks like you might have a start of a cavity back there.

Sara: I bet.

Dental Assistant: Sara, looks like you have been using a medium toothbrush.

Sara: You're probably right.

Dental Assistant: Sara, You must drink a lot of Diet Coke or coffee.

Sara: Yep.

Dental Assistant: Do you know why it is important to floss, Sara?

Sara: Yes. I am just lazy.

Dental Assistant: Well, just remember, Sara, they are the only teeth you have.

I wonder if they take a course in guilt and shame in dental hygienist school? One of the tenets of a shaming is the use of the first name over and over and over again. It really drives home the guilt.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Sara Says,

"Stop Taking So Much Notice of How You Feel"

I stumbled upon an article the other day titled "10 Simples Way to Save Yourself From Messing Up Your Life" by Adrian Savage. Because I felt that these ideas illustrated a complete switch from most advice given in this self-involved world, I thought I would add my two cents.

WHOA. That is funny. I am so self-involved that I could add to his article about not being so self-involved. Narcissistic Sara.

This is what Mr. Savage has to say about noticing how you feel all of the time...
"Stop taking so much notice of how you feel. How you feel is how you feel. It’ll pass soon. What you’re thinking is what you’re thinking. It’ll go too. Tell yourself that whatever you feel, you feel; whatever you think, you think. Since you can’t stop yourself thinking, or prevent emotions from arising in your mind, it makes no sense to be proud or ashamed of either. You didn’t cause them. Only your actions are directly under your control. They’re the only proper cause of pleasure or shame."
He's right. We dwell on emotions and thoughts to the point of detriment. If we look at our lives, moments of action or inaction determine our pleasure and our pain. Sure, pleasure and pain are emotions, but they will pass. Instead of looking back on our feelings, we tend to look back at the moments.

We all know people who dwell on their emotions and it only leads them to more emotions. All of the emotions paralyze them into inaction. I am not saying that taking action will always yield positive results. Sometimes taking a rash action can result in a temporary pain.

We all know people that use their emotional gauge 100% of the time to make decisions of action. I don't want to be a zombie and not feel, but I want to recognize when my emotions are not serving me well.

Personally, I have a tendency to be an open book of emotions and feelings. I have invested those feelings on the actions of others and nothing could lead to dissatisfaction more successfully than this strategy. Not that I don't fall back into this pattern of emotional wallowing, but I try to think and act like Mr. Savage shares...
"Only your actions are directly under your control."
At this point, we continue to put ourselves out there, but it feels good to have it all under your control. I rarely speak words of wisdom, but I truly believe that it is our reactions to moments that shape how we see the world. I hope I can react to the world with 80% reason and 20% emotion.

I hope this didn't sound too much like a lecture or an episode My So-Called Life.

A Good One

Every weekend, I have been able to hang about with friends and family. Courtney returned to Philadelphia this weekend. I am sure I had something to do with the visit, but I know that she was missing Lewis the Cat too. They were able to spend some quality time together as we squeezed in plenty of snacks, backyard time, and beers.

Stephen brought over his ipod speakers and now I have a new tech gadget to long for. There are so many reasons why I should own ipod speakers, but they are all too boring to list here. Stephen was a trooper when Courtney took the reigns of the DJ and shuffled through my diverse guilty pleasure collection on the ipod. Even though Stephen's guilty pleasure is not as embarrassing as my own, he hung in there and enjoyed each funk and/or 80's pop tune because of the company.

Friday, July 20, 2007

The Police

We had fantastic seats at The Police concert. We were under an overhang so if it rained, we'd stay nice and dry. We were straight in front of the stage and the first level of seats. Right by the snack bars and the exit. Perfect.

The first two bands were three member bands like The Police. The Fratelli's who have received a Midwestern Position Music Shoutout were a bit a disappointment. Their musicianship was lacking and it was only made more clear when The Police played. Granted, The Police have been performing longer than The Fratelli's have been alive, but the skills were not there.

It was only after The Police started performing that you realize who talented they are. I was wondering how The Police performed with only three guys. Were they going to be like Tina Turner who has close to 25 people on stage playing all the different instruments? Would they have another guitarist other than Andy Summers?

The answer to this question only made me love them more. It was just the three of them and they played the hell out of their instruments. Sting's voice was perfect. Andy Summer's did some amazing playing and many solos. I was most impressed with Steward Copeland's skills on the drums. Not just drums, but every percussion needed. Gong to chimes.

They played for two hours straight. Check out the set list. Now, go and buy each song on itunes if you do not already have them. By far, the biggest concert that I have been to...at least 30,000 people. By far, my favorite concert that I have been to. That is saying something.

Message in a Bottle
Synchronicity II
Walking On The Moon
Voices Inside My Head
When The World Is Running Down
Don't Stand So Close To Me
Driven To Tears
Truth Hits Everybody
Bed's Too Big Without You
Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic
Wrapped Around Your Finger
De Do Do Do De Da Da Da
Invisible Sun
Walking In Your Footsteps
Can't Stand Losing You
King Of Pain
So Lonely
Every Breath You Take
Next To You

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

"I Have Stood Here Before Inside the Pouring Rain..."

Thanks to Dana, I will be attending The Police concert in Philadelphia on Thursday. This is my first outdoor concert in such a huge venue. It will be in the baseball stadium where the Phillies play.

To celebrate my Thursday night, which Police song is your favorite? Here are a few ideas. Feel free to justify your choices.
  • The King of Pain
  • Don't Stand So Close to Me
  • Roxanne
  • Everything She Does is Magic
  • Message in a Bottle
  • So Lonely
  • Every Breathe You Take

Sunday, July 15, 2007

The Glamour of My Life

Two words, friends.

Periwinkle trim.

Since moving into my new old house, I have been tormented by the sunshine yellow walls and periwinkle trim in our bedroom. Normally, I do not have anything against periwinkle, but for adult bedroom trim? C'mon. I would describe the former owners of our new old house as aesthetically schizophrenic because our kitchen is painted in a tasteful mocha color, but two bedrooms have periwinkle trim.

I am not sure why we have waited to paint our bedroom only after the dining room, living room, guest room and bathroom, but we did. It will take one coat of primer and two coats of white paint to make the periwinkle nothing but a distant nightmare.

Soon, Toffee Crunch will cover the sunshine yellow and I will be at peace in my calmly painted bedroom.

My painting wardrobe is really something quite special.

If a person didn't know better (and they didn't look too closely at my lil' wrinkles), they might think I was straight out of 1991. I was sporting a hairstyle that I thought was hot back then. You know the one, sides pulled up in a ponytail holder. It has been awhile since my hair has actually been long enough to pull this sexy hairstyle off. However, because I no longer perm my hair, I didn't have to scrunch the sides to get it properly bouncy...and no gel.

Please sense the sarcasm.

Along with the retro hair-don't, I wore my first pair of cut-off jean shorts that I have worn in probably 15 years. It just felt right to cut the jeans off and make them my new painting shorts. I guess all rules are off when you are trying to rid your house of PERIWINKLE TRIM.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Midwestern Recipe: Peach Crisp with Maple Cream Sauce

The Pioneer Woman Cooks is a little internet treasure that I stumbled upon, but I consider her my secret internet best friend. She doesn't know it though.

I love her. She cooks and bakes the most amazing things. Using her photos, she documents every step of the process and makes it all look so easy and delicious.

I wanted to hug her when she posted Peach Crisp with Creamy Maple Sauce. I love maple anything. Thank you, Pioneer Woman.

Peach Crisp With Maple Cream Sauce

1 cup flour
½ c. sugar
½ firmly packed light brown sugar
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
¼ tsp. salt
½ c. (one stick) butter, cut into bits
5-6 cups, peeled, sliced fresh peaches
Juice and grated zest of ½ lemon
2 T. maple syrup
*Maple cream Sauce, for serving

Preheat oven to 350. Combine flour, sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in medium bowl. Cut in butter with fork or pastry blender until mixture is the consistency of coarse meal. Place peaches in 9-inch square baking pan or smaller baking dish. Gently mix in lemon juice, rind and maple syrup. Top with crumb mixture. Cover tightly with foil and bake about 15 minutes. Remove foil and bake 20 to 30 minutes more or until top is crisp and brown. You might want to broil for a couple of minutes to ensure good color. Serve warm with maple cream sauce.

*Maple Cream Sauce

1 ½ cups whipping cream
5 T. maple syrup
3 T. light corn syrup

Combine all ingredients in heavy sauce pan; cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly until thickened and reduced by 1/3, approximately 20 minutes. Chill. Drizzle generously over Peach Crisp.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

I Know I Might Be Missing Out

There are many movies that I have not seen and probably won't because, well, I have issues.

Issue #1
I do not like to be sad. Not since the mediocre Step Mom have I had a emotional meltdown in the theater. Seriously. I had to wait at least five minutes after the movie ended for me to leave the theater because I was crying too much. It was just too sad.

There is no way of knowing what movie will do it to me. Could be those sappy animal movies where Old Yeller/Skip/Wilbur/Charlotte/Air Bud will create that thump in my throat. Could be that elderly person that has Alzheimer's disease and doesn't remember the life they have just lived. Often, it is a child crying for something.

There are topics that are just too sad. I have tried to watch movies like Sophie's Choice or Saving Private Ryan, but World War II movies are just heart-wrenching sad. Maybe they remind me of my grandfather who couldn't speak of his time in the Pacific without becoming emotional.

Okay. I guess I just have one issue in this area.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


Strangely, I have seen the Broadway musical Hairspray three times. The first time, Michael McKean was Edna Turnblad, the mother of the chubby teased-out dancing teenager. The character has always been a drag character since Divine made the role famous in the original John Waters movie in 1988.

The last two times that I went to the musical, Paul C. Vogt played the role brilliantly. The best!

The thing is...the two never changed their voice to make it appear to be a woman's voice. That is part of the humor of Hairspray.

Now, I am well aware that Hairspray the Movie will be hitting theaters this month. I am a little bothered that John Travolta will be playing Edna Turnblad. It only gets worse when I see trailers and photos of Travolta in his dresses and fat suit. He has this goofy southern accent with a ridiculous high voice.

One of the big plot points in Hairspray is that it takes place in Baltimore. Baltimore is not in the south. Also, one of the scenes they always show is when Travolta/Edna says her dream was to own a string of coin operated laundromats. This is not Edna's dream in the musical. Only after Edna gets a fantastic makeover from the Hefty Hideaway that she shares her dream is to design plus-sized clothing.

I read on a entertainment blog that Travolta with all of his Scientology beliefs would not do the character in drag like drag queen fashion. He would dress as a woman but wouldn't play up the drag queen side of things. THAT IS WHY IT IS FUNNY! DRAG QUEENS ARE AWESOME IN EVERY WAY!

I am really hoping that Christopher Walken and Michelle Pfeiffer will save the movie for me. I could be wrong about Travolta, but probably not.

Is anyone wondering why I would go to this musical three times?

Monday, July 09, 2007

Really? A Honk?

I realize that I have complained about drivers many, many times. But I have to. I just have to.

There are so many things that I do not understand about drivers here. And yes, it is only here.

Why do you give me the stink eye when I give you the courtesy to use my blinker to change lanes and give you more than enough room? Is the stink eye really necessary along with the double honk? I KNOW I gave you enough time and space, yet you feel some how wronged in this world that we share. Did I take a chunk out of your manhood as you drive your Honda sedan? By letting a law abiding driver change lanes, will it make your trip any longer? No. I drive at a quick pace and keep the flow going.

What it boils down to is that people who are normally nice and respectful get their ugly on when they are driving. They feel safe because they have all of that steel and glass around them and we are in motion.

Really, it is fine. Go ahead and give me the stink eye because I will just wonder in my mind why you have such anger when you get behind the wheel, but you better hope that you don't honk at the wrong Philaldelphian. I hear they can get nasty when the stink eye is given.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Lewis the Cat

Meet Lewis. He is living with us for three weeks. Tim and I consider ourselves foster pet parents. I have never had a pet any time in my life, but Tim had Susie the Dog and Casper the Cat. He is much more comfortable with animals than I am. However, Lewis and I are getting used to each other.

He spent the first three days in our dusty basement. He has explored the rest of the house today. He likes to do what I call "test rests". He will lay down at a variety of spots around the house, testing them out. He only spends about two minutes in each location. Then, he tests out another spot.

This is Lewis testing out the bottom of the steps.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Takin' a Break

It might seem that I have not been doing anything exciting. However, I have been playing hostess to my mother and her two sisters. I love bringing people to New York City for the first time. I am a bit of an expert on the traditional tourist stuff like the Statue of Liberty and such. However, my new favorite thing in NYC to do with tourists is the double decker bus. It really saves on the feet. It is a hop on/hop off bus where you can get off and enjoy the city or just ride around with a tour guide.

After a short break, I will come back and write. I am just sooo tired and need a little rest. Maybe tomorrow I will write.