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 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 amazing cover of an old Dionne Warwick tune. Completely sad.
The Way I Am by Ingrid 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 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!


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.


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


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?