In the last 96 hours…

I’ve spent some time in 4 states.  (Ok, so 45 minutes in Atlanta during a layover was one of those times.)

I bought myself flowers.

I was so tired I don’t remember most of Monday.

I decided I need to IMMEDIATELY become a foster parent.

I fell in love with Seth MacFarlane.  I am shocked by the amount of haters for his Oscar hosting stint.  He is handsome and charming and talented and he truly has the potential to be the next Billy Crystal – the all time greatest Oscar host.  Was he perfect yet? No.  But he’s got it.  (In more Oscar news, I got 16 out of 24 categories correct on my Oscar ballot.  I broke a cardinal rule of Oscar predictions – the Victorian movie always gets Best Costumes!  It was a rookie mistake.)

I had to break it to someone that Neil Patrick Harris is gay.

I bought 2 new Jonathan Green books (author of The Fault in Our Stars).

I made a list of Pinterest projects I want to start doing.

I started a mini revolution at grad school.

 

I’ve been kind of a cranky mess since grad school weekend ended this past weekend.  It is both a blessing and a curse that I have such high expectations for the people and opportunities in my life.

Rather than talk about grad school weekend, let me tell you another story about Sarah and her snarky high expectation ways.

Picture it: The day before my college graduation.  I had been chosen as a representative from my major to join other reps from their majors and have lunch with the Dean of my college.  I was stoked.  I took this as a real honor and was really looking forward to talking about the Hotel/Restaurant program and it’s place within the College with the Dean.  (For some strange reason, this major was in the College of Agriculture and not the College of Business, which often led to it being the ugly stepchild and not getting enough funds or recognition.)  I show up to the University restaurant to find some stand in for the Dean.  He had some excuse about the Dean being busy or whatever and the group had some totally superficial conversation with whoever that guy was.  To make matters worse, the Dean strolls in half way through lunch to make his apologies and point out that he needed to take some other people to lunch.  He shakes our hands and then sits down a few tables over with a group of men.

I. was. pissed.  Furious.  It’s one thing to cancel, it’s quite another to cancel on us and then show up with a better date.  I get back to my apartment later that afternoon and send my favorite professor a recap of the lunch, as I had promised to do.  I had a pretty good relationship with that professor and was fairly candid in my opinion of the Dean’s behavior.  I’m pretty sure I used “bullshit” at least once.  I tagged it with, “I was a good student and a great ambassador of this college during my internships.  I deserved to be known by the Dean.”  Or something like that.  I sent it to my professor.  But I couldn’t be done then.  I opened up the email I just sent and decided to forward it to the Dean as well.  It was already late Friday afternoon and I walked at graduation at 11am the next day.  I was counting on him never seeing that email before I graduated and just sent the email on principle.

My mom and aunt get to town that night to help me finish packing my apartment and I tell them the story.  Mom rolls her eyes and tells me she hopes I’ll still graduate tomorrow and not end up on some kind of probation with 12 hours left of undergraduate life.

I’m at graduation and in line and ready to go.  They call my name and I walk across the stage and begin the shaking hand process.  I grab my degree and go to shake the Dean’s hand and he stops me.  On stage.  He starts fumbling into his robe.  Meanwhile, several things are happening at once… My aunt is sure he’s going to pull out some kind of weapon and take me to task, the line is backing up behind me because the person calling the names was clearly not expecting improvisation on the Dean’s part, and I’m nervously looking into the crowd.  Dean pulls out a small wrapped present and says, “I just want you to know, I heard you, Sarah.”  I mumble thank you and keep going.  As I make my way back to my seat several seated classmates ask what the Dean gave me.  I have no idea.  I get to my seat and unwrap this small package and there is a really nice (and I’m not being sarcastic) SIUC keychain.  It’s a really fancy keychain – as fancy as one can be.

That story has kind of an interesting ending.  And it’s been a great story of my life – one I tell at parties.

But, being a malcontent doesn’t always have a happy ending.  (See me getting fired for standing up to HR Director at my last casino job.)  Anyway – sometimes I wish I could just accept stuff.  I wish I didn’t always demand others do their best and then some.  But…I’m not sure I can say that either.  If we don’t hold others to high expectations – what happens to the world?  We settle into a mediocre existence?  I don’t want that.  I may live a small life, but I want it to be extraordinary in it’s own way.

Sigh.

I’m going to return to the angsty week I’m having.  Internal struggle and conflict abound.

I’ll end with the Pinterest products I’m lining up for this weekend.  Happy thoughts…

Source: chicpins.com via Sarah on Pinterest

Wasted.

No, I’m not drunk.  Tonight.

It was one of those days where I did the exact opposite of “live each day like it’s your last”.  If this were my last day on earth, I have to say, I fail at life.  Start to finish this was the blah-est day I’ve had in quite some time.  I think there’s something to a post grad school weekend slump.  I’m still tired and miss my school friends and no amount of positive mental attitude-ing was going to make my job okay today.  I’ve spent the last two days coming home from work and immediately falling asleep, only to wake up late in the evening, throwing off my already crummy sleep schedule.

Yikes.  I am crabby.

I was doing some super fun Pinterest browsing to cheer myself up and found my next project!  I need a new tv stand very badly.  My current one is this super cheap thing I bought when I moved to Chicago and it’s devoid of any character or charm.  (Much like me today!)  I saw a picture on some blog of a dresser they repurposed to become a tv stand and I LOVED it!  I couldn’t remember the original blog I saw it on, but PINTEREST TO THE RESCUE!  All I had to do was search “dresser tv stand” and I found several options.

Source: indulgy.com via Sarah on Pinterest

Source: wanelo.com via Sarah on Pinterest

This project fulfills the need to get a better tv stand, repurpose old furniture, and get a little crafty. I’ll have to start checking out Craigslist for an old dresser I can score inexpensively and then begin working out a construction plan. I can handle just adding plywood reinforcement to create a shelf. I may have to call upon the Hamptons or my brother in law to help out some…I don’t think I have the right saw for the job.

There it is. The idea that offers some salvation to my otherwise waste of a day.

Advent calendars

It’s the day after Thanksgiving.  I can start talking about Christmas without people grouching at me about Thanksgiving not being over yet.  One of those people is always my sister.  Granted, her birthday is often on Thanksgiving day (as it was this year) so she has a particular fondness for the day.

The glass says 29 forever. She is really struggling with the idea of being 30.

Since I like to celebrate the holiday season I welcome starting as soon as I can.  Which is one reason I love Advent Calendars. I bought a really beautiful one when I moved in with Ex Hubs from Restoration Hardware.

They no longer sell it, according to the Restoration Hardware website.  I actually found this picture on Ebay – where they are selling for $300!   I know it wasn’t cheap, but it sure wasn’t that.  I’m pretty sure Target sells a reasonable facsimile.  So, if any of you reading this are people who are drawn to ebay for this item – check out Target first.  Or, offer me $500.  I’ll forgo sentimentality for $500.

Anyway, it was fun to stuff it with notes (like directions to where to meet me for a surprise dinner) or trinkets (like Chap Stick – there was always Chap Stick) while I was married.  I have it now but don’t think I’ve pulled it out the last few years.  Filling it myself for myself to open up seems just a bit sad.  I can see it now – notes that say, “Dear Sarah – you’re awesome! Love, Sarah”.  I think doing that might me me decidedly unawesome.

Nonetheless, I still love the idea and today, with the help of a billion holiday emails now in my inbox, I found a link to this!  25 Advent Calendar ideas.  Two include booze, of which I am a big fan.  Some are too crafty, even for me.  All would be fun.

Photo from ::here::

Any way to draw out the celebrating and take a moment each day to smile is okay with me.

 

Happy Holiday season friends!

Halloween 10k

I ran the Halloween 10K this morning, sponsored by Go! St. Louis.  I even ran in a (sort of) costume.

Picture it: Last fall, I decide I want to run the Disney Princess 1/2 marathon.  A friend of mine supports me by buying me this blue glitter skirt.  (Thanks, Katie!)  Blue glitter skirt hangs out in my closet, just waiting for the right moment.  That moment was when I found this article that had a super easy DIY cinderella costume.  Yesterday I spent about 2 hours in my craft room creating a Cinderella running costume.  And, all it took were two long sleeve t-shirts, needle, thread and tape – just like the article says!

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I cut the sleeves off a long sleeve white shirt.  I used these to replicate the gloves.  I went to a few running stores to find white arm sleeves, but no one had them in white.  This worked just fine and was free!

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Next up, I cut half circles from the bottom of the shirt.  These were going to be used to make the bustles at the hip.  I cut the circles and then put a few stitches along the top to create some gathers that would give it volume.  After that, I balled up some tissue paper and used packing tape to puff them out even further.

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I found a super cheap running tank top that was about the same color blue as the skirt.  This was the trickiest part, attaching the shoulder detail.  I think the instructions I was following used a short sleeve t-shirt and she cut them off, stuffed them with a little stuffing or old shoulder pad and then sewed it to the tank top.  I could not make the short sleeve work.  It didn’t stretch enough, it didn’t fit right and I had to dig through old clothes to find another long sleeve t-shirt.  Perfect.  I put some quilt batting (because I have some of that just lying around, don’t you?) into the middle of it and used a basting stitch to attach the ends of the sleeves to the tank top.  This part took a while.  I didn’t get the right one on quite tight enough, but it worked.

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I added a black ribbon as a choker and a sparkle headband I already had.

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All the pieces were in place – including some bows on my running shoes!  Not quite a glass slipper, but that would have been uncomfortable.

The actual race

I did okay.  I was hoping to finish the 6.2 miles in 66 minutes, slightly faster than 11 minutes a mile.  I finished in 1:07.  I was using Rainbow Brite and Misty May and Kerri Walsh as my pacers for a while.  Walsh stepped out around mile 2 to tie her shoe and Rainbow Brite picked up more speed than I was ready for slightly after that.

There were two times that some mental expectations played tricks on me.  I was looking forward to walking through the water stop at mile 4.5 only to find they were out of water!  Sad!  And as well organized as most of this event was, I was surprised to find that.  I wasn’t the last runner in the race by any means, in fact, I came in just about half way.  So, almost half a race of people didn’t get water at that stop.  Not the end of the world, but I was mentally prepared for it and it threw me when it wasn’t there.  The next mental game came at the near end.  Running down 12th street it looked like we ran down and made a left to the finish.  BUT, I was wrong.  It turns out there was a right turn that did another 3 block loop and then came back to the finish line.  Once I made that right there were strong gusts of wind and I so thought about taking a short cut.  Of course, I didn’t.

You can kind of see the Arch in the background

As for how the costume held up through the run, pretty well overall!  At mile 2 I realized the bow I tied for my ribbon/choker had come untied and I just chucked it to the ground.  At mile 3 I lost the white “gloves”.  They were getting hot.  The tissue paper in my right hip bustle was starting to fall out, but I stuffed it in back in there and kept going.  I was starting to worry that if I kept peeling off accessories I’d finish the race wearing only my socks.

I do wonder how some of the people with more elaborate costumes ran.  I wonder if they regretted some of their full costumes at some point.  I saw a couple of Buzz and Woody’s from Toy Story, a full Malificent (villan from Sleeping Beauty) and some of those obnoxious full body neon suits.  I also saw no less than 5 groups of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  I didn’t know those would still be a thing.  I guess people my age who grew up with them are keeping their memory alive.

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There you have it – my first medal race!  I may still be wearing the medal…10 hours after I got home.

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Glitter shoes!

Pinterest love is paying off.  It is officially doing what I believe it’s intention was, which is to share ideas and inspire crafty-ness.

I saw this picture:

 

I read these instructions.

I did this:

Take shoes that had been ruined by grates along the streets of Chicago.

Channel Martha Stewart with glue and glitter.

Start painting the heels while watching Top Chef.

Take a moment to congratulate yourself for picking the PERFECT color glitter.

Clean up mess before glitter cat footprints are everywhere, including this laptop.

Enjoy party shoes that have been given a new life!  Now…must find place to where the party shoes…

Sarah hosts a baby shower

Sitting down feels nice.

I have been on my feet since 7am when I got out of bed to complete baby shower prep and then host said baby shower.  The good news is that it was a lovely shower, several groups of the mom to be’s friends were here and everyone seemed to get along, have a nice time, enjoy the food, ooh and aah at baby gifts and celebrate our friend, of course.

Angela, the mom to be, would not be into all the pastel, so we stuck to a hot pink and orange theme.  Enjoy some party pics! (If you click on them, they get bigger and much easier to see.)  I was really proud of our pink and orange food, which included: port wine cheese & crackers, carrots, red peppers and hummus with red pepper relish, a salad with grated carrots and pomegranate seeds, bagel platter with salmon and red onion, a crostini with a sweet potato spread topped with a peppered pork tenderloin and a pumpkin penne pasta.  Desserts were pumpkin cupcakes and a cake from a local bakery that Angela loves.  I also attempted cake pops for the first time.  They went okay.  I don’t think I’m in a big rush to make them again, but I am glad to be inducted into the cake pop club made so popular by Bakerella.

Halloween. A speedbump on the way to Christmas.

I just don’t get into Halloween.  I have a cute ghost candleholder, which is the extent of my decorations, and if I’m being honest here I didn’t even get that out this year.  That’s not to say there aren’t cute decorations and in my recent pinterest and blog hopping ways I’ve found more than ever.  Here is a round up of some of the crafty ideas I may embrace next year.

I found the blog The Swell Life through Pinterest and found so many great DIY Halloween projects!

 These are her forged foil pumpkins and these could work all fall instead of just Halloween.  And this next project I found through Pinterest and that led me to the blog.

 

I think I could handle making these super cute vases and having them on the mantle for several weeks leading up to Halloween!  Some old wine bottles (of which I have plenty) and some spray paint?!  I got this.

And if you need more ideas – this post of hers will take you to 12 fun ways to decorate a pumpkin.  What I love about her ideas is that they don’t require a lot of carving.  My barrier to more pumpkin decorating is cleaning out the center of the pumpkin.  I don’t like pumpkin guts.

 

 

 

 

 

Hostess with the Mostess showcases the most elaborate Halloween parties and decorations.  I don’t think I’ll ever make it to this level, but it is awfully fun to derive inspiration from their posts.

Love adding the sanding sugar so they look sparkly!

So much to look at!

Maybe if I had a Halloween party to throw or attend I would get more into the decorating.  Maybe next year.  But for now, I’m excited that tomorrow I can start playing my Christmas music.  To me, November 1 is the official beginning of the Holiday Season, which is my favorite.  Tonight, I’ll watch Halloween (the movie), make some pumpkin pasta and drink some hot chocolate.  And start preparing for the rest of the holidays this year.

Now, I’m off to spend this Halloween at the DMV and perhaps a walk around a neighborhood I haven’t visited in a while.  I’m thinking of walking around Soulard or Main Street St. Charles.  I need to do it this afternoon before all the crazies come out tonight.

I’m Sarah, and I’m ridiculous

The thing about having two part time jobs that have random schedules is that it is impossible to get into regular day to day habits.  Which also means I feel tired all the time.  That could also be because of the cats.  The cats!  But that’s a different post.

I demonstrated some of my ridiculousness last night.  I stayed up until 1am finishing a project that I should have finished a year ago.  And why?  Why now?  It’s a gesture.  Sigh.  I can’t even explain my line of reasoning right now.  Last year I said I would knit something.  I got halfway through it and then got distracted.  Last night I finished it.  I just needed to.  And to prove a point?  To try and make things right?  To say I’m sorry?  A little of all of the above.  At 1am I had several brilliant delivery options, almost all of them involved some play on a “Say Anything” / “Love Actually” montage.  You know that scene in Love Actually where the guy shows up outside of Kiera Knightley’s apartment with the music and the signs that he keeps flipping through without saying a word?  I love that scene.  It’s so tragically romantic.  And I felt I was in the same scenario.  I needed to drop this hat off and then just leave.  I wanted a more amicable ending to this story.  At 1am I had full blown plans to carry out this “bit”.  I love a “bit”.  I love big gestures and special moments and romance.  The good news, is that at 5:20am when my alarm went off to “carry out” this “bit” I came to my senses.   I did not think that intended recipient of this gesture would appreciate my point of view.  In fact, I saw doors being slammed in my face.  (Seriously, I even awoke suddenly from a dream in which the back of my car was slammed into.  I think it was symbolism.)

Which leads me to this thought – why do I think I know what’s best for other people sometimes?  Why do I think I’M what’s best for people?  Claire used to ask me that at work from time to time.  Why am I so confident I know what’s best?

Sigh.  I got a little bit more sleep.  I got a lot of coffee from downstairs.  I’ve become a bigger coffee drinker.  I think it started when Meg was here.  I continue to grow in my coffee appreciation.  Cappuccinos are expensive.  Regular coffee is only a $1 if you bring your own mug.  I’m a girl on a budget.  I got a dollar.  I’m about two weeks away from drinking straight black coffee.  Sign of growth?

Ok.  I’m off to mail a hat.

Stuck in the middle with you…

Things I am in the middle of…
1. The great chocolate chip cookie adventure.  Remaking all of these recipes to document and photograph.
2. Finishing the dining room.  I painted months ago, am about to get a new china cabinet, an old dining room set, and need to hang all the gorgeous food photos I bought from smitten kitchen
3. Three different knitting projects.  (I know, craft dork comments welcome.)  Two scarves, because you never know when you may need a scarf as a present come Christmas time, and another R2D2 knit hat for Adam Science.  He said he’d wear it.  I’m calling his bluff.  Will the high school kids he works with even know Star Wars? 
4. Perfecting my coaching/feedback class at work.  I just don’t know if it’s effective enough.
5. Updating my resume.  Because, you never know when you may need it.
6. Cleaning my apartment.  Ha.  This is one really pretty funny.  I’m always in the middle of cleaning my apartment.  I hate to break it to myself, but I think I’m a messy person. 
7. Becoming a person who can complete a 5K!!  I’m getting closer!  Keith (the name I’ve given my running iphone app) has me up to running a full 20 minutes.  I think Keith is crazy. 

Send me some “How about you finish something, Sarah!” thoughts please.

Finishing the hat

From Sorkin to Sondheim – the post subject refers to the Sondheim musical Sunday in the Park with George, which is the story of Georges Seurat. During this song Georges girlfriend is leaving him because he is engrossed in his work, and not enough in her. As she is talking about why she is leaving, he is focused on this painting and ends the song:
“Finishing a hat…
Starting on a hat..
Finishing a hat…
Look, I made a hat…
Where there never was a hat”
While I’m certainly not comparing myself to Georges Seurat and his art in any way, I have been engrossed in a hat of my own recently. I’ve mentioned previously that I’m working on an R2D2 knit hat for a friend. Just a little over a year ago, I said casually in passing that I think I would like to learn to knit and the next day received a link to instruction on how to knit a hat that looks like the top of R2D2′s head. I’m not sure I had any real intention of following up on learning to knit, but now I had a reason to. I was unemployed at the time and anyone who motivated me to fill the time (in a way that wasn’t sitting around and watching Gilmore Girls – not that there’s anything wrong with that) I thought deserved what they asked for. I took a 4 week knitting class and started on the hat.
This hat has brought me nothing but pain and suffering. Sure, several good lessons were learned the hard way. That doesn’t make it okay that I’ve had to start this thing 3 times. Here’s a picture of all three (all three and my cat who was poking around them) :


Let me take you on a little tour of hats. On your far left is the first one I tried. The idea of stitching all the blue boxes on after it was knitted didn’t sound like much fun, so I tried a more advanced knitting technique called stranded knitting where you carry both colors around the hat. (Do I sound like the giantest craft dork right now?) That was complicated, and I’m fairly sure I was doing it incorrectly, but I got through it. Now, when it came to starting to shape the dome there was a stitch I hadn’t learned. I watched some You Tube videos, thought I had a hand on it and started the decreases. After two rows, I realized I had read the pattern incorrectly and had done way too many of the new stitch. I was supposed to do one of those stitches every 12 or something and I had done it continuously. I thought perhaps I could just pull out the two rows and re-insert my needles and pick right back up where I had left off, but I’m just not that good. Dang it. Starting over.

Using the same pattern, I start again (see middle hat), this time not using the stranded method and resigned to having to double stitch all the blue boxes. I get to the dome part and follow the directions, for the most part. I think I lost count somewhere, but it all came together. Except, when I looked at it, there were funny points in strange places and kind of a hole where it didn’t all come together at the top. I just didn’t feel it was acceptable.

I start again. Why I’m so determined to do this so well, I’m not really sure. The friend this is for is, much like this hat has been, kind of a pain in my ass. But, now, this is for me. I just want to do it. I go back to the internet and search for a different pattern. I decide it’s the pattern that’s cursed, not me and my skill, or lack thereof. I find this one and decide this is the one that will make it happen. Thanks to Megan for posting this pattern with lots of great pictures. I finish the actual hat in just a couple of days and now have to start the double stitching, adding the main detail around the middle of the hat. I pull the hat out of my knitting bag and go to it. After about three boxes I think, “Man, this one came out lumpier than I thought.” And then in a flash of pure idiocy where you have no one to blame but yourself, I realize I had pulled hat #2 out of the bag and started stitching the detail on the wrong hat. Double Dang It.

I sigh. I pull the correct hat out. I start the stitching. I think to myself again how much this hat, and now the friend who requested it, are becoming more and more similar.

Double stitching takes longer than I would like it to. I finish. Just this morning actually.


(please ignore my totally messy hair)

And so it is complete. With the exception of four stitches I have to add in red. But I don’t have any red yarn at this time.