Being a cliche

I came home a couple nights ago in a bad mood.  I’m still in break up recovery mode.  I was distracted at work.  House projects seemed overwhelming for a minute.  In that moment there was only one thing I wanted to do – watch the movie Under the Tuscan Sun.

Classic Diane Lane chick flick

Classic Diane Lane chick flick

I’ve seen the movie once or twice on the Oxygen channel probably.  I do love movies set in Italy.  I just wanted a story about a single woman fixing up a house.  I thought it would cheer me right up, and it did.  I indulged in the far fetched tale with a glass of pink wine and felt better.

On a Diane Lane kick, I rented Must Love Dogs the following evening.  It was one of Ex Hubs favorite movies, but in one of those secret ways, similar to how Rachel’s favorite movie was secretly Weekend at Bernies (for the Friends fans out there).  I’ve seen this movie many, many times.  The familiarity cheered me up some more.

I’ve plowed through several books lately.  I read Rainbow Rowell’s Attachments and FanGirl.  I adored them both as sweet reads.  I read Meg Wolitzer’s The Interestings, which was not.  I just finished Delicious by Ruth Reichl, and I like her memoir based books much more than her first go at a novel.  And because I want to see the movie this fall I finished This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper last weekend.  I read it in a day.  It was engaging.  Although, I had a hard time with the scenes involving the brothers getting into fist fights.  I just don’t believe grown men throw this many punches in a week’s time.  But, I did enjoy it.  (I will never be a literary critic… It was good, I liked it.  I’m so descriptive.)

The Columbus Arts Festival is this weekend and I’m looking forward to that tomorrow evening after work.  A few friends and I are meeting for a drink and will then stroll along the riverfront enjoying art and food trucks and what is supposed to be perfect weather.  My first Columbus Art Fair!  Seems like the perfect opportunity to pick up something for the house.  Something Diane Lane would pick out.  :)

 

 

If it quacks like a duck…

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Me and 1 of 2 Mr. Rogers statues in Pittsburgh. I do love to pose with a statue.

 

Then it must be Pittsburgh!  I’m flipping through an issue of Columbus magazine a few weeks ago and see an ad for an art installation in Pittsburgh that is a 40 foot rubber duckie.  What other reason would one possibly need to schedule a trip to Pittsburgh.  As it turns out, the ‘burgh is only a couple hours from Columbus.  I have never been to Pennsylvania and D offered to go with me.  This was a win-win-win situation.

In addition to wanting to see a big duck, I thought I’d find a run over there that weekend to keep me on track for the Tink 1/2 planning.  I found a North Shore running tour.  Run a bit – your guide tells you about the city – run some more – hear something else.  It was a 5k route PLUS I’d see the city.  Done.  As it would turn out, I was the only one on the running tour that morning – so I got a great 1-1 run guide, plus we could run at my pace!  That’s where the picture above was taken – on the run, and below is a shot of the very empty downtown I ran through to get to the tour starting point.

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Sunday morning runs in a new city – all the sightseeing, none of the people. Love it.

But, of course, the DUCK was the main attraction.  What seemed like thousands of people were gathered at Point Park to see this duck.  I was a little surprised an oversized bath toy could draw this crowd, and at the same time, I did drive two hours from another state to do that very thing.  So…

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It’s not so big. I can squish it!

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This is why I went to Pittsburgh, to see a giant rubber duck. Why not?

Pretty sure this is the Christmas card this year.

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Quack!

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The duck is alongside Point Park downtown.

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I kept hearing that Pittsburgh was a pretty city and it was.

Did you know that Pittsburgh has more bridges than any other city in the United States?  446 to be exact.  And many of them are painted the same color yellow – Aztec Gold.  I learned that on my running tour.

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The other super touristy thing I did was the Duquesne Incline.

 The Duquesne Incline cracks me up in a way.  It’s part trolley/part old coal car and it takes you to a cute little neighborhood at the top of the hill with great views of downtown.  The ticket/boarding situation hasn’t changed much in 50 years, I imagine.  Which is charming and refreshing in a lot of ways.  No safety talk, very little monitoring of people getting on, and in one station ACUTALLY NO monitoring of people getting on, you pay for your ride at the top.  It made me chuckle.  Until riding on it when I got a little nervous.  Something about going up that super steep incline and seeing the cable responsible for pulling us – yikes.  Made my stomach turn a little.


The views are wonderful.  Pittsburgh has such a unique layout.  A very dense downtown with a kind of touristy developed North Shore with the stadiums and a hipper South Shore area that I’d like to explore on my next visit.

Sarah vs. the Weekend

Way, way back my virtual pal Kelli wrote a post called Kelli vs. the weekend.  Since then I’ve done a few myself.  They’re alway fun.  She had even made a little button or badge for it.  I wonder where I saved that…

Sarah vs. Pinterest
Oh Pinterest. So many ideas. So little time. While I didn’t get to any of the minor construction projects I hoped to get to (entryway spruce up, magazine rack or anything involving turning an old dresser into a cool tv stand) I DID get an idea on how to rearrange my bedroom furniture!

Source: houzz.com via Sarah on Pinterest

I have had my bedroom furniture in no less than 5 different configurations. I never thought about this one. My bed is on a wall it’s never been on. My couch is at the foot of the bed. The tv is directly in front of both of those things which means it’s like 25 feet away from me when I’m in bed and since my bedroom tv is 11 inches it is pretty hard to see, but I’m mostly in it for the noise. This set up allows me space to work out between the couch and the tv or sit and meditate or think about doing yoga.
Winner: Pinterest wins this one. I’m still overwhelmed by projects, but chances are that if I didn’t get so time sucked into Pinterest I would have more time to do said projects.

Sarah vs. homework
I had a group paper to finish Saturday, an essay test to begin, and a first draft of an individual assignment outlining my company’s HR strategy due today. Also, I want to re read a few chapters of some books for the essay test and the HR assignment. Also, I want to read some chapters for the first time. Also, I want to read all of these supplemental articles that every professor posts.
Winner: Pinterest.
Kidding. A little.
Ok, for real, homework beat me. I thought we could finish that paper by noon and we didn’t submit it until almost 6pm. I think it’s right on, so that’s good news. One of the essay test questions is super open ended and I don’t even know how to begin it. It requires self reflection – which I hate.

Sarah vs. decision making
Friends, I am at a crossroads. I’m not the most patient person and the only strategy I have right now is to WAIT. Wait for school to be over, wait to find out about a job prospect, wait to see if I should move to something familiar or move to anywhere else, wait to settle down, wait to fill out an application to become a foster parent, wait to buy a house, wait to start studying for the SPHR or the PMP certifications…
A year ago I didn’t feel this way. A year ago I said the following sentence to Adam Science, “I love where I live so much and can’t imagine living anywhere else that if the house across the street from me went up for sale, I’d buy it.” Guess what went on the market 3 days ago – the house across the street. Guess who had an open house today? The house across the street. Guess who went? (This game isn’t that mysterious, is it?)
It is a great house. It’s perfect for me and my imaginary foster kid. It doesn’t have enough closet space, but no city house ever will. Other than that – it had everything. But, I can’t buy a house right now because what if I want to move? I can’t buy a house right now because I have a crap ton of student loans about to come due (although I would probably pay less on a mortgage than I do in rent)…
I’m not looking for advice, or an answer. I know that I have to wait. I don’t know what the right answer is yet. But I am confident that when the right answer is ready, it will present itself to me.
Winner: Lavender candles. They’re supposed to have a calming effect. I’ll be buying them in bulk.

If you’re interested – here’s the house I’m crushing on. http://www.circastl.com/listing/3977-hartford

Sarah vs. running
It’s like I’m afraid to do it. I liken it to falling off a horse and being afraid to get back on somehow. I told myself training begins again on March 1. I did no running on March 1. Or 2nd or 3rd for that matter. What’s my damage? What am I scared of?
Winner: My ass. My ass is doing all the gaining in this situation. As in weight.

I am kind of the least put together adult ever. How is it I think I can shape some kind of young mind as a foster parent again? Sheesh.

Okay. In Sarah vs. going to bed, the winner needs to be sleep.

Do you smell updog?

What’s updog?

Not much – what’s up with you?

Get it?

Moving on…

Here’s what’s up with me:

I accepted an Oscar today.

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Yup.  Someone handed it to me, I accepted it.  That counts.

It’s all part of the Oscar Road Trip and I knew St. Louis was a stop for a few weeks.  I’ve been stalking Twitter to see where it would be showing up for weeks and last night learned it would be at the City Museum at 1pm.  Done and done!  Sadly my mom appears to have developed Parkinson’s and of the six pictures she snapped these are the only two where I’m not insanely blurry.  Oh well.  I accepted the Academy Award!

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Speaking of Oscars, I saw Amour.  I don’t even know what to say.  I don’t know how this lead actress doesn’t beat Jennifer Lawrence.  I don’t think she will, but she certainly out acted her.  It was a miserable, sad, honest film to watch so if you like your movies to entertain you, don’t see this one.  I read one review where they called it claustrophobic.  It is.  It’s set almost entirely in an apartment that you can’t get out of with characters in a situation they can’t get out of.  It’s hard to watch.  It’s hard because it’s real life.  It could be any of us.  Doesn’t it stink that life is so tough at the end?  I suppose it’s not unique to the end.  Strokes, cancer, disease, death can all come early (sheesh – I’m so cheery!).  The title is the word love – yes, I imagine this is true love – taking care of someone at the end of their life like this couple did.  Anyway – certainly an emotional investment of a movie.  Be ready if you choose to see it.

I’m baking a new chocolate chip cookie recipe tonight.  I found it here at Ambitious Kitchen.  They have a lot of similarities to my favorite America’s Test Kitchen cookie: browned butter, an egg plus one egg yolk, resting dough.  She uses semi-sweet and milk chocolate chips.  Also, an ingredient I have never used in my cookies – a tablespoon of Greek yogurt.  I didn’t see that coming.  I haven’t baked any yet – I’ll be sure to do a full review.

I am a sucker for a good proposal, and the speech at the end of a recent Happy Endings episode had a great proposal speech.  Check out the episode The Marry Prankster for a good time, and a charming proposal.

Being Sarah while being with someone else

I have this thing where I’m always distracted by something.  I have a tv on (sometimes two) while I’m puttering around the house doing chores.  I play my ipod in the shower (how else does one sing along?).  I listen to Pandora while I study.  I’m overly addicted to the beeping from my phone.

And if not that kind of stimulation, than it’s activity.  I like to stay busy.  I’ll cook while taking photos of it.  And then I’ll blog about it.  While drinking wine.

I’m resolving to be more mindful in this new year.  Today I had an unexpected day off.  I took down the Christmas tree with minimal pine needle devastation throughout the apartment.  I talked to a grad school friend via Google Hangout for an hour or so over coffee this morning. I rearranged the living room furniture (a must after the tree came down.)  I downloaded a book by an author that Running Buddy has been talking up for months (As You Wish by Jackson Pearce – if you’re interested.  It’s young adult fiction – which I love.  Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, one of my faves.  Phantom Tollbooth, wise beyond it’s years.)  I gave myself permission to lay in my darkened room (because one of the activities I did was hang room darkening shades in my bedroom and Oh My Goodness I’m so happy I did.  I wish I would have done that ages ago!  Things I’m learning about myself – I like to sleep in the dark.) and read.  I read about half of it.  And then I put it down and just lay on my bed.  Without the intent to nap.  Without the intent to turn on the television.  I just let myself think.  I didn’t grab my phone.  I didn’t have my laptop at my fingertips.

I got some more work done around here and then decided to knock a movie off my Netflix Instant Queue.  It wasn’t very good and I wasn’t giving it my full attention, but for some reason when it was over I shut my laptop and sat on my couch and once again – spent some time with my thoughts.

The movie did not have a happy relationship ending so my mind drifted to relationship thoughts, naturally.  I thought about the musical The Last Five Years, which I just recently downloaded the cast recording to (musicals don’t have soundtracks – they have cast recordings.  I have a dear friend who will correct anyone who says otherwise.  I learned the hard way.)

Then I started thinking about me.  I think the happiness project stuff is still weighing on me, which is good.  I don’t want that to be a passing fad.  I’m proud to say I’ve made my bed every day in January.  Progress.

Be Sarah.  I thought about relationships and being Sarah.  I ran through several of the big ones and thought about what was successful and not successful in them.  I thought about when I was comfortable and when I wasn’t.  I thought about sex and intimacy and how I’m so weird about differentiating those two things.  Anyone can have sex.  Whatever.  You want to get to know me – that’s going to take some time.  I have my reasons.  They’re deep seeded.  That’s a whole other story.

I digress.

The point is – it was nice to spend some time with my thoughts.  When I chill the heck out and just listen to myself it was easy enough to find and be Sarah.  I’ll need to do with less distraction more often.  There was a moment when I very clearly saw all the screens I had up with all the images of Sarah I try and project to the world.  And then I very clearly saw me behind all of them.  Is this what meditation does?  Man, 15 minutes a day of this and I’m going to have the answers to the world’s problems.  Because after this quiet time I felt like I was on solid ground for the first time in I don’t know how long.  2013 is already proving to be the beginning of a few big things – job searches and new cities and relationship potential…I’ll need to Be Sarah through those things.  I feel it slipping away when I’m around people.  I feel like I need to wear the right hat among different groups.  Actual Sarah kind of impressed me tonight with some of her thoughts.  After last semester I forgot for a second that I’m interesting and smart and creative and not nearly as flighty as I’ve felt (stupid sets in when you like a boy, doesn’t it?).  All I want to do right now is have a conversation with anyone about the books I’m reading, thoughts on monogamy in today’s society (the movie I watched had this as a theme), bad poetry and foods I tend to burn.  That passage from The Happiness Project really stuck with me – we do new and different things and we become new and different.  We become interesting at the dinner party.  When someone says “What’s New” we have stuff to say.  I’m going to walk to the bar up the street and strike up conversations with strangers.

Maybe I need to lay off the self help books.

But I’m sticking with this meditation thing.  Unlocking my brain would be okay.

Cats will not clean for you

I have big plans to start 2013 with a spotless clean apartment.

If you know me and have seen my apartment, let’s all have a big laugh right now, shall we?!

HAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHHAHAHAA!

No, no!  I mean it!

HAHAHAHHHAHAHAHHAAAAA!

I thought about taking a few before pictures, but I am not ready to post that kind of shame on the blog.  Let me paint you a verbal picture…

There are at least three clean loads of laundry on the couch in my bedroom.  (Yes, I have a couch in my bedroom.  It’s where the laundry goes.)  From my bed I can see 7.5 pairs of shoes on the floor and I know for a fact there are two more on my bathroom floor.  The top of my dresser is covered in a heap of necklaces, because the hook I hang my necklaces fell down.  It fell down 3 months ago.  There is a completely random stack of magazines, text books and mail next to my bed.  The suitcase I brought to Orlando is still on my floor (it is empty…just not put away).

Usually, I would stick an “In my defense!!!” kind of excuse in here about being busy or work or school – alas, I have absolutely no good excuse.  I’m just messy.  But before I turn into full on hoarder, I need to get to work.

My goal is to get my room cleaned up and move the furniture around.  The bed placement is all wrong.  I’m too close to a window that overlooks the backyard and street and there are patio lights and street lights that I am convinced are interfering with my sleeping.  I need to get the dining room clean as well so I can use it as a workspace tomorrow as I create my 2013 plan.  And nothing feels clean if the kitchen isn’t clean.

Stupid cats are just going to taunt me with their napping all day.  I’ll show them – I’ll get the vacuum out.  They hate that.

Send positive and clean thoughts my way, friends.  I’ll need them.  (And if you wanted to send a Merry Maid or two over, I wouldn’t say no…)

Under the influence of exhaustion

I know better than to write when I’m this tired.  It could be worse.  I could have taken sleeping pills, have those not work, still be awake and try to write.  Those usually led to some pretty fantastic blog posts…Fantastic in the most sarcastic sense of the word.  See here and, my absolute favorite crazy girl post I ever wrote, here for examples.

WordPress, where I host this blog, sends daily emails with writing prompts.  Questions to answer, stories to tell, memories to relive and secret thoughts to bare to the online world.  There have been a few tempting prompts lately:

  • What question do you hate to answer? (My answer: Have you ever thought about having kids?  Don’t get me started.)
  • If there were a fountain of youth, would you drink from it? (Only a little.  I think I’d like to stay this age for some time.  I don’t particularly want to be in my 20’s again.  I like the idea of 33 forever.)
  • What’s your ideal Saturday morning and are you doing it?  (That prompt was obviously sent on a Saturday morning.)

I rarely use this blog as a forum to dive into my past, or dive into how or why I believe what I do.  Maybe answering some of those questions would be fun.  Maybe they would let me feel like I am doing some of the creative writing that I used to love to do.  Or, maybe it would just be a continuation of the exercise in narcissism that I have lately believed this blog to be.  I feel like I ramble a lot about my present situations.  Most of which are pretty trivial.  Maybe I could craft a better story or meaningful post if I followed a prompt one day.  There are all of these books of questions that you can buy – they’re the things I’m forever trying to get people engaged in on a road trip or something.  But I like when people tell me stories.

It’s 1:15am.  I should be sleeping.

It was really, really windy in St. Louis today.

I want to read The Fault in Our Stars by John Green but I’m afraid it’s just going to make me cry for days.

My family’s Christmas is this Saturday.  Which makes actual Christmas Eve and Christmas Day way less stressful.  I mostly just sit around and make pancakes and have some kind of tv show marathon.

I typed a paragraph here about something.  Then I deleted that paragraph.  I just edited myself on my blog.  That doesn’t happen very often.  Especially at 1:31am.

Quinn has been more affectionate than usual lately.  It’s because it’s cold in my apartment and she wants to use me as a furnace.

Okay – my eyes are sleepy.  This quality rambling can cease.  For now.

Random Thursday

1. There is one guy downstairs at the coffee shop who never charges me for coffee.  This morning I went to get an iced coffee after my run and sure enough, no charge.  This always makes me happy.  And not because I’m getting free coffee, I take the dollar and change I would have spent and put it in their tip jar.  I just like that he does this.  He always says it’s the pay off for having to deal with the loud music nights they have on Fridays and Saturdays.  I’ve told him I’m not all that bothered by it.  Oh well.  Ahhh, iced coffee.

2. Yes, I went for a run!  This morning!  I’m getting up and doing it.  I continue to be so motivated for 1/2 marathon training with Team in Training.  

3.  On my run this morning…I wore a running skirt!  I know!  I said I wouldn’t buy one until I had dropped a bit of weight, but then I didn’t want to wait.  I want to have fun running in a skirt.  And I did.

4.  Actually, this morning was kind of a tough run.  I’ve been laying off alcohol lately because I know I make bad food choices after a drink or two.  Last night though, I had two pretty strong vodka tonics with lime.  Yum.  Running post two strong vodka tonics with lime – ugh.  I ran slower than my last run, but never stopped.

5.  The reason I splurged on two pretty strong vodka tonics with lime (yum)?  Because I had to deal with a gentleman who showed up intoxicated to work.  It made for a stressful day.  So, I thought, an eye for an eye – or drink for a drink?  Deal with a guy who drinks too much at work, go home and have a drink.

6. In addition to the drinks, I made homemade pico de gallo for dinner.  And that’s all I had for dinner.  1/2 an onion, 3 tomatoes, 1/2 jalapeno, lime juice, garlic and cilantro.  Plus a boatload of chips.  Dinner.  I do not regret my choice.  I sat outside with my drink (yum), my salsa and the latest Self Magazine.  It was a nice way to distane myself from the ridiculousness of dealing with a grown man who doesn’t know how to be professional.

7. I already have my group for this semester’s first project!  Woohoo!  I was pretty ahead of the game, as soon as I saw the new syllabus I emailed two classmates that I really wanted to work with and they were game to join me and we’ve already picked our topic and started dividing up work.  VERY exciting.  We picked the company Target to research throughout the semester.  I’m sure this means I’ll need to do some in depth consumer research….  :)

8. This weekend is Cinco de Mayo!!  I don’t know why I don’t celebrate this day more…I LOVE Mexican food.  (See last nights dinner.)  I think I will declare that next year I am having a Cinco de Mayo party.  You may all come.  Consider this the save the date.

Random food comes together

I follow some blogs that make “throwing” dinner together seem like an art form.  I’m trying to embrace more spontaneity in my meal prep and using the so much food I have in my pantry.  I also am trying to use ingredients in more dishes than I may have originally intended them for.  I buy more than my fair share of specialty ingredients for a particular dish and the remains of that ingredient hang out in my fridge until it’s gone bad.

So, here are some random dishes from the last couple of weeks.  Most pictures were taken with my phone, so it’s not great photography, but it has been pretty good food.

Corn Crab Guacamole
I was in Cleveland last December and found a restaurant recommendation through Yelp.  The restaurant was Momocho and it was known for it’s guacamole variations and taquitos.  Sounds good to me!  I ordered a Blue Corn Crab guacamole and it was fantastic.  So, on a recent trip to Whole Foods, I splurged on some claw crab meat.  My plan was to add the crab and some corn to my standard guacamole recipe.

This may have been one of my greatest ideas ever.  I used frozen corn and just microwave the 1/4 cup that I needed.  I’m sure it could have been better with roasted corn, but I still have no complaints.  I made this for dinner 3 nights last week.  Only one of those nights did I make actual food to go with it. And that night it was tuna with a pineapple mango salsa.  I do not cook fish well.  I overcook it or undercook it.  And I love it so much, I wish I did this better.

But seriously, make this guacamole.  Next time I think I’m going to add the pineapple mango salsa to the guacamole…

 

 

Overnight oats is all the rage among the fit chick blog circles.  It’s taking oats, some kind of milk, nut butters, etc and letting them sit in the fridge overnight so it’s all ready in the morning.  I have not tried this yet.  I think it sounds like it could be a great idea, but I don’t know.  I like oatmeal – do I really want cold, mushy oatmeal?

Not this morning, I don’t.  I topped my hot, steel cut oatmeal with a sliced banana, walnuts and a drizzle of Nutella.

Another genius idea on my part.  How good is oatmeal topped with a bunch of stuff?!

 

 

 

 

 

And then there is this.  For the 2nd day in a row, this is what I made for lunch.  And it’s awesome.  Saute some spinach in a skillet so it wilts down.  Add two beaten eggs, 1 chopped tomato and 1/3 cup black beans.  Cook, stirring often, and you have a very delicious scramble.  But we’re not stopping there.  I heated up two whole wheat tortillas and sliced up an avocado.  Divide the scramble in half and place on each tortilla.  Top with avocado.  I added a tablespoon of plain fat free greek yogurt to each one as well.  Greek yogurt is my new go to for everything – with cereal, on eggs, in a smoothie – it’s perfect!  I tried to roll them into a burrito, but they were too full, or my tortillas were too small.  Whatever, I ate them as tacos and they were still the greatest.  I love Mexican food and this Mexican inspired dish hit the spot big time after my two workouts this morning.

 

 

 

 

So there you have it.  Random food yields delicious results.  I didn’t take a picture of my snack just now, but same concept.  Chopped up apple, tablespoon of almond butter, 1/2 cup greek yogurt, granola and another drizzle of Nutella.  (I have a lot left over from the day I made crepes at work AND it’s in a convenient squeeze bottle.  I see a drizzle of Nutella making an appearance at weekend breakfast Sunday as well.)