Archives for March 2010

Weekly Winners – Spring is Coming Edition

It’s time again for the WEEKLY WINNERS. Be sure to pop on over to Lotus’s place to check out her awesome shots of the week and to visit the other participants for WW.So, you remember my lovely green flowers from Costco, right?

Sometimes you have to check things out from another angle.

Less than 24 hours later, the green was starting to seep from the flower’s petals down into the water in the vase, which is actually kind of a neat emerald color right now.

Half empty or half full (or time to buy more straws?)

When it comes to shoes, I often gravitate towards comfort. Love my Chucks.

I took The Princess to Barnes & Noble on Friday – she was so engrossed with the whole browsing for books process that before she even realized I was there, I had snapped over 20 shots. (I love how she reads with her pinky out!).

And I’m taken back by the scent

The color of everything
fades in the air
but she is the film of a book of a story
of the smell of her hair…

This morning, The Princess and I were standing in line at the post office – I needed a book of stamps and wanted to mail off a check for the money I’d raised with my bake sale for the Avon Walk. An older woman walked in shortly after we did and promptly cut in front of us in line. Feeling mellow and in no particular rush, I decided not to be a jerk, not to call her out – and (as is so rare) just chill and go with the flow.

Until she turned back to speak to me.

As she leaned in to speak (to ask me what I was mailing and to where, if you can believe it), I blanched at the smell. Stale cigarette smoke and a musky smell of I don’t know what, filled the lining of my nose. I couldn’t wait to get out of the post office. Even hours later, the smell lingered in my nose.

Of all of my senses, my sense of smell is by far the strongest. Under normal circumstances, I have this superhuman olfactory sensing skill – during my pregnancies? It was magnified times about a thousand.

My sense of smell is how I know a migraine is coming on – when smells I normally find pleasant or neutral (my shampoo, milk) become overpowering and feel like they are gnawing away at my nasal passages I know it’s probably about time to load up with some headache medicine and hunker down.

But similarly, my sense of smell is a huge link to the past and so many memories are tied in smells.

The other day, I was walking down the street and as I passed a pale yellow two story house, I caught a whiff of Estee Lauder’s Beautiful hanging on the air. This is the perfume my best friend wore all through high school. Beautiful is the scent of getting ready for cheerleading at basketball games, picking out clothes for a night out, sneaking out through her bedroom window to go out after her parents had fallen asleep. With one inhalation I was back in the early 90s with big hair, no wrinkles and nothing but time.

Sometimes the smell of red wine takes me back to my dad’s house. He’s playing piano and the room is dark with a small lamp shining on the keys. A glass sits on a coaster on the piano’s glossy surface.

It should surprise no one that the fragrances that trigger the most immediate reaction are baking smells. The smell of molasses and I am standing in my grandmother’s kitchen cutting rounds of cookie dough and placing them on a baking sheet. A warm cinnamon smell evokes Christmas morning, laughter over plates of monkey bread. The sweet brown sugar aroma of fresh baked chocolate chip cookies means it is one of those days that ends in Y – maybe nothing special, maybe not for any reason, but always out of a peaceful moment, some sort of cookie-induced zen.

It takes so little to transport me from where I am to where I was. Just one deep breath in is all it takes to trigger those senses and memories.

Song lyric, Counting Crows, “On A Tuesday In Amsterdam Long Ago”

Thursday Ten: I’m Not Wearing a Coat Edition

1. It’s 50 degrees here. Marinate on that. Fifty. Five-zero. The snow has melted and the lawns are visible. They’re brown, but visible. I went on my first outdoor run of 2010 today. A slow meandering jog, more likely – but wow, felt good. Here’s hoping this is the change for the year (but I fully anticipate at least one more spell of crappy weather).

2. I love to dance – so it’s really no surprise that when Amy Krouse Rosenthal of The Beckoning of Lovely published this YouTube video, I decided I had to learn the dance. And yes, I’m filming the process, including the hilarious moments when I bump into furniture and trip over my own feet.

3. Music downloaded this week? “All This Beauty” by the Weepies – which is the song in the above video. Love it – it’s cute and bouncy and just feels like spring.

4. Guitar lessons went well this week – still working on Ingrid Michaelson’s “The Chain”, as well as Train’s “Marry Me”. Ingrid’s song is easy and I needed that, because the Train song would be perfect if I could just make my fingers move fast enough (I’ve got a ways to go).

5. Our first official book club meeting was last night – and it was … interesting. It seems I was the only one to like the book, Still Alice (why YES, that’s an affiliate link, baby!). The discussion questions in the back were sort of… weak, but the book itself? I really enjoyed the book. I’m curious how next month goes – the book choice was mine (more on that to come in the next few weeks, mmkay?) – and if there’s a huge difference again on who enjoys it and who doesn’t, then… perhaps this will be more of a social thing versus a shared taste in reading materials thing.

6. Those green flowers I bought at Costco the other day are fading to white, one petal at a time and the water in the vase is this amazing emerald green color. It’s kind of a fun process to watch, the dye draining back into the water. Then again, maybe I’m easily amused.

7. Corey Haim. Dead. Y’know, while I don’t necessarily mourn for celebs, I have to say it always blows me away when one passes – and the news is filled with clips from the span of a career. I vividly remember going to see the movie “Lucas” in the theater. It was one of the first movies my mom allowed me to see on my own – she dropped me and a friend off at at the theater to see it (after buying our tickets). I loved that movie. And it’s one of those movies that I had forgotten about until the news of him OD’ing broke. {However, I never forget the movie “The Lost Boys”. I loved that movie then, I love that movie still.}

8. I have just under 90 days until the marathon and a half walk for breast cancer. I am SO excited. I have so much to do yet – but I’m pretty excited. I have to say, even if it is more cumbersome, I’ll be wearing a backpack this year instead of a fanny pack. I broke down and bought one last year, but felt absolutely ridiculous wearing it – PLUS, I want to be able to keep flip flops on hand for when I’m done for the day and want my nasty walking shoes OFF.

9. This week feels like it’s been 100 years long. Things with work and extra projects have kept me from being bored – and I’ve kind of totally over extended myself with extra curriculars too (book club, a lunch with old friends, appointments). I love not being bored, I love being busy… but I’m kind of ready to kick back with a pretty pink drink and a book and put my feet up.

10. I’m told that National Chocolate Caramel Day is coming up. Seriously. It’s a thing. What is YOUR favorite chocolate-caramel treat? Looking for ideas, as I WILL be celebrating accordingly.

A Little Bit of Springtime on My Table

On Speaking Above a Whisper

One of the takeaways from Blissdom that still rattles through my head on a near daily basis is the consistent focus on authenticity – on being authentic in your writing, on being true to your voice.

It’s hard when you write and you put it out for public consumption, and sometimes it’s easier to hold everyone at a figurative arm’s length versus putting yourself out there with bed head and morning breath (both of which I wake up with daily, by the way – in addition to pillow crinkles on my face and a general confused disposition until I have a few minutes to blink away the last remnants of sleep).

As a writer (and I do consider myself a writer), I know my voice. Maybe it’s not one that stands out more than any of the kajillion other bloggers out there – but it’s mine.

A friend once referred to my little internet space as “plastic Sarah” – and I think that’s always been because if you mire yourself in the negative too much, it’s kinda easy to get yourself stuck that way. By focusing my writing on the positive – or the things I could change – well, that is a way of keeping one foot in front of the other. It keeps me productive. It keeps me sane.

But yeah, I have bad days. I have days where I (true story) pitch a jalapeno across the kitchen because I’m pissed off because there’s no green enchilada sauce and I had a craving for some spicy enchiladas that wouldn’t quit. I have days where I drop my kid off at preschool and I feel inadequate next to the perfectly coiffed preschool moms who don’t set foot out the door with stray hairs or bare faces.

There are days when I’m ready to scream because while I am so blessed and grateful to have a job, sometimes I think I can feel my brain getting softer and I long for challenges – the kind you don’t necessarily get when you’re at home cutting the crusts of peanut butter sandwiches.

But isn’t that the way life is? Sometimes it’s powdered sugar coated lemon squares and sometimes it’s three week old banana nut bread growing fur. You can rest assured, whether it’s the good stuff or the bad stuff, the voice you read will always be authentically mine – but somedays, you’ll have to watch out for flying jalapenos.

Weekly Winners, Week Ending 03/06/10

For more Weekly Winners, visit the lovely hostess, Lotus of I Am Lotus and check out and give some comment love to the others participating!

Kicked off the week with the John Mayer concert on Sunday. You know why I love this picture? Check the face of the girl on the screen behind him. It CRACKS ME UP.

Reflections. I got a little bored at my bake sale Wednesday and took a selfy via the window of the office building. (BONUS: I raised over $300 by selling cookies and sweets – I’m so jazzed to have raised so much moohlah for a good cause)

To the butterfly gardens yesterday. This lovely creature landed on my hand and stayed there enough for me to snap a few shots. Of course, I was in such direct sunlight that lighting conditions aren’t ideal, but there’s just no reasoning with a butterfly.

Have you ever tried to take a picture of a blue morpho butterfly? No? Well, here’s the thing: THEY FLY REALLY FAST. And when they land, they shut their wings tight like this. Still pretty, but… I sat there for the longest time waiting for it to fly off, and then when it did… it was just too fast to capture. Like I said, there’s no reasoning with butterflies.

“Sarah? Did you just take a picture of the barrel cactus? I knew you would take a picture of that.”

I’m not sure what this is for, but it caught my eye.

She waited SO PATIENTLY and stood so still – and yet… she remained empty handed.

Aw yeah. National Oreo Day. That’s what I’m talking about. And of course, if you have a fresh pack of Oreos, you should totally make a tower. Or play Oreo Jenga.

Thursday Ten: Hey Bronchitis GO AWAY edition

1. Wrapped up a round of antibiotics on Sunday for this stupid bronchitis and within two days, all the wheezing and coughing came back.  And it feels worse. This is the third day of Round Two of antibiotics and I don’t feel any better. I’m kind of a big whiny baby when I’m sick.

2. I’m wearing a WHOLE LOTTA GREEN today because the ROOM 704 March edition is LIVE. Go check it out – lots of amazing (and laugh so hard you pee a little) posts from the girls of 704. Including me. I even posted a recipe even though you guys know I really don’t cook much. It’s okay, it’s an easy recipe – it only involves opening cans and jars. Just my style. Anyway, I haven’t even read all the posts yet because I’m savoring the awesomeness, but you – when you’re done reading this list GO OVER THERE.

3. Sunday night, John Mayer was in town and we went. A lot of people either love or hate John Mayer (the word that comes up frequently is “douchebag”, I know). But musically, I was not a fan of the dude until I saw him live the first time, and I just can’t help myself: I LIKE HIM. Michael Franti & Spearhead were the amazing opening act, and they rocked it as well. Happy happy.

Michael Franti & Spearhead - if you don't know them, LOOK THEM UP.

Michael Franti & Spearhead - if you don't know them, LOOK THEM UP.

4. Yesterday, I hosted a bake sale to raise money for the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. I spent all day Tuesday preparing massive amounts of baked goods (from chocolate chip cookies to lemon squares to brownies to cheesecake) and in about three and a half hours raised over $300 for the cause. Yes, I’m insanely happy about that. The power of cookies is surreal.

5. Melissa challenged me last week to introduce my kids to the FLUFFERNUTTER SANDWICH – marshmallow cream and peanut butter. Well, challenge accepted. Pumpkin loved it. The Princess apparently forgot to add the peanut butter to hers. The next challenge is to try this grilled, like a grilled cheese… perhaps with a  lil bit of chocolate involved.

6. Last week, I had a ear for older music – for some reason, I was humming Fleetwood Mac’s “Seven Wonders” for a few days before I decided to gave and buy it and reintroduce that part of the 80s to my music library. Lately, I haven’t purchased anything that was recorded in the past decade though. What am I missing?

7. American Idol – who is watching it? I don’t think I’ve missed a season yet, but admittedly, this is the part I hate: the part in between the rotten auditions and when you start actually caring if certain people stay or go. At this point, I’m mostly just annoyed. And yet… somehow I keep watching.

8. As I type this, Pumpkin is giving me big kisses on my face. That’s definitely better than a stick in the eye.

9. Saturday is NATIONAL OREOS DAY. Will you celebrate? And do you eat your cookies whole or do you break ’em apart and eat the middle first?

10. In guitar lesson today, I started working on Ingrid Michaelson’s “The Chain”. The song features piano but it translates pretty easily to guitar – also, it’s a pretty easy learn. I love this song – it’s quirky and the melody is one of my favorites.

Color Palettes

Spring Is….

SarahTwo_238of365A green lawn emerging from a nice long nap, thirsty for the clear rains of spring and the touch of the sun.
The flash of skin as jackets are shed and short sleeves are pulled from the recesses of closets
The air is filled with the sound of children streaming into their yards to play after a long winter cooped in their warm houses – smiling faces and active bodies darting across soft yards, still damp from winter’s thaw
Shades of emerald, lime, and kelly vibrant on St Patricks Day, kids pleading to not get pinched.
Umbrellas abound, geometric patterns and sherbet shades, protecting against the spring rains
Lawns dotted with crimson zinnias and fragrant magenta peonies
Trees standing proud as once again, their branches fill with lush leaves
Buttery dandelions springing up willy-nilly wherever they can

Summer Is…
A sky dotted with many hot air balloons on an early morning, with colors plenty
The drip of red popsicles on our fingers as they melt in the heat of the sun
The cerulean reflection at the bottom of the pool
Cheap flip flops in a myriad of colors – reds, greens, purples, plaids – a pair for each day. And then some.
Bright pink toenails out of hiding from the chill of winter and spring
A turquoise sky unmarred by clouds – OR –
a sky punctuated with the white marshmallow fluff of clouds
The flare of the sun that makes one squint and perch tortoiseshell sunglasses up on one’s nose
The red, blue, white burst of fireworks in a clear evening sky – sparkling and inviting all to stare in wonder
Glowing lights of a carnival, the air heavy with the smell of corndogs and elephant ears

Fall Is…
Rich sunsets on brisk nights – the sky streaked with pink, purple and orange – the trees a silhouette against the evening sky
New pink and purple backpacks for the first day of school
Bright school buses filling the streets, moving slowly and stopping with the hiss of breaks and the whoosh as the doors open
A sea of fans decked out in maize and blue huddled together in the Big House on Football Saturday – faces pink from the wind and from the excitement of a game
Front porches adorned by orange jack-o-lanterns with the pale flicker of a candle inside
Leaves becoming dry – colors changing from green to oranges, reds and brownsThe reappearance of long sleeves, sweaters, and scarves in rich jewel tones
Orange, red and brown construction paper turkeys shaped with your child’s hand hung by a magnet on your refrigerator
The golden crust of a homemade chicken pot pie, fresh from the oven – the first in the season of comfort food
Shimmery wrapping paper and bows on birthday gifts


A grey sky, adamantly hiding the sun behind layers of heavy clouds
The sheen of icicles hanging precariously on a roofline
Fields of white as snow covers every surface
Rivers dark and unforgiving without the sun
Trees tall and bare without the cover of their leaves
Forgotten faux evergreen garlands draped around front porches
Hands gloved in burgandy wool, gripping ceramic coffee mugs and hoping for warmth
Damp chestnut dirt hills peeking through where the snow doesn’t cover
Cars coated with the chalky white of road salt
Brief appearance of the sun’s face, taunting with the promise of spring