Sara, What City Are You From?

Hello Thursday! Meet my blog group, comprised of a fantastic group of ladies  who will dazzle you with insight on various topics.  After reading my post, check out their blogs as well. Just click on:

Froggie (Tracey): One frog’s distinct voice on the world around her.

Merry Land Girl (Melissa): Tales of a suburban mom who likes to talk about pop culture, books, Judaism, family, friendship and anything else that comes to mind.

Darwin Shrugged (Denise): Civilized Observations in an Uncivilized World

For this week’s topic, Tracey asked: If someone you hardly knew took a look at your Facebook Timeline, what are the first three things they’d learn about you and talk about those three things.

When most of my friends were jumping the Myspace ship and seeking out Facebook waters, I wasn’t keen on the idea. I’d checked Facebook out on occasion, never feeling as though it was a good place where I’d fit in. I liked my Myspace page, I liked my profile song, I felt like it was much more user-friendly.

Apparently I was the only one. My social media circle were dropping out likes flies, so I begrudgingly opened up a Facebook profile. I hastily entered in some pertinent information, and to this day, I haven’t fully given it my all. I’ve completed 66% of what Facebook has asked of me and I don’t intend on finishing the job.

Someone who doesn’t know me would notice that I don’t have a city where I’m from, on my Facebook profile page. A lot of my friends hail from Oregon, Arizona, Nebraska… so Facebook asks me every time I log in: “Sara, what city are you from? Are you from Salem, Oregon? How about Omaha, Nebraska? No? Well, let’s try Lincoln, Nebraska. Arizona?” (I am totally paraphrasing here, but you get the idea).  I assume that anyone looking at my page would figure I’m not completely committed to the Facebook way of life, and don’t want to follow the rules.

The next thing would be the various book reviews I’ve posted onto my timeline. I review for Chick Lit Central, and the heading you’ll find on the site’s homepage sums it up perfectly: it’s a “place where people can discuss chick lit books, read reviews, meet authors and win books!” I really enjoy what I do, and I’ve had a chance to connect with authors and read incredible stories.

What’s also glaringly obvious is my love for family and fitness. The two f’s. I figure it’s standard protocol for most of us on Facebook. We’re sharing our lives with those we’ve friended (or those who have friended us). That includes family, pets (I think pets count as family) and any fitness excursions we engage in along the way. While I’ve been cutting back on the amount of posts and pictures I showcase, I’m still part of the hype, but trying to do it by my own rules.

I don’t mind Facebook, now. I haven’t used Myspace in over 6 years. It’s a way to connect, to keep other informed on my life, and it’s helped me to find long-lost friends and loved ones I’d thought I’d never hear from again.

What are some of the things a stranger would notice about your Facebook page?

Book Review: Miss Adventure

My review for Chick Lit Central:

When a freak fast-food accident almost kills daydreaming city girl Lisa Flyte, she decides it’s time to get a backbone and really start living out loud. But how is a shrinking violet like Lisa supposed to get tough all of a sudden after a lifetime of watching from the couch? Jack Hawkins, that’s how. When Lisa finds out that the outdoor extremist needs a clueless urbanite to test his top-secret line of idiot-proof adventure gear, she gets the most outlandish idea of her life: she will be his undercover test dummy if he helps her become brave on their adventures in the wild.

They strike a deal. Lisa survives the treks, jumps, and dives (barely!) But can she use her bumbling…uh, blossoming outdoor moxie to become the alpha hero of her everyday life? Will she find the grit to pursue a career she really wants or the nerve to stand up to her bullying family? And will she get gutsy enough to go after Jack? He’s a man who’s not afraid of anything…except maybe falling for Lisa.(Synopsis courtesy of Amazon)

I loved this book. I know I can’t leave my book review with those four simple words and call it a day, but it’s the truth. From start to finish, there wasn’t a single moment I didn’t appreciate or enjoy while readingMiss Adventure. From Lisa’s constant fumbles and bumbles while she’s testing out Jack’s various outdoor equipment to the on-edge budding relationship these two are constantly fighting against, my only complaint was that there wasn’t more for me to read. Geralyn Corcillo has created fun, relatable characters, and I felt a tinge of sadness when I reached the final page to the story, which usually doesn’t happen for me.

I think a sequel is in order here. I’d really enjoy reading more of Lisa’s zany adventures and I want to see where her life has taken her. Will she continue dealing with her family’s drama well after the money they’ve practically stolen from her has run out? What about Jack? Will they be an item, or will their constant cat and mouse approach to romance finally run its course? There are a lot of outside forces at work here, constantly working against those two. If they beat the odds, it would make for a great love story, and I for one would be the first in line to read all about it!


“He Probably Smells My Dog!” Ode to SNL

Hello Thursday! Meet my blog group, comprised of a fantastic group of ladies  who will dazzle you with insight on various topics.  After reading my post, check out their blogs as well. Just click on:

Froggie (Tracey): One frog’s distinct voice on the world around her.

Merry Land Girl (Melissa): Tales of a suburban mom who likes to talk about pop culture, books, Judaism, family, friendship and anything else that comes to mind.

Darwin Shrugged (Denise): Civilized Observations in an Uncivilized World

Nope, it’s not Thursday. Due to a never-ending loop of viruses and illnesses in my family (the latest, pink eye, or what I affectionately refer to as, “poop eye”), I couldn’t complete my blog post in time. Instead, I hung out with my sick little guy, picked up meds , and desperately disinfected my house so the rest of us won’t get it. We’ll see how it goes.

Better late than never!

Melissa chose the 90’s for this week’s topic, which fit in well with my thoughts regarding Saturday Night Live’s 40th anniversary special.

Who tuned in last Sunday? I’ve seen a lot of polarizing opinions. Some say it wasn’t very funny. Others wish the skits, the memories would have lasted longer, and then you’ve got the people who absolutely loved everything, from start to finish. I fall in that last category. Watching the 40th reunion special was like reconnecting with characters I idolized and grew up with during my turbulent teen years.

It was 1992. I was 14. The highlight for me in those days was starting freshman year in high school. I was what you’d call a “late bloomer”, a tad bit shy and backwards for my age.  I was living with my grandparents at the time, and Grandma decided I was old enough to let me in on a little secret. At 11:30 PST every Saturday night, she would watch a show called Saturday Night Live. I’d never heard of it before. I felt special, scooping out massive amounts of peppermint ice cream, filling our respective bowls and carrying them into what we referred to as, “the tv room”. This was late for me, later than I’d ever stayed up while in her care. She’d cuddle under a blanket on the recliner with her ice cream, while I bundled up in a blanket on the couch. To this day, I can’t lie on a couch without a blanket.

In those early years, I didn’t understand the political satire. I only knew that at first watch, Dana Carvey was the greatest comedy genius, ever. His impressions of George Bush and Ross Perot prompted me to imitate Carvey to the best of my ability. I have to say, I did a really good job of it, too, although I got some really strange looks from friends of mine when I’d swing my hands around aggressively and say, “Stay the course.” Or, “I’m not gonna do it. Wouldn’t be prudent.”

When I think of Carvey, I think of Massive Headwound Harry. I practically peed my pants when I saw it for the first time!

Years later, I found out that the dog’s “acting” in the scene was entirely not planned, and Carvey had to ad lib, along with everyone else in the room. Only Carvey could come up with, “He probably smells my dog!”

Then there was Chris Farley, our man “down by the river”. Who didn’t laugh at the Gap girls and Farley’s fries?

Or, his impeccable dance moves with Patrick Swayze? To this day, after seeing it multiple times, I always laugh.

Then there’s Phil Hartman. He could be serious or silly, and you bought it all, because he had this way of coming off as very believable, no matter who he impersonated or what character he represented.

I seriously considered going as Adam Sandler one year, for Halloween, after seeing this:

There are so many great moments, there’s no way I could list them all. Jan Hooks as Sinead O’Connor. Phil Hartman as Old Blue Eyes. Even if the comedy went over my head, none of that mattered to me. In some weird way, I still got it. I also loved the musical guests, like Janet Jackson, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and of course, Nirvana, my favorite.

Nearly every Saturday night, Grandma and I were glued to the television. We had our favorites, and the ones we weren’t so fond of. Grandma never liked G.E. Smith, the lead guitarist and musical director for the Saturday Night Live band. Not because he couldn’t play or wasn’t talented. She thought he was creepy. I wasn’t sure how I felt about a few of the new cast members, especially during the 1994-1995 season, like Michael McKean, or Chris Elliot. I guess what I was used to, what I loved seeing was changing on me, due to a lot of changes with the cast. It seemed everyone I loved to watch had left, like Ellen Cleghorne, Kevin Nealon, Chris Farley, and Adam Sandler.

I stopped watching.

It wasn’t really SNL’s fault. I was growing up and moving past those coveted Saturday night rituals with Grandma. I spent time with my new boyfriend, or with friends. Saturdays were no longer a time for staying at home.

Five years or so had gone by, before I picked up the SNL bug again. I’d caught a re-run of the classic episodes from the late 70’s, early 80’s. I’d never seen Gilda Radner or Jane Curtain getting attacked by the Land Shark, or Eddie Murphy. Seriously, Eddie Murphy! How could I not fall in love all over again?

Fast forward to the present. While I don’t watch religiously, I do watch an episode from time to time of the latest episodes or the re-runs shown on the weekends. I’ve also purchased a few SNL Best Of DVD’s, of Dana Carvey (of course) and Chris Farley. It’s nice that we have the technology we have now, and can watch episodes and clips from past decades online.  I’ve been able to re-watch a lot of the skits that brought me in all those years ago, too.

In closing, I’ll leave you with one of the “commercials” that has never ceased to make me laugh, even now. Thanks for the memories, Saturday Night Live, and for making my teen years a little less turbulant. And a special thanks to Grandma, who was and still is the coolest grandma on the planet. I hope someday soon, we can watch a little SNL together with a big bowl of ice cream, although this time around, I think I’ll go with strawberry.




I’m No Van Gogh

Hello Thursday! Meet my blog group, comprised of a fantastic group of ladies  who will dazzle you with insight on various topics.  After reading my post, check out their blogs as well. Just click on:

Froggie (Tracey): One frog’s distinct voice on the world around her.

Merry Land Girl (Melissa): Tales of a suburban mom who likes to talk about pop culture, books, Judaism, family, friendship and anything else that comes to mind.

Darwin Shrugged (Denise): Civilized Observations in an Uncivilized World

For this week, I asked my blog group what they’re really bad at.

The inspiration for this week’s topic is this photo:


This was taken last summer. It’s hanging on my fridge, and every time I see it, I think, “Wow. I’m really bad at art.”

I have other thoughts, too. Like, “It was really nice of T to invite me to do an artsy project with her.” Or, “I enjoyed getting out of the house and spending quality time with a good friend.” Those thoughts are never far behind, but my initial reaction is, “Wow. I’m really bad at art.”

It’s not T’s fault. She didn’t know, but really, she should have known. Before I officially moved into my house, I asked T to help me with decorating ideas. Her home looks like a spread in Better Homes and Gardens. She’s been gifted with a remarkable talent, and I think she should do interior decorating on the side, she’s that good. She’s also very good with art projects. I imagine that comes from having a keen eye and the ability to make things gorgeous.

Don’t even get me started about art. I’ve tried, I really have, but I never got the concepts. My forte are stick figures. Pictionary frightens me. I don’t know what colors go with what patterns and I shy away from glue and glitter.

I’m all about stepping outside my comfort zone from time to time, so when T invited me to make paper wreaths, I decided to give it a shot. How hard could it be, really?

Well, it wasn’t easy, not for me anyway. The paper used to make the wreaths are actually pages torn from a book. They had to be ripped out perfectly, no tears, no funky edges. Once you accomplish that roughly 70 times, you have to roll the pages up just so to create a tubular shape. Once you accomplish the tubular shape, hot glue is applied to seal the shape into place.

I couldn’t figure out how to roll that damn paper to save my life. Just when I thought I’d figured it out, the paper would slip from my fingers. Or, I didn’t do it correctly. Hot glue was all over my fingers. I was a hot mess! When the instructor looked at me and asked how I was doing, I was honest.

“I’m hating this.”

I didn’t mean to say that, it just came out. Looking around the room, the other ladies, even the teenagers who’d come along on a whim seemed to have mastered the roll. I was the only one struggling. The instructor gave me a sad look. I know she felt bad for me. She was so patient, re-telling me how to roll the paper at least a few times. I still don’t know how I managed to get them all done. It was a miracle.

After you roll all the pages, they need to be glued to a circular board. There is a particular way you do it, so that each roll in the end will have a layered appearance. I couldn’t even do that right. There were obvious gaps so I hastily, magically rolled up more pages in order to fill in the gaps. By this time, I was sweating and I just wanted to get the project over with. I cursed my artless genes. Why can’t I create? Why can’t I make beautiful things?

The last step was the center of the wreath, the rosebud. I won’t even waste my time explaining how to create the center. It’s an intricate process consisting of lots of cutting, layers of paper… there’s a reason one must attend a class to complete art projects like this one because there’s just too much to do. After I glued that rosebud to the center of my wreath, I stood up and looked at my wreath with a mix of emotions.

I didn’t do it correctly. That was obvious. It was a huge pain in the ass, but I must admit, I felt sublime satisfaction that I got it done. Usually I won’t even attempt to get myself involved in anything artsy, knowing the outcome but this time, I finished and it didn’t look half bad. Sure, it didn’t look right, but it didn’t look bad.



The funny thing is, creating this wreath opened my eyes a little to artsy possibilities. Another friend had been asking me to go to a paint studio with her, one of those wine and paint places and I’d always hesitated because I knew I would fail miserably. I know my limitations. However, if I could create something like the wreath, whose to say I couldn’t paint?

I’m no Van Gogh, but I did better than I thought I would.


Not too shabby for someone who draws stick figures.
Not too shabby for someone who draws stick figures.

Unfortunately, the wreath fell apart soon after I brought it home. I guess most of the glue ended up on my hands, and not on the wreath. My friend T has hers proudly displayed and it still looks as gorgeous as it did the day we made them.

I know I won’t ever be an artist. Not a good one, anyway, but that’s okay. Sometimes it’s okay to push past our comfort zone and try new things. I’ve got my paintings (yes, plural, I’ve gone painting twice now) displayed for all to see, because I’m proud of them, and of me for trying. If T invited me out for another artsy girls’ night out, I’d take her up on the offer, although I might ask that we do a project that doesn’t require hot glue.

Man, hot glue burns when it’s in the wrong hands.

Book Review: Accept This Dandelion

(Review for Chick Lit Central)

Renee Lockhart has her eye on a lofty goal…to fill the open position of morning radio show host on a nearby secular station. When her co-workers sign her up for a local TV version of The Bachelor, Renee goes along with it in order to raise her profile. Ben McConnell, one of the most eligible bachelors in town, insists that Renee be placed on the show, despite her bumbling audition. Ben gets much more than he expected in Renee. He gets a girl who doesn’t bow to his every whim…and a girl who opens his eyes to true, unexpected love. When nothing goes right on the local program called “Accept this Dandelion”…hilarity ensues. Imagine your worst possible dates happening…on TV! (Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads.)

I’m a closeted Bachelor fan, so you can imagine how excited I was when given the opportunity to read Accept This Dandelion. Renee is the type of woman most of us would want to emulate, I imagine. Someone who is honest, direct, and very real, which is just what Ben has been looking for. While he’s known around town as a playboy, the truth is he hasn’t found that one special lady yet, the one who keeps him interested and has just as much to say as he does. From the get go, Renee has impressed Ben by being herself, even when she’s set herself on fire or slapped a monkey on camera. Although Renee views herself as a gigantic bumbling idiot, Ben finds her antics comical and endearing.

Love is never easy, however, especially when it comes to the “Bachelor”. Renee isn’t the only woman in the running. There are other beauties waiting for their own chance to fall in love with the most eligible bachelor, not to mention Renee’s motives for going on the show. All she ever wanted was to be on the radio, but when the prime objective falls secondary to her budding feelings for Ben, and the insane jealousy that crops up when other contestants catch Ben’s eye, Renee is at a complete loss when it comes to matters of the heart. Should she allow herself to fall in love with Ben? What if he doesn’t love her back, and chooses someone else, instead?

I had a hard time putting this book down. Brooke Williams has done a fantastic job of creating believable characters while sticking with theBachelor-like essence that keeps millions of people tuned into their televisions on Monday night. There’s drama and chaos, all whipped up into a frenzy of sweetness and romance. You really don’t know what’s going to happen, who Ben will choose or if he’ll find his true love in Renee or any of the other eligible ladies. Find out who receives that final dandelion!

An Unexplainable Connection

Hello Thursday! Meet my blog group, comprised of a fantastic group of ladies  who will dazzle you with insight on various topics.  After reading my post, check out their blogs as well. Just click on:

Froggie (Tracey): One frog’s distinct voice on the world around her.

Merry Land Girl (Melissa): Tales of a suburban mom who likes to talk about pop culture, books, Judaism, family, friendship and anything else that comes to mind.

Darwin Shrugged (Denise): Civilized Observations in an Uncivilized World

For this week, Denise asked: Has there even been a person, place, or thing that has drawn you to it for a reason you couldn’t explain?

I tend to run my existence based on intuition. I rely a lot on whether something “feels right”, so it’s not out of character for me to feel a connection with certain people. What will often happen is, once I’ve known someone for a while I can begin to attribute other factors into why we’re in a relationship. The other layers to the connection.

The first scenario that popped into my head is the relationship I had with my best friend and her family. From the moment I walked into her home, I felt like I belonged there. It helped that every member’s middle name was Lee, and mine coincidentally is Lea. I was considered the missing sibling, so much so that when my dad and I were having a rough time I moved in with my best friend. Her parents invited me, my dad approved, and that was it. A done deal. Although there were a lot of roller coaster rides while living there, there were a lot of really great moments, too, and I don’t know what would have happened to me if I’d never lived with them. I know it helped to strengthen the relationship I have with my dad. I garnered a lot more respect for him.


Now that I’m all grown up, I know that a big reason for the initial attraction was due to the nuclear unit my best friend had. It was traditional, her parents weren’t divorced (at that time, they divorced years later, unfortunately) but it was something I hadn’t ever experienced. I yearned for the structure.

The next scenario I thought of was my time at Tregaron Oaks. Something had propelled me into that leasing office over 13 years ago and I’m still not sure “what” it was. I only know I needed to apply for a job there, and all the puzzle pieces fell into place after that. A job I thought I’d stick with for a couple of years until I found my “real” career ended up becoming something I stuck with for nearly 12 years! I never knew I’d enjoy property management as much as I did, and it all began with Tregaron, and with the 3 lovely women who I worked with, bonded with and have become life-long friends with. My intuition paid off.

Where would I be without them?
Where would I be without them?

Lastly, and not to sound like a total crazy cat lady, but when Chance was carried into my home back in August, I never intended on keeping another cat. In fact, when my friend asked if I’d kitten-sit for her while she ran errands, I remember telling her there’d be no way this would lead to an adoption. My husband was totally against bringing in another pet to add to our dog/guinea pig/fish ratio, yet I had this overwhelming feeling that Chance belonged to me, even before we named him Chance. He was a tiny little ball of orange fur, eyes still closed. Days old. I’m not easily swayed by adorable things, but I knew he was my cat. And a few weeks later we officially adopted him and named him Chance, based on “what are the chances?” I’d like to say it’s been smooth sailing since he moved in 6 months ago, but I’d by lying. He’s been a pain in the ass from time to time, yet we all love him, some of us begrudgingly.



I’m A Super Bowl Newbie

Maybe I should come clean re: the title of this post. See, it’s not as though I’ve never been in a room with the Super Bowl on tv, in the background. Or even in front of me, for that matter. And I’ll occasionally catch the half-time show, depending on whose entertaining. As far as the actual game, however… well, let’s just say I’ve become a master at tuning things out. When you’ve got kids who squeal and scream a lot, it becomes necessary.

Last night was unique. My husband entered into a Super Bowl poll at work and brought home a copy of his answers for such random questions like, “Will the ground hog see his shadow on Ground Hog’s day?” or “Which team will Barack Obama vote for, Patriots or Seahawks?”. There were Bowl questions too, of course. Having never really watched an official football game (making out in the bleachers during the high school football games of my youth doesn’t count), I was totally confused yet eager to win back the $2 he’d shelled out for the poll. I’m getting over a nasty cold, so I was already in the fetal position on the couch, bundled up in a blanket. The atmosphere was right for my first official Super Bowl. In essence, I was a captive audience.

I don’t want you to think I’m against sports, or anything. I just don’t enjoy watching sports. I’d rather play them. What’s the point in screaming at the t.v., when no one can hear you, other than your family. Maybe they’ve also become a master at tuning someone out, which makes perfect sense with sports watching.

No, I was a captive audience, but I was ready. I had a ball point pen in hand, waiting for “America the Beautiful”. One of the poll questions: “Will American the Beautiful (sung beautifully by John Legend) go over/under 3 minutes, 15 seconds?” My husband chose “under”, and he’d be correct. So, I put a little “x” next to that question. Next up: “Would “The Star Spangled Banner” (a nice rendition by Idina Menzel) go under/over 2 minutes, 5 seconds?”  Answer to that: under, by one second. I timed it using my clock. My husband picked “over”, so next to that question, I drew a little line.

It went like this with the coin toss, who would win the coin toss, what time the kick-off would officially begin, etc. etc. Who got the first touch down, what type of touch down (field goal, touch down pass, etc.) The questions were really detailed, so I had to pay attention to the game. For the first time in my life, I was really paying attention to the game, and I discovered something.

It wasn’t bad.

I found myself rooting for the players. I didn’t have a set team I was rooting for, but when someone had the ball and fumbled, I’d feel bad. Or when there was heavy tackling involved, I’d wince. I don’t know much about football, but I could tell how well the Patriots and Seahawks played. They seemed to be equal adversaries, apparent in how close the game had been the entire time, right up until those last couple of minutes in the 4th quarter, when rookie Malcolm Butler intercepted the ball and completely changed the course of the game.

Even I knew what that meant. With that little time left and a lead, I knew it meant the Patriots would win. They knew it, too. Butler cried while his teammates rallied around him, hugging and patting him on the back or on the head for a job well done.

Then suddenly, I felt as though I were watching a hockey game. A fight broke out at :18 seconds left, which I’ve never heard of. Is this a normal thing in football?

Overall, I enjoyed my time on the couch, watching the Super Bowl. I never understood the thrill or the excitement before, but I totally get it now. Not to mention the tasty snacks and the commercials, which weren’t as great as years past but were good all the same. I particularly enjoyed Mountain Dew Kickstart and the adorable Budweiser commercial. My favorite though, was the Snickers commercial, with Steve Buscemi. The one that has everyone talking (and meming) is the Nationwide Make Safe Happen campaign. Wow.

Speaking of Katy Perry, I wasn’t impressed with the half-time show. I felt it was lackluster, although I thought it was really cool that Lenny Kravitz and Missy Elliot were there for an encore. And this cracks me up!


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