Aw shucks. I’m feeling sorta cheesy and happy. I wish there were a way to blog about my thoughts without it being such a blog about my thoughts. I have been missing my dear Derek all week, while he’s been in Washington D.C. being all smart presenting at an engineering conference. I’ve been in charge of three very intense little people, and have done what I habitually do while Derek is away. I count the hours until he comes home, fantasizing about what I will do when I finally escape and he is home to take charge of the minions. I realized the other day that this isn’t probably the best way to spend my time. I realized that I actually have this fantastic, intelligent, kind person who I decided to live with and be with, and I can’t wait till he comes home so I can get a sitter and go be with him doing something fun that doesn’t involve patching potholes in the driveway. Which is how we spent last weekend. Did you know that there are people that do that for a living? Because the rest of us? We hate doing crap like that. It sux.

So yeah, I’ve been reading a boat-load (for some reason, it took 7 typings to get to boat-load, including boattoad and boat loat) about the idea of minimalist living. This is so incredibly appealing to me, and I’ve been making these tiny changes each day. Like getting rid of duplicate stuff. I have two little pots, tiny, really, that are the same size. I can’t remember ever having to use them both at the same time, so I’m pretty sure the universe will not collapse if I can pare down to just one. I also have just dozens of bottles and tubes of soap and lotion and stuff in the bathroom that I’m sure I will never use, but just can’t seem to part with because THE WASTE! I wonder if the local women’s shelter has any fancy smelling lotion. Or any lotion at all. Towels? Why do we have a dozen towels for 5 people? Why?

I have decided that my dream home will be much more like a hotel than most people would desire, or even tolerate. I have a specific hotel in mind, where nothing is made of junk, but there’s not much of it. A place to sleep, a place to sit, a tidy bathroom, a window (overlooking the Caribbean would be nice). This is so calm and peaceful to me. I have too much stuff. Too much junk. I don’t just want to de-clutter, I want to not have stuff. How? I don’t know. I’ll keep you posted. But I already feel a burden being lifted, just by thinking about it.

My cousin Liz and aunt Barbara are coming to visit tomorrow! I adore them both and can’t wait. They’re driving 3 hours just to come watch me sing in my first *real* recital. Did I mention I’ve been taking singing lessons? Tons of fun. I get to do this comical switcheroo with another singing student who is also a great accompanist. To save money, he plays for me and I play for him. Kind of a circus act. And we’re doing a duet where we have to look at each other and giggle. I mean, NOT giggle.

Also, today I made my first batch of sauerkraut! When I found out how little there is to do, I decided it was time to give it a go. All you have to do is chop, put in a crock, salt, pound, cover. I’m so excited, it should be ready in a couple of weeks. If you want to make some, watch this first.

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Every few years, I get really anxious for a big change. I start wanting to move to another country, learn a new language, get a new career. I fantasize about my new life, and even start to make plans about how to make it come to pass. Once, I planned a whole life for us in Hawaii, where Derek would be a renewable energy engineer (with a specialty in wind turbines), and I would travel the islands, doing hikes and runs, and maybe the odd triathlon. I knew my kids would grow up weird, since every haole I’ve ever known was weird, and had a secret language. Kind of like kids who were home-schooled.

Sometimes I just fantasize about moving across town, or one state over (to be closer to family, or my best friend, or course). I try to come up with ways to pay the bills. I think Derek would make a fine professor, but that sort of depends on availability of positions. I think I would make a fine professor, but I’d have to find something to profess, first. My fantastic and wildly successful art career is still many imaginations away, and when I become an opera singer at the Met, it will be in that other life where I started taking singing lessons when I was three. I will never start my own business, having an innate distrust of small businesses started by myself, and, unfortunately, there’s not really a market for snooty menu editors (though any number of chainy, fake-Italian restaurants could undoubtedly benefit from my services).

Last year, I went back to school. I am completely in love with my school, a local community college. Every teacher I’ve had has been wonderful, and encouraging, and friendly. They all treat me like I have something to share with the world. This is a wildly different experience than the one I had at the large university where I got my BA, and I sometimes wonder how my course of life would have gone if I’d had that kind of care and respect the first time around. I’m probably just a sissy, but I’m definitely the kind of person who does better with kind encouragement than with yelling or meanness. Yes, I did have a teacher or two at BYU who were unaccountably mean.

So now what should I do? I’m still going to school, my kids are still in school, Derek still has the same job, we live in the same town we have lived in for 3 whole years. Any suggestions on a new hobby? One that is cheap? And requires learning a new skill?

Hey there! My name is Sarah, and I used to have a blog. Curiously, a whole bunch of people have asked me this week why I don’t anymore. Also, my delightful aunt and delectable cousin have started doing theirs with greater frequency, and I’m beginning to remember why I did it in the first place. For money and fame. Or, more likely, as a place to journal the less-embarrassing, less-trashy parts of my existence.

We were in the homeland for about two weeks, ending today. We hopped from Derek’s parent’s house to my mom’s to my dad’s and visited lots of cousins and high school friends in between. I have to say it was one of the funnest vacations I’ve ever had with my kids. (I can’t yet commit to saying it was one of the all-time funnest, since those include various and sundry adventures in Europe without kids). We loved parading them for the grandparents, forcing them to perform tricks (Kiki, at 3, can spell her whole name pretty rapidly), and taking in the heart-stopping Utah landscape.

This was the first trip home since we’ve lived in Ohio when I actually could envision us moving back someday. I really ached for the mountains and the familiarity in a way that I haven’t before. Still, if it ever came down to a choice between Germany and Utah (not saying that’s in any way likely), I would probably choose Germany. Because, Germany! You gotta take that, if you can.

The only not fun part of the whole trip happened on the way home, but being stuck in Denver overnight is not the worst thing that could happen. With three kids. With no luggage, or changes of clothes, or toothbrushes. And at least I wasn’t the one with the migraine, it was the poor check-in clerk at the hotel, who accidentally put all 5 of us into a room with one bed. That could have been exciting.

I enjoy flying a lot more if I take a half of a dramamine. Also, if I give the other half to the three-year-old girl.

I’m pretty sure our little Honda Civic wouldn’t make it out of the driveway if we tried. And by snowed in, I really only mean that we can’t drive anywhere. We can walk to the nearby golf course to sled, but today, I’m not sure I can take the whining that we’d be subjected to for 9/10 of the mile it takes to get there. There’s already been so much whining about being forced to eat oatmeal for breakfast instead of cheerios. I’m about 99% decided on letting our house completely run out of any kind of sweetener (except for the necessary maple syrup), so that cheerios will lose their mystery. I don’t know if I’m the only spaz that hates giving kids cheerios, but it always makes me feel like a bad mom. Like I just couldn’t be bothered to make my kids something that is actually healthy.

What do you give your kids for breakfast? And do they whine about it? I do oatmeal (with milk and brown sugar, for crying out loud) about twice a week. I gave them raw granola* with almond milk once, but it didn’t go over that well, even though it’s sort of like eating candy. And regular granola hasn’t been super popular in the past. They all like toast, especially with scrambled or fried eggs, but that’s a once a week thing, and is really limited by the actual presence of bread in our home. Rice pudding is well-liked, but also limited to times we have leftover rice.

So help me out. What are some other breakfast ideas? Part of me wonders if there’s just too much variety, and we’re just too rich. I mean, if all we had in the house was oatmeal, we’d just eat oatmeal, right? Should I try to have just one thing every day?

We’re so spoiled.

*Raw granola is amazing. It’s buckwheat, pecans, apples, raisins, and cinnamon, all soaked, smooshed up, and dehydrated, until it’s this lovely, crunchy, cookie-like granola stuff. I thought my kids would devour it, but maybe it’s even too sweet.

Look how cute my Derek is! P.S., I’m so curious how BYU got the official photo, since I haven’t seen any other photos yet.

Also, who wants to hear about the fun time I had in the ER yesterday? Noone? Ah well. I guess I’ll just sum up with a few choice words. Kiki is fine. She will have a pinky that matches my own deformed one. She was shutting the bathroom door yesterday, with her finger in the crack, and (skipping the gore) we were delivered to the hospital by my wonderful neighbor/friend/awesome babysitter, and 3 1/2 hours later returned home with a stitched up girl with a splint over her fractured pinky bone. She’ll forever be a cripple, just like me. Unless, of course, the bone continues to grow correctly and she never notices anything. I hope she at least gets a weather predictor out of it. Mine doesn’t even do that.




Cow Birth

Originally uploaded by hoosierillusion

The day after Thanksgiving, my family usually does some fun, quirky activity. Like, one year, we made plaster casts of our faces, so my aunt Patty could put them on her wall. One year, we learned how to make soap. This year, we drove to the Fair Oaks Dairy Farm and watched a calf being born. At the farm, there is a calf being born about every half hour, all year round. It’s a big farm.

Needless to say, this experience was pretty incredible. The cow was a heifer, and her calf ended up weighing 80 pounds. She needed assistance, which is rare. After we’d watched her labor for a half hour or so, the vet came out and did a little tugging. He used leather straps, tied around the calf’s hind legs, and cinched them with metal clips so the straps wouldn’t slip out of his hands. My cousin Mike took a video.

Watch at your own risk!

I don’t know how I feel about Le Blog right now. I don’t get all excited to post like I used to. I almost never think, during the course of the day, “Oh, that would make such a funny post!” I think I’ve come to terms with my un-hilarity.

On the other hand, all of you who read and commented on my last post, I don’t ever want to lose you. I wish we all lived on the same street (my street of course, because I live in Utopia). I really, really love you all. So, without further ado, lets talk about the new food guide pyramid that Derek and I have been cooking up.

I don’t have a graphic, but use your imagination. On the top of the pyramid, there are two sides of the point. One side is the bacon side, and the other is the ice cream side. Under the bacon side, and flowing outward, are all the foods that can be combined well with bacon, and under the ice cream side, all the foods that are made better by the addition of ice cream. Directly under the two is the miraculous selection of edibles that is improved by adding either ice cream or bacon, or even both. We feel certain that we can account for nearly every food on Earth in this manner.

For example, this morning, I’m preparing for the Thanksgiving feast with my contribution of pumpkin pie and “Harvest Nuts and Seeds”, a recipe from the Moosewood Restaurant that everyone should probably try right now. Anyway, both pumpkin pie and spiced, glazed nuts are pretty obvious candidates for ice cream. But, I bet a little chopped, cooked bacon would be a lovely addition to a bowl of candied nuts. A little salty, a little sweet! It sounds delicious to me. I don’t think I will ever add bacon to pumpkin pie, though. Unless it’s a savory pie. Like maybe a pumpkin quiche. That could definitely use some bacon.

So if you’ve gotten this far, maybe you love me well enough to commiserate with me on the fact that last week, after I’d put up the braggy post about my smart husband getting lauded at the Pentagon, Derek came home from work one day, having given a presentation for a conference of sorts, and informed me that the Air Force Chief Scientist had been there. You know, that one guy from Washington? The one in whose office we talked about squirrels? And who made me laugh by pretending to be a waiter? Yeah? Well, he approached Derek after the presentation, and said, “Hello Derek! It’s good to see you. I read your wife’s blog the other day.”

I don’t know if that’s a direct quote. It doesn’t actually matter. The groanings I made from within myself were loud enough to eclipse my memory of the words. It was worse than when I realized, after I turned in my sketchbook for my art class the next day, that I had forgotten to tear out the page where I had brainstormed for my abstract self portrait by listing as many words as I could think of to define myself, and then had asked Derek to list some, and had proceeded to write down his list, too. Which included “smokin’ hot.” That’s some kind of entertaining, right?

Happy Thanksgiving! I love you all.