little sarah Big World

Tag: acceptance

Epic Baking and a New Life


“I am PMAing so f***ing hard right now. I am PMAing all over this f***ing town!”

(a recent text sent from me to Eric Friend; PMA = Positive Mental Attitude)

I was maybe in a slump for a while, Friends. I didn’t want to talk about it too much, because I didn’t want to admit it to myself, fully, and I certainly didn’t want to bum you guys out. Not a terrible slump, mind you, but more like a handful of wasted days. Too much Glee watching. Not enough accomplishments. Too many regrets and not enough action.

But praise the powers that be, Friends! I am grateful for the long-awaited, patiently honed power within myself to rise up with fists and get moving again. We can call it a Positive Mental Attitude, but the word that keeps coming to my mind is “Impervious.” I am a woman on a mission and nothing can stop me. Un-fazable.

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Last night I repotted Percy, Kevin’s succulent that I’m supposed to be taking care of but really I barely do anything and he is just THRIVING like you would not believe above and beyond the confines of his small pot. (Before pictures here). So I gave him a new pot, a new life. I even repotted some of the clippings back into the small stripey pot and gave it to my Moms so they can have a Percy of their own. Son of Percy.

I wound up repotting him in the dark and cold, my Moms backyard, with a flashlight and stiff fingers. This was possibly due to my afore-mentioned slack off-ery. But I am a new woman, with a new life, and I will get things DONE even if it means frozen hands and dirt on my coat. I am impervious. And I got a free dinner afterwards. (Thanks, Moms!)

*       *       *

Also yesterday I was blown-off twice, by different people, to varying degrees. But did I let it get me down? I did not. Because I am UNFAZABLE, Friends, and because it meant that I got to spend Saturday night watching Glee and drinking wine and going for a long, solo walk through the quiet, cold night to buy more flour and almond-cocunut milk. And then baking, Friends. Epic Baking.

I made pear-plum jam-filled oatbran muffins and used the leftover batter to make a loaf of apricot jam-filled oatbran bread. That almond-cocunut milk (Blue Diamond brand) is to die for, Friends. I could not stop eating the batter.

I even pre-made the dough for another round of cinnamon-sugar pull-apart bread, a labor of love, for my Lindsey Friend. The baking, Friends. It was epic.

*       *       *

And the disappointment at having plans canceled for somewhat dubious reasons? Not epic. The wallowing in self-pity and regret? Non-existent.

Because I do not take it personally, Friends. I do not let it get me down. I enjoy a quiet night in by myself, baking and drinking, and then I clean up. Wash the dishes, read a good book, snuggle into my bed. My new life.



What We Talk About When We Don’t Talk About Busking

Yesterday it was too rainy, and then too snowy, to head up to Park City. Instead, we had tea and cookies, followed by vegan burritos while clusters of soft flakes plummeted to the ground outside shrink-wrapped windows.

Then we walked through the park, discussing gender roles and stereotypes and slurs. There were ducks, also, but no chicks. No chicks, no queers, no gyps, no jews. (You know, slurs).

And then…a wintry car ride up a steep hill, drinks with my moms and their friends, and on to a hardcore show/bake sale/benefit.

I didn’t stay the whole time, didn’t even stay until my friend’s band played. I was supremely uncomfortable–needed to pee, but there was not toilet; desperately thirsty, but didn’t want to add to the bladder situation; etc. And it’s just not my type of music. Not at all. I might not even be correct in referring to it as “hardcore,” I don’t know.

I used to date a guy who made me feel like I was closed-minded, because I didn’t like some of his favorite music. (311, Phish, etc.–if you must know). And I believed him, thought it was just a question of opening myself up to different things. I suppose I can’t lay it all on the boyfriend, that’s what I get for dating too young, before I knew myself. But I do know myself now. I know that I don’t like screaming, or loud noises in general, or needing to pee, or the cold, or standing alone in a room full of strangers. Hell, I don’t even like crowds. And I still don’t like Phish.

So I left. I drove home and indulged in vegan chicken wings and a salad. Yes, that is how I indulge these days.

Because I am more of a walk-through-the-park-on-a-snowy-day type of girl. And I know that now.

The Year in Travel


That’s the Way the Money Goes

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Ogden & Pleasantview, UT

Went to stay with Dad for a week. Read more here.

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Winnemucca, NV

Road trip with sister Natalie to visited sister Nikki on her 31st birthday. Read more here.

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New York City, NY

Flew with Dad to celebrate Cousin Judy’s (insert flattering number here)th birthday. Aunt Barbara and Cousin Emily joined us from LA and Boston, respectively. Read more here.

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Portland, OR

 Roadtrip with Kevin and Nicole, returning her to her temporary rainy homestead after a visit to the Land of Zion. Read more about it when I get around to finally posting on it, which should be soon.

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Children's Department, Main Library, Salt Lake City, UT

Moved from Level 2 down to Children’s. You know, a promotion. Read more about it here.

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Tours, France

Went on a month-long study abroad program to France. Also went to Paris a couple times, plus too many day trips to list here and now. Read more by going to the ARCHIVES section (up top) and clicking on June 2011. There are so many entries, Friends. It was my blogging pinnacle up to this point.

Florence, Italy

Also, whilst abroad, I spent a quick weekend with Cousin Misty in Florence. Read more here.

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Ogden, UT

July is the best month of all for Utah, Friends. It is non-stop fireworks, burgers, colas, parades, swimming, iced coffee and sunshine. Read more here here and here.

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Deckers, CO

Another roadtrip, this time to stay with Lindsey and Co. at her family’s cabin in Colorado. Read more about the cabin here, and the road trip here.

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Lake Powell, AZ

Last-minute getaway to Powellapalooza with the band and Eric. Read more here.

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San Francisco, CA

Spent “Fall Break” (even though I’m oh-so graduated) in San Francisco, sandwiching a week of bffs/staying up late/wedding planning/motown dancing/”single” ladies visit with Whitney between weekends of quality time with Laura, Mel, and (still in utero) Lucía. Read more about this one soon, like with Portland–“when I get around to finally posting on it”–I know, I know. I’m behind.

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Moab, UT

A road trip with Dad to run the Moab 1/2 Trail Marathon! What? YES! I did that! Read more here.

New York City & Brooklyn, NY

Then back to NYC, at which point I do start to feel a little self-conscious about my gratuitous travel exploits. But who turns down New York? Especially when the elders (Dad and Aunt Barbara) have offered to split the ticket three ways. Read more about New York, Round 2, here.

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Madrid, España

Now here we are, in Spain. Madrid, to be specific, though there was that surprise trip to Tarazona with a bonus-surprise-extension trip to Valencia (read more here), and the adventure’s not over yet. I’ve still got a week until January 9th, the date of my return ticket. So there will be more pictures, more words, more travel, and many more everyday adventures.

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You know, May was the only month where I didn’t travel outside of Salt Lake, and I left the state for all but 3 months. Hell, I left the country twice! Yet somehow I didn’t fully comprehend just what a little globe-trotter I’ve become until November, when one of my Stephanie’s pointed out to me that I’m “traveling all the time.” And she’s right.

I’ve packed, flown, bused, trained, couch-surfed, and visited quite a lot in a quarter of a century, but 2011 certainly takes the cake. What can I say, Friends? I’m a restless gal. And I’m okay with that. In fact, if you’ve been following this here blog with any regularity, then you know that 2011 was also the year of acceptance, the year of being okay with all my mistakes, imperfections, and silly struggles. 2011 was the year of strength and confidence, and I feel so strong, Friends. I feel foolish, and uncertain, and confused, and cranky, and worried, and scared, and STRONG. I do not feel so little in the Big Bad World.

Maybe I should change the name of this blog to BigSarahlittleworld.

Or maybe I should just not tempt fate and be grateful for an amazing year, made possible only with the generosity and understanding of my friends, family, and of course all of you out there, reading and sharing this adventure with me. Thank you, thank you, thank you so much. Here’s to 2011, and now on to 2012!

Good Day Sunshine

Recently I decided to stop partying so hard, move forward, untether myself from a sinking ship. If you will. Turns out that doing such things cost me many friends and showered me with judgment and insult. And it does sting, Friends. It burns, a little.

But the thing is…I’m okay. Doing quite well, actually. Still without internet at home, and I’ve been reading in bed (zines, fiction, graphic novels, periodicals…), having Dance Party of One (Jenny Lewis, Rilo Kiley, Dr. Dog and Arcade Fire), cleaning house and enjoying the alone time. Watching Woody Allen films.

And eating well. Salad, even! If a delicious Winter salad is not a mark of inner peace and health, then I just don’t know what is. Plus the baking, again, my old comfort habit. I’m feeling like myself again, is I guess what I’m trying to say.

Not that I’m perfect. I’m not. I’ve done some cowardly, misguided things of late. Slipped back into old, bad habits. But I pulled myself out again, and if that means Permanent Alone Time, then that’s fine. In fact, I’m glad of it. Because…because there was a time when that wouldn’t  have been okay. In fact, my trip for most of last year was “Nobody likes me I have no friends what’s wrong with me?!”

Whereas now I wonder, “What’s wrong with them? I’m having the time of my life.”


The Tail End

We tried to take it all in: wide skies, late sun, long walks, soft hands

We tried to live to the fullest, take advantage, burn the midnight oil, and greet the dawn.

We tried to devour every sweet morsel, every moment. To be grateful for what we have, and to share it with friends.

Now the Summer has ended, gently this time, and you are leaving in one week.

We knew it couldn’t last, that nothing lasts forever.

I think we did our best.

Je ne suis pas parfaite

I am not perfect. For all of the preaching/self-improvement/learned optimism that goes on here, I am, at the end of the day, completely human. I do things like defile my pristine new chrysanthemum-patterned quilt by eating nachos, for dinner, in bed.

And those small pleasures in life that I’m always on about? They’re not always so simple. Take for example my fancy coffee beverage of choice: an iced, decaf, soy mocha. That’s kind of too many words to describe a coffee, right?

This one came from Café on 1st, which is right around the corner from my house, and I have to be careful to only go there on my days off, because I really, really like it there and could say goodbye to a lot of money that way. It reminds me of Grounds for Coffee in Ogden, basically the first coffee shop I ever even knew about.

Also there’s that candle, which was a $10 splurge at Target. Kevin, Sister Natalie and I spent 5 minutes debating whether to buy a big one and a little one, or two big ones, or two little ones…because we’ll want one for the bathroom, of course, but the main house gets that weird smell from the smokers downstairs a lot…and the kitchen gets a weird smell sometimes, too…until we remembered that we live in a studio and can just walk five steps to move the candle from the main room to the bathroom or kitchen, as needed.

So, yes, that is my life: standing in the aisle at Target debating the merits of a $10 candle with my loved ones. Average stuff. Boring, tedious. First World problems, some may say…

But that’s OKAY. Self-acceptance! Love! Optimism! Happiness!

*       *       *

Happy weekend, friends. Happy Pioneer Day.

What’s Left of What Was

So now I’ve been home for a week, and everything is more or less as it was, almost like it never even happened. My Grand Adventure! How quickly you’ve given way to the same ol’ Same Ol’.

But I have pictures, I have proof. Here are some things I wanted to show you, before we move forward.


Where I Studied:


Where I Stayed:

My Host Family


Where I Ate:


What I Saw:


What I Learned:

After returning home, thinking things over, I realize that my happiness in Tours was three-fold.

1- I had more free-time than I do at home. In Salt Lake, I work 16 hours/week nannying and 18 hours/week at the library. In Tours, I was only committed to 20/week of class. That’s 14 Bonus Hours, right there.

2- I spent pretty much all of my free-time on myself. I went for long runs, practiced viola, worked on my blog. I went to the movies by myself. I went on a solo bike-ride along the river and then through the country side. In Salt Lake, I am committed to at least 2 musical groups, plus side projects. I am committed to reading with my nephew, occasional baby-sitting, and other familial obligations. Rehearsals, meetings, book groups, social events–even though these are things I usually enjoy, it still means that I’m spending my free time on someone else. (You see what I did there? With the change of preposition?)

3- I spent most of my free-time alone. That’s a biggie. Even as recently as a year ago, I was not only reluctant, but terrified to be alone. Hence the serial monogamy. But in France I found that I LIKE being by myself. Nobody to consult with. No large, loud group of Americans to immediately give me away as an English speaker, which made it easier to practice listening and speaking in French. That statue of the big, blob-ish monster? That was in the smaller square, the one where I often ate alone, or with just one other friend. If I’d needed to be with others, I would have gone most every day to the bigger square–Place Plum’–where I would have spent more money and spoken less French.

It was nice to just…do what I wanted. So that when I DID hang out with the other kids, it was by choice, not by obligation. Back in Salt Lake, I’m feeling weighed down by responsibilities and commitments. I miss being selfish. I miss doing what I liked, when I liked. But, of course, Life is not a month in France. So I will have to adapt.


How It All Ends:

I guess I’m not quite sure how to finish this off…I guess some things just end abruptly, don’t they? Well, here’s a typical “summer-in-France” picture:

And here is picture I took while out walking with Adam, on my last night in Tours:

Right after I took this, I told him about how I used to have a really hard time with Change. How even when I knew that it was time to break up with a boyfriend, I’d think back on happier times, and I didn’t want to lose that. Or how so often I’d be more than ready to quit a job, but then I’d start looking around at all of my co-workers and grow sentimental and have second thoughts. They’d been an important part of my life, and I was never quite sure that I wanted to give that up.

But now, I explained to him, now I understand that just because something comes to an end–you break up, get a new job, stop volunteering after 2 years, get kicked out of a band–that doesn’t erase all of the good that was there. Then End does not destroy or invalidate everything that came before it.

All of those happy and funny and sad memories are still there, even after it’s all over. Even sometimes when things get ugly, when it is a Bad Ending. Nothing can take those memories away from you. They are as real as ever, as real as the lessons you learned. As real as the need to move on, staring you in the face but not saying a thing, because it is, after all, your move.

And so I’m learning how to move on, I told Adam. I’m learning to let it go.

Ladies Who Lunch

Monday I had lunch with Whitney at the Beehive Tea Room.

We talked about her wedding, love, life, moving to Europe. Why I can’t settle down. Going to Korea. It is nice to have someone that is so easy to talk to.

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Today I met up with Allison at Tulie, after we had each gone for a run. We ate quiche and pastry, drank coffee, shot the shit (boys, old friends, moving cross-country, moving to Europe, etc.). Then we stopped by her house, which is always lovely and lady-like.

And then we sunbathed for hours at my moms house, drank pomegranate spritzers, talked about family and relationships and hot Italian boys, ate popsicles,  dipped in the kiddie pool, and then snacked on chips and hummus. Before going to the liquor store and then going our own separate ways.

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Life is good with friends. Too bad none of them live here.

*       *       *

It’s funny–that used to bother me. The not having enough friends/enough close friends/enough friends who lived close-by. And now I don’t really care. I’m happy with what I have, and if I want more I have myself. My music. Running.

And of course this silly old blog.

Once Upon a Sunday…

Three little Americans went out to a café.

One ordered red wine–too small! One ordered white wine–too little! One ordered a belgian beer, and it was Just Right.

The little Americans wanted to go see a French Film, but they had poor time-management and were Too Late. That’s okay, thought little Sarah, I can roll with the punches. Instead they did other fun things!

One little American had ice-cream:

One little American had meringue:

And the third little American had enough, after missing two movies because of sauntering and miscommunication and spending the whole day just idling, sitting around on park benches and drinking wine in cafés and I mean, yes, it was pleasant and the company was fine, but didn’t we have a PLAN? Didn’t we have a series of enjoyable, leisurely accomplishments by which to structure an otherwise nebulous day?

And the third little American wondered, for the umpteenth time, Is there something wrong with me that I can’t just relax and go with the flow like the other little Americans?

Then a voice from deep down inside her said, “No, little sarah. You are fine just the way you are. It is a Big World and you can do whatever you want.”

So she said goodbye to the other little Americans and went off on her own to do what she liked best: She took pictures of things that interested her.

She practiced the viola until her whole body vibrated with music and energy, she ate dinner and spoke French with her petite famille, and she wrote down her thoughts to share with all the world.

And later, she did see that French Film. All by her little self.


Yann Tiersen is a Trickster

How to See Yann Tiersen in Concert Without Knowing It (In 10 Easy Steps!):

1- Go to an outdoor concert/festival in a foreign country.

2- But first stop at a bar/café to drink a glass of wine and wind up drinking two glasses of wine, plus some gross beer given to you by the new French friends you will make (Alex and Pauline), the friends who have just watched “Bowling for Columbine” that very morning and want to know if all Americans carry guns and keep making little pistols with their hands and going “Pam! Pow!” They are maybe a little drunk.

3- Arrive SUPER early to the concert after Chase’s host mom convinces you that in France, people arrive on time, and that you will be late and sorry if you don’t leave RIGHT NOW! Hurry, hurry! Dépêchez-vous! Allez-y!

…and then you have loads of time to kill.

4- Keep drinking wine. What else are you supposed to do? The concert doesn’t start for almost 2 hours. Eat a crêpe, then, why not?

5- Wow, those 5 glasses of wine sure are going straight through you! You should probably visit the toilettes, where friendly French people will explain about using a plastic cup to scoop sawdust out of an oil drum which you then pour on top of your “pi-pi,” because it’s “très biologique.” Fun!

6- Notice that none of the bands are being introduced nor are they introducing themselves, with the exception of Beat Drunx, and that’s only because they have to represent (“When I say ‘Beat,’ you say ‘Drunx’! Beat! [silence] Beat! [silence]”).

7- Oh, well! Because the band that’s playing right now is REALLY awesome. Oh, man, that dude is just SHREDDING it on the violin! Ooh, and now the guitar! Is that 7/8 time that I detect? It is! Cool! Ooh, and now a song in 5/4 time–awesome! Man, the crowd is really digging this guy, this group. Hey! The violin again! Dude, he is WAILING!

8- Get distracted by the crowd of people dancing outside the bathrooms. Dance a little, yourself, why not?

9- Stick around for The Inspector Cluzo, a rock/funk group that you will later realize is the French version of Tenacious D (and, oh, you will feel proud for drawing that parallel). It’s now almost 2am and you have had at least 6 glasses of wine and 2 crêpes. But, wait! What? Why are they taking down the stage after T.I.C.? And the other stage, too?! But…did we…did we MISS something?

10- Realize that step 7 WAS, in fact, Yann Tiersen.

…And that is how I spent my Friday night (and why I was so hung-over yesterday).

~The End~