little sarah Big World

Tag: life

Group Projects

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Why I’m Glad to be Graduated

Man, what is it with professors these days and group projects? I think we can all agree that they are the worst, yet they seem to be ever gaining in popularity. So while I graduated college in 2009 and did I think two group projects, my boyfriend who graduated in 2011 did more like two per class per semester, and my friends who are still in school seem to do nothing but.

Seriously. Seriously, nobody likes these. Everyone dreads them. They do not prepare you in any way for “real life,” (whatever THAT is…). I mean, I work sometimes in teams or on committees at work, and I’ve planned social events as a group (potlucks, movie nights, camping trips, etc.), but it is just not the same AT ALL. Because everyone wants to be participating and tends to volunteer for whatever they’re best at, and you don’t ever have to present about it afterward.

I dunno, maybe it’s just the writer in me that prefers to work solo.

…OR maybe it’s that there are better, more natural, less torturous ways for people to work together towards a common goal. Like this:

Collaboration, Friends! Of the best sort! The bloggy, photogy sort! Just take a photo each day in response to the little prompt, and then share as you see fit! Care to join me? I promise that your grade will not be affected by my performance! Exclamation points!!!

I’m going to wait until the end of the month to share my photos, but consider this a sneak peak–all the photos in this post (except for the one I lifted from fatmumslim.com) are my rejects up until this point. They just didn’t make the cut. Try and guess which photos correspond to which prompts! Then get into groups of four to six and discuss your opinions! Then write a 3-page response essay together and present it for 5 minutes in front of the class!

No? You don’t want to do that? You can’t imagine why anyone would ever want to do that? Because it sounds painfully pointless and frustrating and inefficient? You’d rather be judged on the merits of your own work or collaborate only with others who you know share your same passion and drive and goals?

You don’t say!

Some Days

Some days you just can’t win. Some days people expect more of you than you’re willing or able to give, and it is only 9:20 am. Some days you have more things to do than time in which to do them, and it is snowing, and you ride a bike, and you know that nothing is going to be easy or convenient or efficient.

Some days you have to boil potatoes before 10am, just to stay on top of things. (But the steam on the stove makes the kitchen warm and fuzzy).

Some days you know that you are going to get a talking to, and it will not be pretty. You know that you have to tell the truth to some friends, and that it will not be any prettier.

Some days you cry (sob, really) in the bathroom at work for a solid 15 minutes. You pace the halls and take deep breaths, and you are not proud of yourself, but you love yourself and so you say “It’s okay.”

Some days you return to work with eyes so red and swollen that there is no denying what you’ve done, yet nobody says a thing. And that is somehow worse than whatever you’d dreaded them saying.

Some days you roast potatoes, with garlic and rosemary. 

It’s your own recipe, and you use a fancy tip from Cooks’ Illustrated, and they turn out just right.

And you know that, when you get off of work, you will turn those potatoes into potato salad. You will pack up that potato salad, along with some mustard, vegan bratwurst, and beer, and you will go watch Newsies and have a meat-n-potatoes dinner with your girlfriends.

At least that much you can do right. And some days that’s the best you can do.

*       *       *

Rosemary Roasted Potatoes

-Preheat your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit

-Cut some red potatoes up into little cubes. I used 5 medium potatoes, with the intention of feeding about 5-7 people (as a side dish). Leave the skins on for maximum nutrition.

-Boil a big pot of water, then add cut up potatoes to the boiling water PLUS a bit of baking soda. Say…1/2 a teaspoon for lots of potatoes, but only 1/4 of a teaspoon for not so many potatoes.

-Boil for 3 minutes. Then drain. Then let those hot little spuds cool off.

-Toss your potatoes in some olive oil, a bit of salt, and crushed or chopped garlic.

-Spread the whole mess out on a cookie sheet, sprinkle with more salt, some pepper, and rosemary sprigs (fresh or not, whatevs).

-Bake/roast for 20 minutes or so, until they are golden brown and crispy in parts and a fork slides easily in. BONUS: you can add some lemon juice for the last 5 minutes of roasting for extra amazingness.

-ENJOY! Try them in a salad with mixed greens, dried cranberries, sunflower seeds, and tuna. Or not.

Follow Your Bliss

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Don’t Worry, Be Happy

You don’t have to worry about me seeing you cry, Friend, even though I know that must suck. I’ve been learning lately that it’s much more comfortable to be the comforter than the comfortee.

But I’ve been the comforted one, friend. I’ve needed. I’ve doubted. I’ve been afraid and ashamed for others–even loved ones–to see me cry. I see now that they did not judge me.

And you don’t have to worry, friend, about me seeing you cry, because I love you even when you cry. Even when you wipe tears and snot onto your pretty scarf and then later forget and wear it out shopping. I love you even when you are pretending to be interested in finding new boots and making chit-chat, but really you are a churning torrent of shitty emotions inside and it’s hard to focus on much else. Even then. Even then I love you. Even then you are my friend.

*       *       *

I want to tell you: You did not make a mistake, Friend. You made a decision. Decisions suck bad, but they’ve gotta be made. So you made one, and maybe it wasn’t the best choice, after all. So make another. And another. Keep making decisions until you get to where you want to be. Do not wait for the approval of others! Do not worry about what people will think or how they will judge you! It is your life, and you have every right to fuck it up as you see fit.

(…though you won’t fuck it up, and I think we both know that)

This is not about black and white, right and wrong, good and bad choices. It’s about growing and learning. It’s about becoming strong. It’s about wearing bad-ass boots and a leather jacket and a pretty dress. And red hair–don’t forget the red hair. But you already know about being a bad-ass.

You are, after all, the girl who lived in a tent on Maui.

*       *       *

Think of how much you’ve changed since then, how far you’ve come. And think of how much you’d changed BEFORE that, from who you were in high school, for example. And then know that this, right now, this very shitty, snotty scarf-wearing, half-assed shopping, crying on a friend’s couch time of your life…well, it’s just another part. It’s just the ugly cocoon-y, wriggling larva part. Which means your transformation is not yet complete, and you are free to cry on my couch all you want. And I will still love you, Friend.

Because I know that you will be happy, though it might not be any time soon. I will be here, in the meantime, with tissues, and hugs, and food.

It’s the Little Things

 

…that make us smile.

Like a belated birthday gift, hand-beaded, and accompanying note. Letters and fonts lovingly scrawled, and the promise of correspondences to come.

Thank you, Bonnie.

Shit Girls Say…and Do

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Oh What a Night

One great–and probably unanticipated–benefit of smart phones is that you can wake up after a raucous ladies’ night and quickly scroll through your browser’s history to re-live the night before, remind yourself what the topics of conversation were.

Ours included: “hot Neville Longbottom” and “expectorating”.

Also there are leftover drawings of boobs, with both innie and outtie nipples, and a picture of a house (because those two things are related?) on the reverse side of my little sister’s body parts coloring sheet. Yeah.

*       *       *

What I’m saying is that, while girls do say some silly, endearing things, we talk about so much more. More than you could ever guess. Things that would make you blush. Or giggle. Or cry. Or sometimes all of the above.

We tend to drink while this is happening. And eat. Sometimes a sit-down dinner, sometimes a potluck, and sometimes an epic snack-fest. Also sometimes all of the above, as pictured above.

Then in the morning we make breakfast together, and check our browsing history. And laugh.

Then repeat.

What Have You Done for Me Lately?

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Once, Twice, Three Times a Ladies Night

I’m just really stoked on friendships right now, guys. Remember how I was so excited about a platonic Valentine’s Day? And that was BEFORE I knew that there would be chocolate-dipped strawberries. These are good times, Friends.

I guess it’s extra-special for me because I haven’t ever really had a close-knit group of girlfriends. Hell, I’ve only ever been part of a friend group once, and that didn’t pan out. For most of my life I’ve had individual, free-range friends, all members of their own, separate groups. This always made birthdays hell. WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE. Very stressful.

But this birthday was a smooth integration of different friends, old and new, male and female, everyone just getting along, NBD.

Which led to Buttercheese (Stephanie Classic) hosting the platonic V-Day/Lady Pedofyle meeting. With chocolate-dipped strawberries, why not? And salad–she made salad–and mac and cheese. We all sat down to a nice meal together at the big wooden table, then we gave each other chocolate. Then we watched a movie and talked about EVERYTHING. How fucking cool is that?

I’d been feeling for a long time that it was so difficult to make close friends as an adult, because everything had to be an outing, a luncheon. But lately I’ve stumbled into a group of amazing guys and girls who are down to just hang out like there is no tomorrow. Field trip to the liquor store? Thanks, Adam! Wanna go for a run, or a walk, or feed me dinner? Thanks, Eric! Wanna come over tonight because I’m house-sitting for my Moms and just get drunk and talk about relationship troubles like everyone assumes we do? Thanks, Stephanie P. and Kristin and Nicole!

*       *       *

I think it’s easy to get caught up in being a grown-up and depending so much on your significant other or your family, then friendships are reserved for maybe just going out for coffee, or drinks, for a quick and dirty update of each other’s lives, all gossip and drama and anecdotes, before retreating back into the comfort of your small world.

And I think that’s sad. I’ve felt for a long time that quality, low-maintenance, close friendships were crucial to a happy, well-rounded life.

It’s just that now…now I have some of those. And I could not be more grateful. Giddy, really. And isn’t that what this is about? A space to be silly, keep it simple. I think that has been the best birthday gift of all–no easy feat, when you consider the incredible material treasures brought to me from far and wide:

I am feeling much loved lately, is what I’m trying to say.

Also: Thank you.

My Gift to You

~OR~

Return to Cheer

My gift to you on this most Valentine’s of days…is love. Platonic love.

Cuz listen, guys: dates are fun (except for when they’re disastrous), significant others make grocery shopping and laundry so much less mundane, sex is awesome, weddings are pretty cool…

…and let’s face it, nothing beats having someone to snuggle up with, to talk to at the end of a long day, to share your frustrations and triumphs, and your late night nachos. Someone to watch bad movies with. Someone who you’re not afraid to let see you cry. Somebody you can fight openly with and know that they will still be there for you.

But.

(BUT!)

That person does not have to be your lover. Radical notions, Friends! My gift to you is the advice that you should NOT put all of your love eggs into a relationship basket, no, but give some to your friends.

Because relationships often end, and you will need your brothers from other mothers and sisters from other misters. You will need your Friendships; they are the best ships of all, prepared to sail on through turbulent times.

So let’s be friends. Let’s all be friends, Friends. Enjoy your dates tonight, if that’s what you’ve got going on, but don’t neglect to give yourself the gift of friendship. Also: flowers. For you!

Pants on Fire

So I lied. I acted like everything was sunshine and rainbows and self-improvement and growth. And it was.

Until it wasn’t.

Last night I cried myself to sleep, and not even softly, but in a major freak-out style. Bedtime is not my best time. Sometimes I lie in bed thinking of what I’ve posted for the day, and I’m like “Ugh, shut the fuck UP, Sarah.”

Sometimes the PMA and general optimism is too much even for me. The can-do attitude. You should know that’s not who I am, or at least not all the time. You should know that I’m moody, and that I am still having Spain-related regrets, and that I bawled loud enough last night that I’m pretty sure my neighbors heard me.

I tend to get super emotional around my birthday. Probably something to do with “another year passed” -style introspection.

Because I am not where I want to be, Friends. My jobs are fine, but they are not my life’s work. They are a way to make money, to mark the days flying past. Everything’s moved so quickly, since I got back from Spain, and I don’t like it. I’m all for being industrious, but not if being so busy means not a moment to spare to look at my life and ask myself what it is that I think I am doing.

Last night I realized I don’t know what I’m doing. I know what I wanted, what could have been, but those ships have sailed. Now all I know is that I don’t want this–to live in Salt Lake, surrounded by children, and weddings, to have so many empty social engagements and not enough opportunities to just sit down and talk, to be working nearly every day, early mornings and late nights, all in an effort to save up money, and for WHAT?

I don’t know for what, Friends. I don’t know what comes next. And so I cry.

*       *       *

Incidentally, the sight of my clean, dry dishes in the sunlight this morning pleased me in an inexplicably deep and sincere way. I have not forgotten how I felt last night. I need to look into that. But today I have a rack full of clean dishes, an example of some measure of foresight. And that pleases me.

For now.

Happy Birthday to Me!

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The Lessons I Never Learned

Today is my birthday, and that is a happy thing. I am one year older, one year closer to remembering that I can’t have 7 drinks on a Saturday night and feel fine the next day. Right? This is a lesson I will learn, eventually?

Because hangovers are NOT a happy thing, and yet I’ve devoted the past two Sundays almost exclusively to honoring them. Oops.

Today I am 26 years old and not even stressed about it. I’ve been working on embracing confrontation, on standing up for myself and fighting for what I want. So 26 seems promising. I had ridiculously high hopes for 25 (that being my favorite number and all…), and though it was certainly a year of growth, acceptance, and transformation, it was also kind of a lonely shit fest.

My hopes for 26 are more reasonable. It is more about steady change and movement.

I think Lindsey friend said it best when she said “I always think odd years are going to be awesome, but the even years are usually better.” TRUE.

Especially if you put a lot of value into numbers, which I DO.

Today is my birthday, I am 26 years old, and I have received many lovely, thoughtful gifts, chief among them thing homemade e-card from Kevin. All photos were taken by him, in Madrid, and…

…and the panda thing is a reference to Saturday night. Night of the 7 Drinks. Apparently, in a late night international phone call that I do not remember, I drunkenly lamented that I would “never be as cute as a panda bear.”

Aaand then I fell asleep on the phone.

*       *       *

Oh, but that was back when I was still 25, Friends. Today I am 26, which means that last night I only had six drinks, and today I am only a little hung over. Totally different. Totally mature. Totally worth it:

Haven’t Slept a Wink

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I’m So-oh-oh Tired

Because I am just going with it, living in the moment and going with friends to late-night bars, where we indulge in late-night bar food, juicy secrets, and the honest truth.

And because I work an early morning job now, all coffee and sunrise, so I am up and at ’em by 7 at the latest, sometimes as early as 5:30.

And when I’m not staying up late with friends, I’m staying up late baking, and doing laundry. That’s life, I guess–it can’t all be chicken wings and beer.

But I am also very calm, which is a new and strange thing for me. It’s partly due to exhaustion, and partly due to something else, unnamable. Some sense of grace that I’d so long hoped for, and I am feeling more grown up of late. I feel prepared for 26, whereas I dreaded 25, didn’t think I’d earned it. Wasn’t ready to grow up.

Not that I’m ready now. BUT, I am calm. And strong. The days pass by in little slivers and I appreciate most everything. Making a salad for work…

…how delicate and tart and fresh and pink an apple can be…

…and taking a moment to snap a photo, even in the middle of a whirlwind-busy day. Because it’s the right thing. Suddenly the right thing seems so obvious, if I only slow down enough to listen. Today it was: buying a little gift for my Dad, just because, and baking bread for the staff meeting.

It’s strange, because last week I was feeling so dis-jointed, so distant and isolated and irritable. (Probably also due to lack of sleep). But…I just let it go. I let it go, and I think things are going to be fine, and everything else is out of my hands, so I will probably just eat a salad and bake some bread and read in bed ’til I fall asleep about it. What else can I do?

Last week I felt like I just didn’t care anymore, about anything. I didn’t freak out about it, I just let it happen, submerging myself completely in the feeling. Like swimming through a lake, and now I’m on the other side. Not sure where this is, exactly, but it feels new, and real, and good, and calm, and utterly blameless.

The world is quiet here.

A man just came to the desk where I’m working and donated the remainder of his clementines from a meeting in one of our public rooms. I have been craving citrus lately.

Artwork by a young patron. A gift. Okay, it was a barter.