Tuesday, December 13, 2005


I am now officially finished with my first semester of grad school! Whew [insert huge sigh of relief.] I now have nearly 2 months to read books not related to art history and watch hours and hours of tv. One thing I have been doing to relax is taking online tests (after all, they are scientifically proven.) Here's my identity in a past life:

Sarah, you're a Hamster!

Come out and play!— In your previous life, you were a hamster named Vladimir. Here's what we know about you: Born on the plains of Siberia, you spent your early years weathering harsh winters, drinking vodka, and attending committee meetings. Determined and headstrong, you always got your way when push came to shove. But it wasn't all darkness - no one knew how to let loose and have a good time better than you. You were the reigning Twister champ, and you always emerged victorious from the Bolshevik's annual Dance-athon (your signature step, the Funky Chicken, was a huge crowd pleaser). As you were also quite the health fanatic, you developed and patented a set of exercise wheel fitness videos that quickly became all the rage in Siberia. Your commercial success led you to denounce Communism and head for the States, where you ultimately provided the inspiration for a wacky Web site and song.

I don't know about you, but I think that's pretty accurate.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Another Writing Marathon

Why has there been a void of entertaining stories and random exploits as of late? Check out my "dining room" table: three months worth of research needs to be written into yet another giant paper for some reason. But let me take a moment to maniacally laugh with glee at my ingeniousness: I am writing a paper on a house that was destroyed 9 years ago, thus I can say what I want and no one can prove me wrong! Muhahahahaha . . .

In only 2 weeks I will be officially finished with my first semester of grad school. Whew! In line for the luxuriously long winter break is a trip to New Mexico and Saguaro National Park - and if no stories surface by then, well, I'll just have to make one up.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

(Another) Fire!

So its Saturday night, and I'm sitting in the living room talking on the phone. I notice a lot of sirens, but don't think anything of it. After hearing a lot more, I get up and look outside, and I can see flashing lights. So I go outside and walk down the street, and see at least 10 fire trucks, and that part of my apartment complex is ON FIRE. Flames were shooting out of the roof and everything. Luckily it was not a building close to mine, but here's what I saw this morning. Why is it that everywhere I go something catches on fire?

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Writing writing writing

13 1/2 pages into Rembrandtery goodness. The past two weeks have been filled with trying to find euphemisms for "fat" and challenging myself on how many times I can say "breast" in one paper. Although I've been so consumed by Rembrandt that I forgot how to spell acknowledge ("aknoldge") somewhere around 2500 words.

It's funny, when I'm writing a paper (especially a 6000 word behemoth like this one), it suddenly becomes REALLY important to do other things. Like vacuum, empty the dishwasher, and re-organize my closet. I actually convinced myself I couldn't do work while the sheets were in the washer.

I've also been going a little stir-crazy, being the former park ranger suddenly shoved into a sedentary occupation. So I went hiking near my house, 5 miles. It's a lot different than hiking in the desert, namely, you can hear the traffic from any point on the trail. Here's some pictures of the fall foliage in the wonderful valley in which I live.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Big City

Last week I left scenic Delaware for a few days in the big city. And yes, it was confirmed. I still hate the air and space museum. Besides the entire place being old and moldy, and all the displays broken, it really is insane to charge $4 for a hockey-puck sized chunk of "astronaut ice cream." It's one of those things that everyone remembers being really good when they were a kid, but now just tastes like tums.

I digress. The day was beautiful, and we visited the American History museum, toured the Capitol building, walked through the Botanic Gardens, saw various and sundry memorials, and went to the National Museum of Women in the Arts. (If you go there, beware of the woman breathing under the table.)

It really just went perfectly, and thus I have no funny stories. (Except for hiding a contraband item outside the American Indian museum, but perhaps I shouldn't advertise that one publically . . . ) Just enjoy the pictures, of me in a me-sized house.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

I Heart Mills

On Saturday I had a fieldtrip scheduled for 7:30 a.m. With that start time, it was doomed from the start. I was going to look at 4 mills for my architecture class, "rain or shine." And rain it did.

More like torrential downpour. We had around 8 inches of rain in 24 hours, causing wide-spread flooding and all around dangerous conditions. In other words, the perfect day to ride around rural Pennsylvania in a "Fightin' Blue Hens" charter bus driven by the worst bus driver in the world. The emergency broadcasts over the radio were warning residents not to leave their houses, and only travel if absolutely necessary. It was absolutely necessary to look at old mills, apparently.

It wouldn't have been so horrid had the bathroom been working. Since we were going to old mills with no bathrooms, we intentionally got a bus with a bathroom. But no, we were held hostage in a hot, humid bus with no working bathroom. I was relieved when at one mill I spotted a port-a-potty in a middle of a field with a sign that said "restrooms" posted next to it. Truthfully, it was the nicest port-a-potty I've seen (and those that know me know I'm a bathroom expert), but all nicety disappeared when I had to walk through the lake to get to it.

Mills are not exactly a "hip" field, so we were shown around by ancient mill caretakers wearing English-farmer type wellies, who LOVED talking about mill technology. If anyone would like to know the difference between a roller mill and a stone mills or the advantages of turbines over a wheel, I'll be happy to tell you. The most fun I had on the trip was watching full-sized trees float down swollen creeks.

While I was doing this, my old college roommate was doing something slightly more painful, i.e. giving birth. Welcome Henry Lee! And when you get to college, stay away from mill fieldtrips, however tempting they might sound.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Blocking it All Out

The fabulous Shannon Banks has a brand-spankin'-new online newspaper column! Way to go putting that English degree to work! Checkout her wittiness at:


As they say, and now for something completely different. Am I un-American for hating iPods? Especially the tiny shiny pink ones? Is it totally necessary to be listening to Britney Spears while blindly dashing across major intersections? Apparently, it is required of all undergrads at my state-university-that-shall-not-be-named-but-you-can-probably-figure-it-out to have some sort of electronic equipment permanently attached to one's head, be it a cell phone or any music-producing device. The Britney Spears reference was not arbitrary: I actually heard a conversation involving a seemingly grown person saying, "I used to like Britney Spears but I totally don't anymore." At that moment I said to myself, "Self, I must get out my cell phone! I just remembered I need to talk to someone urgently about my sudden repultion with Paris Hilton's tiny dog! This is a matter that cannot possibly wait!"

Excuse me while I put my earphones back on. Maroon 5 is much more interesting than the train whistle anyway.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Grad Student Life

When people told me that grad students didn't have lives, I didn't believe them. And I was right, grad students DO have lives. They have lives that are filled with insane reading, sucking up, work, and hours of class discussion. My first week of school I was assigned 422 pages of reading. This is in addition to my 20 hours of work, 9 hours of class, and research for my seminar papers. So yes, I do have a life, just not one that I totally control.

As to that 422 pages of reading . . . last week I read a glossary about bricks. Flemish bond, running bond, types of morter, dentilation, etc., etc. I READ A GLOSSARY. Although I do have to say it was a lot better than the treatise I read today on the history of brick making technology. And the sad part is, after I finish these 4 semesters of rigorous information obtainment, I'm probably just going to have to go back and be a seasonal park ranger again. When the hurricane hit New Orleans, you didn't see a big call go out for the art historians.

Apparently I'm having a problem with spammers (see the comments from the last posting), so if you leave a comment, you'll now have to do one of those annoying things where you type in the weird-looking letters.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Back to School

After a brief 2-year respite from the academic world, I have once again returned. Although this time, it's a little bit different, being that I have just relocated from a barren southwestern desert. I've noticed some differences:

- When driving in the East Coast, don't bother reading signs, because they will only mess you up. There are no such things as straight roads, and sometimes they randomly change names or become one-way. Thus it is impossible to return from a place the same way you got there.

- What's up with the humidity? Why do people put up with this? My skin is rebelling.

- I look more like a mom than a college student. Maybe I should get myself some non-existent shorts or a white skirt and some flip-flops. If only easterners could understand the practicality and comfort of the Chaco sandal.

- The east is only one giant town, the names just change every couple miles. If I drive 2 miles east, I'm in Wilmington. If I drive 2 miles west, I'm in Newark.

- One good thing: no sales tax! If it says $19.99, it IS $19.99!

- On the apartment website, it says you either have a view of woods or the pool. That was a lie. I enjoy the view of a bush and the front of my car.

That's only the start of my unexpected culture shock. Stay tuned . . .

Sunday, August 21, 2005

On the Road

Cookeville, Tennessee - In the past 2 days, I've driven about 1,100 miles. To pass mile after mind-numbing mile, I've been listening to a book on tape and singing along loudly to everything from Seether to the Dixie Chicks. But most interestingly, I've been reading billboards.

There are the standard hotel and restaurant advertisements, but those I barely glance at. What I'm referring to is the astounding number of "vasectomy reversal" boards, as well as those advertising local cowboy-themed attractions. I even saw one saying that we should boycott KFC for doing something bad to chickens (the type was too small for my horrible vision.)

BUT, my favorite so far has to be the God quotes. There are many black and white billboards with quotes claiming to be from God. Here are two great ones:

"Is the road you are on leading you to me? - God"

"As my apprentice, you are never fired. - God"

As to the first one, it was located on the road to Dallas, and I'm pretty sure that's not where God lives. And the second quote only seems to imply that God is a fan of reality shows starring Donald Trump.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

New Pictures

There are a few new pictures up on the picture site - click on "My Pictures" over on the side for the link. Here are two from a recent trip to Guadalupe Mountains National Park in McKittrick Canyon. 6.8 miles roundtrip to the grotto, which is the very cool looking rock formation.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Dates in Heaven

Working at the information desk, I've been asked all sorts of things. Mostly it's just "Where's the bathroom?" or "What time is bat flight?", but on occasion it gets interesting. One person recently even asked me what the meaning of life was.

Yesterday, however, I got a winner. A very old man asked me if I would go on a date with him. 75 years from now. In heaven.

Apparently, this old man (who is traveling with his wife) is going across the country trying to round up 288,000 dates in heaven, 75 years from now. Why this number? Who knows. After all, this man is asking people FOR DATES IN HEAVEN. When his wife came up to the desk, I said to her, "Did you know your husband is asking other women for dates in heaven?" She replied, "Yes," and smiled. I guess she's not planning on being there herself.

As to my answer, I told him that I didn't know what I'll being doing in 75 years, and I'd probably be busy that night.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

The Last Escape

On Friday night I saw the BEST PLAY EVER. Ok, not really. But it was a play that certainly encouraged smoking in the audience. Perhaps I should be more specific: I saw "The Last Escape of Billy the Kid," put on as part of Old Lincoln Days in the tiny village of Lincoln, New Mexico. The town is famous for its role in the old west, mostly because of the 5-day Lincoln County War.

The play (or pageant, as they call it) is shown in an outdoor amphitheater (where it does rain, as we found out) with a very nice elaborate set. There are many actors, however none of them speak during the play, as most of the characters are narrated by the oldest man in the world. The lighting cues are off, there are tell-tale pauses as the script pages are turned, and the donkey usually doesn't want to cooperate, but really, it's worth seeing, if only because its the longest running folk play in the United States. AND, you can smoke while you watch it!

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Are you serious?

I used to think that "jaywalking" thing on the Leno Show was fake, and that they were really just actors pretending to be stupid. Until I started working here.

The other day I was walking through the cave, when I saw two guys standing by a pit with a ladder going down into it. It is an old ladder, falling apart, and is just there for display. It is attatched to the top of the pit with a long metal pole that is embedded in the rock, and the ladder hangs off of that pole. The two guys seemed really fascinated with this metal pole. One says to the other, "Wow, how do you think they got that metal pole stuck in the rock like that?" His friend replies, "Maybe the rock was softer back then."

I've also come to the conclusion that not many people know how far a mile is. (It's 5,280 feet.) On the elevator, people always ask how far the elevator goes, and when I answer "750 feet," they will inevitably ask how many miles that is. One man even attempted to answer that question himself, saying, "Wow, that's like 2 1/2 miles!!"

You can't make this stuff up.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Vegas, Baby, Vegas

To tell the truth, I thought I would hate Las Vegas - hoards of drunken masses, a cacaphony of noises, rampant cigarette smoke. But, I LOVED IT! How great is it to not worry about closing times? Since I'm legendarily cheap, we pretty much did every possible that's free. We saw the inside of almost all of the giant hotels (my favorite was the Bellagio, ironic because I am, as previously stated, cheap.) I observed the volcano go off in front of the Mirage, saw living statues in the Venetian, and watched Bulgarians fly over the casino in the Tropicana. The best, however, were the dancing fountains in front of the Bellagio, which I watched no less than 7 times.

I loved that it was crazy . . . where else can you drink a yard of margarita while strolling past Armani and Channel? Where else do you see women, dressed up to go clubbing, pushing a stroller in front of them at midnight? That all being said, I was glad to go back home to my desert hideway where it is quiet and still.

And finally, I did not gamble, even one cent. And I'm sure I have more money now because of it.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

My Apartment

It looks like I will not be homeless after all come August! I have a great apartment in Delaware, complete with a swimming pool, fitness center, and a balcony! It is supposedly surrounded by trees as well, something completely unknown to me after living in Kansas and New Mexico for the past 2 years. Although, I am slightly distraught by the fact that the next time I move, I won't be able to fit everything in my car.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Art Festival

The Art Party 2005 was a great success, with great entries including a K-9 ranger dog, melted crayon ranger, bat-shaped photo montage, duct tape creations, ticket stub earrings, a superintendent ranger stuffed bear, a cheesecake, an interpretive dance, guitar performances, and custom made mad-libs, among others. I made a screen for the TV which looked something like this (this isn't mine exactly.) For this I won the "Most Creative" award, which was a paint-by-number stained glass elephant (from the Dollar store.)

Although, I have to say that the real fun was had towards the end of the evening when the dinosaur puppet came out. I truly love a place where grown people can play with a dinosaur puppet openly. As a certain person always says, "Failure to grow up is a victimless crime."

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

I'm not Dutch

Every once in a while, I'll encounter someone who's logic I cannot grasp. Take the following conversation, which took place on a cave trail with a 60-year-old man.

Man: So, what's your name again?
Me: Sarah.
Man: Oh, so are you Dutch?
Me: Um, no, I'm not.
Man: That's weird, because my mother's name was Sarah and she's Dutch.

He must not get out much.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

I'm An Idiot

In general, I consider myself a fairly intelligent person. The desert sun, however, has appeared to have clouded my judgement.

The other day, while I was home for lunch, I brillantly decided to work on a crafty magnet project using superglue. And of course, I manage (almost) to glue my fingers together - I opened them in time, however did not escape without coating my fingers. Going next door to your 18-year-old EMT neighbor with the question "Do you have anything that will remove superglue from human flesh?" is slightly embarassing.

Oh, it doesn't stop there. Later in the day, while cleaning helmets from a caving tour, I discover that a battery has exploded, leaking acid everywhere. So what do I do? Why, stand there, of course, letting the acid slowly seep into my bloodstream while staring blankly at my hands. Luckily, the same 18-year-old EMT was there to save me once again.

The night before, I had embarked on a baking adventure, floating on a recent high of cooking successes. So, I must have believed myself infalible when I read "Not to be used for baking" on the back of the "light" margarine stick and decided they didn't know what they were talking about. Um, they knew what they were talking about. Cookie crumbs, anyone?

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Remembering Kansas

Yay, I can post pictures now! Ahh, Kansas. The memories of that strangely half-rusted man-shooting-on-a-horse are quickly fading.


Just so you know, if you are a guy, and are wearing firefighter gear, you automatically become unbearably hot. Well, hot as in sexy, hot not as in you're standing next to burning things.

There was a fire! Ok fine, some grass was on fire in bat cave draw, but enough so my dashing firefighting boy could put it out with the fire truck. 2 other rangers were on site kicking the ass of the fire, while visitors milled around wanting to get their picture taken with the firefighters. That's probably the extent of the excitement for the summer, but how cool (or hot) is that?

The fire was first noticed right before the bat flight, so I wonder . . . how many visitors walked right by it and said nothing? Note to park visitors: if something is on fire, with a lot of smoke and visible flame, and no park employee is standing around, it's not a good thing. At least call 911, really.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Here is Jason standing by the decorations I put up for his birthday. Then, while I was at work, he took them all down and re-installed them in my room. As my friend Karen said, we deserve each other :)

Wednesday, March 16, 2005


The poncho trend is getting out of control. So, for the benefit of fashion at large,

"I swear on the head and/or the grave of my sainted granny to never wear, buy, knit, crochet, or fashion from the old throw rug, the poncho. And if the poncho it is given to me as the gift, I will graciously thank the giver and then, when she has left, put the poncho into the dog's bed and/or the trash as the case she may be. Only by doing these things faithfully can I help end for the good of the humanity the scourge that is the poncho. "

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Weather Trick

Today it is 78 degrees in the great state of Kansas, a big trick because next week it's going to snow once again. I really need summer to happen - winter used to be my favorite time of year, but that was before I lived on the plains.

I'll be going up to Nicodemus to work at the end of April - my main draw wasn't really the work experience, but rather the government-paid hotel room. Cable! I'm really sick of only watching NBC. Having a bed that doesn't suck you down into it every night and a shower that's not rusting is also a plus.

Got a letter from Mongolia yesterday - I thought Kansas was bad, but living in a place where your spilled milk freezes before you can pick it up is a lot worse.
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