Category Archives: Travel

Vacation, how my family is the best, and my ESPN anniversary

You know those things in life that you don’t plan for, the ones you have no expectations for, that end up being some of the best times in your life?

I’ve had a few of them in the past year. I had a week of them last week. I sit here two days out of vacation still laughing at jokes and incidents from the vacay, the now-inside jokes my cousins and I shared and just the bizarre nature of my family.

I sit here looking back at my first year in Connecticut, still wondering how I got here, but pleased as hell that I’m here.

This is the kind of blog that’s going to take subheads. I’ve missed breaking those bad boys out – editors are so nerdy – so here I go.

Yes, I took this picture of myself. Yes, I’m wearing a hat. My Wicked Stepmother (haha) made me. The Waterfront is in the background — I’m standing on our awesome Big Dock outside the cottage.

On Keuka Lake

I spent six days in upstate New York with my family, on Keuka Lake, in the gorgeous Finger Lakes region. My family has been going there forEVER and I’d only been once, when I was like 10 or 11. Living in Oklahoma and being a workaholic didn’t afford many opportunities for visiting upstate New York. Now, I look forward to going every year, or at least way more often.

Keuka, between Penn Yan Village and Hammondsport, N.Y., is where the water flows as well as the wine. Vineyards dot the landscape, which is replete with rolling hills and bluffs, vistas and meadows. Roadside fruit and veggies stands pop out of nowhere this time of year, hawking the sweetest corn you’ll ever taste. Mennonite wagons are plentiful, and signs warn you of upcoming buggies containing bonneted lasses and their bearded brethren.

The topography isn’t too different from Connecticut, and it certainly wasn’t any cooler outside, but being in the waters my grandfather used to fish was – well, it was inspirational and uplifting.

Not that I spent a lot of time pondering that while I was there. I hashed those thoughts over on the drive up and back. Most of the time in the cottage was spent laughing, boating, sunning, drinking and talking. I don’t drink that much anymore, but on this trip I would’ve made Charles Bukowski blush and Jim Morrison cheer. Our cottage was next door to a bar and a short distance from another bar. Not to mention my aunts, uncles and parents kept buying more beer. It was kind of perfect.

It started like this – my dad and my cousin John flew into Hartford, then I gave them a tour of ESPN. They got to meet Herm Edwards, among others, and John is a huge sports fan, so it was A DELIGHT (James Lipton voice) to see him and my dad’s eyes as we walked through my place of employment.

We left the next day for Keuka. We arrived later than planned, which is the way I like to road trip. My Uncle Jack (The Patriarch) rented a boat, and thus began a weekend of controlled debauchery, moonlight boat rides, ridiculous giggling, a little foosball and relaxation.

I spent a lot of time with John and his brother Ryan, who got there a few days later, but also got to spend scads of time with my dad, who is having surgery next week and with whom I was excited to spend time. (Note: My fam and I also had an extensive conversation about ending sentences with prepositions, so I’m trying to avoid that. Yes, we’re definitely related.) But that’s the way it typically works out – I always hang with my sisters and cousins most. I have a great bond with all of ‘em. I might’ve forced both John and Ryan to promise we’d do this when our parents are old. I might’ve been a bit drunk. But I meant it.

The bar next to the cottage, The Waterfront, was where Sunday night started and ended. They have this thing called Clammin’ and Jammin’, and a band played the early part of the night – one dude got so into it, he undressed, much to the chagrin of every woman in the place. Probably the men, too.

After the band went home, John and I sat outside the tiki part of the bar until we were invited by the locals to sit up front with them. John proceeded to tell everyone I work at ESPN, and then the night took a ridiculous (and somewhat embarrassing for me) turn. I answered all the questions, they bought shots, and then it all got kinda hazy. I took pictures of a fish John caught – I don’t remember taking the pictures, and it’s more of John’s drunken face and less of the alleged fish. He swears it flopped back in the water.

Somewhere in the middle of all that – before extreme drunkenness, of course — we went on a midnight boat ride with my uncles. Gorgeous.

We also visited the Switzerland Inn, or the Switz as it’s called, a place of legend among my family and where Ryan nearly got into a fight with the biggest, dumbest dude I’ve ever seen. Ryan was just being a smartass, as usual, but apparently you don’t poke the local bear. I do not doubt Ryan’s toughness, but he’s far too pretty to get his face bashed in. I thought I was going to have to do some fast-talking.

I also met or was reintroduced to the Troll side of my family (yes, that’s a family name – you shan’t make fun). They live all over Alaska, in New York, in Texas, in Seattle – all over the place. I’d met a few of them, but certainly not all. Of course, we had a great time. They are a fabulous bunch of folks. They stayed across the lake, and we boated over a few nights for excellent dinners, beer and wine tastings and conversation. The first night was a tribute to one of the Troll sisters who died in December. It was touching and sweet, and even though I’d never met Mimi, I felt her presence and, me being me, I cried.

What surprised me about the whole trip was that I hadn’t really thought about it before I went. Work had been crazy, I’d had a lot going on there, and I didn’t let it build up in my head. I think that’s what made it so great – it was an unexpected six-day pleasure trip. And honestly, my family is just so fun and so goddamned goofy. We’re excellent conversationalists too. It was one of my better vacations.

My year anniversary at ESPN

Just a random picture of Ryan Braun. Le Sigh.

The day before I left Keuka, Aug. 1, was my one-year anniversary at the Worldwide Leader. I’m still in love with my job. Most days I leave with a smile on my face. I hope they like me too – I want to stay there as long as they’ll have me. I feel like I’ve found what I was looking for on the workfront (still waiting for Ryan Braun or one of his brethren to realize they need a short, pleasantly plump Shiksa woman to make their lives complete, but that’s another blog).

I think ESPN might be my lifeline. I had to do it. People say I’m brave for packing it up and moving away, but I think it was a foregone conclusion. I had to do it, and I’m not looking back, especially when it’s 111 in Oklahoma today!

Over the past year, I’ve been afforded so many opportunities to be amazed, pleased and to excel. It’s been a busy, crazy, intoxicating year (not in the aforementioned beer-y way, though). I like to say that on Oct. 9, 2011, Tim Tebow was named starting QB of the Denver Broncos, and Joe Paterno was fired from Penn State on Nov. 9, 2011, and it’s been nine kinds of crazy ever since. And that brings me to…

The bureau meeting
Without getting into a lot of organizational chart-job title-ESPN insider info stuff, suffice it to say there are a lot of mega-talented folks at ESPN, many of whom roam the countryside with microphones in hand, stopping at sporting events to report what’s going on. If you’re a sports fan, you’ve seen these people on TV. They are bureau reporters, and once a year, they and their requisite bureau producers converge in Bristol for a few days of workshops, etc. I got to take part in these workshops this year, as I work hand-in-hand with these guys every day. I had talked to them all on the phone, but only met a couple face-to-face. It was an exciting day for me – to be surrounded by so many talented, hard-working people who have the same ambitions in life as me, the same work ethic and the same drive. It was another one of those “is this real life?” moments.

We all met for dinner one night, and I sat at a table filled with pedigree and talent. At the table was Vince Doria, senior vice president and director of news, who is a down-to-earth, unassuming and brilliant man. Also at my table were reporters Jeremy Schaap, T.J. Quinn and Mark Schwarz. If you’re not a sports fan and don’t know those names, trust me, they’re good. And hilarious. I laughed all night and felt included in the club. I am honored to be a part of ESPN, thrilled to be a part of all that talent, and overjoyed that I’ve been given so many blessings in life. I don’t know if I deserve them all, but I’ll always be grateful.

Losing weight
I’ve turned a corner in my thinking, and even though I have a condition that doesn’t make weight loss easy, I’m going to work hard. I just want to be healthy. I got the happy part down, but I want to be healthy enough to enjoy this happiness for a long time. I lost three pounds on vacation – I’m proud of that. I think I’ve finally realized that it’s not a diet I’m on, but the rest of my life being healthy. I spent the first 36 years (give or take a year or two) eating whatever I wanted and not exercising religiously. I’m so proud of my cousin John, who never really had a huge weight problem but inherited some of the Hart genes. He’s worked his ass off and he looks fantastic. He and my fabulous father continue to be inspirations.

So to recap, things are going pretty good for me right now. Except for the whole no-Jewish man thing. I’m still working on that one. Wish me luck, even though I feel guilty asking for anything else! 🙂

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Filed under Brain Disorders, Connecticut, ESPN, Family, Fun!, General Nonsense, Health, Love, New York, Sports, Travel

The Reason God Made… Connecticut?

… because Red Sox fans have to live somewhere? To be the rest of the nation’s tree farm? ESPN?

All of these things are in the “truth” category. Another truth? No one understands a goddamn thing I say here. From the Asians upstairs (more on that later) to checkers at the Shop-Right. And I don’t understand them either. Ray of light on this, though — they seem to understand me well enough at ESPN, because that place is a true melting pot. We’ve got Dallas, from Phoenix, Cleveland – he’s from Detroit; and Tex… well, I don’t remember where Tex come from.  Those of you who know me know that I like to pepper most conversations with quotes from Forrest Gump, so that last bit shouldn’t surprise you.

Back to my accent. I have one. I had no idea. But these Ct. folks have several different accents, all rolled into one state. There’s Boston, New York, Philly — all different, but congealed into this nice little New England melange.

And here comes this Okie, with a bit of Texas and English-degree’d clarity mixed in, adding to said melange. I went to the grocery store yesterday and was asked if I had a Shop-Right card at the checkout. What followed was a series of confused staccato sentences between me and the heavily-Boston’d-up clerk who was about 17. “Ya got a Shahp-Raight-Cahd?” he asked. “What’s that?” I replied. Somehow, I ended up with a Shop-Right card, thank God. Lord knows we can’t have me walking around Connecticut without the power of savings at my fingertips. Any little bit helps. This place is expensive.

I live in a relatively low-rent apartment, though, in a wonderful city, Collinsville, near Canton. It’s cute — and those who know me would say it’s very Sarah. Old, weird… it’s kind of a basement apartment in that part of it is underground. The other part is exposed and facing what appears to be Sherwood Forest. The whole lot of Connecticut is gorgeously tapestried in lush greenery. I understand why people flock here for the leaves. Good God, there are trillions of trees here. It’s beautiful.

It’s a really old house split into separate living quarters. An Asian family that apparently practices tap-dancing in the morning lives above me and in the other apartment too. They’re all family. I’m quite sure they can hear everything I say/do. It doesn’t help that I work nights again and am up watching foul-mouthed TV at 3 a.m. I’ve had to relearn how to be quiet. You live by yourself long enough in a your own home and you apparently become incredibly loud. I’ve been slamming doors, singing loudly and shouting at random things at all hours for seven years now.

But I can’t complain — I love my job. It’s a bizarre change, to TV from newspapers. I’m getting a crash course in TV production and how ESPN operates. For the rest of this month, and some of September, I’ll be learning. And boy, I hope I’ve learned. It’s a vastly different world. Fortunately, the desk I work on is composed of mostly newspaper people, so that helps. They can correlate one task to another — “this is like when…” type of situations.

I still feel like an idiot daily. And lost. I wish I could use my beloved GPS on the ESPN campus, which is 120 acres and growing. It’s mammoth. And kinda small at the same time. It feels like I’m in college except I live off-campus.

It’s taken some time to getting used to seeing the anchors, athletes and reporters, and the last week I’ve worked with them a lot. They’re just ordinary folks. Scott Van Pelt‘s grandparents were Okies, he told me — they lived in Miami. He even pronounced it correctly (for you non-Okies, it’s Mia-MUH. The correct way, we think.) When I marveled at this, he said, “If I’d have said it wrong, you wouldn’t have believed they were from there.” True dat, SVP.  It’s surreal, but I’m getting used to it.

I’ve certainly gotten used to the weather.

The highest temperature it’s reached here since I’ve moved was about 86. Usually it’s under 80. It’s humid, sticky — but relatively perfect for August. It’s been raining since Saturday night, so going on 24 hours, but not Oklahoma-style rain. It’s just a pleasant, slow-drip, soaking rain. Perhaps that’s why there are so many trees? I love rainy days, especially rainy days when I’m off work, so today I loaded up in the car and went to the town of Enfield to do some shopping. I listened to Van Morrison‘s “Astral Weeks” on the way — perfection. On the way home, I listened to U2’s “October.” Blissful.

So yeah, I think I’m gonna like it here. I’ve always been of the mind that home is where you make it (so you wanna see homos naked, who cares? — name THAT movie!) but Connecticut seems pretty welcoming and luscious, kinder than I thought and close enough to everything that I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything.

I haven’t listened to any Oklahoma-based music still — don’t want to forcibly make myself homesick. I know that day is coming.

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Filed under ESPN, General Nonsense, Newspapers, Travel, Tulsa, weather

The Brown, Brown Grass of Home

I’m leaving for Connecticut in a few hours for a three-day trip to find new digs. I’m hopeful my horrible-but-improving credit doesn’t mean I’ll be living in a trailer in the “Please-Kill” zone.

I’m leaving Oklahoma much as it will be when I return. Fucking blistering burning sizzling Rapture hot. My air conditioning and I have a pep talk every morning, and I turn it down for 20 minutes or so to let it rest a minute. Then it’s back to full-time use.

It’s been over 100 degrees in Oklahoma for 20 days straight or so. This is unusual, even for us. It reminds me of when I started the Garish Chicken — we were buried under roughly 257 inches of snow. I said then I was ready for summer. I didn’t mean THIS kind of summer.

I’m starting to think Oklahoma has an identify crisis. Desert, Vietnam-style monsoon. Desert. Flood. Tornado. Hurricane. Tornado. Blizzard. Blargh.

This heat is ree-damn-diculous. I find myself asking God — Why? Why this? Why the brown grass that’s typical of November? I don’t bother watering because hey, it means less mowing. And I know Josh, my lawn ninja (I never see him come or go) would be glad for that.

Seriously, it hasn’t rained in three weeks or more. And that was just dribble. It’s a wee bit hotter than normal in Connecticut too — like 90 or so — but today it’s 81 and rainy. I’m flying into rain, which titillates me. (tee-hee I love that word).

But I’m hoping my beloved Sooner State doesn’t just become a dried leaf of a thing hanging on the withered vine that is the torched Midwest to Mid-South. I’d like to have something to come home to. I’d like people to stay here instead of running mass-exodus style, so there will be a few good apartments in the moist Northeast for me.

Seriously, this feels like end-times heat. We have had nothing but ridiculous weather since last year. I bitched last spring (2010) about the lack of interesting weather. I take it all back now — and hope that the Weather Controllers and Comptrollers know that I was JUST TALKING SMACK. I’m sorry. Please forgive me.

I even did what Gov. Fallin said to do — I prayed for rain. Of course there is a prayer in the Episcopalian Book of Common Prayer for just such an occasion:

O God, heavenly Father, who by thy Son Jesus Christ
hast promised to all those who seek thy kingdom and its
righteousness all things necessary to sustain their life: Send
us, we entreat thee, in this time of need, such moderate rain
and showers, that we may receive the fruits of the earth, to
our comfort and to thy honor; through Jesus Christ our
Lord. Amen.

I love the Book of Common Prayer. It truly covers all the bases. And yes, I realize I used the F-Word in the same blog as a prayer. I personally don’t believe God punishes us for using moderate cuss words. It’s refreshing.

OK, on that note, before this becomes a religion blog, I’ll say adieu. Please hose down the state while I’m gone.

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Filed under Connecticut, Moving, Travel, Tulsa, weather

Super Creepy Newsroom, I’ll miss you

The newsroom is empty this afternoon. I expect a werewolf and/or ghost of a wolverine to jump out at any moment and devour my face.

It’s so rare that I’m in a deserted newsroom that I don’t really know what to make of it. The constant chatter on the scanner is … entertaining, and takes some of the fear out of every creak and groan this 157 year old building makes, but doesn’t completely take away my irrational fear.

It does, however, quiet the sounds of my overblown emotions. I’m sure it’s hormonal, or the fact that absolutely every single aspect of my life is in complete dis-array AND dat-array. All I know is, I was reading a story about a woman being released from prison, then the U.S. women defeated Brazil on penalty kicks, then I was crying in the bathroom. I had to call my therapist — my sister Natalie — who listened to me whine incessantly for 20 minutes or so.

Back in the newsroom, though alone, it seems inappropriate to weep at my desk unabashedly. I finally just had to turn off espn because every time I see Abby Wambach crying, I bust loose with the tears.

Sure I’m proud of the U.S. women’s soccer team. But are they worth this tantrum? Allowing myself to experience any emotion at all has been unusual lately. I have this tenuous grasp on my world. Too many balls in the air. My sense of humor and reality is tamped down into this “MUST FOCUS ON MOVING” mentality.

I know, poor pitiful me, right? Shucks, I got a great job and have to work hard to get moved to it. WAAAHHH. I don’t mean to sound ungrateful. In a few weeks, when live is settled a bit and I’m working in Connecticut, I’ll be much better and hopefully sound more grateful.

It’s just surprising me that I’m so verklempt over soccer — or whatever that was about. I haven’t cried at the things I thought I would — seeing some friends for the last time for a while, driving down 11th Street past my first apartment, packing away everything… I’m such a reminiscing fool, it’s odd for me not to cry about that kind of stuff. Instead, I’m bottling it up and crying about the World Cup.

In front of the newsroom’s ghosts/zombies. I’m sorry, supernaturals. I know you don’t like people showing weakness. Newsroom supernaturals are tough old birds.

People are starting to come into the newsroom now, so I’d better suck it up and quit bawling… I’ve at least got to save face for my last week of work.

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Filed under Connecticut, ESPN, Moving, Newspapers, Travel, Tulsa, Women

East Coast Girls are hip (and other tales of moving to a foreign state)

With apologies to the Beach Boys, I prefer David Lee Roth‘s version of ” California Girls.” Holy crap, what a great video. If you don’t remember it, it’s here. David Lee Roth and in some instances, (I’m talkin’ to you, “Hot For Teacher“) Van Halen, made perhaps the best videos of the Great Video Era, the era that made me who I am today. Ah, MTV. You are now so full of suck.

But I am belaboring the point of this blog. It does, however, make nice little entry points into what I really want to talk about: ME!

In fewer than three weeks, I’ll be living and working in Connecticut. I know I’ll be working in Bristol for ESPN. I’m not sure, however, where I’ll be living. That’ll take care of itself. And since I have absolutely no idea if I want to live in the city or country, I guess I’ll know it when I see it. Fortunately, Disney/ESPN has an app for that — a real life app/counselor who will show me around the great Nutmeg state until I find someplace where me, the dog and everyone else can live in peace and harmony and sports.

I haven’t blogged, yes, I know, but my life has been in relative chaos, plus my brain hurts. I think I’m vapor-locked. I have been getting just exhausted at the idea of doing anything — but then I get so much accomplished, I’m shocked. Today I’m waiting for people to call to tell me how to go about selling my house. I had already sorta gone through this with my own Realtor, but you know, Disney has their own way of doing things — and that’s totally cool since they’re moving me gratis.

I’m going to let them ship my car, then rent a car and make the trek up to C-State with my bro Nick. He’s already requested to see a large ball of twine. Challenge accepted.

I haven’t hardly had a chance to let the whole “I’m leaving Oklahoma, land that I love” angle sink in yet, and that’s probably a good thing. I will NOT be listening to any Shelley West/David Frizzell classics, at least until I’m so settled I can’t change my mind. “You’re the Reason God Made Oklahoma” was the reason I moved back to the Sooner State after living in Dallas. But Dallas was so much closer — and the job wasn’t as awesome as the one I’m about to undertake. Holy crap, I’m workin’ for ESPN.

I’m kind of packing, mostly just getting rid of stuff. Disney’s moving team does the actual packing. I just have to pack the stuff I don’t want them to see! Seriously, I don’t want them reading my crappy poetry from the 90s and thinking I’m a psycho. I’m sure they won’t but I’m a paranoid girl who wrote a lot of bad poetry.

Life is sort of on one of those weird collision courses right now. Way too many coincidences. It’s like when I lived in Tahlequah and I knew I was exactly in the right place at the right time. I missed Tahlequah and my friends before our time was even up. Right now, I just can’t help but think this is, great job aside, where I belong.

Not to go all transcendental weirdo here, but I had a dream a few years ago that I moved to Portland, Maine, and it started this whole East Coast love again. Don’t know why I’ve always had it. Since I was 11, when I went there on a summer trip, seeing Boston, Nantucket, Cape Cod… I felt like it was sort of my next home. And lo and behold, it is.

Now, instead of wondering about the news value of 2012’s supposed End O’ the World, I’m hoping it’s all bollocks and I will live in New England in a great apartment FOREVER. Make bi-annual trips to the Cape, actually become acquainted with NYC, go to Red Sox games (preferably during Interleague, when the Rockies are in town) and a million other things.

(Yes, I wondered at the news value of the End of Days. I can’t help it. 100 percent journalist.)

I’m still waiting for ESPN to call and tell me the deal’s off.  They haven’t yet. In fact, they keep calling with more details, so I guess it’s really going to happen. Geez, am I ready for this? And I know I’ll be missing all my Oklahoma people before long. I know they’re happy for me though, and with the magic of the Garish  Chicken, I intend to keep you all hanging on my every word (haha, yeah right.)

To avoid a possible meltdown here, I’m going to do what I do best and deflect with music. Let’s go back to the land of the music video, that bygone era when music and movies came together for 3 to 5 minutes of brilliance.

Case in point:  Yankee Rose. 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Brain Disorders, Connecticut, ESPN, Fun!, Moving, Music, Tahlequah, Travel, Tulsa, TV

Comparisons: 1995 Sarah vs. 2011 Sarah (Introspection 101)

I’m a few months from my 37th birthday. That doesn’t look as bad on the computer screen as it feels in my head.

I realize that 37 isn’t technically old. It ain’t 22, which I’m pretty sure was my favorite year on earth. I say pretty sure because I don’t remember much of it. Ah, college. Ah, Tahlequah. The entire city has an above-the-legal-limit blood alcohol level, I’m convinced.

I’ve been a Tulsan since 2002, after spending 10 years in Tahlequah. This year, especially, has been pivotal, and I have a feeling the Wheel of Fortune hasn’t stopped turning, either for bad or for evil. (I’m not talking about the show, though in my advanced years, I like that a lot now too.)

Events in my life seem to be spiraling quickly. Once you set the ol’ wheel in motion in my life, you have to hold on. I’m slow to motivate, but once I’ve got my mind made up, it’s on. I blame my fiery Aries mama for this.

Some new developments, for those who care: Still waiting to hear from ESPN. Lost my job at the Food Bank. Putting my house on the market. Hopefully doing some freelance work. Minimizing, my stuff and my rotund self.

To kick off this effort (that sound SO MUCH like a press release) I’ve decided to pit 2011 Sarah against 1995 Sarah. It’s a startling contrast, and I’m proud to say that 2011 Sarah wins… not in the Charlie Sheen sense, but still.

1995 Sarah’s job: Manager, Del Rancho restaurant.
2011 Sarah’s job: Assistant editor, Tulsa World.
Advantage: 2011.

1995 Sarah’s bedtime:  5 a.m., or whenever we heard the birds and the streetsweeper, we knew it was time to retire.
2011 Sarah’s bedtime: A much more reasonable 2 a.m. or 3 a.m., but only because I now only have one job and it’s a later start. And I’m a natural night owl.
Advantage: 2011, though 1995 was way more fun.

Oh, Sarah. Where did you get these ridiculous outfits? The hair alone is bad enough. But I thought I was bad-ass. Hilarious. It was 1995. That's my excuse.

1995 Sarah’s clothes: Hippie not-so-chic, cut-off corduroys, flower-print Doc Martens, band T-shirts, no makeup, no hairdryer, no straightener, no jewelry. Sack-like dresses
2011 Sarah’s clothes: Black pants in various cuts, black dresses, solid-print tops with black cardigans, black and more black, a spot of jewelry, hair blown dry every day and straightened, or at least brushed, makeup every day.
Advantage: 2011, by a longshot.

1995 Sarah’s diet: Pasta-Roni, Taco Bell, sandwiches. Chinese food from Grand China.
2011 Sarah’s diet: Whatever I can find, Taco Bueno, homemade Chinese food, lots of soup.
Advantage: Tie. I still eat horrible food on occasion. I really wish my parents would’ve let me have more fast food growing up so I didn’t feel the compulsion to make up for lost time.

1995 Sarah’s fitness: 12-ounce curls, bong-lifting and other recreational “hobbies,”  couch-jumping.
2011 Sarah’s fitness: Lots of walking, active gym membership (just got a new one at the Y, going today for the first time!)… but more than that, an actual knowledge of the need for fitness instead of a general lack of caring.
Advantage: 2011.

1995 Sarah’s relationships: Blah.
2011 Sarah’s relationships: Blah, but don’t really give a shit.
Advantage: Blah.

1995 Sarah’s inner peace: Fabricated by copious amounts of weed and alcohol
2011 Sarah’s inner peace: Somewhat tattered, but at least it can pass a drug test. Lack of paranoia is refreshing.
Advantage: 2011.

1995 Sarah’s ambition: Throwing the Best Party Ever, seeing more shows than you.
2011 Sarah’s ambition: Sky-high. Maybe I can still become a singer (kidding). Entering poetry and short-story contests.  Trying for new job on the East Coast. The Novel isn’t just a dream anymore, it’s rising to the surface.
Advantage: Depends on the outcome. Some days, I really miss the carefree days of college, when I was just accruing debt instead of dreaming about paying it off. I miss going to two shows a week, drinking shots every night, etc. But now, I wake up with more hope instead of hangovers. If I accomplish everything I hope to, then definitely Advantage 2011.

1995 Sarah’s lodging: Cheap rent house. At one time, we paid $53/month to rent this cheap little house because so many people lived in it.
2011 Sarah’s lodging: My own house, which I’m about to put on the market. Homeownership is great, some of the time.
Advantage: I wouldn’t be saying this last year, but advantage 1995. I miss renting. I miss the freedom to just up and leave. I hope my house sells.

1995 Sarah’s friends: I saw them every day. I had a lot. I loved them like family.
2011 Sarah’s friends: I don’t see them enough. I have many left. I love them like family.
Advantage: Tie. Damn we had fun. I made the best friends I could’ve ever made in college, and fortunately, most of them are still just a phone call away. The slight tip of the scale would go to 1995, but 2011 is strong in the knowledge that they’re not going anywhere. Love you guys.

 1995 Sarah’s cash flow: I lived paycheck to paycheck, but didn’t hardly have any bills. Always had money for clothes and … well, everything.
2011 Sarah’s cash flow: I live paycheck to paycheck, but I’m doing what I love. Never have money.
Advantage: 2011, though it’s a close call. In 1995, I didn’t even have credit cards. I spent like there was no tomorrow and lived for financial aid’s change checks. At least in 2011 I have some accountability, and am paying off the debt I accrued in the early 2000s.

1995 Sarah’s music: Jane’s Addiction, Liz Phair, PJ Harvey, Nirvana, The Doors, Tripping Daisy, Ween, Hole, Pearl Jam, Flaming Lips, anything “stoner rock” or “trippy rock.”
2011 Sarah’s music: Boundless. Ween (for the win!), Bob Dylan, Professor Longhair, The Modern Lovers, Sex Pistols, Nat King Cole, The Libertines, U2, Jane’s Addiction, Balfa Brothers, Roxy Music, Duran Duran, Morrissey/Smiths, Black Sabbath, Pavement, Norah Jones… the list goes on.
Advantage: 2011. Technology has made my music library swell to unbelievable heights. I don’t get to go to as many shows as before, but I can immerse myself in music so much easier than before. It’s still my No. 1 hobby, which hasn’t changed since 1978, but now it’s all at my fingertips… HUGE advantage 2011.

There are more comparisons, but these are the ones I’ve undertaken. I challenge you to pit yourself against another time and see what era comes out the winner. It’s enlightening to see how far you’ve come, and it makes you realize that you’re got it pretty good.

Advantage: Sarah.

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Artificial Nails and a trip to the Mothership

So I haven’t blogged since the Rapture threat. Bet ya’ll thought for a second that I’d been raptured on up, didn’t you? Then you took a moment to look back at my scandalous blogs and realized I use a lot of dirty words, which according to most studies of Rapture, would automatically disqualify me for a spot in heaven.

I’d rather be down here with all you sinners anyway.

The day after the Big Fake Rapture, Sunday, we had a horrific tornado not too far from my home in Tulsa, in Joplin. People outside of Oklahoma may be shocked to learn that Joplin is close to Tulsa — about an hour or so, actually.

No joking — that tornado was awful, and I have a few good friends who survived, but will never be the same. Prayers for the whole city.

Later that night, Tulsa was visited by the loudest, most obnoxious hail storm I’ve ever heard in all my days. Egg-sized hail flung itself at my roof, freaking the absolute fucknuts out of my cats. Percy perched on my chest, then bolted, digging his Ginsu Talons into my soft chest skin. Penny went into complete hiding. Leon wanted to go outside because he’s a dog and kind of a dumb bunny.

But the best part of this story is that I had to be up Monday morning at 3:30 a.m. I tried to go to bed at 9, heavily dosed on Tylenol PM. I fell asleep for about 30 minutes, woke up. Fell asleep, was awakened by what sounded like falling sledgehammers hitting my roof during the hailstorm. Woke up again at 1 a.m. with nausea. Was awake when my alarm sounded at 3:30.

This is the sign for ESPN. No, I didn't take it. I took no pictures, lest I look like a complete tourist. And no one likes a tourist.

Why, oh why, did I have to get up at this ungodly hour? I was making a trip to Bristol, Conn., to board the Mothership, and they made the travel plans nice and early.

For my reader(s) who aren’t sports fans, ESPN’s headquarters are in Bristol. It’s called the Mothership because it’s the be-all, end-all sports Mecca, the keeper of the cheese, the owner of all the playbooks. I had a job interview with ESPN for an associate editor position. Considering I only got about 30 minutes of sleep the night before the interview, it went remarkably well. Or maybe I’m just fooling myself into believing that.

Because I have artificial nails now — an attempt to wow the good folks at ESPNs, so they wouldn’t see my gnarly nubby  nails that have taken years of abuse — I am a horrible typist. So I’ll construct the Day of the Interview in timeline format so I don’t drive myself crazy. I’m a really good typist normally, but these nails make me hit extra keys. It’s tres annoying.

Ladies and Gentlemen, The Time… line.

It went a lil’ sumthin’ like this… hit it!

* Wake up at 3:30 a.m., surprisingly at peace and awake. Realize it’s self-imposed bullshit, but nevertheless carry on. Shower,  get ready, eat raisin bran. I’m packed. Head to Tulsa International Airport, park the car, get stuck in security behind a chirpy church group headed to Disneyland, roll my eyes 1,000 times, board the plane.

* Travel to Detroit on the only comfortable flight I’m going to get out of this whole trip. Got a solo seat, stretched out, actually napped a bit. A little worried about why they took my bag that I didn’t want to check, afraid they’ll charge me for it and I don’t have that kind of spare money. Ask the gorgeous statuesque flight attendant with the smoothest, darkest skin I’ve ever seen. She tells me in an Atlanta accent that it’s just valet because it’s a small plane. Chill, yo. Everything is fine.

Detroit's airport

Swear to God, this is Detroit's airport. Very trippy. Kind of soothing. Altogether awesome.

* Land in Detroit, realize I don’t have time between flights, run through Detroit’s trippy-awesome airport at breakneck speed, aided by people-movers, which make even fatties like me feel like a Kenyan. Board plane that brings me back to reality… tiny Delta plane, middle seat, feeling like I weigh just over 600 pounds. Can’t relax. Sweat pours out of me, starting to feel nerves of impending interview.

* Land in Hartford, Conn., wander around aimlessly looking for the rental car place, have to ask someone, an older woman with a thick New England accent. I ask her to repeat herself twice. Sound like an Okie. Run to the shuttle. Still don’t know where they’re taking me (I’ve never rented a car) but arrive at the National lot. Go inside, get reserved car, and the guy checking me out is so impressed that ESPN is paying for it and that I’m a girl who knows sports that he gives me the nicest, newest car on the lot, a 2011 VW CC. Gorgeous… and terrifying. I get in, am about to drive off, when he comes back to my window to tell me his boss thinks he gave me too big of an upgrade. So I have to go back in, reprocess all the paperwork, get a Ford Fusion that is also nice (only 12 miles on it), load my GPS for Bristol, which is about 30 minutes away, and finally leave the car rental place. The clock in the car is set wrong, sending me into a complete cold sweat. I want to call ESPN to tell them I’m running late, but the oh-so-friendly shuttle driver has already overtly warned me of Johnny Law crackin’ down on cell-phone users in their cars. So I’m one of THOSE states, am I? In Oklahoma, driving/phone talking is regulated by the NCAA.

* Only get briefly lost on the way to Bristol. Finally figure out the clock is wrong, but still am cutting it close for my 2 p.m. interview. Especially since I have done nothing but sweat and worry since Detroit, and I’d really like NOT to look like a methed-out trucker during the interview. Check into the Clarion Hotel across from The Mothership, which if you haven’t been there, is discretely tucked into what appears to be a forest where Bambi went to get away from it all.

* Check into hotel. Do an actual shot of coffee. Wash pits/thorax and put on pretty dress. Call HR to tell them of possible lateness. No answer, leave hasty, worried message. Slap on makeup… yes, literally slap it on. It was almost painful. Race to ESPN, enter Big Time Security, get checked in at 2:08, eight minutes late, but not bad considering I just few in from Tulsa (and boy, were my arms… Oh, sorry.) Get a second to breathe, then am escorted to another building in the official ESPNmobile (not to be confused with their iPhone app! HOHOHA). Meet up with head of department.

* Interview with some extremely smart people. Fantasize about living in Bristol. Michael Wilbon said hi. People rushing around all over Making It Happen. SportsCenter anchors just hanging out in the newsroom, like actual folk, because — get this — they are actual folk. 

* Realize around 3 p.m. that the bowl of raisin bran I had 12 hours before isn’t filling me up anymore. Start to sweat coldly. Shaking commences, like sudden diabetes. My interviewer asks me if I’ve had anything to eat. She’ll make a good mom someday — picking up on clues like that. Of course I was gnawing on the news desk. She whisks me to the Caf, a beautiful place where all my dreams could come true. Cooks standing around waiting to make you things. Remember that scene in “Annie”  when she’s singing “I Think I’m Gonna Like it Here”? That was me in the ESPN cafeteria. The girl interviewing me didn’t seem too deterred by the singing and dancing. Later I would have dinner there, and all would be OK again. Broke out in song again.

* Interview more, learn a few of the ropes, realize how normal this place is. It’s just a huge freakin’ opportunity. Nerves dissolve somewhat, enough for me to attempt to be myself a bit more.

* Dinner. With the woman interviewing me. Turned out to be a good time, good food, excellent day. I’ve had approximately 2 hours of sleep and 300 calories, but am somehow pulling it all together. Try not to inhale dinner, eat slowly though I want to eat what I got and go back for seconds. I had the pasta puttanesca from the pasta bar, sauteed fresh with olives, garlic and mushrooms. And a garlic roll. Are you kidding me? This is available every day? Have great conversation with the interviewer, head back to the Clarion.

* Watch enough of the Thunder game to get a false sense of security. Slip into coma-like sleep for four hours, get up at 4:30 ET, 3:30 CT, realize the Thunder blew a 10-point lead, and head to the Hartford airport. Drop off car I now loathe because it doesn’t have the Corolla’s raw power and well-worn seats, go directly to Dunkin’ Donuts and get an egg white sandwich and large coffee. Smile all the way to my shoes.

* Go to Atlanta. Eat again, a Wendy’s airport cheeseburger at 10 a.m. ET. Get on the world’s tiniest plane and sit uncomfortably close to a guy who doesn’t even courtesy smile. Feel uncomfortable for three hours. Land, get the hell out of all airports, walk aimlessly around the airport trying to find my car, pay way too much for parking, go the fuck home.

* Have to call the plumber as soon as I get home. The house flooded before I went on my tour of the Eastern Seaboard. This plumbing visit resulted in a few more, lots more dollars spent, but finally, the ability to shower without flooding the kitchen.

* The day I returned was supposed to be the biggest night for tornadoes of the season. It was awful west of Tulsa, but we just got wind and storms. Still gunshy from Joplin, the entire population of Oklahoma was crammed into shelters and closets and God knows what for most of the evening. But I was finally full, just had an interview with the biggest sports organization in the world, and I was finally — FINALLY — full. The making-up-sleep part took several days to get over.

So that’s my trip. Not sure what’s going to happen with the job, but I totally was thankful for the opportunity to interview. We’ll see what happens. I’m happy here, I’d be happy there. I am doubly blessed to not be desperate for work, something I try to remain mindful of every day. But it sure was cool seeing the Mothership. Did I mention they have air hockey? In the HALLWAY?

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