Friday, September 30, 2011

Bright lights, big city

Everything that I know about New York I learned on Seinfeld.  For example: when Travis and I were trying to decide which airport to fly into - JFK or La Guardia - I knew that they weren't THAT far from each other because in a Seinfeld episode, Jerry and Elaine's airplane keeps getting re-routed back and forth between JFK and La Guardia, and George and Kramer have to drive back and forth and George gets all in a huffy because it was going to be the perfect airport pick-up, but not it won't be because they have to drive back and forth so much.

Anyways, you can imagine how thrilled I was to see the Seinfeld Restaurant.  The REAL Seinfeld Restaurant.

When I called my dad and told him that I saw it, he asked if Jerry and George were sitting in their usual booth.  OBVIOUSLY.

So, my friend Travis and I spent 5 days in New York a couple weeks ago.  I was prompted to take the trip after receiving an email from one of my dear friends that I met in Ecuador when I was in the jungle, Bibi.  Bibi was taking a vacation to Canada and NYC and thought HEY!  Instead of buying a ticket to Amsterdam, Sara can just buy a ticket to NYC!!  

I initially invited Peter to go along with me, but "big city vacation stress [him] out... Except for Vegas", so I invited my other boyfriend Travis to come along.  And we had a grand time!!  While I was in Ecuador, I made a lot of friends, and this makes travelling in the USA especially awesome.  Travis, Bibi and I were able to stay with our friends Peter and Carin.  They have a wonderful house built in the 1700's with more than enough room for us to sleep.  They live in a town that is a 45 minute train ride outside of the city - which was really nice.  It was refreshing and relaxing to be able to leave the hustle and bustle of the city at night and fall asleep to the sounds of crickets instead of car horns.

Here are some pictures and maybe a story or two from the trip.  If you saw the album on Facebook - the pictures and most of the captions are PROBABLY the same.  Fair warning.

We sat and stared at this building for a while.

Sharpest angle in the city.
As we were walking around the city on the first day, we saw a lot of strange things.  I didn't take pictures of a lot of them, because I didn't want to get shot, but then Bibi talked me into taking this picture.  At first we thought this guy was a street actor, but it turned out that he was a homeless man standing with his head down so he looked like he didn't have a head.  
It really DOES look like he's headless.
 Since we were staying with Peter and Carin, we went grocery shopping.  

Cart for the groceries.  Cart for luggage.
Bibi started out pushing a cart, but then he would just leave the luggage cart while he wandered off.  I'm not just saying that he went to the other end of the aisle.  He went to the other end of the STORE.  That's when Travis volunteered to just stand in the foreign foods aisle with both carts while Bibi and I went looking for food that we wanted.

I really enjoyed looking at all of the buildings.  Lots of old buildings.  Lots of new buildings.  My neck hurt by the time I went back home.

One of these things is not like the other...

And then.  I saw my heaven.



And then one day, we decided to see the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.  Turned out, it was our lucky day.  Our VERY lucky day.

Thanks to my friend Ashley, we bought tickets online so that we could skip the line.  We bought the "Flex Tickets", advertising SKIP THE LINE!!!!!!!!!!!.  Because we had these great skip the line tickets, we took our time getting to the city.  Took our time moseying to the tent where we present our skip the line tickets and get to immediately get on a boat.  

Plenty of time to get a pic taken
in front of the Financial District

MORE than enough time for a photo-op in front of the
Statue of Liberty, even though we'll be able to touch it
in a few short minutes since we have SKIP THE LINE tickets.

As we mosey our way closer to the tent where we were going to skip the line, we decided to ask a nice police officer where exactly we're supposed to go.  He was inside the gate on the side of the white tent where we wanted to be.  I showed him our tickets.

Police Officer Paul: Oh.  You've got to go to the back of the line.
Sara: Whaaaaaaaaaat? :( :(
Paul: Yeah.  These are to skip the line to BUY the tickets.  You've still got to wait a few hours.
Sara: Nooooooooooooooooooooooooo. :( :( :(
Paul: (looks at Bibi) Does Elvis know you stole his glasses? 
Bibi: Maybe you could let us in right here? :D :D
Paul: (opens jacket slightly to reveal a taser) If you get in line here, you get a free dose of electricity.
Sara: 8|
Paul: >:)
Sara: Is there ANYTHING that you can do?  
Paul: :|
Sara, Bibi, and Travis: :D 
Paul: :]  I'll tell you what.  Go on the other side of the tent, and find Big Rob.  He's big.  You can't miss him.  He might be able to help you.
Sara: ... (:D And who sent us?
Paul: ... Paul.  Tell him Paul sent you.

So we went over and found Big Rob.

Sara: Hiiiiii, are you Rob?
Bibi: Big Rob?
Big Rob: Ye-uh. (He was a big dude)
Sara: *shoves tickets in his hand* Well, Paul sent us, and he said you might be able to help us?
Big Rob: Paul who?  I know a lotta Pauls.
Bibi: Paul with the electricity!
Big Rob: Uh-huh, cop Paul.  *stares at papers*
Sara, Bibi, and Travis: *stare at Big Rob*
Big Rob: Follow me.
Sara, Bibi, and Travis: *shocked faces* OK!

And then Big Rob ushered us to the front of the 3 hour line, and opened the gate.  And that was that!  We were in!  Amazing what a nice smile and some small-talk can do.

After going through the equivalent of airport security we finally made it on to the boat.


And then we were on Liberty Island.

Being tourists.


REALLY being tourists.

Just staring at people picking their noses.  Yes, I really did put in 50 cents.
Then we went to Ellis Island.  I really liked it there.  But am not including any pictures, because they're boring.

When we were back on the main land, we were close to the 9/11 Memorial, so we decided to take a bus there to see if we could see anything.  Travis and I were hoping to be able to get tickets to go in, but when we looked online before we left, the whole thing was booked through the end of October, so we thought it'd be pretty hopeless.  

When we got there, we couldn't see ANYTHING because the gates were so high and covered.  Once again, we talked to the right person at the right time, because she told us that if we were at a certain address at 8 on Saturday morning, we could get a ticket to go in.  So we got up early and went.

Just to let you know, to see the memorial is free, but I understand why you have to have a ticket to get in.  It would be SWAMPED all the time if they didn't regulate it, and that would really take away from the atmosphere.  

Inside it was really somber and sad.  But they did a beautiful job with the memorial.  I'm really happy that I was able to see it.

This a church right near the site.  It became a memorial on its own.  The ribbons all have something written on them, like a person's name and the floor they were on when the towers went down.  It was so sad, looking at all of those ribbons.

This is one of the pools.  They looked like they would go down forever.  There are two identical pools, the North Pool and the South Pool.  They are the footprints of the World Trade Centers.

The names of those lost are all around the edges.  I was expecting them to be close together, and hard to read.  But it was perfect.  The names of people are engraved in, but then they had letters raised up that said what they were a part of - Flight 175, Ladder 5, etc.

My heart broke when I saw people doing rubbings of names.  The only thing that I could think about was whose name they were rubbing - their dad?  Their sister?  Their child? 

Deanna Lynn Galante and her unborn child.  That was the most heartbreaking of all.

They're building a museum that houses some of the devastation from September 11, 2001.  It isn't completed yet, but this is the building for it.

We were only in the memorial for about a half an hour, and that was enough.

Later that night, Travis and I got all dressed up to see The Lion King.

When we were in college, we went to a formal together, and we got voted Best Dressed Couple.  And Least Likely to Get Married, but that's beside the point.

And THEN on Sunday, our last day, we walked all over the place and saw Central Park.

Strawberry Fields

 And then we went home and I was happy to sleep in my own bed.

I've seriously been working on this blog since last week, but Blogger is dumb and not cooperating, and it isn't turning out the way I want it to, and it doesn't look the way the I set it up when I push "preview" so whatever you see, like the large spaces and not lined up pictures, is NOT my fault.

I'm happy I'm done with this post, because I've been SO frustrated with it that I just exit out and one time I did that without saving, so THEN I was REALLY mad.

But now you know about my trip to NYC, and you can tell that I was sick of writing at the end, but that's ok because now you don't have to read anymore.  And if you made it this far, thanks.  I like you.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

3 years

I'm working on the post about New York, but sometimes computers are dumb and make it hard to put as many pictures up as I want to.  So then I get frustrated and have to stop working on it before I throw something at the computer screen.  But it is in the works, and will be coming soon!!

This week, Peter and I celebrated our 3 year anniversary.  

On Monday, we went out for a nice dinner and looked all pretty.

We went to our new favorite restaurant called Fetaz that serves tapas and sandwiches and other yummy things.  The waitress asked what we wanted to drink, and I ordered first, and since we're soooo romantic, I ordered wine.

Peter ordered Mellow Yellow.

When we decided what we wanted to eat, because we're soooo romantic, Peter ordered three different tapas that we could share.

I ordered the Tyrannosaurus Rex sandwich (DISCLAIMER: It is not as gluttonous as it sounds.  It's actually quite delicious and more the size of a Raptor.  Honey barbecue chicken, pineapple salsa and some sort of light, delicious bread.).

On Wednesday was the actual day where three years ago Peter asked me to be his giiiiiirlfrieeeeend.  

Peter's been super busy with work and presentations and things, so I didn't think that I'd be able to see him last night, but then it worked out that he could come to my apartment for a quick dinner.

I exercised right after work.  When I exercise, I sweat like no other and my face gets all red, and I disgust even myself.  But HEY.  I'm EXERCISING so SHUT UP.

Via text -

Sara: I just want to remind you that I am the least attractive (1) while I'm working out and (2) until I've showered after working out.

Pete: Well I'm heading over to see you now!

Sara: Ok, just remember how much you love me while you're on your way.  At least I changed my clothes.

So then Peter came over and we were super romantic eating chicken wings and using 3428397 napkins.  He looked super put-together because he came right from work.  I, on the other hand, was much less attractive wearing sweatpants and a t-shirt, and my hair slicked to my head, cheeks still slightly rosy.

But we took a picture anyways.  This is, after all, the first time that we've actually been able to SEE each other on our anniversary.

Thanks, Peter, for still liking me even when I'm in my least attractive state.

And also for letting my write about you on my blog.  Because I don't know if I'd let you write about me.

PS: When I was writing about the tapas, I kept writing tatas, and it made me laugh every time.  Mature, I know.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Teeeeee Veeeeee


This is the happiest week of my life.  Why, you ask?

I LOVE TV.  Starting this week, as I'm sure most of you know, unless you are like Peter and don't watch TV in which case I judge you, all of the fall premieres begin.  Since I am addicted to TV, I of course see a commercial for a new show and say, "Oh MY, I think that I would just LOVE that TV show."

Unfortunately, I've been quite busy lately, so my TV watching has been quite lax.  Thank GOD for the internet is all I have to say about THAT.

In case you were wondering, these are the TV shows that I will probably be addicted to this fall:


Dancing with the Stars.  (Already addicted) I got hooked on this show last fall when I was nannying, and then the 6 year old twins that I was nannying got hooked on it too.  I never realized how many B, C, even D rated actors/actresses/athletes/models/singers there were until I started watching this show.  I missed last night's premiere because I was eating sushi with Kim and Peter, but alas, I will watch the results show tonight and be just fine.  

The Playboy Club.  (New addiction) Series premiere.  Missed this one too, but I'm enthralled by the TV show because there was a real live Playboy Club in Lake Geneva where I grew up.  And I really like drama.


Glee.  (Already addicted) I like singing.  I like dancing.  I like watching people do both.  Here's to hoping that this season is better than the last one with more Lady Gaga.

Dancing with the Stars.  (See above) Well I have to see the results from the dancing night, now, don't I??

90210.  (Secret addiction) Guilty pleasure.  Stop judging.


Ah yes, Wednesday, possibly my favorite TV night of all!!

America's Next Top Model.  (Already addicted) If your last name is Vanderstappen and you are a girl and you grew up on Mohawk Road and are under the age of 50, you love this show.  It is on constantly at my parents' house on the weekends when Bravo or Oxygen or sometimes VH1 does a marathon.  It doesn't matter that we see 2 seconds of the episode and know who wins the cycle AND who will not be going on to become America's next top model.  We watch it anyways.  Even my dad knows who is getting kicked off.  The CW has done this wonderful thing called ANTM All Stars this season.  I AM REALLY EXCITED.  And so are my sisters.  But I missed the first episode.  Don't worry.  I'll catch up.

Modern Family.  (Already addicted) If you haven't seen this show, I highly recommend it.  It makes me laugh every time and it's won a ton of Emmys and stuff, so I know I'm not the only one laughing.  Laugh with AMERICA, people, and watch Modern Family.  

The Middle.  (Already addicted) A TV show about a family growing up in the Midwest?  YES PLEASE.  Peter saw one episode of this show and still talks about it.  And he only saw it because I was watching it when he came over, and I told him that I wouldn't talk to him until it was over.  It was a new one, stop judging.

Revenge.  (New addiction) Since they cancelled one of my other shows that I loved (Brothers and Sisters), I want to watch this brand new series because one of the actresses that was in Brothers and Sisters is in it.  And who doesn't love watching the ritzy people of the Hamptons deal with all of their rich people problems that I'll never understand?  I do!

Thursday and Friday there aren't really shows on that I'm addicted too.  I really like The Office, but it's not a show that I need to tune into every week, especially when I have a full schedule like the one above.  On Sunday I'll probably watch the new series Pan Am, because I just know I'll like it.

So anyways, please don't try to talk to me between 7 and 9 (but sometimes 10) PM CST Monday through Wednesday because I probably won't answer since I will be busy watching TV.  You probably shouldn't talk to me on Thursday either, because I'll be watching the shows that I missed earlier in the week, since on Wednesday ANTM is at the same time as Modern Family.  Decisions, decisions!!

Good thing I don't have cable!!  Otherwise I wouldn't make it to work ever on time!

Mom, aren't you so proud to have raised a daughter like me???

Sunday, September 11, 2011


I wasn't going to post anything today about September 11.

But I'm watching the documentary on CBS, and crying again as they show footage of the towers disintegrating.

Most people remember where they were when the towers went down.  They remember thoughts, pictures, emotions.

I remember too.

I also remember, that two days after September 11, my mom turned on PBS.  And she left it on all the time, because she didn't want us seeing all of those images over and over and over.

I'm glad that she did that, because even when I was 14 years old, I remember watching PBS after school, and feeling like at least one thing in the world was still normal and consistent.

Everyone on Facebook today is posting things like "Never forget".

I don't think any of us will.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Yah gahtta see the baybee

My friend Kim and I have been saying this since we found out about Jenna's pregnancy.

I couldn't resist.

And this:

I hope a dingo doesn't eat baby Nora!  

But seriously.  Yah gahtta see that baybee. 

Maybe I'll send you a tape.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Pure, raw love.

Jenna texted me on Tuesday morning:

Okay... I won't be able to talk this morning, because I'm at the hospital being examined.  Not in labor yet so don't flip!  But long story - false labor last night.  I'll keep you updated!

I'm sorry, don't flip out?  Yeah right.

About an hour later, I got this text from Jenna:

Nurse just took a look, and I'm 6 cm dilated! She still has to take a sample to the lab, but thinks I'll be staying... OH MY GOD!!

And so began one of the most agonizing work days of my entire life.  A day full of texts and emails and phone calls.   Here are some of my favorites:

Email, 12:05 PM
From: svanderstappen
To: promenesko

Pete - Take tomorrow off work!  Doctor's say the baby will come by tonight!!!!!

Text, 12:44 PM; Jenna and Sara

Jenna: So Mark said you're taking tomorrow off?  Lol, after your long holiday weekend :)

Me: Why are you texting me?!  You should be having a baby!

Jenna: I'mmmmmm working on it!  It's not all that much fun to be honest...

Text, 6:40 PM; Sara and Travis (remember T whose hobby is going to the diner?  That's him.)

Me: Jenna's pushing now!!

Travis: OMG I'm doing lamaze breathing right now with her.

Me: Haaaaaaaahahahahaha

Travis: Omg I hope it's a boy.

Me: I'm hoping for a girl.

Travis: Whaaaaaaaaat all the Vanderstappens need is a little testosterone.  Poor Marty Jr. and Sr.

Me: Haha oh well!!

Travis: We should've placed bets.

And then came the call that I was waiting all day for.

Phone call, 7:32 PM; Jenna and Sara

Sara: Mom?

Jenna: No, it's me!

Sara: Are you a mom??

Jenna: Yeeeeees...

Sara: *crying* OHMYGOSH!  BOY OR GIRL?

Jenna: Girl!  Nora Margaret!!  She was born at 6:50!  7 pounds, 2 ounces and 19 inches long!!!  Sara... I'm a MOM!!!!!

Sara and Jenna: *crying*

Jenna:  Sara?  She's perfect. 

I haven't been able to stop smiling since I got that phone call.  

Peter and I met Nora on September 7.  I've felt a lot of different kinds of love, but when I held Nora, I felt a new kind of love.  It's this pure, raw love that I can't put into words.  This little girl stole my heart, even before I knew that my heart could be stolen.

Jenna and Mark are already the most amazing parents.  Nora is the luckiest girl.  

And do you know what?  Jenna was right - she is perfect.

Here are a few photos of my new little niece.  


Can we please just look at how GOOD Jenna looks?  She just birthed a CHILD, but she looks like she had a light workout.  Daaaaang, guuuuurl.

First family photo!!
I didn't even hug Jenna and Mark when we got to the hospital, I just went straight for the baby!
So so happy and full of love.
Mom still can't believe that her baby had a baby.  I just can't stop smiling looking at these pictures!!
3 Generations.  Weird.
Dad kept saying how cute she is.  Because "some babies look pretty beat up when they're first born."  But "God, Jen, she looks great!!"  Oh, Grandfather.

Proud Grandpa!
 When Dad saw this picture, he said, "Look at how big my hands are!"  When I saw Dad holding Nora, I said, "Dad!  Her hair is just like yours!!"

18 hours old
 When we were driving back up to Green Bay after saying bye to Nora, Peter kept saying, "I sure do like baby Nora."  You wouldn't guess from this picture that he was nervous to hold her!
"Sar, she's just so little."
 After we took this picture, Peter said, "Don't you put that as your Facebook profile picture, otherwise we'll have a lot of explaining to do!!"  So I'm putting it on my blog instead.

We're going to spoil her rotten.

Baby Nora went home today.  She's wearing the same clothes that Jenna went home from the hospital in!   
What a little peanut!
When Jenna and Mark got home, they looked at each other and said, "Well, now what?"

I have a feeling that they'll figure it out pretty quick.  

I love baby Nora.