Friday, March 30, 2007

I started my day with a good cry

I need to share this with you all...

Welcome Home, Daddy

I was moved to tears. Well, actually sobs. And I can't quit.

Thursday, March 29, 2007


Random questions and thoughts that have filled my head today.…

Didn’t LOST suck last night? They must be running out of their normal weird stuff…looking for fluffy filler. How can they introduce 2 new people in the third season (with no relevance to the main story)…Who cares?

How am I going to fit in my "mandatory " volunteer hours for Swim Club? I’m registering Maddie tonight, and they’ll be holding a $100 check ransom until I fulfill my 12-hour obligation. Isn’t that extortion?

Should I have cut back the Russian Sage in my garden or just left it alone? I got a little carried away with the garden shears this morning. Before I realized what I was doing…it was mostly gone. Oooops. I’ll have to Google that one…

Which Netflix movie should we watch tonight? Babel or Borat? Hmmm…..

Do you think there any truth to “The Secret”? For a couple days I was wishing for $10,000 in the next 2 months. But then I got freaked out and imagined getting the money at the expense of something else…something bad. So, I’m good…no need for $10,000 here, thanks.

Isn’t Ebay the greatest? In the last 2 weeks I’ve purchased Angel perfume, some skin care items, Dansko shoes, and a Sonicare toothbrush. And guess what? I saved a total of $220 from full retail price on all of these! I love it!

How can a family of 4 produce so much laundry? Oh my God…it’s unbelievable!

Do you ever feel absolutely frightened about the state of the world? Today I feel terrified of Iraq. Terrified of Iran. Terrified of Al Qaeda. Terrified of George W. Bush.

Is an eight (almost nine) year old too young for contacts? My instinct says “yes”, but Will really wants to give them a try. I made an appointment for him next week to see if it’ll work. It breaks my heart when I wave at him in the swimming pool and he can’t even see me sitting there.

Who the heck cares about Anna Nicole Smith??? When I hear that damn theme song for Entertainment Tonight…I feel like exploding.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Music Meme

"List seven songs you are into right now. No matter what they are. They must be songs you are presently enjoying. Then tag seven other people to see what they're listening to."
I came across this music meme a few days ago. It took me awhile to compress my list down to seven, but this is what I got:

James Blunt“You’re Beautiful”. Yep, I’m still listening to's one of my favorite CDs. It is officially our “sleeping music” and is permanently placed in our bedroom CD player. Funny enough, I usually don’t make it past track 3.

The Killers –“Somebody Told Me”. I was introduced to The Killers music through the last couple seasons of Rock Star: INXS and Rock Star: Supernova when some of the contestants covered them. They are songs that make me want to bounce around and sing.

Melissa Etheridge “Come to my Window”. She is so awesome!! And this song makes me want to learn how to play the guitar. I was never a huge fan of hers until I saw her perform at one of the awards shows following treatment for her very public battle with breast cancer. She was totally bald, absolutely beautiful…and she rocked!

Paolo Nutini“New Shoes”. This song could put me in a good mood instantly! Very fun!!

Paul Simon“Me and Julio down by the School Yard”. And ditto for this one. In my car, I’ve been listening to a copy of “Paul Simon’s Greatest Hits” from my friend Kelly…and this is my favorite.

Death Cab for Cutie“I Will Follow You into the Dark”. I’ve loved this song since the first time I heard it. I’m a huge fan of acoustical music and the lyrics for this one are very close to my heart. It makes me think of my mom and the way I felt during the last days of her life.

John Mayer “Waiting on the World to Change”. I love the entire Continuum CD. I think he has incredible music and brilliant lyrics. I like this particular song as it pertains to the state of our world right now.

(I've linked all the artists to Wikipedia and the songs/videos to YouTube.)

Now, to tag 7 vicitms:

Monday, March 26, 2007

Childhood Fears

Sometimes I’m amazed at how brave my kids are. Or maybe it’s that in comparison, I was disturbingly and illogically terrified of so many things at their age. Or quite possibly, it could be that my parents let me watch way too much TV. My kids have never needed to inspect their closets or underneath their beds prior to bedtime. They have never required the closet door to be closed or their bedroom door to be open. And to my knowledge, they have no strange bedtime routines.

But during my youth, on the other hand, I was a freaky wacko. I had several very specific and very illogical fears that shaped my childhood:

Vampires: I was very wary of any strange tapping/fluttering noises against my window. There were no trees near to it – so the only explanation (if it ever were to happen) would be a bat. I even had a couple “laying in bed rules” that would help me fall asleep: 1- Always close the window (duh, to keep out bats). 2- Never lay on your back (to avoid looking like you’re lying in a coffin). 3- Keep your blankets pulled up to your chin (thereby protecting your neck and discouraging any vampires from attempting to take a bite). 4- Never let any extremities peek out from under the blankets or hang off over the edge of the bed (self explanatory).

Snakes: I remember very clearly watching a movie called “Ssssssss” while living in our old house. That means I was under the age of five. (Geeez, Dad – didn’t you monitor what I watched at such a young and impressionable age!) The movie was about a town that had a snake infestation. A bite from these snakes would turn people green with scales and they'd develop a lispy speech pattern. I went through a period of time after seeing that movie that I would sleep on piled-up pillows and blankets on top of my bed. I was sure that sleeping up so high off the ground would help me avoid any snake bites leading to transformation into a “snake-person”.

Being killed by a “Psycho” while taking a shower: This fear probably saved my dad some money on our ever-high water bill. One nice thing about our shower was that it had a glass door, so as long as you didn’t close your eyes for too long, you’d probably be able to defend yourself (or at least yell for some help) if Norman Bates stepped into the room.

Demon possession: This was probably the most gripping of all my fears. Of course, this would necessitate an exorcism, which would be horrible. And we weren’t even Catholic, so who would we call?? I’m not sure which one was scarier- Exorcist or Omen. It isn’t right that a child should have to grow up during the same decade that two high-profile possession movies are released.

Poltergeists: I guess this might be along the same line as demon possession. But, unlike most people, we actually had a couple skeletons buried under our house. Yep, really. (The builders unearthed 2 pioneer children while digging our basement.) So, I was pretty sure that this would predispose us to attracting a poltergeist. I was just hoping that it would be one of those friendly/playful ones instead of the mean ones.

Today I’ve conquered most of those crazy childhood fears. I now am able to sleep on my back without obsessing about my blanket positioning and without a pile of pillows. I enjoy a leisurely shower. And luckily my in-laws are Catholic, so they’d know who to call and would be able to save me in case of demonic possession or poltergeist inhabitation. Right, Jan & Bill???

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Work and Play

Bill returned yesterday from a business trip to Reno for a hearth products trade show. We all missed him like crazy! He had some really long days, but overall the trip went well. As you can see, a late-night game of Blackjack proved to be quite lucrative for him. It's a good thing too, since my little Ebay addiction flared while he was away...but that's a story for another time.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Slumber Party

We had a sleep-over with Cousin Finn last night. We played games, watched a movie, ate pizza, and did pedicures. By this morning, Will and Maddie were begging Nicole to buy the house down the street so they could hang out with him all the time.

Nope, none of these toes are Madison's...

Just a wee bit Irish...

Happy St. Pat's Day

The kids and I went to the St. Patty’s Day Parade in St. Paul yesterday with Nicole and Finn. There was more wild green clothing, crazy drunk people and bagpipers than I have ever seen! Bejaysus!

Have you ever noticed something funny about Irish people? I know, I know…that’s a loaded question with limitless answers. You could respond with “they could jab your arse off”, “they fancy their pints of Guinness”, or “they swear a wee bit more that your average lad”. But, the answer I was leading up to is: they only seem to claim the Irish-portion of their heritage, no matter how small.

Take my husband and kids, for example. It physically pains Bill to admit that he’s part German (and he’ll be really ticked off that I told you all). And he’s passes it on to our kids, too. Today when I asked them about their ancestry, they both claimed to be only Irish. When asked “Why?” Madison responded, “I thought we had to be. Isn’t Gallagher is an Irish name?” And Will responded, “Because being German is pretty boring.” I guess it’s hard to compare stoicism, polkas, and Hitler to leprechauns, green things and a pint o’ Guinness.

One of Bill's greatest dreams is that both of our kids marry people of 100% Irish heritage as to not further dilute the Gallagher blood lines as he and his father have done. Puh-leeze! (Apparently German women are just too irresistible for certain Gallagher men.)

I will admit there is something fun about being Irish, even if it is in name only. So, next year, the German and the Scandinavian daughter-in-laws, with Irish last names, want to organize a “Gallagher Family” entry in the St. Paul St. Patty’s Day parade. A melting pot, indeed!

And to end, a little Irish blessing for you all:

Wishing you a rainbow
For sunlight after showers—
Miles and miles of Irish smiles
For golden happy hours—
Shamrocks at your doorway
For luck and laughter too,
And a host of friends that never ends
Each day your whole life through

Friday, March 16, 2007

Book List

Directions: Look at the list of books below.
*Bold the ones you’ve read
*Italicize the ones you want to read
*leave blank the ones that you aren’t interested in.

1.The Da Vinci Code (Dan Brown)
2.Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)
3.To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
4. Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell)
5. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (J.R.R. Tolkien)
6. The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (J.R.R. Tolkien)
7. The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (J.R.R. Tolkien)
8. Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery)
9. Outlander (Diana Gabaldon)
10.A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry)
11.Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (J.K. Rowling)
12.Angels and Demons (Dan Brown)
13.Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (J.K. Rowling)
14. A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving)
15. Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)
16.Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (J.K. Rowling)
17. Fall on Your Knees(Ann-Marie MacDonald)
18. The Stand (Stephen King)
19. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban(J.K. Rowling)
20. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)
21. The Hobbit (J.R.R. Tolkien)
22. The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger)
23. Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)
24. The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold)
25. Life of Pi (Yann Martel)
26. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams)
27. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)
28. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis)
29. East of Eden (John Steinbeck)
30. Tuesdays with Morrie(Mitch Albom)
31. Dune (Frank Herbert)
32. The Notebook (Nicholas Sparks)
33. Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand)
34. 1984 (George Orwell)
35. The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley)
36. The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett)
37. The Power of One (Bryce Courtenay)
38. I Know This Much is True(Wally Lamb)
39. The Red Tent (Anita Diamant)
40. The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho)
41. The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel)
42. The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)
43. Confessions of a Shopaholic (Sophie Kinsella)
44. The Five People You Meet In Heaven (Mitch Albom)
45 Bible
46. Anna Karenina (Tolstoy)
47. The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)
48. Angela’s Ashes (Frank McCourt)
49. The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)
50. She’s Come Undone (Wally Lamb)
51. The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)
52. A Tale of Two Cities (Charles Dickens)
53. Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card)
54. Great Expectations (Charles Dickens)
55. The Great Gatsby (F. Scott Fitzgerald)
56. The Stone Angel (Margaret Laurence)
57. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (J.K. Rowling)
58. The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough)
59. The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood)
60. The Time Traveller's Wife (Audrey Niffenegger)
61. Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
62. The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand)
63. War and Peace (Tolsoy)
64. Interview With The Vampire (Anne Rice)
65. Fifth Business (Robertson Davis)
66. One Hundred Years Of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
67. The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants (Ann Brashares)
68. Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)
69. Les Miserables (Hugo)
70. The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)
71. Bridget Jone's Diary (Helen Fielding)
72. Love in the Time of Cholera (Marquez)
73. Shogun (James Clavell)
74. The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje)
75. The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett)
76. The Summer Tree (Guy Gavriel Kay)
77. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith)
78. The World According To Garp (John Irving)
79. The Diviners (Margaret Laurence)
80. Charlotte’s Web (E.B. White)
81. Not Wanted On The Voyage (Timothy Findley)
82. Of Mice And Men (Steinbeck)
83. Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier)
84. Wizard’s First Rule (Terry Goodkind)
85. Emma (Jane Austen)
86. Watership Down(Richard Adams)
87. Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)
88. The Stone Diaries (Carol Shields)
89. Blindness (Jose Saramago)
90. Kane and Abel (Jeffrey Archer)
91. In The Skin Of A Lion (Ondaatje)
92. Lord of the Flies (Golding)
93. The Good Earth(Pearl S. Buck)
94. The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)
95. The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum)
96. The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton)
97. White Oleander (Janet Fitch)
98. A Woman of Substance (Barbara Taylor Bradford)
99. The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield)
100.Ulysses (James Joyce)

I found this list while blog-surfing. I thought my "book-aholic" sister, Jill and my book-club-friends might find it interesting. I've always considered myself a good reader, but after going through this list, I've read only about 25% of the ones on here. I know, I know...less TV, more books...

There are a few in there that I'd like to read but just haven't gotten around to yet. And, there are several that I have read in the past and am planning to read again. But, there are many in there that I haven't even heard of. Does that make me a loser?? Do you think it counts if I've seen the movie??

I'm not tagging anyone but if you'd like to do this, have fun!

Thursday, March 15, 2007


Consider this a warning for those of you out there desiring whiter teeth:

I recently visited my dentist and was offered a great deal on the Zoom! Whitening System. Sure, I’d like whiter teeth…how could I pass it up? I really didn’t pay much attention to the warnings in small print on the information pamphlet regarding increased sensitivity and tingling sensations. “Hmphhhh,” I thought to myself, "No worries…I’m pretty tough. I sailed through childbirth to twins with a malfunctioning epidural. I’ve walked a 60-mile breast cancer walk with my femur rubbing against my tibia…3 times. For God’s sake, don’t waste my time with warnings from a tooth-whitener brochure.”

So, I finished the 2 hour procedure without any problems. By the time I got home, I had a couple “zings” through my teeth. They were here and gone in a second…no big deal. While I was Googling “Zoom!”, I came across a blog with postings from many people complaining about the horrendous pain and misery they had suffered as a result of this process. All their episodes appeared to be pretty short-lived, but nonetheless, many people were seriously questioning if the results were really worth the agony. At this point, I was feeling pretty proud of myself and thinking, “Come on, people…Really. Agony? Suffering? Are you serious?? It’s just bleach and teeth!” I experienced a few more “zings” that afternoon and thought I was out of the woods.

And then it started. It began as a “zing” in my bottom teeth that relented a little, but just wouldn’t go away. I decided that keeping my mouth closed was the best option. So, I was silent…and hungry…and thirsty. I tried Ibuprofen. I tried Tylenol. I tried pinching my leg and biting the inside of my cheek as to divert my attention from my throbbing, aching mandible. Poor Bill even asked if I was mad at him a couple times. Apparently, I have similar reactions when I’m pissed off and when I’m reaching the brink of insanity due to pain.

Now its 10:00 pm. I’m exhausted, I’m crabby, I’m near tears, and I’m desperate. As I rifled through our “pharmacy” drawer, tossing aside Benadryl, Triaminicin, Vicks rub, Midol, Rolaids, vitamin C and calamine lotion, I finally found the answer to my prayers. There it was…one single white pill…Vicodin. YES! I ignored the expiration date on the prescription bottle that was labeled “October 2001” and took that pill with as little water as possible as to not get my teeth wet (that's really not easy, BTW). Thank God I didn’t throw it away during past cleaning sprees. The universe must have known that single pill was destined for a great cause in the future.

To wrap things up, I soon fell into a drug-induced sleep and was fine by morning. But I do want to apologize to all those people who I referred to as “a bunch of wusses”. I’m sorry! I’ll never be judgmental of your pain tolerance again.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

You gotta see it!

I just saw one of the best movies I have seen for a very long time. You have to understand that my taste in movies may be considered a bit un-feminine. In fact, the LOTR trilogy is my favorite of all time, and I also really liked “Fight Club”. I have hated movies like “The Devil Wears Prada” and “The Breakup”. So, take this recommendation with a grain of salt, but I loved “300”!

It’s poetic, artistic, and incredibly bloody. This is the plot line:

In 480 BC, the Persian king Xerxes sends his massive army to conquer Greece. The Greek city of Sparta houses its finest warriors, and 300 of these soldiers are chosen to meet the Persians at Thermopylae, engaging the soldiers in a narrow canyon where they cannot take full advantage of their numbers. The battle is a suicide mission, meant to buy time for the rest of the Greek forces to prepare for the invasion. However, that doesn't stop the Spartans from throwing their hearts into the fray, determined to take as many Persians as possible with them. It is based on Frank Miller’s graphic novel of the same name.

We saw it on the IMAX screen…and it was so awesome! In one review I had read, it stated “See it on the biggest screen with the loudest speakers possible.” I totally agree.

For all you NetFlix subscribers…5 stars.

YouTube Pick of the Day: 300 Trailer

Friday, March 09, 2007

Creative Scavenger Hunt

This is what I came up with in response to the game (see post below). You better brace yourself, here's my attempt at creativity...

1) Morning: Simply stated, this is my view upon waking each morning. (But much more blurry, of course!)

2) WOW!: For some reason, these pictures and memories from our trip to Ireland several years ago were the first thing to pop into my mind when I thought of this topic yesterday. These are the Cliffs of Mohr along the western coast of Ireland, in County Clare just south of Galway. This was probably my favorite part of the trip. It was so incredible to lay down on the rocks and scoot up to edge on our bellies. It actually makes my stomach turn to think about it. At the highest point, it is 700 feet above the sea. An average of 10 tourists die here every year because they get too close to the edge and a strong gust of wind pushes them off ,or the ground gives way. Nope, no guard railings here, folks!

Bill is in the picture above, that's my head in the picture below. Wow, I'm really glad Bill and I survived this vacation!

3) Happiness: This is what makes me happy...

4) Lost: I wimped out on this one and took the easy, literal way out...I couldn't think of anything else.

5) Unexpected: You weren't expecting this, were you!?!?

Let's see yours...

South American Sara

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Who's up for a game??

Who's up for a little game to get your creative juices flowing??

Here's the deal:
Sometime between now and Monday, post something that correlates with each of the following words:

1) Morning
2) WOW!
3) Happiness
4) Lost
5) Unexpected

Anything goes. It can be a picture (old or new), a short story, a link, whatever. Kinda like a creative scavenger hunt!

When you post something, be sure to link it so we can check each others out.

Easy, huh? So don't think it's weird...just play!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Birth order (and a really funny story)

In case any of you were wondering about the effects of birth order on appearance in children...check out my sister, Jill's post for her theory using our family as an example.

But first, you may want to read her account of "The Skipping Contest". She's a funny, funny belly still aches and I'm wiping tears from my eyes...

The Wonder Spot

Thursday, March 01, 2007

WOO HOO!! No school!!

I was a bad mom this morning. I sent the kids out to catch the bus to school this morning (...twice, actually), unbeknownst to me that it had been cancelled. As the kids came back inside after waiting for a bus that never showed up, I overheard Madison telling Will, "I told you crossing your fingers works!" It was truly a joyous day for couple of 8 year olds!

My neighbor, Nancy braved the weather to get this great shot of the kids in the back yard enjoying their snow day.

Varen, you made the blog!

...told you I'd do it.

Early Memories

It has been documented that children do not start forming memories until they reach the age of 3 - 3 ½ . It’s really amazing to me to think that we can exist in this dynamic world, absorbing an incredible amount of information and learning at a pace that far bypasses any college curriculum; and yet, be unable to recall actual moments from the first several years of our existence. It makes me sad knowing that my kids will probably not be able to remember the times I rocked them to sleep while singing their very own songs which I composed; how it felt to dance the day away to sounds of Raffi; or the countless hugs and kisses from their Grandma Karen. Thank God for pictures and video.

I don't really have any memories prior to age 5. And unfortunately, the few I can think of off the top of my head right now, have absolutely nothing to do with great vacations, wonderful family bonding moments or life-altering experiences. In fact, it's a little scary to think about what my kids will remember... Anyway, here's my memories:

Memory #1) “Huh…who is that little boy?” I’m sure you all remember how exciting it was on the day yearly school pictures arrived. Well, that was my exact thought after looking at the photo my mom held up for me to see. To provide a little background, up until Kindergarten, I had really long, beautiful, wavy hair. Apparently it got to be too overwhelming for my mom to handle with raising three girls ages 5, 3, and 1. So, before I started school, she decided to get my hair cut into a “cute, short little pixie style”. To this day, I’m not really sure what a pixie style is, but that’s what she always called it when I asked her about it in the years following. I don’t know if the haircut was still new to me, or if I really didn’t have a concept of my appearance. Either way, I looked like a boy.

Memory #2) Absolute humiliation and embarrassment while cleaning mud from the floor of my Kindergarten room with paper towels. Most days, I would walk the short, 1-block jaunt to school. On the way, I’d pick up my friend Nikki Wanner, whose house was across the street from the school playground. This particular day we must have decided to walk straight through a mud puddle. We tracked little muddy footprints all over our classroom. A very irate Mrs. Greco made us crawl across the floor, cleaning mud with paper towels while all our classmates watched us. Keep in mind that I was a painfully shy child who didn’t like to call one bit of attention to myself at all. I’m pretty sure I cried of embarrassment when I got home that day! I wonder if Nikki remembers that?

Memory #3) "I’m not voting for Jimmy Carter. His teeth are too big." It was the 1976 presidential election – Gerald Ford(R) vs. Jimmy Carter(D). Mrs. Ackerman, our first grade teacher, had given us our “Weekly Reader” and instructed us to complete the Presidential Election Ballot on the back page. There was each candidate’s name with a blank check-box next to their pictures. I voted for Gerald Ford that day because Jimmy Carter’s teeth were much too big for his mouth. Now, my family has never been political. At all. In fact, I’m sure it was never a topic of conversation during my entire childhood except for this one instance. When I went home that afternoon, I asked my mom about the election. I clearly remember her saying that I did the right thing by voting for Ford since there aren’t any Democrats in South Dakota anyway.

I'd love to hear some of your first memories as well!