27 June 2008

My Life, According to Google

Last night was a slow night. Nate went to a show. I was supposed to stay at home and get some stuff done. Rather, I started working on Benny's birthday present. I'm putting together a book about his Grandma Barb who passed away six months before he was born. It was tragic, but I digress.

I was having problems getting my photos uploaded to the site where I'm making the book. So, I decided to mess around on the internet instead. After watching all the new movie trailers (for anyone who wants to kill time, check out movies.yahoo.com or trailers.apple.com for endless hours of entertainment). Then I visited all the crappy celebrity sites to see what was going on in Hollywood. Then, in a fit of complete boredom coupled with narcissism, I googled myself. Yes, I googled myself. And if you've never done it before, you should. There is stuff up on the web about myself that I have completely forgotten about.

My life, according to Google, goes something like this:

  • In college I won a few awards for writing. Mostly, though, my newspaper articles appear in the entirety, much to my dismay. I wasn't the most talented writer back then.
  • My times for random road races I ran when I was much younger are posted. They make me feel slow. And old.
  • Weird work stuff is posted too. Like a grant I wrote when I worked in Des Moines for some Canadian foundation. The newsletter I edited when I was in grad school. The journalism institute where I taught high school journalism teachers how to teach journalism (what? how did I get that job?).
  • I am proud to say that some of my current work is up there too. I can actually google myself on Google scholar and get some hits.
It turns out that there are other "Sara Struckman"s out there as well. Like the one who planned cheap spring break trips or the one who hyphenated her name: Sara Struckman-Johnson.

Most surprisingly, however, was that my name turned up in someone else's blog. I was a little disconcerted when I found my name on the blog entitled the "Carlson Caravan." Turns out that this couple, who also graduated from the University of Nebraska at Kearney, used to write in bogus letters to the editor. I vaguely remember this from my tenure as the opinion page editor. We never actually printed the letters, but we did respond to them. I have much more to say about this ordeal, but Benny is ready for bed and I don't think Nate is doing much to help him out. Regardless, check out this link: http://kristi-carlson.blogspot.com/2008/06/more-treasure-letters-rick-and-i-sent.html

You'll see my mug. Scary.

26 June 2008

Home Buyer Blues

This week we embarked on a new and really scary adventure: Buying our own home. OK, so we're not at the "buying" stage just yet, but we wish we were! This month was slated as a homework month. We had planned to check out some houses in different neighborhoods to get a better feeling about what's out there, what we can afford, etc.

And then we found it. 2680 Ash. Look it up. It's a cute little house, with a great yard, a spacious basement, and enough room for a small family like the Struckman-Brown family.

When we saw it, we figured that we'd have plenty of time to mull it over. After all, isn't the country in a recession? Haven't we all heard of the housing slump. Apparently, the people who toured 2680 Ash have not. We scheduled for another tour with our realtor and before we could even tour the house again the owners received TWO bids. TWO BIDS! This house was on the market for all of a week and a half.

So, we did what any unprepared buyer would do: we scrambled. We scrambled to decide just how much of a house payment we could afford. We scrambled to get a pre-approved loan for that amount. We scrambled to get the offer in on time. In the end, we were too late. All of the offers were fairly close to equal (according to our realtor), so the owners of the house decided to sell to the first bid. Oh, the injustice!

I'm convinced that if the owners had met us, they would have chosen us hands down. After all, we can be a fairly charming couple and we have the cutest bear in the world. But, that's not the way this game is played. Next time we find a perfect place we'll definitely bring out our A game. So watch out!

23 June 2008

Security Blanket

After over a month of sleeping with a special blanket, Benny has finally developed an attachment to one of Nate's old blankets. Benny usually falls asleep without a problem, but every now and then he hates to be in his crib. He'll scream for a few minutes and then settle into his pre-sleep chatter. It seems that now he enjoys the blanket. He's often wrapped in it by the morning or holding it in his hand or sleeping on it. It's nice to know that it comforts him - or so I think.

The whole security blanket got me wondering: Do I have a security blanket. Not in the literal sense of course, but something that comforts me in not-so-comfortable situations. Then I realized: It's Nate. We're looking for houses now. It's a big undertaking and a big commitment. We could move into a place that's not quite perfect, but I would be OK with it because I know that Nate and I could figure it out. He's great to have around in new places because he has a great sense of direction (even though he doesn't always pay attention).

I suppose people continue to acquire security objects throughout their lives. How else do we get through awkward uncomfortable situations? Except as we grow older, perhaps our security comes from friendships and relationships rather than objects. It's a nice, comforting thought.

21 June 2008

Where to Start?

After a brief hiatus from the blog, I'm not even sure where to start. As you know from the previous post, we took our first family vacation in early June. We had a fabulous time. And, Benny proved himself an expert traveller once again. He ended up sleeping for half of both flights and only cried a little as we descended. He's so fabulous.

And, to avoid freezing our asses off in Yosemite, we opted to spend a night at Lake Tahoe instead. Benny took his first swim in Lake Tahoe, which I'm excited to tell him about when he gets older. "Hey, Benny, you had the coolest first swim EVER!" He didn't want to leave the water - even though it was freezing! We had to drag him out after he swallowed a mouthful of water.

The most exciting (and not in a good way) even of the past two weeks, however, was a trip to the ER in the ambulance on Tuesday. I had warmed up my cup of coffee in the microwave, set it on the kitchen table, turned my back for a second. When I turned around, Benny had grabbed the handle and poured the hot coffee all over his face and chest. Needless to say, I freaked out, Benny freaked out (for good reason). I tried calling his pediatrician, but the office didn't return calls until after 10 a.m. and that was a longgg hour away. So, I may have overreacted. OK, I did overreact. I called 911 and said, Don't send an ambulance. I just need to know if a trip to the ER is necessary. When all was said and done we rode in the ambulance to the ER. Long story short, Benny is fine, which is all that matters. But I now know that when The Bear is hurt, Mama Bear emerges. I might have to work on that.

06 June 2008

Family Vaca

Tomorrow we will embark on our first family vacation. We're visiting my aunt and uncle in northern California and meeting some friends along the way. For the most part, I think it will be an exciting adventure. We did run into a snag however. We're staying at Yosemite National Park for two nights and it turns out that the "heated" cabin we reserved doesn't have heat in the summertime (even though it still gets down to 30 degrees at night). I'm hard core and all, but Benny, well, he's not a hard-core bear... yet. I must admit, I'm a little nervous about that part of the adventure.

I'd like to blog while we're on vaca because I'm sure stories will abound. Not sure if we'll have a computer or access to the Internet. That seems weird to say because NOT having access to the internet or a computer is so uncommon these days. But I digress. I'll try to post stories. If I don't, wish us luck!!!

03 June 2008

Phat Pat

I have to be honest, I've been at a loss about writing on this thing as of late. I'm done with the postpartum depression string of posts and there's only so much I can write about Benny (he's fabulous, he's complicated, he's amazing, he's difficult, he's the best thing I've done in my life). There's only so much bitching/updating I can do about my dissertation (although I am finished gathering data and I started writing my literature review today - HURRAH!). And just when I thought I had nothing else to write about, I spent three days with my parents and realized that my dad would be the perfect subject for not just one, but an ongoing string of posts.

Here's the thing about my dad: He's a stand up kind of guy. He loves to have fun and he loves for the people around him to have fun. He enjoys hanging out with his kids and making sure that we are having fun. He's an incredible storyteller and a very outgoing person. He doesn't know a stranger.

But here's the other thing about my dad: He tells tall tales. About everything! Some people can elaborate and pepper a story with a few extra not-so-true details and they're good storytellers. My dad tends to pepper everyday conversation with extra not-so-true-I-just-pulled-this-out-of-my-bum details. If you ever have a conversation with my dad, you can assume that about 50 percent of what he's telling you is complete fiction and about 50 percent might be true. So, I've decided to start posting some of the most outrageous quotes he tells me while I'm here. At some point I'll write an interesting character study on my dad. He's such an interesting guy with so many random idiosyncrasies. But for now, the quote of the week from Phat Pat (a name I'll explain in a future post).


Summer in western Nebraska brings with it thunderstorms that can either bless or curse a farmer. I've been very in tune with the weather since I was a little girl because I feared the thunderstorm as a little girl. Sure, thunderstorms bring much-needed rain to crops. But thunderstorms can also produce hail, a weather phenomenon that can strip crops and render them useless. Needless to say, my dad is also very in tune with the weather.

So, it's summertime in western Nebraska and Benny and I drove home for a few days to hang with my parents. The weatherman is predicting thunderstorms for the next several nights. My dad watches and listens to the weather incessantly throughout the day. He comes home from getting a haircut last night and says:

"There are 10 storm chasers in Ogallala."

And he shakes his head in disgust and disbelief at the weather. Of course, there are probably no storm chasers in Ogallala. In Phat Pat speak that means, "There could be a storm tonight and it might include a tornada, but that's not likely. I'll stress out about the weather until nothing comes of it and then never mention the storm chasers again."