Saturday, May 31, 2008

A Song-gasm

Despite a couple tenors making an early entrance, Sure on this Shining Night still carries the day as my favorite choir song from the 2007-2008 season - of both my choirs and we sang the bejeezus out of it tonight. Splendid. And we even held the pitch on Somewhere. Now just three more practices, two more special gigs and Miami and then I can relax...until August.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


Not technically since we came in roughly 43,775th but just finishing is victory enough. More pictures (and maybe video!) to follow in a few days as we get everything uploaded and shared. The picture was taken by Chris who was running BACKWARDS in front of us grabbing shots as he could through the crowd.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

An Ode to Granola

I wonder what is happening in Ames, Iowa - right now on the Friday before Memorial Day. I can guarantee you it's not what is happening here in Boulder. You can feel the town shifting; everywhere you go there are people. More cars on the road, more people in the stores, the parking lots are zoos and the hordes of bicycles are unreal.

Here in my part of Boulder, north of Arapahoe and west of 30th, we've been living with Bolder Boulder for about 2 weeks. The same orange signs come out every year WARNING everyone with their bureaucratic enthusiasm that this road will be CLOSED or parking is NOT ALLOWED HERE on race day. Similarly, today when driving down 30th, tall fences block of the grass on the sides of the road and cars populate where a chute of people will be charging through in mere days.

Evidence is everywhere that something is happening. A giant tent is going up in the FedEx Kinkos parking lot - blocking half the already scarce tiny spaces. But for those of us sneaking past the workers into the Boulder Running Company, postcards in hand to pick up our race packets, you can see that we don't mind the extra walk. It's nothing compared to what we'll be doing a lot more in a few days; heck, most of us have already done that at the gym already.

In Whole Foods, signs are proclaiming "FUEL FOR RACE DAY" and I join my fellow shoppers in loading up on gourmet trail mix, in our stylishly casual gym clothes, eyes peeking to see what everyone else is buying. I stop outside to snap a picture of an painted VW bus - the paint worn and faded - and driven by a small gray haired woman. I already know that she will smell of pachouli and her underarms unshaven. I cheer her on silently as Old Boulder hurries into the store.

Up along Boulder Creek, by the library, a forest of more tents are going up. This is the only town I've seen that gets more crowded over a three-day weekend. Everyone stays. Everyone wants to go to the Boulder Creek Festival and eat turkey dogs, falafal and drink Fat Tire. Everyone wants to run the Bolder Boulder. Everyone wants to walk the mall, drinking in the sunshine and gazing at the mountains dreaming of scaling the Flatirons with their golden retriever or black lab.

Boulder is the only town I know where a 10-year old child climbs a mountain and sings when he gets to the top for the sheer joy of climbing. Boulder is the only town I know where a woman who spends all day forcing people to exercise comes home, gets her dogs and runs for all those who never listen to her. Boulder is the only town I know where you see groups of musicians playing the drums and singing Christian music on the mall and drawing a curious crowd.

This is my town - where the athlete, the vegetarian and the yuppie are celebrated and co-exist peacefully with the hippie, the student and the foodie. A strange conglomeration where past and present sometimes clash with money and image. But for one weekend everyone is a runner and everyone is a hippie - and everyone gets along, with a little help from the Fat Tire, of course.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Go To Meal - Thai Soup with Sauteed Tilapia

Argh. It's been too long since I've posted! So here goes with another type of post. I had no particular agenda when starting this blog other than, perhaps, a secret desire to practice writing about the various subjects that interest me - like cooking. So without further ado, my stab at a cooking/food related post!

I think everyone should have a set of "Go To" meals - you know, the ones with the easy ingredients that you always have on hand. I found this one about a year ago when I ran out of reading material at cardiac rehab (hi Denise!) and had to read one of their boring cookbooks. I painstakingly copied it by hand - THE HORROR - while working out on the treadmill. I've made a few changes and I like to mix it up, but hey, that's how I roll. Plus it's delicious. So let's get on with the cookin'.

Thai Soup with Sauteed Tilapia

The first thing to do is start some rice cooking. My new favorite is brown basmati rice made in my splendid new rice cooker. Just throw it in, add the water and get that baby going.

Then, I trundle off to put together my mise en place; I chop some celery, carrots, onion, two cloves of garlic and a tomato. Real garlic is best - I can't say if the recipe will taste the same with garlic powder. I also throw in a couple handfuls of frozen pepper strips. The green stuff there is about 1 1/2 teaspoons of Thai green curry paste/powder. Use as much or as little as you want since it can be searing hot.

Once I have all that together, I throw some sesame oil and canola in my wok and start it heating. The veggies go in until the onions are translucent then the tomatoes and the curry powder. By this point, its a fragrant mess of color and Thai goodness. All of this takes about 7 minutes or so.

I guess I should mention at this point that while fast, this recipe has quite a few steps. Rachael Ray fans should probably quietly excuse themselves here. Yummo, yes. Simple-o? Not so much.

Okay, so while the mirepoix mixture is doing its thang, get two cups of fish stock (or veggie stock - I use a cup of each), about 1 1/2 tablespoons stanky fish sauce, 1/2 teaspoon of brown sugar and some minced ginger (optional). Add this mixture to the veggies/curry and bring to a boil. Let it simmer while you prep and cook the fish. And yes, I realize that is bottled lime juice, but seriously, people, even though I hand mince my garlic, who has time to juice their own limes. Or keep them in the fridge all the time.

So, I like to use the vacuum sealed bags of tilapia for my fish. They are easy and thawed under cold running water in the time it took me to get this far in the recipe. I patted them dry and then sprinkled a bit of grill seasoning on them so they wouldn't look quite so pasty in the picture, but that's optional. In a separate pan, heat up some sesame and canola oil and saute the fish until it is opaque.

At this point, add a tablespoon or so of lime juice to the soup (or to taste), adjust the salt/fish sauce and if you are feeling crazy, throw in a handful of frozen edamame. If you are feeling really crazy, a half pound or so of fresh pineapple is outstanding but you have to be able to fully embrace your sweet/savory side to enjoy.

Hopefully by this time, all is done - soup is simmered and rice is steamed. Assembly is easy - scoop of rice, ladle of soup and topped with a piece of fish.

Then serve to your hungry crew to rave reviews.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Lisa's Questionnaire

Lisa is going to a women's retreat this weekend and the leader asked all the participants to complete the following questionnaire. It requires a bit more thought than the usual passed around questionnaire - you know, the one with questions like "Hugs or kisses?" (the answer is hugs, by the way).

Favorite Color

Light pink, all shades of blue (but especially light blue), anything combined with dark chocolate brown, and red

Favorite Song
What kind of question is this? My personal theme song is Fighter By Christina Aguilera. These are some of the songs that I rarely skip when my iPod is on shuffle (my highest honor indeed): Candyman and Mercy on Me (both Christina Aguliera), Mr. Roboto (Styx), Sure on This Shining Night (my choir), What You Own and Another Day from Rent, and anything from Too Hot to Handel.

Favorite Kind of Food

Asian food - specifically Vietnamese and even more specifically, pho; FISH, FISH, FISH - love it and eat as much as possible as I sense it's on a limited-time only basis; bread and it's incarnations - sammies, muffins, rolls; over the top gourmet "foodie" food; my homemade "go-to" comfort food; any kind of soup or stew; desserts - ice cream, chocolate, cake, brownies, cookies;

Biggest Dream
To make a living off my writing/designing and be a stay-at-home-wife/mother at the same time. I would like to write a book and be able to volunteer for the various causes with which I'm involved.

What I Wanted to Be When I Grew Up
I wanted to be a scientist, a detective, a spy, a pediatric cardiologist, a foreign services officer/CIA agent and a lawyer.

Time in My Life When I Feel/Felt Most Beautiful
I think maybe now. But then again with few notable exceptions (like all of 2006) if you asked me this question anytime in my adult life, I think I would've said the present at that moment. I definitely feel gorgeous on stage with my chorale. And my hubby makes me feel beautiful too.

Time I Felt Most Free
This may sound odd, but October 2006 - the days/weeks in room 491 prior to my biVAD surgery. Yes, the circumstances sucked. I was scared and handling random crises but I knew with absolute clarity who I was and what I had to do. There was no work, no performances, no church, no bills, and no chores. My world was the size of a small hospital room - all I had to do was stay alive and dream dreams of the future.

Something People Don't Know About Me
Some people know this, but I LOVE video games. Our Wii, the Daily Show and the Colbert Report are the ONLY reasons I even turn on the television. A high school friend once had a t-shirt saying "I Wanna Marry a Rock Star." Pish posh on that, I say. My t-shirt would say "I Wanna BE a Rock Star."

Something I Really Want to Try (at least once in my life)
Singing with a band, arranging a choral song, running (not walking) the Bolder Boulder, driving a really powerful, fast car...this is worth a whole blog entry in and of itself.

Three Qualities that Make Me Unique
1) I'm living on the other side - my heart transplant at 34 - and I feel the power of that experience every day.
2) I'm a liberal Christian who votes Democrat
3) Money is of little interest to me.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

My Crazy Left Arm

At practice on Saturday, Jill comes up to me and whispers, "I don't know if it's the new heart or what, but your left arm has it's own groove thing going on." It seems that my body is following the steps, but my arm feels compelled to bring its own spicy action to the party. A problem only in that I have the ONLY CRAZY ARM in the group and that makes it sorta noticeable.

Here is the email exchange with Lisa that describes it best:
Sarah: I'm so happy you are coming on Friday! Even though we are most likely going to be laying in small sad puddles of exhaustion on stage. Except for my left arm, of course.

Lisa: I can just see the choir, all laying in a huge heaping pile of exhausted
sweaty bodies with you hopefully on top and then sees movement! And its your arm, starting to flop around like a newly caught fish. But to a beat.

So I think Jill is right. I didn't dance this way before my transplant so this can only be the doing of Thumper. I suspect my Thumper used to be a dancer. I'm actually 99% sure that he was, but since I don't know, I'm not going to say for sure. I've done my research but have never heard from my donor family. If I did, the first thing I would ask is if Thumper was a musically inclined - either dancing or singing. And if he liked video games.

This is the first time in a long time I've felt the spirit of Thumper. He was strong when I first was transplanted but then everything was loud, confusing and overstimulated. I sensed he was a bit wary - comfortable, but still finding himself in this new person doing new things. But I'm hearing him now - loudly. He loves to dance - he wants to dance with me. And I'm happy to oblige. So if you see me on stage and see that left arm whacking out - you know that it's not me dancing wrong, that's my Thumper saying hi.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Best $12 You'll Spend in May

I'm not joking when I say this may be the best Northland show ever.

The lines for Speed Racer will be too long on Friday and Saturday. Save that for Sunday. See us instead.

Discounted seats if you are in a local chorus or theater group. Email me or post a comment and I'll send you the info.

Northland Chorale: Gotta Sing! Gotta Dance!

  • Dates: 5/9 at 7:30, 5/10 at 7:30, 5/16 at 7:30 and 5/17 at 2:30 (SAT matinĂ©e - not our usual Sunday matinĂ©e)
  • Price: $12 adults/ $10 seniors/ $8 kids (tickets can be bought through me, at the door or online)
  • Place: DL Parsons Theater at 11801 Community Center Dr. in Northglenn
  • What: Come see my new heart in action as we sing - and DANCE - to songs about dancing. Gary Carnes will be emceeing/hosting/making you laugh. This will be our most dance intensive show and we are dancing to all but two songs - several people have actually lost weight. Should be a great show.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Best Thing You've Ever Done

The other day I found myself saying, "man, that was one of the best things I've ever done for myself" in regards to my laptop. I gave a start when I realized that yes, buying the laptop was indeed one of the best things I've ever done. I use it all the time: for work-stuff at work, for personal-stuff at work, writing in bed at night, checking the internet while I watch tv - for EVERYTHING.

I was so stressed when I bought the laptop. I had promised myself that when the time came to get my heart replaced, I would treat myself to a Playstation. I knew, and rightly so, that if purchased willy-nilly, I would become addicted to playing video games. That has proved true. I can't get enough of my Wii. Even as I type this I'm planning my next moves in Zelda.

But I digress, when I found myself in the hospital waiting for a transplant, the PS3 had just come out for the ungodly price of $1,300. At the time, I just wanted the Internet and not video games so with trepidation, I spent the money on the laptop. I haven't regretted it EVER.

What have you ever considered one of the best things you've ever done for yourself? I'm not talking the big stuff - like going on that first date with your spouse or changing jobs - but something smaller and less life-changing. Something that you did that has made an impact on how you live your life or view the world. That's my lappytop for of the best thing I've ever done.