Tuesday, December 30, 2008

2008 quick facts.

I can't necessarily say it's back by popular demand - since I don't know how many (but I have an idea of how few) people read this blog.  But I liked recapping the year in this way:

Piano lessons taught: 922
Piano Recitals: 2, plus one company-wide concert
Album of the Year: Asking for Flowers by Kathleen Edwards
     Runner Up: The Stand Ins by Okkervil River
Favorite band I discovered: Glen Hansard/The Frames
     Runner Up: The Shout Out Louds
Best Song:  All the World (I Tell Myself) by Correatown
     Runner Up: The Cheapest Key by Kathleen Edwards
Favorite Movie in a Theater: Wall-E
     Runner Up: Sex in the City (that's right!)
Favorite Movie from Netflix: The Assassination of Jesse James . . . 
     Runner Up: Anne of Green Gables trilogy
Favorite Play: Our Town, performed by David Cromer and the Hypocrites
Best Concert: Kathleen Edwards at the Metro
Best TV Show: Mad Men
Favorite Book: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
     Runner Up: Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld
Favorite Game: Apples to Apples
Cubs Games Attended: 13 (including one post-season)
     Number of those games they won: 11
New City I visited: Milwaukee, WI
Best thing I did there (other than go to a Cubs Game): the free tour of the Miller Brewery!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Holiday Parties

I have been taking quite a break from blogging, it is true.  But let's see if I can redeem myself.  Last weekend was a big one:  my holiday party (carol singing and gift exchanging) Saturday night, followed by my piano recital Sunday afternoon.  My lucky friend Jessica was in town for the weekend, staying with me, and got to attend both.  I'm sure she's looking forward to moving to Chicago, and getting to go home in between events in the future!  She did help out by frosting cookies with me, and she was official taste-tester of cookies, some dips, and the punch, which did need some tweaking.  
The 3rd Annual Holiday party was a great success.  By my count, we had almost 30 people in attendance, and everyone was ready to spread holiday cheer.  Meatballs were consumed, many gifts of alcohol and useless but cute bits of this and that were exchanged, and carols were sung heartily.  By many standards, I have a sizeable home, but we were definitely pushing it when we packed everyone into the living room to exchange gifts.  I'm already looking forward to the party next year, but first I have a Hannumas party next weekend, and of course New Year's!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Christmas in November and Brain Farts

One of my little teaching secrets - which I'm not sure I can call a secret, since it's on the internet and free to all - is this guy's website.  Over the past few years, I have come to know the selection of music at this site very well and it's a great place to find easy pieces to use as supplements to my usual method books.  Perhaps I rely a little too much on this website . . . 
         This past weekend, I taught some extra lessons to make up for lessons we'll miss at Thanksgiving and Christmas, and to help prepare for the recital.  One student, who is taking off a few weeks around Thanksgiving, had an extra-long lessons, so I decided it was a good time to learn a Christmas carol, since I won't be seeing her as much in early December, when I would normally teach carols.  I brought her Deck the Halls and she learned it in record time; I almost ran out of things to teach to fill up the hour lesson.  
        When I came back for our regular lesson this week, her mom said to me, "Deck the Halls, yeah, she learned that last year."  I had printed out the same exact song, from my favorite website, and taught it to her last year.  No wonder it was so easy for her to learn!  So I said to my student,  "I'll bring you a new Christmas song next week," which she took to mean,  "you're not allowed to play this one anymore."  
        Not to worry, Claire, you may still play Deck the Halls - and it sounds so good when you play it!  But there's no rule about how many Christmas songs you're allowed to play.  I probably play 50 different Carols, so I think you can manage 2 this year.

Friday, October 17, 2008

The Sopranos hits a little too close to home

Nate and I have recently been on a kick to "discover" our "new" neighborhood.  "New" as in, we've been living here more than a year and we haven't really checked out any nearby street but one.  Two weekends ago, we went out on a saturday afternoon walk and discovered a new favorite bookstore, burger joint, and cupcake shop.  (we could have been buying books, eating burgers and cupcakes for more than  year now?  pshaw!)
This past Saturday we decided to try out a little Italian restaurant that we had walked by many times and always thought "that place looks so cute."
It was a nice dinner; definitely good food, and about half full on a Saturday night, which made for a pretty quiet dinner.  Yesterday morning, I read online that our new restaurant, Lucca's, about 4 blocks from our house, was the site of a murder late Tuesday night (3 days after we had eaten dinner there!)  A body had been discovered in the basement, seemingly beaten and shot, though details have of course been withheld.  The victim is assumed to be the 47 year old restaurant manager, who I believe may be the man who was behind the bar all night.  Like 10 feet away from us.  In all the Italian restaurants in the city, who'd have thought something this juicy would happen at one we had been to, and in such a quiet neighborhood.  Small world, big city.  

Monday, October 13, 2008

If I could turn back time . . .

A friend of mine on facebook has a whole album of photos he made from this website, yearbook yourself.  It's slightly difficult to get your photo centered and an appropriate size, but if you have the time to invest in it, (as of course I do) it's well worth the effort.  This is what I would have looked like, if I had been hip in '66:

Actually, it's worth noting that the clothes I wore in high school and college probably would have been cooler in the '60s than they were in the 90's and 00's. 

And if I had invested this much time on my hair each morning, I would have looked this awesome in '94:

Sunday, October 12, 2008

theme parties

are totally awesome. . . when the theme is filling yourself past comfort level with yummy food and then sitting around and watching almost an entire season of How I Met Your Mother.  Some friends and I recently decided to indulge all of our basest desires and sit around for the better part of a day watching one of our favorite shows.  The first get together was relatively tame - a pot luck lasagna night and each of the 8 participants picked their favorite episode from the first 2 seasons.  
This second get-together was a heartier and hardier affair.  The dish of choice was Texas beef brisket chili, from last month's bon appetit - Nate has been wanting to make it since the day the magazine arrived in the mail - and a deliciously easy beer bread.  I made 2 loaves of the bread, one with Sam Adams Oktoberfest beer, which was yummy but a little crumbly, and the other with Miller Lite, which stuck together quite nicely.  I'm considering using less butter next time - I think it could have been adequately delicious without the 1/2 stick of butter on each loaf.   Thanks to Ruthie, who again brought cupcakes from the Alliance bakery (see picture in previous post).  The red velvet cakes are not to be missed!
And we watched more than 2/3 of the entire third season.  Sandcastles in the Sand, you're up next.  One thing's for sure: if we have another one in November, it'll be the best Slapsgiving ever.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Jenny's birthday festivities

Jenny's birthday was last weekend and I was happy to host a ladies-only dinner party in her honor saturday night.  The evening was high class from top to bottom.  We started off with baked brie and white wine, courtesy of Jenny's cousin Katie, and we sat out on my deck amongst the flowers before dinner.  The main course was a bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin with maple sauce, mashed potatoes, and an avocado and mandarin orange salad with homemade poppyseed dressing, supplied by Anna.  
Dessert was champagne and carrot cake, as Jenny requested.  I was happy to try out a new recipe I found in my Martha Stewart magazine - 3 layers!  I even made enough extra frosting to dye and decorate with.  I take great pride in assuming that this cake would not end up on my new favorite blog, cake wrecks.  Ruthie also brought a box of beautiful cupcakes from a bakery near her new apartment.  Unfortunately none of us had room for them at the time, but the next night I enjoyed eating the one I kept.  It's the one on top in the picture with pink and green swirls.  Someone suggested that I wanted it just because it was pink and green.  I cannot argue.  But it was also vanilla cake and very good frosting so who can blame me?   

Monday, September 8, 2008

Movie Minutes

My netflix queue has over 50 movies on it, most of which are old and I'm not interested in seeing.  This is what happens when you live with a boy whose main objective in life is to see every film in the American Film Institute's list of top 100 movies of all time.  That is an exaggeration, but not much of one.
             I try to always have one girly movie from netflix in the house.  Sometimes they're mindless goodness like 27 Dresses.  Lately I've been taking netflix's suggestions.  They say because I liked the original Parent Trap, that I would enjoy watching "The Courtship of Eddie's Father,"  a movie that made me realize that a very young Ronnie Howard was not such a great actor but still very cute.  The plot was also surprisingly complex - I always expect movies from that era to be pretty predictable.  This one was, but only after going through a few plot twists.   I have also been enjoying the "Anne of Green Gables" series thanks to Netflix.
             This past Thursday, Nate and I went to the Landmark Century theater, which shows mostly independent and foreign films.  We used to go all the time, when we lived a little closer to it.  We decided to go see "Man on Wire," a movie about the french tight-rope walker who walked between the tops of the 2 towers of the World Trade Center.  It was a good way to spend a rainy afternoon.  A lot of the movie was centered around the act of breaking in to the WTC in order to get to the roof and set up for the stunt, which is a very uncomfortable subject for all Americans at this point.  The guy was definitely a little crazy, but that is unfortunately the mark of most great artists.

Up next on the queue: Anne of Green Gables, the Continuing Story,
Coal Miner's Daughter
It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, disc one.  

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Camping and Crafting

OK so it wasn't actually "camping," but I did spend this Labor Day weekend at a log cabin in wisconsin without television or internet.  Our little group of 5 all piled into my station wagon and made the 3 hour trip up to Gilbert Lake, which I still haven't located on a map, to spend the weekend swimming, tubing, water skiing, tanning, reading, boating, cooking lots of good food, and playing my new favorite game, Apples to Apples.
And of course, Jenny and I found some time to do a little crafts project - 5 Frank Lloyd Wright inspired picture frames for each of our lady friends who went on a nice little trip up to Taliesin a few weeks ago to see the home that FLW built for him and his lady friend, Mameh.
Overall, it was one of the fun, most relaxing, and cheapest weekends I've spent in a long time - a welcome respite from city life!  Below is a pic from our sunset booze cruise Sunday night.  

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Generosity of my Students

Every now and then, a student will give me a little gift.  sometimes they will be a handmade card - one I received recently said on the front: to miss heather. open now, close later.  Inside it exclaimed "your the best!"  From this same student, I received another something in an envelope, which turned out to be this.  I'm not sure what it has to do with me, really, but it was a very nice little fashion drawing.  look out, project runway!

I have another student who likes to give me candy at the end of every lesson.  While I will only occasionally eat the candy, I always accept it, just in case he comes up with something really really good sometime.  Yesterday, he gave me a pumpkin head pez dispenser with a full roll of lemon pez (he says "my favorite flavor, even though they taste nothing like lemon").

My personal favorite item in the past few years was Piano Pig: a girl scouts project, which is nothing more than a paper lunch bag with some faux pink fur on it and a face drawn on.  The student who bestowed it upon me said I was to show it to every student . . .  maybe I will someday.  For now I just keep it at home by my own piano.  

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Horto in Urbs.

Which is the Chicago Parks motto, meaning Garden in a City.  This is the opposite of Chicago's motto, which is Urbs in Horto, city in a garden.  
On my back deck, I have my own garden in a city.  It's comprised of flowers which my mom helped me pick out and plant, as she did last year as well (my first summer in this house).  This year, I added some of my own plants, some seedlings which I started inside back in February or March.  Out of the 6 different flowers I planted back then (including some candy cane striped zinnias - I was really disappointed that they never sprouted) I had only 2 viable plants: some white marigolds and 2 (out of 8 possible) morning glory plants, which I proceeded to put outside while it was still cold and I had given up for dead.  
I could tell that the marigolds were going to be fine and when they started flowering in early July they proved me right.  Now they are about 2 feet high and can barely support themselves (you can see them on the left in the above photo).  I'm not normally a big marigold fan, but these have been very satisfying flowers.  
I was ready to throw out the morning glories, but my mother said they would be fine and she was certainly right.  Some people call morning glories weeds, but a weed is really just any flower that you don't want growing, and I did want these to grow.  Grow they did - covering my trellis better than either of the honeysuckle bushes I had bought to fill up that trellis.  And about a week ago I noticed we had our first blooms.  One thing I love about them, and my African daisies do the same thing: they curl up for the night.  All of these flowers are living and breathing, of course, but there's something even more human about these flowers that go to bed and wake up each day, and don't really wake up on those cloudy days, just like us.  

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

crafty saturdays

Last summer, my friend Jenny and I got together on a Saturday for crafting.  The project we decided on was making a tshirt for our friend Dan who was getting ready to move to L.A.  Equipped with stencils, "spouncers," paints, and a red handkerchief for inspiration, we set to work making what would become a legend in crafts projects.  The scarf I'm wearing in my profile picture is the prototype for the stenciling we did on the front of the shirt.
This past Saturday, we set to work again, this time making seed paper.  Using my blender, my shredded documents, water, and food coloring (and a half broken window screen), we made some blue paper and mixed in small flower seeds, the idea being that we can make confetti from the paper and the confetti recipients can plant it and grow daisies.  I'm a little skeptical, but I'll try anything once.  Time to clean the bathtub!
and here's what we did while we waited for the paper to dry: make duct tape wallets.  here's Jenny (stuck to the makings of her wallet):
and here's my wallet!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

an old resolution

I just got home from a fun Chicago Sunday getting burned on my shoulders and pawing through lots of previously owned treasures at the Randolph Street Market Festival (formerly the Chicago Antiques Market).
This sale happens the last weekend of each month in the summer in Chicago and this weekend marked the one-year anniversary of the first time I went with my friend Jenny.  We had a wonderful time at that first sale: I got burned that day too, as I recall, and we learned how to haggle.  Our haggling really came in handy that first day and we came home with lots of old tablecloths, aprons, and scraps of fabric which we had resolved to each do something with (I planned to make an old table runner into a pillowcase) before we returned the next month.  Today, as we looked through many "new" pieces of fabric, I remembered this resolution that Jenny and I had made.  As is true for most resolutions that any of us make, we did not see them through.  So I bought more fabric and I again resolve, in the public forum of my blog, that I will use up some of my fabric before my next trip to the antiques market.  
Perhaps even next weekend, when Jenny and I are planning to have one of our crafts days, I could make this dream a reality.  I won't force Jenny as much though, because she is being artistic and creating real art these days.  Check out Jenny's stuff!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Seeing something old for the first time.

While I was in Florida last month, my beloved camera broke.  For the first time in a while, I was surrounded by things I wanted to take pictures of that, if I had had a camera, I wouldn't have looked twice at.  
At the end of June, my dad got me a new (red!) camera for my birthday and equipped with a 2GB memory card, I started taking pictures of just about anything decent looking.  Now, I generally don't approve of those people who take vacations with cameras around their neck, but on this revisit to my mom's town (where I am no stranger) I started to take pictures of the area and finally saw this town not as a ghetto past its heyday, but a beautiful vibrant community full of culture.  I give you, New London:

A New London initiative: filling empty storefronts with artwork.  This one is my favorite/the most disgusting thing I've ever seen:

Right across the street from my mom's house is a graveyard that has gravestones as old as from 1700 or so. Not too shabby. Also, there is a mound where Benedict Arnold stood and watch Groton burning (imagine me as Benedict Arnold):
Thanks to my new camera, for helping me notice these things for the first time!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


I just got back from a week in Florida with my high school BFF.  Much like the summer weeks we used to spend at her family's house on Long Island, this vacation was spent mostly in the sun, by the pool, hanging out with Jessica and her family.
One of my favorite TV shows, How I Met Your Mother, recently had an episode about "revertigo," what happens when you hang out with friends from a different stage of your life.  Basically, you become the person you were in high school, grade school (god forbid), or college, like when my boyfriend goes back to his fraternity for reunion weekends and drinks like he's still 20 years old.  I thank HIMYM for giving this phenomenon a name; I've felt something like that for years, like my one guy friend from high school who makes fun of me all the time, and the thing is, when I'm with him, I do and say things that are worthy of being made fun of (terrible sentence structure is an excellent example of that).  
This week that I spent with Jessica, her mom, her dad, and her no-longer-little brother, made me feel like I was in high school again.  Not so much because I feel like I acted differently than my almost 26-year-old self (even though I probably did), but because I had parents around, a mom who cooked dinner for us, and I didn't check my email for the whole week.  I had shut myself off from my current life almost completely and it was wonderful.  We would wait until the parents had gone to bed to start the real drinking each night - so very high school.  And also I felt totally spoiled by getting to see my old best friend every day for a whole week, which is the most that I've gotten to see her in years, and it was like everything was the same as 8 years ago.  
A good vacation is gets you out of your current locality, but a great vacation gets you out of your current state of mind.  

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Below Grade

I have a student whom I refer to as "catatonic boy."  This may sound harsh, but he earned the name.  In multiple lessons, we will reach a point where I do something horrific like ask him to play a piece a second time and it is like flipping a light switch.  He will go completely rigid and just start groaning.  In a recent lesson, he went catatonic and I told him "just play the piece one more time and your lesson is over."  He continued to groan for 15 more minutes, which meant our lesson went 10 minutes over time, but I still made him play the piece because I don't want him to think he can get out of things by acting semi-retarded!
The thing is, he has a decent sense of humor and I have a lot of fun joking around with him.  He has started smiling during lessons (gasp!) and every once in a while, if I see him smile, I will say "did you just smile?  you know you're not supposed to smile during a piano lesson!  what if I  think you're having fun?!"  and he'll say something sassy back to me like "I was stretching my mouth" or " I have a facial tic."
When he wants to, he plays very well.  He reads pretty easily, which is no small task because the teacher he had before me never taught him the letters (a,b,c, etc.) of the keys.  I could overlook this if his teacher were foreign and he learned do, re, mi . . . but he didn't, so shame on you, former teacher!  
The other day, we were looking for an F on the piano and he told me that I get an "F minus" as a teacher.  Now I know this isn't true, if for no other reason than he does actually know the letters of the keyboard now, not to mention the 2 or 3 books that he has progressed through under my tutelage.  When I told Nate about how catatonic boy told me I get an F minus as a teacher, Nate said "did you tell him he gets an F minus minus minus?"  and I answered "I was thinking more like a G plus."  Of course I didn't say any of this to my student; to tell you the truth it didn't bother me that much.  Why not?  He was smiling when he said it.  

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Happy (late) Mother's day to me!

My mom just left after a long weekend visit.  She finally got her (late) mother's day gift: a bouquet of flowers which I picked out and put together myself (special, from the supermarket), complete with new lilies opening each day she was here.  
We went to a Cubs game on Friday.  The Cubs won, with Soriano hitting 2 home runs, and the weather was perfect.  Then on Saturday we were off to Oak Park with tickets to tour Frank Lloyd Wright (and other historical) homes that are privately owned and rarely open to the public.  We hit 6 out of the 10 homes, and were about as tired as we've ever been by the end of the day.
On Sunday I came down with some awful virus and I ended up staying home from work on Monday.  My mom, who was going to go to museums while I was at work, stayed home and took care of me which helped make me feel about as good as I could have under the circumstances.  Maybe not my mom's favorite vacation, but I sure enjoyed a little mothering.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

after all, Everybody Poops

So I teach at my students' homes, which makes for a more casual learning environment than the one I had when I was first taking piano lessons.  I know the names of younger siblings, dogs, and have seen family members in different states of undress.  Yet, this was a first for me:
Tonight, I arrived at my student's house for my final lesson of the evening.  Her dad let me in and said "she'll be down in a minute; she's in the bathroom." 
So I get myself settled, look through my student's assignment notebook, in order to remember where we left off last week, open her books to the right page, etc.  Five minutes later her mom comes downstairs and says "she'll be down in about five minutes," then mouths "she's pooping."  Well, five minutes later (a full 10 minutes after our regular lesson time and only once her mom yelled upstairs that she had to "wrap it up, no matter what") my student comes downstairs (unsatisfied? victorious?) and begins her lesson.  

Monday, May 12, 2008

Happy Mudder's Day Cubs Game

I was lucky enough to get some free tickets to yesterday's Cubs game, which my friends and I almost didn't go to because it looked like it was going to be rained out!  At the last minute we changed our minds and went a little late, only missing the first inning.  
Things we did see:  the guy sitting right in front of us wearing head-to-toe yellow foul-weather gear, who got up and danced every time a song came on the loud speaker (that's him in the photo).  And a fan jumped onto the field around the centerfield bleachers and was tackled by the grounds crew before being arrested.  It inspired me and Ruthie to go home and watch Fever Pitch after the game is over.  We also got free pink baseball hats that they were giving out to all of the ladies in honor of Mother's Day.  
They were pretty good seats too; very close to the field.  No need for my binoculars at this game!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Balloon Tree

Q: what grows on trees?

A: not money, or candy (unfortunately!).
But apparently balloons do.  

I came home from errands today to find that the tree on my back porch had sprouted something.

No matter what, we're still who we were in high school.

I was driving up in the 'burbs the other day behind an SUV with a cartoon family on the back windshield.  Clearly, this is meant to represent the family inside the car: mom, dad, two boys and a girl, and a dog.  No wonder they need a big car.  
Yesterday, as I was driving on the highway back to the 'burbs, I ended up behind another huge SUV, this time there were just 2 cartoons: on the left side of the windshield, a football helmet and "Jake" written under it; on the right side, a cheerleader with "Katherine" underneath.  High school sweethearts?  The old cliche of football hero and head cheerleader?  I had to get a better look, and so when I went to pass the SUV I glanced over to see whether Jake or Katherine was driving.  I assume it was Katherine, about 35 and on her cell phone.  How long ago did this football and cheerleader lifestyle end? 

On a completely unrelated note, I caved today and got a Gap card.  I went to the Gap because I'm going down to St. Louis this weekend and of course I have "noooothing to weaaaaar."  I do actually think this is true because since I graduated college, I no longer have any desire to go shopping for clothes. 
Anyway, my 20% discount goes for the rest of the day.  Hmmmm.  Shop or teach?  Shop or teach?

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Totally un-professional softball

This spring, I've joined a softball team with some friends.  We played our first game yesterday; it was a typically cold and windy day in Chicago, on some softball fields right by Lake Michigan in Old Town.  
Now, I haven't played softball, or anything like it, since I was on my school's team in 7th grade.  I remember two things from that experience:
1. playing right field, and making one catch, when the ball was hit right to me, and all I had to do was reach right out in front of me and catch the waist-high ball.  My coach later told me that it was "a lucky catch."  I replied that "I live on luck."  and
2.  the only time I ever got on base, when I was hit by a pitch.  A normal person could have probably jumped back and avoided contact with the ball, but not me.  I saw the ball coming, froze, and got hit in the side.  I doubt that I ever made it past first base.  
Well, my experience yesterday was surprisingly better than that of 13 years ago.  I should mention that I requested number 19 on my jersey, in honor of my beloved Matt Murton (see my last post).  Like him, I played right field and made one almost-catch, where I managed to run to where the ball was in time, get it into my glove, then have it hop right back out.  I had 2 at-bats, and grounded out both times (in true Matt Murton fashion, at least so far this season).  I consider this a small victory, since it does mean that my bat made contact with the ball both of my at-bats.  It was a short game, however, ending after 5 innings, as the other team had beaten us 15 to 4, or something like that (it was really hard to keep track).  
Looks like it's time for some batting practice!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Zooming in on the Cubs

Last week I got to go to my 2 first Cubs games of the season.  I have discovered upper deck seats as a great, cheap way to have a good view of the entire game.  I wasted so much time the first few seasons I was here in lower level seating, where you can't see the scoreboard because you're under the upper deck (unless you've paid an arm and a leg to sit down near the field).  
A friend of mine, who was going to the 2nd game with me, mentioned early in the week that she couldn't wait to see Fukudome in action.  Now, no matter how good of a view we have in the upper deck, it's not like you can really see the players, so I joked that in order to really see him we'd have to bring some binoculars to the game.  
In the middle of the week I was up in the suburbs doing a few errands before teaching for the afternoon and there was a spy store in the shopping plaza.  I figured if anyone would have binoculars, they would, so I went right in and bought myself a pretty nice pair for about $30.  As I was checking out, the guy who had helped me said that he had lost the bet.  Apparently, when he and his coworker saw me walking toward the store, they figured I must be lost and would only come into the shop to ask for directions.  The only other customer in there happened to be a middle-aged, slightly sketchy looking guy.  And I had to sign a waiver in order to buy the binoculars, promising not to do anything illegal with them.
So now I got to zoom in on my favorite players.  I'm looking forward to using them all season.  Hopefully I will get to view this guy more often: Matt Murton, my favorite red-headed player who is in and out (mostly out) of the Cubs lineup this season.  Bear with me; I'm trying to get a grip on photo-shopping.  

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Holy Moly, Guacamole

Everyone has heard that the way to man's heart is through his stomach, but did you know the same is actually true of his family?  During Nate's family's recent visit, I made my signature guacamole in the morning, on the last full day of their visit, and put it in the refrigerator for later.  That night, they came home at 11 from seeing a musical, and called while they were on their way to say they were buying chips and beer because they've been wanting to eat my guacamole all day.  
The very first time I visited their home in Buffalo, I made this guacamole which, at the time, was about the only thing that I knew how to "cook."  At a time when the whole family took little notice of me, and still possibly carried a torch for Nate's ex, I managed to solidify a spot in their lives by way of my guacamole.  And this did 2 things: 
1. showed that I know my way around a kitchen (or created the illusion that I did - I have since figured out how to cook many more foods).  and
2. established me in their minds as the "guacamole girl."  While this may not sound all that appealing of a title, it did the trick.  Before long, there were avocados waiting for me when I got to their house.  The first christmas that Nate and I were together, Nate's mom gave me some kind of kitchen tool used to remove the insides of an avocado from the skin.  
The moral of the story is: to make a great impression, learn to cook one thing well.  Even if it's the only thing you know how to do, it will pave the way for a relationship with a boy and his family.  

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Well, my chair and rug have both arrived and been arranged artfully in my family room.  The chair only took 2 of the 4-6 expected weeks to deliver (which was quite impressive) and therefore arrived just in time for some surprise houseguests - my boyfriend's family!  
So now I have a "completed" room.  At least I had told myself that when I had that chair and that rug my room would be finished.  The thing is, the cluttered life I lead may never allow for me to be fully satisfied with something like a room arrangement.  This is what I need to keep in mind: comfort is more important than perfection.  
This is also a good message for me to keep in mind as I prepare my students for their next recital at the end of May (and as I prepare my own piece to play in the recital).  There will always be elements of all of our pieces that we could improve on, but there comes a time when we have to say "this is how it's going to be," and then be comfortable with it.  
Of course, I love my chair.  And that rug really ties the room together.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Yay for procrastinating!

My mother helped me move into my condo last June, and she's coming for her first visit since then in the middle of May.  In order to feel like I've actually lived her for a year, and accomplished something in that time, I've finally decided to buy the rug and chair that will complete my family room/living area.  
These are pieces I've been thinking of buying for months, and feeling guilty that I haven't just gotten on the phone, or online, and bought them already!  Well, imagine my surprise and glee at having my procrastination rewarded; I went online today and both items were on sale!  Even with the gross shipping costs, they still each cost less than they had at the original prices.  That's American consumerism at its best, and once again proves my theory that, in this great country of ours, you never have to pay full price for anything.  Behold, my new chair that is being made for me right now at a bargain price.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

This week is vacation for all of my students.  This means easier schedule for me, but also more surprises at a lot of homes.  Relatives are visiting - I have grandparents in the room listening to me berate little children when they play a wrong note.  Another interesting visitor I had today was a cousin's dog that two of my students are caring for over the week.  This little dog is definitely going through something and kept attempting to hump my leg for the hour I was at their house.  I have never experienced this before, thank goodness, but had no idea how to tastefully deal with it while impressionable children were in the room.  Luckily, nothing really came of it.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Easter Eggs

I hosted a little easter egg dying party this past weekend, mostly because I wanted an excuse to try out many different egg-decorating ideas.  Many of them inspired by Martha, of course.  
I tried blowing out my eggs this year; last year I only hard-boiled, then made some beautiful decoupaged eggs that I was super bummed I had to throw out.  The whole blowing-out process is not something I was prepared for and I must assure you it is not for the faint-hearted.  I started out with 11 eggs, and "successfully" ble
w out 5.  (The other 6 either cracked when I was making holes in them, or I blew so hard that they exploded - not pretty.)  The next morning I found that I had not managed to fully blow out one egg, which had leaked into the egg carton overnight, and was then stuck and I broke it.  So I was down to 4 eggs, but I was going to make them the best decoupaged eggs I could manage.
Of course, I supplemented with hard boiled eggs, and a fine time was had by all.  My favorite eggs, though, are actually the styrofoam ones that I covered with origami paper, so little note-to-self there.  Next year I'll be trying for 5 successfully blown out eggs.  

Sunday, January 20, 2008

New Year's Resolutions

So of course the big one is to lose weight, blah blah blah.  But in our attention-deficient society, we like to see results today, so here's what happened with my other big resolution: to get my and nate's closets organized and finally unpack all my clothes from when we moved back in June.
Sorry the picture quality isn't the best, but I wanted to paste the pictures together rather than having to post 6 different pictures here.  Yes, those are my sweaters in the bookcase on the left.  Before you have a cow, please note that I used to have about twice as many. 


Tuesday, January 8, 2008

today I was just starting to drive across the train tracks when the lights started flashing and then the bar thingies came down.  It was exhilarating! (well, once I was off the train tracks)