Saturday, December 31, 2011


2011 was a fantastic and fantastically difficult year.  I married my best friend and then lent him to the Army for a year.  I have found out what true friends are and that I can't do everything by myself.  I am still learning to ask for help but getting slightly better about it.  I made to MA +60 and have almost completed a second graduate degree.  I broke my first bone.  All of these things made 2011 unforgettable but I can't say that I'm said to see it come to a close.

I have so many things to look forward to in 2012.  Sarge and I will get to be together again.  I get to travel to Germany for R&R this February.  I will have a new niece this spring.  I'll have a new brother-in-law this fall.  I have a few weddings, more babies and who knows what other celebrations to enjoy.  All of these are exciting and life-changing events (some for others more than me!) and I look forward to sharing them.

Thanks to all who read this and those who have commented since I started writing in July.  Keep coming back and share it with someone I don't know.  I've only been an Army wife for 8 months and since we've been apart for more than 5 of them I think I'll qualify for newlywed status for a looooong time.  This isn't easy and there are days I wish it could be different.  But, I couldn't be more proud of my husband and what he's doing and what we're accomplishing.  I couldn't be more proud of what I've done this year.  So, thanks for a great 2011 and time to gear up for 2012!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Christmas #3

The past 3 days we spent upstate with Sarge's sister, brother-in-law, nephew and mom.  We didn't "do" much other than hang around but it was great to see them and re-connect.  We did a small gift exchange, had some good meals and relaxed.  I got plenty of time with T-Man, he just turned 2 and is really fun.  He's really talking and I'm getting much better at understanding him.  Here are the highlights!
Read books Aunt Lolo!

Yummy cookies

I spilled potato chips on the floor and Star is helping me clean up

My hosts were very concerned for my safety...

Lollipop drum for Christmas!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Merry Christmas! (Very Belated)

Christmas with my family was lovely as always.  We still do the PJ's on Christmas morning, only now it involves coffee and isn't as early.  We open gifts and then enjoy breakfast (yay for Marty's!)  Then it's cleaning, set-up and cooking for the party that afternoon.

The aunts, uncle and cousins came over in the afternoon for dinner, something I look forward to each year.  Roast beef, Yorkshire pudding, gravy.....yummmm!!  We do a white elephant swap, all re-gifts.  This year I was the proud recipient of an electric plate warmer.  I think the box and warmer are almost as old as I am.  My uncle said he planned to give it as a wedding gift and changed his mind, haha!

The family also got to Skype with Sarge for a few minutes which was a big gift.  My mom came and sat with me and we all talked for about 15 minutes which was great.  I think they both really enjoyed reconnecting live.  I was crying afterwards and my brother-in-law came to give me a hug and told me that the day he comes home will be so wonderful and that he still remembers how great brother's homecoming was.  It was the perfect thing to hear and I knew he didn't expect me to stop crying either.

Tomorrow: catching up with Sarge's family upstate!

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Final Countdown

There are only 5 more teaching days in the calendar year!  This would be even more exciting except that this is one of the most challenging weeks in the school year for the music teachers.  So many of us are fitting in evening concerts, in school performances and sing-alongs, etc.  I'm lucky that my evening concert isn't until January but I know that getting my classes to focus on it is almost impossible.  They are so hyped up and excited about all the parties and presents (and let's face it, so are the adults) that memorizing a song is low on their priority list.  I am attempting to combat this in the most basic of ways.  Bribery!

I have tempted my classes, starting last week, that if they could have 4 of their 5 songs concert ready by Wednesday we would have a movie day for their last class of the week with me.  I only see my students every other day at most and some even less so this is a big challenge for them.  It's also a challenge to me.  My ears go bonkers at this time.  I hear mistakes I've never heard before and turn into the nitpick queen.  I have to make sure I'm praising as much as I'm critiquing (sp?) their singing.  It's hard!  We all need to stay motivated and positive and not get bogged down in details.  Middle school chorus is a learning experience, not just a performance class....right?

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Christmas baking

So, I've already make a holiday bark with cranberries, toasted hazelnuts and candied ginger in dark chocolate for tomorrow's tree decorating party at my mom's.  I made and sent Sarge a batch of mint chocolate cookies on Tuesday.  Last night I made the cupcakes and lemon curd for today's Lemon Meringue cupcakes. (I'll post pics later but if I don't post now I'll forget totally as I have most other days this week!)  I'll be taking 1 dozen to donate to a post-concert reception and the 2nd dozen to family Christmas party #1.  I have been a busy baker this past week!

Lemon butter cupcakes

Homemade Lemon Curd

Filled cupcakes

Swiss Meringue topping


This week I have to decide on and prep for the desserts I'm making for Christmas day.  I'm feeling the urge to try a Buche de Noel but am a little intimidated as well.  I've never done a "roll-up" and if it falls apart I won't have a back-up.  I have now watched a few online demos and read a large number of recipes...anyone have any advice?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Lawn Ornaments

So, I understand that these giant blow up lawn ornaments are the "Thing To Have" but I am not really a fan.  In my complex they don't even make sense which I find more annoying.  When it's Santa, a snowman, some reindeer I think they're silly but I get it.  Kids love them, etc. 

Now, in my condo complex we have Santa in a helicopter and a Noah's Ark.  Seriously?  Why is Santa in a helicopter?  He has a sleigh and flying reindeer!!!  As for Noah's Ark it just doesn't seem "Christmas" to me, even though there do appear to be wreaths around the windows on the boat.  And not to be too "PC" but isn't that a little one-sided?  Where's the giant inflatable dreidel??

Saturday, December 10, 2011

I got to attend a concert today, a wonderful change after performing the last 2 nights.  I went to see the Rockland County Choral Society's concert tonight with my sisters, brother-in-law and future brother-in-law.  My parents are members and I was so excited to go and hear them sing.  The entire concert was very well done and Haydn's music is lovely.  I just taught my 7th graders about him so it was fun to hear some of his work live.  I learned some new things about Haydn from the program and about myself.

I enjoyed the chorus and string quartet today and I recognize all the work that goes into putting on a concert like I saw.  The chorus has been working since September, the string quartet and soloists are all pros.  It's a huge organizational and musical undertaking and it was nice to enjoy the results.  But, I really do love to sing and it's more fun for me than listening.  I think that when I start to get rehearsal burn-out just going to hear a concert is enough to bring back that desire to sing again.

So, I'm planning to sing with RCCS this spring and I'm thrilled that they're doing one of my absolute favorites, the Brahms Requiem! 

Monday, December 5, 2011

I Love Chili's

I had dinner at Chili's last night with my friend Linda.  It was GREAT experience for 2 excellent reasons.  Namely, we sat at the bar while waiting for our table and I got carded!!!  Now, at 32 I do not get carded very often, if ever anymore.  3 weeks before my birthday this was even more special.  As it was Happy Hour, I ordered the 2 for 1 special Mango Margaritas.  DELICIOUS.  And, because the bartender accidentally made a little too much I got a bonus partial glass as well.  It was almost 2 and half for 1....amazing.

Linda and I enjoyed yummy dinners, good girl talk and it was nice to hang out after my first performance of the season.  1 down, 5 or 6 to go before my school concerts on January 10th and 11th.  Yikes!!!  It's going to be a busy month....keep those margaritas coming!

Sunday, December 4, 2011


So, in my quest to re-start my running habit I finally picked up the Nike+ for my iPod.  Now, only I could manage to screw it up more than once on the first run.  Now, because of this I think I walked and extra mile and a quarter which is all good, but added an extra 20 minutes onto the 5K I was originally planning to do.  Oh, and the workout only ended up being 3.5K....according to the iPod.  So, that will NOT be uploaded anywhere, we'll consider it a test run and hopefully I'll get my act together for the next run.  Today's Run:  4.3ish miles

Anyone want to join me on Tuesday?

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Need a Little Christmas

I was feeling the characters in Mame today, totally bummy and trying to pull myself out of it with Christmas.  I lugged the Christmas Tub out of the basement this afternoon and made it my goal to start decorating tonight. 

As I began taking out the Christmas stuff and I realized that I don't have nearly as much as I used to.  I think over the years I culled out the decorations I didn't really like and never replaced them.  I do have more ornaments, cookie tins and coffee mugs so I need to start being selective with those now.  I do think I'll be picking up a few new things for this year to brighten up the condo.

I don't know if it's just my state of mind these days but I really need a little Christmas!  I'll settle for decorating, a glass of red wine and Harry Potter movies on TV.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Follow me!

So, I know that more than 6 people are reading I'd love to have you follow me.  You won't get weird e-mail or anything like that but if you use Google Reader (like I do) you'll get the blog updates sent to your phone or on your homepage when you log on to iGoogle.  It's how I read most of the blogs I follow and love how easy it is!  So....take the chance and follow me!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

My favorite month

December is my favorite month.  I love the holidays, the music, the performances, all the's just the best.  It is also the craziest month for me because I have trouble saying "no" to things.  I'm doing the fewest number of performances this year as I ever have with only 1 each weekend between now and Jan 7th.  (There was a year I did 5 in one weekend, that was NOT fun)

I've started my holiday shopping and have a couple of gifts but am starting to get into the swing.  I think my favorite gifts are the family stocking gifts and trying to find that one novelty gift for Anthony that will make him smile.  His real gift is usually black and tactical...not particularly exciting for me but they make him happy. 

Our family stockings are my favorite because they require a little creativity.  We have a $25 limit and it's Secret Santa style since we're all a little old for stockings but still love doing them Christmas Eve.  I'm also looking forward to shopping for my nephew this year....I love buying toys!!!  The challenge now is to stay within a reasonable budget, I have a *small* tendency to go overboard...