Monday, December 27, 2010

Oh no, oh snow!

  • NYC Weather: Blizzard Induces Transit Headache

  • Blizzard Pummels Northeast, Closes NYC Airports

  • Blizzard stops East Coast in its tracks

  • U.S. air traffic snarled by blizzard

 I'm STUCK in WV!  My Monday morning flight was canceled and the earliest reschedule is THURSDAY morning!  At least I am stuck at a nice cozy home instead of spending days in an airport somewhere!  Hope they are able to clean up the mess in New York and get me back for at least one day of work this week!  Yikes!



Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!!!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

time out of town

The fall tends to be a busy time.  Actually, most of the year tends to be busy.  Possibly I lead a busy life. I can't believe that it is now December and we are in the midst of the holiday season, looking at the close of another year.  I don't know where the time went.  It feels like just yesterday that Stacy and I were huddled under an umbrella 15 blocks away from a sparkling sphere, squinting to see the globe that was to bring in the new year as it descended on masses of people.

I was fortunate during the fall season to take a few trips.  Unfortunately, I was too busy to write much about them.  First, I was able to spend a weekend in West Virginia.  Not too long after, I went to Montana for several days where I got to hang out with Ben, Jen, and little Joel, who is quickly becoming 'not so little' anymore.  He could be pretty wild at times, but all in all is a super cute kid.  I enjoyed reading to him, but he would read the same book over and over...and over...  I would think he would get tired of it, but nope.  He could have much worse habits, I must say.  I can't get over how demanding babies are.  Being a single lady in the city, I can't wrap my mind around this other person that needs your attention 24/7.  Entire days have to be planned around feedings, naps, moods... not much room for spontaneity in there.  Parents have a lot of patience.  When a kid is screaming all the time, I would want to put him in the closet and go shopping.  I don't think that's really an option though.  Well, it's fun being an aunt.  Not that being a parent isn't extremely rewarding, but I think I'll enjoy my freedom while I have it.  My day may come.

Last week, for Thanksgiving, I went down to Richmond to John and Pat's place.  A bunch of the WV portion of the family came out to meet us and we had a great time.  I was nervous to fly on Thanksgiving day, especially with the new scanners and pat downs that are all the drama in the news, but I had no problems.  In fact, the airport was like a ghost town when I left NY.  Coming back was so early that I was barely aware of what was going on anyway.

Next week a gang of family is coming to New York and the week after that I will be heading to West Virginia for Christmas!  I can't believe it's so soon!  I need to do some Christmas shopping asap!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

a face for fall

Union Square Farmer's Market

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Coffee Shmoffee

Today I had a new coffee experience!  A coffee place that has been on my 'to-do' list for a long time appeared before me this morning... and I mean literally appeared before my eyes.  The funny thing is that it is actually right across the street from the church I attend.  I just never saw it because it is right across from the side door and I always use the front door.  Well, this morning the trains were running different than normal, so I took an ever so slightly different route and just as I was about to leap across the street and disappear into church I noticed this really interesting place that seemed to be buzzing quite a bit for a Sunday morning.  I paused long enough to see the sign on the window for Stumptown Coffee Roasters.  Who knew?  There it was.  Mental bookmark made and off to church I go.

As soon as the service ended I ran back out the side door and over to the coffee place!  It is such a unique place.  It's very small and actually inside a hotel.  It has an older feeling - kind of vintage/modern I guess.  The baristas were dressed in great outfits using newsboy hats, suspenders and vests... made me feel like I was in another era... and not in a 'costumey' way.  So the look was great, but were all the customers waiting in line for that?  Oh no.  This was some good coffee.  The aroma that filled the air while I waited in line could not lie.  My macchiato was smooth, creamy, yummy and beautiful.  With this caffeine haven next door, I will never doze off in church again.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Halloween 2010

Usually Halloween kind of gets on my nerves.  I often feel like I'm trying to come up with a costume idea at the last minute.  I don't get into getting ridiculously dressed up and I definitely don't want to spend a lot of money on some costume that I will never use again.  I prefer fancy dressed that I will never wear again...
I also hate that most girls use Halloween as a time to dress (or UNdress) like a skank.  I don't know when Halloween because a licence to go around half naked, but it's just not my thing.  Anyway - let's not get on that path.

I actually think this Halloween turned out pretty well and it was super easy so I am super excited about that.  We had some events at work and I participated in the pumpkin decorating contest.  I did not win, but I thought my Pumpkin Pi was quite clever and nerdy and I definitely get some points for that.

One of the orchestras I play in, the One World Symphony held a couple of concerts over the weekend too.  We had one in Brooklyn on Friday night and one in Manhattan on Sunday night.  We dressed up in costumes for those concerts and played fun "Halloween' like music.  I decided to go a Rosie the Riveter.  I think (and based on all the comments on my facebook pictures) that the costume came off really well.  It was super easy and a LOT of fun.  I love that all I really did was tie some fabric around my head and put on a denim shirt and there she was!  Yay!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

I'm in Montana!!!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


I am taking a vacation!  I am going to visit the Shumates of the West.  
It sure looks far away!  Good thing I am taking a plane and not driving.  That would take forever!
I am looking forward to seeing some family and taking it easy for a few days.  I think where they live is the exact opposite of where I live, so it should be fun.  Big Sky, here I come!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Big Event

I'm excited.  I've been sick this week, but I'm still excited.  Because Monday night is Opening Night at the Metropolitan Opera!  It's time for our new season to start.  I'm sure I've mentioned before that it gets slow working for a performing arts organization during the summer months when there are no performances.  One of the big perks for working where I do is that I get to attend amazing performances.  I stay busy with other things throughout the summer, but it is always a welcomed day when the fall brings a new season to experience.  I rather enjoy opening night because it is usually something new and exciting...last year was a new production of Tosca, which many people hated.  But oh it was fun to be there and experience the hate first hand.  I love being a part of the drama.  This year we are premiering Das Rheingold, the first opera of our new production of Wagner's Ring Cycle.  If ever there is a thing to be loved or hated, it is a new production for a Ring Cycle.  People are PASSIONATE about this thing and they all loved the old production (as did I - it's the one I 'grew up' on).  But I'm open minded about the new one.  It could be cool, it could be fabulous, it could be silly.  We'll see.  But I'm super excited to be there on Monday night when it is introduced to the world for the first time.  Should I stuff my handbag with tomatoes to throw, just in case I find it appalling?  Possibly...that could be fun.  Mostly I just love to sit back and watch the crowd, dressed to the nines, taking part in this spectacular event.  My gown and heels are ready to go!

Monday, September 20, 2010

New Day's Resolution

I need to play my "auxiliary" clarinets more!  Of course, I need to play all of my clarinets more, but especially the 'others'.  My bass and E-flat rarely come out of the case and that's not good.  It's especially not good because for the most part the only reason they do come out of their cases is because I have to play a rehearsal or gig with them. Which means when I am asked to play in public, I haven't been practicing and there is a good chance that I won't sound that great on them.  Which is... bad.  SO - I am going to attempt to stick to a new rule: At least ONE night a week I have BC night or E-flat night.  If I play them only once a week I will be in much better shape than I am currently.  I started tonight with a BC Squeak-fest.  It was tremendous.  At least I know it is me and not the instrument having the problem, since I had it worked on not too long ago.  Regardless of my clumsiness with it, it feels much better than it has in the past.  This makes me happy because I know if I just practice the thing it will sound better.  It's kind of fun and encouraging to sound like a total mess.  At least the only way to go is UP!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

A little o' this and that

This is just a random post that's not really about anything specific, but who cares.  Since a week ago I have felt like most of what I say is a random stream of stuff.  I've said the same thing to myself over and over and several people have heard the same thing too.  Most people also reply with the same stories, but for some reason I keep going round and round.  Each and every day.  The days almost blend together as one big day of 'keeping myself together' and grabbing the bull by the horns.

So this morning I felt like staying in bed, but I did that a little too long yesterday and as nice as I thought it would be, it got be  So this morning I rested a bit and then went straight to my bike.  Love that bike.  The sun was shining and the temperature in the mid 60's.  I crossed the street and found myself in Prospect Park, which I took a couple of spins around and it felt good.  At least it was my bike and body doing the spinning instead of only the thoughts inside my head.
The first half of the park is the most challenging from where I live.  There is a bit of a hill that is just gradual and long enough that I can't do my 'usual' hill treatment. (Stand up and RUN).  I actually have to work at it a bit...but that's good.  Gets the heart rate up.  Coming back down the hill on the other side is my favorite....especially at the hour I was out today.  As I coasted down the hill and felt the air blowing all around me I could see the lake to my left.  The sun shone on the water which glistened like diamonds winking at me.  Nice.  I had to loop around and do another round of the park just so I could see it again.  

What else... I did some grocery shopping... much needed.  Then I bought a mop because my apartment is dirty and getting on my nerves so I intend to clean.  I think the job requires something stronger than Swiffer, so I got a more 'serious' mop.  Hope I can get around to it, but I have a couple of performances this evening and will have to start getting ready for that before too long.  Something about a road being paved with good intentions....

One other thing.  How is Google so smart???  This new Google Instant search is unbelievable.  It can finish my sentences for me.  It knows what I am looking for before I know it.  For those situations of "Oh, I can't remember what it's called... I think it starts with a B".... Google can read my mind.  Amazing.  We don't even have to think these days.  Google will figure it all out.   I am sitting here listening to Pandora, which knows what I want to listen to, searching Google which knows what I want to find.  Life should always be this easy. 

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Spun right a record, baby

What is it they say about history?  History repeats itself?  Learn from the past?  I don't know.  I guess all of it sounds good.  I am about ready for history to stop repeating itself.  Sure, it's always a variation and slightly different...and so exciting! *eye roll*  But all in all, it's the same old thing.

I'm not going to say much more.  It's all been said before.  Here and here and you get the point here.

As much as I love making those cookies, I'd rather not have to post this again unless I am remembering the past...or enjoying my departure from the past...not to comment on the present.  :)  Is it possible to stop history from repeating itself or do I always need to keep those neon stirrup pants, hair crimper, and chunky boots in the closet for the next time they come around?  Vintage clothing is one thing.  Vintage problems... something else.  Enough!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Living Situations

I've always heard that one of the most difficult things about living in New York is finding the place to live.  And I agree! There are so many different neighborhoods and each has it's great reasons to live in as well as its draw-backs.  Prices can be outrageous and it really comes down to location, location, location.  The closer you live to the heart of things, the more you are going to pay and the smaller it will probably be.  Live further out, have more space: pay less.  Live in the ghetto, pay even less.  I don't know if it's possible to to have it all.  I feel like there will always be a sacrifice, so you have to pick what is most important (at least in the moment) and go for it.

As I was walking around Manhattan this weekend I saw a beautiful building on Gramercy Park and figured that might be a nice place for me.  Just take a look.  Who wouldn't mind having a couple of shiny armor guys guarding the front door and gargoyles guarding the windows?  And walking the red carpet every time I run to the grocery store?  Sounds like my kind of place.  I came back to my cozy Brooklyn apartment and found my future apartment's website.  I did run into wee problem.  The building is no longer a rental, so I will have to buy.  Also the prices range from $484,500 - $6,690,600, but that includes bicycle storage AND white glove service!  So....I've got a little work to do.  Donations accepted.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Old New York

 Fifth Avenue Clock (1909) and Flat Iron Building (1902)

Sunday, August 8, 2010

New Clothes for Claire

For a while now I have been thinking that I might want to get a new case for my clarinets.  I have had the same one for some time and it wasn't new when I got it. It's seen some mileage.  I started researching and thinking about what I might want to get to replace the old one.  I have a case cover that I really like with backpack straps that make it easy to carry around, so I thought I may just replace the inside case.  When I found out that was just as expensive as replacing the whole thing I decided I could get whatever I wanted!  I picked one by BAM that is supposed to be lightweight and very protective.  I pulled the trigger to the online store for all things woodwind and the next morning it was on its way to a new home.

My apartment isn't very good for receiving packages because if I am not home (which is usually the case) there is no place for UPS or the post office to leave a large package.  It ends up sitting at the post office until I can get there during business hours, which is difficult for me to do.  I've completely missed packages in the past and they have been sent back!  No good.  So these days I have everything delivered to work.  All week I anticipated the arrival of my new clarinet case (and a few other accessories I ordered).  Of course it arrives on Friday...the first day of my weekend...the one day I actually was home and could have received a delivery.  Oh well, that's just the way it goes.

I don't live very close to the office, so I decided not to go retrieve my goodies over the weekend.  The suspense would make it even better, right? After waiting, I was excited to get to work this afternoon!  And even more excited to get home and try it out!

Once I got home, I opened up my box like it was Christmas and tried it out.  My case has that new car smell to it.  So fun.  I feel a little bit, well, a lot, dorky that I get super excited about a clarinet case, but hey, that's my thing!  Anyway - "Claire" is snug and cozy in her new home and hanging out in my little practice area until I get home tomorrow and can make music with her.  We both look forward to taking the new case out for a real spin soon!

Thursday, August 5, 2010


Lincoln Center Fountain - close up

Friday, July 30, 2010

Cough cough cough

I've had a mystery cough for... I've lost track of time...I guess it's been 4 weeks now?  Yikes!  I really can't even remember when this whole thing started.  I guess it was the week after 4th of July weekend, so whenever that was.  Anyway - I've been to the doctor and tried allergy medications and tried cough syrups and tried antibiotics and nothing really seemed to do the trick.  The crazy cough is slowly but surely starting to go away and I'm ready for my life to go back to normal!!!  This thing has affected EVERYTHING.  I haven't been able to sleep well or have energy to do 'regular' things.  So frustrating.  Plus being so tiny and having such a violent cough has done some damage to my body.  I'm pretty sure I even cracked a rib!  Eek!  Not good.  Well, I'm headed back in to the doctor today to get the rib checked out.  I guess the cough is going away (ever so slowly) so it shouldn't be too much longer before I am back to life.  I don't know how much more of this I could take before my whole body just pops into pieces or I cough myself inside out.  That could be an interesting sci-fi movie, right?  The girl who coughs herself inside out and has to go through the rest of her life that way.  Hmmm.... okay... time to head to the doctor.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Summer Eats

Sometimes in the summer I feel like it is harder to find things to cook at home. The main reason is because it is so hot! All I want to do is eat ice cream! My apartment, as most New York apartments, does not have central AC. I have a window unit in my bedroom and there is one in the living room, but the kitchen stays pretty hot. Plus it is a small kitchen so the last thing I want to do is have a hot oven roasting something for hours. That just won't work in the summer!

Tonight I was having one of those "ugh...what am I going to eat" moments. I scanned the kitchen to see what I had and was able to throw together a really nice dinner salad. I broiled a salmon fillet which uses heat, but only for a short time, so that worked well. I had been to Trader Joe's grocery store earlier today and bought a salad mix I really like there. Mixed with baby spinach, topped with sliced mushrooms and raisins for some sweetness and we're on the way to something nice! I also bought a can of Tuscan bean salad from Trader Joe's. It looked interesting and I thought I would try it for a side dish, but I got inspired and added it to my salad. It is a mixture of kidney beans and chickpeas with herbs in lemon juice and olive oil. Drizzled over the greens and topped with the salmon fillet. A little balsamic vinaigrette and I'm in business!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Belts are important.

"Help stop crack. It's the law"

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Playing lots of clarinet this week!

Sunday, May 16, 2010


I am definitely a fan of cheese. Off hand, I don't think I've talked much about cheese on my blog, but it deserves a mention. I like cheese and crackers. I like cheese dip. Cheese added to pretty much anything makes it better.

Tonight I had no idea what to have for dinner. My in and out and rarely home lifestyle makes it hard to keep the fridge well-stocked. I cook when I can and then try hard to eat it and not let it go bad, but it's tough. Most of my cooking and food at home is done with great intention or else it will spoil. My freezer is full...the fridge...not so much.
So tonight I had a dilemma of what to eat. It was getting late and I didn't really have time to make something elaborate. I was about to pour a bowl of cereal (but the milk was frozen) when I looked through the shelves one more time to see if there was anything interesting I could do. I had two blocks of cheese from my enchiladas last week and some leftover tortillas so cheese quesadillas made all the sense in the world! No more than 4 minutes later - dinner is served!

I love that a cheese quesadilla is really just a grilled cheese sandwich using tortilla instead of bread. But doesn't it sound so much more exciting to make quesadillas than grilled cheese sandwiches? I think that's funny. It's kind of like the whole panini thing. A panini is just a grilled sandwich that is smashed, right? So a grilled cheese sandwich could actually be called a cheese panini. I guess it's all a matter of perspective. I'm sure there are other things that are not really that interesting until an interesting name tag is awarded. Hmmm.... Grilled cheese sandwich? Quesadilla? Cheese Panini? So many choices!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Hungry? Wait a few hours.

It is a crock pot kind of day!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

I am SO behind on the laundry.

Boy! I'll tell you what! Working a full time job and being a gigging musician ain't easy! I love this kind of problem - no doubt about that. But I am worn out! It is not easy to work 9-5 and then go straight to rehearsals that go until 10 or 10:30 at night. Only to go to sleep and quickly get up and do it again. The past week or two I have been playing more than usual, which I LOVE! I got a new gig with an opera company and it has kept me really busy for the past week. The show opens tomorrow and runs this weekend and next. Good times! The other problem I have run into is this: if I am working and rehearsing whenever I am not asleep, then when do I work on reeds and practice my part? Maybe I will have to practice on the subway on the way home. Maybe I could make a little extra cash that way?

Anyway - time to catch a few quick Z's.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


Bad news bears! I think I've developed an immunity to my favorite beverage and drug of choice - COFFEE!!! It seems that no matter how much I chug during the afternoon hours I just want to FALL ASLEEP. It's as if there is a magnet in my desk, pulling my head down, down...down...
This is not good! What can I do? Something stronger? Even more coffee? Go OFF of coffee for a week so it has an effect when I come back (oh how miserable that week would be and everyone would HATE being around me - and I would hate everyone and everything - bad idea). So what's a gal to do? Maybe I should give in and take a nap every afternoon! Those Spaniards are smart with their siestas. Yeah, I think that's the solution. Siesta. Think the boss will mind?

Monday, March 15, 2010

On Broadway

Well, we are still having 'weather'. I was tricked by a few days of really nice temperatures and a bit of sun, but that all went away last weekend and we have been covered in rain since Thursday night. They say it is going to stop and be nice for the rest of the week. We'll see. Fingers crossed.

Last week was a fun week for me - besides the few days of warmth. What better way to give an early welcome to spring than to go to the theater! I had a very exhausting week, but not in ways that I should complain. After a weekend of playing my own concerts, Chris and I hit up the town and saw Stephen Sondheim's A Little Night Music on Broadway. It was one of those things we just had to do. Starring Angela Lansbury and Catherine Zeta Jones.
I can't believe Angela Lansbury is still acting. I remember her from growing up and watching Bedknobs and Broomsticks when I visited Mama and Papa. I don't remember a lot about that movie (I should watch it again!) but I do remember Ms. Lansbury and her voice as she took the kids on some sort of adventure on their magical bed. Aside from that, I remember seeing many a Murder She Wrote - also starring AL.

Well, the musical was a real treat. The acting was great and there were several top notch singers. I like seeing a revival of an older musical like that - one that actually has good quality music. I can't stand the things that are being passed off as 'musicals' these days. Some of them truly stink and don't last more than a few weeks, but some of them become major tourist traps and stick around forever. They are more like dancing rock shows with cheezy arrangements than anything else - like do we really need a Spiderman the Musical, written by Bono? Then again, it is directed by Julie Taymor, who did Lion King on Broadway and the newest production of the Magic Flute at the Met, which I loved - so maybe I am interested... oh my... the conflicts... I think it was delayed until 2012, so I guess I'll have to wait.

Anyway - I saw A Little Night Music and it was great. I had a wonderful evening, sitting in the back of the theater, peering down at the tremendous performers on the stage. Angela Lansbury is fabulous and barely has to say anything to make me laugh. I'm glad I grabbed the chance to see her.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Here we go again...

A Winter Storm Warning is in effect. A significant winter storm or hazardous winter weather is occurring, imminent, or likely, and is a threat to life and property. Stay vigilant for severe weather.

Thank you I'll stay vigilant, but this better be the last time.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Food Psychology

Eggs. I've been thinking about writing about eggs for about a year now. And as I sit here, finishing off my dinner of a spinach feta cheese omelet, I think now is as good a time as ever to address the issue. The reason I was going to write about eggs a year ago is that a year and a few months ago I started eating them. For the 27 years before that, I wouldn't touch them. I couldn't. I tried several times throughout my life, but I just did not like anything about eggs. People thought I was nuts "how can you not eat eggs???". Of course I would eat them in a cake or if they are an ingredient to something bigger, but plain old eggs...couldn't do it.

Then a couple of years ago I decided that maybe taste was psychological and we could convince ourselves to like things. My two big things that I didn't eat my whole life were eggs and tomato (excluding pasta sauce, ketchup, etc.). I don't know why, but I never liked them. So I started with the tomato as my project. I don't remember how I tried it first, but maybe it was a little bit on a sandwich. OR possibly a Caprese Salad which is just tomato, fresh mozarella, and fresh basil drizzled with basamic vinager and olive oil. Now how could I possibly not like that? I loved the idea of it. I had to stick mostly with the out of season, dry, few-seed variety. Those fresh from the garden summer tomatoes must be great, but not for me. Slowly but surely, I included the tomato into my diet and lo and behold I started liking it. Instead of picking it off a sandwich, I would ask for it. I guess I aquired a taste. Success. Next.

Back to the egg. Again, I am a little unclear about the first steps. They definitely include the fact that I had some really cool devices to cook eggs in, such as Boiley. I had to eat eggs occasionally just so I could use this stuff. I also really wanted to like eggs because they are full of protein and I felt like my breakfasts usually wore off by the time I got out the door. Somewhere along the line I realized that if you scramble eggs up quite a bit and add a lot of good stuff to them- similar to that out of season tomato - they really don't have much taste. Enter the ham and Swiss cheese scrambled eggs. Not bad at all. THEN there was the NYC bacon egg and cheese sandwich. Similar to the Caprese Salad - there is no way that I couldn't go for that. The gooey cheese and crunchy bacon masked anything too 'eggy' for me. Toss that on a roll or everything bagel and you are good to go. Delicious. SO... I started going to the diner and trying things like omelettes (fully loaded) and found I could not only handle these guys, but I actually started liking them! So here I sit, eating them by choice.

There are rules and baby steps that I am taking with these foods. I am not going to run out and eat a soft cooked out of an egg cup. And my scramble/omelet needs to be pretty well done. I can't have it getting 'boogery' on me. I think after all this time it's about the texture. I grew up around the sunnysides and I'm really not excited to try them today. What's that gooey stuff running all over the plate? Dad says that's the best stuff and you soak it up with your biscuit, but I prefer my egg to soak itself up in the pan and my biscuit to soak up some gravy.

For now I am really kind of enjoying the egg experiment. Now that I know how I like to use them, it is fun to think up different things to put in my omelet. I'm actually getting really into the breakfast menus, never turning my back on the syrupy things, but taking a look at the world beyond them.

Breakfast in Jamaica includes eggs with toast and fresh fruit.

Friday, February 12, 2010

slushy, snowy, slippy, slidey

What a week! We've had snow and slush and all kinds of messiness. Plus I had rehearsals all week! I've been playing a lot and it's great! Tonight I am playing with the New Amsterdam Symphony Orchestra. We are celebrating Abe Lincoln's birthday with an All American program including Rhapsody in Blue and Appalachian Spring - two favorites! It is a lot of fun to play these pieces and I'm looking forward to our concert tonight at Symphony Space!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Special Delivery

Wait, wait, wait...have patience.... That's what us single ladies have to do. Always waiting for Mr. Right to come along. Well, today a major step was made. Something showed up that could have some major implications on life as I know it. See, the problem in the past is that I always had to wait and see what was given to me. I had no control. I could seek instruction and assistance from others, but didn't have the tools to make it happen on my own. Not having the mold for the perfect man I was left with little hope.... until today. Out of nowhere, he showed up. At my front door. I now can have the man of my dreams at my fingertips in a matter of minutes. This could be life changing. He has arrived...and just in time.

Friday, January 29, 2010

A sequel...

In honor of my original post, MEN, from exactly one year ago, I give you...


For this past Christmas, I decided to make a little more permanent of a man for my dear sister. Of course those gingerbread men are fun and biting their heads off will never go out of style. I honestly look forward to the day I have a teenage daughter going through her first heartbreak. I can put my arm around her and lead her to the kitchen, comforting her with the words "let me show you how to deal with this". I will teach her a valuable lesson in making men, decorating them to relieve her frustrations, and the final step of enjoying every last bite.

I digress...

THIS past Christmas, I came across the absolute best pattern ever on the web and decided it was time for me to be a little creative and crafty. I pulled out the old needle and thread and whipped up a man for the new decade. A man who will come back, year after year. A man who likes nothing more than hanging around - just being in the room with his lady, or waiting for her return. It doesn't bother him. He doesn't say a word and never gets in the way. This kind of man is just the kind that pops into our minds throughout the year and we look forward to the day we can help bring him out of his box and spend some quality time together. This man is guaranteed to bring a smile to his lady's face. But be careful, your girlfriends might want to steal him for their own. I must admit I thought about keeping him for myself instead of giving him to my sister. He is quite irresistible...maybe he has a cute older brother???

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Here's wishing for warm, sunny days...

Montego Bay, Jamaica
August 2009

Monday, January 25, 2010

Slow Cookin'

Right now I am whipping up a pot of my favorite white bean chili that I mentioned before. I am at the part where it simmers for 20 minutes, so I thought I would take the opportunity to write. I have such a hard time staying on top of things like cooking and my blog while I am working full time. I've had the job for almost 6 months, but I still don't know if I am used to the little amount of time I have for myself during the week.

This past week was especially busy because I had rehearsals in the evenings after working all day. Sometimes it was hard to focus as rehearsal went later into the evening. My brain wanted to shut down and go to sleep! Anyway, I am glad to have this night off and have the chance to make some soup to eat this week.

Lately I have discovered an exciting new way to cook! I got a crock pot for Christmas and have used it the past two weekends. I still can't get over how easy it is and how good it turns out! I don't know how much crock-potting I will do in the hot summer, but there is nothing better in the winter than a nice roast or stew that simmers and cooks all day. The first thing we made was a beef pot roast with potatoes and carrots. Yummy... it was so delicious. At one point I was nervous because it looked pretty gross through the glass top of the pot. But at the end of the day I had an amazing meal that was hot, juicy, and tender. The next weekend - this past Saturday, we got a pork shoulder roast and made pulled pork out of it. I can't get over how well it turned out. I've been eating pulled pork sandwiches for a few days now and must admit I need a day off, but it is REALLY GOOD. I put the barbeque seasonings in the crock pot, along with ketchup and apple cider vingar, so the meat absorbed all that delicious flavoring while it cooked all day. Throw everything in the pot, go out for the day and come home to a nice home-cooked meal. I love it! Not to mention how much money it saves to have those leftovers for lunch instead of going out to eat. It's a win-win situation.

Time to puree the bean mixture for my chili... bon apetite!

Sunday, January 10, 2010


I know we are well into January now, but I do want to take a minute to say how nice my Christmas was this year...or this past year...2009. I am so glad I got to take a few days off work and get away to West Virginia. As I mentioned before, getting the entire family there during the wintery December days was a bit of a challenge, but eventually did work out. A few days late and many reroutes later, Ben and Jen made it from Montana with my new little nephew, Joel. Meeting him for the first time and being able to be around him on his first Christmas was an absolute delight. He is the cutest little thing. This is a picture of when I first met him at the airport. The poor little guy had just had quite a time with his trip, but he seemed to do pretty well. We even had to wait around for luggage to arrive on a different flight. He didn't even cry (he saved that for the car ride home! Yeah!) He spit up a bit on Stacy, but not on me, so I guess he liked me. Not that he didn't like her, but he just respected me more, right? I am the 'elder' sister and he may have learned to 'respect the elder' or something like that. Well anyway, I managed not to get spit up on and I don't mind that at all.

Besides baby fun, Christmas was really nice because of all the normal making men with Stacy. That's always an enjoyable tradition. The stories we tell and quotes we come up with as we roll out, cut, create, and bake our guys get better with each passing year. Mom tried to give us some tips on how to help our men hold together when they started falling apart. She had some good ideas, but it ended up being quite a messy batch regardless. Maybe better luck next time...

Monday, January 4, 2010

A Brand New Year!

Happy 2010 and welcome to it! The past few weeks have been a ride, that's for sure, and I have a lot of catching up to do. I went home to West Virginia for Christmas week and then came back to New York for New Years week. Stacy came along with me and we tore apart the city, as usual, despite the roaring winds and arctic temperatures. I also feel like I have been eating nonstop for at least a month. I am best described as 'feeling like a blob'. I guess that is what the holidays are for, right???

Anyway, I guess things are heading back to 'normal' now as Stacy left this morning. I always say that things will get back to normal someday, that things will calm down and slow down pretty soon...but do they really ever?

I have lots to chat about, but for now how about the last meal of 2009:

Delicious salmon from L'Express French Cafe

And the 'meal' that welcomed in 2010:

Chocolate Pizza a la Max Brenner....but of course.