March 24, 2007

Music woman

I just finished a morning of accompanying junior high string players at a music contest. That's always an adventure. I remember the days when I performed in contests, auditions, and recitals. Contests always run at least a half hour behind schedule. At the beginning of the day, the judges write elaborate comments and criticism and welcome the performer in with a friendly, "Begin when you're ready." By the end of the day, they write five words on the comment sheet and scowl at the entering student. Some things never change.

I accompanied nine students today. I am not even sure how many music books I had in my bag. I have a terrible fear of a few things happening during performances, like playing the wrong song with a student, pages blowing around in the breeze of an A/C (that's happened many times), and memory failures on their part. That's the stuff nightmares are made of.

My own piano students are preparing for a May piano recital. I think I get just as nervous now as a teacher as I did as a performer back in the good ol' days. These are my music goals after I finish grad school:
  • Become a jazz aficionado
  • Buy a decent piano
  • Learn to play other instruments (on a basic level)
I'm already trying to work on that jazz aficionado thing. I ordered a Coltrane album that I'm listening to now, Dear Old Stockholm. I'm crazy about the track Dear Lord. Now back to my homework...

March 22, 2007

Dangerous habit

As previously documented on my blog here, here, and here, I'm a bit of a scatterbrained bimbo sometimes. I haven't ever blogged about all the dumb things I do every time I have a run-in with a particular guy. It's beyond pathetic and to the laughable point for sure.

I guess it all started when he held my hand for the first time and I quit looking where I was going and flip-flopped right into a mud puddle. Then there was this time right after I moved into my house. My garage is just the perfect size for my truck when I drive all the way forward without leaving an inch between the step and my front tire. I guess I was thinking about that goodnight kiss when I parked the truck and put the garage door down...right on my tailgate. The garage door is still a little mangled. Post-breakup is just as bad, but I usually just put my foot in my mouth in outrageous fashion. The worst part is, since I run into him on a fairly regular basis, I try to think of things to say, just in case. I hate to think that I plan my monstrous stories, unfunny jokes, and awkward remarks. He ruins my comedic timing and brilliant wit.

I ran into him at the grocery store not long ago and then misplaced my credit card because I was flustered by the event. I couldn't find it for days. One time I ran into him and then lost my car keys. I really thought I had accidentally thrown them away. It turned out I put them on the edge of my desk where they fell into the crack between the wall and the desk. So today at work I got an e-mail from him and subsequently made a large, but fixable, error. Those records are sealed. I'm just glad I haven't passed him driving down the road and then wrecked my car. Not too farfetched. I really need to say: Please don't talk to me anymore - it's bad for my well-being.

Is there anyone that flusters you? Is there someone to whom you always say the wrong thing?

March 20, 2007

Rotten Sneakers

Smelly SneakersI love this CNN story: Katherine Tuck "out-ranked six other children to win $2,500 in the 32nd annual National Odor-Eaters Rotten Sneaker Contest, stinking up the joint with a pair of well-worn 1½-year-old Nikes so noxious they had the judges wincing." Apparently this seventh grader "used the sneakers to play soccer and basketball, hiked in them, even waded into the Great Salt Lake, where they were infiltrated by brine shrimp."

I could give her a run for her money. I think I've had my Nikes since before the turn of the century. They've given me blisters before, and they have holes in them and you can see what color my socks are.

It is time for me to buy new tennis shoes. Tonight I walked three miles around a park by my house. I decided that this might be the hot new place for me to meet guys. First, I don't know about you, but I'm usually looking pretty rough when I walk/exercise/sweat, so if the guy can look past that, he's a keeper. If a guy sees you in full daylight and is still interested, you're in. Second, the guys hitting the track at the park are probably as frugal as I am and not into paying big bucks for a gym membership. Third, I'll know if the guy has a dog or not. Since I'm not a dog lover, it's important to me to find a guy walking without a dog, and what dog owner goes for a walk without his pet? These are the weird things I ponder on while walking, since I don't have an iPod.

Tonight a guy saw my "Cooper Track" T-shirt and asked if I was on the team. I retorted that there is no track team in the universe that would have me on its team. Maybe I should head back to the softer light of the grocery store and the grocery cart behind which to hide my girlish figure and my self-consciousness.

That reminds me of another time when I had just finished exercising and was walking out of the Tech Rec Center. A guy walking towards me said, "Whatever," chuckled, and walked past me. I immediately knew he must be thinking I should have cut back on the ice cream and pizza and hit the gym a bit more. Then I realized he was commenting on my T-shirt with this print:

March 18, 2007

Food Porn

Currently watching:

I need a better camera if I'm going to keep taking all these foodie pictures. Unfortunately, I'm ready for a break, and my weekend is over. Today was Mom's birthday. Here are some pics from her birthday dinner and last night's St. Pattie's Day dinner. I'll editorialize later. I'm a failure at my diet. Miss you, Wendy!

Corned Beef, Sauerkraut, & Thousand Island Dressing
Pork Medallions with Cranberry Orange Sauce; Broccoli with Toasted Garlic & Lemon; White Rice; & Cheese Roll
Mom's Lemon Lover's Cake

March 17, 2007

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Happy St. Patrick's DayCurrently watching:
Saturday morning cartoons

I remember when they actually had good cartoons on Saturday morning. Looney Tunes, Scooby Doo, and Gummi Bears were some of my favorites. Then there was the whole Saved by the Bell craze that captivated me for years. Commercials used to be better, too, I think, as were the prizes in the cereal boxes. Ah, nostalgia.

Southern Cook in TrainingThis morning we had pancakes and bacon. Abby wanted waffles, so she got the Eggo waffles that have been in my freezer since before Katie left. Molly brought her Paula Deen "Southern Cook in Training" apron, because as she said, "All we ever do here is cook." Dad said that he is glad that all we do is cook, because all he likes to do is eat.

It's a pretty day outside, so maybe we'll go for a walk and pinch people who aren't wearing green. Then we'll probably have to get ice cream or something. Tonight for dinner, we'll have Corned Beef & Cabbage or Reubens. Tomorrow is the birthday of Mom, Grammy, and Carmen, so more partying! I'm making a Lemon Lover's Cake. I'll take pictures if it looks purty.


Currently watching:
Toy Story

I couldn't resist posting about my Friday night plans. My cousins Molly and Abby are over to spend the night. A year or so ago, I asked Molly how I could bribe her to practice the piano. She said I could make her some mashed potatoes. A foodie after my own heart. I still remember the birthday where Molly prepared to blow out the candles on her birthday cake by saying, "I wish for some mashed potatoes." Last time I fed her, she said I was a good cook. Molly is now my best friend. So I invited her over tonight for "mashed potatoes and mashed potato sauce." Can't invite big sister without including baby sister, so Abby is here, too.

Funny AbbyAbby is four. I forget how novel everything is at that age. Looking at my Christmas decorations in a pile:
    "Is that a real wreath?"
    "Is that real snow?"
    "You have Christmas socks?" [stockings]
While cooking:
    "Can I stir?"
    "Can I crack the egg?" [She only got one eggshell piece in the batter.]
While watching Toy Story:
    "Is this a new one?"

Molly and ScottIf you can't tell, I'm having a ball. I started making the mashed potatoes while Molly plunked on my childhood guitar which now has one string left. Playing that old guitar is her favorite thing to do at my house. This is an old picture of her playing while Scott dances (and sings?). I thought I'd never forget the hilarious lyrics she made up to that monotonous tune. I should have written them down.

Tonight, Molly fell asleep before I finished cooking the mashed taters. I also tried making Chicken-Fried Steak for the first and last time. I thought it was pretty good, but I don't think it's approved on any of the diets that I'm not on. I fried up eight steaks. Scott ate one. Molly was asleep. Abby was already full of potatoes. I ate one. Thank goodness Dad came by and ate two.

Chicken Fried Steak Dinner!I told Daddy to offer constructive criticism. My grandmother, his mother, made the best Chicken-Fried Steak in the world, so he is well-versed in what a good steak should be. We all agreed it was too salty. Dad said I tried to go too fancy with the batter. I need to keep it simple. The steak was too thick. It would be better to pound it until its surface area is three times larger. Grandmother used a coke bottle to do that. None of those brown bits and onions in the gravy, either. He said the gravy should be white! I wasn't too crazy about the gravy myself, and I have not yet gotten Molly's critique of the 'mashed potato sauce.'

There should be plenty of leftovers for breakfast, but I'm already planning to make buttermilk pancakes and cook up some bacon. I'm slightly worried about little sticky syrupy fingers running around my house. I'm also worried that these kids will stay up later than I can and get up before I do. Especially since Molly already took a nap. To be continued...

March 15, 2007

Spring Forward

Current Netflix rental:

The signs of spring are everywhere. The trees are blooming. The weather is warmer. Mostly every capable woman I know is engaged or expecting. I'm having a hard time adjusting to Daylight Saving Time. I'll be fine in a few days, but right now my internal clock just doesn't wake me up on time for work. Why does Daylight Saving get a bad rap? I like it. I like getting home with daylight hours left. It's the first time I've seen my neighborhood in the daylight in months. Plus, I read that the time change could save me 86 cents. That should buy me a candy bar an apple or two.

How in the world did they come up with the 86 cent figure? I'm starting to get annoyed by people and their random statistics and polls. It's dumbing down the news and feeding a culture of scared sheep. I watched Scared Stiff: Worry in America, a 20/20 special a couple of weeks ago, mainly because I wanted to see what Stephen Dubner of Freakonomics had to say. John Stossel talked about how people are scared to fly, vaccinate their children, and climb tall flights of stairs.

Today at work, I got a "Progress Notes" e-mail from administration with helpful information such as:

  • Talking on the cell phone while driving gives you the same reaction time of having a Blood Alcohol Concentration of .08%, the legal limit in the state of Texas.

  • Talking on the cell phone while driving is the cause of 25-50% of all crashes according to NHTSA, leading to $40 billion in social and economic expenses.

  • Talking on the cell phone while driving increases your chance of a collision by 400%.

  • All "Brought to you by the Injury Prevention Committee of [my workplace]. Research by Bryan Stewart, Lubbock EMS."
What kind of statistics are those? Might as well have said cell phone use while driving could cause 10%-80% of all car crashes. More nanny culture. What about the wrecks caused by stupid drivers? There's a blood alcohol limit for drivers, but no IQ threshold. Which impediment is really more dangerous?

We've got a whole culture ready to ban trans fats and foie gras. Kids pass judgment on their parents for smoking. (I'll take this opportunity to plug Thank You for Smoking. Great show.) "Live free or die" is the state motto of New Hampshire. The death clock will tell you how much time you have left to enjoy your vices. I'm supposed to make it to 2061.

March 8, 2007

Muffin Top

Muffin Top SyndromeCongratulations folks in the Northern Hemisphere. You made it through winter. I don't know how you feel about winter, but it makes me want to scowl out the window and rub lotion on my dry digits. Very depressing.

Now it's time to put away my frumpy winter clothes and get out my frumpy spring clothes. It's hard to give up my (hopefully) slimming black wardrobe in favor of pastels, too. I've done a trial run with a couple of pieces, and it doesn't look good. It's a good thing Foodie Kimberly is dead, because it will take some work to get ready for spring fashion.

I'm determined to do it. My favorite spot on the couch has my permanent imprint, but that's going to change. Here's the plan:

Eat less more often.

Drink water.

Eat more fruits and veggies.

Physical activity besides opening the fridge and mouse-clicking. Guess I'll be getting a new battery for the pedometer.

This is the last time I'm going to talk about it because my diet will probably end tonight because people that do that are annoying.