One small problem I have is that my brain doesnt process numbers well. This means that if I see a number such as 46278, it's a good chance that if I have to copy that number down, or say it outloud, it will end up 46872, and I'll never realize it. Lately this hasnt been much of a problem, simply because I dont deal with numbers a whole lot, but when I was in high school and college it was pretty annoying. A lot of times I'd get a math problem wrong simply because I copied down the numbers out of the book incorrectly.
Now the only time this brain malfunction really causes me problems is when I dial new or unfamiliar phone numbers. Phone numbers I know arent a problem because (and this is something I just figured out) I memorize the pattern. But if someone asks me (for instance) what my home phone number is, it takes me a minute to figure it out, not because I forget it, but because I have to remember how it is dialed and then I can figure out the numbers based on that. But when I get a new number to dial, it usually takes me 2 or 3 tries to get it right. Luckily I almost always figure it out before I get a wrong number, but sometimes I find out the hard way. One really nice thing though, is that one of the phones I have and use frequently, actually displays the number as you are dialing it, so I can check myself to make sure I have it right.
Anyway, that's just one other weird thing about me.
This weekend kept matt and I busy. He had a band night at church on friday. It was lots of fun. It reminded me of my high school days when I used to go to local shows, though I can definitely tell how much I've aged since then just by how much louder the tinnitus was when it was over. One of the other adults there asked me what I thought my SPL meter would say the volume was... in all honesty, I think it would have gone beyond the meter's reading capability. But I think that's how loud those things are supposed to be. Next time I'm bringing ear plugs for sure. Matt's band did a great job, the kids seemed really into it, a couple were even doing backflips and handstands and stuff. I ended up running the soundboard for a couple of the bands to prevent feedback (which there was a fair amount of anyway... sometimes I had a hard time telling the difference between feedback and weird bass tones, but I was at least able to stop it before it reached painful pitches.)
Anyway, I think we both had a great time.
Saturday we cleaned out old stuff some more. The house is going to look so much bigger once we are all done. It's amazing how much stuff people keep just for the sake of keeping it.
I think the main reason I am so anti-packrat has to do with all the times I've moved (and I have moved quite a few times). When you have to pack up and haul all your stuff less than every 3 years, you learn the difference between sentimental and crap. In fact, there are only 2 places I've ever lived for more than 3 years... Virginia for a total of 8 and a half (even though that time has been divided between Herndon, Leesburg, Fairfax, and Fredericksburg), and Texas for either 4 or 5 years (which I barely remember), oh and I did live in West Point NY for 3 years, so I guess that counts.
But other than that I've moved much more frequently... Crailsheim Germany (born) 2 years; Fort Sill Oklahoma, 9 months (okay I didnt even know I had lived in Oklahoma until I was like 10); Fort Hood Texas, 4 or 5 years; Golden Colorado, 1 year; Lakewood Colorado, 1 year; West Point NY, 3 years; Fort Leavenworth Kansas, 1 year; Geissen Germany, 1 year; Baumholder Germany (really the little town of Riechenbach), 1 year; Heidelberg Germany, 1 year; Herndon VA, 3 years; then come the college years: 1 year in Fredericksburg; 2 and a half years of semi-living in Fairfax/Herndon; and finally Leesburg VA, 2 years.
That's a lot. People always ask which one I liked the best and it would have to be Germany. I had a blast the whole time I was there, and no where else compares when it comes to travel opportunities. For instance when my youth group went on a ski trip, we went to the Swiss Alps... or for Spring break we went to Ibiza Spain (on a super-fun 24 hour bus ride... *that is meant to be read with a hint of sarcasm*). And I was able to go to Italy, France (baumholder was only an hour away... which means in the time it takes me to get to Maryland from here, i could have been in France), England, all over. It was so much fun.
So I find that if I am in one place too long (hellllloooo.... Virginia for 8 and a half years??? that's an eternity to me), I start to get antsy. And I think matt has a little bit of it too (he's moved around a lot too... though not as much as I have). And since we arent planning on moving any time soon, I think that energy is being dispersed in other areas of my life. Such as, cleaning out the house (it's like moving without going anywhere), and it possibly even has something to do with my decision to go back to school (but it's not the driving force behind my decision.) But anyway, I totally went off on a tangent, and once I start talking about how moving so often has affected me (for good and bad) I could talk forever. But I have piano student coming any minute, so I think I'll stop here for now and save the rest for another post.
My husband rented in from Blockbuster (who knows what possessed him to do that). And he forced me to watch a little bit of it one morning before he went to work. I think the plan was to put it on and watch about 3 minutes so we could see just how bad it was, and then mail it back to blockbuster. But once it started, we couldn't stop watching... we got sucked in. I mean, I've never seen anything like this in my life, and there's probably a good reason for that. It was beyond awful. Everything from the looped music (which by the way, NEVER changes... seriously, how could these people stand to hear the same 3 seconds of music while they were filming is beyond me), to the play-by-play lyrics, to the actual plot... were so beyond the worst thing anyone could ever create that the whole time I couldnt help but think "who on earth would financially support this crap?" But once you accept how terrible the whole thing is, it becomes hysterical. And just when you think things couldnt get more outragious, they do. It's one LONG opportunity to laugh. Anyway, it's definitely worth seeing if you have a few extra brain cells you're trying to kill off.
But something good did come out of this tragedy... parodies. People have been making their own (intentionally funny) versions of trapped in the closet, and these are so funny, it makes seeing the original worthwhile, just so you can laugh that much harder at the parodies. Here are some good ones:
Jimmy Kimmel's The Pizza
Mad TV's Trapped in the Cupboard
These reviews are worth checking out too (and they are dead on):
So my patience is totally being tested right now. I think of myself as a very patient and calm person, but lately I've been stretched thin, which is just causing frustration all around. So the reason my blogs have been a little on the lame side lately is because I wasnt writing about going back to school which is what has been occupying about 90% of my thoughts, obviously the other 10% arent that interesting. I have been trying to wait until I actually get accepted because I dont want to get my hopes up too high and then find out I wasnt accepted, but really I'm just going crazy now, so I'm writing about it.
I sent in all of my application materials in the beginning of November. I know the school recieved them all because I got an email (on Nov. 8th) saying so. And I also know that the school admits people on a rolling basis (the final deadline for applications isnt until Feb 1st, so I'm way ahead of that), so I was thinking that I'd find out within maybe a month or two. Well now it's been 2 months and 16 days and I havent heard a thing. Everyday I anxiously check the mail and go through every single thing in the mailbox before I even walk back to the house, the whole time thinking "maybe I'll find out today... I hope so, because I cant take much more suspense." And every day... nothing. I even emailed the school to ask if they could give me an estimate as to how long the process might take... and I havent even heard anything back from that. I'm starting to go nuts... someone said I might have to wait until April when all the other applicants find out... no chance I'll last that long, no chance.
The reason it's driving me crazy is because my entire future is resting on this acceptance. If I get in, great, everything will work out! If not, I have no clue what to do with my life. No Clue. There isnt really much of a Plan B at this point (other than to keep teaching piano). But at least if I get my reply I know whether or not I need to come up with a plan B. Ugh, this is so frustrating.
Oh so I should probably mention what I'm trying to go to school for. Well you see, even as an undergrad music student, I knew that I would one day go to grad school, I jsut had no clue what I would go for. Not because I didnt have the interest, but just because I wasnt entirely sure which interest to go for. I knew it would be music related, and probably along the line of musicology (which is either music history or music theory). But when I researched jobs for either of those fields, I wasnt too excited... basically you teach college level theory or history. Or you write books. I mean, either of those are okay, but for whatever reason I didnt get excited about them. (wait until you hear what I did get excited about)...
So after I graduated I started teaching, which is something I really enjoy doing, but I knew that I wanted to do something more eventually. The truth is that teaching really doesnt tap into my the areas I have the most knowledge about or interest in. I mean, to an extent. But I think it's kind of like being a writer and then choosing a career in which you spend all your time teaching kids to read sentences like "I am happy." Of course teaching kids is rewarding, and sharing my knowledge with them is fun, but I definitely miss a lot of the higher level stuff. Though every once and a while, I'll teach something very simple like a V7 chord (the lesson should go like this "a V7 chord in the key of C is played like this." end of lesson) and instead I'll spend 15 minutes explaining the theory of where the V7 chord comes from, it's function within music, and the history of how harmony came about (and the fact taht western music is the only music that uses harmony as a primary function in music). And while all of this is very interesting, I have a feeling that it goes right over a 5 year old's head. But I cant help myself. So I've been trying to find a career in which that kind of knowledge is required and used.
Of course one of the other problems is that there arent many jobs within the music field that pay enough for it to make grad school worthwhile, and this was something i took into consideration, especially since it costs so much to live in this area. But money isnt my main motiviation (obviously), however, I do think that if I go to grad school it should be because the degree I get will allow me to accept jobs that I wouldnt even be considered for without a degree. For example, a lot of people wanted me to get a Piano Pedagogy masters. What for? None of the parents I have worked would care if I had a masters or not. It certainly isnt a requirement (neither is a bachelor's degree, but I thin it at least gives you some validity). I mean, obviously I can teach piano without it, because I am. So that wasnt really something I was interested in (not to mention the reasons listed above.)
I did have a friend in college that tried to convince me to go to library school, which I have to admit (sorry Tuba) I thought was crazy and pointless... at first. Until one day, while looking for a part time job during the summer (another drawback of being a piano teacher... you make almost nothing during the summer), I stumbled upon an job ad for the Kennedy Center. They were looking for an assistant music librarian. Someone to help with preparing, organizing, and editing music for the NSO. You needed strong theory and history skills, as well as organizational skills. PERFECT! Unfortunately the day I found the job, was 1 day past the date they were accepting applications. Well I applied anyway figuring it couldnt hurt, and of course they told me I couldnt be considered because it was past the deadline. Their loss, I would ahve been awesome at that job. A few days later I noticed they were advertising for a Head Music Librarian to work with the Opera. i would have loved to apply for that job, except I didnt have anywhere near the amount of experience needed, and most important of all, I didnt have a Masters in Library Science. But I took this as a sign, or nudge, to check into the field a little more.
And finally I had found a job that really interested me. And the more I researched, the more interested I became... and the more I found out that an MLS is absolutely necessary for any of the jobs, in fact for ANY librarian job (other than aides). I thought this was crazy (and still kind of do) because I just dont see how the job can be so hard that it requires a masters degree, but I'll probably find out why soon enough. So I decided that this would be a good move for me, and began looking into schools.
So after a LOT of research, I found out that the state of Virginia doesnt have an MLS program ANYWHERE. However, the University of Maryland does, and so does Catholic University. In fact, Catholic University has a program specifically for music librarians. Unfortunately it's a double masters, which requires twice the work, and twice the tuition. So I wasnt too crazy about that. AND since VA doesnt have the program, I actually can go to UMD and get in-state tuition. So that made my decision easier. Plus I found out that I can still go specifically for music libraries, it just wont say it exactly on my degree (it's considered Special Libraries), but I think I can take some classes at Catholic because of the consortium between some DC area colleges (and I'd only have to pay MD tuition for them). Everything came together really nicely, better than I could have planned. So I applied. That was November.
Now I wait... and wait... and wait... and wait... and I just want to find out what is going to happen. Because if I get in, I will start classes this summer. Which means I need to figure out what to do with my piano students (I still plan on teaching, but probably not as much). But if I dont get in, like I said, I have no clue what I'm going to do. I'm pretty confident that I will get accepted though. I mean, I was a really good student in undergrad, and I had some really great letters of recommendation (a great self-image booster if you ever need one), and I turned it all in ahead of the deadline. It seems like it should be an easy decision. So I cant understand why it's taking so long. But the longer I wait, the more nervous I get.
So this is why my patience is thin. I just came back from checking the mail. nothing again. Maybe tomorrow...
Anyway, let me calm down a little.
In other less frustrating news, I thought about a weird quirk I have and decided it would be a great thing to share with the blogging world. So this is something that bothers me, but I dont think it's weird. In fact I think it's perfectly normal, but apparently a lot of other people dont agree. Yesterday while matt and I were cleaning out clothes, I finally went through my sock drawer and trashed all my single socks, socks with holes in them, and socks that for whatever reason I dont wear anymore. After all was said in done, I was left with a mostly empty drawer (which is exactly what I expected). So I went to the store to buy more socks, but they really didnt have what I was looking for. Here's were I get picky. I cant STAND to feel the seam of the sock on my toes. Most of the time, in fact, I wear my socks inside-out so that I can avoid that feeling. Which usually isnt a big deal because if I'm wearing socks, its usually because I'm also wearing shoes, so people cant really tell that my socks are on inside-out. However, since I work from home, most often I will only be wearing socks (no shoes) while I teach. And almost everytime one of my students sees that, they point out that my socks are on wrong. I think I've explained it enough now so they know that I actually do it on purpose though, so lately I havent gotten as many comments. But you would think that I'd jsut be smart enough to buy socks that dont have a prominent seem. Well I just realized how easy a solution that is, so that's what I'm trying to do now. It will be nice to rejoin the land of normal sock wearing. :)
Okay, now it's time for me to get back to frustrating stuff.
1- Comet. Ah, comet, how I love getting high off your fumes. Anyway, this works great for anything from bathtubs to kitchen sinks. I've found that it works exceptionallly well on rust or stains on a stainless steel sink. And most people who know me (and worked with me at starbucks), know that one of my favorite things to do is clean sinks, the dirtier the better. I love seeing it go from nasty brown to shiny silver. And Comet is the only thing I've found that works even somewhat close the the industrial stuff I was able to use at the Bucks.
2- Fantastik. This works great for kitchen counters. Typically my routine for cleaning the counters is this. Step 1- clean the countertops with a soapy sponge and warm water. However, if you stop here, a thin soap film will develop once its dry which makes the counters feel even dirtier than before. So before they dry completely, Step Two- spray some Fantastik on them and wipe it dry with a paper towel... the results, sparkly clean counters.
3- Baking Soda. Oh the things you can do with baking soda.... First, leave one open in the fridge and under the kitchen sink to control weird smells. Another thing is using baking soda with a little water (to make a paste) and then using the paste to scrub the metal protectors underneath stove burners. It gets off the most stubborn of dried, burnt food (even burned milk... which somehow happens to me a lot... if you've ever boiled milk, I'm sure you've experienced this as well). Also, you can buy Arm and Hammer brand carpet deoderizer (which is a must if you have a pet, but even if you dont, it smells clean and fresh). Sprinkle the carpet 5 minutes before vaccuuming and everyone who comes into your house will know that you just finished cleaning.
4- White Vinegar. Mix with a little warm water and pour down the garbage disposal to get rid of more weird kitchen smells. This works especially well after you've thrown some ice down the garbage disposal (to clean the blades) first.
5-OxyClean. As I've already mentioned, I have a dog. OxyClean gets out all her dirt and stains from the carpet without tearing the carpet apart (like Resolve tends to do). At least most of the time it does.
6- White Vinegar and Baking Soda. FUN stuff (you remember elementary science classes right?) If baking soda or vinegar by itself doesnt work, try combining them.
7- Toilet Bowl cleaner. I actually dont know the name of the stuff I use, I just know it comes in an all white container with some directions and a skull and cross bones on it (so you know it must work well). My mother in law gave it to me a while ago, and I think it's industrial strength (as in, you cant buy it at the grocery store). Anyway, it's AWESOME. It gets rid of all the dirt and you dont really even need to scrub. Just make sure you dont breath in too deeply when using it becuase I'm pretty certain it will burn right through your lungs (this stuff is potent).
In other exciting news. I've finally convinced my husband to purge some of his stuff he no longer needs. Today we got rid of 5 garbage bags worth of clothes, 3 for donations, and 2 for the trash. Mostly it was all his stuff. He finally realized that there comes a point in your life when you just have to get rid of your 50 free college t-shirts that have more holes in them than swiss cheese. Plus we are slowly getting rid of old hand me down furniture that we dont need anymore, along with small electronics and empty boxes (dont ask). So right now our house looks like we just moved in, but it's going to have to stay that way until we are completely done with the whole house.
Also, my PC computer is currently being used soley to hold the floor down (I hate it when the floor just mysteriously starts floating away). Which just gives me yet another reason to get a mac as soon as possible. I cant wait. I've been using macs since I was in like 1st or 2nd grade. They are far superior to PCs, and if you dont agree, well I dont care. Fortunately I did take off my important tax information before the computer went dead (smart move me). The only other thing I really NEED my computer for is my teaching. Usually the kids spend about 10 to 15 minutes each lesson on the computer doing some theory or note reading drills. But fortunately for me, I had planned to start a new composer of the month project beginning this week. So instead of computer programs and games, this week the kids are supposed to read about a composer (either Bach or Mozart, I havent decided yet. Bach is a good historical place to start, but I just found out that this year is supposedly Mozart year in the music world, so maybe that's a good starting place) and answer some basic questions, and then listen to a famous piece of music by that composer and answer some questions. And another good thing about this is that earlier last week I made all the worksheets and printed them out, so I'm all set.
Let's see, what else is on my "remember to blog about later" list? Oh I remember. Since getting home from San Francisco a week ago, I have seen the area we stayed at on television TWICE. Once in a scene from a recent Twilight Zone episode (shot from Yerba Buena gardens, with the Marriot clearly in the background), and once on some Hotel show (which featured the hotel across the street from ours). It's crazy because I was just there.
Last thing. I think Monday night during rush hour is the WORST time to go to the grocery store. Not because it's super crowded (though that could be one reason) but because apparently everyone who shops during this time has never been to a grocery store before. While waiting in line (at the self checkout) I had to help 3 people figure out how to work the thing, and one guy even asked if he could use my bonus card to save 15 cents on some cereal or something. Normally I would have been okay with doing something that super generous, but I think they print your name and phone number on the reciept when you use a bonus card, and I really didnt want this guy having information like that (especially since I use my mom's account so it's shows her name and number instead of mine). Anyway, I learned my lesson.
So, there are some of my random blog thoughts for you to read and not be interested in.
~Walking around a major city alone. This also falls into the category of new things I've done this year. I am definitely a small town, or at least suburban person. Going to big cities like New York stresses me out... all the people, all the cars, my awful sense of direction. As long as I'm with someone else, i feel somewhat comfortable. So I wasnt sure what I would do when I had to spend the entire day alone (while Matt was at work). But I sucked up my fears and headed out into the streets of San Fran anyway. And I must say, I had a blast. I picked up some brochures about the area and read through them throughout the day. Whenever I cam across something interesting, I'd go and check it out. And the best thing was that I never really got lost (thanks to the map I had). At times I'd just wander around until I felt I had wandered too far, then I'd break out my map (so touristy, but i didnt have many other options) and find the quickest way back to something familiar.
~So my day alone went something like this. I started out by going to the Mac store down the street. We had walked by it the night before, and in honor of my dad being the biggest Mac enthusiast that has ever existed, I decided I'd go inside and check it out. Basically it was like the store in Tysons, except 2 levels. And the staircase leading up to the 2nd level was all glass (ultra modern looking... i totally loved it!) But once on the 2nd floor, there was this little all glass bridge to cross over to different sections, and for whatever reason (like a fear of falling to my death) I just couldnt cross it. Oh well. After that I wandered around pretty aimlessly for a while. I actually ended up at the edge of Chinatown somehow, but didnt really spend much time there becuase it seemed pretty deserted. So then I made my way back to Union Square where I found a cute cafe and had some coffee (ultra strong) and read through a few brochures.
The first thing I decided to visit was a Frank Llyod Wright building located nearby. It's the only Wright building in the city, and since I had never actually seen one of his in person, I figured this was a good place to start. As I entered the street on which the building was located, I decided that rather than looking at building numbers, i was going to see if I could just pick it out on my own. So I walked up the street, and got the the end without having spotted it. But as soon as I turned around to try again, I foudn it immediately. I dont know how I could have missed it the first time through, it was so distinctive. I thought about going into the building, but it looked like an ultra high class gallery (called Xanadu Gallery... xanadu doo doo doo doo doo xanadu, now we are here, in xanadu, xanadu your neon lights will shine, for you xanadu-- my sister and matt know what I'm talking about, the rest of you will just have to be confused), so I just took some pictures from the outside.
After that I did some shopping. I eventually ended up at a bookstore called Cody's Books. This became one of my favorite places. As soon as I walked in, I figured it was something special and unique. They had flyers throughout the store advertising all of there upcoming events, which included a lecture from Amy Tan and Jimmy Carter (both taking place in the next 2 weeks) as well as some other authors I sort of recognized and a bunch I didnt. I spent a decent amount of time looking through theirhuge selection of art books and design books. Then I wandered through the rest of the store. It was pretty much laid out like any typical bookstore... fiction section, science fiction section, history, computers, etc, etc, etc.... oh and a section called "garden drugs." Which after closer inspection I realized contained half gardening books and half drug books. But from the sign, I expected books about carrots doing x or something. Anyway I eventually purchased a huge book on Loft designs for matt (because it's something we'd never find in bookstore out here) and made my way back to the hotel (because I didnt want to carry that book all over the place).
For the second half of my day I went in a new direction to the Yerba Buena Gardens, which were right across the street from my hotel. Thinking that San Fran had winters like I'm used to, I expected all the plants to be dead and brown. But once I entered the gardens I quickly realized how mild their winters were (if you can even call them winters, since at this point I'm walking around in January with no coat on). everything was still green and a lot of the flowers still had their blooms. The first half of the garden was mostly a big green area (with lots of people laying out and enjoying the sunny day) and a beautiful fountain dedicated to martin luther king.
The second half of the garden was a kid's paradise. It was like seeing a nice European plaza through the eyes of a child. What I mean by that is this: Try taking little kids to a nice palza with a fancy fountain and see what they do... they run all over the place, they turn every kind of curb or ledge into a balance beam, they place in the fountain, and basically do their best to make it a playground. While of course the parents try refrain them somewhat. But this place was designed for exactly that purpose. There were all kinds of different "balancing surfaces" fountains you could play with and even control the water flow, and a huge spongy area with a pack of kids running around with their shoes off. But the thing was that it still looked like a nice plaza area. I know if I were about 8 years old, I would have had a blast. My favorite thing about this part of the garden was a statue called Urge.
As you can see there is a man standing on top of the globe. What you cant see is that I'm taking the picture from a bench that is stratigically placed for a good viewing of the statue. The other thing you cant see is what makes this statue so unique... if you sit on the bench, the man on top of the globe sits with you. And when you stand up, he stands up. Of course the only way I knew this was beause I read about it before hand. Otherwise, there are no directions or indications that this sculpture is anything special. The first time I walked by it I wanted to take a picture, but there were a lot of people hanging around; a mom and her children were amazed by the fact that it was moving, and obviously had no clue as to what was triggering it because the bench was occupied by a bunch of skater kids who were constantly standing up and sitting down (it was pretty obvoius that their intent was to baffle the family in front of them). So i decided I continue to walk around and take a picture on my way back.
When I came back some time later, I was surprised to see that the same family was still staring at the statue with the mom poised to take a picture.... just waiting, and waiting, and waiting for it to move... and no one even close to sitting on the bench. So I walked over and asked if she was waiting for the sculpture to move and she said "yes, i think it moves every hour" still with her camera aimed at the guy on top of the globe. Internally I chuckled as i thought about her remaining in the pose for another hour, but decided to do the right thing and explain how it operated. So I told her it's triggered by sitting on the bench, and then I sat down to demonstrate it... and nothing happened. I didnt weigh enough. So she said "no i think it's time operated" and not wanting to give up (as I knew I was right) I convinced a few of the kids to sit with me... and slowly the guy started to sit (so slowly you could hardly tell it was moving). So now they believed me and more people sat down (which made it move a little faster). I figured that was my good deed for the day... but I still wonder how long that family would have been standing there, with a camera aimed at the sculpture, waiting for it to move had I not said something.
After that I headed to Macys. Macys? What's so special about Macys? Well nothing really, they have several in the area here... but I found out that inside Macys is a Wolfgang Puck Express. And being the big foodnetwork nerd I am, I wanted to try it out. So I went to Macys... which turned out to be by far the biggest store I've ever been in. There were 2 parts. The main part took up 3/4 of a block (a huge city block) and had 7 or 8 levels of shopping. The women's shoe department alone was bigger than any of the Macy's out here. The other part was the men's department which was across the street and took up 1/4 of that block. I didnt go in that part, but I figure all together that makes an ENTIRE block of one store. Crazy. There was a food court in the lowest level and once I figured that out (Macys was the only place I got lost during the day) I found Wolfgang Puck's place, which turned out to be right across from a Sourdough Bakery. In the end, the sourdough place won out. I mean I was in San Francisco, I had to eat as much sourdough as possible. So I got a salad with a small loaf of bread and had a nice, quick (very late) lunch. The bread was awesome, as were the sourdough croutons on the salad.
That was pretty much the extent of my day. I did a lot more walking after that before returning to the hotel to meet up with matt. But I had an awesome time. By the end of the day, i was crossing the street and getting around town with the best of them.
1- Spending extra time with matt. He had a few days off from work so we were able to do more things together than usual. Mostly this consisted of really nerdy things. I got him a Su Doku puzzle book for christmas and we spent a lot of our free time having sudoku challenges. I would photocopy a couple puzzles and then we would see who finished them first. Most of the time he beat me, but I still did pretty good.
2- Night out with friends. I planned a dinner night with some friends from college. We went to Macaroni Grill and then bowling. It was so much fun and felt so good to spend time with people I dont get to see very often anymore. And since we did something similar last year, I think we've established a pre-Christmas get together tradition. Also, if you ever go to Macaroni Grill, get their tiramisu... it's HUGE. And if you feel like trying tiramisu in liquid form, try a Tiratini, they are awesome!
3- Christmas Eve. I spent pretty much the whole day (at least the whole evening and night) at church singing and doing other music related things. I played bass for the band's performance of the Trans Siberian Orchestra's Christmas Eve song. And I think I did a really good job, especially considering the fact that I've never played bass before in my life. By the end of the night when I was past tired, Heather cracked me up by waving to me with a baby doll from the back of the church... haha good times.
4- Christmas Day. Went to church so I could just sit at church and take in the service for the first time since the day after my wedding. But ended up playing one completely improvised song at the end of the service with a few other music members... I hope the fact that I missed many many notes didnt ruin the spirit of the song. Spent the rest of the day either at my parents or in-laws, eating. Yay for all the good food during the holidays. And this was probably the first christmas in which presents were not a huge part of the day. I got my present from matt in mid-December (my new peacoat, yay) and a few small things from my parents, which was nice.
5- German traditions. One of my favorite things about living in Germany was being there at christmas time. And around christmas time now I always try to incorporate as many of the Germany-things as possible. One thing is lebkuchen (which could be misspelled)... it's like a cakey version of gingerbread. And I never even liked it when we lived in Germany, but my mom bought tons of it every year (in fact we made a special trip to Nurnberg just to get it) and she'd put it in our lunches for school. So at lunch time I'd be so hungry that I'd eat it just because I didnt really have any other options. For a while she was able to buy some stateside, but I think the commisary stopped carrying it a few years ago, so we've been without it. However, I managed to find some at the World Market this year, and of course I bought some for myself, and my dad. And it tasted so good. I think I like it now more for the memories than the taste. I was also able to buy some RitterSport chocolate bars at the World Market, which was another German candy we used to eat all the time, I forgot how good they were. Yum. The only thing I didnt have which I always look forward to was gluhwein, which is a spiced red wine that you heat up and drink warm and it's definitely a Christmas-time beverage. Again, at first I didnt really like it, but the taste grew on me, and now I absolutely love it. I can usually buy a bottle of it at the wine store, but they sold out early this year so I didnt have any. As small as that is in the grand scheme of christmas, it really disappointed me. Now I have to wait a whole year before the chance of having it again.
6- New Years Eve/Matt's Birthday. Pretty quiet day. We went to Ihop early for breakfast. And had family over for pizza and ice cream cake. Nothing too crazy, but it was a nice day. Also, I got matt a bottle of our favorite champagne for his birthday (and new years) which we really enjoyed that night.
That's pretty much how I spent the holidays. Time with family and friends.