Monday, February 27, 2012

A couple quick musical thoughts... ♫


Lucky you - new blog posts two days in a row!  ☺  Just wanted to get a couple things out while they're fresh:

Remember that student who won't let me say "give him a hand" without commenting?  Well, this evening in class, the boys asked me to play the piano (it's a baby grand), so they could watch it work.  I asked them to wait patiently till the end of class, then granted their request.  When I was done playing (I played part of a Clementi sonatina), the same little guy said, "I'll give you my hand!  No, I want to give you BOTH of my hands - that was awesome!"  Warmed my heart!

Also - this Friday I have the privilege of performing at the NSBA (Nebraska State Bandmasters Association) convention with the NWU band.  Since I'm performing with them, I'm attending a couple rehearsals this week.  One was this afternoon, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself!  I can't tell you how great it felt to play in an ensemble again...and a quality one, at that!  My dad always told me to enjoy and not take advantage of my opportunity to play and perform with such quality groups during my college years.  I can't say I enjoyed it every day then, but now, I do so very much appreciate and value the many musical and non-musical opportunities and experiences these ensembles and performances provided.  Thanks, Dr. Z and fellow musicians, for the opportunity this week.  To quote Dr. Z, "Feels like old times."   ☺

That's all for now!

Hope you all have a happy Tuesday!


Favorites of the day:
Bible study
mini cupcakes
gentlemen (polite men)

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Show and Tell


So, there have been a few things in the past few weeks I've been wanting to share, but none really warranted their own post, so I'm sharing them all at once.  Enjoy! ☺

First of all, here are some pictures of the icicles (I don't know if I've ever spelled that word...) after our big snow storm a couple weeks ago:
The left side of this picture is north, as is made obvious by the blown-in icicles.   Gotta love that north wind...
Too bad the coop is white - these were really cool (and intense) ones!
Cute little guys.  It got warm before they grew up.

Here's a link to a video of the solo I played on our HAA faculty recital a couple weeks ago.  (It's part of a concerto I played on my senior recital at NWU, and one of my favorite pieces I've ever played.  It's on E-flat trumpet, by the way.)  Click here to watch!

This is from a 5th grade student.  She is doing a persuasive essay in school about "why kids should play at least one instrument at a young age."  AND she made me this picture/doodle page/?.  Love it.  ☺
The cats at Arts Inc. used to get in the file cabinets all the time when they were kittens.  Haven't had them open much when they were there lately, so they were excited to relive their childhood this week.
A music joke a friend recently shared:
C, E-flat, and G go into a bar. ...The bartender says, "Sorry, but we don't serve minors." So E-flat leaves, and C and G have an open fifth between them. After a few drinks, the fifth is diminished, and G is out flat. F comes in and tries to augment the situation, but is not sharp enough. D comes in and heads for the bathroom, saying, "Excuse me; I'll just be a second." Then A comes in, but the bartender is not convinced that this relative of C is not a minor. Then the bartender notices B-flat hiding at the end of the bar and says, "Get out! You're the seventh minor I've found in this bar tonight." E-flat comes back the next night in a three-piece suit with nicely shined shoes. The bartender says, "You're looking sharp tonight. Come on in, this could be a major development." Sure enough, E-flat soon takes off his suit and everything else, and is au natural. Eventually C sobers up and realizes in horror that he's under a rest. C is brought to trial, found guilty of contributing to the diminution of a minor, and is sentenced to 10 years of D.S. without Coda at an upscale correctional facility.

Finally, I received two things from students on Friday: some fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies (yum!) and this:
At first, I thought she was just showing it to me, but when I asked what she put in it, she replied, "Well, I wanted to give it to you to put all your little stuffs in - I don't want you to loose all your little stuffs."  I have no idea what "little stuffs" she's referring to, but I graciously accepted the gift. ☺ (This from the same 5-yr.-old girl who made me a paper bouquet of flowers and the princess tiara.)
Hope you all have a wonderful week...and a happy leap day!

Thanks for reading,

Favorites of the day:
Paint Yourself Silly
Raspberry Squishy from MoJava
Birthday Cake Oreos ( edition - get them before they're gone!)
this quote from the movie "How Do You Know?" - "Of every thought I had about you, and there were millions, the one that never occurred to me is that my mind wasn't exaggerating."

Thursday, February 23, 2012

My weekend at FarmHouse (could this be a more generic title?)

Hello, all!  Hope this finds you well and enjoying the almost spring-like weather!

Thought I’d share a little about this past weekend with you:
Saturday morning, I made the trip to KSU in Manhattan, KS to spend the weekend with my brother.  I was fortunate to be able to stay at FarmHouse fraternity with him (in the house mom’s room) and experience a fairly typical weekend with him.   One of my cousins was also in Manhattan competing in the college rodeo, so we were able to see and spend time with her, too (and see her dog’s newborn puppies!)!   Additionally, my parents came for breakfast and church on Sunday before we attended the intramural basketball game of the season (FarmHouse has two intermural b-ball teams, and they played each other this weekend.  Definitely the most entertaining game I’ve ever attended…and probably will ever attend).  Other highlights included a stop at a local donut shop to play a song on the piano for a free donut, a nostalgic trip to a small church where we always have family reunions, pizza-making and enjoying with the guys, an epic game of Nertz, exploring campus, making music together, and plenty of catching up and quality conversation.

I was able to capture a few moments from the “house divided” game:
I didn't inherit the jumping gene he did.
The Mongeese came out victorious, but a good game was played by all.
Now, I know some of you are probably like my parents and others close to me and are wondering if I met any “prospects” during the weekend spent in a house full of such quality men.  Of course, many of them fit the bill, but thankfully, I was able to get past the fact that I was surrounded by so many solid guys and just focus on the one I was there to spend time with.  (I’ll be honest – there have been times I’ve visited during which this was hard to get past.)

Also - you should check out this promotional video the guys made for their pancake philanthropy (click for video) - my brother is the BoomBox Kid seen in the snow suit.

One more thing:
There have been a few times in my life I’ve been a little jealous of friends who have sisters and their relationships.  That jealousy seems trivial, now, though, and those times are long gone.  I know I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: I am so incredibly thankful for my brother - the man he is, the inspiration and insight he provides, his humor, his intelligence, his kindness and thoughtfulness, but most of all, I’m thankful for the relationship we’ve developed and grown into throughout our lives.  I look forward to where life will take us both and am excited to share the journey through our connection as siblings, as friends, and as brother and sister in Christ.  Love you, Q! 

Sisterlyly ☺,

Favorites of the day:
friends - new, old, and rediscovered ☺

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Hey there!

Hope you all had a lovely Valentine's day!  Thought I'd share a few of the Valentines I received:
A chocolate apple!  I'd never seen one of these before, and embarrassingly enough, it took me a second to understand why I was getting one...  ☺
She loves piano!
I don't even care that he spelled my name wrong - love free-handed hearts from first graders.
This is from the same little guy who drew the heart above.  He and his twin sister made these chocolate dipped spoons with a heart marshmallow and sprinkles in a little heart pouch with a packet of hot cocoa mix for their class and teacher valentines (46 in all - he explained the very lengthy process and the fact that he had to write "So-and-so, you warm my heart" 23 times!).
I also received precious homemade cards from the kiddos I nanny for, as well as thoughtful cards in the mail, phone calls, etc.  Needless to say, I felt the love on Valentine's day! ☺

Wanted to share something else from my week:
I can't remember whether or not I've told you all this - I'm teaching a couple CMA (Children's Music Academy) classes this semester.  For those of you who may not remember what that entails, it's a 50-minute group piano class for 4- and 5-year-olds and their parents.  We do a different activity every 4 minutes (or so it seems) for the sake of their attention spans.  Activities include learning rhythm and note friends, playing piano songs, dancing, singing, ear training exercises, games, etc.  It's a two-year curriculum, and by the end of the class, the students will be playing at a "level one" in most piano method books.

I taught one of these classes last year, but all the students decided they'd like to take private lessons with me, instead.  So, I didn't have a class at the beginning of this school year.  This semester, however, I had a few enroll in a beginning CMA class, and I was able to pick up the continuation of another teacher's class.  Both are lots of fun to teach - one class is only little girls, and the other is all boys - each comes with its own challenges.  haha

The other night, the boys' dads came with them, so we didn't have any moms in the class.  The boys recognized this, and one said, "But the moms are the beautifulest ones!"

Another story about the same little boy: Whenever someone does something well or tries, period, we clap for them.  I usually say, "Give him a hand!"  When I say this in the class of boys, however, the one little guy says, "What?!  I can't give him my hand!  I'd have to cut it off!" or something to that effect.  So, he's trained me to say "Give him a round of applause!" instead.  The other night when I said that the first time (instead of "Give him a hand!"), I heard him whisper excitedly to his dad, "She didn't say 'Give him a hand!'!"  ☺

If you or someone you know might like to join a CMA class, feel free to come check it out!  You can go to or call the office for more info.!

Enjoy what's left of the week and have a great weekend!

Favorites of the day:
my weekend plans (seeing "The Vow" with girlfriends, then going to visit my brother!)
this new computer...again
getting a few of my great-grandma's old Valentines in the mail from my grandma

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Something new...and music...and love.


I may or may not be writing this blog from a new computer...  If I am, I'm pretty excited about it.  If I'm not, I'm still waiting for the screen to show what I've been typing for the past 10 seconds. ☺

After three different trumpet performances this weekend, I am reminded of how much I love playing and sharing my music with others.  I'm so grateful for the support of coworkers, students (and their families), friends, and family.  I had "fans" at all three performances this weekend...and they came voluntarily!  There were others who couldn't make it, but just knowing they wanted to be there makes me feel special.  Thank you to those of you who have supported me (and will continue to do so) by encouraging/tolerating my practice, "filling my bucket" with compliments, and making an effort to attend countless concerts/recitals/services/events.  Words can't express my appreciation to all of you, but especially my parents.  I hate to be completely cliché, but I can't begin to imagine where I'd be today if it weren't for them.

Additionally, I'm continually humbled by the talent that surrounds me.  How often do you get to experience your coworkers doing something they do exceptionally well...and love doing?!  Whether it's teachers at the studio, peers, friends, or other coworkers, I'm always glad for the opportunity to hear those I interact with, non-musically, on a daily basis doing what they do best, musically.  

Speaking of humbling, please take a moment to watch this 10-year-old girl's performance at Trumpet Fest this afternoon - click this to watch the video.  (She played a piece I considered performing on my senior recital...yes, in college.)

I should probably head to bed...more later.

If I don't write again before Tuesday, Happy Valentine's Day!  May you feel loved and share it with those around you.


Favorites of the day:
having a 4-legged guest for the weekend
Cheddar's (a new restaurant here)
this new computer (duh)
next weekend's plans!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Snow day 2012!

So...for those of you who don't live in Lincoln or the surrounding areas, here's a little back-story:
A few days ago, the weathermen started warning us that there was a winter storm coming this weekend and suggested we stock up before it hits.  It rained all day yesterday and seemed like it was going to just keep raining.  I had planned on picking up a few things at HyVee after work, so stopped after teaching last.  I miraculously found a decent parking spot and took the second-to-last cart inside the door.  Needless to say, it was insanity inside.  They were running out of things left and right and had several large pallets of items in the isles.  The workers looked as though they'd been through a roller coaster in a hurricane and strangers were talking to each other about their own weather predictions, whether or not they have to be out of the house the next day, and how crazy Nebraska weather is.

As it turns out, the weathermen were correct - we got hit with over 13 inches of snow (so far) starting after 11 p.m. last night.  My aunt and I were planning on leaving early this morning to Lindsborg, KS to celebrate my grandparent's anniversary, but decided not to since we couldn't see the end of the driveway and were in a Winter Weather Advisory till this evening.  As a result, we had a snow day.  Here is documentation of the day's festivities.  : )
Since we couldn't go to Lindsborg (a.k.a. Little Sweden), I decided to bring a little taste of Sweden here and made Swedish pancakes for breakfast.
My dad made these every Sunday morning when we lived at home (and still does!), so I thought I'd try my hand at them.  First attempt: not a success...
...they all turned out after that, though!
(Except they're only half the size of the ones dad makes.)
Out the frosted window.
Couldn't open the door on the north side of the coop.
Vern in his new, less snowy location.
Yep - up to my knees.  No, it's not a drift.
Our snowgirl!
We named her Delilah Rose.
Yummy (warm) lunch after our time outside.
Of course, there was lots of productivity and "screen time" throughout the day, too.  I was sad to not be with my family, but was glad for the day of "whatever you want to do."

Do YOU have any snow day stories to share?


Favorites of the day:
Colby Ridge popcorn
having people to share the snow day with  : )
crossing things off lists

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Thankful for...and Out of the Mouths of Babes: Part 3


I'm not going to take time to greet you further than that, because you're going to need all the time you can get to read this post!  Enjoy!  : )

First of all, I finally took a Zumba class this morning...and loved it!  Guided dancing targeting heart rate and all muscle groups for 50 minutes to awesome music?  Yes, please!  If only it were offered more often...and at more convenient times!  Oh well - I'll take what I can get!

Secondly, I've been meaning to share this with you for quite some time:
After hearing a pastor talk about writing things he's thankful for in a very visible in his home each day, my roommate and I decided we'd like to do the same.  So, with some butcher paper, markers, glitter glue, and an ugly, scratched painting with a beautiful frame on clearance at Bed, Bath and Beyond (with a coupon, too, thank you!), we created this:
The marker box is affixed with a 3M strip, so residents and guests can add their blessings whenever they'd like!

Another thing: toward the end of my longest night of teaching last night, a 5-yr.-old student brought something she'd made for me:
Want to make my day?
Just bring me a tiara you made for me to wear.  : )

Finally, I've had some gems of quotes so far this week - enjoy:

As we turned to his new piece to learn and I read the title, "Morning Has Broken, " a 12-yr.-old student remarked, "Better get the glue!"  Definitely made me laugh out loud...which was his intent!

I gave farm animal stickers one day this week, and as an 8-yr.-old girl student was deciding which horse to pick, she said, "My favorite horse color is brown...that's my favorite hair color, too, because I like Selena Gomez...I wish my hair was brown (she's a natural platinum blonde)...and I'm growing my hair out to be like hers, but I don't think I'll ever be like her - my hair isn't curly enough...and I wish my name was Selena, but I don't want my last name to be Gomez, so we're not twins twins."  My response, "(pause to take it all in) I think you have beautiful hair and such a pretty name!  Let's get back to playing piano, now."  : )

The same girl was mentioning, for some reason, that her mom works downtown.  She then shared this thought, "I love downtown!  The only thing I don't like about it is people living on the streets in the cold, cold weather.  I just feel bad!  If I wanted to live on the streets, I'd choose someplace Florida."

AND as great as those all were, this one might take the cake:
I was playing Barbies with the kids I nanny for, and the 2-yr.-old shared that her Barbie was going to have a baby.  The 4-yr.-old boy said to that Barbie, "You huff and you puff and you blow that baby out of your tummy - like the big bad wolf did to those houses!"  What?!  No, we didn't subsequently have the "birds and the bees" convo - I just laughed as he proceeded to ask for his Barbie's pants to be changed to a skirt, because "she likes fashion."

See why I love my life?


P.S. Kitty litter update: It's not working out.  Getting a covered litter box and going back to the clumping, chemically stuff.  Oh well.  Here's a recent picture of Charlie.  : )

Favorites of the day:
the "not a fan" journal/study