Monday, November 30, 2009


For any who may be interested, the big to-do with chamber orchestra, harp, organ, and 75 voices is this Sunday at 6:30 p.m. at Lake Highlands UMC (9015 Plano Rd). I'm singing a wicked-hard piece with organ, harp, and viola (that I had to translate myself from French into English). The concert is FREE.

The Piper's Calling

I don't know about you, but I had a great Thanksgiving. Got to dote on my nephew, enjoy an inveritable feast with friends, and get started on my Christmas gifts. And I got my fill of my favorite foods - dressing & pie. Mmmm mmmm! I felt justified in having some every day since I worked out twice during the holiday. A few pairs of jeans are now telling the tale ... but I'll just wear the stretchy ones this week. Heck, maybe I'll just wear my fleece pj bottoms. If only I could "work from home!" LOL

You won't hear much from me this week. I have rehearsal every night but Friday, and that's date night since I won't otherwise see my spouse for more than 5 minutes this week. Sooooo ... for all intents and purposes, I'll see you guys on the other side of Pearl Harbor Day. Have a great one!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Things: Installment 30

This year, in particular, it seems most appropriate to dedicate a(n early) Things post to Thanksgiving. 2009 was a pretty crummy year for us, quite frankly. But in the midst of loss and fear, there are still so many good things to appreciate. And how much better it is to dwell on our blessings rather than our hardships! You quickly realize that even the crummiest year is laced with love.

Things to be Thankful For This Year
  1. I am very grateful that Derek's cancer was caught early, treated with surgery alone, and he continues to get excellent reports at his oncology visits. Each month is another step to greater odds that he will have no future recurrances.
  2. We both have jobs that we enjoy and that are (mostly) recession-proof.
  3. We enjoyed an excellent summer vacation - an opportunity to steal time away from busy lives and enjoy each other and our loved ones.
  4. We are blessed with many dear friends with whom we enjoy dinners and get-togethers and mini-vacations and late-night chats. Our friends are priceless beacons in good times and bad, and it's hard to say where we might be without them. Each one is a precious, irreplacable gift.
  5. We cannot help but miss our friend and neighbor Boo who passed away so suddenly a few months ago. But how blessed we are to have known him and been touched by him - a great man, a true friend!
  6. I continue to grow in my music. Not only does my voice continue to warm and grow and amaze even me, but I am now learning to instill my love for music in the singers of tomorrow. Teaching children is certainly a challenge, but I am reminded of my own beginnings in choir - how my director formed and shaped me and truly began my love for vocal music. I am eternally grateful to Ms. Becky for that. I hope to pass that gift on to the children in my choir.
  7. My nephew Oliver, though a few weeks early, is growing and thriving and is already a heart-stealer! We look forward to watching him grow and change over this next year.
  8. I am thankful for my mom who is celebrating a birthday this Thanksgiving Day. Happy birthday, mom!
  9. We're thankful for the time we've gotten to spend with our friend Dan who will be shipping off to a new duty office next month. We are SO sad to see him go but look forward to keeping in touch and seeing him on vacations. And we really hope that he is able to return here in a few years. Our block is definitely going to be a little lonely without him.
  10. We are thankful for ALL of those service men and women who give of themselves to serve and protect This Great Nation. It is their heritage of sacrifice that affords us this opportunity to be thankful.
Simply said: we are full of thanks for the innumerable blessings so richly bestowed upon us by our Heavenly Father. And we pray His blessings for you!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Great Race Begins

The marathon cooking spree has begun. My dear, sweet husband braved the likes of Kroger AND Wally World at 4:30 p.m. yesterday to get the last-minute things I need to make the Thanksgiving goodies. What a trooper! And what a lifesaver, I say! Otherwise, I was going to have to make those stops myself after my rehearsal last night. And I don't know about you, but I'm not all that up for grocery shopping at 10 p.m. Pfffttt!

Instead, I came home and baked a cake. My mom's birthday cake actually. Her birthday is tomorrow (gobble-gobble), but we all have obligations elsewhere so we opted to crash my brother's house and have a party today. (Truth be told, we all intend to fight over Oliver, but that's neither here nor there. LOL)

After I get home from the birthday shindig, I'll start the baking for tomorrow's feast with the neighbors. Gotta get that cornbread made today so it's good & crumbly tomorrow morning when I make the dressing. Mmmm mmmmmm! Have to get up super-early to do that b/c I decided it would be a great idea to schedule a session with my trainer tomorrow morning. Tell me, who does that?! Crazy people like me, I guess. Heh heh! In preparation for my great carb-loaded gorgefest tomorrow, yesterday's training session was more like a torture session. Nice. I suppose I'll thank her at some point. But let's just say, I'm not thankin' her today! Nope. More like, cursing her name. Ha! I just hope my abs aren't still sore tomorrow 'cause that'll really cut into the room I can make for all that dressing and punkin pie! But let's keep that between us. *wink*

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Freight Train to Epiphany

I managed to cram this last weekend full of as much fun as I could stand. It was, after all, my last weekend off until January. This week officially begins the race to Christmas. I hate to think of it that way, but in the life of a church musician, some truths are held to be self-evident. The fact that Advent tends to be a blur & whir of activity is just one of those.

As I sat in a final planning meeting for the children on Saturday, I realized just how much we have left to accomplish in ONE REHEARSAL! I felt a little like Chicken Little running around with my hands over my ears screaming, "the sky is falling! the sky is FALL-ING!" But I've learned a) to never underestimate the ability of children to learn things at the last minute, b) to never underestimate the element of surprise, and c) to come up with a game plan for the punt. I'm hoping my kiddos work on music while they enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday so that I am thoroughly surprised at our rehearsal next week. But I've also gone through our music making the plan to cut & slash pieces down to something workable. You know, just in case they enjoyed the turkey a little too much.

And after I got done worrying about my choir, I got to move on to my own music. Which, by the way, I haven't worked on but, oh, an hour or two. TOPS. *sigh* Not exactly the way I like to go into the Advent season - grossly unprepared. But this year has been a learning curve for me. Who knew directing children could be so time-consuming & life-sucking?! LOL! So aside from working on tons of Christmas projects over the break this week, I will also be ear-torturing the neighbors. I guess it's a good thing most of them will be gone. *wink*

So what did I do for a little distraction from all of this (now most-obvious source of) stress? Went out with friends, of course! And Sunday I saw New Moon. You may remember how thoroughly disappointed I was with Twilight. Well, clearly the studio listened to the complaints from the fan base b/c they stepped it up on this second one. The screen play was better. The special effects were better. The acting was better. The editing was better. I still maintain that Kristen Stewart is a TERRIBLE Bella! Ugh! She pains me, people! I hated every scene between Bella & Edward. They're just too .... awkward. BUT the scenes between Bella & Jacob? Now those were believable. Probably her best moments in either film. I was a little sad to come away from the movie totally rooting for that relationship. And let's just talk about Jacob for a minute, shall we? Mmmmmm, mmmmmmm - yummy! The entire wolf pack was some definite eye candy. And to quote one of my girlfriends, "I feel kinda dirty lusting after a 20-year old. But man!" Seriously! And let me just say, the wolves scared the bejeesus out of me. So score one for the computer graphics guys. You hit that one dead-on. So, if you're a fan of the books and were disappointed with the first movie, this one is worth seeing. I hope the next two show this much improvement!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Little Help From Your Friends?

So ... today, my friend & neighbor Mike had a little wardrobe malfunction. Unfortunately, he didn't realize his mistake until he arrived at the office.

BUT ... Mike's coworker, friend, & neighbor Skeet came to the rescue. Granted, I'm pretty sure Skeet was just making fun of Mike. But still. A little help from a friend is always nice! hee hee!
My question is this: how do you mistake shoes that have COMPLETELY different toe boxes? Same style, different color. I totally get that. But talk about different ends of the spectrum there, Mikey!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Cartoon Weekly

Another week of the Hump Day Ha-Has. Enjoy!

Is there anything more annoying than a traffic snarl caused by some moron who was on the phone? I didn't think so. The punch line for this joke ... not annoying though!

This F-Minus pane just tickles my sick-and-twisted funny bone!

This Pearls Before Swine strip naturally appealed to the ag. geek in me!

Monday, November 16, 2009

A Cheesehead? Really?

"Why on earth would a good Southern girl like you be a fan of the stinkin' Green Bay Packers?" If I had $1 for every time I heard that one, well .... you know.

I would actually be remiss if I led you to believe that I'm a diehard-bleeds-green-and-yellow-paints-my-face-on-Sunday Packer fan. *I hear my U-per family gasping right now* When I was old enough to really express an interest in following football was about the time that I really got to know my UP Michigan kinfolk. Wanna talk about diehard Cheeseheads??? They're the epitomy, let me tell ya! So they "schooled" me about football and that, of course, meant that I had to be a Packer fan. *wink* But let's face it, I got in on the beginnings of the Favre years. What's not to love about that? Seriously?! He rawks!!!! (And, yes, I am a tad bit bitter about the whole "retirement" thing. So let's not talk about it, k?)

Now that I'm hooked on football, I need a team that's easier to follow at home 'cause, you know, Greenbay doesn't get a lot of air time down here! That's when I started watching the Cowboys. In fact, I didn't miss a single game for SIX years. I got to where I could call the plays even while listening to the game on the radio on the way home from church - I knew the playbook so well. I made my guy friends proud! haha

BUT I became disenchanted with the 'Boys, and pro football in general if we're being honest, long about six years ago or so and now don't follow them as much anymore. (Shoot, I don't follow anyone anymore, let's be honest!) Scandal after scandal is hard to stomach, ya know? And then the coaching just "gone off and went to hell" (to borrow a terrible hick phrase from my youth). Quite frankly, it makes my blood boil most of the time to watch them play. Such stupid play calling. Terrible tackling. Geez - I've seen high school teams play better. HIGH SCHOOL! And don't even get me started on J.J.! *Pfffft*

So ... when the 'Boys play the Packers? Well, these days it's just kinda hard to choose.

Winds Are A'Changin'

Whew. Last week was a whirlwind. Was it for you, too? Funny how weeks with holidays in the middle seem longer. There's nothing worse than a week with two Mondays! Agreed? I told you life wasn't going to slow down once the recital was through. Now it seems like everything is in fast-forward from now till Christmas. What is it with that?!

I spent the first part of the week putting together decorations for a baby shower I co-hostessed. (Say that a few times fast!) They turned out super cute and everyone loved them. And, of course, I don't have access to the photos right now, so I'll have to remember to come back & upload them later ... note to self. And we all know how great I am at that! HA! The short of the story is that it was a nice party and baby-to-be got some really terrific loot.

On Saturday, I attended another shower for my friend at a posh high-rise apartment in Uptown. FAN-CY! We were a little worried mom-to-be wouldn't get to be there since she's been having some blood pressure issues, but she got special permission to attend the last of her baby showers before going on indefinite bed rest. For me, it was fun to get to meet some of her other friends and see a few of the ones I know myself. In particular, I finally got to meet a blogger I've followed for several years. And, yep, she's just as cool in person.

The rest of the weekend went on without fanfare. You know, the usual. Although, I am pleased to say that my Packers managed to continue the Cowboys Lambeau Losing Streak. (But in all fairness, both teams played like crap and the refs were pretty one-sided. So all you Cowboys fans, don't go gettin' up in my face just b/c I'm a little pleased that the Packers didn't totally suck this week!)

Oh, and before I forget (shhh, those of you with Google Reader), how about that cold weather we woke up to thsi morning?? Can you say AWESOME!!!!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Finally Home

Oliver went home on Friday and we couldn't be more excited. Although, I have to say that I'm a tad disappointed but only from the standpoint that he's no longer 5 min. away from me! What's an aunt to do? *wink* He's doing really well - adjusting to his own schedule, eating and eating, and finally opening his eyes and looking around. He had his first bath today and really enjoyed it. Wonder how long that will last? LOL!

I hope to get to go visit soon, but I'm letting everyone else get it out of their systems since I got to see him so often while he was in the NICU.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Hooray for Oliver!

Here's the latest info on little Oliver's progress (thru emails from mom):

8:46 a.m.
I called to check on Ben. He's doing really well. They are taking out the other umbilical IV today. He may get the feeding tube out. The nurse said maybe in a couple of days he will be ready to go home but first they room in. I wondered if they were just going to boot him straight out of NICU to home. So I'm glad about that step. Olga went to her dr yesterday bc her face was drooping on the left side. She has Bell's Palsy. They see a neurologist today for a second opinion but Dr. Potter was pretty sure and started Olga on prednisone. Poor thing, this hasn't been a walk in the park for her. We are going over this evening.

10:27 a.m.
David just called and they are in a room with Ben. He was so excited. They are snuggling on the bed. When they leave, he goes back to the NICU. They will spend the night and MIGHT go home tomorrow, late in the day. He has lost weight though so it might be Thursday. Olga is providing all his food and will try breast feeding each time. So that is really good news. He's going to check on visitor policy now.


Congrats to Derek who closed his very first opening order yesterday! I'm super-proud of ya, babe!

Monday, November 09, 2009

Good Gravy!

Know what happens when you don't have time to read the posts in your Google Reader for a coupla days? You have, like, 200+ to wade through! Good grief! Why haven't I been keeping up? Well, let's just go through the events of the latter part of the week, shall we?

My nephew Oliver was born on Wednesday evening. He was a little early and had a rough start. They transferred him to a neighboring hospital with a Level 2 NICU about 2 a.m. Thursday morning to monitor him more closely. I got that call on my way to work Thursday and turned right back around and went home to sit with my mom & brother at the hospital all day. That day, they gave little Oliver some drugs to boost the ol' lungs and put him on the ventillator so he could rest up. He was off the vent by Friday and is improving every day. He got a little jaundiced so he spent yesterday under the bili light. We're hoping he gets to come home this week.

Friday and Saturday I had rehearsals for my recital. Throw in there a baby shower for a dear girlfriend (hey, sweet Rach!), a recital, some dinners with the neighbors, and several trips to the hospital to visit Oliver and you have the weekend in a nutshell.

I hope this week is a little quieter....

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Oliver Bennett Foster

Nov. 4, 2009
5:56 p.m.
6 lbs 6 oz
19 inches

Oliver Bennett is clearly a little man set to be in charge as he made his triumphant entry into the sunshine ... three weeks early! He is currently in the NICU getting a little jumpstart to the lungs but is responding very well to treatment and might be on his own tomorrow if he continues to improve. What he wants most is his mom and dad sitting by his bedside as he is clearly most settled when they are there. The rest of us can't hold him right now due to H1N1 precautions, so we're really hoping little Oliver continues to be a determined little Foster and goes to the "big" nursery SOON.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Cartoon Weekly

This week's cartoon selections are of a personal nature. As in, they apply to me personally. And they're pretty darn funny, too.

I have to agree with Rose in this one. If only I could train him to pick up his socks! But hey, I suppose there are worse things to be found lying about the house, no? LOL!

This one seems particularly appropriate given that my recital is on Saturday, don't you think? And, yes, I do believe in aliens, thanks for asking. *wink*

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Someone Like Me

I know I've mentioned this before: ever since I was a little girl, I've had a fascination with bugs. I kept collections of them in jars in my closet. Bugs of all shapes and sizes, I found them all very interesting. (I really should have been an entemologist!)

I'm a big fan of the Grow Lively blog. Here is a perfect example why

this week, Leslie wrote about bugs. She's fascinated by them too! Of course, she writes about all kinds of things other than bugs, but she does make frequent mention of them. Go check her blog out sometime!

(Incidentally, this is one of many bugs that was in my collection. They're really cool critters, just in case you ever wondered. Kinda scary lookin' in real life, even for bug-lovers, but way cool.)

Halloween at the Opera

"So, what did you do for Halloween?" I've been asked that about a million times this week. "I went to the opera," I'd say. Probably not a very typical thing to do on Halloween, huh? But that just happened to be the night our season tickets fell. So I got dressed up (nicely, of course) and drove my friend to the opera house.

"What did you think?" That's probably the second-most popular follow-up question to the what-did-you-do-I-went-to-the-opera discussion. And since you've all asked, I'll give it to you straight.