Hey, Remember When…

I know I haven’t written in a hot second.  I really wanted to try to keep up with this blog for many reasons, but lately that just hasn’t happened.

Truth is I haven’t been in a good place.

I seems that flossing every night, making my the guest room bed, journalling every night, staying on a schedule, being thankful, and all the other things that I do to make me feel like I have everything put together isn’t quite doing the job.

I have quickly realized that doing those things doesn’t always keep away the despair and hopelessness.

In fact, being someone who, by default, is happy, positive, tenacious, a go-getter, isn’t aways a guarantee that those traits will come to the rescue when despair and hopelessness comes to break down the door.

There are simply just going to be those days when they break in and cause some emotional chaos.

However, in the midst of their ransack I got a text from a student.

(I will change the names to protect the innocent…)

“Hey Mrs. R….I’m driving home from Santa Barbara and we are passing a bunch of orange trees.  Reminded me of when “Carla” and I were convinced that oranges didn’t grow on trees aaaaaahhhhhh good times I sure do miss them.”

I am going to tell you that text brought me right back to the choir room and that discussion.  We were laughing and carrying on trying to be convinced that oranges grew on bushes.

I laughed and laughed.

For that moment on Friday do you know what I wasn’t doing…feeling hopeless or full of despair.

Then later that night I got this…

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Jasen dropped me off a little gift...

…nope no hopelessness or despair.

Unlike flossing, making the bed, and journalling, remembering and acts of kindness always drive out hopelessness and despair, 100% of the time.

Even when those memories and acts of kindness make me a little nostalgic, they always evoke the emotions of love and joy.

The true enemies of hopelessness and despair.

Yes, I will still floss, and make my the guest room bed, and journal, because those little things are tools to keeping my sanity, but I will not put so much hope in their ability to protect me from “those days”.

Yes, I will still feel hopeless and full of despair from time to time.

But now I have a few things to fight it with.

Go out there and share some memories…you’ll see that I’m right.

 

Love y’all more than orange bushes.

Amy

Bon Appétit

So over Spring Break I asked Bella what should I watch.  I finished the 5th season of Schitts Creek and am desperately awaiting season 6 to come out on Netflix, so I needed a new binge.

When Bella was younger we enjoyed watching Chopped, so in that same foodie kind of show she suggested that I start watching the Bon Appétit youtube channel.  Bon Appétit is a culinary magazine that started doing videos from their test kitchen.

Now I know what you are saying, and with each show I watch I am in total agreement.

Why in the heck are you watching a fancy cooking show when all you have been eating is rice, pasta, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and Wheat Thins????

I know, I know….but I can’t stop watching.

Don’t worry I have a very large collection of recipes printed off just waiting for the time that I can regularly get eggs, fresh produce, and meat that isn’t frozen hamburger.

The reason it is so appealing is that it includes a cast of very funny, knowledgeable, and real characters who do specific themed shows, and also just make some really good food.  One thing I love about this show is that they are in a test kitchen and there is always something going on in the background.  Plus, they all constantly bomb each others shows with advice or a taste of what is cooking.

Here are some of my personal favorites and what kind of show they host.

In no particular order because I just couldn’t do that.

Claire Saffitz

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Clair hosts the Gourmet Makes segment where she tries to recreate popular food items.  She has done Oreos, Twinkies, Pop Tarts, Twizlers, and my favorite of all time Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream.  She is smart and funny and just plain loveable.

Brad Leone 

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Brad hosts a show called It’s Alive which is really funny, but what  I love most about Brad is he is always around the test kitchen and tries to help everyone else.  He reminds me of Andy from Parks and Rec.  Just goofy and loveable, but also really smart.  He is the bro of the kitchen.

Chris Morocco

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Chris is the test kitchen’s smarty pants.  He knows everything and is very opinionated in a fun, kind, and quirky way.  He does a show that has him recreate famous chef’s dishes by only smelling, touching, and tasting them.  It is pure gold watching him try to tell whether the ingredient is an apple of a french pear.

Molly Baz

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Molly is the best.  She does a show called Molly tries and it has her making things like dog foot and pancake art.  She is snarky and tells it like it is and I respect that.

Finally I present…

Carla Lalli Music

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She does a show called back to back chef.  This show has her standing back to back with celebrities and telling them how to make a recipe with only her verbal instructions.   It is a hoot.  She is one of my favorite stars of the the channel because she is real and down to earth, and her last name is Music…duh.

So I leave you with one of my favorite episodes.  This is the one where Claire makes Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream.

You’ll love it…and you’re welcome or I’m sorry.

Love y’all more than Pasta Carbonara!!

Amy

Spring Break Wrap Up

This past week was our well deserved, much anticipated Spring Break!!

Yes…y’all heard that right.  My last day in the classroom was March 13 and then we had Spring Break.  What was I supposed to do with that?

If anything has become crystal clear through this month (besides the fact that I need more sweatpants and hair ties) is that my identity is very tied to me being a choir teacher.  I do love my roles as wife and mother (and daughter, aunt.etc…) but I was born to be a choir teacher.

As I was saying goodbye to my Freshmen last Thursday, trying to fight back the tears until they were all gone, I realized how much I miss being a choir teacher.  Now when I say I miss it, it isn’t like I miss my bed, or sushi, or going to the store, or jeans, or Starbucks I miss it like I would miss sunshine or air.  Just typing this paragraph makes me tear up.

I was feeling lost…again.

But then Shirese Spaniol sent me this video.

Those faces…what amazing human beings.

And then this appeared at my doorstep.  The lovely ladies of Womens Chorale strike with my favorite things…letters and notes from them, Reeses, and school supplies!!

They really know me!!

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And then THIS appeared at my doorstep.   The Batemans made me treats!!

(they did not bring the GoGo Squeez, that came from one of the dorm rooms that moved back home)

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These were just the things that I needed.  It reminded me that even though I am not in the choir room, these are my students and they need me.

The little things really do add up to make a big difference in someone’s life

Now for a little Bella fun.

She came to visit me during Spring Break too.

And we made a video.  She really makes me smile!!

Now go out and do that little thing for someone.

You just never know what a difference it will make.

 

Love y’all more than sushi and Starbucks.

Amy

The Tao of Yahtzee

I had the privilege of playing Zoom Yahtzee last night with some of my favorite people.  Now granted this paled in comparison to the full on Yahtzee games that the chaperones played sitting around rickety tables on rickety chairs and laughing until we were wheezing all the while trying to keep quiet because the students were TRYING to learn music.

How dare they put a damper on our fun!!

Now contrary to popular belief the Daurios did not get me hooked on Yahtzee.  Granted I never had specialized Yahtzee games or Yahtzee merch, but I did love the game growing up.

In fact, when I supervised middle school Counselors in Training for a summer camp each summer we always sponsored the Yahtzee booth at our carnival.  I made large dice out of big blocks and the kids would get three rolls to try to get a Yahtzee.

Man would we all scream YAHTZEEEEE at the top of our lungs when that happened.  So much fun.

As I am playing Yahtzee last night I realized that this game teaches some great life lessons.

  1. Everyone starts each game with a blank slate.  The possibilities are endless when those 5 dice are put into your hands.
  2. You get to practice adding in your head.  Now granted no one is as good at this as Michelle Daurio, but Rich comes in a close second.  I am horrible at this so I get to practice…or ask Michelle.
  3. Sometimes you just got to let the universe do its job.  For instance, I believe that you never TRY for a full house.  If the universe wants you to have one it will give you one…sometimes more than one…which is not very helpful.
  4. Sometimes you can start with a garbage hand and then suddenly you have rolled a Yahtzee.  You can’t give up on a crappy start.
  5. Sometimes you need to believe in lucky mints.  My husband has this mint that he deems as lucky.  Whenever he needs a bit of luck he pulls it out…and oddly enough sometimes it works.
  6. The seemingly luckiest person in the whole wide world has streaks of bad luck every now and then…and it is perfectly OK to relish in that bad luck.
  7. The power of a buffer should never be underestimated.  If you roll at least 3 of each number on the top section of your scorecard you get a bonus 35 points.  Let me tell you…you work very hard to make sure you have a buffer so that you get those dang 35 points.
  8. Never give up on a Yahtzee.  You should never write off the good luck that you can suddenly get.  Yahtzee is the LAST place you take a zero.
  9. Life always gives you a Chance.  When things go bad there is always a place for a second Chance.
  10. This game can remind you of how much you love and need your people…and the power of laughing until you wheeze.

Love y’all more than 5 6’s

Amy

 

I’ll Tell My Ma

So things around here have kinda gotten mundane.  That’s OK for the most part, but it just doesn’t give me many things to write about.

BUT I started my blog again for lots of reasons, mostly so that I could keep focused on what I DO have…and that has been working (for the most part).

So, my choir parents have been posting fun performance memories on Facebook and forcing me to walk down a memory lane that I was avoiding because it made me sad.  But as I was forced down memory lane by said parents it made me suddenly become appreciative of what I did have and what I still have.

So I decided to have a stroll of my own on my computer and found another gem from last year.

This is Womens Chorale’s performance from last year’s Judge’s Invitational.  This is one of my all time favorite choral songs for treble voices.

And woo pig sooie this one is hard.

To add some context to this about 2 week prior to our Judges Invitational Festival they performed this at the prestigious CMEA State Festival that they were invited to.  So while they were learning an entire set for our March show choir concert they were learning 3 pieces for their festivals.

Man…they were good.

So let me give you a little background on this piece.  It is for four voice parts and three body percussion parts.

You see the first challenge right?  4 vocal lines and 3 clapping lines.

Yeah…did they shy away from that challenge??

Heck no.  They ate that challenge for breakfast…or at least a late morning snack.

Add in all the phrasing, dynamics, and all those blasted words.

Again…did they back down.

Nope…they freakin’ killed it!!

So without further ado.

Please enjoy Womens Chorale’s performance of the Irish Folk Song “I’ll Tell My Ma”

I couldn’t have been prouder.

You’re welcome.

Love y’all more than Irish Folk Songs!!

Amy

Weekend Update

I wish Norm Macdonald was doing this weekend update…I guarantee it would be a whole lot funnier.

But this weekend was rough…

I wish I could say that I was always able to be positive and upbeat about this crazy situation, but this weekend that just wasn’t the case.

A year ago I was on cloud nine.  Vocal Ensemble and Womens Chorale was at the Forum Festival’s Judges Invitational and took home the highest honor, the Sweepstakes Award.  It took a year of earning highest awards at a qualifying festival to even be eligible to enter this past year’s invitational.  To win the top award at this event both groups had to score high enough to have a combined score that was higher than any other high school’s groups, both instrumental and choral.

They did it, and it was a true honor.

We were supposed to go back to Anaheim this weekend to start that process all over again.

We didn’t go.

This video makes me tear up.  First because I was so darn proud of these kids. Second, because I was so upset we couldn’t go this year.

I needed to watch it and remember how blessed I am to be at Westlake High School, and to be working with these amazing kids.

 

My goodness y’all.

We also got word that we will not be going back to school this year.

Wow…kick me when I am down Universe.

It hit me that this might go on a little longer than I originally hoped.

So I realized that I need to try to make the space I am currently in a little more livable.  Especially since Sarah, my step-daughter, has had to go back to work at Target as an essential worker.  This means more of a risk for me.  So…I cleaned out a few drawers, moved the cello and two guitars up to Andrew’s room, rearranged the furniture, and went in to school to get my mini fridge and microwave.

Yay!!! Dorm room complete.

As I am doing all of this I feel like I am living in an IKEA showroom.  I know I should have really paid more attention to the “small spaces” section.  I mean they have furniture  like the tents in Harry Potter.  Looks normal from the outside but when you open it up and you have a bed inside a drawer, a kitchenette under the top, and a dresser underneath.

Truly magical.

So Friday afternoon and Saturday morning I worked really hard to make this space a little more livable and comfortable.

With the addition of a new mini Keurig and an electric tea kettle, the space is now complete IMG_6005You are lucky I am not a hermit by nature because I am so set up that you might not see me again…ever.

Rich even cleaned up the patio so that I could have a comfy chair and a small table so that I could sit outside when I want.

So I think I am good for the long haul.

Honestly hoping it isn’t too much of a long haul.

Sunday was a very busy planning day our new “distance learning”.  I am not good at the technology.  It takes me a hot minute to do all of this online learning stuff.

So, with the help of a few good long walks, by the time I went to bed Sunday night I realized that:tough-situations-build-strong-people-quote-1

At this rate I am going to be freakin’ Hercules by the time this is all over.

But, I really believe this!!  You can have bad days and ups and downs but ultimately it is our attitude that gets us through the tough situations.

I think dinner is ready…I hope it is Swedish Meatballs!!

Love y’all more than a new Keurig!!

Amy

 

What Do We Do Now?

After getting the official word from out district that our school will remain closed for the remainder of the school year I sat, and through my tears I asked myself “What do we do now?”

Well…

We grieve.  We grieve for ourselves and others.  This is a loss.  So much has been lost. So many have lost.

We cry.  Sob. Weep. Ugly cry until our noses run, our head hurts, and our eyes dry out.

We scream at the top of our lungs THIS ISN’T FAIR.  WHAT DID I DO TO DESERVE THIS?

Then…

We take a deep breath.

We stand up.

We love.

We love fiercer then we have ever loved.

We are thankful.

We cherish what we still have….every day.

We take care of each other.  Someone needs you right now.  Someone needs that phone call, or text, or letter.  Someone needs your shoulder and your ear.

We eat chocolate and macaroni and cheese and cookies, and all the things that give us comfort.

We get outside and enjoy the beautiful world we have been given.

We do whatever we can to help others.  Donate what we can and  serve where we are needed.  Someone needs those things too.

We stay inside and give the doctors and nurses a chance to catch up.  We give the scientists a chance to get a head of this virus and protect those who need it the most.

We find our purpose.

We open our eyes everyday and are grateful that our eyes opened and the sun rose.

We sing!!! We sing to anyone who will listen, even if it is just to ourselves.  We listen to others sing and find solace in their song.

We do our best.

We look forward to seeing each other virtually.  Commiserating, laughing, checking in, learning music, and being “together”.

We realize that we are lucky to have each other.

We make our beds.

We put one foot in front of the other.

We do what we can to prepare ourselves for what it next.  A new school year, a new choir season, a new college experience, a new job.  There will be a next.

We look forward to the time when we can see each other in reality and hug necks and cry happy tears and celebrate.  We will celebrate.

We have hope.

Anything less would be the real tragedy.

 

I love y’all more than I can express.

Amy

#iambecauseweare

Who Wants to Be a Fool??

If you know me you know that I HATE April Fools Day.  Just the fact that the day has the word fool in it should clue you in on how bad it is.

Nobody wants to be a fool!!

I think this stems from the fact that I am such a gullible trustworthy person.  I just scream “Prank me I’ll believe you”

I also hate watching other people be pranked.  I think this is the same reason that I hate watching sad or perilous movies.  I just feel too hard for those people.  I internalize it all.  ESPECIALLY, if I know that the prank is coming.  When I watch shows candid camera and punk’d I just get so uncomfortable.

I asked my students about this.  I wondered how they felt about it.  I had many students LOVE pranks

I was shocked!!

Who are these people??

They think that it is clever and funny.  They did point out that there is a fine line between pranking and bullying.  They said that you need to know your audience and only do things that you know won’t be offensive to the other person.

OK, I guess I understand that.

So when I told you that my family KNOWS how much I hate this day I mis-spoke.

I THOUGHT my family knew how much I hated this day until I got this text from Bella today.

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That girl of mine!!

It really only took me about 2 seconds to figure out the little trickster.  I guess her prank could have been worse!!

Although, I have always wanted a Husky puppy!!

So maybe I’ll call Bella’s friend!!

APRIL FOOLS!!!

Love y’all more than Husky puppies!!

Amy

The Good Old Days

Welcome to March 56th…

I mean seriously it seems like we have been at this for months but in reality our last day at school was only a little over 2 weeks ago.

As I have been settling into my new routine I am honestly feeling like I am back in college living in a dorm room.  I mean my guest room is about the size of my dorm room so all I need is 2 more desks and dressers, a bunkbeds, and two strangers.

So here are a few other things in my current situation that remind me of being in college:

  • I don’t drive my car
  • I eat all of my meals on a tray.
  • I am sleeping in a really uncomfortable bed, with a cute Target comforter.
  • I have a very small desk with not much storage (except a milk crate sitting next to me)
  • Since Rich is still having to go out into the real world I am having to be careful with surfaces he has touched.  So, I am having to go to the shower in my robe with my shower caddy and my shower shoes.
  • I am sure I have gained the freshmen 15 all over again.
  • I am back to watching TV on a very small TV.
  • No closet space.  Now granted the reason for that now is that my closet in this room is cluttered with a crock pot, a wok, an ice cream maker, and boxes of I don’t know what.
  • I think I am actually using the bulletin board from my college days that I uncovered from the garage.
  • I only have a few outfits that I wear, mostly consisting of sweatpants and sweatshirts.
  • I have random dishes and snacks lying around my room.

 

Plus, I have this really cute guy living in a room on the second floor.

Love y’all more than my college days.

Amy

Shower the People You Love with Love

Man, the world really stinks right now.

Now granted most of our lives could be a lot worse but, as I tell my students, that might give you perspective but it doesn’t always make a crappy situation feel any less crappy.

When you feel a certain way all the logic in the world doesn’t take that feeling away.

You know what does help?

A little bit of love.

This bit of love comes in many forms.  It could be simply reaching out to someone and telling them how much you care.  Sending someone a letter in the actual mail (because some people still like opening those letters).  It could be buying someone’s drink behind you at Starbucks.

In the drive through of course because…you know…6 feet.

It could be smiling at someone and saying hello, even sitting in a parking lot through a window.  It could be pictures of puppies, or landscapes, or YOU on social media sites.

Or…it could be what some of my students did for me.

My yard was filled with signs from my students!!

I was overwhelmed.

I read them and sat and cried happy tears.

Each sign probably took the kids from 5 minutes to 30 minutes (although some of them totally took more than that)

However, the small amount of time made a such HUGE difference in my day.

So maybe it shouldn’t be shower the people you love with love.  It could simply just be sprinkle the people you love with love.

Because if everyone sprinkles the people they love with love they will end up getting a shower!!

So go spread some love today (and tomorrow) (and the next day) (and the next)

Love y’all more than hearts on my door!!

Amy