Sunday, December 23, 2007

Thinking Ahead

Operation Stay-Up-All-Night is well underway here at the home of Mr. and Mrs. FavoriteBoy. You see, tomorrow night - technically tonight - after Nathan plays for the Christmas Eve service at church, we're driving to Pennsylvania so we can spend Christmas with Nathan's family. We decided to plan ahead so we'd be able to safely drive all night, so this afternoon we napped for about four hours. And now we're staying up until the wee hours of the morning. We'll sleep during the day, and be ready to drive to Erie!

Why Does Everything Happen To Me?

Today after church Nathan and I took two friends out to lunch using a gift card we had. Shortly after we placed our orders, Nathan put his arm around me, and somehow in the process managed to spill a full glass of diet coke into my lap. And onto my wool coat. And into my purse. We laughed and mopped things up the best we could with napkins, but my pants were quite wet. Our food arrived, and Amybeth wanted to share her asparagus with me. As she transferred it from her plate to mine using her fork and knife, she accidentally flipped four of the five buttery stalks right onto my sweater. And only minutes later, Nathan dropped his sauce-drenched steak knife, and it trailed down my sweater sleeve before coming to rest on my lap.

I wonder if there are any dry cleaners open on Christmas Eve?

The moral of the story: Don't dine with clumsy friends!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Insert Foot

FavoriteBoy has a charming way of frequently putting his foot deep into his mouth. Fortunately, being an intelligent husband, he always has a plan of action for reversing any offense he may have caused. Here's a recent example:

SarahMarie: Hey, guess what I'm cooking?
FavoriteBoy: I don't know, something that smells really terrible... I mean, it smells burny, like maybe something boiled over? Maybe you need to clean the stovetop... I mean... Iloveyou! You're the best wife in the world! Thank you for cooking for me! Nobody else is as lucky as I am! You make such wonderful food! Everything always smells wonderful!

FavoriteBoy's escape plan obviously depends on my total lack of short term memory and his ability to continue with a steady stream of compliments until I forget the initial insult. In fact, my bad memory is a fault of mine that often works to my husband's advantage. For example:

FavoriteBoy: I'm sorry I did that; don't be mad. Are you mad?
SarahMarie: I don't know; I think I was annoyed but now I forget what it was all about anyway.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Game Night

Last night Nathan and I spent the evening with friends and played a very enjoyable game. Remarkably, Nathan really liked the game too, which is weird because Nathan tries to hate all games on principle. To play this game you just need pencils and paper torn into medium-sized squares. Each player should have as many paper squares as there are players in the game. Each player stacks his paper squares and writes a phrase on the top piece of paper. Pass the papers to the left, and everyone reads the phrase given to them by the person on their right, tucks the phrase paper underneath the stack, and draws a picture representing the phrase on the next piece of paper. Pass the papers again, and everyone must now extract a phrase from the drawing they've been given. (No peeking back at previous papers - you can only read or view the most recent piece of paper.) By the time the papers go full circle, you'll end up with something rather funny when compared to the original! It's like a written/drawn version of the whispering game "Telephone."

Well, a few of the illustrious gentlemen present at our game last night managed to put their feet in their mouths, including, not surprisingly, my own dear husband. I received the phrase 'That's What She Said' from a the friend on my right, so I drew a woman with a word bubble coming out of her mouth. Since you can't include words in your drawings, I left the bubble blank, but drew arrows pointing to the word bubble. Since Nathan thinks the phrase 'That's what she said' is the most brilliant comeback ever created, I felt sure he would understand my drawing. Instead, he derived the phrase, "Women always talk a lot but never say anything of substance" from my sketch.

In another round, I received the phrase "New England" from Nathan. What kind of phrase is that? How do you draw New England in 60 seconds or less? I quickly sketched a few things that represent New England in my mind: terrible drivers honking at one another, snow and sleet, an autumn leaf or two. Okay, I ran out of time and I admit my sketches were sadly incomplete. I passed the paper to Corey. At the end of the round, as we all read and laughed at the final products, I saw that Corey had looked at my drawing and come up with the phrase, "Women are terrible drivers and should especially avoid driving in extreme weather conditions."

Gather your family and friends and give this game a try - I guarantee it will provide lots of laughs.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Sympathy for a Sore Throat

Yesterday afternoon I came down with an awful sore throat and a fever. I coughed my way through an orchestra concert - a sadly misguided 'Holiday Festival' with bad arrangements of Christmas songs and lots of lip service paid to Kwanzaa and Hanukkah by overly dramatic narrators who thought it necessary to compensate for the fact that 98% or more of the good 'Holiday' music in the world is, in fact, Christmas music, much of it overtly relating to the birth of Christ. Really, how dreadful.

Last night after the concert - which FavoriteBoy loyally attended - I could barely drag myself up the stairs to crash on the couch. FavoriteBoy got some blankets and tucked me in, and then bravely ventured into the kitchen, where he rummaged in the cupboards and found a Lipton onion soup mix. He thoughtfully prepared me some wonderful soup and served it to me in a mug, and we watched a movie together. What a wonderful husband I have! And I didn't discover the brown results of his soup making experience spilled all over the stovetop until this morning.

I guess the sympathy for my illness is wearing off, since he just asked me, "Hey woman, why don't you make me some dinner?"

Admission: I'm a Hack

I asked FavoriteBoy if I could post a humorous jab at him on this blog, and he ran into the bedroom before replying, returning momentarily with a white T-shirt. "Smell this!" - he thrust it under my nose. It reeked. "Yeah, you put this in my t-shirt drawer all folded up with the clean ones, you hack! You can post things about me as long as you admit that you're a hack!"

I looked up "hack" on and found this definition: "A cheap, mediocre, or second-rate practitioner... a charlatan or incompetent."

I am hereby publicly admitting that I am a hack. I somehow put a dirty t-shirt into a drawer of clean t-shirts. And since I've admitted that I'm a hack, I can say what I want and add that maybe if FavoriteBoy put his dirty clothes in the hamper instead of in random locations throughout the apartment, making distinctions between clean and dirty clothes would be easier. Heh.

Wife Advice

After years of making fun of me for reading SO MANY blogs ALL THE TIME, Nathan has finally found a blog - other than mine - that he enjoys. And I really must give him full credit; he came across this one himself! Check out We particularly like the Lessons section - especially Laughter is Not Always the Best Medicine, The 'Calves' and the 'Calves Not', and He's Crafty ("This seemed like the most unmanly thing I had ever heard of, so I thought my wife would like it."). And Nathan laughed for about ten minutes at Subtle Reminders, which I'm sure is only because he can imagine having a wife who doesn't always stay absolutely 100% on top of all household chores, not because he has any real experience with anything of the sort.

And if he comments on this post and says otherwise, I'll go get that paint can - the light blue shade we bought six months ago for the bathroom walls - and hang it from the ceiling. In the bathroom. Where it will contrast nicely with the bare drywall.

Yes, Dear

Sarah Marie: Nathan, you're so cute!
Nathan: I'm not cute! I'm... awe-inspiring! Manly, powerful... terrifying!

Monday, December 17, 2007

EEK: Addendum

After reading my post about the mouse in our apartment, my Grandpa sent me a funny email:

I just read your blog. You are expecting a lot of cooperation from that mouse. Good luck. Grandpa

Of course, Grandpa is right (Grandpa has a way of being right), and the only reason for my strange TP tube contraption was because I was snowbound and didn't want to shovel my car out of a drift to go buy a real mousetrap so late at night. Also, I wanted to catch the mouse in a humane way. But after being chastised by a friend - "Mice carry diseases! They are not cute! You need to eliminate it! *sigh* Nathan, please try to reason with your wife!" - we are going to go get some mousetraps. Tonight!

Saturday, December 15, 2007


There's a MOUSE in our apartment! I saw it scuttle from a corner of the kitchen to over behind the oven, and then, a few minutes later, it dashed under our refrigerator. By the time Nathan got home (he was practicing the organ at church) it wasn't under the fridge anymore (we checked with a flashlight) and now we don't know where it is! I have set up a trap, though: a toilet paper roll with the bottom flattened with a bit of cheese stuck inside the 'tunnel.' It is balanced precariously on the edge of the kitchen counter, with a large bin beneath it. If the mouse runs in to get the cheese, the TP roll will teeter over the edge and dump the mouse in the bin.

Now I just hope the mouse will somehow crawl up on the counter...?

And in the meantime, I'm checking every shoe and slipper before I put my foot in.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Husband of the Year

Thanks to Emily C. (soon to be Emily W.!), I found this hilarious website: Husband of the Year Awards.

Which reminds me of my own dear husband, who recently had an amusing conversation with our friend Gregg - a conversation that definitely puts him in the running for the Husband of the Year...

Nathan and I took a trip up to the L.L. Bean store in Freeport, ME with Gregg and Cara. Cara and I found a bin of cute bags on sale, and as we sorted through them, Nathan and Gregg made fun of us:

Nathan: Gregg, our women have all these bags! Why do women need bags?
Gregg: I know! Bags for teaching, bags for going out...
Nathan: Bags for fancy things, bags for everyday use...
Nathan and Gregg, exactly in unison: ... Bags under their eyes! *laughing hysterically*
Random woman in L.L. Bean: Now that was mean!

(We didn't buy any bags.)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Jasmine and Ariel

Lots of bloggers have recently noticed Nick Pitera since he posted several videos of himself singing Disney songs on YouTube. Nathan and I have really enjoyed watching and listening to this guy sing. Aside from a few flat notes when he's singing in his lower range, these renditions are really excellent. And he's so expressive!

Monday, December 10, 2007


I've been to five concerts in four days. One of said concerts was two and a half hours long. This is too much sitting still for a musician who would often rather be playing than listening! At last night's concert I was able to pass the time by passing notes with Greg, the friend sitting on my right. Nathan, sitting on my left, eventually sighed, snatched the pen out of my hands, and whispered, "Taking you to concerts is like babysitting a small child with an extremely short attention span!" Greg grinned at me and handed me a pencil from his pocket.

"Thank you for giving me a voice," I wrote. "Nathan wants me silenced. Also, he wants me to wear a burqa."

Nathan read this, turned bright red, and shook silently as he attempted to contain his laughter.

I really shouldn't go to concerts.

But at least writing notes silently is better than rustling candy wrappers or humming along.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Raising My Blood Pressure

Last night I attended a Christmas concert. During my favorite piece on the program, the girl sitting directly behind me was talking on her cell phone. ("Hey, I'm in a concert right now; can I call you back? Yeah? What's up? Oh, ok, well, I'll call you... yeah...") The girl in front of me was humming along. (This is a concert piece, not a sing-along, lady! Can't you notice that the version the choir is singing is not akin to the popular tune you are humming so loudly and obnoxiously?!) And the woman to my left was unwrapping peppermint candies and passing them down the row to all her family members. (Crinkle, crinkle, crinkle.)

I suppose you could say the Lord was trying to teach me patience.

Or you could just say that inconsiderate people with no concept of concert etiquette should stay home.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

The Big Fight

FavoriteBoy and I are having a Big Fight. It's probably our first fight. They say that the first year of marriage is the hardest, and just when we thought we were in the clear, Christmas had to come along. And now we're fighting. In pre-marital counseling our pastor facilitated discussions on topics like money management, shared interests, children, faith, and more. Of course, FavoriteBoy and I had already discussed all these things and were in complete agreement.

But no one ever asked us to discuss our taste in Christmas decorations.

And alas, we never really thought to talk about it.

Until we went Christmas ornament shopping...

And found that Nathan likes colored lights and I like white lights.

And Nathan likes bright, big, colorful decorations and I like classy, small, delicate ones.

If only we had talked about this a year ago, we would have realized how totally incompatible we were!

Fortunately, we both excel at the art of compromise. Our Christmas tree has white lights this year, but our dinner table has a slightly cheesy, brightly-colored Christmas centerpiece. As long as I look at the tree and FavoriteBoy looks at the table, we're both very happy.

We just aren't speaking to one another.

(Just kidding!)


My sister Emily just posted some wonderful photos of her family. Go take a look at how cute my nephews are!

Shocking But True

Netflix doesn't stock - or even acknowledge the existence of - The Muppet Christmas Carol! How can this be?! The Muppet Christmas Carol is a Christmas classic! I know all the words to all the songs, I cry every year when Tiny Tim sings 'Bless Us All;' I definitely can't go a year without watching it.

Whatever will we do?!

Monday, December 3, 2007


Yesterday in between the Sunday morning church services and the evening Advent Festival (all planned by my own dear husband) we went on a Christmas shopping excursion. We returned home with our first Christmas tree and three boxes of ornaments. Our humble apartment is filled with anticipation and happiness - and the wonderful aromas of fir and candles!

Happy Advent to all from Mr. and Mrs. FavoriteBoy.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

An Advent Prayer

An Advent Prayer
by Paul A. Richardson

Almighty God,
    who, having created all worlds and mankind,
    has profoundly pitied us;

    who has come to us that we might be saved,
    not of our merit, but of your unquenchable love;

look on us who worship in comfort,
    in light and warmth,
    in health and prosperity,
    in pride and in presumption:

    having all glory
       you became incarnate in the dishonor
       of a defeated line of kings;
    having all riches,
       you became incarnate in the poverty
       of the working class;
    having all illumination,
       you became incarnate in the darkness
       of night and obscurity;
    having all wisdom,
       you became incarnate in the confounding simplicity
       of a child;
    having all life,
       you became incarnate in the emptiness
       of a virgin’s womb;
    having all power,
       you became incarnate in the weakest form
       of human life—a male infant.

Help us to recognize
    our shame, our poverty
    our darkness, our foolishness,
    our emptiness, our weakness,
that we may know our need of you.

And then,
    Become incarnate in us.
In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Go Navy!

In the 108th Army-Navy Game today, the Navy took their sixth straight win over the Army. Go Navy!

If I thought I would be of any use to our armed forces, I'd want to be in the Navy. Since I doubt I could do much good serving in most military capacities, I admit that I have my eye on the Marine Chamber Orchestra - although sadly I'm sure I'm not good enough to play with an ensemble of that caliber.

Which reminds me, I forgot to blog about a particularly fabulous experience. Nathan and I heard The President's Own Marine Band in concert a month ago, and it was absolutely the best concert I've ever heard. Better than the Boston Symphony. Better than the Chicago Symphony! Absolutely. The. Best. Concert. Ever. They played a variety of works, from ‘serious’ classical pieces to Sousa marches, and everything, everything, was note-perfect, inspiring, beautiful, flawless. I went into that concert thinking, "I don't really care for band music..." and went out with the realization that I just don't like mediocre college wind ensembles. A really good band is a pleasure to hear!


Now that you've all done your Thanksgiving turkeys this year, you might be looking to branch out into something new and different. How about a turducken? According to Wikipedia, "A Turducken is a partially de-boned turkey stuffed with a de-boned duck, which itself is stuffed with a small de-boned chicken." Doesn't that sound weird? It gets even stranger:

"The largest recorded nested bird roast is 17 birds, attributed to a royal feast in France in the 19th century (originally called a RĂ´ti Sans Pareil, or "Roast without equal") - a bustard stuffed with a turkey, a goose, a pheasant, a chicken, a duck, a guinea fowl, a teal, a woodcock, a partridge, a plover, a lapwing, a quail, a thrush, a lark, an Ortolan Bunting and a Garden Warbler. The final bird is small enough that it can be stuffed with a single olive; it also suggests that, unlike modern multi-bird roasts, there was no stuffing or other packing placed in between the birds. This dish probably could not be recreated in the modern era as many of the listed birds are now protected species."

I don't know why this type of culinary masterpiece has to be limited to poultry. I'm going to try taking a blue whale, and stuffing it with a humpback whale, and...

"Idiot Marks"

Sometimes when I get new violin students I can't help wondering what previous teachers have been doing with them. I have a lovely new student with about seven years of experience playing the violin. Some of her music is heavily marked with "idiot marks," or pencil lines clearly marking where each beat falls within a measure. (Note: These marks are not really for idiots as the slang term implies; I use them rather frequently in orchestral settings.) They are, no doubt, a useful way to denote beats, particularly in measures with dotted rhythms or ties - rhythmic concepts that can be challenging for a student. However, when I asked this student if she understood the meaning of the marks, she replied, "I don't know, my old teacher used to sing the melody or something and make those marks everywhere; I never really knew what it was all about."

I hope I am able to equip all my students with solid understandings of rhythm, intonation, melody, harmony, tone, and violin technique so that their future teachers don't wonder, "What was that teacher thinking?!"