Sunday, January 19, 2014

Week 3: Go Broncos?

Hello, my dear friends and family and future self!

Well, let's rip off the band-aid and start with the bad news.  The 49ers lost the NFC Championship.  There were some bad calls against us and some bad choices made in throwing, and we are sad to see this fun Futbol Americano season come to an end for our team.  Matt and I are crying into our Fernet and Cokes (well, no actual tears, wouldn't want to spoil our drinks.)  Anyway, I owe a fellow chorus member a bottle of wine for a bet we made, so I'll be bringing her that on Tuesday.  All that's left to say is: Go Broncos! (Or, more realistically, bring on the Commercials!)

My favorite commercial from last year was the Taco Bell one with the cover of "Tonight" in spanish with the old people... you know... "Esta noche, somos jovenes!  Vamos a poner el mundo en fuego!"  I am expecting some good ones this year, too.

Anyway, this week wasn't particularly exciting.  Matt worked hard, as expected.  One morning there were some problems in the New York office and he was up and out of the apartment before I was even awake.  Nothing terribly exciting for me at work - just lots of kiddos (and lots of germs!).  As someone who as a knack for getting sick, I've realized that I actually have gotten sick LESS this year than any other in my life!  I attribute this to a couple different things: 1) eating healthier (mostly) and working out more have left me stronger and better fit to deal with germs, 2) Arizona's dryness has kept me less snivelly, or "snottering" as my dad would say, so there has been less feeling of sickness and 3) I have been pretty obsessive about purelling my hands between students, especially before eating, and also wiping down the piano and bench and door with clorox wipes.  I know it sounds crazy, but I have seen kids sneeze into their hands, refuse a tissue, then continue playing the keys and then touch the door.  I feel a little OCD following that up with the purell and clorox, but I don't know what kinds of germs these kids have!!

It's exciting times for my chorus, we have several performances coming up and I am working hard to learn all the non-competition music in time!  I think I'm on track to learn it all in time, but it's a little nerve-wracking!  It's a lot of pressure to get it all down and checked off in under two months, including the choreography!  I am continuing to read and learn about arranging for barbershop and am finding it interesting and fun.  I loved taking music theory and working on arrangements in college, so this is a great way for me to continue to expand my knowledge and have fun making new music!  I am also working on singing more in quartets, hoping to be a better singer and performer.

On Friday, I made my challah in the Colombian style of a braided cheese bread.  It was delicious, but the recipe was a little different from other breads I've done.  Instead of "proofing" the yeast, I mixed it right in with the dry ingredients.  It still rose nicely, but I think there may have been a problem with the baking times or temperatures because despite baking it twice as long as instructed, it was still a little "raw" feeling inside.  It didn't stop us from eating the whole thing.  I think next week I will try using the other challah dough and just adding cheese.  Matt also got to leave "early" on Friday, at 5 PM - otherwise known as normal time! - and he chivalrously offered to make dinner.  I arrived home to the delightful smell of carne asada grilling and tortillas warming.

Saturday was definitely one-upped on the dinner menu, though!  We went for dinner at my cousin's house and man, can the man cook!  We had grilled steak and salmon and excellently mixed drinks!  I offered to bring dessert, and since this is a cousin on my Dutch side, I wanted to do something with Trader Joe's Speculoos cookie butter.  I make simple cookied and tried to trick my cous' into thinking the cookied were homemade Speculaas.  But he wasn't fooled!  Anyway, I was glad to introduce him to the delightful TJ's spread!  Anyway, he definitely beat me to the dutch-punch, because my cousin Dan had gone all out at an Asian import store that had all sorts of Dutch goodies!  There was Hagelslag (chocolate sprinkles), pepermunt (delightful peppermint candies), speculaas cookied (dutch spice cookies shaped like windmills), poffertjes (small tiny pancakes) mix, bischuit (biscuits for the sprinkles),  stroopwafels (syrup-waffle cookies), and some Indonesian shrimp crackers.  It was like Christmas in January!  The cookies both got opened that night and were easily finished by Matt and I this morning.  I also enjoyed some bischuit with hagelslag and butter.  The only thing missing was kumenekaas (dutch farmers cheese with cumin seeds - so good!).  Make fun of the deliciousness if you will, but no one dislikes these amazing foods once they try them!  When I was in high school, my dad used to make me "boterham met hagelslag en kaas" (a buttered bread sandwich with sprinkles and cheese").  I was made fun of the seemingly ridiculous combination, until it was tasted.  By 9th grade my dad had to make me two sandwiches for school - one for myself and one for the other kids to eat!  It is THAT good!

Today was fun - we slept in then went for a hike with my friend Janna.  There are some trails near our apartment that I've been wanting to check out and today was a perfect day.  The Lost Dog Wash trailhead was only a 10 minute drive away (less than that really), and we did a shorter loop of 2.4 miles.  There are plenty of other trails, so now that we know where it is, I hope we can go check out some of the other trails.  We took a little dip in the hot tub post-hike, which was also pleasant.  Anyway, after that it was some errands before the game.

Only two and a half weeks until our trip to El Salvador and we are as excited as ever!!  See you all later and thanks for reading!

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