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I am hanging my head in shame at the fact that I have not posted in almost two months. Where does the time go? Oh, I remember. It goes to elementary All-County rehearsals, and one high school for the pit of South Pacific, then another high school for the pit of Beauty and the Beast. Then some more time goes to a third, lengthier pit experience playing a community theater production of My Fair Lady. Oh, and let’s not leave out the extra after school practices for NYSSMA majors and the fact that I agreed to be in a show which goes up the last two weeks of school and requires me to tap dance. TAP DANCE. Not to mention it’s the beginning of wedding season and I’m playing more than my fair share of the Pachelbel Canon lately.

So, what does one do when there is no time to breathe, let alone get a pedicure? Allow me to tell you. One turns to Sally Hansen Salon Effects, the best new freaking product ever. I should admit that I first saw these on the fingernails of a fifth grader. I was immediately intrigued. For those of you not down with the new fifth grade trends, Salon Effects are little nail polish strips- a nail polish sticker, if you will- which you peel off the backing, stick on your nail and file. They go on dry, so there’s no chance of smudging it once you put it on and it lasts for days. I tried it first on my fingernails in one of the more conservative solid colors, and I was really pleased with the results. I won’t say that it lasted any longer than a regular manicure, but it was certainly a lot quicker. At 9.99 they are a little pricey, but I got mine at Ulta when I had a coupon and they were on sale for buy 2, get 1 free.

After I had tried them on my fingers, I then saw another student (this one was a fourth grader!) with leopard print Salon Effects on her toes. So cute! I decided to be bold and try a print. This was the result:

Please ignore my ragged cuticles and beat-up toes which have been stuffed into tap shoes a lot lately.

I was so pleased- to me it looked like those plastic shrink wrap Easter egg sleeves… in a good way. By the way, this photo was taken almost 3 weeks after I initially put them on my toes- not bad in my opinion! Today I decided to try a printed style on my fingernails, but I thought it might be a little bit much to do it on every nail. Instead I just painted all but my ring fingers and then did the strips on those. Also super cute!

You can't really get the whole effect without seeing all of my fingers, but whatever.

In the picture you can see where I had to cut and paste a little extra piece because I used a strip that was a little bit too small, but the beauty of the patterned ones is that you can’t even notice something like that unless you’re staring at it through a macro lens. Also, since I am-ahem- frugal, I stick down the strip, cut the remainder of it off and use the rest of the strip on another nail. Of course, Sally Hansen wants you to use one strip per nail, thereby spending more money on the product, but where’s the fun in that? They come off with nail polish remover, just like regular nail polish.

Ah, it felt good to write that. Hopefully I will be back with some more regularity. I actually have some very funny stories to share- it’s just a matter of when I have time to share them! Summer vacation is a mere month away…

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So, I was on my way home from rehearsal today and I thought I would stop at McDonalds and get a small Shamrock shake… I was under the impression that in recent years all of the McDonalds in my area had wised up to the sheer heaven of the Shamrock shake, but alas… no dice. This after having seen several Facebook posts of friends in New Jersey who were already sharing the shamrock love. Apparently, McDonalds is now trying to class up the shake, by putting it in one of their clear ‘McFrappe’ or whatever they are called cups and squirting some whipped cream on top. They even top it with a maraschino cherry. I’m not sure how I feel about this. The Shamrock shake is not supposed to be fussy. Don’t try to make it look like it came from Starbucks. Anyway, it’s a moot point because I didn’t get one. This is probably a good thing, because I’m failing miserably at all attempts to diet and am turning into a giant blimp. I need to stop the insanity now or none of my clothes will fit.

This is just a quick post- I wanted to get one in because I hadn’t written in a few days. Now I have to make myself look presentable so I can go to hear the NY Phil tonight. They’re playing Shostakovich…. yessss.

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I’m not sure where this day went, but a lot of it was spent in front of the TV, where I watched an entire season of Dexter and did some knitting on the Log Cabin afghan:

I did manage to do some laundry but that’s it as far as being productive goes. My kitchen is actually messier than it was two days ago and I didn’t even bake anything (though I’m certain I still managed to consume an inappropriate amount of calories.) I have also managed to fill several garbage cans with tissues- as my ‘tired, icky feeling’ has settled into a full-blown head cold. Definitely not pretty. Perhaps that’s why I didn’t bake- I like to share my creations, but I wouldn’t want to share the germs.

So here I am, it’s almost time for bed and all I have to show for the day is some clean laundry. Oh well. I guess it could be worse. If I had gone to work, the laundry wouldn’t even be done.

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I wasn’t lucky enough to wake up without a sore throat, but I did wake up to… another snow day! As much as I am annoyed at Mother Nature for screwing up my rehearsal schedule yet again I am never sorry to receive that 5 a.m. automated phone call. Last night I came home after lessons and made some pizza, which I realized is one of the few things I consistently cook for myself- homemade pizza and soup. Every so often I will go out on a limb and make some stir fry/stew type thing like the tagine (which, coincidentally should be arriving any day now- though that will surely be postponed by this big-ass two day snow storm that has descended upon us.)

After the pizza, I finally watched Toy Story 3- since it’s nominated for an Oscar and everything… I don’t think I ever saw the second one but it didn’t matter. It was adorable. Just enough grown-up references to keep it funny, without being over the top (a la Shrek). And it definitely was a little bit of a tear jerker. I won’t go into detail, on the off chance that I am not the last person on earth to see this movie, but it was a very sweet story. It also made me think of the bins of old toys sitting in my garage. The garage… maybe today will be the day.

I do know that I need to spend at least part of the day tidying up my guest room because some of my favorite people are coming for a visit this weekend. I can’t wait! Hopefully nothing gets in the way like more snow or a stomach virus. I want to finally give them their Christmas gifts.

I’m sure the day will entail baking of some sort, but I’m not sure what yet. I do have those egg yolks from the seven minute frosting, so maybe I’ll take another crack at the lemon curd. Speaking of seven minute frosting and lemon curd, I brought those cupcakes in to school yesterday and didn’t think to get a picture. So you’ll just have to imagine them. I registered them for the bake-off (I think I might have been the only teacher to enter) and the extras came to lunch with me where people seemed enthusiastic. The frosting held up fine, though I don’t think I would push it for more than a day.

Alright, time to get this snow day moving. I don’t think I’m going to bother going back to bed at this point. Time for coffee and some leftover cold pizza!

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Goody Day Treats

Yesterday it was the special area teachers’ turn to bring treats for goody day, a Friday morning tradition that the teachers in my school take very seriously. For years, I taught in two buildings and was never in this particular school on Fridays- so I never got to experience goody day. Then, last year I went full time in that building and was thrown back into the goody day pool. The first time we brought food for goody day, I was overly concerned that there wouldn’t be enough food, because we have a small group. To make up for this, I made three or four different kinds of cupcakes and looked like a total crazy person dragging in every Tupperware cake and cookie carrier in my possession. Another time I felt the need to make three different kinds of cake balls- easier to transport but equally (if not more) time consuming. This time for goody day I didn’t have the time to go that over the top, so I made peanut butter and jelly bar cookies, and a batch of the infamous Irish car bomb cupcakes. I used the Ina Garten recipe for the bars, which is almost identical to the Martha Stewart version, except there is a half cup less peanut butter involved. I didn’t measure the jam, figuring I would just spread it until it looked right… and, well, it needed more jam. That’s what I get for not measuring. I was also worried that they were severely under-done, because when I cut them they were still a little warm and seemed super gooey. No one minded at school, though- the bars were gone before lunch. The cupcake recipe, found here, is tried and true- I know how to make that one work. So there were no worries there, and everyone appropriately fawned over my baked goods.

I came home to the new Kindle waiting for me- I checked the serial number and it is a higher one that the Kindle I had, so at least it’s newer. It’s also on an updated operating system. And, most importantly, there is no crack. Initially I was confused about how to go about returning my first one- since the guy on the phone told me he would send me a shipping return label (which wasn’t included with the new Kindle) but what he should have said was that he e-mailed me a shipping return label. Anyway, I just have to pack it up and bring it to UPS, which I will do later today. I definitely don’t want to get charged for a second Kindle! Luckily I checked my ‘junk’ e-mail account for something else and found that e-mail.

This morning I had a production meeting at school for Drama Club, and luckily I had a lot of parents step up to do the jobs I am not equipped to do (i.e. building and sewing stuff) so that was good. Later today I have to play a wedding. Joy. I am also trying to think of something to make for the bake-off at school Monday- the kids do it, but last year they added a teacher category and only one teacher entered (not me) so I feel I need to add to the competition a little bit. Our category is ‘fruit’, which is a little bit puzzling since other categories are ‘cakes’ or ‘pies’… so what am I supposed to do with ‘fruit’? I’m just going to make a cake that has some sort of fruity element. Maybe lemon curd. That would be nice since I don’t have to deal with fresh fruit. I could even get some little lemon slice candy to put on the top. Hmm… the wheels are turning.

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Today I came home after only a chiropractor appointment- it was actually still sort of daylight when I got home. Amazing! Since I actually had time to make dinner, I decided to do soup, since there were some vegetables in my refrigerator that needed to be used or get trashed in a few days (as it is I threw out an unopened bag of fresh green beans yesterday.)

I chopped up some celery, carrots, onion and garlic and got that sauteeing with some olive oil. Then I put in black pepper, red pepper flakes, and a little bit of hot paprika. I guess I was feeling spicy. Once the aromatics were getting a little soft, I put in a good amount of tomato paste, mixed that around and then dumped in some chicken stock and water. Next came mushrooms, zucchini and vacuum packed lentils. I simmered it for a while and… ta da!

I also ate a low carb wrap with turkey, guacamole and lettuce while the soup was cooking because I was hungry- so of course now that I have eaten a bowl of soup too, I feel like a blimp. Technically, though, it all fit into my daily ‘points plus’ value. Yes, I said points. I decided to start counting points again, though in the time I had abandoned Weight Watchers (only a few months), they switched over to a whole new system of points. “Points Plus” takes the carbohydrates into consideration, not just fat/calories/fiber. I suppose that’s good… though the point values for certain foods are now completely different. One good thing is that fruit is considered a zero point food now. It seems like they are trying to steer people toward more high protein, lower processed carbohydrate foods. Not unlike what I was trying (well, not really trying) to do with South Beach. I just think I can’t be trusted not to count my points. It becomes too easy to start eating things like candy and cookies, which I have developed quite a habit for.

So, I decided to make use of the Weight Watchers membership I never stopped paying for, and maybe I can get back on track. ‘Cause I’m basically where I started last year when I joined Weight Watchers in the first place. The one good thing is that the website still has my original starting weight listed and technically I’m a pound less than that, so it still says I’ve lost a pound. Ha. Talk about seeing the glass half full. Never mind the fact that I’ve gained 12 back. Dieting sucks! I wish I was one of those annoying naturally thin people- though the naturally thin people usually just naturally don’t over-eat. Plus, I’ve always said that it’s less annoying to hang out with a skinny person who eats whatever they want than a skinny person who eats like a bird. Because the skinny person who eats what they want is obviously just genetically superior and I can’t compete with that. The skinny person who eats like a bird just makes me feel like I should be doing something more proactive about my own weight.

I still don’t know what to make for goody day on Friday. I’m thinking maybe cakes instead of cupcakes or cake balls since it’s a little less labor intensive. Or maybe cookie bars? I just don’t have the time to spend hours doing whatever it is. And I totally copped out on the last goody day and bought treats because it was smack in the middle of tech week for Godspell. This week I don’t really have an excuse… just laziness.

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So, I didn’t post yesterday because I was struck with a sudden and thankfully short bout of flu-like symptoms. I won’t go into the details, but I will say that all I ate for most of the day was Flav-R-ice and tea, and I spent the majority of the day in a cheetah print snuggie with another blanket on top (which negated the useful arm holes of the snuggie.) I did catch up on quite a few episodes of 30 Rock when I wasn’t asleep or convulsing in fever chills. Later in the evening, when I finally ventured into the kitchen to make myself some broth, I stepped in some marmalade I had unknowingly dropped on the floor, and tracked it all over the kitchen. I was such a pathetic sight… snuggie on, socks sticking to the floor, stirring a sad little pot of chicken stock.

Miraculously, I felt well enough this morning to go to work- which is a good thing because I had a ton of crap to do and I didn’t want my students to miss orchestra two weeks in a row (last week was Martin Luther King Jr. Day)

The low point of my day was when one of my bass players got his endpin stuck while trying to make it taller. I tried to push the thing back in and it wouldn’t budge. So I thought I would try to pull it out and see if there was anything wrong with it. Well, for whatever reason, it was just totally stuck and wouldn’t submit to my tugging on it. It was hurting my hands, and there were these three fifth grade boys standing there and I heard myself saying, “I don’t have the energy for this,” and I wasn’t exaggerating. I literally almost laid down on the floor and gave up. I made the kid hold onto the bass while I sat on the floor and alternatively pushed and pulled on this stubborn endpin.

By this time, the thing had inched its way out of the bass significantly, but still wouldn’t come all the way out… now I really had to do something because the endpin was out almost 2 feet (I think this bass had the longest endpin of all time) and there was no way the kid could play it with the bass that tall. As a last resort, I stood the bass up and started bouncing it up and down on the endpin, which finally yielded and went down to the right height. At this point I was sweaty, my hands were sore and red and I just wanted to take a nap… but I had to commence working on the totally boring bass part of the “William Tell Overture”.

By lunch, things were looking up- I had brought an instant Cream of Wheat packet to eat (playing it safe) but when I got to the lunch room saw that it was goody day (since we didn’t have school on Friday) so I caved and had a bagel. A pumpernickel one. The whole thing. I figured, I could make up for some of the calories I didn’t eat yesterday (which, coincidentally didn’t even affect my weigh-in this morning. Usually the only thing to get me through a stomach virus is the good weigh-in I get to bask in the following day. Didn’t happen. Oh well.)

After school I went to get my hair colored- and while it was processing, my hairdresser offered me a piece of homemade chocolate cake and a cup of tea, which I gladly accepted (my hairdresser has a salon room in her house, which is so nice because she only has one client at a time and it is totally relaxing. Also, you can benefit from things like freshly baked cake.) I was supposed to get it colored last week when she cut it, but she realized as she was mixing my color that she had run out of developer and I would have to come back. So, she felt she owed me at least a piece of cake.

Now I am home, and will probably watch a few more episodes of 30 Rock before bed. I also have to contemplate exactly what I will be baking for goody day on Friday. Hmm… cupcakes? cookies? cakeballs?

 

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