Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year

I have spent some time thinking about the past year and how to wrap it up in one post. I'm going to go month by month and just list a few highlights. There will be no complete sentences in this post from this point forward, so grammar junkies beware.

January- nephews. cheesesteaks. cousins. restaurant with swings.
February- wine. friends. jellybeans. matthew is 1.
March- Offsey. Baltimore. First Watch. Louisville Slugger
April- Steven birthday. Cleveland. Kings
May- wedding. wedding. wedding. wedding. wedding. wedding. wedding. wedding. HONEYMOON!
June- hot. Arizona. Este pizza. bat mitzvah. move.
July- home. home. home. i love being home. hot visit with the nephews.
August- soccer. Portland. family. Seattle. golf.
September- Denver. family.
October- Huskers. harvest.
November- Packers. crafts. being thankful.
December- nephews. family. birthday love.

I've also decided to pick out my top 5 books from my "tour book list".

1. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn - this is a classic that I had never read in its entirety. A beautiful book made even better after living in New York. If you haven't read this one (or even if you have) read it. The main character, Francie, takes you into her world with the most vivid details. You feel like you're really there.

2. The Hunger Games - this series is fast paced and will get you over that Harry Potter depression you've had since the 7th book was released. The main characters are interesting and, although the writing in the 2nd two books is not as good as the first, you will be entertained from start to finish. And if you start reading them now you'll be ready for the first movie in March.

3. The Flavia de Luce series by Alan Bradley- by far Flavia has been my favorite character of the year. She's an 11 year old who finds herself in the role of a detective. It makes me laugh out loud reading the thoughts of an 11 year old. Bradley is a superb writer, maybe the best of all I've read this year.

4. Being a devoted fiction reader, I cannot believe that I'm putting a non-fiction book on this list but The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks in a great read. It's a look not only into her life but the advances that have taken place in science. It also touches on some civil rights issues.

5.  A Beautiful Blue Death by Charles Finch- I'm a sucker for any British mystery novel. This one is set in London in 1865 and the Victorian gentleman main character happens to moonlight as a detective. Finch has a way of creating a scene and really takes you into turn of the century London. This is the first in a series and I can't wait to get home and read the next.

Now onto the New Year's Resolutions

I'm extremely excited and ready for 2012. Steven and I will be moving back to Nebraska. This is a move I thought would never happen so when Steven suggested it almost a year ago, I couldn't believe what I was hearing. After several hours of telling him why we shouldn't move to NE and then listening to my dad list off those very same reasons, we were set. It's happening and we couldn't be more happy. There are so many wonderful things about Nebraska, many that most people are completely unaware of. So as we move forward, I resolve to keep this blog going. It will no longer be about our travels across the country, but about our daily travels as we adjust to living in Lincoln.

My sister has convinced me to add this to my New Year's resolution: I will run 500 miles in 2012. I'm making it public and will put a counter on the blog. I'm already nervous since the first week of the year will be spent moving and not leave too much time for running, but if I'm consistent 500 miles equals about 9 miles a week. Putting it in that terms is totally doable. 

Because I'm not one for many too many New Year's resolutions, the next one is a general one. I want to stay positive in 2012. Our mind has a way of controlling our lives. If I stay positive, I know 2012 will be one of the best years yet. It sounds corny, but it's definitely something I struggle with everyday.

So here's to a happy, healthy 2012!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Xmas gift from Les Mis.

Texas BBQ

Here's our second helping of Texas BBQ. It was delicious. We had some good company too, Steven's first cousin, twice removed and his wife.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Playing catch up

Traveling Horns readers meet Kathleen. We went to the undergrad together and played in about a zillion ensembles. I was lucky enough to catch up with her while in Dallas. Normally she's in Germany teaching English so this was a very rare treat. Maybe we'll be able to actually do some chatting on a regular basis if she every moves back to the States (or I could totally get with it and use Skype).

Sunday, December 25, 2011

An unusual Christmas

We are spending the holidays in Dallas. It's not an ideal situation, but we're making the best of it. We treated ourselves to Christmas eve dinner at the Palm. 
This is the fantastic salad that started dinner. And yes, that's an amazing glass of Merlot in the background.

And we skip straight to dessert. We made it through maybe an 1/8 of this giant cake.

Today we went to the only place open, Buca di Beppo. It's a family style Italian restaurant. After lunch we saw Mission Impossible. We go back to work tonight.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

In the Big "D"

One of my very first friends in New York City was Heidi. She has since moved to Texas and was our gracious host our first day in Dallas. Here we are at the Texas BBQ chain Dickey's. Um, it was delicious and the pulled pork sandwiches were 2 for 1!

We had our last sound check on Tuesday. Steven's warming up in this picture. Don't ask why that ladder is in the pit, we're still trying to figure out that one.

 The beautiful fiber optic light chandelier at the Opera House in Dallas. It comes down before the show and retracts up before it starts. It also changes colors.
Heidi and her husband, Jeff, came to the show on opening night. We LOVE having people we know in the audience.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

It Might Be Hope: Christmas Cabaret in Minneapolis

Cast member, Jason Forbach, organized a cabaret at the Lab Theater in Minneapolis. The event supported Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids. Steven and I played on a couple numbers.

Will and Catherine played too! Will did all the arrangements for the evening.

Here we are wasting some time at the sound check, I mean "rehearsing".

It was a really cool venue.

The two numbers we played on, The Prayer and O Holy Night.

Beth Kirkpatrick warming up.

Right before the concert started.

Will and Catherine playing on It Might Be Hope.

Everyone who sang that evening did a little Christmas favorites remix.

Do you see what I mean? The venue looked so Christmas-y.

The Minneapolis Gay Men's Chorus joined for a few numbers from their recent show.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Minneapolis: A geographic winner

Pardon the massive picture blog post, but my mom, dad, sister, and nephews all came to visit these past 2 days. It was fantastic. Mom and Dad only had to drive 6ish hours and Lindy's a mere 2.5 hours away. We started our visit at the Mall of America.
Matthew is intensely looking at the Legos.

A little concert in the middle of the mall. 

Eating at the Rainforest Cafe.

He's cuddling his new Monkey in Buzz Lightyear's clothes. He made him at the Build-a-Bear factory.

He's 21 months and can read, well maybe, ok no, but we think he's a genius.

He hates the Rainforest Cafe. HATES it.

It's as if we're punishing him by eating there.

But his brother loves it! He's making Nana check out his monkeys.

After a move to another location in the restaurant someone was much happier.

See, this stool has a tail.

What a pair. (or should I say trio? That's Mo the cowboy dog)

After Aunt Jill and "Aunt Jill" (Matthew thinks it's funny to call Steven "Aunt Jill") had a rehearsal we had a little pizza party with presents!

Stop taking pictures of me while I'm eating. This boy loves to eat. And he loves to use his pants as a napkin. Cuddle at your own risk.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Winter's Here

In honor of our visit to blustery Minneapolis, Steven and I purchased new winter coats. Well, maybe it wasn't in honor of this trip but it was much needed. Here's my new coat with a fur hood. My favorite!

Not only did Steven get a new coat but he got a fur hat. He loves it.

I got a few early birthday presents this week. Here's my new sparkly bracelet. It's a beauty from Lia Sophia gifted to me by my sister.

Here's the leopard hat that Steven's mom got me for my birthday. There was also a nice pair of gloves to match. This hat is so warm and super necessary on these chilly nights.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Charity Research: The Christmas Standards

For the past 6 weeks, our show has been raising money for Broadway Cares/ Equity Fights Aids. This is a holiday standard in the theater community. To give the canned talk we hear every night, twice a year the theatrical community comes together to raise money for a cause that's near and dear to our hearts; BC/EFA. This organization has raised over $114 million dollars since 1988. All of these monies come from the theater going public. This means every touring and Broadway show are asking 8 audiences a week for 6 weeks to donate to this cause. Besides helping to fight AIDS nationwide, they also support the Phyllis Newman Women's Health Initiative and the Al Hershfeld Free Clinic of the Actor's Fund. Our show has many cool incentives for giving and the one I can offer online is the "Ladies of the Barricade" 2012 calendar. It's a Mad Men inspired calendar that plays word games with the lyrics from the show. If you are interested in the beautiful calendar seen below, contact It's $30 plus $5 shipping. To learn more about Broadway Cares click HERE.

Another cast member is gathering items for Toys for Tots. This is the standard Christmas charity in my book. We are gathering our toys for the children in Minneapolis, Minnesota. When selecting these toys the emphasis is on getting family-friendly toys. Ones that require creativity and spending time together. I choose Play-Doh. It's a little messy, but a lot of fun. I grabbed two different items, one standard set of Play-Doh and the other with some numbers to use. All it takes is a little effort and these kids will be using these gifts for the year to come. And I only spend $10, which is very minimal. 

Another holiday standard is the Salvation Army.  Here's a picture from Pat and Bob's visit to NYC in 2009. Bob is putting his full-on holiday spirit into the carols to get money for the Salvation Army. You see the ringers everywhere and it's so easy to put all your spare coins into their collection. Making this Christmas all about giving has really been fun. I love when I see the ringers because I know that's my gift this year. I have no qualms making Steven wait as I sift through my purse for any money. The Salvation Army is such a complex organization. Take a little time to read over their website and you'd be amazed at all the things they are doing. The money from the red kettle collections will help feed the hungry, make sure senior citizens have heat, and shelter 10 million people.  To me, this is a no-brainer, if everyone who walked into Wal-Mart or Target put in $1 image what this organization could do.