Thursday, November 4, 2010

Long Absence

Hello world!
I have been away from you for far too long, it seems. SO much has happened in my life since mid-May; too much to tell right now, but I'll just give a few highlights real quick-like. Here goes:

June-July I went to Peru on a missions/humanitarian aid trip with my Church called The Light here in Baltimore. We went 15 hours boat ride up the Amazon to a small village, where we stayed a few days, dug a well, and got to know the people. We also got stuck in that village because the 28 surrounding villages decided to rope off the river and not let anyone in our out as a way of striking against a larger oil company. Us in our boat + Them in little boats with guns= HIGHLY exciting. I also went on a 5 day mountain hike to Macchu Piccu with my friends Marie and Mark, which was greatly rewarding. Gorgeous views. Altitude Sickness. Pressing on. Wonderful.
On The Amazon At Sunrise:
Strikers With Guns Patrolling the Barrier:
My God-daughter! Sheyla-Estrella
Baptisms In The Amazon:
Neighbors Passing By In Their Boat:
Enjoying The Amazon In The Rain:
Mark enjoying the view before we began our 5 mile afternoon trek of the first day of hiking:
Our View The Morning of Trek Day 2:
Marie and I after reaching our summit of more than 15,200'!!!
Definitely the scariest moment of the trip- crossing over rapids at least 50' in the air, on unstable boards... terrifying. And yet, still invigorating.
Whew! Made it!
Me And Marie :)
A'crossin' a bridge:
Overlooking Macchu Piccu :) Amazing that I got to see one of the Wonders of the World!!!
Caroline came to visit me in my new house with Sawyerand got fancy with the picture taking for the next few pics. At Starbucks enjoying my drug of choice:
Sweet baby nephew:)
Me in a door frame... obviously...:
Sawyer and I in front of my house, a.k.a. "The Manor"

Rachael and I while waiting in the E.R. till 4 am with our friend Mark who was very ill. He's fine and dandy now, but that crazy, scary weekend made me more thankful and grateful for my Baltimore family than ever :)
I went camping with Emily and Rachael (roommates) I think I was singing "Matchmaker, Matchmaker" while collecting firewood...
The Roomies gettin' fancy with the camera while starting the campfire:
I got fancy and made us dinner one night. Yummo. Yes, this is how girls go camping. In style :)

That's all for now! Life is good. Opera rehearsals are many, busy and great, and Baltimore is cold. ha.

Love you all! It's nice to be back :)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Heat Wave

So you know how,
when you've been baking and left something in the oven for a while,
you open the oven door and that burst of heat hits your face?
I usually don't mind it, since it's nice and warm.
But, after almost a year of living here,
and using this oven,
I never remember that because the oven's so low,
and I have to bend over to open it,
the burst of heat is quite hot,
and nearly always scorches my eyebrows off.
Well, tonight I forgot that little tidbit of info again.
So as I leaned in to save my burning bunsies,
still wearing all my tons of make-up
and diamondy earrings from my afternoon singing engagement,
the blast of heat hit me in the face,
I shut my eyes tight and
felt my over-mascara-ed eyelashes curl together,
melting in the heat,
making it hard to open my eyes again....

Seriously the funniest thing that's happened to me in a long while.
My neighbors probably think I'm nutso,
but hey,
when you've gotta laugh loud, you've gotta laugh loud.
Even if you're the only one in the room.
Which I do frequently.

And since I'm on a mature rant:
"I'm an angel..."
"...sent by God."
Oh Roma Downey, how you changed our lives.
Bon nuit, mes amours.

P.S. I'm officially done with my first year of grad school!
Fin, as the frenchies say.
I can't believe this year's flown by so fast.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Done. Almost.

So I've finally finished up all classes and finals for my first year of grad school! How CRAZY is that?!?!? This year just flew. Now all I have left to do is polish up my ten pieces for my jury next Wednesday. Just one more week......

i'm going home for a visit on Kohen's birthday! I'll finally get to meet little Judah! I can't wait! Check out these pictures of my little boys- they could be twins!
Kohen at 1 mo. old:
Judah at 1 mo. old:

9 days.... 9 days....

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Beauty and The Beast Library

The perfect place to hide away from distractions.
The dusty smell of old, well-loved books;
the antique desks and chairs with their wooden curlicues;
the extension chords snaking their way across the floors
from ancient outlets sporadically placed years and years ago,
currently connected to my computer so that it won't die
as I sit here for an eternal day of writing.
My eyes burn as I'm sure they slowly begin to turn rectangular shaped.
I tend to be very easily distracted.
Not to the point of having clinical A.D.D.,
but I suppose that I'm a fairly active person,
and sitting on my derrière for hours on end,
looking at the glow of a computer screen,
trying to make mature, educated sentences flow together
in research-paper format
is enough to send me over the edge.
But if I have a nice quiet place,
in a nice atmosphere,
then I can focus well for a longer period of time
without being distracted,
even by the hundreds of books surrounding me.
So I'm taking a 10 minute break from paper-writing
after 2 hours of studying
to do a little blog-writing.
Way more fun.
And I've told myself that I have 2.5 more hours
before I can give my sore petite derrière a break
from sitting on this rather uncomfortable chair.
And now that I've given myself a small break,
I realize that the section of books behind me
is the entire history of each county in England.
"East Sussex Land Tax 1785"
And the whole row in front of me is
papers and records of American history.
"War of the Rebellion/
Official records of the Union and Confederate Armies/
Series I, Vol. II"

My paper doesn't seem half so tough anymore.
I guess this was a successful study break.
Now back to the grinding stone.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Journey in Winter

So I'm studying right now.
No surprise there, as finals are upon me.
But I thought I'd share with you a fun dance between the early 1800's and the late 1900's

Franz Schubert wrote a
wonderfully tragical cycle of art songs called
about an old, though not yet grey haired man,
who makes a winter journey
and sings about his old sweetheart,
and the hardships that he meets on his long journey.
Schubert wrote this cycle in 1827,
and it remains an extremely well-known and -performed cycle today.

Here is the first song, called "Gute Nacht," as Schubert wrote it in 1827:
And here is "Gute Nacht" orchestrated by Hans Zender in 1993:

Isn't that so interesting?!?!?!
I thought so! I love the inclusion of accordion
and all the various percussion
and use of wind instruments to bring out the wintery setting of the cycle.

Hope you get a little culture and enjoyment of these songs, as I have!

Cheers friends.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Treading Life

On my "To-Do" list,
there are 15 things
still to be done
before I can
be finished
I think that I
just might
live to see
Texas one






Monday, March 29, 2010

Lenten Love Song

I have plans to write
that are wonderfully insightful.

Most of the time,
I have those plans
in the middle of the night.

But now,
it is in the middle of the day,
so this is all I've got ;)

My nephew,
Judah Emerson,
was born yesterday!

He's a sweet little thing,
& he looks a lot like Kohen did;
though, I think he's got
more of Chason (dad) in him
than Kohen, so that will be fun to see!
Look at 'im! :)

What a sweetie :) I miss him already.

In other news,
is winding down...
only 2 more days to go.
A friend inspired me to
really practice Lent this year,
so I've given up something new
every week of Lent,
and it's been really awesome
to notice how much more
I've noticed God
doing things around me,
and in me,
during these weeks.
I've been as excited for Easter to come
as I always am for Christmas!
Some friends and I have been meeting
this week at 6a.m.
for morning prayer
to start the day.
It's very early.
I most definitely usually
don't get up that early.
But I have a re-awakened love for the
early morning now.
I was such an early bird
when I was younger..
Until college...
But it's funny- I usually
have a very hectic class schedule,
but this week,
one of my classes has been cancelled
for the entire week,
giving me time to study,
or rest between classes!
It's really as if God is rewarding
me decision to get up so early this week...
I can't WAIT for Sunday.
Easter is completely one of my
new favorite holidays.
And not even because of the
chocolate that I will be consuming...

And finally:
I've tried a few new recipes
that are definite winners
and I thought I'd share them with you!

Red Pepper-Carrot Soup
(I modified the recipe a bit,
since I was only cooking for myself)
2 Large Red Bell Peppers (plus slices for garnish, opt.)
2 Tbs. Olive Oil
1/2 tsp Curry Powder
1 Bay Leaf
I Large Onion, sliced (2c.)
2 Large Carrots, sliced (1/2lb.)
4 cloves Garlic, peeled and sliced
1 tsp. Salt
2 Tbs. Lemon Juice
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Place bell peppers on baking sheet, and roast 1 hour, or until skin is wrinkled and blackened all over, turning peppers occasionally with tongs. Transfer to bowl, and cover with plastic wrap 10 minutes to steam. When peppers are cool enough to handle, rub off blackened peel, and remove seeds.
2. Heat oil in 2-qt. saucepan over medium heat. Add curry powder and bay leaf, and stir 10 seconds. Add onion, carrots, garlic, and salt. Cover, and cook 10 minutes, or until onion is translucent.
3. Add 4 cups water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, covered, 25 minutes.
4. Transfer carrot mixture to blender, add bell peppers, and purée until smooth. Stir in lemon juice. Garnish servings with bell pepper slices, if using.
(I used 1.5 peppers, 2 cloves Garlic, and no Lemon Juice.
I also sliced the peppers and baked them spread out on a pan for 10-15 minutes, until soft.
I didn't bother to take off the skins, since they were soft and blended well- saves time and effort ;)
Be warned- while boiling, this mix looks kinda iffy, but it blends really well, and is quite tasty!
A little extra salt helps, since it can be a bit bland for some tastes.
I imagine that it would be quite yummy with an added dollop of sour cream on top, too!
ALSO, I imagine that being liberal with ingredients would be good, if possible.
I think the 6 servings it's supposed to make would be little servings. I'd probably add at least 1 pepper & a few carrots...)

Honey Curry Chicken
6 chicken Thighs or boneless breasts
1/4 c. melted butter
1/2 c. honey
1/4 c. mustard
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. curry powder
1 package froz. Stir Fry Veggies
(or any fresh ones you like- I've used mushrooms, green beans, broccoli, WITH the stir fry ones)
(Prepare rice, either in pot, or by rice cooker.)
Cook the chicken in water, so it will be cooked but tender. Small pieces are best.
In a pan, combine all sauce ingredients, stir, and then add all remaining ingredients.
Let it simmer until veggies are to desired crunchiness/softness.
Serve over rice (or on it's own- I love it over Jasmine Rice!!!!)

And there you have it!
2 really good recipes to try.
I've been cooking a lot lately,
so I'll keep you updated with more recipes!

Have a wonderful day, my friends :)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Side Note (no pun intended)

so I feel like I ought to somehow
justify my choices of songs
that play in my little player in the sidebar.
Here's my only justification to the completely
random mix.
These songs make me ridiculously happy.
That's it.
If you come to this page, and don't smile when
Riders in the Sky
start singing,
Tell me.
I will try my darndest to talk some sense into you.


I judge books by their cover.


Hello, my name is Annie, & I am a judger.

But you know you do it, too.

And if you don't, congratulations.

I hope to never attain your level of benevolence towards books.

I tell ya,

if they made a math book that

had the perfect pages that

felt & smelled good,

AND had amazing illustrations that

I'd like to look at,

I'd do math everyday.

And we all know how I dislike math.


Adult books.

Children's books.

I love them equally.


when someone asks me what I'm reading right now,

I'm not sure if I ought to tell them that

I'm enjoying Adventures in Odyssey books.

No, not Homer's Odyssey.

Adventures in Odyssey.

The whole series.

Or that I searched online for them & bought the last three so that

I could finish them all,

because I'm completely entrenched.

I highly recommend them for any teenagers that you know.

Or even for yourself.

You can read all 6 in a week, easy peasy.

Other kid's books I have are:

I haven't read this yet,

but hey,

it's Tolkien,

so it's GOT to be good.

This little jewel I got for free at a local free bookstore

(a good reason for you all to come visit me here-

just bring extra luggage for all the cooks you will pick up :)

It has amazing illustrations,

& is filled with all kinds of stories & rhymes

for young boys & girls.

I'm going to keep this one for myself,

to read whenever my nephews & nieces (someday?)

come to visit me.
(Love it- "Ye done all right fer a gal" )
This group of books I've collected over the past year or two,
& while I haven't yet read them all,
they're perfect little old books.
~Bad Little Hannah
~The Bad Little Boy
~Captain Courageous
~The Night Riders
~Der Buch Gestalten (german poetry book)
Now to bridge into Adult books.
"The Gentleman from Indianapolis"
looks like it's gonna' be a great western drama,
though I can't figure out which age group .
& then "The Melancholy Tale of "Me".
I got this book PURELY for the amazingness that
is that title.
I haven't read past the first page, but I can tell already:
G o l d e n .
Now I have a rather odd mixing of titles.
~ The Hawk & the Dove Trilogy
This is a fantastic book! It's so good &
is a perfect read for this Easter Season.
~Oui, Je parle Francais!
This french instruction book is so wonderfully 60's. Love it.
~Sarah Morgan: The Civil War diary of a Southern Woman.
I haven't read this yet, but there's a possibility that I
am related to her.
Civil War stories + Possible Relative= Win.
& finally.
For Christmas, I was given a bit of money.
Instead of saving it for school, I decided to treat my self to some Goudge.
That's Elizabeth Goudge.
A wonderful authoress,
referred to me by my wonderful friend (and authoress, herself)
So I bought 7 of her books, & I'm OH so excited to start reading them.

So there you have it. A little book fun.
Now I'm off to practice the new opera
that is being written for me.
(How many people get to say that?! :)

Avez un bel jour, mes amies!
Toujours amour

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Buckaroo # 2


My newest and equally favoritest nephew:

Robert Sawyer Carmack IV

Feb. 23, 8lbs., 20 3/4'' long

He's just absolutely darling, with his Cary Grant chin and his little cheek dimple (like his dad).

He looks JUST like my little sister, though!!

I mean really....

Look at that nose.

The adorableness is just too much for me.

Since I'm in Baltimore and have only gotten to see him through pictures,

I have stolen all of these from random family members, so that I could share the joy with you.

We're a proud family.

Look at all the handsome little boys.

I'm already planning my cowboy posse ;)