Saturday, July 28, 2012

Patriotism and the American Dream

Made this yummy patriotic trifle on the 4th of July and I forgot to blog about! It's too pretty to not share with all of you, so I thought I'd at least put a couple pictures on here and give everyone an update on life and things that have been happening in the Black household as of late. 

The trifle itself is just a vamped up version of my classic Strawberry Creme Trifle. Add a few blueberries and it's pure patriotism in a bowl! And take my word for it, this recipe is foolproof and is the best trifle you will ever eat (and you will say that every. single. time. you take a bite). If you don't have a trifle bowl, just serve the cake in slices and top with the fruit and whipped cream. Doesn't get much simpler than that!

On to life...

Michael and I are still in our house search and at times it is disappointing, exhausting, and grueling. We've been searching for only 2 months now, so I have to keep reminding myself of that fact when I have frustrating days that try my patience. We've found a couple homes that we have liked and placed offers on, but things just have not worked out or we've felt like they weren't the right places for us when it all came down to details. 

We're struggling finding cute homes with character, when really the type of homes we would LOVE to live in don't really exist out here in Utah. We have always said that someday we think we might move back out East as neither of us were raised here in the West and we just love the green, larger lots, trees, and home styles out there (think Colonial, Victorian).

I actually did something torturous to myself the other day and looked up homes for sale in North Carolina (just for fun, HA) and found hundreds that we would be happy to live in, with price ranges and lots that made us drool. Ah, c'est la vie! Not meant to be right now, but maybe someday! As for now, we're still on the search and have really narrowed down where we would like to live, so it's a waiting game to see what comes on the market every day. Hopefully August will be a promising month!

The Music Studio 

Among other updates...something related to the American dream...I finally have jobs! And yes, I did say jobs as in plural. I have joined The Music Studio in West Jordan and will be teaching private voice lessons there one afternoon a week. The great thing is that they will do all the advertising and recruiting and basically I do what I do best (teach) and let them send students my way.

And as for the second job...I will be contracting with a local hospice company here in Utah to provide music therapy services! This employment I am super stoked about because I basically created it out of thin air. I actually was never sure I'd be able to make this happen here in Utah, where music therapy can be so behind compared to the rest of the country. But, I got in there, did some proposal pitching, talked to all the right people, and they were convinced to add music therapy as one of their provided services to patients!

I'm not going to name the company yet, as I haven't officially signed paperwork, but let's just say that they are one of the most forward thinking hospices I have ever encountered. It took some searching to find the right place, and I do believe, that after a short period of time, they will truly see the benefit in music therapy and will seek to expand its availability to patients they serve. Everyone I have spoken to has been so excited to have me be a part of the company and have put their hearts (and money) behind it!

So YAY for music therapy being awesome and for people who believe in it and what it can do for hospice patients. I feel like I have found the place where I can truly grow as a music therapist and do what I love the most, which is sharing and using music to enrich the lives of others! Life is good.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Afternoon Jeep Ride

Well, the day that Michael has been waiting for finally came to pass a few weekends ago. Don't judge me for how long it has taken to complete this post. All I can say is...I'm a slacker. Anyway, the famous Black family "Red Jeep" is now in working order and Michael and I were able to take it for a nice ride up Butterfield Canyon the other weekend. 

The jeep did a great job for her first real ride in many years. Michael's dad drove this 1952 Willy Z Jeep when he was in high school. He and Michael have been working on restoring it for about a year now and after all the setbacks (losing parts, things breaking, having to take the engine out completely, etc.) it works!

Notice my excitement!

 What a proud stance by that handsome hubby of mine. We stopped to take a little break halfway up the canyon and walked around a bit.  People kept driving by in their newer jeeps and SUVs and stopped to compliment us on our "original" jeep.

 And what should appear but a happy little deer in the clearing not 20 feet from our jeep. It stopped to look at us, then scampered off up the mountain. From the way he was staring at us, you could tell he was thinking, "Who are you and what are you doing in my crib?"

As you can see, the top of Butterfield Canyon looks out over the Kennecott Copper Mine. I'd never seen it before and it is definitely HUGE like everyone describes. You can't see it in this picture, but they do have enormous sized trucks (like, their tires are 10 times as tall as a regular truck) that carry everything up the roads in there. We also had a nice lookout to all of Salt Lake Valley and had fun locating the temples while eating a simple sandwich lunch that I packed.

Also, when we got to the top, many different people came over to check out the jeep. They had lots of questions, which luckily, Michael could answer. You should see his face when he talks about all the work he put into it. He is so proud! I told Michael's dad that he's pretty much going to have to will the jeep to Michael someday after all the time, labor, and love Michael put into it alongside his dad. ;)