Tuesday, March 30, 2010


It's been raining cats and dogs for the last two days. Today, Casey and I went to the gym, which is shaped like half of a cylinder laid on its side. Consequently, the windows aren't perpendicular to the ground but angled to face the sky, and when the water runs down over them, it makes it look as though we're underwater. Kind of a neat effect.

I rode with Casey in her car to the gym (and back to the PCAC), but it was raining so hard, that this is what I looked like after walking from the parking lot to my office (maybe a quarter mile).

What a day.

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Caswell Sisters Take Portsmouth!

The subject of this post should probably be more like "Portsmouth's Press Room is Unable to Generate Appropriately-Sized Audience for Highly-Talented Performers," but it didn't have quite the same ring to it. When I asked Rachel how the tour had been going, she said, "Musically and emotionally it's been great, but no one wants to come out unless it's for Herbie Hancock accompanied by the ghost of Duke Ellington." Which is too bad - because Rachel and Sara are awesome. I always enjoy hearing them perform, and it's even better when they come to my neck of the woods to do it!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The C and J Bus

One of the cool things about New Hampshire is that people generally try to "go green" whenever possible. For that reason, quite a lot of public transportation options are available. Traveling to Boston's airport by car is expensive, since parking, even in the economy lot, is $18 per day. It's $19 for a one-way train or bus ticket, so it's only economical to drive your car if your trip is 2 days or fewer.

Taking the train is fun, but it only runs about 5 times a day, and when you get off, you have to take the T to the airport.

The bus, on the other hand, runs hourly from my town directly to the airport. Good stuff.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Mark's French Fries

Every Monday night during marching band season, we'd go out for dinner after rehearsal for a "staff meeting." Most of the time I would eat dinner before rehearsal, so I wouldn't always get food when we went out, but I would inevitably end up eating Mark's french fries. Last week, Casey, Ron, Mark, and I went out to dinner, and Mark (per usual) got fries that he couldn't finish. Which reminded me of all of the fries he "bought me" over the course of the past two marching band seasons.


Friday, March 26, 2010


Mark Adams, percussion instructor of the Wildcat Marching Band and, apparently, model for senior portrait scenarios...


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Stress Relief Tea

Thanks to Amanda and Gray, I've been introduced to the wonders of Stress Relief tea. It's got an ingredient called Kava which, I guess, is pretty strong. The tea is tasty, and it does indeed promote relaxation. It also makes me laugh that there's a warning on the back of the box about combining the use of this tea with alcohol consumption and operating heavy machinery. :D

This stuff is gooooood. :P

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Sam Adams. Mmm...

Like Ben and Jerry's, you can get Sam Adams pretty much anywhere, but it wasn't until I moved to New Hampshire (I'm only an hour and a half drive from Boston) that I discovered that more varieties existed than just Boston Lager. In fact, there's a whole variety pack!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Ben and Jerry's. 'Nuff said. Vermont isn't exactly New Hampshire, but it is next door.

Monday, March 22, 2010

My Favorite Practice Room

I spend a lot of time practicing, so I've developed a preference for certain practice rooms. This one is my favorite. It's got a curtain on the wall to absorb the sound so that I don't deafen myself and it's got a relatively in-tune piano (but just in case, it's also got several electronic keyboards - in tune, of course - to choose from). It's also twice as big as the other practice rooms which is good for two reasons. One, that means that there are twice as many lights on the ceiling, and since the practice rooms are pretty dim, that's a hot commodity. Two, the extra room prevents me from feeling claustrophobic. When you're crammed into a teeny tiny practice room, it can sometimes feel a little as though the walls are closing in on you.

Sunday, March 21, 2010


Renee and I also went to see our Aunt Karen (my mom's sister)...

...our cousin Amber (Aunt Karen's daughter)...

...and our cousin Josh (Amber's brother), his girlfriend Julie, and Amber's kids, Nathan and Lily.

That evening, I was lucky enough to get to visit with my cousin Eric (Renee's brother) and his kids, Connor, Rowan, and Kaylee...

...and their mom, Cathy.

What an awesome time. Words can't express it, although my mom came close when she said, of her family, "I'd choose them." You know what? Me too.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Trumpets: Fun for the Whole Family

So, of course I took my horn with me to Pittsburgh for spring break. I mean, who doesn't bring their horn with them when they travel, right?

While we were taking a walk in the neighborhood, Renee discovered that I had brought my horn, and she mentioned that not only had she played trumpet (which I knew) but that Joe had played as well (which I didn't know) and that they had several in the attic. She asked if I could play my horn a little for the girls, so I did, which led to letting them try it, which led to pulling the trumpets out of the attic, which led to a little trumpet lesson. What a riot. :)
Here, Jess (11) and Natalie (8) are giving it a try. (The mute was a must after about 5 minutes...)
Even Lindsey (6) was able to play a little, probably aided by the lack of her top front teeth!

When Joe got home from work, he showed us what he remembered.

So Renee couldn't be left out. :)

I was impressed. Each of the girls were making characteristic sounds within about 5 minutes, and Renee and Joe sounded pretty good themselves!

Friday, March 19, 2010

While in PA, I got to visit with Grandpa (my dad's dad)...

...and Granny (my mom's stepmom). Both live in retirement communities, and it's been way too long since I've seen either of them.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Thursday was Renee's birthday. Here she is with her youngest daughter, Lindsey, getting ready to blow out the candles on the birthday brownies. Happiness in Pennsylvania...

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

St. Patrick's Day!

On St. Patrick's Day, I went to Pittsburgh for a visit to the extended family. I stayed with my cousin Renee and her family and had an absolute blast.

Natalie, Renee and Joe's middle daughter, left a note for the leprechaun to leave his underwear while she was at school, and what do you know? He did!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Another highlight was getting to see Aaron. Here he is, scrunched into a desk, looking like he's in detention or something.

Monday, March 15, 2010

One of the highlights of the workshop for me was getting to visit with Lauren a bit. Lauren is a UNH alum (before my time), but she and I met at horn camp. We were both campers a few years ago, and last year, we were on staff together. This picture is post-Matilda's, after a loooong day of horning. We were both exhausted.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

While exploring the wilds of Newark, we came upon a restaurant called Matilda's which advertised "Australian Barbecue." We jokingly wondered if kangaroo would be served. Looks like we could have found out. Too bad we didn't. Having already eaten dinner, we were all going for drinks - except Lauren, who's a vegetarian, and therefore unqualified to determine whether "roo" meat just tastes like beef or actually is beef in disguise. (Why does my hamburger have a pouch?)

Saturday, March 13, 2010

So, I didn't update for an entire week because I was on spring break. I figured, the blog is called "Happiness in New Hampshire," so if I'm not in New Hampshire, I must be off the hook, right? After a verbal flogging from 50% of my loyal readership (that's you, Stacy...) who said "What? You can't be happy in other places?" I rethought things.

For that reason, I bring you:

Happiness in New Hampshire: Spring Break Edition

This one's for you, Stace.

Spring Break 2010: First stop, Newark, Delaware, for the Northeast Horn Workshop.

Jason, who entertains me greatly on his own, even in the state of New Hampshire (and therefore will probably get his own blog entry later on), recently purchased a Vienna horn. A Vienna horn, for those who don't know, is essentially a single F horn. For reasons too detailed to explain here, accuracy is more difficult on a single horn than on a double horn (what most horn players use), yet the Vienna Orchestra horn section still uses Vienna horns, even when most of the rest of the world has switched to a less regional model of instrument.

Here, Jason's getting some practice time in at a rest stop in Connecticut. (I think...)

Friday, March 12, 2010

Ample Practice Time

What, you may ask, IS ample practice time? Heck if I know. I have yet to feel as though I've ever practiced "enough" in a given day. But one thing is sure, it's a lot easier to create practice time within my schedule as a graduate student than it was working full time.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Each morning, on my walk from A Lot to the PCAC, I pass behind the library, and I see this bird feeder. Sometimes I even see some birds, although on this day, they were a little camera-shy.

It reminds me of the bird feeder that we had at home... and images of Mom hanging laundry in the backyard in her bathrobe and Dad's hiking boots and calling the birds. :)

Apparently, birds aren't very tidy eaters. Here's the scene below the window. The other day, a couple of birds were so preoccupied with chowing down that I almost stepped on them when I passed.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Don't have time to go to the gym? Just go to the library. This picture was taken in front of the PCAC (where the music department is). The building on the left is the library which, unfortunately, you can't enter from the back. Instead, you have to climb the stairs to enter through the front.

I know what you're thinking... those stairs don't look too bad. Mm hmm. You climb 'em. By the time I get to the top, I feel like I need to lie down just to slow my breathing and heart rate.

Thank you, UNH, for looking out for my cardiac health. You realize that students have busy schedules and can't always make it to the gym, so you find alternate ways to create a healthy student body. :P

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Big Blue Crab!

Here's Miss Lucy being pinched by a giant blue crab in front of the New Hampshire Children's Museum - also conveniently located in Dover.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Monday, March 8, 2010

Fiddlehead Farms, food (literally) for my addiction to fresh produce.

A fiddlehead, by the way, is the tip of a fern. Edible, and honestly not too bad if sauteed in butter. I haven't seen them for sale since I moved here, but several years ago on a family vacation to Maine, we made the discovery and actually tried to cook some for ourselves. It was a nice try at least. The flavor was a little like asparagus...

Sunday, March 7, 2010

So, they're remodeling my local Wal-Mart, and as it turns out, they're apparently giving things away for free! Check it out!

I guess nobody really wants a pinata that looks like Ronald McDonald.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

NHPR: New Hampshire Public Radio. 104.3 FM.

Friday, March 5, 2010

The Dairy Bar is actually at the train station, on campus here at UNH. It's entirely sustainable; even the plasticware is made from soy and is compostable. And the ice cream is exceptional. I personally recommend both "Graham Central Station" and "Peanut Butter Iditarod."

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The train. You know, I never rode on a train until I moved here. It's pretty fun! And it runs directly through campus, through the town where I live, all the way north to Portland, Maine, and all the way south to Boston. Amtrak's Downeaster. Good stuff.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Mmm... apple cider... and apple donuts... mmm...

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Apple 'n' Spice donuts. Again, you can get them anywhere, but only in New Hampshire would we have such a severe windstorm that the power would go out for three days and come on again when it's too late for me to go grocery shopping for the week, so I allow myself to eat breakfast at Dunkin' Donuts every day for a week straight.

Mmm... pure deliciousness.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Because of the salt used on the roads when it snows, it's necessary to get a lot of car washes. And because I have no hose at my house (and because it's too cold for me to be washing my car myself outside), I go to the automatic car wash. Which is kind of fun, and only about $10. When you think about how long it takes to wash a car thoroughly, $10 is worth it.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Indoor Ascent is a climbing gym in Dover. It's no Atlanta Rocks or anything, but it has the advantages of a. being right in the town where I live, and b. being a really cheap place to climb.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

When I initially came to Dover to apartment hunt, Dad and I noticed "Ralph's House of Tone" across the street from our hotel. Now that I've been in it and discovered that it's just a normal music store, it amuses me just as much that it's called Ralph's House of Tone. :D

Friday, February 26, 2010

Janetos is a family-owned meat market here in Dover. I mean, technically it's a supermarket, but their specialty is meats. You can walk in and ask for just about any kind or cut of meat, and they'll have it. This is the place that I learned that you could order more than just what you saw in the case. There's more in the back, you know.

I also enjoy the "local flavor" you find in Janetos. It reminds me of going to the grocery store with Granny as a kid. It's kind of small and slightly dirty, and the guy behind the meat counter will talk to you for half an hour about cuts of meat (because that's what he loves to do), and the cashier is about 300 years old and has eyelashes that I think are actually made from mascara. It's good stuff.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Mmm... La Festa. When I was apartment hunting before I ever moved here, this is the first place that Dad and I ate. Little did I know that we'd stumbled on what would become one of my favorite places to eat in Dover. Good pizza, good beer, good atmosphere. I'm a fan.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

This is the house directly across the street from where I live. I can see it through my bedroom window. I think it looks like a doll house. Like that one that Stacy had when we were kids. You turn it around, and instead of a back wall, there's a giant hole in the house, and, thanks to "Sylvanian Families," you find disproportionately large woodland creatures inhabiting the rooms and trying to sleep in impossibly small beds.

I've never actually seen the back of this house. It's pretty quiet over there, but who knows, maybe something exciting is going on.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

That's right. Dunkin' Donuts. I know that they aren't just in New Hampshire, but here, as opposed to the south (where Waffle House reigns supreme), you can find a Dunkin' Donuts on every corner.

Their latest coffee ads say "Better than mittens..." And as someone who sometimes drinks coffee for no other reason than that my hands are cold, I have to say that they're right.