heinz 57

Catchup time.

It's Monday night, which means that Heroes is on, and that I am a happy girl.

In the airport Saturday night in Miami, though I saw real-live heroes. A squadron returning from the middle east. BIG smiles on their faces. And applause from everyone in the terminal as they gathered.

Regardless of where I stand on the war (I don't want to get political here. Yet.), I have to say that seeing them all together, returning to their home, made me really, really happy. Rock on, gentlemen. And thanks.

As far as the opera conference, here's the experience, reduced to bullet points.
  • Saw much less of Miami than I had hoped.
  • Met opera folks from around the country.
  • Learned how to say "Bite me" in Croatian.
  • People watched at South Beach. As my colleague remarked, there were fairly few "South Beach Bodies" walking along the strip. Lots more "South Park" bodies, quite frankly.
  • Thoroughly enjoyed the new Anna Karenina. Great show.
  • Took copious notes and doodles.
C'est tout. C'est fini.


A Call to Activism

I know. Rahree, you live near the nation's capital, but you're no politician. But now you're an activist?

Well, in times of trouble, we ll must step forward.

Ladies, the FDA is going to try to mess with CHOCOLATE. You could think that you're biting into a square of milk chocolate goodness, and end up with something that tastes like the outer coating of a whopper. (Don't get me wrong, I enjoy a handful of Whoppers in a pinch, but when I think of all chocolate tasting that way, well, it makes me cry a little.) Check out this article and this website, and then DO YOUR PART!


miami, part 2


Miami is sunny and breezy. As are most of the people I've met at this conference. Which is good, as I've seen very little actual sun. Took a day-long [whew! that's hard for a short-attention-span-theater type of girl. ] seminar on negotiating, which was totally interesting even if only for the fact that I know sooooo little. Big thing that I learned? It doesn't have to be adversarial. I'm not actually required to grow sweaty palms at the mere mention of the word. Had me a little epiphany at that one, I'll have you know.

But the highlight, beside putting faces to names and sitting in on some good discussion & gossip, was tonight's dress rehearsal of Anna Karenina. If you're at all into new works, or if you're into sopranos who BOTH SING AND ACT THE CRAP OUT OF THEIR ROLE, or if you're into Russian literature, or pretty stage pictures, run and get a ticket now, either for this Florida production or for subsequent productions at St. Louis and Michigan Opera Theater. Fabulous. Loved it.

{And if you do see it, and are in the mood for more 20th century opera, check us out here in June for one of my favorite operas of all time. And yes, I'm totally biased, but only because it really is just that good.}

It's late. Going to bed. Probably skipping yoga tomorrow morning...but tonight's show has me feeling a little taller anyway.


hello from sunny miami!

the sun is out, the taxi drivers are both friendly and nice [and pick up heavy bags so that we delicate flowers don't strain our delicate spines... i love that!], and i have a patio. with chairs and a little table. and a chocolate bar and a bottle of wine.

and no corkscrew.

but it's OK. tomorrow will be operatically busy, and i hope just as interesting. wish that hubby was here, but he's on a trip of his own.

in Kansas.

I so win.

Updates tomorrow!



  • After my lovely walk in the park, I decided to head home via the road rather than the trail. Usually it's totally dangerous, with old men in crisis cars and middle aged soccer moms in high-end SUV's tearing around the corners like they're slaloleming (wait, is that a word?) down a black diamond slope. And usually there's an assortment of road kill strewn out like a buffet for the turkey vultures that hang in the 'hood. (I keep waiting for them to gobble, but they never do. ) But today I decided to walk up the hill. No one hit me with their car, or their bike for that matter. And I saw no dead animals, not even one. What I did see was a dead pair of nylon pantyhose. With the panties still wrapped inside. To the lady that "lost" them - hot damn! Hope it was fun!

  • You know it's summer when the sunless tanning liquid comes out. Tried a new kind, and while it smells better [i.e. less like sweat] than the other ones I've used, it also is shimmery. I look like a middle-aged woman trying way-too-hard to look like a tan teen queen. Not quite the look I was aiming for...

  • And, right on schedule, the warm weather makes me want to try tasty adult beverages. If I had an ounce of impetus, I'd totally try these. Paying particular attention to steps 2 and 4.


a different kind of Sunday

It's well documented that my Sundays tend to be on the lazy side. And quite honestly, I like them that way.

But today I have a to-do list. Ranging from:
  • buy mulch and fix the weed garden
  • mani-pedi before Miami!
I will be at a conference in sunny Miami for the better part of the week, and will get back super-late on Saturday night. So there are a million things to get done before going, since it'll effectively be two weeks before I have the time to do them again. (Work is starting to ramp back up, too. Hence the jitters, I'm sure.)

So I have a billion tasks to complete. I should've started as soon as I got out of bed, right? Naaaaahhhh.....sunday paper, coffee, check my fav sunday morning site, go for a walk in the park that turned into a run and just as suddenly (when i started to wheeze like a career smoker) morphed back into a walk, log onto friendster and facebook [which I very seldom use, but are zehr helpful for procrastination], play with the cat...you get the drift. And I can't decide if I should get cleaned up and run errands, stay dirty & smelly and run errands, or work in the yard until i'm even smellier...

I know. These are tough choices. Doesn't it just make you want to mix a bloody mary or mimosa to deal with the stress?? Hmmmm.... maybe it will be a totally different kind of Sunday....


make sure you wash your hands...

... because you all know what tomorrow is.

That's right! it's National High Five Day!

Spread the love!


guilty pleasure

On my favorite, totally bitchy and yet oh-so-true website, an ode to the emotionally overburdened, those who turn not to but from the comfort of food in times of stress. In other words - the total opposite of me. It's in song form, a la the Beatles. And I quote:

When I find myself in times of trouble,
Oscar Mayer comes to me
Speaking words like
"beef hot dog" and "bologna" and "bacon."

I love those bitches.

And bacon.



Did you know that Josh Rouse wrote a song about a bum named Pittsburgh? Worth a spin. Maybe not 2 spins, as it's not my favorite song of his, but definitely worth one if you have any affinity for the Steel City and its extreme neighborhoodism. [No, can't make it....it's on the other side of the river...I don't like to cross the river...too far....]

Anyhoo...Stayed with K and K at their adorable home on Friday after a tasty dinner at the Church Brew Works. K (the girl, not the boy, although I know its hard to tell when I just use initials and they have the same one.) Is expecting her first in a few months, and holy crap I hope that I look that good if I get pregnant! She's so put together...my plans of getting knocked up and letting the house and my body fall all to shit have just hit a major roadblock. (And I'm sure that Hubby totally thanks you for rocking my worldview, K!)

On Saturday went up to hang out with the parents - they're doing fine, but are getting a little feisty with one another. Dad wants to travel, Mom wants to stay home with her pets. (Evidently I am my father's daughter in at least this case.) And I scored an all-clad sautee pan ("We have two - do you want one?" "Hell, yeah!") an awesome new book and a leather purse that's too big for mom and tres cool. It was like Christmas all over again! As always, good to see them.

Sunday - Stopped at D's to see tiny T, the new baby just home from the horsepistal. Sooo tiny! She slept on my shoulder for an hour, and I could've been there all day, talking to D, listening to her precocious older daughter T (This using first initials is not working out so well anymore...) sing songs, watching her hubby horse around with big T while watching a baby snooze on my shoulder. 'Twas just awesome. Stopped by to see my father in law, visited my mother in law at work, and hit the road.

I think that's the only drag about visiting Pittsburgh...that I don't have an apartment in the middle of everything anymore, and I have to drive all over God's green earth to visit! A small price to pay.



"The plumber will be there between 10:00am & 12:00 noon"

It's 12:13pm.

I was hoping to get on the road to Pittsburgh by 12:30pm at the latest. Mostly so I would miss heinous traffic at each end of the trip.

But NOOOO....karma is blowing a big "FAT CHANCE" my way.

I just hope that this fixes things. I will totally lose my mind if the tub still leaks after all this.

Wish me luck...seems like today I am in great need.


The Great American Novel, extra-boring edition

I am sitting in my newly-clean living room, listening to G. Love & Tristan Prettyman (What a great last name...), chasing the cat around with some mylar streamers on a fishing-pole thingy.

Waiting for the contractors.

Like waiting for Godot, but with less literary merit. Way less.

You see, when the previous owners of our little townhouse remodeled the (only) bathroom, they installed a faulty plate behind the faucet. A little bit of water behind the tub turned into a hole in my kitchen ceiling and two months and six plumber visits, with no one able to figure out the problem.

Fast forward six weeks. I'm done with the unintentional water feature, and make appointments with a plumber, a general contractor, and head to the big-box hardware store to buy some new shower doors. At this point I don't know if any of these things will fix the problem, but I'm tired and hoping that throwing money at the problem will make it go away. The plumber finds the problem (Oh, Mr. Plumber, where have you been all my life?)& orders the part, the doors are purchased, and the GC will dry-wall the ceiling a week after the plumber installs the new part. Things are looking up!

Fast forward 3 weeks to today. The big-box retailer lost my order, even though I've been calling 3-4 times weekly since I bought the doors. And this morning I get a call from the dude that sold me the doors.

Dude: "Ah, yes, I left you a message yesterday saying that I forgot to charge you for the removal of the old doors. It's $67."
Me: "Oh, no...we spoke yesterday, and you said that you'd take that fee out of the cost of the doors since I've been waiting for THREE WEEKS for someone to schedule this install with me. I will not be paying extra, and I expect Wesley (the installer) here this morning. Remember?"
Dude: "I'll need to talk to the manager"
Me: "Please have him call me. I haven't had breakfast and will be happy to EAT HIM ALIVE. THROUGH THE PHONE. MAKE. MY. DAY."

Good news - Wesley is on his way. Bad news? I have to pee and he'll be here as soon as I pull my pants down, I'm sure.

As for the actual leak, the plumber finally has the part and wants to install it tomorrow. Keep in mind that I took this week off work to spring clean the house and deal with the contractors, thinking that I'd take off on Friday morning, spend the weekend in Pittsburgh while hubby was at an alumni event in NC. But the plumber can come between 10 and 12 on Friday. So I'm staying until it's done. Because I'm a martyr like that. And will be hitting Pittsburgh right smack in the middle of rush hour. Which, comparatively, isn't anything to speak of, but still gets me grumpy.

So hopefully, this totally painful saga will be finished posthaste. And if not, you'll see a For Sale - Cheap! sign in my front lawn tomorrow afternoon.


like handing an addict a syringe

I love house-hunting. Even when I'm not specifically looking for a house.

But this? This is just too much.

Grab mama that rubber tubing, honey, and then leave her alone... she has bidness to attend to.


(thanks to Melissa S for the hookup. You can check her out here.)


in another life

This photo wasn't taken all that long ago. Some days it feels like years, and some days it feels like I'm just running 10 minutes late to meet them...

Three of the five [including me, taking the picture!] are moms or soon-to-be-moms. But no sign of that in this picture...I think we were all talking about boys on this particular occasion...birthdays, new husbands, steady sweeties and the boys in the adjacent booth. The clock keeps turning, my butt gets bigger and my face wrinklier, but I always feel like I'm right there...old enough to know better but still young enough to get over it the next morning. Cheers to these ladies, with whom I can always pick up right where we left off.

A special shout goes out to D (Second from left), who gave birth to a little girl on Monday. I have no doubt that little K and her older sister T will be totally running the world in a few measly years. (In fact, I'm counting on it! Step aside, Hilary!) Congratulations, W-ski family on your newest member! I will start conjugating German verbs with her when I visit this weekend... tell her to be ready! Ja wohl!

good read

I'm one of those folks who have lots of buddies, but very few close friends. And that's OK...there are a handful of girls [and of course, Hubby, who is not a girl but is my #1 ] who I would drop everything for, and conversely who I would trust with anything more than the standard "Yeah, things are pretty good..." It's not that things aren't good, or that they're bad, it's just that there aren't so many people whose help and comfort I actively seek out, that I feel comfortable enough with to not have to second guess myself.

So I read this book by Anne Patchett called Truth and Beauty. It's about her friendship with the poet Lucy Grealy, and in many ways it echoes a certain friendship that started in graduate school, and that continues in fits and starts of good will. While neither of us have cancer or are writers (not really a spoiler alert, I promise), M and I have that same kind of relationship...we could spen
d weeks together without problem, and then spend weeks apart, knowing that we needed a little escape but feeling smaller and less vibrant because of it. I allow her more space, more room, more mental real estate than I do many, and she in turns allows me to be bigger, messier, less cut-and-dried. She has that Artistic Temperament that I always wanted, but that I couldn't quite understand.

So thanks to Anne Patchett for recording her relationship for others to read. And thanks to M for knowing when I need to be thrown around.


Back. With butt intact.

Even though it was technically cold enough to freeze one's ass off this weekend, we are home safe and sound, asses firmly [and rather robustly] ensconced. We were here, which was a lovely hotel - great waterviews, a beautifully manicured golf course adjacent, if that's your thing, and a spa that played Lizz Wright over the intercom. I love Lizz Wright, and listening to her while getting a deep-tissue massage is the way I'd like to spend all of my Easter mornings. I'll tell you, I was one happy heathen!

The problems with this weekend were:
1. Freezing. Unreasonably cold. With the wind coming off the water, it was masochistic to try to walk around.
2. The hotel was totally overrun with people. There were HUGE passover Seders and services all the hotel ballrooms. And people were all inside, due to #1. (I did notice that one little boy had a SpongeBob yarmulke. Outstanding.) There was a pretty indoor pool that was, I kid you not, wall-to-wall with kids and parents. Any guesses as to how much pee was in that pool? Ugh.

So we drove around. A lot. And figured out that we really like the town of Easton, Maryland. It reminds me of the town I grew up in, with small businesses and older homes, where everyone - for better or worse - knows everyone else's business. Here's a picture of a street:

It's near the water, which is a dream for hubby and I, and it's more affordable than where we're living. (Honestly, where isn't more affordable? Double-ugh.)

The problem? Oh, yeah...that whole pesky i-love-my-job thing. What would we do in this small town? Would I have to go back to teaching? Is that even an option anymore? (not really, I'm afraid...) I can tell you that it's an artsy town, but there ain't no opera company there. And I'm guessing that the locals are probably just fine with that.

But I have to say that, during this weekend, hubby and I got some primo daydreaming done. Together. We're a good team, and thinking about new challenges together is always fun. So, despite all the cold, it was a great weekend.

Next task - spring cleaning. Will our heroine actually get any of it done? Or will her evil nemesis, Squishy Couch, steal her energy and force her to surf the internet and watch bad tv for a week? Tune in tomorrow...


tonight's stupid conundrum

1. it's cold outside.

2. we're out of coffee.

3. i'm sleepy.

if i don't get my fat ass off the couch and get some coffee, i'll have to get out of the house without it tomorrow. which, as you can guess, is difficult at best.

but i really, really, reeeeaaaalllllyyy don't want to go outside.

the kicker is that we're going out of town for the weekend. so if i don't pick it up tonight, and forget to tomorrow, i will be totally screwed on monday.

and who needs to be screwed extra on a monday morning? i'm no glutton for punishment.

in happy, fabulous news, hubby is taking me away for the weekend to the eastern shore of Maryland. I've been through, but never stayed for any length of time. I'm excited to putz around a little town, hang out with hubby, and just relax before the summer madness begins!