the year of the nap

Woke up at 7:30am, made a pot of coffee, grabbed a cup & the paper & padded back up to bed to do the sudoku and watch the news.

Woke up at 11:00am.



ooh, that smell...

Summer has officially reached the DC suburbs. It's hazy, hot and humid, the kind of weather that puts a new premium on shady parking spaces and air conditioning. And don't even think about leaving your car windows down, because if you do a pop-up thunderstorm will totally drench the area.

We're in the outdoor theater today. Air conditioning in the lobby - check. {What a tease!} Air conditioning in the lower level dressing room area - check. Air conditioning in the second and third floor offices - check. Air conditioning on stage? In the audience? Yeah, not so much.

I have had to do very little running around, my colleages being true sports. And yet, just from being outside a bit, I stink.

I am now officially a member of the great unwashed.
And will be for the next six hours.

Keep your distance, for your nose's sake!


worst birthday gift ever

Went walking on my birthday in the park - love to do it, have less time to in the summer than I'd like due to the crazy work schedule. But I took two hours to mosey around, watch the herons and turtles, climb over big rocks, and clear my mental attic.

Used bug spray and spf 30 like i usually do. Mamma didn't raise no fool.

Didn't notice anything unusual when I got home.

The next morning? A tiny red bump on my shoulder.

Fast forward several days later. There's still a bump, but it's got a weird thing going on in the center. [sparing you the gory details] And it's surrounded by a rash. And the inside of the rash is clearing up before the outside so it looks like - you got it! - a bullseye.

Looked up "lyme disease" on hypochondriacs.net - I mean, webMD. Hmmm....
Got to work, where my boss K had sent an email [or three] saying "skip the meeting, go to the doctor." and my big [as in influence, rather than size.] boss A came to my office and scared me into going to the doctor THIS MORNING.

Several hours and a blood test later: sitting on the couch with a Lyme disease diagnosis and a vial of WEEKS worth of antibiotics. Awesome.

On the plus side, I am grateful to have colleagues who are so supportive, and really look out for me on every level. Without the scary stories, I totally wouldn't have taken the time out to go to the doctor. They totally rock.

I hope the Universe kept the receipt. I'm SO trading this present in for a Rhino Records Heavy-Metal Ballads set.


lonnie joe at the safeway

I ran to the grocery store at about 1:30pm this afternoon to grab some dry ice [don't ask.], and stepped into line behind a gentleman wearing sunglasses, and way more than a 5 o'clock shadow. He looked like the stereotypical Hollywood serial killer, kidnap-the-girl-from-the-parking-lot-and-chop-her-into-little-bits-type. Scary.
I was admittedly a little antsy...had to get back to work in 10 minutes. The gentleman was talking to the teller, counting out [with difficulty] couch change to purchase two 40s of colt 45. He turned toward me, looked me up and down, and then turned back to the teller and started talking about how democrats and women are responsible for all the things that are wrong with the world.

At this point, representing both of his problem demographics, I was peeved on several levels.

His final shot - to the teller - was "Why is it that every time a woman opens her legs, my taxes go up?"

omfg. i have GOT to learn how to kick some redneck ass if i'm going to live this close to Virginny.



I made a deliberate choice to not sing professionally, despite spending many, many dollars on my education. I have a small voice that doesn't carry particularly well over anything larger than a chamber orchestra. [a large, sarcastic "thanks" goes out to every reviewer who thought it important to mention.] I like to sing, but don't necessarily need to perform; I'm happy singing in the car or for friends' weddings. Auditioning is a muscle that I don't work out often. I love to study, but I hate to polish - which basically translates into "lazy." And I have a hubby that I hate to be away from for more than a few days.

Lots of reasons. But.

Sitting in the rehearsal room, is one of my greatest pleasures. Not that I don't love the finished product, but I love the messy, crazy process much better. The frustration, the silliness, the laughter...the hard work, certainly.

And I'd be totally lying if I said that I didn't miss it.

But when one of our singers makes some of that incredible noise, I am both proud to be associated with them, and totally certain that I made the right choice for me. The performance this afternoon, filled with beautiful subtlety, lush richness and every color in between, was a perfect antidote to the woozy, tired mood I was in. Tutti bravi! E grazie.

And it seems that the more generous the spirit, the richer the voice. I wonder which begets which... I've decided pursue a richer voice, and to strive to be more generous in spirit. I may not be singing, but give me a little time and I'll have the richest voice you've never heard.

For all you folks who are singing, I hope you're feeling the love! Thanks for doing what you do.

tying up loose ends.

....actually, it's more like twisting wool into yarn. It's all fuzzy loose ends at this point!

Opened a great show last night - the link is here. If you live in the DC area, you should definitely check it out, even if opera isn't your thing. It's funny, in English, short, and the singers are pretty both to hear and look at. Really, folks, it doesn't get any better than this.

Opening a show, for the admin types, equals a looooong day. The last minute [numerous!] requests for PR materials, getting the glitches sorted out with the titles [which didn't quite work out this time...], handling last minute ticket requests, making sure the artistic folks get their checks, leading the pre-performance lecture [that one's all my boss - I get to listen, which is lurvely!] waiting until the building has cleared after the performance, all grafted on top of the normal daily duties like planning the next day's schedule, making sure rehearsals are set for the other projects concurrently rehearsing, the endless paperwork to process payroll... you get the idea. A 15-16 hour day is the norm.

And I'll admit, I'm whupped.

And not only that, but I'm already running late for today's run. Another performance this afternoon, but this one a private event for opera lovers. My boss is performing, so it's fun but a little more draining for her. And rehearsals in the afternoon and evening, some running the same time as the concert. Another busy day!
Gotta get moving!


the coolest thing...

...was sitting down with some friends at the end of a looooong day, and having, God it had to be 20 opera singers, sing happy birthday to me in the back bar at Clyde's at midnight. Thanks everyone! Especially J, who has been such fun to get to know, and who is so good to all these crazy people we work with.

on the agenda for today? a long walk, naturlich, some mani-pedi action, dropping by my boss' house for her 50th birthday. [crazy, right? that we share the same birthday? ] and then dinner with hubby. Sounds perfect.


donde estas, yolanda?

Last night was the Pink Martini concert!

(Ow. Exclamation points hurt. Too many pink martinis, I'm afraid.)

We created our own little shanty town on the lawn, with people on 8 blankets from all different places. The uncles and their buddies, a friend from high school& her hubby, a bunch of Hubby's buddies from grad school, some of the cool folks that work with us in the summer, buddies from my old teaching job, L2 and folks from WashOp and UMd... there were THOUSANDS of us! L2 bought pink gin for pink martinis, there was picnic food for DAYS (I'm STILL full!) and the evening was over way too quickly.

It was such fun that I'm totally considering it my birthday party. It was so lovely to be surrounded by friends, breaking bread together, enjoying some great music.



Happy Father's Day to my dad and my brother. Hope you guys have a great day - love you!


i love my job part 18 billion

Sitting in an orchestra rehearsal, preparing for the first full opera of the summer. Whee! The composer is in the room [a luxury afforded to us who produce 20th century works], and the ensemble is doing a great job putting it together. The conductor is so cool - very down to earth and fun, and just so skilled. Between her, my boss, and the music administrator, it makes me wonder why companies insist on hiring high-maintenance folks when there are folks who are both skilled AND have good people skills AND are fun to work with. (I know, I know...in reality the best guy for the job is not necessarily going to be my favorite flavor.) When I run the world [I guess I should change that to IF I ever run the world], I will only work with fun, talented people. Jerks need not apply.

I'm at the office as much/more than at home for the next two weeks, but it's really some of the best stuff. Great music, great acting, and great bloopers all happen when you're trying to get a show on its feet. This is often the week when tempers flare, when people get nasty and rude, when emotions run high. But for me it's the best. I'm so happy when this time of the summer rolls around. I love being able to support those who are on stage and working behind the scenes. I love the refinement of the rehearsal process, which is easier to see when you're in the room once a week rather than every day. And I love seeing how proud the artists are when the first curtain call rolls around. It takes a bit of the sting out of not performing myself anymore.

So I'll be around, but not posting as often for the next week or two. Send me some love - I'll need it!



One of the great perks of my job is being able to see just about any act that comes to perform. Last night was rehearsal-less, so Hubby and I planned to meet friends at the amphitheater to catch a show: the main act is good, but I'm a big fan of the opening act. It had POURED during the afternoon, but by 6:00pm the skies had cleared, and it looked like it was going to be a great night.

Fact forward to 7:05pm. We are huddled under a pedestrian bridge at the theater, the wet ground soaking through my "all-weather" (HAH!) blanket, the rain coming in at such an angle that even my house of a hubby couldn't block the rain. I was soaked. And while I had mentally prepared to have a wet butt, I totally gave up. Went home even before the awesome opening act went on. Lame. And today I am sinusy and sniffly and gross. Double lame.

Big concert on Monday night - must plan ahead for rain contingency!



8:00am big cup of coffee & a granola bar

9:30am double espresso with soy milk

11:15am another double espresso with soy milk

12:30pm two rolls of smarties [remember those? might just as well pour granulated sugar INTO YOUR VEINS. because it's totally the same thing. but colored. the sugar's colored.]

1:00pm For goodness sakes, I got the hippie hippie shakes. Or just the regular shakes. Because I'm a dork and don't subsist so well on nothing but refined sugar and caffeine.

If I spoke to you this afternoon, I'm sorry for whatever I said. Because I can't remember it.

Tomorrow's Goal? Not glazing over into sugar coma. At least until after I get home.



The first house that I remember living in was a house that my folks built.
It was in a town called Litchfield, Pennsylvania. On a hill, it was a three-bedroom house that sat perched on a hill, framed on two sides by woods, a HUGE garden, and a windy, twisty country road at the base. There were motocross racers and deer, wells and mushrooms that were so big I could sit on them in the woods. Surrounded by deer and flowers and magic.

The next house had been a bank building and a stop on the underground railroad. (It was slightly smaller and less cool than my friend's house, which had a whole secret attic that you could only access through a cupboard in the back bathroom: but it was still pretty cool.) I went to summer camp in sixth grade, and begged for a purple room: upon returning, the lavender shade I had wanted was not in sight, but my walls were covered in a powerful aubergine, eggplant-y, GODDAMIT I AM PURPLE color. From this house I could walk to the library with it's big stone columns, and visit the museum on the top floor. Indian headdresses, arrowheads, pictures and illustrations from French Asylum, the massacre at Horseheads, NY, tributes to Stephen Foster... the list goes on. Again, magical.

After that, the yellow Victorian that came with all the furniture and reader's digest condensed books and the dead lady's ashes spread over the yard. The former servant house with the bad addition. (My mom still swears that she's going to hell, and that she'll be pulling out the nails that the previous homeowner drove in for all eternity.) The big house on the corner lot that needed to be jacked up from the basement, and that had lines painted down the center of the floors from a pair enduring a nasty divorce. The college apartments. My first solo flat in Pittsburgh that was solo not long enough. The duplex across from the school for the deaf, where the quiet afternoons were cut through with bloodcurdling screams from kids who couldn't hear the difference between a squeal of joy and the sound of terror. The Shadyside apartment that was in the middle of everything, where I could leave my car in the driveway for days and walk to wherever I needed to go.

After that, the move to Maryland. The tiny, one-bedroom flat in Chevy Chase where hubby and I lived pre-hubby-ness. And finally, our little townhouse that we bought eight - count them, eight - days before we wed that's perched within walking distance to the Potomac River.

Getting the itch again, but where to? Requisites: character [but not necessarily practicality], proximity to work, good walking nearby. We've been looking for over a year, and nothing's really appealing to us. Well, nothing that we can afford in these parts. Time for either re-setting the mind-set or re-setting the location, I guess. Stay tuned.



i kill house plants.

on a regular basis.

I had a teaching colleague once who said that all teachers could grow houseplants. His reasoning was based on the fact that teachers had to be sensitive to non-verbal needs all day long...surely they'd know if that poor little fern in the corner needed light vs water, right?

Based on that model? I'm a piss-poor teacher.

I'd given up on houseplants, preferring the more expensive habit of fresh flowers. Because, hey, they were going to die anyway, right? I wouldn't have to feel like a failure when they started sighing and dropping petals on the piano.

But this spring, with some help from Dad in the form of boxes of lily & gladiolus bulbs and flats of forget me not, I planted my Weed Garden, in the hopes of being able to grow something. Maybe I wouldn't kill everything I touched.

A month ago I took this picture:

Look at all those crazy, spiky lily stalks! Something MUST bloom, right? Please???

And this morning? Ta da.
{It's out of focus - pre-coffee}

I'm officially off death row. Aaaahhhh


monday, monday

can't stand that day... wait, is that the way the song goes?

Oh, crazy, crazy weekend. Great, beautiful, brilliant concert on Saturday. And, what's just as fun, lots of time to chat with the artistic director on the way to the airport Sunday. Makes me feel like an ar-TEEST again!

And today, a total Monday. Way up and way down, and supa busy.

High points:
  • a (sanctioned) late start at work. That extra half-hour to do the second crossword is worth its weight in gold. Yeah, I'm too easy.
  • a totally thoughtful gift from one of the Studio singers. What a doll he is! I officially adore him.
  • not having to drive scooters around northern Virginia. Long, boring story.
  • Wendy's chicken sandwich for lunch. Hold the fries. For the first time EVER. I am a goddess of would-be-sveltness. [and, to reward myself i totally ate my weight in dark swiss chocolate from aforementioned Studio singer. Aaaaahhhh]
  • a meeting with a chamber musician who has a killer concert project - fingers crossed that it works out for 2008-9!
Low points:

  • stupid technical difficulties with costume sketches and an ornery color printer
  • having to send a "please flush the toilet" email to company members. omg. humiliating on several levels. mostly because i'm totally sure that THE SINGERS KNOW HOW TO USE THE BATHROOM. sigh. this is only slightly below having to send the PLEASE WEAR YOUR DANCEBELT AND DON'T WIGGLE YOUR WEINER AT THE COSTUMERS PLEASE email from last summer. Hey, at least it's not dull, right?
  • losing choristers and knaben left and right.
  • bad news from D - wish i could be Calgon and take her away.
  • talking to artistic staff who are struggling with each other.

Yes, the first blush is off the rose, and folks are getting frustrated with one another. I think that things in the rehearsal room are still lovey-dovey, but outside things are a little tense. And to be honest, that's the way it should be - the room is the lab where the art is created, and so the struggles should be focused on the art. But boy, we are busting ass to fix/solve/anticipate to keep those rehearsal rooms happy! Today was an easy day schedule-wise, and I still was working for 10 hours. And while I prefer it busy and ADHD like it was today, today was really the first day of official Whack-A-Mole.

I'm out of practice. Conditioning starts tomorrow.


not an auspicious start to the day

Was rudely awakened at 6:30am by hellcat knocking my water glass OFF MY NIGHTSTAND AND INTO MY BED.

Water running down my back, pooling in places where there SHOULD NOT BE WATER. IN BED.

And today is a true marathon of high-maintenance-ness at work. a 10-hour day before the evening's performance even occurs, and then hours after that.

I know it's early to think winter, but if anyone would like a nice pair of black and white fur earmuffs, you just let me know.

Say a little prayer that the day gets better rather than the other way around.


Lady's Night

When hubby was in grad school, he'd be out of town at least one weekend per month for class. Occasionally he'd be out of the country for a week or so on one of their field-trips-on-steroids. It's a bit of a double-edged sword. On one hand, I love him, I like having him around, I like traveling with him and tend to get a little jacked when he goes "somewhere fun" without me. I sleep better when he's home.

On the other hand? Boy, is it nice to have the house to myself for a few days!

Tonight's agenda: after work, run to the store for a nice bottle of vino, some good cheese, baguette and chocolate. ("girl food")A leisurely walk along the river. No tv, but rather plugging in the iPod and finishing the three different books that I've started.

Tomorrow is a bit of a wash: work during the day, a performance in the evening and then a reception at my boss' house after the performance. These days are the longest, as it'll be well after midnight that we're done. But it's the first performance of the season, and I'm really looking forward to it and to hanging out with the artists. Even though I'm not singing much these days, I do love the opportunity to hang with the folks who are. (I could digress into a whole different post on this idea, and maybe sometime I will.)

Sunday hubby comes home: away just long enough for me get some Rahree time, and to miss him. Perfetto.

(update: did not make it to the river, but the other pieces of my evening have fallen into place nicely. Am in my jammies at an embarrassingly early hour, and an on the net just long enough to do some leisurely blog reading before grabbing my book. As I said before, perfetto.)