Transitions? Still a D student.

It's been a long time since I've had an internal whirlwind. I have been amazingly fortunate in that many, MANY things in my life are good, wholesome, joy-inducing things. And, quite frankly, the last 2 weeks have been a mixed bag.

On the bad side? Losing a parent. Nothing says "Suck it up, you're a grown-up" like losing a parent, especially the one who would mandate that you stay 6 years old for eternity. Daily life is crisper and colder than it's even been (I know, hello, it's February?!) and consumed with making sure that paperwork is filed, lawyers are paid and that my mom is taken care of. Do I doubt that my mom can care for herself? Not at all. But it makes me feel better to help out. I sat in my dad's tobacco-perfumed Buick this afternoon, and tried to make sense of things. I miss him, and will. No changing or shortcutting it - it's a new fact of life.

On the good side? Many, many things. Getting back in touch with my friends and my parents' friends has been a particular blessing. My middle school art teacher is my dad's best friend, and seeing him over the last few weeks has been one of the best things...he knows my dad as closely as I do, but in a very different way. The fact that we're both missing Dad both reinforces and reassures...I'm not sure how to explain it, but I'm so glad to talk with him again. So many friends have surfaced with support and advice, and while I'm sure many of them feel awkward contacting me I am so grateful to hear from them, to talk about other things or to tell them a story about Dad.

Prior to this, I avoided grief, illness, funerals...all of the things that surround the end of life. It was scary, incredibly awkward, and too uncomfortable to spend too much time thinking about... I felt like I'd jinx things if I spent too much time in that mental neighborhood. I am grateful for those who have navigated this situation on my behalf and my Dad's behalf.

So I find myself in the thick of a new transition, hopeful that navigating this one will make me a better person. Help is, always, appreciated.



When the aforementioned Jane Hair died, my mom was inconsolable. And my dad said to her, "Are you sad for Jane, for all the things she won't see, or for yourself?"

My mom was pissed. Because, quite frankly, the answer was "Both. But more for me than her, because things are harder without her here."

So we're still feeling sorry for ourselves here at Mama Rahree's house, but it's getting a little better, or at least a little different each day. There are meetings with people to get Papa's affairs in order, calls to return to innumerable friends (thank you!) who we just haven't been able to talk to through the sadness, comfort food to inhale (weight watchers is definitely not watching us lately) and lots of bad, bad movies to watch. After meeting with the lawyer? Alien vs. Predator. After the security guy? Ghost Rider. I've been checking in on work email periodically, more for a distraction than to actually work, but tonight some of my favorite folks are in town for this show - so sad I'm missing it!

To those of you who have called, emailed, and sent good vibes my way, I cannot tell you how appreciative I am. This has been the hardest week of my life so far, and you've helped me get through it.

Please let me know if I can return the favor.


remembrance 2

My dad was a bit of a practical joker.

(I have exactly one picture of my folks together that he's not putting bunny or moose ears on my mom.)

Here's one of my favorite stories:
When my dad and mom were dating, they both taught at the same high school. There was another teacher, Jane Hair, whose classroom was in between and who was instrumental in my folks dating and marrying. My dad would visit my mom's classroom, and when he left and passed Jane's room he'd slam her door, and run back to his room. When Jane walked into the hallway to see which student had slammed her door, my dad would be sitting quietly at his desk, reading his paper, and would innocently ask Jane how she was doing...

...with a big, shitty smile on his face.

Over the last 3 days, my mom, my brother and I have all been at one time or another locked into or out of rooms in the house. I got stuck on the back porch (in the COLD) for an hour on Sunday morning. Mom got locked into their bedroom right before the funeral (which would've totally irked my dad, as he's always ridiculously early for everything). My little brother went outside to get firewood and found himself scratching at the back door last night to be let inside. And although I'm still crying at the drop of a hat, I can't help but think that's he's reminding us to laugh a little, and that he's still very much here.

Love you, daddy.


remembrance 1

Here's the public article.

It leaves out all the good stuff. But that's ok, it means that I get to share the stories. And frankly, I'd be pretty p.o.'d if the newspaper told the good stories before I had a chance to.

Today is viewing day #2. Day #1 was hard, as it was the first viewing that I had been to. Total bummer. But today more family and friends are coming in, and it'll be both harder and better, I guess. Tomorrow is the service, and Tuesday we try to reinvent our family. Even though none of us wants to.

He would've loved to see all these folks together.


i want givebacks

my dad passed away yesterday.

i have so many things i want to tell you about him, but i just can't yet.

i can't believe how much i miss him.


the winter of my discontent

I'm not sure if it's the cold, the bug that's been making the rounds at work, or my Lenten penances (which are fairly wimpy in the land of penances, but are making my life way more interesting.), but there's not too much of interest to share with you all. So here's the list of things I'm thankful for today.
  1. Good friends.
  2. Things that make me laugh.
  3. Scrabble in different languages (con dizionario!)
  4. Bad tv
  5. These folks, who were so nice to my puppy after he wandered a little too close to a nervous mastiff. On the positive side, he's got his first scars, and as ACB wisely observed "chicks dig scars."
More to come - we're almost ready to spill the beans on the summer season! Stay tuned!



It's Friday, and the Rahree household is hopeful that the weekend will be less eventful (read: gross) than last. Cautious optimism is definitely the name of the game.

I'm heading in to work a little late today, so the pup and I took a long walk in the park. I'm thankful that he didn't decide to go after the ducks and geese we saw, but his strength combined with my equivalent lack thereof is making the need for training plenty clear. He's already walking me more than vice-versa!

These folks are concertizing this evening and I'm "working" the concert, which essentially means I need to be on hand in case something goes wrong. I'm not sure what exactly I'd do if something did, but I guess I'd figure it out. (Hopefully!) They're doing a program tied to Ovid's Metamorphoses with an actor, so I'm pretty excited to see it. I really dig the chamber music concerts, as the theater is perfect for these intimate events. There was an interesting piece in the NYT regarding instrumental performances...I wonder if it's a symptom of our societal preoccupation of visual stimulii that has created a more kinetic performer, or if the movement is a means for some players to access a more musical performance.

Other events on the docket for the weekend? Blessed few. Walking away from contracts for a bit, and instead contemplating burning this and this and this to cd for my car, and downloading this amazingly guilty pleasure. You can take the girl out of the Eighties, but...


gentleman's agreement

I've been thinking lately about contracts. Those agreements, explicit or implied, that govern our relationships.

The last few weeks of work have been consumed by the explicit variety...at this time of year there are only two of us working full-time, and one working part-time in our office. Over the summer, between singers, music and production staff, artistic teams and interns, we'll grow exponentially to have around 80 additional people here. Each one has an individual agreement with us that reflects specifically the reasons they're joining us: designers have due dates for final renderings and light plots, Filene Young Artists and WT Studio Artists have repertoire to learn prior to their arrival, directors and conductors are expected to begin the first rehearsal at a pre-determined date and time. Duties, dates of residency, wages, housing and travel arrangements vary from person to person, but are outlined in this document. Sometimes the differences are fairly subtle; the inclusion of a release date or a reimbursement amount. Those very subtleties are the reason that it takes a long time to crank out these documents, as there are 3 or 4 people who proofread them. Every. Single. One. And sometimes we still get something wrong. (But it happens much less often than it would were I to churn them out alone!) But the document is adapted to reflect the circumstances, the expectation.

Sometimes we've had people ask to break their contracts. The reasons are always compelling, but even with these 80+ people running around it's difficult to absorb. It might hit us in a particular way due to the ways in which we choose our repertoire: it's a little like having your sweetie look at the absolutely perfect birthday present that you've painstakingly picked out, beribboned, and surrounded with love, and ask for the receipt because it's just not quite right. As of this note, we've *knock on wood!* not had any casualties, and I hope it remains so.

So, those are the explicit contracts I've been swimming in this last month. The implicit are more fluid, less black-and-white. But they all have one clause in common: the "Oh, sh*t" clause. Known in explicit-contract-world as force majeure, this paragraph outlines the circumstances in which all bets are off. If the world ends, the earth swallows us whole, the state of Virginia falls into the ocean, well, I guess then you don't have to put on an opera. And while the legalese is certainly a corporate thing, the idea exists in all of our relationships... if the unthinkable happens, however you define unthinkable, either or both parts of the relationship can walk away.

The romantic, optimistic part of me really dislikes this clause.

Our particular contracts, however, add one additional piece of langauge to this clause, which I am incorporating into all of my internal agreements as of today. It says, in a nutshell, that everyone involved will work together to find an agreeable solution should something unthinkable happen.

I like that.

(And if the Old Dominion slides into the Atlantic, maybe Francesca would rent us those cool mermaid costumes...)


Rahree = 0, Universe = 1

The universe has a funny sense of humor. Sometimes funny ha-ha, sometimes just pointed and timely. Evidently, I provoked the universe by writing yesterday that nothing much was going on...


3am rolls around, and something rouses me from a deep, dream-filled sleep. It's a smell. A not-good smell. I head downstairs to see if the pup is ok. He's not - has had a particularly nasty accident in his crate. No big deal...I actually feel badly for the poor little guy, and thankful that I am both toilet trained and have full run of the house. I throw everything into the washer, clorox everything in sight, and climb onto the couch with the hound, hoping to go catch a few more zzzzz...

at which point said puppy boots all over the couch and me. eeeeewwwwww to the Nth power.

and then the cat gets sick. it's the only instance of animal sympathy booting i have ever seen.

4am i'm outside, in the darkness, hosing off the couch cushions and leaving them white-trash-style in the front yard. The paper delivery guy waves, and I try to wave back but, well, the hour is too early and situation far too gross to be nice to anyone.

by 5am hubby is awake, and we have dragged the pup into the bathroom for his first bath. He's so sick and sad by this point that he lets me turn the shower on and just lays there as I soap him up.

at 6am i'm resigned to staying awake. i make a cup of coffee and pop a batch of cinnamon rolls into the over because, well, my house still is smelling a little left of center despite the plethora of cleaning products I've used and the mild chemical burns on my hands. [Don't mix cleaning products before you've had your coffee, kids. It gets ugly.]

waiting for the pastries to come out of the oven, i sit on the kitchen floor, because it's so clean i could perform surgery on it. pup, who is now just about too big to do so, climbs into my lap, still damp from his bath, and falls asleep. kitty comes over to check him out, and curls up next to me.

Good one, universe! Hahahahahaha!

even though the whole morning is totally, disgustingly shot to hell, i'm happy to have two sleeping animals curled up with me on the kitchen floor.

although next time? universe? i can totally skip the disgusting parts and go right to the cuddling. really.

edited: It's now Monday morning, and after a full weekend of the activities described above, we are en route to the Vet's office. I hope they give me plugs for both ends, because otherwise the little guy is not going to see another weekend... Universe, you win, OK? Can you just be nice for a while? Please?


no gnus is good gnus

Rahree has not been running at the mouth [keyboard?] much lately. There's nothing negative behind it, just a whole lot of ordinariness. No big news on the home front, can't talk yet about any big work news... and I'm spending way more time refining contract language, setting up spreadsheets and walking El Diablo (at right) than surfing teh interwebs or coming up with a creative hook.

But that's about to change. Voila!

Now I'll be able to get the creative juices flowing, quite literally.

[Thanks to the Accidental Hedonist for the link. C'est bon!]

I'm toasting you all right now!