ways in which i know that this house is the right house

  1. Porch! With ceiling fans. On a quiet, tree-lined street.
  2. Gas stove! For the first time in six years...oh, how I missed you, my little blue-flamed sous chef.
  3. See #1.
  4. Chinese food, Mexican food, a deli, an ABC store and a 7-11 within 2 blocks.
  5. See #2.
  6. 4 grocery stores, 3 coffee shops, and more boutiques than you can shake sticks at within walking distance.
  7. See #1.
  8. A great singing acoustic throughout the house. I don't remember when I last sounded this good! Thank you, hardwood floors!
  9. See #2.
  10. Neighborhood dog park. The pup was frothing at the mouth with excitement at the start of his first outing to the dog park. Like a rabid beastie. Seriously.
  11. See #1.
  12. I had a great dream about my dad last night. Nothing house related, but lovely and real and so welcome.
  13. See #2.
  14. HUGE bathroom with spa tub.
  15. See #1.

And that's just scratching the surface, folks. It's a good place. Stop by soon!



I came into work early, worked all day, and still haven't touched any of the tasks I was hoping to get done. Same with my boss.

Scattered, ADD, with a cluttered desk and even more cluttered mind.

Must. find. some. brains.


house miscellany

We're almost totally out of boxes. I can count the number of still-packed boxes on 2 hands and not use every finger. Aw yeah... I'm loving the house on a billion levels, from the actual structure to the cute yard to the nearness of town. I grew up in a small town [keep humming the John Mellencamp tune...I know you are...], and in many ways this house feels like a homecoming.

Had a small girl's night last evening to both show off the house and make sure that I still knew how to entertain. It was fun! (although the combination of Hubby being out of town and so many chicks in the house made the puppy a little psycho...I know that J's beautiful dress is probably covered in dog drool, and A certainly has a new, furry boyfriend) I'm hoping that, since it's close enough to work and friends that they'll drop by when they see us on the porch, and I'm making an effort to sit my fanny on the porch as often as I can.

Right before folks came [and actually while SingleGirl and LaJefa were visiting], the plumber stopped by to take care of some small repairs while the home warranty was still in effect. Home warranty...aaahh... not everything is fixed, but knowing that the cash doesn't have to come out of our pocket is a lovely feeling...

More about work later this week... suffice it to say that the admin side of things is getting busy enough to keep us totally out of the rehearsal room, which is pretty unacceptable. I'm looking forward to getting my fanny in to hear both some Handel and Bernstein this week, even if it means doing it with a laptop and a to-do-list.

On today's to-do list?
  • contracts. it truly never ends.
  • budget. ditto.
  • send parts from giorno back to Boosey & Hawkes
  • make a vet appointment for le chien d'enfer
  • walk said chien
  • order coffee
  • figure out what our new phone # is...
Happy Thursday, all!


we're in!

The move went smoothly [insert laxative joke here], and we are happily ensconced among towers of boxes in our sweet Virginia home! Still much more to organize and put away, but the triple luxuries of full basement, storage shed, and two - count 'em, two - walk-in closets are making things much easier. All of those things that my inner packrat wants to keep can go into one of the three aforementioned spaces, to wait for the time that I need a crystal candy dish or a thermal carafe. (Or, more realistically, until we move again and we open the boxes to discern what in heaven's name we been holding onto for so long...)

The transition, while fairly smooth from a human perspective was less fun for the critters. Kitty howled through the 10-minute car ride (and for about 2 hours afterwards). Once we got inside, he broke free of the bathroom's narrow confines and made a break for the basement, where he wedged himself into the tiniest spot between an air duct and the rafters and hid for the better part of the day. The dog followed me into the basement to look for the cat, and couldn't get up the stairs...he was stuck for almost 2 hours, crying and running frustratedly around the basement. (I would've carried him out if I could've but he's a super-squirmy 90 pounds and, well, I'm a muscular wimp.) If the cable guys hadn't given him all kinds of attention when they came to set things up and then coaxed him up the stairs, he would've been stuck even longer!

So I woke up in Maryland at 5:30 am, and was in Virginia by 8 am. My stuff arrived at 12:30pm [and I have a great recommendation if you need movers - these guys were GOOD!], and we were cutting boxes open by 12:35pm. Around dinnertime we ordered pizza, and some good friends came by to visit and brought champagne and a baby daughter. The dog settled down, the cat ventured out of the basement (poor guy, smelling all musty and covered in dust!), and we sat on the front porch and chatted. It was, all in all, a lovely day, and a fitting way to start my 36th year on earth; in transition, and for maybe the first time in my life, enjoying it.



At this time tomorrow, I'll be driving to the new house to do a walk through before closing.

At this time on Saturday, I'll be driving to the new house to get the animals settled and tape signs up for the movers. And to meet the cable guy...any of you who know hubby will realize that this is a non-negotiable point.

Today? Not driving to the new house. Rather, sitting on the couch, surveying my boxed kingdom, making mental lists of what still needs to be done. Contemplating another cup of coffee before work. Reflecting on Mom's visit and the James Taylor concert last night. Watching the dog nap in the window seat. Wondering how much work I can cram into today to justify taking even more time away during this crazy busy time of year.

Next time you hear from me I'll be one of the newest residents of the Old Dominion!


pressure drop

Big storms came through again today...the air is nice and cool and pine-scented. Yum. We still have power, but due to a water main break we're supposed to boil our water for the next 3 days. Too bad I've packed all my pots and pans. Oh, Maryland, I'm ready to quit you! On another note, rehearsals started for Alcina today. New folks in the building, visits and classes from KK and DB and MG and more meetings than a usual day - busy, busy, busy!

Tomorrow's a big day: closing show #1, and Mom and R are visiting and seeing the concert on Wednesday. Big steps for mom...I hope she has a better time than she's setting herself up for.

Oh, and we're buying a new house. On Friday. And moving on Saturday. If I keep saying it, maybe I'll start believing it...crazy.


Happy Father's Day

Today was tough. I kept thinking about calling. And what I would say.

But I think the first thing I'd say would be "thanks."

Thanks for big hugs, no matter how old I was.

Thanks for teaching me to drive, even though I wasn't sure I was ready.

Thanks for letting me be your sous-chef/kitchen co-conspirator. (But that meatloaf with the whole hard-boiled eggs? Still weird, Dad.)

Thanks for teaching me to see the best in people.

Thanks for spoiling me rotten. (Hubby thanks you for that, too...he has a hard act to follow.)

Thanks for giving me a childhood that most people only read about.
Love you, dad.


Stuff n junk

i'm procrastinating, so hopefully this'll be a short post. JL says that the reason i'm having such difficulty packing is that it's still too far away...the problem is that it's not too far away anymore, and this week is going to be jam-packed with all kinds of stuff: shows, family visits, artist arrivals...you get the picture.

  • My dog has decided that joining the humans in the shower is his prerogative. It's a little weird...
  • My packing has deteriorated to the point that there's no point in writing anything on the box anymore...i'm hoping that unpacking will be like Christmas.
  • My husband is making up songs...
  • We're wondering how many days we'll be able to eat peanut butter sandwiches without being put off Jif permanently.
  • I'm moving more wine than food. I think that's good...
  • I keep thinking that I'm finished, but am quickly surprised by something I've forgotten. Both at work and home. Ugh.
OK, back to the box at hand. Posting will be light this week, more after the relocation!


Friday the 13th and Xanadu...discuss...

I'm writing this while watching the cast of Xanadu (the b'way musical) sing on a morning show with my breakfast - a piece of wholegrain bread with peanut butter - in my hand and a dog panting heavily on my thigh... I think I'll follow the path of least resistance and share.

On a side note, the movie Xanadu? Brilliant. It was one of my first music purchases (on vinyl, naturally), and I think I saw the movie a dozen times...in fact, I had a multi-colored satin jacket with a roller-skate embroidered on the left side that I would wear when I watched it. C'mon... Gene Kelly? AND Olivia Newton-John as a roller-skating muse? How could it NOT be a quality flick?!

Tonight the first mainstage opera opens, and it's outstanding! We have some last minute things to take care of, but that project has been chugging along on its own steam for a while and it needs little tending at this point...I'll be sad to see it go. The stage management team for the second opera is hard at work prepping for rehearsals, which will begin Monday morning. Singers and artistic staff are departing and arriving over the next several days, which means there will be lots of chaos, but lots of interesting, meaningful interactions with artists and visitors. Fingers crossed that everything goes smoothly!

The packing continues on apace...we're now officially eating off of paper plates until we move. Still a billion things to do, but I'm hoping to cross a lot off my to-do list this Saturday.

A special hurrah goes out to my boss, who as of today will have graduated two fabulous young adults. CONGRATS! If I have kids, I'm hoping she'll let me borrow her manual, as her 2 turned out exceptionally well. (And if my experience with the pup is any indication, well, I'll be needing some serious help...)

Friday the 13ths have always been lucky days for me, but this one is sad, as Dad passed away four months ago today. I still get pretty distracted and preoccupied on these anniversaries, but mostly I'm still angry at the unfairness and finality, pushing back against the fact that he's gone. I'm not really comfortable with the anger, so it's a double struggle to feel it without letting it affect my interactions with others. So here's hoping that the day is a good one, and that maybe he'll give me a little boost to get through.



A few short weeks ago, during the first Filene Center show, I was wearing wool socks and trying to stay warm...

... it's now so hot that I broke into a sweat just from typing the word "wool." It's 80 degrees and humid at 8:00am, and it's not even technically summer.


The heat-humidity combo has made tempers short and folks more irritable. (or maybe that's just me...) And for better or worse, opera is all about hot air...get a few dozen singers in a room doing their thing, and it gets toasty pretty quickly. Add heavy costumes, a crowded orchestra pit and spotty AC in our performance space and you have a situation that tests everyone's professionalism.

Luckily, our folks are true professionals.

The weather is supposed to break this evening, with big thunderstorms and drier air following. I know the pup would love to walk around the block without foaming at the mouth from the heat - cooler temperatures can't come soon enough!

Here's hoping that my motivation levels rise as the moisture levels in the air fall. I'm actually not sure they can get any lower...

On the to-do list?
  • pack. surprise, right?
  • review financials for a grant proposal
  • schedule a coaching for a singer in NYC
  • reconcile financials for a 2007 project
  • call a colleague at a southwestern opera house about tickets
  • company picnic (boy, am I glad I'm not manning the grill...)
  • take books in to work to give away
  • sweat profusely (hey, it's going to happen...this way I can check something off my list!)
  • start to reconcile budget expenses for opera #1...the thinking being if I can get my records into good shape now, it'll be easier to close the project out once the shops submit their numbers.
Opera #1 opens this weekend and it is fabulous - funny, beautifully sung and clocking in at a brisk 2 hours INCLUDING intermission...it's like the best kind of operatic gelato. And it's in the air-conditioned Barns...how can you say no?!

You can't. I'll see you there!
Stay cool, my friends!


Procrastination central

Work is starting to really pick up...recital #1 is over, we're in tech for opera #1, and the singers & stage management team for opera #2 arrive tomorrow. Add into the mix studio rehearsals and scenework, an evening of improv for the Young Professionals Group, and language coachings. And then add in budget deadlines that are pushed back, supertitle scripts, ticket orders, numerous arrivals and departures and schedule requests. And you have the month of June at Wolf Trap Opera.

Add a parental visit and a household move to that, and you have Rahree's June.

It's a little overwhelming, mostly in the fact that I can't keep my head in the correct zone. When I'm at work? I'm trying to remember what I need to pack and do for the move. When I should be packing? I'm checking work email, IMing co-workers, and trying to remember what I need to do for the week ahead. Out of sync doesn't begin to describe it!

Today - 4 hours in at the office. 12 boxes packed. A little website editing before this house goes on the market. Every surface in my house is covered in maybes...should we take this or not? Do we need it or is it a security blanket of sorts? Does it still work? Still fit? Would it be more useful to someone else? Thoughtful purging is the bane of my existence...I would rather keep everything, or unilaterally give everything away. But I know I'd be totally irritated if, in a month or two, I ended up buying the same article that I had given away.

(Thank goodness for generous friends with boxes! Lots and lots of boxes! )

I'm throwing in the towel for the evening, and betting that a cool shower (the August-y is contributing to the out-of-sync feeling), a new coat of paint on the toenails, a little Advil, and a good night's sleep will get this train back on track. Choo-choo!


laundry list

Not much time to post this morning, on account of sleeping in late. I'm not sure how I made it until 9:30 without one of the furry alarm clocks waking me up - an unexpected surprise!

  • Piano tech this evening...these rehearsals are usually pretty taxing for everyone, as it's where the technical aspects are fine tuned. The performers rarely get to move through a scene without the stage manager calling "hold, please." As an observer, though, it's a great opportunity to see the big impact little changes can make.

  • New arrivals coming to town this weekend to start coaching for opera #2 (or #3, depending on how you count) - it's always fun to welcome new folks, and welcome back old timers!

  • Work to-do list? Miles long. Suddenly. Things have totally been sneaking up on me, which is not so good, and a reminder that Outlook is indeed my friend...time to set reminders forward for next summer.

  • Home to-do list? Also miles long. Because we're moving in fourteen days. Fourteen. Days. O.M.G. Boy, do I wish that Pup knew how to use a tape gun...actually, I'd be stoked if he'd just stop eating my packing boxes...


the old grind

So this is the fun, crazy, magic time at work. The energy level is high, the multi-tasking is constant, and there's more than a little bit of ADD to go around. But you can't really blame us for being scattered, what with all the nifty stuff going on!

This was taken during a rehearsal for our first show in the FC, a production of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. We showed the full hi-def movie on a screen that was seriously larger than my home, with a live orchestra, two choruses, and soloists. Now, I will admit that I've read all the books, even the Simarillion, and one of my middle-school gifted project may have been to create a scale model of Frodo's hobbit hole. So I'm a little partial, sure. But it was AWESOME. The emotion on-screen was echoed, enhanced by the beautiful score and the great playing. We held rehearsals in The Barns, (as the other rehearsal spaces were full of opera singers and staff,) removed all the cushy patron chairs and oriented the room to the side, in order to fit the full orchestra on the floor and the choruses on the stage. The orchestration called for several less-conventional instruments, including a kind of prepared piano...although unprepared might be more accurate. It was an upright instrument with the frontspiece removed so the strings were visible. And the score called for the strings to be struck with - wait for it - a metal chain. Now, I've played piano since I was a wee babe, and my first job was actually selling Steinways and Yamahas...I have tremendous respect for the instrument. But I had to take a crack at it... I swung the chains back and whaled on the strings. YEAAAH! And then immediately felt terribly guilty and dampened the strings.

More about the first opera of the season - coming soon!


i'm back, take two

So the apocalypse brushed by the DC area, leaving trees down and roads closed and tempers flaring. after the 2 hour drive home last night (need I mention that I live 13.2 miles from my job? at least for the next few weeks...after that I'll be a measly 2.5 miles away.), i took the pup for a walk.

and listened.

amazing birdsong. thunder. conversation. helicopters.

no air conditioning noise. no automobile noise.

we strolled up the road, and stared at the huge trees that had fallen into the road.

it was a little taste of "roughing it" without the rigor...reading and playing piano by candlelight, talking to neighbors rather than closing windows and doors, and being distracted by tv and computers.

quiet, quiet, quiet.



Donna Reed on Steroids

It's Wednesday morning, and I'm sipping my last cup of coffee, watching Martha Stewart and Meredith Viera talk about no fewer than 7 varieties of cherries. The reason I love Martha in a guilty way is that she represents unlimited free time and energy. If I had more free time, I'd totally buy 7 pints of different kinds of cherries, try them all, and then make gourmet dishes incorporating them in interesting ways to feed the people I love.

No, I wouldn't.

In reality? When I have a free day it's spent hanging with my menfolk, doing laundry, becoming one with my couch and bad movies, reading a book. I have the time, but usually little inclination to make my own stationery, repaint the bathroom, bake a layer cake.

But I like to pretend... here's to daydreaming!


Catching Up

  • Happy June! The coolest month, as no fewer than 5 of the folks I work with and 3 close friends have birthdays within 5 days of each other. It's a crazy, wonderful coincidence, and I'm foregoing dessert at the thought of all the cake at the end of the month! Sweet!
  • I blogged a few days ago, and the only bad thing that happened was that my car window broke. En route to the car wash...oh yeah. The irony was not lost on me or my poor bird be-pooped car. While it cost a little more to fix than I had hoped, it was in the upright position when the torrential rains swept through Virginia yesterday, leaving me with a lighter wallet but a much drier backside. So maybe the trend "rahree-blogs:universe-slaps-her-down" is weakening, if not finished. Fingers crossed!
  • We're moving! Hubby found the perfect house - in walking distance to my job, cute as a button, with a big yard for the pup to run around in. We're moving on my birthday... a nice way to celebrate a 5er milestone, and an auspicious beginning for a luckier, happier year. Thanks for giving me a reason to look forward and dream, hubby. You're the best!

  • We're packing! Ugh... waaaaaay less fun. Singers and opera pros...I don't know how you do it. I have bags and bags of stuff to toss, stacks of boxes to move, much more to be done and a handful of days off before moving day. I'm having the hardest time with the "could-be-useful-to-someone" piles...hubby's school textbooks (we should sell 'em but who has the time/energy?), my choral music reference files, picture frames, vases...needless to say there will be piles of "free to a good any home" stuff laying around work...don't tell the building supervisor!!! How did I accrue so much crap in this tiny house? And the dust? Don't get me started! Achoo!

  • We're having an opera season! I'll write more about the start of this season, but to date it's featured a crazy, epic movie extravaganza, and quickly transitioned to a lovely, intimate recital performance. There's a palpable change in both the building, and in me, with the return of ebullient singers and luscious music. Plus the arrival of too many good friends to mention make life fuller, richer, and way more funner.

  • We're catching up with friends! LMB, pup and I took advantage of the pretty weather to walk the usual route through the park. It's harder to make good friends as I get older, and a low-key evening getting to know a great lady was a perfect combination. The park is something that I'll miss moving away from, as it's been a good friend and companion over the last five (?!) years. But it was a treat to just shoot the breeze with a friend...no taboo topics, no awkward pauses. Thanks, lady!

  • Ok, we're totally procrastinating...back to the boxes. More regular posting to resume anon!