today's word

from dictionary.com:

egress: the act of going out or leaving; exit.

While it's most certainly not over, the season is winding down...the daily schedule puzzle is easier to craft, and singers are planning their exits from the woods of Vienna. It's a bittersweet time for us, certainly...on one hand, it means that we get our lives back to some degree, that we're not so conspicuously on call, that we can actually take weekends and evenings away from the office. But it also means that it gets eerily quiet in the office, that there's no chance of washing away a frustrating meeting by popping into rehearsal to take in some Handel or Strauss, that the spreadsheets I've been putting off must finally be reconciled.

Yet, at the same time we're winding down we're ramping up for the fall audition season. Already we've received inquiries about the process, when the application will be available, what cities we'll be hearing singers in. Yeesh...the poster's not even finished yet! So we're working on web pages and PDF applications and colleague letters, tweaking application requirements, and trying to remember what worked and what didn't from last year.

I had a professor in undergrad who used to say, (imagine a gruff, male voice) "Always have something in the wings, another project to move onto. If you get a great review and dwell on it, your head'll get big. If you get a bad review you'll be depressed and it'll be harder to keep going." So, while this transition seems a little wonky, I'm finding it good to keep looking forward.

What I'm looking most forward to in the next few weeks:


two in a row!

two days off, in a row, that is. [although I like BG's query "Two days or two martinis?" Both, my good friend...both.]

at this time of year, to have two consecutive days out of the office is a real treat... and while most of the day will be spent running errands and addressing the twin mountains of dirty laundry and animal hair, there will also be time set aside for some trashy-magazine reading, an extra iced coffee on the porch, and a home-made pedicure.


this summer has, in many ways, totally escaped my reach. while we're still in rehearsal for two projects, i've jumped to autumn in my mind...auditions, prepping for a class i'll be teaching, contemplating post-season vacation plans. but before the magic leaves the building for the summer, i'm looking forward to spending some time in rehearsal watching and listening to one of my most favorite operas of. all. time.

and i'm off - lookie me being all productive!


wow, is your face supposed to be that color?

I'm no athlete.

Hell, I'm not even particularly coordinated...and I have the bruises to prove it!

But, as part of this mild mid-life crisis, I've decided to spend a little less time sitting on my fanny, and a little more moving around. And since today was a day off from work, it seemed a perfect day to begin.

So the pup [who is, thankfully, no longer exploding. knock on wood!] and I took a 3 mile walk this morning, checking out the neighborhood businesses and various patches of monkey grass. I picked up an obscene number of fresh-baked loaves of bread en route, because I made no dietary concessions as part of this activity-resolution. Hell, I should be able to eat MORE carbs due to the upped level of activity! Right? Hmmmm....

And then I took a little jog...probably not much more than a mile, mile-and-a-half, but that's a real stretch for yours truly. I signed up for a 5k at work, in part to shame myself into running more often...nothing says collegiality like huffing through an easy run with a purple face, unable to make small talk because you can't talk for wheezing, right? So I'm trying to go 3-4 times a week for the next few weeks, just to see if I can maintain it. We'll see, but I'm feeling pretty good about it.

And THEN I thought, well, I'm all sweaty and gross, why not take my bike out and see if I remember how to ride it? It's been about a year, but I know that Hubby had it serviced, so it'll be fine. Pulled it out of the shed, and noticed that there were toe clips on it.

Toe. Clips.

(scroll back to sentence #2 at the top...I'll wait for you...)

And you'll never believe it, but when I braked, I couldn't get my toes out of the toe clips!


No lasting damage other than a totally bruised ego, and the feeling that I may have overdone things. The upside is that now I'm completely justified in sitting on my porch, with my legs elevated, reading and napping. Aaaaahhhhhh...

I'll post later about the last 2 weeks at work...they've been totally chock-full of great music and petty annoyances and brilliance and stupidity, sometimes even simultaneously. We're in rehearsal for a few NSO shows and (drumroll, please!) the last show of the summer... and if you're at all an opera buff and don't have tickets for this last opera, you're a fool! Go buy them now! It's going to be THAT. GOOD.



Dog. Keeps. Exploding.

But only between the hours of 10pm and 5am.

For the last 4 nights.

Sleep is at a premium.

Work is suffering, as it's one of the most challenging weeks we'll have this summer, even without the sleep deprivation.

Play is suffering, as I can't bring myself to do anything in the evenings except nap and worry, and have missed some lovely opportunities.

And because even easy tasks are difficult when I'm tired, I'm finding myself frustrated at the smallest things that aren't working.


Hoping that the poor pup is feeling better this evening, and that if not tomorrow's vet visit [3rd in 2 weeks...maybe I should just write them into my will...] will fix him.

And wishing that there was still some of that lovely, orderly, heartbreakingly beautiful music from Alcina still floating around to clear my head... maybe popping into Vienna Woods or Ariadne will help rejuvenate this box of rocks on my shoulders.


day off!

...and it's been a fairly productive one, especially given that puppy exploded in the middle of the night, and poor hubby spent the early morning hours dozing on the settee on the front porch with ToxicPooch. No office work on the docket today, but lots of puttering around the house, running [well, walking] errands around town, collecting piles of animal hair from the corners of the house, watching cooking shows while, well, not cooking. And, of course, I've been spending quite a bit of time on the porch.


The only problem is the porch...kitty keeps trying to convince me that he's an outdoor cat...this video pretty much outlines our daily routine, except that my guy is trying to get out of the house, rather than in...


Cue theme music

I understand the communication junkies. The folks that always have a cell phone/laptop/pda glued to their hand and/or ear. The texting during any time that qualifies as "downtime." The obsessive need to find out what's going on.

Most times of year I am not a slave to technology. I have candles on top of my piano so that I can play when the power goes out. I like to read, and exist nicely sans tv. I do have a weak spot for the iPod, but if I forget to charge it I just sing. Loudly. All around the house. I answer the phone and email when it's convenient for me, rather than when it rings or dings. I read the newspaper - in print - and do the crossword in pen.

But by mid-summer I transform into Gotta-Know Girl, the newest Marvel superhero! My primary powers?
  • Eavesdropping on conversations in adjacent offices and cubicles
  • Texting at hyperspeed until my thumbs bleed data
  • Accessing email, contracts and spreadsheets at lightning speeds through the direct download port I had installed in my brain.
Ok, so maybe none of that is true, but it certainly feels like there's more information coming into my brain than I can process. And it seems that time is less kind, that things need to happen faster, responses need to be knee-jerk quick. So I'm wedded to the laptop and the iPhone, spending waaaay more time on them than I should be. I should be taking better care of myself, hanging with buddies who are only here for the summer, and settling into my pretty house instead of checking the Drudge Report, Bloglines or Facebook a million times a day.

Counting down the days until this superhero retires...can't wait to take off this spandex!



I've tried 4 different times to actually capture the morning in prose. It's not so much working.

It's due, I'm sure, to the battleground that is my schedule. Working until midnight-ish doesn't jive so well with waking up at 5:30am with the critters. And I'm sleepy enough that I'm not using the early morning time to take care of myself, other than taking the hound for a spin between big-cup-of-coffee number 1 and 2. I should be tidying the house, taking a vitamin, going for a jog, getting my toes done, anything to keep the momentum going until a nap-worthy day emerges. Which will be a few, manageable, days from now, so it'll all even out soon. Right?

Not to say that the morning hasn't been quite pleasant - Sunday paper, stroll with the pup, coffees 1 and 2, raisin-walnut-pumpernickel bread (from the neighborhood bakery...can I say again how much I LOVE the new house & neighborhood?!), and the iPod shuffle picking up Pete Yorn, the Weepies, Toad the Wet Sprocket, CSN, Shawn Colvin...excellent morning music.

And not to say that work hasn't been pleasant, as well. Sure, there are a gajillion things going on, and I've dropped more balls than is really acceptable...which makes me feel a little slimy...but with the volume of things happening, there's not the time to really beat myself up. (Later...that time will come later) But we've accomplished good work (hello, 2009 budget!), had some great conversations, and the music has been simply awesome...Dame Kiri, Marvin's pops spectacular (with the lovely and talented JvE hopping last-minute on the the Music Theater train!) and a Handel masterpiece in 3 days? It's an embarrassment of riches, truly.

But there's a peculiar kind of daydreaming that I tend to engage in at this point in the summer. It always revolves around what I'm going to do differently when my life reverts back to my own possession. I love the summer - it's the fun, challenging culmination of months worth of work! But the combination of cumulative fatigue, a touch of mid-life crisis (Last year at this time I wouldn't have called it that, but if I follow in my dad's footsteps I'm already past the halfway mark...talk about changed perspective. Wow.), and a desire to do something dad-worthy are making me a little restless today, wondering how to frame life post-summer.

So to today's To Do list, I'll add the following:
  • new moleskine notebook
  • new good pen
  • write it all down
Here's to selective transformations, to caring for oneself and others, and to stolen quiet time.


Humpday...well, not really

It's Wednesday!

Which means it's halfway to the weekend for you 9-5ers, but for us it's a little like having a second Tuesday or third Monday in the week...if you count week's end as a day without opera, we're a ways away.

We've reached critical mass: if you look at this week, from last Sunday to next Sunday [I know, a week +1], our little troupe will have:
  • performed Candide at the FC for a few thousand of our closest friends
  • started the improv opera project with your friend and mine, JD
  • opened [2 performances] a new production of Alcina
  • started recital rehearsals with SB
  • performed for the WT Associates
Layer 3 full [14+ hour] days of National Symphony Orchestra performances, intern reviews and 2009 budget deadlines on top of it and, well, you understand our week!

But it's an exciting day - our second opera, Alcina, has its final dress rehearsal this evening. While it's still a working rehearsal, we invite friends and family to watch and listen. It lends the occasion a little more gravity, and allows the performers to push back against the energy in the room. The colors in this production, vocal, instrumental, as well as in the physical production, are just amazing...saturated, vibrant...breathtaking. This is a gorgeous piece, and I think we're all ready to share it with the larger world.

On the domestic front, since it's a late evening I'm going in a little later to work today... am taking the pup to the dog park to run around, and then the lovely SingleGirl is going to check in on him this evening for a walk. I haven't told him that his girlfriend is visiting, but he'll be pleasantly surprised!




We've entered the part of summer that we'd dub "hell week" if it were truly only a week long. There are several big projects starting or culminating this week, which is exciting and a little nerve-wracking. Add into the mix several symphony shows at the large theater and it makes for a stretch of very long days. My coping strategies, in no particular order:
  • Snacks. while this shouldn't be a stress-reliever, it is. a major one. thank goodness the office is at the top of several flights of stairs at the FC, so it usually balances out.
  • Starbucks. don't judge me.
  • Sleep. with earplugs and tylenol pm if need be. it takes me so long to unwind after a show that the rest of my earlybird household will wake me after a few hours if I forget the earplugs.
  • Comfortable shoes. this is not the week for my lovely hoochie heels. No leopard print, no pewter patent leather t-straps, no nothing. Maybe the Nike Air heels for a few hours, but it seems highly unlikely. And while flats are back in, I still can't find any that I think are really cute.
  • A positive attitude. Hoping that, if I trust for the best [and prepare for the worst, naturally] that things will go smoothly. It's a philosophy that fits in quite well with tonight's performance, don't you think?
Fingers crossed that today goes smoothly, and more quickly than it could. I'm off to Starbucks. Don't judge. :)



I'm stealing this blatantly from Sounds & Fury...it just made me soooo happy.

edit: so obviously i had my computer on mute when i watched this...way better without steven tyler in the background...


sweeping out the attic

This morning [and, truth be told, last night] was full of enough petty annoyances and tiny heartbreaks to weigh pretty heavily on me. Nothing terrible, just cumulative yuck.

But this morning is the first orchestra reading for Alcina. No singers, just a wild array of instruments, many of unusual size, shape, and sound. The rehearsal is relaxed, CameraMan is leading the group with calm command, and the ensemble between musicians is growing stronger with each piece. After listening to the cd for months and sitting in on rehearsals, it's a treat to hear the musical underpinnings. The structure of the music, the innate order, without the captivating vocal fireworks is much more contemplative... it's a little like having the floor of my brain swept clean.

Good stuff.

I'm all for art challenging me, making me think...but sometimes it's nice to have it set me at ease.