training day 1

After a week of feeling achy and gross, I started my running challenge in earnest today! Go, me!

I downloaded an 8-week 5k training program from iTunes (Personal Running Trainer), strapped on the running shoes and the iPod, and hit the road. It's an interval workout, with the first week consisting of 10 sets of one-minute runs followed by 2 minute walks. The music is a kind of ambient techno...enough rhythm to make sure that I don't slack off during the walks, but not so involved that I'm not listening to my body or, more importantly, traffic.

I should mention that I've run a 5k once before, and my training regimen consisted of getting up at 5:30am, and throwing myself around the icy streets of Pittsburgh, PA for as long as I could stand it, and then bonking during 6th period and letting my classes run rampant all over the school.

This seems like a much more enjoyable alternative.

I've written before about how I dream about running...in my dreams I'm SUPER fast, it's easy and exhilarating. (I know, "In your dreams, sucka!) In reality, the oom-pah butt and the wheezing and the slow pace are, quite frankly, a little depressing. But, because the running interval was so short [even a little too short for fatty me!], I could really run all-out. The longer stride, the wind in my, well, hat [bedhead is too scary for the neighbors to behold], the sprint (hahahaha!) past the trail maintenance group were all pretty exciting. I got home feeling good, sweaty, but not exhausted or sick or wimpy. Yay!

So here's today's list of five things i'm thankful/grateful for:
  1. positive outlook
  2. being pleasantly surprised
  3. the end of summer (i know, i'm one of the only ones...)
  4. sore muscles
  5. working toward a goal


finish line

the opera season is over.

and i'm feeling it. more accurately, i'm feeling like i was hit by a bus.

couple that with some lovely, cool, rainy weather, and my nesting instinct has clicked into overdrive.

the dent in my couch is remembering the shape of my fanny. i've skimmed through more magazines in the past 3 days than i have all summer. i made scones...from scratch...before 9am. i've only left the house if shopping or martinis were part of the deal. i'm already pondering what i'm going to make for dinner and it's practically the butt-crack of dawn.


the pup and i took a long walk through town this morning. it started to rain as we walked, and then it started to pour. while any normal person would've picked up the pace and jogged the dog home, we just kept walking at a leisurely pace, taking time to sniff all the things that he wanted to sniff. we wandered around, listening to the rain fall, watching the stream run, watching the traffic splash by. neither one of us melted.

so here's a lazy friday five:
  • reflecting on a job well done
  • manhattans made with dad's favorite bourbon
  • window shopping
  • small, positive changes
  • crock pot dinners on rainy days


saturday miscellany

Leading off with my five for today:
  • Lazy Saturday mornings...this one a little moreso than usual, due to the flowing conversation (and wine!) with our neighbors last night.
  • The Farmer's Market. Check out my kitchen windowsill and try to tell me that you're not coming over for dinner tonight...
  • Health...while my "run" yesterday was fairly disastrous, the fact that I can haul my fat ass around the neighborhood when I choose to is a blessing. My usual modus operandi, when "taking care of myself" is to feed my soul through my mouth. I think I may be ready to rework that structure...more on that in a moment.
  • Naps. I'm not very good at taking them, but I think I'll give it a shot this afternoon...
  • The 'shed. I've had some time to practice over the last week, and not only do I sound AWESOME in this house of all hardwood floors, but it's making me really happy to make some noise. The pup is of a decidedly different opinion: anytime I hit a note above (vocal) C4, either singing or just playing the piano, he gets irritated and tries to distract me with a toy.
So two things to share. Oh wait, three. First off, please buy my Maryland house. Seriously. It's yours. And it's gorgeous. It's teeny, but it's safe and quiet and near one of the mostest beautiful parks ever. (I apologize, but you know I have to slip a plug in until it's sold...)

We were invited to dinner last night at our neighbor's house. A and M live across the street: A owns a catering business, and M helps. They've been married for 2 years, together for 10. They have kids from their first marriages, one still at home. They're both from Ecuador, A from the mountains and M from the coast. They have a teeny tiny yorkie named Sergio. And they are lovely, warm, fun folks. We stayed much later than we had intended, drank and ate (the food! omg!!!) more than we had intended, and had a fabulous time. It was another cosmic reinforcement that this is a good place to be...although I'm afraid the bar has been set very high for our turn at hosting. Somehow I don't think take-out will do!

And in other news, I signed up for a 5k. I have until the end of October to get myself running ("running"...I'm sooooo funny!) a decent distance in a manner that won't embarrass myself. I downloaded a training program, am setting out my gear so that I can really start. I think the big goal will eventually be a 10k, but I'm starting small. And I'm going to write a little here about it. It's a habit that I'll hopefully be able to continue on the audition tour [note to self...you MUST make room for the sneakers, no matter how small that suitcase is...] and through the holidays. Please feel free to check in, support or smack talk, or to join me virtually or IRL. And if you have good tunes to suggest for the iPod, please send them my way! I almost didn't finish yesterday, but a Robert Randolph tune that Singlegirl had given me started and gave me enough of a groove to keep going. I didn't win any style points, but it's a little early for that, anyway.

So here's the (thankfully!) short to-do list for today:
  • map out a 5k loop that starts and ends at my house. one without cheating shortcuts is what I'm hoping to find...we'll see if I'm successful.
  • clean the house- the one in which i live, as opposed to the one in which I don't live.
  • slow roast some of those lovely veggies for supper tonight...mmmmmm....
  • find a recipe for cream scones, and doctor it to use some of the dried cherries I have in the cupboard.
  • nap.
Raise your hand if you think I should start with that last one... :)


bitte nicht stoeren!

Do not disturb indeed...

I'm still not able to do much more than recap...waiting for sufficient brain cells to regenerate so that I can smack a few of 'em together and get some original content. That day is, unfortunately, not today.

We closed our last show on Tuesday, and sent everyone home on Wednesday. The boss and I took Wednesday off, too...I felt like I had been hit by a bus, and I'm sure that she did too. But I'm not taking time off until the beginning of September, so I was in the office Thursday morning.

And all hell broke loose.

I know, realistically, that all hell did not, in face, break loose. The crises were manageable, certainly. But it felt like everyone needed their pound of flesh RIGHT THIS SECOND. I'm sure that we've been saying, "Please, just give us until the season's over and we'll give you some content/numbers/narrative that's correct and clean." And they waited until the day after the last show before they hit us up...I get it, a day to collect our thoughts and whatnot. But there's a lot of cumulative fatigue that hits us at the end of the season...for 3 months we're not 9-5ers, we're doing everything from ferrying singers to shipping HUGE boxes to trying to account for the thousands of dollars we spend doing what we do. Even with the awesome admin team that we had in place this summer, we still get run down, still run low on psychic energy, still need a few days to find the tops of our desks... (well, maybe that's just me.)

So what did they get yesterday? Fiction. No real numbers, no concise verbage, just whatever I could manage to slap down before the deadline hit. Yep...made me feel more than a little irritated, and more than a little slimy. Rahree simply wasn't in the office yesterday, it was her evil twin Grumpy Bitchslewski.

But today? Today will be a better day. I'm leaving the overhead light off, turning my iTunes down low enough so that I'm the only one who can hear it, and digging out. I'm going to tie up loose ends, ignore the phone, clear off my desk, postpone anything that has to do with numbers (there are times when I'm a numbers whiz...but when I'm fatigued and punchy I can easily do more harm than good.), and cut out a little early so that I can pick up dessert for a nice dinner with the neighbors across the street.

And, to get back to a habit that made me less grumpy, here's my five reasons to be thankful and happy today:
  1. the conclusion of a seriously kick-ass summer season
  2. beautiful, gorgeous, amazing weather for days and days...love it!
  3. new friends
  4. time to reflect
  5. morning walks (in sweats and bedhead!) around town with the pup
Have a great weekend!


bullet points

The picture is of my desired state of mind...not quite there yet...

Quick recap:
  • This weekend's show? Fan-freaking-TAS-tic. Ranking high on my list of all-time favorite theater moments.

  • My house? Officially on the market. Let the barfing begin... seriously, buying a house now seems WAY easier than selling one.

  • The weather? finally starting to feel like August. Which is unfortunate, as I'm working the Boston Pops show on Tuesday. Sweatin' to the oldies indeed...

  • My mood? Preoccupied. My mind is consistently in a different place than my body.

  • My body? Fat and tired. 'Nuff said.

  • My hair? Growing it out. When will science tackle the really hard projects, like inventing a pill that will make hair grow quickly enough to get it past that awkward stage? Because I could really use that pill right now.

  • My husband? Stressed. To the max. We're both more than a little uptight.

  • The animals? Loving 3:00am. I don't know why. Little bastards.

So I guess the update is that the season is awesome but almost over, I'm wound tight as a piano string, and we're just hoping that someone likes our old house as much as we did...and that they like it quickly...


seller's remorse?

Day off from work today. Time to make like my boss and do more work on my day off than I do in the office.

We spent the day at the old house. We tidied up, watered the grass, washed the walls, scrubbed the tub, painted shelves and scuffmarks, hung pictures, vacuumed (and, by the way, do you know how hard it is to make those nice vacuuming patterns on plushy rugs? it's hard!), snarked at each other, watched the dog eat dirt, and marveled at how darn good the house looks!

Truth be told, it's nice enough to move back into.

But now I'm back in my happy little blue house, rarin' to wash the grime [and paint and sweat and dirt] off. Yep, it's all about gettin' clean, gettin' a glass of vino, and gettin' horizontal...it's an early bedtime for me tonight, because the big excitement is tomorrow - opening night of the last show of the season. Toi toi toi to the cast - I know you'll RAWK!

Wanna read about the show? Click here.
Wanna buy [or just look at] my Maryland house? Click here.


home stretch

It feels like September...blissfully like September. Cool air, warm light, windows open.

And opera.


Opera does not happen - for us, at least - in September.

But tonight is the first orchestra rehearsal for our last opera of the season. There's a tremendous sense of focus among the singers and artistic staff, but we in the admin wing are a little scattered. Here's why: It's August. But it feels like September. But we're working on post-season Foundation projects that are usually completed in October or December. And then going to rehearsal. Opera rehearsal. Which means that it must be summer, not autumn or winter...

Thus our internal timeline is all screwed up. We should still, by all accounts, be playing Whack-A-Mole, but higher brain function is being demanded of us around every corner. Budgets, yearly reviews, recording projects, 2009 applications, all swirling around us in a fog of "Why aren't you working on this? Slackers! Get your act together!"

And what we'd really like to do?

We'd like to just sit back and watch this incredibly colorful opera unfold... to indulge in a little bit of post-season reflection and, dare I say it, nostalgia, before everyone scatters to the winds... to find some way to recharge, to each grow one more brain cell so that we each have two to rub together.

Not. Gonna. Happen.

It's good preparation for 2009, when there will be more opera than usual (details to come). But I need a little bit of perspective to make it through the paltry time remaining.

So that's why you get tiny, infrequent posts this week. Sorry.

On a related note, the applications are up - you can apply online (preferred....go green, go paperless!) or via hard copy. And for those of you with whom I usually visit while on the audition tour, check out my dates and let me know if you're up for lunch/coffee/martinis/dinner!

Oh, and on a totally unrelated note, you should read this book. It's a back-to-school book, or maybe it's really a thank-God-I'm-not-going-back-to-school book... But it's good. And it has pictures. And there's very little physics in it. Thankfully.


Checking things off the list

It's a perfect day!

The weather is drop-dead gorgeous, more like an early autumn day than the armpit of August. There's no humidity, a gentle breeze, and birds singing in the trees, and just enough clouds in the sky to provide variety from my spot on the porch. (weather: check!)

No office time scheduled today, either. (work: check!)

I did go exploring...first with the dog on a new path around town, and then into a nearby town to visit LaJefa and SingleGirl's favorite bookstore...it was total carnage, I tell you. But I now have enough stories to keep my fanny on the porch for at least a day-and-a-half. AMM, you are too generous, and the dent in my couch thanks you, as I've no reason at all to leave it with this many books! (exercise: check!) (trying new things: check!) (stretching my mind: check!)

I opened every window in the house, and spent quite a bit of time practicing piano today...in between laundry loads and snacking and, well, reading. The nails are cut to a reasonable [read: non-audible] length, and while I totally suck it feels good to pound around. I gave the lawnmower guys a run for their money with some Beethoven, too! They won in the volume category, but I totally got bonus points for style. Being surrounded by kick-ass musicians all summer has its ups and downs...they're totally inspiring [up!], but they really highlight what I could've done had I just practiced more... [oooh, down!] On days like today, though, it seems like getting back into shape is the most obvious, natural thing to do. (doing chores: check!) (doing something musical: check!) (introspection: check!)

I should drive over to the old house to clean up and start staging, but it's too nice out, and quite frankly getting a little late to deal with weekend Beltway traffic. (procrastination: check!) So I think I'll just keep doing what I'm doing, with maybe a little run to the store later. I hope you're all having a relaxing Friday - if you're still at work, just tell them that Rahree says that you need to go home. Now. And wave as you drive away.


breathing room

so, while things are slower, i still don't have two brain cells to rub together... here's an all-too-brief wrap up that should've been several months of posting.

  • The new house is still awesome! The old house is, sadly, not on the market yet pending some additional work. You should totally buy it! Here's the link. All of those posts I used to write about walking in a beautiful, huge-mongous park? YOU could be writing those posts! On your own blog! Wouldn't that be fun?
  • The National Symphony residency, nine concerts plus our Candide, is finished. Per usual, there was some outstanding music making...the humor of the Monty Python oratorio, the suspense of the Hitchcock film night, the power of Tchaik and Beethoven...all wonderful. There are many, many people at the NSO that I adore, but there are unfortunately a handful of musicians with elitist, opportunistic attitudes that just about ruined the last evening for me. I've been trying lately to follow the rules, to not act like I'm above or beyond them, because I get so unreasonably angry with the rampant entitlement issues in the greater DC area. I'm sure there's a longer rant in here, but I'll spare you. For now...
  • Sat in on an Ariadne rehearsal today...I can't even tell you how exciting it is!
  • Meeting Eric Idle this summer? Priceless. Watching Jill and her sheep onstage was another highlight of the show!
  • Meeting Jason Alexander and NOT calling him George to his face? Also priceless.
  • Our Studio Singers, along with their fearless leader JW, have all departed for fairer destinations. It was a lovely, talented, fearless group, and they did us proud. You'll be seeing many of those names in the future...
Well, if you're wrapping up, that means there's so little to do that you're probably sitting at work, streaming YouTube videos and eating bonbons, right Rahree?


Our online application for fall auditions will be up within the next day or so, and the audition madness will begin. We have a big project that will hopefully be completed by the holidays, but there's work to be done now to get it ready. And I'm heading back into the classroom to teach a five-week voice class for busy adults...low pressure and lots of silly fun!

More Heinz posts [ketchup, catch up...get it?!?] soon.