Today I...

  • Watched a fairy and a dog celebrate a birthday with SpongeBob and a good witch, until a vampire monkey stole all of their crabby patties.
  • Listened to beautiful boheme excerpts. Through a glass door. And thought that the door was open. (Boy, those guys are LOUD!)
  • Completed one more step in getting our 2010 (2010?!? How can that beeeeeee???) applications up and online.
  • Blessed several men (and their families and progeny) in New Jersey for getting me out of an unexpected multi-thousand-dollar jam.
  • Listened to a new rendition of a fabulous Smokey Robinson tune.
  • Put out several tiny fires. (Admittedly, probably created an equal number.)
  • Ate so many miniature candy bars that they created a mammoth candy bar in my belly. Whoops.
  • Craved the smell of summer. Am thinking about getting a bottle to smell, since I've not seen the sun outside of my sun roof.
  • Blew off the spreadsheet project that's due by COB tomorrow. Double whoops.

My five:
  1. Colleagues who are thoughtful and kind, even when we're all wearing thin.
  2. Being surrounded by super-generous music makers.
  3. License to be silly.
  4. Whack-a-mole days.
  5. Making plans.


7.28.09 other hat, please

While most folks know that I work for an opera company, the other part of my (ridiculously long) job title deals with classical music...a chamber music series during the academic year and an orchestral residency in the summer. Due to the overlapping nature of this particular summer, there are several orchestra concerts that coincide with opera company performances...and because KPW and I are responsible for both, we've had to split duties and have been conspicuously absent from one group or the other.

Me? I've lucked into all of the orchestra performances that involve either video or costumes. Coincidence? Hmmm....

Thus far we've had video game characters:
There are several versions of Link from The Legend of Zelda, one of my all-time favorite games. Which shows you indeed how old I really am.

The Wizard of Oz and flying monkeys in restored technicolor glory. "Oh, what a world, what a world!"

And Stormtroopers. Hordes and hordes of the (sorry, guys) nicest baddies you'll ever meet. A lovelier bunch of evil guests we've never seen!

Tonight I get to wear my opera hat for the last opera in the small house, and I'm relishing the chance to hear this glorious singing one more time as much as I'm wishing that the subsequent good-byes weren't in the air. But if you're in town, I hope you'll join me at this show. ( I'll be one of the ones walking around with an oh-so-chic walkie talkie. ) Should be a FABULOUS night on the lawn!

My five:
  1. Late starts.
  2. Good conversations with good people.
  3. Self-serve wine bars.
  4. Busy days.
  5. Hard, dreamless sleep.



For you.

Welcome to my world.

My five:
  1. Hanging backstage with Darth Vader and stormtroopers.
  2. Listening to the audience applaud Judy Garland and the NSO over and over again.
  3. Common ground found the wings.
  4. Comfy shoes.
  5. Summer storms.


7.23.09 crisis of faith to go, please.

Today was all about strong knee-jerk reactions from several sources on several topics.


Part of my job description is to be helpful. Well, not in so many words, but part of being a team player is taking care of your teammates, right? And at this time of year, we have many, many teammates (and it's second half of the game and we are all tired). Being helpful is also part of being a good friend...heck, of just being a friend. Of being a quality human being! Being helpful, relevant, makes me feel good about my place in the world.

After a strong start this morning, however, my efforts have been totally stymied. I find work and personal relationships on unsteady footing, surrounded by accusations, defensive language and a marked inability to imagine more than the worst-case scenario. Believing the worst in people seems to be the easiest thing to do.

I'm to blame as well - I'm as capable of snap decisions as anyone, perhaps even more so. Good people make snap decisions. Knee-jerk reactions are just that - highly emotional, non-rational, narrow-field-of-vision decisions.

But I am terribly nostalgic for the good days in the classroom(and certainly not all days, but the good ones), believing the best in my students and colleagues. Believing that we'd make the right choices, that we'd shore each other up. That we'd give others the benefit of the doubt. That we'd forgive mistakes.

I know it's mostly a product of my own fatigued mind that these are even problems. But I'm feeling raw, heavy in a non-waistline kind of way tonight. And so I'm going offline for a while.

My five:
  1. Thunderstorms.
  2. Discomfort.
  3. My boys.
  4. Silence.


7.19.09 full

I'm full.

Full of new ideas, laughter, and waaaaay too much food. Seems that an impromptu dinner with hubby and friends from across the river was just what this girl needed to recharge. Add a blissfully beautiful day into the mix, and you have something close to perfection.

I have a hunch I'll be trying to recreate this feeling of ease over the next few very busy weeks.

My five:
  1. Watching a beautiful 2 year old girl stuffing blueberries into her mouth by the handful, trying to smile and chew at the same time.
  2. Clean house.
  3. These. Lurvely.
  4. Miraculously clean laundry. (Hubby RAWKS.)
  5. Perfect, beautiful summer days.



It's so amazingly late, and I'm still not asleep.


But not. I had a fairly awesome day, cloaked in a mantle of just-OK-ness. (Hubby's day was super difficult...it feels wrong to gloat.)

Woke up. Spent some quality time with the pets. Climbed a tree and did cartwheels. ( Just because I could. For realz.)Had a perfect (read:easy) workout with my slave-driver trainer. Felt better leaving the gym than I did when I arrived... and isn't that the goal, friends?

Lunch with AC, our fabulous intern - sparkling conversation AND sushi? Awesome. I hope that only good things happen to her - she's cool enough to merit a lifetime supply of fabulous.

An afternoon spent trying to pick up lost threads...seems that every potential through-line snapped, but in reality they were just too tangled to tell. And they all untangled...on their own time.

The evening was supposed to be hard...a rehearsal that's punishing by its very nature. And not to say that there weren't casualties (ankles are especially vulnerable in this show), but it was smoother than I would've anticipated. Kudos to a willing cast, a top-notch production team, and an artistic team whose work is both inspirational to the extreme yet rooted in common sense. Even if Baroque opera "isn't your thing," this is a project worth seeing.

IMHO, of course.

And I'm not really all that humble.

My five? Wow...tonight it's hard to narrow down...
  1. great music. This in particular is my new chill-out tune.
  2. hubby at home, instead of travelling.
  3. playtime. refusing to lose sight of fun.
  4. great colleagues.
  5. stories.


7.15.09 outdoor food

Today wasn't supposed to revolve around eating outside, and yet it did. I glommed onto a luncheon hosted by the CEO for our singers on one patio, and for a farewell reception for a colleague on another several hours later.

There were lemon bars at both events.

I am a recent fan of lemon bars, and am grateful that too many people were hovering around the dessert table for me to gracefully snarf every last crumb. Friends, while my tongue is totally pissed at you, my skinny jeans will be mailing your thank-you note momentarily.

(Looking for a new home, no doubt...)

Home from work around 11pm - not bad at all, considering I went into the office super late (and then, well, I ate my way across two office campuses) and the lion's share of the evening was made up of the designer run of the next opera, which was very cool. Hubby has been a true trooper - making dinner (he's an AWESOME grillmaster), looking after the animals, letting me sleep in (and keeping the animals occupied - a labor of love, to be sure!) the morning after a late night. It's only a matter of time before his new job takes over a large portion of his energy and hours, but I'm so grateful in the meantime to be cared for so well. He rocks!

So I'm currently sitting on the couch "unwinding." I've been home for about 30 minutes: long enough to change out of my work duds, pour a glass of wine, receive mad loving from cat and dog (the dog shows it by wagging his tail; the cat by walking around my feet, trying to trip/kill me. Am I allowed to be mad if it (the tripping/killing) comes from a loving place?), and skim Google reader for what's new in the blogoverse. Turnaround for tomorrow morning is civilized: a 10am (for me) start to the day. Oftentimes my colleagues and I have 8 hours or less at home before returning for a new day...anyone have hints/tips/suggestions for making that turnaround with energy and style?

Seriously. I'm all ears. Please.

And FYI, illegal drugs are not an option.

Legal ones?
Totally fair game.

My five:
  1. Beautiful weather. (I know, as soon as I publish this, that the weather gods will smite me with a hot, humid fist. But it's been truly lovely in our nation's capital!)
  2. Purring.
  3. Straight tone. Work it, opera singers!
  4. Mohawks and hot pink hair. (Wish I was brave enough for a bolder choice!)
  5. Silk. I'm a sucker for feel-good.


7.14.09 diminishing returns

Ok, kidlets. I've hit that time of year when there's more to do than I have brain cells. It's not hard to get there, but somehow I'm always a little surprised when I actually arrive.

Actually? Really surprised.

This week on the docket?
  • The start of Tech Week for Ulysses.
  • Headshot photographer on site.
  • Mo. Lord in town to rehearse Boheme principals.
  • Your Friend and Mine J.Do (just like J.Lo, but WAY funnier) doing improv with the Studio.
  • Orchestra reads.
  • Panel discussions. (Ok, technically it happened today, but I'm counting it!)
  • A dance performance (that I did not make).
  • A concert that I'm hoping to make.
  • Several days with quitting time scheduled for well after the average 9-5er.
In many ways this is the time that I look forward to when I'm stuck in the February doldrums - whack-a-mole to the extreme, surrounded with people and music and fun. But it's also the time when it's easier to get stressed, to eat poorly, to snap at folks. (I just about yelled at my trainer yesterday, just because she asked me to do something I didn't want to. And I'm not a yeller.) So it's time to work on balance; to revel in the joy and music-making that takes over our building, while also knowing when to take a brief pausa to recharge.

Hoping that I make it through August in style this year, rather than just making it through.

My five:
  1. My workout mix...hoping to spend some more time with it in the next few days!
  2. Ridiculously affectionate pets.
  3. This tv show. I'm hooked. Except that I'm never home...thank goodness for Tivo!
  4. I'm a hair late to the party, but her? I love.
  5. PJs. Hoping to institute a day dedicated to them before the summer's over...aaaahhhh...


7.13.09 gah.

Yikes, has life been nuts.

Our schedule at work has evolved from a one-column, single colored excel spreadsheet to an intricate patchwork quilt of projects, coachings, rehearsals, costume fittings, and meetings. Budgets for FY10 are due. Grant budgets are due. Artistic staff for opera #2 arrive for the designer run later this week. I spent most of my Friday with the NSO and thousands - thousands - of gamers. Seriously, I encountered more boys aged 13-18 in one place than I have in my entire life up to this point.


My five:
  1. this tune.
  2. this story.
  3. Great Harvest apple scrapple bread.
  4. Walking around the neighborhood.
  5. this guy's shots.



Oh LAWDY have things been crazy!

And good.

In fact, crazy good.

While there was a whole lotta opera going on yesterday, I was grooving in a different vein. After totally forsaking the WTOS One-Act program (and the guilt still hangs on, believe me) and the following ice-cream social, I headed across the toll road to see Jeff Tweedy and his troops play one of the best shows EVAR.

And I don't say that lightly.

Usually when I see a concert I'm doing it as a music professional...opera, chamber music, symphonic stuff, even singer-songwriter shows...I never remember to leave my critical ear in the car, and usually end up enjoying myself certainly, but also keeping a tally of what I loved, what I liked, and what I didn't care for. I don't attend a huge number of pop shows for reasons that are boring and marginally stupid and most certainly related to the fact that I'm getting to be an old fuddy-duddy. And usually when I see a show at work that I'm not, well, working, I'm on the lawn with my hubby and a group of friends...stretched out on a blanket, with picnic food and conversation taking precedent over music for most of the evening. I don't buy great seats the moment box office opens, I don't beg my colleagues to put me on the backstage list, and I don't scream like a girl at a Beatles concert.

But this band? Soundtrack to my life. I'd be lying if I said I knew the lyrics to every word of every song, but it's close. People that I love and admire introduced me to them, and I have a halo of good memories surrounding every song. They could sing the phone book, and I'd probably buy the cd. And the live album. And make it a ringtone for my phone. Oh yes, I'm that nerdy.

This time? I bought great seats the minute I could. I begged my colleague to put me on the backstage list and he caved under the sheer volume of my tears and whining.

I screamed like a girl at a Beatles concert.

Or, rather, like a girl at a Wilco concert.

I was up at 6:30am to run a friend to Metro, and the day has been rolling rolling rolling since...I'm sleepy from being too wound up to really rest and achy from the dancing and jumping around.

But I've been smiling alllllll day.

My five?
  1. Uninhibited, crazy-faced dancing and singing. It probably was not pretty, but BOY was it fun!
  2. I am trying to break your heart.
  3. Smiling until my cheeks hurt.
  4. Beautiful weather - we've been SO lucky (*knocking on wood*)
  5. Good music-geeky friends.



  • this almost demands its own blogpost.
  • as does this. (courtesy of KPW)
  • and this. (courtesy of BP)
  • and this. (I think this is a KPW, too.)
  • and this. (courtesy of KC)
Sadly, only 2.5 brain cells showed up to write this entry. So that's all you get, secondhand links. And you'll LIKE them!


My five:
  1. Silly hubby.
  2. Cool work samples.
  3. Pesto.
  4. Summer evenings.
  5. Dramas that resolve in less than 60 minutes, including commercials.


7.7.09 schizo

I feel a little like I'm either multi-tasking to the extreme or totally shut down. And while I wish I could say that I'm multi-tasking during work and shut-down when I'm home, it's not really the case...sometimes I'm sitting at my desk, waiting for someone to call or come in with a questions because there are so many things to do that I can't figure out what to do next. Frozen. And other times I'm trying to squeeze off a quick email to a designer in Russia (! True!) before the musical intro to a one-act rehearsal starts...and only am partially successful in hitting send before the music starts. Forced to sit still, my mind goes a million miles an hour.


It's the time of year when things fall off...dermatologist appointment? Too early, cancel and reschedule. Cookout with friends? Too tired, need more unstructured time. Gym? Only when I'm paying someone a bajillion dollars to put me through my paces. Relationships get thin, tempers get fired up, patience is at a premium. Chocolate becomes a medicinal necessity. My grand plans for really nurturing people and relationships fall totally away, and I struggle to remember my hubby's schedule, to walk the dog twice a day, to keep cat food in the house.

And yet some of the coolest art is being made, some fabulous music and performances will be showcased this week. The level of the art is somehow inversely proportionate to my attention span/energy level.

Thank. God.

I don't really mean to whine (as CameraMan says, "Call the Waaaaaaahmbulance!) - life is busy, that's all. But it's totally, 100% exciting, and good.

In ridiculous personal news, the cat has been a total maniac for the last few weeks... a combination of warm weather, deer and stray cats and the local fox traipsing through the yard, and the fact that the dog gets to go outside ALL THE TIME. So I have swallowed my pride and bought a kitty harness and leash. Boo and Lucky and I head outside at about 6:30am (early wake-up time = fewer witnesses to my folly) to hang in the yard. Boo and I play catch, Lucky eats as much grass as he can, and we all dodge the killer mosquitos and gnats for playtime in the greenery. Because kitty was a stray, and because our neighborhood is not totally traffic-free, I'm too chicken to let him roam freely...it's a ridiculous compromise, but one that I can live with.

Hubby, however, will not touch the kitty leash. Gotta draw the line somewhere, I suppose.

Ok, time to get moving...on today's docket? Paperwork. Budget. Meetings. And hopefully spending a little time in the rehearsal room...gotta remember what this opera sounds like!

My five:
  1. This. The word "Scenes" is a misnomer, as it's an evening of One-Act operas. And if the dress rehearsal is any indication, it's going to be an unforgettable evening.
  2. This. Cannot wait. I memorized Mermaid Avenue, and most every album since.
  3. Waaaaaaahmbulance. My new favorite word.
  4. Silver toenail polish. I used to tell my students that my toenails were silver because I was a robot. Just waiting to use the line again...
  5. Midsummer.



Happy Independence Day!

I recently got in touch with a childhood friend, a military serviceman who is serving abroad. We went to Catholic elementary school together, and I remember in third grade he gave me a marshmallow heart on Valentine's Day. Truth be told, I was more interested in the candy than in him, (I was 8, after all) but have always thought of him as a sweet, creative guy, a dreamer. Finding out that he was in the military, that he trained men, that he attended my hubby's alma mater, that he converted to Christianity and wrote a book about his experience...well, it outlined for me how much we change, how much potential we have.

That potential, that possibility for change, for betterment, is one of the things I'm celebrating today. The other is the people who make this amazing indolent lifestyle that I've grown to love possible...who keep us safe, who have more courage than I ever will.

So, while I spent an alarming part of today sitting on my keister (recovering from a duet kettlebell class at the gym) and cleaning the house, my thoughts have been on other people, on how I can grow, how I need to change. It's been a good day of walking around my mental neighborhood, on a needed day away from the office.

Thinking I might take one more stroll around the proverbial block...

My five:
  1. Freedom.
  2. Challenge.
  3. Transformation.
  4. Raspberry sorbet.
  5. Comfy shoes.



Today was very cool. Literally and figuratively! It was full of big ideas involving opera, food, dogs, farming, symphonies, arts colonies and fiberglass. And to boot, I got to hang a little with RC - I missed her! Nice to spend a midsummer day thinking about what-ifs, rather than problems...rare, and welcome.

One of the coolest parts was getting an email that read "Who's better than Rahree and WT? Nobody! N-O-B-O-D-Y!"

All for paying a bill.

Guess times really are tough all over. But I'll admit that it was pretty nice to hear. :)

My five:
  1. Cool breezes and September skies in July
  2. These. Brilliant.
  3. This with prosecco. Also brilliant, but in a very different way.
  4. Sleepy kitty on my lap.
  5. Early bedtime.


7.1.09 part 2. Lunch FAIL

I knew better.

I ran to the store before work with the sole intention of stocking up my work stash with healthy snacks. Sugar snap peas, string cheese, grapes, frozen veggies...mostly savory snacks, as it seems there's always sugar around. Usually in chocolate form. Sitting in a big carafe on my desk, mocking me in the late afternoon when my energy drops. But I'm trying to be good, hence the shopping trip.

And it was to be a good day - the masseuse that visits the office made it in after several cancelled dates - and I was still on the schedule! Score! Add that to the hair appointment, the barbecue, the handful of meetings (so that we could still call what we do "work" instead of "play") and it was a smash-up plan.

So before my massage I grab a handful of peapods and 2 pieces of string cheese and eat while doing some (endless) email triage. And even though it truly wasn't a lot of food, I started feeling really full.

And ill.

Full and totally omg-am-i-going-to-hurl? ill.

Here's the disclaimer, where I show just how dumb and/or stubborn I really am: while I lovelovelove all things dairy, they often don't love me back. But string cheese has been a friend even when the fresh mozzarella, the milk, the ice cream all turned their backs on me and started calling me a beeyotch and telling the cool kids I was easy.

I should've known that string cheese really wanted to be one of those cool kids. I should've knoooooown....

But here I am, after trying to sit through a meeting and hair appointment (double insult - I look pretty cute after getting my hairs did!), in a ball on my couch. My coworkers are making sure my office lights are off, and generally taking care of all the things I didn't do because I was too stupid - and weak - to resist.

So now? Feeling sick and guilty and generally LAME. Will I ever learn?

(Note to my co-workers: please feel free to either mock me roundly for being dumb, or to take off a chunk of a day and tell me to cover your duties. Or both...sigh...)

My five:
  1. Lactaid.
  2. Understanding coworkers.
  3. Email.
  4. Aspiring. (to be good...even when it backfires.)
  5. This cover. LOVE it.

7.1.09 buckle up!

It's a humid Wednesday morning in mid-summer. We closed our first show last night, an event that's always bittersweet...the singing was beautiful, the concept fun, and we were thrilled with the outcome. I'm sad to see it finish!

But we're moving onward, with rehearsals in earnest for our second show, pre-production for the final piece, and several recitals, scenes programs and children's performances over the next five weeks. Add to that three weekends of orchestral shows and, well, life is going to be very, very busy!

Five weeks. Five jam-packed, challenging, music-soaked weeks.

It hardly seems enough.

On the docket for today? Quick trip to the grocery-store pre-work: contracts, budget work and a meeting about symphony concerts in the morning, then a staff luncheon and a meeting with the folks who are providing our supertitle equipment for show #3: an overdue hair appointment (hallelujah!) in the late afternoon, and then pizza and perhaps a little dogsitting for a friend in the evening.

And it's after 9am. Time to get crack-a-lackin'!

My five:
  1. Beautiful singing. (I know...DUH.)
  2. Challenging words.
  3. Strawberry-rhubarb almond butter sandwiches.
  4. RC's laugh.
  5. Flat shoes.