9.29.09 "Slow" time? Really?!

Ok, the second day in the office after a week away is always better than the first...especially if there are new boots involved! (Which there were! It's only barely cold enough to wear them, but yours truly does nothing so well as rushing the seasons...tights? Check. Chai tea? Check. Boots? Heck yeah check!)

Even though this is technically a "slow" time of year for us, we're gearing up for any number of things that are pretty darn important. We're trying to put together an interesting chamber music series for 2010-2011 that's compelling but won't put us in the poorhouse. We're brushing up on repertoire so that it's in our front brain as we travel and audition for next summer. We're getting ready for the first application deadline (which is THIS FRIDAY, for all you singery-types who read this) and the subsequent screening process. We're looking at any and all scheduling possibilities for summer 2010. We're wondering how to pack efficiently for both Houston and Chicago. We are looking down the barrel of several weeks on the road, and wondering if our clothes will fit after we eat our way across the nation.

(It's not looking terribly promising.)

To that end, the Boss Lady and I are going to try this little plan out in October...I invite you to join us! It looks to be fun, not terribly punishing, and designed to sweep out some old habits. So I'll be writing about it here, as well as tracking my progress on the website. Wish me luck - better yet, come along for the ride!

And speaking of important, if you haven't caught KPW's audition series on her blog, do yourself a favor and check it out. Today's topic is headshots, and we spent some time today scrolling through the shots that had been submitted thus far. There were some gorgeous shots; some blurry, decidedly amateurish photos; and several pictures in which the photographee looked like they wanted to kill/seduce/ignore/reprimand the viewer. (And there was more than one shot where the singer looked like they wanted to BURN HOLES THROUGH ME WITH THEIR EYES. Ow.) It's your public persona, folks: it should make you look both good and infinitely trustworthy/capable/employable.

In other news, here are several things that I've been digging lately:
I'm also digging loads of fresh produce and duck confit grown locally thanks to these guys. It's finally apple season, and I've been eating them constantly...alone, with peanut butter, and turkey sandwiches, in oatmeal. But my recent favorite is slicing them into a little butter, sugar and cinnamon on the stovetop and sauteeing them until they're soft, and then eating them over vanilla ice cream. So tasty!

Am I rambling? I think I'm rambling...

My five:
  1. Cinnamon.
  2. BOOTS!
  3. Windy days.
  4. Autumn skies.
  5. This song - perfect for singing on said windy autumn days.



Girls weekend + trip to Mom's + visiting Brother's new house + hanging with the in-laws = not ready for work re-entry.

(Quel surprise, eh?)

It was a good week, though: the leaves are changing in the Laurel Highlands, the dog is quite the intrepid traveller, and a well-timed firewood delivery at Mamma's served as my away-from-home workout. (I'm still sporting large green-brown bruises on both my biceps from hoisting all that wet cherry wood from the garage to the woodpile. Pretty!) I left my Wisconsin cheese cow at my brother's (Bummer.) , sang my way through 4 new mix cds, ate way too much, and generally had a lovely time.

I'm either getting old and set-in-my-ways, or I need to travel more, though. I find it so difficult to really relax when I'm not home. I don't sleep well. I find myself engaging in self-soothing behaviors, most noticeably consuming too much. Better figure something out before the November audition tour, eh? Any and all suggestions welcome.

So, today is a non-travel day. I'm planning to spend this cool autumn day watching tv, making soup, and hopefully not setting foot into the car.

My five:
  1. Returning to routine.
  2. Crisp fall air.
  3. Tea season. Yum!
  4. Skipjack peanuts - addictive lil' buggers.
  5. Family.


9.21.09 progress

Well, today's plans have gone awry.

The plan was: get up. Coffee. Walk dog. Shower. Oil change. Throw some clothes into a bag. Throw some dog food into another. Set out a few days worth of chow for kitty-witty, coax the dog into the car, and hit the road by 10am to make it to Mom's house in the afternoon. (Leaving time for pit stops and big fountain sodas, of course.)

Well, after two middle-of-the-night pit stops with El Diablo, the prospect of spending several hours in a car with a stinky, unreliable dog was not so attractive. Ew. So we postponed the trip for a day, and yours truly wondered what to do with the "extra" 24 hours. Thinking that a trip to the gym should be on that list, I scrambled to get to class before the 10:30am start. It was a kettlebell class (whee! fun!), but it wasn't until I walked in that I realized who the instructor was.

It's that one. Oh, God....

It's the spunky, athletic girl who talked me into taking a boot camp class the second time I set foot in the gym. The class that I gave all I could for, oh, twenty minutes before coming dangerously close to hurling. The class that left my face an uncomfortable shade of purple for several hours. The class that affirmed my belief that I was always going to be out of shape and chubby.

Oh. No.

But I was already there, and only one of 3 folks taking the class. I decided to suck it up and take as much of the class as I could.


Not only that, but I finished with style, my friends. I actually did most of the class with the heavier kettlebells. Per the instructor's suggestion.

I didn't hurl, not even once!

And I'm feeling like a SUPERSTAR!

(...a superstar who can't lift her arms above her head, but a superstar nonetheless. )

Most of the time I feel like I'm just putting one foot in front of the other...now that I don't measure time or self by my next audition or performance or graduation or new job or new boyfriend, the opportunities to re-evaluate seem to be much fewer and farther between. I just chug along, content with what I have, what I do, who I am. So it felt seriously good to have evidence that my chugging is actually towards something...getting stronger and incrementally healthier.

It also makes me wonder what I should be chugging towards...what I could be chugging towards. I've been re-reading this intermittently over the last few months, and it's one of those pieces that always rings true, regardless of what I'm doing or where I am when I'm reading. And one of the points that I'm most in love with is that progress is slow and incremental and takes lots of work.

Work. I know. Duh, Rahree.

But it's something that I need to be reminded of, quite frequently. Especially as instant gratification becomes mind-blowingly more instant. The idea of doing a little bit daily, of pushing just a little on a consistent basis is much more appealing than waiting for that "big idea" or being so paralyzed as to not be able to do, well, anything.

So on my list for this found day is to brainstorm some small ideas. To try on some theoretical new hats, to examine the things I love to do and the person I'd like to be. They may just turn into doodles on the backs of business cards and, well, that's been done. But it'll be fun to start thinking.

My five:
  1. Feeling powerful.
  2. Snuggly pets.
  3. Frozen brownies that are still miraculously soft. How?
  4. Possibility.
  5. Progress.


9.20.09 parentheses

It's a gorgeous autumn day in Vienna! (The other one, obvs. "Bratwurst," "Ach," and "Spater!" are the only Germanic words used with regularity at RahreeHaus.) The windows are open, and I'm alternating between the indoor couch and outdoor couch, (Boo prefers the outdoor couch, but sometimes I like to make him suffer with me indoors. His life is really terribly difficult, poor guy.) reading the Sunday paper, making a hefty mellow iTunes mix, and trying to redd up the house after a peachy, girly soiree on Friday and fabulous weekend houseguests. (K and D? Miss you guys terribly...turn the car around!)

Girls' night on Friday was just lovely...some fun new connections created, WAY too much food prepared and brought and consumed and left over. (I actually had a leftover slider for breakfast. And a brownie. Don't judge.) I'm really blessed to have a network of fun, smart, kind ladies in my life.

Saturday was all about catching up with my Pittsburgh girls...shopping, walking, lunch on the patio at Cafe Deluxe, a trip downtown to the top of the W Hotel for a drink (and sharpshooter-spotting! On the White House roof! Even though technically I live here I'm still such a tourista.) and dinner at the back bar at Old Ebbitt, where a drunkdrunk southern boy and his friend made a beeline for D and would've hit on her all night had she not dismissed them. I still think that, since he left his credit card when he left, that he meant for her to have it...she could've done him some serious damage!

(Saturday also marked the 10-year anniversary of a certain boy driving me home from a dance club in Pittsburgh. He's on the left coast for a few days, but we still shared a giggle about that particular memory.)

But my girls got up early this morning and are en route back to their families in Pittsburgh, so the house is sadly quiet. The laundry, while an all-day kind of project, is in progress. I have some tidying up to do, and then packing for a quick trip to visit Mom & Mo in western PA and Ohio.

(Oh, and hitting the gym and sweating out some of the pinot might be a good idea, too. Getting old is such a bitch!)

Incidentally, Boo is exhausted. There have been so many women calling his name over the past two days, so much fetch, so many snacks snatched from unsuspecting guests that he's plumb worn out.

Me too, buddy.


My five:

  1. Beautiful weather.
  2. Comfortable friendships.
  3. Room for reflection.
  4. New experiences.
  5. Sore feet.


9.15.09 symmetry

My Nana passed away today. On her birthday.

It had been expected. It was, in many ways a relief. I'm sure it was for her.

(It's pretty lovely symmetry, though, right?)

She was the reason I wore high-heeled red shoes to my wedding. She taught me how to make caramel pudding in a can. We both loved to read. She was my namesake.

But she moved twice without telling my mother. (TWICE.) She never failed to mention when I gained weight. I was often appalled at her condescending, close-minded views on cultures and people.

Families are complicated. Whew. But I think I'll lay all those stories, and the less-flattering ones, to rest with her. I'll remember stories of potholes ("tacos" misheard...still a popular menu item at the Rahree household) and dishes of butter mints. Being allowed to put one of her huge sparkly diamonds on my tiny hand. Of her chatting up my dad during Steeler games, much to dad's chagrin. Of her sunning herself to a deep bronze in the summers, cigarette and Schmidt's in hand. Teaching me how to shuffle cards like a Vegas dealer.

Here's hoping she meets all of her friends in heaven. And that someone's got her cigarette and Schlitz in hand, waiting for her.

My five:
  1. Suffering eased.
  2. Reaching out of the comfort zone.
  3. Chocolate granola. (Should be illegal.)
  4. Great music.
  5. Memories.

G'night, Nan.


9.12.09 channelling Cinderelly

That's right. I'm going to a ball. A real live, non-fraternity-sponsored ball.

(It's been a while.)

Granted, this ball is at work. It's in a space where I am usually required to wear close-toed shoes and sweatproof clothing. But this evening? My toes will be flying free, baby. And, with the temperature where it is, I think that sweating will be totally out of the question.

But I'm super excited!

The excitement started with the dress-buying frenzy and its aftermath...the aftermath being that I couldn't find a certain lovely piece of jewelry. An expensive piece of jewelry. A piece of jewelry that hubby had bought for me for an anniversary.

A piece of jewelry that, being lost, had put me squarely up the proverbial creek without a paddle. (proverbial or otherwise.)

Stomachaches. Waking up in the middle of the night in a panic. How could I tell him that I had lost his gift? Oh, I had landed squarely in Bad Wife-ville, and I was just waiting for the cable company to come.

In the meantime I pretended that nothing was wrong. I shopped for a dress and fell in love with one that was beautiful, a teeny-tiny size that I will never, ever fit into again in my adult life.

A dress which would've required the wearing of said piece of jewelry.

I bought another dress. An equally lovely dress.

A dress that I could wear without the jewelry.


But today? Today I FOUND it. I FOUND IT!!!!!!!


The angels sang, the moms was notified and the prayers to St. Anthony ceased. (Well, temporarily, at least.) Texts were sent to my shopping pals and the friend that I unloaded on. Holy relief, Batman!

And now focus is squarely back where it should be...trying to achieve big hair, fixing the dings in my self-manicure (which was, I must say, pretty darn successful! Sally Hansen Quik-Dry, my friends!), looking forward to seeing my man looking exceptionally sharp, and getting all gussied up for a party.

See, even though I do have the sense of humor of one, I'm not really a 12-year-old-boy! I'm a girl!

(Sometimes even a girly girl!)

My five:
  1. Found objects.
  2. Football season!
  3. This cartoon. It's perfect.
  4. An excuse to get hubby into his tux. Mwahahahaaaaaa!
  5. Celebrating.



Some old friends arrived in the mail today... That one on top was one of the first, high-falutin' CDs my family bought, and we used to listen to it on repeat for HOURS.

Good times. In fact, I can't wait to relive those memories in real time!

My five:
1. Hubby. That guy can make me laugh at the best times.
2. Awesome mail.
3. New-old music.
4. The opportunity to play princess!



Happy Labor Day weekend! Just because you've been so good to read this drivel day in and day out, I'm giving you the day off work tomorrow. You can stay home and relax...call in "sick", or call in "lazy", or hell, call in "unavailable."

Or simply call in "allergic to Monday."

(If you really do have to work, I'll totally write you an excuse. Because you deserve an extra day to veg, too.)

We're having a lovely weekend Chez Rahree...the weather is breathtakingly gorgeous...made to order, actually. I spent yesterday hating on the gym (but still went...bonus points!), puttering in the yard, walking to see a new store that friends have just opened, and making a VAT of panzanella for dinner on the porch with buddies. I bought my weight in beautiful brandywine 'maters yesterday, and they taste like sunshine.(...especially on buttered ciabatta rolls with salt and pepper. So. Good.) Plus, I got a whole lot of little things done...porch washed, college books purged, office files organized, house vacuumed (not that you'd be able to tell at all today, though. But I promise I did it!), so it was a productive day by all accounts.

Today I was still hating on the gym, but had made an appointment with my trainer in the late morning...so there was no effective way of getting out of it. I rolled over and spent a while on the elliptical trying to get a good mood on...and it worked! And I had a great workout with LG! And I'm still a little surprised that bitchy Rahree turned the corner with just a little cardio! If it's that easy why don't I do it every day?

(Let's not lose our heads, now.)

The only negative in this lovely land of Pollyanna-esque thinking is the whole sleep thing. Between a decidedly kamikaze cat who is kicking my ass every morning at 4am (Playtime? Hungry! What's in here? Are you sleeping? Playtime!), and these crazy anxiety nightmares, I'm one sleepy girl. The nightmares, while undeniably disturbing, are the real sign that the summer is over...my brain is finally realizing that there's nothing work-related to freak-out over. So why not substitute looming deadlines with masked prowlers and crazy people with knives and grudges?

*sigh.* Rahree's brain = not the sharpest knife in the chandelier.

I''m spending the afternoon on - you guessed it! - the porch, with my new best friend, David Foster Wallace. I will, however, be making frequent trips into the house to find the sleeping cat AND WAKE HIM UP.

Two can play at this game, kitty-witty.

My five:
  1. Letting the breeze be my blow-dryer.
  2. Guilt-free loafing.
  3. Ripe tomatoes. I didn't even eat them until I was in my very late 20s. Mom, you were right; 'mater sandwiches are GOOD. (That 'poof' sound was her head exploding.)
  4. Encouragement.
  5. An extra day to hang with my boys.



New stuff is cool.

One of the great parts about my job is that, after a few cycles, I can anticipate some of the ups and downs, and I feel like most days I know what I'm doing.

Most days, anyway.

But I'm terribly psyched for some new duties that involve chamber music...and, subsequently, a whole lotta research/catch up for yours truly. It's a nice change of pace from the summer's vocal agenda, and I'm excited to be trusted with a little more responsibility.

But BOY, do I need to start listening to what's out there... like, yesterday. Lots and lots of work to do! Good, fun, soul-bathing work.

Cool jobs rock, y'all.

Other cool things:
  • this.
  • these. beautimous.
  • this. slightly ridiculous. ok, maybe a little more than slightly.
  • this. element of surprise, indeed.
  • this. it's my self-portrait.
  • this. got a sample in the mail and smelled like heaven.
  • this. like him or don't, he was part of an impressive legacy.
  • this. and this. re-bought several remastered albums, and am just waiting for them to arrive.
My five:
  1. September weather...there's nothing more beautiful.
  2. Unwinding with a cup of tea.
  3. Homemade gazpacho from a fabulous colleague.
  4. The urge to create...and, more specifically, bake. With cinnamon.
  5. Spending my evenings with my men, of both the human and furry persuasions.



funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

That picture pretty much sums up how I felt two days ago. September got here juuuuuust in time! Wow, how happy am I that it's here?

Pretty. Darn. Happy.

While there's still a week of shows at work, I'm finally feeling like the summer's over... it's a lovely feeling. I've spent some time with friends, catching up after the summer's madness; done some laundry; bought some back-to-school clothes. The windows are open, and there's a lovely breeze in the house (Pushing around large black pet-hair tumbleweeds, I'm sure.). There's stew in the crockpot. My to-do list is large but infinitely procrastinatable. (I know, it's not a word. Yet.) I've been on a long walk with Boo, and if I can get the jack out of my neck we'll do another long loop this evening. It's time to really take in the neighborhood, the weather, the light - after being on autopilot for so long, there's so much to appreciate!

And in the gather-ye-rosebuds, carpe-diem vein, heard this sad news today...he conducted a show this summer, and was just such a lovely, sweet man. The heavenly band just welcomed a dapper new angel.

My five:
  1. Time for reflection.
  2. Unbearably beautiful days.
  3. My two silly four-legged comics.
  4. Clean laundry.
  5. Contentment.