11.30.09 reentry

First day back in the office today, after almost a month away.

Boy, am I tired.

(On a related note, I think I probably have 18 posts titled "reentry." It's a theme...)

We spent several weeks welcoming different people into a room, and listening as they sang. A new voice every 10 minutes or so, beautiful singing and piano-playing...constant stimuli of a lovely, creative kind.

Today? No new face every 10 minutes. No opera. No more daily Pierrot for Rahree. Instead, spreadsheets and expenses and meetings, all interspersed with moments of wandering into the Boss Lady's office and whining "but people can find me now..." and "Why is this so hard today?"

Reentry is, in fact, a bitch.

(Or maybe that's just me.)

I do love the tour, but I'm looking forward to getting back to my routine, and to reconnecting with the work buddies I've missed over the last month. And, being that it's holiday season, I'm looking forward to the office party, to hacking through carol arrangements at the piano, and to baking until my kitchen is coated in flour.

Here are some good things that I found after spending WAY too much time on google reader:
  • This. Especially if your winters tend to be rainy, rather than snowy.
  • This. TASTY!
  • This. Also tasty, but in a different way. (Thanks, EM!)
  • This. It's a little trippy, but so elegant.
  • This. A little mindfulness goes a long way during the holidays, eh?
  • This. Because sometimes mindfulness is overrated, and you just need some good, old-fashioned snark.
And here are 3 singer-songwriters that I'm digging like old soul records. (Name the song and singer I'm quoting - not one of the folks below - and I'll send you a totally random yet awesome mix cd.)
Hmmm...evidently needing a little bit more estrogen in my music selections. Chick list soon, I promise. And here's my five:
  1. Fleece-lined shoes.
  2. Getting lost in stories.
  3. Bacon. Bibbity-bobbity-BACON!
  4. Unpacking.
  5. Slowing down.



So, I'm dreading going back to work tomorrow...it's been a month since I've spent any real time in my office, and I have a bajillion things to do regarding the chamber music series. (Yep, that chamber music series...the one that has totally taken a back seat to the opera casting machine.) Travel and missing family notwithstanding, work was much easier as part of the Three-Headed-Opera-Monster, especially because we spent so much time together that we were on a scarily similar page all the time...nice not really even having to talk. Just knowing that I have to pick up my phone tomorrow, that people are going to be able to find me after an elusive November, is making me a wee bit anxious.

I know. Suck it up, Rahree.

So I'm spending this weekend indulging in all kinds of non-work-related fun. Took my first class in weeks at the gym yesterday, and will spend today either going back to loosen up or (like most days) popping advil and groaning every time I try to get up from the couch. Hubby and I grabbed a tasty dinner (and margaritas!) with friends in our old neighborhood last night, and made some tentative plans for New Years. I also put the Christmas tree up and hung lights on the porch. Productive!

But today? Well, it's a beautiful, sunny day, which means I should get outside. But hubby took the dog to the park, Ina Garten is making a double-chocolate sheet cake on tv, and I have 3 good books (Barbery's The Elegance of the Hedgehog, Burroughs' You Better Not Cry, and the newest by A.S. Byatt...in hardback! Seems like I didn't make it past the "B" section in fiction, huh...) sitting next to me on the couch. Add a cup of spiced black tea and, well, indolence wins.

I promise this week to list some of my favorite monologues from the audition tour. And, below my five, is one of my earliest opera memories. (I'm glad my ears are a little more discerning, although I still love those eyelashes!)

My five:
  1. Cold pizza.
  2. Compelling stories.
  3. Organization.
  4. Brown sugar & vanilla candles.
  5. Daydreaming.


11.27.09 the day after

The sun is out, there's a nip in the air, and I've already eaten my weight in leftover stuffing.

So, by all accounts, it's already been a successful day. And it's barely 9am.


I started yesterday, but encourage any of you who tend to go a little overboard around the holidays (see my first sentence.) to join me in this. It's a much nicer version than the one that I did in October, with more yoga and less restrictive eating. And since it's well-documented that routines are good for me, I've signed up. Maybe my 2010 New Year's resolutions won't contain the words "skinny" "diet" or "weight." Or maybe I just need a plan to combat all of the holiday baking and cooking I'm hoping to do. (With all of the food porn that came in the mail while I was on tour, I'm thinking that my kitchen will be trashed all month long...so many things to try!)

On the docket for today? A long walk with El Diablo. Battling the influx of mud and leaves that swoops in every time the door opens. Reworking my iTunes. Gym. I may get to a wee bit of work, but then again, I may not.

My five:
  1. Sunshine.
  2. Time for reflection.
  3. Feeling sated.
  4. Moving.
  5. Creativity.


11.26.09 happy thanksgiving!

My house smells like cinnamon and sage, and is toasty warm. Other than a quick jaunt to the gym I am spending the day in my jammies with my hubby and the critters...taking not only a holiday but a sabbath of sorts, to hang and daydream and plan. While I miss my extended family, several weeks on the road warrant some quality turkey time at Chez Rahree.

I started this little blog when I left teaching in 2006. And in the fall of 2007, I started a little gratitude exercise...listing five things daily for which I was thankful or grateful. The exercise has really shaped how I view my day...not in an "omg what am I going to be thankful for today?!?" manner, but in finding, discovering gratitude-inspiring things on a daily basis, both shallow and profound.

Finding with ease, without having to look very far.

I'm reposting two big globs o'gratitude...some from this recent audition tour, and some from November 2007. Not found in these lists are the names of the folks who read and follow up with me, via comments or emails or phone calls. Nor will you find my gratitude at having a spot to write about hubby's grad school trials, the passing of my dad, the struggle of leaving the job I thought I'd keep for my natural life, the trials of housetraining a puppy in the dead of winter, and the joy and pain of moving on my 35th birthday.

Rather, I should say that you'll only find those things if you read between the lines...

Here's my more-than-five. Read them. Pick the ones you like. But only take a few minutes...use your other minutes to hug/call/write the folks you love.

And here's mine to you. *HUG*

  • Sunrise, reflected by skyscrapers.
  • An opportunity to talk about my dad with folks who knew him. Wow, the missing never goes away...
  • Premature nostalgia.
  • City lights at night.
  • People watching.
  • Music. Well done. Of all genres.
  • Reconnecting.
  • Surprises.
  • High-floor hotel rooms with views. I lucked out.
  • Feeling caught up to a degree, instead of perpetually behind.
  • Having the opportunity to visit NYC, but not needing to live here.
  • The prospect of reconnecting with friends.
  • A relaxing evening in.
  • Meeting cool new people.
  • Being surprised.
  • Inspiration.
  • Belly laughs.
  • Caffeine.
  • Happy accidents.
  • Hotel beds.
  • People watching.
  • Falling into a weird, but workable, routine.
  • Homecomings.
  • Traveling.
  • Coffee.
  • Sleeping in.
  • Sunshine.
  • Generous, heartwarming hosts.
  • Sea air.
  • Celebrity sightings.
  • Butter. (OMG I've eaten a cubic ton in two days. SO GOOD.)
  • Homecomings of every sort.
  • Cool fall evenings.
  • Candy corn.
  • Early bedtimes.
  • Comfortable shoes.
  • Gratitude.
  • Sharp cheddar cheese & red wine. Heaven.
  • Puzzles. (Damn good thing, actually.)
  • Polaroid cameras.
  • Seinfeld. Still finding reruns I've not seen.
  • Rainy fall days.
  • Family.
  • Having one person in the world who can make me shoot beverages out my nose....er, keep me humble.
  • Coffee. Being awake pre-dawn demands it.
  • A sleeping house.
  • Doing something nice for someone else. (Studies show it makes you feel better - even than retail therapy. I believe it!)
  • Clear blue skies and the smell of woodsmoke on an autumn day.
  • Almost completing the Eat. Sweat. Blog challenge! 6 more days!
  • Color.
  • Spice.
  • Preparation.
  • Autumn...boy, I love it when nature acts like a hussy! Those reds and golds are awesome!
  • Neighbors. Impromptu after-work chats are the best.
  • This + this = perfect on-the-go lunch. For me, anyway.
  • Fuzzy slippers.
  • Cloves.
  • Caffeine. I can't tell you how much better today was with one extra cup of coffee!
  • Crisp autumn weather.
  • Boots.
  • Challenge.
  • Counting down.
  • Tim Roth. Lie to Me is fabulous, and I caught (a younger) him over the weekend in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. Awesome. (I could go on.)
  • Knee socks.
  • Freshwater pearls.
  • Hot tea.
  • Preparation.
  • Football and movies on the tube.
  • Puttering around the house.
  • Fleece.
  • Spiced apple cider.
  • Having an environmental excuse for staying in all day.
  • Beautiful October weather.
  • A plethora of magazines in the mail.
  • Inspiration.
  • Quiet help.
  • Daydreaming about saving the world in tiny ways.
  • Mulled cider.
  • Nesting.
  • Warm laundry.
  • Getting organized.
  • Naps.
  • Strong, fabulous female role models.
  • Comedian pets. Henny Youngman ain't got nothin on my boy.
  • October weather...it seriously doesn't get any better than this.
  • Bread and butter.
  • Reading... finally making a dent in the book.
  • Cinnamon. Nothing brings back the autumns of my childhood like a healthy dose of cinnamon. I think I'd wear it as perfume if I could.
  • My fleece jacket, aka The Woobie I Can Wear In Public.
  • A warm kitchen on a cool day...is there a better place to be?
  • Cooking off recipe. Nice to have a starting point, even nicer to try the path less traveled by.
  • Nesting with my boys on a lazy Saturday. Heaven!
  • The last sandal day of the fall...you can feel a boot-auguring edge in the breeze.
  • The sound of outside...no music, no tv, no radio...just leaves and cars and neighbors.
  • Crossing things off the to-do list.
  • An agenda-less Saturday. (Well, officially agenda-less, anyway.)
  • Feeling like there's a little bit of magic in the air...
  • Casual Friday!
  • Fuzzy slippers.
  • Hot tea.
  • Good, challenging workouts.
  • Cinnamon.
  • Reconnecting.
  • Nostalgia.
  • Thai food. Sooooo tasty!
  • Purple corduroys.
  • Absence making the heart grow fonder.
  • Compassion.
  • Ginger tea.
  • Knee socks.
  • A change of scenery.
  • Blue herons. (we woke one up this morning - must've had a 6 or 7' wingspan. Beautiful.)
  • Musical collaboration.
  • Checking items off the to-do list.
  • Solitude.
  • Coffee.
  • Evidence of the divine. Some mornings it's impossible to be without faith.
  • Open windows.
  • Toasted pignoli. You could put them on pasta or something, but you can also just shove them by the handful into your mouth. Not that I'd know firsthand...
  • Sore muscles. Evidence that I'm working. Painful evidence, but evidence.
  • Having the clicker all to myself for an evening.
  • Baths.
  • Starting something new.
  • Learning.
  • Cuddly kitty bellies. Should be a controlled substance.
  • Clean bills of health.
  • Casual Fridays...hellooooo, jeans!
  • Cinnamon.
  • BOOTS!
  • Windy days.
  • Autumn skies.
  • This song - perfect for singing on said windy autumn days.
  • Returning to routine.
  • Crisp fall air.
  • Tea season. Yum!
  • Skipjack peanuts - addictive lil' buggers.
  • Family.
  • Suffering eased.
  • Reaching out of the comfort zone.
  • Chocolate granola. (Should be illegal.)
  • Great music.
  • Memories.
  • Found objects.
  • Football season!
  • An excuse to get hubby into his tux. Mwahahahaaaaaa!
  • Celebrating.
  • Letting the breeze be my blow-dryer.
  • Guilt-free loafing.
  • 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.)
  • Encouragement.
  • An extra day to hang with my boys.
  • September weather...there's nothing more beautiful.
  • Unwinding with a cup of tea.
  • Homemade gazpacho from a fabulous colleague.
  • The urge to create...and, more specifically, bake. With cinnamon.
  • Spending my evenings with my men, of both the human and furry persuasions.
  • Time for reflection.
  • Unbearably beautiful days.
  • My two silly four-legged comics.
  • Clean laundry.
  • Contentment.


From November, 2007
  • The opportunity to walk to work.
  • Band-aids. (see #1).
  • Deep connections to friends.
  • Raspberry tea and rugelach.
  • Conversations that change the way I look at the world.
  • a favorite song on the alarm.
  • the sound of rain bouncing down the sides of high-rise buildings.
  • camaraderie.
  • in-room coffee.
  • the cosy feeling of a grey day.
  • The shimmering city lights from the top of the Empire State Building.
  • The new album by Griffin House.
  • Ligurian food. Who knew?
  • Freedom.
  • Spontaneity.
  • Crazy, vivid dreams.
  • Sunlight reflecting off mirrors.
  • Storypeople.
  • The wide-awake feeling (sans caffeine) of walking in brisk air.
  • Openness.
  • happily waking up before the alarm goes off.
  • new experiences, large and small.
  • beautiful architecture.
  • reunions.
  • funky colored tights.
  • honest conversation.
  • dark chocolate and caramel.
  • reconnecting.
  • Rossini and Mozart and Handel.
  • silly movies.
  • Stolzman playing Copland's Clarinet Concerto - the easiest, most pleasant way to wake up. (It practically guarantees a good day...I'm not sure why I don't wake up with it more often...)
  • An extra hour of heavy, dreamless sleep.
  • Shades of grey, both literal and figurative.
  • Autumn.
  • Good health.
  • Home. (Wherever, and whatever, that might be.)
  • Lightening up. In every way.
  • A wonderful, curiosity-filled childhood.
  • Good books.
  • Gem├╝tlichkeit.
  • Fuzzy slippers.
  • Relaxing.
  • Feeling useful.
  • HUGE piles of newpapers to catch up on - with lots of puzzles!
  • Mischief - of the benign sort, naturally. ;)
  • The incredible generosity of strangers.
  • Perspective.
  • Raking leaves on a crisp autumn day.
  • Tea.
  • Courage.
  • Crazy dreams. (I dreamt that I had been tatooed from mid-calf to toe with colorful, symbolic designs. I didn't remember actually agreeing to the ink or having it done, but I was OK with the result. Weird.)
  • Bad late-night movies.
  • Beauty.
  • Good looking buns.
  • Trivial pursuit. I totally suck at this game, but when I know an answer I feel like a million bucks.
  • Reunions.
  • A hotel room large enough to do yoga in. My back is MUCH happier!
  • Starbucks baristas who call your drink by your name. Today I think I'll be Lydia. Or Ingrid. Or Esmerelda...
  • Autumn leaves... the colors are so striking this fall.
  • Familiarity.
  • The first flurries of the year.
  • The last airplane ride of the tour.
  • Homecomings.
  • Belly laughs.
  • Eggs. Dis - ***-oriented. And all the other sayings that have made it into my personal vernacular.
  • Autumn leaves in the wind.
  • Easy companionship.
  • Good music.
  • Macaroni and cheese.
  • The light at the end of the tunnel.
  • Sunday afternoon football games.
  • Flannel jammies.
  • People who take care of me, even when I don't realize I need it.
  • Raking leaves.
  • Early bedtime.


11.25.09 thanksgivings

We made it.

Thousands of miles of travel. Thousands of arias. And probably thousands of cups of coffee. But the year's odyssey is complete...two-thirds of us are safely ensconced at home with our families, and the last third is winging his way towards loved ones in the midwest this afternoon.

The timing is excellent (it's all in the timing, isn't it?), in that we've spent so much time together that we're saying exactly the same things at the same times...finishing each others' sentences.

We are, in effect, one teeny brain spread out between three people.


It's time to lay claim to some individual brain cells, to reconnect with the family and friends, to re-establish happy routines. But part of me (I may totally be the only one - but I'm ok with it.) hates to say goodbye to the three-headed opera monster.

My five:
  1. My boys.
  2. Puzzles.
  3. Uncontrollable laughter.
  4. Mind meld. In small doses.
  5. Time for reflection.


Homeward bound

GeoTagged, [N39.84451, E75.38927]

On the Acela (yay complementary upgrade!), heading back to the Trap. This is dinner, and we've all vowed to chew, rather than inhale. See y'all back in Virginny!

11.21.09 trains, trains, and automobiles

GeoTagged, [N40.77977, E73.97820]

We're up at the crack of dawn and ensconced in an Acela headed for Philadelphia. Auditions today at Curtis, and then we hop on another train back to DC. After a long evening work session last night, we're a little bleary...hoping some great singing will wake us up!

My five:
1. Opera earworms. I've been singing the same 5 arias over and over again...it's a wonder my colleagues let me live.
2. Red Caps.
3. Not having to ride in a New York City taxi for another year.
4. Soy lattes.
5. Homecomings.


11.19.09 sunrise, reflected

As usual, I'm awake waaaay earlier than I should be. Boy, sometimes I wish that my body clock skewed a little later! I missed connecting with a good friend last night because I couldn't keep my eyes open, and here I am at the crack of dawn, wide awake. Seul...je suis seul... indeed!This trip seems somehow busier than in previous years, and I'm having a hard time fitting in all the socializing that I'd like to do. (Shocker!) It just seems that there aren't enough hours in the day...or, more precisely enough hours in the evenings. But if you're up at 6am? You should totally call me!

To all the alums we saw last night - Yay! So great to see you! And to those who couldn't make it, you missed a great time, but we'll hopefully see you next November.

Ok. Coffee and then a run. As long as I'm awake, I might just as well, right? *sigh* I know...it's good for me. Two more days in New York!

My five:
  1. This. One of my favorite bands, singing one of my favorite tunes...the harmonies at the end are worth listening for. And it's in a cab! How cool!
  2. This. It was a sweet spot to do some catching up with a friend.
  3. Sunrise, reflected by skyscrapers.
  4. An opportunity to talk about my dad with folks who knew him. Wow, the missing never goes away...
  5. Premature nostalgia.


11.17.09 An abundance

I am in the middle of a veritable abundance.


Seriously, it's almost more than I can process! I slept like I was dead last night, and was still only marginally prepared for today. Needing more sleep, more caffeine, more exercise, more brain cells...my suburban brain is not used to this pace!

Some of my favorite things from the last, oh two days? (Because really? It's only been two days in the city? Crazy!) Meetings with two lovely, articulate directors. Singing...er...screaming Billy Joel tunes in the audition room with KPW. Hearing some great singing (and some great monologues on Monday) over the past two days. Seeing my first (first? shameful!) Met performance and being simultaneously awed, overwhelmed, confused and depressed all t'once. It's a harvest festival of musical sorts!

This evening is an early evening...I'm spending some quality time with Opera X (no spoilers here, folks! mostly because we haven't heard everyone yet, and thereby still don't know what repertoire we'll be doing next summer.), an excel spreadsheet and a soft hotel bed.

(And a glass of wine. While the spreadsheet won't benefit, the opera listening will, most certainly.)

My five:
  1. City lights at night.
  2. People watching.
  3. Music. Well done. Of all genres.
  4. Reconnecting.
  5. Surprises.



GeoTagged, [N40.78213, E73.98123]

It's a beautiful day in New York!

My five:
1. Rooftop gardens.
2. Kona coffee. (Thanks, RT!)
3. Sunshine.
4. Bird's nest apartments. (waaay up!)
5. A walkable commute.


11.15.09 are you calling me fat??

Oh, no. It's my suitcase that's fat.

Fat and expensive. I hoisted that bad boy onto the scale at the airport, and honest-to-goodness it weighed more than the last time I got on a plane. More. Thank the heavens for our guardian angel RT, who shepherded us through this last airport gauntlet! Yes, friends... I said "last," because our mode of transport will be trains from this point forward. No long security lines, no taking my shoes off, no more paying a gazillion dollars (or getting anxious at the thought of paying a gazillion dollars) for my bag and me to end up in the same city.


I'm happily ensconced in a lovely hotel on Broadway on the Upper West Side, about 20 floors above the crowded streets. From way up here the traffic and all the people cease to be oppressive, and are just charming...like tiny dolls and matchbox cars. And honestly, I may just stay up here. I took my life into my hands and went to the Fairway at 7:00pm on a Sunday night, and just about lost my mind because EVERYONE IN MANHATTAN WAS GROCERY SHOPPING.


I think I'll just watch you all from my little bird's nest. Go about your business, don't mind me.

Tomorrow we have auditions for our Studio program, and will be seeing this show in the evening. To quote EE, "Prison! Yay!"

My five:
  1. High-floor hotel rooms with views. I lucked out.
  2. Feeling caught up to a degree, instead of perpetually behind.
  3. Having the opportunity to visit NYC, but not needing to live here.
  4. The prospect of reconnecting with friends.
  5. A relaxing evening in.
And as a silly, silly bonus, here's a video that makes me laugh until tears well up in my eyes. You've probably seen it, but maybe not for a while. Watch at 0:26 for my favorite part. It's all of 3 seconds, but it gets me every time...

(Don't judge.)


11.13.09 opera week

It's National Opera Week! The first one ever!

So it seems only fitting that we heard opera from sun up to sun down...right?

The morning and afternoon were filled with auditions. I'm at the point on the tour where I seriously need a thesaurus...I know that there are better words to describe what I'm hearing than the ones that find their way through my fingertips into the database. But I can't access them...crossing time zones, under-caffeination and a nagging urge to organize all of the receipts I've accrued have zapped me of all creative thought. I'll be spending some time tomorrow trying to find some new words.

Opera was interrupted by the Airstream Diva, who I was thrilled to meet IRL! And my favorite choreographer in the whole world dropped by to say hello. His company was performing in the same building that we were in, and a great friend pulled a string or two. So he dropped in. Just stopped by. To say hi. HOW COOL IS THAT????

After more auditions, we stowed our piles of gak in EM's office, and took our seats for the Houston Grand Opera performance of Lohengrin. I was nervous. I love Wagner's music - don't get me wrong. But my exposure has largely been excerpts and orchestral reading...no singing, no four-hours-of-my-life-I'll-never-get-back. I'm so accustomed to opera in our intimate venue, to seeing real connections rather than symbolic gestures...I thought I was going to feel trapped in the midst of four hours of park and bark.

I was so, so wrong.

The symbolism. The amazingly responsive orchestra. The chorus who found moments of such tenderness and subtlety between the bombast. The singing! Having last heard RMcK sing Verdi in the Barns, and then hearing him surf HUGE BRASS on his first entrance? From as far upstage as he could get? Pretty freaking amazing. And Lohengrin and Ortrud just totally rocked my world. It's a good night when you're both humbled and inspired in equal measure.

This Wagner virgin has been deflowered....and might just fall from grace totally and become a Wagner hussy.

As promised, here are some things that I saw and wanted to share:

  • this. love the show, and love the gov't connection!
  • this. couldn't get it to play in the audition room, but i love it.
  • this. boy, i struggle with this all the time.
  • this. for all my OCD buddies.
  • this. i'm loving this art movement (craft movement? is there a distinction?) so much.
  • this. because stormtroopers use google, too.
And my five:
  1. Meeting cool new people.
  2. Being surprised.
  3. Inspiration.
  4. Belly laughs.
  5. Caffeine.


11.12.09 Cincinnati, or Mutiny.

My body has decided that 5:45am is it's new wake-up time, regardless of which time zone we're in. And it's also decided that there's a limited number of food options that it's willing to consider, but somehow the list of approved foods has not made it from my stomach to my brain.

I think my body just hates Cincinnati.

I'm sitting in the lobby of the Kingsgate Marriott on a lovely, sunny morning, watching a group of conference attendees mill around. I've caffeinated - insufficiently, but enough to make sentences should anyone approach me. (The sentences might not be 100% grammatically correct, but that's all I've got today.) We're catching the early shuttle to CCM (and yes, we'll be stopping for more caffeine), where we'll hear a tightly compacted day of auditions before running to the airport for a Houston-bound plane. It's going to be a scary travel afternoon, and will probably involve running through CVG at some point. (*fingers crossed* that it doesn't come to that!) We always hear interesting folks here, and the fabulous DL plays circles around this repertoire. But it's a short stop, and toting all of this gak around for less than 24 hours in a city is rough.

All of the flying has reminded me of how much I love that short moment of weightlessness when the plane takes off...flying out of Chicago last night was beautiful, with the city lights shimmering in a messy grid and sudden blackness where the lake began. It was unexpected (not sure why...maybe just because I was in a window seat and paying attention?) and very much appreciated.

Our trip out of Cincinnati last year was epic. Epically horrible, epically funny...probably depends on your perspective. I'm hoping that this year is epically smoooooth.

My five:
  1. These guys. Perfect plane music.
  2. Happy accidents.
  3. Hotel beds.
  4. People watching.
  5. Falling into a weird, but workable, routine.



Happy Veterans Day! And, because it's 11.11, you should totally make a wish!

(Mine will have everything to do with travelling into and out of Cincinnati.)

Here's a picture of me in my super-cute hotel room at the Allegro in Chicago. I'm with my two intrepid non-human travel companions: sure, we're all a lite heavier than we should be, but hey! More of usto love! Right?

C'mon, guys...right??

My five:
1. Sparkling conversation. Especially nice when I can mostly listen.
2. Mashed potatoes and gravy. So worth the resulting nightmares.
3. Lucky days.
4. Reconnecting with old friends.
5. Good travelling buddies, of both the human and non-human sort.


11.9.09 on the road agin'...

GeoTagged, [N34.04574, E118.23840]

Sitting at the gate at Dulles International Airport. Boarding will start in about 20 minutes, and shortly thereafter I'll be winging towards the Windy City to meet my colleagues for more auditions. If you're singing in Chicago, we're excited to hear you!

Tomorrow begins a slate of Olympian days... In years past I've tried to blog daily, but I'm not sure that it'll happen this time. But you'll be psyched to know that I'm collecting ALL KIND of fun links for you...stay tuned!

(I swear that "Ding and PingPong" were just paged over the airport intercom. Things are already a wee bit surreal...)

My five:
1. Remembering to fill my thermos before getting on the plane. (Next time skipping the water for vodka.)
2. Rides to the airport.
3. Mushy hubby. :)
4. Sunny late fall days.
5. Monday night football - GO STEELERS!


11.8.09 brief hiatus/LA recap

This morning finds me happily ensconced on my couch in Vienna, VA. While KPW is listening to more opera (the MONC southwestern regionals), I'm doing laundry, hanging with my boys, and enjoying the beautiful autumn weather. It's a welcome respite, as the next week's travel is pretty ugly; full audition days followed by travel in the evenings.

But there's already been significant beauty on this tour, starting with the scenery. Can you believe that view?

We've heard some great auditions already. Folks have been bringing in standard rep that suits them well, and the singers in Los Angeles as a whole were quite put together. We're seeing a bit of a purple dress trend this year, which I'm totally digging. We also heard some fabulous monologues from Studio candidates, in particular a Fannie Flagg monologue with a lovely southern accent and a cutting from the movie "Meet the Parents." Good stuff!

Ok, on to laundry and loafing. I'll see you in Chicago, amici!

My five:
  1. Homecomings.
  2. Traveling.
  3. Coffee.
  4. Sleeping in.
  5. Sunshine.


11.6.09 Get ready...get set...


We're in California. (Well, mostly...my body clock is still very much on East Coast time. 3:30am local feels like the perfect time to start my day. It's a problem.) The opera singing has started, as has the horrible eating and the travel-induced stiffness. But, lest you think it's all hardship, I've splased in the ocean, caught up with some opera-y buddies, and even exercised a skosh. (Running with the ocean in sight? Awesome.)

Today we're hearing folks for both tiers of our program. It's more than a little bit like Christmas...who knows what voices are going to walk through the door? The possibilities are endless! Plus I'll get to see Ninochka, a fabulous pianist who just happens to be a friend and castmate from my grad school days. And if I'm not mistaken, there's a fabulous Japanese grocery just across the way for lunch - sushi anyone?

At the crack of dawn tomorrow I'll head back east for a few welcome days with my boys before setting out again.

My five:
  1. Generous, heartwarming hosts.
  2. Sea air.
  3. Celebrity sightings.
  4. Butter. (OMG I've eaten a cubic ton in two days. SO GOOD.)
  5. Homecomings of every sort.


11.1.09 Halloween, pizza, and hair. In that order.

Rainy, gloomy morning...a perfect way to ease into the day after a night of revelry!

Our trick-or-treaters braved the rain for handfuls of pixy stix and candy bars. (And yes, I did conduct some quality-control tests...can't give out nasty candy, or we'd get a reputation!) Buzz Lightyear made an appearance, as did a tiny gangster, several princesses and the Chick-Fil-A cow.

Our buddies J & S crossed the river to join us for dinner, and I totally lifted EM's entertaining model - make-your-own pizza. Tasty stuff, and especially good for J's very specific tastes. Waking up after Halloween with the tastes of red wine and roasted garlic in your mouth, instead of sugar? That's a sign that you're a real, card-carrying grown-up, my friends.

In other, Rahree-gets-a-spine news, for the first time in my life I called a salon to complain. I know! Usually if I don't like a haircut or color, I either get a box of dye from the drugstore, wait for it to grow out, or start shopping around for a new stylist. My longest relationship with a hairdresser was 13 months...and that was a few years ago. I like my stylist now: she's very fast, she cuts my fine hair well (i.e. it's even and I don't have to trim it myself. ever.), and I like the color she uses. But sometimes she's a little too fast and I end up feeling shorn (but hey! hair grows! not such a big deal!), or she'll just assume that I want the same color - an assumption that, lately, has been right on the money.

But this time? This time I asked for something different. See, when hubby and I met my hair was this deep burgundy/black cherry color. It's not a color readily found in nature, which is why I've ignored his pleas to return to my punk roots. But in a fit of separation anxiety, I decided to go back...to dye my hair a deep, rich, burgundy. My stylist's eyes got wide, but she said "sure...we'll only put a little bit of the burgundy into your regular color, and that way when we do it next time you'll see it more. It won't be such a shock."

Sounds reasonable, right? Right! Here we go!

It's been 5 days. 90% of my hair looks exactly the same as it did before my Wednesday appointment...dark brown with caramely streaks. The roots? Well, they're ranging from the aforementioned burgundy to a metallic mauve. MAUVE. It seems that my hair is a little too light, a little too grey, to really take this color. And I feel a little like a circus freak...I mean, Halloween is officially over.

So I called the salon...stuttered to the receptionist "I've never complained about a hair service in my life....but I had an appointment on Wednesday, and the color's not so much working for me. Can you fit me in to fix it? Before I leave town for a month? Like, say, Tuesday?"

I'm in. No problems...with a "Certainly. When can you come in? If you don't like it I'll happily fix it."

Thank goodness!

I'm going off the grid for a while - will touch base with you from the Left Coast and sunny LA in a few days, as the audition tour is about to start!

My five:
  1. Asking and receiving.
  2. Speaking what's on my mind, in my heart.
  3. Clean, warm laundry. (WAY better than the alternative... ew.)
  4. Completing challenges.
  5. Quality couch time with my boys.