It's Grammy Day, y'all!

Seriously, I'm not sure that any ceremony is going to make this little trip any better. It's been just that good already.

Friday: Easy flight. Good conversation on the plane, and seventeen bajillion babies who didn't cry. (RIGHT???) A beautiful drive to Malibu, with the windows down. (In January.) Burritos the size of my head. Grocery shopping while dead on my feet. Reunion with the hubster after a week apart.

Saturday: Coffee and Milanos for breakfast. A jog around this lovely hilltop neighborhood, with lots of doggie love (seriously, everyone here has a dog. It's awesome.) to break up the heaving of my fat ass up the hills. Brunch with a great group of Trappers and our hosts, followed by a loooong walk on the beach at low tide. I held a sea slug (And squealed like a girl. You can't blame me - it's like holding a handful of living grape jelly.), saw starfish and crabs and scallops and walked barefoot in the ocean. Met up with one of hub's college buddies and his women for dinner, and carried the sweetest 2 year old around on my hip all night. Was regaled with stories from the Nominees Ceremony and the Lifetime Achievement Awards, and talked a little shop before bed.

Sunday - today: I'm the first one up. Coffee is made, the sky is turning pink. I'm still trying to decide between short silver dress and long purple dress. Thinking about going for a walk before anyone else gets up.

Also thinking about how lucky I am to be here...how nice it's been to have been considered for this award, how great it's been to be included in the celebration. It's a special piece to me, especially since I started my affiliation with WT as an intern on the original production of this opera... I can still sing large swaths of it by heart, if not necessarily on pitch. It's our first opera recording, and here we are, on an international stage, because of it. That, my friends, is pretty freaking cool.

My five:
  1. Being able to attend this HUGE SPECTACLE. Once-in-a-lifetime.
  2. Generosity. 
  3. The ocean. I'm totally ready to liquidate and move west.
  4. Doing good work.
  5. A pat on the back, and a 'well done.'


Long shot

The Grammy dress saga continues. After trying on a million dresses (I counted.), I was at my wit's end. So I went to the only resource I could think of who would tell it to me straight:

The Fug Girls.

I've written before of how much I love them. But they're busy...it being awards season and all. It was a total long shot. I sent them this note:

Hi Fug Girls (and Intern George),
I have a problem. You see, my company made a little recording that's been nominated for a GRAMMY! An opera Grammy, to be exact. So my colleagues and I are leaving our Virginia environs for the glamour of Los Angeles. We're excited!

And terrified.

We're attending both the non-televised and televised ceremonies. There's no time for us to change (we're staying waaaaay out in Malibu. In a trailer park. Don't laugh.) in between ceremonies. The three ladies in the entourage (because, sadly, the guys just don't care enough to get worked up over this whole thing) range in age from 36-52. We look good, we work out...we're just not ingenues.

So, what the heck do we wear??? Do we wear shorter dresses due to the all-day nature of our Grammy-ing? Or can we wear long dresses all day? HOW DO WE DEAL WITH YOUR CRAZY FASHION RULES? We're from Virginia, near DC - we can all rock a suit, but this glitzy stuff makes us a little nuts. I mean, we're not going to be picked up on the red carpet, but none of us wants to end up on a "what the heck?!?" list!

Help us, Fug Girls. You're our only hope.


THEY WROTE BACK! OMG! Here's the reply!

Hi Rahree!

How exciting -- you guys are going to have an amazing time. My advice is, if you don't have time to/can't change, wear what you want to wear to the televised event. If you look overly fancy for the earlier event, I'm sure everyone there will just assume you're going to the later one (which is true!). The good news is that the Grammys are kind of funky, so if you would rather wear something short and sassy and cocktail-y, I think that would be totally okay. You DEFINITELY won't be on the What Were They Thinking list at all in a shorter dress, if that's what you'd rather wear. But my advice is, pick the thing you love the most regardless of length and just wear it all day. I'm sure that's what everyone else is doing!

I hope y'all win! And you're going to have a great time. (PS: I think I know the trailer park in Malibu of which you speak. It's essentially the nicest trailer park in the world, with a billion dollar view.)

WHEW. Can I tell you how relieved I am? One more stop on the Find-A-Dress-Or-Go-Mad tour...if there's nothing to be found this afternoon, I'm wearing my purple dress. With impunity.

My five:

  1. The Grammys! How exciting, right?!?!?
  2. Long walks with El Diablo...my day is better when I spend more time walking with him in the morning.
  3. New lipstick. A few bucks makes me feel like a million bucks.
  4. Long shots coming through!
  5. Adventure.
Update: The dress has been both found and purchased, and it was oh so ON SALE. And I bought shoes. Also on sale. And was home 60 minutes after work, my self-imposed timeline. (TRIPLE SCORE!!!) Thanks to @girlinva for her retail prowess...long or short, I'll feel good come Sunday!


    weekend wrap up

    Bullet points. Because it's late, and I'm a little under the weather, still. (But I'm DETERMINED to kick this bug before the weekend! Hence the inspirational photo...that'd be Malibu Cove after sunrise, dahlings...)

    • I make a mean mushroom risotto. It's so true. Organic, locally-grown fungi (funguses? ew....that sounds wrong-er.) and locally-sourced cream and butter, port and fresh herbs, and truffled cheese. That's right...because cheese and cream by themselves are only B-class...but my A game has truffles all over it. (did I mention there are NO LEFTOVERS? And I made a cubic ton. Food Network? You should call me. And not for that loser-i-don't-know-how-to-boil-water show.)
    • Yesterday I took a weightlifting class AND a kettlebell class. One right after the other. Today? I'm both fat and sore. That's not really the way I had envisioned it working out...
    • Hubby is out of town this week...which means I have to do double duty trying to get these couch cushions to loosen up! Boo and I have taken turns running across them several times daily, but I'm just not seeing the return I'd like...will be weighing my pockets with pebbles tomorrow. Bricks on Tuesday. Cinder blocks on Wednesday. Throwing myself around like an angsty teenager on Thursday. Ceding superiority to the C&B furniture makers on Friday.
    • Next weekend? GRAMMYS, baby! Hubby has promised that he'll talk into his cuff for the ceremony, so that the paparazzi wonder who that girl is...you know, the one from DC who brought a security detail...(think it'll work??)
    • Speaking Grammys...here's my dilemma: we're going to both ceremonies: ours at 1pm, and the big-time at 5. No time to change between. SO how long should my dress be? Do I deal with a long dress at the afternoon ceremony? (I have a great long dress already, AND I'm more comfy in long anyways.) Or do I wear a shorter dress and hope I don't look like a bowling pin at the evening ceremony? (Let's face it...yours truly is far from an ingenue and is built more like a little Polish pierogi maker than a rock star.) Vote early and often, because I'm shopping for a just-in-case dress on Tuesday. (Read: HELP!!!!!)
    • You can read about my latest gym exploit here. My gym is VERY nice. But, that being said, there's no amount of Kiehl's in the locker room that can make up for today's experience. Ew.
    • Back to the Grammy's: JW and his family are so, so AWESOME to us. (They allow us to take possession of one of the most comfortable, most beautiful places in the western world [Malibuuuuuuuu!], for days at a time.) They are generosity personified, and I'm so grateful they love my boss and extend the love to me by association. I may make them my super-special mushroom risotto for brunch, to express my gratitude. Or maybe I'll just grovel.
    • A nugget of wisdom from my friend Samuel. (He's pretty smart.)
    • If I had a life list, dinner here would be on it. I've set one of my Brooklyn buddies on the trail...hoping she reports back. Hoping more that I get to go along!
    • If we've met, I demand this of you. If we've not met IRL yet, I doubly demand it. (I know, I'm a bossy bitch. But you must admit, it could be worse...that circle on the left could read "garbage" or "soul-sucking job" or "bad implants" or "a world with no chocolate.")
    • I think Woody Allen said this too. But it bears repeating...it really is the hardest part most days.
    • I'm at the point where I have more new albums, more new books than I can get through in the sliver of time that I allot them. Usually I'm OK with not being "caught up," but I'd really, really like to read them, listen to them all thoughtfully. Is that a sign of growing up? That I want the time to scrutinize something in a leisurely fashion? because honestly, I didn't dedicate that kind of time in my studies...let's be honest.
    • This song popped up on the radio on my way into work the other day. I can't tell you how HAPPY it made it. Ridiculousness with a synth drum track = middle school perfection.
    My five:
    1. Space.
    2. Missing.
    3. Kamikaze kitty.
    4. Stepping in puddles. On purpose.
    5. Impromptu puppy play parties


    New couch!

    GeoTagged, [N38.89358, E77.25803]

    Behold our new, marvelous couch! And rug! It'll take a while to get it as comfy as our old, 8-years-worth-of-butts couch, but I'm taking that as a challenge.

    My five:
    1. Being able to sit WITH my hubby, instead of just *near* him.
    2. Hubby- it was his birthday yesterday! Yep- 29 again...
    3. Books...planning to ignore the interwebs for the printed page this weekend.
    4. Moved furniture... I salute all of you (hi, mom and boss lady) who actually enjoy moving stuff around...Must've skipped my generation.
    5. Single serving Vosges chocolate bars. Soul AND diet intact!


    paranoia? maybe...

    I keep up with WAY more blogs and online news/gossip resources than I probably should. But I read one (that wasn't Haiti related - that's a whole different ball of wax) that hit really close to home.

    It's here. Scroll to the dog-centered q+a.

    The breed and the aggressiveness are both very wrong. But it's written by someone in my town. And my dog does weigh over 3/4 of what I do...and sometimes, when he's been engaged by a person or another dog walking by and/or I'm wearing shoes that are, well, less than sensible...well, he wins the tug-of-war. And, if you're not a dog person, a willful black beastie with big teeth coming straight at you can be amazingly intimidating.

    I get that. I totally do.

    And I am sick with the thought that one of my neighbors thinks my black love bug is ferocious. (But if you're reading this and hoping to rob my house? He's a bloodthirsty beast with whom you do NOT WANT TO MESS.)

    We've started the retraining process, and he's doing well. I am doing less well.

    I'm heartsick. Because the problem is mine - he's a good dog, but only as good as I ask him to be...as much as I'm willing to reinforce. But he's much, much too gentle for anyone to be afraid of...he'll lick babies' cheeks and let them pull his tail. The only thing that should be fearful of this guy is, well, your lunch. (Or breakfast or dinner...he's not picky.)

    He's a Good. Dog. And that post makes me feel just horrible.


    My five (wow, this is much harder today than it has any right to be):
    1. Sunshine.
    2. Running in shorts. In January.
    3. These songs. Oh, and these too.
    4. Comfort food.
    5. This quote by Bikram Choudhury...makes me want to try out his yoga thing. 
    It's never too late, you're never too bad, never too old, never too sick to start from scratch and begin again.
     Dude is smart. And probably bendy. Two things I could use more of in my life.


    One Night Stand. Sorta.

    GeoTagged, [N40.75844, E73.98950]

    Well, this mini-jaunt to NYC has been eye-opening on many levels. People have been generous with their time, opinions, hugs, and merchandise. I've shipped a box of CDs home, and still have more in my carryon. I put faces with names for a slew of agents that I've been talking to for several years. I could book a million concerts with the resources offered here! But I've also had several good, engaging conversations about musicianship and artistry...it's been interesting and illuminating, and honestly a LOT to process.

    I met several folks out for dinner & bevs last night...friends from Carnegie Mellon and the University of Maryland, singers from our summer program, and even my hubby's coolest classmate from his graduate program. So many frames of reference, so many different personalities...when I looked around, I have to admit that my head exploded a little. And, per usual, I didn't get a chance to talk nearly enough with everyone...I know it's the nature of a get-together, but I still wanted to spend more time with each person.

    Now, however, I'm tired. And while you (hopefully) can't tell from the hotel self-portrait, I'm snuffy and puffy and fighting off a cold. So I've comandeered a quiet corner of a conference room to wipe the flop sweat from my brow, take notes on some of my conversations (talking to strangers is HARD!), and rest my achy back from my (singular, yet heavy) bag. (travel note-make sure your power cord actually *works* before taking up valuable carryon space for a laptop. Grrr....)

    Concerts at 3. Taxi at 5. Flight at 7. Home at 8:30.

    Bed at 9. Hallelujah.

    My five:
    1. Friends.
    2. Stretching. Of all types.
    3. Inspiration.
    4. Free coffee.
    5. Homecomings.


    Same city, different hat

    GeoTagged, [N40.75807, E73.98935]

    I'm in New York for some 30 hours, learning about what's out there in the chamber music world. And while my hotel room is on a middle floor, the view is nice, if a far cry from my suburban nest!

    Seminars, performances, chats & chow with friends... What could be more fun?

    My five:
    1. Alarm clocks. 5:30 am is EARLY.
    2. Room to stretch.
    3. Coffee. See #1
    4. Getting out of my comfort zone.
    5. New connections.



    I had a vivid dream last night, just before waking.

    In it, I was walking from room to room in a big, rustic house next to a lake. It was summer, and from the upstairs windows I could see the sun was shining through the trees and sparkling on the water. The windows were open and a sweet-smelling, soft breeze was blowing through. I could hear birdsong...I recognized the call, but didn't know who was singing.

    All of the woodwork in the house was painted...several coats worth, the last a dark brown. There were a million bedrooms, the beds all made up with cozy patchwork quilts, big oval rag rugs covering the floors. There were bookshelves full of books, stray pairs of oars, sturdy antique highball glasses on tables...water rings on every horizontal surface, flip-flops scattered near couches and nightstands. There was that Sunday Washington Post crossword puzzle I'd been meaning to tackle! Padding downstairs to the living room.. the couch had two afghans thrown carelessly over the back, and the recliner looked both comfy and a little worn...it obviously belonged to someone who loved it well.

    The house was busy! It was like everyone I had ever worked with in the summer was staying in this house at the same time, like we were doing opera waaaay out in the country, all together...staying together, living together, cooking together. I saw JF wend his way down the stairs on his way outside, and he stopped to talk to RC and some other folks on the porch.

    I walked out to the porch to join the conversation. The other folks on the porch were my mom and dad, both beaming...holding court my the front steps. My mom chatting up JVE and AP about the dinner picnic later on, and my dad talking proudly about his garden. (Evidently the tomatoes were doing gangbusters this summer, which was a great improvement from last year.) JF and EM asked him to show them around, and he was pleased as punch to do so.

    I woke up wishing I could go back to sleep, just so I could tag along to the garden and have a few more minutes with Dad. 

    *Sigh.* A bittersweet reveille, to be sure.

    My five:
    1. Crying. 
    2. Hugs.
    3. Sunshine.
    4. Buckyballs.
    5. Love that can't be contained by space or time.


    what did i get myself into?

    Mondays aren't my kind of days.

    In the summer, when we're working 6-7 (or 8-9, depending on the week) days in a row and everything's blending together? Well, sometimes a Monday feels more like a Thursday, and I'm fooled into being happy and upbeat and wondering loudly where happy hour will be. Those are the best kinds of Mondays.

    But on a cold Monday in January, when my office is frigid and the answer to every question is "no" and every bone in my body wants to go back to bed? Then they're a steaming heap of no fun. But today I added into the mix this challenge...something to focus on, to give ol' Rahree a little bit of structure in this freezy month. I picked cutting out sugar and white flour from my diet as part of my personal list of challenges.

    And I did it! No white flour or sugar all day. Plus some yoga in the morning, a nicely made bed, and a good workout. Yay!

    And for the better part of the day? I wanted to cry. Nothing was wrong, hormones were not an issue, and I even got presents! But still, I just wanted to crawl into a ball and bawl.

    Over nothing.

     I think giving up candy and bread might be more than this little Pollock can bear. I'll try to stick with it for the week, but if I still want to cry all the time by Friday? Well, on Friday I'll be in NYC, and will have some of the bestest candy and bread to choose from in the western world. You'll more than likely find me stuffing my piehole with bagels (yes, plural. bagelS), probably with a Nutella chaser. 

    (Don't step too close...you could lose a hand.) 

    So, on the "figure out what my friends and family need and bend over backwards to give it to them" goal? A big ol' FAIL. For today, anyway...tomorrow will be better. Here's to keeping "poor me" out of my house for the rest of the week.

    And to make up for my general douchiness? This and this and this.

    In keeping with ye olde tradition, the five things I'm most thankful for today:
    1. Distraction.
    2. Toys.
    3. Being pushed in positive ways.
    4. Chai tea lattes.
    5. Warmth.


    1.10.10 back on track

    Firstly, can I just say how much cooler the date looks when followed by .10? Oh yes, I'm a fan.

    So I'm not really a resolution kind of girl...I mean, I am, but I usually resolve to lose weight. Every year. And by mid-February I'm totally over it and am diving into a box of candy like the keys to the kingdom are at the bottom of said box.

    Sadly, I've never found those darn keys. And I've seen the bottom of many a candy box.

    So this year? No resolutions. None.

    But that doesn't mean no plans, my friends. Rather than abstaining from something, however, I will be  adding things to my life. And you know how I love a good list, so here are my plans for 2010, list-o-rama form:

    • Finish the big writing project I started, and finish it well. (that's technically two things, but totally intertwined.)
    • Enter a 5k or 10k and actually run the race AND finish.  (Puking optional.)
    • Talk with more people....really talk, not just chit-chat. And listen better. Again, two items, but so closely related. Bonus points if the people are new to me.
    • Figure out what my friends and family need, and bend over backwards to give it to them.
    • Start a music project that's not work-related. 
    • Take more baths.
    • Add more whole, local eats to my diet and relegate candy to its proper position as a treat, rather than a food group.(Is it sad that this might be the most difficult thing on my list? The candy part, anyway.)
    • Explore more.
    Feel free to call me out on any or all of these plans...in fact, please do so! Ask me about them. Remind me. Keep me honest, my friends.

    In goal-related news, I'll be starting the next SocialWorkout challenge tomorrow. If you've not tried this before I highly recommend it. Sure, it looks like a community diet-and-exercise program at first glance. But rather than being restrictive, it encourages you to try new things, or to do without old crutches. And the workout component is easy, since you have to work out 20 times over the course of 33 days but you define what a "workout" is. Let me know if you're up for it, and I'll be your own personal cheerleader! Rah rah raaaah!

    Ok, time to get moving. My five:
    1. Feeling hopeful.
    2. Sunshine.
    3. Good stories.
    4. Unstructured time.
    5. Raucous laughter.


    1.8.09 blah blah long week blah

    Wow, five days at work in a row is hard!

    (I can feel the daggers. I'm just KIDDING!)


    I have so very little to tell you folks. A good friend is dealing with a health scare, and I'm trying to figure out how involved I can be without being pushy and annoying. And, since it's not my story, I'm loath to talk about it here. But we've been friends for (*gulp*) over twenty years, and it's weighing on me in a way that I'm not used to or comfortable with. So there's that. Plus I'm trying to experiment with some ideas for music and writing, and while nothing may come of either it feels really good to be creating instead of consuming.

    So! More links! Because life is blissfully uneventful.

    • These are super cool.
    • I love this sentiment.
    • I may have shown you this already, but it bears repeating.
    • This is interesting, although I'm not sure that it beats a plain ol' shot of vodka.
    My five:
    1. Warm feet.
    2. Good books.
    3. Newness.
    4. Chatting with neighbors.
    5. Listening to music so loudly that it feels like I'm singing, even when I'm not.
    And a freebie! I just found out about this artist, as one friend sent me the video and another gave me an album, both within 48 hours of the other. They're on to something! (it's nice having friends with good taste!)


    1.4.10 monday, monday...

    Well, it's Monday.

    The weather has been absolutely frigid the last few days (and I say that while totally owning the fact that I have grown soft since moving south of the Mason-Dixon line), and clean, toasty house + cuddly kitty + good movies and books + wine + not wanting to leave the couch - work  = happy Rahree.

    (Ok, so happy Rahree does not necessarily equal interesting Rahree. Sorry for that.)

    But it was all about back-to-work today. And despite the fact that even wool socks and long underwear couldn't really keep me warm in our frigid building, it was nice being back with the peeps, getting a jump-start on the oceans of stuff that needs to be done.

    It's nice to have a purpose.

    (It's probably nice to have a porpoise, too, but where in heaven's name would I keep it?)

    I've been listening to this tune for months, but it popped onto my iPod this morning when I was getting ready for work, and again when I was sitting at my desk...so I'm sharing it with you. And with this video you can sing along! Who knew!

    My Monday five:
    1. Thinsulate. Holy crap is it cold out!
    2. Beaujolais nouveau. Yum.
    3. The fact that the gym is flooded, and I can put off going for one more day. SCORE!
    4. Catching up with friends.
    5. Large, hand-warming cups of hot tea.


    1.1.10 first link-o-rama of the year!

    Happy New Year! 

    (wow, is the picture blurry or is it me?)

    I hope that your head feels great, and your heart feels even better. (If neither hope is accurate, take 2 advil with a big slug of Gatorade and say to yourself "Rahree loves me!" five times while clicking your heels together. Hey, it can't hurt!)

    There's something about the first day of the new year that makes me feel incredibly hopeful, in love with all of the possibilities that the year can bring. Realistically, I know some of the things that will happen will not be of the rainbow-pooping-unicorn caliber, but I'm telling that part of my brain to hush up for now, and basking in full-blown hope.

    Some of these links are quite hopeful. Some are just silly. That's how I roll.
    • This is proof that I'm right. Or maybe I'm right because I read it. You'll never know.
    • This is almost a direct quote from my mother.
    • This is good, because I'm pretty dumb about, well, almost everything. And yet it hasn't stopped me from jumping in and trying something new.
    • These are pretty.
    • So is this. Although I think it's probably not office-apropos for yours truly. *sigh*
    • This might be my answer to resolutions.
    • These guys are my ear candy du jour.
    In other, related news, posting may be a little light here at the start of the new year, as I'm trying to write something non-blog-related. I know! I bet you're asking yourself "What? With the habitual lack of content here, why would she choose to go elsewhere to spew her sweet nothingnesses?" Quite simply, I don't have a life list like so many of the bloggers I admire, but writing a book (not a good book, mind you. just a book.) is a dream I've had for a long time. And NaNoWriMo happens at the WORST possible time of year for me, so I've never participated.  January might not be the time to finish, but it feels like the time to start.

    (And I could be wrong...this blog might be my best procrastination tool. I may be writing WAY MORE OFTEN than y'all would like.)

    But now *drum roll*  here's my first Five of 2010! (Boy, I never get tired of this. I'm not sure what that says about me, but I find it too fun to really care.)
    1. January days that feel like springtime.
    2. Watching the gym newbies tackle their resolutions. Day one - HOO-AH!
    3. Silence.
    4. Almond-scented anything.
    5. Feeling content.