3.31.2010

Milestones. Or millstones. Same thing?

Today I completed this. 1,000 push ups. 1,000 sit-ups. Squats, dips, pull-ups (well, kinda), outdoor exercise, classes, unprocessed food.

Did it.

As of Easter Sunday...I'll have exercised every day since Ash Wednesday. Every. Day. I'll finally be able to  return, if I choose, to having my nightly nightcap and working seriously on the dent in my couch.

(I think there might be a Cadbury egg (or five) in my future!)

And, in other milestone news, it's been four years since I left my teaching job, since I started working in this crazy opera business, since I started writing this little blog.

This is post 771.

Like everyone else, I'm an instant gratification kinda girl...but it's cool to see that big number (OVER SEVEN HUNDRED POSTS? That's MAD, I tell you! MAD!), and to know that I did it all myself. And all it really took was time. (Because Lord knows that content isn't so much mandatory in my writing.)

Thanks for sticking around!

And, as a kind of present, I give you LINKS!
  • If you're not so much a planning kind of person, like yours truly, but you like a little bit of financial stability, won't you try this? I am.
  • Boy, I wish I had thought of this idea. This is one of my favorites.
  • Who else needs one of these? I might just be able to wear white this summer! (I know, i know...but it's fun to dream!)
  • WANT.
  • Also WANT.
  • I'm thinking of buying this, and if I like it giving copies to our Instant Opera! folks.
  • Subversive, disappearing graffiti. I could have SO MUCH FUN with this stuff!
  • This is just awesome. Read the whole thing.
And this is the first song that popped up on my iTunes this morning. AC, our Admin Intern from last summer turned me on to this album, and this tune is one of my favs.


My five:
  1. Sunshine.
  2. Having something to show for it.
  3. Spring flowers. They're everywhere - it's AWESOME.
  4. Reaching goals.
  5. Calm before the storm.

3.29.2010

in a july state of mind.

...that's not really a good thing.

In July I'm maxed. Stretched to the limit. Trying to dig deep and coming up empty. Stingy. Needy. Grumpy. Wanting help/a time out/a hot tub time machine to take me away. Feeling totally, 100% out-of-control.

But in March? Granted, it's a busy time for me, but usually quite manageable. And my Pollyanna tendencies are well documented - I'm a glass-half-full kinda girl! Lots of days in the office, cranking up the tunes and cranking out the paperwork - it's a great time to check items off my to-do list.

Today, however,  was a total fail. Woke up late, with a stiff neck and a headache. Got to work to find the equipment I needed locked up. LaJefa rescued me - thank you! - even though we found out that the equipment wasn't so much locked up. Spent the morning trying to familiarize myself with an HD camera and a film editing program that I couldn't get to talk to one another. Hours and hours, tilting at a persistently twirling windmill, to no avail.

It was like one of those flower presses, layers of glass in a wooden frame. Except it was some part of me, in between the layers, and the screws were tightening, threatening to break the glass. I thought I was going to lose it - over a stupid computer interface? RIDICULOUS.

Here's some context: I've spent 4 of the last 5 days with close friends who are now either cancer patients or caregivers. The news is recent: some diagnoses are mere days old. And I'd probably be some kind of monster if it didn't affect me, right? But I was just kinda assuming that I could waltz in and out of these friendships; that being a good friend meant that I needed to stay connected, to lend an ear, bring cupcakes, make a silly joke and help out...after all, the burden isn't mine to shoulder. I just wanted to spend time with them.

So, it was a total shock when I crumbled.

When I IMed LaJefa and begged off of the afternoon's meetings. And she was graceful and supportive...I think her last IM said "Are you still here???" She could tell I needed to vacate. And vacate I did.

It is stupid and unfair. Of the three folks I know who are affected? One is my friend's father (late 60s), one is my bestie from high school (mid-30s), and one is a seven-month-old boy. Seven months....chemo before he can walk. Three totally disparate times of life, three different cancers, and yet singularly unfair. My powerlessness has never felt quite so total.

*Sigh.*

I know tomorrow will be better. I'll return the reins to Pollyanna, and let her run with 'em. I'll actually bring my game face to work with me, rather than leaving it snug in bed. But if you have an extra prayer to pray, send it out to my friends, 'k? We'll take all the help we can get.

My five:
  1. My little family's good health...SO not taking that for granted again.
  2. The memory of a 3 year-old running the opposite direction from Boo, muttering "nopenopenopenopenopenope" as he ran. (He warmed up later on, but it was SUPER cute.)
  3. Swings. I will never be too old to love the swings.
  4. Candles.
  5. Help.

3.27.2010

Performance Day Play-By-Play


 I'm writing down everything that happened yesterday, mostly so that I can refer back to it in two months when the opera season starts and the phrase "Holy CRAP it's busy!" is on a continuous mental loop. It's not great grammatically or a good example of storytelling, but just think of it less as a story and more as my memory, preserved in writing so that it doesn't bump the important stuff (like the combination to my lock, how to make risotto, or the words to several comedy sketches from the late 80s) out of my head.

Dressed in my performance blacks and at work by 9am. 4 hours of desk work, including a huge push to get a grand rights license passed through before the evening's performance: we've been trying to negotiate a streaming broadcast with the publisher, but we got stuck, so we're re-negotiating. I hope. The Big Boss (who is, actually, a very tiny woman. Don't be fooled.) is getting involved, and they'll have some 'splaining to do. Anyhoo: desk work for a few hours. Some light furniture moving. A trip to the gym for a short workout, and a pass by 'bucks for java and Staples for a hard drive for hubs. Write some remarks for an evening speaking opportunity. Grab gak from the boss' office so she doesn't have to stop practicing. Meet the Secret Service detail for the Supreme Court Justice who's attending the show. Print out an extra pair of tickets for the Judge, show the primary Secret Service  dude every means of egress from every room in two buildings. Find a wheelchair. Take travel reimbursement checks over to the singers' dressing rooms. Steal several mini Twix from the green room. Grab personal gak, run it over to the Barns. Check in with the recording engineer and box office manager. Try to meet with the boss, but rehearsal has started and the opportunity is lost. Head over to the other building: greet some old friends of the opera program. Meet the new board president. Only realize that the new board president is the new board president hours after the meeting. Doh! Check in with the Secret Service dudes: all good! Pit stop: bathroom, reapply lipstick, fluff hair. Duck into the reception, mill around awkwardly for 10 minutes, comment on the incredible sharpness of the Librettist's suit - with the gorgeous, slightly iridescent pink lining - then hop up on the fireplace mantel and speak, much too quickly and without the meticulously written notes, about the upcoming commission and the evening's performance. Hop down, cheeks ablaze, feeling stupidstupidstupid about not sounding mature or elegant at all - will I NEVER BE A GROWN UP? Usher some patrons to the pre-show lecture, listen to the first 2-3 minutes, and sneak out to the performance building. Check in with the singers. Make sure that the props and furniture are set. Check in with the Box office Manager. Contemplate buying a glass of wine and a cheese plate from the bar, but decide against it. Check in with the CEO, with friends who've come to see the show, with the engineer, with the two (?!) videographers. The lighting designer/house manager has most of the night under control - he's been at it for years, and knows all there is to know. Thank goodness. Pretty soon, the folks from the lecture next door file over, grab their coffee or wine, and make their way to their seats. Double check props one more time. Check in with the Secret Service guys, and take a seat in the back of the theater.

Laugh my ass off. At horribly inopportune times. Remember why I love this art form, and more importantly these people, these performers, so darn much. The Secret Service guys around me are totally stoic...and I have melted into church giggles at the sight of a certain soprano falling on the ground time and again. Physical comedy? Goooood stuff!

Intermission: Sneak out of the house a smidge early. Head up to the stage to switch furniture and props around. I have a cheat sheet, and I'm following it religiously, as I've not been in enough rehearsal to make it intuitive. (Note to self: next time budget for a stage manager!) Head to the lip of the stage. Write out some questions for the singers for the Q&A. Take the stairs (for the millionth time. In heels. Because I'm dumb like that.) to the basement to give the questions to the Boss Lady and chat up the singers. Head to the house for the actual Q&A, then excuse myself again and listen to the majority of the second half from a headset plugged into the recording engineer's stack. Sounds pretty freakin' awesome. Steal the Boss Lady's camera from her dressing room. Check in with the Secret Service dudes and librettist regarding a post performance photo op. Realize I have no idea how to work Boss Lady's camera. Applause. Head into the theater, corral the Justice and the Librettist, and snap three pictures. Hope against all hope that ONE of them worked. Head downstairs to return the camera. Head upstairs to collect props. Props and fabric go to the costume shop...spike tape gets pulled off the floor, ladders and chairs are moved. Checks are distributed. Ladders are lashed onto car roofs. Singers are herded to the basement to collect their things. CD copies of the performance go into my bag, as do passcards and other pieces of errant paperwork. The last singer grabs her things, I grab mine. We meet the librettist outside the building and walk with him to the parking lot. Everyone is going to dinner...except me. I'm hoping to take off those stinking, high-heeled boots that were SO COMFORTABLE at 9am this morning, pour myself a glass of wine, grab a slice of cheese or chocolate, and relax.

C'est tout. My five:
  1. Not having a performance today. My dogs are BARKING.
  2. Sleeping in...until 8:30am, my friends! Might be a recent record.
  3. Fuzzy blankets.
  4. Coffee with a cinnamon stick.
  5. Falling asleep late at night with a dog tucked into the crook of my knees and a cat tucked under my chin.

3.24.2010

hit the wall

It's almost Easter. Hallelujah, indeeeeed!

You may remember that I committed to exercising every day of Lent.

Every. Day.

(Yes, even on Sundays.)

And I've kept this little Lenten discipline up. I've missed a day or two, to scheduling or feeling under the weather, but have made up the workouts in the same week. And I signed up for this, so that I would have a little extra incentive, even though it means that I have more devoirs to complete. Ellipticals and skate machines, yoga, pilates, Bosu class, jogs around the neighborhood...hundreds of push-ups, sit-ups and squats.

Oh, and I've cut waaaaay back on hooch. Like, a glass of wine once a week rather than once an evening cut back.

Since February 17. Five weeks. 36 Days.

I have to be honest...I feel pretty good. I've not lost any poundage, but that wasn't really the goal. (Lord help me when that does become the case. I'm just not wired for that!) It was more about respecting my body and being more thoughtful about the choices I was making. (And, of course, it's saving me a buttload on my weekly wino budget!) It's helping me to figure out why my stomach is so often not my friend.

And so I'm considering making this less of a discipline, and more of a lifestyle.

But before that? I'd like to take a few days off from working out. And, quite frankly, I'd like to get 100% soused.


12 days left. Less than two weeks. I can do it, right?

(Right???)

My five:
  1. Singers in the building. Yay!
  2. Watching hubs and the dog wrassle.
  3. Sundresses.
  4. Sun.
  5. Figuring things out.
    Oh, by the way I've signed up for this and this and this. Won't you join me? I'm slow as molasses, I promise.

    3.22.2010

    grey & foggy

    I'm in a bit of a fog. Time and intentions are both slipping through my fingers, and my fight-or-flight response is off the charts. It's the warm weather, coupled with having some of my favorite singers in the building, that's fast-tracked the reptilian part of my brain to summer. And that sad, slow reptilian part is screaming "NO HARD QUESTIONS! WHY ARE THERE SO MANY THINGS TO DO? WHERE IS MY POOL BOY AND MY ADULT BEVERAGE???"

    (Feisty little lizard, eh? Would give that Geico dude a run for his money, for sure.)

    Yep. A sunny, warm day and a rock to bask on. And maybe a black and blue mojito. That's what I'm craving. Sadly, I'm not getting it any time soon. The trick is to not act like a total you-know-what until that sunny, mojito-filled day arrives.

    Wish me luck.

    My five:
    1. This. Coming up for air is one of my favorites.
    2. Chocolate hazelnut gelato. Where has this BEEN ALL MY LIFE?
    3. Warm rainy days.
    4. Silk dresses with motorcycle boots.
    5. Talking smack with hubby.

    3.17.2010

    Pow POW!

    My buddy JF, when he's feeling good, will karate kick the air and yell "Pow!" The very thought of him Pow!-ing makes me smile. So conjuring his karate stance, I give you BULLETS! Pow POW! Dangerous! Karateeeeeh-CHOP!

    • The sun has been out for two days in a row, and everything is in bloom! And while everyone keeps asking me if I'm under the weather (I'm not, by the way...I like to think of this as my adult entertainment voice...), I'll take some allergy action over grey and muddy ANY DAY.
    • Work has EXPLODED. Six weeks before it's supposed to. Hold on to your hats, Nellie...it's gonna be a bumpy ride!
    • In case I haven't mentioned how much I like the folks I work with lately, well, consider it mentioned. They're super.
    • When you drink barium, do the whites of your eyes glow funny? Fingertips? I'm hoping that this test tomorrow will provide me with more entertainment than, well, booting. And I hope I get to see the scans! ("Hey - my pancreas looks like a tiny frisbee! Or maybe Florida! And I bet my kidneys are cuter than the average kidneys." Vocal pedagogy class obviously didn't cover lower abdominal physiology...) 
    • After living this close to work for almost 2 years, I finally did it. Left the car in the parking lot and jogged home. Pretty run, lovely weather... it was still my own heaving self actually having to do the jogging, but other than outsourcing it to someone svelter and faster, it was still a mighty fine option. 
    • Singers arrive tomorrow. I can't wait to see them, but part of me is saying "IT CAN'T BE SUMMER YET!" Talk me down, please.
    • If you're in DC, you should see this. My super awesome college buddy MN is in it. 'Twill RAWK.
    • My mail today had all catalogs and magazines, and no bills. Might be a record!
    • These are beautiful. And I WANT.
    • Also? These. And this.
    That's all I got.
    My five:
    1. Sunshine.
    2. Laughter.
    3. Magazines.
    4. Baths.
    5. Being busy.

    3.13.2010

    fragmented

    i know i'm not alone in feeling pulled in seventy-twelve directions. but i'd like to whine about it for just a while. granted, i have a fairly easy life...no kids,  one job, a helpful hubby. But hot damn, am i feeling scattered! case in point: i have no fewer than 3 to-do lists, including an online version by these guys. i write here; i write on facebook. i write on twitter. i write here. i started writing here, although it's a my-eyes-only kind of writing.

    And, obviously, I don't have much to say. parcel it out over so many interfaces, and it adds up to even less. so, why am I trying to be everywhere? There's the 2 million dollar question.

    This question is timely: things are starting to heat up at work. I have more contracts coming and going than I know what to do with. My job demands a better understanding of technology and intellectual property, but law school on even the smallest scale is but a pipe dream. I'm either spending half my day getting organized or diving in and then paying for the lack of a thruline. It's like my head is a huge game of pinball, and it's screaming TILT all the time. It's not that I don't think I can do it: I'm confident in my abilities, and know that this stuff is totally in my skill set. I do worry that I'll forget something, though, and that's where the need to organize comes in...because each of those items on the to-do list are connected to people who deserve my undivided attention, my best effort.  Forgetting paper? Permissible, at times. Forgetting people? Never ok.

    Undivided attention. I used to be really good at that...at making sure that my friends and acquaintances felt heard...at being in the moment. Quite frankly, I'm ready to regain that skill. So,  I may scale back here an ooch in the next few weeks.

    In an effort to calm the chaos of an untidy mind, I spent most of the day getting my (literal) house in order. I scrubbed floors and doorjambs and did huge amounts of laundry. It felt good. And tomorrow I'm vowing to scale back my online-ness for more IRL time with friends and hubs.

    My five:
    1. Waterproof jackets. I would've been a mess today without it!
    2. A clean house. Aaaahhh...
    3. Homemade bolognese sauce. Not bad for a first try!
    4. Lazy Saturdays
    5. Spring - everything's budding! Once the sun comes out we're going to be in for a HUGE wallop of blossoms!
    (full confession: i'm currently watching Kung Fu Panda for the eighteenth time. The panda's name is Po, which was my nickname when I was teaching in Pittsburgh. It makes me so cheesily happy every time they say his name! That fat panda is my alter ego in many ways. not least of which is his facility with chopsticks.)

    3.11.2010

    hibernation interrupted

    So, usually this is the quiet time of year. There's time to get things done, advance the summer in a leisurely fashion, try some new things, maybe even take some time off.

    But this year? Well, not so much. We've taken the season and stretched it out several more weeks to accommodate 3 shows in the Barns. And then we tacked two - TWO - operatic events to the front end: a concert performance of two one-act operas, and a workshop for a new opera we're developing. Oh, and did I mention that we're making our first foray into streaming video + artist chat with that one-act project? And guess whose bright idea that was? Gah. Add into that intern interviews, contract writing, budgeting, writing copy, planning for 2011, orchestra memos, scheduling...it makes my head spin. Hence the 5:15am wake-up time.

    All by way of saying Wow. It got busy up in here! The fact that it's already messing with my sleep patterns is not a great thing, but c'est la vie, c'est la guerre. It's OK. The sun's not out yet - sky is inky black, but the birds are awake and chirping their good mornings. It's only been a few days since they've been back in force, and I've missed them. There's something luxurious about being awake when no one else is...like snow before footprints: untouched, unsullied.

    And I have to say there are lots of great things going on. There's an amazing amount of new music swirling through my office, including this from the Communicatrix. (Thanks again!) I've been doing pretty well with my vow to exercise daily during Lent: almost 3 weeks in, and I've only missed one day. (And I've already doubled-up to make up for it. So I'm square.) And the weather has improved everyone's mood - it's been warmer and sunny (although that's going to change for a few days, but it's OK.), the snow is almost completely melted, and folks are stopping to chat on the street.

    My neighbors brought over half a homemade key lime pie last night. Dessert walked unbidden TO MY DOOR. It was like surprise take-out, like FREE surprise take-out! That, my friends, is a goooood night!

    So it's busy, but not punishing - actually, it's feeling energizing. And we'll have singers in the building in about a week, which makes me super happy.

    Here are some things that made me smile:
    • This. Easy and cheap and oh so tasty.
    • This. A little inspiration for your morning.
    • I am the absolute worst at this little game. But if it were played like this? I'd RAWK. Prithee, I wouldst.
    • I would eat this whole thing by myself.
    • This? More food-related brilliance. (Boy, I'm kinda hungry...)
    • Hm. Maybe I live in the wrong part of the country?
    • The truth. In so many ways.
    And here's a video that I think everyone should see. Boy, it makes me miss my teaching days! It's super awesome.




    My five:
    1. Early mornings.
    2. Coffee.
    3. Being useful/helpful.
    4. Good surprises.
    5. Consistency.

    3.06.2010

    'train' of thought


    GeoTagged, [N38.93430, E77.26942]

    I woke up on the train this morning.

    Granted, I got myself out of bed, showered, slightly caffeinated (if half of a room-temperature diet mountain dew counts, that is. And for the record, it was disGUSting.) and drove myself into DC to Union Station while awake, technically. It's girls night in Brooklyn with M and C, 2 fab women that I like a whole lot, but don't see often.

    My travelling compadre missed the train, though. So, rather than hopping right into conversation and planning, I watched the sun rise. Bought a cup of coffee after an hour or two...let the withdrawal headache flirt with me a little before squashing it. Listened to great mixes from LMB, ACB, the Texas Avocado and the Wise Soprano...it was a little like having them along for the ride. Dove into a new book that hit just the right tone. Watched my fellow passengers doze, eavesdropped on those who were chatty.

    An unplanned morning, rich and perfect. Sometimes Plan B really is the best!

    My five:
    1. Sunlight through thick train windows.
    2. Friends with great taste in tunes AND a healthy sense of irony.
    3. Girl time. (yep, it's aaaall one big ticklefight, boys. Even if we SWEAR it's not.)
    4. Improvisatory dance solos in Penn Station.
    5. Slow awakenings.

    3.05.2010

    ptooey.

    Thank goodness it's Friday, indeed!

    Life is busier than it should be, and my self-imposed technology rationing has meant less time here...and if I'm not spewing it out of my brain at the very moment I think of it, well, the thoughts just kinda evaporate.

    Hence the fact that there's nothing really to this little post. Laaaaaaame.
    But here's a little laundry list of randomness:
    • a few of us started a little mix-tape sharing project, and I am LOVING it. Musically I've been in the dryer (going around and around the same stuff) for a while. Nice to get some new tunes into rotation.
    • making a quick trip to Brooklyn for some girl time tomorrow. Can't WAIT.
    • I wore a sundress to work yesterday. Granted, I wore it with kneesocks and a sweater and boots, but it was still a sundress. Winter's OVER.
    • There's a lot of bad news hanging around, mostly in health-related avenues...it's bringing me down a little. OK, a lot.
    • This is supposed to be my not-so-busy-time at work. Somebody did not get the memo. Sheesh!
    • Project Runway? Still seriously awesome. Even though I cannot stay awake through the judging.
    • Am reading The Monster of Florence and The Happiness Project. Sadly, I'm making way more headway with il mostro. What does that say about me?
    • Still working out every day in Lent. More than two weeks in and I haven't died. I've decided that on the days I can't get one in, I have to double up to make sure I get the whole number in. A little more flexibility will make sure that it gets done!
    Yup. Like I said, not too much to say. It's not the time to get into work stuff yet, but I will in the next few weeks.I did stumble across two videos that appealed to me...one because it's just non-sequential enough:


    Charlotte Gainsbourg - Heaven Can Wait from Charlotte Gainsbourg on Vimeo.


    And one because it's like the most awesome game of Mousetrap the world has ever seen.




    So I leave you with these until I can rub two brain cells together and make some coherent, meaningful thought.

    My five:
    1. Grey skies. When they're not precipitating on me, they're lovely.
    2. Slow mornings.
    3. Health. So appreciative.
    4. Bloggers who write more than once a blue moon AND write interesting things.
    5. Weekends.