6.30.2010

dumbdumbdumbdumbdumb

Because I barely have two brain cells to rub together to make a thought, but still I feel compelled to write something, I give you the latest, and perhaps lamest, installment of BULLET POINTS!

  • Low humidity and cool temperatures got me inspired to jog this morning. 4.25 hard-fought, but lovely, miles.
  • As a result? Late to work. Time management FAIL.
  • But waiting for me at work? McDonald's breakfast. (Because the eating part is the WHOLE REASON for the exercising part.)Thanks, KPW!
  • Today KPW and I wrestled the 2011 Budget to the GROUND. No. Mercy. I think it's still whimpering...
  • We had some company today at the office - two tiny baby fawns tottering around behind the building! I'm pretty sure it's all because I had my window open, and they enjoyed my rockin' tunes. Baby deer LOVE Yeasayer and Kings of Convenience.
  • Also today, the baby birds in my porch nest flew the coop. Booooooooo. They were big enough for sure, but I'm sad to see them go. 
  • Did I mention that the budget is done? At least the first stab at it? AWESOME.
  • I have the fastest hair dresser in the WORLD. She's fab, and I don't have to spend all day in the chair. WIN. She's like a gunslinger from the wild west, except with a 2-million volt hair dryer instead of a gun.
And more bullet points, from teh interwebs.
  • I love this oatmeal.
  • I love taters, too.
  • Not sure why I love this, but I do.
  • Having just celebrated a non-eventful birthday, this made sense to me.
  • As did this
(Boy, I'm on a bit of a thoughtful bent! Must remedy that...)
  • On second thought, I'm a little hungry...
  • And I just finished this book. And am HOOKED! Trying to find out when I'll even have time to get the other two, let alone read 'em.
  • These. I've walked past them twice...the third time may be the charm... Hoochtastic! (I'm SO starting a "Little Imelda" fanclub for shoe whores...er, lovers. Who's with me?)
Ok, enough. My five:
  1. Perfect summer days.
  2. Being able to laugh with colleagues.
  3. McDonald's breakfast. SO GOOD.
  4. Ice cream.
  5. Paper chains.
 And, in honor of my little house finches who flew the coop? A little song.

6.28.2010

SSDD. Or, why Rahree's posts all sound the same in the summer.

Well, my big mouth (Or would it be big fingers? Since I'm typing this?) has caught up with me. Brag about the porch and the karma gods kick the bejeezus out of your AC unit on a series of blistering 90+ degree days.

Be forewarned.

(And, finally, lesson learned.)

We had a fabulous thunderstorm roll through this afternoon... black sky, huge inverted trees of lightning, surging winds. It was one of the most beautiful things I'd seen in a while. And we didn't lose power! Which was actually kind of a wash, because today totally got away from me...I got 2.5 things crossed off the ever-growing To-Do list, and they were the two easy-peasy things. (And half a hard thing...so there's that.)There's a lot going on, and to add to that, the last group of singers arrived over the weekend, as did POW!, one of our coaches. So many people to catch up with, to get to know, and so, SO much paperwork in the way. There are a million things I want to do, and a million-and-one that I need to do. Here's hoping that I can postpone the daily game of whack-a-mole long enough to make some good, genuine progress.

(By the way? I wish for this very same thing every summer. For the time and presence of mind to do things thoroughly and well. It's not really happened yet. So, do I keep wishing? Or am I at this point defining the word "crazy" by doing the same thing over and over again, hopping for a different outcome? Gentle readers, weigh in. You of the more honest bent? Keep yer opinions to yerself!)

Maybe both. And maybe that's OK.

One of my new favorite covers.



...and my five:
  1. Colleagues who are good to each other. 
  2. RiDIculous shoes, and those fabulous folks who appreciate said ridiculous shoes. You know who you are...
  3. A clean house. Even if it is a distant memory...
  4. Dreams...waking and sleeping.
  5. Ice.

6.24.2010

I don't mean to gloat but...


GeoTagged, [N38.85513, E77.03958]

...here I am, shamefully doing just that. Had you spent hours trying to craft a budget that allowed for everything you wanted to do while trying to stay within a lean framework like KPW and I did today, you might give me a bye for today, and let me talk about the joys of porch time.

(Thank you.)

In the bad news column?
  • Hubby leaving town for a short trip.
  • Totally leaving KPW high and dry at a meeting for which we'd had at least TWO planning sessions. SORRY!
  • Not making it home at lunch to let the dog out. With dire consequences. Pet care FAIL.
  • Budget HELL. Part one of seven. *sigh.*

In the good news column?
  • Making it to the gym this morning.
  • Finding a book that I thought I'd lost. (Girl with the Dragon Tattoo? Meet Girl with the No Tattoos.)
  • Breezes.
  • Hoochie neighbor shoes. (the neighbor's not hoochie...the shoes are a little bit. And I am by association, I fear.)
  • Porch time.
  • That satisfied feeling when you make progress on something that's less-than-fun-but-necessary.

More on work soon: we're gearing up for show #2: The Turk in Italy. It'll be FABULOUS! But you'll most likely need to take my word for it, since it's just about sold out! (I hear the ball costumes are GORGEOUS.)

My five:
1. Birdsong. And humansong. Both awesome.
2. Zucchini. Love that stuff. Not as flashy as bacon, certainly, but tasty.
3. My neighbors. Can I say again how much I hoped to find a community like this? (And wondered if I ever would?)
4. Great colleagues. I say it ad nauseam, but one of the BIG reasons my job is SUPAH cool? My admin peeps. (Who are probably cringing at my use of the word 'peeps.' DEAL WITH MY OLD LADY SLANG! )
5. Sunsets.

I hope my Bossy Beat Club buddies will forgive me, but I posted a mix of tunes that I'm listening to right now. (Yes. Actually RIGHT THIS MINUTE.) It's here, and you should feel free to download it and pretend you're in my head.

(Wow. That's some scary shit.)

It'll be up until Sunday, so get it while the gettin's good!
xoxo
rahree

6.23.2010

late June





Check this out - baby birds! (Not to be confused for another baby bird whose arrival is imminent.) There are three of them in my hanging basket of impatients, and they're finally getting enough feathers and fuzz for me to not feel guilty about photographing them naked. :) While there's a lot more bird poop on the porch than normal, listening to the birdsong and watching this teeny trio grow is totally worth it!


When we were scheduling work this week, I told my colleagues that I'd be cutting out early on Tuesday. Why? Because our cool neighbors had tickets to the baseball game...we were on a schedule! Leave the neighborhood, drive to Alexandria, take the water taxi to the Stadium, etc. And KPW said "Well, look at you having an actual summer experience!" (It's true - we collectively don't get out much during the summer!) We did in fact take the taxi over, which was LOVELY, and got caught in the middle of a HUGE rainstorm mid-game! (Thank goodness for covered seats!) The rain delay made our evening longer than any of us had anticipated (morning showed up pretty darn early!), but it was lovely to take some time out of all of our busy schedules to have a little fun. Oh, and we won, and there were two - count 'em  - TWO home runs!

Hoping today to get the AC fixed...oh, and gotta make some opera today, too. Almost forgot! (No, not really.)

My five:

  1. Cool showers.
  2. Being on the water...river, lake, ocean...all good to me.
  3. Screaming with thousands of other folks.
  4. COFFEE.
  5. Stolen time with good friends.

6.21.2010

birfday!

Cupcakes for breakfast. Dance class. The birthday song sung in eighteen-gajillion part harmony. More cake. Dinner at a fancy-schmancy restaurant with romantic significance. Peonies. More FB posts than I can count. Sweet messages from my family.

It's been a great birthday! And to celebrate? Cheesy iPhone pictures!  (Which seem to illustrate the fact that our mandatory summer uniform vacillates between superhero-slave togs or pink.)












My five:
  1. Ridiculous amounts of well-wishes.
  2. Flip flops.
  3. Birthday cake.
  4. Time outside.
  5. Milestones.

6.20.2010

(I wrote this on Mother's Day...it was a great day to write it, but a lousy day to post it. I hope you don't mind that I've saved it until today.)

My dad. He was a big, jolly, guy...a lover of food, of growing food, of cooking food, and of drinking good wine. But he also didn't like being heavy; as a poor kid and former football player, he was most likely a binge eater, although I never saw it. At some point the exercise was left behind in pursuit of work and family responsibilities, but the eating stayed the same. I remember as a child drawing a picture of him...and he asked me to draw "skinny daddy." Looking back, it's heartbreaking.

In 2004, after he had tried every diet in the world (the shakes! the prepared meals! the not-eating!), he opted for gastric bypass. He told very few people, embarrassed that we hasn't able to control his weight, but determined to get healthier and have many more years to spend with my mom. He lost a huge amount of weight, and regained the energy he had lost from carrying around what was essentially another adult on his frame. My mom said "I got the man I married back!"

He passed away in 2008, from an aneurysm. Not from diabetes or high blood pressure or cholesterol..not from anything weight related. Crazy.

And I started eating. It's true, when you feel empty, it's easy to try to fill it with food. The tricky thing is, it doesn't work. But boy, I sure tried!

My hubby is an athlete, and is disciplined when it comes to working out...he's a great role model, but it took more than 6 months to get me to even set foot in the gym. Not. My. Thing. Plus, working out would take away from the cooking and eating...and I was getting pretty darn good at both of those. I didn't step on a scale, but I'd bet that at my heaviest I weighed close to 150. And, at 5' 5", short of hair and small of chest, that was a lot of extra. I didn't feel any different, but people were posting pictures of a chubby 30-something on Facebook and tagging me! And, while I really liked her taste in clothes, I was not so hot on the number of chins she opted to carry around.


Fast forward to spring 2010: I'm still cooking and eating. But I'm also working out 3-5 times a week. I ran two 5ks in April, and will run the Race for the Cure in June. I baked muffins this morning, then took a challenging class at the gym this morning, and then ran 3.6 miles. And then made a big vat of turkey soup and picked up a loaf of sourdough for dinner.

And here's the thing: I still would rather cook and eat. It's hard to get out of bed for a jog, or to a class at the gym. There are other things that I should prioritize...my job, my marriage, my grey roots. But here's the simple truth: my dad would not want me to struggle with my weight the way he did. He would want me to care for myself, to be strong, to find balance. I'll admit, I thought that, if I did it every day for a while, it would become a habit that I could never give up. It would become easy. Well, it's not true for me...every day I wish I had the metabolism of a rabbit and Gwyneth Paltrow's gams. But, since I don't? I'll save the ice cream for special occasions and try to up my weekly mileage.

It's what my dad would want.

My five:
  1. Great memories.
  2. Shared tastes...cabernet, bleu cheese, rare steak, bourbon. Sons of the Pioneers. PBS.
  3. My health.
  4. Advil. (Vitamin I)
  5. Dad.
edited to add:hubby took me to a lovely dinner in georgetown to celebrate my birthday...great wine, fabulous food, an evening of which dad would've no doubt been proud. and it was at this restaurant, where we had our rehearsal dinner in 2003. The sommeilier took such good care of us, made us special drinks and a special cheese course! And of course, I cried in the bathroom like a schoolgirl. But only because I wished our party was one bigger. Big food, big drink, MAMMOTH memories...the tears just reinforce how lucky I really am.

    6.18.2010

    y'all gots too much stuff...

    So, Google Reader! It's a magical thing that finds all kinds of lovely, interesting things on teh interwebs and puts them on a virtual bookshelf for me...so that I can look impossibly important in the grocery line, consulting my iphone for the latest LOLcat picture, crock pot recipe, or tidbit of international opera gossip.

    yeah....

    My reader has been over 1000 pages almost since its creation. Since we have a "bring something in, take something out" strategy for our little house, and since my office has (Draconian! I swear!) limits on email inboxes,  Google Reader is the easiest place for me to hoard.

    (BTW, if there ever IS an internet Hoarder-type show? Please do NOT volunteer me for it. I'm OK with my mental clutter. I neeeeed it. It's just a little bit. My husband thinks it's cute. Pleeeeease......)

    I digress.

    I was finally digging through my reader, and I found some cool things to share. So, let's commence some Friday evening link-o-rama!!!
    • These. i'm waiting for a silver line, but would TOTALLY take anything from here in a pinch.
    • I'm not a huge liquor drinker, but maybe that's just a remnant of my misspent, uneducated youth. Anyhoo, I think that this is a great idea.
    • Um, EXCUSE ME??? Who thought this was a good idea???
    • I am making this. No guarantees that there'll be any sharing.
    • This might be my birthday present to myself.
    • MOST PERFECT FOOD EVER??? (I know, no bacon...can't be.)
    • Love it. I will have more patience with recalcitrant machines.
    • I lived in lots of old houses, and often came across things like these sandwiched between wall boards or carpets and floors as insulation. They're both crazy and charming.
    • The treehouse that I never had. WANT.
    • Everything old is new again?
    • How does this girl get INTO MY HEAD?? 'tis a little creepy.
    In other news, I walked the dog past one of my neighbors' houses this morning, stopped to play with her pooches (Boo's girlfriends...yeah, he has more than one.), and somehow I walked out of the yard with my dog AND a pair of ridiculous nude leather, strappy, buckled, platform, hoochie sandals.

    Before 10am.

    EPIC WIN.

    Plus the Pittsburgh Baritone stopped in to visit AND hubby made some super chic-chic dinner reservations for my birthday. And a certain tiny dachsund was so happy to see me that he widdled aaaaaall over the place. (It's safe to say that he's the only man in the world that loses his mind to that degree when I walk into the room. Which is a little sad... but I'll take it.)

    The trend continues tomorrow with closing night of show #1 and the fantabulous JB's birthday! I smell purple...

    My five:
    1. Fun surprises.
    2. Getting out of my head.
    3. Great colleagues.
    4. A good tailor.
    5. Heartbreakingly gorgeous spring weather.

    6.17.2010

    having a ball...

    ...quite literally. The boss lady has an exercise ball in her office, waiting for a ride home after some coaching sessions with the fabulous Deb Birnbaum. We were trying to decide how big the ball was,  and I wrapped my arms around it...because if I'm 5'5", then my arms should reach around a 65" circumference, right?

    Either it's not a 65" ball, or my arms are stumpy.

    It's been a transitory week, starting with performances of the first opera and quickly segueing into rehearsals for the second. All while advancing the third. Are we singing in German or Italian? Where and when does the children's choir rehearse? Who has show duty? Where's the allen key for the orchestra door?

    Who's on first??

    Seriously, though, things are moving miles in mere minutes. And this weekend we close the first opera...we've had 3 performances, and the audiences have opted for three different endings. (I can't wait to see which ending they'll pick for the last show!) So you'll have to forgive me for this poor excuse for a post, but I'm done with the computer for today.

    My five:
    1. Books. I've decided to give this one another go. Lord help me.
    2. A good cry. Sometimes nothing makes you feel as emotionally clean as a night with a sad movie and a box of kleenex.
    3. Carbs. I may have had a croissant AND a sesame bagel for breakfast today. But I'll never admit to it.
    4. Purple toenail polish. (Right, JB?)
    5. Feeling needed.

    (photos by the lovely KPW. It's an unintentional series of exercise ball photos...the second is from an audition room in LA.)


    (I'm sensing a weird theme...)

    6.16.2010

    post-opera-post

    (Get it? I get funnier the later it gets.)

    (No, really. I do.)

    (..right? C'mon guys....)

    Another great show tonight, full of beauty and difficulty and gray areas. I think my favorite parts of this show are related to the ambiguity...the fact that, in two of the possible three endings,  the right answer never quite shows up. The characters are forced to make do with the hand they're dealt. I DO love the Enlightenment, let's-tie-up-the-loose-ends-and-be-happy ending...let's face it, who doesn't want a happy ending, in their heart of hearts? But I'm digging the other two, as much as I'm rooting for happyhappyjoyjoy.

    The boss lady wrote about the strong audience reactions to the show. Strong reactions are great in my book, even if a patron thinks the production is S-I-C-K sick.

    But I can't abide nastiness...there was a patron who dropped a hateful note into a voting box the other day...and it made me unreasonably angry. If you don't like a production, fine. Understandable. Even desired, to have a strong, visceral reaction. But this person crossed a line, in my book.

    Granted, maybe my colleague Renaissance Man is right, and after another 10 years I'll be inured to crazy patrons. But wow, I'm still smarting from that person's venomous remark. Were I in charge? No more tickets for said patron.

    (No opera for you. One year.)

    It's not my call, however, so my challenge is knowing who this person is and still being civil when they arrive to see the other shows.

    (If you know me? 'Twill be a challenge indeed.)

    But I need to stop writing...in fewer than 9 hours, I'll be dry-mopping a rehearsal room and taking a beginner ballet/modern class with a woman who has not only danced with one of my childhood crushes, but who also turned me on to chilled rosé. (And that? Worthy of blatant adoration, my friends.)

    That floor bettah shine like the top of the Chrysler Building!

    And it will.

    My five:
    1. Strong opinions.
    2. Good colleagues...I can't say it often enough.
    3. Pop Tarts. Strawberry frosted. The dinner of CHAMPIONS.
    4. Being able to run 3+ miles in humidity, while only wanting to die a little bit.
    5. Laughter.
    And, as a gimme, a favorite songwriter has a new gig. I like Starlight quite a bit...


    6.14.2010

    Monday morning rolled around early this morning.

    Super early.

    But, lucky for all of us, it brought all kinds of good stuff. New singers! Dance class! The first day of rehearsal for the next project, this little gem! The annual Foundation Picnic! (which, for the first time in several years, I actually attended! And enjoyed!) Several varying viewpoints on the summer's first opera, (I'd encourage you to see it for yourself, and draw your own conclusions!) with a prominent photo credit for a friend!

    See? A day TOTALLY worthy of multiple-exclamation-points!

    !!!

    But, now? After being over-excited and exclamation-pointy all day?

    I'm whupped. I'll only be speaking monosyllables tomorrow, to preserve my energy for the next !!!day. (I have a feeling we're going to get more than one this summer.)

    Some cool things:
    • This. I'd like to think that I'd write something more poetic than reminders...
    • I.Want.To.Try.Them.Aaaaallllllllll.
    • Ok, this might actually be a weight loss method that I'm unwilling to try.
    • I love this. Sir is seriously awesome.
    • This too. And this. I've never been a dainty jewelry girl...
    • Bradley Whitford. The Good Guys is no West Wing, but it'll do in a pinch.
    • This book. Fast, easy, and a lovely read for those of us who might be embarrassed at how much we loved (love.) HP.
    • Oh, Alanis...had you but known...

    My five:
    1. Idle evenings with my boys.
    2. Brownies and lemon bars. Thank goodness the picnic only happens once a summer!
    3. Sudden thunderstorms.
    4. Strong opinions.
    5. Crazy, schizoid workdays.

    6.12.2010

    Aftermath.

    7:30am Wake up as hubby is leaving for work.
    7:32am Mainline caffeine. On the second cup, remember my name. It's gonna be a good day!
    8:15am Walk the dog. Meet his doggy girlfriends (there are multiples. he's a playa.) for some playtime, and touch base with RS about tonight's show - I'm so excited that my neighbor's coming!
    9:15am Shower. Make myself marginally presentable, and pack the gym bag in case I can slip away.
    10:02am Arrive at work.
    10:15am Triage email.
    10:18am Big boss IMs "did you do that thing you said you'd do?"
    10:19am Curse internally. Respond "Nope, but am doing it now." Scramble to find "that thing."
    10:30 am Respond to "that thing," an internal inquiry about an advertising piece. Try to send a substitute photo.
    10:32 am Mailbox is at capacity. No sending or receiving until you clean your messy e-room, teenage Rahree.
    10:40am Clean mailbox
    10:45am Welcome the Italian coach, here for her first day of work, in the least gracious, most distracted way possible. Marvel at the grace at which she handles your perfunctory greetings. 
    10:55am Still mailbox cleaning. Wow, Rahree, you really are a packrat.
    11:00am. Golden. Email is my b!tch. Send file.
    11:10am Realize it's not gone through. Resend. Delete sent items immediately.
    11:20am. Despair.
    11:22am. File has been sent! On to next task. Budget.
    11:30am Write check requests for travel, hotel rooms, internet fees, visiting artists. Input the data into the expense spreadsheet. Resolve to balance said spreadsheet over the weekend. Bribe self with the promise of new shoes for a job well done. (Acknowledge that the shoes will most likely be purchased, regardless of the status of the budget. Come to terms with the knowledge.)
    12:10 Send a firm email to the executive apartment complex regarding some concrete work they're having done, which needs to not impact our artists. Any of them. Fume in silence.
    12:14pm Turn up iTunes. Fume loudly. Eat a Hershey's Kiss for impact. (No real impact was registered, for the record.)
    12:30pm Realize my morning email freak out was a little excessive. Bless my colleagues for dealing kindly with a drama queen.
    12:45pm Correspond with a children's choir about our August show. Correspond with another children's choir about a September show.
    1:00pm Head home for a landscape design presentation. (If this design comes to fruition? I will never, EVER move from this house.)
    1:40pm Play catch in the yard with the dog.
    2:00pm Gym. Fast, grrrrrrr workout. Enough to burn off the adrenalin without totally kicking my ass. Yay Trainer Lisa for creating this kick@ss routine!
    3:30pm Home. Change into grownup clothes for the evening's performance.
    4:00pm Back to work. More email.
    4:30pm Side-by-side a contract from last year with this year's versions. Find typos in both versions! LAME.
    5:00pm Text from Boss Lady: head upstairs to move chairs and tables with several of my colleagues and two stalwart Studio singers. Wish I had saved the stilettos for later.
    5:02pm. Start sweating. Should've postponed the gym.
    5:20pm Tape down the neon-green extension cord...yes, that very cord that mangles my back during the audition tour. (Anyone hoping for CM's job this fall? Should say that they ALWAYS travel with a loooong neon-green extension cord. I will hire you on the SPOT. )
    5:30pm Room is ready for the lecture! Grab the edirol from an overscheduled colleague and bump down last night's audio archive.
    6:00pm Find some stale coffee. Pour it over ice, add some sugar and pound it like it's pure gold.
    6:50pm. Grab the recorder, the ticket spreadsheet, the allen key, my purse and phone, and head upstairs.
    7:00pm Pre-Show Lecture. Interesting info, well delivered by KPW. (if you didn't know, she's kind of a rock star.) Lovely singing by the studio. Marred only by a bullheaded orchestra member trying to bust into the room to cut through the lecture to the bathroom.
    7:30pm Head to the Box Office. No ticket issues - a first! And a testament to RP's great organization and customer service skillz. The boy is good.
    7:45pm Walk laps (In my super cute, if impractical, shoes.) around the Barns, the grounds, the general area. See my lovely neighbor RS, who has come to see the show. Usually I see her when I'm walking the dog in the morning...both of us sans makeup and grown-up clothes. I have to say, we clean up WELL!!!
    8:00pm Downbeat!
    8:05pm Downbeat??
    8:10pm Tuning. THEN downbeat. *Whew!*
    8:27pm Head to the Barns basement for stolen slabs of BG's birthday cake. Chocolate mousse cake courtesy of JB- just as good as I'd imagined it would be.
    8:50pm Follow the Slaves into the lobby.
    9:06pm VOTING! Watching the audience cast their votes was one of the coolest parts of the process. At the end of intermission, one gentleman cast his vote, and asked how it was skewing. I acknowledged that it was toward the ending he had chosen...the complicated one with the incestual overtones. He looked surprised. I responded "You all are a bunch of sickos." Hoping I still have a job tomorrow...
    10:15pm End of Show. Ovation. KPW and EM and I standing in the back of the house, hooting for the singers. We have no shame.
    10:18-10:42pm No Man's Land. Waiting for artists, for cabs...putting hard-earned paychecks in hands...collecting electronics and advice from statitician patrons...wondering when I'll be able to teeter out of these heels.
    10:47pm cast party at CG's restaurant. (There may or may not have been a pre-party spectacle in the parking lot.) Thanks as usual to RT for taking such good care of everyone, yours truly included.
    10:50pm Watching everyone chatting, laughing, relaxing, debriefing? PRICELESS. What a great evening!

    11:30pm Rahree pulls into her driveway.
    11:50pm Shoes discarded, tv silenced, glass of wine poured, Rahree settles into the couch. Dog curled up one cushion away, kitty keeping my ankles warm.
    12:01am. "Hey...wonder what it would look like it I wrote down everything I could remember about today?"

    It was a long day that flew by...and those, my friends, are the best days....because they're the ones that you can look back on, take stock of all those nanoseconds, and relive and enjoy. Our people put on a damn fine show tonight. And, in absence of reviews, of exhaustive commentary and dissection and such, tonight we all had the ability to perform without censor, and to simply enjoy the fruits of these past weeks of labor.

    In short? A perfect day.

    My five:
    1. Dramatic committment. We gots it in spades.
    2. Gracious colleagues and performers...I don't envy them the public persona, but I am awed by the grace with which they manage all of the varied expectations.
    3. Enthusiasm. This Studio group is pretty darn super!
    4. Shoes. Ladies, you know who you are. I covet!
    5. An unmitigated success. Bravo, tutti! Can't wait until Sunday!
    And, as a parting gift, I leave you with this:


    6.10.2010

    Calm before the storm.


    GeoTagged, [N38.90824, E77.25395]

    We open tomorrow. Zaide. Classical futurism. Laser eyepieces and lobster men and secret VHS tapes and pointy fingernails. True live, familial love, incest.

    (Just another day at the office, folks.)

    Oh, and GLORIOUS music, gloriously executed. Did I mention that? It's breathtakingly beautiful. And heart-wrenching, too. But mostly beautiful.

    (I'm so freakin' proud of this show. It's awesome.)

    But, before that? A short day of work followed by a perfect evening on the porch. Salad, glass of wine, new book AND new issue of Oprah...

    (*insert purr of contentment here.*)

    My five:
    1. This sappy contented feeling. Please stick around as long as you'd like.
    2. Good colleagues...we've got a super bunch this summer!
    3. Time alone.
    4. Sunshine filtered through leaves.
    5. The smell of clove cigarettes.

    6.08.2010

    treading water. or, too many parentheses.

    So, today was all about being busy and having a million things to do, but not actually getting anywhere. Granted, I didn't lose ground - made some great progress. But it's the first tech week of the summer, and there are PEOPLE! EVERYWHERE! And they WANT THINGS from me! Like INFORMATION! And PAYCHECKS! And CIVIL CONVERSATION!

    (Sigh. SO demanding.)

    Suddenly any semblance of grace that I may have tried to maintain has gone out the window. So many loose ends, hoops to jump through (and the one I tried to jump through this evening was not just a bust, but was also vaguely humiliating...) and events to advance, and so few brain cells.

    (I'm watching Ace of Cakes, btw...and there was a little segment about Duff being able to laugh at himself...about not taking things too seriously. That's some amazing timing, my friends. But the fact that the universe is trying to help me out through cake-related messages in my tv? Well, it's a little too early for me to take that tooooo seriously.)

    (But in August? All bets are off.)

    The best part of all this? The people. Yes, those same people who want things from me....but here's the thing. Finding out what folks need, what they're hoping to glean from the summer, making those personal connections and helping them through their journey? That's really the big reason that I love this job. Having designers pop into my office, chatting with colleagues, watching artists become more confident, inhabiting roles, taking artistic risks, holding their own in conversations on panels and with reporters and donors alike...the payoff is huge. And, even though I've had only the smallest, most tangential relationship with many of them, it doesn't stop me from feeling proud as all get out when they do well.

    I'm having a rare quiet evening...hubby is at a work function, and my colleagues are at the Zaide orchestra tech. It's a welcome evening, for sure. And while I was treading water all day? My hubby was kicking @ss on the home front...house is clean, landscaping is neatened up and re-mulched. AC is fixed. The Invisible Fence guy has been by (since El Diablo decided to run across the road Sunday morning. Not. Cool.), and the house has been power-washed. Hub's GC skills are indisputable, and my little house looks so much better for it! Thanks, babe!

    My five:
    1. Quiet time.
    2. Chocolate sauce from the fridge on a spoon.
    3. Kind, gentle colleagues. (Happy birthday, GTW!)
    4. "Leverage." ("Can you come back in 5 minutes? I'm leveraging...")
    5. A night to read and rest.
    P.S. Check below for my latest foray into video editing. I have to say, my work is the shoddiest part - the production and thoughtful answers from the artists were absolutely LOVELY. 

    zaide production final.mov

    zaide characters.mov

    6.07.2010

    delivering happiness - the book!

    One of my college besties is a girl who has both a strong artistic temperament and a strong ethical code. She's a rock, a loyal friend...one of those folks that I could call in the middle of the night from anywhere and ask for help, and she'd be there for me in every way imaginable.

    After college and grad school, she moved west to Las Vegas...and it wasn't long after that she started working a day job. The crazy thing is, she never really called it a day job, even though she was still gigging evenings and weekends. And she started talking about the cool people, the great culture, and sending me pictures of the office Oktoberfest party (complete with liederhosen! awesome!) and other fun things. It sounded like a great place to work...at least, for a non-music job. :)

    Well, the boss of her company has written a book. It's being published today, and I had a chance to read it before it was released. (It's my first-ever book review! Whee!)  My husband calls this kind of book a "Rah-Rah" book - a way to get employees and managers excited about new strategies and such. I think that, in this case, that's fitting. It's written in a very conversational style, and is a fast, entertaining read. I think we've all heard stories of childhood entrepreneurs made good, but this one is a little different, and more interesting, because for him it's all about the people, rather than the cash. (Well, okay, it's a little bit about the cash.) But his primary goals seem by and large to be about finding a niche, making connections, and making people happy. (Being in a bit of a niche market myself, I totally identify with that!) And, in fact, that's why his company's doing so well: they not only take a huge amount of pride in customer service and making the customers happy, but as my friend has said, the employees have fun. They feel valued. They enjoy what they do, and who they do it with. And honestly, if you're going to spend hours and hours at a job, shouldn't you have fun while you're there???

    (I know I do.)

    Speaking of my super-cool job, we're in the thick of tech week for our first opera of the season, Mozart's Zaide. We did a little video shoot for part of the production on Saturday, and saw some of the elements all together...set, costumes, makeup, lighting, projections.

    It. Is. AWESOME.

    Mozart meets Tron. I love it! It opens Friday - come on out and see for yourself.

    Also - sending out good wishes to JB, who is taking the LSAT today. In the nick of time too...because she's my first phone call when I get sent to the pokey for disorderly behavior. Or jewelry theft...haven't decided which yet. Kick ass, JB!!

    My five:
    1. Sleeping in.
    2. My supportive hubby.
    3. Porch time.
    4. Chips and cold pico de gallo for breakfast.
    5. The Sunday crossword.

    (btw, if you're interested in checking the book out, shoot me an email and I'll send you a copy)

    6.05.2010

    "racing"

    I woke up and was out of the house by 6:30am. Drove downtown in just-barely-humid air, all the windows down, singing along with whatever was on the radio. Found a parking spot outside the Museum for Crime and Punishment (Seriously, DC...there's a museum for everything here!) and hoofed it over the the National Mall.

    I ran with thousands of others. I ran in memory of my Aunt. I ran in support of my friend Dal.

    It was sunny and humid, and  there were a gajillion people there - I totally couldn't even find my running buddy AW! And while I LOVE lounging on my porch on hot days like today, I'm definitely a fall-winter-spring runner. I love exercising to get rid of cold toes, but my body's not so good with getting rid of heat...it likes to hold onto it! It was a struggle...I felt a little like a worm on hot pavement.

    *sizzle*

    But I have no illusions, friends...pushing my body on a muggy day is a walk in the park compared to chemo.

    I made it through the finish gates without tripping on the bumpy pavement or running up the back of sudden-pace-changer. And, as I was walking back to my car, sucking down water like a sponge and heaving to breathe, my face the same color as my red tank, a lady passing by said "Thank you. Congrats!"

    Thank you? That's weird...

    She was wearing a Survivor t-shirt.

    And, on a busy street corner in Northwest DC, I started to cry.


    *************************************************
    Some fun things:
    And my five:
    1. Physical health.
    2. Opportunities to stretch in small ways.
    3. Excuses to eat pan pizza and ice cream.
    4. Super-cool video shoots at work. (This show is going to rock your FACE OFF. Seriously.)
    5. Early bedtime. I'm whupped.

    6.03.2010

    First orchestra read of the season.


    GeoTagged, [N38.93370, E77.26417]

    Even the gut-wrenching drudgery of working on the 2011 budget is no match for a beautiful morning of Mozart. Maestro Wedow and our orchestra certainly know how to put a girl in a good mood!

    Sushi lunch with the lovely Little Miss Bossy is also on the docket today... Smiles all around!

    My five:
    1. Big Gulps. A vat of ice and soda? Yes, please.
    2. Coupons for DSW. SCORE.
    3. Thoughtful music-making.
    4. Dreaming big, budget-and-otherwise.
    5. Still fitting into a 15 year old skirt.

    6.02.2010

    Oh, my dear, sweet, water heater....we hardly knew ye.

    We had a totally normal holiday weekend. Which means that I had to work, a major appliance gave up the ghost and the dog got sick.

    Totally standard.

    The dog is on the mend. Work was really NBD. But the water heater? He's kinda a big deal.

    Today the super nice plumber, who works for my super nice neighbor, came over to replace the dead soldier. I headed home from work at 12:30pm, and by 1:30pm the shiny new water heater was in the basement. Back to the office, right?

    Wrong.

    Two and a half hours later the plumber was still noodling in my basement.
    Granted, he was repiping the gas line, cleaning the drain (!) in the shop sink, and generally doing a kick-ass, thorough job.

    But three and a half hours later? I was ready to go back to work!

    (Or to start pouring margaritas...)

    The upshot is that I do NOT have to go to the gym and make an appearance in a class or on the workout floor in order to take a shower without feeling like a total poser. No, I can shower - with hot water! - in my very own house! I can wash dishes without boiling water! I can wash whites!

    It's a whole new, overly-domesticated world, my friends.  Too bad I won't be home long enough to enjoy it. Tech for this (totally awesome, kick-ass, wait-did-that-just-happen) show begins this week. (You should see it, at the VERY least, for the shoes.)

    (The tunes are pretty awesome, too...)

    In other news, Pittsburgh boy LB made his WNO debut in a role tailor-made for him. Awesome. Sauce. If you're in town, OR if you're any kind of self-respecting Steeler fan with a taste for classical music and Shakespeare (It's not impossible! Really! It's NOT.), you should see it. It's that good.

    And I have to share these things with you:
    • Let's face it: So was - IS - a total masterpiece. And Elbow doing a cover of one of the best tracks? Could totally suck. But it doesn't. 'Tis awesome.
    • I wear a spoon ring engraved with my mom's initials around my index finger when I need a little extra oomph to get me through the day. (Because my mom? Definitely has some oomph. And no, you can't have her number.) These make me want to branch out a little...pretty armor!
    • Oh, Mitch. Me too.
    • All of those crossword puzzles and sudokus? Just a warm-up for these bad boys. I'm going major league.
    • I can't really articulate why, but this is directly related to why-I-love-my-job.
    Did I mention that I don't have to go to the gym tomorrow?!? I'm pretty psyched about that. But I'm also psyched to wear a shitload of pink on Saturday to run this race in honor of my friend Dallis, who is full-heartedly fighting. I might be the slowest runner, but I don't so much care. (I don't usually ask for things like this, but if you have a few pennies to spare, please consider tossing them this way...it's important.) And, if you do I'll send you a copy of my cheesy running mix and a photo of me in all my sweaty glory!

    (Double your donation and I WON'T send you either of those things.)

    (You're welcome.)

    My five:

    1. Hot water. Obvs. 
    2. Early bedtime.
    3. Good neighbors.
    4. Purple nail polish.
    5. Good cover tunes.