I'm sitting on the porch in my bathrobe, cup of coffee next to me. The dog is rolling around on his back in the yard, reveling in the smell of the grass or the way the earth feels or any number of things that dogs find pleasing. The cat is eating grass and daring the squirrels to come just a leeetle bit closer. The weather is sunny, cool, and more refreshing than late August really has a right to be. It's a perfect morning.
It's after 8am. I am running amazingly late for work.
I am not going in to work today.
Actually, I am not going in to work until September.
That's right. September. After Labor Day. It might be more vacation time than I've ever taken in one fell swoop while working here.
I'm running errands like a madwoman this morning: cleaning, gym, grocery store, bookstore, PetCo. But then? Then we're packing up the truck for several days at the beach, at Chez Oncles, where the rule is that there are no rules. Sleeping late? Fine. Breakfast at 2pm? Cool. Naps? Yes, please. The only absolutes are that cocktail hour starts at 5, and no one's going to serve you, so help yourself.
And I have to say, I'm ready for it. I'm having a difficult time separating myself from my job, which means that I'm too embroiled in work to really take care of myself or my little family. Don't get me wrong - I love my job! The folks I work with I consider friends, rather than just colleagues, and I love spending time with them, working towards shared (and also awesome) goals and projects. But our collective shorthand has become a little toooo short...when we're finishing each other sentences, and it almost looks like we have ESP? Well, that's a sure sign that we're spending too much time together. (I swear I've told the same stories over and over again, and they're just too polite to call me on it, or too tired to remember.)
So this weekend will be devoted to both reflecting on a fairly fantastic summer, and recharging some of these relationships and beneficial behaviors (hello, gym...it's been a while, I know...have you missed me?) that have been hibernating all summer. Reading, napping, sunning - WITH sunscreen this time, biking, chatting...all on the agenda. And I'll be refreshed and ready to tackle my last project of the summer - this concert, which is one of my favorite projects. (Seriously, writing contracts with the language "to be sung in English and Elvish" makes me giggle every time.) I'm looking forward to some uninterrupted time with the Hubster, and am hoping to add some new stories to my tired repertoire.
I had my two lovely days off, and it simply wasn't enough.
My fuse is short, I'm second-guessing myself and reading into things waaaaay more than well-rested, sane people do.
I tried to run this morning, and it was both difficult and discouraging.
I'm desperately trying to wrap things up from the season, while trying also to get things started for the chamber music season. I'm helping with some grant writing, prepping a video for broadcast, returning set pieces to a local university, and trying to do year-end budget projections.
Oh, and I have one more show. Several days of breakneck rehearsals with a cast of hundreds, including one of the two people who officially got on my last nerve this summer.
I'll try to bring Pollyanna back, but chances are that she won't resurface until after I get a few more days away from the office. Radio silence until then, I'm afraid.
It's Friday. And, for the first time in months, I'm having a textbook civilian Friday.
Got to my desk at a reasonable time this morning. Actually got some things - work-related things - done!
Lunch to bid adieu to two of my favorite people in the world, followed by a breeze by the mall in search of this book. I was unsuccessful, but I'll track it down sometime, for the pure cheese factor.
And then? After lunch/shopping? I headed home. That's right, home.
AND? I have BOTH Saturday AND Sunday off.
(I should buy lottery tickets...I'm feeling that lucky.)
What, you need more evidence of my lucktasticness? My luckiosity? Behold...
I went to the gym this afternoon...a little yoga to round out my workweek sounded like just the thing. The instructor was new to me and super nice. We went through a bunch of sun salutations and the like, and were just getting to the hang-out-in-chair-pose-until-your-quads-are-on-fire-and-then-hang-out-some-more part of the class when the fire alarm rang. Yep. FULL BUILDING EVACUATION. My quads are SAVED! Time to head home for a glass of wine and a meatloaf sandwich on the porch! WIN!
...which leads me to Exhibit B:
I'm on the porch, with said glass of wine and said meatloaf sandwich, and notice a dog trotting by. A leashless, human-less dog that I don't recognize trotting by...and I know the names of the neighborhood dogs better than those of the neighborhood humans. A car with a concerned young couple stops, and we all corral the dog. I offer him water and meatloaf: he refuses both. (He's either upset or insane, because my meatloaf is THE SHIZ.) I tell the young couple that I'll handle him, when my gorgeous Latina neighbor comes out of her house. She says that she saw a lost dog sign down the road, so we head that way, taking the dog and her hubby's cell phone and calling the vet clinic in Burke VA listed on the fella's tags. Bella Latina says "Boo's gonna have a brother" while I hope vehemently that she's wrong. The clinic tells me that the dog is Otis, and gives me a phone number. Which is, unfortunately, dead. We walk around the florist's shop when Otis sits and refuses to budge. AWESOME. It's hot, and this snobby dog (who hates my meatloaf!) is thwarting all my attempts to reunite him with his owners!
And then I hear "Hey, that's my dog. C'mere Otis."
Dude is trying to start his car in the parking lot. And didn't know where his dog had wandered off to, but knew he couldn't be far. We leave Otis with his human and head back to the house. Problem solved.
And, finally, Exhibit C:
A dinner invite...to a super-busy friend's home with an acquaintance/blogger/professional culinary god doing the cooking. A.Ma.Zing. The friend is someone I adore, but our summers are so busy that I lose touch with her for months. But I'm psyched that this marks the beginning of the easing of schedules, of getting reacquainted, of reconnecting with the friends I've neglected since May.
Yep. I'm feeling pretty lucky. I wrote a song about it. Here it goes:
Ok, so maybe I didn't write it. But I think it applies.
I've writtenbeforeaboutmystruggles with transitions...and I'm right back there again. Tack a great show, a night of little sleep, an early morning wake-up as hubby hopped a plane to the midwest at o-dark-thirty, (and the subsequent two hours fielding crazy anxiety dreams before finally hauling my tired butt out of bed), a new project and a metric ton of dog barf (ew.) onto a long, exciting, exhausting season, and, well, welcome to my world.
I can't say that it's a safe mental neighborhood in which to wander around- you should come back when it's light out. It looks WAY more wholesome in the sunlight...
(I will say that having the presence of mind to set the coffee maker to auto-start this morning before I went to bed last night was a stroke of puregenius, and might've been the only reason that I actually made it to the radio station in time this morning.)
I woke up in the Pacific Northwest this morning, as the temperatures were beautifully cool in light of recent 90+ degree days. It was raining like we needed an Ark, and Lake Slew had formed at the corner of our property. I've been recently wishing, praying for autumn to arrive...and with the the tired, raw feeling that comes with the end of the season, it really felt like my prayers had been answered.
I guess the thing I should be learning about these transitions is maybe to fight them less? To stay open and see what walks through the door? Because if today's any indication, the thing that walks through is just the thing I need.
(Well, except for the dog barf. I don't ever really need that.)
Small rooms filled with silly guys.
The magical power of cookies.
Texts from my 12-year-old nephew.
Missing my hubster.
And for you? Another gem from the non-cutting-edge-but-awesomely-lyricked archives.
Edited to add: BUT WAIT! A new Simon's Cat cartoon? My day is indeed complete! And I am capital-L-Lame. But you knew that already...
Kickass evening in the theater, folks. We got our first (?! What is UP with that???) standing ovation of the summer. 'Twas a loooong time coming, but I'll take it. The luxury casting, along with having thousands onstage? Magic, plain and simple.
In the too-cool-for-school category, I finally, FINALLY got my very own fiber-optic red fright wig. I think it really brings out the crazy in my eyes, don't you? (KPW and I joke all summer long about our operation feeling like the chocolate assembly line from I Love Lucy. (the part specific to our operation starts around 4:20) Three guesses as to who's Lucy and who's Ethel in our little screenplay...)
This has been a great summer in so many ways...fantastic music-making, good people, and just enough low-key drama to keep things interesting. While I'm ready for the pace to slow down, I'm not quite ready to bid adieu to these great folks.
Y'all come back now, y'hear?
Changing gears tomorrow, and heading into WETA's recording studio with the boys to record some material for Center Stage from WT. And, while my job on these days really boils down to Chief Researcher/Lunch Procurer, I have to admit that I'm jazzed for a change of pace, to turn my ears from pure approval and adoration to more critical matters, to get crack-a-lackin' on booking the 2011-2012 chamber music series.
(And I have to say, modestly, of course, I am an EXPERT lunch procurer.) It's gonna be a good day.
Change is a good thing. Onward and upward, my friends.
Remembering to preset the coffee maker. Waking up to a fresh pot is luxurious.
Reflecting on the last Monday of the opera season. Here's today's breakdown.
Family Day - the first ever! - in the Barns this morning. On-stage pictures, chances to play with the supertitles and celeste and the LED ice cubes. Sandwiches, and makeup displays and Britten's fabulous Midsummer score in heavy rotation in the pit. It was difficult to tell if the kids or adults were having more fun. (I still have purple feathers tucked into my hair from the mask-making activity.) Bravo to RT for a great morning!
Desk work. Holy loose ends, batman!
Tickets for the last performance. Sold to the walls, with a wait list that's almost reached double digits.
(By the way? I can't really believe it's the last performance of the opera season. It seems like Zaide happened last year, or yesterday. Time is a funny thing.)
Meeting with our colleagues in Development and Special Events...which ended with someone cutting the meeting short ("short being relative - it was a 90 minute meeting!) because we looked so tired. While I won't disagree, I'm a little sad that the fatigue was so obvious.
Home during daylight. Israeli couscous, spinach and some of the best feta cheese in memory.
Tomorrow we bid adieu to Midsummer, and shortly thereafter to the singers and staff members that have made this summer such fun. It's a bittersweet time of year, to be sure...for as much as I'm dreaming of cooler weather and boots and stew and evenings off, I'll miss these folks, the crazy pace, the laughter, the ridiculous inside jokes.
Mostly? The music and the laughter. I'll miss those the most.
Less than 12 hours after the show closes I'll be ensconced in a recording studio with 4 of the nicest guys in classical musicland, working on recording the narrative bits for the radio show. In trying to switch from opera to chamber music, I'll be grinding some serious gears; but I know that the guys will be nice about it, even if I'm not actually able to make a sentence until Thursday's sessions.
(Heck, they'd probably be totally impressed if I could actually MAKE sentences on the first day. No worry of that this week, to be sure.)
I'm spending the day making sure that both the couch and the porch furniture doesn't float away. Also, I'll be critiquing the cicadas' singing, shopping for autumn dresses online, and hopefully napping intermittently.
Yesterday ended in a MUCH better fashion than it began, and while I'm achy and fairly dumb today, I'm achy, dumb and quite content.
(Midsummer folks? You rocked my world. Seriously. Let's do it again tomorrow, shall we?)
To tide you over until I'm back to my regularly-posting, Pollyanna-ish self? LINKAGE! MASS LINKAGE!
I've actually downloaded a whole slew of the tunes featured here. Starting my fall soundtrack - I'll share once I've edited it down from 3 days worth...
I keep trying to write something thoughtful, or witty, or even halfway entertaining...but nothing's really working.
I have lost my temper with some people who, frankly, may have deserved it. (Being pretty darn conflict-averse, you know that if this has happened it's been a long time coming.) The cat and dog are still waking me up on the early side of early. I am resigned to a middling performance review even though my body is telling me that I did in fact work my @ss off this summer. My hubby has reached the end of his patience with my crazy schedule. I have standing water in my basement. The people who I have kindly been putting off until the end of the season are banging at my door with emails and phone calls and "friendly" reminders and scheduling requests. The dishes and laundry have not learned to do themselves. I'm grumpy and puffy and sour.
My inner monologue is channeling Marlene Dietrich. "I vant to be left alone."
(The irony is, once everyone does split town and we're finished with the season? I'll be refreshed and ready to hang. And I will miss everyone!)
Lest you think that my life is allllll post-post-post-teen angst, however, this show opens tonight. It's gorgeous...simply gorgeous. And Act Three? One of the funniest things I've seen in a loooooong time.
Here's hoping that the day ends in a better frame of mind that the one in which it started...shouldn't be that difficult, I suppose.
(Snout and Flute - I'm looking at y'all to make sure that happens.)
Home-grown mint with blueberry pie and ice cream.
Jammies. Might wear mine to work today in a midsummery tribute.
(It is Tuesday, isn't it? I'm finding it more difficult to keep track than I should.)
I'm in the middle of my new morning ritual...making a cup of coffee, dragging the animals onto the front porch with me, said cup of coffee, and the laptop. Check email - make sure nothing blew up in the last eight hours. Do a cursory surf of FB and the blogs I follow to make sure no bignews goes by.
Zone out. Listen to the cicadas. Watch traffic drive by. Wave to the neighbors of their way to work. Throw a slimy tennis ball into the yard over and over again.
Realize that I better get moving, or I'll be soooo late to work.
Wonder if being late to work is really a bad thing....
It's August. And we're in tech for a supremely lovely rendition of Midsummer. Crazy stage, classic story, awesome costumes, fiberoptics in the set AND wigs. (I've made the Hair and Make-up designers promise me that I'll have them in my wig too.) A cast and artistic team who seem to have genuine fun together, and it totally translates on the stage. While it's a large cast, it's the only project that's happening...which is a far cry from the rest of the summer, when we juggle 3-5 projects at a time. Having a bit of space feels luxurious!
But, lest you think we're eating bon-bons in all of our spare time (HA!), we have a big grant application due this week: personnel reviews: intern evaulations: exit interviews: recording sessions for the radio show next week. And let's not even talk about the fact that I need to edit, send for approval, publicize and stream a guitar concert, book a chamber music series, and resurrect my notes for a class I'm teaching. AND there's the Lord of the Rings concerts. AND that pesky little audition tour.
WOW. Going in late for work actually sounds like a lovely idea.
Instead, I'll keep daydreaming about post-season vacation with the hubster, clearing off my desk, and making some time to spend with these awesome folks before they scatter to the winds.
New iPhone - facetime me, my babies!
Surprise date night - hubby is awesome.
Feeling just a touch of September in the air...
And for you? Another new song that I like. It has a mellow, September-y vibe, doesn't it?
Last night marked my last evening with the NSO for this summer. You see, while most of my work is opera-related, we have this crafty ampersand in our department title...opera & classical programming. So part of our summer season also deals with the National Symphony's summer residency...9 or 10 concerts at the big theater.
I love these evenings. The folks at the NSO feel like old friends, and the repertoire ranges from the sublime (Bruch, Prokofiev) to the ridiculous (Lady Gaga, What's Opera, Doc?). The weather has been a bit hit or miss, but the crowds have been enthusiastic...it's been wonderful to see thousands of people crowing the park for classical music! (And I ask again, WHO SAYS CLASSICAL MUSIC IS DEAD? It's alive and well at the Trap, for sure!)
The throughline? The orchestra plays the spots off of it all. They're pretty fantastic.
(And, every once in a while? I get to be the Voice of God at the top of the show. I won't lie, it's pretty awesome. And I gladly don't have to worry about earning a mid-announcement smooch or wet-willie from a certain conductor like my friend DDD from the NSO often does when he announces.)
Last night was my last evening with these folks...and, while we'll have a smattering of conference calls and meetings over the next several months (because planning for 2011 has already started. Oh, yeah.), I'll miss chatting them up every week or so.
I'm resolving to make it downtown to catch a performance this fall at their house, hubster in tow. See you soon, friends!
In other news, I'm enjoying a lazy morning before this evening's tech rehearsal. We open our last (*sniff!*) show of the season this Friday. And while I wish that meant that things were slowing down, they're totally not: we have several grant proposals due, as well as exit interviews, recording sessions for the radio show, video to edit for the next Discovery Goes Digital, and our annual reviews. Do you know how hard it is to reflect when up to your @ss in alligators?? Pretty hard. But as long as I have a job at the end of it, I'm OK. :)
Low-humidity August days. All two of them. :)
Extra cups of coffee.
Cicadas...sounds like deep summer.
Sunlight on wind-blown leaves...like a nature-made disco ball.
And, for you? For putting up with the continued lack of content on this little blog? Another of my favorite cover tunes. Happy Saturday!
I say "see you soon!" or "later!" instead of "good bye."
As a kid who moved every few years, the speed of change and the strength of nostalgia are two mystic powers that I don't mess with. I know they're both strong and true. And, almost always, immutable.
Well, way stronger, truer and more immutable than yours truly, for sure.
So what to do when two of your favorite people beat the feet for new adventures?
You show up to the parties. You help your compadres arrange an impromptu trip to the wrong side of town for sweaty German beers.You might even help write some cheesy lyrics to a classic song and perform them live in front of a group of singers who could kick your butt every day of the week, and twice on Sundays.
You toast their new adventure, their togetherness, their amazing, new big picture. You wish them well. You tell them you'll miss them, for that's indeed the gods-honest-truth.
Even though you're not a say-goodbye kind of girl.
You celebrate! Because there's nothing to be sad about, right?
But you might shed a little tear, once you're out of the public eye, of course. Because, well, good folks are hard to find. And good folks who still talk to you after seeing you try to catch an L.A. cab while under-caffeinated, or who let you boss their boyfriend into loading your uber-heavy suitcase into no fewer than thirteen million taxicabs?? Well, in my experience there are only 2 of them in the whole world.
Sending my very best wishes to LMB and CM (and BossyCat!) on the eve of their big move. Come back to visit often - we miss you already.
Hendricks basil martinis. Summer in a glass!
And this is the song that I imagine they'll sing to each other, once the unadulterated panic of a transatlantic move wears off.
My phone is dead. My poor, sweet, first-generation iPhone. (I'm a traditionalist. Don't laugh.)
Granted, it had been dying little by little over the last few weeks...a cracked case, GPS that got lost in a paper bag, and strange stallouts. But I was counting on it to get me through until August 12...the day that my shiny, new phone is to arrive in the mail.
I never thought that my stalwart companion would resort to feline-assisted suicide. My hubby fished the poor, dripping thing out of a bowl of sudsy dishwater. The cat actually seems pretty pleased himself. The bastard.
(He's going to make a lovely pair of gloves...)
A moment of silence, please, for the recently departed.
So here's my conundrum. Do I make do with my office phone and my house phone? Or do I go out and buy a 10-day replacement? Do I embrace the small amount of extra space in my life? Or do I find another lifeline? This question would be totally moot - I would go without - except that my boss, KPW is heading to the wilds of New York for several days, starting tomorrow.
We interrupt this operatic season to bring you Sue and Pete! Cute, aren't they?
Sue and Pete, if we lived in a perfect world, would be celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary today. And yours truly and her crazily hairy little brother would've carved out some time and cash to throw them a totally kick-ass celebration. Epic. (As in, waaaaay more box wine that you've EVER SEEN IN ONE PLACE.) And the party would've eroded into the ritual retellings of family myths (like Sean Connery having season tickets to the Pittsburgh Pirates games) and various embarrassing childhood stories....like Roberto Santa'Ines...and my run in with a box turtle. Throw in some mandatory time showing off my long-dead piano chops for a whole-house polka sing-along? Yes, and yes.
Entry #1 on my "woulda coulda shoulda" list? Throw my parents a totally over-the-top party.
I didn't get my act together. I thought I'd have more time.
So I have to ask...what's on your list of things to do? What do you need to say? What's on your life list? And, of those things, can you do any of them rightnow? This very minute?
Because, no matter how much we want things to stay the same? They don't. It's really the only constant.
Take the step. Say it. Do it. Damn the torpedos, if you must. But it's better than being silent.
Stop wasting time.
Mom and Dad. A weirder, sillier, more loving couple the world can not know.
My brother. Who is weird and silly like me. Thank goodness I'm not alone.
Performers and artists who are brave enough to be open, and in many ways raw, onstage.