9.29.2010

lost in the little things.

I spent the morning mired in details. Trying to dot "i"s and cross "t"s. Except that when I did? I noticed that I hadn't completed the sentence.

And that? Made me grumpy. That moody adolescent who screams "Why MEEEE????" right before stomping upstairs and slamming her bedroom door? She sat behind my desk aaaaaall morning.

Luckily? I had an intervention.

Boss Lady suggested a tasty lunch and an afternoon spent plotting out all of our tasks, and triaging. (84 action items. Count 'em. 84.) LawyerLady (JB's new nickname!) sent a gorgeous bouquet of flowers out of the blue. This song turned up on the radio as I ran errands at lunchtime, and flooded my head with happy memories of my pretty roomie dancing around our Shadyside apartment. I ate my weight in lobster bisque and fantastic bread. And I actually made it to my trainer's class for the first time in weeks.

The day? Turned around.

Thanks, interveners...you purposeful folks, and those of you who just happened to help out when I needed it.

Good things:

My five:
  1. Team work. (And our little team is pretty awesome, IMHO.)
  2. Pleasant surprises.
  3. October.
  4. Dark nail polish.
  5. Tights.

9.28.2010

Heinz Post.

Ketchup.

Catch up.


Get it?


(I think I should probably remove "Stand-Up Comedian" from my Life List, eh?)




So, the last week has been contradictory....largely run-of-the-mill, but with some very cool exceptions.

In the run-of-the-mill category? Cubic meters of dog hair and laundry. My inability, despite my years, to maintain a manicure once I pass through the salon doors. Catching up with neighbors in the cool evening hours. Cursing at the minivans who drag race down my street in an effort to get their kids to catholic school on time. Wanting (and actually wearing) tights waaaaaay before it's technically cold enough. (Hell, the calendar says autumn.) Sitting in meetings, fantasizing about skipping the office for auditions a full month early. Collecting stinkbugs and tossing them out the windows. (I can kill ants and mosquitos, but anything else leaves me with a guilty conscience. Don't ask me why.) The blessed return of football to my Sundays. Finding that some days are awesome running days, and on others you just hope that showing up and putting the torturous miles in will count towards that goal somehow.

(Wow. You see how I just used the word "running" instead of the more accurate "jogging" or "shuffling" or "convulsing" or "throwing her fool self down the road"? That's called creative license, my friends.)

In the cool exception category? A trip home for a great weekend with the Moms and two of my best girls. A last-minute porch sit/season debrief with a good friend. A doggy playdate with Boo's newest (and maybe feistiest?) girlfriend and her beautiful momma. A fan-damn-TAS-tic dinner here, with some warm, interesting folks. (And seriously? The best service that I've maybe ever experienced....and food that beat the service. An historic night in the Gastronomie de Rahree!) A new dress. The return of pinot noir to my evening wine repertoire. Watching this evening's sunlight through leaves both green and red. Cooking dinner on the fly, and having it turn out AWESOME. Getting a check back from my FSA before I even get the glasses for which it's meant to pay. An energizing visit from a tenor friend who I met when I was interning with my current job...he looks great, and it makes me so happy to see him doing so well.

And the non-cool category? Very. Little. Blessedly.

So, by and large? Things are just lovely here in the 'burbs.


But, referring back to my Life List...I actually don't have one. No list of 100 things I should do in the next year, the next ten years, before I die. No written-down list of things I want to accomplish, see, do, be. And I'm torn as to whether I want to create one. Sure, I have five or ten things that I want to do/be/see/accomplish. (Is that enough? 100 seems like a LOT.) And I know that once I write something down, the chances of me actually doing it increase exponentially. But will it just make me feel more frazzled? Will it help me direct my leisure time into things that are both fun AND good for me? I don't know. I started to notice friends and acquaintances keeping these lists right around the time that my dad died...thinking about accomplishing anything, with life being so amazingly brief, seemed foolish at the time.

But now? I'm not so sure it's not a good idea...

My five:
  1. Clouds...September has the most amazing skies.
  2. Cinnamon. Maple Syrup. Brown sugar. 
  3. For the first time, defaulting to listening rather than speaking. (don't get used to it...)
  4. Quiet nights at home with my boys.
  5. Sweaters.

9.22.2010

early morning

Well, the sun's not up, but I sure am. I'm sitting on the porch - lights on - waiting for dawn. It's warm - indian summer warm. The sky just behind the house is getting light in tiny degrees...currently it's a little less black than black.

Hubby is already en route to work. But I'm sitting here, listening to the crickets and waking birds. Watching the cat stalk something in the yard, wondering at a prehistoric-looking moth, who is trying so very hard to get into my house. Trying to silence the to-do part of my brain, and to just enjoy the world waking up.



The five things I'm thankful for today:
  1. Clean slates.
  2. Quiet breezes.
  3. The opportunity to sit at the piano.
  4. Hubby-made coffee.
  5. Breathing room.

9.14.2010

Today's checklist:

  • Morning run. A surprising 4.9 miles. My longest run ever! Start the day feeling like a rock star? Check.
  • Midmorning work session. What a lovely surprise to find that I had already written the 2 contracts that have been on my to-do list for weeks! Contracts? Check.
  • In the great-minds-think-alike category, the boss lady and I made hair appointments (we see the same woman - KPW recommended her and she's fab! the only stylist I've ever stuck with.) on the same day, exactly one half-hour apart. Without coordinating the appointments. Crazy! (The mind meld is still going strong! Not sure if that's good or slightly creepy...) Anyhoo. Lookin' good? Check and check! (And the boss lady's looking foxy too! Dark colors are in for fall 2010!)
  • Afternoon work session. Money, travel arrangements, and a letter of recommendation to write. Rec letters are WAY easier to write when you don't adore the person for whom you're writing. Writing an unabashed love-letter to a nameless entity on behalf of a fabulous person? Check.
  • Evening at home. Spaghetti with meat sauce and garlic bread. Carbtastic! And totally allowed, because I ran to CHINA AND BACK this morning. Full belly? Check.
  • Porch time. Playing catch with the dog and surfing until it gets too dark or the mosquitos suck me dry. Perfect end to the day? Check.
In keeping with the listy format? Some links.


And, my five. No gimmick, just things I'm thankful for.
  1. Cool breezes and impossibly blue skies.
  2. Proving to myself that I'm not as fragile as I thought.
  3. Having a body that works, most of the time, the way it's supposed to.
  4. Ravenswood red zin.
  5. Honest fatigue, that quiets the mental washing machine.

9.13.2010

monday, monday...

I was not looking forward to today.

But sitting here at the end of it? Well, it was more than OK.

Good conversation with a mentor. Coffee and pastries and a commute that gave me time to yowl at the top of my lungs in the car.

Sound advice from mom and the hubster.

Sufficient confidence and support to speak out about something that strikes me as punitive. (And the good fortune to feel both heard and supported by the people who matter.)

Some physical comedy from El Diablo. Silly puppy!

A small, enthusiastic class of singers.

A glass of wine and some super sharp cheddar.

...and an early bedtime.

Yep. Sometimes a day is surprising in all the best ways.

My five:
  1. Singing. Sometimes I forget...
  2. Sunshine.
  3. The folks who love me.
  4. Having an excuse to play.
  5. Honeycrisp apples and almond butter.

9.12.2010

past my bedtime

By nature I'm an early riser. Ask my mom (go ahead! DARE YOU.) about my childhood, and she'll tell you that she never, ever slept when I was a baby. She'll likely wax poetic about panelling my room with cork tiles and putting up blackout shades (and maybe tinfoil? to keep the aliens from reading my mind? but you'll have to ask her about it...) to keep me from waking up with the birds. Yep, she'd do it all over again if she had the chance, I feel sure. I was her little angel...

(that last statement is maybe only partially true...)

Fast-forward more years than I'd like to admit. I'm still an early riser...still love the sound of birdsong, the feeling of being the first one up, enjoying the slow-motion wake-up of the wider world. Coffee on the porch, a slow, quiet start to the day? Well, that's the best kind of wake-up, in my opinion.

But sometimes my super-awesome job? Well, it doesn't jive so well with my circadian rhythms. Like tonight. It's currently well after 1am, which to many of my summer pals is early early. And, after a great night and a sold-out symphonic (yeah ORCHESTRAL MUSIC!) performance of a fantastic movie (did I ever tell you that in 5th grade I constructed a hobbit hole out of papier-mache and scraps from carpet and wallpaper stores? I didn't?!? Well, it's probably because my nerd cred is solid enough without that particular bit of info.) I'm totally wired for sound.

Here's the thing: regardless of when I go to bed, I'll be up by 7:30am tomorrow. It's sick sick sick, I know. But true. So I'm surfing the net, writing little snippets of horrible poetry, wading through new music, making lists of things I know I'll be too tired to do tomorrow. I should go to bed! But I'm too awake.

And that's why I'm blathering to you.

(Sorry.)

My five:
  1. The official finale to my summer season. It was a pretty wild ride!
  2. Weather cool enough to make opening a bottle of red wine a good thing.
  3. Rainy weekend mornings.
  4. Hubby- he leaves every outside light on for me when I'm working late. 
  5. Laundry-and-football-filled Sundays.
And a few things that made me smile:

9.09.2010

tack så mycket



A rough-wood paneled room, filled with musicians and folios and stand lights.
Also filled with cameraderie, with good will.
Filled with focused intention.
Filled with expectation, with excitement.
Filled with determination, with desire to connect...to each other, to the audience.
Filled with a contemporary soundscape...vast and varied.

Led by an unassuming farm boy from...Switzerland? Yes, indeed.

And this room would follow him to the moon. Or, more aptly, to Mordor and back.

These people?
This rehearsal?

Collaborative, uplifting, exhausting, rewarding.


This is the way it's supposed to be. This is the way the room should feel. 



Bravi, tutti. You've made me teary in gratitude.

9.08.2010

new day!

New 'tude. No more grumpies! Chalk yesterday up to the re-entry blues, I s'pose.
Today? Coffee waiting for me when I woke up. A less-stiff neck than yesterday. A late start at work, and an orchestra rehearsal on the docket - yay! Oh, and I get to wear jeans! BLISS.

So, since I signed up for this (please join me if you're in the area. I'll be going sloooowly...) I've started on a little training regimen. My favorite exercise site, Social Workout, has changed their layout, and there are a bunch of different challenges that you can sign up for, if you're the sort who needs a goal/regimen to get yourself going. (And I do.) This challenge is to do 60 minutes of cross training and 60 minutes of strength training weekly, and to complete a total of 60 miles over the course of 5 weeks. I ran for 4.3 miles on Monday. LONGEST. RUN. EVER. So today I'm thinking that a little bit of heavy lifting at the gym before I head into work might be the way to go. While I'm nervous about running this longer distance, having a plan and sticking to it always makes me feel good. For as much as I'd like to be able to complete things in one fell swoop, the practice of chipping away at a larger goal is, strangely, comforting and energizing. I'm starting to love the thought of incremental progress.

(Now if I could just make the chipping away connection in the other areas of my life...like the house-cleaning area. And the work area...I'll get it someday, I'm sure.)

Things that I like that you might, too:

  • This. Band practice this Sunday afternoon on my porch.
  • Old School.
  • Am I already wanting a upgrade? Kinda.
  • True.
  • Like a mellower, less-yodelly Martin Sexton. LOVE.
Ok... time to add a little bit to my weekly mileage. Have a lovely day, all!

My five:
  1. The first cup of coffee.
  2. Late starts.
  3. Morning sunshine.
  4. Comfy clothes.
  5. Cookies.
And a mellow morning song.

9.07.2010

unpleasant realizations.

It turns out that I am, in fact, one to hold a grudge. I'm in a lovely rehearsal for a fun project, surrounded by nice people and good music making, and yet there are two people who done me dirty, and their mere presence is ruining my little party.

Now, let it be said that it took a long time and quite a bit of dirty-doing for me to snap. But now that I have? I'm not so much able to let bygones be bygones...maybe by this time next year, but a few short weeks just isn't enough time.

Someone slap me and tell me to GET OVER IT.

Or at least to be nice until I can bid them adieu for the year.

It's September. I'm wearing a sweater (ok, only because I'm in a room with gonzo air conditioning.). I had a pumpkin spice latte AND a pumpkin scone for breakfast. I'm back at work, seeing friendly faces for the first time in over a week, and I got a cubic buttload of work done. The utility company removed the big eyesore of a telephone pole from my yard. It's been a GOOD DAY. A good day that was preceded by a totally lovely vacay. I have NO RIGHT to be grumpy!

I need a poker face, a duck's back to roll this bad mojo from. Because this isn't really the girl that I want to be. I'd really like to remove emotionally stingy from my personal vocabulary. Any advice?

(Drinking on the job is, regrettably, not an option.)

My five:
  1. Sunny days.
  2. Pumpkin spiced soy lattes from 'bucks.
  3. Antique car shows.
  4. Crazy, wonderful dreams.
  5. Long sleeves.

9.02.2010

links and bullets. 'Cuz that's what I got.

  • I have completed The Purge of 2010. (My helper taking a well-deserved rest at right.) Bags of clothes, boxes of extra martini glasses (yes, there IS in fact such a thing) and hair straighteners and lamps and spatulas all smooshed into my roller skate, ready for Goodwill and their next home. I threw out the old spices, unmatched socks, the vats of hair product that made me look like a homeless woman, the masticated books, dead batteries, and badly chipped plates. All gone. The saddest thing is that, while the insides of my cupboards and closets and drawers are all sparkly and pristine, my floors are still covered in animal hair. If I throw that much stuff away, shouldn't the dust bunnies take care of themselves???

  • It's still August hot. 90 degree highs. And, while the humidity is thankfully low (THANK YOU), it's still hot as blazes. I'm ready for wool. And tights. And boots. C'mon weather gods, help a girl out...I look WAY better with more clothes on. 

  • I usually surf in the living room, hanging with hubby, dipping in and out of various TV shows. But this (tight pants. you won't regret it.)(well, maybe you will) and this and this have contributed to my new habit of surfing with earphones. 

  • The mosquitos have been totally, 100% terrible this year. I walked the dog last night without dousing myself in DEET, and have no fewer than 26 bites on my legs. Twenty-six. I'm an itchy-scratchy fool. 

  • Along with jonesing for cooler temperatures, I'm also desperate to start mucking up my kitchen again. This and this and this especially...and homemade bread and thick soups and oatmeal cookies. And I have a whole tin of dutch-process cocoa that I have to use in the next two weeks...anyone have ideas?

  • New nostalgia mix! Up at the usual place. Up until Saturday, or whenever I remember to take it down.

  • One of my favorite shows has been a bit of a dud this summer. Here's hoping this awesome gimmick will revive it!

  • Why yes, I am seven feet tall and weigh two-hundred sixty pounds! I just can't really play piano...

  • I was hoping hubby and Boo would get the swing of this on vacation. (Get it? Swing???)



  • In the Great Purge, I found a gift certificate that the hubs had given me. Cashed it in for a serious pedicure with a 40-minute foot rub attached. But now I'm bruised...pampering or ABUSE?!?!? It's a damn good thing my toes look cute...

  • An explanation as to why you'll find me making any excuse post-show to avoid schmoozing. 

  • I might make this the next iteration of my five. She's brilliant. AND she introduced me to Leslie Hall. WIN. 

  • This? A booty shaker with the grandaddy cuss word all over it? My middle-school self is TOTALLY in love.
Sending you all wishes for a lovely, labor-less Labor Day holiday, full of naps and good food and laughter.

My five:
  1. Sunshine.
  2. Unread books.
  3. Quiet time.
  4. Restocked cupboards. 
  5. Exhaling.

9.01.2010

Happy New Year!

It's not the start of the new year (January 1), or the new school year (because let's face it... I'm sooo far out of school. But I'd go back at a moment's notice for any number of disciplines. It's the truth.). It's not the beginning of fall, calendar-wise or temperature-wise, as the mercury is predicted to top out over 95 degrees today. (Ugh. ENOUGH with the hot!)

But I'm treating it as a personal new year. As in, I'm spending today doing the things that I'd like to carry forward into the next several months.
  • Spending quality time - and not just time-in-the-same-room - with hubby and the animals.
  • Getting organized. (Yes, while I hate cleaning, I'll be doing some much needed scrubbing/purging. If you're looking for kitchen supplies or clothes, you should email me at days' end. I'll totally be able to help you out.)
  • Making music. I have a date with a piano and some seriously fabulous poetry.
  • Writing lesson plans. I'm teaching this class in a few weeks, and need to reconstruct my LPs from the first go round. I also need to update my pop music binder. Wheeee!
  • Gym. Just for an hour, but I'll be there. For an hour. One.
  • Eating well and healthfully. 
  • Taking time to reflect and be grateful.
Ok, so it's a big list. But the great thing is that not one of these things needs to take up all the whole day...I can parcel them out, spend an hour on one, thirty minutes on another (hmmm....maybe I'll shorten that gym slot...), two hours on another. The amount of time doesn't matter as much as fitting them all in, to some degree. And, after several days of relaxation at Chez les Oncles, I'm ready to dive in.

Right now? I'm working on that last one. Sitting on the porch, coffee in hand. Thanking the neighbors for making sure our (overfull) garbage can made it to the curb while we were relaxing at the beach. Watching a little female cardinal hop on the railing towards me, head cocked, not sure if she should be nervous or not. (Watching the cat watch the cardinal...you don't need to be afraid of me, but the cat? Perhaps.) Noticing that the porch needs a good sweep, that the plants need a drink, and deciding that maybe my tidying cycle will begin out here.

What's your not-so-new-year's resolution?

My five:
  1. Time away from normal routines.
  2. Great friends and neighbors.
  3. Sore muscles.
  4. Generosity.
  5. Time.
Edited to add: It's 9:08pm on the first day of my own personal "new year." Items 1, 2, and 7 are totally checked off: I purged my wardrobe, the office, the linen closets, took three big bags of trash out and have 3 boxes and 2 bags ready for Goodwill! (Call dibs, my darlings - some of this stuff is CUTE, even if it's not me.) And I sang along with the MusicSource mix aaaaall day - am a wee bit hoarse from it! So I got some of the music-making covered...kinda.

I also ate a bag of cool ranch doritos, three big handfuls of tiny-yet-evil oatmeal (read: BUTTER) cookies, 2 glasses of sangria, and a full-on steak dinner. I did not go to the gym, write any music or lesson plans. So, while I didn't sit still all day? I didn't work out and I ate a bunch of my favorite foods. 
I guess I'd consider today a win.