getting it out of the way.

I'm nursing my 2012 hangover a day early. 

I had pretty big plans for today. A nine mile run with Melissa, some grocery shopping and tidying, and an informal dinner at home with neighbors and friends to usher in 2012. It's a similar plan to last year's, which worked out quite well.

What's that saying? The best-laid plans of mice and men yada yada yada.... 

Yesterday, 1.30.11. I had my last personal training appointment with Lisa at 11, so I stopped en route to a homeware store to pick up some necessities. You know, dish sponges, toothpaste, cake pans and an offset spatula, extra champagne flutes...things one simply cannot function without. I ran into my neighbor, and we made some loose plans to meet up after dinner at a local restaurant. I sent some texts to the hubs and some other neighbors, and headed to the gym...where my ass was soundly handed to me by my trainer. (Funny, how I can run for miles but I can't hold a plank anymore...looks like someone needs to round out her workouts.)

Cleaning. Grocery-ing. 6 o'clock rolled around and I headed over to JM's house to see their renovations and meet the pup they were babysitting. We headed to Maplewood Grille sometime after 7:30, and met hubs and some other neighbors there.

And that's when it starts to get fuzzy. Too many glasses of merlot. Some well-intentioned prodding. A very kind pianist. And all of a sudden yours truly has a microphone in her hand, and is trying to remember lyrics and negotiate a very large break in her voice. Yep. Singing. In public. Shameful. And also? Really fun. 

Walking home with a tipsy hubby sometime after 1am, just like old times. 

Waking up at 7am. Even with gatorade and advil, this morning was pretty rough...and made even more so by the weather being achingly gorgeous; warm, sunny, late-spring weather in December. This evening's festivities have been cancelled, as I feel sure that I won't be making it much past 10pm. (that's an optimistic guess...)

So I'm honoring a crazy 2011 with a residual headache, sore muscles, and a throat that's scratchtastic. I'm making lists in a small black notebook of things I'm grateful for, things I want to rid myself of, things and people and experiences that I want to invite into my 2012. I'm starting to plan some month-long projects. And I'm thinking about tomorrow, about the ways in which I want to start my 2012. 

But mostly I'm sitting in a comfy chair with a cat on my lap, listening to my hubs and the dog (both!) snore, and feeling pretty lucky. 

Wishing you the very best of everything for 2012. 


back, back, back into time

So, I just spent a little time going my archives, and found that this weird, lazy+melancholy+restless feeling? Is just what my brain does on this week between Christmas and New Years. (I have to admit, it's both reassuring and discouraging to know that this feeling is as much a tradition as anything else this time of year.)

I'm restless, feeling like I'm lacking forward movement. But a good solid look through some old emails and blog posts reassures me that it's more perception than reality. Just in case, though, I have some shows and projects awaiting me in January that should shake things up a little bit, and am looking forward to talking to TC about some ways to re-prioritize and light a fire.

I'm kinda wanting that fire.

I've written here much less than I have in the last several years, and that makes me sad...sad that I'm not taking care of the people who actually like to read my drivel (in other news, you poor people need hobbies...), as well as sad to feel censored. I'm rethinking it...and may go back to being public in 2012.

But mostly what I'm doing is asking questions...lots and lots of questions. Am I where I want to be? (And really, what IS the answer to that question? "Yes." Well, good for you. "No," Well, sucks to be you.) What do I need that I'm not getting? How can I give back to my family/friends/community? What makes me excited? What gives me that semi-queasy, excited feeling and how can I find it again? Really, I think we all have a mental image of where we're be at different points in our lives...what we'll have, what will make us whole. And I guess I'm at the point where I'm trying to decide whether what I have, and where it differs from that vision, is right for me. I think that I have a lot of pals who made choices because they were 'supposed' to...or maybe that's just what I thought they were doing...but sitting barely on this side of 40, not having started a family yet, it makes me question who I am, who I wanted to be, whether this is OK. My mom has had very strong opinions of childless women ('selfish' being her descriptor of choice), and I don't want to be that, but I have to accept that, regardless of the cute house and good schedule and loving man and the desire to make it work, it may not work for us.

And so, in light of that? How does a girl rethink herself into her next incarnation?

That, my friends, is what I'm working on. And while I know that 2012 will answer a million questions for me, I'm a little nervous about those answers.  Part of my journey is that I'm keeping a physical notebook...writing questions at the top of the page, and then responding/making lists on the page. So, my sweet readers, a question for you:

What questions SHOULD I be asking? (Comments or emails appreciated.)

My five:

  1. Traditions.
  2. Room to think.
  3. Good music.
  4. Comedic pets.
  5. Glitter nail polish. (only on 3 fingers...I am an adult, after all....)


Everyday magic.

I saw this picture on Indexed.
Which made me think of Hermione Grainger.
Who, in turn, made me think of Mary Poppins.

And it made sense that I can't make myself clean out my purses or bags.

Because if I do? I might misplace the magic.

Hoping the next week-and-change is filled with magic for you...ordinary, every-day, Parking Angel, Everlasting Green Light magic. Calm, serene, wintery magic. Crazy people walking back into your life at perfect moments magic. The conjuring magic of families and holidays past. That perfect pair of socks under the tree magic.

The kind of magic that makes you believe that maybe, just maybe, that you are a little bit magic.


December is a bad neighborhood. In my head, that is...

So, I'm in the middle of the usual holiday paradox. Lots of fun Christmas parties coupled with job stress (not mine, thankfully, but someone whose stress I tend to wear like a bad wig.) equals lots of home stress and foregone invitations. 

i know...our faces are gonna freeze that way...
Actually, December is not being terribly friendly, on the whole. Difficult work situations (with managers and tenors...shocker!), insufficient daylight, a lingering almost-cold that allows me enough energy to go to work, but then makes me fall into bed as soon as is seemly. (8:30pm is seemly, right? Pretend I'm 8...it works.)  And 4am? I know we're now besties, but I'd love to quit you for a few days. When I do sleep, I'm having crazy, CRAZY, (like whoa crazy) dreams. I remember them vividly, but can't figure out the through-line or if there even IS a through-line. And today? My plumbing BLEW UP. I now have zero usable showers in my home. (Although on the flip side, I'm glad we have a gym membership with good showers and good product. You don't have to give me as wide of a perimeter...) Plus, my gifting creativity has totally dried up, and my Christmas gifts totally stink. Aaaand I'm not even finished shopping. Boooooooooo.

On the positive side, I'm running like it's going out of style. 8 miles this Saturday morning, and that's before 9am. (EIGHT MILES. My heart rate monitor said I burned over a thousand calories. Why yes, I WILL have an ice cream sundae! Or FIVE! And don't be stingy with the caramel....) I'm pretty proud of it, even though I'm ashamed to say that I can't keep up with my usual gym workouts because I'm officially too wimpy. Weird paradox, that. I've been trying to do nice, random things for people. And, to be honest, it totally makes me feel better. I'm also lucky to have some really great folks who let me bitch and whine to them. I'm super grateful to have them.

But I'm not feeling like work or life are things I'm excelling at recently. And I feel like I'm saying no, spewing more toxicity into the world than I want to. 

This must needs stop. 

But how?

Rather than just trusting that, when the calendar rolls to 2012, it'll all be better, I'm trying to suss out what changes I want to make. I'm trying to take an honest look at where I am, what I have, what I want, and where it all intersects. 

It'll be a Venn diagram of epic (well, to me at least) proportion. 

Now if I only have the courage to start...

My five:

  1. Fleece- and feather-lined everything. As much as I love wool, it's not really my pal.
  2. Meeting mom's new neighbors - can't wait! 
  3. Great stories. This one was wonderful. And I'm loving this one, too. 
  4. Hats. I can hear my neighborhood sigh in relief when I cover up my bedhead before walking the dog in the morning. 
  5. Christmas lights. And even though the taste police (ahem.) have dictated that we only have white lights, please know, colored-light-people, that your houses and trees look the best BY FAR.


procrastinating? or way ahead of the curve?

Can this be our Christmas tree?
I'm sitting down to write this as one of my rewards: a 10 minute break for focused housework. I find that if I just put the time aside to clean (which, let's be honest, I totally hate. Love the result, don't get me wrong, but I hate doing it. The decision fatigue occurs WAY earlier than it should. And by the way, when will they make self-folding laundry, for Pete's sake?) I end up doing a few things and then getting totally distracted. But, if I clean for an hour and then get some putter-around time? Well, I generally get more done.

(Huh...it's kinda the way I'm training for this half-marathon, too... walk a minute for every mile. Guess if something works in one arena, chances are it'll work in another?)

We've cancelled the cleaners for the next several months (until summer madness kicks back in), so cleaning is firmly back on my radar. This would normally be a huge problem, except that, inexplicably, I'm totally in the "We have too much stuff" mindset.

This mindset? Almost NEVER happens. Those close to me can speak of my cluttery, pack-rat tendencies. Hell, just stop by my office someday and see it for yourself firsthand!  I keep all kinds of things, in the event that I might need them/be able to do something cool with them one day. But today? I'm finding the urge to purge. To lighten up. To have fewer things.

Now, I acknowledge that this might be my sneaky mind clearing out old things to make way for new things. But that's not the way the holidays so much work for us anymore, and most of the things I'm tossing are expired...in many different senses of the word. Skirts that are too sort? Goodwill. Magazines? To their next owner. Old nail polishes are tossed. Expired prescriptions are set aside for disposal. I'm taking pictures of my bookshelves: if you Kindle-y folks want a real book with a cover and binding and everything for Christmas, email me and I'll send you one from the stash!

But really, I think it's my mind making room for some new things. My dreams have been vivid, beautiful and challenging lately, and while 2011 has been a pretty amazing year, there's a large part of me who is ready to bid it adieu and look forward. I'm hoping that, rather than collecting things as I have been for the last several years, that I'll be collecting experiences and good friends over the next year.

Good people. Great times. Two reasons to happily make some room.

My five:

  1. Challenges.
  2. Cheesy music.
  3. Comfort.
  4. Clean laundry. (...wonder if it's folded yet...)
  5. Hope.


this is not going to turn into a running blog, i promise

...but i'm feeling the need to crow a little bit. 7 miles this morning, after running 3.5 last night. So, in 18 hours, 10.5 miles.


The coolest thing about this morning? Was that I felt really good up until the end. I've been giving myself walking breaks every mile/10 minutes, and it really helps me feel less punished. By mile 6, though, I was wishing I had brought some water/gatorade with me...I just needed a little bit of something to keep going.

Since I didn't have that little bit of something? I headed home. And this tune came on, which somehow made the last few blocks totally doable.

Two weird things:

  1. I started to talk to my muscles, and they started replying...kinda in the voice I use when I'm narrating for Boo. It was a little weird.
  2. When I got home, my lower body felt like it could just keep going and going and going, like I was a robot from the hips down. Crazytown. (Of course, I will likely not be able to walk tomorrow. Which will be three shades of awesome. Cue the whining...)
In short, running has been proven to cause hallucinations and a flat affect from the waist down. If you've ever needed an excuse to not start, here you go!

In other 'news':
  • I upgraded my computer's operating system, and now it does all kinds of weird things, and the scroll functions are opposite. I'm having adjustment issues.
  • My music is in the Cloud...whatever that means. I'm a little nervous.
  • I have 6 overripe bananas. There is banana bread in EVERYONE's future. You're welcome.
  • Heading to NYC for a very quick trip (to see a performance in the afternoon). Train up in the morning, train back in the evening. Lots of reading and computer-ing and such in between. Should be a good day. That being said, if you've been trying to get ahold of me? Tomorrow is a FANTASTIC day to do so!
  • I am not in the holiday spirit. I do not want to shop. I do not want to make pierogies. I want to hear stories and laugh and wear bright lipstick. Someone please un-Ebenezer me.  
My five:
  1. Sunshine. Boy, with the days so short it's in limited supply.
  2. Spellcheck. How did I ever live without it?
  3. Dinner plans. I love not having to wash dishes...
  4. Heart rate monitor. Because now I know that I burnt off X amount of calories, I can ingest them in their most chocolaty, decadent form, right? That's the whole reason FOR running, I thought...
  5. Naps. And if you'll excuse me... :)


November Monday

Ben Folds, I love you.

I'm watching The Sing-Off, and he's teaching the audience a harmony part so that they can participate. He did something similar when he appeared at work a few years ago with his tune "Army", and I totally fell in lurve.

Geeking out BIG TIME.

In other news? Thanksgiving was full of thanks, and sloth, and roasted meat. I caught my first hockey game in years (The Caps lost, but I hear that they're getting a new coach...maybe that'll help?). Ran 6 miles.    Had a great dinner with pals. Hung lights on the house. (...sparkly ones on the holly bushes... it's a thin line between tasteful and Griswold.) And actually got my heinie back to Zumba class - boy, it was easier (if just as sweaty) the second time around.

And I had a good checkup at the dentist this morning. Good news at doctors appointments can no longer be taken for granted!

I also bailed on NaNoWriMo. I got about halfway through - 24,338 words - but even after jumping the shark twice I couldn't figure out where else to go. I'm hoping that a little perspective will get me back on the wagon...and even if this story is shelved permanently, I'm thinking that I'll start something new in January. I'm glad that I attempted it, knowing that a first try is just that - a first foray. I've learned a lot, and next time will be easier. (Especially because I won't be trying to fit an audition tour and casting in around it!)

So, in short, life is good, and slower. Which is good, because Smokey's singing with Afro-Blue, and I need to pay attention.

My five:

  1. Willfully ignoring the holiday sales hype.
  2. Gloriously warm weather - it's been so very lovely!
  3. Great colleagues. I'm a lucky girl.
  4. A running partner. I understand team sports - and the accompanying camaraderie - better for it.
  5. Having enough.
This isn't Smokey's version, but it's my all-time favorite. If you listen hard, you can hear my heart singing along in the background.


Is it hot in here?

I'm sweating.

Sure, it's 40 degrees outside.

Sure, I've been sitting still for the past 15 minutes.

Sure, I have even been into and out of the shower.

Still. Sweating.

In the interest of reclaiming some of the ground I lost to the audition tour towards my personal goals, I made a running date with MR. (I have to come up with a good alias for her...she's an English teacher, mom of 2, and just ran a half-marathon a few weeks ago. And she runs so she can eat/drink whatever she wants...priorities are totally in the right place. She's kinda my hero.) We met at 8 this morning, and vowed to not phone it in and head directly to Starbucks...although the thought of it was totally tempting!

It was a great morning to run. Cool (ok, cold, but once you get going it feels good!), sunny, quiet. For the first time in my running life I went completely without music - I brought the iPod, but didn't bother to even put the earbuds in.

Can I say firstly that running with an old friend whom you haven't seen in a while? Totally fun.

Can I also say that talking and running at the same time? Well, I'm not terribly good at it. It's hard. You can call me Louise...or, rather Weezy, as that's what I did for the better part of 5.5 miles. I had wanted to go longer than that, to log 6 or 7, to not walk quite as often, but sometimes you just have to readjust. Adding in the talking, and running at a slightly faster pace than I was used to? Well, I'll take both of those things and the great conversation over hitting a specific number.

My other goals for this lovely, lazy Saturday include a metric ton of laundry (so exciting, right?), working on my new NaNoWriMo goals (since I've recalibrated to address the lost time...I have a daily word count of 2600. HALP.), and maybe getting my fanny into a practice room to make some noise. After listening to other folks sing and play piano for months, I'm a little anxious to do some noisemaking of my own.

What's on your docket for the day, lovelies?

My five:

  1. Getting reacquainted.
  2. Having an agenda-less day
  3. Bloody ankles. I have a running scar...and I'm proud of it, even if it's totally due to my klutziness.
  4. Finishing a run AT Starbucks. A latte never tasted so good.
  5. A quiet house. 



We're almost to the end of the audition tour. It's been a whirlwind, although not as punishing as it's been in the past. I don't feel broken physically, and I'm only slightly overwhelmed at the amount of work that has to happen over the next two weeks. I'm a little off track with the writing goals and the running goals, but if I tuck in this week I'll likely make up the time/mileage/words.

I'm sitting in a crazy hotel room in Houston, that's triangular, and windowed on two sides. Here's a photo:

Crazy, right? But having beautiful sunny mornings and large windows makes the waking up much easier, even when my mind gets up several times a night and races.

As I was waiting for some new tunes to load (catching up on Aurgasm and Stereogum - lots of new discoveries!), I opened a forgotten list on my desktop. I've never been able to craft a life-list: something about my views on mortality (is there anything more tragic than the life list of the recently deceased? hopes and dreams unfulfilled...tres depressing.) prevents me from really wanting to do it.

But somehow, a list of things to do from birthday to birthday was much easier. I picked one fun thing for each year that I've been alive. (And wow, that number is getting big. Harumph. Or Hallelujah? Both, depending on the day, I s'pose.)

I was really surprised to see that I've actually done some of the things on the list, and am working towards others. It's crazy, and somehow empowering.

Quick flight home that sadly occurs at the exact time of the Steelers/Bengals game. Maybe if I don't tune in they'll pick some ass...one can hope.

Here's a snip of my travelling music for this morning...happy Sunday, all.

Feist - Cicadas & Gulls (ft. Ed Droste) by ListenBeforeYouBuy

My five:

  1. Reconnecting.
  2. Calling fried vegetables by operatic names. We've partaken of some amazing Nabucco and Fidelio on the road, to the chagrin of my belt.
  3. Art. Sometimes we all need a reminder of why we do this...and a transcendent artistic experience is the best.
  4. Vocal surprises.
  5. Homecoming.


quel whirlwind!

Chickadees, it's been a crazy few days.

Friday - a memorial service for one of my favorite professors. She was one of those joyous, inquisitive, no-nonsense kinds of ladies, and was a personal boon to me in many ways. (Not least of which was the fact that she lived in the neighborhood that hubs and I first found ourselves in when we moved out of Pittsburgh. It was a tiny apartment, we were having growing pains, and I wandered over to her yard for conversation and rosemary a handful of desperately-needed times over that year. She had a hand in the fact that I am happily married today, for sure.)

Saturday - the wedding of my dear colleague's oldest daughter to an outstanding young man who works in the same industry as my hubs, and of whom said hubby thinks the world. It was a night full of earnest declarations of love - for friends, family, and the two newlyweds. Silliness, sweetness...it was a beautiful night, and we felt so honored to just be included. Basking in all that love was therapeutic and three shades of fun, too!

Sunday - would've been Dad's 69th birthday. I spent all morning and most of the afternoon in a focusless haze...not really able to make a to do list, or really do anything except laundry. (I'm of the belief that laundry is best done when one is too frazzled/distracted to do anything else well...folding towels was about as ambitious as today was going to get.) I thought about toasting him with bourbon or a cigar, but just couldn't do it. So a glass of cabernet, his green chamois shirt and a Steeler game on the tube will have to suffice. (And dad? If the Steelers lose you're in BIG trouble! C'mon divine intervention!)

In other news, I started training for my March 1/2 marathon today. And I'm seriously behind (read: one day) in the word count for NaNoWriMo. And hubs left for Colorado at o-dark-thirty this morning. Oh, and we leave for Cincinnati tomorrow, and our pianist just bowed out AAAAND I haven't even started to pack.

Something tells me that the best thing to do will be to go to bed early, get up early and refreshed tomorrow, and kick some ass in the errand-running/packing departments. Because let's be frank: tonight is just not the night.

And it's OK. It has to be a good thing to take one solitary evening to process all the joy and sorrow that somehow, impossibly coexist...

Cheers to L and JG. Happy birthday, poppa. And V, look for my dad - he may not know how to dance, but if anyone could teach him it'd be you.

My five:

  1. Reflecting, even when it's difficult.
  2. Seeing big groups of people who love each other celebrating. AWESOME.
  3. Commending a job well done.
  4. Participating in challenges where the onus is to simply accumulate (words, miles). We'll deal with editing and speedwork another day, won't we? (Or maybe not...)
  5. Sunday night football. GO STEELERS!!


10.31.11 Tricks and treats.

Well, tonight is an eve of many sorts.

It's All Hallow's Eve. We've had cows and cats and even a (Baltimore) raven. And still we have a cubic ton of sugar. The great thing is that I finally wised up and bought candy that I don't really like. I guess I CAN BE TAUGHT!

It's also the eve of NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month. And I signed up, for the first time. I've done NaBloPoMo before, but I've never tried to write something long, free-form. I've thought about doing it a lot, even added "write a novel" to my non-existent life list. So I've decided to just plunge in, to tell my inner editors to take a vacation (not that they've ever really set foot in this particular space...not them nor the grammar police..), and to start writing. The definition of a "novel" is 50,000 words...and while I don't really have anything sketched out right now, (no plot, no characters...a rough time period and location, but c'est tout.) I figure that by the time I have 50,000 words I might have something worth editing down into something. So I'm just going to start.

And, in related news, I signed up for a half marathon. It's in DC, in March, and there are 2 pals that I'm looking forward to training with and, eventually, running beside.

So I have 2 big projects that are kicking off tomorrow. And I'll still be travelling and helping to plan the season and cast a tier over the next few weeks. So it's a-gonna be BUSY.

But good.  Busy but good. Because in both cases it's all about putting the time in...I'm not aiming to write breathtaking prose or run 7 minute miles (HA!). I'm just going to show up, do the best I can on any given day, and let it be what it's going to be.

I'm steeling myself this evening for the next month's festivities by watching The Sing-Off, planning my running route for tomorrow, having a glass of wine and reading No Plot? No Problem!

Posting will be light here over the next month, as I try to spin my verbal mileage towards NaNoWriMo. Wish me luck!

My five:

  1. Challenges.
  2. Deadlines.
  3. Kids in costumes.
  4. Plans.
  5. Having something to show for it.


Thursday morning, Seattle.

sun peeking out over the fog line
I force myself awake at 5:45am, knowing that I'll be back on eastern time tomorrow, and that the transition will be ugly at best. My budget hotel room is trashed - a combination of fatigue, tight schedules, the lack of a closet (a serious design flaw for a hotel), more dirty clothes than clean ones, and my ever-present messy inclinations have covered every flat surface in travel detritus; spare change, taxi receipts, used coffee cups and water bottles, half-read magazines.

I pad around the room quietly, knowing that my colleague is in the adjoining room, and wanting more than anything to not wake her. Shower, start packing, padding around the room as something quiet plays from the computer speakers.

The sky's starting to lighten. Yesterday we walked to the top of Queen Anne and took pictures of the ridiculously pink and purple sunrise...the Needle and Mount Rainier combining with the colors to look surreal; a cell from an animated movie about an alien civilization. I could walk back up, but my sneakers are packed, and the suitcase stays closed until Virginia, sixteen hours from now.

I toss a sweater on, tuck some cash and my phone into the back pocket of my cords and zip-zop my way out of the hotel. The air is cool - I maybe shouldn't have packed my coat, it's that chilly. But the slight breeze and the humidity feels refreshing...an easy wake up of sorts. There's a tiny coffee house about a block and a half away, and I make a beeline for it. I grab the weekly arts paper from the machine on the sidewalk in front of the shop, place my order and install myself at a table by the window. The baristas make conversation with just about everyone who comes through the door...there are many regulars in this tiny spot. A woman with a shoulder-length cerise bob and grey wellies walks in while her husband in his knit cap waits outside with their bull mastiff. I can't help it - I have to go outside and introduce myself. Sadly, Gracie is much more concerned with getting into the store than my affections. I settle back in for more people-watching, more reading, more daydreaming.

For once, I don't check email. No pictures. No scrolling the phone to see what I've missed.

It feels good to just be.

This song was recorded not far from where I am, and it fits perfectly in with the morning.


ketchup - october 2011 edition

Boy, kittens....it's been a week!

Last Friday we set out for New York. Seven days of auditions, meetings, reunions. We heard a million renditions of Je suis encor and Lenski's aria, heard a great monologue about tuna fish (well, only peripherally about tuna, really.), and passed by Nabucco for fried zucchini and pizza. (Don't judge.) I saw alums from the opera company, favorite students from my first teaching job - one who was newly engaged - and some intrepid souls from undergrad. (I have to say that we all look pretty great...there must be some wrinkly, saggy paintings in all of our attics!)

We got back to DC on Friday in just enough time for Lindsay & Craig's rehearsal dinner. (It was here. I can recommend the food - fantabulous!) After being away for a week, burning the candle at both ends and staying up a wee bit too late with my college buddies, I made it just through the dinner before I was a sloppy pile of Please Take Me Home. My saintly hubby was awesome.

Yesterday was the wedding, and it was a blast. I spent the morning transposing a Tracy Chapman tune into a key that I could maybe sing along with (mama ain't got no consistent low D flats...maybe after a cigar I would!), going over the solo that Lindsay picked (a pretty tune called "Makin plans" by Miranda Lambert) and generally freaking out. It's amazing to me the amount of anxiety I have over singing, when it's always actually pretty easy once I get going...but I've been pretty crazeballs at the prospect of doing this little gig. It's family, after all, and I wanted to do it well. (My apologies to my poor colleagues who had to listen to me whine all week. I'm done, I promise!)

So, we get to the part of the service where I'm supposed to sing...and the monsignor passes right by it and moves to the next part of the service. Um, whaaaaa? So, I'm standing next to the piano, freaking about about singing, and the next thing I know they're blessing the rings, and I'm slinking back to my seat. I look over to Lindsay's mom, who is saying " After this. Just do it. She's gonna be mad if you don't - she really wanted that song." And yours truly is feeling AWKWARD. I mean, do I hijack the wedding?

(For the record? If the mother of the bride tells you to hijack the wedding, you hijack the wedding.)

They finished a prayer section, there was a momentary lull, and I looked at Glen (the fantastic guitarist) and said "Let's go." His eyes got big in disbelief, but he started the tune, bless his heart.

And it went off pretty well. WHEW.

We had picked the recessional at the rehearsal earlier that afternoon (IZ's version of Somewhere Over the Rainbow), and Jeff (violin), Justina (piano) and Glen rocked it out, sight-reading style. Fantastic.

The reception was at the Hay-Adams - GORGEOUS. I met some fantastic people, got to sit next to Liz Crenshaw and her husband (I was on her show a few years ago - it was like old home week!), visited with family and generally had a kick-ass time.


And today? I've found myself ensconced in the most perfect Sunday. Gorgeous weather, no agenda...naps and breakfast burritos and sitting in a pool of sunlight on the porch with the pets as hubs dozes in front of the football game. There's a lawn mower running somewhere nearby, and a neighbor kid is learning how to rollerblade on the side street. It's one of those days that, if I could, I'd put into a life-size snow globe and step back into it when I was grumpy or lonely or just plain out-of-sorts.

Hoping your day is filled with sunshine and unstructured time.

My five:

  1. beautiful fall days
  2. reconnecting with family and friends
  3. singing well enough to make people cry (YES!)
  4. hanging with my little family
  5. naps


it's that time of yeeeear...

..when the world falls in love,
every song you hear seems to saaaay....
"Please, hire me,
I'm the best, in ev'ry waaaaay!"

But, 'tween your ears and mine
not many cross the line...
And it's hard to say
"Thank you. Next, pleeeease."

We leave for auditions on Friday. The receding singer in me still has a love-hate relationship with this tour, and I think that's actually a good thing...preserves the empathy with the difficulties that are inherent in this profession. That being said, I still have 4 cities to schedule and notify. AND I need a pianist for a whole city...two full days. Eek.

And I hate leaving my happy little house, my sweet pets and sweeter hubster.

That being said? I'm looking forward to being on the road.

And, the crazy part about this fall? It's surrounded by loooove. Two weddings - one of which I'm coming out of retirement for (...Lord help me AND the congregation. Make that communion wine strong, Father...) - and one that is defining my colleague's year in such a big, beautiful way; meeting a new baby and several little men and women; seeing Seattle for the first time in several years; and hanging with CameraMan for the first time since his nuptuals and US reentry? Plus Carmen, Nabucco and Fidelio?


Hoping yinz are feeling the love, wherever you are.

My five:

  1. Nutella. Damn you, chocolaty goodness...
  2. Mild weather. Writing this from the porch, thankyouverymuch.
  3. New dresses. For the tour, of course...
  4. Huge mums and warty squashes.
  5. Cinnamon. It's fall, y'all.


random thoughts from the interwebs

So, I've been keeping things from you, my lovelies. Wonderful, tasty, thoughtful things.  Let's remedy that, shall we?

  • Um? YUM.
  • Every girl sometimes knows, sometimes hopes, that this sentiment is about her.
  • Funny, momma's lullabyes never went like this...
  • Time-elapse photography in a pretty place? Yes, please.
  • I'm a fan of Simon's Cat.
  • ...and of back-to-school supplies, even if I'm not so much back-to-schooling.
  • Billie Holliday and poetry? Don't mind if I do.
  • I'm hoping that I really grasp this soon. Because I feel like I should...but I don't. At all.
  • New must-have for the audition tour. (Two weeks. Help. Me.)
  • The only reason I eat vegetables? Autumn. And squash.
  • A reason to visit Petaluma, CA.
  • I am a fan of this blog, even though we don't have a lot in common. This is just one of the reasons...a calm, rational, feminine voice? Yes, please.
  • Please to make the weather cool and less humid? PLEASE???
  • EKO is a fruitcake maker...I may have to join her ranks this fall.
  • Mwahahahahaaaaaaaaa....
  • I finally get this...that the doing is often enough, and the angsty "i'm not good enough" surrounding it is just so much noise. Just do it, sing it, write it. Save the judgement for later, if at all.
  • The newest iteration of 'carpe diem.' I'm a fan.
  • I had a visceral reaction to this. Partially due to content. Partially due to Ms. S's fantastic writing.
  • I was kicked out of Brownies for cussing. I spent ever summer at camp swearing like a sailor. Tell me again how I came to live in this state???
  • Again, weather, Will you PLEASE cooperate?
  • Made-up fwords are fun!
Whew. I think we're caught up.

In other news, the audition tour starts in 2 weeks. I'm coming out of retirement to sing for a cousin's wedding. And I have tasted a salted caramel tart. 

Life is indeed good.

My five:
  1. stormy September sunsets.
  2. couch time.
  3. date night.
  4. difficult workouts.
  5. decadent desserts.


taking stock

Ten years ago today, on that shockingly beautiful September morning, I was in a lovely second-floor classroom at the Ellis School in Pittsburgh. I was fully intending to blow off Morning Meeting to get some overlooked prep work done before Glee Club rehearsal. Sara Sturdevant walked into my classroom and said "I'll walk to Meeting with you." When I tried to beg off, she turned on the TV in the corner of my room...and through the static there was a shot of the towers...

What a scary day.

Because of the path of the Shanksville airplane, most of downtown Pittsburgh was evacuated, in case they were aiming for the USX tower. It was difficult to find people, cell phones were jammed, and the girls that I taught were anxious and frazzled. (As were their teachers.)

It's hard to remember what life was like prior to that day, in some ways.  I made some changes that undoubtedly came from the realization that life is indeed short. I changed careers. I got engaged. We moved to the DC area.

But sitting here, ten years out...having recently felt an earthquake and hurricane in my own neighborhood, and having watched on tv and facebook as my hometown flooded? (All within the last 3 weeks. Crazy.)

Well, everything seems so very, very precarious.


teacher's new year

It's September! I've had a labor-less Labor Day, which has been exceedingly lovely. And, I'm totally excited about the next few months - there's so much going on!

  • This week? A light work week. Heck yeah.
  • Weekend? Pierogi making.
  • Why pierogis so early? Tailgating on Sunday for the first NFL game of the regular season. GO STEELERS!
  • The following weekend? Going to a Ball! Gotta get a dress...
  • The Monday after the ball? Girls Night on my porch - an evening that promises to be fantastic.
  • The weekend after that? Mom comes to visit the porch - FOR THE FIRST TIME. Epic.
And then shortly after that the audition tour starts... it's early this year, with lots of new hotels and listening rooms. Early also because we're sandwiching 2 weddings into the schedule - cousin Lindsay's and KPW's daughter Lexi's. Love and music all autumn...pretty awesome!

Among all of that? I've joined Weight Watchers. Again. Because no matter how much I try to believe it, popcorn-flavored Jelly Bellys are not fruit. White bread is not my friend, even though I love it. And my pants are tight.



I've worked out a million times (ok, five) in the last few days and I want to cry when I try to sit down. I have an appointment with my trainer tomorrow morning for some more butt-kicking, too. I'm a masochist.

And I've also found some friends to write with on a weekly basis. Which is somehow petrifying...but it's that good kind of scared, like it might be a stepping stone to something fun.

Life is good.

My five:
  1. New adventures.
  2. Regaining control.
  3. Yoga pants.
  4. Reading.
  5. Time with hubs.



Oh, lordy.

So, in the time that's elapsed since that last post? We've had an earthquake (5.8, bitches!) and a hurricane. Well, maybe 'hurricane' is being a little generous... by the time she reached us, Irene was more like a really windy night followed by the most glorious weather ever created...a half-hearted tantrum from a young weather deity. But that earthquake was the real deal...especially as I was standing under a lovely glass atrium when it hit, and the glass started to squeak. Scary stuff!

It was a rough summer, blah blah blah. A great summer in many ways - great people, great art, great strides made. But even with all of that, I was ready to let this one go about halfway through. The need to always be on call (and I'm hardly the one getting the lion's share of the calls - we all know that), the time-sensitive nature of it, the bad feeling around so much of the summer...lingering even now into the fall. I'm usually a pretty confident girl, but I'm really not feeling that way now, at the end of the summer. Too many dropped balls, relationships left hanging...all of that.

So I'm rebooting. I ushered August out with neighbors on the porch (and un peu de too much wine), and started up with this challenge. I worked out with my trainer for the first time in MONTHS. (And by the way? I think she took the abandonment personally...I still can't lift my arms.) I threw away a whole bunch of stuff - something that's really difficult for my packrat self. I've been trying to plan some fun things, as well as some things that will be good for me. And I've been trying to do good/nice things for people, to put some of that karma back out into the world. I just got an invite to a ball, so there's a new dress in my future, as well as some plans with the girls and with mom. So many things to look forward to!

So I think I'm going to take away the very best parts of this summer and leave the rest in a big dusty pile. And I'm going to walk away from it all for a little while, and walk towards family, friends and new experiences. A little break never hurts.

My five:

  1. Game of Thrones. I'm on Book 4. HOOKED. It's like prose meth.
  2. Quiet days.
  3. Slowing down.
  4. Spying reddish leaves on trees.
  5. Autumn-scented breezes.


almost there!

So, I wrote a whole post. And when I went back to re-read it, found that it wasn't so much in English.

Grammar. Just another victim of End-of-the-Season-Fatigue.

So, the shortlist:

  • Thursday and Friday I worked at WETA on our radio series. We started 90 minutes late one day, bc the talent (a lovely, if chronologically challenged, gentleman) just couldn't get there on time. When we're not busy in the office, it's nbd. But when we're still slammed? SO FRUSTRATING. (And I may have roared when the "difference between a baritone and an euphonium" discussion wouldn't die. Sometimes a girl's just gotta say ENOUGH.)
  • Spent the weekend achy and oh-so-tired. (Was asleep by 10:30pm on Friday, Saturday AND Sunday. LAAAAME.) The achyness didn't stop me from working and attending a bridal shower and brunch, however. Priorities...
  • Today? An unsuccessful game of catch-up. Because...
  • Tomorrow? Rehearsals for the Alumni Concert. SO EXCITING.
  • Also tomorrow? A swanky party at a swanky Georgetown penthouse. Trying to decide which ridiculous pair of shoes to trot out...
  • Wednesday? ALUMNI CONCERT. 
  • Thursday and Friday? OUT OF OFFICE. Hellz yeah.
It's been a long summer. And the next 2 days will be intense and long...and pretty fantastic. I can't wait to hear all of the stories about summers at WT. Hoping I can commit them all to memory!

In other news, I bought a wool sweater at the J.Crew outlet in Delaware. (Rushing the season much?) I'm halfway through the second book in the Game of Thrones series. I am seriously pudgy and am trying to  get back into the working out/eating veg/weaning myself off of freebased sugar groove.

(It's hard.)

My five:

  1. Beautiful days.
  2. Teal toenails.
  3. Unstructured time.
  4. Good stories.
  5. Early bedtimes.





It's been a summer.
Not technically over yet, let's be honest...we have a big honkin' show on the 24th that will be seven shades of fantastic. But that's, like, OVER a WEEK away!

(And I am reminded of how irritated I was when my secondary school students wouldn't actually pay attention to the musical until 2 days beforehand...and wonder why I got so worked up, when it seems way easier than stressing for weeks over something ephemeral...oh, the irony...)

But in the last 48 hours I have:

  • Been rained on. multiple times.
  • Squished sand between my toes.
  • Fed thousands of mosquitos using just my ankles...btw, anyone know the symptoms of malaria? Message me if I should change my cocktail to gin & tonics...
  • Read this book. And, heavens help me, bought the next two in the series. I'm totally, unabashedly, hooked. And also? I want a dragon. 
  • Stepped, regrettably, on a scale. If you can't say something nice...
  • Got the proofs of my new shots. (See previous post... do extra chins read as 'trustworthy'?)
  • Eaten the finest mushroom risotto of my life...dadgonit. It's a challenge. (Ladies - and you know who you are - you'll be eating it a LOT as I try to get it right...prepare yourselves.)
  • Bought a wool sweater. Rushing the season and all of that...
  • Got reacquainted with my hubby after a busy, busy summer. And that, my friends, is worth its weight in gold. 

My five:

  1. September resolutions...the teacher's new year.
  2. Long-range surprises.
  3. Napping. 
  4. Good stories. With many pages. And crazy, Welsh-infected names. And dragons. And sequels...
  5. Recharging.
messy hair, crazy smile...the true me.


Home Stretch!

Best. License. Plate. Ever.
Chickadees, it's been a long summer. One hundred and forty days of summer, give or take a handful of days.

But that summer is almost over, for better or for worse. Because in four very short days Hoffmann will close. We'll have a two-day grown-up opera fest (seriously, did you know about it? Because it's going to be AMAZEBALLS) the week after, and then Ethel and I will be closing the office down for some serious R&R.

(You know, R&R...as in Rnapping and Rcocktails)
(...the 'r's are silent.)

We've been stretched to the limit...and really seen what we can and can't sustain. I'm speaking for myself when I say that I'm happy to have been stretched and all, but DANG would I love to approach a season with more thought and care than this one ultimately received. (Not for lack of planning or good intention, either...we had metric tons of both of those.) I can't count on two hands the things I would've wanted to pay more attention to...the list is that long.

So. Lesson learned.

In the meantime, I'm saying goodbye in a million different ways...exit interviews, final evaluations, all of that. And I'm finding that I haven't had the time or opportunity to get to know anyone as well as I would've liked. Boooooo...

Here's hoping that next year's a little bit different. Not in the artistic gratification areas - those I'm pretty pleased with. But in the showing-my-face-when-I'm-not-expected, getting-to-know-folks areas. Because these folks? Are the reason I'm in this weirdo business in the first place.

So, goodbyes. And then a few precious days at the beach, remembering what my hubby looks like. And then a big boy concert. And then? Time to breathe.


My five:

  1. Family Day. While laCM is the Craft Queen, MG is the heiress apparentess. And nothing gives a lift like tucking a feather in your hair, I guarantee. (Right, AO?)
  2. Looking back. I am guilty of doing this more often than is likely healthy, but this was a pretty jam-packed summer, and full of cool things. That rear-view mirror is pretty rosy.
  3. Doing something different. I got some new pictures taken today (as I have foregone the goth 'do for something much lighter), and am reminded of how much we can communicate without words, with just smiles and energy. Such. Fun! (Look at me, getting all new-agey!)
  4. Books. I just finished this, and it's made that rare list of books I love so much that I can't give away (there are only 2 other books that have this distinction...usually, the better to book is, the more I want to share it. but I'm not ready to let this one go yet...); and I just started this and it's totally sucked me in... against my better judgement.
  5. Possibility...the spring is always framed by the possibilities of art. The summer is framed by the connections made by the artists. The end of summer is framed by the reemergence of unstructured time and the possibilities it conveys.

And a special gift for you? Right here! (Although if you've been within 2 miles of me in the last few weeks, you've already seen this:) Dar's youngest, singing a song that everyone should know. While wearing a salami glove. Gaga - watch your back...


You're welcome.


Mr. Riker

My folks were both teachers. As was respectful, I called all of their friends - mostly teachers, themselves - Mr. or Mrs.

As I grew up, I was allowed to call them by their first names only after I had asked for, and was granted permission.

I tried to skirt this little formality with Mr. Riker. I called him "Don" once, in front of my mom. I was probably 5 and was, ahem, soundly discouraged from doing so without asking for his permission.

I never asked.

I don't think I ever called him by his first name again. Not at my high school graduation. Not at my wedding. He was always Mr. Riker or, if we were having a chummy moment, Rike.

We vacationed with Mr. Riker and his lovely wife Linda on lakes and under waterfalls several times during my elementary and middle school years. We welcomed their son Donnie John when I was in fifth grade. I remember when mom went out with her girlfriends, Mr. Riker would come over to hang with Dad and, by default, me. We'd watch Grand Ol' Opry and Hee Haw. They'd let me stay up past my bedtime and eat those big Pennsylvania Dutch Pretzels that came in this big tin drums.

He was a big, gentle, quiet part of my childhood.

Don, I'll miss you. Rest in peace.

My five:

  1. Good memories. I'm teary AND smiley just thinking about the lake house and the Rikers.
  2. Early evening. Thanks to LaJefa for an early dismissal.
  3. Beautiful weather - wow, it's lovely.
  4. Yoga.
  5. Daydreaming.


on the eve of August 1st, bullet points. Pow! POW!

  • Tomorrow would be my parents' 41st wedding anniversary. I would send my mom flowers, but she's moved and I don't have the address... Should I read into that?
  • My last entry was a sinfully hot day backstage at the Filene Center, accompanied by a criminally fantastic performance. This past Friday? Also too warm to be charitable, and yet the headliner was one of the most gracious, elegant men I've ever come across. Remembered my name, and everyone else's to whom he was introduced. A genuine man, a class act, and a demeanor to which I aspire.
  • I really hope that next Thursday and Friday aren't as brutal, weather-wise. REALLY HOPE.
  • The end is in sight! We started opera prep on March 28th, and finish with all things operatic (well, aside from the 8-city audition tour...but I'm blocking that out...) on August 24th. I'm mourning the opportunities lost to the scheduling madness and looking forward to buying a new sweater and taking a cooking or dance class. And a vacation. (I think I need that last thing...)
  • I have tonight off! Hubs is sick, so I made dinner, walked the dog and put them both to bed before 9pm. 
  • I worked an easy 5 hour shift today - felt like playtime! (Well, it actually was playtime...at least partially with the Instant Opera run-through.) My last day off was the 23rd. My next will be the 8th. And in between? Several split days -10am-midnight with a break in the middle. I'm determined to actually take an hour or two off in the middle of those days, if only because leisurely lunches will keep me from becoming a raging beeyatch. (Well, one can hope...)
  • Is it just me, or do the things that should be easiest always tend to take a turn to the left? Every year we get blindsided by something that's traditionally been easy taking a turn to the south... The killer is that it's seldom the same thing 2 years in a row. I need a better crystal ball...and more band-aids.
  • I know...all I usually do is bitch. But I am totally 100% in love with the Studio. I am totally thrilled with the amazing artistry from them and the FYAs. We're totally lousy with pretty notes and dangerous dramatic intention! And our tech folks /costume staff /artistic team/stage management team /interns are nothing short of f*ing spectactular. (And nice, to boot!) I should find a way to lose sight of this less...it's an amazing thing, and something I miss desperately in the off season. 
So, I'm counting my blessings. And sharing some things that caught my eye with you.
  • These. Come to mama.
  • I aspire to option #2.
  • Ew. Time to scale back and embrace the crow's feet.
  • I have to have this, so that I can hold it in my hand and pretend to be a GIANT.
  • Books and art? Two of my favorite things!
  • One of my former students. Who's learning from who now?!? 
  • A frequent daydream, articulated.
  • This picture won't leave my subconscious. And I'm ok with that. 
  • I'd just settle for doing everything. Or, doing everything I'm supposed to do...
And my five:
  1. RC's laugh. Right up there with chocolate and good shoes as far as feel-good powers.
  2. House Hunters International...plotting the next adventure, even if it is virtual.
  3. Open, interesting artists. Today's audition class just reinforced how special these folks are.
  4. Sugar cookies. I should not love them so much...but I doooooooooo...
  5. Class at the gym. My ass has been kicked, and I loved every minute! (Sick. I am a sick puppy...)


Sweaty Todd

Tonight is our one-night-only production of Sweeney Todd with the National Symphony Orchestra.

It is fan-damn-tastic. The singing and playing are out of this WORLD. The projections are glorious. The costumes are adorable and creepy (if those two things ever go together). A compelling evening of theater that looks great and sounds great.

Yesterday started at 10am, and ended - well, for me, because I went home after the rehearsal - at 11:30pm. When I say 'rehearsal', though, I mean 3 rehearsals occurring simultaneously:

  • Spacing rehearsal - it's the first time the singers have been in the space, the first time they get to work with all of the elements put together.
  • Technical rehearsal - it's the first time that the lighting designers and the projections designers get to see the show in rehearsal on stage, and to create/modify their designs to support the action.
  • Dress rehearsal - it's the first time the orchestra and singers have to run the show, top to bottom, together.
After the triple-threat rehearsal, there was an overnight lighting call...because you can't really see what the projections/lights look like unless you see them when it's dark, like the audience will. And since we're an outdoor amphitheater, well, that stuff has to happen when it's dark outside. Ugh.

And tonight? One stab (slice?) at the show. Weeks of rehearsal, months of planning, for one night. 

And that night just happens to be forecast as one of the hottest on record.

So all that work, all this amazing fabulosity, and a whole lotta "it's too hot. I'm not going to be able to make it."
Understandable. Totally understandable...I have used that very same line myself. But it's still totally, amazingly defeating. Because when you have something really special, you want a butt in every seat. 

And this is really special.


Oh, chickadees... July and I are not friends.

Not even frenemies.

Granted, he's trying to win me back with a stretch of the most impossibly gorgeous weather...blue skies, low humidity, gentle breezes...

But he's also Captain Burnout. He makes me work long hours. He asks me to spend more money than I have and then give back money that I need. He makes the same mistakes over and over again, and makes me fix them every time. He shortens my fuse by teasing me with lovely weather on days that I have to work inside, and them cranking up the heat and humidity on those long days when I'm stuck working outside. His rules are impossible, largely because they constantly change. He makes me feel inadequate, stupid, fat, unlovable, incompetent. He positions cacophonous construction crews outside my window at 7am on my days off, and populates my social media with pictures and status updates of friends enjoying summer getaways. He takes me away from connecting with people, and chains me to computers, spreadsheets, grant applications, ad copy. This summer he's given me more to do with even fewer resources (mental/emotional/financial) than usual.

He is a total douchebag...

July, you're only halfway over, but I am TOTALLY over you.



I have a file folder on my desk titled "Problems Time Has Solved", and at this point I'm chucking everything I possibly can into it. It's a risky strategy, as the likelihood of something dragging itself out of the magical folder and biting me in the ass is quite high.

(Some of the things in that folder? Zombie-like...totally unkillable.)

But here's hoping!

However, that's not to say that things are going poorly. Take today, for example. A morning which would've been filled with an orchestra rehearsal magically opened! Errands & gym, then caffeination and mealage were procured before heading to the Filene Center to work the first Symphony show of the season. Sure, it was hotter than the hinges (90+ degrees and humid. And why yes, my hair does look AWESOME.), but an afternoon rehearsal followed by an evening concert made for a lovely, condensed day. The program was Tchaikovsky, featuring a fanTAStic young violinist who did not break a sweat (and how? no idea. maybe because she's 18? was youth really THAT magical?) and selections from the Nutcracker.

Hearing the Nutcracker live in July is the bee's knees. Seriously.

My feet and knees are sore from miles walked on concrete and three very large flights of stairs, but somehow the evening of reunions with stagehands and NSO folks, and fantastic music making, made this evening practically fly by.

Days when time telescopes in on itself, and the relationships take equal footing with the tasks? Those are the best days, my friends.

My five:

  1. Wide-legged linen pants. I have a new favorite pair...they feel like pajamas, even when working in super-hot weather.
  2. Charisma - boy, could Caroline Goulding play! An artist who definitely had something specific and personal to say.
  3. Fans. I may or may not have positioned myself between two high-powered ones for a large chunk of the day. (note to self: pants are a good way to avoid unintentional Monroe-ing...no skirts on symphony days)
  4. Chipotle. GET IN MA BELLY.
  5. Getting home hours early. (before midnight! instead of before 3am! SO AMAZING!!!)


so....have you ever had one of those days when nothing earth-shattering is going wrong, but every tiny little thing that can futz out does?

welcome to my monday.

overflowing toilet, an ingrown toenail and a gnat infestation in the morning. an artist cancellation, a truant agent, and scheduling problems during the day. a willful dog and a muddy tramp around the neighborhood in the evening. And a nasty old cherry pit in my black cherry-chocolate froyo pie.

first world problems - let's be honest.

after the cherry pit, i looked at hubs (who, for the record, had had his performance review for work in which his boss pretty much said he was the best thing since sliced bread. W00t!), and said "I'm done with Monday. I'm taking a tylenol PM and going to bed. Right. Now."

funny...he didn't fight me at all. hmmmm...

today was much brighter...no doubt because of sufficient sleep, caffeine-ation, and a surprisingly tasty salad for lunch. (salad? who AM i???) and tomorrow morning we have a big day at Children's Hospital - five of our Studio artists and a coaching fellow have responded musically to several artworks that were created by patients at Children's. tomorrow we head to the horsepistol (=hospital) to perform for the kids. i'm thrilled with the program, and am so proud at the thoughtfulness and creativity the artists have shown in their pairings. i can't wait to see them do their thing downtown!

My five:

  1. Storms...there's a good one blowing through this evening.
  2. Sesame salad dressing. I may learn to eat salad this summer.
  3. Sore muscles. Tangible evidence that I'm fighting a little bit against the cake invasion.
  4. This song. It's been in my head for days...maybe i'm still getting used to the blond?
  5. Early bedtimes.


eventful week!

Wow. You want to talk whirlwind? Even with 2 days away from the office plunked squarely in the middle, this week has been big...big celebrations, big stress, just...BIG.

  • Big celebrations: Tuesday was our birthday! I say 'our' because there are three of us who have the same birthday; me, KPW, and Marco. I can't imagine a nicer bunch to celebrate with, and in true WT fashion we had a rousing, multi-part version of the birthday song and an obscene amount of cake. And, in related semi-obscene cake news, JR made a German Chocolate cake with a Barbie jumping out of it, in an homage to our sweet show. Might be the most fantastic birthday cake EVER.
  • Big stress: Budgets. 2012 is due in mere weeks, and I've barely begun to spend this year's budget! Add to that our thrifty imperative to trim, and you have us trying to be both prudent and helpful...which can be at odds.
  • Big deal: Curious Women closes tonight. It's been a lovely show and a lovely cast. I'll miss it.
  • Big plans: Sweeney begins rehearsal on Monday. Steve Blier and Hoffmann stage management arrive the week after that. Oh, and the National Symphony's residency at the Filene Center starts too...we enter the part of the summer that I like to call "too damn busy to get into any trouble." Also known as the "why don't I have any clean clothes?" and "there's nothing to eat in the house" periods. 
  • Big butt: Have I mentioned that barely a day passes without some kind of cake? Lord, give me some semblance of willpower...
  • Big opportunities: Five Studio singers and a Fellowship pianist are performing for our first arts outreach with Children's Hospital. The musicians have responded to patient artworks (much like our vocal colors artists) with musical selections, and we'll go out next Wednesday morning for a performance. I'm super excited for this: both that the singers have made some great pairings and that we can give back to the community a little bit. Can't wait!
  • Big mandate: slow the f down. I'm getting so caught up with all the things that need to be done that I'm starting (? maybe not just starting? sad) to be rude...to start tapping into the computer before the conversation's finished, to take calls in the middle of meetings, to cut chats short, even though I'd really rather be chatting than, well, budgeting. Even if it means I'm taking more work home or working longer, the door needs to stay open and the relationships need to be built...they're just as important, if not more so on many levels.
  • Big laugh: Our cake hottie - the lovely lady who jumps out of the cake in the show - had never worked with singers before, and was quite surprised at how lovely, funny and down-to-earth our folks were. But she did notice that they were quite young: she said "I was talking backstage to one gentleman who was just adorable...and then he said 'I'm 23.' and I felt like a child molester!" (a 'child molester' in gold sequined pasties, no less. HILARIOUS!) 
Yeah. Big stuff.

(insert witty transition here. or not. ok, here's a story about my dog.)

So, my awesome neighbors have a yorkie, Sergio. Sergio and Boo are pals: they greet each other on the street, bark at each other from across the street at their respective houses, and drag their owners into the other's yard at the outset of every walk. One of their favorite routines is a variation on an Easter Egg hunt: Sergio hides treats throughout his house (no doubt because he's trying to avoid this very game in some way...poor guy!). Boo will come over to visit, and if the front door is open el Diablo takes that as an invitation to Find The Treat. Sergio will follow him and bark for a while, but then will give up and join the humans on the porch. After a while, Boo will find something interesting, and run out of the house and into the front yard...at which time he'll look at me and make a beeline to our house across the street. (But he does wait for the leash - he's a good boy.) When he gets home? VICTORY DANCE.


Ridiculously pleased with himself. 

Today, I'm wishing you a moment where you are just this tickled.

My five:

  1. Slow, quiet mornings.
  2. Birds - cardinals, woodpeckers, wrens, titmice, all chattering up a storm. The cat is 100% engrossed.
  3. Low humidity mornings.
  4. Toast. I could eat a whole loaf of bread at one sitting it if was toasted. Mmm...
  5. Accomplishing more than pushing paper around. Here's hoping.


blessings? counted.

Hubs had a bad day.

Now, when I have a bad day it's just as likely a result of a scant amount of sleep or a lack of chocolate or coffee in my immediate vicinity. I'm not a surgeon or EMT -people don't perish as a result of my actions. Sure, I can irritate the living beejezus out of folks, or lose traction with an issue (or five) for enough time to make me scramble. But we've not lost anyone to opera-related injuries.


(knock on wood.)

As a sales guy (well, not so much now, but that's his basis), hubs is great at closing the deal. (I will happily serve as case-in-point...had you told the 20-something me that I'd be happily married to a former frat boy? Raucous laughter.) But when he makes reasonable promises that his company subsequently can't/won't keep? Well, his integrity is on the line. It's an uncomfortable place for him to be, for sure.

And it makes me amazingly grateful to work at a place where our mission is clearly defined, where our budget is small but our desire to make good things happen is off-the-charts.

Tomorrow is my birthday, and I'm committed to stealing at least a few moments to reflect on how darn lucky I am. Count this as the beginning of the list.


reset button?

Wow. I am in a totally pissy mood. Which stinks, because it's my day off. But somehow I rolled off the wrong side of the bed several hours before I should've and am paying for it. Irritating pets? Check. (Unintentionally) bossy hubby? Check. Stupid work emails? Check. My body aches. My coffee doesn't taste as delicious as usual. My head hurts.


Tomorrow is Fathers Day, and my birthday follows shortly thereafter. And I think therein lies the funk. I miss my dad. If I were to go as early as he did? We'll I'm on the back half of that slide...I'm feeling old and unaccomplished and unattractive and dumb. I'm taking things WAY too personally and blowing things all out of proportion. 

(In other words? Hot. Mess.)

I'm guessing that the thing to do would be to get my sorry ass to the gym, keep my hair appointment (and hope that I don't walk out looking even crazier than normal), and stop my bitching. Right?

My five:
  1. A day away from the desk.
  2. Advil.
  3. Rawr classes at the gym - let's work out some of this aggression, shall we?
  4. Good memories.
  5. Crazy dreams.




 verb \ˈram-bəl\

Definition of RAMBLE

intransitive verb
a : to move aimlessly from place to placeb : to explore idly
: to talk or write in a desultory or long-winded wandering
: to grow or extend irregularly

Well, this post - and indeed, life in general - mirror this verb quite handily. This week has been the first really performance-heavy week of the summer: Vocal Colors last Sunday at WT. Invited dress rehearsal for the opera on Wednesday. Vocal Colors recital at the Phillips Collection on Thursday. Opening night of the opera on Friday. Matinee on Sunday, along with the arrival of the Scenes director. Sweeney Todd stage management arrives on Monday to start prep. We're putting together our first outreach recital for Children's Hospital, looking forward to supertitles for the Scenes program. Oh, and my 2012 budget is due in three weeks. (But I haven't spent the money from THIS year yet! How will I know how much I need for next year?)

Critical mass. Dropped balls. Long days. Missed gym and hair appointments. Really old food in the fridge. Yada yada yada. (Or, a la Inspector "So on and so on and so on.") It's a regular summer.

However, right this minute I'm sitting on the porch with my cup of coffee, and the animals and I are birdwatching. Robins, woodpeckers, cardinals, wrens - plus a whole slew of un-known lovelies - are parading through the yard, sitting in the hanging baskets, teasing cat by being just out of reach. It's a lovely, quiet morning...the traffic is calm, the workers at the construction site next door haven't started working... there's nothing but birdsong.


This year is feeling a little saner, at least on the homefront. I got myself an early birthday present and hired someone to clean my house for the summer. I will forego salon pedicures and Starbucks (well, up to a point...can't give up the medicinal Starbucks!) and grabbing takeout so that I don't have to spend my free day dusting and vacuuming and cleaning.

Totally worth it.

It's also the month of birthday extravagance - not in presents, but in the number of birthdays. Our maestro had a birthday...then our Lighting Designer, an intern and a Studio artist all had birthdays on the same day. This Sunday is JBG's, Tuesday is mine + KPW + Marco's, Wednesday is LaJefa's, and next Friday is intern AWL's.

I can already taste the frosting. Let the cake begin! (Right after my run, natch.)

My five:

  1. Summer thunderstorms. Thanks for saving me the sprinkler ordeal this morning, Mother Nature!
  2. Performance days - the energy is fantastic.
  3. Birds. I'd never have one for a pet - they freak me out - but I love to watch and listen to them.
  4. A clean house. Makes everything else easier.
  5. Fun colleagues. Makes all the difference!


Have you ever had one of those days?

One where the weather is gorgeous?

When the smell of fresh-cut grass/salt water/honeysuckle/charcoal/coconut oil immediately transports you back to a treasured moment during a childhood summer vacation?

When the full moon is rising at the same time as the sun is setting, and they counterbalance the sky?

And you look around, feeling the vibrancy, the unlimited potential, the nostalgic freedom of not knowing where life will lead you, but trusting that both the journey and the result would be pretty fantastic?


Me too.



Catch-up. Get it?

(Worst part? That's totally a recycled joke. LAME, Rahree. Lame.)

I'm trying so hard to write a post - a challenge from ArTee that I want to address thoughtfully - but tonight is not that night. So instead I give you a little picture tour of the last few days...minus shots of my office, where I spent a fair (read: large) amount of time.

Antique shop in Leesburg, VA

I love curvy lines and chrome...

Best. License. Plate. EVER.

So, this last frame is a print that a friend and colleague gave to me. It's a scenic drawing from a production that we did my first summer at the Trap....and it has a lot of great memories attached to it. The stories from that summer were fantastic and 100% nuts (At the end of the summer, I remember asking Renaissance Man if all the WT summers were as crazy as that particular one. To which he responded "Yep." I had an extra glass of wine that night.) Anyhoo, I took it to a local frame shop months ago (and here's another reason to buy local, if you needed one: I told the proprietor that I couldn't pay the full amount: he discounted the price - for a beautiful, CUSTOM frame, and allowed me to stretch the payments over several months. No interest. And no harassment. This is the place if you're looking for one.), and have been dutifully paying a little bit on it when I could over the last several months. 

Now? It's in my office. And it makes me smile. And break out into random snippets of the Figaro finale. Good thing that the singing part is normal in my world! The last few days have been all about cake and celebration and goals and welcoming new artists! In between have been a few well-deserved freak-outs and tantrums. All in a day's work, right? (Right??)

But tomorrow? A break from the office. A break in the weather. New porch furniture! And a day to lay low. 

The invitation's open: come visit! You know where I'll be. 

porch. my haven. except when it's hot enough to fry an egg on the rocker...
My five:

  1. Losing my jogging self to a fantastic tune. If you see a crazy blonde lady heaving her fool self around the DC suburbs at a slow shuffle with a stupid grin on her face, it's likely me. And the tune is likely Tightrope or Poison. Don't judge.
  2. Good folks. We're totally surrounded with 'em this summer. It's pretty fantastic.
  3.  AC. It's August hot in DC...and while I'm a fan of being outside, I'm happy to be cool inside.
  4. House Hunters International. Real Estate porn at its finest.
  5. Contemplating my fun to-do list for the next year. It IS birthday month, after all!