2.25.2011

red banner day

So, I've been a bit of a Grumpy McBitcherson lately.

(And let's be honest - it's likely not over yet...)

But today? Was a really good day!

Firstly, it was a split day...went in regular time, took a few hours off mid-day, and then came back mid-afternoon and worked until the end of the show. PERFECT!

During that mid-day hiatus? Well, the weather went totally psycho. Sunny! Pouring rain! Gusty Winds! Sunny again! Pouring again! It was crazy...but crazily perfect in the fact that, when I went home to let the dog out it was warm and beautifully sunny. I had a lovely half-hour on the porch while El Diablo drooled into the wind as I ate my soup.

And then, as I ran an errand? Torrential downpours. Glad I brought my umbrella! (-ella, ella, ella)

(Wow. That's an OLD joke. I am, in fact, still lame.)

I met my trainer for a tune-up...and while she totally put me through my paces (there will be no comedy in my life tomorrow, as I think I'll be needing a sling for my abs...ow.), she also complimented me on my tush. It might have been the first time ever...YES!!!!

I went back to work and tried to crank out some email between power outages (go gusty winds!), with some success. And the scenes assignments are finally in the hands of the studio singers...HUZZAH! And the Ninja Jewelry Fairy left a beautiful pair of earrings on my desk!

(Admit it - you're jealous that I have a Jewelry Fairy...and a stealthy, Ninja Jewelry Fairy, at that!)



But the coolest part of the evening? Tonight's show...a multimedia meditation on what being "American" really means. It was both thoughtful and thought-provoking without being preachy. The Cypress Quartet started with a Barber adagio, played from memory in pitch darkness. That opening might've been my favorite moment of theatre in a while...lovely. And even more lovely? The fact that 140 high school kids were in the audience, and enjoyed it as much as I did. (No texting or snoring! Polite applause! Really, they were model citizens.)

Home on the early side. Glass of wine, cheese toast, piece of chocolate.

I needed a day like today. Didn't realize it until it happened, but I totally needed it.

My five:

  1. A great boss. Grateful for her example and her trust, and our mutual love of snacks. (I'm changing the slogan this year from "Horseville, Switzerland" to "Snackville, Switzerland"...the land of neutral stress-eaters.)
  2. A coffee maker with a timer. Even though I set it every night, I still feel a little bit pampered the next morning. Oh look! Someone's made coffee! How lovely!
  3.  Disapproving rabbits. Moving up in my personal lexicon.
  4. Small moments that remind me that I'm still an artist, even if I sit behind a desk most of the time.
  5. Having a day with very little on the docket.
And for you? The front runner in my workout mix. I love this tune!

2.24.2011

Soooo...

...I might actually have a scenes program! And role studies! Granted, it's largely due to the marvelous GL, who came to the table with great ideas and listened to me ramble endlessly as I tried to figure things out. But I'm still relieved as all get out to email folks and give them their assignments.

Progress, people. It's called progress.

(It's also called Stepping Away From The Endless Possibilities. There's a time to investigate every corner, and time to commit. We're at walking-down-the-aisle time. No cold feet allowed.)

After work I made a huge pot of what may indeed be my best beef soup to date...carmelized onions, mushrooms, a little bit of red wine and a parmesan rind. I could eat the whole thing, seriously. And, since hubby is working late again, I just may.

(Hubby's hours? Getting old. FAST. While the inevitable payback is scheduled for the summer when I'm busy, I'm having a hard time remembering that when my kitchen is full of food and my husband is at work late.)

But something that's making me feel more generous? This little tune. Totally. Charming.



My five:

  1. Jeans on Thursday. 
  2. A group of over 100 high school kids coming to our show tomorrow night. AWESOME!
  3. Dad's Bulova watch. My talisman.
  4. Ridiculous messages from my awesome brother, the only man who can make me shoot beverages out of my nose at his whim.
  5. Completing a task. Rather, actively completing a task, not just letting it rest in the "Problems Time Has Solved" pile.

2.21.2011

feeling contrary.

I spent today intentionally doing things that are out of my usual purview.

(However, because I'm a first-born and I like to be the good child? I did get some laundry and a large chunk of work done. But I worked it in when I wasn't going to be irritated by its sheer existence.)

(I guess this is as rebellious as I get while still feeling good?)

(How lame.)

(Moving on...)

I read in bed. I sang and played and recorded. I futzed around with Garage Band. I wrote in my pen-and-ink journal. I daydreamed big dreams. I bought new toys for the furries and played for a good part of the afternoon. I made pasta for dinner, with an herb sauce that demanded a whole lot of chopping.

(I love chopping. I'd make an excellent sous chef. Or rather, a mediocre but REALLY ENTHUSIASTIC sous chef.)


I thought about signing up for a class. (The heavy lifting will have to wait unti after this summer's over, I'm afraid.) I took a long walk in the rain with El Diablo. I returned phone calls...within the hour. (That's a biggie, as my subconscious has decided that every phone call is bound to be bad, heartbreaking news. Where did this come from?) I tried to not beat myself up for skipping the gym, and instead tried to pamper my knees that are protesting so loudly. I dogeared magazine photos of kitchens and cool backyards. I read my friend Jenn's blog and pledged that I would eat mindfully and try to be kinder to myself and those around me.

(I then ate three lemon curd mini tarts straight from my freezer. They were on my mind, and made me a much nicer person. Promise.)

I'd say that this is a short week, but Friday will be a long day with a cool performance at the end. So I'm taking what's left of the evening to read, watch tv (it's a toss up between  bravo tv and real estate tv...totally predictable), and veg. Here's wishing you a lovely week, with all the kindnesses you need...even if they're wedged into spaces that you almost overlook.

(Or maybe that's just me.)

My five:

  1. Getting creative. Boy, do I need to work that into my daily routine...too much left brain stuff is a drag.
  2. Playful, snuggly pets. It's amazing that I got ANYTHING done today.
  3. Sales. I'm bummed that Borders has filed for Chapter 11, but am psyched to add Bullfinch's Mythology, Mark Bittman, and Calvino's Italian folktales to my library. 
  4. Daydreaming. 
  5. Generosity.

2.20.2011

Lazy Sunday.

I know that I don't really have it in me to be a lady of leisure. I tried, back in my first year of teaching, to take a whole summer off.

I lasted all of 3 weeks before admitting that I was going totally batshit crazy. After starting and finishing all of the small "Boy, if I only had the time..." projects, and staring down the barrel of "wow...if I start this and love it, it could totally change my life..." projects, I found the second category way too scary. So I stayed up all night reading and drank wine and cooked and tried to avoid cleaning and went to the gym twice a day and walked to the store and to the park and to the museum for three weeks before that inner crazy-lady monologue got too loud to live with.  And then I got the first retail job I could find, just to get myself out of the house and onto a schedule...

But today? On a sunny Sunday morning after a great Saturday night spent with friends, when my house is clean? When an insane summer is visible on the horizon? When I've already spent an hour outside with the dog, tidying up the yard (sticks! tennis balls! a random pink feather!)? When I'm looking at that second category and thinking "hmmmm...."?

Well, sometimes I think about giving the Lady of Leisure thing another try.

My five:

  1. Having Monday off...aaahhhh...
  2. Austin City Limits. Aimee Mann, Cee Lo Green and Thievery Corporation, all in one morning.
  3. Thoughtful hubs: a man who senses that I'm having a rough morning and brings me flowers, bread, cheese (three kinds!) and chocolate? Rock. Star.
  4. Books! Finished this one, just started this one.
  5. Sunshine.

2.16.2011

things are looking up!

Did you notice that it's staying lighter longer in the evening? I know - not rocket science, happens every year. But those extra minutes of light do WONDERS for my state of mind. And, though Boo and I end our walks in the dark, we're making it farther each night in daylight. It's good.

Other good things:

  • Mom finally got an offer on her house! It wasn't the right offer, but it got her thinking. I can't imagine how difficult it must be, trying to move on after Dad's death...as she said, your spouse is the one family member that you get to choose. But I'm so proud of her for shaking things up a little bit, even if she decides to stay put. (And mom? Kristie says she'll help you pack...she doesn't want you to be struggling to find things like you would if I were in charge.)(My friends are awesome.)
  • Hubby's working late this evening, which means that my evening has fewer parameters than usual. Boo and I did a little more than 2 miles, and I came home and made a big ol' remedial omelet (sauteed onions, mushrooms and spinach with a little bit of boursin cheese and eggs - scrambled, as omelet-making is not in my skill set.), grabbed a glass of wine, turned on Top Chef reruns and grabbed a few magazines and my new book. (Just finished this one, by the way - and LOVEDlovedloved it! Reader alert - sweet, happy ending. Which makes me love it even more.)
  • In less than six weeks there will be opera in the building. Six. Weeks. But yay for singers! Having the artists in the building is much more gratifying than working without them, for sure...that daily dose of inspiration works wonders!  By the way, if you're not working for us but would like to see me before 2012, you should call me or come visit before this window closes...it's a jam-packed year!
  • Hubby did super well in the V-tines gift category...might've been his strongest showing ever! Flowers, candy, a new outfit (?!? CRAZY!), and a big tapestry purse that I love...I could've sworn that, had I picked it up and said "do you like this?" that his answer would've been "why would you want to carry around a carpet remnant as a purse?" Here's a toast to being surprised by your spouse...even after being together for over a decade. (Whoa. When the hell did THAT happen?)
  • Related to the above post, blessings on the Anthropologie sales associate who helped my hubby. You did good, girl. 
  • I may have unpacked a summer dress or two to wear with t-shirts, as Friday is supposed to dip into the 70s. (YES.)
  • Phone calls and texts and messages from my girls. It's obvious, but friends are AWESOME. 
  • We signed up for a very interesting 1k...I'll give you a full report. 
In the marginal category:
  • I think I've lost my iPod. It's thrown me off my game in the workout department BIG TIME. I'm trying to get back into running, but when I don't have the right music I tend to push too hard at the beginning and fry myself after a mile or so. And I have playlists and running trackers on my phone, but I haven't figured out the best configuration of things. Too much/little  technology is No. Fun. 
  • The iPod loss is compounded by the fact that I'm running a 10 miler in April. Which isn't really that far away...especially considering the amount of training that I've been regularly blowing off...
  • Work is stressful. Wah, wah, wah. I know. But things are tenser than usual...compounded by the number of projects and such, I'm sure... but things are just tense, and a solution isn't readily apparent. 
In the non-related category:
  • I've been journalling more lately. Pen-and-ink. I think it's good for me.
  • A college friend, PB, took shoemaking classes. Subsequently, I am completely OBSESSED with taking a shoemaking class. While there's no time to add extra-curriculars until after the audition tour (seriously. *sigh*), I'll be doing some big-time investigating over the next several months. 
  • KPW sent this along...it goes into the gallery with "Mouse....treeeeeeeat." Sheer. Genius.
  • I took a new class at the gym over the weekend...an aerobics class, but with affirmations, like yoga. Except you say the affirmations a LOT. LOUDLY. I'm still cringing inwardly when I remember the way the class felt...but I wore my heart-rate monitor, and I WORKED. Like, seriously worked during the class...so, do I go back and resign myself to feeling awkward? Or do I walk away and try something else? I'm really not sure.
And my five:
  1. Manageable to-do lists. They may only exist in my dreams, but that's OK...
  2. Warmer weather...while I'm not ready for summer, the respite from 20 degrees is so blessedly welcome.
  3. Navy. 
  4. Mushrooms.
  5. Lazy evenings.
And, for your viewing pleasure? A riff on #3.

2.13.2011

Saint Pete.

So, three years ago today my sweet co-workers were picking my sorry butt up from its teary puddle, calling my husband, investigating bereavement flights to Pennsylvania on my behalf. 

It was the day that I grew up.(...it's hard to remain a perpetual Daddy's Girl when he's not around to dote on one's every accomplishment.)

And every year, when this day rolls around, I struggle...I spend most of the day moping around, feeling angry, off-center and confused. My husband checks in constantly, asking what he can do to restore my usual chipper demeanor...knowing that I'll say "nothing, honey...I'm fine."

Today started out much like the last few...woke up feeling blue and distractable, and ran through my list of chores in that same, semi-weepy fashion...laundry (crying in the basement is ok - whew!), groceries (do not cry in the grocery store unless you're investigating onions or vinegar. It's awkward.), new coffee maker (*sniff*..."can you believe this sale? i'm overcome...."), all accomplished, but with no real investment or joy. 

But in the cracks between these tasks? Little bits of happiness. A great visit with the neighbors. A freshly bathed - and oh-so-sweet-smelling - dogger. An outpouring of love from the interwebs and texts. Good chats with my mom and brother, the two folks who are on my same page. A short run - the first in WEEKS! - in the warm springlike air. A cold beer, infused with dad's favorite spirit.

And suddenly it was obvious. The best way I have to honor him is to hold him in my heart as I enjoy these people, this place, the right now. Knowing that, at any minute, it could all be taken away from me...but that if I lose it all, I'll most likely find him at the end of the path, saying "Sis! What took you so long? Let me show you around..."

Peter P. Pokego
November 6, 1942-February13, 2008
Rest in peace, my sweet papa.



2.09.2011

the winter of my discontent

...not really. It's been a pretty lovely winter, all things considered. But I'm fairly discontent this evening.

It's cold. And I don't mind cold outside...I bundle up nicely for dog walking and such, and am not above wearing 4-5 layers. But my office is an icebox. I layer, and wear wool socks and walk around every 45 minutes to get the blood going...I'm really trying to be both warm and productive! And while hot tea and an illegal heating pad mitigate the effects, I go home with that chilled-bone feeling that doesn't disperse until sometime in the middle of the night...at which point my blood feels like it's boiling.

(Someone please remind me of this little rant when I'm sweating through my clothes in July. You don't even have to be nice about it.)

February. When it's staying light later in the evening (yay!), but somehow not late enough to really get anything done. (Boo.) When the temperatures modulate into the 40s sometimes (yay!), but are still dipping willy-nilly into the teens and twenties. (Boo.) When my interactions with friends and colleagues either result in my telling a never-ending, fairly pointless story (I'm great fun at parties! No, really!), or in my reaching for the easiest answer in my arsenal - which, for the record, is always "no" in February (Boo.) Also in the repertoire? Being reprimanded/contradicted/irritated. (Double Boo.) Feeling like there's not much I can do well or right. (Boo.) Feeling the weight of missed chances, of caution too liberally applied, of the loss of autonomy. (Boo.)

(And by 'Boo.'? I'm not referring to my sweet dog. He's pretty constant in his worship, and for that I am exceedingly grateful.)

Now, I know that my discontent with the month is largely misplaced anger and sadness for my dad splitting the planet the day before Valentine's Day. Or rather, the unfairness of it - I don't think he had all that much say in the matter. And I like to think that, if he thought that we were struggling that he'd have fought to stay. But even knowing that doesn't make it much easier.

(P.S. Dad, if you read this? The ring you bought Mom for Valentine's Day is specTACular! Your taste is still top drawer, even from the Great Beyond.)

So I'm giving myself permission to be cranky and over-sensitive. To eat/drink more than I should, as long as I make it to the gym a few times a week and give to dog a good walk (read: more than a mile) twice a day. I'm going to try to ask for help when I need it.

And I'm likely going to go to bed early as often as possible. Because it's better for everyone if I do.

Even though I'm Bitchy McCrankypants, there are lots of good things happening...RT is back in the office for a quick week, and the office vibe is feeling a little more like summer than frigid anxiety farm that KPW and I have been living in over the last few weeks. Hubs and I are thinking about adding another one of these to our family. The nephew has brought his grades up! And mom sent me an awesome photo series of herself as Lisbeth Salander...at 68. (My mom is so awesome.) And I found a radio station that plays tunes that remind me of a time when I was terrified at the largeness of possibility, and was whole and unhurt (although my barely contained Inner Drama Queen would argued that my life was impossibly hard, I'm sure.)

And, (SEGUE ALERT), here's one of those tunes. (Can you smell the nostalgia from here??) Spend some time reliving your favorite moments, friends...or anticipating them, if they're yet to come.



My five:
  1. Pan pipes. Nothing says melancholy like synth pan pipes. ;)
  2. Heating pads, hot beverages, and snuggly pets.
  3. Roasted veggies. 
  4. Hats. This is one of my favorites.
  5. My mom's voice in my head, in both good and bad times, saying "And this too shall pass..."

2.05.2011

transition from dark brown to blonde?

Before...
...after! (B&W because, well, I'm a tech brassy. But you knew that...



Begun. It'll be rough for a while, but I'm anticipating at least a little platinum in my future...by summer, hopefully!





My five:
  1. Chinese take-out. 
  2. Smartwool socks.
  3. Changing things up.
  4. Lazy evenings at home.
  5. SUPAHBOWL! Go Stillers!!!

2.04.2011

TGIF

This week kicked my ass. That's the long and short of it.

I got a lot done - almost got a kickin' chamber music series booked and in the can. Started to figure out scene assignments for the Studio. Wrote a metric ton of contracts.

Made it to the gym once. (Whoops. Who signed up for a 10-miler in April? Oh yeah...me.)

For work, we've made a huge triage document so that we can keep track of what needs to be done on a week-by-week basis. I'd say that 50% of our collective stuff is on that document. And it is monstrous huge, can't-look-at-the-whole-thing-in- one-screenshot, even on my fantabulous, ginormous work computer.

And the document only runs through February.

(Help.)

 The cold? And the dark? And the sleepiness and the carb-loading and the grey roots and the spare tire and the workload and the icy sidewalks? 

Kicking. My. Ass.


But I have a plan.

Tonight, that plan consists of my new favorite dinner (fresh pasta, toasted walnuts, sharp cheddar cheese, chives and a poached egg) and a glass of wine. (Ok, maybe one and a half...) Hubby's working late, so I've rented #2 in the Steig Larsson trilogy. Bring on the Swedish and the supertitles! I've made a hair appointment for tomorrow to rectify the rootiness. I have my gym routine planned. And I'm getting some ideas for snacks for the Super Bowl. (We're having the neighbors over...they're caterers, and M was recently diagnosed with a wheat allergy. Yep, no pressure...)

The real challenge? Trying to come up with a plan for the workweek. Weekends are easy.

My five:
  1. Swedish. Although every once in a while I just need to say "Borkborkbork" out loud.
  2. Learning how to poach an egg. Hello, new trick! Woof!
  3. Quiet time.
  4. Temperatures above freezing.
  5. Sleep.