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!


writer's block

Oh, summer. That time of year when my job goes into overdrive...I usually have a host of work- related things to write about. But this year I'm having trouble...it either sounds like whining (which, frankly, some of it is) or bad PR. I could talk about the fun I'm having trying to slide meaningful experiences with pals around the opera schedule (lunch on a free day! shopping! brunch before rehearsal!), or bitch about how hard running is in the humidity. (You've had enough of that particular tune, though, haven't you?)

This morning I'm in luck: hubby has gifted me with a sleep-in quiet morning complete with a full pot of coffee. He and the dog are playing in a creek/park somewhere, and I have the luxury of a porch that's quiet except for the hum of the cooler and the symphonic birdsong. (Seriously, these birds are chatty!)

And I've also been gifted with several writing prompts from a colleague. Here's the first in an occasional series:

1. A friend offers to buy you an iPad with one condition - that you must design an app that will make your life much more efficient/simple/happy/content… what does that app do?

Huh. Well, since my grasp of programming and writing code is weak at best, I'm not limiting myself to practical answers.

My app would be the HELP! app.
(No, not as in emergency services or EMT/911/danger to life and limb help...I think that our emergency responders have that covered.)

  • First off, when you opened it, it would play the Beatles tune. Duh.  
  • It would, either through a short series of questions or through direct query, suss out what kind of help you needed (bad hair day/overwhelmed at work or home/ feeling lonely/ feeing stuck/ needing a kind word), and figure out something that would ease your mind/heart, whether it was something that a professional service could provide (cleaning/hair appt/grocery shopping) or something that a friend/colleague/neighbor could do (let the dog out/remind you of a great memory/ tell you that you're fantastic).
    • you could network in people that you'd feel comfortable asking for help from: friends, neighbors, work colleagues, etc. or set it to a specific geographic area.
  • It would have 2 modes: the HELP!ask, outlined above, or the HELP!give, which would allow you to input things you'd be willing to help with and again, network with folks that you knew or that were within a geographic area (dogwalks/pick up milk from the grocery/donate time or $ to a cause or event)
  • Both services could be set to anonymous: if you wanted to do something nice for someone, you could do so without them knowing who it was (would be limited, obvs. I don't want an anonymous stranger walking into my house to let the dog out! maybe some kind of screening process? I dunno.). Or, if you were feeling low but didn't want folks to know, you could ask anonymously.
Now, I'm lucky enough to have friends and colleagues and neighbors who do this already do some extent...but as my propensity is to not ask for help, and to take on a little more than I should, this might help me manage my tendency to overcommit. And I like the idea of being able to help others when I have the time/space to do so.

Dear readers, I pose the same question to you: your idea - is there an app for that?

My five:
  1. Mornings that hubby lets me sleep in....priceless
  2. Wildlife sightings: a doe walked through the yard this morning, totally unimpressed by the humans or pets watching her.
  3. Coffee.
  4. Exploring - went to 2 historic Virginia towns yesterday, and it was lovely to get out of the "city".
  5. Quiet time.


...fast forward to August.

It's been 90+ degrees here the last few days, and humid as all-get-out. Which, in late July/early August is business as usual, but in May?


I tried to walk the dog last night and just about killed him in the heat. (Sorry, Boo!) This afternoon's weather is hazy and still, totally comfortable until I try to move.The gnats have threatened to ruin my life unless I'm on the porch, under the ceiling fans, basted like a sparerib in insect repellent, with a citronella candle nearby.

'Tis hot.

And work is hot, too. I've had more meetings than brain cells over the last two days, and my meeting-ee's look really relieved to leave my office when time's up. But on the plus side? I have found a capital-H-HOT lady (who is also totally lovely) to be a super in our first opera. Her official title? "Cake hottie."


But really, people are lovely and the ADD schedule is fine. I'm almost ready for it.
I had lunch with RT and a lovely, loyal donor this afternoon, and had grand plans to hit the gym for Ashtanga yoga this evening. But somehow, every 10 minutes or so there's a fantastic cool breeze that cuts the heat, and a rumble of thunder that makes me think that the weather might break.

Skipping class this evening?


Sitting on the porch as the sun sets?


Three weeks until birthday. Still trying to decide what number I'll celebrate this year: physical, mental, or WILD CARD.

My five:

  1. Fun interns. We have a good group this year!
  2. Ridiculous YouTube videos. What are your favorites?
  3. Teal nail polish.
  4. Good books. (I'm taking suggestions - anyone?)
  5. Short weeks.