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.