lemme at 'em!

It's that moody place where late summer and autumn struggle with each other... today has been heavy, humid, with those torrential downpours that last for 8 minutes and then burn off into sticky air and sunshine. Somehow, the evening is feeling a bit more like fall... the breeze shakes the rain from the leaves in impromptu faux showers, the sky is grey and moody, and while I can hear a plane overhead, it's obscured from view.

I've written before about the ways in which I struggle with transitions...but I don't think that I've ever talked about how valuable I find that struggle. I feel, somehow that I have to remake myself out of whole cloth at the end of every summer. "These are the things that I like to do." "These are the things I should do/eat/love/reject." And I am guessing - maybe blindly or naïvely - that, in just questioning those statements I have the opportunity to rework myself...to fine tune the me that I hope to be in light of where and who I am.

I won't lie...things feel different. Personally, professionally, physically, spiritually...some for the better, some for the worse, and some just plain different.

But for the first time in a while, I feel like I've come into my own skin a bit more. I'm ready to stand up for myself, to say what I believe and what I need - kindly, sure, but without sugar coating.

It's going to be a wild year, for sure. And from what I can tell, I might be ready for it.



It's like a train schedule...accurate to the minute. The day after the season ends I'm reduced to a puddle of yoga pants and sloth. After a performance that will go down in my heart as something amazingly special, I hopped over to the cast party for a little bit to nosh and chat. The Studio kids did their rendition of "Firework" in the foyer of the house, pictures were taken, and I got enough hugs from folks to tide me over to the audition tour. Home shortly after midnight, and to bed shortly after that.

I slept until 11am.

(I could totally, 100%, take a nap right now.)

The order of the day? Yoga pants, naturally. A Pandora station that cycles through the Sundays, Ivy, Mazzy Star, Radiohead. Ice water and coffee and juice and almond cookies. The NYTimes, Washington Post, and A Partial History of Lost Causes. Endless sudoku. Eavesdropping on the neighbors. Stretching in the front yard between tosses of the tennis ball with the dog. A little bit of worthless, contentless journalling, both here and in my actual book.

If I get some energy? A shower, a quick walk into town for something tasty to throw on the grill. Likely to happen, but no promises.

Reflecting on the summer...the people, the situations, the art. Thinking about the things I'd do better. Not writing anything down in that regard, not making lists of to-dos, to-remember. Just sitting with the information, hoping that the quiet will sift it around a little bit. I'm in better shape than I usually am at season's end, but I'm still pretty darn slow.

Setting the bar low for today. And am almost giddy in the thought that I have another day to myself tomorrow. An embarrassment of riches, it feels like.


Bullet Points

Somehow, I can't make them work as nicely with this new interface...so, please forgive this messy-looking post.

- The mosquitos are both vicious and heavy-footed. I can feel when those little bastards alight on my ankles, arms, feet. Just smashed a bloody one across my palms, like war paint. Ew.

- Feeling dissatisfied today. No doubt from the transition, from the thought of going from full-out and not being able to stay on top of things to having a total dearth of social outlet. I went to the gym, and in a fit of middle-aged-lady pique did as many weight machines at as high a weight level as I could manage. That'll show 'em, right? Or maybe it'll just make me even more tired and totally unable to raise my hands to shoulder height...

- Took my car to the mechanic to get rid of the icky mildewy smell in the AC (outcome? temperatures will drop to a totally comfortable level for the remainder of August, so that I have no need to turn my AC on until 2013.), and found out that my mechanic's name was Chaz - spelled Cyz, of course. Because he's from Warsaw. And knew how to pronounce my last name, even with its dearth of vowels. Now that we've met, and in spite of the fact that we've determined that I only know how to swear in Polish, he's expecting to see me at the Polish church in Silver Spring and is pushing me to bring my mom. I love that, in every city, there is a small town that will find you if you let it. Cyz, so very happy to make your acquaintance today! (And thanks to Sadiq for making it happen!)

- finally put my FitBit back on today. By day's end, I feel sure that I'll have logged at least 12,000 steps. Granted, I've only tooled around my neighborhood, but I'll still take that # as an accomplishment.

- (I also went to the gym and had a green smoothie and did some work and cleaned the litter box and took out the garbage and folded laundry. Yep...feelin' miiiighty virtuous. Balancing it out with a glass of wine or two on the porch.)

- Hubs is looking at new cars. Now, if you know me, you know that this is a bit of a thing for us...but this car would be for him, not for me. I'm Ok with that...mostly because I am going to be able to drive my little beater for another few years without having to feel badly about dinging something new, and will likely get a guilt purse or watch out of the deal. EVERYBODY WINS!

- I've woken up singing the last few days...it signals that the summer's almost over, because I don't sing when our folks are in town. But I'm so compelled to now - I wake up in the morning wanting to chirp like a bird. Making a very public note to schedule some time with myself and a piano and a recorder next week...and not just a paltry half-hour, but something more significant.

I always feel more compelled during transitions to reach out. If you've not heard from me over the summer, give me a nudge: I guarantee that you've been on my mind, and that I'll be reaching out sooner rather than later to reconnect.


A moment's reflection

It's well past midsummer. When I walk the dog alongside the creek there are huge fallen leaves from the trees who have sighed and ceded...it's too hot, the end is too close, they're too tired. They've started to shed their skins, to conserve themselves.

There is the faintest breeze tonight. The sun is gentle, the cicadas sing as if it were their last night in town. My neighbor throws her blonde hair into a skrunchy and mows the lawn in the fading light. I love the smell of fresh-cut grass. I kill a striped mosquito and feel a little badly about it...it's a nice night to be alive.

We spent the morning at Children's Hospital, remembering the important parts of singing: collaborating, communicating, sharing. No reviewers, no maestro, no notes session. Songs in English and German, classical and pop and musical theater. The children were happy for the distraction, but the adults - the parents, the nurses, the support staff - were joyous at the noise our singers made. Lesson learned: we can inspire and uplift even when we are struggling ourselves. And the reasons that you - that we - were drawn to this whole artsy-fartsy thing in the first place? Still totally, 100% valid, no matter where you are on the amateur-professional continuum.

It's 8pm. After a truly horrible night of sleep (lack of sleep?), I'm looking forward to sundown. A different neighbor is singing along with his walkman intermittently as he walks past...the cat is toying with an unfortunate cicada...the sky is an indeterminate whitish-blue, save for the neon sunset peeking around the clouds.

Four more days of singing, of camaraderie; of stopping to talk, to really listen, to encourage, to empower, to support, to confide.

These last four days? I would willing stretch them out indefinitely. The aftermath of the art-making might be my new favorite part of the summer.


Lessons Learned, Vol 8,284,305,294.7

Good thing my folks were teachers, because otherwise this whole never-getting-it-right thing wouldn't be half so interesting. Today's bullet points:
  • Perspective and a good night's sleep are tightly correlated.
  • Transcendent theater can undo a bad day.
  • When something unreal happens, take the time to acknowledge it. The next moment will wait.

I'm writing, obviously, from a strange mental neighborhood. 

It's August 1; writing the 8 on my to-do list means that we have conquered July and all of its inanity! 

It's also my parent's wedding anniversary - would've been #42...can you believe it?

It's also a full moon. 

We had a dress rehearsal of a show this evening that made me laugh out loud, but also made me leave the room for wanting to ugly cry at its saddest moment. (the impulse was reigned in, but barely...see bullet point #1.) 

Someone left me (well, could've been for my hubby, but I'm going to claim 'em) a beautiful bouquet of flowers on my porch. 

There was prosciutto at work today. (WIN.)

I had someone tell me, in a concerned voice, that I looked tired. (I was, but I thought I looked ok? Hmm...)

The dog chewed up the sea salt carton. (Who's puffed up like a toad? Well...both of us. Forget I asked.)

In other words, the day's been a bit of a mixed bag.

My favorite moment happened this morning...I was walking El Diablo through a neighborhood park that follows a stream. About a pace ahead of us - really, really close - was a blue heron. Easily as tall as me, he was so quiet, so beautiful. He walked with us for what would equal about a block...watching the oblivious dog sniff at the edges of the path, watching me. And I couldn't stop watching him. After a number of steps he flew farther up the path, to perch on higher ground. But those few minutes of eye contact with a wild animal? Amazing, and humbling somehow. He didn't give a crap about my schedules and spreadsheets, or even about the art that I was making. He just wanted to know whether I was a threat or an ally...and I couldn't find the inner peace to be the latter, so I was automatically the former.

(Well, in my defense, I did have my attack dog with me. Milk bones and tennis balls BEWARE!)

It seems somehow emblematic of something else. 

I've written before about transitions...how I struggle and rail against them even as I welcome them in. And, to quote someone much smarter than I, "Leave-takings are in the air." Artists that I didn't have the chance to really talk with are leaving for their next projects. In less than 2 weeks the offices will be so very, very quiet. And I will both cherish the silence and mourn the loss of activity, of people, of art-making. 

(Harumph. I am more fickle than I had thought.)

Transitioning now to horizontal and sweet Lethe. But before that? Cleaning up the noxious mess that someone has deposited in the basement (UGH.) and making a pot of coffee for tomorrow morning. Thursday is a free day, which also means that my out-of-office is happily going up in mere minutes. And if I do nothing but drink coffee, nap, write, and make a decent meal tomorrow? I will have earned an A+. 

Wishing you a day of malleable devoirs, of guilty pleasures, of naps and icy drinks and Olympics coverage sans snark. 

I'm all about idle hands tomorrow.
(But the only bread machine in my house is called a TOASTER. Nick Shadow can suck it.)