Roller-Coaster Days

I was ready to chalk up 2012 as a wash...as a pretty-good year, a year with challenges and good things but mostly meh things.

And then I scrolled through my pictures, the snapshots that I took on my phone over the course of the year. And a lot happened!

I threw a kick-ass 40th birthday weekend for my hubby at Deep Creek. Four other couples, an ice storm, too many G&Ts in the hot tub, pizzas that were ridiculously huge. A beautiful view from the great room.

Ryan Adams at the Strathmore. Great, intimate show in a beautiful space. Dinner at Black Market Bistro with BP beforehand. A fab evening.

Gave a master class at American University. Loved teaching again!

Found a hand-drawn picture of 2 hands making a heart in a book that I bought. What a wonderful surprise!

Went to the podiatrist to figure out why my ankle hurt. Realized that I will likely never run a marathon, and made peace with it.

Visited with RT and singers who were back on campus for the Artist's Lens show.

Visited Pgh to meet with the Chatham Baroque and saw my girls D & K. And spent a rare few hours at the Carnegie Museum, walking around the Hall of Architecture and reminiscing.

BP framed a doodle & poem of mine. That made me feel special.

My car made it to 100,000 miles! And then I got a new one.

Went to Boston to represent WT at the Inspector premiere, and then walked around all day...and saw my old roomie K and her hubs and their little man.

I found a huge wolf spider in my office. HUGE.

I went to the Opera America conference, and participated in the Opera America Leadership seminar. Opera Camp was a wonderful time, and the folks I met were really spectacular.

We lived through a derecho in July. (And by "we," I mean "Northern Virginia AND Don Giovanni." Can't imagine what the dude did with the found time...oh, wait. I can.)

The costume shop gifted me with a pair of superbly hoochtastic periwinkle suede heels.

I got paid for writing my first article.

We got a new shower.

Worked a concession stand (for a monster of a kids' show!) for the first time.

Started a blog about work transitions. More importantly, heard a lot of interesting stories about other's struggles, and got some good supportive feedback about the project.

I went to a ball.

Hubby took me to Colorado - Denver, Vail and Boulder.

My engagement ring broke. (Altitude? Or indulging in too much bacon? We'll never know...)

I reunited with cousin Eric after - what, 30 years? - and met his family in California. Also reunited with a slew of pals from undergrad, my teaching days at CTY, and students who have grown into exceptionally cool human beings.

Saw JG and met his hubby C, and saw his show...and sang along (in my head) with the whole performance. Such fun!

Jogged in Seattle, San Francisco, Cincinnati, New York, and Houston.

Climbed up to the Coit tower.

Hosted K for her first night in NYC. Fashion District, Broadway, Times Square, Lincoln Center, Upper West Side. Fun stuff.

Tried kombucha for the first time.

Outran hurricane Sandy.

Fell in love with Pumpkin Spice Rooibos tea and Mr. Penumbra's 24-hour Bookstore.

Kept a journal.

Made a happy dance video.

Sent postcards from the road to pals in the US, Switzerland, and Germany.

Ran a 5k.

Spent long-overdue time with Rach. Beers and bagels, forever and ever amen.

Played on the stage at the Barns as part of the annual X-Mess Spectacular, which was quite spectacular this year.

Finished NaNoWriMo. Even went back and re-read it without tossing my cookies.

Made some great new friends, and got to know some folks better. They've been the real highlight of the year.

Not to say that crappy things haven't happened to me or to people that I love. There have been lots, really volumes of heartbreaking suck. But in between those moments have been some wonderful moments, too.

Wishing, for all of us, more highs, and fewer lows in 2013. Let's take care of each other well.


Looking back, looking forward.

Well, the annual holiday visit, AKA The Running of the Polocks is done. It's always a big, crazy, inappropriate mess - this year's iteration had zombies, a niece and nephew who are almost as tall as I am (UNACCEPTABLE!), a new bride, homemade pierogi and golumpki, a bit too much wine, a water main break, and an ungodly amount of animal hair (thanks to Mom's menagerie). It was crazy and lovely and exhausting. It's a good thing that it only happens once a year, because my head (and arteries) could maybe not take much more.

Now that the trip home is done, I can focus on my favorite way to ring in the New Year - by a huge, house-wide purge: streamline, simplify, get rid of all the ancillary crap I tend to accumulate. I started today with the kitchen - reorganized the shelves (anyone care to bet on whether I can find anything in the coming weeks?), tossed out all of the expired stuff, moved things I don't use often to storage, and made a big ol' goodwill pile. (Anyone want an architectural bundt cake pan?) I'm thinking that I'll tackle the wardrobe and the bathroom tomorrow, the den on Saturday. And if I'm brave? The basement on Sunday.

(For the record, my garbage cans are already full.)

The other things I'm hoping to do over the next few days are creative: writing, singing a little, reading through the pages I wrote for NaNoWriMo. (Yep. Still too chicken to dive back in.)

I'm a little superstitious, and I can't shake the belief that the way in which I spend January 1 will augur the way the rest of the year will unfold. So I'll spend some time planning a few things that I want to make sure happen, and then trying to stay open to see what actually might happen. I'm planning to reread Annie Lamott's Help. Thanks. Wow... to take a long walk with Boo...to hit the gym or run... to write... but there's still plenty of time to watch the day unfold, to see what the day - and year - might bring.

Call me Pollyanna, but I'm super, unreasonably excited.



(Boy, that's fun to type!)

Today was an epic day! Mayan apocalypse, equinox, and - last but not least - my half birthday. (I didn't start keeping track of half-birthdays until my first teaching job. Those girls celebrated their half-birthdays with as much verve as their actual birthdays!) We were granted an early holiday break, so I spent the day doing holiday-related domestic tasks...last-minute shopping, wrapping gifts, and the labor-intensive pierogi-making process. I only made it a few hours with the pop-ified carols, and then had to bah-humbug them off. But it was largely a lovely day, even if the holiday spirit hasn't quite taken hold.

In the spirit of giving, I have links for you!


Too sparkly.

(Does such a thing exist??)

Friends, I think we all need some sparkle this holiday season. I for one am not feeling too sparkly these days...I'm feeling uninspired, behind the eight ball, pudgtastic, and a little surly. I'm horrified by people's actions (the news is not something I can watch anymore - who can stand to have their hearts broken first thing in the morning, every morning?). I'm torn apart by sad news from friends and family.

I'm feeling a little sensitive, is I guess what I'm saying.

I really have very little to bitch about - my little bubble is intact, and is largely more positive than negative. But even that is making me feel guilty. (oh, Catholic school...your effects really are long-lasting.)

I'm feeling a little like the sky in the DC area...highly changeable, alternating between the celestial versions of a drama queen and an epic bruise.

So to combat all of this blergh-ness, I'm going to put on my favorite Christmas tunes (Mambo, Santa! MAMBO!), make a cocktail, and stick tiny pins and beads and sequins into tiny foam orbs.

Time to rally like a beeyatch.

My five:
1. The lovely shopgirl who was super-cheery this morning. (There was only one. ONE. The rest I tried to out-surly.)
2. Moody December skies.
3. The gym. Sometimes you just gotta lift heavy things. (and by 'you?' I mean 'me.')
4. The prospect of a hot bath this evening. Hallelujah.
5. A clean house.

p.s. the cat either isn't into sequins or he's totally over my attempts at crafting. (and, since he's my cat, you KNOW the first part of that statement isn't true...)


Holiday Party Recap: Fun was had, AND I still have a job!

When you work at a performing arts non-profit, it's pretty much guaranteed that a high percentage of your colleagues have performing in their blood - like attracts like, right? And, when you have the staff holiday shindig in a theater, well, you're just asking for theatrics.

Ask and ye shall receive.

This year's entry was an original tune by Kevin Cassidy. It was super fun to rehearse and perform! The best part of the whole process, however, might've been walking past his office every day during the week leading up to the show, and hearing "Hey...I have an idea..." Ideas that got bigger and sillier and more awesome each day.

It's a Christmas Miracle, folks! Hope you enjoy it.


one of those days.

So, Tuesday.

Work up at 4:45am. With the rest of the house. Decided to get moving early. Coffee, dog-walk, gym! (When was the last time I made it to the gym before 9am? Summer, that's when.)

A decent interval on the elliptical with the new Vanity Fair and new tunes. YES.

Locker room. Who forgets clean undies and socks? That'd be me. Sigh. Pit stop at home before hitting the office. The cold air makes me realize that I have a hole in an unflattering place in my jeans. Hoping that the shirt covers the goods, because there's no time to go back home - again - to change.

A weird day of contracts and furniture-moving and slightly contentious debates and loose band rehearsals and phone calls and general distractedness.

Dinner plans thwarted in several ways: lack of ingredients for the planned meal; wrong timetable for options #2 and 3 (raw and burned, respectively.); and something that was simply make-do as a result.

Chilly night. Dog walk. Laundry and litter pans. No sign of the extra Christmas cards that I SWEAR I bought last year.

I'm thinking that, maybe, waking up before 6am should not be in the cards for tomorrow. Here's hoping for more brain cells with a little more sleep.


Saturday morning.

It's Saturday morning, 6:35am

(Seems early, but when one falls asleep at 8pm in front of the tube, it actually makes for a rather full night's sleep.)

So, I've written in my journal, and am surfing around the interwebs to see what I missed from last evening.

And I found this.

I would think that, being on that canoe would be a little like being smack dab in the middle of a phenomenal orchestra playing an epic new work...listening to things swirl all around you, not knowing where the harmonic structure was going to go, how things would be voiced, but just being awed and surprised and delighted at the inventive newness, the constant change, the fleeting, ephemeral moment.

Since I can't have my very own orchestra and my very own premiere this dark December morning? I'll daydream about a canoe, a good camera, and easy access to some remote place. I'll walk the dog by the creek and hope to catch a glimpse of the blue heron or the ring-tailed hawk that shelter there. And I'll take comfort in the fact that there are patterns and ensembles that I cannot see or hear, but that are making beautiful music nonetheless.

My five:

  1. Quiet.
  2. Coffee. (The caffeine is key, of course, but the ritual is as important.)
  3. Sufficient sleep. It seems to make a world of difference.
  4. Lights. The early darkness is much more festive with a little sparkle!
  5. Clementines. Palm-sized sunshine.


(Insert ominous jingle bells here.)

It's December!

(How the hell did THAT happen?)

I'm spending my work hours lamenting the fact that I'm so tired, and my evenings staying up later than I should. And I'm frittering that time away...I'm not buying Christmas gifts or making pierogis or writing or saving the world or anything useful.

(I'm kinda ok with it.)

But tonight? Tonight I got home (in the dark. I'm going to need to get over that...), and turned the music up LOUD. Made an awesome, almost-healthy dinner (there was bacon involved...and for that, I will not apologize.) and had a dance party in the living room with my pooch, who might have 4 left feet. (Or maybe he was just irritated that he didn't know how to dance...we'll have to do this more often!)

I had lunch this week with a pal who is equal parts supportive and challenging. And, during the lunch? I was called out on a few things... for not taking charge, for not being aggressive enough. The analogy was a buzzard going after a bunny (and not, ostensibly, to take it home and care for it until the end of its days). Going for the goal, rather than waiting for it to materialize...or not.

(It was good to be called out on being a chickenshit...not pleasant, but good.)

So, this evening? Quiche. (heavy on the spinach...and on the bacon.) Maybe a second glass of wine to keep me warm when walking Boo around the block...can't wait for these to restock! A little bit of writing, some music, and maybe - just maybe? A long soak in the tub before bed.

And also? LINK-O-RAMA. Here are some things that I found and loved.

  • I'd ask for this for Christmas, but I already bought myself one.
  • Tara is one creative lady. Here's a great post about freelancing and just doing it.
  • Zan is also awesome, and the juxtaposition of drawing, Todd Rundgren, and get-off-your-assitude here is fantastic.
  • I listened to Local Natives for years straight. Here's something new. And here are two (one two) in my permanent rotation.
  • More music: this time? An awesome Hall & Oates cover. I need a van.
  • Shall we double dutch? (You do remember how, don't you?)
  • This is pretty much how I spent my Thanksgiving, minus the deep-fried turkey, but with all-day pajamas. The whole plan is solid, but I can personally vouch for the gravy.
  • More music, but with a literary bent. (When the opera moves out the other genres rush into my head like water, evidently!)
  • I daydream that I'm the kind of person who would not only make these, but would make the HELL out of these. (For the record, I am not that person. I am the person who would buy all the gak, and then eat the marshmallows and chocolate chips by the handful while dancing around the living room with my labrador.)

It's almost the weekend, lovelies. Hope yours is wonderful.