1.23.2013

Random Bullet Points

Today has been disconnected. So, I pass on the disconnectedness to you! You're welcome!

  • I just saw an advertisement for a theater in my area; they're hosting a John Denver concert. Never mind that the man - may he and his sweet voice both rest in peace - has been dead for five years. They have his backing band, and those live folks are going to play along with video and vocals from JD, from a previously recorded concert. Granted, I gleaned the info from a very short ad spot...but I find myself put off. Yes, I've seen videos with live musical backup, and have enjoyed them very much. And there was that whole holographic rapper thing at the Grammys. But am I the only one who finds this sacrilegious at best, horribly opportunistic at worst?

  • A few days ago I had an echocardiogram (routine - no issues.), and could watch the machine in the reflection of the darkened room. There's something quite magical and surreal about seeing one's own heart beat. And, if the observer has an active imagination and a creative bent? Well, they could walk out of said appointment wondering if that really was a goldfish they saw on the monitor, and whether they could get the doppler recording of the different chambers to use in their next musical experiment...

  • There's a line in a monologue that we often hear on the audition tour (from Fantastiks - we were mercifully spared this year) that ends with the actress saying "Please God, don't let me be normal!" I think we forget that sometimes. This made me remember my twelve-year-old self, and want to give her something a little shinier to look forward to. (Not sure what that'll be, but I'll figure it out something, I feel sure.) Typical is not all that it's cracked up to be.

  • These two things are connected to the previous bullet, through very different lenses. I adore them both.

  • Here in the greater DC area we're in a bit of a deep freeze. I walked the dog yesterday morning and ended up with windburned cheeks. (Windburn! How very soft I've become, living south of the Mason Dixon line!) Today the puddles in the easement next to the creek were frozen solid, so solid that His Highness could skate around on all four paws, frothy tennis ball in his jaws, looking like a cross between Tanya Harding and Cujo. The creek itself had started to freeze, with a few places of running water visible between patches of ice. I can only imagine that the creek is solid this evening, so I think our job will be to try to crash through tonight and tomorrow morning to make sure the birds and deer can get to it. (I know, I know...but sometimes we are helpful, and sometimes we can only hope that we are, right?)

  • Today I bought a humidifier. For a Stradivarius. My job is so weird. 

  • I'm heading to Atlanta on Friday. It's been years - YEARS - since I've been. It wil be warmer than 18 degrees at night, and for that I'm ridiculously excited. I'm judging this competition for the Atlanta Opera, which will be a BLAST. (You can watch the final performances live!)  But best part I get some time with KMC, a pal who has seen me through infinite numbers of bagels and crossword puzzles and adolescent angst and bad boy choices and renditions of Pergolesi duets in incongruous spaces. It's really nice when someone's known you since your teens, and still likes you.

  • Well, this happened today. F-you, St. Tropez.

  • I was passing this around, citing #15 and asking for lunch dates. No takers! I'm a little confused, actually. (I also like #12. RAWR!)

  • A pal brought me a teeny tiny glass ladybug back from a recent trip. Luck + thoughtfulness + wee size + shiny? WIN. It's adorable. 
And here's a few things I'm grateful for today:
  1. A surprise magazine subscription from a thoughtful friend.
  2. Tassel caps. It's cold enough that I might've slept in one last night.
  3. Fleece.
  4. Tea. I had no fewer than 6 cups today, and I'm not done. 
  5. Rejection. It doesn't happen often, maybe because I don't put myself out there enough anymore. But sometimes the perspective, while painful and embarrassing, is pretty valuable.
Stay warm, kittens.

1.21.2013

Project Anti-Kielbasa

It's January! And that means that I'm looking and feeling a little more like a kielbasa than I'd like. Pants are tight, I've got bags under my eyes, and I feel generally gross.

This is part of that yearly cycle that I expect...it's almost comforting. It's that time of year when I decide to find my discipline muscle and exercise it a little bit. This year, staring down the arrival of a big, round birthday (gulp) instead of going whole-hog from January 1, falling off the wagon by January 15th and then resigning myself to buying bigger clothes? I'm trying to build momentum.

The first week of January? Cut out the sugar in my morning coffee.
The second week? Try to ingest more veggies. (They're difficult for me...if I could live on cheese and grains and wine I'd be a CHAMP. But I know they're good for me, so here goes.)
The third week? Track all the food that goes into the hopper.

The two other loose 'rules' for this spring are:

  • Exercise at least 4 times a week. (Sometimes that means 2x a day to make it happen. And I'm not allowed to count dog walks towards that number.)
  • Wine rationing. Ok when out with friends, less ok when home. Because, as much as I love cooking and having a glass of wine, one often turns to two, and then why not have half a candy bar with the dregs of that second glass? Chocolate and wine are pals!


I've found a yoga class that is ass-kicking (power vinyasa with a girl who is not afraid to make me work...the only other time I've been this sore after yoga was the private ashtanga lessons I took in Pittsburgh!), and that I'm committed to attending. Running and Spartacus-ing(? gulp) and eating more veg and less sugar...that's the general plan.

As a general warning? I'm going to bitch about it in this very space. I have such a difficult time reading the weight-loss stories that are all peaches and cream, "I decided to do it, and I did! It was as easy as sneezing -the weight just fell right off!"

That, my friends, is fiction.

So I'll kvetch from time to time about the injustice of cold lettuce on colder days, about those lucky beeyatches with metabolisms like greyhounds, about the ridiculous deliciousness of any number of things that I am actively trying to avoid. I am going to take my first-ever 'before' photo (which will obviously not be something I share. Ew.).

And, come that big round birthday? I'm going to look foxy.

1.16.2013

Taking solace in bad poetry magnets.

You know those days?

When the cold rain doesn't seem to ever stop, when the chill seeps into your bones?
When the little pick-me-ups that usually change your mood lose their magic?
When even good news is received guardedly, and bad news seems to be some kind of relief?
(Because, honestly, that's what you've been expecting all along.)

I've been singing Ani DiFranco's Done Wrong (over and over again) in my head for what seems like years.

I got a flu shot.
I gave up wine.
I gave up sugar.
I gave up exercising.
I took up wine again.

My heart told me one thing.
My head said the opposite.

My mom agreed with my head.
My husband agreed with my head.
My colleagues agreed with my head.
My friends agreed with my head.

My heart.
My heart is broken and indignant and desperate.

So I sit on the couch, evening news muted, playing out like a voracious too-bright silent film.
Warmed up lasagna, wine in a coffee cup.
Listening to the dog bark at something and nothing and maybe everything.

My heart.
My heart is broken.

*****
Boy, feeling powerless really is the most difficult thing to feel, isn't it? Skipping the 5 tonight, It'll be back soon. In the meantime? Here's a picture of a beluga whale.


1.11.2013

Looking ahead.

Boo and his turtle looking at something interesting
This week will likely be known as The Week That Kicked My Ass.

Really, I just couldn't get myself together. Sure, I started strong, working out like a fiend to try to create a Salubrious Bubble to keep any of the local influenza strains (Swine Flu! Norovirus!) that my colleagues and pals are peddling out of my body.

But soon thereafter I found myself just treading water, fighting (unsuccessfully) the urge to go to bed at 9:30pm and the Call of the Critters at 5:30am. Reading snippets of everything. Thinking in that spacey, how-do-I-do-this kind of way that is more akin to the movements of washing machines than forward motion.

Why?

First full week back at work, sure. Lots of things to start but deadlines are a few weeks away...plenty of time, right? (The procrastination gene runs strong in me...)

The real culprit? I'm trying to rewrite my NaNoWriMo story. And the editing is taking WAY more brain cells than the writing did...I think because maybe I stopped writing one story halfway through and started another. And, because I've never written anything this long, let alone tried to make sense of it after the fact? Things are messy, the plot, the characters, it's all messy...messy like take-all-the-food-out-of-the-fridge-and-cupboards-and-smash-it-on-the-kitchen-floor kind of messy. And I spend all of this time thinking about what I should do...but there are so many options that I haven't actually settled on one.

I think what will likely happen is that I'll take the first few segments, and then start writing a different story. I'm going to Frankenstein the shit out of this thing. (Is 'to Frankenstein' a verb? Can we make it one?) It's going to take some serious restructuring and chopping and - gads - character development.

But - and I'm going to make it public here - I've promised myself that I won't stop until I end up with something I'm proud of. That is (mostly) finished. That I'm not afraid to show to people.

Hold me accountable, please.

It's gonna happen.

(No bets on the timeline, though.)

In other news? I got a haircut today from a new stylist, and it turned out pretty well. (In one breath she scolded me for shampooing every day, and then suggested I go platinum for the summer. I might be in love.) I got my world rocked by this quartet and this guy, playing a piece that we commissioned. I went out with the girls on two (count 'em, TWO) weeknights this week. I bought books and this program that will likely suck all of the free time out of my free time. I'm starting to get my creative mojo back a little bit, and it feels really good. I started a writing group, and was totally floored by the beauty and the honesty of the writing and the feedback - it's my new favorite thing.

So, even though it's felt like a wash? It's been a pretty good week, looking back.

My five:
1. Text messages. I know, I know, they're killing communication yada yada yada. But I love 'em.
2. Brilliant playing. I'm humbled to be in a room with ensembles who communicate so beautifully without a single word.
3. Heated seats. The new car is da shiz.
(Wait. I don't think anyone says that anymore. It's awesome - you understand that, right?)
4. Trust. Putting my hair in a stranger's hands? Exhilarating.
5. The simple pleasure of a cat curled up on my lap.




1.07.2013

Overdoing

I hit a point every winter where my pants don't fit.

I don't get as upset as I used to about it...heck, the whole reason it happens is because I spend the fall eating my way around the country, making it back home just in time for Thanksgiving and Polish Christmas (I don't know where the Poles found all of that butter, but I swear everything we eat is sauteed in the stuff...and it is SO GOOD). I eat and drink well, spend time with family and friends...the concentrated social aspect is justification for the indulgence, and I'm totally over beating myself up for it.

That being said, I'd really like my pants to fit again.

So, in a valiant effort to reboot? I jogged (easy 2 miles) on Sunday morning. Brunch with the girls, and an evening power yoga class. Two in one day! Rawr!

But that's not all - this morning, when the cat woke me up at 5:30am (little bastard) I decided to bite the bullet. That's right...I headed back to the gym.

(It seemed like a great idea at the time.)

Fast forward 16 hours later. I am a chilly lump, even with the cat on my lap. Only about 10 minutes away from my pjs and a hot cuppa, I'm feeling pretty victorious with the last 24 hours even as I wonder how I'm going to haul my sore muscles up the stairs...and the thought of doing it again tomorrow? Ouff...seems well nigh impossible.

But I'm feeling better for having shaken things up a little bit...for having reined in some of the holiday's excesses, and having found a new outlet for, well, a bit of excess.

My five:

  1. Wool insoles. 
  2. Almond steamers. Dessert in a cup.
  3. Quinoa and over-easy eggs.
  4. Stories written by friends.
  5. Accomplishment.