• I've lost track of days. Today is Monday, by the calendar. By my body clock it's more like the second Tuesday of the week, or Wednesday-and-a-half. Time in late July gets weird - both sticky and slippery all at once.
  • Speaking of days of the week, I started re-reading The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy last night. I learned two things - first that Neil Gaiman (!) wrote Don't Panic, which makes me adore him even more, if it were at all possible. And secondly, that Thursdays are difficult across the galaxy, and not just for me. 
  • Usually in late July I'm super touchy - overextended, feeling uncared for, watching balls and spinning plates drop all over creation, and wholly overtired. I'm there this year - don't get me wrong - but somehow slightly less-so. The weather has been positively autumnal, and I've been able to get out for two good runs in the last four days, which always helps with my mental neighborhood. 
  • The weather is taunting me a little bit, though...I'm starting to collate lists of things that I want to do once my time is more my own. Writing, exercising, cooking, less computer time, more face-to-face time.
  • I've been dreaming of road trips...a sign that my brain is tired of only driving to and from the office, with stops at the grocery store and 'bux. Sunny day, good playlist, time to stop at farmers markets and visit with friends before hitting my destination...sounds like a wonderful thing, doesn't it? I'm almost (almost) jealous of the singers and their road trips and caravans to their next project.
  • My house is a total pig sty. It's epic. So don't ask to visit, because no one's allowed inside for several weeks, until I can de-crust it. So. Gross. 
  • My bathroom is pristine, however, because I scoured it and then took a bath with one of these. And then slept like it was my JOB. (Waking up rested at 3am? Irritating, but also a little amazing. Especially when you can get back to sleep for several hours.)
  • In a few weeks I'll be needing epic amounts of inspiration. What books/websites/thoughts/ projects have you energized? Help me challenge my brain!
I'm loving that there's still summer left, and that I have time to hang with the wonderful singers and music staff and admin folks before they scatter. And I'm a little bit proud that I'm finding a way to claim a little bit of balance back into the summer routine. 

Hoping that your Monday feels a little more like Saturday eve or Wednesday afternoon than a traditional Monday.


turning point

There's a push, every summer, towards....something. The whole summer has its own direction - projects, personnel, critical mass.

But every summer I notice this very subtle point. The summer isn't over - there's still loads to do - but somehow things seem less breathless.

(It's a dangerous point, because we all seem to hit it at the same time...and that means that small things that we'd usually be on top of go skittering under the couch, to be found when they're least convenient.)

We're there. 

Somehow, the gauntlet of the last several weeks has been crossed. completed. conquered.

I can finally get out of my head enough to notice the amazing color of the sky when I walk the dog in the evenings. I spent a luxurious half-hour in the rehearsal room, listening to an aria that I've heard a MILLION times take on a new, shimmery glow. 

(Granted, I spent half the day apologizing for snapping at people and spilling diet cokes and unsnarling stupid last-minute issues.)

I'm a big fan of gray areas, and somehow I think this qualifies...cheers to late summer, to heavy humid evenings, to aha moments in rehearsals, to the cementing of young relationships. Yay for summer camp - regardless of age!


Sunday afternoon: Studio edition.

We've had a run of awesome performances at work over the last two weeks: performances at Walter Reed; an ethereal Carmina with the NSO; improv opera at Theater-in-the-Woods; a recital that was all about the number 13; and a huge, stupidly-hot, but transcendent Traviata with the NSO.

But today? Was the Studio Scenes program, and it's one of my favorite projects. This year we had 11 scenes ranging from Baroque (Serse) to Contemporary (Grapes of Wrath), and all kinds of fabulousness in between. The singers had a million other duties to see too during the rehearsal period, as well; it's a testament to their work ethic, creativity and good will that the afternoon was not just a success but a triumph.

Suffice it to say that these folks are some of my favorite people.
Bravi tutti.
(And y'all should sleep in tomorrow.)



When I lived and taught in Pittsburgh,I had a close pal who was a math teacher. We would start conversations talking about beautiful music, and would end them with him talking about beautiful math. Now, I struggled with the concept in the same way that I struggled with imaginary numbers: the mere string of words creates an oxymoron! But tonight, I daresay that I'd have to cede to his belief.

Starting with simple -math:
- 3 Filene Young Artists.
- 7 Studio Artists.
- 80 Choristers.
- 82 members of the National Symphony Orchestra.
- 1 talented mensch of a conductor.
- 3 preshow events.
- 2 postshow events.
- Several THOUSAND audience members.
- 3 stage managers
- 97 soul-sucking degrees (not to mention the humidity which I SWEAR hovered around 110%. 
       (I might be exaggerating, but only a bit...it was equal to Sweaty Todd conditions in 2011.)
- 4 cookies (no self-control. stress eating is alive and well in Virginia, my friends.).
- 4 piano moves.
- A gajillion stagehands.
- a metric shit-ton of sweat. Seriously, y'all, if you coulda measured it you would've been totally disgusted by the volume of water we all displaced during this week. I swear, I lost at least 5 pounds (was aiming for 17, but I'll talk what I can get!

And the after -math:
- 3 administrator wardrobe changes
- 4 pairs of shoes (2 that were even remotely appropriate)
- 7 glasses of ice water
- 5 trips to the plaza
- 1 rapturous crowd
- 10 sweet, buzzy singers
....and somehow, the rest doesn't translate into numbers.

The aftermath is, happily, not so easily summed up. We work for weeks - MONTHS - to put together a show that plays for just one night: there's only one opportunity to get things right. There's a lot of pressure on everyone when you've got just one shot, and the big and little things take on equal importance whether it's 1am and the work call for the overnight has just started or it's time to take your place for the first - and last - time in the run.

I won't lie: it's a pressure cooker. BUT I mean that in, really, the best way. I have colleagues who, when placed under pressure, shine up like new diamonds. They find time, they ask questions, they connect, they clarify. They do stupid things like move pianos and re-enact conversations and wonderful things like bringing cupcakes and telling personal stories in quiet moments backstage. They tell jokes, they're not above doling out parking justice when the occasion warrants, they share sandwiches and say "yes" when you ask them to do ridiculous things.

I am reminded, in epic fashion, how lucky I am to be surrounded by people who aspire to great art and strong collaboration. The next time I talk about playing the lottery, friends, please remind me that I've already won.

So. It's somewhere between 1 and 2am. I'm sitting here, in my air-conditioned house, a glass of wine on one side, a dog snoring with his schnozz stuck between two couch cushions. Bed is imminent, but I think I might stay up and bask in this glow for a while longer.

If you were involved in any way with this evening? I am grateful. Thank you. 


So, Monday.

Today was so weird. Good, but weird.

1. Went to a meeting in which I had nothing at all to contribute. (But that's ok - I like listening, and I'm happy to be the dumbest girl in the room because I learn a lot.)
2. Found that a potential big problem was actually no problem at all. Bonus: it was numbers/money related. (That's a big ol' win in my book!)
3. Celebrated a colleague's birthday with cake and singing. Because THAT is the Wolf Trap Way.
4. Came home to a care package from a pal on the West Coast!  Books on Paris and a laminated card  extolling my ninja skills. (nonexistent, but evidently still awesome.)
5. Sat & chatted with a pianist pal who I haven't seen in much too long. Good times!
6. Found out that I made it into a local professional development program. 
7. Successfully avoided all things soy and cake, while still eating/drinking deliciously.
8. Wore a necklace. (I do it maybe 4-6 times a year. They're just not my thing.)
9. Ate vegetables at all three meals. I might actually be a grown up! 
10. Sadly got a glimpse of a colleague's bare ass. Unintentionally. (Wow, do I really even need to add that qualifier?!?) Cover those bits & pieces, ladies and gents...because sometimes your colleagues can't unsee that shit, no matter how much they might wish they could.
11. Tried to solidify my reputation as a Candy Pusher. (C'mon man...you know these bon bons aren't gonna eat themselves...everybody's doing it. Just try one, that's all I'm asking...) I think it's going pretty well.

I'm on the porch, moments away from walking the dog around the block. There's a tornado watch to our east. I mistook a very large Japanese beetle for a cicada earlier today. A lovely breeze is wafting through the neighborhood. The cat is, generally, doing the opposite of what I hope he'll do (puking on the carpet, running away from me and then trying to get my attention by clawing on the window behind my head), but I've not been able to get reverse psychology to work on the little bastard. Both he and the dog are giddy that I've broken the ban on dairy products - more specifically, sharp cheddar cheese.  

Ok, so maybe the day was actually good and I'm the one who's weird. 

(Totally OK with that.)