Monday, November 23, 2009

things I like

because I have had one too many berry mai-tais:

1. Berry Mai-Tais!
2. The commercial with the Bach prelude from the first cello sonata
3. Hip-Hop anthems and the bravado that I feel while listening to them
4. Football???? who knew. I really am starting to like it, and I know Melanie will laugh and say it is stupid! :) It may mostly rest on the fact that a lot of the boys are cute.
5. Singing things like Butterfly or Liu and dreaming of it being for real
6. Advent, because it is the season of new beginnings, and then there is Christmas at the end
7. Good bread...not the dumb kind in printed plastic bags
8. Facebook: if you need to reach me with a super important message, please write me there, as I check it every seven minutes and am not ashamed to admit it. Okay, maybe a little ashamed.
9. Handel, especially at the holidays because it is spritely
10.When I know I have lots of exciting shows to watch on DVR


I can't believe I wasted a whole pork loin, a pound of mushrooms and six dollars on an absolutely horrific recipe. There were certain people I thought I could trust, like Martha and Ina. But it appears Martha, or whoever is running her recipe writing racket, because it couldn't possibly be her, with all the country homes and things she is constantly winterizing and spring cleaning, sorely transgressed against her readers with the recipe I tried the other night. Ina, for the record is still about 10-0, flawless as usual. Well, Martha is now I think like 5-1. The pork thing was nothing short of a disgusting disaster. I mean, we ate it. I like rinsed off the meat and put it in between two slices of bread with mayonnaise and it was edible. But these things really make me want to scream. They are disappointing and embarrassing and a waste of ingredients and aaaaughhhh!!!!!!! So I thought about what went wrong, and really nothing did-- I prepared it just as the recipe said I should. But I think I may have discovered an abiding dislike for sun-dried tomatoes. So that is another thing I can check off the list.

I did make one heck of a good dessert, though, to compensate for my losses-- a super easy and delightfully chocolatey pots de creme from a food blogger who is apparently brilliant. Oh my god this stuff is pure heavenly divinity.

Lest you think all I do is cook and eat (let's be honest, I do a lot of that), I also had quite a bit to drink with my darling friend who came into town to do a few auditions. Something about seeing a friend from a really different part of your life is so fun, and refreshing, especially realizing how far you both have come, and what has been accomplished. It's really rare to have a friend like this one, though, who you haven't seen in five years, and can pick up with like no time has passed.

With the operas and all, it was a very intense weekend, and I basically fell asleep last night at 8:30 pm, after my poor sad Ravens fan returned from the game and we wandered to a pub to get something for dinner. I think it's safe to say I'm ready for a few days off!

Friday, November 20, 2009


Well, I survived work last night, and we've only one more to go, at least for me. Other people have to work the other performances. Whew. When I came home all I could think about was food. Cheese, noodles, bread, basically anything with cheese or carbs was all I could think about. I think working out in the afternoon must do that to a girl.

Ms. A and I were out to lunch the other day and were discussing pre-audition rituals, things we need, things that distract us, etc. It's particularly thrilling, since I'm always coming in from a three-hour ride in a vehicle, when an audition is in a studio at which I can rent a practice room to get dressed and properly warm up. That helps a lot. But the chattering thing outside the audition room is counter-productive for me-- everyone is nice, I have rarely had bad experiences with people trying to psych each other out, but A. mentioned, and I'm totally with her, what I need is time to THINK to myself about what is going on here. What I am doing. Who I am about to become as an actress. What my goals are for this particular opportunity. So, maybe the i-pod is our solution! And hey it doesn't hurt to listen to something that gets you a little pumped up about singing, almost as though you were not about to bare your soul and risk the public display of all your vocal flaws in the space of five minutes.

Here is my feel-good audition play list:

1. Beautiful, Akon
2. We're in the Money, 42nd Street, Original Cast Recording
3. Poker Face, Lady Gaga
4. Tubthumping, Chumbawamba
5. All the above, Maino with T. Pain
6. Us, Regina Spektor
7. Here I come, Fergie
8. Imma Star (Everywhere we are), Jeremih
9. Ray of Light, Madonna
10. Like a prayer, Madonna
11. Ave Maria, Franz Biebl, Robert Shaw Singers
12. In the Mood, Glenn Miller Orchestra
13. Jump, Flo Rida
14. Блажен муж (Blessed is the man), Rachmaninoff's Vespers, Robert Shaw Singers

Thursday, November 19, 2009


It's opera week here, and life is a little more frenetic-- I have a couple of fourteen hour days ahead of me, but the awesome part about this week is that next week is Thanksgiving. And I am so excited about that, and getting away, and being in warm weather. Having a grandmother in Florida is lovely.

I got down to real brass tacks this week with my score study for an upcoming role, and it was so fun. I really like the processes involved in learning a role. I like the language part, the rhythm part, and especially the singing part. It's the most exciting thing when you realize how perfectly the music and the words/action of the scene match, and have a "moment" with the composer. We've all worked on piece before which we feel maybe wasn't a great setting of the text, or is awkward to sing, so it makes it even more meaningful to sing the really great stuff.

What's really scary, folks, is that Christmas is upon us, and I have to start thinking about parties and gifts, which I love, obviously. I adore Christmas, but I was in a bit of a negative downward spiral about my particular situation this year-- some significant changes in our families, and the fact that we won't have time to really be all together. I have been truly independent, especially since I moved back East for grad school, and never was one to call her mom every day or even week, or talk to my siblings often on the phone, like my cousins all do. I think I am a little bit envious of that, and I realize more this year than ever how important having a sense of close family ties is to me, despite the fact that differences between us may make it impossible. The great thing is that we've always been able to put the weird stuff aside and have a really good time together during the holidays, and I worry that we won't have that chance this year. Now this is the part that is going to sound really cheesy: I was listening to Oprah Radio the other day. Yes I was. And a couple of her favorite spiritual teacher types were on, talking about bringing more spirit and less stress to the holidays. And the part that I found really comforting was when the moderators of the show took time to remind everyone that Christmas, and all the holidays at this time of year are about finding peace. Peace, Joy, and Love in the midst of chaos. They are a reminder that out of the most difficult and ridiculously painful situations come decidedly beautiful things. I mean, it couldn't have been great fun to give birth to a baby with no epidural in a dirty, straw and manure filled stable, or cave, or whatever they've now decided it was.

That is why I cannot completely embrace the idea that "good" or what our brains process as happiness, bliss or euphoria, is the way we should feel all the time-- yes,okay, so being suicidal really is bad, and you would want to get help, and start some meds or something if it were that pronounced, and, I do believe that keeping a positive outlook is absolutely the most important thing you can do for your body and mind. BUT that is a whole lot easier when you realize that "good" is a much bigger idea than feeling good. What is good? I've heard being in labor is pretty darn "bad" but then you get a baby! And I know first hand that working out really sucks, and I definitely feel absolutely terrible while I'm doing it-- but then you get to be skinny! I've been through some truly icky things in my past, and some of it was pretty darn embarrassing stuff, but I like to think that the things I learned about myself, and the people the situations led me to, were worth it in the end.

While being an emerging artist in this country at this moment, who really NEEDS an opportunity to "emerge" is feeling a little challenging (understatement of the century), for me, the key to holding it all together is the strong belief that there is a place for me in the world of singing, and hard work pays off.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


"Hope" is the thing with feathers—
That perches in the soul—
And sings the tune without the words—
And never stops—at all—

And sweetest—in the Gale—is heard—
And sore must be the storm—
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm—

I've heard it in the chillest land—
And on the strangest Sea—
Yet, never, in Extremity,
It asked a crumb—of Me.

Emily Dickinson

This week has flown by, as things start to heat up at work, and life is altogether busier. I have been very fortunate to be getting some auditions, and so the scheduling is becoming a little wild...New York to Philadelphia, back again...but I am so excited. It makes me feel very singerish, and as if I am part of the big gigantic rat race nightmare bloodletting that we call audition season. Now that I have two perfect audition dresses and hot shoes, I am ready to take on the world. My really nice husband has taken the time to work through an aria or two with me most nights, and that is helping so much to keep things in shape.

For some reason, Rusalka's aria is absolutely impossible for me to memorize. Okay, well, I can get all the words right if I am completely focusing on remembering all the words, but we know that this is not exactly the way it is supposed to go in auditions. I need it to BE THERE. Usually memorization is never a problem for me, and it is one of the things I rarely (knock on wood) have trouble with in performances and audition, so I'm getting a little frustrated with this aria. I was just remembering that in grad school I used to learn my rhythms and texts while on the treadmill, and somehow it really helped me to cement it in my order to take my mind off the pain of running, I suppose I probably was able to focus unusually well on the rhythms and texts. I think I should try that again.

I haven't been out to eat in a while, and I am excited to join Ms. M for dinner tomorrow night in the faraway lands of western Maryland. Although, I am starting to believe that lots of restaurants would have a hard time living up to a couple of the recipes I've tried lately-- a broccoli soup to die for and a very simple preparation of ravioli with spinach and bacon that was another one of those "last meal" kind of moments. I take none of the can't have anything to do with my cooking abilities... these recipes are the easiest of the easy. The creativity and skill involved in coming up with a good recipe is a pretty amazing talent.

Speaking of food, Thanksgiving is almost here...and I am going to my grandmother's. Just another reason to work out like it's my job.

Thursday, November 05, 2009


It's the simple things in life.

Yes, and I can tell you that I have never been so thrilled over what is basically a ham and cheese sandwich as I was last night with the most delicious croque monsieur in the whole universe. As I was carefully cutting it with a knife and fork, and slowly savoring each bite, I solemnly said to Joe, "I would like a croque monsieur and pomme frites to be my last meal."

I saved half. It will never be as good heated up in the oven, but even if it is half as good, I will be a happy camper.

I love the feeling of being just knocked on my ass by how good something is. Like you almost couldn't even believe pleasure like that still existed in the world. Kind of like Monday night when I was driving to my lesson and listened to Rachmaninoff's Vespers for the first (gasp!) time in my life. Pure heaven, and especially the recording I had with the Robert Shaw singers. And this year, because of Joe, I came to know and begin to understand the last piano sonata of Beethoven, Op. 111-- another shockingly good and satisfying musical event. As a foodie and a musician, I feel like I am lucky because there is always something new to taste and something new to hear, and even in old familiar recipes and pieces, you find new things sometimes, or hear or taste it in a new way that just gives you the chills.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009


Well, I'm proud to report that I think I AM actually beginning to see results from the time I've been spending at the gym, and even if I am the only one who notices, it's still so worth it. In addition to the working out, Joe and I are trying to be really choosy about eating unprocessed food, and organic vegetables and fruit if we can possibly afford it week to week. But the bottom line is that eating vegetables that are contaminated are I guess ?? better than eating none at all. And my recent trip to Whole Foods just depressed the living day-lights out of me in terms of just what I can actually afford. The fact that I cook so much, and that we eat virtually no prepared food helps matters a lot. I cringe when I think about all those lean cuisines in my past...ohhhh boy.

The results of my tireless lesson-going I think might also be paying off (in some small way) too, as I can feel my voice growing and becoming more solid every day. They say he cells of our bodies regenerate themselves every seven years, and so it is almost like we are constantly becoming new people...I know it is true for my vocal cords...they feel so different than the memory I have of when I first got out of grad school with no middle and a dying top.

I have stopped wasting my time worrying about the application fees, for today at least, and am ready to send off a few more apps today. I feel like I should pray over each one as it goes out or something, though. I will simply stop applying when I run out of money!

Tonight, we're going out to dinner, which seems almost criminal based on the awesome leftovers we have from last night's slow-cooker extravaganza. But sometimes a girl just needs to have an excuse to look hot...wait, I never need an excuse to get dressed up... which leads me to my next exciting directive for this weekend: MUST buy something for myself to wear. I've been such a good little organizer and have completely rid myself of countless things that were just clogging up the closet works, and now I realize why I kept all that stuff-- to make me feel like I had some clothes! I was watching this season of the Rachel Zoe Project, and it's reminding me of all the fabulous clothing in the world. Which is precisely the reason I watch it-- I get inspired, both to take the time to be pretty, and to not EVER, ever talk in the horrifically annoying way Rachel Zoe does, or be whiny like Taylor. But I love Brad supremely, so he is the other reason.

Today, it is sunny and cold, just like I like fall to be, and it's almost lunch time. Life is good.

Monday, November 02, 2009


Happy Monday!

I am back from the long weekend of in-laws and eating out...I think I have gained 20 lbs. But hey!

This post cheered me so, if only to feel like someone sympathizes, as I once again hopefully opened my email this morning...

The extra hour of sleep is starting to do it's magic and I can feel my spirits rising...and tonight I have a lesson!