Friday, January 29, 2010

Friday= Weekend in sight

I'm so looking forward to this weekend. It's ridiculous. I just think it will be full of fun things, and even though we know that staying in the present moment is best, a little anticipation is awesome. As a good friend said to me just this afternoon: " I need a martini RIGHT NOW!" I agree. It would get the party started. :)

Tonight, I am going to the grocery store and then having girls' night in with myself because I am exhausted. I will open a bottle of wine with myself, and watch Sex and the City for hours with myself. I love being alone but it has been a long week without seeing much of my hard-working husband who is also currently preparing for a performance this weekend. But I console myself with my aunt's classic saying: there is nothing worse for a marriage than spending too much time together. So, if that's the case, then we are going to have one heck of a solid bond. :)

Tomorrow, my fellow singers for an upcoming gig are coming over to discuss our little staging, and I am making (read: attempting to make) cinnamon rolls for them. They deserve it. Oh boy, I am nervous. I hope they come out okay.

Sunday-- I look forward to the always interesting succession of church jobs, and each interesting situation that arises...then, off to Joe's performance and the champagne reception after. I don't know which I am looking forward to more: his mellifluous playing or the champagne. I think we are both actually pretty stoked for the champagne. Then, when we get home, my sister Rachel will have arrived. I am really excited. It will almost make it seem as though the worst week of the semester were not beginning on Monday! Yes-- this weekend is much like my last meal before execution. Not for a week and a half will I be able to think straight, starting monday. Good thing I've mostly learned my part for my gig!

It is so very cold and all I can think about is the roasted potatoes with bacon I'm making for dinner and the couch and my little cats...and how nice it would be if working fireplaces weren't outlawed in rental properties in Baltimore. But it's okay. I've got my wine to keep me warm.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Ah, Sally. How I love thee. It's been awhile since I've talked about Sally, my therapist, and with good reason. I was becoming more sane there for awhile, and needed tune-ups less frequently. But now, it seems, I am crazy again. :) I'm okay with that, in all honesty-- since they always say that the craziest of the crazies have no idea they're crazy. So I think I am at the low end of the crazy scale?????

At any rate, the quotable quote from today's session:

"When we spend too much time thinking about the future we diffuse the energy we need for right now."

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Watching youtube clips of the fourth act of La Bohème with Cortrubas and Pavarotti that remind me why I want to be a singer. And Gheorghiu is unreal too.

Thank god for Youtube. :)

Monday, January 25, 2010

Monday: I fixed the link!!

You must all absolutely read THIS immediately if not sooner.

This blog is an amazing resource, and I'll be damned if this amazing post didn't really brighten up my Monday!

Sunday, January 24, 2010


Today is the first Sunday since before Christmas that I have done a full day of services! Whew! It's over! I am drinking red wine! I am reading a very thick polictical biography! I am mentally preparing myself for the new episode of Big Love tonight!!!! But, oh my, I am so thankful for my church jobs...without them I would really be broke. And that is so not cool.

I had a lot of fun yesterday judging the singing competition. I am really proud of the training that singers get even in highschool these days! Damn, I wish I had had the poise and control and language skills some of those young ladies had when I was their age. I'm pretty sure that I was a wreck in those days, although, who knows. And then, I was more of a pianist than singer...Maybe I just felt like a wreck inside...doesn't everyone when they're in highschool? Little did I know that in just a couple years, I would be in a piano program in college wanting to die and realizing that it was really SINGING I wanted to pursue. Soon I would quit the naughty smoking, start taking diet pills and working out like a fiend, cry nearly daily on my long-suffering voice teacher's shoulder, and opera workshop myself right into a total obsession classical singing...and all while having life-altering crushes on the wrongest of the wrong boys. And we haven't even begun to discuss grad school.

In other non-singing related news, because I lead such a riveting life: I made a new soup tonight from Cooking Light, and it was amazing.

Enjoy the night before Monday!

Thursday, January 21, 2010


What a fun day yesterday was-- lunch with Ms. N, dinner with a couple of my other favorite people (they know who they are!), and now I'm back to work wearing plum-colored tights. So it's a good day. I'm excited for the weekend, too, with the exception of the moderate dread I feel about the church music I desperately need to learn for Sunday...this is one of the downsides of being a soloist. You have to really WORK for your money! :) Tomorrow, audition, and then I am looking forward to spending some time with my mom afterward. Now that we don't live in the same city, it's harder to make it happen, so I appreciate it more. Saturday, I'm judging a competition for high school singers, which I'm really excited about.

When I am having those waves of self-doubt that come up every once in a while, or things are getting dramatic in my family, or you name it is getting me down, I pretty much can only muster the energy to curl up on the couch and watch endless seasons of Sex and the City. I get in a place where I just don't want to be social. But if the past couple days have taught me anything, it's that while being alone sometimes is important, spending time with the people I love and trust is way better, and even if it's hard to get to that point of actually making the plans, it's important to do, because FUN is important! You would think I would have learned this by now. FUN is important!

So now I am in the mood to go dancing. If only that whole singing thing didn't require being impossibly fresh, gorgeous and well-rested and hydrated! One of these days, though, I am going to throw caution to the wind and stay out nearly all night like I used to, just being my crazy, pre-singing self.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


"But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?"

The King James Bible

So, sisters, put on your FM pumps and your make-up, get the girls up there, and go to that audition. Just do it, even if you think you've auditioned yourself right into the ground.

Sending all of you love.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Saturday Soul Searching

Sometimes I just cannot believe the ways the universe sends me little messages, to keep going, that every thing's going to be okay, don't give up the ship, you don't totally suck, etc. This week, my message came in the form of the preview to Kelly Cutrone's new book "If You're Going to Cry, Go Outside." Oddly appropriate.

I like bad ass women, the kind who are brutally honest and sometimes yell at people for being stupid. Okay, well, I like reading their books and watching them on TV, maybe not living with or seeing them on a daily basis, that might change my tune. But I think it's because there is a part of me that wants to believe I could DO that if I were ever in a position to need to do some ass-kicking. I don't like to have my own ass kicked, really, but it would be cool to be so evolved that you felt like you were wise enough to do it to others.

At any rate, after reading the beginnings of a couple of chapters, I'm pretty sure it's a book I need to own, and unfortunately, it also looks like her show is another I'll be addicted to on Bravo. But for once, I might actually learn something from TV, besides random facts that I can never use and people just think I'm weird for knowing. Like last night I was talking about the Saxe-Coburg family and hemophilia in the royal families of Europe and Russia, and then went off on a tangent about the mystical monk Rasputin, and only the people who had seen Anastasia knew even remotely what the hell I was talking about. It was embarrassing, but, again...true to form, I digress. The point I was trying to make is that Kelly, my new hero, has written a book about women, our intuition, our inner voice-- the soul that tells us what we REALLY want, versus what is expected of us by society, by family, by friends, and how to listen to it. It's not about being the smartest, the prettiest, or the most talented-- it seems like it might be about having the courage to TRY to do the thing you really love doing. That having the fortitude to give it a try, knowing that failure is a very real possibility, is as much a part of building yourself to the point where it can happen, as believing that it will. That also, failure, if it comes, is often the death that leads to the rebirth you need to point you in your next direction, and that you will know what it is when you see it.

Maybe people don't care as much as I think they do, and it is my own neurotic brain telling me stories (another voice I need to stop listening to), but I have always felt that everyone at large would feel better if I married a rather well-off man and settled in for a life of teaching and singing here and there and having three kids and a dog and all while living in an upper middle class suburb in a lovely house with landscaping. I totally get that. It actually sounds like a great life. Financial security sounds really awesome. I know lots of people that have that, and I love them, and I love it FOR them. At least I would know I was safe, and relatively taken care of, but I doubt it would make me less crazy. And I know I would have regrets.

But what I'm starting to realize is that having doubt about following a path is not a sign to go in a different direction. It's a natural feeling to have sometimes, to wonder what the hell am I doing getting on this bus for the fortieth time this year. I don't REALLY want to do this right now, do I? I'm tired. I just had rehearsal for something else, and getting dressed and made up and putting my ass on a bus for an audition is the last thing I feel like doing at the moment. Would I like to spend my money on going to get a massage and my nails done instead of a bus ticket and practice room and a slice of pizza on the way home? Yes! But the fact that I don't is a sure sign that I'm not ready to to go back to grad school and get that psychology degree (mental health-- now that would be a hell of a profession for moi). I don't want to. I want to keep singing, even when I don't want to keep singing. Being a singer may hurt a lot sometimes, but I'd rather have it in my life than live without real passion for something, and I can't think of anything else I feel this way about.

So for now, I remain, your soprano who steps out. Once in a while. Mostly I just go to work and go to auditions.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Tuesday: Back in the Saddle

Are the holidays over yet? It's like I woke up from a long intense crazy dream complete with the strange dream hangover feeling. I laughed, I cried, I steamed, I sang, I cooked, I drank, I ATE, and most of all: I TRAVELLED. It has been the drivingest month and a half of my life.

I have to admit that part of me is really glad to be back to relative normalcy. Although I was mildly offended when my sister referred to Joe and I as "normal people," I suppose despite the fact that we are a mostly broke pianist and singer who have a lot of trouble deciding between groceries and the next audition application, there are some really normal things about us. Although when I think about it, perhaps that is not a question of normal, it is really more like a question of stupid :). For instance, I like to cook dinner. We have two fantastic cats that are as good or better than kids. We would like a vacation on a tropical beach as much as one to Prague. We are never too good for a little cheesy TV-- like, say, The Bachelor. And then, of course, there is the Sunday Night Football.

I think maybe being normal can be a good thing. But it is so much more delightful to stand out in the crowd a bit. I actually LIKE it when someone says they could tell just by looking at me that I am a singer.

The Met Competition went well. It was a personal triumph for me in a couple of ways, despite the fact that I did not advance.
As I was standing backstage, waiting to sing on Saturday, despite the fact that I was well-rehearsed and felt very prepared to sing the rep I was about to sing, I could feel the familiar feeling of freaking out beginning to seep in. There was a huge audience, and a large hall, and some AMAZING competitors, and I could feel all the moisture starting to just drain from my throat. And I just told myself, what the hell, Jessica, this is ridiculous. Please! Get it together, this is a great chance to just SING to people, and to perform on a stage, which you LOVE to do. DO NOT let your mind get in your way.
And I didn't. I really went in nailed it. And the AD of a regional opera company came up to me afterward to give me his card and congratulate me on my performance. And all the Met Guild ladies loved me! It was heartening. Unlike the always stressing judges comments, despite their kind demeanor and the nice things they said. We all know that the nice stuff gets forgotten when you hear X needs to be addressed if you want to be really competitive. Do I want to be? Yes. Did I want to just quit for a good 24 hours after? Yes. Did it feel a lot like a member of my family had died? Yes. But there is always wine.

Now I am back here, practicing again, for the next audition on Sunday, and then the next the following week, and then performances, and so on. I have things to work on, but I knew that. I am the one who is the hardest on me. And going forward, I have every good feeling about the great things 2010 will bring.