Monday, October 31, 2011

Monday: Best Costume Award

This costume is my favorite from the fashion blogs I love to peruse. From this lovely post at B. Jones Style!

I, however, will be trick-or-treating with one of my favorite little boys and his mother tonight in a princess fairy get up from CVS that is rather lack-luster. Sigh. If only I had had a bit more time this weekend to work this whole Halloween thing through.

Survival Sunday: How to not die

1. Do set your alarm clock fifteen minutes earlier even though it is painful.

2. Do not hesitate to ask your husband to make you coffee, even if it means he has to get up as early as is not the time for selflessness.

3. Plan ahead by packing a very serviceable but sadly not at all tasty peanut butter sandwich on wheat bread because your stomach is sure to start growling half way through that second rehearsal.

4. Screw blowdrying. A neat ponytail is just fine.

5. Opaque black tights: warm, slimming, and go with absolutely everything I own. Also, all black is the best policy when pressed for time. I just don't have the energy sometimes to try to mix and match and wearing color stresses me out.

6. Avoid mother-in-laws when first arriving home from long day, as things might accidentally slip out of your mouth that you do not mean. Or maybe you do mean them. Either way.

7. Best technique for avoiding saying the wrong thing is just to immediately stuff mouth with food upon walking in the door. Cookies, chips, whatever is there. Although what I really wanted was a grilled cheese.

8. Last and very most important aspect of post intense day recovery: wine. And a lot of it.

Thank you. Goodbye.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Frivolous Friday: inspiration

This was particularly inspiring to me today! Now, if I could just stop eating altogether so that I could be her size! I say, as I tuck into my 7-Eleven bag of gummi worms. Not worth it. The clothes are pretty fab, though!

Here's a sneak peak!

Monday, October 24, 2011


This weekend was devoted to time with my cousin and her fabulous boyfriend. They came to stay with us, and we had a fantastic time doing FUN stuff-- almost a full day and a half of nothing but fun. We went to dinner, we took the water taxi, we walked, we ate a ton, we drank chardonnay (duh).

I had an audition yesterday, along with the usual two church services, and I had been worried about having a day of bacchanalia right before having so much singing. I almost asked my cousin to postpone the trip and come another time. But we looked at calendars and realized there was virtually no other weekend that looked good.

Then I realized something: What the heck was I thinking? Am I really going to allow singing a five minute audition to influence my life this drastically? Is it more important than taking a little time (it's not like it was a week) to laugh, play games, and just spend time with a person who has always been there for me throughout my life?

So, I drank tons of water in between the chardonnay, and besides having to pee a lot, I went on with my weekend of fun, having made the decision NOT TO WORRY ABOUT THE SINGING PART. So I spent the weekend really being in the moment, and had a wonderful time. I just told myself that things like this are going to come up in my life, and I have to learn how to make being a singer fit in around the other things that are important.

It was an interesting thing, to be honest. I had to think about my priorities.

Confession: thinking about singing nearly consumes me. I think about my voice in the morning, all day, and at night. It influences what I eat and drink, and what I wear, and where I go. But I know that I would not be happy if my relationship with my vocal cords was the only one I was successful at maintaining. Relationships with people have to come first, singing second. And when I think about what that actually means, it's kind of sobering.

What it means is that I have to be very disciplined in my life, and very choosy about how I spend my time. It means that I have to keep only a small group of friends and family close, and ration time on other things sparingly. I do not have the time I once did to spend going out, shopping, hanging out with people that are merely acquaintances. My practice time and my time with Joe are sacred, and the more each of us work (and that is a good thing...I think), the less there is of it, and the more important it becomes to be one hundred percent THERE when we have it, not worrying about not enjoying myself because I have to sing the next day. Okay, so I have to have one less glass of wine, or drink a gallon of extra water.

I surprised myself with how not freaked out I was yesterday, despite the challenges of the schedule, the fact that I hadn't slept well...etc. I went to church, I was there. I went to the second church, I was there. I went to the audition, I was there. When I got home I collapsed into the recliner exhausted, because I had really given one hundred percent to each thing that day, each experience that weekend. It was so great! I learned a lot.

And I have a call back tonight! So there you have it.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Frivolous Friday: here I go again

Okay, so I just read this very intriguing post on Tim Smith's blog.

And I'll be darned if I'm not inspired. The truth is, I won't be able to attend opening night of the new opera company here in Charm City because I've got another performance to attend, but you can bet I'll be dressed up for that.

I relish glamour, fun shoes, jewelry-- real or otherwise, and while I'm kind of of the school of thought that there is never a good reason NOT to look hot (okay, well, I'm not at my hottest in yoga class, admittedly), if there ever was a good reason, it's going out to hear something as fabulous as an opera. Why are we not waiting with bated breath for opportunities to wear our loveliest things? Why would we wear jeans or slorish clubbing clothing if we could wear dresses, suits, gorgeous shoes? I have a feeling that I'm preaching to the choir here, but, holy moly sometimes I question why...why...why would you wear that? To THIS? Is it a Jersey Shore Reunion? Are we at the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders try outs? Did we shop in the juniors section by accident again? There is no law against wearing a skirt that is at the knee or below. There is also no law against wearing the proper undergarments. Yes, spanx do kind of hurt, as do high heels, and wearing hose is not as pleasurable as say...eating an icecream cone. But how can you really appreciate your sweatpants if you never suffer a little for fashion?


Because I don't have anything brilliant to say, and not that I ever really do, here's a quote that I love for your Friday:

If we are facing in the right direction, all we have to do is keep on walking.
~Buddhist Saying

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Why do I ever worry about a thing? It is so ridiculous, when I observe how unbelievably well the universe has cared for me. I am convinced I am married to the world's greatest person, I have grown exponentially in the past few years, I am doing more and more of what I really want to be doing, and I have amazing friends.

As my amazing guru/yoga teacher Brianna would say: "Just for today, be thankful."

I am so thankful.

Monday, October 17, 2011


I've been rushing around like a mad woman the past few weeks, and it's left my voice haggard and my skin disastrous. It was a gorgeous day yesterday-- I probably should have been outside doing something, well...outdoorsy, or at least taking a walk or something. But when I got home from my church jobs, all I had the energy to do was heat up some left overs and stuff them in my mouth and then I zonked out, and when I woke up, it was barely daylight outside.

It made me consider that it might be time for me to think about the importance of making space in my life for the things I really want.

Having time to practice is kind of major.

And I haven't had much of that recently. When I'm not singing at a rehearsal, I'm recovering from something, resting for something else. Yes, my time is filled with almost all singing related things, and one could argue that any money made while singing counts toward the goal, but I'm starting to believe that I have taken on too much.

Or maybe its just Monday. Which is also very possible.

Friday, October 14, 2011


Very cool article, forwarded to me by my teacher.

Find it here!

And another inspiring post from a wonderful blog!

Here it is!

Thursday, October 13, 2011


I am a geek. Or else I am just much more intelligent, cultured, and high-minded than the rest of the world. I've been watching Olivier Latry youtubes for the past hour.

God, organ playing is sexy.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


It wouldn't be October without my first "because of the sheer volume of basically one million singers applying this year, we are sorry, but you are a soprano and we couldn't schedule you for an audition" email.

I take it as a challenge. I'm throwing down the gauntlet. I DARE you to hear me! All of you. You won't be disappointed.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Frivolous Friday

From this lovely blog!


Shana Tovah, everyone. It's almost Yom Kippur!

I was teaching yesterday, talking about breath to my wonderful student, trying to explain the importance of expansive breath, from the front, back and sides. When I take the time to focus on my breath (which if I am being a good girl, I do as part of my warm-up), it is like I am transforming myself into a kinder, gentler, more centered human being. I feel the healing power of breath flowing though me, and a sense of calm washes over my usually crazed and neurotic mind. It is so much more difficult to sing in that busy-minded state, and there is so much more room for art in the other. Not only do you need the energy and support of your breath to make vibrations that are both beautiful and powerfully healing in and of themselves, but you need it to bring you to...I trail off...and a phrase I heard literally hundreds of times growing up pops into my head. I haven't heard it in years, but for some reason, there it was.

"Let us come before the throne of grace."

Never ever had I actually thought about what that meant to me before. And I was so shocked to hear it again, in my head, literally out of no where. When I was a kid, it was a hackneyed phrase that ministers always used in church to introduce nearly every prayer. Because of that, I never took a second to think about it...What is the throne of grace? What does it mean to come before it? Who will be there to extend grace to me? What does grace mean to me, and WHY did it come up when I was talking about breathing?

Then it occurred to me that during Yom Kippur, we talk about a holy being who is able to expiate us, from whom we beg forgiveness for all the ridiculous mistakes we've made throughout the year. We open ourselves up and admit what has gone wrong. We admit that we're not perfect. We admit that we still have a lot of work to do. That we could work harder at getting rid of the selfish inner dramas that keep the light from shining through us.

My idea of a holy being has changed over the years. He used to look a certain way to me, and now, he is not even necessarily a he to me any more. But I know that when I am drawing in and expelling my breath in a mindful way, I feel that intense peace, I can feel the vibration and energy of my own body. I feel like I am coming into a place of grace, of forgiveness, of okayness. I know that that is the place I have to be to do my best work as a singer, to get rid of any that would impede my ability to give of myself to the audience, to my students, to my friends. To be more than just a well-trained voice (see Thursday's first post) throwing out a resonant series of pitches, there is a lot of preparation involved.

Yesterday's little epiphany showed me how to repurpose an old phrase that has its emotional and psychological hooks in me. I think I know now that to come before throne of grace means to go to the place where my little soul stream connects with the big river, it is a place where all the unmerited favor I will ever need is there for me to wallow around in. And it is a place I can go whenever I need to.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Thursday, part ii

After church rehearsal, I was able to rush down to Joe's performance and catch the second half. When I arrived, the composer, whose music I have also premiered in the past, handed me a gorgeous cd. I'd long ago approved some of our live recordings from the Merkin Hall concerts, but had forgotten that there would be an actual cd coming out with my name, picture, voice, etc., on it!
It was very cool for me, gave me that little boost I needed this week. Especially when I discovered it was available on I-tunes and Amazon. It was my Almost Famous moment. :)


I'll write more later... but first, read this GREAT post from Once More with Feeling.

It corresponds with something I've always felt: Singers sound like who they are as people. Think about it. Does this ring true for people you've heard?

Tuesday, October 04, 2011


I walked outside today thinking it was going to be cold again, in a turtleneck, leggings and a leather jacket. But it's hot. And I am foiled again. I guess the bottom line is really that I need to watch the weather. Because I'm sweating.

Yesterday was the first day in weeks that I have not sung a note. It was actually tough to do-- to keep myself from humming or singing under my breath--but to just let the voice rest. Because we are back at it again tonight with another rehearsal. It was lovely to concentrate for a minute on other things that are important to me, like yoga. I went to a chakra yoga class last night-- so amazing how I feel after these amazing classes, that also include reiki energy work. It is so healing to spend 90 minutes focusing on your breath, and resetting your intentions.

Saturday, October 01, 2011


I am trying to rest my voice, and after rehearsal, I plopped down in front of the tv to guzzle water and just shut up. But I got bored, so then I promtly went to rite aid and bought six nail polishes.

Rosh Hashanah was intense this year, with the singing, at least. Not sure why it felt longer than last year. And it felt like such a relief to be done yesterday afternoon until I realized I had to teach, and then, oh yeah...I have a concert tomorrow.

I am excited about the concert, for sure, as it is music I am very happy singing, but I want to be at my best. So, I will continue to drink water, not talk, and maybe steam a bit.

And try to decide which nail color goes best with my concert dress.