Saturday, August 28, 2010

Heaven on Earth

This Place

+ These People

= 5 Days of PERFECTION. Shopping with mom, sisters, and a supportive but perhaps scarred 17-year old brother. Trying to count the number of times my 11-year old brother said "MOM!!! She's being SO childish!" And doing everything possible to make him say it again. Picking out my sister's outfit for her first day of high school. Holding my new, almost-6-month-old nephew for the first time. Daddy. Getting my daily hug ration. Organizing a family yoga session for some of the tightest hamstrings ever created and enjoying the hilarity that ensued. Catching up with old friends. Seeing tears of pride roll down Grandma's cheeks after giving a synopsis and sampling of Peter Grimes--I blame her for my love of literature. Playing in church. Waking up early for family scriptures. Wishing I could stay longer. And praying for safety and strength for all until I see them again.

My heaven on earth.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

I was born to play football. And people tell me that all the time. I mean, my stocky build, speed of lightening, and just overall toughness seem to make it pretty obvious.

So, I guess I just missed my calling in life. As is: I. Love. Football. Period. (emphasis added) Mostly in person---I attended every home game possible at the Big House during my two years at the University of Michigan, even braving the wrath of my teacher and skipping studio class to attend the Ohio State game. WHO in their right mind is going to miss that kind of rivalry...for piano?!?! (Despite said statement, I. Also. Love. Piano. Period.)

Friday night I found myself here:

That's right. Back at a high school football game. Baking in the sun on the bleachers, the crisp feel of autumn setting in as the sun went down, the speculation about the upcoming season. And I loved it. Especially when I heard my little brother's name called over the loudspeaker, vicariously fulfilling my lifetime calling. I saw his first two receptions of the season, the two resulting first downs, some fantastic blocking, and VICTORY! I still find it a bit mind-boggling that my "little" brother was a participant---when I left home he was 9 and I could still take him. Now he clocks in at 6'4" and 185. And obviously I could still take him. If I wanted to.

It's possible you won't see me out on a field in a football helmet and pads anytime soon. So the fates have willed it. But as football season is upon us, I'm training as if I'm a starter. First, I'm altering my Netflix lineup to include every football classic film: Rudy, Remember the Titans, The Blind Side...feel free to add your recommendations to the list. I'm already shredding, thanks to Jillian, so no worries there. And I caught AND threw a football today! SO maybe I actually don't need to train. Like I said, I was born to play football.

Monday, August 16, 2010

I Hate Goodbyes


Occasionally moments arise when I'm convinced I picked the wrong profession. And I can predict those moments down to the day, or at least the week (I'm only leaving off minute to avoid sounding pretentious---but I could). Add that to the "Special Skills" system of my resume. Along with my recorder playing. SO, when do such questions of doubt pervade my being? The End. It might be the end of a season. Maybe the end of summer. The end of a program. The end of a production. Time's measured differently in the opera world, so there are endless possibilities for The End. Regardless, in The End one thing is inevitable: Goodbyes.

I HATE GOODBYES!!! Consider Exhibit A, carefully labeled for your convenience. I love the travel, I love the new places, I love the new friends, I love the variety and change, I love being employed, and I love my actual work. There's a lot of love going on here. And then there's that bit of hate; capitalized, italicized, and bolded(?), also for your convenience.

I started this summer off in full-out tears when I had to say goodbye to Houston at the airport. I found myself blurry-eyed at our post-rehearsal hangout Clyde's when The End of American sojourn came and my peeps moved to Vienna. "But you don't cry!!" Exclamation of my roommate CM when I teared up with pride post-her rocking recital performance. Which may have been true (excepting of course in that well-known tear jerker film "Blow").

But what are you supposed to do when you have to say goodbye to this???

What happens when you have to split sisters and souls, yet again???

How do you just leave colleagues that in 3 short months have managed to become lifelong friends???

It's not that you'll never see them again. And it's not that your life won't go on perfectly smoothly without seeing them every day. "The End" in the opera world isn't actually permanent, after all---can't even begin to count how many times Tosca or Butterfly will resurrect just to kill themselves again. But life spent with the people you love is just better.

Hence, the occasional hatred of my job. Which really only stems from my love of my job. And of people. Dear Dr. Suess said "Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened." Which is a nice thought. But as it turns out, I'm a multi-tasker.


Monday, August 9, 2010

The blog in which They Love, I Eat, and...You Pray?

Occasionally time stands still, the world spins a bit slower, and life comes into focus. The mistakes of the past vanish, the concerns of the future fade and everything's calm. It's like the universe gave a deep sigh of contentment, and left you with basking in the sensation that all is right in the world.

Saturday evening, in the basement where poor reception has been known to wreak havoc on my life, I started a coaching and saw my silenced phone ring. Enter unprofessionalism--I grabbed my phone and actually ran out of the room. So long soprano. Not my typical behavior, for the record, but two of my dearest friends decided to jump continents this past week and moved from Vienna, Va to Vienna, Austria. And they were calling. Bless technology! While I would have been excited to hear from them on any occasion, I had my suspicions as to the motive for the call. Suspicions confirmed: THEY GOT ENGAGED!!! Unprofessionalism forgiven, right dear soprano? I knew it was coming and had heard the proposal plan earlier in the week, but all the same, when I hung up the phone I have to say I was a bit teary. Why? Well, who really knows, aside from the fact that it seems I've recently developed emotions. It might have something to do with the fact that they're perfect for each other. Two individually wonderful people who couldn't be more extraordinary--unless you put them together. They're both on the list of people I'd like to be like when I grow up. And while their paths to each other weren't exactly direct, the EM+LMB combination seems to be living proof that things can and do work out exactly as they should. That life's as it should be and all's right with the world.

I had a Nielsen's concrete--thank you Vienna for your delicious custard!---for dinner to celebrate. And went to the park to eat it in sunny bliss.

As if that weren't enough to prove that the universe is perfectly aligned, I also found a brilliant pair of jeans during Tax-Free Weekend. AND managed to score them at 40% off. AND they're a size smaller. Thanks to Jillian, summer stresses, and pescatarian exploration (I'm sure). Did I mention they're long enough? Talk about all being right with the world!

Could things get any better? Well, I did spend Friday night sharing popsicles with my nephew and spending a chill evening with the fam--including CM. AND I taught my first Russian diction class on Saturday. To continue with the overuse of the expression: all's right with the world.

And given my Zen opening (let's be honest---probably the least Zen person you know), I'm going to end by telling you I'm excited for this weekend and this movie:


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Words of Wisdom: Age 1

Keep your eye on the target. You will triumph over those who don't.

Ice cream does actually make everything better. And there's absolutely no need to share.

Do take the time to feel sand between your toes. You might find yourself amazed at how entertaining it can be.

When said sand manages to coat your potato chips, don't sweat it. The little things bring texture to life.

When on the campus of a prestigious university, it's best to blend in. Go for contemplative.

Water features will always be a wonder of the world.

There are people who love you enough to carry all your baggage. And you. Use them.

When asked for a kiss, remember: a wide-open mouth is always best.

A view means most when you've got a hand to hold.

Wisdom comes a lot earlier than one might think.
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