Monday, September 27, 2010

California Girl

Greetings loved ones. Let's take a journey.

If 72 hours on the Golden Coast can actually be called a journey. I'd normally term it a quick trip, maybe even a jaunt. But that would lend far less drama to this post, so we'll go with journey. And not to take away from my earlier invitation, but I actually already took the trip. So you can feel like we're journeying along though, here's how it went:

DAY 1:

Hello Peter Grimes!!! Let's practice. We just flew to California, so we should really make ourselves feel at home. At a piano. Makes you feel adventurous, huh? Well let's go crazy and go to...the OPERA HOUSE! I mean, way to switch it up! This opera house does have a certain appeal though, given it currently houses two of my favorite colleagues ever!!! The most obviously exciting way to pass the day is with them. First in the orchestra pit for a lighting you chills, right?!?...of Il Postino. That gets your heart racing, but follow it up with a 3-hour session of recital programming with one of the cheeriest sopranos in existence, and this journey is clearly none to be taken for granted!

Just when you think the day couldn't get any better....In-n-Out. Yup. Double double. ANIMAL STYLE! Yes, you ARE an animal!!! Feeling edgy? Let's go for an evening walk on Venice Beach. It's nice and deserted, except for the homeless population of LA. The moonlight and waves make it ridiculously peaceful. And only occasionally do you wonder if you're going to step on a needle while barefoot. And maybe it crosses your mind what might be the best method of defense for you and your companion---hooray for U of M reunions! But really, what you're mostly thinking about is life. How small the world actually is. But how scary it actually is. And really how exciting that actually is. Stroll through the Venice canals, catching glimpses of another realm through people's glass walls and you're about ready to call it a day. I mean, a journey doesn't ALL have to take place in the first 24 hours.

DAY 2:

Wake up!!! Let's practice! And go to the opera house! Maybe we'll go wild and network, chat with colleagues about the future, and try and make sense of this whole career thing. Which can be slightly exhausting so lunch is in order. And you have earned THIS:

WHAT?!? A BACON-COVERED MAPLE DONUT??? Who even knew life could ever be THIS good?!? I will forever praise Jeremy and the nickel diner for this moment. As if a quality chat over peach Fresca---also a new and delightful discovery---wasn't enough, this mind-blowing goodness came along. Tribute to the greatest colleague known to man:

Because you experienced such glory, you must in exchange be caused pain. Otherwise known as LA traffic. Which you will sit in for approximately 2 hours. Your only bonus? The Getty Center and some of the most fascinating architecture around. An amazing water fixture. Beautiful view of LA. AND most excitingly...a taste of Fall. The ONLY taste you'll get if you live in Houston, TX.

Maybe traffic was a small price to pay. Maybe.
Another productive programming session and you're on your way to being prepared for spring recitals in NYC, Chicago, H-town, and hopefully Utah! Run to the first two acts of Le nozze di figaro and you're probably about ready to call it a day. Funny sitting in the audience of an opera house where your only other experience was an audition from the stage. Perspectives people. They're entertaining.

DAY 3:

Remember that bit about the Golden Coast? Well, since you've been overly adventurous, you're probably due for that time at the beach. Unfortunately you woke up earlier than you wanted to. And commuted, despite your now realized fears of LA traffic, longer than you intended to. RESULT: You're in Cali and kinda crabby! SOLUTION: Target. Mindless magazines. Breakfast. And last but not least, BEACH!

Never underestimate the power of water to soothe one's soul. Serious sunshine doesn't hurt either. People watching and Trader Joe's chocolate-covered peanut butter pretzels are just an added bonus.

Should probably think about catching a flight. This journey's ready for a wrap up. Not really ready to head back? Prefer the carefree life on the beach? Maybe you should leave the beach without really rinsing your feet off. Keep some of that sand in between your toes. Take it through airport security. Bring it on your flight. And smile as you find yourself in a diner at midnight, downing onion rings and milkshakes with friends good enough to chauffeur you about. Because you're a California Girl and have sandy feet to prove it!

That's what I did.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Ode to Costco

In a fit of inspiration following my first voyage to Costco as an ACTUAL member, I penned the following:

Oh beautiful, for spacious aisles,
For shelves of processed grain,
For purple grapes and chocolate cakes,
Your joys I can't explain!

Oh Costco! Oh Costco!
Thou shedst thou grace on me.
Bestow thy good, as none else could,
With all thy samples free!

Don't worry, that's only the first verse.

Oh beautiful, for dog and drink***,
Which leave me so well-fed.
Your dollar-fifty fantasy,
My heart could truly wed!

***"Dog" is actually short for hotdog in this scenario.

Oh Costco! Oh Costco!
I scarce can see a flaw.
Your fee, it seems, doth make me free,
Such love I ne'er foresaw

I've decided to abstain on Verse 3 and 4 until further inspiration strikes. If you feel like you have text equal to the occasion, by all means contribute.

Now I just need to find a tune to put it with...

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Paris, je t'aime

Et puis, quelquechose est arrivé, quelquechose difficile de décrire. Assise là et être seule dans un pays étrangé, loins de mon travail, et de tous les gens que je connais, un sentiment est venue a moi. C'était comme si je me souvenais de quelquechose que je n'ai jamais connu ou que j'avais attendu toujours. Mais je n'ai savais pas quoi. Peut-être c'était quelquechose que j'avais oublié ou quelquechose qui ma manquais tout ma vie. Seulement je peux vous dire que j'ai senti à même temps la joie et la tristesse. Mais pas trop tristesse. Parce que je me sentais vivante. Oui, vivante. ça c'était le moment que j'ai commencé à aimer Paris et le moment que j'ai senti que Paris m'aimais aussi.

"And then something happened, something that is hard to describe. Sitting there alone in a foreign country, far from my job and all the people I knew, a feeling came over me. As if I recalled something, something that I had never known and for which I had been waiting. But I didn't know what it was. Maybe it was something I had forgotten. Or something I had missed my whole life. I can only tell you that at the same time I felt joy and sadness. But not a great sadness. Because I felt alive. Yes. Alive. That was the moment I fell in love with Paris and the moment that I felt that Paris had fallen in love with me."

Occasionally there's a film that sticks with you, and this is my most recent. Scenes of Paris, strung together by the unifying theme of love, and not just the typical romance. The quote above was one of my favorites. There's such a beauty and truth in the simultaneous expression of joy and sadness. Life. Opposition. Complexity. Beauty. Hurt. Hope. Experience. Love.

What a beautiful thing it is to actually live. To feel.

~La vie, je t'aime~
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