Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A Site for Your Eyes

I claim no internet expertise. Whatsoever. As my blog clearly testifies, I have invested little time in exploring the design options of a webpage. Little might be an understatement. BUT, despite this shortcoming, I have finally managed to finish my new website. It's successfully up and running (fingers crossed that that lasts) and you can find it at:


It's still in the early stages, so click on over and then send some feedback my way!

In compliance with the business practices of my field, I also had new headshots/media photos taken. Some are included on the website, and a few others I'm posting below. If you love me, feel free to say so. But seriously...if you have a favorite, opinions are much appreciated. This goes for those on www.stephanierhodes.net AND this blog. Critique away!

Just keepin' it real...



Saturday, October 22, 2011

Scenic Seattle

The best part about Seattle is the sunshine. Seriously. Everyone talks up the rain and gloom so much that every day it's sunny seems like a treasure. Despite the fact that I've experienced more sun that rain here. Anyway...when sun comes you take advantage, get out of doors, and run with it. Literally. On my last sunny Free Day (when you get one a week, they always come in caps), I decided to go for a long run, with my camera in tow to capture some of the fall foliage. And divert my mind from that fact that I was attempting more mileage than ever before. RESULT (In Sequence):

Alright, so maybe the battle wounds photo was not actually TAKEN at that point, but that would have been the place in the picture series where my lanky self decided to become one with the sidewalk. The camera survived with some scratches and I'm only missing a portion of my right hand. But I will advise the following: while photography and running are lovely hobbies INDIVIDUALLY, perhaps they are best left to their independent practices. In addition to the 6'0" of ground I covered with my body, I did pull off 16.22 miles on foot, with the Injury occurring around Mile 9 (Michael Scott, anyone???). So perhaps the road and this Rhodes each gained a point that fateful Monday morning. Though given my motto of the following day, "I'm broken," I'm inclined to think that perhaps the road has a slight advantage. For now...

Monday, October 17, 2011

Sleeping in Seattle

Of course there had to be some type of reference to the 1993 classic during my Seattle residency...

There. Finished. Out of my system. Except for this over-sized, baby-blue, "SinS" nightshirt that could rock my fashion world. (Abbreviation of my own device. Not actually a reference to misdemeanors.)

But here's the truth: I am far from Sleepless in Seattle. In fact, I'm pretty sure I average more sleep nightly than I have in the past 5 years. Excluding visits to home when my sole purpose has been to maintain a vegetable-like state for as long as possible. Nights here might not always be the most restful, given my upstairs neighbor's pacing and "other" habits, but the hours are there! And I'm still working. Sleep and work...mixing? A novel idea, and one which made me think. So please bear with me as I wax philosophical for a moment. One of my favorite quotes from Henry David Thoreau:

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.

Alright, so maybe I'm not entirely in the woods at the moment. But Seattle's as woodsy as my life's going to get for awhile, and it's given me reason for contemplation. I've been so busy the past five years or so. Might as well make that at least nine. Round up to ten if you like. Practicing, studying, career-planning, dreaming, working---all healthy endeavors. But somehow, in the business of becoming, I lost track of what to become. No, I'm not having a complete identity crisis. I only occasionally consider drastic career shifts, but on a typical day I'm beyond content with my choice of profession. And there have been so many adventures in the past few years...no regrets there. But in Seattle I've been given the gift of time and, while there's still plenty of practicing, working, dreaming, etc. I also sleep appropriate amounts. I run more than I ever have in my life and enjoy it. I find time for yoga class. And I read. It's always been one of my true loves, but somehow I forgot to fit it in. Or felt the only justifiable reading material should be academic. So much to learn!

And of course there is. And always will be. But at the moment, I'm learning how to let go a bit. There's no need to be victimized by the "To Do" lists and bucket lists which I so dearly love. Somehow in simplifying and eliminating the stress of becoming, I feel like I'm beginning to be myself again. The version which I know was ever-present, but perhaps slightly buried in a whirlwind of activity. Using that as a departure point, I've found a heightened perspective of who I would like to become, the characteristics I hope to develop, and the true successes I aim to achieve in this life. Another favorite quote from a great talk:
We become what we want to be by consistently being what we want to become each day.
Work is necessary. Progression and achievement should be ever-present. But I don't want to be known for becoming a busy person.

So...here's to the woods. Here's to simplifying. The world will go on turning at its same speed, but we set our individual tempos. In slowing mine a bit, I've found clarity, sharpened senses, and enhanced enjoyment. It's about the essentials. Finding time. Relationships. Family. Self-discovery. Calm. Peace. And, of course, sleeping. In Seattle.

Friday, October 7, 2011

One Plate Wonder

Tired of your kitchen??? Ready for a makeover? Look no further--the One Plate Wonder is HERE!

Instead of the chaos and clutter of four burners, opt for ultimate simplicity! With the OPW, you can avoid multi-tasking completely, keeping only one proverbial pot (or fat) on the fire at a time. Not only will you find yourself cooking in a zen-like trance, your creativity will know no bounds as you concoct creations in one universal pot. Space a problem? The One Plate Wonder will introduce you to options never before considered:

Rather than attempt to restrain the One Plate Wonder's warmth, look to more effectively utilize your home space. Mushrooms are happier near ground level. And a dish drainer on the floor can only mean one thing...a cleaner floor. (DISCLAIMER: carpet damage and potential minor flooding may occur at your own risk). In minimal time with maximized effort, your OPW will put food for the family on the table. (DISCLAIMER: Best suited to families of 1 or less). Enjoy with some Virgin Lemonade and you're on your way to domestic bliss!

The One Plate Wonder is available at a Seattle hotel near you! Time to head West...

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Homeless and The Happy

Home is a fluid concept at the moment. Belongings in one location, my physical being in another, and my mind and my heart with loved ones across the globe. Transitions (do they ever end?!) are never easy and embracing the lifestyle of a freelancer is not my natural predisposition. As it turned out, my first full day of work in Seattle was rainy, wet, and slightly depressing, primarily due to the aforementioned adjectives. Not a good place to begin life on the road. Miraculously, however, the rest of the week looked more like this:

Life-changing. A Tuesday-morning run along the waterfront in perfect temperatures and I was happy to set up "home" for 8 weeks. My Seattle "To-Do" list has since been made, and my effort to experience a new city and its culture are well underway. Here are a few of the easily-identifiable perks of said city and my situation:

1. I work with talented people. Making music. LOVE this job.

2. I no longer have to do my hair. My first day in town I was waiting for a bus, standing not far from a couple of bearded, homeless men. Who I later realized (after eavesdropping on their conversation---how else do you get to know a city?!) were not remotely homeless. But they looked it, I swear. I have since come to the realization that here we are active. Here we are earthy. Here we walk and bike and become one with the outdoors. And here we're fine looking like we're all those things. Better believe I'm on that bandwagon!!! I no longer dry my hair and I've already purchased some new exercise wear. Nevermind that I'm currently scouring Craigslist to buy a bike. Judge away readers...I'll be sporting the homeless and happy look without hesitation. Perhaps re-termed "earthy" in an attempt at delicacy, propriety, etc.

3. I live in a hotel. Which means someone cleans my house once a week. I'll take it.

4. I walk everywhere (unless that bike purchase works out...) and everywhere involves hills. Not something I EVER encountered in Texas. Hello glutes. Need I say more about that perk?

5. There is a vibrant chapter of the University of Michigan Alumni Club in Seattle, as discovered when I caught the first half of Michigan's 58-0 victory over Minnesota at a local sporting establishment. GO BLUE!

6. Seattle is beautiful. Lest you doubt, see photographic evidence below.

In an effort to work our way through the Seattle "To-Do" list, my friend and I opted for the multi-trip ride up the Space Needle: Day and Night.

Perhaps better documented as such:

Here's to seven more weeks---Homeless and happy!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Medals Matter

Warm fuzzies, also known in the 1960s as "positive strokes," is something that parents who want to raise emotionally healthy children cannot do without.

Warm fuzzies come in verbal and non-verbal forms. Verbal warm fuzzies are words that feel good to children; non-verbal warm fuzzies are good-feeling actions.

As we saw previously, smiles, tender touches, gifts and friendly play are some of the non-verbal good stuff that children appreciate.The verbal fuzzies are praise, positive programming and emotional coaching.
~The Art of Positive Reinforcement

Warm fuzzies. They're a parent's best friend. (Right...actual parents?) I think most of us can look back on our childhood and see it littered with mounds of warm fuzzies. All the awards given out come the end of the school year---you know they made one up for each kid, the certificate if you even participated in a competition, and the trophies. Don't even get me started on the trophies. I'm pretty sure I had a dance trophy at one point. That's right people, DANCE. Anyone who has seen me attempt anything requiring physical coordination beyond the wrist can attest to the fact that it does NOT warrant a trophy. But I'll take it.

I'm all for that positive reinforcement. Let's build those kids up. Give them stickers, certificates, trophies...and then drop them. I mean, when's the last time you got a trophy, adult populace? Too long ago is my guess. Here's the thing: a couple of weeks ago the Rhodes Runners took on a 5K Challenge. Those of you who don't consider that a challenge should see the pictures of my father at the finish. You'll reconsider. We stretched, we ran, and we ate french toast. The kids got their faces painted. (My 18-year-old brother would have had he not been forcefully restrained). And then most of us left.

LUCKILY, Jill stayed behind and was rewarded for her presence. WITH A MEDAL. In actuality, it wasn't for her patience, but she had taken Silver in her division. And as it turned out, Jill was not alone. My aforementioned father ALSO medaled in his division taking the bronze, tormented runner that he was. And...wait for it...I too was a recipient of The Bronze. Capital "the" obviously.

Since most of us had missed the medal ceremony, it was clearly necessary to hold one of our own. It's difficult to tell in this photograph, but Jill was standing on a pot in recognition of her Silver Status.

I was overjoyed. And somewhat emotional following our stirring rendition of the national anthem. Homemade ice cream, peanut butter oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, and cupcakes only further amplified said joy.

I wore my medal at various intervals throughout the coming week, and encouraged my fellow winners to do the same. I decided it might interfere with my golf game, glinting in the sun as it dangled from my neck, and I restrained myself from wearing it on a date. (Who knows when he got a medal last?) Otherwise, it's a great neck-strengthener. And a great reminder that MEDALS MATTER.

Let's get on that positive reinforcement train...as adults! There are days when you warrant a sticker for even getting up in the morning. So keep some on hand. And maybe distribute them to worthy recipients throughout the day. The childhood days of meaningless trophies need not be lost. Guaranteed there are thousands of warm fuzzies in that golden cup! Let them flow forth.

Basically, go out and win a medal***. They matter.

Race days=my best look. Hands down.

Miranda and Mom! Both successful runners.

Working it out...

***If you need a recommendation for a small race which distributes medals to each age division, let me know. I might have information on one. And am looking for more.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

A Pianist's Publication

While I have been woefully negligent of this blog, I did manage to come up with a guest post for the Washington DC Phillips Collection blog, "Experiment Station."

Talented vocalists and other musicians from Wolf Trap return to The Phillips Collection this Thursday at 6:30 pm for the second concert in the Vocal Colors: A Musical Exploration of Visual Art series. Pianist Stephanie Rhodes guest blogs about her experience interpreting artwork through music.

You can read all about it HERE.

And that will suffice for the time being. Someday I may return to blogging. Maybe...

Sunday, March 20, 2011

La vie parisienne

Être parisien, ce n'est pas être né à Paris, c'est y renaître.
~Sacha Guitry

I came out of the metro and was greeted by Our Lady of Paris---Notre Dame. An unnecessarily long train ride, the 9-hour flight, and 4 weeks of high-level stress (even for me) seemed to melt away in an instant. Next thing I knew I was dangling my feet over La Seine and basking in the warm Spring sunshine while eating a savory crepe. Adieu to troubles, doubts, etc. Welcome back Life. And Breath. I went to Paris but felt the calm of returning home. Home with some serious perks.

Amongst said perks: Quality time with some of my fantastic friends--The Lees! This couple has to be one of my absolute favorites. They're the friends that you'll run into and it feels as if no time has passed whatsoever. We filled two days in Paris with fun, relaxation, laughter, and quality conversation (we being mostly me and MJ due to Bri's work ethic). Proof of said adventures was more effectively documented Here and Here. Pictures courtesy of Mary Jane, given my camera's non-existent battery life.

Other perks? Nutella-filled crepes. Cassoulet. Shopping. Auditioning. Practicing French. And Russian. And Italian. I LOVE EUROPE! People-watching. Modern Family. Going to an Opera. Walking everywhere. Croissants. Macarons. Sleeping. Arm and hand-holding. Hair curling techniques. La Tour Eiffel. Arc de Triomphe. You know. The norm.

Post-Paris, my new life aspirations: merging the attitudes of La vie quotidienne with La vie parisienne. Working in Europe. And finding another excuse to go to Paris. Somehow it's home too.

Monday, February 28, 2011

It was a dark and stormy night...

So maybe that title is slightly inaccurate. But it WAS a seriously damp and foggy morning.

Inspirational right??? Just screams "13.1 MILES! Let's RUN it!" Either that or "RUN FOR YOUR LIFE! YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT'S LURKING IN THE MIST!" You decide. But run I did. And within minutes I was dripping wet. Yes, I sweat. No, not to the point of dripping. The 100% humidity made for some serious condensation though, and managed to keep things quite cool (lest you think my positivity lacking). So then I ran. Hearing the ocean waves nearby and eventually starting to catch glimpses of the scenery made for pleasant distractions. And I kept running. Made friends with Kevyn around mile 7. Yup, eat that rhyme! I attribute my finish in great part to her. Yup, HER. She was my positivity when I ran out. Literally, ran it right out of my system. And still had to run. Her conversation and push through the last two miles got me to my finish and her part way through her marathon. Keyword: FINISH. I crossed the finished line, bent in half, contemplated crying, thought better of it, and went on my way AFTER smiling what may have been the cheesiest grin of my life. Said grin was documented by race photographers who want to rip me off, so unfortunately it will not be posted here.

The funny thing? Kevyn and I had a conversation around mile 9 that still makes me laugh thinking about it. We were discussing her work at the YMCA---she teaches boot camp classes, race training courses, etc. A wonder woman and multiple-marathoner. And somewhere in the midst of it she turned to me and said "Really I don't even like running." My answer? "I don't either!" And there we were.

So...WHY?!? Really I can't give a definite answer. Eventually a post on Life Lessons Learned while Running might be in order. But I'm still learning them so for the time being that's out. For now, I think there's something to be said for overcoming physical difficulty. For learning to breathe when it feels impossible to do so. For tuning out the negativity that can literally weigh down our step and slow our pace. For encouraging others and working to get not only yourself, but others across the finish line. And somewhere along the way, to have a moment where music stops, thoughts quiet, calm reigns and you find yourself.

After 2:08:46.1. Less than goal time which was 2:15!!! I was almost ready to call myself a runner. And do note the change in weather. A light sea breeze can go a long way.

Six Days Later...

My first 10K! The Rodeo Run was not my finest moment, despite my "Can I get a Yee Haw?" shirt. Somewhere along the way I think I might have said "To hell with life lessons." Perhaps a bit more mental and physical recovery time was in order...

Bayou City Classic 10K
Bluebonnet 5K---followed by all you can eat Blue Bell ice cream!
Angie's Crazy Half Marathon
Step By Step 5K

The aim? 100 miles of racing in 2011. We'll see..

Friday, February 18, 2011

From Turkey Trot to Mardi Gras

10 Weeks of training. 182 miles logged. My first experience with GU. My first fitness magazine subscription---WHAT?!? Lots of Gatorade. Lots more water. A yoga regiment for balance. Plenty of complaints. One fall. A few tears. Solo. No music. Thoughts. Silence. And somewhere in the mix, a newfound love. Which I love to hate.

13.1 miles to go. But when I picked up my race packet and saw my number AND name inside, I felt a surge of excitement that might just last me through Sunday and the second race of my life. Here's hoping that a half-marathon will shortly be successfully checked off the life to do list!

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Texas Stop Sign

There was a point in my life when things took a drastic turn of direction. So rather than settling into a pin-sized NYC apartment, I found myself roadtripping across West Texas with Mom. I had never been to Texas and can't say that my drive through the West was doing much to endear me to the state. It was a Sunday night and nearing dinner time when we came upon a settlement that seemed to have a few possible dining selections. Brief conversation ensued. Result: We weren't hungry just yet. Let's wait for a bit and find something down the road. MISTAKE!!! But perhaps one of the greatest of all time. As we continued driving, looking for "something down the road" it became apparent...that there was nothing. No more villages, settlements, towns, cities, or signs of life. Period. I began to understand what starvation was. A roadtrip without food at my every whim?!?! (Note: This was in pre-GPS days and we really had no way of knowing when our next food source might surface). And then, there it was, a beacon of hope blazing brightly in the distance. Or at least on the roadside signage. THE TEXAS STOP SIGN!

We walked through the door of Dairy Queen and into another world. It was a small-town Sunday evening. The sheriff was in and sporting his cowboy hat and boots. A table of old timers in their overalls stopped conversation at the sight of strangers. They needn't have bothered. I'm not a native drawl speaker and while I happily incorporate y'all into my current vocabulary, I was nowhere near such proficiency at the time. All in all, it felt as if we'd managed to step onto a film set for an old-school western or family feature. I can mark that occasion as the evening I started to fall for Texas, a state which has now laid claim to a serious portion of my heart. This song, in fact, was discovered for me by a MI roommate who might have heard about TX a time or two...

Singer-Songwriter and San Antonio native, Edith Frost from her album "Wonder Wonder."

The reason for this reminiscing? A weekend roadtrip and concert in Corpus Christi with the ever-fabulous MS and C(M)M! We hit that inevitable bathroom-break point of the trip, and lo and behold...there it was. The ever-present DQ. Clearly with the fates smiling on us, more than a bathroom break was in order. Note from the following picture who opted for the MINI Blizzard and feel free to hold it against HIM on future occasion.

Yet another trip to store away in the Texan corner of my heart.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Paris Playlist

A brief mental exercise for the middle of your work week:

Imagine you are creating a "Paris Playlist." 10 Songs. And...GO!

I'm going to imagine I haven't already made a playlist with said title, and in that imaginary world this song would be among my ten.
But if we exit the Neighborhood of Make-Believe, then I have to say I already made a "Paris Playlist" this week. And here are my 10 in Actuality. (Capitalized to effectively transport you into that realm).

1. Strauss: Elektra

2. Mozart: Le Nozze di Figaro

3. Mozart: Die Zauberflöte

4. Bizet: Carmen

5. Puccini: La Bohème

6. Verdi: Otello

7. Berg: Wozzeck

8. Berlioz: La Damnation de Faust

9. Wagner: Tristan und Isolde

10. Gounod: Faust

Alright, so if you're not an opera nerd---apologies AND clarification: These are all operas. Go listen to them. If you already realized you were dealing with the operatic medium---congratulations AND clarification: I am not SO technologically inept that I would ever try to put the entire opera of Tristan und Isolde on a shared playlist. With anything. Period.

In fact, "Paris Playlist" is all operatic excerpts. Put it on shuffle and it's slightly terrifying. And seriously amazing. But I'm going to go ahead and guess that it's slightly varied from yours. (Because of course you participated in Exercise A.) And with my current oddities up for your review, I would actually like to know what made your list of 10. A "Paris Playlist, Vol. 2" might be in order.


Saturday, February 5, 2011

Wrap your Pipes

This morning I drove to work and found the parking garage completely empty, save for about 20 vehicles. Now, this is no ordinary parking garage. The Theater District Parking Garage in Houston, TX spans 18 city blocks underground with 3,369 parking spaces. On a normal day, it can be difficult to find a space. I find I'm frequently my most vicious when it comes to contending for said spaces.

SO....point: No one was working today. Why??? The epic snowstorm which hit Houston, causing multiple flight cancellations and sending the city's inhabitants into hibernation. Please watch the following video to truly appreciate nature's powerful hand at work.

The mayor encouraged Houstonians to stay home wherever possible, meaning that most of the city has been off work since yesterday afternoon. We at the opera like risk, however, and challenging the elements only furthers our artistry. Hence, no closure and Cosi recit coachings continued as scheduled. The adage holds true: The show must go on. Or at least the rehearsal of it...

Monday, January 24, 2011

Out with the Old

I woke up on Thursday morning and my Blackberry, in a fit of self-destructive behavior, had complete erased the Contacts portion of its memory. While I believe my phone is good at heart and typically means well, her actions in this case were clearly unacceptable and she will be punished---I'm finally taking the opportunity to look into getting a new phone. 2.5 years old in technological years may as well be 200 hundred, so it really is her time (lest you think my judgment overly harsh).

Really, the only relevant bit of that story to this post is this: Overload. Which is what my blogging brain has been experiencing as of late. BB couldn't handle the Contacts. Too much info. I can't blog. Too much info to get out. Rather than delete all the proposed entries in my brain, however, you're just going to get random bits of them now. So that you don't consider getting a new "phone"/friend/family member/pen pal. Enjoy!


I was pretty sure Christmas had come early when I got to take a day trip to St. Petersburg. Not just because it's a beautiful city that anyone should be thrilled to see. It was the method of transport: Krasnaya Strela. An overnight sleeper train. It's ridiculous, but my 5-year-old self surfaced (Sveta, travel companion and host, seriously thought I was crazy) and I was slightly giddy trying to sleep. Christmas Eve anyone?

I went ahead and took a picture of the dashboard of the Volvo I drove while in Moscow. Yes, I drove in Moscow. DON'T EVER DO IT! Unless you're crazy. Judge me as you see fit. The points to take away from this picture: A) The temperature. Don't worry, it got colder. B) The kilometer reading. I don't believe I ever really knew how fast I was going. Lastly, you may not be able to tell from this picture, but the vehicle I was driving was a MANUAL! There is an exclamation point after the sentence because that has never before happened in my life. Thanks to two fantastic driving lessons with LMB before leaving Houston, I was quasi-ready to take on the Moscow roads. The quasi is only because no one can ever really be prepared for the mess that is Moscow traffic.

This picture has nothing to do with Moscow. It is/was my high school brother's car. I borrowed it my first day home for a week-long Christmas vacation. Needless to say, his vehicle is no more. And neither is a large chunk of fence just off the road in Alpine, UT. Look closely and you might be able to see the tree embedded in between the doors...

2010 ended before I knew what was happening. A whirlwind week at home, catchup with family and friends, the annual winter plague which I generously spread to family and friends in the 3 weeks I managed to be a carrier, the beginning of rehearsals for our upcoming production of Lucia di Lammermoor, and the next thing I knew I found myself surrounded by friends and complete strangers, counting down to a New Year. Fireworks, a few Modern Family episodes, and 2011 was officially begun. It'll be one for the books my friends. But I won't pontificate on that subject at the moment. I'll let my Blackberry gauge when we're ready to handle that.

The Severed Arm. Which I will not attempt to explain. You only wish you could celebrate Christmas with my family...

Out with the Old. Check...
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...