We're starting up a brand new day

During this week of me completely neglecting my blog, Little Ms. Bossy reached a milestone: 100 unique visitors since I started this thing a month ago. Which means, unless my grandmother suddenly became computer-savvy and hacked into 99 other computers in order to visit my blog, somebody is actually reading this thing. Ack! And welcome.

I’ve been inspired by CameraMan, who recently started a series of 30-day projects (he started small and gave up dark soda for the first 30 days). So, here’s my 30-day project: I will write in my blog every day for 30 days starting tomorrow, October 1. Yes, this might result in a quantity over quality situation in which I fill the blog with lists of the many cute attributes of my kitten, the contents of my purse, and the strange dreams I had the night before. That might the price I you have to pay to make writing a habit for me.

Today is the last day of a week of chorus staging rehearsals for Daughter of the Regiment. It’s going very well! We start principal rehearsals tomorrow. More details to come.

I’ve been taking a lot of pictures lately, and I’m very proud of some of them. Check them out at Flickr!

Also, the countdown to my birthday has begun. 11 days, people! Wondering what to get me? Don’t worry, I’ve made it easy for you.

It's getting hot in here

I adore fall. Everything about it. That crisp feeling in the air. The promise of a new start. Tights and boots with wooly miniskirts and velvet blazers. The way a breeze can change the atmosphere of the whole day. Putting the down comforter on the bed. Snuggly cats. New seasons of my favorite TV. Watching everybody’s tans fade so they look pale like me. The much lower electric bill. Sweaters. Switching from iced to regular at Starbucks. My birthday. Feeling cozy and close instead of too hot for physical contact. Hair that doesn’t frizz the moment I go outside. Pumpkin pie. Opening windows.

Have I mentioned I live in Houston? Today’s high is 93°.

On the bright side, I’m spending the day at the beach with my girlfriends and then seeing an opera outside in a garden. Jealous?

Heigh-ho, heigh-ho

I’ve been a bookish goody-two-shoes type my whole life, so the first day of school has always held a certain allure for me. In elementary school it meant a brand new outfit laid out the night before, an L.L. Bean backpack with my initials on it packed to the brim with crisp notebooks and sharpened pencils, and essays titled “What I Did On My Summer Vacation.” In middle school it meant getting up at the crack of dawn to tease my bangs to just the right height, finding my locker, and feeling certain that nobody would like me. In high school it meant spending hours trying to look like I’d spent no time at all getting ready, finding the perfect spot on the seating chart, and angsting over choir auditions. In college it meant putting posters up with Elmer’s Tack, reconnecting with friends, and sizing up the freshmen (“fresh meat”). In grad school it meant getting into professional mode, freaking out about my class load, and getting used to people calling me Ms. Muller.

The nature of my job is a little bit like having 4 or 5 first days of school every year, but the first day back to work in September still has a special meaning for me, and that day was today! Some things never change. I still had to plan out my outfit last night, and I could barely sleep because I was so excited to start. I’ve seen most of my friends from work in the past few weeks, but it was still fantastic to be back in the office with them. One perk to my schedule is that I get to gradually ease back into work with a whole week devoted to prepping the show (in this case, Donizetti’s Daugher of the Regiment) before rehearsals start. The creative types don’t show up until next week, so basically we all sit around geeking out over Post-its (Wow, I’ve never seen that color of orange in a sticky tab before!) and trying to make our paperwork look pretty. Prep week is completely different for me now that I’m an assistant director. When I was in stage management, prep week was filled with a mixture of tons of paperwork and a fair amount of physical labor, cleaning the rehearsal rooms, taping out the set, and generally getting everything ready for rehearsals to begin. As an AD, I’ve done a lot of my work before prep week ever begins, getting to know the show as well as I possibly can. There’s a limited amount of paperwork for me to do (most of which I finished today because I’m overzealous like that), so my main job is to soak up as much information as possible this week and make sure I’m completely ready for the director to arrive. My job is made easier by the fact that we’re doing a recent remount, so most of the information is readily available. And...no physical labor at all, so I can wear heels. Yay! Can you tell I’m happy to be back in the land of the employed?

I’ve been keeping busy outside of work, too. This weekend I attended a percussion recital, went paddleboating in Hermann Park, had game night, and made new friends at the Flickr meet-up. Think I can sustain any kind of social life now that I’m working? Hahaha, think again.

Mama said there'd be days like this

Days like today are exactly why you shouldn’t blog about good news until you’ve signed a contract. My red-letter day last week? Not so red after all. More like…pink. Not completely colorless, but a bit…diluted. Pink is good, right? Pink is my favorite color (or at least it was, before I dyed my hair red and could no longer wear it). Pink would have been great if that’s what I’d been expecting all along, but it’s looking pretty pale compared to the deep red I’d imagined.

Oh, well. Margaritas, queso, and girl talk will heal the pain. Happy hour, here I come!

Give me one reason

When I was a kid, my grandmother always placed a lot of importance on eating all different kinds of food. Whenever I told her I didn’t like something, she would correct me, “No, you just haven’t learned to like it yet.” In some cases she was right. She did actually teach me to like brussels sprouts, although in order for me to eat them they had to be slathered in mayonnaise, which my parents never had at our house. I was a picky eater as a child, but now there is only a short list of foods I won’t eat: Mushrooms. Olives. Mayonnaise (ironic, I know). Duck. Pickles.

Yesterday, when I made subtle retching sounds (something my mother taught me never to do) as Nathan pulled relish out of the refrigerator, he asked me what it was about pickles that I didn’t like. This is an impossible question to answer, although that doesn’t stop me from repeating all summer long, “What do you mean you don’t like tomatoes? How can anyone not like tomatoes?” But seriously, tomatoes in the summertime? Amazing. Anyway, here’s how the conversation went yesterday.

Him: What don’t you like about pickles?
Me: Umm, the taste. The smell.
Him: Okay…
Me: The look.
Him: The look? What do you mean? They look just like cucumbers!
Me: They do NOT look like cucumbers! Cucumbers are a beautiful green color.
Him: Pickles are green.
Me: Not the same green at all. Pickles look like cucumbers that got sick.
Him: Oh, you’re right. Pickles ARE disgusting. I’m so glad you were able to give me logical reasons for your dislike. I see now that you are right and I am wrong.

Okay, it’s possible that the very end of the conversation didn’t happen exactly like that, and in fact resembled a simple eye roll instead. It's called artistic license, people.

There is one food on my list that I actually have a good reason for disliking. If asked about it, I think the conversation would go something like this.

Him: Why don’t you like duck?
Me: Because I had a pet duck named Howard. I don’t eat cat, either.
Him: (not-so-subtle retching sounds)

It’s true. I had a pet duck for a month my senior year of high school. Howard was hatched in my school’s Genetics & Embryology class. I had dropped the class earlier during a brief stint of animal rights activism (which basically consisted of me switching shaving cream brands and not eating enough protein), so I missed the hatching of chicks and ducks. A friend of mine had Howard and didn’t want to keep him, so I took him home. He had supposedly imprinted on my friend, but she hadn’t done it quite right, so he thought anyone wearing brown shoes was his mother. He was an amazing pet. He swam in the bathtub, ate about a head of lettuce per day, terrorized the cats, and napped on his back in the palm of my hand. Eventually he got too big for our house and he went to live at a farm. (That’s not a euphemism—it was an actual farm.) It’s been 10 years, and I now eat meat with gusto and have switched back to Gillette, but I still can’t bring myself to eat duck meat.

It’s a good thing I never had a pet goose liver. Mmmmm.

Sunday, Monday, happy days

When I’m not working, my days tend to flow together. I end up languishing in bed far too late, overanalyzing, and experiencing daily rollercoaster mood swings that usually only come once a month. I try to establish some sort of routine, but without anywhere I have to be, it never lasts. So, to convince myself that the week has not been a total waste, here’s The Week in Review.

Monday: Labor-free, which didn’t make it much different from any other day. On my way out to take pictures, it started pouring as soon as I left my house. Still managed to take some halfway decent watery pictures and discovered parts of Houston I hadn’t seen before.

Tuesday: Bought a tripod. Haven’t used it yet. Walked around Hermann Park with CameraMan and took in the fauna, which included a dragonfly, an egret, and two muskrats (one on land, one in the water). Muskrats are gross. And fascinating. Drank beer and ate mozzarella sticks with the girls while taking many (drunken) pictures with my camera accidentally on the nighttime setting. I’m arty.

Wednesday: Got my hair done, which took 3 hours. Spent much of the rest of the day admiring myself in the mirror and a bit of time studying Daughter of the Regiment.

Thursday: A red-letter day for me career-wise, but I can’t talk about any of it yet (ha, I’ve always wanted to do that). Mourned the amazing Pavarotti by listening to him sing lots of glorious high C’s on my Daughter recording. Saw a fantastic play about Florence Foster Jenkins, where I listened to lots of not-so-glorious high Q’s. Ran into an ex-colleague who tried to convince me the “Jewel Song” was from Manon Lescaut. She was wrong. More beer and mozzarella sticks. And mini burgers. Yum.

Friday: More studying. And shopping! Bought a hot green opening night dress, new jeans, sunglasses, and more. Indian food with Nathan for dinner. Watched a really great (and disturbing) movie. See it.

And now? After gorging myself on a Nutella banana crepe, I am sitting in a cafĂ© with my laptop and my husband, getting some work done. Tonight we’re going to an art opening which is bound to be inspirational, so tomorrow I’ll probably be out with my camera again. I’m trying to embrace the free time, since it’s going to be the last I have for quite a while.

Getting to know all about you (me)

I am a skeptic. I will call bullshit on your stories of miracles, ghosts, and love at first sight faster than you can say, “You will not believe what happened to me…” You’re right—I won’t believe you. I am an unbeliever. I could count on one hand the number of times I have been inside a church in the last five years without being paid to be there (paid to sing in the choir, that is, not for some kind of strange congregation-building scheme). However, though I don’t believe in God (not wholeheartedly, anyway), there are some tenets I hold dear. Tuesday was supposed to be List Day, but rules were made to be broken, so here it is a day late:

8* Things I Believe:
*I did just tell you I was an unbeliever. You expected a list of 10?

1. I believe that an extra “dessert stomach” exists that makes it possible to eat dessert even when you’re stuffed. Lucky me, I have two.

2. I believe that it is possible to be both a strong woman and a girly girl. My favorite color is pink, but I can still change a tire (you know, hypothetically, like I understand the concept of how to do it).

3. I believe that there is someone, somewhere, who has the secret of how to balance a successful career with a full personal life. If that someone is you, and you’re reading this blog, call me.

4. I believe that moderation in all things makes for a life lacking adventure.

5. I believe that the perfect outfit can make any situation better, and that what makes an outfit perfect very rarely has anything to do with comfort.

6. I believe that the music you listen to, the books you read, the art you see, and the theatre you watch help shape who you are, so it’s important to experience as much of all four as possible. Especially when you get free tickets.

7. I believe that people still judge you based on things like good manners, proper grammar, and meticulous grooming. I just hope they don’t notice my cuticles.

8. I believe that life is better when your hobby is also your job, even if it means you can’t think of anything to say when people ask you, “What do you in your free time?”

What's been happening in my life lately, you ask? Well, the most exciting news is that I dyed my hair a dark coppery brown (see #2). If Houston won't provide the fall colors, I will.

My heart is leapin', I'm havin' trouble sleepin'

I have not been sleeping well since I got back to Houston. I think several factors are coming into play to destroy my sleep, including the human heater who shares my bed and the cats who got used to sleeping on my side of the bed while I was gone this summer and are loath to give up the habit. I suffered through it for about a week thinking it would get better once I got used to being home, but it didn’t. Then I went several days meaning to buy over-the-counter sleep medicine and forgetting. Finally, one night I decided to take Nyquil, which we already had in the house, despite the fact that I didn’t display any symptoms of sniffling, sneezing, coughing, aching, or fever. That night I did, however, get the best sleep I ever got with a cold.

Unfortunately, the next time I took Nyquil we had the loudest thunderstorm in the history of the world (at least it seemed like it at the time), so I woke up in the middle of the night and couldn’t get back to sleep. The next day I felt woozy all day and ended up sleeping on the couch for most of the morning and afternoon. This experience prompted me to actually go to the drugstore and buy sleep medication. I’ve been taking that for 2 nights now, and it doesn’t seem to be doing much good at all. And, to make matters worse, when I wake up, Nathan wakes up (we don’t have one of those mattresses where you can put a glass of wine on it and then jump up and down without the wine spilling), and then the cats all wake up and think that it’s morning, even if it’s 3am. Yeah, we’re rockin’ it “Nessun dorma” style at the Daughtrey house.

Tonight I’m breaking out all the big guns I can think of. I plan on drinking wine, taking a hot bath, popping pills, and sipping Sleepytime tea. Don’t call me in the morning; I’ll be sleeping in (fingers crossed).


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