If I lived in Southern California…

Part of an ongoing series.
  • …I would wear sunscreen. I promise. Especially if I was planning on going to an opening night wearing a strapless dress in a few days. Ahem.

  • …I just might invest in a Vita-mix and convert to the green drink lifestyle. Much as I hate to admit it, I'm feeling pretty healthy after a week of daily green drinks.

  • …I would feel more connected to my family. 1 grandmother, 2 uncles, 2 aunts, and 6 cousins (1 removed) all nearby would ensure that.

  • …I would go on a hike every day, because I would have no excuse not to.

  • …I would feel like a square, what with all the talk of Burning Man, etc.

  • …I would need to earn a lot more money than I do now in order to have a roof over my head.

  • …I would probably give into peer pressure and end up more enlightened. Everyone's doing it.

  • …you would have to tear me away from the beach. Where I would be wearing sunscreen. Did I mention that?

  • …I would take pictures of the landscape all the time, juggling my camera in one hand while I pinched myself with the other to make myself believe that I lived in this gorgeous place.

  • …I wouldn't be quite so excited to go back to Houston as I am right now.
Goodbye, California. I'm heading home.

California dreaming

We're driving north up the Pacific Coast Highway, craning our necks to the left to watch the heavy orange sun sink into the ocean. The cotton candy clouds are tinted the same pink as my sunburned chest and shoulders, and the entire sky looks as if it's being illuminated by some very theatrical stage lighting. There's a companionable silence in the car, because really, what is there to say beyond the occasional Wow or Would you look at that?

We pull into town, driving along the beach on a street lined with tall palm trees. Beach volleyball is being played to our left and soccer to our right, the players soaking up every last drop of daylight before they call it a night. We park and get out of the car. It's 66° outside with a cool breeze rustling through the palm fronds. We're greeted by the salty smell of the sea and the sound of the waves before we even see the water in the fading light. The sand is built up in piles from the recent storm, and there are a couple small kids climbing on the piles.

It's all so picturesque, with the palm trees and the sand and the crashing waves, that for a moment, just for a moment, I'm overwhelmed with the desire to move here, suddenly sure that everything would be better if this idyllic spot felt like home, if this paradise was my reality.

But then I remember the frequent earthquakes. And the outrageous housing prices. And my refusal to wear Uggs when it's over 60°.

I guess we can't all be California girls.

Random reactions to the Oscars

  • Men should not wear gold hoop earrings, unless they are on set for a pirate movie. I'm looking at you, Mr. Day-Lewis.
  • Spanish accents are sexy.
  • Hannah Montana does not belong at the Oscars. I'm just saying.
  • Turns out, Mickey Rooney is still alive. Who knew?
  • Is it really necessary to bring up the fact that Diablo Cody was an "exotic dancer" every time she's mentioned? Oh, and using Jon Stewart's formula, my stripper name is definitely Gypsy Wells. FYI.
  • Thank God the song from Once won. The rest of the songs were hopeless.
  • Couldn't they get a diction coach to help the presenters who have to pronounce the titles of foreign films? The only one more painful to listen to than Owen Wilson was that bee, aka Jerry Seinfeld.
  • Kristen Chenoweth, you can wear all the 5" heels you want. You will never be tall. Embrace it.
  • Can anyone tell me the difference between Sound Editing and Sound Mixing?
  • Scottish accents are sexy.
  • The fact that Marion Cotillard is so young and lovely in real life makes me all the more impressed with her transformation for La Vie en Rose. Amazing.
  • I have seen 31 of the 80 Best Picture films.
  • If I can walk and crack jokes in front of people at age 98, I hope I'll be getting a big award so I can show off my mad skills.
  • I miss the extended clips of all the Best Pic nominees. I did like that the show came in under 4 hours, though.
  • I need to see No Country for Old Men. And There Will Be Blood. And Michael Clayton. And…oh, never mind. I have to go rearrange my Netflix queue.

My new Zen attitude

The most difficult part of my job isn't the long hours, or the intensity of productions, or the uncertainty of the future, or the challenge of dealing with big personalities (read: divas). No, the most difficult part for me is the time in between productions (read: right now).

On the face of it, a vacation is a glorious thing. Sleeping in, no responsibilities, time with friends and family, the opportunity to read and exercise and all those other things I never do. I am certainly a person who relishes my free time, and the time between shows has an abundance of that. But (and there's always a but) I can really only handle it for very short periods. I love a free day during a crazy tech week. I love an unexpected full 2-day weekend in the middle of a production. I do not love 3 whole weeks away from work.

I know it's irrational, but after just a few days I start to feel useless and without direction. I question my purpose and wonder what I'm doing with my life. Never mind that I'm really content with the way my life is going (read: happy). Never mind that I've quite recently gotten a pretty exciting job offer that I'll share details of as soon as I have the contract in my hot little hands. When I'm not working, I forget all of that in favor of long ruminations about the utter lameness of my existence.

Last night, when I should have been blogging, I was in the midst of an epiphany, or a catharsis, or some other kind of multi-syllabic moment of note. Grandma Bossy took me to a play last night, and while it wasn't my favorite night of all time at the theatre, I did hear its message loud and clear. Mostly because I was hit over the head with it by a 2" x 4" (read: excessive repetition). The message was essentially, "Live in the moment." Not incredibly profound and definitely not the first time I've heard it, but it was just what I needed to snap me out of my mid-vacay funk.

I'm an ambitious person. I want to live an extraordinary life, and in everything I do I am building toward that goal. In a lot of ways this is a good thing. I've moved forward in my career quickly and easily due in large part to my drive and ambition. The flip side, of course, is that I'm never completely happy with where I am, especially when I don't feel like I'm doing anything to directly move forward.

So, back to the catharsis (or whatever it was). Are you ready?

I realized yesterday that maybe I"m already living an extraordinary life.

Huge, right? I'm not saying that the funk is completely gone. I'm still feeling somewhat despondent, but at least the rational side of my mind is aware that things aren't so bad.

Even right now, at this very minute, even though I'm not at work. I'm sitting in front of the fireplace with a cat curled up at my feet, taking advantage of the lovely hospitality (read: wine and wi-fi) of Uncle and Aunt Bossy. And I'm feeling better by the minute.

It's not easy being green

I have come to the right place to change my unhealthy ways. I am in a strange and wondrous land where waitresses give you unsolicited helpful tips about carbs while you're deciding what to order, a place where even women in their 80's have gym memberships (hi, Grandma Bossy), an exotic locale where organic vegetables can be (and are) eaten just hours after they are picked.

They call it Southern California, and if I stayed much longer I just might transform into a carb-avoiding, skinny jeans with Uggs-wearing, salad-loving, honest-to-goodness California girl.

To speed the process along, I'm joining Aunt and Uncle Bossy every morning for their favorite breakfast: green drink. It's the latest health craze to sweep through my Cali family, and everybody swears it invigorates them and gives them more energy for the day. How could I turn it down?

Green drink is, at its most basic, a whole bunch of green vegetables pureed in a blender (not just any blender) and poured into a drinking glass. The vegetables vary slightly each day, so the drink tastes quite different depending on the batch. Here's a sampling of some of the veggies that make up the concoction: collard greens, kale, carrot tops, salad greens, broccoli, cilantro, and cabbage. Also a few others so nutritious that I've never heard of them. In order to make the drink even remotely palatable first thing in the morning (or ever), some citrus fruits and/or bananas are generally added to the mix. Ginger and garlic are optional.

It's not the worst thing I've ever tasted. Nor is it the best. It is, however, definitely the greenest.

I haven't seen a beer or a mozzarella stick since I got here. I don't know if I have any more energy after 3 days on the green drink, but I suppose it can't hurt to pump myself full of vegetables and nutrients while I'm here. Lord knows I won't be getting much of either in H-town.

Plus, I need all the help I can get if I'm going to look good in those skinny jeans.

Little Ms. Bossy (The Soundtrack)

In my regular non-vacay life, there is constant music. At home from the Sounddock, in the car from my iPod, at work from the real live singers I work with, at the bar from the jukebox. I am so rarely without music that the few minutes I'm forbidden to use my iPod on the plane before we reach cruising altitude seem like an eternity.

I have plenty of music on my iPod (drastic understatement), so I can pick the music I listen to based on the mood I'm in at any given moment. Currently it's:
  • Jack Johnson and Joshua Radin to relax
  • Kate Nash and Lily Allen to primp
  • Vampire Weekend and Regina Spektor to smile
  • Ingrid Michaelson to feel at home
  • Elgar's Cello Concerto and William Fitzsimmons to cry
  • Astor Piazzolla and Carla Bruni to feel sexy
  • Lauren Kennedy to sing
Except that sometimes, instead of my mood dictating the soundtrack, the soundtrack dictates my mood.

I've been enjoying all the aforementioned artists, yes, but mostly what I've been listening to for the last week is La Bohème. Endlessly. I have 6 full recordings of the opera on my iPod, and I've been cycling through them, act by act. I listen to it while I'm studying, I listen to it while I'm napping, I even listened to it while doing crunches at the gym today. The only way I know to truly learn an opera is to listen to it about a gazillion times. You can wait until you're in rehearsal, where you're forced to hear it that much, or you can do it yourself before the rehearsals start. I prefer the latter approach.

The result of all this Bohème immersion is that I seem to be more emotional than usual, more quick to tears, more prone to unprovoked sappiness. The beauty of Puccini's music is enough to soften the hardest of hearts, and it seems to be a balm to my broken one. My response to the music is emotional, physical, visceral, and at times exhausting. And it's not just the music. I finished translating the libretto today (don't be too impressed—by translating I just mean writing Nico Castel's translation in my score), and there are so many poignant moments in the text alone that just thinking about some of them makes me tear up.

I generally think of myself as a pretty rational, intellectual person, and I think I've got the Puccini-inspired hysterics mostly under control.

For now, that is. I still have 10 weeks of Bohème to go.


No exit

I've flown 1st Class only once, a flight from Denver to Boston while I was singing grad school auditions. My original flight was canceled due to a snowstorm and they bumped me to 1st Class on a flight leaving the next morning. I suppose I should have been upset that I had to reschedule my audition at NEC, pay for a hotel room, and buy a new toothbrush, but mainly I was ecstatic about the free upgrade.

The next morning, back at the airport, the lines were insanely long. Everyone else's flight had been canceled the day before, too, and people were crabby. Not to worry, though. I was ushered into a special short line just for 1st Class passengers (none of whom were crabby at all, I couldn't help but notice). I boarded the plane first, settled into my extra-wide extra-comfy seat, and was immediately offered a drink. In 1st Class, there were personal video screens with multiple movie choices. There were fluffy pillows and soft blankets. There were warm chocolate chip cookies with milk. There was a cute boy in the seat next to me. It was heaven.

Barring another lucky snowstorm, the closest I can get to heaven on an airplane now is sitting in an exit row. It used to be that the only way to get one was to get to the airport freakishly early. Luckily, I was often driven to the airports by my parents. "Building in a buffer" is one of Mama Bossy's favorite activities, so I inevitably arrived with a couple hours to spare, and often snagged a coveted exit row seat.

With the advent of online check-in, though, what used to depend on the luck of the draw has become a science. I try to be at my computer exactly 24 hours before my flight departs so that I can have my pick of seats. My first choice is always the seat in the second exit row that has no seat in front of it. It's always better to be in the second row, because the seats in front of an exit row usually can't recline. I like a window seat in a row where the aisle seat is already taken, because if the flight isn't full, the middle seat often stays empty.

I have a process, and it has quite a high success rate. Yesterday, however, I was destined to fail. I got bumped to an earlier flight from Chicago to Houston (yes, I had to fly through Houston to get to LA), so my precious exit row boarding pass got thrown out and I was stuck in a middle seat. Then on my flight to LA I was disappointed to find that the exit row had no extra leg room at all. Plus, I was in the row that doesn't recline, and I had to crane my neck at a bizarre angle to watch the movie (Martian Child—don't bother).

The only thing that made me feel better is that the woman across the aisle from me was having a much harder time. The seat in front of her must have been broken, because not only could it recline, but it could go back so far that the man sitting in it was almost horizontal. The poor woman was unsuccessfully trying to do work on her laptop, but she had to hold it on her armrest and sort of twist her entire torso to the side in order to look at it. She kept jabbing her knees into the back of the guy's seat, but he was fast asleep and snoring for the entire flight. When the flight attendant finally made him put his seat back into the upright position as we made our final descent into Los Angeles, she pried herself out of the contorted position she had been forced into for the previous 3 1/2 hours. The slight crick in my neck didn't seem so bad compared to that.

Schadenfreude. It's not warm cookies and milk, but it'll do for now.

Kittens, eyelashes, and meatballs

My parents are celebrating their 34th wedding anniversary today. 34 years ago today, they promised to stick it out no matter what, to stay together in sickness and in health, through happy times and through rough patches, when it felt easy and when it felt impossible. And then, do you know what they did next? They kept their promise.

Their 34th wedding anniversary means that today is also the 35th anniversary of their first kiss (how cute is that?). I’ve always loved hearing the stories of when they got together, picturing them young and in love, making a big romantic gesture like getting married on the day they had their first kiss. They met at a party in Germany. The first thing my mom noticed about my dad was how sweet he was being with some kittens. The second thing she noticed was how long his eyelashes were (I guess she had to get somewhat closer to notice that). I don’t know what my dad noticed first. Probably that my mom was loud and American (and hot, obvs). She invited him over, and he thought it was a party, so he brought meatballs, but it turned out he was the only guest at the party. They’ve been together ever since.

I always knew my parents’ marriage was special. Growing up so many of my friends had divorced parents, or parents who stayed together just for the sake of the kids (with the kids’ silent knowledge), or fathers they saw only twice a year, or two sets of everything so they could shuttle back and forth between houses. Even as a child, I somehow knew it was extraordinary, the exception to the rule rather than the rule itself, to have two parents who were happy together.

But it’s only now as an adult (or something approximating adulthood) that I understand what a truly incredible feat it is to stay married for 34 years. I used to think it was all about finding that perfect person, the person who completes you, the yin to your yang or something equally clichéd. I’m certainly no expert on what makes a marriage last (ahem), but I think it’s not so much about the right person as it is about a combination of faith and hard work: the firm belief that the marriage will be successful and the commitment to doing whatever it takes to make it. Maybe it helps to have a flexible definition of what a successful marriage is, too. Whatever the winning combination is, the Bossy folks have figured it out.

I can only hope to be so lucky in love one day, but I know that I am lucky to have been a part of their love.

Happy Anniversary, Mama and Papa Bossy!

Help! I need somebody

I'd love to write a post about my relaxing Sunday watching movies on the couch with the Best Friend, and the bizarro Chicagoland weather, and the amazing gut-wrenching work of beauty that is Pan's Labyrinth, but my heart's just not in it. The truth is, at the moment it's hard for me to focus on anything for very long except my lack of summer job. As each day goes by without an offer, my panic mounts. You might even call it an obsession.

My search began in October. The countless résumés I sent out led to more rejection emails than I care to remember, but even more companies that just never responded at all. I've followed up, I've searched and searched again, and I've recently started telling everyone I talk to that I'm desperately looking for summer work. Pride is no longer an issue; I just want a job.

So, dear readers, I'm turning to you. I have 4 months free, from the middle of May to the middle of September. What should I do? As time passes, I'm becoming less picky. Here are my requirements:
  • I need a place to live. Ideally not my parents' house (sorry, Bossy Folks).
  • I need to make a little bit of money. Not a fortune, but at least enough to cover my living costs for the summer.
  • I need to feel like I have a purpose, and it would be nice not to be incredibly bored.
  • I need to do something to further my career. Looks like it probably won't be directing or assistant directing opera, but it needs to not be a completely wasted 4 months.
I would have no problem coming up with options if I was independently wealthy, but alas, I am not, and I'm running out of ideas.

Can you help a girl out?

My kind of town, Chicago is

I spent a lovely afternoon in downtown Chicago yesterday walking around alone through Millennium Park and the Art Institute and taking lots of pictures. Then I met KT for drinks and appetizers at a Chicago institution (not the Wiener Circle; sorry, Wise Soprano) and then we were off to the Lyric to see their fantastic production of Falstaff (for free, no less). It was the perfect day. It was cold but not too cold, the sun was shining, and the camera wasn't letting me down.

Millennium Park. I am fascinated by the bean. Do you see me?

A few of my favorite things at the Art Institute.

In other news, this post is Little Ms. Bossy's 100th post! It's been almost 6 months since I started blogging, and I'm so glad that I did. At first it provided a much-needed escape from things I didn't want to deal with, but gradually it has become so much more. Through the blog I have learned to love writing and have forged new relationships both real and imagined.

In honor of the milestone, here are a few of my favorite posts, arranged chronologically:


Just play it cool, real cool

The girl in seat 38-J

A purely hypothetical exercise

Adventures in air travel and karmic retribution

Thinking out loud

Illinois is for lovers

There are two things you can always count on when the Best Friend and I get together: 1) we will go shopping and spend more money than we plan to; and 2) we will consume mass quantities of chocolate and other sweets, often in lieu of a normal meal.

Yesterday was certainly a prime example. We spent most of the day shopping. The closest shopping to the Best Friend is an outdoor mall in Skokie. Yes, that's right, an outdoor mall. I don't know what would possess someone in the suburbs of Chicago to build a mall where you have to go outside to walk between stores, but we braved the cold, all in the name of contributing to the economy, obvs.

The Best Friend and I have a rhythm to our shopping that we can never quite duplicate with other friends. Our endurance is greatly heightened. For some reason being together enables us to hit more stores with fewer breaks. This leads, of course, to greatly increased spending. This used to be a real problem when we lived in the same state, but I don't have too much guilt about it now, since we see each other only once or twice a year (my most exciting purchases yesterday were this and this). For the Best Friend, on the other hand, the buyer's remorse is just part of the fun. Generally as she's trying something on and I'm telling her how good she looks in it (genuinely, too, because one thing we never do is give false compliments), she looks at the price tag and says something like, "I really want it, but it costs x. If it was just a little cheaper I could justify it… But look how cute it is. I love it!" This is my cue to say something along the lines of, "But it's black, so it's versatile. And when you find something that fits you so well, you should really snap it up." If it's a bigger ticket item, it gets put on hold. Then we move on to other stores, occasionally mulling over whether or not she'll go back and buy it. Inevitably she does, which leads us to the justification stage, in which we discuss the many uses for the item she has just bought, all the different things already in her wardrobe that will go with it, and all the situations that it will be just perfect for. All this will be repeated (for/by both of us) when we get home and try on all our new clothes for each other again. It may sound silly, but it's a routine we've developed over 10 years, and it works for us.

After our exhausting afternoon of shopping, there was really nothing we could do except go to Ethel's and eat chocolate fondue for dessert (see #2 above). It didn't hit us that it was Valentine's Day until we sat down.

Nothing says romance like sitting at a table for two surrounded by shopping bags, stabbing a gourmet marshmallow with a fondue fork and dipping it in chocolate.

That toddlin' town

Cozy under blankets on the couch. Chats with the Best Friend. Bundling up. Crunchy snow underfoot. Sunshine. Breakfast scramble with avocado. Midwestern accents. Podcasts on the train. Final dress of Barber at the Lyric. A seat next to The Fabulous Ms. Wilson. An exciting email on my iPhone. Meeting the incomparable Yankeediva (happy birthday!). Hilarious stories from a living legend. Coat buttoned up, hands stuffed in pockets. Brisk walks. Pasta and catching up with KT. Dessert with 2 spoons. Clear crisp weather. A terrible movie. 45 minutes in the Metra station. Juno soundtrack. Walking the wrong way on Main St. Getting warm. Cozy under blankets on the couch.

Baby it's cold outside

On Sunday I spent the afternoon at the zoo wearing a tank top and a skirt. I closed my eyes and spread my arms out wide in a gesture that could only be described as basking, said "Bring on the Vitamin D!" (yes, audibly), and bragged that soon I would be a bronzed goddess (if soon means never gonna happen, that is).

And today? Today I flew to Chicago. Today I obsessed over winter weather advisories and flight delays. Today I flew through piles of fluffy clouds that left ice on the window next to me. Today I got off the plane and was met by a wave of cold air the likes of which haven't been seen in Houston since…umm…never. Today I bundled up in my winter coat (which has been severely neglected since I got home from Germany), scarf, and gloves, and queued up for a taxi so that the Best Friend didn't have to brave the dangerous icy roads. Today I saw my breath in the air, lost sensation in my legs, and actually felt my body heat escaping through my hatless head. Today I sat in the back of a cab and listened to local news stories such as a brand new addition to the snow plow fleet ("It's a sight to be seen, Bob.") and Evanston's street salt shortage ("We're just hoping spring comes really early this year.")

It's a different world here up North.

Thank goodness the folks at Continental eased the shock for me by keeping the cabin temperature at a crisp 48 degrees for the duration of my flight.

I have goals, you know

Tonight's my last night in H-town. Tomorrow evening I'm off on a 16-day trip to Chicago and Southern California (a nightmare of a trip to pack for if there ever was one). I had a Bon Voyage get-together of sorts with some friends. Margaritas were guzzled, chips with various dips were devoured, and other generally carousing went on. It was great to party, but I have to remember that although the next couple weeks are a vacation, I can't completely slack off. I have goals, you know.

For example:
  • Not freeze my a** off while in Chi-town. The Best Friend said to me on the phone today, "You're lucky. When you get here it'll be in the 20's." I have a feeling I won't be feeling so lucky come tomorrow evening.
  • Catch up with friends. I talk to the Best Friend a couple times a week on the phone, but nothing helps best friend bonding like hanging out on the couch while watching reruns of Law & Order.
  • Learn La Bohème. I did some translation work this afternoon, and there are surprisingly few strippers with HIV in it. And I thought I knew this show.
  • Go to a convention of Little Ms. Bossy fans. Otherwise known as Grandma's house.
  • Rest. Wait, what have I been doing for the past 2 weeks? Never mind.
  • Spend some time outside. I'm hoping the majority of this will take place during the Cali part of my trip. Have I mentioned how cold I will be in Chicago?
  • Be healthy. Again, I'll have better luck with this in California.
  • Take a lot of pictures. I've been neglectful of my camera lately, mainly because I'm too busy drooling over CameraMan's DSLR. I need to get over it and learn to use the camera I have.
  • Meditate until an amazing summer job magically drops in my lap. And what better place for meditation than Southern California? Seriously.
  • Write. On my Europe trip I did a lot of creative writing outside of my blog, and I really enjoyed it. I've been neglecting it since getting back, but on vacation I have no excuse.

Or is that too much? Maybe I need to forget all the goals and just focus on enjoying my totally klutch vacation.

Yeah, right. I might as well list completely change personality as a goal.

Until next time, when I blog by candlelight from a freezing cold garret, wearing those awesome fingerless gloves and stickin' it to the man. Too bad I'm all digital; otherwise I could burn my blog posts to keep warm.

Better late than never, right?

It's only February 10, and my 30-day project has already failed. And I don't even have a good excuse, either. I'd like to say that I spent the weekend de-worming kittens, feeding the homeless, and working tirelessly for the Obama campaign, but in fact my a** was glued to the couch for most of the last few days, with the exception of two night-time excursions to the opera house, in which I made new friends far hipper than me and drank large quantities of red wine; one trip to the hair salon, in which I became exponentially cuter in the span of an hour and a half; and one visit to the zoo, in which I contemplated stealing a meerkat to keep as a pet. It was a good weekend.

I am a paragon of professionalism when at work-related functions.

Except when they keep filling your glass before you've even finished your wine.

But no matter how much wine I drink, I have yet to perfect the perfect pouty pose.

The sun is shining, the birds are singing

It's gorgeous weather here today. I have every window in the apartment open, and the kitten has been out on the balcony for most of the day. Thank goodness she's found a new activity, because for the past couple days she has been completely obsessed with my rabbit fur earmuffs (yes, yes, I know: I am an evil bunny killer). She found them in a box of winter stuff in the back of my closet. And again when I put the same box up on a shelf. And again when I put the earmuffs in a dresser drawer. No matter where I hid them, I kept finding her in the living room biting them, kicking them with her back feet, and growling. When I finally got wise and closed the closet door more tightly, she spent far too much time (mostly in the middle of the night) rattling the door by shoving her paw underneath, whining all the while. On the bright side, I don't think I'll have to put her on Ritalin any time soon.

Today she seems to have mostly forgotten about the earmuffs in favor of new distractions, like birds, which are pretty fascinating when watched through a window, but all the more so when they're just a few feet away, mocking her with their proximity and their so-called "songs." There's plenty for her to look at inside, too. I'm spending most of the day packing. I have managed to accumulate a shocking amount of stuff in this apartment, considering I've only been living here about 6 weeks. Besides the things I actually use every day, the remains of my CD project are strewn all over the living room (I'm happy to say that 36 GB later, the project is done!). Not to mention the alarming number of wine, liquor, and beer bottles taking over the kitchen as they wait to be recycled. Looking at them, anyone would think The New Oregonian and I were total lushes. Ahem. The best vantage point for the kitten to watch all the activity is, of course, from inside her carrier. I guess she's excited about going back to Bella's house.

I'm savoring my last few days with the kitten before my trip, because I know I'm going to miss her so much. This also may explain why I've been blogging about her constantly, although in my defense, there is apparently an internet phenomenon known as "Feline Friday" (Google it if you don't believe me), in which various bloggers write about their cats on this particular day. No, I don't plan on adopting this as a weekly tradition, but just this once, what could it hurt?

Coming up: Concert of Arias tonight, closing night of Flute tomorrow, and hopefully a new hairstyle early next week before I leave for my trip. Stay tuned for the pictures I will undoubtedly force upon you.

I'm on Fatkins

I ate vegetables today. In salad form.

This is noteworthy (and I'm playing fast and loose with the term noteworthy here) only because my eating habits have completely deteriorated in the past month. They weren't all that great before, either, but I definitely reached an all-time low on Tuesday, when I ate a brownie for breakfast, Taco Bell for lunch, and mozzarella sticks for dinner. Oh, and some candy during the show. Yikes.

I'm not sure what my problem is. It's partly my complete unwillingness/inability to cook for myself, partly my busy schedule at work (although I really can't use that one this week or last), and partly my love of eating fried things at the Front Porch after midnight. Mostly, though, I think I have a hard time eating well when I'm exercising. Usually for the first week of a new workout regimen I am inspired to munch on healthy things, but that falls by the wayside pretty quickly. Apparently I can either eat well or exercise, but not both. At the moment I'm choosing exercise. The Wise Soprano tells me that this means I'll look really hot when I keel over from a heart attack. And you wonder how she earned her nickname.

This would be the part where I vow to turn over a new (lettuce) leaf, say no to all things fried, and stock up on lots of foods containing antioxidants, right? Nope. Sorry. Wrong blog. I'm not planning to do anything to change my ways; I'm just filling you in on another detail of my life. Fascinating, I know.

And bragging about my healthy choice for lunch today. Mmmm, salad, you taste so good. Especially when you are topped with bacon, cheese, egg, chicken, and ranch dressing.

By the way, you may have noticed an appreciable boost in the quantity of Little Ms. Bossy posts, along with an alarming decline in the quality. That's because my 30-day project this month is to blog every day! Some days you might want to just skim. Like, say, on days that I try to milk an entire post from one lunch choice. Ahem.

I am a homeless nomad…and my cat is, too

I haven't talked about it much on the blog, but anyone who has seen me lately, no matter how briefly, has probably heard me refer to myself as a "homeless nomad." And while this may conjure images for you of Little Ms. Bossy carrying one of those hobo sticks with all her earthly belongings tied in a red handkerchief, in reality it entails a 5' x 5' storage unit, a couple large suitcases, and a cat carrier. While I'm on contract at HGO, the kitten and I have housing, but in between contracts we are…you guessed it…homeless nomads.

The life of a homeless nomad suits me pretty well for the moment. I get to travel wherever I want staying on friends' couches, seeing opera, and having the occasional interview or meeting so that I can write off the trip on my taxes find new career opportunities. For the 3 weeks I'm off contract this time I'll be spending a week in the Windy City (probably more accurately called the Snowy City right now) before jetting off to Southern California to spend 10 days with family and then making it back to Houston in time for opening night of Last Acts.

My kitten, however, is having a harder time adjusting to homeless nomadism (yes, it's a word, otherwise how could I have just used it?). She doesn't like travel nearly so much as I do, and too many of those same friends' couches come with "no pets" clauses in their leases. Which means that every time I travel between contracts, I have to find a place for her to stay.

Tonight she had a playdate with a new friend to determine whether they might be able to be roommates. She needed to get out of the house anyway. She's been moping around the apartment for the past few days, wishing The New Oregonian was around to play with her. I took the kitten over to Little Miss Sweet Tea's house to meet Bella (see right).

It went as well as could be expected. My kitten spent a fair amount of the time behind the couch, and Bella spent a fair amount of the time hissing and baring her fangs. At the end of the night, though, Little Miss Sweet Tea and I agreed that the girls were going to be just fine living together. And if we weren't sure before, as I was getting ready to go we had proof that the kitten, at least, would settle in to her new surroundings pretty easily.

Yes, that's her, sitting contentedly on Bella's bed.

That's my adaptable girl. Born to live the life of a homeless nomad.

Burying the hatchet

I made amends with an old friend today.

I've known her for as long as I can remember, but our relationship has always been complex, and we've been on the outs for quite a while now.

We used to have so much fun together, but like many childhood friends, we gradually grew apart. I always felt that I grew up faster than she did, and she complained that I had unrealistic expectations of her and of our friendship. I depended on her in some ways, but she always needed more attention and nurturing from me than I wanted to give. She was exciting, and adventurous, and she could be fun when she was in the right mood, but I couldn't rely on her. She was a flaky friend, and I have very little patience for flaky friends.

Our personalities became too intertwined, so much so that when someone would criticize her, I felt personally attacked. Our time together, which had once made me so happy, came to feel like a burden, and I started seeing her less and less. I couldn't figure out how to extricate myself from the relationship gracefully, so I made a clean break, about 2 1/2 years ago. It was easier than I expected.

And I've been fine. I moved on. I thought I would miss her a lot, but I really haven't. I've made other friends, dependable friends who support and encourage me, who never make me cry or feel bad about myself. I'm happy.

I don't know what brought it on, but about a week ago, I started thinking I might want to check on her, just to see how she's doing. It took until today for me to work up the courage to give it a try.

It was pretty great to see her. I went in with no expectations, planning only to make small talk, but after a few minutes' hesitation, it was as if we'd never been apart. I didn't feel frustrated or upset. I felt comfortable, and nostalgic, and energized, and happy.

I don't know how often we'll see each other. It's been a long time, after all, and I'm not sure how much energy I want to put into rebuilding.

But for that one hour this afternoon in a practice room, it felt like my voice and I might just be able to be friends again.

Hi-ho, the glamorous life

If you read this blog regularly, you probably think that the life of Little Ms. Bossy is pretty exciting, all rubbing shoulders with famous opera singers, buying new dresses, rocking out on the (plastic) guitar, attending fancy schmancy parties, and drinking to excess with friends.

You're absolutely right.

However, nobody should be expected to maintain that level of high glamour 7 nights a week. Case in point: tonight. Here's what I did in lieu of doing…anything:
  • Ate a burger for dinner that had an entire avocado on top. Seriously.

  • Worked on my ongoing project to copy all my CDs onto my iPod so that I can put them all away in storage. It's a long process. Feels like I'm drowning in opera recordings. Didn't stop me from going to the HGO music library today and getting 3 new recordings of Bohème, however.

  • Baked brownies with newly-discovered best brownie mix ever. Yum. Maybe I need to go get a second brownie.

  • Cleaned up my apartment. Sort of.

  • Worked on making my Flute score look presentable enough to turn in at the end of the run. HGO keeps it as a record of the production. At the moment it's a mess of scrawled post-its and illegible scribbles. Chances are, nobody will ever look at it, but just in case, I'm attempting to make it pretty.

  • Checked through a stage management document called the "Who/What/Where," which essentially lists every exit and entrance in the show, plus technical info. Got a headache. These two things possibly unrelated, but somehow I doubt it.

  • Thought it would be a good idea to watch Gilmore Girls. Watched the beginning of 2nd season. Oops. Had to watch the Kate Winslet episode of Extras to get myself out of the GG-induced funk.

  • Downloaded the new Jack Johnson CD that I pre-ordered. Listening to and enjoying it as I write.

A quiet evening at home might not be the most exciting blog fodder, but I know someone who doesn't mind a bit.

There are Giants in the sky

I have something to say, and it may shock you. Are you sitting down?

Ok, good. Here goes...

Tonight…I watched the Super Bowl.

Yes, that's right. Me. And the Super Bowl. We're like this.

I saw it all, well, almost. I saw it all starting in the 2nd quarter. I saw Tom Brady get sacked a lot. I learned what "First down" means, and that the yellow line doesn't actually exist on the field. I saw the super-lame halftime show (Tom Petty? Really? Is this the Super Bowl in 1989?). I saw the wild card team pull through when nobody thought they would. I saw the stage manager for the Patriots (he was wearing a headset, so I assume he was the stage manager, right?) get frantic and walk off the field when there was still technically 1 second left on the timer. I saw numerous fans rushing the field before the game was officially over (we often have that problem at HGO, too. Our stage manager sometimes has to chase people away from backstage.) I saw the General Director of the Giants (he didn't have a British accent like ours, and he wasn't quite as articulate as ours, but who else could he but the GD?) giving a speech and celebrating.

Oh yeah, I'm pretty much a football expert now.

Although I have to admit, my favorite part of the game had nothing to do with football at all. No, my favorite part had a lot more to do with gypsies who think love is like a rebellious bird. Oh, and mousetraps.

And you thought sports and opera didn't mix.

You're not hardcore unless you live hardcore

I'm coming up on a 3-week break between productions. I'm looking forward to travel, time with friends and family, intensive La Bohème study, and plenty of rest, but the voice of my new obsession is saying, What?!? 3 weeks without a treadmill? I've gotten pretty comfortable running indoors, reading a magazine or watching episodes of Gossip Girl and How to Look Good Naked on my iPod. I decided today was the day to get back to nature in order to prepare for a treadmill-less existence.

It was highly discouraging. Despite my super-cute new workout clothes, handy new iPod armband and perfect weather, running outdoors felt horrible. Turns out, it's much easier to just stop when the ground isn't moving underneath you. It didn't help that I forgot my watch and that for some reason I couldn't get my iPod loud enough (if you know how to solve this problem, please enlighten me). It also didn't help that numerous wizened old men passed me with ease, chatting to each other comfortably as I wheezed and panted my way through the slowest/shortest run ever. Ugh.

Luckily, my confidence cannot be shaken that easily, especially after the rockin' get-together we had after the show last night. We're all getting kind of sad, because The New Oregonian is leaving for her Oregon home tomorrow, and it's going to be a while before we see her next. CaliBoy brought over Guitar Hero: Rocks the '80's. The coffee table was cleared to the side, wine was poured (yes, we are indeed hardcore rockers who love nothing more than a glass of slightly spicy red wine), and we did…rock the '80's, I mean.

I came into the game a little cocky, I'm not going to lie. See, the first time I ever played the game was at a video game party (don't judge) about a year ago. I hate to toot my own horn, but I…well, I won a Guitar Hero tournament at this party. At the time, nobody else had played it much, either, which made the playing field (so to speak) pretty level. So when CaliBoy suggested bringing the game to our place, I have to admit that I had smug visions of strumming my heart out to "Freebird" while my friends oohed and aahed in the background.

Of course, what I failed to take into consideration is that the things that made me good at the game right away, like musical background and pretty good innate rhythm? Yeah, all my friends have those things, too, in spades. Before too long, we were all being told YOU ROCK! by the rockers on the screen (definitely preferable to the alternative, Song Failed). CaliBoy held back, letting everyone else have a couple turns before he took the stage (and by "stage" I of course mean "living room floor"). After quietly setting the level to Hard, he schooled us with a mean rendition of "Turning Japanese" by The Vapors. It was insanely good. All side conversations ended abruptly as we stared mesmerized at the screen as the notes streamed by.

I was almost inspired enough by his performance to spend all my time indoors "strumming" the white bar on a plastic guitar improving upon my natural rocker tendencies. Instead, Monday morning I'll be heading outside for a run again, determined to have a better time than I did today.

Maybe it will help if I download "Turning Japanese" onto my iPod. And figure out how to blast it loud enough that it drowns out the voice in my head saying, "Why don't you just stop. It will be so much easier. You don't need to run. Walking is a workout, too. Just stop."

Thinking out loud

I met him at a party 6 weeks before I graduated with my Master's. I had no job lined up after graduation and no job prospects. He had come to the party to be set up with another girl, and my ex, who had moved out of my apartment only 3 weeks before, was on the couch in the next room.
I thought, everything happens for a reason.

We shared war stories of past relationships and past heartbreaks.
I thought, this one's different.

I found out I had gotten the job in Houston. We had long talks about whether to stay together, whether a long-distance relationship could actually work.
I thought, if we can get through this, we can get through anything.

We had awkward conversations, long silences, and frequent misunderstandings on the phone.
I thought, everything will be different when we're together in the same place.

He carried the ring around in the pocket of his jeans for an entire weekend, waiting for the right moment to propose. The right moment never came, so it was 6 AM in the parking garage at the airport when he asked me to marry him.
I thought, this will be a great story to tell our kids.

We looked at wedding venues for a month before deciding to elope instead, on the weekend we had free between the end of Wolf Trap and our move down to Houston together.
I thought, the sooner, the better.

He was unhappy. I was unhappy. We didn't know how to make each other happy.
I thought, give it time, it will get better.

We tried everything we could think of. We went on dates, went to couples therapy, spent more time together, spent less time together.
I thought, I can make anything work if I try hard enough.

He said he had lost something and he didn't think he could get it back. I said I was tired of working so hard and getting nowhere. We both cried.
I thought, this can't possibly be the end.

I thought wrong.


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