Internet intervention

I've decided I spend too much time on the internet. This is not some shocking revelation, nor is the situation so dire as to require a cold-turkey approach—I am not relying on iChat to replace actual chatting or iSex (it must exist) to replace actual sex. I have not yet been reduced to ordering groceries online and having them delivered. However, earlier this week there was a day that, during an especially intense Facebook excursion, I almost rationalized that I did not have time to go the gym. Now, in my current pathetic jobless state, there are some things I'm lacking: Extra cash. Motivation to get up early. Self-respect. But time? Time I've got. In spades. Time that I could surely be putting to better use doing charity work, starting my novel, or, you know, learning the shows I'm working on this year.

I don't want you to get the wrong idea. I am as big a fan of the internet as the next guy. I find it quite useful for blogging, emailing, picture-sharing, finding out when the next season of The Office comes out on DVD (this Tuesday, I'm so excited!), settling arguments about the proper use of "capitol" v. "capital," and, of course, stalking ex-boyfriends. But realistically, all of that should take under an hour per day, which is not realistically the amount of time I generally spend staring at the screen.

First there are the blogs. Until about 5 minutes ago, I was subscribed to 74 blogs on Google Reader. As of now, that number has been cut down to 44 (I'm pretty sure that's the second step, after admitting you have a problem). Lately I've been packing on the design blogs in a vain attempt to curtail my nesting instinct, as well as trying out new blogs linked to by bloggers I like. Not surprisingly the ones that made the cut are either friends or blogs I've been reading for a long time, with a few notable exceptions (I'm looking at you, Carl).

But worse than blogs, worse than shopping, worse than (and oddly similar to) porn, is Facebook (or Stalkerbook, as I prefer to call it). All those people you've tried hard to forget since high school, college, or that one dreadful summer? They're on Facebook, and they want to be "friends" with you and show you pictures of their drunken escapades, lists of their favorite movies, and the eclectic groups of people you have in common. And the worst thing is…it's fascinating. Never before have I felt so intimately involved in the lives of people I barely know. When I go to my Facebook home page, I'm alerted as to which of my friends have talked to each other, which have broken up, and which have recently thrown toga parties (a bizarrely high number, considering my age). And, while there is a part of me that would like to quit altogether, or at least make a drastic friend purge, I know I won't. Even after witnessing dramatic (and false) rumors started based on someone's "status" and sick days busted after drunken photos of the night before are posted. The best I can do is to turn down friend requests from people I don't recognize (or, let's be honest, just don't like), hold myself back from posting too many details about myself (that's what this blog is for, right?), and try to take days off.

It helps that internet reception at CameraMan's apartment, where I'm shacking up temporarily, is sketchy at times and limited to only one computer. It also helps that almost everybody is back in town, so I'm starting to have something resembling a social life: happy hour on Tuesday, Astros games last night and tomorrow, meals on the go between CameraMan's rehearsals, and gym dates with Little Miss Hardcore.

It does not help that My Gay Husband has just started a wickedly funny blog.

Oh well. One day at a time, right?

A day to remember

Within 5 minutes of meeting Grandma Bossy, she will invariably ask you when your birthday is. She will then go through the extensive birthday calendar IN HER HEAD, and tell you who in her extended network of family and friends has the same birthday. Failing that, you will usually get at least 2 people whose birthdays surround yours. It's uncanny.

I don't have nearly her total recall when it comes to dates, but I do have a tendency to keep track of milestones (as you may have noticed), particularly in relationships. First date, first kiss, first everything. I even like to acknowledge them, not just yearly, but monthly, too: luniversaries.

Unfortunately, I have yet to figure out a way to turn off this habit when it comes to past relationships, and so today I am stuck remembering that this would have been my wedding anniversary. Starting this year, it's my noniversary. If I were as wise and grown-up as I pretend to be, I would probably draw some inspirational conclusion from the passing of the day. Something about every experience making me a stronger and better person, or about examining the mistakes in my past to guarantee I don't repeat them, or maybe even some cliché involving a door and a window. I'd like to wrap up that way, but mainly I'm just sad, and far too introspective. I'm worried that I will never be free of this baggage, that I'll never work up the courage to take the plunge again, that I'll never trust myself again with the word "forever." I'm worried.

To mark the occasion, I spent the morning at the zoo, and the afternoon weeping. Tomorrow it will be over, and I'll move on to another milestone: it's the Army Brat's birthday, all the way across the ocean in the Netherlands. I'm looking forward to the year that August 26 comes around and I realize I have completely passed my noniversary by without remembering.

And in case you're wondering, I share a birthday with Aunt Bossy, my hairdresser, and 2 coloratura sopranos (that I know of). Plus, approximately 40% of my friends' birthdays are within a 2-week radius of mine. What can I say, we Libras love the arts.

Happy blogiversary!

Exactly a year ago, I launched the blog on a whim with this post, never thinking I would keep up with it anywhere near this long. I've started countless journals that peter out after only a few pages filled with self-conscious penmanship, with the result that the past year of my life since I started this blog is documented far better than any previous. This might be part of the reason it seems like 8/22/07–8/22/08 has been the most important year of my life thus far.

Before writing this post I read through my archives, and I was struck by how much I have, for lack of a better term, grown up this year. Since I started the blog, I have ended a marriage, strengthened friendships, and, much to my surprise, fallen in love again. I have focused my energy on discovering what makes me happy and taken steps to bring more happiness into my life. I have also spent hours weeping, eaten a ridiculous amount of cheese, and used the f-word in front of my mother, all of which have turned out to be just exactly what was needed at the time. This year feels like it has also been a turning point of sorts in my career; in the past week alone I have been offered a job I didn't apply for and interviewed for a job that begins over a year from now.

Through it all, I have shared my life with you here. The Wise Soprano asked me once whether I would write the blog if nobody was reading it, and my answer to her was an unwavering no. The fact that people read (and that I am not even a little bit anonymous) limits me in certain ways, but I think that the need to put my experiences through a public filter actually forces me to think them through and interpret them in a way that I wouldn't have to in a private journal, and that has been invaluable to me. Being a blogger is a little bit like being a photographer; the more you look through that tiny lens, the more you see everything around in the context of a picture. When I view my life now I am more likely to see parallels in seemingly unrelated anecdotes, more inclined to question my reactions to events, and often inspired to get out and do something interesting, if only to get a good subject for a blog post.

Which is all a very long-winded way of saying, thanks for reading. I think Little Ms. Bossy will stick around for another year. I hope you will, too.

Coming (relatively) soon: The Bossy Activity Guide for the Unemployed, Insights into the Bossy Netflix Queue, A Paean to the Bossy Cat, and Little Ms. Bossy Starts a Club


The technological world of Little Ms. Bossy seems to be experiencing some kind of universal system crash, sending the emotional world of Little Ms. Bossy into near-meltdown status. The Sanity Threat Level was already pretty high, probably about orange ("elevated"), based on a seemingly unending period of unemployment summer vacation and general malaise stemming from a lack of purpose. The latest spate of crises, which when considered together can only be interpreted as signs of the Bossypocalypse, just might edge it up to red.

It started out with the BossiBook, which I suspect may have been engineered to fail exactly 3 years from the date of purchase, rendering me 100% liable when I throw it across the room and sheepishly attempt to exchange it at the Apple Store. Saying that the computer is "slow" doesn't really do the situation justice. It calls out for a clichéd metaphor like "slow as molasses," or "snail's pace," or "slow enough to drive Little Ms. Bossy to drink." I've tried everything I can think of. I bought an external hard drive and transferred all my music and photos, freeing up about 12GB of space on my computer. Papa Bossy ran some top-secret code on the Terminal utility. Even begging "pretty please with a cherry on top" didn't make any difference. Every once in a while we have a good day and I gain back my optimism, only to have my hopes dashed the very next day when it won't let me do something simple, like…I don't know…USE THE KEYBOARD. The Bossy Camera, which miraculously seems to be unharmed, has been working overtime taking lots of pretty pictures. I would love to show them to you, but I can't. The BossiBook won't let me.

Good thing I have my trusty BossiPhone, right? WRONG. The Maps feature of my phone crashes every time I open it, and Safari is having some crashing issues as well. Even the phone feature has been exhibiting some quirky behavior, vibrating at random and forgetting to ring when someone calls.

And then there's the Bossy Beetle (Frankie). Her check engine light lit up right before I left for Denver, so I didn't have time to bring her in until yesterday. Turns out, lots of things are wrong with her, the details of which I have only a very shaky grasp. I shelled out about $1000 today to get her ship-shape. And that's not including the $600 of repairs I decided to hold off on, including the part of my car that is currently held together with string (truly). Spending that kind of money on anything always leaves me feeling slightly sick to my stomach, and the timing on this one could not have been worse. I'm doing the responsible adult thing (it doesn't come naturally) and canceling my trip to LA to see Woody's first opera, as well as putting plans for my very own apartment on hold.

All of this has put me in a very crabby mood. Thank goodness the refrigerator still works. It's not too early for beer, is it?

After all

At any given party full of opera people (and let's face it, that's the only kind I attend), there are a staggering number of conversations going something like this:
Oh, you're from Houston? Do you know ____?
Yes! We were in the same class at Juilliard.
You were at Juilliard? Well then, you must know ____ and ___!
Of course! I love ____. Have you met her sister?
Oh my gosh, we were roommates at Merola!
What a small world.
I know, isn't it?
And so on and so forth. It sounds tedious, and sometimes it is, but I have a pretty high tolerance for it. Opera professionals spend so much time traveling from place to place that it can be difficult to maintain friendships and other close relationships. When we arrive somewhere new, we play the name game so that we can establish connections right away. We're not really strangers if we have a mutual good friend, right? And it gives us something to talk about besides the current show we're working on, which is usually a refreshing change of pace.

Of course, you can only play the game if you're operating in a small enough circle of people. And, given the number of opera training programs and regional companies in this country, it's sometimes surprising just how small the opera world really is. Once you get to a certain level, though, you start seeing the same people over and over, and even the ones you don't see often are all friends with the ones you do.

There are perks to living in such a small world. Chances are, you'll never work somewhere where you don't know anyone, it's mighty helpful when networking, and, best of all, if you feel like summer festival-hopping, you will undoubtedly find friends wherever you want to go.

I took advantage by visiting Central City and Santa Fe last week. At Central City I stayed with Little Miss Hardcore and the Airstream Diva, saw The New Oregonian's show, and ate my body weight in crab legs (yes, crab legs in Colorado, don't judge).

LMH and I drove down to Denver to spend the night at her folks' house and have breakfast with the Hardcore Niece and Nephew, who completely wore me out and then inquired whether I would be returning for Christmas.

Then it was down to Santa Fe, where we stayed in CaliBoy's incredible house, saw The Prodigy's stylish production of Falstaff, and spent most of our time swooning at how naturally gorgeous Santa Fe is. We also had some entertaining adventures, including (but not limited to) The Time a Security Guard at the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum Told Us to Stop Taking Pictures OUTSIDE and Then Forced Us to Erase the Pictures, The Time We Saw a Car Run Into a Building in Downtown Santa Fe, and (my personal favorite) The Time We Got Locked INSIDE the Santa Fe Opera and Had to Climb Over a Bar to Get Out.

Now I'm back in H-town, discovering that the world of people who stay here during the summers just might be the smallest world of all. Friends, come back to town—I have lots of time to hang out with you!

In other news, after some extensive poll-taking, I have decided that a strenuous 6-hour hike does indeed count as an all-day hike.

4 down, 96 to go.

In critical* condition

This was supposed to be the summer I got hot. I'm not referring to temperature. I'm talking about the svelte, slim-hipped model type I'm convinced is trapped inside of me, currently sulking and bringing home report cards that say "not working up to her potential," but just aching to break free and prance around in size-4 pants. This summer (the one that's almost over) seemed like the perfect time to let her out, given my employment status and copious free time.

Unfortunately, the situation seems to have taken a turn in the opposite direction. My gym attendance has been sporadic at best, and despite optimistically signing up for a month of Bikram Yoga, CameraMan and I only went to 3 classes before deciding it was too cruel and unusual for us.

And then there was the eating. Some of it was trash: the occasional Vienna Inn debauchery and the all too frequent Chick-Fil-A lunches. Most of the eating, however, was done during incredible meals with friends. It's been a decadent summer. Mussels and frites with The Wise(ass) Soprano. Getting back to my roots by cooking Bratwurst and Rotkraut and Kartoffeln for CameraMan. Picnics at the Filene Center. Tapas with MuseumGirl and then again after a Spy Museum outing with CameraMan, Wise Soprano, and Diva-in-Training: dates wrapped in bacon, chorizo with garlic potatoes, monkfish with eggplant puree, and anything we could get our hands on that came with their amazing alioli. The list goes on and on.

It's all been delicious, but it's taken its toll. It's clear to me that the only reasonable solution is to stop eating for the month of August.

Just as soon as I finish these curly fries.

*critical ass adj. The stage in fat accumulation when fabric can no longer contain the enormity of one's buttocks.


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