In search of Joshua

Missing: Adorable white cat belonging to Aunt and Uncle Bossy.

Last seen: Thursday 12pm Pacific, roaming in the backyard.

Name: Joshua. Also goes by Catboy.

Distinguishing characteristics: Incredibly fluffy tail, love of snuggling, high voice, soft fur, desire for attention and petting.

Come home, Catboy. We miss you.

Back in black

Mama Bossy tells me that in order for me to fit in while I'm in New York, I will have to wear nothing but black. And while she does live almost as far from Manhattan as you can be while still living in the contiguous 48, I have learned from years of experience that she is generally correct in most things.

Today being Black Friday, it seemed like the perfect time to drag the Bossy Folks out for a little shopping. With what I bought today combined with a few new internet purchases, I'm amassing quite an array of better than basic black.

< girliness>

Like this coat...

And this sweater...

And this dress...

Of course, despite the best motherly advice, I don't want to fit in too much. Which is why I just had to have these beauties.
< /girliness>


Last Thanksgiving I was far away in Vienna, trying on independence for size but missing the hell out of my family. There was no turkey to be found, nobody around with whom to feast, and yet I still found plenty to be thankful for.

This year, I have more.

I'm thankful for:
My crazy, wonderful family.
Food, glorious food.
Second chances and do-overs.
Strong, incredible friends.
Forward motion in my life and in my career.
Generous mentors.
Good luck.
Hopes and dreams and goals and ambitions.
Beautiful music.
Happiness defined and discovered.

And as always, I'm thankful for you. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Wii Wii Wii all the way home

We've got a major family reunion going on here. Not everyone has arrived yet, but the house is filling up slowly but surely. There was a rumor that 37 people were coming to dinner tomorrow, but that number is slowly dwindling to a more manageable amount of names for CameraMan to learn all at once. So far we've seen Grandma Bossy, a few Bossy Uncles and Aunts, and several Bossy Cousins, but we're just getting started.

Everyone knows that the family who plays together, stays together, so we broke the ice with a little after-dinner Wii playing with the Bossy Cousins, one of whom I haven't seen in too many years (she's been living in Venezuela and is just about to move to Paris—so fancy). That's right, now we're spreading the gospel of Raving Rabbids to people all over the world, and they are hearing our message loud and clear.

After a warm-up round, I dropped out and let CM play with my cousins. I got out my camera and snapped a few shots, which is how I discovered that there's a certain trait that runs in our family. Can you see what it is?

I used to get into trouble in ballet class for sticking my tongue out while I did pirouettes, and I occasionally still catch myself doing it at work when I'm concentrating extra-hard (not while pirouetting, though). Apparently it's a genetic thing.

And after only 24 hours of hanging out with my family, we've already made CM one of us.

Cali bound

I'm blogging from the airport (oh, the luxury), where we're waiting for a flight to LAX that will whisk us away into the bosom of the Bossy family. I'm so excited to see everyone, introduce CameraMan (they will all love him, no worries there), and eat ridiculous amounts of food. Also, Aunt and Uncle Bossy have a Wii Fit, so I'm definitely looking forward to stepping on it and having it call me fat.

It's a zoo here. All the people sitting around me are talking incredibly loudly on their cell phones, CNN's on every television, and CM is frantically searching for his boarding pass. I'm having trouble concentrating, so I'll sign off.

Assuming CM finds his boarding pass, my next post will be from the Left Coast!

The ruling out of backup careers

Last night, I decided to play bartender. We have a strange assortment of alcohol, including airplane bottles from opening night gifts, random fifths brought to parties we've hosted, and quite a bit left for us when singer friends left town. Unfortunately, very few of our ingredients on hand actually seem to go together, so I was forced to get creative. This site is great for drink recipes, because you just enter all the ingredients you have and it tells you what cocktails you could make. I ended up making an "Erin's Sweater" for CameraMan, consisting of blue curacao and white chocolate liqueur. I renamed it "Smurf's Blood" (make one and you'll see why) and added a maraschino cherry for good measure. I followed that up with a chocolate orange martini, and then CM decided he was in need of another round of Smurf's Blood. I didn't drink much (because the drinks were gross, obvs), but poor CM woke up this morning with a headache and has now forbidden me from mixing cocktails.

I will probably never be a bartender.


I've been in an ongoing battle with AT&T for the past 10 days, trying to get them to set up DSL internet, convincing them to let me use a modem I already have, wriggling out of the shipping costs when they sent their modem anyway, and then (when they finally located my account and discovered that absolutely nothing had been done to set up service) finally giving up and canceling the whole thing. I have spoken to at least 15 people at AT&T, not including the completely infuriating fake person who doesn't understand the simple request "I want to speak to a person." I have called at least 6 different phone numbers, all of which led me to the exact same Customer Support line. I have heard Indian accents, Texan accents, and one excruciating Boston accent. I have been on hold for more than an hour, all told, listening to an ironic recording telling me over and over that most of my questions can be answered online. The many people I have spoken with have all been very calm (especially the fake one). I have not.

I will probably never be a customer support specialist.


I like to come fashionably late to trends as well as parties, so it took me a while to break down and buy the workout DVD that every other blogger was gushing about. The workout is 20 minutes long, and you're supposed to do it 30 days in a row, gradually moving through the 3 levels. I figured I could do just about anything for 20 minutes. I figured wrong. I made it exactly 8 days before giving up entirely. It's not that it was too difficult. Oh, it's difficult, but by Day 6 I could do all the push-ups (girl-style, of course), and I had graduated from 2-lb weights to 5-pounders for most of the Level 1 exercises. I just couldn't get motivated to do it. It didn't help that I was canceling out any benefit of exercise by eating whatever I wanted. Honestly, I have no excuse, except that I didn't want to do it anymore so I stopped. As the trainer at my gym who gave me my fitness assessment told me, "You are casual. You will never see results if you are casual." I'm sure he was right. And I think I will go back to casually treadmilling while watching episodes of Gossip Girl.

I will probably never be a workout guru.

Peer Pressure List, Vol. 1

I'm starting a new weekly feature here at Little Ms. Bossy. I'm calling it the Peer Pressure List (The PPL). Each week I will share with you things I'm loving that you will love too.
  • Quantum of Solace: See it for the incredible action sequences. See it for the hot ruggedness of Daniel Craig. Just see it.

  • Dark chocolate peanut M&M's: Even better than the originals, if you can believe it. Get the festive red and green ones.

  • Bringing Up Baby: Hilarious, brilliantly written, and an excellent opportunity to use the word "madcap." Also good fodder for drinking games (drink every time a woman says "David," or as an alternative that won't get you drunk quite as fast, every time someone says "leopard").

  • Wii Raving Rabbids: One of the more ridiculous games I have played, impossible to explain well, but crazy amounts of fun. You haven't lived until you've shot at alien rabbits with toilet plungers.

  • Tights: Gray, black, cream, patterned, striped... I'm pairing them with sweater minidresses and skirts, and using them to dress down party dresses and winterize summer dresses. And when I get to where the cold weather is, I'll be wearing them under my pants.
Go forth and enjoy! You know you want to.

Cat ate my homework

CameraMan finally comes home early tomorrow morning, and as in all things, I have waited until the very last minute to clean his apartment. A week ago when I moved in here I basically dropped everything on the floor of the living room and have been trying to ignore it ever since. Oh, I made a few half-hearted attempts to put away my stuff, but the whole place still looked like Hurricane Bossy hit it.

After an afternoon with CaliBoy and my old friend Hector at the movies, I came home for the big clean-up effort. The Bossy Cat knew immediately that something was different. Cleaning is apparently a rare occurrence for me. I don't like to give the impression that I'm a slob, so let's just say it's because I change apartments so often that the only times I thoroughly clean are right before I move.

Now I don't know that much about cat brains or cat memory. I don't know if the Bossy Cat associates my cleaning with long car rides, settling into new places, or some random time I stepped on her tail. All I know is that she was upset. I made a few trips to and from my car, and as I was coming back to the apartment the first couple times I thought I could hear her crying. When I opened the door, though, she was just sitting on the carpet watching the door, totally quiet. Until I snuck up on her and caught her standing by the door, screaming her head off. It took 10 minutes of intensive attention and petting to get her to calm down, and she wasn't totally comfortable until I gave up the project completely and settled in on the couch.

Sorry the place is such a mess, CameraMan. My cat wouldn't let me clean up.

Every cloud

Whenever possible, I like to pick the brains of directors who are having or have had careers I admire. Today I had lunch with a very wise woman who gave me incredibly helpful advice about the challenges of being female in our field, making the difficult transition from assisting to directing, the various personalities I'll encounter at my next gig, and the benefits of working for almost no money. I walked away from lunch feeling excited. Well, excited and scared.

Putting myself forward isn't second nature for me yet. I still have to push myself to ask for opportunities, to tell people that I'm qualified, to toot my own horn. It doesn't come naturally. And even though almost every opportunity I've had thus far has come as a result of me asking for exactly what I want and pushing to get it, I still keep hoping that the next step will just happen for me, just fall in my lap. It hasn't yet, and it won't, and I need to come to terms with that. Because for every story I hear about someone whose career seems to come easy, the reality is that they have worked hard for every "break" they've had.

These meetings always result in a flurry of résumé-sending and name-dropping, and today was no exception. I've got a two-pronged approach going: looking for assisting jobs at the top houses in the country, and looking for directing jobs...well...just about anywhere. It finally feels like the right time to make that transition, and I think the next couple of years are going to be important ones.

My lunch companion tells me that this is a good time to be starting a directing career. Why? Because the economy is in the toilet, companies have less money than usual, and they need directors they can hire on the cheap.

How's that for a silver lining?

In which I wax poetic about an inanimate object

Alternate title: Reasons why my computer can kick your computer's a**
  1. It's soooo pretty. Smooth and sleek with curves in all the right places.

  2. It's lightning fast, especially in comparison with my old computer. It's so fast that it's letting me indulge in bad habits, like having 15 windows open at once, just because I can.

  3. It has a giant roomy hard drive, about 10 times the size of my old one. After lunch with PiGuy today he handed over an external hard drive with all his movies. After picking through them, I now have 66 movies on my computer. And all the seasons of West Wing. I officially have no excuse not to go to the gym (for some reason my treadmill endurance bumps up drastically when I can watch something on the BossiPod).

  4. It's pretty. Silver and black and so fancy.

  5. The trackpad has all these cool features, various shortcuts you can access just by tapping in different spots. I'm discovering most of the features by accident, generally not when I want them, but I can tell they're going to definitely come in handy once I've mastered them.

  6. I've never dropped it, so there's nothing weird and broken on it. Plus, it has one of those nifty magnetic power supply cords, so that if when I trip over the cord the entire computer doesn't come crashing to the floor.

  7. It picks up wi-fi signals much better than my old computer did, so I'm able to steal a neighbor's wireless until tomorrow when I get my own (a shout-out to ART4LIFE—thanks, buddy!).

  8. My external hard drive, which was dead and gone forever, taking all my pictures and music with it and making me very very sad, actually works when plugged into my new computer. I have absolutely no idea why, but I don't care, because I have rescued all my precious data!

  9. It has a built-in camera, so I can video chat to my heart's content. Oh, and take ridiculous Andy Warhol pictures of myself. Those are extremely popular as Facebook profile pics.

  10. Did I mention how pretty it is?

Personal day

I'm taking the day, abdicating all duties and responsibilities (a grand total of blogging and working out) in favor of watching endless episodes of The West Wing and reading Evelyn Waugh novels while eating Christmas candy.

To tide you over, here's a bit of dorky opera silliness, courtesy of An Unamplified Voice:

Which opera is right for you?

Apparently, Don Giovanni is the one for me.
For you, life is a jilting combination of subtleties and rough hammer-blows. But you’re not one to shy away from these chiaroscuro extremes. With your combination of delicate intellect and animal passion, you can handle life’s endless surprises. Mozart and his librettist Da Ponte expected no less from their audience when they created their masterpiece about the world’s greatest lover, Don Giovanni. You will be one of the few who are equally comfortable with the refined poetry and the unbridled eroticism of this ultimate operatic achievement.


Comfort is comforting

I don't know if it's the colder (ish) weather, nostalgia for last year's European adventures (a year ago today I arrived in Vienna), or my loneliness without CameraMan or work, but I've been craving comfort food. Mac and cheese, tomato basil soup with tortellini, pizza, you name it I've probably eaten it this week, and in mass quantities. My body seems to just about breaking even, due to the intense daily workouts I've been doing (no, seriously).

It's hard for me to get motivated to cook just for myself. To be honest, it's hard for me to get motivated to cook, period. Most of what I do in the kitchen is more assembling than actual cooking. It's not that I can't, I just don't. Today, though, I couldn't keep my cravings for good German comfort food under control, so I took matters into my own hands and cooked up a yummy feast for myself.

Bratwurst with spicy mustard, brussels sprouts, boiled potatoes with gravy, and red cabbage... I'm such a good little German girl—Papa Bossy will be so proud.

I am still, unfortunately, clearly an American at heart, since I have apparently not learned the basics of portion control yet. I'm feeling quite comfortable indeed, almost too comfortable to leave the couch, and if I'm going to continue breaking even, I will eventually have to do just that. Tomorrow.

The kindness of strangers

Last week I read this post in which a friend of mine had her dinner paid for by an anonymous stranger. "Nothing like that ever happens to me," I thought (and said out loud to CameraMan, who rolled his eyes).

Then, last night, I got about as close as I will likely ever get. The internet isn't hooked up at CM's place yet, so the past couple days I've had to get creative and actually, you know, venture outside the apartment to blog, email, etc. Last night I stopped in at the Red Lion for free wi-fi, Blue Moon, and mini burgers. When I was about half done with my dinner (and my blog post), the waitress came over to let me know that my dinner had been paid for by (and here she pointed) that man at the bar. "But I don't know him!" I protested. However, knowing that you should never look a gift dinner in the mouth, I didn't protest for long. Since he showed no signs of coming over to talk to me or waiting to stalk me to my car (he left the restaurant soon after he was outed by the waitress), it seemed harmless, a random act of kindness by a stranger. Why not?

For a few brief moments I basked in the after-glow. "Louisa just had her dinner bought by a complete stranger!" my Facebook status crowed. It didn't last long. The waitress came back over to apologize that she hadn't been able to figure out how to transfer my dinner to the guy's tab, so he had not, in fact paid for my meal. So sorry about that, but would I like another beer?

I think this is the best I am going to get: the hypothetical kindness of a stranger. That's okay. I am completely capable of paying for my own meal, and in fact was planning to do so. But I have to say, for those few moments, I felt good. And hypothetically good can't be all bad, right?


I am not a politically active person. I don't rally. I don't phone bank. I don't canvas. The closest I've ever come was for this past election, and the best I could muster was a $25 donation, a bumper sticker, and an Obama shirt. Oh, and voting—I make sure to always do that. None of which is to say that I'm not political. I have opinions, and I try to keep up-to-date on the issues of the day. I guess I would describe myself as "passively passionate."

All that being said, I went to a rally yesterday for a cause about which I feel quite strong. I joined over a million people rallying in 300 cities across the world in protest of the passing of Proposition 8 in California (and similar legislation in Arizona, Florida, and Arkansas), which amended the state constitution to ban gay marriage. If ever there was a reason to stand and cheer until my back was sore and my throat was raw, this is it, people. It is not a political issue; it is a civil rights issue. In this year of all years, when it seems that we have made such enormous strides forward, electing the first African-American president, and watching a woman make the first realistic bid for the presidency, I am shocked that we have taken such an enormous step backward (and in California, of all places) on this issue.

The rally was incredible. There was a sense of solidarity that I have rarely felt before (probably because I never go to rallies). So many people had made signs, and it was obviously an issue close to everyone's heart, including the cause's "straight allies" like me. There were lots of speakers, of varying degrees of public speaking skill, but all spoke with total conviction. My favorite was a mother from PFLAG, who stood on the podium with her entire family including her gay son's partner, and spoke about the journey she took from learning her son was gay to deciding to fight for the GLBT community. I teared up listening to her speak and watching her son, who was so obviously proud of her. But the most emotional moment for me was when the main speaker invited to the stage all same-sex couples who had been married in California during the brief time that it was legal there. About a dozen couples came to the stage, representing a large range of ages and ethnicities, all of whom who are uncertain about the status of their marriages (it is still unclear whether the ban will be retroactive or not).

I happened to notice a family of four standing near me: a gay couple and what were clearly the parents of one of the men, showing their support for their son and the community. I was struck by how much they were a family, and how fundamentally wrong it is to deny these families the recognition they deserve. Surreptitious portraits of strangers are certainly not my forté, but I couldn't help myself.

I'm not sure what's next, what step to take, but I'm ready. I will rally. I will phone bank. I will canvas. I'm ready.

What do we want?
When do we want it?

Behind the scenes

Beatrice & Benedict is officially over. I am officially on vacation, and I have officially moved out of my apartment (although I'm still here hanging out, taking advantage of the wi-fi).

The performance period of any show is always kind of a mixed bag for me. It's not the part I live for, or as an interviewer recently asked me, the part that "moves my soul." For me, my soul is most definitely moved by the rehearsal process. Once the performances start, my participation is greatly diminished, and I always feel somewhat superfluous. When things go wrong, of course, it's important for me to be there, but when things are going right it's easy to get bored. Those are really the only times that I miss being a singer, or even an assistant stage manager, since they get to be so active during the shows themselves.

Since I wasn't going to be taking any notes on the last performance (how obnoxious would that be?) and the set has good sightlines onto the stage from the wings (in case something needed my attention), I spent Act II hanging out backstage last night. If ever there was a cure for AD complacency, that was it. I could feel all that excitement and adrenaline radiating from the stage, and even though I wasn't doing anything useful, I felt much more a part of the show than I had for the past week.

All in all, I don't think this will ever be my favorite piece, but in the end it charmed me much more than I expected it to, in large part due to the lovely group of people involved in this production. People have been describing the show alternately as "soufflé" and "whipped cream." Whatever you call it, it's frothy for sure. But you can't eat steak for every meal, can you? There's a lot to be said for a little froth.

The Bossy bookshelf

I recently became a Barnes & Noble member, after deciding that it really wasn't appropriate to use my ex's number anymore, especially now that we don't even share a last name. The membership is a good deal: for only $20 a year, you get an extra 10% off everything (including Starbucks in the store) plus lots of coupons and special discounts. In other words, if you spend more than $200 in a year, it's totally worth it.

Buying books may seem like a strange pastime for someone whose entire life fits into a 5' x 5' storage unit. "Get a library card," you say. "Borrow books from friends," you tell me. I know, I know, but buying books is my very favorite kind of retail therapy (books always fit, if you know what I mean). I adore wandering through bookstores, even the corporate kind, and browsing through an online bookstore is pure heaven.

Since I'll be having quite a bit of free time in the next few weeks, I made a big B&N purchase to keep me busy. It was supposed to arrive today, but according to UPS it was "missorted at the hub," so now it won't arrive until Monday.

Here's what's coming:

The Abstinence Teacher by Tom Perrotta. I've been excited about this one since it came out last fall in hardcover. It's going to be made into a movie by the people behind Little Miss Sunshine, too.

World Without End by Ken Follett. I am not ashamed to say that I love Follett. It's not high literature, I know, but I find his books engrossing to read, especially the ones whose plots are not spy-related. This one is a sequel to my fave Follett novel, Pillars of the Earth, which is a completely fascinating story about a cathedral being built.

The Best American Travel Writing 2008. I've started buying these every year. Travel writing is a genre I would love to write, but for now I will live vicariously through these amazing compilations.

Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson. I know absolutely nothing about this book or this author, but it's top on my list of 100 novels to read (To-do list item #76). I've only read 4 so far, so I have to get cracking.

Passage to India by E.M. Forster. Also on the list. I don't how it's possible that I've never read this, but I haven't (or seen the movie). Forster is such a compelling storyteller that I'm excited for this one.

Scoop and A Handful of Dust by Evelyn Waugh. Of the books I've read for the list so far, Brideshead Revisited is my favorite, so I'm looking forward to these two (which are the only other Waugh novels on the list). If I enjoy them as much, I might need to read all his others, too.

I'm so ready for quiet evenings in with a book, a snuggly cat, and a glass of wine. Pretty glamorous, no?


One of the best outcomes of making a to-do list, posting it on the internet for anyone to read, and then talking about it incessantly, is that friends and family read it and occasionally I get emails that say, "I'd love to help you out with #17," or "I'm your girl for #30." Of course it's great when people are inspired to make lists of their own, but failing that, I can definitely use the help with mine. However, besides CameraMan (who has helped me cross of 3 goals), and the Bossy Folks (who contributed to 2), I haven't taken anyone up on their offers…until tonight.

My stage manager, PiGuy (the story behind this nickname is not long, but it's not all that interesting, either, so suffice it to say that it came out of a crazy night of Wii, and that there is a hand signal that goes with the name), invited the ASMs and I over for dinner tonight, and warned me that he was planning to help me cross one off.

He taught me how to make mojitos! (Sidebar: apparently I say the word "mojito" in a strange way that involves a shoulder shrug and pitch leap on the middle syllable, or so I was told tonight.) We made the first batch together, but after that I was a mojito-muddling machine! I made them for just about everyone there, and the consensus was that they were delicious (except the ones in which I forgot the simple syrup—amazing how much that will change the flavor of your drink).

And now that I know how to make them, there is absolutely nothing stopping me from drinking them all the time at home. Perhaps I should have waited to become a mojito-guzzling lush until I had conquered some of the more ambitious items on the list. Oh well.
  1. Make a delicious mojito.

That's 7 down, people. Be impressed. Be very impressed.

Movin' out

These past few days have made me feel like I'm already off-contract. I haven't thought much about work, and I've been hitting the books pretty hard to learn my next opera. I've finally had some leisure time, and I've started planning what to do with the next few weeks. Unfortunately, I am in fact not finished with B&B yet. We have two performances this week—one tonight and one on Friday. I spent the afternoon today in my office doing end-of-show things, like making my score pretty (a losing battle) and cleaning out my desk so that the next AD can use it.

This is huge. I haven't had to move out of my desk since May 2007, and that was only to move across the hall. And although I know I'll be back in my office in March, it felt momentous to pack up all my office supplies (not stolen, I promise), tchotchkes (including an opening night gift from 3 years ago), and assorted cards and notes into a bag and bring them out to my car.

I have been working in Houston for over 3 years, during which time the company and the city have come to feel very much like home. And while I know this is the right time for me to start working other places, and I am incredibly excited to go to New York, I have mixed feelings about leaving. I know I will be sorry to miss the HGO winter shows, not to mention my friends, my kitten (more on that later), and my CameraMan.

The next couple days will be spent finishing the packing up of my apartment, about which I have no mixed feelings. I might miss the sheer size of the place, but I'm looking forward to shacking up temporarily with CM.

Here's a little moving humor, courtesy of McSweeney's:

Pickup Lines to Use While Moving (by Alison Rosen)

"Nice shoes. Wanna put them in that box over there?"

"Is that a mirror in your pocket? Because the movers are going to be here soon, so we should put it in bubble wrap."

"Your father must have been a thief, because I can't find the duct tape."

"The word of the day is 'tarp.' What do you say we go back to my place and spread the word?"

"Mind if I put my junk in your box?"

"If this bed's a-rockin' ... maybe it's not worth taking to the new place?"

Stored up

My contract ends this Friday, which means that Moving Day is upon us once again. I'll be staying with CameraMan for about 6 weeks, and then it's on to New York for 2 months, so the next time I'll have ready access to all my stuff is March. I've spent the past couple days purging: magazines I'll never read again, clothing I'll never wear again, and what seems like mountains of trash. Then comes the sorting game, deciding what goes into storage and what goes with me to CM's place. The process of packing up my apartment was so much simpler in the summer; it's easy to streamline when everything has to fit in your car. When I'm in Houston, I end up making all-too-frequent trips to my storage unit, unpacking more boxes, accumulating more stuff.

I spent a good hour in aforementioned storage unit this afternoon, digging through boxes to retrieve my KitchenAid mixer (for holiday baking), ornaments (for the Christmas tree that I'm wishing for), and a few pieces of my favorite cold-weather clothing that I thought were lost forever. Finding things in there and then rearranging the boxes is like a giant puzzle, except that the pieces are really really heavy and when you're finished you are never left with a pretty picture. Add to that the annoyance of a motion detector light that doesn't detect your motion if you're inside the unit, "climate control" that most closely resembles a sauna, and U-haul boxes that are just barely hanging on after making about 3 moves too many, and what do you get? That's right, a nervous breakdown.

I haven't been doing it long, this living out of boxes thing. Really, it's been only a little over a year, but I'm done. I'm over it. I hate that my permanent address is a UPS store. I hate that I have every kind of baking dish you can think of, but I can't use any of them. I hate that when people ask where I'm based, I have to give some lame answer like, "Well, Houston, sort of, but really nowhere." I hate that every corporate apartment I stay in feels so...corporate. I hate that every 2 months like clockwork I have to go through several days of hell packing up all my stuff, only to do it all over again for the next contract.

Usually I like to end a post like this with some kind of decision, a positive step, something to make this more than just a complaint/rant, but in this case there's really nothing to be done about it, not yet. I'm looking forward to the day I can put down roots and make a home for myself, but the earliest I can foresee that happening is Fall 2009.

And in the meantime, thanks for listening.

R.I.P. Mac

I learned today that Mac, the baby elephant at the Houston Zoo, died last night. I took this picture a little over a year ago, just a few days after Mac's 1st birthday. Ever since CameraMan became a member of the Zoo, we've been visiting every couple weeks or so, and we never fail to stop by the elephant habitat to see if Mac is there. There's something about seeing the baby animals at the zoo that makes me happy, so we always look for the baby giraffe, the baby elephant, and recently, the baby monkey. I am incredibly sad for everyone at the zoo, because I know elephants have big personalities, and Mac had won the hearts of everyone who worked there.

Lately I haven't been feeling too friendly toward elephants (more of my kind thoughts have been given to the donkey, if you know what I mean), but the outcome of the election has left me feeling particularly benevolent (we'll forget the smashing of the GOP elephant piñata at Obamapalooza, shall we?). As with anyone who dies young, the loss of this particular elephant is especially tragic. For more information, you can go here or here for all the details.

For some reason, my completely irrational response to Mac's death is too feel more protective and appreciative of my sweet, beautiful, healthy, photogenic cat. Isn't she lovely?

That's all for tonight; I have to go add Dumbo to my Netflix queue.

Desperately seeking sweaters

Winter's coming, and though we have to use quotation marks around it when talking about "winter" in Houston, the winter in Manhattan is very real. It won't be my first, of course. I spent the first 11 years of my life in New England, and 4 years of college in Wisconsin. However, I've spent the past 3 winters in H-town, and the 2 before that in North Carolina, so as I survey the contents of my closet I have come to the realization that I need an entirely new wardrobe to work at the Met.

The winters in Wisconsin were brutal. I remember piling on extra layers to walk the short distance from the dorm to class, and then immediately peeling them off the minute I got inside the overheated classrooms. I remember being too lazy to use a blow dryer and winding up with frozen solid hair. I remember snow drifts much taller than me that didn't melt until May. You would think I'd have a whole winter wardrobe from that time, just sitting in storage waiting for me to need it again. This, unfortunately, is not the case. I do have a fair number of sweatshirts, which I seem to remember pairing with pajama pants to go to morning classes (*cringe*). Also scarves—I was a singer, don't forget. But most of my cold-weather wardrobe has been given away, either because it was too big or too unfashionable or both, so I need to start from scratch.

I'm thinking lined wool pants, high-heeled boots, button-up shirts, and soft v-neck sweaters. But you probably know better than I do...what are the NYC ladies wearing these days?

Lazy daze

If there hadn't been a dialogue warm-up for me to lead tonight, I might have never left my couch. Yesterday was the last student matinee for the alt cast, which means that after tonight I will have to go to work exactly 2 more times (and never before 5pm) before I go off contract. This, combined with my social life (in the form of CameraMan) leaving town, has considerably lightened my schedule, resulting in my complete and utter inactivity. This morning (and by morning I mean 10:30am when I finally got out of bed and showered) I set myself up with a blanket on the couch, Netflix in the DVD player, lemonade and magazines and remote controls within easy reach. On days like today, the Bossy Cat usually gets in on the action by curling up on my chest or my feet.

My new computer has made lazing even easier than it was before. My ancient iBook couldn't stream video much, so I practically never did. The new one, however, has streaming capability like you would not believe, fast and smooth without taking pauses to buffer. Turns out almost every TV show that I love is online now. The Daily Show, The Office, 30 Rock, Grey's Anatomy…the list goes on and on. In the past couple days I've become completely addicted to It's even worse than Tivo, because when I've caught up with all the shows I know I like, there are lots more to choose from, which is how I ended up watching episodes of The Starter Wife this afternoon. Yikes. I feel an intervention coming on.

I'm taking one more delicious, luxurious, relaxed, perfect day on the couch, and then I will re-enter the real world. There's so much to do. I have an apartment to clean, an opera to study, a score to make beautiful, an a** to shrink, a career to jump-start, and phone calls to return.

But not just yet.

My new backup career

Papa Bossy plays the oboe in his local concert band, as well as designing the posters, serving on the board, and various other volunteer duties. The band is getting ready for their annual holiday concert, for which they're importing a soprano with local roots who now lives in Vienna. Along with some holiday favorites, she's also singing 3 arias from Bohème, so Papa Bossy emailed me to get some "dramaturgical notes or context" for the arias. Here's what I sent back today:

"Si, mi chiamano" is Mimi's first aria. She has AIDS, and she has just dropped her drug stash at Rodolfo's house, and she sings this so he will light her candle....oh, wait, that's not right, that's Rent. Let me start over. Mimi is Rodolfo's neighbor, and she comes because her candle has blown out. She ends up dropping her key, and he picks it up and doesn't tell her. Then he sings all about himself and her cold hand, and asks her to tell him about herself. The aria is her doing that. Turns out Mimi is an alias, and her real name is Lucia. No one knows why, including her. She embroiders flowers for a living, but she has the soul of poet. Coincidentally, so does Rodolfo, mostly because he is a poet, so obviously they live happily after.

Except they don't. She sings "Donde lieta" in the third act, after she finds out by accident that she is very sick and dying. Basically, she is saying goodbye to Rodolfo. Quite a bit of the aria is taken up with practical matters, like how she's going to get all her crap out of his apartment (these things are always so awkward), and where she left her pink bonnet (on his pillow, inexplicably), but the overwhelming theme of the aria (made clear by lots of repetition) is "Addio, senza rancor." I think you know what that means.

"Quando men vo" is, of course, sung by a completely different character, Musetta. She is in an on again, off again romance with Rodolfo's BFF Marcello. This aria is sung during one of the off times, Act II. She has brought her sugar daddy with her to Marcello's favorite restaurant to make Marcello jealous. When it doesn't work she sings this aria, all about how beautiful she is and how everyone wants her. This does the trick, and right after the aria is done she and Marcello get back together. This, of course, lasts only until the end of Act III.

If the whole directing thing doesn't work out, I think I definitely have a future as a dramaturg, don't you?

The travel bug

CameraMan leaves tomorrow for 2 1/2 weeks on the WT audition tour. They're going to 7 different cities, and although CM assures me there will almost no time at all for fun of any kind, I am majorly jealous. I can feel the itch to travel coming on. About this time last year, I was getting ready for a month in Europe to heal my broken heart and my broken German, and while I would love to do something similar this winter (Paris, anyone?), I don't have the cash or the frequent flier miles to make that possible.

However, I am consoling myself with several small trips, so throw me no pity parties just yet. Here's what's coming up:
  • Thanksgiving in California. Wherein CM meets the extended Bossy Family for the first time, causing him to either run screaming back to the sane people in the Midwest or to finally understand why I do all those annoying things I do. Or both.

  • Christmas in Vegas. Wherein the tables are turned and I meet CM's family, albeit only 4 I haven't met before. This trip will also include a swanky hotel with a view of the Strip, a wee bit of gambling, and another item crossed off my list (#29, obvs).

  • 2 Months in NYC. Wherein I make my Met debut, spend gobs of time with My Gay Husband and The Banker, and rediscover what winter actually feels like. Eek!

And in between? I'll be hanging out in H-town, being frugal, studying Sonnambula, catching up on projects, and playing more Wii Golf than you can even imagine.

Paris will just have to wait.

High School Night

Teenagers today bear little resemblance to anyone I knew when I was one. They all carry cell phones, they wear low-low-rise jeans and belly shirts, and they get way more action than I ever did in high school (although that's not a difficult record to beat). High schoolers now are inundated with media: movies, TV shows, YouTube clips, blogs, and huge numbers of advertisements. Sex, violence, and bad language are de rigueur to keep a teenager's interest, and nothing will stop them from text messaging each other, butchering the English language in the process.

Tonight was High School Night at the opera. The house was packed with high school students, many of whom were wearing suits and recycled prom dresses. And all these teenagers, the ones who have become inured to anything the world can throw at them, who are rarely shocked and even less frequently awed…they loved the show, loved every minute of it. Their reactions were vocal and immediate. They laughed at every joke, both the convoluted Shakespearean ones ("I think this is your daughter?" "Her mother hath many times told me so.") and the improvised contemporary ones (predictably, mentions of the Jonas Brothers and High School Musical were big hits). They paid attention in a way that our regular audiences often don't; not a single nuance went unnoticed. And never has anyone wanted Beatrice and Benedict to end up together as much as tonight's audience did. In their last dialogue, Beatrice says, "You're like my shadow, I can't get away from you!" When Benedict responded with, "If only I could be your shadow, and never leave your side" their was a collective chorus of "Awwws" from the female contingent in the house, followed by roaring laughter from the rest of the audience. When the two lovers finally kissed for the first time, the cheering and applause were deafening.

I think maybe I've got some intense emotions left over from last night, because as I sat in the balcony (I managed to get out of sitting in the booth for this performance), I was overcome by the energy in the house, radiating from these kids. This is a tumultuous time to be in the arts. Companies are making big sacrifices, canceling productions, and in one case closing their doors all together. Donor bases and endowments are shrinking, and people are less likely to buy opera tickets when they're worried about money. But as I sat in the dark, still buoyed by last night's incredible results, watching opera surrounded by rapt teenagers, I couldn't help but think…

We're going to be okay.

I'm an Obamaniac

  1. Vote for someone who actually becomes President.

I could not BE more excited!

First and final dress

As of 5pm today, my job just got much much easier. This afternoon the second cast (at HGO we call it the "alt cast," I have no idea why) had their one and only rehearsal on the stage. It was a lot like the final dress rehearsal for the first cast, except that today we had no orchestra, no chorus, no banda (oboes, trumpets, percussion, and guitar for this production), and no audience. What we did have were costumes for the first time (giant Scarlett O'Hara hoop skirts), the set for the first time (a raked stage that's steeper than it looks), and lights for the first time (in this production, lots of sidelight—Caliboy tells me that the general rule is if you're not being blinded, you're not being lit).

This kind of rehearsal always makes me nervous, but today's went just about as perfectly as it could have. We got through the whole show, ran the curtain call, rehearsed a couple dialogues over again, gave my notes, and still had time left over at the end. Everyone looked great, sang beautifully, and worked the stage like pros (because they are). I'm so excited to see them all have great successes in their performances this week. The main part of my job is done now, although wouldn't you know it, a potentially ill chorister means I'll be rehearsing an understudy at 9AM tomorrow.

I'm already feeling more relaxed. I've got my MacBook on my lap, a cat lying on my wrists, the SNL Presidential Bash is on TV, and I'm munching on German Christmas cookies for the first time this year.

Of course, I won't feel truly relaxed until tomorrow night, when I'm crossing #11 off my To-Do List. Go Obama!

Pizza Sunday

I go through phases in which I crave constancy. I dream of predictable schedules featuring free evenings and weekends, of taking time off when I don't feel well or want to go to a friend's wedding, of hobbies and dinner parties and vacations.

I am going through one of those phases right now.

In my line of work, it's difficult to create any lasting routines or traditions. In a "normal" week, I work 6 days with one variable day off. Some days I end at 5pm; others I get home after midnight. I cannot take a weekly class, sing in a church choir, or go out on date night (Saturday, obvs). I read enviously about KT's French classes, but alas, for me it is not meant to be.

But there is one rock I can hold onto, one tradition that will not be destroyed, no matter how unsteady my schedule.

Pizza Sunday.

We were inspired by BritBossMan and his family, who celebrate Pizza Friday every week (including the Friday night we stayed with them during Hurricane Ike). For our own purposes, we changed the day, but we kept the spirit of the holiday.

There are no rules to Pizza Sunday—any tradition that's going to last with our lifestyle has to be flexible. Since we began the tradition, we have had pizza from 4 different restaurants on 5 different Sundays. We have picked up take-out and eaten it alone. We have invited people over and watched Mystic Pizza together while eating. One week we had to walk to get the pizza between afternoon and evening rehearsals. The only requirement is that we eat pizza. On Sunday.

It's not the stuff of dreams. But it'll do for now.

Burn(out) notice

I appear to be teetering on the edge of a minor nervous breakdown, but today is the first day of NaBloPoMo, so I'm blogging instead of lolling on the couch gorging myself on candy. Lucky you.

It's been an insane couple of weeks at work. B&B opened Thursday to great success. This would usually mean that I'm into the cushy phase of my job, coming into work every few days for performances and spending all the rest of my time at the zoo. For this show, though, just as soon as we went into tech I started rehearsing the second cast during the day. The rehearsals themselves have been a pleasure—my cast are all bright, hard-working, and ridiculously talented. On top of that, CameraMan and I get to run the show together, which is pretty much the best thing ever. I'm finding it more difficult than I imagined, however, to juggle what are essentially two completely different jobs: director and assistant director. For some reason, scheduling for this show has been a complete nightmare, and it sometimes feels like all my energy is used up unraveling problems, so that by the time I get into the rehearsal room I'm spent. I even had to say "no" to some extra duties, something I never do, because I was feeling so overwhelmed.

But enough complaining. I'm actually very much looking forward to the week ahead, which will consist of one four-hour onstage rehearsal to get my cast ready, three performances with my cast onstage and CameraMan on the podium, one incredibly exciting election (and a special Obamapalooza party to celebrate), two of my favorite people visiting Houston, and CM leaving for the WT audition tour.

And, if all goes according to plan, I'll bring you all along for the ride. I'm committing to write something every day this month, and this time I mean it.


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