Home on the Road: Kelly Kaduce

Lately it's felt like I'm in a constant dilemma about what I want to do with my life, and it's not because I don't enjoy my work. I find so much pleasure and satisfaction in it, and there are even aspects of the lifestyle that suit me very well. I haven't yet, however, quite figured out how to be happy on the road, especially when I'm away from my CameraMan and my Bossy Cat. I thought it might be illuminating to me (and maybe to you, too) to ask some people who have been doing this longer than I have: How in the world do you do it?

I'm so pleased that soprano Kelly Kaduce agreed to be my first guinea pig. First off, she's kind of a rock star (come visit me in Santa Fe, and you can see her sing the title role of Madame Butterfly!) Not only that, but she is one of the loveliest, most down-to-earth (and FUN) people I know. I think you'll enjoy her thoughtful answers. And while you're at it, you can become a fan of her on Facebook!

Kelly has been on the road singing for about 10 years. In the past 12 months, she has been at home (in Houston) for exactly 96 days, and in the same place as her husband for 137 days (which includes their time spent singing two operas together).

Forthwith, the interview:

LMB: Do you have any stuff that you always bring with you when you travel to make you feel more at home on the road?

KK: Besides the obvious singer things, the three constants I always bring with me are my yoga mat, my running shoes, and my Ugg slippers!


LMB: Do you have any special routines to help you acclimate quickly in a new place?

KK: I do have a routine when I arrive to a new place. I always try to arrive in the afternoon so I can take the time to unpack fully and go grocery shopping. Sometimes I find myself re-arranging so the place feels like my own or doing some cleaning. I also like to arrange my exercise routine immediately. I find if I don't set up a regimen in the first week, I won't do it at all for the duration of my stay.


LMB: I'm just about to take my cat on a plane for the first time. You travel with your adorable dog Lulu quite a bit—any advice on traveling with a pet?

KK: I have a GREAT travel bag for Lulu that is a backpack from Celltei. She has come to love it and just curls up to sleep for the duration of the travel. She also has her own little travel pack with everything she needs (Heartgard, 2 toys, brush, etc). Anything big, like her dog food, I buy when I arrive. If we have the luxury of driving to the gig, I take more things like her dog bed. I try to take her for a long walk shortly after our arrival so she can "get to know" the neighborhood. It seems like that long walk sets her at ease and we can begin the new routine for the next month or so.

One last tip...if you are flying with your pet for the first time and are unsure of how they will react, make sure you pick up some Children's Benadryl in the dye-free liquid with a dropper measurement for kids. If they start acting up and you cannot control them, you can give them half of the recommended dose for kids. This is a harmless way to encourage them to sleep during the travel.


LMB: You and your husband (baritone Lee Gregory) spend so much time apart, but you two seem to have figured out how to make it work. What's your secret?

KK: Ok, I have been asked this question a lot lately. I am not sure there is a secret key. It has certainly not always been easy nor have we been without hardships. After about 11 years together, ultimately what has worked for us is to keep no secrets. We have a little joke: if you don't want to tell your spouse something, it means you MUST. I think the difficult part of this is learning to listen without becoming defensive.


LMB: I always struggle with keeping to a workout routine when I'm away from home. You are in amazing shape—how do you maintain it?

KK: Try to find something you like enough to keep you coming back to it. I prefer Yoga and long distance running. Sometimes I throw other things in there just to get my rear end off the couch and to keep me diverted. I love yoga because it is a great de-stressor and seems to compliment the singing process. I love running because you can explore a city and it gives you a great "high". Since I know what I like to do for exercise, I look up a yoga studio before I arrive in the city.

As for running, I try to do it outside. I use a website called MapMyRun to find good paths. I also have a GPS watch that tracks my distance. If the weather is going to be cold, I bring appropriate outdoor gear (more junk in the suitcase), or try to find a treadmill somewhere. I tell you, running is my FAVORITE! I have learned the majority of my roles while running. When you are limited to the treadmill, you can do all sorts of things! I have done research on YouTube while running, worked on memorization, and I even occasionally watch movies! Basically, I have turned exercising into a hobby to do while on the road.


LMB: In order to have the kind of career you have, you have to be willing to be on the road a lot of the time. What makes it worthwhile for you?

KK: I guess what makes it worthwhile for me is the community of musicians that you get to work with. I LOVE the people in the opera business. They are intelligent, interesting, bizarre, intriguing, generous, inspiring, funny....and so on. I also find great joy in putting on an opera. I love the rehearsal process and the challenges and joys that it brings. The challenge of trying to reach a perfection that is unattainable really speaks to me. Kind of like a dog chasing its own tail!

Not everything I do is great or worth mentioning, but every now and then I get a comment or a message from a person about how a performance touched them in a very personal way and then it all seems worthwhile!


LMB: And finally, give us KELLY KADUCE'S TIPS FOR SINGERS.

KK:
1. You should tip your make up artist and dresser.
2. Ladies, when you are in your big gowns with trains and need to go to the bathroom, sit down FACING the flusher!
3. Try to find out ASAP what your costume is and ask if you can get those pieces for rehearsal. (I find this very helpful if you have to sing in a corset or in some crazy shoes!)
4. Don't be defensive when you are receiving music notes or directorial notes. They aren't personal attacks. You want to be your best and everyone wants your best. It's always a collaboration.
5. When in doubt, use the Scotto defense. When given a note that you don't agree with, try this. "Ok, I try....(then do it exactly the same way)...Oh yes! This is much better!"

The hills are alive


There was no lazy Sunday for me this weekend, no sir. Sure, it was a free(ish) day, but that didn't stop me from going on a hike. And not just any hike; I'm talking 5 hours, 12 miles, 2,000 feet up (to a total of 12,000) and back down. Apparently, I am not yet acclimated to the altitude. How else to explain the ridiculous wheezing that started up almost the minute the hike began and continued until we reached the top of the mountain, where, I would like to add, it was SNOWING. Thank goodness there was a little Hikers Hut up there. We huddled inside eating Turkish Delight while the wind died down, and then we went back down the mountain, which was SO MUCH BETTER than going up.

And then I got home and tried to take a nap, with no success. Which was really a shame, considering that tech rehearsal started at 9pm, and dinner was served at midnight, and I didn't get into my bed until 3am, and then was back at work at 9am. I'm telling you this, not so that you will feel sorry for me or anything, but as explanation of why I'm going to stop writing now, post a few hike pictures, and then wish you all good night. It's 9 o'clock, and I'm fading fast.

This week I'm excited to debut a new Bossy Feature called Home on the Road, in which I interview singers and other nomadic opera types about traveling and being away from home. Tomorrow will be the inaugural installment, so be sure to check it out if you're interested in the "glamorous" life of an opera professional.

In the meantime, here's some pretty...








Happy weekend!

First and most importantly, happy birthday to Mama Bossy! You know she's my mother because to celebrate the day she and Papa Bossy traveled several hours to see a production of Wozzeck. What do you all have planned for the weekend? We start rehearsals Monday morning, so I'll be taking it easy as much as possible, until Sunday night when we have one of Santa Fe's famous 9pm to 2:30am tech sessions. Apparently the temperature sometimes drops below freezing, and there's a meal served at midnight. Exciting stuff.

Until then...

I loved this article about little boys auditioning to be Billy Elliot. It's an intense process!


This is amazing. Just. Amazing.


I can't wait until we're living in Europe just a stone's throw from all the beautiful places.


I totally forgot to brag that CameraMan had a photo credit in the Washington Post! It's little online, but in the paper his picture was enormous! He is a rock star. I always wanted to be a rock star's girlfriend.


I waited too long, and now this dress doesn't exist in my size anymore. Sad.


Hope your weekend is filled with fresh berries, and lemonade, and freckles. xoxo LMB

Summer wind

The wind came up out of nowhere, which I'm told is what all Santa Fe weather patterns do. Well, not exactly out of nowhere. It was casually thundering when I left the house on foot to forage for lunch, but the sun was shining and the sky was full of innocent puffy pillows—not an ominous storm cloud in sight. As a special precaution I took my umbrella. I like to be prepared.

The best thing (although there are many great things to choose from) about my little adobe house is that it is within walking distance of just about everything, except the Opera, which is within walking distance of nothing. So all I had to do was point myself generally northeast (or towards the mountains, if you're directionally challenged), walk 10 minutes or so, and there were dozens of lunch options. I didn't even consult my iPhone. THAT NEVER HAPPENS.

By the time I picked a cozy cafe with outdoor seating under giant umbrellas, the thunder was sounding a bit more meaningful and the perfect blue sky was tending more toward gray. Still, the hostess sat me at a table under an awning, and I settled in with my Kindle and a turkey sandwich with an entire avocado stuffed inside.

And then the wind came up, like I said, out of nowhere. And it wasn't a subtle breeze; it was a full-on "Auntie Em! Auntie Em!" GALE. Rain was pelting down on me and my sandwich, utterly unfazed by the awning, and then all of a sudden there was a huge crash followed by some little crashes, and the staff of the restaurant freaked out. Everyone was shouting, CLOSE THE DOORS! CLOSE THE WINDOWS!, and I just barely made it inside in time. And then I saw what the huge crashes had been about. On the other side of the restaurant, one of those giant umbrellas had flown up in the wind and completely shattered a tall window. There was glass everywhere, giant jagged pieces and thin slivers all over the floor. I sat down as far away as possible to finish my sandwich, and within minutes the glass was swept up, the staff were all checking in to make sure I was okay (even though I hadn't been anywhere near the accident), and the sun was shining again. My waitress was so friendly and considerate, and we ended up chatting about it being my first day in town, and the craziness of the Santa Fe weather. She had been a bartender at the Opera last summer, and she assured me that it was an incredible bunch of people, just the nicest group you could find, and that I would love it there.

Today was my first day of work, a gorgeous sunny day, and you know what? I can already tell that waitress was totally right.

72 hours later

72 hours ago I was winding down after a day in D.C. with CameraMan, my last for a while. We started out with lunch at our new favorite chicken place, where CM's old friend quickly became my new one. We stopped for a quick browse through the Portrait Gallery, and then we saw an afternoon showing of the best movie I can remember watching in a very long time. In fact, it's going straight onto my Favorite Movies of All Time list, it was that good. It's called The Secret in Their Eyes. It's from Argentina, and it won Best Foreign Film at the most recent Oscars. GO SEE IT. Just do it. It's the kind of movie that made me want to stay in the dark and cry for an hour after the credits rolled, but instead we went for another delicious tapas meal (bacon wrapped dates, I love you).

48 hours ago I was in the WienerLover's apartment in Houston, after a morning in Virginia jam-packed with errands, a farewell lunch at Chick-fil-A (obvs), a 3-hour flight on a tiny plane with far too much turbulence, and a lovely homecoming with Little Ms. Hardcore and Baby Shelby.

24 hours ago I had already gotten an oil change, repacked my stuff, dropped by HGO to get the gossip and pick up a few things, driven halfway to Santa Fe(!), and found myself in the charmless town of Childress, TX, with my food choices limited to McDonald's, Walmart, and Sonic. I went to bed early with a stomach ache after choosing the latter.

And now? I'm in paradise, aka Santa Fe, in my adorable house with the desert breezes wafting through every open window. CaliBoy's picking me up for dinner soon, and work starts tomorrow. Lucky me, I get to be here for the next 5 weeks.

Happy Fathers Day weekend!


It's my last weekend here in Virginia before leaving Monday for Santa Fe by way of Houston, and we're making the most of it! Tomorrow I'm working all day (I know, crazy, right?), coaching the Studio singers here at the Trap and doing a group class on acting and auditioning. In the evening The Wise Soprano is coming to town for general mayhem—I'm SO excited! Sunday CM and I are going into DC for one last day in the District. What's on your agenda this weekend? I wish I could celebrate Fathers Day with Papa Bossy, but alas, 'twas not to be.

Some linky goodness for your weekend:

I don't know if you heard, but Red pretty much swept the Tony Awards. I cannot WAIT for Butterfly.


Currently my favorite movie reviews are being written by Lindy West at The Stranger. Spoiler alert: she is hilarious.


I love anything to do with office pranks. This one is amazing. (via Gretchen Rubin)


This recipe looks change-your-life good. I'll definitely be making it at some point this summer.


I will admit to being a somewhat crazy cat person. But some people are worse.


Enjoy the weekend! xoxo LMB

My spiritual guru

I've never really gotten into yoga, which might surprise you if you've ever met any of my extended family (or had Thanksgiving dinner with 35 of them—just ask CameraMan). CM and I attempted Bikram (if you're not familiar, that's the one where they lock you in a room for 90 minutes and crank up the heat until you cry) several times a couple years ago. It's weird: you're convinced that you're dying pretty much the whole time, and then at the end you have this incredible feeling of accomplishment mixed with an overwhelming need to leave that room. We did not finish out our prepaid month, I'm sorry to say. There is a very small, masochistic part of me that would like to try it again, but for now sanity is winning.

Recently there's been a flurry of Bossy Cousins heading over to a Thailand yoga retreat for months at a time and coming home lean and tanned and happy. I have so much admiration for them, but I cannot imagine doing anything even remotely like that myself. Yoga just isn't my thing, nor is anything that smacks even a little of New Age (or as I usually refer to it: hooey). I cannot get on board with chanting, or auras, or chakras. I see people doing yoga, and it looks amazing (as do they), and I want to be a part of it. But, you know, MY way.

Thank God for Jillian Michaels, who is serving as the perfect spiritual guide for my first foray into the world of yoga. Jillian, who clearly has made the DVD because she was told it was a great marketing opportunity, does very little to hide her total disdain for yoga. She would probably rather be benchpressing Biggest Loser contestants in order to get a real workout. (I, on the other hand, would rather be benchpressing Oreos into my mouth.) There are little hints throughout the workout that she doesn't buy into the whole yoga thing. Whenever she says something like "melt your heart to the sky" she does this little eye roll, and one time she actually refers to it as "yoga speak," complete with epic air quotes. She follows that one up with pledging to "speak English" instead.

I would find it annoying if I wasn't enjoying the workout so much. It's challenging, but manageable, and at the end I feel stretched out and energized. Actually, it's making me want to find a real yoga class and give it a try for real.

If I do, though, I just might miss those eye rolls and air quotes. Who knows of a great Sarcastic Yoga class I could try?

LMB's guide for the Baby Krazy

So, say you are (a) Baby Krazy and (b) in a committed relationship, but (c) not yet ready to have a baby. Not sure about the do's and don'ts? Let me help you out.

  • DO giggle at videos of your friends' babies doing adorable ridiculous things. That's harmless.


  • DO share those videos with your significant other, as long as you share an equal or greater number of videos involving practical jokes, stand-up comedians, and cats jumping into and out of boxes. It's not about the BABIES, see? It's about the FUNNY.


  • DO use Facebook as a stalking tool, in order to create graphs of exactly what percentage of your high school friends, college friends, grad school friends, and people you're not sure you've ever actually met already have babies. It's good to be informed, am I right?


  • DO stare straight ahead when walking through the baby sections of department stores. Seeing those itty bitty hats and those eensy weensy socks and those wittle baby onesies will NOT help. Trust me.


  • DO watch movies that highlight either the pain of childbirth, the impossibility of being a working mother, or the indignity of being in such close contact with another human's poop. Or preferably all 3. That'll take the K out of your krazy.


  • DON'T go see Babies with your boyfriend. Just. DON'T.

You know, HYPOTHETICALLY.

Happy weekend!

I just blinked my eyes, and it was Friday again! What do you all have planned this weekend? My biggest priority is giving my body a bit of a rest. After weeks, nay months of the occasional desultory gym visit, this week I have been to the gym twice, done Jillian's Yoga Meltdown twice, and played tennis THRICE! That's right, 7 workouts in 5 days. My poor unfit body doesn't quite know what hit it. CM has a day off tomorrow, and it remains to be seen whether we work up the strength to do anything other than lazing on the couch all day. Tonight is the opening of the summer's 1st opera. I saw final dress on Wednesday, so I probably won't see the actual performances this weekend. That will not, however, stop me from attending cast parties on CM's arm.

Perhaps next week I'll do some actual blogging instead of just silliness. Sorry, no promises. Until then...


We're planning a weekend getaway to Prague in August. We booked a room in this hotel. Oh, I'm so excited!


Our Fairy Godmother is blogging about her own move to Vienna. She's already over there starting work and scouting apartments. It's hard not to be jealous—I'm ready to be there.


I am endlessly amused by Improv Everywhere (creators of the pantsless subway ride). Here's their latest (via Cup of Jo).


I liked this article about how you should treat your spouse like you treat your pet. I've been trying it: using a really high voice to talk to CM, feeding him treats when he's well behaved, and bopping him on the head when he does something bad. It's going really well so far.


The Summer Bossy Beat Club Mix is up. Enjoy!


Hope your weather is gorgeous, your cocktails are cold, and your laughter is just a little too loud this summer weekend. xoxo LMB

The kind of thing that keeps me up at night

What do people who smoke crack say when food is so good it's addictive? They can't possibly say it's "like crack," right? Because that would be ridiculous?

"OMG, have you had the peanut butter filled pretzels from Trader Joe's? I can't stop eating them—they're like crack."

"Seriously?!? And you can get that sh*t at a GROCERY STORE? How do you smoke it? In a pipe? Or do you do that thing with the spoon and the lighter?"

"No, no, I guess I wasn't clear. I just meant they're really good. Eating them makes me want to eat more. Other than that, they actually have nothing in common with crack. They're just pretzels, for God's sake."

"..."


I'm thinking my first novel is probably going to be about drug addicts, given my affinity for their speech rhythms and slang.

My new favorite song

I've known sort of peripherally for a while that a song exists with my name in it. Usually upon being introduced to me, people make little jokes or Verdi references (because of the opera that shares my name... almost). But every once in a while, someone will sing a little snatch of a song that goes something like "I love Louisa, Louisa, Louisa." Generally the person singing is drunk.

Last night the song got mentioned before the drinking even began. CM and I had a few of his colleagues over for cocktails and snacks after their sitzprobe, and right away the Maestro asked if I had heard this song. CM, intrepid Googler that he is, found it, downloaded it, and had it playing in seconds.

And what a song it is. The part I had heard is not the best part of the song, not even close. There are so many brilliant moments. There's an entire verse about beer, including the amusing (if not entirely grammatically sound) line, "Beer goes very good with beer." There's a hilarious "What's a rhyme for bosom?" moment. There's even a whole verse auf Deutsch.

Ladies and gentlemen, let me share with you my new favorite song. It's called "I Love Louisa," and it just might be the most perfect song ever written. Here's Fred Astaire singing it.

Happy weekend!

It's Friday, y'all! What do you have planned for the weekend? CM has a free day today, so we're training into D.C. for the day. We'll spend some exciting time figuring out visa nonsense at the Austrian Embassy, hit our favorite museums, eat the best tapas for dinner, and then see one of our besties sing the title role in another production of Omelette. I can't wait. That just might be enough activity to last me the whole weekend.

Some links to last you yours:


I am fascinated by ballet training, so I loved this article about American kids at the Bolshoi Academy in Moscow. Watch the video if you have time, too.


When you Google my name (and I do), genealogy websites are no longer then only things that come up. Phew.


I love these and would gift them to everyone I know. Too bad they don't have one for Vienna.


You should read this blog. He might be the smartest, funniest person I wish I knew.


Best. Dress. Ever.


Enjoy the weekend!

Project LMB

Privately, I think of myself as kind of lazy. Not at work, of course, where I am nothing but ├╝ber-productive, helpful, and quick (hello to any potential employers out there). But on my free days, I generally bear an uncanny resemblance to a slug in pajamas. I can and will happily while away an entire day reading or watching a whole TV series on DVD from beginning to end.

Which is why I was really looking forward to these few weeks, the first real time off (I do NOT count the time spent packing) I've had since I went to Paris a year ago. At various busy moments during the past few months, as I pushed projects and ideas onto the back-burner, I thought, "I will work on that when I'm on vacation in Virginia." The problem is, I now have absolutely no recollection of what any of those things were. I find myself at something of a loose end, not quite sure how to spend my days. This leads to a lovely double whammy effect, in that when CM comes home I am grumpy, and I also have nothing to contribute to conversation. Not a great combination. A full day of being horizontal on the couch might be relaxing and rejuvenating in the midst of a crazy work week—in the midst of other days spent exactly the same way, it's demoralizing and guilt-inducing. A week in, and I'm already longing for projects and to-do lists.

The trick is to not get too ambitious—we all know how that turns out. Now is probably not the time for grand self-improvement projects. I am on vacation, after all, and I would like to enjoy it. But it's funny how, with ample time (and much of it by myself), I can actually forget what I enjoy.

I decided to take a look at my Ultimate To-Do List, which has been languishing unchecked of late. First of all, I added a couple things I've been wishing were on the list, and didn't take anything off, so it's now a list of 102 things (16 down, 86 to go). I'll probably add more as I think of them—100 was an arbitrary number anyway. I need to get cracking if I'm going to finish it all by April 22, 2018.

I will definitely cross off #23 this summer. I'm going to work toward #12, #21, #24, #76, and #83, although I'm sure I won't finish them until later. And I see no reason not to cross off #26 and #36—let's do this thing.

It's easy to start thinking productively on a good day. And today was a good day, filled with happiness-improving activities. I made delicious mango smoothies for breakfast. I worked out not once but twice: once on the treadmill, and once with Jillian's latest. I had delicious sushi and girl talk on Rahree's porch. I got excited about the potential schmanciness that infused simple syrups could add to our nightly cocktail hour, and we now have 3 bottles of homemade syrups in our fridge: basil, mint, and ginger. I read several chapters of my book. I had a long gab session on the phone with the Best Friend. And tonight, there will be Vienna Inn deliciousness.

The slug in pajamas is nowhere to be found.

Light, more light

Tonight I went in to the District to visit my good friend MuseumGirl. We've been friends since we lived in neighboring dorm rooms during freshman year of college. Apropos of nothing, she had a totally crazy roommate that year who Stole. Her. Underwear. And wore it. I kid you not. Anyway, now she (my friend, not the insane roommate) is a total bigshot at the Smithsonian, where she has worked her way up from an unpaid internship to being very very important and leading many many things. We ate grilled fish and veggies in her backyard, sipped wine, and talked about all kinds of things: relationships, our jobs, getting older (she recently turned 30, and you already know all about my own existential crisis). I even got to meet the new man in her life.

It was a great night, and not only because I've had so little contact with humans besides CM since we got here. In a business where intense friendships spring up quickly and fade just as fast, reconnecting with people who have known me a long time is refreshing and restorative. It's been 8 years since we graduated college, and it's amazing to see where we've all ended up (at least for now). The Best Friend just finished her dissertation and can now be referred to as Dr. Best Friend. My Gay Husband is living the glamorous NYC life we all dream of (those of us who have watched too much SATC, that is). The Soprano from Wisconsin is singing just about everywhere that matters (she had a 2-year head start on the rest of us, but still). MuseumGirl is kicking a** and taking names at the center of the U.S. museum scene. And me? I'm moving to my favorite city in the world with the love of my life. I'd say we're all doing pretty well.

And that, my friends, is the Lawrence difference.

Bad news bears

The news has seemed unrelentingly grim lately. I don't know if it's because I'm back in the land of real NPR so I'm getting more thorough coverage, or if more bad things are actually happening, but with the oil spill, and the flotilla raid, and all that unconstitutional bull sh*t in Arizona, and the general economic and political mess we find ourselves in, I'm having a hard time finding the silver lining. And then today, the news of Al and Tipper splitting up. It could have been just a piece of gossip, a sad story of yet another celebrity couple who couldn't hack it, but it seems bigger somehow. Because it's not the divorce of just any celebrity couple; we're talking about high school sweethearts who just celebrated their 40th anniversary, a couple who spoke of each other with great affection any time they were interviewed and showed that affection (sometimes a little TOO much) easily and often.

It feels silly to care about people I don't even know, akin to ogling movie stars in US Weekly (Stars: they're just like us! They get divorced, too!) But there are days when I have trouble believing that marriages can be happy and healthy and last forever. The whole concept seems somewhat far-fetched, really, especially in our business, where it sometimes seems that every marriage is doomed either to end or to be riddled with infidelity.

The thing is, I'm an optimist, or a romantic, or something along those lines. Despite all evidence to the contrary, including my own experience, I still believe in marriage, in the forever kind of love. I believe it exists. And I don't have to look far to find evidence that I'm right: I have it in the 36-year marriage (and still going strong) of my own parents. One time I asked my mom how they did it, what was their secret, and she told me that in their entire marriage she had never had even a thought of leaving, not once. Doesn't that just take your breath away? It's something to strive for, and even more than that, I derive great strength from it.

Which isn't to say that I'm not still sad about the Gores—I am. But I'm able to step down from the ledge and realize that it's one sad story, not a sign that all marriages are doomed, or, you know, the impending apocalypse. And I also think of something Dan Savage once said on his podcast, something I hold very dearly and think of often, which is essentially (and I'm paraphrasing here) that a relationship is not a failure just because it ends.

But friends? If you've got some good news, send it my way, won't you? I think we all could use some.

Crisis averted?

It's been one existential crisis after another for me the past couple days, I could not even tell you why. First off, I ran into a friend from high school at the mall on Saturday. Wait. Take this in. I graduated from high school in Oregon in 1998...so, all the way across the country and 12 years ago. And then here it was, Saturday at Tysons Corner, and I heard my name, turned around, and saw my friend. From high school. In Oregon. 12 years ago. Weird, right? It was surreal, and my head's still spinning.

And then there was the matter of the ants. It's Saturday night, I'm going to the kitchen to fill up my water glass, when I notice some movement out of the corner of my eye. I do sort of a slow double take and manage to focus on the SWARMS of ants all over the Bossy Cat's food bowl. You know, I like to think of myself as pretty even-keeled, good in a crisis, quick on my feet, but this? This floored me and brought me to a complete halt, and honestly, if it hadn't been for CameraMan, I might have stood there rocking and keening all night long. Luckily, CM is actually even-keeled, good in a crisis, and quick on his feet. He was out the door to buy ant poison and ant traps before I had the chance to break down, and then he was back, and we were spraying the ants dead (oh, yes, ants have feelings too, but I don't care—I'm crazy bloodthirsty like that) and laying the traps all along their trail, and I was finally able to calm down. And there's been no sign of them since, no brave ones, no stragglers, no ants of any kind, and I'm just now quelling the feeling of being attacked in our own home. Is there anything worse than insects in your house? I can't think of much—tell me, is there anything worse?

Of course I had a lovely day yesterday—mood swings are tricky like that, you know? The lowest low is often followed by the highest high, or barring that, at the very least a lovely day.

But today was the other swing of the pendulum, and all of a sudden I was feeling OLD. I know, I know, I'm only 28, but it's just now dawning on me that I'm not the youngest anymore. For years, for practically my whole life, I was younger than everyone I knew. Younger can be embarrassing, but it's also a source of pride, as you arrive at milestones before everybody else. But now, "pushing" 30, there are very few milestones I could find that haven't been reached by other people I know, some of them my age, some of them even younger. And I miss being the youngest, being precocious or ahead of the game. I'm still on track, I think, but I'm not ahead of the pack. CM says this happens to everyone, that at some point you look around and realize you aren't moving forward in leaps and bounds; you're just doing what you do, and living your life, and just happy to be doing it well. I think I can get used to that, but it's still a shock to realize that as I take the next steps in my life, I wouldn't be a particularly young director, or an especially young bride, or a surprisingly young mother. I would just be me, doing what I do, living my life, and trying to do it well.

Without much happening, it's managed to be an eventful couple days. I've given it quite a bit of thought, and I've decided the best thing to do is to chalk it all up to hormonal shifts of some kind.

After all, I am pushing 30.

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