Friday, April 30, 2010

Texts & Emails

Hmmm....I wonder if I'd ever run out of embarrassing stories.

My husband and I had a relationship-via-phone for a long time. I would go through my whole day in New York, often text messaging him throughout the day, and then each night, we would pray together on the phone. He still remembers the one time I fell asleep during a prayer I was saying. He says he remembers this enormous pregnant pause between words and saying, "hello?" after about 30 seconds, realizing I was not pausing for drama. He said my name until I woke up, and then just said goodnight.

I was on a bus sending text messages to my friend Michelle when I suddenly realized I'd sent this message to a guy I had just met once!

I'm actually thinking I want to have a baby. What's happening to me?


Then I realized I'd sent it, and wrote him:

Please disregard the last message. That wasn't for you.


He STILL talks about how funny that message was. I felt so beside myself with embarrassment. It was only a few months later that I realized I was going to quit my job and move to Missouri. Hubby and I talked about it, but I was afraid to tell the boss. In a flurry of emails, hubby and I discussed when the right time would be, and then I wrote an email with one line in it...

I'm really going to have to tell V(boss's name).


Desperately, I tried to recall that email, but alas, it didn't work. Moments later I got a phone call from the boss, laughing, and I had to break the news to him. He was very happy for us.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

And then it Pours


My cold crop veggie garden!!!

So far I've gotten 7 calls from local students' parents looking for voice lessons. While the phone is not "ringing off the hook" it sure feels like it!!

It feels bright and beautiful outside. My weight is slowly still going down. The baby is adorable, the music is coming back, and the veggies are growing. I feel nervous about my house, I guess. Paint still peeled off the porch, weeds everywhere, still working on the lawn, parts of the house are still half-constructed and cluttered. And I'm bringing students in here! Eep.

Suddenly I feel so busy--students, census, baby--and I'm still trying to get practicing and exercising in every day. Oy!

The feeling of looking outside the window at the greens and purples. The Spring feels full of promise now. The only problem is that the timing's a little tense here. The census is very, very busy. They'd like me to work until midnight every night if I want....but I don't have time. I don't really want to work all night at the census. Especially when I'm getting students, which *cough* pays MUCH better, and is something I feel I've trained my whole life to do well.

If we were to get a performance or two in this mix, I'd have a smile permanently plastered to my face. As it is, it's just often appearing.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

La la la la la la la

Goodness me! I may be a singing teacher here in Iowa. I'm looking forward to it--and best, I might be able to have a schedule where I get plenty of time with "the tot" and still be making music (or at least making music better?) and paying bills.

Of course, I still want to perform...but that is neither here nor there, as I should celebrate what is NOW! yeeeeee.

I went to the interview yesterday, dressed to the nines. I asked hubby, "so do I look like a painted lady?" and he responded, "kind of". He really needs to work on verbal reassurance. Anyhoo, I felt pretty--as I had weighed myself that morning (finally, after a month of not doing that) and I was 5 pounds down from my last weight in late March. FIVE! This must be thanks to the exercise. I am doing a lot, (yay SUN!!!) and I am certainly trying when it comes to food. (Although not always succeeding, *sigh*).

I have noticed that eating eggs/egg whites/egg substitute for breakfast, and occasionally lunch, is helpful in my weight loss. Just sayin'. If only we could have chickens here!

I emailed a teacher at the local high school yesterday--just throwing it out there--and not only did he email me back but twenty minutes after that I got a message from a mother looking for voice lessons for her daughter!! Yee HAW! This could be a good thing. This particular high school has a very active and intense vocal music program. Gotta love midwesterners and their show choirs.

In addition--I guess I should say I felt good about the interview yesterday. I was impressed by the school, and the whole situation is ideal. The current voice teacher has 30 students, and is overloaded. They'll let me know next week. It's so different from the opera world's "don't call us" policy. So different.

You folks with real jobs have no idea what "wondering" is!!!

Let's get outside. It's gorgeous, and I've got another 8 pounds to lose by June.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

You Ought to Give Iowa a Try!!!


When I was 13 (or so--that was a long time ago) I performed the role of the Mayor's Wife (Eulalie Mackecknie Shinn--pardon what is probably a gross misspelling)in The Music Man. We later named a dog Eulalie, actually, although that did not end well. It's a long story which I won't tell here. Mrs. Shinn doesn't do a lot of singing, mostly speaking, but play her the right way and you can get a ton of laughs.

To this day, I find nothing more satisfying than the attempt to steal a show by getting the most laughter. I know, I know. It's not really an "ensemble" mentality. But--I never claimed that I wasn't competitive! I would love to say it's all in the performance--but few things feel better than the wash, the wave of laughter coming over you from three thousand people. It's AWESOME. Ahhhh.

Anyhoo, tomorrow I am interviewing at a local school to teach voice. I had no way to transition into that, so I'm stating it bluntly. Something about this makes me picture Mrs. Paroo, the local piano teacher, singing along to Amaryllis's exercises. My house looks like her house--the porch and the gate and the broccoli growing outside (the show doesn't mention broccoli, but you know she must've been growing something!) I learned everything I needed to know about Iowa from this show... I can name the cities because of this show, "Dubuque, Des Moines, Davenport, Marshalltown, Mason City, Keokuk, Ames ...Clear Lake...You ought to give Iowa a tryyyyyy!!"

I don't feel too nervous, because this wonderful opportunity seems to have come from nowhere--and that feels like Divine planning. So I'm happy to just walk in, be as charming as I can, and trust that if God set this job up for me, then it's mine. And if it's not for me, perhaps a new surprise will open up. I have had so many moments in the past two years where I felt like no opportunities would ever come again. So for today, I want to smile at the last few possibilities. They may or may not pan out. I have spent too much of my life guessing if something would open up.

Tonight I watched Baby S sleeping in her room. This week she started a new trick where she puts all her toes in her mouth and sucks on them. It's pretty odd, but adorable, honestly. She also likes to chew on her rubber shoes. She still prefers a position sleeping in her bed that looks like she's still in the womb....her knees pulled up under her, her head pushed up against the cushy wall of her crib. It reminds me of how recently she was kickin' around inside me. It's insane. And we are just days away from EIGHT months. Whew. My little Iowan.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Friday Facefall

I'm still trying to think of a title for Friday's embarrassing story posts.

I didn't realize until this week that I don't spell embarrassing with enough "r"s . See? That's embarrassing in itself! This one may lose some in the telling, as it's about singing.

Ok...so this one is right after college. I went to college in Southern California--just a 6 hour drive from home (or a 45 minute flight). I went home frequently, often bringing a friend or two. On this occasion, I had brought home two friends for Passover (they had never been to a seder).

Now, this was a big passover--at a church, and kind of a "show" with 100 people there. My mom was running the whole thing, which took days of preparation. We also prepared some music--a beautiful duet with my sister, my mom accompanying us on the harp.

This is where I learned never to eat dry matzo before singing.

So--after days of rehearsal, my friends watching attentively, I went up to the front to sing. My mom played the opening chords and I opened my mouth, and nothing came out. My throat was completely dry and coated with the matzo. So I finally swallowed my way through it and started on the next phrase--scratchy, but finally there.

The first verse went fine, and then the second verse we modulated up a key. The way we did this was that we would sing "ahhh" on one note, and then "ahhh" on the second note, one step up, and my mom changed chords on the harp. So I did exactly that. And I was the only one who remembered. So basically, for one moment, I sang something so frighteningly wrong--loudly, and confidently. After a moment I got back to where I was. But when I looked over, my friends were bent under the table, giggling.

To this day, I won't eat "carbs" before singing. Oh well.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Sometimes She Sets the Schedule


My blogs have been a bit further apart this week. After Saturday's trip, Baby S has been going to sleep around 11:00pm and then waking up at 8. This means my nighttime "after baby goes to sleep" when I like to blog is replaced by my falling asleep in bed while nursing Baby S around 11pm, drooling on myself, probably with my contacts still in and not having taken my bedtime shot. (by shot I mean insulin, not vodka, although I'm sure that might help too).

Yesterday I had a lot of plans. I was going to go grocery shopping, return some recycling, work on the porch, clean the house, shower.....all that fun stuff. But babies, as I'm sure I've said a few times....they have their own plans. I did get a lot of housework done, trapped while she took an unprecedentedly long afternoon nap (can you make that word an adverb, I think so...).

I have an interview with a music school on Monday (celebratory squeal here!) and suddenly a picture seems to be forming in my head about what's happening next. Even knowing these things can change in a single afternoon, I am soothed by it. I am feeling perky. I just did an audition--for a pretty good-sized company, and it went off without a hitch! I keep telling people, however, that there is no instant gratification in opera. I may find out in a week or six months. Or never. Or a few years from now. Better move on.

So the baby has just finished her 90 minute morning nap. I have filled a blender with chicken breast, broccoli and a little celery for some kick, and filled containers for a few dinners. I have even showered, and it's not noon yet!!! I'm thinking--ok--a few errands should be run--and some exercise. How to combine the two? Everything is possible.

April weather. Maybe my good mood is as simple as that.


Monday, April 19, 2010

Love and Artists


I sometimes have these thoughts that are big and strange and wonderful, and I think, is this just because I'm an artist? Or does everyone have these? Or am I crazy? Tonight I was driving home from my little census job and I had to get gas. I stood outside at a gas station, the night air just absolutely still and perfect, and I felt like my skin was tingling, like there was magic all around me. I imagined music or theater, and felt a surge of something special--like something wonderful was happening right that moment. It was nice--I used to feel like this in NYC a lot, and don't get it as much in Iowa. I think it's because it generally happens when I'm alone. And I'm not alone as much here. (which is not a bad thing).

On the mundane side, I am remembering that hubby and I must take the garbage out tonight, to avoid a very annoying morning of running to the street. I have learned the order of the trash pick-up: Yardie, Trash, Recycling. This time we've got a whole yardie full of grass clippings, so we have to get out there tonight!!!

On the special side, I was remembering how mom used to say that I had waited until pretty late to look for love, because performing feels like love. While it's not the real thing, it makes you feel like you don't need anything else. I was thinking about this as I prepared for the audition this weekend. Singing for me is pleasure. I love the rehearsals, I love the preparation, the mistakes, the corrections. I love learning the score, every single page. And I love learning an operatic character, feeling the transformation into that character inside myself. I mourn the show when it's done. I feel truly myself while singing. I can't describe it better than that. And it feels like--well not like love--it feels like good dating. It feels the way you feel when you're putting on makeup for a second date. It feels the way you feel when you kiss someone new, or when you realize they like you.

But performing doesn't feel like love. At least, not as I know it now. Love--the way I feel when I see my husband after a few days away from him, or the way I feel when I see my daughter first thing in the morning, is much quieter. It's a kind of sustaining love. It makes me feel like I can fail, and get back up again. Performing always feels like you're only as good as your last song. But love makes you feel like you can do something today and be forgiven for yesterday.

I am looking for some excitement again, but grateful for the love that's around me. Ahhh. Where do I go from here??

Sunday, April 18, 2010

A Long Day's Journey To Omaha

Our house doesn't really get "started" until around 8:30 each day. But yesterday I attempted going to bed early (around 11:30, I think it finally was) with hubby still running out for last minute errands on my behalf. When I woke up at 6:00 I was expecting Baby S to sleep until her normal time. No such luck. My stirring caused her stirring and by 6:30 we were all up. Well, hubby was awake, mumbling things from under his comforter.

By 7:20 I was 10 minutes early, in front of A's house. (A is a friend who--MARVEOUSLY--accompanied me to Omaha, to help out with the baby, yay!) We were off on the road, and it was a relatively uneventful four hours. We talked, probably too much for my voice, but the trip certainly moved a lot faster. After all, it wasn't like I could sing all the way there, so at least this was a bit of a warm up. When we arrived, around noon (after a stop or two) I still felt like I'd just rolled out of bed.

Practicing daily has paid off. My voice was easier to access. I'm not sure that makes sense, if you don't sing operatically. Sometimes, I start singing and it takes a lot of work to get that "operatic ring" in it. If I haven't been singing lately, it can take 20 minutes of warming up before getting anything. On the other hand, especially if I'm in a show or practicing a lot, I can sometimes feel that I'm in "good voice"....and then open my mouth and the ring is immediately there. It's easier to access notes, there's no roughness, etc. Sometimes, I feel this way at 11pm while I'm standing in a convenience store! You never know.

So that was good. Like always, I talked A into going to a local hotel and using the bathroom to get ready (hotel bathrooms are the best!). I came out a painted woman, equipped with fancy clothes and high heels. A few minutes later, I walked through the stage door and A took the baby off to--somewhere--to entertain for twenty minutes.

Auditions are very familiar to me now. I know the look of the guy or woman checking us in. I can spot them. Anything familiar is comforting. For example, the names on the dressing room doors held one familiar one for me. Someone I've sung with. That put me in the "hiring group" in my mind. Two singers stood in a room, doing nothing. No warming up? No chatting? Turns out they had travelled together--husband and wife. Both helpful and difficult, I'd guess.

A man showed up...somewhat shorter, with a shaved head, dark-rimmed glasses, a bright pink polo shirt with the collar pulled up, a black shirt underneath it, and a clipboard. I still don't know what his role was, but he was charming, and led me to the audition. He also collected $20 for the pianist, which isn't usual, but I knew this about this opera company, so I was ready.

I was the first of the day, and the pianist reviewed my music with me. He seemed nervous. Fortunately, this opera was on a big stage (the worst is when it's in a room--then you "listen" to yourself to much). On a stage your voice goes out into the hall, allowing you to "feel" it. Does any of this make sense? Hmmm....

So the single man in the audience watched me walk out. I introduced myself. It's nice for me to say my name. Then I announced the piece. He seemed happy by my choice. "oh good." He said. I sang my heart out, connected emotionally, and the high note went well. He said "very nice." and then asked me who I've been studying with. He also asked me about the (gulp) gap in my resume. I said, "I got married and had a baby." And he cheerfully responded, "congratulations." I quietly thanked God that I had an answer better than "I was a little despondent about auditions, got offered a job I turned down because it would have killed me and haven't had the money to make as many auditions as I used to." You know? Love and happiness is always a better answer.

And then I sang a second piece. Not as well. Ironically, it was the piece I'd practiced most this week. It wasn't terrible, just not a great high note at the end. And not as clean as I'd like.

The pianist told me I did a great job, and I wobbled off the stage.

The ride home, oddly, was twice as long. But again, thank God for A!!! We chatted about things that had nothing to do with opera. We stopped at the mall for starbucks (for me) the children's play area (for Baby S, who LOVED it) and the Apple store (for A). All in all, a successful mall trip.

And then the crying. Baby S had had it. My breasts ached from not nursing her. It was a fairly torturous ride, and didn't get me home until about 8:45. Barely conscious.

All in all, it felt good. It takes a lot to get yourself back into it.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Friday's here already?



Last night I got off work early and tried to get some extra things done, so I forgot to write on the blog!! The house is cleaner.

As I write this, the baby just put a piece of rawhide in her mouth. Two hours cleaning the carpet, and she finds the rawhide that the dogs brought in five minutes ago. *sigh*

Since we're at Friday already, I thought I should tell an embarassing story, rather than dwelling on the audition trip tomorrow. Heck, I just need to remind myself I have done DOZENS (if not a hundred) auditions. I have sung everything, with every pianist in every style. I have had people answer their cell phones, talk through my auditions, building alarms go off, pianists forget what they're playing. I've had wardrobe malfunctions, been too early or too late, gotten a cracker stuck in my throat, been asked to speak another language on the fly, changed last-minute pantyhose in the car, and the list could really go on. But I'll spare you.

Here's my embarassing story (a little off-color). Back in high school, I was playing the game Taboo with my friend Dari and two boys that we were friends with. Now, if you don't know the game, this is where someone tries to get their partner to say a word printed on the card. However, they are restricted by not being allowed to use "obvious" words. For example....you could try to make your partner say the word "juice" but you can't use the words "blender", "drink" "cup" "fruit" or "drink". That kind of thing.

The way Dari got around this was by making the whole game filled with innuendos, either generally off-color or sexual. She was very competitive, but also liked to make people blush. It was working for us. We were winning, but it was a close game.

So Dari and the two guys are looking at a card with the word IMPEACH. I, of course, could not see the card. And Dari asks the question, "What are we gonna do to get rid of Bush? (who was the president at the time)." I said, "SHAVE."

For a moment, all three of them looked at me puzzled. After all, they were thinking politics. And then they realized what I'd said. Dari turned the card over so I could see, I blushed, and the game ended there, in a lot of laughter.

Dari died suddenly almost 3 years ago. It seems so strange, we imagine people living forever, don't we? I probably have more embarassing stories with her than anyone else :)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Who is Yukon Cornelius?


My husband has an insane knowledge of cartoons. I mean, somehow he has managed to know everything that was ever animated.

On our first date, he popped in a CD of cartoon music. Not like the Warner Bros classical music excerpts. We're talking funny slide whistles and bells set to music. Today he suggested a joke involving Yukon Cornelius and I politely nodded while googling a picture of who that was. I find it's easier to pretend to know his random references than to have him explain to me the ENTIRE history of something I'm really only politely interested in.

It was a nice Wednesday. Oh my goodness, is it WEDNESDAY??? I have only 2.5 days until I am standing on a stage praying for the high notes I've sung 25 times at home this week. I wish I were batting a thousand, but right now I am only at about 75 per cent on one of the pieces. I'm considering axing it. But not convinced.

At the end of the day I called a local music school to ask their advice on how I go about getting voice students. And what did they say? Great timing! They told me I had great timing as they are looking for a voice teacher!!! I am so excited. The answers....they unfold.

I asked myself this morning at 7 am what I would be willing to give up for God this week. And the answer came surprisingly quickly. Worry. One week without worrying? Let's set the goal for tomorrow. Tomorrow I will not worry. I won't worry that I shouldn't have spent 75 dollars on groceries today, leaving us cash poor for the week. What did I buy? Yogurt? Chicken? I can't figure it out. I won't worry about the audition. It is a GIFT, damnit. When will I start seeing this as a gift? I won't worry about who the baby will be, or whether I'm a bad mom (I was the only mom who forgot to pack a snack for her baby this morning, resulting in a warning that she cried during snack time and could I just drop a snack in there for her?Ugh. The guilt.) I won't worry about that. And I won't worry about the front yard, or the porch which is half done, or the carpet, or even my weight. One day. With God's help. Can't be that hard.

Like clockwork, Baby S is down for the count at 9:30pm. It's grown-up time. Right now we're wasting it watching a 30 year old british sit-com on Iowa Public Television.

And just so you know, as soon as I hit the sack, hubby will switch the channel to cartoons.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Bodies in Motion


The thought occurred to me yesterday that if I were as active as my daughter, I'd probably weigh about 100 pounds. All day long, she attempts to use every muscle in her body to do various things...creeping, crawling, standing attempts, falling, getting back up, grabbing, splashing.....I just got winded typing that list!

In between she makes pit stops, but they are short, and just on the journey to the next one.

It also started worrying me. How, if I have so little self-esteem due to my being overweight, will I give her self-esteem if she is overweight? What do I pass on, when I find myself walking through the yard, actually saying to myself that if I never lose the weight I am not sure I'll ever be worth anything. Ever be worth anything? This is my thought? Boy, that doesn't sound healthy.

I am doing auditions and I am older and fatter than I've ever been. I wish that weren't a stream running through my head set to sad music. It's the opposite of positive thinking, and very few people say, "imagine them laughing you off the stage. that'll get you the role." I seem to have the unique quality of a person who beats themselves up with self-loathing and fear but takes constant risks. Every time I see a competition, an audition, a challenge, I run over to the starting line. I think, "what the heck?" and it makes for a rich life. But in between, the self talk about how I am just a fat person, who could never conquer the one thing I thought would bring me love, success, victory. Of course, it doesn't bring any of those things. There's about a billion skinny miserable people in the world. But tell that to my inner voice. She's DEAF to it!!

So...I am so nervous about this audition that I feel overwhelmed, depressed, and occasionally mad at my husband. Wouldn't it be great if emotions came one at a time? A girl can dream.

No money for grad school yet. No hope for work next year yet. And everything is deficit. And yet I am so stubborn that I still want to work in music. I still want to be a singer. I still want something that has no guarantee of dollar signs. It's like my inner voice also wants me to be poor. What is wrong with her?

But you know what they say? Bodies in motion tend to stay in motion....so I guess I should sing some auditions.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Trying to Keep It Together

Here are the things I considered putting in the title this time:

Drywall (and my new understanding of it)
Vegetable Gardening (or how rabbits became my enemies)
Sleep (wondering when the baby will let us do it again)
Nursing Strikes (why not to panic when she suddenly doesn't want to breastfeed)
Financial Counselling (how to talk your husband into it)
Dogs (When you want to give them to someone else)
Practicing (how to do it when your baby hates the sound of opera)
Toe-Painting (is it wrong to paint your 7 month old baby's toenails?)
Second Chances (how to be ready for them)

I guess it feels impossible to worry about all these things at once. But somehow I manage it. It makes my eating completely horrible. Yesterday I put a few tablespoons of cake mix in a coffee mug with water and microwaved it for 45 seconds. It was fantastic. But I'm not getting thinner. I am weighing in tomorrow morning. Ugh. My goal was another 2o pounds by June 8th. It can happen, but unfortunately, not without me.

Baby S has been toying with a nursing strike. Familiar with these? It's when a baby, who normally loves to breastfeed, decides she doesn't want to take the breast. It can be one of a half dozen reasons--but all of them feel AWFUL, because I have no idea what I would do if she stopped nursing. I am just as addicted as she is! I did think, for a moment today, that maybe it would help me because I could engage in a more aggressive weight loss.

However, we got back to normal, and by this evening she was nursing like crazy. I still have no idea what the strike was about.

Right now I feel sick with anxiety about the future. Do I get a doctorate if it costs me money and puts us in desperate times this fall? Will I ever get a job I like if I don't have a doctorate? Is this an investment in my future or yet another pipe dream? Don't ask me about tomorrow. Right now it's a freakin' miracle that I got through today. I have no plan. I don't know what's up next. And for me, this is fairly torturous. It makes my brain hurt. My "Type A" side is pretty pissed off at me. What am I thinking?

I am singing through pieces and I feel lost in 15 years of singing advice. I'm putting too much pressure on myself. Wasn't the gift the audition? It's not the job, right? Either the job is there for me or it isn't. I just go in, do my best, and let God take care of the rest.

In the meantime, I need to narrow down this list. Oh yeah, and fix the garden, and clean the kitchen, and nurse the baby and some other stuff.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Max Will Lead You Home


I find walking a multi-purpose solution to my problems. In a single walk, I can work out my body, my personal issues, my angers, my fears, and my spiritual life. I find walking utterly healing, and a day after a walk is a better day.

I think this is what makes Winter particularly rough. Here in the midwest, there are about 100 days or so where it's pretty much impossible to take a walk, and another 20 that are questionable. So as soon as the weather hits the forties, I am OUT of the house, bundled up, and walking around the neighborhood. These days this walk involves a baby and two dogs.

After the winter the dogs are out of shape, pretty obviously, and they have forgotten how to walk. They're all over the place--chasing, barking, running among the spokes of the stroller, and crossing each other with the leashes.

By now, in April, we've gotten our act together. The dogs walk on either side of the stroller, they stop when I pull them, and we are a regular team. The baby starts the walk looking around, cries briefly, and then passes out. It all works well, and I come home with a nice workout. Not to mention the incredible beauty of the colors changing, greening, purpling.

One of the quirkiest parts of our walk is our bruiser of a lhasa apso, Max. He is relatively easy to walk until the walk is half over. At this point, I turn around and Max realizes we must be going home. Suddenly, he shoots out from behind me and leads the way. He doubles his pace. He's a dog on a mission. And if I wasn't sure I'd get hit by a car, I could just close my eyes and I'm sure he'd get us there. He's just like my husband--happiest at home.

I do the walk almost every day now, hopefully preparing me for the auditions ahead...giving me time to talk to my Maker, giving me time to forget myself, listen to the baby fall asleep, and let Max lead me home. You really should try it.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Bumper Car Wednesday


Wow, am I exhausted! A week of having my hubby's parents here should have left me well-rested (unlimited babysitting) but boy am I tired!! Wednesday is a funny day--it starts early and ends late...and I spend the middle of it trying to get housework, exercise and singing (and of course the constant needs of Baby S) in. The end of the day hits me like a bumper car. Boom. I look up and realize it's 10pm. What?

It's hard to be far away from family generally. Yes, there are times when being on our own is enjoyable--and getting to pick where you want to live is important. After all, I would never have met my husband if we'd stayed where we grew up. Not to mention the wealth of experiences we've both had. But there are times when I know it's hard for him to send his family back home, and it sure would be nice for Baby S to have her babysitting by grandparents instead of friends. Something about that seems right.

I am feeling inspired again to cut the sugar out. I have a real allergy to sugar. I eat a little and the rest of my diet turns to crap. It's amazing. Doesn't matter how good my other intentions are.

I must admit, I'm excited about watching Project Runway on hubby's new bigscreen. I guess there is an upside!

I am working on so much music, and I am wanting to look at doing some bigger-voiced music. The whole thing makes me totally nervous. Here's what should happen right? I've had a truckload of advice over the years....and now this is my chance to use it. Not to ask, yet again, for advice, but to be wise enough to use what I've learned. Right? Oy. That makes my stomach hurt.

The census is still slow. I'll enjoy it while I can, as late April will be insane. Just enough time to do my first audition :) Again--another thing that "just worked out." Incredible.


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

If You're Happy and You Know It Clap Your Hands


In one astoundingly beautiful moment, Baby S looked at visiting Grammy and actually clapped. She clapped at the correct spot of If You're Happy and You Know It, albeit extremely slowly. But she did it. Did I get it on tape? No. Can we get her to do it again? No. Eventually, I know that it will come back in, as part of her full repertoire. But you never get the good stuff on tape. Seriously? 7 months and clapping. When do I get to use the word "genius"!!!???

Today I spent 4 hours at a class paid for by the US Census (and therefore, by extension, YOU, the taxpayer, thank you) to learn how to fingerprint government employees. It was not as painful as I thought it would be, except I couldn't stay awake after lunch. The teacher was an older white guy, pompous, moving to Tucson, and strictly adhering to the instructions in the manual (which he read us) to NOT MAKE JOKES. Really, federal government? You can't make any jokes in a fingerprint class? Tragedy.

So I fingerprinted a fellow participant--a man about 40 years older than I am, who grew up and still lives on a farm in Iowa, 72 miles away from Cedar Rapids. He was sweet, and encouraging, but had insanely long thumbs. THAT goes in my "list of experiences", which eventually I'd like to compile in some sort of art--something between an art song, a painting and a book. Choices, choices. At lunch I had some hummus, which was super midwesterny, and by that I mean disappointing. I was also corrected, as I pronounced it "hoo-mus" and the woman behind the counter said, "hum-us". I was right. *sigh* Well, at least closer.

I barely remember being single. It's so strange. I was single in 2007. It wasn't that long ago. Now, I've learned to sleep in the small portion of our queen sized bed, somehow wedged between a baby who doesn't want to stay asleep for some reason, and a snoring husband who insists my feet should not touch his in bed because he doesn't like feet. I used to stretch out in my own queen sized bed, my gorgeous, Ethan Allen asian-inspired, darkly stained, fantastic bed, in my apartment in New York. Man I miss that bed. Ok, married is good. But I would really like my bed back.

Am I going to be ready for these coming auditions? I ran through music yesterday, feeling good...feeling like maybe it's time I took a few risks, too. Is this even possible? The anxiety is starting to keep me up. I got a rental car today--it's going to cost $3.30 with my points. Doesn't this seem oddly easy? Not hard to get the auditions, not expensive, not tough to plan, someone to go with me, husband supportive. How is there not a lot of divine intervention here?

Who knows what will happen tomorrow, or April 17th? Who knows what happens next? Who knows when she'll clap again? Not me. I seriously need a crystal ball or something, I am way too impatient to wait for an answer.

I wrote a song once with lyrics like this:

I consult the stars,
I consult the wisdom of my youth,
I consult the man next door, who says, he can fix a leaky roof with his gum
and I know, it's a foolish journey I'm on
but when I wait for You, it takes too long...


Only time will tell.


Monday, April 5, 2010

Proud Mary


I left a good job in the city Working for the man every night and day And I never lost one minute of sleeping Worrying about the way things might have been

Sorry for the brief absence of blog-writing. I have had visitors and a holiday. So much has happened in the past 4 days that I don't even know what to blog about. The baby is sleeping. I came home tonight to a hubby and two parents in-law looking exhausted, and one baby staring at me desperately, having just finished a huge bottle of milk. Things had not gone well, and nothing was getting better until I got home.

Hubby earlier had approached me to ask if I had been purposely avoiding him and his parents...which surprised me. I guess what he didn't realize is how much I relish being able to hand the baby to them to get precious hours of practicing singing, or playing piano. Maybe he forgot what a pain it is to try to do things ALONE when you're a new mom...peeing...watching tv...showering...going out of the house. So although I love the visitors, packing 3 of us on the couch is just not as fun as standing on the porch with no baby. I love her, don't get me wrong. But alone time is awesome.

I have been thinking of the above lyric all week. Funny, huh? It feels like my life story! The "rolling on the river" part, not so much.

So I suddenly have become a woman with two auditions for large opera companies and a symphony. I couldn't fly out west for the symphony audition, so I just got a CD in the mail to them. But since that whole thing was unexpected, it feels like one of those "I asked for this, and got more than I thought...." things. It feels like walking in some sort of happy cloud. I feel tingly. I feel like it IS the beginning of a beautiful new story. Boy, hope is awesome.

I had a lovely Easter, which probably should be a blog of its own. I have reserved a new story for my "embarassing Friday stories" which is playing piano in front of a few hundred people and forgetting what key I'm in. I'm not quite ready to tell the story yet. But I'd like to forget it soon after.

Later on in the day, we took Baby S out to a greenhouse, one of those odd little things that hubby and I enjoy immensely together, and then to our local frozen yogurt stand...another favorite. It is hard, having to discover things we enjoy together. I see in my living room now a 42" television, mostly to serve the purpose of watching sporting events. For my hubby, a dream gift from his parents. For me....something I have to decorate the room around.

It's been a really nice weekend in a million ways--but I have to selfishly say that nothing beats the feeling I have that maybe I will be a working singer again. This happiness also makes me look at Baby S with a renewed hope. It makes me more amazed by her (she really is amazing) and interested in what happens when things start at strange points. Let me not be a forgettable story, right?

Tomorrow I learn how to fingerprint people at the census. I promise to blog about that. I believe it's going to be strange and wonderful.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Let the Sunshine In


It is GORGEOUS in Iowa today. It's like a light, perfect, early summer day. It's like California, it's green. You can see it from the window....green grass, windmills blowing, birds eating at our feeder, my garden buds sprouting, germinating. I have taken the baby out in the yard a few times, but trying to get things done inside has kept me from playing a bit too much. I actually look forward to stripping paint from the porch, as it will require me standing in that beautiful sunny hug that is outside.

I have been getting a walk in every day, although not as long as I'd want. If I could, I'd find a way to do a two hour walk every day. But the baby makes that tough. Darnit--something always keeps you from having a two hour walk every day. Isn't that wrong? So I get about 35 minutes in, and I do the big hill on our street. The first few times I had to stop halfway up. Now I don't have to stop, but I still feel the burn. I figure, as soon as the burn is gone, I'll move on to a new hill!

Baby S is propelling herself across the floor with a furious crawl. She's fantastically physical--coordinated, strong and self-willed. I think this is all from her dad. I don't mind it one bit, as it's reassuring that she's got to be somewhat "advanced". As I type this she has pulled herself up to look at me from a standing position at the end of the couch. I find I miss her at the end of my work shifts. I can't wait to see her smiling when I get home, and I'm disappointed when she's fallen asleep (I get home around 9:15, and that is only occasional!) It's so much nicer than feeling sick of her at the end of the day, because I haven't had a moment to pee or shower.

I have a time for an audition--May 25th!!! It's a Tuesday so my hubby can drive me, and only a 4 hour drive. Totally do-able. It's a big company, and the best news is that I will have an audition before that one, so I'll be ready. Of course, in practicing I realize I have no high notes. But 2 months is absolutely enough to get my high notes back! I've been practicing daily. Not as long as I'd like--since it's the use of her daily nap and therefore dependent on her--but it's happening.

I should stop writing. Baby S is trying to use the VCR. And not in a good way.