Friday, May 28, 2010

Nine Months Old Today

The Baby is 9 months old today. I would say time flies, but it really does seem like 9 months! The seasons help that feeling--it was a LONNNG winter, and it's already warm. Oddly, I didn't realize babies sweat. I mean, it's logical that they do, but I guess it never occurred to me.

Here's yesterday:

6:15-8, Baby S stirs, and possibly cries. I waddle out of the bedroom, avoiding the dogs on the floor, to get her out of bed. I bring her into our bed and lay down to nurse with her.
She falls back to sleep, but now I am sleeping awkwardly, holding a baby.
7:50-8:10 She wakes up, happy as a clam, and pulls both my hair and my husband's.
Soon after, I put my contacts in, take her out to the kitchen, take my blood sugar, and put her in a high chair. I start dropping various items--cheerios, banana pieces, chicken pieces, maybe some juice, into the chair. While she is eating I feed the dogs and pack hubby lunch.
9:10 Hubby leaves for work, dogs are outside and I try to do some dishes
9:15 I hear a crash behind me and Baby S has knocked over the dog water. She's splashing around in it.
9:20 I let the dogs in, take the wet baby to the bathroom, sponge bathe her while she cries, change her diaper, and put some clothes on her for the day.
9:30 I put up the gate to keep the dogs out and let Baby S crawl around the living room.
9:35 I notice she's found my husband's hammer
9:37 She's got a power chord
9:45 I learn she can now get into the drawer at the end table.
9:47 I decide it's no big deal if she pulls all of the tissues out of the box.
10:30 She starts crying and I realize she needs to nurse. She nurses to almost sleeping, and then gets up again and starts trying to climb stuff.
11:00 Crying and whining--we try the nursing thing and she falls asleep. (thank GOD) I put her in the crib and start furiously cleaning the house.
12:30 Just got two rooms, a load of laundry and dishes done and I hear her stirring.
12:45 we eat lunch together. She mostly wants my lunch, so we just share.
1:30 I force myself to pack her, the dogs and myself up and go on a walk.
2:25 Back from the walk, I undress her and give her a popsicle (it was so hot) and think, "I wonder if she'll let me shower?"
2:30 I take a shower with the baby standing at the edge of the tub, hands on the tub, shower curtain open, crying and screaming for me.
2:45 Get out of the shower, carry the baby into the bedroom and try to keep her from crawling off the bed while I get dressed.
3:00 Nurse her again, get her dressed. Pump a bottle of milk.
3:30 Run like crazy to the bank to get back in time for the babysitter
3:51 Babysitter is waiting in the driveway. Give her the tour of the house and introduce Baby S to her.
4:00 first student arrives
4:30 second student arrives
5:00 Last student is no-show. Head off to work.
5:00-9:00pm- Office work. The easiest part of my day.
9:00pm--come home and immediately take Baby S into my arms. She is in a great mood, so I'm able to put her down once or twice. Eat dinner while Baby S eats some of my dinner. She knocks over my soda.
9:45pm --finally nurse her to sleep.
12:02 am - Don't really remember how I got there, but falling asleep to be ready for the next morning's wake-up.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


Today I went online to see if I could earn some cash.

I found something that pays $10 for 5 minutes! Yay!

And here are the qualifications:

Please only accept ONLY if you meet ALL of the following criteria:
  • AGE - You must be Older than 55 years old.
  • GENDER - You must be a Female.
  • COUNTRY - You must be living in Canada.
  • INCOME - Your household income must be over $100,000.
  • COMPUTER EXPERIENCE - You must be Beginner to Intermediate with computers and Internet.
How many people are they getting for this?

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Jazz Hands

Tonight I asked my neighbor to watch the baby so I could go to the local high school and attend my first show choir concert.

I hope that the next few paragraphs give it even a slight bit of justice.

First of all, the auditorium was hot and muggy. When I walked in it smelled like moist people. I KNEW it would be hot. Midwesterners do not plan ahead for air conditioning. I live with this. I dressed up--I wore a sheer red top that looks like snakeskin. I decided I could claim that as "eccentric voice teacher" and get away with not looking like the parents in the audience. I believe opera singers should not be seen in less than "diva summer casual" wear. I know, I can't believe I'm saying this, but I do.

Ok--so....the auditorium was also packed. It was kind of crappy. The seats were kind of "1982ish" and the sound system was not state of the art. The audience was enthusiastic, clapping, screaming, and calling their favorite friends' names. The students were allowed to come in and out of the auditorium, definitely not formal. It felt more like a sporting event than an arts event, for it's hooting and hollering and familiarity. I think I kind of loved that. It was pretty quintessentially American. High school show choir? What's more American than that.

The evening started with "legitmate" choirs. Latin. A capella. Black velvet dresses, tuxes. Ta da. Very in tune, but obviously not the goal of the evening. There is a fair amount of I-wish-I-understood-any-of-these-personal-jokes, with parents doing a horrific parody of the kids singing (ugh, rehearsed even, ugh) and lots of announcements. Average solos, everything seems like the high school choir concerts I grew up with.

And then the first of two show choirs, the junior show choir gets on stage. They have bright dresses, suits, and something like a 6-10 piece band including a lot of brass, drums and piano. And the performing starts. Honestly, it was riveting. I was watching maybe 50 kids dance around, do flips, do costume tear-aways, tap dance, jump over each other, and sing in 4 part harmony. Each and every face on stage was fully committed at every moment. And I felt myself tearing up a little. Why?

I guess I know what it feels like to feel the thrill of a show. They had nothing in their heads but PERFORM. And I guess--I was born feeling that. I will never be able to isolate the gene that made me research "You're Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile" at 8 years old, with no friends, over and over in our living room with great anticipation. I'm 36 and I'm still that girl.

In 3 days I am going to drive to Milwaukee for an audition. I am filled with hope that just ONE of these auditions or contacts might lead to me singing. Just one and I'll be on cloud 9. And I know socially I am sadly outside of where I wish I was here. I want to be part of the people I've met here in a more significant way. But at the end of the day, I keep choosing just the possibility of performing. I choose it. I better just own it, no?

So the highest level group came on. They announced their awards. They are a very decorated singing group, with all sorts of national awards. The whole thing was not exactly my type of music, not exactly what I've always done best, but I loved it. I loved the idea of these teens being obsessed with this. I related to every moment on stage. Even with my thighs sticking to the chair.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Failing the Mirror Test

It's Tuesday night, and I feel a sinking sadness inside me.

I can't seem to figure out how to attend 2 auditions in 2 days that are 7 hours apart by car. It's got to be possible, right? The baby makes it harder. I feel needy--I feel like it's wrong for me to be so willing to spend our money on an audition, which I may not even get. But after talking to the director of the show I sang the piece (which I have done before) over and over. I read the script to hubby on the porch. I told the plot to him perfectly in 30 seconds! Here I am...waiting, world. I want to do this. I always have, you know.

Anyways, what would that money go to? More house stuff? That's hubby's world. I would've been happy in an apartment. Just because I'm living in his world doesn't mean I have to want the things he wants. And that's how I feel today.

Like I have to fight for my fair share of this place. Which is probably wrong.

Am I never going to look in the mirror and be happy with what I see? I feel I've spent 35 years failing the simple task of looking normal. Eating normally. I wonder if any of this will ever matter if I never get past "fat girl." Is this it for me?

And so I'm fighting for that too. Wishing we could throw out the peanut butter. Tired of buying treats for hubby (who could stand to lose a few, cough cough) and making excuses. Can't all these things mean something to me? Can't I just tell him to eat a damn vegetable? Can't we all take a walk?

Piece by piece, here we are. I am trying to cling to my lifelong dreams, questioning if this is selfishness, or if everything else is just unfair.

I dreamed last night of cannibals and of someday dieting in tandem with my husband, feeling proud, happy and beautiful. It was an odd combination, which, like hot peppers and ice cream, pickles and cake, potato chips and cool whip, make you want to throw up a little.

Monday, May 17, 2010

My Life on Monday

This is not the right green. We have had a door in our garage for about a month now, as we search for a way to get a paint that matches our house trim to paint it. This is especially difficult when you can't remove the house trim to take it into the store. Photos....aren't exactly right when it comes to color.

This picture also makes me think I should mention to my husband that he needs to get his nails trimmed.

I am reminded not to coach him about the baby (by him this time) as I tell him not to let her have that fork, but not to take it away from her.

Today was packed full. I got a message from an opera company for whom I am trying to figure out how to sing that I should call them and find out if it's worth it. I am frustrated that the number of students coming is not growing. I am just not sure how to get other schools involved. So I am praying as I send another email out to the teacher who was so helpful in getting some students interested. I just feel generally frustrated. But I did teach two lessons today. I also had a 20 dollar bill delivered by a mother whose daughter flaked out today. If every mother was as good as she is, I wouldn't need a cancellation policy.

I had a student who has never taken a diaphragmatic breath. That is so exciting. Isn't that weird that this is what I'm excited about?

On top of that, I left my debit card in a grocery store today, worked 4 hours at the census, cleaned the house, did laundry, exercised, and tried to keep up with Destructor, the baby with one idea.

I am unhappy with not losing weight, and need to decide what the best way to "renew" myself is. I am still at the same weight, just fluctuating up and down the same 4 pounds. I would really like to go to my next doctor's appointment (in June) 10 pounds down from my previous weight (that would mean 8 pounds this month). I just need to figure out what I could do that would give me peace and recovery.

I am also feeling the desire to be of service to someone again. I'm waiting for God to show me how that might work.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Yeah, I Could Do That

Sorry--no Friday post. I mean, I started one, but exhaustion set in. AND I had a last minute student yesterday and one at 9:30 this morning, so forgive me.

I am debating in my head whether it is unwise to wake a sleeping baby so I can drive to the other side of town and get some exercise by walking through the arts festival on this GORGEOUS day. I also want to take the dogs, which makes me insane. But the baby, I'm sure, will sleep on the way, and then possibly in the stroller. It's not that crazy, right?

She slept long enough for me to practice, then look for some recordings online, then in the process of looking stumble upon a few "more successful" singers than I am, and then feel jealous, and then sad, and then self-defeated. And then, while she still slept, I shut that page of the internet and decided to write about the fact that I always believe, "yeah, I could do that."

Now--you've probably heard a few ridiculous 25 year old guys say that. They see someone jump from the top of a burning building, make spaghetti out of wire hangers and jell-o, paint an award winning picture or date three women at the same time and say, "oh sure, I could do that." I (hopefully) am not just filled with bravado. I just have a strong belief that most of it is worth a shot. I want to be an opera singer, I have invested 20 years into it, I've been on a couple stages with some famous ones, and had other famous ones tell me it's possible. That's enough encouragement. But deep inside, I worry that I've done something wrong over and over . That maybe it is bravado. Maybe I'm more talk than business. Maybe no one will EVER. HIRE. ME. AGAIN.

Have you ever thought that? No one will ever date me again. I will never lose this weight again. No flowers will grow in this garden again. No one will ever love me again. No one will ever look at me the same way (whatever that means) again.

It's ridiculous. The only thing we can really count on is change, right? My baby is sleeping right now and she's probably changing at this moment. She let me know this week that she doesn't like the cinnamon coated graham crackers that Dad bought. Everything is new and changing. And I may be 36, but everything can happen again. It can happen for the first time.

SO I'm auditioning next week. Again. Because the 157th time is the charm, right? I think that's the saying. I can make a million excuses, but I found out that my husband loves the fact that I "Just go for things" and apparently so does Lois, a woman I work with. She said there's some sort of farm saying for it...I'll have to ask her again, I forget what it is. But here's the one I'm using now.

Yeah, yeah yeah. I can do that.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Rejection is Rejection

I ran to my email this morning, hoping it would contain good news from someone. I have thrown out a few fishing lines, and am waiting for a bite.

I got offered an audition yesterday for a company that is 7 hours (by car) from an audition I am already doing. One is on Tuesday, the other on Wednesday. I am trying to figure out how to make both, the plane flight is not horrendous, but with the baby, I am not sure it's possible. Ahhh, my jet-setting audition days may be over. Not that I'm done. My last move was to ask the person who emailed about the audition what shows they were doing, to find out if the worry was worth it (meaning, if there are roles for me). I have no idea why, but they don't like to be asked questions like that, so I may or may not hear back from them. I also have no idea why the original audition email would not have contained their show needs. Right?? Right.

I also got rejected from the school of music where I interviewed,and got the impression it was because they were afraid I might leave if I got a job singing. I suppose the ironic part of this is that (as I explained, but what can you do), opera gigs come about 6 months to 2 years in advance. They are, at my point in the biz, never last minute. Not only that, they last 3-4 weeks at the most, and I could easily return mid-week at the end of the show. So that means 6 months in advance I'd let you know I'd be gone for 2, maybe 3 weeks. Doesn't that just sound like a regular person's vacation? Yeah, it does. Oh well. Probably, the job was not for me. Been rejected a thousand times, but it still sucks.

In the meantime, I have had 11 students call me for lessons from one high school, and sent messages to 4 other high schools yesterday ( a mix of phone & email) so I guess we'll see if I can bump that up to 20!

Laundry, clean the baby's room, practice, work out. Basic goals. One day at a time.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Nice Work if You Can Get It

Ahhhh, what day is today?

I sat at dinner with hubby tonight, worrying about when my happiness will end. Yes, it's insane. But the truth is, I am so happy right now, I look forward to getting up. And I can't say I feel a sense of "direction" the way I normally like to. I can't say I know what's coming next....or what I'm gonna be when I grow up, or any of those things I'd like to say. But I get up each day, and I love the people I'm with. I love the temperature outside, and the beautiful things growing, and I'm not worried about financial ruin. I am singing. The house is relatively clean.

I have run out of time to do some things, so I need to cut out a few things tomorrow--to somehow manage putting away clean laundry, singing and exercising. But otherwise, it does feel amazing.

I find I want to fight daily battles. I want to be angry at people who belittle God. I want to fight big wars, somehow avoiding wanting to be self-righteous. My husband, who never shares these feelings, won't buy Yoplait yogurt because the commercials always portray dorky men married to mean women, and that this is supposed to be funny, rather than offensive. His battles are always odd to me.

I am struggling today with how to encourage hubby to do healthy stuff without pushing him. At the end of the day, I know that his making better choices (i,e., less red meat and more exercise) means more time with him on earth. But I also know that you can't really make anyone live the way you want them too....*sigh* probably a good lesson ahead of time with the baby.

In addition, I still have my own disease. I still ate too much dinner. I am only managing losing 2 pounds a month. It's not exactly mission accomplished. I still hate pictures of myself.

I often think of our marriage counselling. We had to write down and then say to each other, "I wish you...." and then something. I immediately thought of all the ways I wanted him to communicate with me. I wished he would listen better, I wish he would tell me what he felt more, I wish he would compliment me... and he spoke first. "I wish you would realize your weight is not who you are. You are much more than that." And it still makes me cry a little--seeing how much that intensity had affected him too.

I am so blessed today. Just a little scared that good stuff doesn't last forever.

Just a little.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

What Day is It?

Mother's Day?

It is still so strange to think that word applies to me, and not just my mother. I am not a babysitter, oddly, the baby is actually mine. And I will actually make decisions soon. Decisions? Like where to send her to school and whether she can have sleepovers, or a snack.

I read someone's beautiful letter to her daughter today...short...but something about loving her before she was even conceived, and then before she was born. But Baby S was my big surprise. Sorry, I should say she is my big surprise. She is my surprise every day. Motherhood is this odd journey of not changing who you are, but changing all of your plans. Isn't that strange? It's this experience where you know that people actually see you differently before you see yourself differently. And in the meantime, there's this person, only a small percentage of you, who sees you as the most important person in their life. They choose to love you every day, even though they have no choice!

I met Baby S at her birth. Until then I imagined only silly things, footie pajamas, sleepless nights I couldn't understand, never a real baby. Once the real baby came, she had her own plans and feelings and expressions. She has her dad's chin. She has my eyebrows, quizzical, questioning, concerned. I feel like she's an amazing gift all the time. I look at her and I feel myself expanding. Somehow, I am pre-programmed to feel fuzzy inside when I watch a pair of chubby legs crawl across the floor. And she is pre-programmed to prefer sleeping on me than in her own bed. It's a strange, sacred experience. I want to share her with everyone, but I also lose track of days going by because I love spending them with her. Unfortunately, all I want to see is that girl feel ridiculously happy.

It's also having a day where you can say to your husband, "hey, I want to watch Lifetime TV and cook vegetables, and eat dark chocolate, and this is my day." That's the easy part.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


Wow, time flies when you're busy.

I am working at the census at least 4 hours a day, started 6 new students this week, scheduled 3 more, and got YET another call today! Times are a-crazy!

I am trying to practice and exercise in between (emphasize on trying). I usually manage to get one of those two done every day. Today I have not gotten either done.

I leave tomorrow for 98 degree Phoenix. Time for sunscreen for me and baby "Whitey". But it should also be nice to hand the baby to mom while I practice and possibly exercise--eat healthy food (though I plan on at least 2 servings of frozen yogurt in that weather) and watch my sister get the applause she deserves, having finished a business degree while working full time and mothering three children. I wish I could hand her some expensive gift, but at least I can do something a little labor-intensive, and fly across the country for her. I'm hoping the gesture says more.

I'm a bit worried about Baby S. She did really well at 5 months when we flew last...but now we're looking at 8 months and she is a baby on the go! She will NOT want to sit in that seat, much less not scream, laugh or make her signature monster noises for over 3 hours. I may not get off the plane with any friends.

I am trying to pump extra breast milk for the trip, as last time we were stuck, standing up, in a boarding hallway, when I was carrying two bags and a baby and could not POSSIBLY nurse her, when she realized she was famished. Babies have a sense of bad timing. If it weren't so hard, it would be impressive.

The wind is whipping the door so hard I keep thinking we've got a band of marauders trying to get in. It's about 75 degrees outside, and the sun is bright. It feels like a beautiful time to be alive. huh. Now I'm thinking about frozen yogurt.