1. Never turn your back on a (cannibalistic) arctic ground squirrel
2. Come to Alaska: land of depression and alcoholism
3. Four people died climbing Denali this year
4. "We've never lost a bus over Polychrome Pass before. Nope - we always find them at the bottom of the cliff . . . " (kidding, folks)
5. Alaskan goldrush "winter harvest" is: the collecting of frost-bitten limbs and digits.
31 August 2008
1. Never turn your back on a (cannibalistic) arctic ground squirrel
Posted by MezzoCO at 11:32 PM
30 August 2008
Today, we took a 13 hour (round-trip) bus ride up into Denali National Park. Private vehicles are only allowed about 15 miles up the Denali Park Road, so we had to go via school bus. (And by today, I really mean Tuesday, because that is when I'm writing all these posts and setting them to publish throughout the week! whoot).
Today. Was. Awesome. Denali Park is over 6 million acres, 1/5 of which is covered in glaciers (including Mt. Mckinley aka Denali mountain). The Park road only goes in 82 miles, and then it just stops. There are no other ways in or out. If you want to camp or hike out backcountry, you take a bus, they drop you off and you go anywhere you want. When you are finished, you have to make your way back to the main road and then wait for you bus to come get you.
Talk about hardcore. And absolutely gorgeous!!! I took a ton of pics and will put a few up when I get back. Wow.
Posted by MezzoCO at 11:26 PM
29 August 2008
28 August 2008
If you encounter a bear - do not turn and run, they will chase you down. You're supposed to make yourself big, wave your hands in the air and speak calmly. If the bear charges, hold your ground, as most of the time it will just be a fake out.
If you encounter a moose, on the other hand, turn and RUN.
The above is the helpful advice posted by the National Park service along the hiking trails. And no, we did not have to put it to use (yet).
Posted by MezzoCO at 8:59 AM
27 August 2008
SO, sitting here in Denali national park at our lodge...and my brother had to bring his laptop to finish up some work (boo on work), but that means I'm just throwing a quick post on the blog today.
We went hiking in the national park - a short hike, but it was beautiful - today and have enjoyed the sunshine and clear weather up here. We've seen the peak of Mt. McKinley twice - and, apparently it's only visible 20% of the time - so we consider ourselves among the lucky few. Woot!
Posted by MezzoCO at 8:57 PM
26 August 2008
(Stolen from Blackbird)
1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you have eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Optional extra: Post a comment here at Very Good Taste linking to your results.
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
6. Black pudding - does boudin noir count? If so, then yes.
7. Cheese fondue
10. Baba ghanoush
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese (never again, I might add...)
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
35. Root beer float
with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
47. Chicken tikka masala
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
60. Carob chips
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill (maybe...not knowingly, anyways...ha)
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
79. Lapsang souchong
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef
90. Criollo chocolate
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
25 August 2008
24 August 2008
Bernard Pivot's questionnaire
1. What is your favorite word? Love
2. What is your least favourite word? Goodbye
3. What inspires you creatively, spiritually or emotionally?
Music, relationships, God, natural wonders
4. What turns you off? Lying and manipulation
5. What sound or noise do you love? Music in minor keys; accents different than mine; that one "nee-ner nee-ner" sound in the Star Wars films after the words have scrolled down the screen.
6. What sound or noise do you hate? Squealing tires; excessive whining; strangers sucking face on an elevator.
7. What is your favourite swearword or curse? scheisse!
8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
Translator; Travel correspondent
9. What profession you would not like to do? Politico
10. If God exists, what would you like to hear him say to you after your death?
Welcome home, dear one. There are lots of folks here who’ve been waiting for you . . .
23 August 2008
Well, folks...I'm finally off on vacation today. We're taking a family road trip across Alaska!
Lots of wildlife + family fun = crazy stories to come, I'm sure.
In the meantime, I've set up some autoposts. (So you won't miss me *too* much...hahahaha).
22 August 2008
Five things to ponder about dates!
1) Datebooks--how do you keep track of your appointments? Electronically? On paper? Month at a glance? Week at a glance?
For work, I have to use outlook – and I keep track of three people’s appointments. For myself, I use pen and paper…if I don’t physically write it down, I’ll never remember. The last few years, I’ve used small book-like calendars, featuring a week-at-a-glance, and they have been in different languages from my travels (Italian, then German). 2008 was purchased stateside BUT has the pleasure of including several languages.
2) When was the last time you forgot an important date? I almost forgot my parents 40th anniversary yesterday. But remembered in time.
3) When was the last time you went OUT on a date? Oh goodness…less than a year, more than 6 months. I think.
4) Name one accessory or item of clothing you love even though it is dated.
Oh gosh. My kick-ass blue doc martin boots. I love them, and I’ve had them for over 10 years, but don’t wear them very often anymore.
5) Dates--the fruit--can't live with 'em? Or can't live without 'em? I can’t remember if I’ve ever eaten one before . . . but, I’d probably like them.
21 August 2008
. . . except for one thing: the name of the guerrillas involved. You can read the story here, but I'll fast forward to the funny part for you. The English name for the group involved in this (quite violent and sad) story is abbreviated as MILF. And I did not make up that acronym - it is taken directly from the BBC themselves.
Perhaps I'm feeling particularly sophmoric and/or snarky. But when I heard the story on NPR BBC news this morning...I started cracking up. Because really? In my pre-coffee stupor, the idea of MILF guerrillas was hilarious. I can always count on the BBC for a good laugh . . .
19 August 2008
SO, the same extremely wealthy man who hired our HMS Pinafore show for a command performance last December has hired our Mikado for a command performance this holiday season.
And - again - when I say "hire our show", I mean ENTIRE show: sets, costumes, orchestra, entire cast & chorus, etc. Though, this year, instead of performing for an audience of 10, this is supposedly going to be a fundraiser for the theater company. How AWESOME and crazy is that???
I can't imagine having that kind of disposable income . . . you know, tens of thousands of dollars to spare on private theatrical performances . . . but I suppose that if I did, I would do my part to support the arts, too. I'm not knocking it, no way. I am grateful for patrons like this!
18 August 2008
Seen: A prius driving around San Francisco with a "W" sticker on the bumper.
It's a highly unlikely combination in *this* part of the world. Perhaps the two cancel each other out, thus producing that elusive creature, the political centrist? hmmmm . . .
Posted by MezzoCO at 6:49 PM
Posted by MezzoCO at 12:33 AM
16 August 2008
15 August 2008
1. Smells, and memories. Do you have a scent that when you smell it, brings up a memory? Do share. Patchouli. It reminds me of summer youth camp in New Mexico.
2. Songs. Is there a particular song that brings back happy memories? Song title and memory, if you care to share that much. Glenn Miller's "In the mood" reminds me of being a little kid and dancing with my grandmother to her big band music blasting from the enormous record player in her living room.
3. How about a song that brings up painful memories? Song title and memory, if you care to share that much. Amazing Grace is forever etched in my soul as it was sung at my aforementioned grandmother's funeral.
4. Food. Is there a certain food that conjures up memories? Orange muffins and root-beer floats are some of my earliest taste memories . . . we used to have those at my great-grandmother's house!
5. Clothing? Do you have an item of clothing or if you see a certain item, does it make you think of a time/place or person? hmmmmm. Velour jogging suits will forever and always remind me of my father. Those are his outfits for leisure around the house.
14 August 2008
I love the zany that is XKCD.
The original caption for this comic reads:
"Okay everyone, cross yourselves, then cross the streams."
Posted by MezzoCO at 1:46 AM
13 August 2008
I inventoried our first-aid supplies at work today. We've been putting together our business continuity plan and working on our emergency preparedness for about the last 6 months.
Last time we inventoried our "earthquake supplies" was in 2005, when I first started working here. However, I didn't check our major first-aid supplies at that time. Well, since then we've moved and I have unearthed our kits. They are easily 20 years old, and most of the medication in them expired in 1995. Whoops.
So, I've been researching how to dispose of old hydrogen peroxide and betadine solutions. We have a few bottles, and it can't just be 'thrown out' so . . . good times. That, and we have a ton of old (and leaking) alkaline batteries which were in with those supplies. I should have worn my HazMat suit to work today!
11 August 2008
Me: "I can't wait to watch Michael Phelps swim tonight. NBC's going to broadcast it in an hour. I missed seeing his other swims this weekend."
Sibling: [grabs the remote, switches to ESPN]
ESPN: blah blah blah . . . Mark Sanchez' knee will be fine . . . blah blah blah . . . and in other news, Michael Phelps wins his 3rd Gold of this Olympic games.
Sibling: [sheepish look. Giggles.] "Oops. Must be one hour tape delay between ESPN & NBC. Well, now you don't have to wait to see who wins ....*chuckles*.... sorry....!"
Me: "Yeah, but . . . but . . . I wanted to *watch*.....*sigh*...."
Sibling: [flips channel back to NBC; walks off] "Okay. Goodnight. Have fun watching the swimming. Oh, and hey, at least you now have something to blog about today....ha ha ha ha!"
10 August 2008
I am numb. More like numb-ish. Numb because I'm having to guard myself from a huge emotional blow...and numb-ish because I know that it is impossible to shield myself from this one and I can already feel the cracks in my armor starting to give way, though they haven't fully broken just yet.
Even though I've not lived there since 1997, when I think of "home" I think of CO. Yes, I think of the physical place, of course, and the mountains and all, but even more so, "home" is represented by people for me. As the saying goes "home is where the heart is," and well, my heart belongs to a great many people back in CO, as do their hearts belong to me. A vast majority of these beloved folks are family friends from my church back there. All of us kids from those families grew up together, and I consider them among my best friends *still* to this day. That church family was instrumental in my upbringing. I learned how to sing there; my piano teacher was the church pianist; I was baptized there; hell, I even learned some not-so-churchy things there (spin-the-bottle, anyone?) NEEDLESS to say, that place and those people represent the "village" in my own personal "it takes a village to raise a child" story.
Well. It seems that that church - and a chunk of my heart - has just imploded upon itself. A possible church-merger went very, very wrong and many feelings have been hurt in the process. The merger itself was not the problem, but the execution of said idea was . . . less than ideal. I fear that, figuratively and literally, families might have been ripped asunder. And this grieves me beyond . . . beyond feeling. Beyond comprehension. This is why I am numb-ish. This is why the tears start to flow and then stop short. This is why I feel like something elemental to me has been irreparably broken. And I don't know what's going to happen. I will probably never, ever be returning to that place again. I know for certain that my parents will not be returning - that's for sure. What I don't want to happen, and what will be very tricky to navigate, is for those ties -those mentors; friends; surrogate families; those people whom I love so dearly - to come unraveled. The ties which have been my . . . home . . . for as long as I can remember.
Everything will be fine with us kiddos. We are spread around the country - hell, around the globe - and have managed to keep up with each other and remain friends despite location, life situation, etc. And the rare happy holiday times when we are all back in CO at the same time have become precious jewels to which I look forward with much anticipation. But, really? I am as much friends with the parents of all of these beautfiul people and other adults in the church as I am friends with the people my age. Call me greedy, but I want those friendships to remain intact. And I will be praying that they do . . . but there will have to be much healing involved.
The damage is such that I can think of a few of the people who came and sat with me at the hospital while my dad underwent open heart surgery - just this last November - might now be sliced away from my parents', and thus, to an extent, my life. Not by my choice, but by the events that have transpired. They've effectively cut themselves out. And it makes me sick...just...SICK to think about.
I am angry. Angry that grown-up, adult people are acting like they are two years old, arguing over a toy truck. Angry that something that did not have to be handled so poorly WAS handled so poorly. And just ... unbelieving and hurt at the whole thing. I want to rip my hair out and shred my clothes and mourn in the Biblical sense.
I don't know. Some of this is just my first gut reactions and spilling of emotion onto the page. But some is not. I really won't know anything more until I go home and see the aftermath for myself, later this year. Right now, I get only a couple versions of what's happening. I just....I don't know. I just feel so ... disgusted. And sad. And broken. And I feel this not just for myself, but for everyone involved. It completely sucks.
09 August 2008
One of my oldest and dearest friends J just had her second baby last night...welcome to the world Baby Carter!!!!!! I can't wait to meet you over Christmas time!
Also: my coworker had her son last weekend (welcome, Baby Kingston!) AND I just found out that my good friend from grad school Bettina is having a little Irish leprechan baby of her own next March!! YAY!
I love being an "auntie" to all these great kiddos!!!
08 August 2008
1. What is your sweetest summer memory from childhood? Did it involve watermelon or hand cranked ice cream? Or perhaps a teen summer romance. Which stands out for you? Most of my summer memories are linked to time spent in the mountains. Growing up, summer vacations were spent in the Rockies with family and friends: hiking, fishing, canoeing, boating . . . I have wonderful memories from there. In college, I spent a couple summers in the Blue Ridge mountains of North Carolina - the place where I've seen more shooting stars than one should be allowed to experience in a single lifetime. Truly magical and beautiful country out there.
2. Describe your all time favorite piece of summer clothing. The one thing you could put on in the summer that would seem to insure a cooler, more excellent day. My all time favorite piece of summer clothing now - for SF - is my brother's fleece (I've "borrowed" it) because most of the time the summers here are cool and foggy! However, there were SEVERAL summers growing up that my absolute fave piece of clothing was this awful tan canvas fishing hat (with or without a 'do-rag underneath). OH MAN! I loved that hat. It travelled with me everywhere there for a while.
3. What summer food fills your mouth with delight and whose flavor stays happily with you long after eaten? Strawberries! I love them. And cantaloupe.
4. Tell us about the summer vacation or holiday that holds your dearest memory. I have really fond memories from the summer I graduated from high school (1997). I had an *awesome* graduation party - truly, it was one of the best parties I've ever had the pleasure of attending. (And I do say "attending" because my mom put the whole thing together - she is where I get my love of throwing parties.) I had (still have) some incredibly talented friends whose combo played jazz for the night; a family friend did a bunch of gorgeous flower arrangements; and there were a ton of beloved people there to celebrate. That was also the summer I turned 18, which was a HUGE deal for me, because it meant I no longer had a strict curfew and could enjoy the remainder of my last real Colorado summer with all my friends.
5. Have you had any experience(s) this summer that has drawn you closer to God or perhaps shown you His wonder in a new way? I have had the opportunity to get to know some of my musical colleagues better and deepen existing friendships with them. I definitely count that as a way in which God shows himself - by showing me how to love people. Along those same lines . . . I have also had an extremely frustrating summer in regards to one particular person, and have been quite angry as a result of those frustrations. Only now am I getting through that anger, and I believe it's only because of God's grace and lots of prayer that this is happening. He's showing me how to humble myself and love that person - even though that is the last possible thing I've wanted to do (and have been putting it off!)
Bonus question: When it is really hot, humid and uncomfortable, what do you do to refresh and renew body and spirit? Shower, cold drink, and an ice pack (or a package of frozen peas) on the back of my neck.
Personally, I can think of few things more artistically satisfying (as an audience member) than a well-acted comedy by William Shakespeare. Such wit! Such joy! Such randy humor! In other words - something for everyone.
Tonight I had the most wonderful pleasure of going to see some friends perform in Benjamin Britten's operatic adaptation of "A Midsummer Night's Dream." This was a fantastic production on the whole. Rather than become bogged down with Shakespeare's difficult and at times archaic vocabulary, the actors (well, singers who had to act - and act they did) clearly had put in their time and knew exactly what they were "talking" about, and were thus able to clearly communicate to us their audience. And every bit of humor came across.
The scene-stealing stars of the show were Bottom & his merry band of common Athenian workers. Their scenes - especially in Act III - were some of the most well-executed bits of stage comedy I have seen anywhere on the local theater scene, and I'm not just talking opera productions. I have not laughed as hard at anything else in quite long time. Well-played, gentlemen!
It was a thoroughly enjoyable evening - and I am feeling delighted and inspired all because of it.
06 August 2008
You ask me "why," and "how can you be so sure," and I am slow to respond. Not because I’m hunting around in my head for a justifiable reason, but because I have too many reasons from which to choose. Where to even begin?
Shall I start with the big picture – the overall effect? How each time you are near, the involuntary butterflies commence their fluttering in the pit of my stomach? Their fluttering transforms into trembling throughout – from the tips of my fingers to the ends of my toes. And I stumble for words.
Or perhaps I should start with the small things. The hard-to-see-but-impossible-to-miss details (and we all know that the devil lies in the details.) The imperceptible-except-for-the-way-the-hairs-raise-on-the-back-of-my-neck movements when you stand next to me, slowly inching closer, until the book we’re both looking at has become merely a prop: a convenient excuse for standing closer than necessary to one another.
There are those accidental – yet on purpose – moments: I lean in to whisper a joke in your ear, and you lean in to laugh . . . and then neither one of us moves away. Frozen in place and scared to break that connection, yet terrified to complete it. Or what about when we’re sitting next to one another and our hands land in almost the exact same spot, mere millimeters apart? Those hands, which have yet to be so bold as to claim the other one as its own, remain suspended in action, waiting for the moment when they can freely express themselves.
And the looks! Don’t get me started on those hidden glances, stolen out from under a heavy-lidded gaze. When you think that I miss those glances because you think that I think that you’re solely focused on the task in front of you. But no, I still notice. Even if I were blind and couldn’t see them – I would still feel those eyes dart in my direction and . . . linger.
It is an exquisite torture.
05 August 2008
03 August 2008
Really interested? You can read all about it here.
The thing about getting reviewed is if you choose to believe the good reviews, well, you have to believe the bad ones, too. Right?
In other words, it's good to take any and all reviews with a grain of salt.
That being said, our show got a really nice review in one of the East Bay newspapers this weekend (including a mention of yours truly). I'm not gonna lie - it still is exciting to read good reviews. I generally take the bad ones as challenges to step up my performance. Hopefully, the word will spread and boost ticket sales for the remaining shows.
That is all.
02 August 2008
I've got a matinee performance today and one of my bosses is coming - which is nice. I'm grateful for that support. But it IS always funny when those two worlds of mine collide, because really? I'm animated (to some extent) at my "day job", but the theater just brings out an entirely different side.
Posted by MezzoCO at 1:49 AM
01 August 2008
1) How do you amuse yourself when road construction blocks your travel?
Listening to the radio. Or talking to my mom on the cellphone WITH my hands-free headset, of course.
2) Have you ever locked yourself out of your house? (And do you keep an extra key somewhere, just in case?) Ha ha. Oh yes. And now? Let's just say I now know how to break into my own house. It only took one time to learn this - and, also, now some folks have spare keys.
3) Have you ever cleared a hurdle? (And if you haven't flown over a material hurdle, feel free to take this one metaphorically.) Not literally. Metaphorically speaking, sure, many times. One that comes to mind is the hurdle of being shy. It's become much easier as I've aged; but as a kid? I was painfully shy - to the point that a lot of people thought I was stuck up because I wouldn't talk to them. But it was the opposite - I was too scared to strike up a conversation!
4) What's your approach to a mental block?
I've come to realize that in a lot of cases, my typical M.O. for dealing with mental blocks is to ignore them, go around the problem, and hope whatever it is goes away. This is not always the best approach (ha). I'm learning to deal with my blocks - be it through prayers; seeking out wise council from friends and family; or sometimes it just relaxing enough to think through whatever the block is.
5) Suggest a caption for the picture above; there will be a prize for the funniest answer! Do the Safety Dance!