10 December 2009

I love this!

I love this!

09 December 2009

Katisha's lament

One of my big moments from Monday evening's performance was of this aria from The Mikado. Singing it now is vastly different from singing it last year. The emotions in this aria are more real than acted...however, that being said, Katisha and I differ in one important thing: she has lost hope, and I still have Hope.

My heart is heavily laden today...someone I know suffered a tragic loss yesterday. I have not the liberty to share details on such a public forum as the internet, suffice to say that the below lament - unfortunately - applies perfectly to the situation. Prayers are needed.

Alone! and yet, alive.
Oh, sepulcher, my soul is still my body’s prisoner.
Remote the peace that death alone can give…
My doom to wait!
My punishment . . . to live.

Hearts do not break,
They sting and ache for old love’s sake,
But do not die.
Though with each breath, they long for death,
As witnesseth the living I.
The living I.

O living I,
Come tell me why when hope is gone,
Dost thou stay on?
Why linger here, where all is drear?

O living I,
Come tell me why when hope is gone,
Dost thou stay on?
May not a cheated maiden die?
May not a cheated maiden die?

08 December 2009

on a lighter note

Had one of my favorite gigs tonight - something that has turned into an annual event the past few years. I sing with one particular company quite a bit, and one of their major donors has taken to the habit of throwing a big party long about this time of year, and every year he's 'hired' full productions to be the featured entertainment. Sets, costumes, wigs, orchestra...even rents out a local theater. And then there's a big party afterward to which we are all invited. And it is great fun, because the atmosphere is festive, the audience happy, small and intimate, and just a good time guaranteed by our lovely host. This evening was no different. That, and - if you were to break down the hourly wage, it's the best paying gig of the season, too.

It's funny - these particular kinds of gigs - because I always feel a little like someone living in some kingdom somewhere...and then...it's like the King has summoned his Evening Entertainment. BRING ME THE ARTISTS! And, there we arrive, on the King's private stage. And he, along with the entire court, watches us. Sometimes the surreality of professional theater strikes me just *so*. It's very strange at times. But usually in a good way.

Our show went off without a hitch, minus the fact that is was FREEZING backstage. No heat, whatsoever, and oh yes it's about 39 degrees here in SF. brrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

Great show, great time getting all dolled up afterward, great trio playing at the reception, great cha-cha-cha-ing with my lovely friend F, and great wine. And schmoozing. And merry-making and feels like the holiday season has officially started now. I am so glad :)

Thank you Jesus for the cha-cha-cha! And a talented dance partner! That is a sure-fire happy time right there!

06 December 2009


This fall this has been more of a "doom and gloom" place for me to just get everything out that needs to be gotten out of my brain, more than any other type of thing. It's easy, because I can vomit out the words, watch them splat on my screen and then - kinda, anyway - get on with my tasks for the day or whathaveyou. So. More splatting.

When it rains, it pours. And I don't write this to get sympathy, but I write it because I need to get it out of my system. The day before Thanksgiving, a wonderful lady and friend from church passed away from cancer. She was older, but not old, and was an amazing prayer warrior. And I know she's much happier now, but it still hurts on this side of things. And I'm sad I could not go to her memorial service, because I was out of town and didn't know about it until the day of, and could not get off of work to go. I also found out this week that a dear friend and colleague is incurably ill (some form of cancer) and I can't say more about it here because of confidentiality things...but all to say that said person is way to young, and has a family and ... ugh. And then just today, I awaken to the news that ANOTHER friend - also young - and a music colleague is in the hospital for some unknown brain malfunctioning or something. I mean. Wow. I know God's not gonna let me flounder with more than I can handle (with His help), but...really....I am at my limit.

I am somewhat depressed. The shock of Katie's death has - mostly - worn off, and I know that that's why I am not myself, and that regular life feels so surreal to me. The depression, though, comes in waves and some days are great, and some are shitty. And it's weird because I can't control it. Yesterday was great. Celebrated AZ's birthday, had a good walk (minus stepping in dog poop), iced cupcakes, and spent a fantastic evening celebrating a loved friend - awesome. This morning? I couldn't get out of bed. I don't think I would have been able to move had a bomb been set off outside my window...I just could not make myself move. If I didn't have to be at rehearsal in an hour - I would stil be asleep, and could sleep through until tomorrow. As it was, getting out of bed at noon was almost an insurmountable task. ARGH. And yes, I feel like I am having more ups than downs compared to say...a month ago...but still...it's just weird. And I know I am not the only one who is experiencing this, and it's helpful to be able to talk to my peeps who are going through this with me - because they get it, and we can all lean on each other.

Even on the shitty days, though, God has proven to me that all is not drear - because there has been the most wonderful pattern of Him giving me an undoubtedly joyful ending to said days...one day, it was getting to rehearsal and only having to bang on cymbals really loudly; the other night, it was getting to be home and watching the Pixar short films which are soooo happy; or laughing so hard I cried with friends...so...I am very thankful for that.

So. I head into my marathon afternoon and evening of rehearsal today full of expectation of God's greatness to shine through to me today. Because only His light is capable of piercing through my fog right now, and that takes many different forms, and for that I am grateful.

02 December 2009

giving of thanks

Thanks - to all - for the words of encouragement, comments and phone calls alike over this past month. I am still here...just...haven't really felt like writing for a bit, because everytime I do, it all comes down to just memories of K (see? even this post does that!)

Anyway. I hope everyone had a nice Turkey Day. I had a lovely one - home with family and friends - and it was time well-spent in rest and surrounded with beloved folks.

I have much else going on in my life right now! December is usually very busy singing-wise, and this year proves no different. Apart from this Saturday - I won't have any days off for three weeks! So, off to bed for me.

I will say, however, that Obama's speech tonight made me run the gamut of emotions: proud, confident, heart-sick and curious. Overall, it was a good speech - he has a lot of balancing to do on this one - but I just hope and pray that we don't hit the 'too little, too late' wall on this one, though, with A-stan's history over the millenia, that might indeed be the case.
I'm personally highly invested in this so-called 'surge' supposed to be happening over the next 6 months, so I wait with baited breath to see who gets orders when.

God bless and protect the troops, that's all I have to say about it tonight...

08 November 2009

finding words

I have never been the best spoken-word communicator. I was always a shy kid, retreating to the piano or other creative endeavors to really give voice to what I was feeling or thinking.

It is the same now. I have a hard time actually putting into words - aloud - everything I am feeling and how I am handing life at the moment. Combine that with the fact that K seems to be on my mind constantly, and I just have a wonderfully inept lack of conversational skills at the moment. Writing things down is a little different...there is a delete key, and the freedom of time.

Once again I am so very thankful that at least in theater, people GIVE me lines to say, so I don't have to worry about it - ha! My inner introvert smiles. And, as far as the rest of my time goes during the day, I can play very well the part of "executive assistant extraordinaire."

Last evening I had one of those aforementioned inept moments. I went to see an orchestra concert at my alma mater here, and it was a celebration of Ernest Bloch's music. Mr. Bloch had been the first director of said institution of higher learning, and his grandson and great-grandson came to bestow some treasures for the library and students.

The program was stunning. Absolutely stunning and moving. It has been a long time since I was able to sit in the audience of a 'classical' music concert and just . . . listen. And be moved. And take in the whole experience without forcibly silencing that part of my brain which constantly analyzes and critiques 'classical' performances. The first part of the program, "Baal Shem" - violin and piano in three parts: Contrition, Improvisation, Rejoicing - brought me to tears. It was a beautiful piece of live creation...something very special.

Right before the second half began, I was speaking to one of my favorite former professors, and we were talking about what I had learned from my time there in Grad School, and so forth. I knew what I wanted to say, but I wasn't forming any cohesive thoughts and suddenly I burst out - totally a non sequitor - about Katie and then I apologized and said, "I can't find my words about anything these days." As the lights dimmed for the second half of the program, my sage professor grabbed my hand and said, "Then stop talking. And listen to the music."

And that's what I did.

Bloch's Sacred Service is subtitled: A Sabbath morning service according to the Union Prayer Book for Cantor, mixed chorus and full orchestra:
Silent Devotion
Returning the Scroll to the Ark
Vaanachnu [Adoration]

The entire experience of listening to Sacred Service was impressive, to say the least. The text (all Biblical) was a reminder to me that I am not alone and that God will hear my calls of grief and questioning and anything else that comes up. I know of all this - but to have a whole concertized reminder is really something else.

On that day will the Lord be One and His name One.
And now ere we part, let us call to mind
those who have finished their earthly course
and have been gathered to the eternal home.
Though vanished from bodily sight,
they have not ceased to be, and it is well with them;
they abide in the shadow of the Most High.
Let those who mourn for them be comforted;
let them submit their aching hearts to God,
for he is just and wise and merciful in all his doings,
though no man, no man, can comprehend his ways.
In the divine order of nature, both life and death,
joy and sorrow, serve beneficent ends,
and in the fullness of time we shall know why we are tried
and why our love brings us sorrow as well as happiness.
Wait patiently, all ye that mourn, and be ye of good courage,
for surely your longing souls shall be satisfied. -Vaanachnu

06 November 2009

I will admit that I have had two glasses of wine tonight prior to writing this.
I came in from rehearsal and - having spent the better part of my down time between work-allergy shots - rehearsal - in tears, I decided it was time to crack open a bottle of Katie's favorite Italian fizzy wine.

And crack it open I did.

However, having lost a bit of weight over the last 7 months (30 pounds and counting), I cannot hold my alcohol like I used too, and am now a little tipsy.
Oh well. Nor to worry - I have too much singing to do this month to abuse any alcohol. Tonight was extenuating circumstances: Katie's mom had asked for memories of Katie ... so, tonight, I wrote a reallllly long letter about her for her parents.

But earlier today...it was Fort Hood that sent me over the edge. I am already in a delicate balance of just making it through my day in one piece without bursting into tears...every unoccupied moment is consumed with memories of Katie and I am having a hard time breaking that cycle. Good for me, though, that I have my job, and three shows this fall to concentrate on. BUT Fort Hood. WHAT THE F*CK happened over there?? It just sent me into a tail-spin thinking of all the people I love and care about in the military, living and working on bases around the world and I just...it was the last straw on the camel's back of my holding-it-togetherness today.

In talking to a friend also realllllly affected by Katie's death....I admitted that I am not angry. I am not at that stage - I don't know if I ever will be. Mostly I still don't believe it. I saw her body laying there with my own eyes...saw the horrible color of lipstick they put on her (she would've complained) and yet? My mind DOES NOT GRASP the truth. And when it *starts* to grasp it - if I think about it too long - I burst into tears.
And then? The most irrational part of this... grief... is that I feel guilty!! Guilty that I was one of the last members of her "extended" family to see her alive, not her parents or sister. Also - stupidly enough, I feel guilty that we share a name - spelled differently - so that whenever I talk to her mom, she has to hear the same name. All of this is completely irrational and ridiculous, I KNOW...but it's still there, and I don't know what to do with it.

I ... I don't know. I don't know what to do. Counseling? More crying? Being really busy to the point that I just don't have time to think about anything (that'll work until Thanksgiving...we celebrated all major holidays together with our families)??? I am not sure yet. But it's always in these wee hours of the evening or morning that are the hardest.

(Lest I be all doom and gloom....there is still much to be thankful for:
Thankful for K's family and her two beautiful boys and wonderful husband.
Thankful for myself getting healthier.
Thankful for loved ones all over the world.
Thankful for being alive.)

05 November 2009


This is not good: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/us_fort_hood_shooting

Our soldiers do NOT need to be worrying about being shot on their own US bases.

FORT HOOD, Texas – The U.S. Army says 12 people have been killed and 31 wounded in a shooting rampage on the Fort Hood Army base in Texas. Lt. Gen Bob Cone said at a news conference that one shooter has been killed and two suspects were apprehended on Thursday. He says they are all U.S. soldiers.
The shooting began around 1:30 p.m. Cone says that all the casualties took place at the base's Soldier Readiness Center where soldiers who are about to be deployed or who are returning undergo medical screening.
He says the primary shooter used two handguns in the attack.

New(er) article from SFGATE: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2009/11/05/national/a124633S09.DTL

04 November 2009

Life vs. Art, part ...infinity

I am singing the below in public in 12 days. It's not easy to sing right now, but such is life. And art. And ... something about 'fake it till you make it' and 'the show must go on,' and hell, even method acting. Why not?
The past two weeks have been the absolute worst and hardest 14 days of my life-to-date. That is not to say that there have not been any roses among this thorn patch - there are several - but I feel as if the "He will not give you more than you can handle" promise from God has been liberally tested. This period has been more difficult than my mom's heart attack and more difficult than my father's heart valve surgery (don't get me started on *my* genetic pool)...and all I know is that I am still crying myself to sleep at night. And probably will continue to do so for a while.

But...the music plays on...maybe there is some catharsis in my near future (life) from this near future (art). God knows. Hopefully He'll let me in on it, too.


I dreamed a dream in time gone by
When hope was high and life worth living
I dreamed that love would never die
I dreamed that God would be forgiving.

Then I was young and unafraid
And dreams were made and used and wasted
There was no ransom to be paid
No song unsung, no wine untasted.

But the tigers come at night
With their voices soft as thunder
As their tear your hopes apart
As they turn your dream to shame.

He slept a summer by my side
He filled my days with endless wonder
He took my childhood in his stride
But he was gone when autumn came.

And still I dream he'll come to me
That we will live the years together
But there are dreams that cannot be
And there are storms we cannot weather.

I had a dream my life would be
So different from this hell I'm living
So different now from what it seems
Now life has killed the dream I dreamed.

28 October 2009


"Blustery with snow showers. Thunder possible. Temps nearly steady in the low to mid 30s. Winds N at 20 to 30 mph. 1 to 3 inches of snow expected."

Thunder and snow...rare but awesome combination.

That's the forecast for Colorado Springs later today, where Katie will be laid to rest at the Air Force Academy in a mere 12ish hours from now. It's completely appropriate...and she would either be laughing or so pissed off about it.
On her wedding day (also at the Academy) the rain and lighting got so bad that the Air Force closed the roads on base, thus preventing wedding guests from getting to the chapel on time. Guests could not leave their cars and head into the chapel, even, because of the wide-open expanse...aka lightning field...between the parking lot and chapel. I can't remember how long the delay was, but Katie wasn't happy about it.

Fitting that thunderous snow should accompany her exit...I think she would've enjoyed that.

**Update** Please pray for safe travel for everyone going down to the Springs...*this* is absolutely crazy...

Issued by The National Weather Service
Denver/Boulder, CO
8:39 pm MDT, Tue., Oct. 27, 2009






27 October 2009


I am not prepared for today.

There would be no way to prepare for today.

None of us are.

Some are anxious.
Some are angry.
Some are just plain sad.
Some of us are numb.

I think I have reached numb. Sad? yes. Last weekend and almost every night of last week were filled with gut-wrenching sobs. Since I've been back in Denver the last three days, I have barely cried, mostly...out of protection, I think. And the strange, irrational hope that all of this is a bad nightmare from which I will awake.

But it's not.

I've dug through the old photos. Seen the red-rimmed eyes. Held on to hugs much longer than normal.

But today? tonight? I still feel numb. If I didn't...I would be experiencing a pain probably akin to having one's heart drawn and quartered, and I am not ready to go back to that place right now.

Later today is the wake. I'm going. But I don't know if I'm going inside. We'll see when we get there.

21 October 2009


...for all of the well-wishes and prayers. I am hanging in there - sometimes it feels as if only by a thread. But God is good.

Please continue to pray for Jon, Clark & Quinn Kat. They've a long road ahead of them.

Funeral services are next week...K should be repatriated from Italy sometime over the weekend.

Trying to cross-plan housing, a wake, funeral, reception and everything between two countries and 3 states is crazy and exhausting.

I'm going to bed.

20 October 2009


"Emotional" doesn't quite cut it as a descriptor of my

More like...
Lengthy stretches of numb
punctuated by body-wracking sobs and

as the tears flow


As I remember
your goofy side
your love of Otter Pops
the way you beamed at your boys with such love

Oh, my dear sweet Katie.
Friends for life is not long enough
when one life gets cut short.

You are missed.
And your extended "family" will keep watch over all your boys.
(That's a Promise.)
What a blessing they are, especially little Quinn.

Love you.
(And get a pair of scissors from your grandma for me.)

16 October 2009

the unspeakable

A friend of mine died. Giving birth. My USAF friends in Italy....whom I will be forever grateful that I got to visit last month...the wife, a friend for my entire life...died. I can't even wrap my brain around it. heading to CO to be with family for a few days and will head back once they figure out the memorial service.

the newborn, baby boy, is strong and healthy. please pray for the dad, now a widower with two small children under the age of 2!

11 October 2009


The thing is . . .
*I'm* supposed to be the quiet one.
That is my accustomed role.

Shy around strangers - and especially handsome men.
I can't tell 'em, but I laugh at jokes - the worse, the better.
"Call me if you need ANYthing - even at 2am," is sincerely spoken.

"You're such a good listener," they say.
"I know I can trust you with anything."
"Thank you."

Tall shoulders to cry on.
An easy smile of encouragement.
Words to soothe.

I love my loved ones unwaveringly.
Loyalty is a virtue.
If troublesome, at times.

And then?

You've upset my . . . knowing how
to act. In any other situation with any other person, I would be the one too shy to venture the first sentence. With you I babble. As if some tricky imp has stolen my tongue and randomly strung words together in a mesh and tangle of verbs, nouns and antecedents. Oh, what fool this mortal be, eh old Puck?

It's nerves.
It's butterflies.
It's being shy around a handsome man, but with quite a different outcome.
It's . . . the recollection of the cold, wintry night when you first kissed me.
And I kissed back.

It's the paradoxical certainty of something which should be completely uncertain.
It's my utter lack-of-control over the situation, which serves as my reminder that I'm better because of it. Because God's in control.
God is in control.

You have the strong shoulders.
You have the easy smile of encouragement.
And - though given more to action - your voice still soothes.

The situation may not be ideal, may not make (logical) sense.
But if everything were logical in life, we'd all be bored.

And I would give anything to tell you this in person tonight.
But all I can do is send a prayer of protection, thanks and love your way.
And wish, hope, trust know that you do the same.

05 October 2009

I've a lot of stuff

on my mind. But I'm too tired to write at length about anything - it's time to go to bed.

In random order...wanna write about the following at some point this week:
-National Parks

woot. Hope ya'll all had a good weekend. I had a lovely one.
Here's a pic (Marin Headlands):

22 September 2009


Please continue to pray for the Sullivan family.
Sara Sullivan passed away earlier today, leaving behind her husband, F-16 pilot Brady, and 8-day-old daughter, Chloe.

I've posted a link to their blog, and I'm going to leave it up there. If you want to read an amazing testimony of Faith and Love and Hope in Christ, I recommend perusing through it. If 'religion' is not your thing, I recommend reading it as a story of a strong woman's battle with breast-cancer, a strong man and his love for his family, and the legacy of one tough little baby girl. Make sure you have a box of tissues with you when you do decide to read.

I had other things I wanted to write about tonight...but this family's story has sidelined me. And I don't even know them...they are close friends with one of my best friends.

Their family story is heartbreaking, humbling and inspiring...if only we could all live our lives in such a fashion as to touch the lives of hundreds of people...just through our own life story.

Be thankful, for you are blessed.

Quick request

I've added a photo and link to my sidebar (---->) which reads "Praying for Sara".

Long story short, Sara Sullivan is a new mom (her daughter is only a few weeks old) who has been battling cancer for the last year. This past week has found Sara suddenly in a coma with severe brain damange. The Sullivan family are dear USAF friends of the folks I was visiting in Italy last week, and we are all trying to get the word out and get folks praying.


20 September 2009

10 years later

So, I have been back from my vacation for almost a week now, and am feeling pretty much adjusted back to this time zone. Work was rough last week, but I've gotta say that...well, as little as I was looking forward to the end of vacation and getting back to the grind, it *is* said job which supports my travel bug. So...whattya gonna do?

10 years later. Returning to Paris for a good stay (~6 days) was incredible. So much of the city has changed (people wear jeans now, the Velib city bike share program, no-smoking inside restaurants), and yet...so much has not changed at all (Parisians are effortlessly put-together, the Metro smells the same, the bread...mmm).

Once again, turning to my old journal, I found a list I had composed on 12/2/1999, entitled, "Things I have learned about myself or life this semester." Looking at it, I can see in what ways I have changed, as well as what hasn't changed at all.
Here's the list - unedited as written - with my current sentiments following [in brackets].

1. I 'groan' a lot. [In reference to my propensity for non-verbal, yet out-loud, agreeing or disagreeing with people. As in: mmm-hmmm, mm, or heh. I still do it. My father does, too.]

2. I need God - He is constant [Still completely true. And I still need reminders of this sometimes.]

3. I am extremely independent [No newsflash there]

4. I love French - more than ever [Speaking French for a whole week was magical for me this vacation. I still love it and think it is a beautifully expressive language - even though my brain was fried at day's end...]

5. I can sing - but must practice [Still so true.]

6. I have an acute sense of smell [Ahhhh yes. Again, the smell of the Metro hasn't changed one bit.]

7. I take too many things in the USA for granted [I don't think I take too much here for granted anymore...I am very grateful for the blessings in my life. This was one of the lessons I took to heart 10 years ago.]

8. I want to get married eventually [Still true. Though watching Sibling plan a wedding? Elopement sounds better - but my mom would kill me hahahha].

9. I am way taller than your average European [Oh yeah.]

10. I miss my girlfriends [Had a really close-knit group of galpals in college and high school. I *still* miss them, given that most of us are now scattered across the globe. Thank goodness for Facebook! lol]

11. I really miss seeing my brother grow up [Ah...and I am immeasurably grateful for the time we spent living together here in SF. Truly special.]

12. I am very different from who I was in high school [hmm. I am different from who I was in college...but I think I'm getting closer to returning to who I was as a kid, in some ways.]

13. I don't like boring classes - I get lazy in them [Hitting the nail on the head. Still.]

14. I am turning into my parents [Scary, but yes. And hopefully more in the good ways, than in the ... not-so-good ways.]

15. I really like champagne [OH yeah!]

16. I miss smiling - a lot [Note: a female by herself navigating the streets of Paris, the metro, etc, does NOT smile at strangers. It's taken as an "invitation" to a very specific kind of ... ahem...male attention. Very unlike the streets of my college grounds of Dallas, where everyone was friendly.]

17. I am much 'better off' than a lot of my friends [I grew up in a comfortable household - my father is a physician and worked hard (still does!) for his family. This is something I have never taken for granted and any of my parents' support of me - materially speaking - and generosity in general has been both humbling and something I've tried to 'pay forward' in my own life.]

18. I am judgmental - [I have had - and probably still will have - my moments with this one. And while I have become much more open to some things in my "elder" years . . . in some ways, I have probably become more closed. I think both is a function of living in SF for 8+ years, now.]

19. I don't like couchettes (see #9) [Couchettes are the sleeping cars on overnight train-trips which feature 6 fold down bench-things for sleeping. Again, I'm taller than your average European - those benches are incredibly awkward for me.]

20. I am tolerant [Funny, after writing #18 up there. Again, yes, I am both tolerant and judgmental, depending on the subject, I guess. Aren't we all?]

21. I do get homesick a little [This is probably more true NOW than it was 10 years ago.]

22. I like the fact that I am keeping a journal [I like the fact that I am keeping a blog.]

23. I like tomatoes and mushrooms - but not headcheese [Before I lived in France, I hated BOTH tomatoes and mushrooms. I like them now. Headcheese is still disgusting.]

24. I need lots of sleep [I still do. And I still probably don't get enough.]

25. I hate commuting [ditto]

26. I am on display 24/7 [Interesting comment. I don't remember why I wrote that, but I guess something about how I present myself to the outside world. I don't really feel this way currently.]

27. I don't *have* to be addicted to email [Amen to that! Even though I am totally reliant upon email these days.]

28. It's not that gross to go for a week without shaving my legs [hahahahah. That is hilarious. I *had* been living in very hot, very fixy Dallas, so moving to cold Paris where showers where small and shaving difficult...this really was a revelation for me. I mean...if you're wearing long pants in the winter, and you don't have a boyfriend...anything goes! lol]

29. I enjoy having older (adult) friends [I have been this way since I was a kiddo]

30. I can read people well [I try to use my power for good.]

31. I need to learn more about politics and current events [I have become much better at this, these days.]

07 September 2009

Macarons, eclairs, et gougeres, oh my!

I learned how to make macarons today. And eclairs. And gougeres (savory little puff things). It was a very fun morning!! We were a small class of four students - all women, go figure - at Les Promenades Gourmandes, run by a lovely woman called Paule Caillat. However, as she is not a pasty chef, the patisserie course this morning was led by the wonderful Joel .... (can't remember his last name right now, will edit later!) It was great fun and I have the recipes for all of this stuff now . . . not sure if any would come out as good as it does here, but I'm all for giving it the college try.

I have another course there on Wednesday - this one a three-course meal, not pastry. Another girl from this morning's class (who has come to Paris to celebrate turning 30 and revisit some of her college days here - will be there, too.) So, that's fun!

Not to worry - I'm not at all spending my life writing at a computer whilst en France. I just got home and had a "jambon, crudite et fromage" sandwich...so delicious. And I have to take a 30 minute nap before I crash face first into this computer. I managed to stay awake until 9:30pm last night (after arriving yesterday morning), but have since been wide awake since 3:00 am.

Later this afternoon: Carrousel du Louvre for a little shopping followed by a tour of the Centre Pompidou. Or perhaps vice versa - I haven't decided just yet :)
Tomorrow is lunch with a college friend who now lives here...ah...the blessings of reconnecting with people through Facebook. Even if we haven't really talked for 10 years, we picked up on the phone right where we left off...gotta love that.

BON. Happy Labor Day, all! And it's nap time . . .

05 September 2009

curiouser and curiouser

....women wearing stilletto heels at the airport. The kind with lots
of straps and buckles, even. There is a time and place for sexy
shoes...walking through airports does *not* strike me as one of those
In other news, was all packed up by 9pm last night-a new record for me
(usually I am up until at least midnight before a trip). However, I
could hardly sleep last night, I was so excited! Whooo! Bring on the
first leg, sfo to detroit! Then detroit to cdg!

04 September 2009

You just can't make this up

It's been 10 years since I was a student in paris (during my junior year of college). I came across my old journal that I kept during that time, and boyyyy.... It is filled with some gems (mixed in with what now seems to be an obsession with writing about every single meal time!). So here, dear readers, are some of the best (thus far in my rereadings):
9/7/99: "Finally at 12- we decided to go home so we wouldn't miss the metro. Put on my 'metro face' and made it back by 12:30. Saw a hooker."
10/3/99: "We had a clear, cold day and it was beautiful! There were still lots of flowers- can't even describe them! Came back and went for aperitifs at the neighbors' new place. The crazy grandma told us how she suckled 2 kittens with her own milk! Ack."
10/9/99: "... We had champagne which was fab and foie gras--not so fab."
10/17/99: "Leave for thoronet abbey and see real live monks!!"
10/18/99: "... go back to Nice for dinner. See a hooker - ack!"
10/21/99: "Class etc ... Find out dad could've been shot by mental patient and my keys were sent home from north Carolina!"
10/30/99: "Up at 7:14. Talked to mom and dad before leaving."
11/27/99: "I accidentally dropped my discman and now it doesn't work!! And I bought earphones for it TODAY at fnac-ACK-I can't believe it."

ahhhh.....so funny to relive some of old memories. And realize that I ate a ton of Chinese food whilst in Paris. I guess it was cheap! Hahaha!

02 September 2009

Final countdown

I started thinking through my packing tonight, and hope to do the actual packing tomorrow. This saves me from staying up too late friday before my flight on saturday morning. Whohoo!

I'll be gone for 10 days to France and italy, and I am so looking forward to some r&r!!

28 August 2009

to paraphrase

1. My laptop is broken. Again. But I probably won't get it fixed until after my vacation.
2. Sibling officially moved to Philly about month ago, and is now an east-coaster. Without ESPN on 24/7, the house is much quieter. I miss him, though.
3. I played hookey with my boss a couple weeks ago. She has season tix to the SF Giants, and took me to see them play a day-game against the Dodgers. Great game!
4. Bagged my first peak a few weekends back. If 2,517 feet counts as a "peak," that is. Around here it does. Mission Peak is a short 3.2 miles each way, but steep and exposed. The view from the top? Gorgeous!
5. I leave for vacation in ... 8 days. Paris and Italy, here I come!
6. Church is at an interesting crossroads right now. Sadly - and still surreally - our pastor passed away almost two months ago, God is good and He loves us, but there are moments when this is still raw.
7. One of the benefits of aging is realizing that I don't have to apologize for who I am. I am who I am...even if that person changes (hopefully for the better).
8. I am the incredible shrinking woman. Hear me roar.
9. I am an observer. I enjoy watching people and listening to them speak without opening their mouths. Generally, this is a very good skill and has served me quite well. Specifically, it is harder to enjoy/utilize when communicating with someone else like this-especially over the phone.
10. I have not really sung (church doesn't count) since June, but I had a lesson this week. It went better than I thought it would.
11. I am worried about my mother...nothing new there, but it just seems to always be something.
12. I love taking Arabic but I cannot take it this coming term because I will be missing half the classes due to travel conflicts.
13. The state of CA is having a garage sale in Sacramento. Yup. A garage sale. Because that is going to bail us out of our ridiculous debt. *eyeroll* Perhaps it’s time to think about voting oneself off of this West Coast Island, and head for higher ground.
14. The Bay Area is beautiful – and by not having been in a show this summer, I’ve had time to explore the easily-accessible nature just outside the city limits. Still haven’t made it to Yosemite, yet. But that is on my list!!
15. I am blessed with many loved and be-loved ones.
16. Dark chocolate. Need I say more?
17. According to a certain SPC, the Army would be much better off if the “kids today” enlisting understood – or even knew about – the comedy of Monty Python. I would have to agree; the world at large could use a dose of humo[u]r.
18. Same goes for understanding/being aware of the Cold War.
19. I’m a lumberjack and I’m okay.
20. Next Friday: chicken and waffles office lunchtime run!

14 August 2009

Le (pauvre) Petit Prince

Once again, the genii over at XKCD have made me snort out loud laughing. At work.

31 July 2009

Friday Five - Child's Play

From RevGals: Maybe you are better at it than me, but my first-born, responsible demeanor rarely lets up enough for me to do frivolous silly things – like playing on playgrounds – without a good reason. My friend will stand up in a crowded restaurant and serenade me with an operatic rendition of Happy Birthday. My sister is very good at grabbing the joy in the moment. I seem to need a child to bring it out in me and even then… it takes a lot.

Today’s Friday Five celebrates the spontaneous child in all of us…or at least the one that we admire in someone else.

1) On a scale of 1-5, with "5" being I can’t do this now I am about to jump into a pit of plastic balls at the mini-mall, and "1" being I can’t do this now until I can get all of the fonts on my blog to match – where are you? Today? I am about at a "2" right now - ready to be out from behind my desk at work and go outside to play!! But maybe a nap, first. That might push me to a "1" right there!.

2) What is the silliest/most childlike thing you have done as an adult? Ummmm how about the most recent? That would be dressing up as a Jedi for my 30th birthday party.

3) Any regrets? I kinda wish I had learned to ski when most of my other friends did, aka, as soon as they could walk. By the time I learned, I was too chicken (and still am) to fling myself down a mountain at breakneck speed. That, and my knees are not so great.

4) What is the silliest thing you have ever seen another adult do on purpose? Ooooh. That is a good question. I see a lot of my adult friends do silly things all the time!See: Professional Actors/Performers hahahahah!

5) What is something you wish you did when you had the chance? Similar to question 3, isn't this? Hmmmm, I wish I had broken my own rules and had a little wine to drink when I lived in France during college. I was of age there - but not yet 21. My host family thought I was CRAZY hahahahah.

BONUS: For our ‘I told you so’ sides – what thing did you skip doing and you’re really glad you did?! The only things which spring to mind in this category all seem to relate to putting together furniture ("you should have read the instructions") and driving ("you should have asked for directions"), all instances of which seem to apply to Sibling, for one. HAHAHHA :)

24 July 2009

Been hanging out in Mos Eisley

(Jen - this post is just for you, my dear, since I've been absent of late...)

I am still here! Haven't fallen off the planet *just* yet. But it has been a busy summer thus far. Kind of. I've been back and forth to CO twice to visit family and friends and then promptly got really ill with bronchitis. I've still got some residual asthma problems, but went to the doc again yesterday and got a different kind of asthma medicine, so hopefully that will do the trick! Yay!!

I celebrated my 30th birthday with friends this week by throwing a STAR WARS party. It was, in fact, all of my nerdy Star Wars dreams come true. I rented a screening room and showed the original 1977 version of Episode IV: A New Hope (read: not remastered and no additional scenes), AND had an R2D2 birthday cake (see below). (Courtesy of Debbie Does Cakes here in the city.) And AZ managed to get her hands on a copy of quite possibly the coolest DVD ever: The Secret Life of Artoo. I plan on watching it this weekend!

The best part, though, was getting a bunch of my different friends together from lots of different circles and just having a good time. Truly, I am blessed.

Hope you are all having a great week!

17 July 2009

Friday Five - Games

So this Friday Five is about games, so play on ahead. . . .

1. Childhood games? We always played dominoes with our grandma and great-grandma growing up. And card games like go-fish, gin and poker (with beans for the ante!). Board games the most popular as kids around our house were: Monopoly, Sorry, Clue, CandyLand, Battleship, The Game of Life, Pictionary, Scrabble, checkers and Connect-Four.

2. Favorite and/or most hated board games? I LOVED Clue, pictionary, and monopoly. Most hated was probably ... I don't know...parchesi? Was that a board game?

3. Card games? Go Fish, Old Maid, Gin and Poker (5 card draw)

4. Travel/car games? License plate bingo - try to find all the states' plates; The Sign Game (Call out letters in ABC order until you get through the entire Alphabet...first one done wins, ie "A" in Avenue, "B" in Burger King, etc. No repeats or sharing of signs.); I spy; Radio (basically name-that-tune or band, whilst flippling through stations).

5. Adult pastimes that are not video games? Any board games, volleyball, croquet, cards/dominoes, sit around and tell stories from "back when I was your age", hiking, walking, fishing, make a home movie, boating, frisbee.

10 July 2009


tomorrow i turn 30...looking forward to that. It's been a very
emotional few weeks of lots of ups and downs...about which i have not
the space (writing on my phone) nor energy to get into right now.
But...30. Yeah....bring it on, world!

26 June 2009

Friday Five - Pop Music

1) What sort of music did you listen to as a child - this would likely have been determined or influenced by your parents? Or perhaps your family wasn't musical...was the news the background? the radio? Singing around the piano? I listed to a mix of stuff: country music (from my mom); classic rock (from my dad); big band & oldies (from my grandma); classical music all on my own. And then my cousin introduced me to Aerosmith, INXS, Edie Brickell and Spinal Tap via his awesome mix tapes.

2) Going ahead to teenage years, is there a song that says "high school" (or whatever it might've been called where you lived) to you? Not a song, but two bands: Simon & Garfunkle; U2. And jazz...I discovered vocal and latin jazz in high school: opened my ears and changed my life.

3) What is your favorite music for a lift on a down day? Not that it's a lift, but the blues is what I like to listen to on a down day. Or Rammstein.

4) Who is your favorite performer of all time? THAT is an impossible question. I'll cop out and say watching Sibling perform karaoke is my favorite. Because it's totally true - he rocks it!

5) What is your favorite style of music for worship? I love - and miss - singing old hymns. I grew up with them, and we just don't sing them much anymore.

19 June 2009

Friday Five: Life is a Verb

(FYI - if you ever feel like playing along with the Friday Fiver, I generally get the topics from RevGals.)

The author of Life is a Verb, Patti Digh, worked her book around these topics concerning life as a verb:

Say yes.
Be generous.
Speak up.
Love more.
Trust yourself.
Slow down.

1. What awakens you to the present moment? Sensory experiences: music, taste, sunshine, wind, touch, scents.

2. What are 5 things you see out your window right now? Alcatraz, The Bay Bridge, a Port Authority Flag blowing in the wind, B - our local panhandler, and lots of traffic.

3. Which verbs describe your experience of God? Brick-batting (sometimes); whisper; gnaw; soothe

4. From the book on p. 197: Who were you when you were 13? Where did that kid go? Let's see...that would put me in *cringe* about 8th grade. Good times, right there. I was sweet, shy, bespectacled, poofy-haired, slightly awkward, trombone-playing, goody-two-shoes, braces-wearing, silly, uncomfortable-in-my-own skin kinda girl. As far as where that kid went? Elements of her still exist inside of me, but I'm definitely more comfortable overall with who am I than I was at that age. Thank goodness.

5. From the book on p. 88: If your work were the answer to a question, what would the question be? I have two types of work, I guess.
Question: Dayjob?
Answer: Pays the bills, provides health insurance, funds my travel habit, and gives me freedom to figure out who the heck I am and WTH I'm doing.
Question: Professional musician?
Answer: Yes, people pay me to sing, act and do all sorts of crazy things onstage that I would most likely never do in real life. It's almost like getting paid to go to therapy sometimes in that it gives me freedom to explore who I am and figure out WTH I'm doing. See? That ties in nicely with job #1.

Bonus idea for you here or on your own--from the book on p. 149:"Go outside. Walk slowly forward. Open your hand and let something fall into it from the sky. It might be an idea, it might be an object. Name it. Set it aside. Walk forward. Open your hand and let something fall into it from the sky. Name it. Set it aside. Repeat. . . ."

16 June 2009

interesting times

There is a lot going on around the other side of the world.

Prayers going out to my Persian friends . . . 'tis a trying time (understatement).

14 June 2009


I am grouchy this week. And no, I can't blame it on pms.

I think I know it's a combination of many things which can all be boiled down to one word: Change. And plenty of it this summer. I - though somewhat of a creature of habit - enjoy adventures and traveling and new experiences, but I don't necessarily like change in various forms. It's painful. It's complicated. Even if it *is* for the better.

I'm turning 30 in just under a month (7/11 for anyone keeping track). On many fronts, I am quite excited about entering this new decade. I'm more comfortable with myself than I was at 20, I am taking the time to get healthier for myself, and I enjoy having the freedom to do certain things because I am an adult and I can. It's nice. However, I think the thing that gives me pause is when I start to dwell too much on the "what-if's" in life. Those always seem to crop-up near landmark birthdays, don't they? I try not to let them get to me, but sometimes they creep in.

Other changes . . . my younger brother, with whom I've gladly shared a house for the past 3.5 years, is moving to the East Coast this summer. Words cannot begin to express the joy it has been to live with him and get to know him as a grown-up, instead of just the tow-headed little boy from childhood memories and photos. We are close, and I consider myself extremely blessed in that regard. An added bonus has been becoming great friends with his fiancee, who lived with us for 2 of those years, before moving out to the East Coast for school (hence the brother's move). It is a change for him, as he starts this chapter of living with his life-mate all on their own, and I am thrilled for him. But, admittedly, I - selfishly - am mourning the end of this particular time period we've shared.

And more change...maybe...on certain horizons about which I cannot blog. I don't know. There are just some situations in life I can't control, no matter how much I'd like to do so - and it's hard for me to let go and "let God" as it were, even though I know it's much better in the long run when I do. It's just living in a prolonged state of unknowningness is...difficult.

I know this is just a season for me - lots of events converging - and I'm floundering a little. And I have a ton of extra time on my hands right now to ponder and sit because I am not involved in any theatrical productions this summer. Which is another story...mostly good, though.

This too shall pass.

You don't look at day over 200

Happy 234th birthday to the good ole US Army. Thanks for keeping us safe, ladies & gents!

12 June 2009

I want to be the "Yes" - not the "Yes, but . . ."

Friday Five - Grocery stores

1. Grocery shopping--love it or hate it? eh. It's okay.

2. Who is the primary food shopper in your household? Me. My brother does sometimes...but he doesn't cook.

3. Do you have a beloved store (like Trader Joe's) which is unique to your location or family? Trader Joe's! I also like Andronicos, but I don't get there very often.

4. How about a farmer's market, or CSA share, as we move into summer? Or do you grow your own fruits/veggies/herbs? I do enjoy farmers' markets, and I like walking down to the one near my office on Tuesday afternoons.

5. What's the favorite thing you buy at the grocery store? I probably by the most of soy milk and oatmeal (my breakfast staples). I don't know that that makes it my *favorite*, per se, but I do buy it frequently.

08 June 2009

Colber(t) in Iraq this week

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Exclusive - Where and When Is Stephen Going to the Persian Gulf - Iraq Announcement
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorKeyboard Cat

JROTC supporters say opponents are using the P.E. issue as a back-door effort to sabotage the program.

Uhhhhh...ya think?

The folks opposed to the (temporary?) reinstatement of the JROTC in seven SF schools are using the arguement that the JROTC program doesn't meet state PE requirements (~400 minutes per 10 days.)

As per the article, "Currently, high school P.E. classes spend far fewer than 400 minutes every two weeks in instruction or activity. At Galileo high school, for example, P.E. classes take up 430 minutes every two weeks, which includes about 20 minutes for changing clothes each day and whatever time is required to take roll or address other issues, school officials said."

I've never taken part in a JROTC program, but I don't think I'd be going out on much of a limb to say that the kids participating in such a program are getting their 400 minutes in, as opposed to those students JUST taking PE class.


05 June 2009

Incredibly talented duo . . . I knew them when . . .

I'm so proud of my fellow CCHS'ers (high school). Way to go, ladies!

Friday Five - Moving

1. A big move is looming - name one thing that you could not possibly part with: My teddy bear, Bobby. Alright, so, everyone ELSE tells me that Bobby is really a dog. But, whatever. It will always be my teddy bear, which has a music-box inside that plays "Frere Jacques," and wears one of my baby dresses. It's just one of those childhood things.

2. Name one thing that you would gladly leave behind: My current kitchen table/chairs. The table is heavy-as-hell black metal with an entirely glass top. Kinda pretty, but not my favorite. I would rather have a wooden table at some point - feels warmer, to me. More inviting. Less prone to shatter in an earthquake, too.

3. How do you prepare for a move:

a. practically? Getting rid of a bunch of stuff and boxing the rest. I practically didn't do anything for my last move (within the same city), because I was working 14 hours a day and extremely stressed. If it weren't for housemates (thanks, AZ) and family, I would not have made it.

b. spiritually/ emotionally? When I left Dallas after my senior year of college, I was a MESS. Cried for hours and hours - thought that I would never be happy again, because I was being parted from so many of my close friends. Heartwrenching. Ah...youth. And I was sad. But I got over it. And moved to SF and reconnected with old college friends, stayed in touch with my other people, and even - whoa! - made some new friends. I am grateful for my SF community; wouldn't be able to survive without it. That doesn't answer the question, except to say: I get by with a little help from my friends. And prayers.

4. What is the first thing you look for in a new place? It canNOT smell like cat pee. Or any other type of furry creature; needs to have hardwood flooring or tile; and NO MOLD IN THE BATHROOMS. I am allergic to all sorts of animals, dust and molds. So those things are pretty important. Location is important, too, but almost secondary to all of the above.

5. Do you settle in easily, or does it take time for you to find your feet in a new location? Gosh. It's been so long since I moved...I've lived in my current place for 6 years. I think I settle in pretty easily, though. I'm a homebody, but I love to travel and discover a new place. If that makes sense.

The bonus for today; a new opportunity has come up for you to spend 5 years in a new area, where would you go and why? Oooh. I would go to Colorado. I haven't lived there as an adult, and it would be a neat experience, I think. Or, you know...Europe. HAHAHAHAHA.

04 June 2009

Site to check out - lovely photo blog

No, not *my* photo blog, but the lovely Jesse, over at SkyBag.
Might I suggest clicking over to see the most pinchable cheeks ever, or perhaps some outdoor shots, or the ever classic black & white shots.

(And when you do stop by, be sure to wish Jesse a Happy 27th Birthday!)

01 June 2009


Sometimes I wonder if I am just absolutely (pardon the expression) bat-shit crazy.

And...I know I'm *not* "crazy" (I mean, I have my issues like anyone else, but the little men with straight jackets are not headed to my door as we speak.) But on occasion, I have moments where I feel like if anyone else were to be able to see things inside my head and experience my life like *I* do...they might think I was crazy. And then I sigh and say a prayer and try and get on with my life. Or something like that.

Anyone else ever feel that way?

29 May 2009

8 days a week

Whew...8 days since a post.

Here are my excuses:
1. Didn't take a computer with me to Monterey last weekend. Heavenly!
2. Haven't been home much to use the laptop.
3. Laptop power supply on the fritz. Again.
4. It's been an intense week.

Here's a Friday Five of favorite things about my past week:

1. Bike riding in Monterey
2. Seeing Raiders of the Lost Ark on the big screen. (For free!)
3. Started planning my 30th birthday party for this summer
4. Super duper emails from P
5. Karaoke with the old crew!

21 May 2009

holiday weekend

I'm so glad it's a holiday weekend. I was really hoping to travel back to CO this weekend, but due to varying circumstances, I'm not able to now. It's frustrating, because I'm going to miss seeing friends from out-of-town (and, out-of-the-country, in one case). Alas.

SO. I'm planning a mini-escape down the peninsula for myself. R&R!

Star Wars vs. Star Trek

I'm a huge Star Wars fan, and have been for a loooong time.
As far as Star Trek goes, I'd seen the tv shows, but never any of the films until this recent one (which I've seen twice, btw...it's thoroughly enjoyable).

ANYWAY. This video cracked me up. Brilliant!

19 May 2009

R.I.P. Pancho Pescado

I came home from a lovely dinner chez AZ this evening...to find my little Betta fish, Pancho Pescado, floating in his bowl. Alas and alack, he seemed okay this morning. I guess my jaunt out of town this past weekend did him in.

He was a great pet these past three years, and shall be missed! Swim free, my friend!

15 May 2009

Friday Five - Friends

As Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote: "The way to have a friend is to be a friend."

So today let's write about the different kinds of friends we have, like childhood friends, lost friends, tennis friends, work friends, and the list goes on. List 5 different types of friends you have had in your life and what they were/are like.

1. The Best Friend: There are many variations of a "Best Friend" (childhood best friend, current best friend, lifelong best friend...etc.), but they usually share the following traits: can make you laugh just by saying one word which refers to some crazy incident of years past; cry with you at life's worst imaginable moments; sit with you in the emergency room in the middle of the night; straight-up tell you what you *need* to hear - even if it's not what you *want* to hear; they can read you like a book (and vice versa).

2. The Artsy Friend: I wade through many different social circles - the arts constituting one of the bigger ones - and a great portion of my friends fall in various places along the Artsy Friend spectrum. (And I fall into this category for some friends.) The Artsy Friend: is unique and has a treasure trove of experiences solely as a result of them being "in the arts"; provides reasons to go out and 'get cultured' for their other friends; generally marches to the beat of their own drummer; has a penchant for scarves, bangles and/or other excessive accessories - depending on their particular art.

3. The Travel Buddy: Some friends make better travel buddies than others, and often, one finds this out AFTER the trip is said and done. A true Travel Buddy compliments your own travel style, as conflicting travel styles lead to clashes, hurt feelings and possibly even severed friendships. Good Travel Buddy qualities: flexibility, humor, curiosity and the same tolerance for togetherness/independence as yourself. Extra bonus points if they can read a map and/or speak other languages.

4. The Family Friend: I have some wonderful family friends - people who have known me my entire life and are some of my biggest cheerleaders. They are, for all intents and purposes, part of my extended family, and are often called "Aunt," or "Surrogate Mother," "brotha from anotha motha" etc.

5. The Friend-of-a-Friend Friend: These are the folks you run into at mutual friends' birthday parties every year, the annual alumni wine tasting event, or other such similar social gatherings. And then it happnes: you end up connecting over something random ("OMG - you're taking Arabic, too?") or run into each other at a party sans mutual friend ("I'm so glad to see you - I don't know anyone else here!"), and you become *actual* friends all on your own. And when that happens, it can be a lovely thing.

14 May 2009

If this doesn't make you smile...

...then you are most likely dead inside and should retreat to a cave in the wilderness. Or something.

11 May 2009

And in other news . . .

I've spent the better part of the last couple of years reading up on OIF/OEF, but have to admit that I did read and pay more attention to Iraq over that time and am just now getting back up to speed on Afghanistan.

Anyone out there want to comment on General McKiernan being replaced today?

Is it solely because of the events over this last week? Or something more cumulative? I'm curious.


This is heart-wrenching.

Rest In Peace, Soldiers.

10 May 2009

I wish I could get my pet fish to do this...

From the lovely Sky Bag, her best friend's brother's dog (I believe):

08 May 2009

New site to check out

From the founder of Iraq & Afghanistan Veterans of America (Paul Rieckhoff), a new organization for friends/family of aforementioned veterans: Support Your Vet.

And if you're the type to (only) get your news from Colbert, check out Colbert's interview with Reickhoff here:

07 May 2009

Friday Five - A Bug's Life

1. Ladybugs or ladybirds? Pillbugs or roly-polys? Jesus bugs or water skeeters? Any other interesting regional or familial name variations? Ladybugs, roly-polys...don't know what a Jesus bug is.

2. Stomp on spiders, carry them outside, or peacefully co-exist?Freak out and get someone else to take care of them.

3. Favorite insect?I like the aforementioned ladybugs. Supposed to be lucky (if you're into that kind of thing)!

4. Least favorite?Pretty much everything else. The higher the leg count, the higher my freak-out quotient.

5. Got any good bug stories to share? In kindergarten, I found a black widow in our basement. I even knew what it was because we had just learned about them at school. So, my mom put it in a jar, and I took it on the bus (ON THE BUS!) with me to class the next day to show off to everyone.

Bonus question: share a poem, song, quotation, etc. about insects.
I got to play a dragonfly in the opera "L'enfant et les sortileges" by Ravel. It was fun, but I don't remember the words at the moment.

insomniacical musings

I'm having an 'off' week, sleep-wise (hence the late - or early? - blog post).

Tonight, it's due to the hot cocoa which seemed like such a good idea. At 8:30pm. *headsmack*

I'll reflect on other stuff, like my random audition last night.

About a month ago, I had applied to get an audition time for a particular opera company out here. I never heard anything, and figured they didn't want to hear me. Fast-forward to Monday, and I got an email reminder "of open auditions tomorrow, be early for your assigned slot."

Uh, what?

After much furious emailing of auditions coordinator, I find out I was at the top of the wait list (who knew?) and he would sneak me in since he accidentally emailed me. Long story ... long ... I had an audition.

I haven't had to do a "real" opera audition in quite a while - 2007 and 2008 have been mostly consumed with G&S operetta and musical theater. The last full-blown opera I was in was early 2007, but that was its own special creature (Onegin - in Russian).

The operetta/musical theater auditions used to freak me out (they don't any longer) because I always have to read sides in addition to singing and/or dancing. And, previous to 2006, I had never had to read any dialogue before. I mean, words without music underscoring them?? I trained as an opera singer. HA. But, as with most things, practice makes perfect one less susceptible to nerves.

Opera auditions are another creature altogether? You have 3-4 minutes. There are no sides to read, no dances in which to cushion your overall worth as a singing actor. Nope. The auditioners start assessing you the moment you step foot in the door, and you either get in there and sing the hell outta those few minutes . . . or you don't. No pressure.

I was mostly prepared for this audition. "Mostly" because I would have spent more time over the weekend practicing had I known about said audition, rather than the NO time I spent practicing over the weekend. Oh well.

As far as how it went? I have no idea - I don't have any clue what happened, which is par for the course for me. I remember enough to know that it wasn't a horrible audition (believe me, *those* are memorable); but I think it must be the adrenaline kicking in fast and furious for such a short amount of time; it zaps the brain.

We'll see what happens. I would (yet again) get to play another old, crotchety Italian woman if they decide to cast me. Bene!

06 May 2009

I don't want to judge...

but, is it just me, or does laying off 17% of Oakland's police officers sound like a bad idea to anyone else?

04 May 2009

A study in contrasts

The following describes the scene downtown near the Powell Street Cable Car turnaround (read: heavy pedestrian traffic) Saturday afternoon.

He: Jeans, dark jacket, tennis shoes.

Them: Neon yellow jackets and caps.

He: Silent.

Them: Megaphones.

He: Looked at with curiosity by passers-by, with a handful of people stopping every now and then. Or just ignored.

Them: Looked at with venom and animosity - yelled at, spat at, argued with, cussed out.

He: One man, one sign.

Them: Three people, many signs . . . and did I mention the megaphone?

He: Can usually be found on this spot all weekend - if not everyday.

Them: Newcomers, or perhaps a one-day-only type of thing.

He: On the sign, "JESUS LOVES YOU"

Them: On their signs and in their speech, "JESUS HATES YOU" and "YOU'RE GOING TO HELL" and "THE CITY IS GOING TO BURN BECAUSE OF FAGS LIKE YOU"

To him I said: "Thank you, brother, for speaking the truth faithfully. I appreciate you and you got it right, man. Jesus loves, not hates."

To them I said: Nothing. My anger was such that I couldn't even speak and was on the verge of tears. Who are these people to come into this city and fuel the flames of hate? Almost all of SF embraces the thought that "Christians" are hate-filled, judgmental, uncaring and stupid. WAY TO REINFORCE THAT STEREOTYPE, neon-yell0w-jacket-wearers-of-hate. The minority Christian community here spends a hell of a lot of time fighting this uphill battle - the battle of proving to the city that we do NOT practice hate, nor do we hate the city and the people in it. Au contraire - Jesus preached LOVE. LOVE thy neighbor as thyself. The greatest gift...to lay down one's life for one's friends. For God so LOVED the [entire] WORLD, that He gave His only begotten Son . . .
I have lived here for 8 years, and I cannot tell you what a difficult battle it is to fight against those stereotypes of what a Christian is. Many times colleagues and friends will say to me - with honest shock - "Wait...you're a Christian? But you're so cool - and you don't hate me!"

NO, I don't hate you. I love you. I even love the people I bitch about - the Code Pinkers and the protesters blocking traffic (yet again) and the Muni drivers who cut me off. But I have NO tolerance for and I was full ofpassionate dislike hatred for the people wearing the yellow jackets with "Jesus hates you" written all over them. But what I hate even more is the fact that I couldn't get it under control enough to confront them on Saturday with a cool head.

Hooah, SF style

When it's not raining here, I enjoy talking a walk over my lunch break. My office is situated such that there are several different directions I can go and be sure to encounter at least one of the following: no stoplights (hence, no getting run over by cars running red lights); big hills; good people watching; gorgeous vistas; good coffee; and even all of the above in a couple cases.

Usually once a week, my wanderings take me to a certain green space near the SF Armed Forces Recruitment Center. I went by there today, and had the opportunity to talk with one of the Soldiers who worked there. Our paths crossed as he was on his way back to work, and I stopped to ask what it was like to work in SF (restraining myself enough to not ask if he got hazardous duty pay for being here.)

He was very friendly and - once realizing that I was not a Code Pink-er disguised in a red jacket - was happy to talk about his job and what it was like to be here. Though I'm not shocked, I'm still upset and disgusted that his answer to my question was what I suspected it might be: that yes, he (and his colleagues) do get harassed by the locals here; that random people would come up and cuss them out; etc. *Sigh*... this is such a beautiful city full of beautiful people capable of beautiful and wonderful things...and yet, at times, said beauty is but a thin veneer on smoldering ugliness and hatred. It makes me sad.

Anyway. We chatted for 15 minutes or so, and - even though I didn't outright ask him - he talked a little about his previous deployments and what they were like and what future deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan would look like for current active duty Soldiers - and he reassured me that they would not be 'so bad as I might think they are.' I don't care if that was the recruiter part of him talking or not - it was nice to hear.

I thanked him for his time and made sure that he knew (and to tell the other folks in the office) that at least THIS San Franciscan had nothing but respect and gratitude for them.

02 May 2009

open letter to the family behind me at the movie theater today

Dear Family:

A family outing - three generations bonding on a rainy Saturday afternoon. Sounds idyllic. Grandma, Grandpa, Dad and two kids - lovely.

Except for the fact that your brought two kids, approximately aged 7 and 3 to see...wait for it...Wolverine.


Yes, I was annoyed when the boy "accidentally" kicked the back of my seat. Repeatedly. But after I turned around and nicely asked him to please stop kicking my seat, the look of shock on his face on being called out was priceless. And, with each subsequent kick, I did relish hearing you admonish him each time, Grandma. Thanks.

The seat-kicking, however, did not compare to your three-year-old girl asking "Wha happen? Wha happen? Wha happen?" every time something scary, violent or loud occurred on screen. In other words...constantly. (Did you *see* the previews for this movie?)

Sure, PG-13 means parental guidance suggested for kids under 13. You wanna talk semantics? Well, then I suggest you leave the under-double-digit crowd at home next time, or take them to an age-appropriate movie. Hell, I saw E.T. in the theaters when I was 3, and it scarred me for life. And it's not even scary.


28 April 2009

shout-out to J down South

Hiiiiii!!! No. I'm not dead. I've just not posted in a while.
Here's a random list of thoughts running through my head, in random order (natch):

1. Is it time for vacation yet??
2. My parents were in town a week-and-a-half ago and I think we ate our way through SF. Wait. I *know* we did - but we had some spectacular food. Really, really wonderful restaurants.
3. I want to go hiking this weekend if the weather is nice.
4. I'm babysitting a 6-week old this coming Saturday morning for 2 hours in the morning while her parents make the drive to report for drill weekend. I'm the bridge between the gap of them leaving and the grandparents arriving. Wish me luck! I think it's early enough in the morning that she'll just sleep!
5. I've been busier than I thought I would now that I don't have any rehearsing going on. Perhaps I'm just trying to fill the time...?
6. Good coffee is sooooooo good. There is no excuse for drinking bad coffee.
7. I can't believe it is STILL snowing in CO. Wild.
8. There are many places I would like to visit this year - it's just a matter of fitting the puzzle pieces together correctly.
9. Sibling is the BEST. BROTHER. EVER. For reals, yo.
10. "tweet" makes me think of rockin' robin...not twitter.

Hope everyone out there in cyberland is doing well!

16 April 2009

If you've not already seen it

....go watch THIS now.

Susan Boyle is *quite* talented. The song was a perfect choice (art-life-art connection); once she starts singing her presence is powerful and well...she just has a great voice! And I think part of the craze over her is the fact that we're so used to mediocrity (in the singing world) that when a voice like Susan comes along ... it's truly astounding.

I'm glad there is finally SOMEONE being acclaimed for having a great voice and NOT for being younger/prettier/richer/famouser/than [insert teeny bopper here]. Take a look at musical theater and opera stars "of yesteryear:" they had seriously great voices, and very few would probably have been considered classically "beautiful." But what they may have lacked in looks, they made up for in spades with stage presence, the ability to transform themselves into whomever they needed to be, and just plain vocal chops.
[Note: having a dose of God-given talent is only a start.]
[Second note: okay, okay, Kristen Chenowith can legitimately sing AND she looks like a Barbie Doll.]
[Third note: Maria Callas is an exception/anomaly. BUT she sounded a HELL of a lot better when she was...less cosmetically appealing, shall we say...than later on in her career after she got super skinny and just sounded like hell. I mean - sure, her acting was unparalleled, but - for my money? It's called opera SINGING for a reason, people.]
[Fourth note: too much snark - sorry. I'm done. Go listen to the clip up there. And share in the goosebumpy feeling taking over the world!]

I'm happy for Susan! I hope all of the sudden hubbub doesn't stress her out too much! :)

15 April 2009

Probably applicable to the Marines over in Bezerkely, too...

During my lunchtime meanderings today, I passed by the SF Armed Forces Recruitment office (hard to believe - but there IS one here). It's tucked away down a quiet street on the outskirts of the Financial District. I had been past there several times over the years, but today was the first time I actually saw someone who worked there. A solider was outside - presumably on break - using the phone.

I was horribly tempted to ask if the recruiters working here were eligible for Hardship Duty Pay, due to the hostile nature of most of the natives [/sarcasm]...but, seeing as he was otherwise engaged, I minded my own business and continued on my walk.

NEXT time . . .

14 April 2009


Shiver me timbers, indeed!

Pirates have attacked 78 ships this year, hijacking 19 of them, and about 17 ships with more than 300 crew still remain in pirates' hands, according to Noel Choong, who heads the International Maritime Bureau's piracy reporting center in Kuala Lumpur.

Each boat carries the potential of a million-dollar ransom.

WTF? How does this happen? How do little boats of pirates hijack ships much larger than themselves and which carry substantially more people aboard? I think it probably has something to do with the pirates being armed and the hijacked ships NOT being armed. It's an oversimplification to say that allowing ships and crews to defend themselves with firepower would sufficiently deter pirate attacks, but it might be a start.

Though the thought might be a tad far-fetched, I don't think it's *completely* unfounded to say that I hope we don't find ourselves engaged in another sort of war abroad (or aboard, as it were) Overseas Contingency Operation, not with our military already stretched as thin as it is. And while I am fairly certain that B.H.O. would not be the one to throw down his glove, I can't say the same for the pirates or the French for that matter...but maybe their bark is worse than their bite.

In the meantime? Thank Goodness for the Navy SEALS!

Check out this AFP article. Excerpt below:
[Defense Secretary Robert M.] Gates, emphasizing the limitations of a purely military approach, said some have suggested bypassing the central government of Somalia and instead establishing relationships with officials of functioning local governments there.

“There is no purely military solution to it,” he said. “And as long as you’ve got this incredible number of poor people and the risks are relatively small, there’s really no way in my view to control it unless you get something on land that begins to change the equation for these kids.”

Gates noted the four pirates involved in kidnapping the Maersk-Alabama captain were 17 to 19 years old, and he cited the dangerous combination of untrained youth and arms.

“Untrained teenagers with heavy weapons,” he told the group of 30 students and faculty members at the Marine Corps War College. “Everybody in the room knows the consequences of that.”

Gates underscored that the piracy issue will likely be an important agenda item in coming weeks.

“All I can tell you is I am confident we will be spending a lot of time in the situation room over the next few weeks trying to figure out what in the world to do about this problem,” he said.

Perhaps I was mistaken on the glove. Maybe it won't be thrown down, but I have a feeling the gloves are at least coming off . . .

La condition humaine

Ce que je voudrais te dire c'est que
'Le coeur a ses raisons que la raison ne connaît point.'
Mais je ne trouve pas mes mots (même si Blaise les a déjà dit, il y avait une fois…)
Ce que je voudrais te dire c'est que
je pense à toi -
chaque jour,
chaque nuit,
chaque instant.
Je me te sens proche à moi.
Je me te sens dans mes rêves.
Loin des yeux, loin du coeur (comme on dit)?
Pas pour moi.
En fait, c’est le contraire:
quand on se rend aveugle, les autres sens se renforcent.
Je me sens tes lèvres sur les miens.
Ton souffle.
Ton coeur qui bat si rapide quand je reste ma tête sur ta poitrine.
Je sens ton peau. Tes cheveux. Tes bras.
Tes mains qui cherchent les miennes avec l’audacité d’un connaisseur.
Tes mains me manquent chaque moment.
Loin des yeux, loin du coeur...?
Tes yeux qui sont si loin sont lesquels je peux toujours lire.
Tes yeux qui ont la capacité de dire plus qu’un dictionnaire.
Tes yeux qui me laissent entre dans ton coeur,
et qui me rendent incapable à defendre mon propre coeur.
...ah...c'est une torture exquise...

Tout cela - et plus encore - c'est ce que je voudrais te dire.
Mais je ne trouve pas mes mots parce que tu n'es pas ici pour les entendre.

12 April 2009

Christ is risen...on "high"....

This year, I spent Good Friday with family (Sibling and S), two of Sibling's Frat brothers, and hundreds of my closest friends happily dancing, hotboxing, hippies. in other words, it was spent in a cloud of contact-high haze, courtesy of The Fillmore Auditorium and Yonder Mountain String Band (from my home state!) I suggested we go to the concert, since Sibling, S, and I are all fans of bluegrass and it had been far too long since I'd been to any concerts. Lemme tell ya, it was AWESOME. You have not *experienced* dexterity until you've witnessed the flying fingers of Jeff Austen on mandolin, Dave Johnston on banjo, Ben Kaufman on bass and Adam Aijala on guitar. (They had a special fiddler in with them, but I forget his name right now - he was great.)

But I digress.

I had also not experienced puffy clouds of marijuana the likes of which existed inside the auditorium that night. Ten minutes into the concert, I turned to Sibling and said "Dude. Talk about contact high." Three and a half hours later, I was like, "Why do I feel so light-headed, I haven't been drinking...but, BOY oh BOY, do I want pancakes!" I have been to a lot of concerts, but I have never been to one with so many bongs - at least, no *indoor* concerts with so many. Outdoor music festivals? Sure, prevalent. But inside the windowless, airless, loud, hot, square-shaped venue-seemingly-custom-built to keep the smoke in? Yeah. That was a first. Even Sibling had to concur on that one.

Easter itself today was wonderful (even if I did lose it during church) and spent with Sibling and AZ. We had a tasty brunch at 1300 Fillmore (Bellinis, shrimp & grits, and gospel music); enjoyed sunny weather; I had nice long phone calls with my parents and P; and all was capped off with a trip to see Fast and Furious. (Admittance: I irrationally love action movies. I can't put my finger on why...though it probably has something to do with all the testosterone. And Vin Diesel. But anyway. AZ does, too, which is one of the reasons we're friends. HAHA!) All-in-all a lovely, if non-traditional, celebratory day.

Italian pop, anyone?

For some reason, I am LOVING Lara Fabian right now - great songs and very powerful singing.

Holy Communion

I started cracking up during the communion prayer at church this morning because Sibling, sitting next to me, came *thisclose* to dropping his church bulletin on the floor. Which, out of the corner of my eye, looked as if he almost dropped his wine and wafer on the floor.

In my head, I was thinking: "OH MY (literally) GOD, DO NOT DROP JESUS ON THE FLOOR!!!"

Not so totally appropriate, but the combination of needing sleep and hilarious inner-monologue caused me to crack up, and suppress said laughter, thus shaking in my seat with tears (of laughter) rolling down my cheeks. (Which, of course made Sibling laugh, and even managed to crack up AZ a bit, too).

Happy Easter, all.

10 April 2009

Friday Five - Fork in the Road

For today's Friday Five, share with us five "fork-in-the-road" events, or persons, or choices. And how did life change after these forks in the road?

1. Losing my first major audition taught me that I can't and won't always get what I want. I was not accepted into a certain prestigious Children's Choir for which I had auditioned. But - in all honesty, and in retrospect - I think that that was harder on my mom than it was on me. But I learned a great deal about competition and what it meant to lose gracefully - especially when my brother was accepted to that same choir a few years later and spent years performing and touring with them.

2. Losing my first major High School audition taught me that there was more to "it" than just being talented - I had to put some effort, as well (a lesson frequently repeated since that time.) I auditioned for the 10-12th grade honors girls choir and didn't get in. I was devastated, because it lowered my chances of getting into Meistersingers - the honors 11th/12th grade mixed choir, which was a BIG deal. I learned though, and started taking voice lessons after that failed audition. The next year, I got into Meisters, which leads to . . .

3. Going out of state for college. I knew I wanted to get away from my home state of Colorado, and that I wanted to study music (thanks to much encouragement from my choral teacher in Meisters), but also wanted to study abroad in French. And, it was strange, I had had no desire to tour the undergrad school I ended up choosing. We randomly drove by it one day, after having visited Baylor, and stopped to tour the arts school. As soon as I stepped foot in the door, I knew that's where I was going to go for college. And I loved it.

4. Studying abroad in Paris was life-changing in the sense that everything was different: the culture; the language (even though I spoke French before I went); the transportation...everything. The only thing that remained a constant for me was God - He really used that time to teach me that He would have to be the rock upon which I built anything. For when the world swirls around in a foreign accent and smoke swirls, I had to have a solid place on which to stand.

5. Moving to San Francisco for grad school was an easy decision...as soon as I stepped foot in the school, I knew it was where I was going to be. However, my three years there were very difficult, and, though I wouldn't change my experiences, sometimes I can't believe I survived the amount of stress packed into those three years. Going to music school - even on the "friendly" West Coast - is very competitive, challenging personally and add in the midst of that the pressures to be perfect (from myself) whilst completely overhauling my vocal technique...I started having panic attacks, no wonder! But the silver lining is that I have the most amazing voice teacher and mentor from the school, and we're still working together all these years later.

(I see a theme ... music and travel...thus mirroring the narrow path I walk everyday, trying to decide which way to jump - more towards music? Or language? Or travel? Or both? But how...? There are so many more people and events in my life which have shaped me and changed me...but for now? These will do...)