Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The week is flying by - now that I'm (somewhat) back in the swing of things at school, the days pass much more quickly than when I was working. Suddenly, it's 5:00 and I have no idea where the day went! The wonderful part about being in school is that I never feel rushed; there is always plenty of time for errands and laundry and naps and practicing when I don't spend 8+ hours at an office each day. And my apartment is looking fantastic these days, especially since I got rid of my old gigantic Dell computer and.....drum roll new bedding! It's true, I finally went out and got a down comforter/duvet cover. Those of you who have made my acquaintance at one point or another during the past ten years have probably been privy to the brightly-colored reversible flowered/plaid comforter that covered my full size bed since I was thirteen. It held up quite well all those years, but it was time to upgrade. Here are some pics of the new digs:

It is SO luxurious, and it makes me want to stay in bed forever and take lots of naps. Nick likes it too, and the great thing is that it's big enough for a queen as well, so when we are able to upgrade to a bigger bed (hopefully in the near future - over twelve feet of person between the two of us does not fit AT ALL well into a full size bed) we can still have the comforter.

In other news, I was not cast in the fall or winter operas this year. In some ways, it makes me feel like a gigantic loser, but in other ways, it's just another bump in the road. The road to where, you ask? Well, I'm not quite sure yet. But this bump is teeny weeny compared to some other things I've been through in the past couple of years, so the disappointment should wear off quickly. I'm going to work really hard to prepare my audition for the spring opera, which is the opera I was most interested in this year anyway. I feel like I'm making tremendous progress with my new teacher, so I'm going to focus my energy on that. And not beating up on myself, which is a daily struggle.

Atleast I've got good bedding. And a sweet computer.

*If you look very closely at my desk, you can see my Richard Wagner action figure next to my computer. Nick got him for me at a comic book store. I like to keep him in a nice 'Heil Hitler' arm position.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

wedding woes

As I think I've mentioned before, there is going to be a big wedding in my family next June. My little sister by twenty-two months is getting married! It's very exciting - not only are family weddings pretty much the most fun event EVER, I'm gaining an awesome brother-in-law who is quite handy around the house (he just painted the entirety of the exterior of my parents' house BY HIMSELF) and an excellent cook. Many points in my book. I'll have to be on much better behavior at this wedding than I was at my cousin's wedding last June (I'm not sure I'm ever going to live that one down) since I'm the maid of honor.

Suffice it to say, the wedding is a big topic of conversation in our family these days. On the phone with my mother the other day, she told me she'd had her first nightmare about the wedding; it had something to do with my sister putting on a sweater vest over her dress and refusing to take it off for pictures. Last night, I had my first nightmare about the wedding. For some reason, I was riding in a boat to the wedding, and my mother was driving. Suddenly, I was thrown from the boat and completely drenched. That's really all I remember, that and frantically trying to get dry. I'm really not sure what all this means...any dream analysis experts out there?

Some people have asked me if I feel strange that my little sister is getting married before I do. Truthfully, it doesn't bother me in the slightest - in fact, I think I'm getting the better deal. Being the oldest child, I've always been the guinea pig. Everything always happened to me first, so naturally what I did or what rules my parents made for me set the precedent (to an extent - all y'all oldest children know how the youngest sibling always gets away with shit you never would have gotten away with). For the first time in my life, I'M NOT THE GUINEA PIG! When it comes time for me to get married, my mom will be an expert; she'll whip out her big "wedding binder" (yes, she has a wedding binder), and planning that puppy will be cake.

Lastly, I've heard through the grapevine (and that lovely thing they call a sitemeter) that I have international readership! Soooo, here's a bit SHOUT OUT to all my readers in Athens, Greece! Tomorrow prepare for my take on tonight's Desperate Houswives Season Three premiere.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Toi toi toi

Wish me audition for the fall and winter operas is thirty minutes. I've got a brand new, never performed aria on my list, so I'm a little nervous. I got an audition with Chicago Opera Theater today too! It's next week, which is a little too soon for my liking, but I'm not missing the opportunity. So here I am, back in the singer-world. More about that later.

Kisses and hugs! I'll let you know how it goes.

Monday, September 18, 2006

School Dayz

I've got to say's going to be tough for me to post when I'm not getting paid to sit in front of a computer and do nothing, hence, get paid to write on my blog. But I will not disappoint you, loyal readership! School starts tomorrow, and so today I "moved" back to Evanston, since a lot of my belongings had accumulated at Nick's over the summer. Evanston was alive once more, and there have been a lot of exciting new develpments, most importantly the appearance of a new Italian Coffee Bar right down the street that has, like, 24 flavors of gelato. Cha-ching! Although I am a city girl at heart, there are lots of good things about my apartment, such as hardwood floors, living across from the post office, a significantly easier parking situation, and my coffee pot. Class doesn't start until 10 am tomorrow, and I'm SO looking forward to getting up at 8:30, brewing some Folgers, and watching the morning shows while I get ready for class. It will feel like such a luxury after three months of schlepping my body to work early every morning and gulping down a latte to wake me up. I'm not the first to say it but...the real world SUCKS!

In an uncharateristically festive move, I attended the School of Music BBQ tonight (mostly for the free food, but under the guise of being social and mingling and all that crap). While last week I was feeling extremely apprehensive about returning to school, I'm becoming more and more excited about it. I went to Office Max and got a new tote for my new Macbook (loves it!), some pens and pencils. I organized my things and packed my bag and started to feel that "first day of school" excitement. I've always loved school - there's something about the fall that stirs it up in me and brings back memories of school supply shopping with my mom and siblings, getting excited about new teachers and new crayons, football games, gleefully moving back to DePauw after what felt like an interminable summer of being at home and away from friends and independence. School is different now; I feel less like a student and more like an adult. I have to pay bills and manage my little household and concentrate on the future. But still, it's nice to walk down the street, lined with trees whose leaves are beginning to change, and see kids with backpacks, coffee houses packed with young people working on laptops, feel that spirit of a new school year beginning in the air.

So, I'm going to enjoy it while it lasts. It won't be long before I'll be shoved back into the "real world", where 8:30 wake-up times are unheard of, free time is scarce, and most likely, I won't be surrounded every day by other people who love what they do. So here we go.....Masters degree, year two.

Friday, September 15, 2006


I'm running around like a madwoman today, trying to train the new temp they brought in while acting as the assistant to the (extremely needy) CEO, since his assistant is on vacation. We've already had two altercations, and he already hates me for the day. I made the grave mistake of asking him if he wanted to take his calls or if he wanted me to take them, to which he replied "I don't take my calls. Too many people call me." Mind you, the phone has rung about 3 times tops in the past two hours, and most of the time it wasn't even for him. Of course the one time it was for him I was away from the desk doing another chore, and he glared at me as I scurried back to the desk. I cannot and will never understand how people justify this sort of behavior - even if you are the CEO of a damn company and you have a golden stapler. Sheesh.

All this craziness will NOT keep me from blogging, however! My topic for this morning: household pets. In the households of Nick and Emily (we like to say we have two households: our suburban home-my studio apartment in Evanston-and our urban dwelling-his 1 bdrm in Lincoln Park) there is a standoff on the matter of household pets. Nick loves kitties, I'm deathly allergic. I'm a dog person, he's not so fond of them. Every time we pass the Paws adoption storefront near his apartment, he has to stop and ogle the kitties in the window. Once in elementary school I had a friend sleep over who had a cat at home, and the mere act of sleeping somewhat near her cat-hair infested pillow caused me to wake up unable to breathe and with my eyes swollen shut. Ask anyone who knows me and they can probably tell you in great detail about my various allergies. But I digress. Yesterday, while I was getting ready for work, Nick called out to me to come watch the TV. The feature story on Good Morning America was about a new Hypo-allergenic cat. They had a girl who was deathly allergic to cats holding the cat close to her face for an hour - no symptoms. Nick was very excited at the prospect of possibly getting to have a beloved kitty someday. He became less excited when he saw the price - with shipping, nearly 5K for the cat. FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS FOR A CAT. Does it live for 50 years? Does it shit gold coins? Will it clean my bathroom and make me a chicken dinner? For five grand, I'd hope so. Don't think we'll be getting one anytime soon (Emily breathes inaudible sigh of relief).

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Super Temp!

I finally got around to fixing/posting more Door County pics. Check 'em out!

It's my last week here in the office before school starts on Tuesday, and I've totally adopted the "it's not my problem" attitude. I realized that I'd actually started to care about this job on Monday when there was a mistake in the lunch I'd ordered for a meeting. I went all bat-shit crazy trying to correct it, and then I thought, "Whoa...when did I go from 'bored temp in a cubicle who is occasionally asked to type documents and make phone calls' to 'power temp who is in charge of ordering lunches and freaks out when they aren't right'?" It's actually kind of amazing the amount of responsibility these people have given me. I've had to select several menus for their National Convention in November (thank God I won't be around to hear about it if they suck), plan sight-seeing outings for spouses on a retreat, take dictation (does anybody do that anymore? maybe I should put it on my resume, because I'm awesome at it)...the list goes on and on. Truthfully, it's been a great learning experience; I've learned more at this job than all my other temp jobs combined.
Thankfully, next week I return to my real career! I am excited to start the school year, but also a bit anxious. I haven't been singing much at all this summer, so I fear that I'll be a bit rusty. But I have a new voice teacher, which I'm really excited about, and several interesting classes - and coaching with the one and only Sherrill Milnes. Ack! I'm hoping that a fresh start will make me more excited about singing and my career. I think it will. I was revising some of my resumes yesterday, and I realized - I've worked damn hard to get this far! It's not time to give up yet!
One tidbit of humor: Yesterday I had to send some emails from the President's office while he was away at a retreat. I kid you not, there is a golden stapler on his desk. I laughed so hard I cried. And then I sang "I've got a golden stapler" (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory tune) quietly to myself for the rest of the day.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Tune In

Richard Chamberlain is appearing on Nip/Tuck tonight. Mr. Chamberlain is, to this date, the only celebrity I've ever met.* In 2004, when Andrea and I were single ladies living like rock stars, I attended the opening of Scrooge The Musical starring Richard Chamberlain as Scrooge. Andrea was a swing in the touring Broadway production, so I got to be her plus-one to the opening night party. When Andrea introduced me, he hugged me and told me I was pretty! Richard Chamberlain! Aaaah! So I'm pretty excited to see him on TV tonight, not to mention that the show is ridiculous this season. Tune in, or Tivo it if you gots one of them fancy gadgets.

*Actually, I've also met Robert Altman, and actually worked under his direction, but that is a tale for another post.

das bier und die madchen

I'm just now getting around to posting about my weekend. Yesterday was nuts at the office, and I didn't get a chance to post my pics, and I really couldn't do my weekend justice without showing you all this:

Nick, his friend Alex, and I, hopped on the train and headed north to Lincoln Square, the city's German neighborhood and home to a rousing early Oktoberfest. It was PACKED with yuppies slugging back enormous beers from plastic souvenir steins and eating bratwurst, sauerkraut, und strudel. There was a polka band playing a very odd assorment of songs; at one point I think I heard them do "Achy Breaky Heart." Although that could have been my imagination because by the end of the night I looked like this:

Notice the girl in the backgroud looking at me like "what a crazy bitch." By this point, I had consumed about one and a half steins and was feeling pretty good. So naturally we decided we needed ice cream and went to the Cold Stone nearby. All in all, it was a good time - bier trinken in a festive environment, late night ice cream, and I got to have a little Deutsch conversation with an old man cooking bratwurst who pronounced "du sprichst gut Deustch" - Ausgeseichnet!

Saturday was gloomy, but we had committed to going to a housewarming/end of summer party for one of Nick's former assistants. Unfortunately, the party was in Joliet. Gross. It was also a Hawaiian themed party, so Nick had stopped by Goodwill and gotten us some shirts. Regrettably, I have no pictures, but I looked cute - my shirt was a bit big so I tied it up around my waist mid-riff style, wore some cute new beige pants, heels, and my authentic Hawaiian beaded lei from a Hawaiian girl who once played my daughter in an opera. Upon setting foot into the party, I realized I had made a grave mistake. The other party guests were mostly people with babies, and they were mostly wearing hooded sweatshirts, jeans, and those plastic leis from the party store. Oh well. I got my baby fix, since the host of the party had just given birth two months ago to an adorable baby boy, and I also got this cute little guy:

Nick and I stopped at Kohl's on the way to the party pick up a gift, and we saw these little adorable stuffed giraffes for $5. We got one for the baby, but...I needed one too. I just love giraffes!

Monday, September 11, 2006

thoughts on 9/11

As I sat on the bed this morning, my wet hair dripping onto my shirt, I became a bit transfixed on the 9/11 coverage. Everyone has a story; everyone will always remember where they were and what they were doing when they found out that the United States was being attacked. When I was a little girl, my grandmother told me she'd always remember exactly where she was and what she was doing when she found out President Kennedy had been shot. It never ceases to amaze me, how the brain works; how certain moments can be called up in a split second and vividly relived. As an adult, I possess many of these moments myself. The day my grandfather died, the day my serious boyfriend left me. I, too, recall 9/11/01, but not so vividly as other people and certainly not so clearly as I recall some other moments in my life. At the time, I didn't know many people living in New York; I was a sophomore in college in Indiana. I remember rolling out of my top bunk at Alpha Phi, stumbling toward the shower, but being stopped by a sobbing Andrea in the hallway. Nobody held class that day. We all just sat in the classrooms of the music building and watched the news, and people made phone calls and comforted each other. I remember one girl in my choir whose mother was killed; I didn't know her well, but I can still remember our director telling us that the girl had gone home, that they still didn't know if her mother was alive or not.
I guess I was surprised at my reaction to the coverage this morning. I tuned in just in time for the moment of silence, and I said a few prayers. I was moved by the tributes and the spouses reading the names of the victims. Although I've been troubled by the world's desire to turn the terrorist attacks into a profit just five short years later (re: Hollywood blockbusters, books, etc), the remembrances today were genuine, and I felt as though people were truly drawn together. No matter where we were, our individual stories of that day are not self-important or insignificant, they bring us together in a way that only a shared human experience can. And that shared human experience will hopefully ensure that nothing like this will ever happen again.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Three Cheers for Friday!

1. Three cheers for Northwestern insurance! who miraculously got their shit together overnight and got me my medicine this morning. I'd like to say it's because they function so well, but I suspect it's really because of the hint of insanity in my voice that the woman detected over the phone.

2. Three cheers for Dunkin Donuts! Much as i hate the fast food industry, I love me some Dunkin Donuts. Call me a hypocrite, go ahead. But for a mere $2.39 today, I got myself a honey bran muffin and a medium cup of delicious flavored coffee. The immigrant workers in the DD in my train station are cheery, and we always exchange pleasantries. The other day one of them complimented my dress. And it sure as hell beats Starbucks...their drip coffee tastes like filtered dog shit, and a tall latte alone costs me more than my entire breakfast at DD today.

3. Three cheers for the choir at Trinity UMC (the church from the Home alone movie)! I returned to my church job last night and felt all warm and gooey inside by the end of rehearsal. The people are just so darn nice, and now that I've been there almost a year, it feels like a little family. The rehearsal consisted of about 25 minutes of singing and an hour of chatting and eating cake and coffee. Gotta love getting paid to chat and eat cake.

Have a great weekend everybody!

Thursday, September 07, 2006


I am FURIOUS with Northwestern University right now, so I need to do a little bit of venting. One would think that such a prestigious university would have its shit together but alas, they do not. Not even CLOSE. Today's incident is merely another to add to the myriad of problems this University has caused me since I enrolled. I went down to Walgreens about an hour ago to pick up my prescription for the new Paxil "controlled release", which is supposed to remedy the sleep problems that I've been experiencing as a side effect of the regular Paxil. The woman told me that as of August 31, 2006, my insurance had been TERMINATED. TERMINATED. That insurance that I paid 2K for last year had been TERMINATED. Ok, I think you get the point. So, I stomp out of Walgreens and back up to the office (the Walgreens is literally on the ground floor of the office) and get on the phone with NU insurance. The woman calmly assures me that "this is a common problem for everyone right now" since things rolled over to the new school year as of September 1st. School doesn't start until September 19th, and apparently, until that time, my insurance is in some sort of state of limbo where they won't pay for anything. The woman said that the only solution is to pay for the medication out of my pocket and get reimbursed at a later date. This further ignited my fury, but as I have been dealing with these people for a year now, I know exactly the sort of tone and vocabulary and assertiveness needed to properly bitch out a Northwestern employee. I told her that this was unacceptable, that I cannot afford to pay for a prescription out of my pocket right now, and asked her what would happen if, say, someone had a life threatening emergency or condition during these precarious three weeks of non-coverage. I explained that, while my condition was not life-threatening and merely well-being threatening, this gap in service puts many people at great risk. I refused to accept this paying-out-of-pocket as an answer, and in return she received all of my bitching gracefully and promised a return call from the supervisor. (Which two hours later still hasn't arrived). I've got about 200 bucks in my bank account, two overdue cable bills, and a credit card bill that badly needs paid off--I really can't afford to charge a shitload of medicine at this point. And I need a good night's sleep so badly that I'm willing to go to great lengths to procure this medication.

After I got off the phone I had the following conversation with Mary in the cube next to me:

Mary: "Are you sure you don't want to work for us? We could really use your phone persuasion skills here."
Me: "Do you have good health benefits?"
Mary: "Yeah...geez, that was really impressive. I don't have the balls to talk like that to people on the phone."

I think she was referring to the part where I berated the woman about Northwestern having such poor administrative efficiency for being such a highly regarded institution. Highly regarded my ass. The school underwhelms me on a near-daily basis.

I'll briefly talk about the other crises I faced (so as not to bore you much more):

-being assigned, for some unknown reason, two student ID numbers, one with the correct SSN, one with the incorrect SSN, which resulted in having none of my loans disburse during Winter quarter and having to repeatedly make appointments with financial aid and get cash advances so that I could eat and pay my rent
-being denied free counseling because they were too "booked up" (presumably with all those affluent undergrads with "stressful" lives) although i must say that i love my shrink, even if i do have to pay $25 a session
-having continuous battles with health services. their rules and policies are really beyond me, and i can't even begin to understand them

Now, this is just a hypothesis, but based on what I've seen and heard at Northwestern, it is HIGHLY political. I know, I know, everywhere is highly political, but I've never seen anything quite like this. My educated guess is that most of the people working in administration are friends of friends of higher up people...and so on. Perhaps if they started hiring qualified people to run things, there would be less mishaps and the students, espcially the grads and doctorals who rely on the University for their livelihood, would be much happier people. I know I would.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Door County trip part the second

more sunset photos

Sunday we went to two of the state parks and did a bit of hiking.

And what vacation photo log would be complete without a montage of Emily eating photos? I've eaten my way through eleven countries and upwards of thirty states, and this trip was no exception:

Door County cherry waffles for brunch,

Fried cheese curds, a Wisconsin delicacy,

and following our strenuous hike, a Wisconsin bratwurst

Mmmmm Door County tastes good.

Door County part the first

Once we finally arrived and slept like the dead for eight hours, we got up to explore the town near our hotel, Sister Bay.

We couldn't have ordered up more perfect weather, and I was so happy to be out communing with nature.

After some time with nature, we spent the afternoon touring three Door County wineries. I found this hat, which I think sums me up pretty well...

Our favorite winery by far was the Simon Creek Winery. We enjoyed some wine and took in some live music on their patio/garden.

We took a brief pause from wining so that I could milk this giant cow.

And we enjoyed a beautiful sunset while we dined and had drinks to finish the day.

Wicked, car troubles, Door County, sadness that the weekend is over.

The weekend flew by, as usual, and now I'm having a bit of a letdown from the last five wonderful days. Isn't coming home from vacation the worst? Luckily I have TONS of pictures to remember it by (see the next two posts as well):

Thursday: Mom and Elaine came to town for an afternoon/evening of shopping, dining, and Wicked. We had cocktail hour at Rosebud downtown, we dined at Trattoria 10, which was FANtastic, and then saw the much-anticipated Wicked. I was pretty impressed and only flinched once at the vocal-cord-hemhorrage-inducing belting of the lead. I was however, perturbed by the popcorn and candy vendors peddling their wares up and down the aisles. It's a PERFORMANCE people, not a baseball game!

Friday was a bit of a harrowing day due to being rear-ended on my way into the office (on the one day I was actually driving my car, of course). Luckily, there was no damage to my car (GO CHEVY!), but unluckily, in my panic after being hit, I locked the keys in the car while it was still running. Dad is getting his money's worth from AAA this year, since this was the second time I've had to call them in a month. Exhausted and frazzled, I went to work for a few hours, and then Nick picked me up and we attempted to leave town in a hurry. The City of Chicago was not having it. Eight hours later, we finally made it to Door County. But boy, was it worth it...