Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Get ready, get set....WEDDING!

Now that I am done with my Masters (woot!), I move on to my next important role : Professional Maid of Honor/Bridesmaid/Wedding Guest. I've got two weddings in two weeks, with an engagement party thrown in the mix, which is only the beginning of Weddingmania, which I expect to last for the next two to five years. My sister's wedding is a week from Saturday, and surprisingly, everyone seems relatively calm. I expect the calm to last until my arrival on Wednesday, when everything will most certainly get batshit crazy. Mom has already informed me that I will be put to work as soon as I arrive, tying bows on something or other. Thursday is nail day, at my very favorite Ft. Wayne Asian nail establishment, Le Nails, followed on Friday with a poosty Bridesmaid Brunch at Ft. Wayne Country Club hosted by the Lyday aunts. Then, of course, the rehearsal dinner and the big day on Saturday, which begins with crack-of-dawn hair appointments (not complaining Elaine--I'm sure Mom will have me up early anyway). It's going to be craaazy fun, with over 200 guests, many of which are people I haven't seen in ages. At some point, I need to think up my speech (ack!). Although I have no qualms about singing in front of large groups of people, I have major stress when faced with public speaking (yes, I've already thought that perhaps I can somehow sing my speech--but since I'm already singing at the wedding, I don't think that's a viable option.) I'll pull it off, but not without a few butterflies in my tummy and a glass of champagne for courage. I will post lots of pics when I get back (and I'm sure there will be plenty of stories!)

The following weekend Nick and I will be jetting off to Syracuse, NY for the wedding of my dear friend from Northwestern, Angela. Angela and I were accidental neighbors last year -- we met the day I moved in, and she just happened to be a singer in the Masters voice program, too! We became close friends, popping into each other's apartments for coffee and chats almost every day. Ang is a first-generation Sicilian, and her husband-to-be, Anthony, is of Italian heritage as well, so I'm told it's going to be a large gathering of boisterous Italians -- sure to be a great time (and great food!). The reception is at a casino/resort/hotel, which also happens to be where we are staying, so I'm pretty pumped about that. We're planning to explore Syracuse a little (if there's anything worth exploring) and God willing all our flights will be on time, since we're cutting it close flying in on the day of the wedding.

So it's time to break out my small-talk skills, my cute summer dresses, my best manners and picture-taking smile. It's go time, people. Let's get 'em married.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

movin' on up

I can't believe I haven't gotten around to writing about this yet, but...WE HAVE AN APARTMENT!!!! And it's bigger than the shoe box which we are currently inhabiting. Nick and I are now the proud renters of a 2 bedroom, 1200 square foot apartment in Andersonville. It is everything I had hoped for -- brand new hard floors, gigantic living room and dining room, big bay window looking out on the street, big bedrooms, lots of closet space, and half a block away from all the fun stuff on Clark Street in Andersonville. It's a third floor walk-up, which will make moving day super fun, but I always feel much safer the higher up I am. Not that I don't feel safe on the ground in Andersonville -- the median resident is a mid-thirties lesbian, possibly with an Asian baby (that is not based on any sort of official statistic, but merely my own observation). But seriously, I love the neighborhood. It's much more chill than Lincoln Park or Lakeview, but still boasts all the wonderful restaurants, fun bars, cute shops, and is near public transit. And it's dog friendly, so when I finally save some money, I can get that pooch I've been longing for!

The apartment is vacant right now, so I'm hoping to be able to get in and do some painting during the last couple weeks of June. I've always wanted to have fun colored walls, so I've started brainstorming some color schemes for the various rooms. I'm thinking a pale green for the living room, a reddish-orange for the kitchen, and some kind of blue for the bedroom. Decorating is going to proceed rather slowly (budget dependent), but we are planning to get a new sofa immediately. We went looking yesterday and found a few we liked in our price range. Now we just have to measure the living room and doorways to see what will fit. A kitchen island will be the second priority -- the kitchen has almost no counter space. I found a pretty cheap one at, so I'm planning an Ikea trip sometime in the near future. Nick is working a couple of days a week at Brite Smile in Schaumburg, so trips to Schaumburg have been pretty routine lately. (And I got a free teeth bleaching -- as Nick says, I'm one step from becoming a Lincoln Park trixie, since I got my teeth bleached and have been going to the tanning bed for my sister's wedding. All I need now are some blonde highlights.)

Come July 1st, I'll be a city resident once more! Hooray! And we'll have a great guest bedroom, so guests are welcome anytime!!!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Another edition of the Midwest Bookworm

Since I spent the better part of last week reading (and consequently, being BLOWN AWAY by) Jeffrey Eugenides' novel Middlesex, I thought I'd publish another edition of the Midwest Bookworm for all of you bookish types out there.

I stayed up til 1 am every night last week reading this book. I couldn't put it down; it was the most well-written novel I've read in years (as it should be -- it won the Pulitzer). The novel spans three generations of Greek immigrants and their children; it is chock full of history, but not at all boring. I couldn't believe how easily the story spun out, and how quickly I was hooked and felt so involved with the characters in the novel. The narrator of the story is a hermaphrodite, but I found that it wasn't her/his condition that peaked my interest. Mr Eugenides has a way of making characters seem so real and intimate that you care deeply about what happens to them, and you can't stop reading until you find out. Although it is a story about a hermaphrodite, it feels like it could be a story about anyone who has struggled with their identity and figuring out who they are. RUN don't walk to get this book and I'll give you $5 if you hate it. Ok, I probably won't, but I guarantee you won't hate it.

Another great book I read recently, of the non-fiction variety, is The Tipping Point, by Malcom Gladwell. It's a really interesting look into trends and cultural phenomenons, and Gladwell attempts to prove that these things don't just "happen", but rather are brought about by small yet well-planned actions. For example, he describes the ways in which the city of New York fought crime in the late eighties/early nineties by taking simple measures such as cleaning the grafitti off the subway. Another of Gladwell's points, although somewhat less developed, is that people are very much a product of their environment. By making the subways cleaner and less grafitti-ed, would-be criminals were persuaded not to commit crimes. I found this book very inspiring -- it made me believe (if only for a moment) that little changes can make a big difference, in your life, in the world, anywhere.

Anybody have any suggestions for what I should read next?

Sunday, May 13, 2007

good news!

Well readers, I have some wonderful news! I have a job--as a singer, to boot! On Friday, I received an offer from Opera for the Young, a professional opera company based out of Madison, to sing Pamina in their tour of the Magic Flute in 2008! The company does an 18 week tour of elementary schools in the upper midwest each January through May, performing scaled down versions of an opera for elementary school students. The roles are triple cast (these people obviously have some sense--performing ten shows a week for 18 weeks wold be murder on the voice), so I will only be on the road for six weeks during the four month period, as well as in Madison for a week for the rehearsal period. The pay is pretty good, they provide lodging and a per diem for food, and the people in charge seem super nice. So...I'm beyond thrilled! I have two big gigs lined up, and for a soprano, that's pretty much like knocking a grand slam out of the ballpark. I figure this is pretty much how the next few years are going to go: piecemealing together a career with gigs here and there, teaching, auditioning like crazy, and temping when necessary. I feel super motivated now to get my "package" together; I'm changing up my audition arias for fall auditions, so I've got to get cracking on those. Life is good here, and I am happy and content--there is nothing like that feeling when you finally get something that you've been working toward for so long (I may or may not have jumped up and down all over the apartment like a silly little girl.)

One week left until I am done being a nun (thank God in heaven) in the NU prodcution of Dialogues. I didn't know it was possible for them to make this an even more miserable experience for me, but they have. The costumes (ie: wimples) are constricting and itchy and hot and horrible; I have to move a bed onstage, because apparently I'm doubling as a stagehand in this opera; and the stage managers find every possible way to make sure we have little to no fun at these rehearsals. Yesterday was our sitzprobe (for those of you not familiar with the lingo--a seated rehearsal with the orchestra), or as I called it, The Day of Reckoning. The orchestra for this opera is not small -- about 60 pieces, I'd say, with a huge brass section -- and it was pretty freaking hilarious to hear these undergrads who have lead roles struggle to manuever their mousy voices over the orchestra. Three dress rehearsals and two performances left, then I can forget about this experience entirely.

And, while I'm counting things down...three weeks until I am finished with my Masters degree, four weeks until Elaine's wedding, and six weeks until Nick and I move to a new, bigger apartment. We went looking yesterday without much success, but we have a few appointments this week, and I spend pretty much all my free time perusing craigslist, so I'm certain we will find something fabulous. My requirements are pretty high but not ridiculous: hardwood floors, new(er) kitchen and bath, 2 bdrms, near public transit and fun stuff, not in the ghetto. Too much to ask? I don't think so.

These six weeks are going to fly.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

phew (giant sigh of relief)


After my recitals, I always turn into a major believer--for it is only God that can get me through something that requires so much composure, brain-power, technical skill, and trust in myself and those accompanying me on stage. I was so happy with how the recital went tonight; I felt like it was some of the best singing I've ever done. It's true that you have a sort of "out of body" experience with things like this--you can't think too much and you just have to let all the hard work you've done memorizing and rehearsing act on autopilot. I was so lucky to have a fantastic pianist and dear friend on stage with me, as well as three terrific string players and an oboeist. I was also very lucky to have lots of family and friends and my wonderful boyfriend cheering me on--as I have often said, without them I would have nothing to sing about. Some action shots taken by Nick:

It was alot of fun, but I'm glad it's over, as I usually am with these sorts of things. Now I just have to take one little exit exam, and I am a MASTER OF SINGING. That's right folks, I have mastered the human voice, just like a certain young woman at DePauw mastered the Bflat clarinet during her freshman year (Robert may be the only one who gets this joke---but that's ok, it was for his benefit anyway).

For real though...I'm not sure anyone can ever master the human voice. But tonight was the closest I've ever come. My voice did everything I told it to do, and everything I wanted it to do. I've never trusted it enough, that voice of mine, but after tonight I have a lot more faith in it. And in me.

Here's to four more weeks of being a student! (I'll probably be drunk for a good portion of them).