Friday, June 29, 2007

farewell Evanston

I wanted to write a post today about my current raging at Comcast and my staffing agency, but I'm just not sure I want them to have any more of my time and energy. I've been doing pretty well lately just going with the flow (I've never been a 'go with the flow' type of person), so I'm not going to get into it. I will say that I don't understand why people don't just do their jobs. As in, showing up to install my cable and paying me on time. Is it really too much to ask?

I was having sort of an existential crisis yesterday. Sitting at a desk doing absolutely nothing for seven hours every day will do that to a person. I try to fill the days with productive personal and career related tasks, but after awhile, it feels like I'm rotting away here with absolutely no purpose. I'm trying to devise a plan for saving as much money as possible this summer and paying off my credit card, so that hopefully after this job is over I can take some time off temping for lessons and coachings and concentrating on my auditions. The current temp job is about as bad as they get as far as being boring and isolating, but atleast I'm not chained to the desk (some jobs I've done require calling someone to answer the phone while you go to the potty - ridiculous). I'm free to use the facilities whenever I want, and if the two guys are traveling, I can play the radio, sing, lay on the floor and take a nap...basically anything I want. Unfortunately they've been here the past two days. Next week I'm thinking of bringing in my computer and watching DVDs. Would it be too much to stuff a pillow in my bag and bring that, too? Maybe a small blankie?

Tonight I'm donning my rubber gloves and cleaning the hell out of the new apartment. I saw that BBC show How Clean Is Your House the other day and lost my shit. How do people live like that? Since we're moving, I haven't really cleaned the current apartment in a while,and I've become rather disgusted with it, so I vowed that before we move a single piece of furniture into the new place, I will be scrubbing every available surface until it is sparkly and shiny. Nick will be helping, of course, and afterward we will probably go for a beer and some dinner, then crash one last time in Evanston before saying goodbye to the 'burbs for atleast another year. Things I will miss about Evanston: proximity to the lakeshore (although we won't be that much further away at our new place), Merle's BBQ, the movie theater, gelato from Italian Coffee Bar, Cozy Noodles (although I'm extremely hopeful that I will find a new tasty Thai place near our new apartment, and since they are on every corner, I don't think it will be too difficult), the Evanston public library, Bennison's bakery, and being near a Whole Foods. Things I won't miss: driving up Ridge, the Purple line, crazy Nazi parking officials, obnoxious undergrads (and some grads),and feeling waaaay far away from all the fun in Chicago.

It's been a good two years, Evanston. You saw me through a lot of tough times, but now I'm afraid our affair must come to an end. I'm going back to my first and real love - the city of Chicago.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

dmv update

It seems that in order to obtain an Illinois driver's license, I must present my birth certificate, social security card, and successfully complete the written test and eye tests. Looks like I won't be driving for a week or so...

You can guess what I'm up to this afternoon. Yup, studying the Illinois Driver's manual. Because it's sooooo different from Indiana's.


Question: Why do rich people like the pink-and-green color combination so much? I am a regular reader of this blog, which chronicles the life of a woman who married a very wealthy, notorious New York man thirty years her senior, thus becoming a Manhattan socialite. I guess I'm fascinated by how the other half lives. In perusing her blog, notably the comments section, I've noticed that there is a bevy of "rich housewife" blogs to be found on the 'net. And most of them have the pink-and-green as a template, title, or atleast have some mention of it in their blog. What gives? Personally, I think it's a little tacky. But hey, I'm just a struggling classical singer who comes from a middle class family in Indiana, what do I know?

T-2 days until the big move. The current apartment is in shambles, whatwith half-packed boxes piled to the ceiling and barely any room to walk around. Tonight I have to go straight from work to the new place in order to meet the cable guy. God forbid we go one day without cable or internet. I remember when Andrea and I first moved to our apartment on Southport, we didn't get cable for FIVE MONTHS. We went out A LOT, even on weeknights, and when the weather turned cold and Andrea was away on a tour and I finally caved, I remember thinking, " this is what people do -- they come home from work and watch television and make their dinner." At the time, it seemed like such a novel idea. But alas, I'm no longer a young woman of twenty-two, and nowadays I barely have the energy to push the buttons on the remote control let alone make dinner. I fear this has something to do with not eating enough vegetables or exercising, two things which I did a lot of back in the day. Goals for next week: eat more veggies, run, and get more sleep.

In about an hour I'm going to mosey over to the DMV...shudder. Hopefully it won't be too terrible. After today I will no longer have evidence that I was a resident of Indiana (except my birth certificate, I suppose). Today, I get an Illinois driver's license. Too bad I didn't wake up early enough to blow dry my hair. Ah, well.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

100 things: second installment

I know you were all just dying to know fifty more things about me. (Actually, the nine of you who actually read this already know these things I'm sure.) I'll try to spice it up today a bit:

49. As a child, I sucked my thumb until I was five years old. My parents were concerned, and so took me to the dentist so he could threaten me with future painful dental procedures I'd have to have if I didn't stop.
48. I stopped, but still required 5+ years of orthodontia.
47. Ages 11-14 were rather awkward, what with the braces and some pesky baby fat.
46. Around 15, I stretched out to the height I am now and the baby fat went away.
45. Another embarrassing factoid: In high school, I was a cheerleader. I spent the better part of a year learning to do a back hand spring. I nailed it, but it's been at least 6 years since I've attempted one, so I'm thinking my tumbling days are probably over.
44. Our football team went to the state finals in 1998. I got to cheer in the RCA Dome in Indianapolis. I guess that was the highlight of junior year.
43. Although the highlight of junior year may have been when I got to play a Siamese twin in the school's production of Sideshow. My other half couldn't read music, so I taught her the entire musical by rote (and we had the lead parts, mind you) -- singing her parts to her over and over again until she knew them.
42. I would really like to get a dog, but I don't know if I'm ready for that kind of commitment/sleep deprivation.
41. As Nick will tell you, I don't do well with sleep deprivation. I gotsta get my 8 hours (preferably 9.5).
40. Nevertheless, I am constantly cooing at dogs on the sidewalk and looking up different breeds online. Right now I've got my heart set on a yorkie/bichon mix - a yo-chon!
39. I am a very fast typer - 70 wpm (maybe even better now, I haven't taken the test in awhile).
38. I used to have my belly button pierced, but I took it out before a surgery and never put it back in. The hole is still there though.
37. I also have my ears pierced, two holes in each ear, thought I rarely wear earrings in the second hole.
36. I am an extremely sensitive soul. I cry easily, and am known to be a bit emotional and dramatic.
35. I love laying on the beach or by the pool with a good book, getting a nice tan.
34. One summer when I was home from college, I had a job as a nanny where I got paid to lay in the sun at a country club. It was heavenly.
33. Before I moved to Evanston to start my Masters, I spent 2 months living with my parents and worked as the "beer bitch" at a golf club.
32. I met my boyfriend while volunteering with a group called Social and Service Chicago. We were trying to get people at a Chicago Wolves hockey game to adopt dogs from the Animal Shelter. The dogs we were each holding liked to sniff each other, so I guess we can give them credit for bringing us together.
31. Nick and I have been living in my studio apartment in Evanston for the last two months. Miraculously, we have not killed each other.
30. On Saturday, we move to Andersonville - a GIGANTIC place in comparison to what we're used to.
29. We will be living around the corner from Nick's favorite beer place, The Hop Leaf.
28. They also have the greatest french fries on earth.
27. I'm somewhat of a french fry connoisseur.
26. My dream job would be to have my own show on the Travel Channel, or to write travel books.
25. Realistically, my five year plan includes building my private voice studio, auditioning for and hopefully landing a few Young Artist gigs, and performing in the area whenever possible.
24. Honestly, I think five year plans are a crock of shit. I've got a one-year plan, and that's good enough for me.
23. The things I really want to accomplish in the next five years are remaining happy, remaining a good person, and being socially and financially responsible -- actually, those are things I plan to continually accomplish for the rest of my life. And they're not as easy as they sound.
22. I drive a 2004 Chevy Cavalier, bright blue.
21. I love the color blue.
20. If I had my druthers, I'd drive a mini-Cooper. I love those cars.
19. I dislike SUVs immensely.
18. I am a Democrat. I'm trying to be better about following up on politics. I want to try my best to make things better for people who don't go the ordinary route and work for a large corporation. Life isn't easy for freelance artists like myself, and I'd like to change that by voting the right people into power.
17. They could start with better, more affordable healthcare.
16. When I was born, I had five out of eight great-grandparents living. I was lucky enough to know all of them before they passed away.
15. In 2005, while I was in Graz, Austria for a music festival in which I was singing, I climbed Hochlantsch, the tallest peak in the Southeast Alps. I consider it one of my finest accomplishments.
14. Austria is one of my favortie places on earth, and I'd love to live there again someday.
13. Once when I was abroad I got stranded by myself in Maribor, Slovenia. Luckily I was reunited with my group a short time later.
12. On a trip to the Netherlands with a bunch of classmates from Vienna, I stayed on a "boat-el" with twelve other people - basically a grungy boat docked in the canals of Amsterdam.
11. On the train back from Amsterdam, I was awoken in the middle of the night by a police officer and dog who sniffed out my bags. Luckily I didn't carry anything illegal back in it!
10. I am a good gift-giver. I love shopping for presents for people.
9. I have been to the Indianapolis 500 four times. My father has been every year since 1973, excluding this year when he had to attend a family graduation in Kansas. He was not thrilled about this.
8. My friends are all starting to marry off and move to the 'burbs. My turn will probably be coming soon...
7. But for the next year atleast, I will be staying put here in Chicago.
6. One of my finest moments was in 2004 when I was chosen by Robert Altman, out of a line-up of thirty women, to play a tiny part in his opera A Wedding at Lyric.
5. I got paid well and got to schmooze with opera stars!
4. I was an extra in the movie Stranger than Fiction. If you put it in slo-mo during the scene where Will Farrell is in the guitar store, you can see me walk by in a black pants suit with my hair pulled up.
3. I used to want to be famous, but now I just want to make a living as a musician.
2. I have a mild case of OCD.
1. I believe that kindness is the most important trait in a person. I try everyday to be a kind and good person.

There you have it. Everything you (never) wanted to know about me!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

100 Things (part 1)

I stole this idea from several different bloggers (it seems to be a blogger trend), and so to take up the remainder of my afternoon here at work, I bring to you one hundred things about me:

100. I am an oldest child, hence smartest child according to this study.
99. I am the only one of my siblings to seek long-term psychiatric care (in the form of a therapist). Oldest child=smartest child=craziest child?
98. I was born at the IU Medical Center in Indianapolis. It is a teaching hospital, and my mother said she felt like a science experiment.
97. My mother is a teacher and my father is a salesman (some sort of business-y salesman, not like a used-car salesman.)
96. When I was three, we moved to Fort Wayne, Indiana, where I spent the next fifteen years of my life and several summers during my adulthood.
95. I have a boyfriend named Nick.
94. We have been together for one year and seven months. It is my longest relationship ever.
93. Nick is a dentist. He is also my dentist, because I don't have dental insurance.
92. Nick and I had our first date at a restaurant called X/O in the boystown neighborhood of Chicago, which is sadly no longer in existence (the restaurant, not the neighborhood-last I checked, boystown was still going strong).
91. The dinner lasted five hours.
90. The rest is history.
89. In college I was, and I shudder to say it, in a sorority.
88. In the sorority's defense however, I met my best friend Andrea there, and we lived together in Chicago during my first year out of school.
87. We had the most adorable apartment at Southport and Belmont. We loved it so.
86. Once upon a time, Andrea and I lived abroad in Vienna, Austria, and took a ten day backpacking trip throughout Italy, France, and Spain.
85. We stayed in some disgusting hostels, the worst of which was in Paris. It was called the Auberge de jeunesse, but we called it The Cave.
84. During my time abroad, I also traveled to Slovakia, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Germany, Switzerland, and The Netherlands.
83. I love to travel, and so does Nick. He's Greek, so I've also been to Greece (twice).
82. Maybe I'll live there one day?
81. The next place I want to go is South America (Buenos Aires or Rio), or maybe Dubai.
80. Realistically, the next trip we take will probably be to Traverse City, MI for Labor Day. We've been wanting to take a long weekend there.
79. I have Bachelors and Masters degrees in Voice Performance.
78. I haven't decided if I like singing opera or not. So bombastic. I prefer oratorio and contemporary chamber music, and I'm considering shoving my career in that direction.
77. That being said, I love going to the opera. And I have a subscription for next season. Hurrah!
76. I'm a recovering latte-aholic. I recently purchased a coffee pot and am attempting to save my three dollars a day.
75. My favorite food is Pad Thai with tofu and a side of crab rangoons, please.
74. I love pretty much all foods. I'll try anything once, as long as it's dead and lifeless.
73. My signature drink is a dirty Beefeater martini, straight up, with blue cheese olives. But then again, I'm not picky about my booze either.
72. I like art, and I like going to art museums. My favorite is the Jugenstil movement (Klimt and his colleagues).
71. I would like to go to more galleries and openings in Chicago.
70. I try not to be boring, and get out and explore the city, but sometimes I love to just curl up on the couch and do nothing.
69. I've been exploring (re: living in) this city for three years now, and I haven't gotten bored with it yet!
68. Some of my favorite Chicago things: Oktoberfest in Lincoln Square, free evenings at the Art Institute, Ravinia, walking along the lakefront, endless new restaurants and bars.
67. My favorite non-classical singer OF ALL TIME is Ani DiFranco.
66. I've only seen her once, but I have all her albums, and I think she's pretty much the greatest lyricist who ever lived.
65. I have an iPod nano, but I pretty much only use it for music-learning purposes. I don't see a need to listen to it during my commute. That's just me.
64. I love books. I eat books for dinner. My mother *claims* I started reading at age 2.
63. I read everything: classics, trashy beach novels, contemporary Pulitzer Prize winning novels, biogrpahies (mostly of singers), some non-fiction that interests me.
62. My favorite Chicago radio station is WXRT. In my opinion, it is FAR superior to every other station.
61. I'm a Cancer.
60. I don't like driving. And I don't understand why people as rich as Paris Hilton or Nicole Richie don't hire a driver. When I'm rich, that's the first thing I'm doing.
59. I'm allergic to LOTS of things that occur in nature.
58. For that reason, I don't like sleeping with the windows open. Ever.
57. I'm highly allergic to cats. Unfortunately, Nick loves cats.
56. I have a Macbook. I am highly devoted to Mac forevermore.
55. I'm a decent cook, but I'd like to be better. I make a mean lasagna from sractch.
54. I've been a Cubs fan since the day I was born.
53. Recently I gained a brother-in-law named Jerod. He's a very good cook and very handy about the house.
52. Now I would like to gain some neices and nephews?!?!
51. I want kids someday, but I'd much prefer to play with my sister's babies for awhile until I'm ready.
50. I think it will be loads of fun being preggers.

Phew! That's all I can manage today. I give you the other fifty tomorrow.
Have a good Tuesdee!

Monday, June 25, 2007

some more wedding pics

My wonderful date:

Myself and cousin Megan, fellow 'maid:

Shimmy shimmy shake:

You bet your ass I got that bouqet!


An utterly insane but wonderful weekend, and now I am part of the elite club of quarter-lifers. I rang in the ol' twenty-fifth with tequila shots at midnight with some of my nearest and dearest at a house party in boystown (a combination going-away party/pre-Pride parade party at my friend Lisa's), then had a rather stumbly-home type of evening which included at stop at Taco and Burrito Palace. As Lisa says, you know you're in trouble when you eat at a place that is named after a food and a somewhere you can live. As I say, however, late-night eating after drinking always makes for an easier time the next moring. Saturday morning I was struggling a bit, but I managed to paint two rooms of our new apartment, so it couldn't have been so terrible.

The apartment is looking fabulous, now all we have to do is move all our shit into it.

Saturday night Nick took me to Marche, a fun French-American place in the West Loop, and then we went for drinks with fifteen of my best buds. I finally had occasion to wear the bubble dress I bought in Greece in March! Loves it. Here I am with an amazingly decadent chocolate dessert that the waiter so kindly put a candle in at Nick's request.

and with my friend Julia:

Sunday we spent recovering at home (waaaaay too much liquor consumed this weekend), but managed to go out for a couple of hours to buy our new couch! It is really beautiful, kind of a milky-chocolate brown, big and fluffy! I feel like such an adult now...painting and buying furniture. Sheesh, I guess this is what twenty-five year old life is like!

Friday, June 22, 2007

the real thing

Aaaaand, I've officially come to the end of the "being amused at going downtown to 'work'" phase. I say 'work', because what I'm doing here in no way resembles work. For most of the day, I've had my bare feet propped on the desk, finishing the new Marian Keyes novel I started during our layover in Pittsburgh (I finished it a couple of hours ago, which has rendered me without reading material and therefore extremely bored). Idle work days are nothing new to me: nearly every temp job I've had included atleast 5 hours of "down-time" per day. I was thinking that maybe I should start a company where I'm a consultant who helps people realize that temps are completely unnecessary, and they are basically paying people to surf the Internet all day long. But I don't think my temp agency would like that very much, and since they've been so good to me, I'll keep my mouth shut over here and keep raking in $14 an hour for doing precisely nothing.
There's something I've been meaning to vent about on here. I've been seeing this dude non-stop on the news shows, and I hate to break it to you folks, but...he's NOT THAT GOOD. I know it's a precious little story about a down-on-his-luck cell phone salesman who became an overnight sensation but...did these people not hear him crack the high note in Nessun Dorma? There are a thousand tenors out there who could sing the shit out of that aria, who could sing this guy under the table, but the world is more interested in the British cell phone salesman who, as luck would have it, can make some vaguely "operatic noises" come out of him.
Opera singing is not something you just wake up one day and go, "hmmm, I think I'll make a hobby of singing opera." No, no, it takes years and years of formal training, not to mention the amount of memorization, in-depth study of atleast three languages, vocal stamina, and discipline that go into making a career in opera. Maybe this guy has some raw talent, and maybe if he'd started twenty years ago, he'd have had a shot at a career. But I took one look at that quivering jaw and knew that he hadn't a shot in hell of getting through an opera role, and probably not even a concert of arias.
But, Americans (and the rest of the world, I'm assuming) love a good rags to riches story, and Paul Potts is certainly that. He'll have a "fake opera" career, a la Andrea Boccelli and Charlotte Church (although, in their defense, they have pleasant voices to listen to. I didn't find PPs even remotely beautiful). He'll be rich, I'm sure. He'll sing that damn Nessun Dorma over and over and over again to screaming audiences. I doubt he'll grace the stage of any opera house, but then again, opera directors are becoming more and more shallow these days and doing just about anything to get butts in seats. But those of us who know, those of us who have put in the years and given our lives to this career, we will know that this guy is not the real thing. You dont' become an opera star overnight.
Rant finished. Thank you for listening.

Thursday, June 21, 2007


Here I am, back in office-land. The whirlwind is over, and things are finally beginning to settle down. I have to admit, it can be kind of nice to pretend to be a mundane, "regular" person who gets on the train and grabs their coffee and goes to their office to sit at their desk (and do what? -- of that I'm not entirely certain. During my three years of temping, I've been desperately trying to figure out what people do all day. I'm not really any closer to figuring it out than I was three years ago.). The office I'm in now is a tiny one that has something to do with stocks and finance and trading. It's just me and two dudes who are mostly traveling, so...most of the time I guess it's just going to be me. Good thing I like being by myself, quietly reading and passing the time. The unfortunate thing is that their computer system has blocked all web-based mail, facebook, myspace -- all the best time wasting sites. But they haven't blocked blogger yet!!!! It's probably only a matter of time...
Let me back up a bit to the weekend. Unfortunately, I don't have any of my pictures with me, so I will have to do picture posting later, but I will begin with graduation. It was a grand time with Grandma, Dad, Mom, and Nick all in attendance. We ate at some delicious restaurants, and the acutal graduation itself was pretty enjoyable and not too boring. I'll have a pic of Julia Louis-Dreyfus to post; I took about twenty pictures of her since I was in the second row (one of my colleagues observed that they probably let the music grads sit in the front to take pity on us for most likely not having a job lined up).
Then it was on to Syracuse, NY for the wedding of my friend Angela. We had to get up at 3:30 am to catch our 5:30 am flight, but all flights were on time and we made it to the hotel by 11:00 am, and the wedding ceremony at 1:00 pm, which was certainly a miracle. The ceremony was beautiful (if not a bit long -- those Catholics do go on forever -- my sister's Methodist wedding took twenty minutes!) and the reception was wonderfully extravagant, with a four course meal and plenty of drinking and dancing. The reception took place at Turning Stome Resort, and we had a pretty swanky room on the twelth floor of the hotel, so afterward we gambled for a bit before stumbling back to our room to crash for the night. Our flight home wasn't until Monday morning, so we spent Sunday exploring upstate NY a bit -- we went to see a 167' waterfall at a National Park and attempted to explore downtown Syracuse, which we found was pretty much shut down on Sundays. We had a nice dinner at a local place and then crashed at a Hampton Inn near the airport.
Monday was a bit of a strain -- our flight from Syrause to our connection in Pittsburgh was on time, but on our flight from Pitts to Chicago, the captain informed us that we were not able to land at O'Hare due to inclement weather, so they circled over Indiana for awhile before deciding to fly us back to Pittsburgh. Gah. To make a long story short (too late for that I guess), they informed us we would not be able to get a flight back to Chicago until 5:45 pm Tuesday, which was a problem since we both had to work Tuesday, so we found a flight to Indianapolis, rented a car, and drove back to Chi from Indy, getting us in at about 1:30 am. Not fun, not fun at all. Alas, that's travel for ya, especially domestic travel.
The week hasn't slowed down much, and this weekend we begin the moving process, so it looks like I'm going going going for the rest of this month. We pick up our keys tonight, and then we are going to start painting this weekend and hopefully move in as much stuff as possible throughout the week. Saturday is my 25th birthday (hooray!), and Nick is taking me to dinner and then we're having a little "drinks thing" with a few friends. Nothing too out of control, as I am an old woman now.
Pictures to follow when I get a chance! Happy Thursday!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

I'm on hold with Orbitz right now -- I came home from my interview this morning (stupid temp job interviews are such a waste of my time -- why can't they just trust the temp agency to send them someone decent?) to find that Orbitz had changed our itinerary for our flight to Syracuse on Saturday. The good people over at United Airways and Orbitz decided that instead of leaving Chicago at 6:00 am as originally planned, putting us into Syracuse at 11:30 am; we should leave at 8:20 am, getting us there at 1:50 pm. Problem with that is that the wedding is at 1:00 pm, forty-five minutes outside Syracuse. Yes, we were pushing it, but it was the only way I could attend graduation on Friday evening and get to Angela's wedding on Saturday. So I just called them up to bitch and they are putting us on a different airline that leaves at 5:30 am. Eegads. But it will be worth it to see my dear Angela walk down the aisle, plus listen to Julia Louis-Dreyfuss give the graduation address tomorrow evening and wear my well-deserved pink cape-thingie.
The 'rents get in this afternoon, which will be followed by a lovely dinner at Davis Street Fishmarket. Tomorrow is the graduation ceremony and then off to Syracuse for a three-day weekend. When I get back, I am thrust back into the land of meaningless temp job, plus teaching voice and piano privately and at The Music Room in Palatine. I just started there yesterday, subbing for a friend, and it was quite an exhausting day. Teaching takes a hell of alot more energy than temping, that's for sure -- but it also pays MUCH better, and actually uses that degree I worked so hard to get. Can't complain!

Monday, June 11, 2007

weddingmania part I

Well kids, the wedding was a hit, and now my sister and my new brother-in-law are on their way to Rome for their honeymoon. Elaine was a beautiful bride, and not bridezilla-ish at all. She was the picture of calm and collected the entire weekend long. Miraculously, I held it together and sang well and gave a good toast. I was feeling very emotional (and slightly hung over from the rehearsal dinner the night before), so I wasn't sure what would come out when I got up there, but I think God must have crept into my vocal cords and made it happen. (In reality, I think that I could sing that Malotte Lord's Prayer from my deathbed if necessary--maybe I should start taking it to auditions-HA!). Anyways, enough of my babble, here are some pics from the rehearsal dinner and wedding:

the 'maids at the rehearsal:

Elaine and Dad rehearse walking down the aisle:

Mom telling people what to do (Grandma takes a nap):

time for drinkies!

so glucklich!

my mom made me sit at the old people table for the rehearsal dinner:

my honey (and the rehearsal/dinner photographer):

Grandma stocks up before the open bar closes:

our fam gains a member!

Mr. and Mrs. leave the church!

the reception hall:

ice sculpture:

the dazzling 'maids:

my toast:

father daughter dance:


Hopefully I'll have some more good ones soon. (I don't understand why some of these are so small...they were sent to me by a cousin.) Enjoy! I'm going to go do some serious napping.

Monday, June 04, 2007

sallie mae, my new best frienemy

I've been having mild panic attacks for the last three days. My imminent graduation means one major thing: I am being faced with the repayment of my student loans. This is my first foray into the inevitable land of American debt; yes, I have a small car payment and a little bit of credit card debt, but nothing major, nothing that causes me to wake up in the middle of the night in cold sweats. I was fortunate enough to have a large scholarship to my undergrad, and my father paid the difference so that I didn't once worry my pretty little head about money during college. Grad school is a different story. As most of you know, Northwestern is not a cheap school, nor were they generous in giving me much help (that didn't have to be paid back). Saturday I had to attend a "loan exit interview", where they spewed information at me, none of it good news, while I sat wondering why I didn't choose that certain school in Ohio who offered me a full scholarship -- oh, because it's in the middle of cornfields to which I have no intention of returning, the teachers sucked, and the program wasn't so hot either. But oh, sweet Lord, how wonderful it would have been not to spend the next twenty-five years of my life sweating out these loan payments. I can just see myself as a fifty-year old woman, hair graying, voice starting to give way to menopause -- making that last payment on my loans and pouring myself a stiff drink to celebrate.

Unlike all those MBA students who sat next to me in that loan exit interview, I'm not jumping onto a rung of the corporate ladder in a Fortune 500 company, soon to make six figures. I've got two singing gigs in the next nine months, which is more than lots of my classmates, but the pay is shitty and the time committment is such that I won't be able to get a permanent day job that would award me benefits and a salary that would help me get by. But how can I pass up a gig that I've worked so hard to get for a secratary job that will pay the bills? It seems ridiculous to even have to make that decision. I know lots of singers who've passed up good singing gigs because their day job just won't allow them the time off -- a day job they can't survive without.

I know it's the way of the world, but I guess I'm wondering why it has to be so. Musicians are an important part of society, and a good bit of them do their jobs out of the goodness of their heart -- a heart that probably doesn't have health insurance and isn't a homeowner. It's unfortunate that fabulous talent goes to waste, all because a person decides (wisely) not to live the life of a pauper and finds a career that actually pays. I feel that something needs to be done, something more than a bunch of sopranos spending their twenties finding a Wall Street banker husband. I know there are people out there who are devoting their days to raising money for arts organizations, and I salute them. I just need to figure out how, as a young singer, I can make things better. There's got to be a way (that doesn't include turning tricks).