Thursday, March 27, 2008

bo-ring post

Sorry no Easter pics to post yet...I'm waiting on my Mom to send them to me, but since she's helping my Grandma with her chemo this week and her uncle died, I think we'll have to forgive her. Yes, my grandma has cancer (again), for those that did not know. I don't usually talk about stuff like that on here, mostly because I don't like to see in writing that it's actually happening, but she is going to be just fine. She beat it once before and she'll beat it again. The End.

My week has been pretty busy, what with the St. Matthew Passion (SMP) rehearsals, teaching, and chaperoning a field trip to the opera. If I didn't feel old enough already, being a "chaperone" really drove it home. Today, however, was pleasantly unbusy, and I actually had time to go to the gym, bake some brownies for a choir party tonight (our choir is always having parties, it's awesome), and meet Nick for lunch downtown. Since he's been back from Greece, we have spent very little time together besides sleeping, so it was nice to sit down for a meal and talk, even if only for an hour.

Our rehearsals for the SMP with the conductor this week have been fantastic. This woman is just the most amazing conductor. It is so inspiring to sing with her, and I've found myself getting very choked up in rehearsals. I'm going to have to reign it in for the concerts though, because I can't be blubbering up there while trying to sing a pianissimo chorale. But I tell you what, if you want to hear the most incredible setting of the passion story and some of the most beautiful music on earth, get yourself to a performance of Bach's SMP. If you're in Chicago, come on down to the Harris theater in Millenium Park on Monday night at 7:30. You won't be sorry (unless you're like my friend Amanda's mom and just can't handle multiple da capo arias).

That's about it from my not-so-exciting life. I will be leaving for three weeks of tour on April 7th, which I'm pretty excited about. It's going to be like a three week vacation away from all my students, which I could really use right about now. Plus performing a role I love and hanging with all my fabulous colleagues in random tiny Wisconsin towns. I'm trying to persuade Robert to audition for OFY for next year. The only thing that could possibly make OFY a better gig were if Robert and I were touring Wisconsin together. That would be nuts.

Happy almost Friday everyone!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter

Sorry again, no blogging this week, but it was Holy Week, and I was entertaining a guest, so I have excuses. This will be short because I am very tired, but I will be sure to follow up tomorrow or the next day with some pics and a better post. Mom's visit was tons of fun, we ate lots of delicious food and shopped and drove through one crazy snowstorm and had a fantastic Easter brunch at my church choir director's house with all my fellow paid church-giggers. And I fetched Nick from the airport this evening, and he has been snoring loudly since about 9 pm, so life is pretty much back to normal for me. Until this week when I have a million St. Matthew Passion rehearsals. It's going to feel a little strange to re-kill and re-resurrect Jesus next week, but Music of the Baroque couldn't compete with the churches of the city of Chicago during Holy Week. There just aren't enough paid choristers to go round, I suppose.

That's all from this end. Hope you all had very happy Easters. I know I did.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

st. patty's

Yikes! It's been a week since I blogged! Although I thought the time while Nick was away would creep slowly along, it has actually passed very quickly. My week was busy with rehearsals and teaching, but I managed to have a few dinner and lunch dates with friends. Some nicer weather finally came our way which put me in a fantastic mood for most of the week -- not having to wear my giant comforter coat and feeling the sun shining down on my face made this Chicago gal extremely happy! Spring makes me want to shop! I treated myself to a couple of new clothing items this week and this lovely springy table runner and candles from Crate and Barrel:

Now I really need to have a dinner party...

In other news, my weekend has been somewhat of a flashback to younger, more irresponsible days...yesterday I attended at St. Patty's Pub Crawl in the Lincoln Park neighborhood with my friend Jessica, her husband, and their friend from out of town. I was really pumped about the awesome t-shirt I got (for free!) to wear for it:

(my camera is broken and Nick has his in Greece, so I am taking these pics with the camera on the computer. They come out like mirror images for some odd reason...)

I joined up with the group at about 2:00 pm after my St. Matthew Passion rehearsal. We started with lunch and beers at a pub in Bucktown, then took at cab over to LP, where the scene was ridiculous. Drunk people in green everywhere. It was definitely not my usual scene, but it was fun to run around to all the different bars, and I saw no less than 5 people I knew from either high school or DePauw. That's Chicago for you. By about six we had had enough of the bars on the crawl, which were all ridiculously crowded, noisy, and no specials, so we headed to some dive-ier bars that were less crowded, cheaper beer, and more fun. We ended the night at Arturo's Tacos in Bucktown, which was quite possibly the best tacos I've ever tasted. Jessica's husband is Guatemalan, so he knows his Mexican food. I came home at midnight and promptly went to bed since I had to get up for a rousing Palm Sunday service this morning. Ride on, King Jesus!

So thus begins Holy Week. My week is looking pretty fantastic, since the high school where I've been teaching is on spring break, which means I only have my afternoon teaching this week. mom is coming to stay from Wednesday to Sunday!!! I'm so excited! Wednesday night we are going to see Jersey Boys, which should be great. No plans for Thursday, besides attending (working) Maundy Thursday service at church. Friday we're planning to go to Ikea in the morning, which is right by where I teach in Palatine in the afternoon. Mom's never been to Ikea, and I think she's going to love it. Saturday will probably be shopping and a fantastic meal somewhere, and Sunday is Easter of course, followed by soloists brunch at our director's house. And then Sunday night I will get to pick up Nick at the airport! Good things.

Now I must go scrub every inch of my apartment in anticipation of Mom's arrival. Can't have her thinking she didn't bring me up right, keeping a dirty house. :) Happy St. Patty's, everyone!

Sunday, March 09, 2008

ramble ramble

It's midnight on Sunday night, and thanks to daylight savings time and a two hour nap this afternoon, I'm not the least bit tired. I've watched two On Demand movies (Waitress and The Nanny Diaries, both pretty good) and don't really feel like reading. So I figured I may as well blog. It's funny the things you do when you're not used to being in your place all by yourself. Today I went around looking at all my photo albums that are in various places around the house. I find myself becoming very nostalgic and weepy when I'm alone sometimes. Today I was looking at some pictures of my semester abroad, easily one of the best times in my whole life. Do you ever find yourself missing yourself? I wouldn't trade my current self with any of my old selves, because it took a lot of work to get where I am emotionally and otherwise. Much as I like to complain about the everyday minutiae, I love my life. But sometimes I look back on that girl who took Europe by storm, and I miss her a little bit. Obviously my circumstances were very different then, seeing as though I was a happy-go-lucky college student, but I lived life there in a way that I've never been able here in the States. Maybe this is telling me something....

Anyways. A whole weekend alone in one's giant apartment will apparently make one a bit loopy! The weekend turned out to be sort of enjoyable, despite freezing temps, missing Nick, and general grouchiness. Friday night after rehearsal I went to a "girl party" at my new friend Jessica's. Jessica, you'll remember, is my colleague at the music store in Palatine with whom I often drink beer on the train. So she invited me to a girly party at her apartment in Bucktown, complete with cosmopolitans and lots of yummy snacks. It was fun to meet and hang out with some different people, something I don't do often these days, and I think my friendship with Jessica will continue. And it's always great to know musicians who aren't classical ones, keeps it real.

Saturday I was a wee bit hungover, and I slept most of the day. I ventured out of the house in the early evening for a sushi date with some Northwestern friends, then came back home to study some Bach and veg out on the couch. That's gotta be one of the dorkiest Saturday nights in the history of the world. Thanks to daylight savings, it was rough getting up for church this morning, but I poured some Starbucks down my throat (along with a Mucinex and a gallon of water) and managed to sing some decent Bach. He's a real stinker, that J.S. After church, I had a lovely brunch with church friends Ryan and Sarah and Ryan's boyfriend Michael, then came home and passed out on the couch for two hours. Oh how I love a Sunday afternoon nap.

So that was my solitary weekend. It wasn't so bad, but I am missing my Nick. Especially on Sunday nights when we are always together relaxing at home and cooking dinner. He's having a swell time in Greece though, 70 degrees and sunny! He spent most of the weekend with his sister and her family and visiting his grandma in the village. This week he starts work on the taxes and other business-y errands dealing with the properties. I'm hoping this week will fly, and I think it will, since I have a million rehearsals and all my regular teaching. Then next week (Holy Week, God save us church-jobbers), my Mom is coming to stay with me for five days! Actually, my church job is pretty tame during Holy Week (compared to my last church job - 10+ calls during HW), so I'll have plenty of time to spend with Mom! Should be lots of fun.

Well, I guess I'll try to sleep now. Hope you all have a terrific Monday. Hang in there Chicagoans (and others in cold cities). I feel spring is near, it's just got to be...

Friday, March 07, 2008

blue funk

I've somewhat recovered from my blue funk (when I was in middle school one of my friends' moms used to always say her daughter was in a "blue funk" about something), probably due to the fact that it's Friday and there are above freezing temps in our future. Last night I took the wise Allison's advice, and upon coming home from rehearsal, checked in every room and closet and under every bed, then bolted all doors before sitting down to my Thai food and Sex and the City on the tube. Might as well take advantage of watching girly television without any complaints from the peanut gallery. :) I didn't sleep as poorly as I thought I would, only waking a few times in the night and getting back to sleep fairly quickly. So I'm feeling pretty good on this Friday morning. I've accomplished nothing this morning besides doing 20 minutes of yoga in my living room and waiting for Nick's call saying that he arrived in Athens safe and sound. That and watching inane segments on the Today show -- I swear, that show gets more ridiculous by the day. If I have to hear one more "Eat This, Not That" segment.... I refuse to believe that most Americans do not know that a green salad with dressing on the side is healthier than a taco salad from Wendy's. Just as I chose to eat greasy pad thai at 10:00 pm last night, knowing full well what a "poor food choice" I was making, people choose the taco salad because it tastes better and they just don't care. Doesn't the Today show have any more groundbreaking stories to report? I would switch morning shows, but the other choices are Regis and Kelly or the lame people on Fox News. Or maybe I should go to the gym instead.

I'm going to have to spring into action soon, however. My day consists of driving to Palatine to teach for 3.5 hours and then making the ridiculous trek to the south side for St. Matthew Passion rehearsal. In rush hour traffic. I've done it once before, and I already know it's not going to be pretty. The train schedule does not work out, so I'm forced to drive. I've allotted 1.5 hours for the drive, and I hope to God it's enough. Not that there are any serious consequences for being late, but I like to be professional. After rehearsal I may meet up with friends for drinks, but maybe not. I've got this Bach thing on Sunday for which I'm really unprepared and couldn't attend the dress rehearsal, and I need to spend a good part of Saturday looking at it. Saturday night it's looking like a return to my favorite all you can eat sushi joint in Lincoln Park with some Northwestern friends. So I guess I won't be so lonely this weekend after all. Bach and sushi, what more do I need?

Have a good one, kids.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

mrrrrrrgh part deux

I've just been alerted to the fact that Sunday is spring forward Daylight Savings bullshit. Which means that at 9:30 am, as I'm trying to croak out a ridiculously difficult under-rehearsed Bach duet with period orchestra for our performance of Cantata #9, it will actually feel like 8:30 to my vocal cords. Yippee!

Hi, I'm Debbie Downer. Have we met?


Nick is leaving for Greece tonight. I've been doing all I can to help him get ready, since he's been working long hours all week and hasn't had a lot of time for trip errands. Not that I've been sitting on my duff -- it's just that my free hours of the day are usually ones in which stores are always open and not crowded. I guess that's one of the (few) pros of my working hours. I can go to Target or the dry cleaners at 10:00 am on a Tuesday. Goody.

Anyway. Yesterday I had a little meltdown/hissy fit about not getting to go to Greece, and I realized something. I've basically been going full throttle since September without much of a break or vacation of any kind. The fall was full of audition trips and preparing for said audition trips while trying to build my teaching business. Even at Christmas, I had a paltry four days off. Then it was off to Madison, followed by more teaching, and now another Music of the Baroque concert and an entire month of touring in Wisconsin. I feel so lucky that my teaching business is thriving and that I've got singing gigs, but....I NEED A BREAK. I'm feeling the burnout big time. You know when you say something over and over and over and after awhile it doesn't make any sense to you anymore? That's how I feel about teaching singing. I've come to realize that teaching is something you can't do for eight hours a day, and you need to step away from it to gain perspective every now and again. I've tried to explain breathing and support to so many people that I've started to confuse myself. I've tried to make mousy, breathy voices strong; and i feel like I've had some success, but sometimes when nothing is working I just want to throw my hands in the air and give up. I could REALLY use a week off to just be. It would be nice to spend that week in Greece or some warm climate, but I'm not even that picky. I'd be happy to just sit at home, or take a trip to my parents', whom I haven't seen since Christmas.

The thing with freelancers is that we decide when we take our vacations. And when the gigs are rolling in and the teaching business is thriving, it's pretty difficult to go away from all that. I have a feeling that I'm going to get my break come summer, but since it's March and I've got weeks and weeks of work looming ahead of me, I'm feeling pretty pissy that I don't get any much-needed time off.

So I'm grumpy today. And I'm going to miss Nick a lot. And I'm scaaaared of sleeping in our apartment by myself. Could I rent a dog for a couple of weeks? One that doesn't poop in the house? That would be great.

Monday, March 03, 2008

oh the sex

Um, can we talk about how excited I am for this movie to come out? The trailer absolutely gives everything away, but I'm still giddy. What can I say? I'm a sucker for the fashion, glamour, and sex.

Hope your Monday is a little less bleak than mine -- it's raining/sleeting/snowing and back to freezing here in Chicago.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

yummy saturday

MmmmmmmSaturday. Today, I'm savoring my one day off a week and simultaneously celebrating the advent of spring. Yes, it's a paltry 35 degrees in Chicago today, but the sun is shining, and it's March 1st which means I have survived the two most depressing months of the year. I went outside in only my Gap puffer vest with the fur hood (well, I was wearing a long sleeve tee and jeans too) and was rocking my newly repaired Ralph Lauren sunglasses. Although I've given up manicures and pedicures, I decided to treat myself to a pedicure today. It was a rough week (more about that in a sec), and I really needed to do something nice for myself. I chose a very springy color from the new OPI Indian collection:

My new mantra: pedicures are not a necessary monthly maintenance treatment (I can clip my toenails myself), but rather a rare treat for when I'm feeling a bit low. And you know what? I enjoyed it a lot more today knowing that it was a treat and not going to happen again for awhile.

I am continuously thrilled that I can get whatever I need by walking around the corner from my apartment. Drop off the dry cleaning, fix the sunglasses, mail a letter, grab a Starbucks, get a pedicure, browse an antique store or a bookstore, get some sushi or a Swedish pastry...Andersonville is the best. It's days like today that I never want to leave the city. But talk to me on laundry day or when I can't find a parking spot and that's another story...

Back to the not-so-stellar week. I had a couple of twelve hour days this week, and while I'm doing things I love, a twelve hour day is bound to get to anybody. Then on Wednesday night I had an altercation with a parent of one of my students. It was more of an annoyance than anything major, but it made me so angry that I spent all Wednesday night stewing about it and had the first insomniac night I've had in a long time. I didn't have any Ambien, so I took two Nyquil, and when that failed to produce sleep I took a Vicodin. At this point it was 6:00 am and Nick had just left for work, and I was hoping to sleep for at least three hours in preparation for the twelve hour day ahead of me. Suddenly, I became convinced that I was going to die a la Heath Ledger. Now, I doubt that one Vicodin and two Nyquil taken five hours apart from each other has ever killed anybody. But I called Nick in a panic, and he convinced me that no, I wasn't going to die, and I should just go to sleep. The man is a dentist, so obviously he knows.

Anyway, long rambly story getting even longer, yesterday I missed the train to Palatine thanks to idiot Chicago buses and cabbies. I knew it was going to happen at some point. Since Nick and I have been down to one car for the past two months (his car will FINALLY be fixed on Monday, hooray!), I have been taking the train to my teaching job in the suburbs on Fridays. The train station in Palatine is a block away from the place where I teach, so that part of it is really convenient, but it takes two buses to reach the station where I pick up the train. Several times I've had to get off the bus and get into a cab in order to get to the station in time, but lately I've had it down to a science and haven't had any problems. Until yesterday. Things were going fine until I got on bus number 2. Usually, the Chicago bus drivers drive like completely crazed, coked up lunatics, but somehow, I had gotten on the slowest bus in the city. I quickly got off the bus and hailed a cab, whereby I came in contact with the stupidest cab driver in the city. When I finally got him to understand where I wanted him to take me, it was too late. I had missed the train that would get me there on time to teach. The next train wasn't for an hour. I was screwed. And of course, the people at this particular place where I teach act like the world is ending, even though there are usually plenty of people working the floor (it's a music store) or the desk who are perfectly qualified to step in until I can get there. I'm teaching piano to six-year-olds, not curing cancer here, people. So by Friday evening, I was ready for a big fat drink. Luckily, my colleague Jessica, with whom I ride the train home on Fridays, brought me a giant Newcastle to enjoy on the ride home. Yes, you can drink legally on the suburban commuter trains here. It's brilliant.

Now I am relaxing and watching the E! True Hollywood story of Renee Zelwegger. Ah, craptastic, meaningless television. Nick is at a watch collectors gathering, but I'm going to go pick him up around 7:30 and I think we're going to go bowling. I don't know why, I just got the urge to bowl today. Hope you are all having a fantastic weekend!