Friday, May 23, 2008

(wish i was) back home indiana

Happy Memorial Day weekend everybody! I hope that you are enjoying it, wherever you may be. The news stations cannot stop talking about how the high gas prices are causing everyone to stay home this year, but walking down my usually-hopping-but- strangely-deserted street at 11:30 pm last night led me to believe otherwise. We, on the other hand, are spending this holiday weekend at home, mostly because we will be traveling to Kalamazoo for the nuptials of my cousin Katy next weekend. I am more than happy to chill at home this weekend. There's really only one place I'd rather be, and that is here:

Ever since I was born (and long before), my family has gathered every Memorial Day weekend at my maternal grandparents house in Speedway, Indiana, to celebrate the running of the Indianapolis 500. When we were kids, we would run around with our cousins, hold our own mini-500 on big wheels in my grandparents' driveway, eat way too much sugar and fried foods (courtesy of our grandmother), and watch all the crazy drunk people camping out in the streets. My father has attended nearly every running of the race since 1973 (with the exception of last year when he had to attend my cousin's graduation in Kansas). As my cousins and my siblings and myself got older, we started bringing friends and boyfriends/girlfriends to the festivities until the house was bursting with people. I myself have attended three races (maybe four?), but church jobs, singing gigs, etc., have kept me away for several years. I'm hoping to take Nick next year--the race is about as American as it gets, and it's something you really just have to experience at least once in your lifetime.

In other news, I'm feeling back to my old self again after a great voice lesson yesterday, several good hard workouts this week, and giving the house a severe cleaning. I'm getting my mind back where it needs to be in order to make this a productive summer and take my career to the next level. But for now, I'm going to relax and enjoy the weekend -- maybe (finally) some warm weather?

Cheers to the holiday weekend!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


Don't worry everyone, I'm fine. It was a pretty stressful and emotional twelve days of company, but I got through it. Maybe not as gracefully as I had hoped, but I think all the visitors had a decent time, and I think I learned a few important lessons.

The recent goings on around here were stressful and emotional for many reasons that I can't go into here on the ol' blog. Until now, I hadn't had to attend too many of Nick's family functions, so I learned a little something about compromise. The wedding was beautiful, the reception was a good time. And that's really all I can say about that. Elusive, I know.

And now I'm trying to get my life back in order. I can hardly believe that 2008 is practically half over. It's kind of scary, really. On one hand, I'm very happy with everything I've accomplished so far this year, but on the other hand, I feel like I have so much to do now. I worked very hard this year to make my living singing and teaching, and now most of the gigs are finished, and it's time to get back out on the audition circuit and try to get new gigs. Many things will start up again in the fall, like teaching and Music of the Baroque and church gigs, but I need to make a step forward in my career, I need to one-up myself if I want to get ahead. And that means I have to spend the summer working very hard to prepare for audition season. Summer is not typically a time when I've done my best work. The past two summers were pretty dreadful as far as getting ready for the audition season -- two summers ago I was suffering major panic and anxiety attacks, and last summer I was involved with a terrible production that ate up all of my time. I'm not sure what I need to do to make it better this year, but I'm going to figure it out.

And now I must get to the task of putting my life back in order--literally. There is a mountain of laundry that needs tackling, and an apartment that needs a good cleaning, and I told Nick I would cook dinner tonight since I'm not working today. And I should try to go the the gym at some point. I've got a bridesmaids dress to fit into in just over a month, and I'm having flashbacks of how tight the last 'maids dress was, plus I've eaten like a pig since the company was here. Eegads.

Here's a few pics:

I'll post more later, the pic uploader stopped working, per usual.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Monday, May 12, 2008

mayhem (Greek style)

It's mayhem here right now, so forgive me if the posts become rather few and far between. If I've learned anything from the past few days it's this: I am not ready to have a child. I treasure my alone time, tidy apartment with nice things, dinners out, and peace and quiet far too much at this point to have to put an end to it all. I'll let you know when the motherhood twangs kick in again. It may be a very long time.

The situation here is rather sitcom-esque. There are four people living in this house, two of whom are bilingual, two of whom are not. I'll leave it to you to figure out which is which. I have learned the key phrases "What are you doing?" and "Stop it!", and I'm quickly adding more to my Greek vocabulary. Angelo is warming up to me, despite my not being able to say much of anything that he understands. He calls me something that sounds like "Memily" or "Mamily". It's pretty cute.

I managed to keep my OCD at bay for about three days, but when I woke up this morning and found Rice Krispies smashed into every available surface of my house, I had to clean it up immediately. I told Nick's sister, it's not that I'm irritated that it's there, I just can't NOT clean it up. It's just who I am. I'll never be the Mommy who can just ignore messes and be unphased by it all. I admire those people, I do. But I accept the fact that I'll never be one of them.

I'm enjoying some quiet time in the house now while Nick is at work and Chrysanthe and Angelo are at the Lincoln Park zoo. Then I'll be heading out to Plainfield to teach lessons. Things are so out of the ordinary here that I've nearly forgotten I still must do my work. Luckily there isn't too much of it this week. Because things are about to get even crazier with the arrival of Nick's best friend on Wednesday.

God help me. Allow me to be patient and not so OCD. Love, E

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

sunny day!

It's a beauuuutiful day here in Chicago. Makes me wish I had a dog to take on a walk by the lake or a baby to push around in a stroller. Yesterday I took my first "lake walk" of the season. I headed down Foster with my sweatshirt and shorts on, and by the time I got to the beach I was hot and stripped down to just my tank top and shorts! It felt like summer! Today feels equally like summer, which is great fun except for the fact that my allergies are raging a battle against my body. Luckily I don't have a lot of singing to do right now, but I would like to be able to practice, and when I've got this much phlegm I don't even want to deal with it. Time to hit the neti pot and the steam, I suppose. Sigh.

Things are slowing down here, approaching a grinding halt actually. On one hand, I'm thankful for the upcoming break, and on the other hand, I'm fearful of the time off. Most of my students have informed me they don't plan to take lessons during the summer, which causes a major hit to the finances, and with no church job or chorus gigs, things are looking to be very slow indeed for the summer. If I get too bored, I might consider (and I'm shuddering even typing this) temping, but I've got several projects in mind, not least making a new audition recording and getting my shit together for fall auditions. Now that it looks like we're staying in this apartment for at least another year, I want to paint the dining room and stain a dresser and do a few more home-improvement projects. Just call me Sally Homemaker. With all that plus the summer wedding season, I should have plenty to keep me busy. Keep me out of the poorhouse? Maybe not. But I've done alright so far this year, and I think I have enough nuts stored for the "winter" to get me though. We shall see.

Two days until Nick's sister and nephew arrive! We went a little nuts at Target on Friday night buying toys for the little guy and ended up with the following:

One Sponge Bob folding table, one Mr. Potato Head, one Dora soccer kit, one Plah-Doh kit, Dora toothpaste and toothbrush, plastic cups, kiddie shampoo. We are ready!

And here is our new living room. We recently acquired this lovely shelf and chair and ottoman. The room is now complete! I haven't gotten everything I want onto the shelf yet; it's somewhat of a work in progress. I really want a plant and some cool bookends. But I think it really ties the room together!

I'm going to go enjoy this summery week while it lasts!

Thursday, May 01, 2008


So, I'm finally back home and life is returning to normal after that insane month on the road. On Sunday night, the PPS hit me pretty hard. Wait, what is PPS, you ask? Oh my friends. PPS is a very serious condition afflicting performers of all kinds. Its symptoms are not unlike those of depression: sleeping inordinate amounts, feelings of worthlessness and sadness, seeking comfort in food and booze. POST PERFORMANCE SYNDROME. In her groundbreaking 1998 book, Power Performance for Singers, Ms. Shirlee Emmons warns of the disasters of post-performance syndrome. It was upon reading this book in college that I realized just how insane singers really are. Although much of the book is downright nuts, the post-performance syndrome is very real. And by Monday morning, I was feeling it. I was thrilled to be home, elated to be with Nick again and not have to stay in another Super 8 or teach another child choreography. But I was feeling...low. OFY was my biggest, best gig thus far and it was over (until fall). I was faced with the idea of returning to the audition world, to my teaching jobs, and to normal, non-tour life. The thrill of performing a role was over for the time being.

I stayed in bed Monday morning until eleven. Then I headed to the gym in an attempt to get some positive energy going (and to work off those five pounds I most likely gained on the road). It felt good to be out on my street, that strip of Andersonville that I love so much. I went to the grocery and got excited to actually cook food again. You see, this is not the first time I've been afflicted with PPS, so I know what steps to take to overcome it. By Tuesday I had no time to even consider feeling bad -- I had to sing two outreach concerts for Music of the Baroque, then race to Palatine to teach lessons, then race back downtown to sing for the big deal MOB conductor. It was an insane day, but I made it through, and I sang a damn good audition (moonlight audition at 9:20 pm, Robert!). The MOB chorus director asked me to do a solo in the outreach concerts, which I nailed and got tons of positive feedback from fellow members and the director. So I've turned things around since Monday morning and I'm feeling like myself again. I've been a bit worried about how much I've been using my voice as opposed to how little I've been resting it lately. Things feel ok, but I know that it's time for a rest. One thing I learned from my previous vocal health crisis is to LISTEN to what my body is telling me. My voice is telling me it's time to shut up for awhile. Luckily I have the ability to do that this month. When you're a freelance musician, it's awfully hard to say no to any gigs, but I'm starting to realize why they tell young singers that sometimes the best thing you can do is say no. I have a very light singing summer, which I think is just what I need right now.

On a non-singing note, we are very busy here in chez Nick/Emily with preparations for "Greece Invades Our Apartment 2008". Nick's brother is getting married here in Chicago in two weeks, so we are housing his sister and her little boy (age three) and his best friend for several days. Chrysanthe (his sister) and her son arrive next Thursday, and Aki (Nick's best friend) arrives on the 14th. It's going to be a bit wild and crazy. Chrysanthe hasn't been to the States in eight years, and her son has never been here. He hardly speaks his own language, let alone English, so I'm a bit concerned about how I'm going to communicate with him. I'm hoping my Greek improves to the level of a three year old in the next month! Aki has never been to the States either, so Nick is really excited to show him around. It should be a really great time, but it will be a little stressful having all these people in my apartment. This weekend is going to be spent cleaning, buying things (like toddler food) and general errand running to prepare for their visit.

This has been an extremely long post, so I will sum it up: Life is crazy here. It never stops. And I love it.