Thursday, August 28, 2008

Ok, I keep writing posts and then deleting them because they sound like a huge pile of crazy. I'll stop that now. One thing is certain: I need to get the hell out of this house and back to work!

I'll let you know how glad I am to be back when I'm sitting in rehearsals every night for the next two weeks. Say goodbye to cooking and seeing Nick during waking hours! :(

Have a great Labor Day weekend, y'all.

Friday, August 15, 2008

on the edge of my seat.

Ok, I'll admit it, I'm a bit Olympics obsessed this year. Four years ago, I don't think I watched a single second of the Games. Thinking back on it, I don't think Andrea and I had television in the summer of '04. We were too busy carousing Southport bars and going to Cubs games, I suppose.

But I remember watching it as a child with my family, begging my parents to stay up later and later to watch the gymnastics or ice skating finals (all little girls' favorite Olympic sports to watch). I remember tuning in to the Games in 1996 while on a church mission trip in West Virgina, all of us huddled around the little television, watching Kerri Strug brave a bum ankle on the vault to bring home gold for the American team.

You can't help but tear up at watching Bela Karoyli carry her to the medal podium.

Despite having a temp job this morning, thus having to rise early, I stayed up 'til 12:30 to watch Nastia Liukin bring home the gold. It was great to see this eighteen year old beat the pants off those Chinese children. For some reason, the Chinese athletes scare me to death. When they screw up, I see them thinking....banishment to a one room shack six hundred miles outside Beijing living off only $33 a month in welfare. That country seriously scares the crap out of me. Proud to be an American, I am indeed.

Watching Michael Phelps is nearly as enthralling. I'm convinced he's half-fish or merman or something. But watching history in the making is fascinating, and I've been glued to the television all week. Not to mention that most of the U.S. men's swim team members aren't half bad to look at. ;)

I guess part of the reason I've gotten so excited about these Games is that I identify (somewhat) with the athletes. Call me crazy (you won't be the first), but opera is pretty much the Olympics of singing. It takes the same sort of rigorous training, natural skill and talent, and narrow focus as training for a sport. Often in our OFY tours, when the kids would ask "how we sing like that", we would tell them that training your voice is like training for a sport. And it really is. It's all about muscle memory and stamina and training certain muscle groups to perform certain tasks. I know what it's like to be on the "disabled list" and the fear and determination that comes along with returning from an injury.

So though I'll never stand on a podium and have a medal put around my neck for my "sport", I feel a connection to these athletes. Sure, there are differences -- the main one being I'd like my career to last past my 30th birthday. But seeing their hard work and success materialize onscreen has given me new hope for my career. The main message being: keep on truckin'.

If you need a little inspiration in your day (life), just watch that Kerri Strug video a few times. See if you can get through it without tearing up.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Indy recap

'Twas a wonderful weekend in Indy, visiting my Gram for her birthday. I had not been to Indy since Thanksgiving 2006 -- I had forgotten how many childhood memories are contained in that city and my grandma's house. Just the smell of her house takes me back to summers as a kid where each of us would get our own "special visit" with grandma. We'd go by ourselves for four or five days, and grandma would spoil us rotten -- taking us to museums, out to dinner, and as I got older, shopping. Oh boy can Gram and I do some damage shopping. :) I remember shopping with her once for something like nine hours.

Her house also reminds me of many Christmases spent with the whole family together, all of my dad's siblings and spouses and our cousins. For some reason lately, I've been trying to recall memories of my childhood and find myself at a loss -- I feel like I really can't remember much anymore. I guess I just have to be in the right environment -- over the weekend I was flooded with memories. Nice, warm, happy memories. I hope I can give my kids those same type of memories someday.

Quick recap of weekend, sans pictures (Nick still needs to upload them). Friday evening we got into town around 8:00 pm and headed out to a Greek restaurant near my Gram's house. Check out my review of the place on Yelp. Saturday my Gram fixed us breakfast and then Nick and I headed out to do some exploring. We tooled around downtown for awhile and then I took him over to Broadripple, the "trendy" district of Indy. We had a drink and a light meal on the patio of a wine bar and stopped in a few shops, then headed back to Gram's to get ready for her birthday dinner. My aunt met us at Macaroni Grill and we had a lovely time catching up and celebrating Gram's 71st birthday. And damn does that woman look good for 71. She dresses better than I do, for goodness sake! I can only pray I look that good in forty some years.

Sunday I went with Gram to church, and then we went to her country club for brunch, where we met my aunt and cousin. Sunday afternoon we chilled in Gram's awesome neighborhood pool for awhile, then went to dinner at Rick's Boatyard. Again, check out my Yelp review. This place was great. Monday morning we packed up and headed home, stopping in Crown Point for a quick diner lunch. It was the perfect long-weekend trip, and I think Nick really relaxed and enjoyed himself. I know I did.

This week is uneventful. Today I am playing housewife, cleaning and doing what I lovingly refer to as the "bitch chores". Picking up dry cleaning, buying things at Target, making dinner, etc. I have a good feeling I'm going to be missing doing these things in a few weeks, especially the making dinner part. As it stands, I've got rehearsals/teaching til about 9 pm or later just about every day of the week starting after Labor Day. Nick does not like this aspect of my job, and neither do I. If I could do everything during the day I would, but it just doesn't work that way. We've been spoiled this summer with my lax schedule, so it's going to take some getting used to.

Pics of Indy trip to follow! Enjoy the fleeting days of summer, my friends.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

stuff (mostly boring)

You know what European tradition should be embraced by Americans? Taking the whole month of August off work. Somehow, I feel less guilty about not working this month knowing that an entire continent to my right is on vacation. I tried to convince Nick that we should take off for Greece for the month, but he didn't go for it. Too many things like bills and savings for down payments on houses and the bad economy getting in the way...

My summer of leisure is about to end, unfortunately. I've been putting my fall schedule together, and it looks to be about as crazy as last spring, if not crazier. I've added a gig -- I'm singing the High Holidays at a synagogue in Evanston -- and I've added a day in Plainfield teaching three voice classes for different age groups, plus more private students. Plus I've got MOB gigs and outreach teaching for them. I'm hoping to add a few more students on the North Shore to round out a couple of afternoons up there, but basically -- I'm booked. I'm not quite sure how I'm going to fit audition season into all this, but I'll find a way.

Audition season...something that's been on my mind lately. Last year I sort of went balls-out and just auditioned for everything I could. I didn't get any jobs out of it, but I got some good feedback and got my feet wet. This year, I'm going to be a little pickier in choosing which auditions to take. The wedding next year will undoubtedly rule out several programs, and I'm not even sure I'd want to do a summer program at all -- being out of town for the two months prior to the wedding doesn't seem like the best idea. I've got a pretty darn good career going here in Chicago that can only grow and get better, and I'm going to be a married woman -- A year-long young artist program that would require a move to another city and renting an apartment, or worse yet, living in some sort of dorm setting, sounds as about as appealing as...I don't know, something icky. So here's my plan: audition for every damn thing I can here in Chicago and nearby cities (such as Milwaukee, Madison, etc.), and try to get some auditions for programs that are one to three months long (preferably in a warm climate during the Chicago winter). Sure, it may seem like I'm limiting my options, but...I think it's more a matter of growing up and realizing what will make me happy and fulfilled. Being with Nick in Chicago makes me extremely happy, and I don't really see that changing. Ever.

Blech, audition rants already! You've probably stopped reading. Nick and I are off to Indianapolis tomorrow for a little three day weekend. It's my grandma's birthday, so we are taking her out on Saturday night. Nick hasn't seen much of Indy, so I'm going to show him around a bit. Not that I'm the Indy-expert (I've been on Yelp all week scoping out the scene), but I did spend a good amount of time there growing up and in college. I'll also get to see my aunt, uncle, and cousin whom I have not seen since my sister's wedding last year! Usually I see my extended family atleast twice a year but we missed them at Christmas. So I'm really looking forward to the weekend!

Have a good one, everybody!