Wednesday, June 30, 2004

4 days in the Berkshires

Friday morning Mark dropped us off at Pier 11 where the passenger ferries that feed NYC dock. We bought our tickets for the 8:10 ferry back to B*something* NJ. (Some things do not stay in my brain no matter how many times my wife tells me what they are) We had about 25 minutes until our ferry was suppose to depart so Anne Carolyn went to get some provisions from Starbucks. A ferry pulled up to our slip and people started pouring off it and coming up the gangplank from the slip. we made our way over with all our luggage and our Starbucks goodies and waiting for the stream of people to subside so that We could make our way down to the slip and board. On our way over there Anne Carolyn dropped her latte. And then we noticed that pretty much as soon as the last person got off the ferry, the boat started pulling away. Anne Carolyn ran down the ramp shouting "Wait!" and I think maybe some words of an expletive nature. They pulled back torwards the slip and we found out that they were not going to where we were going. After one more false alarm (we were camped out down on the slip now) our boat arrived. After 200+ people disembarked, 2 people got on... -AC and I.

The Ferry had some friendly if somewhat rough around the edges personel and some pretty good coffee which helped sooth the loss of the fallen latte. We took our coffees up to the upper deck and stood in the lee of the cabin out of the wind. As the City started to disappear our attention turned to shipping traffic and sailboats. It was a really nice little cruise for $15.

On our arrival in NJ Anne Carolyn called Greg the previous owner of our $900 1988 Toyota Corolla. After about 10 or 15 mins, he arrived with the car which is in excellent and refused an offer of a ride home, saying he was going to get some coffee and call a cab.

Anyhow, we made our way up the NJ parkway to the Berkshires. We stopped in Pittsfield and picked up a map of the area at a drug store. We went over to Miss Hall's where the check in was and then figured out how to get to the Apt that we are renting.

Larry and Gale who own the apartment were still busy fixing it up when we arrived. All new apliances (some of which are not yet hooked up), a new ceiling fan (which does work very nicely), a new bed, and some other nice things like cable tv and a dvd player.

Anyhow, Gale and Larry are super people and I feel good about AC living upstairs from them.

There is a Cybercafe about 2 blocks from where AC is living, however they have really weird Summer hours and were never open when we wanted to go there. This is a different one than AC and I had originally tracked. However, we get really good phone reception in the apartment so I figured out how to use her cell phone as a modem/gateway to access the internet via the IR port on her phone and PDA. It's pretty crazy but it works! Google, Email, posting here, the whole deal.

I just sent her off today a small box of things including a cable that should let her use a full sized keyboard with her pda.

In less technical areas of the trip, we enjoyed tooling around the Berkshires a bit and just generally getting settled in. We had a nice picnic on the Tanglewood grounds and some walks around Pittsfield which has a kind of 1940's small town feel to it. I think it lacks major industry now though so it is in a process of re-orientation. There is a pretty neat Art thing going on there where there are all of these sheep that have been painted and done up. (not real sheep but fiberglass)

I gotta go do some work... I'll try to write some more later!

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Today I had my first interview with the NY Times. Granted, it wasn't really about me, but still! My name will be in the Times. Cool. It was for an article on the collaboration between Tanglewood and Mark Morris.

Hmm... it just dawned on me that you may not know about that collaboration. Last year has the first time TWD invited a dance group - the Mark Morris Dance Group - to come give a dance concert with music provided by the fellows. In addition to learning the music we performed with them, we got to attend their rehearsals and have workshops with them. In these workshops, they taught us a movement of one of the dances they perform - the exact same choreography! I think the piece was Bach's first cello suite. Most of the other fellows have very little dance training, but the professional dancers were so patient. I was having a blast! I love dancing, so getting to dance Mark Morris's choreography, even in a workshop setting, was amazing. Oh, and then we got to perform the piece for a group of other fellows - with Yo-yo Ma playing cello! Talk about surreal...

So Mark Morris enjoyed being at TWD so much that he asked to Come back. His group has been here since Saturday, and our concerts are this weekend. We're performing Vivaldi's "Gloria;" last year we did a Bach motet. Tony Fogg (BSO Artistic Director) told me that MM wants to come every year. How great for TWD.

Back to my interview! I think I was chosen because I was here last year, too, and because I obviously love it.

I was asked what the other fellows had been saying about the classes, and how/if I felt the classes have heped me as a musician, among other things. You'll have to watch for the article to hear my answers...

Sunday, June 27, 2004

My first official post from Tanglewood! The internet set-up is still a little shaky, so you'll have to bear w/ short posts for a while. I am using my phone as a modem and writing on my PDA. (I can't seem to consistently Write certain letters in loWercase. As you can see...) Next week Erik will send me a cable for my portable keyboard, so I should be able to write more then.

For now, though: my apartment is great. I have 3 rooms (plus bath) in a 2OO-year-old house. The owners, Gail and Larry, are so nice. They have a bit of a west coast air about them, and Erik and I have enjoyed talking with them. There are 3 cats and a very energetic dog, so my "small animal" fix will be met. One of the cats can open the door into my apartment, so I have to keep it locked!

Rehearsals are already in full swing. It is so good to be back here, Making music at this level. The Britten (Midsummer) is going to be spectacular! All the singers seen very nice, and of course it's good to see friends from last year. More on all that later.

Erik leaves toMOrrow. It has been great having hiM here; it has really made this place feel like home. I will miss him.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

in NYC

Just a quick note. We're here in Brooklyn at M&E's house, spending a couple days visiting them and doting on Sylvia. She absolutely adores Erik, hanging around him all day. They have delightful conversations, play games and puzzles, and generally amuse each other. It is so fun to watch. Right now she is talking to him about how much she likes cats... (Especially Jane, a "big fat cat.")

Tomorrow morning we head to New Jersey to pick up my summer car, a 1988 Toyota Corolla that I bought off I'm buying it from the original owner, who has had the car serviced twice a year every year and has all the maintenance records. Says it drives great, looks great, and is only selling it because he's getting a new car from his sister. Well, her old car 'cuz she's getting a new one. I have high hopes, but still have some intrepidation about buying a car off the internet. I mean, a book, sure. But a car?! I am in possession of the title, though, so it's mine, no matter what shape it's in. A good or bad thing? Time will tell.

Also found out that my old voice teacher's manager will for sure be at the opera in July. I am going to send him some materials - biography, cd with my best selections, and a "what I want from my career" statement - before then, and hopefully sing for him again in September. I'll keep you posted...

Monday, June 21, 2004

photo albums

I discovered yesterday that the link on the left only links to my general, miscellaneous Photo Album. The album with the photos that don't really have a category, not the good ones! I'm working on fixing that (T-Mobile doesn't seem to have a page that lists all public albums for view. I'm working on that, too.), but for now, here are individual links:

Home and Family

I've also created a page for Tanglewood photos. Those should start posting this weekend! There are spots on each page where you can sign up to get an email whenever new pics are added.

Time for breakfast with my personal shopper!

Sunday, June 20, 2004


This is a test post to check out Erik's email notification.

(If you would like to receive an email whenever a new post is published, email me.)

Final Cast for Movie

CT and I have been obsessing a bit over casting this movie of my life. The cast list has grown to include several people not originally in the Friday Five. There is certainly enough storyline for everyone, so I say, "The more, the merrier!" Here it is, then, the all-star cast of my life (We'll start from the beginning, introducing characters chronologically.)

Mom B: Blythe Danner (won the role over Diane)
Dad B: Steve Martin
Mark: Hugh Jackman (I'm not worrying about who's going to play the child versions of us. I assume they'll hire unknowns.)
ME!: Gwenyth Paltrow (My casting director encouraged me to go with Gwen over Cameron. Something about sophistication...)
Sally: Reese Witherspoon
Erik: Ewan McGregor
Mom R: Sally Field
Dad R: Gene Hackman (this is a good one)
SSR: Renee Zellweger (when we told her, she said, "Who?")
Deane: Philip Seymour Hoffman (minus about twenty lbs)
Erika: Julia Stiles
Calin: Drew Barrymore
Laura: Kathy Najimy
Stacey: Claire Daines
Collin: Heath Ledger (Collin is married to Stacey, who says that if Heath Ledger is playing her husband, she wants to star as herself!)
Liz M: Shirley MacLaine (too good!)
Marsh P: Bob Hoskins
Jordan: Orlando Bloom (he, also, said, "who's that?" when we told him. Honestly, people, pop culture is not your enemy!)

If you feel that you, too, need to have a part in this movie, and you know who you would like to portray you, email me! I'll add you to the list... Someday, when I'm a star, we can reference this list and have our pick. =]

more on the environment

I was just doing some searching online about my summer neighborhood. Looks like I'll be right in the heart of old downtown Pittsfield. Norman Rockwell lived and worked in Stockbridge, MA, which is about ten miles down the road. Very similar in feel and look; your classic American small town. My street is a few blocks off the main street, quiet, but close to everything.

I will be about half a mile from a coffee shop that has wireless internet. I anticipate having coffee there quite often while I check email and write my blog. Erik has set me up with a nice portable computer system. Not a laptop, but a "Pocket PC." Like a PDA, but with more memory, more power, more applications. I'll be writing shorter entries until I get my portable keyboard set up; I can only write so much with that tiny stylus before I go crazy. Now, let's just hope that these folks really know how to make a latte...

I'm also right up the street from the Berkshire Museum, which has a fabulous art house cinema. My host family took me there last summer; we saw I Capture the Castle and Whale Rider. A small theatre, it was filled with people in Berkenstocks and sweaters who made lots of "hmm"ing noise throughout the films. You know, low "hmms" for something that strikes them as really deep, higher ones for things that catch them by surprise or that mean "I hadn't thought of it that way before." I know where of I speak. I am certainly one of those people! I'm looking forward to spending more time there with my kind.

More later...

Saturday, June 19, 2004

my living situation

Here's a bit more info on my set-up at Tanglewood this summer. Erik and I decided that this summer I would not live in the dorm. Last summer it felt a bit too much like going back to college - shared bathroom down the hall, crappy beds, LOTS of parties. I am still amazed at how much incredible music was created last summer despite the late hours and alcohol consumption! (Not by me, of course...) And this way we can really be together when he comes to visit.

So we found a small apartment in a home nearby. It's about one mile from Miss Hall's (the school for girls that Tanglewood rents for dorm facilities) and about seven miles from the Tanglewood grounds. Most rehearsals for the opera will be held at Miss Hall's, so this will be a perfect location. The owners (Gail and Larry) seem really nice. They will be living on the lower floors of the house with Gail's daughter and grandbaby (the first grandbaby!), who is staying with them while her husband is stationed in Turkey. I will have the upper floor, which includes a small kitchen, bathroom, and my own entrance up some outside stairs. Tanglewood is helping out a little by giving my what they would have spent on my food at Miss Hall's, so all in all the apartment will cost us $1200. Not bad for that part of the Berkshires in the summer.

I have also bought a little car, an '88 Corolla, to help me get around. We bought it from the original owner who has all the service records for the car, so I'm betting it will be in good shape. It only has 134k miles on it, which, for a Toyota, is nothing. I'm hoping to sell it again at the end of the summer, so it should only cost us a couple hundred dollars to have transportation for the summer. Another great deal!

Off to mail some boxes to myself... More later.

Friday, June 18, 2004

The Friday Five!

This is my first foray into the blog phenomenon of the "Friday Five." Every Friday, some folks at LiveJournal post five random questions for bloggers to include in their post for the day. Kind of a strange get-to-know you sort of thing. Don't know if I'll remember to do it every Friday, but we'll see!

(More on my prep for T'wood later today. First, randomness.)

1. What is the creepiest everyday object you know?
I don't get this question. Guess I don't get "creeped out" by objects. People, yes.
2. What's the most useful everyday item?
My car key (or car, for that matter)
3. What's the most useless everday item?
Any item that has "everyday" status can't be useless.
4. If the power was out for 24 hours, what would you do?
For food: eat veggies from our garden in the backyard!
For fun: Day: visit the Locks in Ballard to watch the boats and salmon; Night: read outloud to Erik by candlelight
5. If you had to have one item you use everyday surgically attached to you, what would it be, and why?
My pitch pipe. I'm always losing it, but wish I had it with me at all times.

And here's last week's Friday Five. It's a good one:

There's a movie being made about your life! Which celebrity will play...

1. you? Why?

Gwenyth Paltrow. It seems vain, but I like her style. Or maybe Cameron Diaz, for a bit more of my spazzy side.
2. your love interest? Why?
Maybe Matt Damon? Smart, cute. Or Ewan McGregor, for that slightly unkempt irresistability. (And both of them could look like Erik, with the right wardrobe.)
3. your best friend? Why?
I've got a group of them, so here goes: Drew Barrymore (CT), Kathy Najimy (LF), Julia Stiles (EB), and Renee Zellweger (SSR).
4. your enemy? Why?
I don't really have any enemies. But I'll bet Selma Blair could be a really good opera diva nemesis!
5. any family member? Why?
I can actually answer for all of my family! We've already thought this through:
Mom: Diane Keaton or Blythe Danner - elegant and classy with a funny side
Dad: Steve Martin - funny with an elegant, classy side
Mark: Hugh Jackman. Enough said.
Elizabeth: Helena Bonham Carter - petite, sophisticated with just a little edge
Sally: Reese Witherspoon - All-American cute blonde!

Now, who's making this movie?!!

Thursday, June 17, 2004


In preparation for the summer, I went on my annual shopping binge yesterday...

I've never been a shopper. I didn't get that gene that a lot of women seem to have, the one that allows them to shop all day without pain or going into debt. Three hours is about all I can handle, and that I can only do once a year. Thankfully, I had my faithful friend and personal shopper along for the ride! (I think she somehow got my gene, so she has two.) She carried the clothes and the bags, helped me choose from six pairs of capris that looked basically the same (it finally came down to which one showed less "unmentionable"), convinced me that it was ok to wear patterns and bright colors, and unearthed three gorgeous dresses from the sale rack. While I know I will not be the fashion-plate of the summer at T'wood (there will be two other sopranos there who, very likely, are more clothes-conscious than I), I will look like I give a damn. Which I do.

Since I only shop once a year, I tend to be hard on my clothes. They get worn a lot, so they get worn out quickly. And living in the temperate climate of Seattle, it is possible to wear jeans, t-shirts, and cardigan sweaters year-round, so I do! And I definitely prefer function to trend. All this to say that my drawers and closet are full of clothes that I wear full-time for a year, then stop wearing. Today, all those clothes are going in a bag and heading to the Goodwill! They are good clothes, clean and hole-free. I just wore them so often I'm bored with them. I guess that's better than wearing things once and getting bored with them, but the more I write the more guilty I'm starting to feel. But I'm not throwing them away, I'm passing them on. That's ok, right?

(The dresses are gorgeous...)

we are with Links

After many frustrating hours (yes, hours; I know, I have better things to do!) learning how to speak "web design," I now have a Links list. These are either links I visit everyday and are therefore part of my online persona, or they are links that I think you might be interested in.

I have a camera phone now, so I'm planning to post regular Tanglewood pictures in the album. Pictures of new friends, beautiful views, and other such representations of my life in the Berkshires.

Another link is the Boston Symphony / Tanglewood home page. Any of you planning a visit will find lots of information there. Plus a little history and all that other good PR stuff.

I'm still tweaking with the layout, so be patient. This is fancier than last year's journal, and it's taking me a while to adjust! But I think I can handle fancy: when my grandfather was visiting a few weeks ago, he said, "Everything in this house is fancy; even the people!" I think he meant it as a compliment.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Ok, now we're getting somewhere!

I've been working on this thing for weeks, trying to create a style and format that I like. I think I've finally found it... Now all I need is a Links section (maybe a Cast List?), and I'll be satisfied.

I wanted my journal to include a quote from Edna St. Vincent Millay's poem "The Concert." (Hence all the formatting issues. You can read the whole poem here: The Concert) I read this poem a few years ago and have loved it ever since. I understand the speaker's desire to experience something alone - in this case a concert - and then to come home and share it with someone. In the same way that teaching someone is a great way to learn, recounting an experience is a way to make it more real, more permanent in your memory. That is what I hope to achieve here, on my journal. You, the reader (my friend? family? both? neither?), will be my sounding board, my memory keeper. Even though you are not here with me, we can someday say, "Remember that day at Tanglewood? The day you found god in a tree?" (That was last summer, but I'm hoping he's still there...)

So read on. Enjoy the fantastic and the quotidian, the musical and the physical. I know I will.
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