Saturday, May 31, 2008


As I boarded the train this morning (early this time!), I felt a surge of excitement. My summer has begun! I am in such a different state of mind this May than I was last, and instead of coming to this retreat to heal and recoup, I feel like I am here to start a new chapter.

It is amazing to be back in this beautiful apartment, greeted by a massive thundershower and L&C's smiling faces. I can hear the familiar birds in the woods out back, and I'm already anticipating the assault of the frogs come evening.

But first, unpack. Then Trader Joe's, probably, and then reunions!! And speaking of reunions: I just peeked out the window and spotted my first white-tail deer. So much nicer than the dead mouse I found in my kitchen yesterday... Hooray for a summer in the country!

Friday, May 30, 2008


That’s pretty much the only thing on my To Do list today. I spent all day yesterday cleaning and organizing, filing that folder of papers that’s been growing in my shelf, getting rid of a few books, and generally getting my ducks in a row. When I go away, I prefer to come home to a clean house, so I always clean a bit before I go. The longer the trip, the more intense the clean, it seems. My space will be dusted and tidied, ready for me to just slip right back in come September. I’ll be taking over the lease on my little hobbit hole, so my weeks between gigs this fall will be filled with painting and finding furniture and nesting (haha) in general.

I have some thoughts brewing about the blog, but I may not get to them until I’m settled in Virginia. I’ve got a car to buy, music to study, walks to take and friends to catch up with, not to mention a ten-day trip to visit B. I feel prepared enough for my upcoming Candide rehearsals that I might even consider part of that trip *gasp* a vacation!! Whoa.

Thursday, May 29, 2008


Not to be confused with the NRA, New Amsterdam Records is the rockin’ label started by my friend Judd and his friends. They were featured in a fantastic spot on All Things Considered tonight, and I am so proud! I know I didn’t have anything to do with their accomplishments, but it feels so good to see and hear my friends having such awesome success. Congrats, NAR!!

Listen to the segment on the NPR site.

And I was serious about joining NAR’s music networking site. I’ve had a couple of friends say, essentially, “Am I cool enough?” There is definitely an edgy side to the site, but that’s new music. Actually, that’s young hip people who happen to be classical musicians, and almost all of my colleagues classify as young hip people. So, yes: you are all cool enough! Maybe too cool, even, but that’s even better. You know you want it...

If you are a singer or instrumentalist, if your are in an ensemble, if you run a concert series, if you write music... come join the network. Even if you don’t consider yourself a “new music person,” come create a presence. Who knows, you might discover a project you’d like to get involved with.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

My own bed

What a joy to wake up in my own bed this morning! And the heat that was oppressive around 11pm last night broke overnight and I slept like a dream. I'm off to get a haircut and run some errands - when one is only home for four days, you don't do much else. Errands, coffees and lunches and drinks with friends, and pack. That's my life for the next three days.

I have a big thought brewing, though, so I'll try to get some writing time this afternoon.

Monday, May 26, 2008

The Dress

Remember that Badgley Mischka dress I’ve been talking about for about a year but never managed to get a picture of? Well, here you go!Andy took this picture, and he told me to “work it;” hence the silly pose and sly smile. I don’t have on my lipstick yet, but you get the general idea. You can’t see the bottom of the skirt, but it’s a fishtail skirt with a small train. So lovely.

I knew months ago that I would wear this dress for these concerts; in fact, I bought the dress largely because of them (thanks, KG, for the tip!). To my mind, when I’m singing a non-religious concert with an orchestra, flashy is the way to go. Show a little skin, wear a bright color... be fun and flirty! When I asked the mezzo on the concert what she was wearing, she gave an answer that almost seemed like the punch line to a joke about the difference between sopranos and mezzos: “Oh, you know, I thought - orchestra concert, so something black, kind of simple.” hehe

She looked like a million bucks in her “simple” black velvet gown and sang a fantastic “I Hate Men.” With Andy and Nic in their tails and the actors in their basic black, I think we were all good representatives of our “types!”

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Off the wagon

Ok, so my 30-day project has failed in one regard - I missed the last two days - but it was a success in another - I feel like I’ve got the blog juices going again. I’m going to continue to strive for almost daily posting, but that may have to wait until I get back to NYC on Tuesday. I’ll be with family today and tomorrow and I’m not sure what the internet situation will be at the house.

The concerts have been a blast, and I have much to share about how wonderful it’s been working with actors again. But the biggest thing to share in this short post is that I finally feel like I have a hometown orchestra! I know I only lived here in Atlanta for a year, but I’ve had family here for over 15 and still have many friends. I saw two of my college roommates and good friends last night after several years and I’ll see them both again tomorrow; with one I’ll meet her daughter and with the other, her Harley Davidson!! She’s wanted one as long as I’ve known her; maybe I’ll even get a ride...

More “hometown” evidence: when one can be surprised by a backstage visit from her first voice teacher... that can only happen “at home,” right?! I’ll tell the fully story later, but it was so good to see him - and to have him compliment my technique! Always good to have a former teacher think you’re singing well...

I’m going to post this quick note before I lose my hotel internet. More soon, hopefully!

Thursday, May 22, 2008


I might be over Facebook, and not just because I can’t seem to win at Scrabulous.

When I recently turned down a friend request, I said that it was because I usually “try to wait until I work with someone twice before I add them.” I didn’t even realize when I wrote that that, of course, I had added several other members of the cast; they were my friends, had become my friends during our rehearsals. What I should have said was that I try to become friends with someone before I add them, or that I try to make sure the relationship is more than superficial, more than the “insta-friendship” that so often appears on a gig.

But how do you say to someone, “Sorry, we didn’t really bond, so I don’t want to be Facebook friends with you?” How do you say, “I’m not sure you and I are going to “Christmas card” friends, so can we wait on the Facebook thing?” Or, for a different kind of request, “Hey, we weren’t really even friends in school, so why do you want to be my Facebook friend?” Or, “I know we know a lot of the same people, but I’ve never met you, so, ummm... ??” When I was a kid and I would call someone “my friend,” my mom would often say “That person is really more of an acquaintance; be careful which words you choose.” (Guidance like that is partially responsible for my love of language as an adult.)

Even MySpace is freaking me out these days: I’m getting fairly regular proposals from a guy in China (at least, that who/where he says he is) who wants to marry me and make me a famous movie star. Ummm... no, thanks. I think I’ll move my non-blog networking site to New Amsterdam Records and just be done with the quagmire that is MySpace. (Seriously, if you want a music-only networking site, hie thee hence to and make a profile. It’s the wave of the future.)

I was pretty blunt about the online-friendship thing last summer at Wolf Trap, telling a lot of the Studio Artists that I probably wasn’t going to ad them, and that if I did it would likely be on Limited Profile. When I wrote about this subject a year ago, I had 20% of my Friends list on Limited Profile. That is now up to 55%. Over half!! And who has 329 friends anyway?! I need to figure something out... I’m heading into another summer gig where I’ll make about 40 “friends.” Oh boy.

In the end, there is no formula for what makes someone feel like a friend versus an acquaintance. That’s my call. I’m sure I’ll offend some people by cutting back my Friends list or by not adding them right away, but anyone who doesn’t understand my reasons for being a bit more private, for having a less liberal definition of Friendship, probably isn’t a real friend anyway.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

So close, so far

My boyfriend is on a gig in another state. We talk several times a day on the phone, send text messages, and spend at least an hour every night video-chatting on our Macs. Sometimes it feels like he’s as close as he would be if we were both in New York; sometimes it feels like he’s on Mars.

My parents and sister are in Georgia, spending the day and night up in Athens with my grandmother. Athens is about a 90 minute drive, I can’t get up there because of rehearsal tonight and tomorrow morning. Today is my mom’s birthday, and I’m pretty sad that she is so close and yet I can’t be with her. The Brooklyn Birds are getting in to Atlanta tonight and we’ll all see each other tomorrow, but I want to see them now. I want to hug my mom on her birthday.

My friend CT the DT is in Seattle. Her cancer is back. For the fourth time. In her lungs and bones and brain. We talked on the phone last week, and she has started another blog about her cancer fight. We are in touch, but we can not touch. And I would really like to touch her...

Until somebody actually invents a transporter, there really isn’t enough technology in the world to ease my heavy heart tonight.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Things that are on my “love it” list right now, or “Gerunds”

Night guards who say, unprompted, “You have a lovely night, darlin.” Overhearing the concierge telling a guest about the tapas restaurant down the street, and hearing the guest say, “Excuse me?!” knowing that he thought the guy said “a topless restaurant.” The general - and genuine - friendliness of the staff here.

Discovering that I didn’t actually have rehearsal today, and so ending up with a “free day” that was more productive than many of my recent “work days.” Spending two hours with the Candide score, drilling chromaticisms and crisp rhythms. (This is going to be so much fun!)

Making contact with two high school friends and making plans to see them this week, both after many years. Knowing that my mom and dad and sister are in the same time zone! Making plans to see my Mamma on Thursday and planning a sleepover with my sister. Knowing that my dad brought a camera lens in his carry on...

Walking to the grocery store, knowing that most folks in Atlanta would take the car. Carrying home my provisions in my Envirosac. Turning off the AC in my room and opening the balcony door, enjoying the sweet Southern evening.

Having a fridge in my hotel room, and being fully loaded up with snacks. Finding Kefir and organic apples and my favorite Irish cheddar at the grocery store.

New albums: Marry Me, St. Vincent (buy it. now.); Narrow Stairs, Death Cab for Cutie; Talking Through Tin Cans, The Morning Benders

Dinners with generous supporters and friends, sharing stories of families and music and unexpected love. Being one of two tables at the restaurant; being guests of the chef and so turning your meal over to her. Six courses later, getting a tour of the facility. Walking home in the cool night feeling so blessed to live the life I do!

Monday, May 19, 2008

The Hard Way

Not too long ago I was saying to B that I’d always had good luck with “cutting it close” for flights, avoiding long waits before a flight by planning my trip to the airport just so. We laughed about it and said that it was probably a matter of time before my luck ran out, before I learned the hard way that I should always leave more time than I think, rather than less.

Well, today I learned.

Late out the door, traffic in Manhattan, traffic on the expressway, getting dropped off at the wrong terminal... Any one of those things could have been surmountable, but add them all up, and the lead up to a missed flight. Fortunately, I was flying to a major city on a major airline, so I just got rebooked on the next flight, one hour later than planned. It cost me $50, but it could have been much worse. And next time, I imagine I’ll be early.

I’m in the same hotel I was in back in 2005 for the Ainadamar recording and in 2006 for the La Pasion tour. Feels very familiar and comfortable. I have a lovely suite with a balcony and a luxurious (hopefully not-too-soft) bed, but the hotel has no free internet! I can plug into the wall for $12.95 A DAY or I can go down to the 2nd floor Business Center and use the wireless - 90 minutes for $15!!! Unbelievable! I guess they’re used to business people with expense accounts. Thank god for unencrypted wireless signals flying through the ether. Hopefully I’ll be able to maintain my daily posting this week. I’m getting this one in under the wire... cutting it close, yet again!

Sunday, May 18, 2008


About halfway through the first part of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra concert at Carnegie Hall this afternoon, I knew what I wanted to write about today: applause. But then I had an encounter at intermission that trumped my first idea, at least temporarily.

Yesterday I did something to my back, tweaked it somehow, and I’ve been in pretty serious pain on and off since then. It’s an old injury, from my gymnastics days, and if my overall core strength is diminished or if I sleep in a too-soft bed, one wrong move can set things a-spazzin’. Not fun. (For more on injuries to girls in high school and college sports programs, read this article from last week’s NYTimes. I was FAR from an athlete, and I still have physical maladies that plague me. I can only imagine what today’s hardcore female athletes will have to deal with unless they get better strength training and preventative care.)

ANyway... I digress. At intermission, as we were getting up from our (wonderful and generously donated orchestra) seats, I had to grab my friend’s arm to get up to a standing position. My friend was (still is, actually) a man, not my boyfriend, but it’s crowded and pushy in that aisle at intermission, and so I was standing very close to him, doing my best to stand up straight and not get jostled about. He had just asked about the pain in my back, and as I was telling him, a woman walked past us and said “This is no place for a romance, kids.”

Umm... excuse me?! I turned to watch her go, my mouth agape, and before I could stop myself I said, “I’m in pain, but thank you.” (I don’t know what that was supposed to mean, but that’s what came out.) As I turned back in astonishment to JM, another woman was passing by and acknowledged the first woman’s comment. “That was so rude! And even if you weren’t in pain, why isn’t this a place for a romance?!”

Why not, indeed. There were so many things wrong with that woman’s behavior, I almost don’t know where to start. How about: mind your own business? You can never tell what is going unless you are directly involved in a conversation. There was no PDA, no googly eyes, no sweet talk. She made a snap judgement, and it was completely wrong. She should have kept her mouth shut. I’m sure that if I hadn’t been in such pain, I would have come up with an even more witty statement to tell her so.

And how about: this is exactly the kind of attitude that keeps “kids” out of the concert halls! As the second woman recognized, a passionate orchestra concert on a rainy Sunday afternoon is fantastic place for romance! (She was there with a handsome gent who seemed tickled by the whole encounter. There seemed to be a bit of romance between them... but what do I know.) There certainly was enough passion on that stage to ignite a fire, and the buzz in the auditorium at the end was absolutely hott. The audience felt the enthusiasm coming from the performers, and they responded to it with an extended ovation. My dictionary widget defines "romance" thusly (second definition): “a quality or feeling of mystery, excitement, and remoteness from everyday life.” Seems a pretty good definition of what was going on in that hall today. How sad that this woman was seemed only concerned with everyone minding their p’s and q’s. Were I not “a regular” at this sort of thing, I can see how her comment would have turned me sour on ever going back.

I wonder why she was there in the first place. What did she get from the afternoon? Did the music move her in any way? Or was she one of the people who jumped out of her seat after Gergiev’s first bow, heading toward the exit to grab her coat and find a cab? Maybe I’m wrong, and maybe she was one of the hundreds who stood and called him back three times, eager to thank him and the orchestra for temporarily transporting them. Those who stood and applauded until the end are guilty of what some might see as inappropriate conduct in a venerable hall like Carnegie.

We all had a romance with Maestro Gergiev and the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. I hope we did not offend.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Five minutes

I usually keep quiet when I travel, not having inherited my mother’s proclivity for comfortably talking to strangers. She is always ready with a smile, and is seemingly willing to hear anyone’s life story. Me, I prefer to keep to myself, avoiding talking to strangers unless absolutely necessary. Cab drivers hear my destination when I get in and a “thank you” when I get out. Seat mates on the plane usually only hear my voice when I order my hot water with lemon. When I travel, it becomes even more evident that I am closer to “introvert” than “extrovert” on the Myers-Briggs test.

But the other night, upon arriving at my destination upstate, the cab stand set me up with a shared ride. It was late, and there were only two cabs and a handful of people who needed them. I got the impression that this was pretty standard procedure for this town. I knew my destination was just about five minutes from the station, so I actually started the conversation, breaking the slight tension that came from the unexpected share. I could talk to a stranger for five minutes...

When I told the woman that I was visiting the area to hear my boyfriend sing a concert (rehearse for a concert, technically; I had to leave before the performance), we of course got to talking about opera. An art professor at a college upstate, she confessed that she’d never been to an opera, stating that she knew she’d have to go alone if she ever went. We talked about the Met at the Movies program, and she seemed to like the idea of breaking herself (and hopefully a friend or two) in that casual environment. She then went on to say that she had always been kind of attracted to opera, mostly because of the idea that it is a synthesis of so many art forms; she even mentioned Wagner’s idea of Gesamtkunstwerk, or “total/integrated/complete artwork.” Although she couldn’t remember the German word (neither could I), she said, “opera was the original multimedia, don’t you think?”

Yeah, I absolutely do. It was one of the ideas that made me see opera in a different light once I started studying music in college. Thanks for the reminder, stranger.

Friday, May 16, 2008

FriPod: Long

It’s been a while since I’ve gotten a FriPod up, even though I’ve made the lists. Guess I’ll take this 30-day blogging exercise as an opportunity to get this fun way of viewing my iTunes library back up and running. I think this is a particularly diverse list, very indicative of my library...

Long Line of Pain, Amos Lee, Supply and Demand
The Longest Time, Billy Joel, The Essential Billy Joel
Long Ago and Far Away, Chet Baker, The Best of Chet Baker Sings
It hasn’t been long enough, Eric Hutchinson, Sounds Like This
Gone Too Long, Idlewild, Rarities 1997-2007
A Long Time Ago, Jim Croce, Greatest Hits
Live Long, Kings of Convenience, Riot On an Emptry Street
So Long, Marianne, Leonard Cohen, The Best of...
Don’t Wait Too Long, Madeleine Peyroux, Careless Love
Tomorrow is a Long Time, Nickel Creek, Why Should the Fire Die?
The Long Day is Over, Norah Jones, Come Away with Me
Another Long One, Shawn Colvin, Steady On
Long Time Ago, by Aaron Copeland, performed by William Warfield & Aaron Copeland
At Long Last Love, Bill Henderson, Night & Day: The Cole Porter Songbook
I’ve Been Loving You Too Long, Otis Redding, Soulsville, USA

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Lists, 2008

Adina, L’elisir d’amore
Norina, Don Pasquale
Musetta, La Boheme
Susanna, Le Nozze di Figaro
Nannetta, Falstaff
Baby Doe, The Ballad of Baby Doe
Gilda, Rigoletto
Juliette, Romeo et Juliette
Anne Trulove, The Rake’s Progress
Lucia, Lucia di Lammermoor

SOON (3-5 years):
Susannah, Susannah
Manon, Manon
Melisande, Pelleas et Melisande (yummm)
Fiordiligi, Cosi fan tutte
Donna Anna, Don Giovanni
Konstanze, Abduction
Elvira, I puritani
Amina, La Sonnambula
Micaela, Carmen
Alcina, Alcina
Rodelinda, Rodelinda (Handel and his creative titles...)

FUTURE (5+ years???):
Countess, Le nozze di Figaro (whaaa?)
Juliet, I Capuletti ei Monetcchi
Arabella, Arabella
Violetta, La Traviata

Srsly!! The future is wide open... And no, this isn’t a hint of any big news or a new role on the books for coming seasons. Just continued reshaping and growing of repertoire - and of dreams.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Level Up

This past October, I wrote this: I’m still learning to embrace this fuller voice that has shown up this year, still shedding the mental skin of the “soubrette” label. Me? Manon? Can I sing “Adieu notre petite table?”

I had a great talk with a mentor today, and he brought up the notable change in my voice over the past few years. When he first heard me in 2005, I was sitting square in the middle of the soubrette section, unsure how my voice would grow and not entirely enthusiastic about the rep I was currently singing. There is a reason I’ve never really learned either of Despina’s arias... (Call me for a Despina when I’m 55, and it’ll be a different story; again, a subject for another post.)

Take a look at the lists I made back in the summer of 05. See those “roles I might sing in the future?” Juliet, Manon, Anne Trulove. The future is now, my friends. So what roles does the future hold? Character names were tossed around today in a way that was both scary - “But I thought I had a small voice?” - and affirming. Today I got some outside confirmation about something I’ve felt coming on this year: I’m leveling up. Maybe tomorrow I’ll post the 2008 version of those lists...

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Tasks on the Musical To-Do List:

* Finish memorizing music for the ASO concerts next week: Mendelssohn, Porter, Berlioz.

* Stop singing the musical numbers from Candide that I know already and actually get down to brass tacks on the rest of the darn piece! Rehearsals start in about six weeks.

* Review arias for some potential upcoming auditions.

* Format my libretto study sheet for Ariadne.

* Write translation into Ariadne score.

* Learn the actual notes of Ariadne...

It will be fun to work in German this summer after a winter of Italian. German is the language that comes most easily for me, due in no small part to the fact that I lived in Germany for three years as a child. My father was stationed over there, and my parents did their best to get the most out of the overseas experience (unlike most Americans on military bases, I think). We lived off-base for a year, and I spent half of my kindergarden year in an actual “kindergarten,” playing Haus with German kids, even though I couldn’t really talk to them. By the time we left Frankfurt when I was seven, I had a functional-enough passive vocabulary that my parent’s could no longer talk secrets auf Deutsch in front of me. I took three years of German in high school, and went back for a long visit as a high schooler, both with my family and solo.

A few days ago B and I were seeing how well we could converse in the other opera languages: French, Italian, German. We were both pretty miserable at French, his Italian was great and I could always answer him in English (again with the large passive vocabulary), and we were both surprised at how good my German was! I have a feeling that I could get to fluency pretty quickly were I to go over there for work.

And THAT, my friends, is a post for another day...

Monday, May 12, 2008

Picture Pages: May 08, NYC

No story or big writing assignment tonight, just some pictures from the rainy day. (I uploaded them all small, so click to enlarge, if you are so inclined.) (Ok, I don't know why the layout is so weird... sorry. I'm working on it...)

My beloved morning coffee ritual.

What is better than an omelet and a salad for lunch? (Especially when it is made with love by a friend...)

Nick and I played "the headshot game" with the new lens...

...I predict this will be a popular game this summer...

After a lovely afternoon of food and catching up and talk of Purcell, it was back out into the rainy day.

Bhakti Business

I've been updating my Bhakti Project database, and I've discovered that I'm missing email addresses for two donors. LK and JP, both residents of NYC: if you read this, will you shoot me an email? I've got something that I want to email to all my donors before it goes public, a little "thank you for helping make this happen!" My email is listed in my profile.

Thank you! All my other lovely donors, check your email soon...

Sunday, May 11, 2008


My eyes were drawn to the man settling in at the table next to mine, as it became obvious that he was trying to get my attention. He said, “I know we’re scheduled to have lunch next Tuesday, but I don’t see any reason why we shouldn’t start now!” My mind reeled for a long minute, as I looked at this face that was at once familiar and foreign - it was my music theory teacher from my senior year of high school in Atlanta!

It was true: we do have a lunch date for this week! As I prepare to go to Atlanta in a couple weeks to sing with the Symphony, I’ve been doing a little digging into my past, reconnecting with some friends and teachers in hopes of seeing them while I’m “in the neighborhood.” My search for this teacher, JB, uncovered the fact that he is the music director for an off-Broadway show that happens to run in a theater three blocks from my apartment. I sent an email to the producer of the show, and soon after JB and I were planning our reunion. But the universe seems to be on a different schedule! After the shock wore off, we each shared a few tidbits of the past 15 (!!!) years, whetting our appetites to spend some good time together catching up.

One thing I did manage to get across to him in those brief moments, and part of the impetus behind my seeking out my early teachers, is that there were seeds planted during that year that I feel are directly responsible for my being a performer today. High school was weird for me (wasn’t it for everyone, though?) for several reasons, not the least of which being that my family moved right before my senior year. Fortunately, we landed just down the street from the high school performing arts magnet program, and I spent my senior year doing what I’ve loved since I was a kid: performing. Hope Harcourt in Anything Goes, Marianne in Tartuffe (think Moliere, not Mechem), a couple of solos with the show choir, “By My Side” in Godspell. I was in heaven.

I also took my first theory class, led by the above mentioned JB, and a year-long drama course taught by KN. At the end of the year, my grade sheet for my final monologue assignment included a special note, the first time anyone suggested that I seriously consider “a career on the stage.” He ended with the question: “Broadway someday?” He was close... I’m hopefully going to see him in Atlanta later this month, and I can’t wait to tell him that I have his note still, carefully laminated and stored in my SOJ box (that’s Bird Family Lingo: Sentimental Old Junk). You never forget the first person to really believe in you, the first time you think “maybe I can do this...”

Blogroll Update, Spring 08

(I guess I could count this as my post for the day, but I won’t. It’s just housekeeping...)

Full (rather bloated) list here, as always, with these latest additions on the sidebar to the left.

Andrew Patner - Chicago-based music journalist

Blurbomat - Behind the scenes at

form meets function - drool-inducign design

Jessica Duchen - Novelist, music journalist; another link long overdue

Melear-o-sphere - photos and thoughts from our photo guru. Oh, he’s a conductor, too.

Music as Weapon? - David, how did I now know you were blogging? Founder & director of Newspeak; check it out.

The Reverberate Hills - another voice from the San Fran scene

Roger Evans Online - music reviews and thoughts on the state of things in The Biz

So Percussion - my Indie Classical crush

Stuff White People Like - Funny stuff.

The Year in Pictures - inspiration and beauty from a NYC photography curator

And I changed the link to my main professional site - is terribly out-of-date, so for all the latest visit my .Mac site for a while instead.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

30 Days

Ok, enough is enough. Desperate times call for desperate measures, so I am following the example of several of my blogging compatriots and starting a 30-day blogging program. As I said to B tonight, I hope that writing every day will get things moving again, like a high-fiber diet for my writing. I will post something every day, however asinine or poorly constructed (or brilliant or exquisite!).

I’ll certainly have plenty of fodder. In the next 30 days - in addition to posting daily - I will:
* sing two final performances of Macbeth
* have a couple of voice lessons
* take the train up the Hudson to visit a friend and see a concert
* travel to Atlanta for concerts with the ASO - and a big family gathering centered around the concerts, my cousin’s high school graduation, and my mom’s birthday!
* meet with a couple of my teachers from high school
* pack up and relocate to Virginia for the summer!
* buy a summer car, hopefully with less drama than last year
* take a plane to the Mississippi to visit a friend and see an opera
* study for summer roles and brainstorm for next years’ recitals

If I can’t find anything to write about in all of that, well... it might be time to quit this thing. No, not really. I’ll get it back. But life is different now then it was a few months ago, in wonderful ways, so I guess it’s to be expected that things will shift and definitions will change. It’s a good thing. I’ll try to include more photos with these posts, too, snapshots from daily life, boring as they may be.

Ok. Let’s get started...

Sunday, May 04, 2008

One good thing

If nothing else good comes from my working at the Met for the past two seasons, there will be this: I am now out of credit card debt.

Thanks to SBF’s leading by example, I’ve been aggressively reshaping my financial situation over the past few months. I realized two months ago that with a bit of shifting of funds from one account to another, I could wipe out my credit card debt and a) still have enough money in my checking account to avoid the “emergency fallback” credit card trap and b) keep at least one month’s expenses in my emergency fund. When I saw the new numbers on my online bank statement this evening, I have to admit that I teared up a bit.

I did it!!! It feels great. And... I already bought myself a reward, paid in full.

Next steps:
* Build back up to three months in the emergency fund. Next season is a little light on the financial side (not currently contracted at the Met due to conflicting gigs elsewhere), so I may need some back-up.
Take the money I was putting to my CC towards student loan payment.
Make maximum contributions to my IRA.
Put 20% of each paycheck into a special savings account for taxes. This year I got a big refund (also thanks to the Met: I was a W-2 employee there), which will never happen again. I don’t want to be caught unprepared for taxes next year like I was for TY2006.

More on the blogging slump, now extending into May. Today, as I was sitting in a blissfully happy post-brunch daze, someone used the expression “fat, dumb, and happy.” I’m not getting fat, but maybe my current happiness has rendered me a bit less capable of stringing together coherent sentences...

Stay tuned. Or not...
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