Thursday, June 28, 2012

a vacation post.

I am in the middle of a week of nothing.

Nothing, as in - I am not preparing for anything this weekend, there are no performances, there is no schedule of rehearsals or teaching or anything.


Things are still happening...but it is amazing what the effect of knowing that if you don't get your stuff done that you want to get done - no one will be upset.  I don't realize how hard that drives me until it is not there.  As it is, this week:

- we moved Isaac into Jeremiah's it is now a shared two-boy room.  It is working out so far! (Isaac was excited until he realized that he had to fall asleep, not play)

- I have caught up (mostly) on my grad work. Yes, I am in the middle of my online portion of my grad work...on-campus work starts next week.  Hot Mikado nearly did me in, but there was grace, and I took it!

- I have begun painting a hutch in our kitchen area.  It is a beautiful, handmade hutch from the owner of the house about 3 families ago...and it is going from a natural-ish stain to black with a little bit of stencil bling.  I'm about halfway finished...maybe I'll post pics later.

- I am WEEDING like I've never.  weeded.  before.  And it sure is easy to see that in this place, I have never. weeded. before.  It's altogether humiliating and incredibly satisfying at the same time.  When I feel debilitated by analyzing sonata form for my Analytical Techniques class...I go out and pull a few dozen weeds and discover a rock wall that I didn't know was there.  That's progress.  That makes me feel accomplished.  (don't judge me too harshly...I did have a baby during weeding season last year.)

- we are going to playgrounds and beaches and playing outside and eating ice cream and doing all sorts of summery things and we love it.  Tomorrow is beach evening with daddy, and we bring homemade pizza to the beach after Jon is done with work and splash in the waves and get sandy and happy and cap it all off with ice cream afterward.  Two tired boys then will go to sleep in one room.

I love summer.  I love when I have time to enjoy "nothing." I love realizing how silly I am with all these pressures and deadlines and facades and impressions.  Right now, I am just me.  No one to impress or cajole or soften.  I think that's one thing that makes vacations so freeing. 

Thursday, June 21, 2012


my naked one year old is playing peekaboo with me from behind the kitchen chairs

my four year old is watching Blue's Clues again because it is just too hot to be outside

my house is in a sort-of clean state...and gets dirty quickly

I am avoiding, though not intentionally, my grad school work. It's just too hard with the kids during the day

I am avoiding, intentionally, my Hot Mikado score (will talk about this later)

i have finished the potato salad in the fridge...pretty much all I've eaten all day

i am contemplating road tripping the store with the kiddos to get some ice cream because I'm cheap and don't want to go to a cute ice cream stand for $4 a cone and I spent $9 to go the beach yesterday when we stayed for all of 45 minutes because my four year old got splashed and it ruined his life and now I'm over budget and can't pay our chiropractor bill for the month

and now for some pictures:

Aren't you glad you read this today? :)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

post-production thoughts

It has been a whirlwind for the past few weeks.

It has only been this past 24 hours that I have begun to feel somewhat normal again.

I don't think I fully realized just how tired I really was.

Family life, Masters program, and end-of-year teaching are back underway.

Carmen is over.

This past weekend was such a rollercoaster, as I forgot that performances can be.  There were such highs - opening night was superb!- and then such lows, as I think I had some post-production depression going on. As I've never had a role, I was told that the bigger your role, the harder the lows will hit you afterward...makes sense to me, since you work so hard, get (or hopefully get) the acclaim, then it's all over.  I was told by many how well they thought I did - even some thinking I could have handled the lead?!  Not sure about that, due mainly to my lack of experience, but I was grateful for the encouragement.  My voice teacher came on Sunday's performance...then came backstage to say hello...and I'm not sure what she thought.  She didn't say one way or the other, which could be bad or good.  Of course, I'm taking it all sorts of bad ways...but I will know soon enough when I have another lesson.  Jon has been helping me get out of thinking about it badly, and trust what everyone else was saying - that I performed well.  The DVD is coming soon...although I know I will watch it (I couldn't stand not doing so)...I am a little afraid.  I don't want to blot out good memories by being disappointed in myself when I actually see what I look like onstage.  We are all our own worst critics.

All in glad I did this.  The only real hardship was tech week, because I was gone so much and I was SO tired when I was home, that I wasn't worth much to the family.  If the rehearsal schedule had been longer, it would not have been good for the boys.  But, it worked out, we are all back together, and life is getting back to normal.  I have been told by many in the Carmen cast that there is an opera company based in a town near me that I could sing maybe I can get something with them next.  Local would be WAY easier...we'll see.  :)

 Frasquita and Mercedes, Act 1

 Mercedes and Frasquita, Act 2
 Mercedes, Carmen, and Frasquita, Act 1

Thursday, June 07, 2012

A new voice...

I am figuring out more about singing than I have ever before.

It is mostly due to (ok, probably all due to) my new voice teacher. She, in her own little way, has made singing and breathing and resonance and musicality so easy-to-understand, and simultaneously made me more confident that I actually, really and truly AM a mezzo, and not just a weird sort of soprano that sang too many tenor songs as a child with my Motown obsessed father which resulted in an oddly strong lower register.

The weirdest part to get used to is that it doesn't feel like anything. I've been hearing for years how this is supposed to be the case, but couldn't let go enough to really feel like everything was completely free. Over the years, my higher registers began to feel that way, and recent years have learned to comfortably navigate my chest voice, but the all-important middle voice (where, ironically, much of the mezzo rep sits) was quite a mystery to me...and I felt was keeping me from truly understanding how to sing.

Since working with my new teacher, she has explained how to really sing on the breath, which is something I did not realize that I had not been fully doing (insert slightly embarrassed grimace here). Anyway, the last two lessons I've had have been so wonderful and's amazing how relaxed and happy and free in voice I feel after an hour of singing many crazy coloratura rep...usually I would be happy, but tired. Now, it simply feels refreshing.

The nice thing is, that I have been able to implement what I'm learning in these Carman rehearsals..and, as soon as I did, I started receiving quite a few complements on my singing. It's weird to not be able to hear myself as much, since I'm not keeping my voice to myself, but it's great realizing that I am singing more correctly.

Hopefully this post made sense...trying to explain that I feel like I'm putting forth less effort and singing better feels weird to me...but I think that's what it's supposed to be.