Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Are these your undies?

Somehow, my brother and sister-in-law ended up with a bag full of random undies after their trip to Syracuse this Christmas. They thought for sure the underwear must belong to either my mom or myself, but I'm pretty sure (just about positive - or I'll feel really embarrassed about posting this photo) they are neither of ours. So... is some cheeky security person inserting random bags of underwear into unsuspecting traveler's luggage? Stay tuned...

Friday, January 26, 2007

I have spent a great deal of time over the last year (well, since I left Madison) trying to decide if I ought to go back to school to get certified to do something that would get me a decent job. I have teetered between finishing my DMA, getting certified to teach public school (in music or as a general classroom teacher), or getting a Master's in Social Work, so I could become a counselor. I suppose I have thought about more options than that, but those are the main ones that keep coming up in my head. One of the main differences between these kinds of work are in how they lead to working one-on-one with individuals or to working with a group of individuals -- and the question, which do I do better? Also, a main difference between teaching and counseling is that teaching school is about working towards outer goals of learning specific materials, whereas counseling is about personal growth, or learning about oneself. I love the ways in which I have been able to be a counselor to my private voice students -- to nurture their own personal growth through their study of singing. I feel that as a teacher it is always possible to nurture a student's personal growth in the one-on-one time you spend with them, even if you are primarily teaching them in a class. But, there is a limit to that relationship and there have been at least a few students I have wished I could help further than I was able to as a music teacher. On the other hand, as a counselor, there would be limits in my interactions with my clients. There would be less time or purpose for asking questions that interest me, as I would need to focus firmly on a therapeutic process, on goals to move the client through the psychological processes that might lead to better mental health. A Master's in Social Work is a very versatile degree. A person with a MSW can work as an alcohol and drug counselor, a counselor to a person dying of cancer or AIDS (or to their family), a counselor in a homeless shelter, or to folks trying to move from homelessness back into the working world. There are many options other than working as a traditional social worker or private therapist. Last summer it was suggested to me that I could teach voice lessons to people with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as a type of therapy. This came up after talking to my therapist about how one of the things I have always enjoyed about teaching private voice lessons has been the feeling that it was a kind of therapy for my students. I often felt conflicted about how to assess a student's skills or judge their artistic potential when I felt like the process of working on their singing and strengthening their connection to the music were serving a much deeper purpose for them than could be judged by traditional standards. It seemed to me that the process of opening up their voices was a way of opening up their lives to change and to growth. So, there has always been somewhat of a dilemma for me in terms of what my role is as a teacher, a counselor, and an artist. And perhaps this is why things have worked out for me as they have. Perhaps I need a new title... There is so much patience required in finding the right career path. It would be such a shame to think that my work as a performing classical singer will not be of any use to my future career. Returning to school will require time and money that I don't have at the present moment. The thing that probably makes the most sense for me now is to get a full-time job as a secretary somewhere that pays benefits (especially since it's been a year and a half since I've seen a doctor and (!!) five years since I've seen a dentist). Maybe after saving up some money I could start slowly completing the coursework necessary to move on to another line of work...

Monday, January 22, 2007

My brilliant, beautiful cousin, Annie, was just published on newsweek.com:

The Song Without My Name

(Annie is senior editor for Adirondack Life magazine.)

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Six Weird Things About Me
(I've been tagged by Susan again!)

1. Sometimes I talk out loud to myself. I usually find it really helpful. I only do this when I'm alone at home or in my car driving, because I don't want anyone to think I'm nuts.

2. It embarrasses me to be overheard talking on the phone. Usually if I take a phone call, I'm most comfortable leaving the room if there are other people in it. This is especially true if I haven't talked to the person in a long time. I completely don't understand people who talk really loud on their cell phones while in the midst of strangers.

3. Apparently, I am no longer ticklish. (When I was a kid, I was ridiculously ticklish.)

4. I am not a picky eater for the most part, but I really don't like green peppers.

5. When cataloging books for the "New Book Shelf" at the library, I much prefer to type in the bar code numbers on the keyboard than use the scanner.

6. I HATE the wind. I HATE it HATE it HATE it HATE it HATE it HATE it HATE it HATE it!

Well, I'll tag anyone who wants to tell me about their weirdness!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

My dad is in Venezuela this week with a group called Witness For Peace. Here's a link I found to some cool photos from the last time this group went to Venezuela.

I have to admit that I have purposely taken myself out of the loop on US Foreign Policy since leaving Syracuse, so I'm not completely sure what they are hoping to accomplish. I think maybe the trip is just educational for the people traveling, so they can share what they see/hear/etc. with people in the US when they return. It's so easy to get the wrong impression of how things are in other countries if all you do is listen to (or, God forbid, watch) American news, so even if that is the primary mission, I think it's most likely very worthwhile. I feel kind of lame about just how out of the loop I have become. I definitely needed to take a step back, as my involvement in politics had become a bit overwhelming, but now I think I might be a bit too far removed.

Here are a few articles I have randomly chosen to read about Hugo Chavez's politics. I'll share them with you:

New York Gets Venezuela Cheap Oil

Chavez Casts Himself as the Anti-Bush

Oil Fat Cats vs. Hugo Chavez

Why God has replaced Marx for Latin America's Leaders

Why Hugo Chavez Won a Landslide Victory

Cheap oil from Chavez arrives in US

Let me know if you find anything more interesting. :-)

Monday, January 15, 2007

Hi, friends! Sorry it's been a while since I've written anything. Frankly, I haven't really had much to say and also I've realized that my camera phone really just doesn't take photos worth posting. I should have asked my mom to borrow her digital camera again, but I felt guilty about it. Anyway... I suppose I have something mildly interesting to report today. My landlady is away, as she had a last minute invitation to London for the weekend she couldn't refuse. So last night around 11:30pm or so, as I was trying not to fall asleep because I knew I still had to take the dog out, but actually was more like trying to wake up because I knew I had to take the dog out (or at least put him in a room where his pee and/or poo wouldn't do too much damage), I heard him start barking like crazy. So, I reluctantly got my arse out of bed and went down to see what was up. Crab (the dog) was on the second level, in my landlady's bedroom, barking up a storm by the window which overlooks the back patio. I don't recall what I've said on this blog about the dog already, but in case I haven't mentioned it, he's quite old (14) and his back legs are pretty weak and give out on him all the time. So, I was a little distressed that he was on the second level, knowing that I would have to walk him down the stairs (a difficult project). Near the bottom of the stairs, Crab had his front paws in a normal position, but had dropped to his knees on his back legs. I opened the door and he hopped down, eager to get outside. We walked for quite a bit. He always seems to do fine once we get outside, probably in part due to his penchant for fresh air. Then, as we returned to the house, I noticed something strange that worried me. The basement light was on. I had never seen that light on since living in the house, so I thought it quite odd. Why hadn't I noticed it on before now, unless someone was down there or had been down there since I was home last? The basement in this house is one that has to be accessed either from lifting a panel in the floor between the living room and dining room and descending those stairs or by a set of doors on the outside of the house. I suddenly remembered that my landlady told me someone once broke into the house through the outside door to the cellar, coming into the house through the inside panel in the floor. All I could think was that there could be someone in the house. I didn't know what to do. I tried to make sense of it, but I was tired, so I took Crab into the kitchen and closed the door. Then, I ascended the stairs to my bedroom. But when I got to my room, I found myself very anxious. I kept imagining someone in the house. So, I sent a text message to my friend, Ian. "Are you awake? I'm kind of freaked out because I just took Crab out and noticed the light is on in the basement." Less than a minute later he called back and sounded very concerned, telling me to just grab what I needed, keep him on the line, and get out of the house. My brain still half-asleep and my body trembling anxiously, I failed to grab anything but my purse and coat, but I made it to the car and once in the car discussed what options I had for dealing with the situation. Should I call the police? Was there some reasonable explanation as to why the light was on? Should we just return to the house in the daylight and check things out tomorrow? Should I wake the neighbors? I finally opted to just sleep in Ian's guest room, as he was happy to offer it and willing to return to the house with me the next day to make sure all was well. But, wasn't I embarrassed when we finally did return only to find out, first of all, that the outside entrance to the cellar has been boarded up and, second of all, that the light switch on the wall by the floor panel between the dining room and living room turns on the basement light and not, as I had thought, a light in the living room?! Uh duh... I suppose I should explain that I have been having a lot of trouble figuring out how to turn on lights in the living room. It is horribly dark in there and only two of the table lamps turn on by their own switches. I'm sure I turned on that hall light thinking it would turn on one of the other lamps that I haven't been able to turn on. Instead, I ended up freaking out myself and my friend (who had just finished watching *Memento* when he got my message, of all things). Oh well...

(Note: my landlady came home this evening and after I told her my story, she taught me how to turn on the main source of light for the living room. You have to pull down on the lamp's pole. I wonder why I didn't figure that out?)

Sunday, January 07, 2007

A few pics from this week (wish they came out better)...

A statue in the garden outside Trinity church (St. Francis?):

Katherine (visiting from Paris) enjoys her margarita that is mostly ice:

Yum Yum loves Jonah:

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

I took this picture with my phone camera on my way home from work yesterday afternoon. It's the Charles River from Memorial Drive in Cambridge. It was a gorgeous day! I think today is supposed to be the same! :-)

Monday, January 01, 2007

I've been tagged and I, too, think it's a pretty weird tag. Thanks for the weirdness, Susan!

1. Find the nearest book.
2. Name the book & the author.
3. Turn to page 123.
4. Go to the fifth sentence on the page. Copy out the next three sentences and post to your blog.
5. Tag three more folks.

This book is by my computer because I'm a dork.
The Structure of Singing by Richard Miller
p. 123, sentences 5,6,7
"Exercise 9.1: The singer should begin directly on the primo passaggio pivotal note, in piano falsetto, crescendoing to voce piena and then back to falsetto. (It does not matter if register transition points are heard.) Immediately, a new onset in legitimate voice should be made on the same pitch."

Wow. That is very unexciting. Can I pick another book? Anyway, I guess that's part of the game.

So, I'll tag the only other three people who (I think) read this blog: Tom, Andre, and Ian. Are you up for this weirdness, friends?
Happy New Year!!