Tuesday, September 29, 2009



I knew that my last apartment must have had pretty thick walls, because I could never hear my neighbors, but I guess I didn't realize just how lucky I was until this morning at 5:45am when my kitty cat started crying incessantly and woke me up. Finally, seeing that she couldn't be appeased by petting and soothing words, I got up and turned on the light, gave her some food, brushed her, and even gave her some kitty treats. Still, she roamed around the apartment crying and sniffing at the wall. A woman neighbor was having a heated conversation with someone on the phone and even jumped up and down a few times. Nashira was trying to figure out where she was. She was really distressed about it. She still is. It's only 6:23am. This has only been the second night we've spent in the new apartment and I really have no other complaints. It's a great place. But Nashira is still getting used to the new sounds coming from all sides. Well, I guess I'll make some coffee and start unpacking my books...

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Saturday, September 26, 2009


I'm packing up my stuff today so I can move into my new apartment tomorrow. I have never been so poorly prepared for a move. I can hardly believe how slowly I'm going with all of this. I am normally super organized about moving. Part of what is difficult here on this busy city street is not having my car right in front of my apartment to use easily. That means I have to do several more runs just to get boxes, walking down the street with a huge stack of boxes in my hands. Well, now it just occurs to me that when the "NO STOPPING" / "TOW ZONE" period ends on my street this morning, maybe I can park my car there... Anyway, I guess I'm dragging my feet because I'm finally moving out of the place where I lived with someone I loved for two years. In a way, I am excited to start fresh in a new place of my own, but I can't help also being sad to leave behind all my old hopes and dreams -- and the fun and good times we had here. But alas, it is time to get cracking.

**UPDATE: One trip to the grocery store in my car was all I needed to get more than enough boxes. Yay!**

Friday, September 25, 2009

Shower the people

You can play the game and you can act out the part,
Though you know it wasn't written for you.
But tell me, how can you stand there with your broken heart
Ashamed of playing the fool?
One thing can lead to another; it doesn't take any sacrifice.
Father and mother, sister and brother,
If it feels nice, don't think twice.

Shower the people you love with love.
Show them the way that you feel.
Things are gonna work out fine if you only will.

You can run, but you cannot hide.
This is widely known.
What (do) you plan to do with your foolish pride
When you're all by yourself alone?
Once you tell somebody the way that you feel,
You can feel it beginning to ease.
I think it's true what they say about the squeaky wheel
Always getting the grease.

They say in every life,
the rain must fall.
Make it rain.
Love is sunshine.

- James Taylor

Thursday, September 24, 2009


I have no doubt that this is super dorky, but I just got this panograph done the other day and think it's kind of neat and weird and crazy. My dentist thinks I may have hypercementosis at the roots of two molars on my lower left side. I guess that's not a huge deal. The picture is pretty neat, though.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Funny Church Stories

It's common practice in the Catholic church during the part of the mass when you say the Lord's prayer to hold hands with the people on either side of you. And if not, people usually hold their hands at their sides with their palms up in a gesture of reception or don't hold their hands up at all. Last Sunday I was cantoring the late mass at my church and when we got to the Lord's prayer, the priest, who was a visitor to the parish, held his hands up in front of him in a way that made him look like he was getting arrested. It was all I could do to keep myself from laughing. For whatever reason it just struck me as hilarious. This is not an uncommon occurrence for me in church. Because the ritual is so particular, when someone makes a mistake or does something different than what you expect, it can be hilarious. I have often thought it would be very amusing to collect stories from other singers about their experiences in church. I have been a professional singer for a Presbyterian church, several Episcopal churches, a Christian Science church, and a Catholic church. I have sung or played violin for weddings for people of many more traditions. The funniest things have definitely happened while cantoring for the Catholic church and I suppose that is because the expectation for uniformity is the greatest and the room for error most wide. I'm finally at a point where cantoring is enjoyable for me and doesn't make me incredibly nervous, but there was a long time when I was so afraid of making mistakes that I almost couldn't avoid them and then those mistakes would lead to more mistakes. And usually the mistakes were pretty funny (singing the wrong word or something) and I had to keep myself from laughing at what I had done. This happened mostly when I was not familiar enough with the music and was trying to look up at the congregation while singing. One time I lost my place in the music and when I looked back down for some ridiculous reason what came out of my mouth right at that point was "Wah wah wah wah". I was simultaneously mortified and at the verge of uncontrollable laughter for the rest of the mass. Moments like that make me wonder whether Hollywood could sell a movie called "The Cantor". Do you have any funny church stories? I would love to hear them. :-)

Monday, September 21, 2009

Privacy vs Exhibitionism

Having a blog is kind of weird if you're the kind of person who wants to write about personal stuff, because where is the line between a healthy amount of privacy and sharing things that are appropriate? I know there are only a small handful of people who are even aware that I have a blog, let alone read it on any sort of regular basis, but still I wonder sometimes if I've said too much. People vary a lot in their tolerance for sharing private things, too. I am pretty liberal with what I share most of the time, but then later I will get embarrassed when I think about how different people will interpret what I've said. Sometimes I write a post and then delete it. Sometimes I have to seriously assess whether I am saying something out of a desire to get attention, a need for love, some sort of exhibitionist tendency, or a genuine desire to communicate something interesting. I think in many ways this is what makes it more desirable to write blog posts about non-personal topics.

I remember the first time I went to a counselor. I was in college. My best friend/roommate and I discovered that we could get 12 sessions for free covered by our school health insurance, so we both thought it was worth trying. It was the first time in my life when I talked about a lot of the stuff that had gone on in my life up until that point and I found the process of trying to sort through things and analyze my resultant behavior to be very interesting. We spent a lot of time talking about our sessions and I also found myself talking a lot about my feelings to other friends and family. It took many years for me to realize that spilling everything in such a way is not always appropriate, that sometimes I need to filter what I talk about with people for my own sake as well as for the other.

I am still sorting out what feels ok in terms of what I write about on my blog. I guess it's a process that will take more time. In the meantime, I will be thinking about more non-personal topics to write about.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Mom's backyard

I wish this picture included the backyard bunny, the chipmunk, squirrels, cardinals, chickadees, goldfinches, and Bearsie, my mom's kitty, or the other half of the yard, but you can definitely get a sense of how beautifully green it is. :-)

I guess I was pretty deep in thought... I would love to put pictures from my visit with my cousin and her adorable son, but I think I should ask her first. I don't want to violate her privacy. In the meantime, here is a picture of me at the playground. Too bad I didn't get any pictures of me and my mom together. Looks like I was alone the whole vacation... but I wasn't. You'll have to just imagine the other people.

*By the way, my mother is the expert photographer who took these pictures. :-)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Nose Mystery

I have always wondered why my nose looked totally normal as a child and then at some point during high school became crooked. Did I break my nose at some point? Today I have figured out what happened and I am so weirded out. When I was in high school and had braces, I also had a palate expander. A good friend of mine from Boston told me a long time ago that when he had his palate expander, it actually broke his nose, but I never put it all together. I just did some online research and discovered that your palate is the "floor of the nose" and using a palate expander will expand and change the appearance of your nose. Does that mean it might make your nose look like it was broken? I'm thinking yes. Holy crap. This is what I found:

"The palatal expander works to spread the bone suture on the palate, which is also the floor of the nose. Depending on the amount of spreading of the palate, the nose can definitely get wider. If excessive widening occurs her entire facial appearance can change... When excessive widening is necessary to reach the goal, surgical intervention is often used to assist in the movement and minimize the amount of facial change... The only way to regain a more pleasing anatomical appearance will be with plastic surgery."

(from http://en.allexperts.com/q/Dentistry-966/2008/1/palate-expander.htm)

I don't really know what happened. I looked so normal as a child, but then I got crazy crooked teeth and went through an incredibly long awkward phase with braces and glasses and the works. I've always thought that as an adult, with contacts and relatively straight teeth, that I look ok, especially since I look so much better than I did during my super awkward phase. I mean, I guess I really needed the braces, so having a crooked nose now is probably a small price to pay. But I had no idea that part of what fixed my teeth "broke" my nose. Weird. Should I get a nose job to fix it?

Thursday, September 10, 2009


There is something really cozy about being in Syracuse. I'm sure part of it is the feeling I get being around my parents and my best friend -- the comfort I feel in my mother's home surrounded by the things that remind me of family and of the past -- but I think another part of it has to do with the trees here. All around me at every level, everywhere I go there are trees of many varieties, in all shades of bright green. They surround me with a loving layer of bright, verdant protection. California is a gorgeous place of stunning beauty, but the vegetation is very different there. The climate is arid and the colors are much more varied, including green that has been turned to straw by the heat of the sun and lack of ample hydration. The green vegetation here in Central New York feels like home. There are trees with an active community of bird and squirrel residents surrounding every human home. Bunnies, chipmunks, and myriads of other small creatures live in every neighborhood, under every house, in every back yard. Soon, here in Central New York, the weather will get much cooler and the leaves will turn red, yellow, and orange. The air will begin to smell of sweet maple sap and its crisp coolness will invigorate the senses. And I will go back to San Francisco where flowering bushes, trees, and plants will continue to thrive all throughout the winter in my concrete neighborhood. I'll be happy to see flowers outside in January, but I'll be sad that the only birds I'll see on my block will be pigeons and the only small creatures I'll see will be rats and cockroaches.* There is something nice about not ever having to deal with extreme weather, something good about not having to change plans or activities because of snow and ice, but I have to admit I miss the seasons and especially the Fall in upstate New York, where autumn is a very special time of year.

*The truth is, I can see much more vegetation and wildlife if I go to the beach or the park, but I won't see any of it in the neighborhood where I live. And, I'm hoping my new apartment will not have the rodent and insect problems I have had at my current residence.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Labor Day

It used to really bother me when people in my family suggested we go to restaurants and stores on Thanksgiving or Christmas, because I hated the fact that people had to work on those days. My intense feelings originally arose the year I was required to work Thanksgiving day at the country club where I was employed as a waitress. I was so angry that I was forced to serve rich people on a day when I should have been at home with my family that I'm afraid I didn't do my job very well. Later, as I have been employed by churches that have required my service on Christmas eve and Christmas day, I have realized a couple of things: one, that where I work is my choice, and two, that not everyone celebrates the same holidays I do, so going to an Indian or Thai restaurant on Christmas seems more ok to me now (but still, of course, not as good as eating a home cooked meal...). Today, I find myself thinking about many of the same things. Labor Day is supposed to be a nationally recognized day off, but how many businesses are actually closed? And, how many low wage earners need to work today so that they are able to pay the rent? I have mixed feelings about organized Labor. If every union operated like the University of Wisconsin's TAA, I would be more supportive, but it doesn't seem to me that that is the case. However, generally, I would definitely say I am pro-union. The Musician's Union has helped my parents' orchestra fight for a fair wage for decades. The struggle for decent wages, working conditions, and health care goes on. Today I'd like to do my part to recognize those who have to work today, those who earn minimum wage or less, those who work several jobs just to break even, and those who are forced to work boring, repetitive, or dangerous jobs because that's all they can find in this economic climate. And I'd like to give thanks for my fortune in having found work singing and teaching, and working in the office of a very hip environmental non-profit. Happy Labor Day, everyone!

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Needing to let some light in

Sorry for all the darkness, folks. Ian left me a week ago, just after the end of my most successful opera performance ever. I was called "excellent" by the San Francisco Chronicle! But, alas, I have been devastated and barely functional for the past week. I could use some support right now.

That said, I am really enjoying having more time with my kitty cat, Nashira. She is so awesome and it is so nice to finally get more cuddle time to myself -- and more play time and brushing time. Also, I have to say, it's really nice to be able to wake up in the morning and turn on the light -- and the radio!

Thanks for listening. On my way out... here's a poem my best friend sent me:


Towards not being
anyone else's center
of gravity.
A wanting
to love: not
to lean over towards
an other, and fall,
but feel within one
a flexible steel
upright, parallel
to the spine but
longer, from which to stretch;
one's own
grave springboard; the outflying spirit's
vertical trampoline.

-Denise Levertov

Also... I need to re-do my list of blogs from scratch. I'll work on it soon.