Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Never mess with old ladies.

My mom always says that old ladies are crotchety because they are sick of taking guff from everyone. Well, apparently she's right.


The REAL talents of Christian W. Salas

And he says he's not an illustrator (click to enlarge):

He's never met a card he couldn't embellish. Hopefully, this will make up for our absence.

Monday, February 27, 2006

I could have done it better.

It's so easy to dissect other singers' performances. From our comfy seats backstage it's the simplest thing to say that the soprano was miscast or the tenor was too strident; so easy to say that the production is flawed, the stage is too large and the singing uneven. But it's all a product of bitterness. All of us who don't have real opera careers are so eager to find fault in those who do, as seeing their faults makes us think that we could be where they are had we just had the right opportunities, as they are no better than us. It may be true, it may not. I do hear professionals who are no better than me, and some who are much better than me. But, however they got where they are, they are doing it. They are putting themselves out there to be criticized, to hear all of the back-biting comments and cruel imitations. The gossip, the pettiness, the jealousy is taking away so much of the joy of singing. I forget that I like to sing. I end up focusing on what I'm not doing rather than what I am doing.

I like many of my fellow singers, have lost perspective. If a production we see doesn't impress us as the most phenomenal one to ever be mounted, we profess ourselves to be disappointed, bored and irritated. Opera is on the decline, we say. We claim that singers are less spectacular than they used to be, that technique is shoddy and that more emphasis has been placed on looks than talent. What we have forgotten is that these things have always been true, but only to those who are left out, who don't get cast. We listen too much to the complainers, the singers who were born with a self-serving attitude, those who believe that they deserve perfection without having the open-mindedness to see that they are at fault for the imperfections they are decrying.

I find that I still enjoy the productions in which I'm involved as a chorister. There's always something good about each singer, sometimes something really special or spectacular, something I can learn from by example. For Lent this year, I'm going to give up criticizing other singers, and I'm going to stop participating in conversations that do. If it were me up there, I wouldn't want the things I hear said every night to be said about me.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Now if I can only teach him to call me "Mom".

If you want to feel loved, needed, invaluable, get a bird. That little face, the soft and fluffy feathers, the poop on every conceivable surface, the seams of your favorite shirt chewed through, ah yes, there is nothing like a bird. It's like having a toddler AND a teenager all rolled into one, except the part about putting them in their cage if they get cranky.

I ran home last night to set the Tivo to record women's figure skating and change, and I had a few minutes to play with Fritz, so I took him out and talked to him and scratched him and gave him safflower seed. When I had to leave and put him back in his cage, he turned, looked at me and uttered a tiny little "cheep?" in a sad, questioning tone. As I shut the front door behind me and turned to bolt it, I heard his plaintive cries through the door. They gradually escalated as he realized that I wasn't coming back.

I'm a terrible mother.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

If this trailer's rockin'...

The production of Cosi Fan Tutte I'm in right now (as chorus with SO) is in modern dress and has the two erstwhile young male lovers dressed up as bikers/rock stars when they return in disguise as rivals for their girlfriends' affections. They actually look like members of a Doors cover band, and not in a good way. The baritone is quite, um, well put together and they have him dressed in all leather with no shirt, and stenciled on his chest is an enormous tattoo, with a smaller tattoo lower on his stomach that reads "High Voltage". When we all finally realized what it said, we were laughing so hard we couldn't hear him singing. And then they stated that their mustaches are their "wands of love." [Edited to add: it was actually "flags of love." Christian saw the production last night and corrected me. He'd know, as he is sporting his very own own horrific flag of love, worthy of the greatest NASCAR fan, as we speak. There won't be any love, though, until it's gone. I can't kiss him without the hairs poking me so hard I sneeze.] This was after Dorabella used an inhaler during Smanie Implacabile. Well, she is gasping for breath in the song, I just never took it so literally. I really love this production.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Just shoot me.

There's a fabulous line in Gaudy Night where Miss De Vine tells Harriet that one never makes really catastrophic mistakes in things that one truly cares about.

I think we all know what I'm talking about. Today sucks.

Thursday, February 16, 2006


Bless you, Chris, for pointing this out!!


Most depressing comment ever heard on an elevator:

Conversation between resident and medical student (who I remember from her rotation on our service):

R: How are your kids?
MS: Not good. My husband decided that Valentine's Day would be a good day to leave us.


R: God. I'm so sorry.

Poor resident. He didn't even remember her name.

A better-late-than-never Valentine's Day tribute to my husband:

When I was young, I never played mom or wife with my Barbies. I always played famous person who could have Ken whenever she wanted him around but usually didn't. She was good on her own. My friends in high school thought I was crazy as I never talked about the future as if marriage and kids were a certitude. I was so awkward and nervous as a teenager, anyway, that I may has well have wanted to fly to the moon in my Tercel as date and then marry a boy. I never understood how all of those girls in my class managed to know when a boy liked them, or show a boy they liked that they were interested without acting like they were on drugs. Well, a lot of them were on drugs, but that's not the point.

College was a little better. I could actually talk to boys but had no idea that SO VERY MANY of them were gay. I liked a gay boy (closteted, of course) for most of my college career, and I'll always remeber what it was like to have feelings for someone who would try but could never return them. Once I figured this out, though, it was a useful little life lesson that I would never forget. I even dated a little, and was actually engaged, which was a disaster on scale with the Titanic, but I learned a lot from that, too. Namely that it's far better to be alone and content than with someone and miserable. I didn't date again for six years.

I moved to Seattle and had the strangest few months of my heretofore pretty hetero-members-of-the-opposite-sex-free life. I apparently was giving off a "date me" kind of vibe, as I had three romantic interests at the SAME TIME, a feat heretofore only achieved by my college roommate, Malia. One guy was a flake, one I dated and it didn't work out and the other was you.

I remember the day I met you. I was falling asleep at my desk. We worked on the same floor but for different companies, in one of those large office buildings you only find in downtown areas of major metropolises (metropolii?). You worked for the graphic design company next door and I was the assistant for a recruiting firm. I had been at rehearsal late the night before and was exhausted. As all the fronts of our offices were glass, you could see that I was nodding off. You opened the door and asked me if I was okay. I'll never forget your eyes. They were the most beautiful I had ever seen. Still are. You were so nice, and I noticed that you had chipped front teeth, which made me less nervous, as you were so perfect looking that I usually would never have been able to talk to you. You gave me a funny Halloween article to read and then told me that you had to leave to go work out with your partner, Matt. Well, he's gay, I thought. I know how to deal with THAT. Straight men may bewilder me, but gay men I can at least talk to. Remember what I said about never forgetting? I could be friends, but I couldn't get too attached. We started eating lunch together, which I later found out was by design. You came to see me sing and even brought a date, but I didnt' know that at the time. You asked me to come with you and your friends to do your cable access show on a Saturday night, and I fell in love with your gang immediately. We went to an opera together with my roommates, and the next day, your office manager, with whom I had become friends, asked me if you and I were dating. "But he's gay!" I exclaimed. "No, he's not," she said, "he just broke up with his long-term girlfriend a few months ago." It turns out that you were dating someone else. You liked ME, though, as I found out when you left flowers on my doorstep with an anonymous note the weekend that I had decided to go to the beach instead of staying home and languishing, as it was also Valentine's Day. When I got home and found them, I called you and told you that I knew they were from you. You denied it for three days until I wore you down. We've been together since that night. When my therapist asked me the week before if I wanted to be with someone since I had just been moaning about prospects, I had no idea it would happen so quickly.

How do I say to you what a difference you've made in my life? I was such a wreck that first year, anxious and uncertain. I had never dated anyone for longer than a few months and had no idea how it was supposed to work. I fretted about that, I'll tell you. I was so scared that you'd figure out how much of a disaster I was that you'd flee. Somehow, you stuck with it, coming to all of my performances and even auditions, which no other singer's significant others did. You said it was great free entertainment. We struggled with trust, me because I was so afraid and you because you had had your trust broken by someone.

I still feel like I may have pressured you to get married. I don't feel right about that. It wasn't fair, but I felt that you were so afraid of repeating your previous relationship that you were afraid to commit. I knew I wanted to marry you, and I thought it was ridiculous to wait, as we had been together for a year and a half. So, you proposed. We got married and we figured out how to live with each other. I realized that I had to control my anxiety because I hated the effect it had on you. I went on meds and holy cow, for the first time I could truly see what I had. I knew that you were wonderful, but the fear clouded the acceptance of it. I couldn't believe how lucky I was. All of a sudden, there you were, your kindness, your humor, your devotion, your strength, your passion and, most of all, your boundless love. I finally saw it all. I knew I was the most fortunate person alive. Not only did I love you, I genuinely liked you. What a revelation.

I can't tell you in any words what a joy you have been in my life. You make me laugh so hard. Your emails should be immortalized in a book so everyone can see how witty and hilarious you are. You're a brilliant artist, and I'm so glad that more and more people are seeing that. You are so earnest and decent. You ask for so little and give so very much.

I don't know that I'll ever be able to let go of all of the ingrained fear and anxiety I've lived with my whole life, but I'm trying. You've given me a million reasons to do so, and for that and a million other reasons, I love you.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Dear young lady who is currently in a meeting with my boss:

You're charming. Smart, tidy, darling shoes, excellent phone manner. However, you need to express your sense of individuality in a way other than using a perfume that smells more like urine and less like fragrance the further one gets away from the source, and one has to be far away from the source in order to not choke to death as you apparently replaced your hot water heater with an atomizer and bathed in Liz Claiborne's hateful 80's eau de stink right before you came for your appointment. Not the best way to approach a professional about becoming a research assistant in a laboratory inside which you're not even allowed to apply lipstick. But, you have good hair. Go with that, instead.

Do I want my singing to be her only memory of Mozart?

At the Cosi Fan Tutte preview I sang on Friday night, a resident at the retirement home at which we sang took my hand after the performance and told me that, at 91, she had never heard anyone sing opera live. I asked her if she liked it and she said she very much did. That was a relief.

I'm glad I didn't fall over or forget my words. I don't want that to be her memory of opera singers.

Friday, February 10, 2006


I've found a new pasttime to distract me from picking at my own skin. I spent about an hour and a half last night (when I should have been practicing) scratching Fritz and picking the waxy coating off of his new feathers. It satisfied me on a very deep level.

Thursday, February 09, 2006


My desk area smells like feet.

The honeycomb is for good luck.

I'm currently knitting Christian an Aran sweater in a pattern I designed. Well, I didn't design the actual sweater pattern, Vogue did that, but I did design the center panel.

I'm a moron:

While cabling isn't difficult, good God almighty is it time-consuming. I'm further along with it now than in this picture, but I'm scared of armhole shaping so I'm taking a break while I learn some music I have to sing this weekend.

It's turning out beautifully, however. I taught myself how to correct cabling mistakes several rows later. It's fancy.

After a long, happy and fulfilling life and when it's time for his final journey, Christian will be buried in this sweater.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

It's no more unlikely than being an opera singer.

I want to work at Aardman making plasticine models. We bought Curse of the Were-Rabbit last night and giggled with delight as the modeler did a bunny tutorial and come on, how hard could it be? I used to sculpt when I was five. My dad still has a little chicken I made displayed a potted plant in his office.

As an update to the earlier post, I got a callback for Incoronazione di Poppea, although I'll bet anything I own that it's for the role of the nurse. And I so wanted to be Ottavia.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

To the indiviual who stole the stereo out of the Corolla yesterday:

When I got to my car at the Park and Ride last night after work and saw that the driver's side door was unlocked, I knew something was amiss. I opened the door and saw the shambles you made of my dashboard and I was pissed. Really furious. I saw, though, that you actually took the time to unplug all of the components without cutting the cables, and that you didn't disconnect the defroster or the hazards, so I'm grateful for that, at least. I'm an idiot and partly to blame, I know, as I should have removed the stereo's face. I've gotten out of the habit since we bought our house and don't really need to worry about our neighborhood anymore, which is probably absurd anyway as we don't exactly live in Laurelhurst.

But why would you pick my car? Is it because it has no alarm? There are far nicer cars in proximity to mine that probably had far nicer stereos. Did you know that I gave Christian that stereo for our first Valentine's Day as a couple? Did you know that I asked to borrow his car under the ruse of not wanting to lose my parking space at the Capitol Hill apartment? It was an easy fib to believe as it would sometimes take me an hour to find a spot and I'd usually not move my car until the need was dire, say I was bleeding or had eaten a peanut. I washed and vacuumed his car before I took it back, too, so it would look as nice as possible. The stereo had a detachable face, so when we got in the car later that night, Christian thought his old radio had been stolen, and when I pulled out the box containing the face and said "Surprise!" his thrilled and gobsmacked expression was, to this day, the best one I've seen on his sweet mug.

I'm curious about something. You opened the glove box, presumably to look for money or credit cards, although why anyone would keep such things in the glove box is beyond me, but apparently this is something people even stupider that me do. In the glove box, unbeknownst to me at the time, was Christian's iPod Shuffle, which you either missed or didn't want. It's probably worth the same as the stereo, so why didn't you take it? Not that I wanted you to, but are you that unaware of modern technology? Also, in the back seat was a cashmere sweater that was supposed to go to the dry cleaners. Why did you not take that? I'm just trying to ascertain your motives, here.

I hope that you really need the small amount of money you will make from the sale of the stereo, but you probably don't. You're most likely just a lazy, entitelist ass who feels that you shouldn't have to work for a living, and have the right to take whatever you want from those who do. This upsets me most of all, as both Christian and I work very hard; two jobs each. You have no right to take things that belong to others merely because you feel that the world owes you something. The world owes you nothing, and you deserve nothing that you didn't earn yourself. I hope that somehow you will be taught this lesson in a way that will make you understand it. Prison time would be excellent. I have to admit that I would enjoy it if you became your cellmate's special prison friend. Chances are, though, that nothing of the sort will ever happen, and you will continue to believe that you can take that which doesn't belong to you. So, in that case, I hope you fall down an open manhole into the sewer. And I hope that the sewer carries you out to sea, and that you get eaten by a shark. Yep. That's what I hope. Fucktard.

Monday, February 06, 2006

I'm just a girl who can't say no.

I had the boys yesterday.

I now understand all of those parents who allow their children to use other children's ears as footholds while climbing the fiberglass termite mound in the Family Fun! area at Woodland Park Zoo. Not that Jayden does this, God, of course not and how dare you suggest such a thing, but when he wants to climb something, I want him to be able to climb it, if only to see that ecstatic look on his face and hear him shout my name when he manages to surmount whatever previously unsurmountable object the bigger kids have surmounted before him. I have to say, though, he is pretty adept at sharing his conquests, even to the point where he gets pushed off the bronze orangutans by a horde of ravening girls and their hippie mom who didn't tell her pink-clad brats to let Jayden climb the lower rope as he's too little to reach the higher ones. Why are we the only polite ones? Stupid hippies and their Random Acts.

I would be a terrible and unfit parent. As I was handing Jayden his rain jacket and hat to get him ready to go to the zoo, I pressed my knees against the mattress to keep Kyan on the bed where I had set him. He seemed pleasantly gurgly and content. I still don't know how it happened as he's not terribly mobile yet, but he rolled down the bed to the foot, got wedged between my legs and the mattress and bonked his head on the hard floor, giving him a painful goose egg, the badge of my inability to care for two children simultaneously. He cried for all of twelve seconds and then was fine (little trooper), but everyone at the zoo looked at me like I had beaten him with chains and then locked him in the closet to cast out his demons. Evil, evil child, he must have deserved it. That was a joke. Really, it was! I love him more than life itself!! Oh, just nevermind.

I find it so difficult to say no to Jayden. He has that round, angelic face and dimples (Dimples! God, what is nature trying to do to me?) and when he lowers his chin and asks me a question in his barely audible little-boy voice, I feel like I'll scar him forever by telling him that no, he can't have a popsicle when he hasn't eaten lunch and it's 40 degrees out.

And I don't know if it's because Tina and I look something alike, and when you're eight months old your eyesight isn't very good and he thought that I was the person who took him to the aquarium, Pike Place Market AND the Pacific Science Center ALL IN ONE DAY, but when we stopped at the zoo to let Jayden climb the giant rope spiderweb and I turned Kyan to face me, he gave me a look of pure adoration, absolute love and worship and everything I totally don't deserve as I covered his hands with the little pockets on the end of his fleecy suity-thingy and he couldn't reach his cereal bits and I had to feed them to him. He must have stared at me for a whole minute, smiling and chattering. It was probably a concussion.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

I'm glad it's benefitting SOMEone.

From the Seattle Times:

"Sure you're ready for the rain to stop — but don't be selfish about this.

Think of your fellow frog.

While persistent precipitation has dampened human spirits around Puget Sound, Northern red-legged frogs and long-toed salamanders have been reveling in rain-swollen lakes and ponds.
The hearty amphibians started breeding in mid-January, and females are laying more eggs than usual after bulking up on a bounty of snails, slugs and other wet-weather goodies, said Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife research scientist Marc Hayes. An abundance of standing water means fewer eggs will dry up and die before hatching.

"This is the kind of weather that's absolutely terrific for amphibians," he said."

I'm going to go frogging.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Antsy in the pantsy

At the end of the Fledermaus run, all I could think of is "get me the hell out of this stinky-ass costume." Three days later, I'm fidgety and cranky. It could be nerves for tonight's audition for an opera where most of the roles are already cast, or it could be that I'm so used to being a huge martyr about how busy I am that I'm not myself when I'm have nothing to feel sorry for myself about. I do so enjoy feeling persecuted.