Friday, March 31, 2006

But I don't WANNA step up.

Ehn! Stop eeeeeeet!

Don't you just want to sniff them?

With their little, sweet birdie smell.

God, I wish I were home. Christian, the rat bastard, is working from home today and has been able to capture some amazing bird shots.

What are they looking at? Pierre looks ready to bolt at any moment. Look at those fanned out tail feathers. My man takes phenomenal pictures. Look at the identical curve of the back mirroring the curve of the beak. And....pretty. Blue. Green. Yeah.

No surface is safe from parrot destruction. Not my favorite shirt, or the couch cushions, my toe this morning...

Fluffy pooper! Gleaming in a cloud of dust, generated by Fritz, most likely. Have you ever seen a parrot shake their feathers with the sun behind them? Not a sight for the faint-hearted or fastidious. We're real sanitary folks.

And, finally, proof that Gwendolyn EATS:

I'm so happy.

I'm ashamed to post this picture.

Not because of Persephone, she-who-will-most-likely-get-big-enough-to-eat-my-head, of whom I'm very proud, but because it looks like we live in squalor. The inside of the door is filthy. How did I let it get that bad? Of course, it's the door to the area under the sink where we keep the cleaning supplies (how ironic) and the garbage can, so it's bound to get dirty, but ack! The filth! I'm so ashamed.

However, the picture is a hoot and everyone should witness the glory that is our girly in all her getting-really-bigness and her perfectly forked sniffing appendage. Christian was cleaning her cage and had her around his neck and she crawled right off and onto the towel rack. I'm surprised it could support her weight. She's a tank, just like her momma:

Thursday, March 30, 2006

I bow to the mistress of knit

Lynn knitted the pictured hat (on the head of my beloved when he was merely a slip of a lad) for Christian in the hopes that he wouldn't pull off the bobbles. Apparently, he didn't, as the hat still looks exactly as it does in this picture and has lost none of its bobblyness. Apparently, it won a prize at the local grange because it RULES.

Look at this kid. Is he not the sweetest little chap? Makes me wonder what our kids would have looked like, if we had decided to have any. Big eyes, definitely. Huh, now I'm all sentimental. Dammit.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

How...with....the paw....

Look at the baby's paw. LOOK AT IT, I SAY!!!

He won't step up, but he'll fall in.

Christian enjoyed his time with Pierre last night. A little too much, methinks. I could just be jealous that Pierre doesn't let ME do this to him.

The flash reflected off of the sheen on his feathers and makes him look slightly radioactive.

Mmmmm...nuclear wonder why Christian likes him so much.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Two small rules of ambulatory etiquette.

1. If you are walking down a hallway that has been narrowed by considerable construction barriers, please do not walk three abreast, especially if you are walking more slowly than most 100 year olds who have arthritis. And if I am pushing a dolly loaded with boxes of books and the person I'm walking with is carrying a large carpet, when I say "excuse me," that doesn't move I'm sorry for getting in your way. It means get out of mine.

2. If you then get to the elevator shortly after me and my aforementioned dolly and carpet, don't shove past us to get on the elevator first and let the door almost close on us. And then especially don't stop halfway into the elevator and not allow us any room to set our loads down. You can walk up the one flight of stairs to your destination. We cannot carry our shit up three.


Ah, sweet relief.

Recital and audition over. No more desperate memorizing. Don't care that I could not for the life of me remember words in second half of Lucia scene. Didn't matter anyway as I was merely there to tell Lucia not to go crazy with the wrong man lovin', which, if you know the opera, is about as useful as telling Britney to not give Manpris his own checking account.

I get to go home tonight. Home. For hours in a row. Shall I knit? Shall I play with the birds? Shall I cook dinner? All are possible.

Most likely, though, I'll watch Tivo and go to bed at 8. After sniffing the birds, of course.

Friday, March 24, 2006

I'm still too embarassed to find it funny.

On the way to the Oregon coast last weekend, Christian and I stopped, as moral imperative dicatates, at Powell's, the best bookstore that god or man has ever created. We bought about 15 new and used books for $126 with NO TAX. I mean, each of the Anne of Green Gables series of books was $1-2, and I found all of the same publisher and mostly similar editions. Where else can you find a Debbie Bliss children's sweater pattern book for $8? That shit ain't cheap.

After I completed my purchases, Christian ran down the street to Powell's separate technology bookstore (as they can't possibly want the techie guys mixing with their usual clientele) and I was killing time in the magazine section, reading Vogue Knitting and chuckling over the heinous fun-fur, cropped sweaters with matching hand-warmers and "kicky" glittery, acrylic hoodies with pom-poms that will inevitably end up on You Knit What within weeks.

Anyway, I checked to see if my phone was on as Christian was going to call me if he was going to take longer than our agreed upon time, and I saw that Christy, she who takes care of the pets, called so I called her back to make sure everything was OK. Now, I must set the scene, here. I'm sitting on a bench by the front door with my back to the masses of people streaming in, everyone coming and going, the cashiers and info desk right next to me, people talking, shouting, laughing, babies crying, etc. Not a place for quiet reflection. The rest of the bookstore, yes, but not the FRONT DOOR. Ahem. So I'm sitting on the bench and I call Christy. I'm chatting with her about Christian's job interview and the pets and our upcoming auditions and I notice that the young man sitting next to me (who, by the way, has taken up a good quarter of the bench with his enormous backback) is staring at me. After a few more minutes, he says to me loudly, "Don't you think that's rude?"

Startled, I replied, "Don't I think what is rude?"

"Talking on your phone," he replied.

"No, don't you think it's rude to interrupt a personal conversation?" I replied, irritated.

"No, and you're shouting," quoth he.

Pissed now, I said, "I'm not shouting, I'm speaking at a normal volume."

"No, you're not," he smirked, in that smug tone reserved for 21-year-old recent college graduates who believe that they are the possessors of absolute knowledge.

"Yes, I am!"

"No, you're screaming."

Oh boy. The quickest way to piss me off is to tell me that I'm being too loud. My entire life I've been told that I'm too dramatic, too sensitive, too LOUD. Consequently, I've tried very hard to pitch my conversations low, and no punk-ass wanna be Jess who is backpacking across the country to "find" himself on Greyhound and most likely brought in the book he was reading and wasn't even a Powell's patron whereas I had just spend over $100 was going to tell me that I couldn't conduct a conversation in which he had no part and about which he'd have no problem if the person to whom I was speaking was present, was going to tell me that my voice is the approximate pitch and volume of an air raid siren.

What followed was not my finest moment. I stood up and shouted right in his face, "It's not a fucking movie theater..." I started to walk out, leaned over the low bookshelf behind the bench as I exited and screamed "or a library!" and left. Of course, I was on the phone with poor Christy, who was laughing, the whole time.

I'm positive that Powell's has video cameras, recorded the whole thing and will never let me back in.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

One more mouth to feed...

Christian just called me from his drive in to work to tell me that he actually WITNESSED Gwendolyn eating, a feat heretofore reserved for the third graders in whose classroom she lived for a tortuous year and the other pets in our house who don't really care anyway as they have their own food issues. We've never seen her open her mouth and the vet couldn't even pry it open, thus leading us to believe that she was incapable of doing so. Consequently, we had no idea as to how she continued to survive her Ghandi impersonation. What were her political motivations? We'll never know. She just refuses to talk.

Christian has gotten into the habit, good man, of giving her warm water in the morning and soaking her in it, and to exit her pool she has to pass right by the food dish. Well, we bought superworms thinking she might like them and knowing that the frogs love them, and apparently, as corroborated by an eyewitness, she saw the worm, nudged the worm, opened her surprisingly large mouth and gulped the worm down whole.

Did her starvation finally weaken the regime against which she was protesting? Were her people set free? I'd like to think so. If she ate merely because she was hungry, that would be so passe.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Because I'm having a hard time posting pictures...

I'm trying this one in a separate post. He's just so sweeeeeet. And so dishevelled. I want to give him a bath and rock him to sleep.

And, by the bye, if you are noticing a theme in bird names, well, then you must be Chris.

Oh, Pierre!

All of my hours of internet searching have paid off. We are now the proud parents of the most terrified and abjectly miserable little bird in the Western United States. Meet Pierre:

He's beautiful and sweet and I'm already desperately in love with him. He let me carry him home from Bremerton in a sweatshirt, but just seems so sad and confused. Note the rumpled feathers and low posture. He's wondering why we've taken him from his home and thrust him into the cold, hard world. I'm going to worry about him all day.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Mid-Rehearsal Stress Syndrome

How the holy good jeepers almighty am I going to get through the next week? All of this below plus full time day job:

Tonight: Rehearsal and pack
Friday-Sunday: Out of town
Sunday night: Rehearsal
Monday night: Rehearsal
Tuesday night: Costume fitting and rehearsal
Wednesday night: Rehearsal
Thursday night: Coaching and call back (for which I've only started learning the music but have to have it memorized by a week from today)
Friday night: Dress rehearsal for concert
Saturday: Coaching (hopefully) and rehearsal for recital
Sunday: Recital and then rehearsal for ANOTHER concert after recital

Shit. I still don't have my music memorized for the recital.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

No hose=no good

Note to self: Don't ever wear leather dress boots without hose again. When I walk, a little air bubble trapped at my calf makes a noise like "squidgy, squidgy". Not appealing or attractive.

Lessons for today from Mme. Crankyskirt:

1. Make sure to wash your hands very thoroughly after cleaning the snake cage. Salmonella is not your friend.

2. If you must incessantly cough, swear, yell, bitch or spend more than an hour on the phone arguing with members of your family, shut your damn door. I should not have to share in all of your diseases and dramas just because I have no personal space.

3. To everyone who can't keep their opinions to themselves when they are supposed to be paying attention, shut up, shut up, SHUT UP! And as it takes you three times as long as anyone else to learn the music because you have the IQ of a piece of plywood, you especially need to listen. Yes, I know that when I was in college choir, you couldn't have made me stop talking without removing my head, but I was TWENTY. You're FIFTY. Shut up.

4. My desk is MY DESK. No, you can't borrow my stapler/sugar/phone/pens. You take my pens and never return them.

5. If I'm listening to my iPod, please don't talk to me while the headphones are still in. I can't hear you and it means I don't want to. I have five minutes of personal time a day and you're interrupting it.

6. Don't drink caffeine on a gurgly and upset stomach. It really doesn't help.

Friday, March 10, 2006

All of those moony Sundays...

When I was about 14, I was watching the Disney Channel and happened upon Anne of Green Gables, the Canadian miniseries based on the Lucy Maud Montgomery novels from the early 20th century. I had NEVER seen anyone like Anne in any show or movie, and was so taken with her that I forced everyone in my family to watch the series with me. Fortunately, they loved it as much as I did, so they didn't resent me too much. She was so awkward, full of mistakes and so SMART, and Gilbert, dreamy, darling Gilbert loved her for her "queer ways." I was like Anne, so caught in books and daydreams that they seemed more real than my actual life. I taped the miniseries and the sequel, Anne of Avonlea, and watched it over and over, hooking all of my girlfriends, with whom I would bake cookies, stay up all night and sigh over the very hopeless situations in which Anne found herself, only to come to the end and all that was right in her love for Gilbert. My college roommates and I would stay in our pajamas on Sundays where we didn't feel like studying and watch the whole miniseries and cry over the fact that no one would ever love us. We won't discuss the recent revival of the miniseries with a new installation. No, we won't. What new installation? I don't know what you're talking about. Shut up.

So, bored at work and thinking of things to do, I remembered that I hadn't read any but the first novel in the Anne series, and that many years ago. There is a site called (when I mentioned this site to a singing colleage, he said, "Steve Gutenberg has a site?) that has books online whose copyright has expired (go there now), so I started reading Anne of Green Gables, cried, had to keep reading, read Anne of Avonlea, needed more, read Anne of the Island, and cried again when Gilbert and Anne finally got engaged, and now I'm finished and want to start on Anne's House of Dreams, but one has to draw the line somewhere when reading novels while working.

I'll just buy it at Powell's next week. Mmmmm...Powell's...boooooooks....what was I saying? Oh yeah, love me some pitching and mooning. Sigh.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Don't care how, I want it now.

Why is finding what I want so bloody hard? We want a blue mutation, male Pacific parrotlet, and trying to find one is just impossible. Even the breeders who ship are out. I don't want to have to wait for the bird shows in April. Now now now!

And I want a pretty side-by-side cage for my living room. Pretty.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Scatologically Impaired

Why do I not find farting funny? I likewise don't find pooping funny; profoundly satisfying and worthy of much analysis, yes, and the cause of envy of those who possess vastly superior pooping ability, but not humorous in the context of a storyline.

Other bodily-function-related plot contrivances and sight gags I don't find funny:

1. Vomiting
2. Belching
3. Scratching testicles
4. Getting hit in the crotch
5. Basically anything involves crotches, actually

I also hate public farts. I don't want to have other people's farticles in my nose. They don't belong there, and enough things are taking up residence in my sinuses and they don't need any company. It's OK for Christian to have flatulence in our home as, when you get married, you essentially agree to inhale each others previous day's dinners until death do you stop smelling, but I did NOT sign that contract with anyone else.

Bathrooms have a purpose people, and that purpose is to allow us to catch up on periodicals and relieve our souls, not to financially benefit Hollywood.

Monday, March 06, 2006


I was very worried over the weekend as I couldn't find my work master key and, as I am one of only three people who have them and need it ALL THE TIME as I'm the key bitch, I braced myself for some strong words. If a master key is lost, all of the doors in the department have to be rekeyed at a cost of many thousands. I had suspicions as to its location as the last time I remembered having it was on Thursday when I lent it to a certain faculty member who shall remain nameless who had locked his keys in his office, and I hadn't seen it since, but he SWORE up and down that he gave it back.

I checked my drawer where the key is kept again this morning and it had not magically reappeared over the weekend, which it couldn't have anyway as the drawer is locked, so imagine my startlement when I opened the drawer again to take out my purse and there hung the key, dangling innocently as if it had been there all along. Very tricksy, that key. I suspect it went on a bender over the weekend and is now feeling guilty about its debauched behavior so it returned to its rightful place. I won't ever ask it about its weekend, though, as that would violate the sacred privacy trust between key and me. I don't want to put that kind of pressure on it.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Let out of the big house

I'm no longer on probabtion. My officer gave me my slip telling me that I'm now a Regular Regular. They pretty much shoved it in my hand at the end of my audition, so there must not have been much doubt.

I must say that it's heartening to know that I can sing my feared aria after having a night of reflux. Makes me wonder what I could do if my cords were HEALTHY. Maybe I'll find out someday.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Degrees above baseline: 50 billion

I have my opera chorus evaluation tomorrow. This will be the fifth time in four years I've had to audition for a chorus position, only this time it's to determine if I'm good enough to be kept on as a Regular. The union requires that the house makes you do a "were we smoking our shoes when we hired you" audition to prove that they weren't after your first year of Regular contracts.

My #1 chorus audition was during the open call in 2002, #2 was the callback of doom at which I didn't get to pick my aria (a move that outraged every other singer within 500 miles), #3 was for the Associate position at which the General Director told me I had a beautiful voice and I actually skipped out of the room like Dorothy down the Yellow Brick Road, something I haven't done since I was six, and #5 was my audition for the Regular position, which I thought sucked but still managed to win by the grace of God and the fact that I have a foghorn of a voice that could take the place of any two other singers volumewise.

The difference between those auditions and this one is that I'm choosing for my first aria one that has been the cause of more emergent phobias than anything that I supposedly have a knack for has the right to cause. This aria terrifies me. I love it and hate it, I can sing it great or, if I get too nervous, turn it into an object lession about the perils of taking asthma medication before singing. Because I've been so nervous all week, my reflux has been terrible, so my cords feel gummy and unresponsive, exactly what I want when singing an aria that has more notes per measure than downtown Portland has liberals per block. Also, now that I'm a Regular, there is a possibility of being cast in small (comprimario) solo roles on the mainstage, so I want to prove that I have some semblance of musicality and wouldn't resemble a plank of cured hardwood in a fluffy dress on stage.

My cognitive-behavioral therapist from years back told me that those who suffer from anxiety disorder as I do have a hyper-sensitive nervous system, and that, while most people's general anxiety levels (in terms of the fight or flight response) hover at about 15%, mine flails about at around 80-90%. Yeah, I'd say that's about right.

Now excuse me while I go throw up.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Death by Idiocy

I have been hyper vigilant about peanuts my entire life. I don't eat in Thai restaurants because, come on, there is no way peanuts haven't contaminated EVERYTHING in a kitchen as would be in such a restaurant, I don't allow peanut butter in my home and Christian has to brush his teeth and mouth twice before he can kiss me if he eats a peanut butter candy.

So, it would only be logical to assume that I would check a bag full of cookies from which I was extracting a particularly scrumptious-looking molasses one for any evidence of peanut. I glanced, saw oatmeal raisin and though woo hoo, no nuttage. Well, lurking underneath the bags of Tim's Cascade Style Chips (which I can't eat either as they're fried in peanut oil) next to the two oatmeal raisin cookies were two lethal peanut butter death bombs.

Thank God my cookie wasn't touching them.