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Musings on m
y life as a busy opera singer, voice teacher, photographer and mom - not necessarily in that order! I consider myself immensely fortunate to have carved out a way of doing all of these things which mean so much to me - it may sometimes get a little crazy, but it's always worth it. Welcome to the madhouse!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

The end of an era

I admit it. I've followed For Better or For Worse for much of my adult life, the story of the Pattersons being part of my morning coffee-and-email routine (I admit to having switched to online viewing as soon as it became regularly available that way!). While I wish Ms Johnston all the best, I can't deny that I'm deeply saddened that the story will no longer continue to unfold as it has.

Thanks for sharing the wonderfully funny, compassionate and real world you created; it will be sorely missed!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

And.... we're back

To school that is. Well, I'm not - I still have another week before my adjunct teaching begins - but 5th grade has begun and my husband is back to teaching this week, too. Unusually, the weather has even cooperated by continuing the autumnal feel with much cooler temperatures than one expects for the end of August. It's nice.

And now, no more excuses. The next performance is coming up fast and, particularly as it's something a little outside my usual repertoire in that it's a music theater role (albeit a show regularly cast with operatic voices) and thus there's more dialogue, I have a lot of memorising to do. It's a plum role, too so, even though I'm anticipating a learning curve - particularly as rehearsal time will be short - I'm loving it.

I've enjoyed this holiday so much, but there's something to be said for my "working" routine: the house is quiet for a few more hours so I can practice when and how I want without interfering with anybody else's activities or allowing myself to be distracted by what's going on around me. The solitude is peaceful.

And on that note, back to work.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

About Facebook....

Ok, so I'm not the first to blog about FB. But I've been thinking about it a lot recently and I realise, like many, I have a very love/hate relationship with it.

The plus column includes at least two things: I like being able to keep passively in touch with people who I don't necessarily talk to a lot, but who I would consider friends and of whose lives I enjoy being a part (and I like to include them in my own); I also like the professional networking aspect it offers so I can casually let colleagues and mentors know what I'm up to without necessarily bombarding them with news.

On the other hand, the entire concept annoys me. It often feels far too much like "real life" has been so completely consumed by the internet that it gets written down before it gets lived. And, if I'm honest, sometimes the entire community feels like a giant invasion of privacy, as seemingly "off the record" updates and "wall" conversations are streamed in the newsfeeds and made abundantly public (yes, I know people can set their privacy options however they like, but that doesn't change that it often seems like overhearing private conversations!).

Lastly - and perhaps the biggest mark in the "no" column: I feel absurdly guilty at not accepting every friend request that comes my way, but I feel equally uncomfortable adding as "friends" people with whom I have only the slimmest connection professional or personal. It's a quandary - I certainly don't wish to offend or seem stand-offish, but I also don't necessarily like feeling "obligated" to add people simply because they have added me.

So why don't I just bag out of it entirely? Well, in addition to reconnecting with some college friends, I've recently had at least three dear friends from Europe with whom I had lost touch find me via Facebook, and I am delighted - no, THRILLED - to have re-established contact with folks who I might possibly have lost in my life forever. Like it or not, that tips the balance and so, however ambivalently, I keep reading it and using it.

But if you've friended me and I didn't reply .... please don't take it personally! I'm still trying to decide whether I want to throw the net as wide as it can go or keep it more personal and intimate and, for the time being, that means I sometimes take the "inert" option and simply don't respond at all. Maybe one of these days I'll figure out what I want to do....!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Photo: California Sea Lion


(Taken during today's trip to the zoo. To my delight, this is what it looked like straight out of the camera - I can't take any particular credit for this one, but I'm enjoying the results...!)

Monday, August 18, 2008

Lazy Days

Is it really nearly Labor Day?!!? I'm still trying to figure out where the year has gone!

My head is still in Holiday Mode - we still have this week before our daughter is back to school, and my husband's and my own teaching schedules still have two weeks before they're under full sail, thus we're trying to make the most of these last free days particularly since the weather has cooperated and been atypically pleasant for late August in these parts. It's often brutally hot and muggy, but has this year been surprisingly low-humidity and "only" in the 80s, thus encouraging lazy BBQ evenings outside, capped off by watching the Olympics, continuing to marvel both at the miracles which the human body can perform, and also renewed acceptance that singing is far, far, FAR more like an athletic pursuit than an artistic one!

I can't say I'm 100% nose-to-the-grindstone just now ::cough:: but , like the athletes, the Work Of A Singer Is Never Done (I don't think that's a real quote, but it should have been). Like athletes, a singer's training never stops; even during holidays the voice needs the occasional brush up if only so the muscles stay toned and ready for action. Next month brings the next gig, with another one immediately after, and audition season straight after that, so these last moments of summer laziness need to be anything but lazy vocally. That said, without the pressures of rehearsal schedules and performances, it's easier to practice the way one wants; "lazy" practice can sometimes bring its own discoveries and rewards so, as long as it gets done, it's a good thing to take it a little easy sometimes.

In the meantime, another golden evening; sometimes summer lives up to its reputation.

Friday, August 15, 2008

About the Olympics...

Ok, so I'm not going to write a lengthy post about the similarities between athletics and singing (although there are many!), if only because holiday mayhem continues and I'm out the door to go be a tourist with the family for a few hours. But this quote jumped off the page at me, and I think it's worth sharing:

"gold is not the glory, the pursuit of gold is"

In art as in sport.

(Quote attributed to Dan Wetzel, Yahoo! sports journalist)

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Summertime indeed....

... and even if the livin' ain't "easy", it's certainly a slower pace than it has been for quite some time. Posting may also be slower this month as "vacation mentality" starts to take over!

Recently occupying much of our time has been the fantastic (and fantastically under-broadcast) Canadian TV series Slings and Arrows.

For anybody involved with the theater at any level, it should be required watching.

And for any non-theatrically-connected readers who see it and think it's merely a clever and affectionate caricature of theatrical eccentricity, I am here to tell you that it is one of the most truthful depictions of the performing life I've ever seen and (give or take the occasional ghost...) far closer to documentary than drama!

It's also quite, quite brilliant. A genuinely funny and engaging script, interesting characters, stunning performances and blazing insight about "the craft of the art" - and the problems that go with reconciling art-as-life and life-as-art (and the challenges of being the artist trying to do both) - combine to tell an amusing and frequently deeply moving story.

All three seaons are a must-see. (And special thanks to L and A for turning us on to this brilliant work!)