April 27, 2012

my secret vacation (#12)

took a mini-vacation to the desert this week, for two and a half days.

nub in transit
bucket of beers
one thousand pictures of sky
mouse and me
nub at rest
pool chair

just me and the desert and the sun. and the pool. I read books and slept the wrong way in the king bed and paid a guide to let me gallop a horse (mouse) through the sand. I hardly told anyone I was going, and the only talking I did during the trip was while ordering drinks and riding horses. traveling alone provides such unspeakable freedom. nobody's needs to fill but your own. only when I got home and walked into my dark apartment did I feel lonely. it's always better when somebody's happy you're home.

tomorrow: candide rehearsal. just one more opera, then we can breathe until the fall. thank the heavens. we might love what we do, but several months without last minute crises sounds pretty divine, thanks.

April 23, 2012


was there ever a more perfect day? 32 miles on my bike, or maybe 33; 20 or so miles in I uncharacteristically stopped when a signature-gatherer called, "are you registered to vote in oregon?" I signed his petition -- a thing I never do -- and as I was finishing filling out the form he said, "if you don't mind my saying so, you are gorgeous."

"since I am already done signing," I replied, smiling, "I'll assume you mean it."

 I biked out to fairview and then back to portland, where I stopped at oaks park. I rode three rides and bought a sno-cone (cherry/watermelon) and blue cotton candy. sad to discover they don't sell the apple-flavored cotton candy anymore; the girl looked at me like I was crazy when I asked for 'the green kind.'

 I ate the sno-cone right away, walking through the nearby wildlife refuge as the paper of the cone began to dissolve. my bike -- actually a friend's bike, on long-term loan -- locked to a nearby post. sno-cones: not as good as snowballs. but acceptable.

people look at you strangely when you get on rides by yourself. a mixture of suspicion and pity. because I'm a girl, I mostly can avoid being seen as a pedophile, so people seem to lean more towards sympathy. what a silly thing. I had so much fun. the bumper cars at oaks park are widely recognized as some of the best out there -- very, very fast, and very, very violent. you hit hard! I have a bruise on one leg now. and the roller coaster there is surprisingly terrifying, for a carnival-style park. it goes upside-down twice, and you float momentarily out of your seat.


as I biked up 52nd, the last long hill, I felt like all I wanted in life was to throw up my arms and flop back into the long grass, sighing in absolute wonderment.

April 20, 2012


daffodils in the window, wilting. the endless rain. wet clothes hanging from curtain rods, towel rods, doorknobs. piles of books on all the flat surfaces. the burned out stubs of candles. whole pots of coffee. tubs of kale on the bottom shelf of the fridge.

fast, unborrowed internet; a quiet car that doesn't stall when I hit the brakes: things that I went so long without that having them again feels like an incredible luxury.

also: sleep.

saying over and over to myself, make the weak places stronger. although it's about injury and recovery, it might as well be a motto for the rest of life too. but it's so much easier to make the strong parts stronger instead.

outside, it's mostly pouring buckets, but the whole world smells like flowers. on clear days, I feel full of energy and good humor, and I marvel at what the sun can do. I think to myself, this whole time, it's been the weather! I thought it was me, but it was the rain. it's a revelation.
then, when the sky grows grey and oppressive again, I think, what's wrong with me? some lessons are so hard.

lately, my whole life feels made of secrets. close and sacred, and delicious.

April 14, 2012

I remember

sitting on the dorm building roof with my best friend, katie. did we climb out her window? we sat barefoot, the streetlights casting their glow, and looked down at passersby on the sidewalk. were we old enough to drink yet? it was the end of the semester, the evening warm, everything coming to a close. that feeling that life was opening up after the long hard cold. god, that feeling; that feeling that you were about to be free again.

as adults she sends me a text message; she has gotten off the bus too soon and has a long walk. she is in texas, so far away. she says, "I really want to spit my gum into the grass right now," and I said, "be a rebel, do it." things don't really change. we talk in some form nearly every day. I haven't seen her in five years.

five years. who may abide it.

the other day I was working in the garden and for no reason at all I thought of an old professor of mine, a friend. I thought about how it would feel to see him after so many years. I suddenly thought, I am thirty. would I still feel like a child? as I pulled weeds I thought, if age is what makes us wise, then to some people I will always be a girl. instead of being a comfort -- young forever! -- it irked me.

when I awoke this morning the windows were full of the diffuse light of dawn, airy and muted. birds were chirping madly in the tree near my window, as if in argument. is there anything so luxurious as a weekend? I lay in bed, my body spread from northeast to southwest, taking up all the room. it was not quite eight. I made a pot of coffee, a bowl of oatmeal. I called my mom. "I'm in beekeeping class," she said, "can I call you back?"

this year, my siblings will be fifteen.

sitting at my computer this morning, drinking my second cup of coffee. a text from a friend I've known for 13 years. "let's talk this weekend?" she says. my people are everywhere. they are everywhere -- california and north carolina, massachusetts and texas, new york, maryland, austria. everywhere on earth, there is someone I love. this world is bigger than any of us could dream, and yet so small, and so precious.

April 10, 2012

a weekend

chicks and bunnies
the bee balm got kinda huge
easter treasure box
yes, my mom still makes and sends me an easter basket every year. I keep the box sealed until easter morning and then I pad out and open it and yell "THE EASTER BUNNY CAME!"
you can go ahead and tease me about it but I know you're just jealous.

mt hood from springwater
inclined plane
this foam bunny kit was in the bottom of my easter basket. apparently my kid sister saw it in the store and said, "I think jess needs a craft." she was right. I totally did.

I feel pretty awesome about him.



a weekend: got a sunburn, finished my book, rode 20 miles on my bike, weeded the garden, went barefoot, ate a lot of kale. drunk on sunshine, I got home from my bike ride, hobbled into the house (the last mile is all excruciatingly uphill), took off my bike clothes, changed into light shorts, and sat on the back of my car in the parking lot, my feet propped on the bike rack, to read for half an hour. it was warm back there, and protected from the breeze.

saturday night we closed galileo. the footswitch on the synthesizer decided at the eleventh hour to work sporadically, sometimes skipping two patches, then none at all. that synth was just the gift that keeps on giving, right? our frantic keyboardist paced around the back hallway as I tried to sort it out. when I couldn't get it to stop misbehaving, I had a moment of miraculous clarity, unplugged the sustain pedal (which he wasn't using) and plugged it into the footswitch hub. bingo.

in the production office, anne, our conductor, found me. "you've done such a wonderful job," she said, "I left you a little gift at your desk." we sat and looked at each other shyly. "well," I said finally, "have a good show?" "you too," she answered. when the show started I felt such a profound sense of loss about her leaving that it took me two full scenes to get into the swing of it. I started crying in scene 6 (pictured above) and cried clear through the end of the opera. afterwards, I ran frantically down the steps to catch her before she left. "I just had to give you a hug," I said. "oh, good," she replied.

when we had packed up the production office, five of us went down the street for a drink. we sat around our table in near silence, too tired to talk. "sad to see it go," one of us said. and another: "wow -- when is the last time we felt that way?" even when we love the shows, it's a relief to be done. and yet there we sat, momentarily bereft.

I awoke saturday morning, feeling deliciously, fully rested. I thought idly, "I bet it's 10:30," only to discover that it was 7:53. that rates among the best tiny gifts of the universe.

April 5, 2012

you know you are overdue for several days totally off work when:

• you have not one but two anxiety dreams about the copy machine at the office. WHY
• you judge all of humanity by the state of the Candide flute part, which:
a) is irreparably bent from the appallingly piss-poor packing job on the publisher's end;
b) has cuts which were obviously marked by the last player and not a librarian, because they look like this


instead of like a clean, straight, easily-erasable line.

• also you know it was probably a college student, because notes above a certain ledger line are written above the noteheads in pencil, and even though I was once that college student, I want to scream, learn to read, for chrissakes

• oh wait, it gets worse when you get to the trombone part. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD WHY


images from the life, lately:






blog postings from the life
historical information about each scene of galileo
scene 10
scene 9
scene 8
scene 7
scenes 6, 5
scene 3
scenes 4, 2
scene 1

an interview with richard troxell, older galileo

audience feedback of galileo makes me real happy.

some things that are guaranteed to improve my mood
maddie the coonhound.

maddie on things
there is nothing about maddie I don't like.

baby otters:

Things Could Be Worse.
from Things Could Be Worse

in other news
I never mentioned it because galileo took over, but I completed my february letter project. thanks, everybody. I received at least five response letters, some of them with very rapid turn-around. I probably have more to say about the letter project but it's been over for a month and I'm tired.

did I mention I swore off cookies and pastries for lent? I'm not a lenten observer but I ate so much cake on fat tuesday that I felt very sad and I decided maybe I would challenge myself. I would like to say "I don't miss cookies" but that would be a giant effing lie.

things are kind of hard right now. very busy, very tired, very relentless. this is a hard time of year for people who are prone to bouts of depression. I am one of those people. it has to do with the rapid change in light. for me, spring is easier than fall, but nevertheless every march or april I go through a period of several weeks where I'd like nothing more than to check out of adulthood, go home to my mom, and eat popsicles. it will pass, but if you wonder why I'm not around the blog much, well, now you know.