February 28, 2012

a day in the life

awake seven minutes before the alarm; I lay spread-eagled across the bed, my face shoved into a pillow, not wanting to sacrifice an extra second under the covers. I am up for an 8:15 PT appointment; the lunch I pack -- a generous handful of almonds and two blood oranges -- is governed by the extreme lack of food in the house. there's oatmeal, which I eat with the remainder of the nuts in the can -- a metal can that somehow the ants, the goddamned ants, have infiltrated.

I try to be early to PT but instead I'm on time, which means the ten minutes I have on the bike cut into my appointment. which actually doesn't matter, except that I've had two back-to-back nightmares about being late to my session; in the dream, chris points to the foam roller and tells me to use it, since I'm late and he doesn't have time to work on me. I read ten pages of my book while I'm pedaling and wonder idly, are my legs getting fatter? chris wipes down the table and calls me over. it's been two weeks. I am still not running. 'how's it going?' he asks, in the way he does, and I shrug. I haven't done my exercises as diligently, having lost motivation because I'm not able to see the progress without running. fighting discouragement requires more energy than I have some days. he has me do calf raises on each leg, first the injured one and then the ... slightly less injured one. chris says, "I expect everyone to be able to do ten; my runners should be able to do twenty, and the olympians, thirty." I do twenty on both legs but the effort makes the injured one ache. "now hop up and down. can you go for a minute?" and I can't. I make it thirty seconds, barely, and the pain is back. "on your back," he commands, and pats the table. he works my left psoas, which has been killing me again from so much chair time at the office, and he reprimands me for not doing my quad stretches. he works my left quad so hard that twelve hours later, it's still red and sore; I won't be able to touch it for days. but underneath, the muscle finally stops feeling like a wad of high-tensile rope. I flip over so he can scrutinize my injured calf. like an expert, he puts his thumb directly into the hurt spot, rotten like an apple. it takes forever to release, and when he works his way lower down my leg the pain is so excruciating, I have to focus on a spot on the floor and clutch the edges of the table, afraid I will scream. as he works, chris talks to a guy nearby who's doing his exercises. "this might take me a little longer than usual, are you in a hurry?" and then, "watch your shoulder posture, dave." as painful as it is on the table, most mornings I feel sorry to have to leave this place.

when he's through, we talk a little. "no running until you can hop up and down for at least two minutes without pain. if it hurts when you're walking, don't even think about running." I nod. "that leg is a problem," he says, simply. "if insurance weren't an issue, I'd see you at least twice a week." at ninety dollars a session, it's the most expensive massage I could get, but also the best. but I can't afford twice a week; I've already hit my yearly FSA limit -- $700.

I leave and find a text from my sister. "flight itinerary for may in your email!" she says. may = portland half marathon. I write back. "I may be cheering you on from the sidelines."

I get a big coffee on my way in to the office.

Galileo

at the office, it's more of the same. galileo kicks the crap out of me. it's just me and the score and one of the handful of parts left to check. measure after measure, note after note until my whole face feels tired from the effort. I write the opera blog. I tweak tomorrow night's recital program. I eat candy. although I haven't observed lent since I was probably nine years old, this year I swore off baked goods. I just needed a reason not to eat so much goddamned cake.

I curse whoever was let loose with an electric eraser on the clarinet part, and perform low-grade music librarian magic.
Galileo clarinet: before
Galileo clarinet: after

I stay at the office until 3, and then drive to the copy shop to run the program. then home, where I proofread the penultimate string book, sitting at my coffee table, listening with one ear to the end of terminator, which is on TV for the third time this week. I eat a salad, make a pot of coffee. I finish the viola part at 7:30 and type out my letter for the day.

I drive to the grocery store, singing adele on repeat. when I walk in the door I realize I've left my wallet at home. I drive home. I drive back to the store. I throw what essentially amounts to $60 in produce in my cart.

at home, I put the food away, make a sandwich, and get back in the car. it's 10 PM. I head back to the office, because there's a pile of music to copy and bind, and if I wait until the morning it will stymie my whole day. late night in the office means I can wear comfy pants, a messy ponytail, and my headphones. I dance to adele at the copy machine. I am exhausted. my desk is a mess. I'm hungry, despite the sandwich.

Galileo
Galileo

there's still so much to do. I can't even think about it. this is my umpteenth late night in the office in the last few weeks.

with one enormous exception, the parts are done.

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the enormous exception is the keyboard part. the keyboard for galileo is single-handedly ruining my life.

it's 12:04 AM. I'm still at the office. I'm so tired I can't see straight. when all of this is done, the reward is to spend a day at the museum, among the bright, enormous rothkos.

February 23, 2012

what I'm doing:

• endlessly proof-reading galileo. ENDLESSLY.
• working ten-hour or sometimes twelve-hour days (I am still at the office)
• worrying about candide
• trying to flash-learn how to program a synthesizer
• fretting over the letters, as usual
• absolutely hating my PT exercises lately; the stuff for my calf sends me into a rage for no obvious reason
• wondering if I can run yet?
• angsting about my hair. ANGST.
• endlessly saying "I need to clean my office" without ever cleaning my office
• hey jude. just, forever.

what I wish I were doing:

• standing in front of a rothko in quiet awe

that's pretty much it, actually.

February 20, 2012

a long weekend: sleeping until 10, brunch, john cage, horse hair, rain, blankets, movies, coffee, legos, strippers, a hangover, a glass of wine, a game of thrones, candy, letters, envelopes, bad TV, a walk, a dusty old typewriter, a conversation with an old friend, a long-overdue trip to the bank / mall / food store / library, a half-zipped riding boot, clean breeches, mud, dirt, seeds, weeds.

at the garden paul, in the plot next to mine, constructs a cold frame. I am surprised to see anyone there. my brussels sprouts have totally sprouted; the buds have opened into tiny mini cabbages. all the work to grow them and I let them go all winter. I walk over and call, "I guess it's about that time!" and paul says, "it is not! it is too damn early! why is it so warm outside?" and he has the truth of it, actually, but just the same, the peas have to go in soon.

when I write my letters in the morning, I experience a moment of panic at night. and then relief, such relief.

my hair is just about long enough for a single ponytail, for the first time in more than three years. and I still don't know: grow or cut. I just don't know.

on my computer there's a file that contains a list of every person I've ever kissed. romantically, I mean. I wrote them down about five years ago, when it occurred to me that someday I might not be able to remember. I keep it current. there's no real use for this kind of information but forgetting is maybe the thing I fear most in life.

the number of people on the list surprises me. whether it's because it's small or big, I honestly don't know.

.

I always stay up too late.

February 18, 2012

mostly noise

"The first question I ask myself when something doesn't seem to be beautiful is, why do I think it's not beautiful? And very shortly you discover that there is no reason." -- John Cage

Last night, my good friend Rob, the opera's associate music director/chorusmaster/principal coach/assistant conductor (yes, all of those things), performed in a concert of John Cage music, in celebration of the composer's 100th birthday. I went because he is dear to me and I wanted to support him; otherwise, I was not that into the idea of a whole night of weirdly plonky, random music. Or so I thought.

the audience gathers

The performance was equal parts concert and art installation; performances occurred simultaneously throughout the building for the duration of the three-hour event. The building itself was lovely, an old warehouse space: white walls, old wood floors, mostly darkened save for some wall lighting and the glow of stand lights. The space, unheated, was chilly; colder in the adjoining garage, where Rob sang. At the entrance, twelve record players were set up and playing, surrounded by piles of extra records; the piece, 33 1/3, is designed to be controlled by the audience, who can change the records or manipulate the machines at will -- or just let them play. They all blare simultaneously, and the music selection is irrelevant.

The first true performance of the evening -- but that's not the right way to say it, really, since 33 1/3 is a performance too... the first staged performance? the first live performance? I don't even know -- was Credo in Us, one of Cage's early works, which calls for four musicians playing prepared piano, tin cans, hand buzzers, tom toms, and a radio and phonograph. The piece is rhythmic and driving, and frankly, really cool; the radio and phonograph both play whatever the performers choose, though Cage suggested perhaps Dvorak, Sibelius, Shostakovich, or Beethoven. Last night the performance included snippets of Turandot. I watched the page turner for the piece and thought, "Now there is a job I would not want; by comparison, Mussorgsky is a breeze."

the garage (home of the whalesong)

In the adjoining garage space, chairs were set up in a loose elongated oval ("It's whale-shaped!" Rob said), facing each other. Litany for the Whale is antiphonal, sung by two baritones, plainchant. The singers sing the sounds of W-H-A-L-E. The space was very live; when the singing began I was surprised for a moment, mistakenly thinking it was amplified. Call and response, over and over. So very different from the rhythmic Credo, so quiet. I sat and watched the other people listening, watched them settle into understanding what the piece was doing; heard the creaking of chairs; watched the tenor of the room change. In the row facing me, most of the people had their eyes closed. One man had pushed his glasses up onto his forehead. A hipster had a bemused smile on his face. A petite woman with long, unruly curls sat tensely, as if maybe she thought she should have gone upstairs to see another work instead. The whalesong went on for twenty five minutes. I can still hear it in my mind.

rob ainsley, whale

I thought Cage to be sort of a joke, which is maybe how you perceive him when you learn about him as a 19-year-old in a music history course you are obligated to take in order to receive your degree. I feel sorry for that now. Sometimes it seems my whole life is about learning to open my eyes. You know, it's funny: I am that crazy person in the theater who gets a nervous twitch whenever there is any ambient noise in performance. I hate when people rustle their programs too much, or wear crinkly coats, or have jangly bracelets, or if there is too much coughing or whispering. It's not necessarily that I think the music is sacrosanct; it's more that I hate being pulled out of the experience of listening, and I suppose my ability to hone in on the music is maybe kind of weak if it can be derailed by the sound of a raincoat, but whatever. Simultaneously, I love outdoor concerts -- particularly classical music concerts -- because there is no real sanctity to the sound at all, by virtue of the environment itself. They are not austere. People come and go, they talk, they eat sandwiches and lay on blankets, there are trucks going by. It's just music. I like that. I thought a lot last night about the sacredness or lack thereof in performance, whether there is some music that you should hold sacred and some you shouldn't; whether we take it all too seriously. Not that Cage didn't take it seriously -- indeed, he took it very seriously. But if he had been in that NY Phil performance of Mahler a few weeks ago, he probably would have delighted at that errant, riot-inducing cell phone ring. The thing about attending a performance of Cage's music is that you pretty much can't get it wrong. You can't clap at the wrong time or make too much noise, or too little; you don't have to worry about sirens going by or whether the space is too live. In one absolutely lovely moment, we were standing watching the performance of Fourteen, for various instruments and piano, with the piano strings being bowed using a piece of fishing line. The instrumentalists each have aleatoric passages to play, with the only directive being to play them quietly and to almost never drown out the sound of the piano. As the musicians played, from far behind us, on the other end of the space, Carlos Kalmar, the Oregon Symphony's music director, was performing Lecture on Nothing, which is just that -- a lecture. He had been reading out loud at the desk for over an hour, and finally, not long after Fourteen started, he fell to silence. There was applause from those people still seated nearby. Some of us standing on the opposite end of the room clapped as well. The music on our end continued. Four or five minutes later, Carlos began talking again; the silence had been scripted into the lecture. I grinned. Above the haunting sound of the bowed piano, Carlos's voice, his accent a hard-to-imitate combination of Argentinian and Austrian, floated; the lecture talked about making a corporation called 'Happiness, Inc.,' how everyone who joined would be president; how all you needed to do to join was to smash 100 records; how in Texas there was a woman who told him there was no music there, because in Texas they had recordings, and how recordings were the death of music. All of this overhead, in his accent, mixing with the music. Next to me my friend Bob said, "At any moment I feel like he may launch into Green Eggs and Ham." It was so wonderful.

carlos kalmar: lecture on nothing

There was Postcard from Heaven, a piece for 1-20 harps. In this case, I think I counted fourteen, though it might have been fifteen, but at any rate FOURTEEN HARPS. All in a circle, all in one room, all of them simultaneously playing a series of ragas, first quietly and then louder, punctuated by the sounds of hard objects against the sound pegs, by rapid swipes and plucks, and then eventually dwindling to the sound of all the harpists rubbing the sheet music itself onto the strings. The sound of fourteen harps, rather than being lovely, instead brought to mind the picture of a maniacal doll coming, perhaps, to eat you with bared teeth at any moment.

While downstairs there was a second performance of Credo (several of the works were performed multiple times, including Litany for the Whale), upstairs two musicians were performing Inlets, a piece for four conch shells and the sound of fire. There were two microphones, two speakers, a table with four shells, and a basin of water. The musicians filled the shells and tipped them slowly into the basin. Drip drip drip. Inlets was inspired by the weather of the Pacific Northwest, from Cage's time in Seattle. Drip drip drip. It was surprisingly lovely.

portrait of the artist

And lastly, 4'33". At the start of the night I sat in the space and wrote my letter for the day, and in it I said, "I can't decide whether to stay for 4'33". On the one hand, when do you ever get to experience a performance of it? On the other hand, do I really need to hang around for 2 1/2 hours to watch four and a half minutes of staged silence?" Of course, transformed by the rest of the evening, I was eager to stay. A string quartet and a pianist set up; the first violin had a timer on her phone. The room grew quiet, almost reverent. On cue, the musicians opened their scores. I wondered if anyone in the audience would deliberately make noise in an effort to insert themselves into the piece (a thing I considered, to be frank), but no one did; we all stood very transfixed, listening to the sounds in the next room of people's footsteps, the clinking of an occasional dish, the murmur of speech; the sounds which, of course, are the piece itself. At the appointed time, the musicians turned to the second movement. I was filled with a wild, giddy delight. Around me, everyone was watching the musicians. When they finally closed their music, it came as a surprise; it was impossible to believe four and a half minutes had passed. The violinist held up her timer to show us. We all sort of shook ourselves off, the way you do after you've just been crying during a movie, and disbanded. I came over to the executive director, who subs in our violin section sometimes, and I hugged her twice. "I don't think I have ever attended a better performance," I said, and that is the truth. I cannot even believe it.

in the middle of 4'33"

The full set list, or what I can remember of it:
33 1/3
Credo in Us
Litany for the Whale
Lecture on Nothing
Muoyce
Apartment House 1776
Music for Marcel Duchamp
Inlets
Fourteen
Postcard From Heaven
4'33"

Afterwards the three of us had beers at the strip club half a block down the street. Because that's how we roll.

love

February 14, 2012

from Steinbeck: A Life in Letters

New York
November 10, 1958

Dear Thom:

We had your letter this morning. I will answer it from my point of view and of course Elaine will from hers.

First—if you are in love—that’s a good thing—that’s about the best thing that can happen to anyone. Don’t let anyone make it small or light to you.

Second—There are several kinds of love. One is a selfish, mean, grasping, egotistical thing which uses love for self-importance. This is the ugly and crippling kind. The other is an outpouring of everything good in you—of kindness and consideration and respect—not only the social respect of manners but the greater respect which is recognition of another person as unique and valuable. The first kind can make you sick and small and weak but the second can release in you strength, and courage and goodness and even wisdom you didn’t know you had.

You say this is not puppy love. If you feel so deeply—of course it isn’t puppy love.

But I don’t think you were asking me what you feel. You know better than anyone. What you wanted me to help you with is what to do about it—and that I can tell you.

Glory in it for one thing and be very glad and grateful for it.

The object of love is the best and most beautiful. Try to live up to it.

If you love someone—there is no possible harm in saying so—only you must remember that some people are very shy and sometimes the saying must take that shyness into consideration.

Girls have a way of knowing or feeling what you feel, but they usually like to hear it also.

It sometimes happens that what you feel is not returned for one reason or another—but that does not make your feeling less valuable and good.

Lastly, I know your feeling because I have it and I’m glad you have it.

We will be glad to meet Susan. She will be very welcome. But Elaine will make all such arrangements because that is her province and she will be very glad to. She knows about love too and maybe she can give you more help than I can.

And don’t worry about losing. If it is right, it happens—The main thing is not to hurry. Nothing good gets away.

Love,
Fa

February 13, 2012

stall rest

on saturday, I made a blanket fort. (actually, I made it friday night so that I could get out of bed on saturday and crawl into it without having to do a thing).

blanket fort.

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pictures don't really do it justice; I couldn't capture all of it from the inside.

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bed sheets were pinned to the ceiling; the fort had its own lighting.

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all a blanket fort really needs is blankets, which apparently are the thing I own the most of out of anything? like, I have an almost neverending supply of blankets. not all of them are even pictured here. the walls of the fort were constructed with four sheets; the chaise made the back wall of the fort and my two kitchen barstools the supporting walls. and then, of course, a whole heap of them on the floor. plus all my pillows.

IMAG0664

from the blanket fort I ate breakfast and drank coffee; I watched the SU/UConn game; I read my book; I made envelopes for letters, sealed everything up, and drafted labels. I emerged to make lunch and to type up letter #11 on my typewriter. in the afternoon I went on a run, did my PT, took a shower. then we closed butterfly; I cried through the whole final scene from the wings.

on sunday I awoke way earlier than any girl should on her day off to go run a 5K I had received a comp entry to in exchange for writing a review. I threw on my pink shirt (it was a valentine run) and for the first time in three years, pulled my hair into a single ponytail. I parked at the opera and ran across the bridge to the start line, donned my race bib, and stood near the front of the pack, hoping to place.

just about two miles into the race, cruising along at 7:10s, something in my left calf gave out with a sickening pop. immediate pain flowered along my leg, and I ground to a halt on the side of the course. I could barely walk; I stopped and held on to a light pole and tried to move my foot, to stretch it, but the pain was too great so instead I just hobbled forward, all plans to finish the race entirely erased. I was near the tram station, on the other side of the river from my car, and nearly two miles away. as I hobbled, no one -- no racers, no volunteers -- asked me if I was okay, even though I was very clearly walking with great difficulty and pain. I felt despondent, cold and miserable. I took off my race bib and crumpled it into my hand, so that nobody would know I had been broken by a 5K. I threw it into the trash at the first opportunity.

I retraced the race course, at first crossing paths with the last cluster of walkers with strollers, and finally alone. a girl out on her own recreational run looked concerned as she approached, and stopped. 'you ok?' she said, and I gulped and tried not to cry. I wasn't, of course, but there wasn't much she could do for me -- no car, no phone -- so I said, "thank you so much, I'm okay," and after looking searchingly at me for a second, she nodded and went on her way. I limped off up the path, crossing the race course at one point, and began the slow walk over the bridge. halfway across the river, a cyclist -- who presumably had already passed me by and then had doubled back -- came up and said, "...do you need a ride? you look like you're freezing and in a lot of pain." he had an old olive green steel framed bike with a full rack on the back. I looked at him, and at the bike, and nodded. yes, I wanted a ride. I pointed down the river. "I'm just there, past the museum. would you really?" so I straddled his rear tire, sitting flat on his bike rack, and tried to center my weight and pray that he was a balanced enough rider to keep us both from crashing. we cruised down the path, passing the occasional runner, and I smiled a little as I thought of what we must look like, this lumberjack-y hipster guy with this little spandex-clad runner on the back of his bike. he dropped me at the parking lot and I thanked him profusely. "I really felt like I would never get here," I said, and then he went on his way.

in the middle of my drive home, a friend called. "were you just at that intersection?" she asked, and yes, I had been. "you just passed me!" she said, and then I burst into tears, explaining what had happened. ten minutes after I walked into my apartment she was behind me, ringing the bell and bringing me a coffee and pastry. when she left, I dragged the chaise into the blanket fort (don't ask me how; I'm not sure) and sunk into it. a friend called to check in on me and on the phone with him I burst into tears a second time, so betrayed by my body, so frustrated at chronic injury, so tired of being broken.

although I had a few movies, my book, and crappy sunday tv, I decided that if I was going to be holed up my house all day, I'd buy myself a get well present. I drove to the store and bought the new zelda game, out since christmas. when I came home and opened it, fresh from its packaging, I was horror-struck to realize there was no game disc inside. they're never going to believe me, I thought, as I got back in the car AGAIN to hobble my way through another parking lot. I had to talk to three different employees, and it was only when I nearly burst into tears -- seriously -- that they decided I really wasn't out to swindle them, and made the exchange.

that was my sunday: my leg on ice, wrapped in a tight ace bandage and propped on four pillows; zelda on the TV. eating as many chocolate-cherry cookies as is humanly possible from the stash given to me by one of our violists, who makes, I'm pretty sure, the best cookies on earth. friends texted and called. I felt very sorry for myself, but it was also okay. on the advice of one close friend I took an obscene number of ibuprofen tablets -- which helped tremendously -- then nearly laughed out loud on the phone with the advice nurse when she said, "take whatever you'd usually take for the pain, but do not exceed the recommended dose." I had already exceeded the recommended dose for the whole day in one long swallow.

it remains to be seen what will happen with my leg. I see the PT on wednesday. for now, I am trying to forget that I am a runner at all, so tired am I of injury, so tired of waiting on the sidelines. all day today, the leg has been wrapped and propped up (on the cases of beer underneath my desk. yes, really). running? what is running? if I can forget it, it no longer has to be a thing that I miss.

February 7, 2012

tag!

So, my friend Heather tagged me in a litle blog game thing, and because a) I want Heather to be my BFF and b) I love talking about myself, here it is! Also I just want to remind you that Heather made me the most fucking awesome tiger pillow ever, so I owe her for life.

Here are the rules:
1. Post these rules
2. You must post 11 random things about yourself
3. Answer the questions set for you in their post
4. Are jokes about "there is no Fight Club" still funny?

11 random things about yourself:
Okay, first, I probably don't have 11 random things left about myself that you haven't already learned from the past three years on this blog. But I'll try.

1. A big chunk of my identity is tied to my glasses. I used to be almost cripplingly self-conscious about being seen without them. This is partially because I couldn't get contacts until I was in my twenties, and I've had glasses since I was seven. I still believe that people won't recognize me without glasses on my face. An eye doctor once commented that I would be a great candidate for Lasik, and I said, "no way -- my glasses are part of who I am." "You could wear non-prescription ones as an accessory," he said. No.

2. I used to want to be a foot model.

3. My hair is curly. Somehow the people I know really well, probably by virtue of having had short hair for so long, and because I often used to straighten it when it was long, are consistently surprised by this fact.

4. I love surprises, pretty much in any form. I like when people try to surprise me (with the exception of, like, jumping out from behind my living room curtains -- I don't like to be startled. but who does? also, I don't have living room curtains). I also like when people themselves are surprising; I love discovering that people have a hidden history, or a special, unknown talent, or a love of something I never would have guessed. this is tied closely to my love of secrets. I love to have secrets of my own, and in fact most of the big decisions of my life I have made without telling a soul: applying for my job at the opera, cutting off all my hair (from long to short; I had to tell everyone before I shaved it), getting a tattoo. my reasons for keeping such secrets are complex.

5. But maybe one of the biggest reasons I like surprises and secrets so much is that my entire life revolves around my profound love of stories and storytelling. Frankly, almost everything I do, think, say, etc. comes back to wanting to have stories, wanting to tell stories, wanting to be a part of a story. When I'm alone, I talk all the time -- in the car, at the barn, in my kitchen at home. What am I doing? Narrating. That is not even a little bit a joke. In fact, I think it's why I often have preferred solitude to company. You have to be good company; otherwise you're just keeping me from telling myself a story.

When I was a child I was obsessed with hearing the great tales my mom had of getting in trouble as a teen, of all the crazy things she and her friends used to do. I see this exact impulse in my kid sister, now fourteen, who laments that she doesn't have any good stories. My mom and I just tell her, give it time. You will.

6. Also, the reason I have kept many important moments in my life a secret is because I deeply and profoundly hate being told what to do. This isn't the same as hating being given direction or being asked to do something -- if I'm at work and somebody says, "I need you to do this," well, I don't have a problem with that at all. But I deeply dislike when my personal decisions are judged, or when someone treats me as if they know better than I do what I should do in a given situation. This is why, for example, when I was planning on running Eugene last year, I never once told Scott what my goal time was: I knew he would either tell me I couldn't hit it, or tell me all the ways I should be training differently to achieve it. Secrets keep my sacred things safe. Some things must be ours alone. Once I'd chopped off all my hair, nobody could say, "You shouldn't cut your beautiful long curls!" anymore. Which they did ALL THE FUCKING TIME if I ever brought it up in conversation.

7. #6 is probably my worst personality trait -- it essentially boils down to "cannot take criticism" -- but I've discovered that the people who mean the most to me in this world intuitively understand and know how to manage it. My mother never ever ever tells me her opinion about my life, sometimes not even if I ask. But when, on those incredibly rare occasions, she does? I listen. Because I know it is THAT important to her. My college clarinet professor figured out early on that the best way to get me to play some piece he wanted me to play was to say, "You know, I've never had anybody in the studio try this one before."

8. The benefit to my absolute intolerance of know-it-alls (this is how I think of it) is that I will always give you my opinion about something if I think you are awesome -- your hair looks beautiful, that dress is perfect on you, you really rocked that performance -- and I will almost never give it to you unsolicited if I disagree with your choices. I tend to think that people do things in their own way, in their own time and pace, and for reasons that we, on the outside, largely don't know.

I do make exceptions: when my best friend moved in with her boyfriend, she expressed some uncertainty, and I wasn't convinced it was the right decision. "Tell me just once that you really and truly love him," I said, "and I will never, ever say another word about it again." She wrote me a long email about all the things he did for her that she loved, and that was that. Whether or not I agreed with her choices after that was not the point. I trusted her judgment, and I had said my peace. We each knew where the other stood. We all learn our life lessons at our own paces, and no faster. We learn by bumping into our limits. Some of us can't just be told where the lines are and call it good. In my opinion, part of having compassion for our people is understanding this about them. This is ultimately the compassion I want my people to have for me.

9. God, this shit got long-winded. I can wiggle my ears.

10. And I can wiggle my nose like a rabbit, but I can't flare my nostrils.

11. I've never seen a single James Bond movie. I KNOW, OKAY. I know.

What is your #1 best memory – the one that will always make you smile?
The day I arrived to the beach about five years ago. I wrote about it here.

If you could do anything (career-wise), and money was no object, what would that be?
I'd be a spy. Or a sculptor. Or a groom at Churchill Downs.

What is the most awesome place you’ve ever visited?
In Buffalo, NY, there is a trail through the woods which runs parallel to a small tributary. You follow it for a mile or two, and then you come to a modest-looking waterfall. You wade through the water up to the foot of the waterfall, and there, nestled in the rock, in the middle of the water, is a flame. A FLAME! pure magic.

What is your go-to comfort food?
Fried eggs. Or grilled cheese & tomato soup. It has to be shitty American cheese. God, I can't remember the last time I had a grilled cheese.

What is your guilty pleasure (that you’re willing to admit to in a public forum?)
Saturday morning cartoons. Actually, kids' TV and movies in general. Also: CANDY. But you all know that.

Favorite way to relieve stress?
Oh god, running. Why do you think I was so insufferable last year?

Favorite book?
I'm really bad at favorites. I can't ever pick just one. Lolita, A Death in the Family, Angle of Repose, The Stone Diaries.

Favorite movie?
This is cliché, but I've watched Amelie so many times I almost have it memorized. It was my comfort movie back in college, when I'd just broken up with my very serious college boyfriend and moved into my first solo apartment. I watched it every single night to cheer myself up. I've seen the first half hour probably 100 times (and the last part of the movie probably only 20 times -- I used to fall asleep to it).

What are you good at that hardly ever gets recognized? (example, are you a masterful karaoke singer? do you play a mean harmonica? is your hidden talent hopscotch?)
I can jumprope like a motherfucker.

What did your 10-year-old self want to be when you grew up? Do you still want that? (Are you that?)
Things I wanted to be that I don't want to be anymore: A lawyer (because I liked to argue), first female president.

Things I wanted to be that I still want to be/am, in a way: a writer, a jockey.

What's holding you back?
Debt and lack of time. That's pretty much it, actually.

Fight Club: nope.

February 3, 2012

song: hey jude on repeat, constantly, still. for a lot of reasons but largely because you cannot sing along to hey jude and feel sad, you cannot

time-consuming thing that isn't opera: physical therapy exercises. two weeks ago my PT, chris, gave me four glute/hip exercises and two stretches. last week he was like, "now you WORK," so I am doing 80 reps of those exercises, plus 40 reps of another glute exercise, plus two impossible exercises where I have to isolate just one muscle with my mind and retrain it to obey me on command. plus a quad stretch and a crazy balance that looks like it would be easy but I find next to impossible. also, back stretches.

plus, chris told me, you should start running more. I could have kissed him on the mouth.

internet diversion: ogling modern dresses on modcloth and vintage ones at xtabay. this dress at xtabay makes me feel hurty inside from wanting, but I blew my dress budget for the year on my gala dress. perhaps the shop owner would accept a trade-in.

book: game of thrones, endlessly endlessly. I finished a clash of kings and started ... whatever the hell the next one is called? I was going to take a break from them, but I found this kindle lending loophole where if you don't turn on your wifi, they can't take back the book you got out from the library. and the book I got was game of thrones, books 1-4. so, I'm committed for awhile. can't turn the wifi on my kindle back on for another, oh, 1800 pages.

outfit: anything involving red shoes

guilty pleasure: eating one of every kind of snack in the production office during shows.

hair: curly and windblown, styled by running

pet peeve/blessing: everyone saying "it's spring!" even though it is february 3. but you know, it feels devastatingly spring-like right now.

IMAG0646

project: writing a letter a day all month. which reminds me, OH CRAP MY LETTER

barn moment: leaning up against Cookie, my head resting on the top of her shoulder, one arm wrapped around her neck, as she bends to eat her hay.

dream: I've come down with a virus bad enough to be hospitalized, where I have been for two weeks. I don't feel sick, just tired: so tired I fall asleep on monday and wake again on thursday. I try to get things accomplished but I am weighed down by ponderous fatigue; over and over again I tell people, "I've been sleeping for days."

conundrum: being so ready for time off, but finding when I have a free expanse of hours that I am so restless from going that I don't know how to sit still.

people: you know who you are.

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seriously, you guys. that dress.