February 25, 2013

the haps

working on rinaldo has done something really beneficial for me, in that the work turned out to be less frightening than expected, or at least more satisfying (and therefore less daunting), and I feel that I did a (hopefully) bang-up job on it, though of course we won't know until the orchestra is playing it, which they won't do for another 11 days.

a few days after I delivered the keyboard to our conductor he wrote me an email saying I'm loving my keyboard delivered by this charming and magical lovely woman in an elfin hat!, said hat being of course the one in the picture over there to the right. I am pretty sure I am going to keep this conductor forever and ever and nobody else can have him. paws off, people.

I did this thing over the weekend where I rode my horse two days in a row after riding like once every two weeks or less for the past year, and now I can't walk.

also there has been a ton of barn drama in these last few weeks, the culmination of which was the mass exodus of the riding instructor (whom I have known almost since I moved to portland) and most of her students, a combined total of 7 horses. only me and two other boarders remain. I didn't really even consider leaving; I haven't taken a lesson in over a year and the barn owner is the reason I own a horse at all, so my loyalty remains with her. on sunday she and I arranged to meet at the barn and then drove to the cafe down the street for breakfast, biscuits and gravy and coffee, where we talked about all the stupid drama and what the barn was going to be like in the aftermath. the verdict: quiet. when we got back I let cookie run around for awhile and then rode for a half hour, and got laughing when I took her through some rollbacks and she picked up what I wanted so fast that all I had to do once we'd halted was begin to turn her and say 'go!' and she would take off at a canter. she's too smart for me most of the time.

I went to the garden on sunday after having not been there for six months and it's simultaneously totally overgrown and not as bad as I expected. it's weedier than I thought it would be but the stuff I left to rot in the ground is less daunting than I remembered. the tulips and hyacinths are coming up, so although I tried to disturb the soil as little as possible (it's still too wet and I will ruin everything if I go tearing it all up now), I did weed around all my bulbs so I could actually see them when they flower. unlike in previous years I will probably cut them and bring them home right away, because there's no use having them in the garden when I'm so rarely there.

oh. also I am managing/coaching our softball team this year. yeah, I know. I'm also not sure how it happened. I mean, of course I know how it happened: the player who coached the team last year is not doing it this year and left it up to us to figure out who would take his place. then nobody stepped up and there was fear that we wouldn't have a team at all for the first time in over 10 years and I sat for days thinking this is ridiculous, I don't even have time for my current life and then I wrote everybody an email that said I would do it. so basically the same way I get into anything. I guess I will figure out the hard way how to manage a softball team. any pointers are appreciated.

in the same vein, I'm leading a panel at this year's MOLA conference, which is being held here in portland. it was originally meant to be about opera/ballet galas but the more we've gone back and forth, the more it's looking like it'll turn into 'opera & ballet for the uninitiated,' a panel discussion about all the things that non-dramatic librarians might run into from time to time but know little about, like standard practice for common arias and wtf to do with backstage band music. this is simultaneously my worst nightmare (public speaking) and also, whatever.

in the meantime I'll continue to eat whatever weird dessert food shows up in the break room, like the strange 'mexican candy' marzipan-type balls that ended up there today, which didn't look particularly delicious but had sprinkles on them. and it should be obvious to anyone who's read this blog for half a minute that I will eat anything if it has sprinkles on it.

February 24, 2013

the truth, even after all this time

hey jude
don't make it bad
take a sad song and make it better
remember to let her into your heart
then you can start to make it better

hey jude
don't be afraid
you were made to go out and get her
the minute you let her under your skin
then you begin to make it better

and anytime you feel the pain
hey jude, refrain
don't carry the world upon your shoulders
for well you know that it's a fool who plays it cool
by making his world a little colder

hey jude
don't let me down
you have found her, now go and get her
remember to let her into your heart
then you can start to make it better

so let it out and let it in
hey jude, begin
you're waiting for someone to perform with
and don't you know that it's just you
hey jude, you'll do
the movement you need is on your shoulder

hey jude
don't make it bad
take a sad song and make it better
remember to let her under your skin
then you'll begin to make it better

February 23, 2013

we begin rinaldo rehearsals on presidents day, with the rest of the office closed. the harpsichord tuner comes and we chat; I tell him that I am there, seriously, to tune the electric keyboard to the same temperament as the harpsichord. we laugh and he hands me his tuning peg. in the end I decide it's a waste of my time to make the tiny minute tuning adjustments necessary to match temperaments, and that nobody even knows it's possible and won't notice anyway.

when the conductor comes in the room I shout "oh boy!" before I have a chance to think about it, and scamper over to meet him. he can't shake anyone's hand because he's come down with some sort of cold overnight. he is as lovely as everyone has told me, gracious and kind, full of good humor.

on another day, I go to the barn to try and at least run cookie around for awhile, and although I am dressed to ride, I don't have my heart set on it. or maybe I'm actually kind of fearful of it, having only ridden maybe once a week since the start of the year. when I get there the yahoos next door are shooting off guns in the nearby field and cookie is so frightened by the noise that she won't even turn her back to the far end of the arena. I try to shoo her away from the gate with my whip but she won't run more than 5 feet away before returning, on high alert and in terror. after half an hour I give up and put her back in her stall, grateful that I wasn't too keen on riding anyway, but frustrated by the wasted trip.

at our production meeting I hold court for ages, talking through three full pages of notes, questions about harpsichord moves and continuo schedules and whether or not the oboes are doubling the violins in certain numbers. I take longer than all the other people combined. normally I have one or two things to say.

when I go to bed monday I have a headache, and I still have that headache 6 days later. it's moved around my head but only gone away for maybe a combined total of 16 hours. I suspect, but can't confirm, that it's from endless hours bent over my standing desk, which, unlike my regular desk, makes me have to look farther down and therefore strain my neck harder.

at the rinaldo meet & greet I get an unexpected shout out and everybody claps for the endless work I've done on the music. the conductor calls me 'his goddess,' and afterward when we are chatting in the hallway I laugh and say, there's a first time for everything. when later in the week I deliver a rented keyboard to his hotel room, he says, "this is so great of you, I'm pretty sure this isn't in your job description," and I reply, "I'm pretty sure the first line of my job description is 'other duties as assigned.'" he promises that when he's over his cold he's going to take me to 'a fancy dinner' and I laugh and say, 'you're going to spoil me for every other conductor,' and he says, 'good.' I find it very funny that somehow it's always this show, our small production, that I love best and work hardest on, and it's this show's conductor that becomes my best friend.

I go out for drinks with girlfriends, one of whom is a dear friend and former young artist, who got engaged recently and whose fiance asked us for help in picking out her ring. it was delicious to be in on it; later on she said to us, "you bitches sure can keep a secret," and that is the truth. the ring is beautiful. we were there when they met.

I read voraciously -- by the end of the weekend I'll have finished 4 books this week -- and it feels like a very funny time of year for it, too busy, but when I go to update my five-year calendar last year's entry says, went to the barn -- braided mud tail, cleaned stall, rode for the 1st time in weeks. came home, read + read + read. the way the days fold into last year's days is peculiar and although sometimes it's sad, sometimes it's also comforting. the cyclical way things go. "rode for the first time in weeks." "bone tired and ready to be done working for awhile." even "went to the garden for the first time in months."

I ordered seeds for the garden yesterday, and for the first time in months I felt excited about it. the garden, which uncharacteristically I left to rot at the end of the fall and haven't seen since. across the street, the neighbor's rhododendrons are blooming. behind my apartment, the cherry blossoms are budding. it's happening. somehow I always am surprised at the first promise of spring, like I did not have faith it would ever come.

February 12, 2013

if you go away from writing for long enough you begin to wonder what it is you used to say.

because of my long absence I'm sure you imagine I'll tell you things are dark. wrong! they are much better. modern pharmaceuticals!

a funny side effect of the drugs I am taking for my brain is intense, focused concentration. it's frequently prescribed as an ADD drug. I am pretty sure I don't have ADD but I have definitely never been this undistractable in my life. it's incredible. in a few days I'll drop down to half the dose I've been taking, which will be my actual daily dose. I'm kind of terrified I'll turn into a space case. DON'T MAKE ME GO BACK

another funny side effect is the ringing in my ears. it's faint but consistent. and I don't even care! look at me go.

in the three(ish) weeks since I last hung around this blog, we opened and closed tosca. it went fine. I never saw it because I was in the supertext booth. it was not my best performance librarian-wise or supertext-wise (seriously, I have never stepped in so many entrances as I did in this production. sorry, singers). but that's okay. I entered it feeling as bad as I've felt in my life, so it's a miracle that anybody even got the right music, never mind that I managed to sort out all the electronic and backstage instruments. I mean, I didn't cry once in rehearsal, so let's just call it a success and move on.

I moved on to the next opera, handel's rinaldo. we're cobbling together the 1711 and 1731 versions and so it's a librarian nightmare, a pile of transpositions and inserts, a score that's cut and pasted together, a constant series of changes, plus the confusion of baroque instruments, none of which I'm terribly familiar with.

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(henry the desk vacuum, a christmas present from my mom)

I get almost daily emails from the conductor that say, like, "hey, when you rewrite the trumpet parts for oboe, can you do me a favor and insert these 5 bars from the oboe part in the middle here, and then these 14 bars here, and then you can jump back to the trumpet part." but in the same breath he says things like "thank you, jessica, for this meticulous and beautiful score," so everything is okay.

and hey! I am on ADD medication. there were days when I almost literally had to be torn from my work. I worked so much and so hard on the parts for these last two weeks that my face started to hurt from looking at the music. my FACE was sore. THE HELL.

they're done, and I sent them out yesterday, and since I worked 74 hours last week I took today and tomorrow as my weekend. it's the first time I've had two uninterrupted days off in at least a month. yesterday on my way home from the office, I went and picked up my own giant vat of hot & sour soup, came home, changed into my adult one-piece camo print footed pajamas (YES), turned on trashy crime dramas, and ate the entire container of soup in one go. then I fell asleep for two hours, woke up, puttered around for an hour or so, and went to bed at 10. what's not to like?

the most exciting thing on the agenda tomorrow is my massage, long overdue, where I'm hoping to utterly horrify the massage therapist with my bone-hard, strangely lumpy left leg. you gotta have goals.