Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Long Week

Another short week for me since Friday is a state holiday and yet again it feels longer than it should. Saturday's 40 mph winds blew in dust from Lubbock, along with God knows what else. And those of us who are unfortunate enough to suffer from allergies are now feeling the full effects. I've been so tired since Sunday; I swear I could sleep a full 24 hrs and still not feel rested. Yesterday I got the beginnings of what could have become a migraine that still lingers today. And I woke up with a very scratchy throat this morning, likely from all of the lovely stuff hanging out in my nasal cavity & subsequently down the hatch overnight.

This is another busy week of rehearsals too. Voice lessons are now weekly since I have the Rutter and NATS at the end of March. Wednesdays are church choir. Thursdays are Chorale. And Saturday marks the beginning of RCT rehearsals for the April show. If I stop and think about it long, it's almost overwhelming. And never ye mind that I haven't memorized the stuff for RCT yet. Thank God for that Friday holiday!

(Has anybody called the whahm-bu-lance yet? Because, yeah, I'm whining.)

This morning, Derek told me that his grandmother died during the night. She's been sick off & on since Christmas. And she's been in & out of the hospital, though I believe she's been in a nursing home for the last several weeks. Anyway, his dad had called last night and said they didn't expect her to live through the night. I'm not all that surprised by her passing. When we saw her at Christmas, she didn't look good. It was like she got up one day & forgot where she put her marbles. And physically, she had experienced a huge decline, as well. But it will be difficult for the husband she lives behind. He's suffering from advanced Alzheimer's & she was his lifeline to what little reality he still recognizes & chooses to live in.

Saturday, February 24, 2007


It's always funny to me how a short week seems much longer than it actually is. I was so glad to finally get to the weekend. The beautiful and unseasonably warm weather we've had this week certainly didn't help the weekend get here any faster. Who can think of working when it's sunny & warm outside?! Makes me want to play hookie & do something fun. But alas, I was a good government employee.

Naturally, the weekend brings cleaning. My big project for the weekend is to get the mound of filing put away. I've been piling it up for...well, I'm actually ashamed to say how long I've been putting things in the to-be-filed pile. To say that it's a mountain is an understatement. Aside from the fact that the pile is driving me absolutely nuts and has been for quite a while, it's time to begin gathering stuff for the accountant to do our taxes. So there's a little more motivation to actually go through everything & get it where it goes. I hope I can find everything I've been on the hunt for as Derek has been "helpful" in hiding the filing, which means it's scattered from hither to yon.

Couple of side bars.
  • The family cat had to be put down this week. Callie was at least 17 years old. Though none of us can actually remember when she was born, we know that it was before Coco who was born in 1990. She was the sweetest cat, a typical loving calico...always at the door to greet you...loved to leave "offerings" at the back door...loved on you at every opportunity. She developed a tumor that slowly began taking its toll on her. We decided it was time to say goodbye and relieve her suffering. Though we'll all miss her, she lived a good, long life.
  • My grandfather, who has Parkinson's and has been in a nursing home the last several years, has developed another Parkinson's-related complication. He has been seeing the speech therapist but hasn't been the most cooperative patient. Naturally, this latest development is tough on the family.
  • On an upbeat note, my dad had his four-week post-op check-up this last week. The doctor was exceedingly pleased with his progress and thought dad would have a better range of motion in this knee than the other one. Dad has another four weeks of physical therapy to continue strengthening the knee and surrounding musculature. He can return to work as tolerated.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Singers Needed

The Irving Chorale really needs singers, particularly for its March concert. While strong singers with good sightreading skills and some training are preferred, if you can carry a tune & are a quick study, we really need you. Auditions are by appointment. Prepare a piece of your choosing. Sightreading and vocalization required. Accompanist provided. If you are interested or know anyone who may be, please pass along. Thanks!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Holiday Weekend

Yippee, a holiday weekend. Oh how I love those, particularly when I don't have much to do. Mom & I attended our first official scrapbooking class today. Ya see, I bought this fantabulous program last year that's supposed to be great for digital scrapbooking. I've spent the last year frustrated with the stupid thing. I mean, how hard can it be to figure out how to work the dang thing? Apparently, it's rocket science. Anyway, we went to an intro class for Adobe Photoshop Elements & I'm suddenly understanding why I wasn't getting anywhere. It's a complicated program...not for the faint of heart, that's for sure. We had a great time, learned a lot, and think we might do a little digital scrapbooking here & there. Don't know that we'll be official converters altogether. We do like our paper. Anyway, if you're looking for a great place to get in on the newest scrapbooking technique, check out Polka Dot Potato.

The rest of the weekend was spent doing various & asundery things, like cleaning. Yeah, I know, big surprise. Derek and I finally celebrated V-day, since he was in San Diego all week. Had a nice lunch at Mi Cocina in Plano. I do love me some Tex-Mex. Got all the grocery shopping done. Had a very productive voice lesson. Cooked dinner, big shocker. Mostly, the long weekend made me wonder why, again, I have a day job. Oh right, because I like to eat. day, we can eat with or without my paycheck. And then I can be an AR/OC housewife who sings.

An Update

It's been a while since I gave an update on my uncle Gregg, who has the stomach tumor. This week he had a follow-up appointment at MD Andersen and got a great report. In fact, here it straight from my aunt:

We got back from Houston last Tues. Sorry it has taken me a week to update all of you on his progress. The doctors say that everything looks good and his disease has stabilized enough now for surgery. The progress of the shrinkage has slowed alot. We were told that tumors as large as his would only shrink so much then stop. We are almost at the stopping point. They have scheduled surgery for the first week of May. Gregg is very nervous and somewhat depressed. He was really hoping that he would not have to have the surgery at all. It is my hope and belief that after he has the surgery, the medication will take care of anything they are not able to get. He will go back on the Gleevec as soon as he is able to eat again after surgery. Please keep up in your prayers. We will be having a wedding for Cheryl and Alex late in April then head to Houston on May 1.
Thanks for your prayers,

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day

It's not one day but every day that counts

Monday, February 12, 2007

Monday, Monday

Wait, is that a song? If so, any legal eagle looking for a reason to sue someone over misuse of lyrics can just pass me by. I swear I'm not trying to rip off some poor, starving songwriter. It just seemed an appropriate phrase to address my Monday doldrums.

Anyway, I digress. Had a nice weekend. I'm not sure I was as productive as I set out to be. I did manage to get all of the laundry done. Considering how far behind I was, that was an accomplishment. Once it's all put away, it really will be finished & I really will be caught up. I helped Derek catch up on the dishes. You see, in our household, that's one of his jobs. But he's been busy this last week, and since I had the time on Friday, I tackled the task of the mounding dishes in the sink...on the cabinet...on the other cabinet. Well, they were spreading, to say the least. Anyway, the kitchen is all tidied up too. That in itself makes the house feel clean to me. Wonder why that is?

I also caught up on all the long lost episodes of my favorite shows on the DVR, and they've all been erased. (So my dear husband can quit riding my hiney about how much space my shows are taking up on the DVR! Not that that aggravates me or anything.) What about Grey's? Anyone watching? Man, it's getting good! Can't wait for the next two episodes in the 3-parter. Will George & Callie make it? Will Yang really follow through with Burke? Will Meredith reconsider her answer to Derek's question? Can't wait to find out!

I wish I could tell you that I was a good singer & spent hours & hours in the practice room this weekend. Uh. Hmm, I'll get right on that. Seriously, I have to do that. I'm supposed to have two pieces memorized for my lesson tomorrow. Ha, probably not! But I'll shoot for the Argento piece. It's actually do-able, particularly since it's in English. And I have until Thursday to crack down on the Rutter.

I did finally get tires for my car & got it inspected. Ouch. I don't know about you, but plunking down $500 on four new tires isn't exactly my idea of a fun time. But now all three cars are back in working order. (Once dad came & charged my battery on Sunday)

Mom & dad came over Sunday afternoon. Mom & I enjoyed an afternoon of scrapbook shopping. One of my goals for the year is to get my travel album up-to-date. So I've started with the most recent trip & am working backwards (b/c I have journals for all but that one). We made major progress yesterday. There won't be much left to buy once I get everything assembled. How exciting to almost have the New York stuff done! Dad stayed home with Derek. Not really sure what they tortured each other with. Derek & the neighbor were playing video games when we left, and they were watching the Military Channel when we got back. Big YAWN! Then we had dinner & visited for a while.

For those of you wondering (since I haven't mentioned it in a while), dad's doing great. He's going to physical therapy three times a week and seems to progressing really well. He's about where he was last time in the recovery process. He still has a little wobble, for lack of a better word. But the knee is still a little stiff, particularly if he sits for a while. But that should get better as all of the muscles begin to recover & he continues to gain range of motion. I think he enjoyed the trip out of the house, even if it was only a transferrance to another recliner.

I'm home alone for the rest of the week. Derek will be in San Diego manning the Stryker booth at Academy. Works out since I'll be singing the rest of the week.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Weekend of Rest...I Hope

Another busy week. I try to space out rehearsals, but that's not always possible. With the little bus incident on Monday, it meant three rehearsals back-to-back. And as much as I love to sing, it just sucks the life right out of me. I think it's the having-to-get-up-for-the-dayjob thing. Needless to say, I look forward to a weekend of rest!

Derek's going on another business dinner tonight, so I'll be home alone. Think I'll get my vacuuming done so I can spend the rest of the weekend piddling. I'd like to go see my friend in Cosi. My friend who goes to these kinds of things with me is out-of-town on business (and the other an ocean away), so I'll have to go alone. Not my favorite thing. The things we do to support our fellow artists. Mom & I have an afternoon of scrapbooking planned for Sunday. Aside from that, I have oodles of music to work on. So I'll likely be torturing the neighbors off & on all weekend. I'll take breaks to catch up on all my shows on the DVR. Derek is complaining that I'm taking up too much memory. Geez, I only have 8 episodes on there. Oh, I guess I am behind.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Interesting Monday

Well, all in all, this has turned out to be quite the interesting Monday. The day began and ended with bus issues. This morning, there was a fatality accident blocking the HOV lane. Since today was the first day of a driver change for DART, we had a new driver for our morning route who didn't know he could divert to avoid the traffic. It took almost an hour and a half to get to work. Very unusual. This afternoon, two buses were no-shows. The first bus to pass my stop was more than thirty minutes late, and it was already full even though I was only halfway along the route. Thankfully, some nice folks who usually ride drove today & picked me up, along with several others, and took us to the park-n-ride. But I had to postpone a voice lesson as a result.

On a different note, we finally have all of our new furniture and have gotten everything rearranged. Here are a few photos, since I promised them & some of you may actually be interested (like my family).

The new entertainment center for the big screen

The old entertainment center in a new home

The new chair

A view of the formals with the new set-up


One of my friends will be playing Don Alfonso in SMU's production of Cosi fan tutte. The opera plays this weekend at the Bob Hope Theatre at Meadows School for the Arts. Tickets are $6 for students & $12 for adults. Showtimes are as follows:

Thursday, February 8 - 8 p.m.
Friday, February 9 - 8 p.m.
Saturday, February 10 - 8 p.m.
Sunday, February 11 - 2 p.m.

Singers Needed

Know anyone interested in a paid singing job? I temped at John Calvin Presbyterian during advent, and the director is still in need of singers for a better part of this year. Since I took the job at Lake Highlands, I'm not able to help him. Job requirements are simple: rehearsals are Thursday evenings and Sunday mornings before worship; services begin at 10:45 on Sundays. If you know of anyone interested, I'd be happy to give more details and contact info.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Worst Opera Ever

A friend and I share season tickets to a local opera company. (While I realize it won't be difficult to figure out which one, I'll be professional and withhold the company name and some other vital info). Last night, we attended La Rondine. We were both very excited about this opera. Namely, neither of us had seen it in its entirety, knowing only a famous aria. My friend was particularly excited to see the soprano playing Magda, who she had seen several years before in a production of Madame Butterfly.

The opera got off on bad footing when the supertitles were not working. In fact, for the entire first act, we were without supertitles. Imagine seeing a foreign language film without supertitles. While you can get the gist of the story, it's not quite the same as having the translations flashing as the story goes along. As the first act progressed, we became increasingly disheartened by the production. Several local talents were playing some of the lesser characters. They were difficult to be heard at best. And the soprano my friend was so excited to hear again...she was terrible. No, seriously, she was grossly under pitch throughout the entire first act. And she did nothing but portamento to her high notes, which were all strident. (Portamento=a technique of gliding from one note to another without actually defining intermediate notes; a smooth gliding between two pitches) Yes, this technique is appropriate in opera; however, it is not appropriate between each and every note. To say that Magda overused the portamento is like saying Madden overuses the on-screen scribbling. Get my drift?

At the conclusion of the first act, my friend and I turned to one another and agreed that we were thus far quite underwhelmed. We hoped the cast members were now thoroughly warmed up. As the second act was about to begin, the house announced that the supertitles would not appear at all due to a massive technical foorah. Thankfully, we'd prepared for that during the intermission and read the brief synopsis of acts one and two in the program. At least we had a clue what was to come. The second act was only improved by the fact that the chorus appeared and did most of the singing. The tenor playing Ruggero was worse than Magda. His vocal attacks were just that...attacks. What should have been beautiful lines were butchered at both Ruggero and Magda. The final note of act two was the last straw for both of us. We couldn't stand the thought of listening to those two butcher the remainder of the opera. For the first time in my life, I left in the middle of a performance.

I should have taken heed of the review in the local paper. While I usually ignore this particular gentleman's reviews, he was dead on this time. The only two redeeming appearances were made by Magda's maid, Lisette, who was absolutely fabulous, and the chorus in act two. Otherwise, we should have opted for a night on the town & saved ourselves the torture of butchered Puccini.

If any of you saw the opera I speak of, I'd be curious to hear your thoughts.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

More Wintry Weather

January was officially the coldest month on record in more than two decades (okay, I can't remember exactly what kind of record was set, so this is the best you get). And it was also one of the wettest. Then again, considering we're in a drought of more than two years, it's not hard to set that record. Though it was the wettest January of late, we're still more than 20" in the hole for rainfall.

But I digress. Today marks the second day this week that we've had snow. Yep, you read that right. Two days of snowfall. No, not snow pellets. No, not sleet (well, okay, it's sleeted too). No, not freezing rain (though we've gotten that also). Honest-to-goodness snow. Naturally, the ground temperatures are too warm for anything to stick. Mostly because we haven't had any snowfall of significant measure. And the temperatures have only hovered around freezing.

I know, how boring. I'm talking about the weather. But if you're from the area, you understand why it's such a big deal. I mean, it consumed all of the 4 o'clock news this afternoon. And continues to take a significant amount of airtime in the regular nightly broadcasts. What can I say...we North Texans are fascinated.