Friday, September 29, 2006

In which our heroine learns a valuable lesson

Sometimes your closest friends make the worst friends. I suppose there's something about the nature of closeness that opens the door for hurt feelings and bruised egos. I am the WORST at this. I'm not sure if it's my sense of humor (frequently self-deprecating), my sensitivity level (high), or my tendency to take everything way too personally, but I usually find that the most hurtful things are said by friends. All of the above personality traits also partner with an inability to let things go, so I tend to pick at these memories like a scab (ew). I'm starting to wonder, however, if my desire to remain friends with everyone I've ever met is counterproductive. While blog surfing recently, I read someone very wise, who said that five years ago she stopped holding onto friends she'd been keeping just so she'd have more people at her wedding (You said it better, and when I remember who you were I'll link you). This concept rocked my world a little bit, and I've been rolling it around in my head for several weeks. I really have a hard time imagining "breaking up" with destructive friends. Avoidance is my M.O., and I am very effective at disappearing off the face of the earth when I don't want to deal with something. I'm also great at sweeping things under the proverbial rug, festering inside while smiling at someone and giving them a cookie. Or a glass of wine. Whatever. You know what I mean.

So I'm sending out this question to the universe (or at least to you): When the line is crossed, when all that is keeping a friendship together is shared history, do you walk away?

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Practice time

After taking the summer off from serious practice, I'm in the throes of "remembering how to play the flute." It's insanely frustrating to start playing again after a significant break, knowing how you're SUPPOSED to sound and being completely incapable of recreating what is normal. At the risk of making an inappropriate comparison, I think it's like a mild version of learning how to walk again after a catastrophic accident. Most of you probably think I'm nuts to say that. I simply mean that, for those of us who play for many hours a day, our body is completely tied to our musicianship. And our musicianship is at the very core of who we are, to our sense of value. Is this a healthy mindset? Not at all, but it is a basic reality of being any kind of "artist."

Despite that rather depressing description of my recent practice time, I am writing from a place of inspiration and motivation. The Ballet, where I work, has given me a practice space! I think that this is primarily due to the fact that I was coming in early and practicing in my office and very possibly irritating the living hell out of everyone. Regardless of their reasoning, they have given me the most awesome practice space of my life. I have a key to the archive room, meaning that I'm practicing in a room in the attic full of dusty boxes. The upside is that there are windows on both sides of this room. Windows that look down into the rehearsal studios.

Today, while practicing my scales, I stood to the side of one window, studying the reflections of the dancers in their full-wall mirror. These are seriously some of the finest ballet dancers in the world. These people have been studying their craft as long as I've been studying mine. Granted, many of them have reached the highest levels of artistry, while I am only beginning to understand who I am in my discipline. I feel honored to be able to "spy" on them. Watching their joy of rehearsing and the discipline they exhibit day after day keeps me walking up to the attic, plugging away to recover what I've been neglecting.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Confession time

I am about to say something shocking. Prepare yourself.

I don't think I like opera.

I mean, I'm trying really hard to like opera. I feel like I should LOVE opera, being a classical musician. And don't get me wrong, there are certain operas that I have absolutely adored. A lot of the time, though, I just get bored. Seriously, I could be shot on sight for this, and would be if a lot of my teachers/friends found out. The thing is, I love beautiful singing. I love the costumes, I love the orchestra, I love the idea of a fantasy world where everything can be expressed through song. Selfishly, I love an excuse to dress to the nines and go out for the evening. I just don't understand why opera directors seem to believe that "opera humor" has to be slapstick to the point of stupidity. I don't enjoy jokes about opera within an opera. I seriously dislike the way many directors seem to be toeing the line between innocent-looking physical comedy and more "adult" humor, while succeeding at neither.

Maybe I'll change my mind as I age. Not loving opera makes me feel a bit like an imposter in the world of music. For now, I'll stick to the Symphony and the Ballet.

Friday, September 15, 2006

My Mother's Daughter

My entire life we have given my mother crap about being scatterbrained. She says things like "Did you tell your sister about the thing you tried to do but didn't?" Um, what? Or she'll make a list with random words on it, and later wonder what it was about. Or get in the car, drive for ten minutes, and realize that she can't remember what she was about to do.

My plan all day was to head to Trader Joe's tonight to pick up groceries. One of my all-time best friends is coming to town tomorrow, and I didn't want him to walk in and find an empty refrigerator. Also, we have been ordering food WAAAAY too much this week. So all day I kept a grocery list on a sheet of scrap paper. Every time I thought of something, I'd check to see if I'd already written it down. If not, I'd write it on the list. So imagine my surprise when my sister/roommate began cracking up while reading the list in the car on the way to TJ's! When she read it aloud, I started laughing so hard that I started to cry. I literally had to pull off the road because I couldn't see.

Here's what my list said:

Shrimp (2)

*Reasons that I am not currently making out with anyone. Do I really need that much garlic? REALLY?

**I think this was supposed to say chicken. I can't imagine what else it meant.

***What? Was I planning on buying the whole store? Was I afraid I wouldn't remember the reason for the list???

Another Day Of Fun, Brought to You by MUNI

We all know that I love MUNI. I love walking out the door in the morning, hopping on the bus, and not having to worry about parking. I love watching all the random people sitting on the bus. I get a good laugh out of people in costumes, and I am continually amazed by the many women who do their makeup on the bus without even smudging their mascara. (Hell, I can't even do that while standing still in front of my bathroom mirror!)

I do not, however, love waiting for the bus, climbing on board, riding it for about ten minutes, and then getting kicked off with all the other passengers with no explanation. I especially do not love this phenomenon when I am already running late, the next bus will not arrive for another 20 minutes, and the nearest alternative route takes ten minutes to walk to.

Oh MUNI, why have you forsaken me?

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Feeling Triumphant (or at least a little less stupid)

For the past week I have been attempting to help one of my donors solve an issue with her account. Now let's just be honest folks: I am a musician. I might be a moderately smart musician, but I have spent the vast majority of the past seven years playing an instrument. I don't pretend to understand the finer mechanics of accounting. I can, however, add. The frustrating part of this account has been that nothing seems to add up to any of the numbers this donor gave me. Literally, nothing. I have been feeling like a complete moron for the past several days.

Vindication is mine! Right now all of the development "big cheeses" are sitting around a computer, stumped by this poor woman's account. Just for the record, it feels SO GOOD that they are just as confused as I have been.

Score one for the flute player!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Saga of a failed post

So far this morning I've written three posts, and all three have been, shall we say, sub par. Which, I should add, is one of the oddest ways to say that something is less than stellar. In golf, which I think is the sport that the word "par" references, isn't it good to be below par?

The reality is that there is very little to say. Life is good, generally. I'm slowly starting to figure out my job, a refreshing step in a more interesting direction. This is also a positive thing, because my office just suspended access to internet sites that provide instant messaging and email.

It was odd being in San Francisco for September 11. Having lived in the South since 2001, I've always had to face a barrage of people using 9/11 as their moment for pushing a political agenda. People here barely seemed to register that this was the five-year anniversary of such a horrible day. Frankly, I found it refreshing. Each year was almost like reliving the horror of watching it on the news. Maybe that makes me unpatriotic, or a bad person. I just don't want to keep watching it over and over.

I have now managed to spend nearly an hour to write what may be the most boring post ever. Nevertheless, rules of blogging state that a post, once started, must be published, and I am nothing if not a diligent follower of the law. Never fear, I'll attempt to post again later and perhaps recover some of my dignity.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Good night, sleep tight...

Okay, so is anyone else completely freaked out by this whole bed bug epidemic? Because I am, without question, freaked out. Particularly now that I'm getting massive bug bites every night.

Realistically, I am aware that these bites are much more likely the result of Pierre's fleas than bed bugs. I know that each time I check the corners of my mattress, nary a bed bug appears. Yet each new itchy bump on my legs inspires a mild panic, and an immediate need to wash every linen on my bed.

This also happens to be the first time in my life that I have even momentarily thought of pesticide as less evil than the blood of Satan. Growing up I remember being horrified by DDT (that's what it was called, right?) making all those bald eagle eggs soft and infertile. I was anti-pesticide to the point that I would pull on gloves and remove the junebugs from our garden plants BY HAND. And I did not like bugs as a kid. Not even a little bit.

But bed bugs? Um, ew. I would blast those suckers with chemicals in a hot minute.

I think there's also a sense of violation when you feel like your bed may or may not have been taken over by insects. Add to that the fact that those insects are living off of you, and you have the makings of one of my nightmares.

I am seriously considering getting a sleeping bag.