Already a fun year in sickness

January's almost over, and I've been ill for most of the month. In addition to my regular allergies, and the weird neck thing I had a couple of weeks back, I spent the weekend with a fever and a snot factory in my head.

I was talking to Loki this morning, and he said "usually when you get sick, your voice gets all sexy...what happened this time?" It is true that when I'm sick, my voice usually gets sexily husky. It's almost Thursday (rehearsal), and I sound like Elaine Stritch if she had laryngitis and smoked a little more. Not sexy at all.

On top of that, the horrible neck pain I had has migrated to my lower back. I can't bend over or pick things up off the ground, or stay in one position for too long, without feeling this dull ache just near my left kidney.

I don't feel horrible, in fact, I tend to feel better if I get up and go to work as opposed to lounging in bed. I think, I haven't actually tried lounging in bed, but that would involve staying in one position for a while, which I already know is not good.

I do feel generally demotivated. I don't feel like eating or watching TV. I've been on the internet but I don't feel like staying on for very long. I have to wash some dishes, and I don't feel like doing that. Malaise, I guess. If my work schedule lets up some, I'll try to get the doctor.


Audition Songs

I am once again looking for audition songs, but this time, it's for my audition when I transfer from the Community College to the University. The website has no suggestions as far as what kind of pieces - most auditions will ask you to prepare an art song and an aria, one in a foreign language. The school I am planning to transfer to says nothing.

I went to this website today, and found the list of composers helpful. I was thinking of focusing on woman composers, but I am having a hard time tracking down song samples, so I can hear before I buy anything. I want a song that will play to my strengths (which are limited as far as classical music is concerned) but will challenge me.

I've probably got at least a year before I have to have anything ready, I'm looking now so I can know it backwards and fowards and inside and out, so it's a part of me.


How you know it's time to change the channel...

"Ladies and gentleman, Debra Messing and Zac Efron!"


Brief Movie Reviews

Fast Times At Ridgemont High

I recorded this movie off of Cinemax even though I've seen it before. In fact, I saw it when it was released, in the movie theater, when I was 14 - my mother bought me the R rated ticket and I went with a boyfriend (not the kissing kind, the boy who is my friend kind).

This movie could not get made today. A comedy where a main character has an abortion? That doesn't ruin her life? Teenage girls who want to have sex but aren't deemed sluts or whores?

It is more flawed than I remember - the emotional lives of the female characters are given short shrift, and there is little style in the direction. I have some problems with the storyline for Jennifer Jason Leigh's character, Stacy. I like that she is not afraid of pursuing a sexual relationship, but the fact that she seems to be motivated by peer pressure from her friend Linda (who is clearly fronting about her own sexual experience) makes her pursuit of a sexual relationship to be somewhat coerced.

The male characters are generally more richly drawn, I assume this is due to the source material being written by a young man (Cameron Crowe).

Not as good as I remember, but this movie would be positively revolutionary if it was released today.

Imagine Me & You

The good: it's a very pretty movie. Matthew Goode is completely charming as the husband of a woman who falls in love at their wedding - with another woman. Giles is in it!

The bad: it is 35 minutes of Piper Perabo moping. There is no chemistry between the two women who are in love. It's boring.

Latter Days

This is a low-budget movie about a West Hollywood boytoy who falls in love with a Mormon missionary. That is a rich topic. Steve Sandvoss was terrific as Aaron Davis, the Mormon missionary who knows that he is attracted to men, but still fights against it because he believes in the religion in which he was raised. Wes Ramsay plays Christian, who makes a bet that he can bed a Mormon, but ends up (as they always do in these "I made a bet" kind of movies) finding the good within himself.

My only problem with the movie (aside from the low-budget, which negatively impacted the appearance of the film, and a couple of the supporting performances, which were amateurish) was the sex scene between Christian and Aaron. I love a good gay sex scene, my friends - men or women. This one was hot, no doubt. But it took me out of the movie - it was movie, movie, movie, soft-core porn! movie, movie, movie. I didn't think that with everything Christian had been through, the sex would have looked like that. It's a quibble, the movie could stand without the sex scene, since the truly intimate moment happens the morning after.


Jean Luc Godard's most accessible and linear film. It's still not terribly accessible or linear, but it is interesting, even if the ending seems simplistic. Since we kept going back to see things we missed, it took Loki and I about 4 hours to watch this 1 hour and 40 minute long film.


Oh, insomnia, my too frequent companion!

I have had about 3 hours of sleep in the past 2 days; I have put myself to bed 4 times tonight and as soon as my head hits the pillow, my eyes pop open and my brain starts going like mad - I have one sided conversations with people I know, imagine what my bedroom will look like when I get around to working on it, make lists of all the things that need to be done in the house, try to think about ways to make more money....and sleep eludes me.

And then there is the pain in my hip, which makes it difficult to find a comfortable position to sleep in.

I've taken Nyquil, and I've taken Tylenol PM. I'm tired, but I don't seem to be able to shut down.

I was up really late last night because we went to SIL's house to play Parcheesi, and we kept having to play rematches because Loki is a Parcheesi savant - nearly every time he had the dice in his hand, he rolled the optimum roll. It took the combined power of me, SIL and BIL, playing with the primary goal of taking down Loki, to keep him from winning the final game. And even so, he came in second!

So we didn't get home until 2:30, and then I couldn't get to sleep right away, so I slept from about 5 or so till about 7:30, when I had to get up for Mass. I was pretty bleary, but I didn't nap because I was worried that if I slept too much during the day, I wouldn't be able to sleep tonight. Clearly, that didn't work.


Music for Albert

I knew Albert for seven years, but I didn't know that he preferred to be called Albert until his memorial service, which was held last Saturday.

Most of the choir members I sang with during my tenure at South Church came to the service, and we put on our old robes and gathered in the choir loft and sang for Albert.

First: Most of Sing Me To Heaven

The first few lines are missing, but the lyrics are:

In my heart's sequestered chambers lie truths stripped of poet's gloss.
Words alone are vain and vacant and my heart is mute.
In response to aching silence memory summons half-heard voices
and my soul finds primal eloquence and wraps me in song.
Wraps me in song.

If you would comfort me, sing me a lullabye.
If you would win my heart, sing me a love song.
If you would mourn me and bring me to God,
sing me a requiem.
Sing me to heaven.

Touch in me all love and passion, pain and pleasure
Touch in me grief and comfort, love and passion, pain and pleasure.

Sing me a lullabye, a love song, a requiem.
Love me, comfort me, bring me to God.
Sing me a love song, sing me to heaven.

This is the not the best we've ever done, but that may be because several of us were weeping.

Next is the Kyrie Elaison from John Rutter's Requiem:

Our organist and I had a discussion about Rutter, who is kind of a guilty pleasure of both of ours. He mentioned that in his one of his music theory classes in college, the students all used to make fun of silly Rutter, but damned if the sweetness of his compositions doesn't just grow on you.

Also from Rutter's Requiem: Lux Aeterna

This features Sarah Callinan on the soprano solo. She was our soprano section leader for 4 or 5 of the years I sang at the church. I think much of the piece sounds better when sung by a boy's choir (that "lux aeterna, luce at eis" sung with the purity that can only really be achieved by young treble voices is so lovely), but I love her voice on the solo.

Sadly, my camera ran out of memory and Loki wasn't able to capture our last song, And I Saw A New Heaven, which is a glorious piece of music, and one that I think we actually performed better than we ever had before, but....like all of us, it was ephemeral and fleeting and will only live on the memory of those who were there. Which is appropriate, I guess.


Things you may not know

One pet rabbit can make a surprising amount of noise. The bunny is hopping around his cage upstairs, and it sounds like an adult male is thumping around. It is disconcerting.



Why is the preferred drive-time offering on the average FM station a pair of obnoxious men with 1 raspy voiced woman?

As a follow up: do people actually like morning DJs and find them amusing?

(I was forced to turn on the radio this morning because I left my CDs in the backseat, and I just don't understand this seemingly ubiquitous configuration or how people find it something that they want to listen to.)


2007 Meme (via Toast)

1. What did you do in 2007 that you'd never done before? felt confident about my abilities as a singer.

2. Did you keep your New Year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?I did keep my NY resolution from last year, which was to cook more often for my family. By the middle of the year, I had a weekly menu that got posted to the refrigerator. This year, my resolution is to get 8 hours of sleep a night. I may be purchasing either more Nyquil or Tylenol PM to make this happen.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?One of my co-workers had a baby girl last Friday.

4. Did anyone close to you die? My friends Al and Linda.

5. What places did you visit?New York City for Tartfest. The Bronx and Worcester for college visits.

6. What would you like to have in 2008 that you lacked in 2007? more self discipline

7. What dates from 2007 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? I can't think of anything right now.

8. What was your biggest achievement(s) of the year? getting into a professional a cappella group; getting recognition for my work at my workplace, even if it was not recognized in as green and dollarlike a fashion as I would have preferred; keeping my patience with my husband.

9. What was your biggest failure? I didn't lose any weight.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? too often

11. What was the best thing you bought? a dishwasher

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? my sister Bernadette

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? Joe Lieberman; everyone associated with the Bush administration.

14. Where did most of your money go? according to Quicken, most of my money went to "other". Of course, I just downloaded it, so I'm sure that as we move forward in 2008, most of my money will go to the mortgage, followed by education, insurance, medical needs, food, pets, other.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? Sio going to college.

16. What song will always remind you of 2007?And I Saw A New Heaven, even though it's an old song.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) Happier or sadder? sadder and wiser
b) thinner or fatter? same
c) richer or poorer? poorer
18. What do you wish you'd done more of? read, socialized with friends, written letters, been a better parent.
19. What do you wish you'd done less of?Eating of garbage food, watching TV, spending time on the computer.
20. How did you spend Christmas last year? In 2006, I spent Xmas with my in-laws.
21. Did you fall in love in 2007? no
22. How many one-night stands? zero
23. What was your favorite TV program? Pushing Daisies
24. What did you do for your birthday in 2007? I can't remember
25. What was the best book you read? Pride & Prejudice
26. What was your greatest musical discovery? Ruthie Foster
27. What did you want and get? a dishwasher
28. What did you want and not get? a computer for myself
29. What was your favorite film of this year? Waitress
30. Did you make some new friends this year? yes
31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? graduating from college
32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2007? What Not To Wear
33. What kept you sane? I think this question makes an unfair assumption about my current level of sanity.
34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?I'm sure there's someone, but I can't think of anyone at the moment.
35. What political issue stirred you the most?The continued loss of civil liberties in the US.
36. Who did you miss? my sister Theresa, who I hardly saw at all in 2007.
37. Who was the best new person you met? the women in my a cappella group, to a person.
38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2007.That sometimes you can only rely on yourself.