So after the great "blizzard of 07" last week, I finally emerged from my apartment on Thursday (this was after 4 days of the city being shut down.) What I saw in the parking lot was a number of Texans banging at the ice on their cars with a number of kitchen utensils, the most popular of which was a spatula, but which also included a potato masher.
I calmly walked to my Rodeo. (I drive an Isuzu Rodeo, I figured heck- if you're not gonna ride a horse in Texas, you better be driving a Rodeo.) You know the music that plays when there's a showdown in a Western Movie? you know... "oo-oo-oo-oo-ooooooo" while the tumbleweed goes by, and the citizens crouch and hide and the camera comes in at a low angle zoom on the hero? Well that was playing. After hip checking my front door a few times I broke through the 2 inches of ice and forced the door the rest of the way with my brute strength (they breed 'em tough where I'm from.) The Texans all stopped in their tracks as I unveiled what would soon be the envy of the whole neighborhood.... a gigantic ice scraper the likes of which these parts ain't never seen. You know the kind I'm talking about. 3 feet long with 2 scrapers on one end (one side with teeth and one side flat) and a brush. You could hear the whispers all around... "what's that she got there? is that a horse groomer? I ain't never seen a groomer like that afore." They all marveled as I hacked at the ice on my car like a yankee ninja. I shouted the occasional "KEE-YA!" just for effect. Just to let them know what they were dealing with. It occurred to me that I might chip the paint on my car by hacking like this, but I couldn't be bothered with details. They were watching me like hawks, I was there Sensei.
I smiled upon my people-- "Would you like to use my ice scraper?" I asked? they were quick to shake the stars from their eyes and resume their tiresome chipping with vegetable peelers and garlic mincers. "No, no m'am. we're doing just fine."
One gentleman had the good sense to approach me with a question only I could answer. "I hear that salt works to melt this stuff... is that true?" "Yes" I answer. He tells me that he has some upstairs and returns minutes later with some Mortons. He proceeds to sprinkle table salt on our steps. Now let me pause for a moment and insert some commentary here.... this actually happened. he actually sprinkled table salt on our steps, and I nearly died. I crawled slowly back into my apartment shook out my shoes and when I finally stopped laughing I thought. "Go Alta, go and tell your story..."
Many of you may already know that my husband is currently in Iowa singing in Don Pasquale and The Three Billy Goats Gruff with Opera Iowa. This is a wonderful thing. We are both on the verge of finishing our Doctoral Degrees and we both want to be performers, so we are thrilled that we both have some performing gigs coming up this year, to usher us into this next phase of life. Unfortunately, this means that we will spend more than half of our first year of marriage in different states. This is less than ideal.
At first it was kind of fun in some ways, I got to watch makeover shows all I wanted, and eat when I wanted and be crazy about food and have no one see it. But I think that I wasn't meant to live by myself. I don't clean up. There are still burnt toast crumbs in the sink that I scraped off of my grilled cheese on Tuesday. I've broken a pair of earrings and a necklace because I keep them in my pockets and random places. There are balled up tissues surrounding every trash can (since I've had a cold and my aim has worsened since middle school basketball). Last but not least, on more than one occasion I have spent the evenings marking off hours until my Orange Jello has set. (I usually pass these hours watching What Not to Wear--ironic since I'm usually wearing a gigantic red union suit for bedtime)
Does this mean that when Drake finally comes back I will welcome the hours of PTI? (Pardon the Interruption for all those who are not forced to watch ESPN.) Probably not. But there are some things about "our" life that have grown on me. I now happily watch Longhorn football, as well as any Tennessee Titans games, since our boy Vince plays for them now. I also enjoy outdoor man-ish adventure shows like Man vs. Wild and will even indulge the occasional Myth Busters.
The house is oddly silent without Drake here taking 2 hour showers while singing every high run he's ever had to sing. It smells distinctly less of smoke and BBQ, and more of lotions and perfumes. I have taken over the whole bathroom counter and have spread out my makeup (which has for years been confined to a silverware organizer in a drawer to keep things in "order"... bah!) It will be strange 5 months from now to cohabit again. Will our whole lives be spent like this? Half together and half on our own? Half full of burnt-toast-crumbs-sink and half full of organized makeup drawers?
Well, I have officially passed my Doctoral Comprehensive exams, and that leaves only a few short steps before I get my degree in May.
First up is a recital on Tuesday February 13 at 8pm in Bates Recital Hall at UT. I am currently in the process of completely rearranging the program. I thought I had it all figured out, but as usual I don't. Ah! the delicacies of recital programming!
Barbarians got great reviews in the NY Times and the LA Times! This is good! Of course there was no mention of the pathos in the voice of the alto soloist (that's me)... This is a sarcastic remark. I joke about it because my solo consisted of 4 notes repeated twice. Hey, you take work where you can get it.
Speaking of pimping out one's voice... Do you all know that I did a Macaroni Grill ad? It was really fun! It's national, so when you hear it, you can tell your friends that you know one of the "yum yum yum yum" singers. I did a demo for the lead, but they said I sounded "too operatic" which I took as a complement. I tried hard to sound commercially operatic "the kind of opera that you would gear towards your average WalMart shopper" but alas.
This was done for a studio called Tequila Mockingbird, which is an awesome place in Austin to record. The people I worked with there are great, and if you're ever looking for sound technicians in Austin, let me know. But if you are ever looking for sound technicians in Austin, I hope you'll let me know that you've been living here, because I'll be really mad if I just run into you on the street only to find out that we've been living in the same town all this time...
So Texas has been covered in ice for three days now, and I have been sitting in my apartment wasting away. And by wasting away I mean watching hours upon hours of television and movies while knitting and trying not to bake anything.
The completion of the blanket that I've been knitting for three years is nigh upon me. It's hard to believe. I purposefully chose an interminable project to teach me patience. My worry is that when I finish the actual knitting of it that I won't have the fortitude to put it together. We shall see if my three years of knitting has taught me any patience.
Things that I have watched in the past three days: The Family Stone The Break Up (hated it) Mojambo (Clark Gable, Ava Gardner, Grace Kelly. cheap ending) Stepmom (only 20 minutes of it) America's Funniest Videos (I LOVE this show and I don't care who knows it. kids say the darndest things...) Top Chef Marathon American Idol (I'm so glad it's back! Audition week is my favorite... ) Season One of Weeds (thanks Katie and Matthew, it is awesome)
Today I am DVR-ing "Lucas" which I thought was the movie about the retarded football player. Drake told me that I was mistaking it with "Rudy" and that he's not retarded, he's just on the small side. I wonder what Lucas is about.....
One amusing thing about the weather has been the "emergency" posts that scroll across the bottom of the screen on network TV. They say things like "Driving on the ice is not only dangerous... it's DEADLY...." "Be sure when you leave the house to tell someone where you're going, and to pack many extra blankets and water." I think it's kind of funny to imagine being stuck in your car for a long enough while that extra water is required. I mean, I think I'd just leave the car and "rough it" to the nearest strip mall (which is never that far away.... even in Austin)
Well if anyone reading this (namely, Cam, Kate or Drake, the only three that know of its existance thus far) finds anything interesting on the internet, or can offer any other variation of solitaire, please send a note. I appreciate any kind of human contact in these days of icy solitude....
So I'm in the American premiere of a new Phillip Glass Opera Waiting for the Barbarians which opens this Friday January 19th. It is an unbelievably cool production to be a part of. The music reminds me of a cross between Radiohead and Wagner.
Our director is Swiss and has a fabulous French accent. He speaks English wonderfully, of course but, as always, there are things that don't translate. Last night he asked if he was "going on someone's nerves" It's the little things.... When I was in France I told someone that I liked their chicken (poule) instead of their sweater (pull). Not to mention the very slight difference between the word "baiser" as a verb and the word "baiser" as a noun. One is a kiss and one is, as Ralphie says in a Christmas Story "The queen mother of all swear words."
But that's neither hear nor there. Come and see this production, all Austin dwellers. It is very gritty and violent, and definitely not a kids show. You will leave feeling like you were a part of something very big. ALO has definitely got a good thing going. More production photos from the German premiere in Erfurt.
I think this is step one in the Texification process. I can't help myself anymore. It is a useful word. For a while I lied to myself and others of my yankee friends who noticed that it had slipped into my common usage. "I didn't say 'y'all' I said 'you-all' which is totally different." I say y'all, and I'll keep saying it no matter what you do. But does this mean that I'm like Madonna when she married someone from the UK and then adopted a British accent? What if I promise to never say "yee-haw"? Will that satisfy y'all??
My husband and I are both opera singers, and in the fall we moved from NYC to Michigan, where he is now a professor of voice and opera at Oakland University. In January we bought our first house-- an 1895 Victorian, and we're expecting our first child (a boy) in April.