Thursday, January 29, 2009


I've been cooking more than usual as part of our bring-your-lunch-to-work-so-that-you-can-buy-new-Canon 5D-initiative. Two resources have been ridiculously helpful.

1. Martha (of course). Usually I find her recipes ridiculously over involved, but all of the Everyday Foods recipes are very simple and have been soo tasty. I subscribed, and I love it. Here's a link to the lovely Turkey Meatballs that I made this weekend with spinach spaghetti :) We're eating them again tonight and I can't wait.

2. Smitten Kitchen If you don't know this site you should. Beautiful pictures and great recipes. AND she bakes. alot. In a tiny kitchen in NYC. I can't tell you how many things I have bookmarked to bake at my first available opportunity.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Back when my first sock was *this* big....

I was riding on the subway out to Prabha's house. She has asked me to specify that this entire incident occurred on the PATH train and NOT on NJ Transit. So let it be known.

I entered the train and sat down with my sock, when I heard someone swearing and breathing loudly in frustration. This sort of thing happens all the time so I didn't really pay attention. Then the swearing breathing man sat next to me and continued to swear and breathe (more quietly) until he said "Miss-- do you know what time it is?" and I told him it was 12:15 and smiled. He said:

"MAN! you are the most beautiful thing that has happened to me today. I'm serious. Today has been an ugly day. Dude [to his friend) was it just me or were there a bunch of ugly M.F.'s on the train this morning?(I'll use abbreviations, for my more delicate readers) I mean SERIOUSLY. Ugly. Uglier than usual, even. What are you making there? Do you sell that s__t?"

"Oh, a sock. I'm making a sock"

"Look at that, man! That's a lovely sock she's making, it's all artistic and stripey and s__t! That's beautiful, miss. really. I asked if you sell it cause I would've asked you to make something for my daughter."

"I would never sell it cause it takes too long. My husband will be lucky if he ever gets socks, with how long this is taking me."
(I always work the "my husband" into conversations just to establish the fact that while, yes, I do enjoy talking to strangers a great deal more than your "average" subway knitter, I am taken, and my interest in talking to strangers ends when I arrive at my destination. ---Except for this guy who I will seek out again.

"So what do you do, are you an artist-type?"

"Yes, actually I'm an opera singer"

"OH S__T! Dude, did you hear that? She's an opera singer! I knew she was an artist. This is really weird because we've been looking for someone to come in and lay down some sweet tracks. I'm a rapper. My name is ____ you can look me up on the internet" (name withheld because I don't want to show up if he Google's himself but OH MY GOD his name was ridiculous. if I were to come up with a suitable replacement it would be.... hmm...tongue-y crazy? ask me and I'll tell you in a private convo)

So I tried to convince him that I was not the girl to lay down any sweet tracks, because--try though I might-- I always sound exactly like an opera singer. He countered that that was exactly what he was looking for and that he could come over and meet my husband so that "we would all be cool."

Thing 1: Did I miss an opportunity to collaborate on a legit rap album?
Thing 2: He then tried to sell me drugs.

And that's the story of the rapper I met on the train that I promised you back in October. In October, when my sock was tiny, and I thought it would be finished within the week...

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

This weekend

Originally uploaded by Alta Marie
Before I get to the rapper....
I had SUCH a lovely weekend! As I mentioned, I had 2 photo shoots, and here is a sample of the first one. We had a great time shooting outside on the roof-- we would shoot in short bursts and then Liz would run over and hug her with her big coat :)

I love this picture so much. There are a bunch of great ones.

I've been reading a new organization book called Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity. Now in general, self-help-ish books make me slightly queasy and the only reason that I read "The Secret" was because it became a kind of pop-culture phenomenon. (I liked it a little, and I frequently channel my powers of magnetic attraction to call all good things to me. Not gonna lie.)

So Drake bought this book on New Year's Day and then bought a labeler and hopped right to work organizing our house. Again, I am not telling lies! he did this! And he exulted! Drake instantly turned into an organized, task-oriented, goal setting and achieving machine! I became slightly jealous, and accused him of making a "power play" for home dominance. He thought this was hilarious, and I remain suspicious...

So I started to read the book because my responsibilities at work are increasing, and I need a system. It's great! I feel very much in control of my projects and tasks. I feel stress-free and productive! And now I will spend this weekend reclaiming some space in our file drawers to make sure I am a still a relevant participant in our home life.

Monday, January 26, 2009

What a lovely weekend!

Originally uploaded by Alta Marie
I had 2 headshot sessions and taught 2 voice lessons. (That's Matt. We were in Babes in Toyland together. he's wicked good ;)

Drake and I work alot. Fortunately it is fun work :)

That's all that I've time for today... I think tomorrow I will write about the rapper I met on the train. I referred to him months ago (when I started my socks) and totally left you all hanging.

Hang for one more day.

Friday, January 23, 2009

First Pair of Socks! And mirror self-talk.

First Pair of Socks!
Originally uploaded by Alta Marie
They're finally finished. I've been working on them since October-- of course there were many Christmas projects interspersed in between....

On the first sock, I knit the ankle/leg straight up with a picot edge, and on the second I knit it with a 3x3 rib.... liked the rib better, ripped out the other one down to the heel turn and re-did it.

I don't think that basic socks are supposed to take 3 months to knit.... I abandoned all hope on them earlier this week when I thought I lost one of them. But finished them last night during The Office and 30 Rock.

I love 30 Rock. Tina Fey is hilarious. My favorite part in the episode last night was when she caught Jack giving himself a pep talk in the mirror and was like "Oh I do that too!" and they flashed to her in front of a mirror screaming at herself and calling herself stupid. It is said that Kitty Carlisle would look at herself in the mirror every night before bed and say "I forgive you."

I very rarely talk to myself in the mirror--sometimes if I'm having crying fits I will, if only just to say "well this is ridiculous and unproductive." But then I get mad at myself for being insensitive.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I once was lost but now am found....

Drake's tie
Originally uploaded by Alta Marie
Before I get to a post that's entirely unrelated to the inauguration, can I just mention that I've been crying happy tears of joy at ANY provocation? I read on about how pleased Beyonce was to be able to sing "At last" for the first dance at the inaugural ball and cried. I looked through the picture albums of "Presidential First Pets" and cried then too. I watched the inauguration in a conference room at work with many bankers (my live internet feed went out) and it was torture to hold myself together!! I tried to keep my sniffing to a minimum and thereby was compulsively wiping my nose on my sleeve (which is worse?) Yesterday it seemed that everyone in the subway was wearing an Obama button or hat or some kind of flair. it was wonderful. enough of that (but then again never enough of that...)

This weekend was "Website Re-design Weekend 2009!" Drake and I hunkered down and gathered all of our production photos and sound and video clips etc and walled ourselves in to redesign the ol' websites.

I won't link to his yet, as he is doing all kinds of fancy things which include flash intros and "embedded" things.... I don't know anything about all of that. So mine is finished :)

You may notice that I also designed a new banner using an awesome font (called "sniper") by designer Billy Argel. He has some really lovely stuff and you should check it out.

So all 4 (!) of my websites are updated:
1. Singing & Opera which (finally!) has sound clips and a bonus video clip from Sweeney Todd (2003) I can't believe that I've had a website for 5 years now without any sound clips. ridiculous. For those that are interested in such things, the first two sound clips were recorded in a session this December, the Brahms was from one of my Doctoral recitals in Texas, and the Weill is from a Doctoral recital at Eastman-- It was very strange to sift through audio clips which spanned from 2001-2008 and hear the difference in my voice. (I have really good headphones now which has made a huge difference. So there you have it!
2. Photography (which receives regular updates)
3. Photoblog and
4. Texification-- which shall until further notice, or until I settle in one place for a term greater than 4 years remain thusly named. Though I thank you for your re-naming ideas :) I came up with one too, and bought the site name in case I go with it. we'll see what becomes of it.

So to finally get to the post title.... do you even remember the noro kureyon self striping socks I started in NOVEMBER? My first pair of socks? They have been plaguing me since I started them, and I have started and restarted. They are really not that complicated. You'll perhaps remember that I finished the the first sock ages ago. But I then decided that I wanted the ankle to be ribbed, so when I did the second sock I ribbed it, then had to rip out the first sock (which I am about 3 inches away from finishing.

I also dropped 2 double pointed needles (dpn) into the subway tracks. Also, I lost the second (finished) sock while I was reworking the first and I threw a fit and swore off knitting forever. Then I found it in the laundry hamper, hence the title of this post.

How's THAT for getting to the point :)

(also, you'll notice that I finished Drake's tie!)

Friday, January 16, 2009

Dear Sir Obama

Originally uploaded by Alta Marie
From NY Times

Dear President Obama,

Here is a list of the first 10 things you should do as president:

1. Fly to the White House in a helicopter.
2. Walk in.
3. Wipe feet.
4. Walk to the Oval Office.
5. Sit down in a chair.
6. Put hand-sanitizer on hands.
7. Enjoy moment.
8. Get up.
9. Get in car.
10. Go to the dog pound.

— Chandler Browne, age 12, Chicago

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Plane in the Hudson!!

Originally uploaded by Alta Marie
I have to post a picture to blog when at work (thru flickr) so please don't think I'm being insensitive--

A USAirways jet just crashed into the Hudson river, and I can see it right from my desk!! it is completely swarmed with boats right now, I'm sure attempting to rescue-- the west side highway has tons of emergency vehicles---

My boss has binoculars, he can see the tail of the plane. Apparently, the pilot knew the engines were out and glided it into the water, and they're saying that they think they got out all the passengers out safely.

it gives me the chills-- hard to look away now as it's right in front of my face.

Am I a "lottery" addict?

Originally uploaded by Alta Marie
Today I attended an open call. Not my first, certainly not my last, but each one really is remarkable for many reasons. This was a call for improv actors & tumblers for the Met. You know I'm not a tumbler.... so I was working the improv angle. I had no idea what to expect, so I arrived right at the 10:00 AM call through the winding back alleys of Lincoln Center (other back alleys, not the ones that I was familiar with from Toyland) I saw an alley door closing and ran up and knocked on, and (much like in Oz) a disgruntled person opened the door with a sigh, and said "FINE, you are the ABSOLUTE last one, and I mean it. Hurry up and fill out this card"

I love when people are angry with you and you're not sure why, and will never find out...

Do you remember the angry elf who drags Ralphie up the stairs to see Santa in A Christmas story? She was kind of like that.

Anyway, I was pushed into an auditorium in my parka and arctic snow boots (it was FREEZING today, was it not?) and took a seat directly up front next to a seemingly sweet older woman who turned out to be bat shit crazy. Legitimately. she had shifty eyes, and her headshot was not a headshot, but rather a picture of herself in a bikini at a beach at sunset. This was apparently blown up from a 4x6 print... Her handwriting was like a little girl's but shaky. She was very petite. And completely crazy. (I love when I get to sit next to that person.)

We were all instructed that we would be brought in in groups of 4, and there would be 4 newspapers on the stage. We were to be strolling down the street and then notice the newspaper, pick it up and discover therewithin some shocking news. We were then supposed to spend one minute trying to convince the audition moderators to read it. (while remaining on the stage)

At that point we were shuffled out of the room. I ran into an old friend, and found a new one and occupied my waiting time with some knitting (DARN YOU, men's ties for being so deceptively long!!) My new and old friend turned out to be in the group of four with the crazy lady, and with no prompting from me, returned from their group session to relate that all she did was scream at the top of her lungs for the entire minute-- hair-tearing blood curdling screams. Apparently she ran a bit of her act by my new friend in line, got all in her face to demonstrate her rage, and asked what she thought. My friends said, "that seems great" and then hoped against hope that she wouldn't be turned into a prop in this woman's one-man show....

It's like entering the lottery, doing auditions. I went in this morning having no idea what to expect or what they were looking for, and in the end they called back 25 out of 106 people at that morning. The odds are what, 1 in 4-ish? Better chances than in the lotto, but just as random, really. One person in my group spoke Russian (they were especially interested in Russian speakers) and he was quite good, I was exultant with my news, but no one really looked my way. Apparently, in her group audition, the crazy lady mentioned that she didn't speak Russian, but should she "try out a Russian accent." Oh how I wish I was in her group! and Oh how I wish they had encouraged her to do that. I don't know that her face would have stopped twitching long enough for anyone to be able to discern any kind of accent, but that's now a question for the vaults.

Shame on me for deriving joy from the unbalance of others! But at the same time, should I not notice? I think she must want people to notice, or she wouldn't trot about with bikini pictures of herself.

She also had an offensive e-mail address-- one of those types of things that makes you blush when you see it on your voice student's info cards, but inspires fits of hilarity and concern simultaneously when you see it scrawled in shaky pen at the bottom of a bikini-at-sunset promo pic.

Anyone want to come with me tomorrow on the next one? First time's free...

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Dangerous Chivalry

Originally uploaded by Alta Marie
Drake is a chivalrous sort. I am universally suspicious and defensive. It makes for a strange dance.

Most of the time his chivalry is wonderful and appreciated. He always brings the groceries up and gets things from up high above our cupboards. He takes out the Kitchenaid, and moves the fridge to retrieve the top of our pepper grinder. Holds doors, makes me walk on the inside of the sidewalk (away from traffic) all of that. Then there are the dangerous acts of chivalry. These days they mainly involve the use of revolving doors.

I say "these days" because there were dangerous times back in the beginning before I knew what to expect, while we were adjusting to one another. Sometimes he would almost knock me over to get the door, or to move me into position on the sidewalk. Now my main issue is with the revolving exit doors on the subway. You know the ones I'm talking about, right? Not the turnstiles, but the ones that are tall and (if you're imaginative) look like vicious teeth.

I require no assistance here. I don't need to go first, it just confuses people behind us. Also, though sometimes it is nice not to have to push on the teeth--(I will admit then when I'm traveling without him these days I notice how heavy those things are when someone's not pushing behind you) sometimes it feels like I'm in a very short race with death. You know how the revolving-teeth-doors are designed to not let people get in, only out? Well what if, with Drake pushing behind me, I miss my chance to exit and get crushed between the bars???? Don't tell me that you've never thought of this as a potential horrible obituary. I can't be the only one that does this.

I write my own obituary at least 3 times a week. It's always sudden an unexpected and I am ALWAYS on the lookout for my sudden death. Remember the rubber band I mentioned yesterday? That could've done it too. What if the toe of my shoe got stuck and I tripped and fell on my face into the street and a cab ran me over....
"Heart shaped rubber band ends life of young temp/singer/photographer/doctor."

So all of this is to say, Drake-- lately you've been pushing the teeth-of-death-doors just slightly too fast for me, and today I'm wearing heels, so please don't crush me against the bars when we go home today, OK? I'm sure that you would stop pushing before it came to that, but better safe than sorry. Also, when you pried the closing subway car doors off of that lady's purse yesterday, you were a hero (although if your arm got caught in the door and the train departed I would have hated to have written your premature obituary....)

By the way, isn't the pic awesome? click here to make one yourself. Make sure that you use a .gif file. They turn out way better that way... if you use a .jpg it ends up pixelated.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

So Drake and I commute together, and I think it makes us look like tourists.

Starry starry night
Originally uploaded by Alta Marie
First of all, anyone who shows any interest in anything is probably a tourist, or at the very least not a native. Living here, my walking/commute pattern is very consistent. I take the L to the ACE to Canal street, walk down the same street into my building every day.

If the Chinese man with the newspapers is outside the door of the SoHo pharmacy when I emerge from the subway station, then I am on time. If the gates are up and he's already inside, then I am late. If the man in the Giants puffy coat is handing out menus before you cross Greenwich Street to enter the building, no one takes them. If girls in hot pants are handing them out, some people do take them. (I bring my lunch to work, not to mention I find hot pants inappropriate before noon on workdays.)

So now that Drake and I commute to work together, everything is all off and I'm quite sure that we look like tourists. People don't hold hands or link arms on the way to work... Every time the subway announcer says "Stand clear of the closing doors, please" he jerks me away from the direction of the door and holds me away from them (even when we are seated and/or no where near the doors.)

Also on the first day I darted ahead of him in the crowd and ended up significantly ahead, so every now and then we race and sometimes we also hide from each other (behind trucks or cars or other people) while the other one pretends not to care and then sneak back up again and then mention what a better spy/secret agent one of us would be than the other.

Our chances of looking like natives are totally ruined...

Monday, January 12, 2009

Things that have threatened to ruin my day so far.

In Central Park
Originally uploaded by Alta Marie
Not this picture which I love.

1. The woman wearing toe shoes. by this I do not mean like a ballerina, I mean shoes where the toes are separate. Like toe socks but with shoes. They were black and flourescent green. It is 20 degrees outside. Maybe they're warm, but they made her look like a lizard and it upset me more than footwear ever has before.

2. The fact that in the Spanish version of their subway ad, Trolman and Glasner Law Firm uses the phone number 1-888-MARGARITA.

3. The woman sitting next to me pulled back her fur hood and it turned out that the hood was not furry, that was just her hair.

4. There was a rubber band in the shape of a heart on the sidewalk.
(I don't know why this ruined my day. I think I was just being dramatic at that point.)

Thursday, January 8, 2009


So is "Texification" now entirely irrelevant as a blog name? I think it may just be. If I were to rename this blog, what would it be? It's not entirely about crafting or singing or photography or baking or prank-playing or city living or travel or teaching.
Would love to hear any suggestions in the comments

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

New Year's Baby

New Year's Baby
Originally uploaded by Alta Marie
She wasn't born on New Year's, nor was this photo taken on New Year's-- she's just so darn cute and I needed a theme picture.

SO what of the New Year's Resolve? I've never written down resolutions. They seemed doomed don't they? But for what it's worth, here's one.

This year I'm going to pursue work that interests me.

I'm not going to pursue a "career at the highest level." (I've used that before) and I'm not going to specifically pursue photography or singing. I'm going to take it on a case by case basis and I'm going to take on projects that interest me.

And that's all she wrote.

I think I'll drink more water too.

Who who.... who who....

Originally uploaded by Alta Marie
Who are you? yes you... reading this. I was near convinced that I sent these words out into the air for an average of 3.5 people to read. Then I installed a tracker and found that in the past 3 days I have had 26 "unique" visitors.

I like this for many reasons--
1. you are "unique." Isn't that nice?
2. apparently some of you live in Canada and Sweden
3. it's always nice not to talk to yourself....

And this leads me to questions--
1. Who are you?
2. Can we be friends? or are we already....
3. Is it creepy or cool that I can track you (I'm watching your every move from Google Earth.... ;)
4. Don't you think that I look like Little Bo Peep in that costume?

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Cheese is coming back in style

I forgot to post this from last winter....
Happy New Year! God Bless America

“Ya know what’s making a come back again? Cheese.”

Why didn’t I sit next to the man who said that? Then again, I couldn’t possibly have known that he would be the most interesting person at the airport. Nothing about his oversized trenchcoat, turtleneck and tennis shoes could’ve broadcast that. I could’ve maybe made a move after I overheard the conversation with his family. The end that I could hear started something like this:

“Hey honey, it’s daddy. How are you doing sweetheart….. what? Well how am I supposed to know? you talk like a girl so what do you want from me? WHAT? That is not funny, I TOLD you to stay away from my Firebird. Not a finger!”

The girl that was sitting next to this man had no time for him whatsoever. I think it’s safe to say that she didn’t realize what she had. I didn’t get the chance to know her as well as I got to know Vin from my eavesdropping. She was a tougher nut to crack. Pink track suit, flip flops. cell phone. Ipod. She did not want to talk to him, but he was persistant. She would fake a laugh and put in her earphones, first one then both. Eventually she stopped taking them out when he came up with a new topic of conversation.

That’s the line that did him in.

“Ya know what’s making a comeback again? Cheese.” I spit a little bit of Diet Coke from across the way, but no one noticed. That’s another reason I love New York. No one notices anything. That’s the shame of it too. Vin came up with the best intro line I’ve ever heard and that girl simply did not care. I watched from across the way as she added the extra protective layer of zipping up the hoodie, putting her knees up on the chair—trying to squeeze herself into invisibility. This did not work either. It sounded to me like he had teenagers, he was probably used to people ignoring him.

Curious to know about how cheese managed to bounce back again, I started trying to physically impose myself into the conversation from across the aisle. “Please don’t stop talking” I telepathically broadcasted “please please pick up and run with the cheese thing.” He did. I’m that good. He went on to tell this girl that every 10 years or so wine and cheese makes a comeback in the US (not internationally of course, where it has worked it’s wiley way into the lifestyle.) Every 10 years or so restaurants start to bring it back and it gets really popular. It happened in the 80’s and the 90’s and now it’s happening again. What heralded this comeback? I would’ve asked. What shot cheese from obscurity back into the public eye again in 2008? She started singing quietly along with her ipod. A perfect waste.

I kept wanting to catch his eye, but he never looked my way. Maybe it’s for the best. I can’t imagine what we would’ve talked about all the way to Florida—I can’t imagine it getting any better than that, but it could’ve. There is a world of potential in airports and other waiting rooms that is lost. That’s why I don’t listen to my ipod in public places. Sometimes if I’m uncomfortable I’ll put the headphones in and pretend to be listening. That leaves me fin rather the best position when I’m in a situation that is funny without my involvement. If I don’t need to meddle at all, that’s the best way really, because then it doesn’t seem like I’m gawking or taking notes. Not that anyone would notice if I did. I love New York.