Thursday, December 15, 2005

Time For School To Go Away




You Are Rudolph



Sweet and shy, you tend to be happiest when you're making someone else happy.



Why You're Naughty: You sometimes stick that nose where it doesn't belong



Why You're Nice: Christmas would be a sad affair without you!



So, if we weren't aware of my need to be the center of attention and aspirations of fame, this might point it out. I'm not sure about the sticking my nose where it doesn't belong though. I consider myself pretty good at avoiding that........I will delete any comments suggesting otherwise.

My last exam was today. I love learning and being in school, but I'm so glad to finally get a break. As soon as the opera was over, my time was abducted by all the wonderful papers and assignments due within the last few days of classes. Seriously, can the academic world please learn that assignments need to be due at different points during the semester?

Probably not.

Well, since our classes will be officially at the end of this week, Fred and Tony have decided to throw a "Time for School to Go Away"/ Christmas party. It should be a lot of fun, but I'm a bit concerned about getting lost driving to that end of town.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Well, at least there is less to cook this year.

I was a bit disappointed with our Thanksgiving festivities this year. The day began with The Macy’s parade on television while we cleaned the entirety of the house. The family was not expected to arrive until about 5:30pm - but they were not coming for dinner, just desert. They all had their own Thanksgiving dinners at their own houses.

This is what upset me. We have always had Thanksgiving dinner together in one house. Yes, I know it sounds crazy with the number of relatives I have, but we’ve never had too much trouble with it. In fact, I love getting everyone together like that, but I’m aware that this is not always possible. I just wish I knew in advance instead of gaining this tidbit of news hours before the aforementioned event. Actually, my mother didn’t know about all this until maybe two days before Thanksgiving and she wasn’t too thrilled either.

I can’t understand why everyone waited until the last possible moment to decide that they were going to split up Thanksgiving Dinner. Granted, it was less food for us to cook, but waiting that long can screw up your planning.

And it puts me in a small room with my immediate family for about an hour - believe me, it seems much, much longer especially when your accused of wringing your hands too much (I was cold), being overly sullen (Joey), etc. I have to say that it definitely wasn’t as torturous as previous years when we went around the table and listed everything we were thankful for. Typically, we would “forget” something and Mom would obligingly fill in the blanks.

Extended family members began to trickle in at about 6pm. Aunt Kathy didn’t make it there 'til about 7:30pm. This is mainly due to the general Langlois/ Annunziata belief that appointment times are merely suggestions to be modified at one’s convenience. And we have our own clock apparently...

What did strike me about the night was my ability to get stuck with all the little children the entire evening. Alyssa glued herself to my hip and Jack wanted to play the piano. I mind neither situation - its just when I cannot visit with the adults I begin to become irritated. Basically, I spent most of the time in the Sunroom with the doors shut - something my father insisted on. I did manage to escape when people started to leave. So, I did get a little time with my aunts, but only so much.

I think my mother needs to insist upon better planning for Christmas, so we don’t end up with this mess again.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

The Crucible

Well, the Opera is finally over and truthfully, I will miss it although I need the break. Full-time school and 2 weeks of production hell do not mix. Not at all. Let me break down my life:

8 am - 1pm ish : class
lunch
2pm - 4pm ish: class
4 ish - whenever the hell we got done: opera

Dinner was added in their somewhere as well as homework in any spare moments. Needless to say, my schedule was tight. And believe it or not, there were several people who still hold that I had free time available in there. Lets just say that these people wanted me to do stuff for them, so I suppose if they could convince me that I had time, they would get what they want. For the record - I’m not that stupid and people who treat me as such are idiotic themselves.

But, the Opera was a blast aside from the stress it caused. Playing a crazy woman was a wonderful stress relief. I think I simply channeled all my stress and frustration into my acting. We were all discussing one night whether or not I understand right from wrong. Probably not. My character has had 7 still births and when the only surviving child becomes ill, she sends the girl to conjure the spirits of her dead sisters to inform her of the identities of the Devil’s servants harming her. There isn’t a drop of sanity in that especially when you consider that she is a Puritan woman - so factor in all the religious implications of her actions.

And I do have to add how much I enjoyed working with Matt as my husband. It hasn’t been easy though. The first time he tried to comfort me, he accidentally smacked me over the back. Ms. Munden and I both expressed our doubt of that gesture falling into the “comforting” category. But, he has learned and so have I. By Tuesday night, we noticed how we were responding to each other without thinking or at least, looking like we were thinking - finally. Much rejoicing took place backstage after we sang...granted most of it was because Tuesday was the last night and we were going to party soon afterward.

And we did and I’ll drive to my parents’ house this afternoon for Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Choral Festival 2005

I am definitely going to try and write more often. Even if no one reads it, I get some enjoyment from it.

I’ve been stressed out. Yeah, I know. This is nothing new. Anyway, interpersonal relationships seem to be at the heart of it all. Roommates can be crazy as well as family members. Joe is on tour #2 of Iraq which always worries me. Don’t get me wrong, I support his decision completely, but that doesn’t mean I have to like or understand it. Maybe its my own fear of being shot and killed transferred onto him.....or maybe its the fact that he’s in an area where he could be shot and killed that makes this choice slightly bewildering to me.

The Crucible is in less than two weeks and the rehearsal/ set creation schedule is getting a bit ridiculous. Apparently, now we are painting the set Friday and Saturday, practically all day and I’ll bet all night. Not to mention, I have two other fraternity functions those evenings. So, Sunday will be my “homework day.” That’s exactly how I would like to spend my birthday - writing papers. Hopefully, all the work I’ve been doing this week will pay off and I can go to the Chamber Singers’ Concert that day. I might just go anyway to get out of my apartment and take a break. But Hams or anything afterward might not be an option.

The Choral Festival was today and we had to maintain control over 1500 high schoolers and their teachers and parents. Many prayers were recited prior to the event.

I started the day at 5:40am and managed to carry a cooler full of hot dogs to the music building before heading over to Wright by 7:30am. Doughnuts and coffee were distributed - I had my tea - and a choir arrived early. The scramble began. Almost everything was ready by that time, but we had no afternoon seating chart. Understand that we had to figure out how to fit 1500 choristers into the Auditorium in a neat and efficient way. Well, somehow the powers that be decided that this would be a task that came naturally to me. I accepted and spent about a half an hour (all the time available to me) counting seats and assigning choirs.

The test came at about 12:30. The choirs drifted in, one by one, and attempted to discern their seats. Luckily, we taped off each section with signs. Still, problems arose quickly. One large choir of about 200 students had trouble understanding that they needed to change locations from the morning session. That botched about 3 other choirs. Another choir discovered that although listed on our map, two of their assigned rows didn’t exist. Even though everyone was being seated in a timely fashion - thank God - the situation raised a few individual’s ire.

Want to take a guess who all this frustration was aimed at?

Need I tell you?

Yours truly. I handled it well, but I certainly didn’t appreciate the treatment I received especially from a particular person who shall remain unnamed. I just ignored the generalized stupidity thrown at me and continued to do my job as best I could.

I did have my moment of weakness though. The Festival had ended, the students sent to the buses, and we returned to 105 for pizza. I walked back alone focusing on the ill-fated seating chart. I just couldn’t understand where I had made a mistake. I still don’t, actually. I had been deprived of sleep, stressed and abused by stupid choral directors and the easiest thing to blame was the paper I was holding.

I sat on the floor and studied the map because I could feel myself giving in. Out of my peripheral vision, I noticed a small number of concert attired people encircle me. I kept my eyes down. I knew I would cry. Then, I felt a gentle hand shake my knee and a voice inform me that “only losers sit by themselves.” The hand belonged to Tony; the voice to Fred. Katy sat across from me and wanted to know if I was ok. Of course, I lied and of course, they knew better.

Against my will, tears snuck out and sprinted down my cheeks. I brushed them away roughly, but apparently they knew to have reinforcements ready and waiting. Trying to avoid embarrassment, I stood and turned away. Yet, these people did not leave - in fact, they closed in on me. They were willing to retrieve pizza if I didn’t want others to see my face. I wanted to get control and as always, do things myself. And I did shortly after but, I did allow for a considerable number of hugs.

I think I’ve found good friends in an area where I didn’t expect. The Chamber Singers/ ACDA group has always been kind to me, but there was always a dividing line as well. We didn’t hang out. We didn’t talk unless it was business related. Now, it seems like that line has been severely smudged. Even Bara has been treating me differently - to an extent.

I have found new friendships in Tony and Fred while deepening the ones with Katy and the others. Tony and Fred seem to have decided to look out for me and take every chance to tease me. Too bad both of them already have girlfriends (damn it, the good ones are always taken - or gay), but I am quite content with the brotherliness with which they view me.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Fun Times

Costume Connections

So, Halloween is on Monday and I plan on dressing up as Hermione Granger. This decision was made for a few reasons.

1. I look like JKR’s description of Hermione. Bushy hair, large front teeth, bookwormish nature - the works

2. I have part of the costume from last year’s Kids’ Music program.

I ordered a wand off eBay and am patiently waiting for this to come since the seller assured me that I would have it in time for Halloween. A school uniform skirt is the only thing lacking at this point and I hope that Target or Wal-mart can solve that problem for me cheaply (secret reason 3).

I am in the process of recruiting others to disguise themselves with me. We can get stared at together. As of now, there are 2 witches (one HP and one traditional), one Tootsie Roll, a possible 70s chic, and one I forgot.

The Happy Heat Dance

Three days ago, my apartment finally received the influx of filtered warm air that was greatly missed for several days. Temperatures had plummeted down to the low 40s and my roommate and I had been unable to sleep. We had tried everything imaginable in an apartment lacking a fireplace, wood stove, or any safe place for a space heater. Needless to say, our options were limited, sleep deprivation was setting in and tensions were running high. Next came the homework that we were both too tired and too cold to attempt.

A call was quickly put in to our caretaker requesting when the heat would be switched on. I was aggravated but not unreasonable enough to ream him for something that he probably couldn’t control. I left a message and left for class. In-between choir and Romantic History, I decided that since my parents help me pay the rent, I should inform them about what is going on. My mother assured me that if I had not heard back from the caretaker after my classes that they would call.

Apparently, my father interpreted this situation differently and called the caretaker soon after he was informed about all this by my mother. I feel for the caretaker. I’m also convinced that my parents were lacking several important communication skills that day because I returned home to 5 missed cell phone calls and 4 emails. There were two basic messages about the boiler inspectors being late and the possibility of purchasing a space heater.

There was one message on our answering machine from our caretaker. He said that the boiler inspectors were expected that day and we should have heat for that evening. Well, considering Rebecca and I aren’t ever home during the day, it was evening already. So, I climbed upon a chair and placed my hand expectantly before the vent as Rebecca turned on the system. A soft rush of warm air flooded out.

“Is that warm air? Yes! Yes! We have heat!” I jumped down and we began cheering for the beauty of technology when it functions properly. I’m sure the boys below us were wondering what we were doing...

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Dispelling the Myth

There are times in life when people astound me. Sometimes because of their talent, courage, faith, kindness or ignorance. If you guessed which of those was recently demonstrated to me, you already know this is going to be one of those posts. Let me recount my tale...

It all began at my place of work, the library. Three of us were scheduled for that shift including myself, Nicky, and one non-music major trainee. We'll just call her "Jane Doe."

The shift began as usually with the reshelving of last night's books and scores, turning on computers, and chatting about nothing important. Somehow, our conversation drifted into our manager's well-known recount of her years as the sole music student of her class. The three of us musicians laughed and commented on our own experiences, the humorous and stressful alike. The topics ranged from theory to eartraining to ensembles. All the while, Miss Doe is following along, laughing, yet not totally comprehending.

Eventually, our manager returns to her desk, so Nicky and I continue the discussion. This was when Jane felt compelled to ask us a question, "So, ya'll actually got to work to be a music major?" Besides the lack of grammatical skills, the question was not one that we hadn't heard often. Therefore, we knew how to answer and patiently explained the massive amount of time, effort and skill it takes to be a professional musician. I illustrated the long hours Opera rehearsals entailed for the reward of one credit hour and the stress of juries, translations, diction and IPA. Nicky pointed out the difficulty of the educational instrument method classes, the Senior portfolio and student teaching.

Miss Doe, to her credit, listened quietly, analyzing all we had revealed in her head. I hoped we had converted one more "they do nothing of value" person over to our side. We awaited the next question.

Furrowing her brow, Jane simply replied, "So, ya'll got to actually play somethin' or sing to be a music major? I mean, 'cause I just thought you showed up and they taught you that."

Have you ever had that feeling of when you would love nothing more than to snatch the nearest encyclopedia and whack yourself into unconsciousness? I have.

Once Nicky and I had replaced our eyes into their sockets and disengaged from the stare we had been holding with each other, we attempted to expound upon our previous endeavor by describing the application process. I will not type out all the requirements for an audition. If you are that curious, google "music school" or "music conservatory," follow the links to a school and click on audition requirements. You'll quickly understand the talent and skill needed for this accomplishment.

By the end of two hours' traffic, Jane Doe, if not understood, appreciated the hard work and dedication involved in our chosen careers. One more person had been removed from the darkness of ignorance and walked into the light. Our job was completed. We buoyantly returned to shelving books and reiterating the proper usage of the copier.

Friday, September 23, 2005

A Time For Change

As of right now, I can say that this year will be different than all others preceding it. We're only a few weeks in - how can I make that assumption already. Let's just say I have my reasons. For example, I'm a principle in the Opera and actually have to think in rehearsals rather than mindlessly drone "oh" and "ah." Stage has been a concept that I have yet to master. Luckily, our director is kind enough to silently point me in the right direction when I get too caught up in singing and forget to move. She realizes that I'll get it, but in the meantime, she's finding this rather humorous. I'm glad I'm brightening someone's day.

I'm organized. Consistently. I've even managed to create free time for my self! Hot tea and reading have become my nighttime ritual and I get enough sleep for once. My homework is done about a week in advance (well, only if I know about it for that long) and the marathon catch-up nights have ceased to exist - until the Opera Hell Week, of course. I work part-time, go to church, and exercise on a regular basis.

My voice studies have increased in difficulty about tenfold. This is because I am at the end of my technique in a way. Once I master this free singing and lower laryngeal position on my high stuff, everything else such as dynamics are a matter of application. Honestly, I'll never stop learning new things, but this is the last HUGE technique I have to learn - and it kicking my butt. My arias were chosen with the expressed intent of teaching this technique. Basically, if I can't sing it, I'm doing it wrong and I won't be able to sing them until I get it right. Ah, yes, my butt is being severely kicked in this process. Its only a matter of when I get this concept, not if. My obsessive-compulsive, overachieving nature will ensure that.

I shall not be walked over or taken advantage of anymore. This is a recent wake-up call since I thought I had already done this. It involved a friend in a class who plagiarized my answers when I wasn't looking. When I realized this, the said person continued on the grating path, following me until all every bit of research I did was in their possession. This particular situation was a minor one, so I'm not concerned - just annoyed at myself. I am determined to say something next time.

In order to end in a cheerful disposition, here is my quote of the day: "But Karen, you would probably have some sort of weird reaction or something - your boob would fall off or something." Thank you, Rochelle. Some quotes are much funnier in a British accent.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Ophelia boycotts Schubert

First, let me apologize as its been obscenely too long since I've written. Here's a brief synopsis of my summer to this point:

~2 weddings and 1 more in the works for next summer. Family begins to talk about me as I am the next grandchild in line to wed - apparently?
~Read Half-Blood Prince in 3 days.
~Got my new driver's license after locking myself out of my apartment, driving 6 hours, and failing the first test.
~Broke up with my boyfriend and am blissfully single.
~Paid way too much for college textbooks.
~Rejoiced at my lack of classes filled with stupid people.
~Got sucked into Mugglenet.com. I'm still a first year, but I assure you that will soon change.

I think that's it besides the general practicing, arguing and waiting for school to commence.

Anyway, this post is dedicated to Hurricane Ophelia and her distaste of Schubert. Yesterday afternoon, an alert raced through the college email system that informed all of us that Wednesday classes would be canceled. Much to my Diction professor's dismay, I received this message in the middle of his lecture and announced it during a lull. He didn't seem to mind much except that he wondered out loud whether or not I was playing internet tetris during class. As I clarified, "I do not play internet tetris during your class." I purposely left room for interpretation.

The next email came from Professor Izzo containing the heading, "Italiophiles rejoice! Ophelia boycotts Schubert discussion."

Throughout the general scramble of rescheduled classes, lessons and tests, the Walmarts have filled with those preparing for a Category 1 hurricane. It is interesting to note that the storm so feared has only brought rain and mild winds as of this entry. I shall not complain because a day-off every now and again is not a terrible problem - I already have plenty of things to do. Anyone up for a hurricane party?

Saturday, July 16, 2005

3..2..1..Midnight at Barnes & Noble

Late Friday evening, Matthew and I decided to take a drive to the local Barnes & Noble to investigate the line of Potterites standing outside. Not to our surprise, the store was packed to capacity and the lemmings curled themselves around the building. I have to say that I was supremely disappointed - At least the Star Wars people dress up.

That's right. A huge line of people waiting for the biggest event from the fantasy world in two years and not a single one in costume. Sure, there were a few in black dresses, but that doesn't count. No character ever walks around in a skimpy black dress. Most twelve year olds shouldn't be wandering around in skimpy black dresses.......but that's another post.

In spite of our letdown, we decided to circle the building a few times. Matthew is sixteen, so any excuse to drive is acceptable to him. We left when the police started to stare.

So, I wonder. Star Wars fans are usually groups of teenagers and adults dressed in full costume dueling each other. The line I observed consisted of mainly children and parents. Yes, I know Harry Potter is read by adults as well as children, but most of us decided either to wait or buy online. Anyway, one would think that a group of children would be more likely to parade around in Hogwarts attire, which looks halfway normal, than a group of SW adult fans would in Darth Vader, Jedi, and Slave Leia outfits. Personally, I find the whole experience more enjoyable when in costume, but, then again, I am a singer and therefore crave the attention.

Why weren't the children dressed up this year? We drove around for Book 5 and saw most of the patient readers in costume, talking and playing together. This year, hardly anyone seemed to be talking or even acknowledging each other. Did anyone else notice this in their area?

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Movie Mayhem

Yesterday, I participated in the filming of an independent movie. Granted, my only duties were to act like I was at a huge party while the leads acted out their lines. But for free food and drinks......I'm there. Not to mention my uncle's office is producing the film, so I do get to meet everyone and attempt to keep them sane. The sanity part would be the difficult part.

The final beach party shoot was to take place at a popular bayside restaraunt in the afternoon. Unfortunatly, rain set in and refused to give in to the prayer and pleas of all involved. The decision was made to edit the script and adapt the scene for a deck party. After numerous phone calls to area vendors, a suitable place was found with a covered deck and a waterside view. Brief celebrations ensued as that was the last day of production and the scene had to be completed.

I arrived a little before 5pm to aid in setup, directing other extras and general goofing off. The goofing off occured after setup with the two crew interns, director and assistant director. Apparently, the guy with the handheld camera and the guy purchasing extra props were late. So, we had time to kill. No visible damage was incurred by the restaraunt although the owner didn't seem to thrilled that his establishment was half-empty for over 2 hours.

Finally, everyone arrived and shooting could actually begin. I don't think I'm at liberty to revealed dialogue or the purpose of this particular scene......so keep your eyes open for Sweet Good Fortune! I'll be the one holding a Coke in a glass with a straw.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Simon of Space

Simon of Space

I ramble about this site enough to warrant a whole entry to it. So, for all 1 of you who actually read this blog, check out this site too.

Simon aka Cheeseburger Brown masterfully recounts each day's activity through his tiny plastic diary. He is the first person to lose his memory while traveling through a hyperspatial gate and has spent the first 5 weeks of his new life in the brain trauma ward of the hospital. When threatened with a mandatory return to his foreign home and unfamiliar family, Simon panics and escapes into the journey of a lifetime.

Cheeseburger Brown, otherwise known as Matthew Frederick Davis Hemming, has an addictively intoxicating writing style that is filled with humor, intrigue, adventure and pieces of the human soul. He is also the author of I Am A Cheeseburger, The Darth Side: Memoirs of a Monster, and 17 Drawings.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Welcome home! Now, take them back.

The parental units have returned and I gladly resign my post as interim-parent. These past few days were not terrible by any means, but sleep deprivation has kicked in with an angst-filled vengeance. I concede that parenting is a difficult job, although the challenges with this particular example formed around the basis that I am not the kids' parent. Rule enforcement and delegation are nearly impossible without the divine right of real parents. Especially if you are their sister.

I've learned to love delegation through the years and thought it would be the simplest way to accomplish all the tasks and chores by the prescribed reintroduction. I still believe that I am right, but no one else agreed. It was the unspoken dissent that destroyed my sleep. The possibility of the house in shambles as my parents crossed the threshold was not something I desired as a reality. So, the laundry, dishes, and general cleaning were done by none other than me. The boys did mow the lawn which was a ploy to soften the parents by doing something unasked. Their plan only worked so well.....thanks were given, after which life continued as if the act never occurred.

Mom has not noticed or mentioned the cleanliness of the refrigerator. This confuses, angers, and relieves me. Confusion is a reaction to the obvious before/after visual difference, anger for the lack of appreciation, and relief at the avoidance of a long and drawn-out explanation of why it was necessary. She did however notice the handle missing. My sources have not confirmed how the top portion was broken off, but my bets are on a stray lightsaber blade.

With the return off the parents has come the return of their form of chaos. I awoke this morning to my father flashing my lights and informing me loudly that the air-conditioning repairman was on his way. I was forewarned that the repairman would need access to the attic, which is solely through my room, and would be arriving "early." "Early" did not have a definite time, but my father estimated last night about 8:30-9am. As I rolled over to alleviate the burning sensation in my retinas, I glanced at the large 7 glaring at me from the clock. Must the repairman come at 7am? And should he find that necessary, shouldn't he have the common decency to relay that information prior to the appointment? And if he should find the audacity to wake me early on my sleep deprivation extermination day, shouldn't I be allowed to strangle him?

But I digress.

I had just enough time to get dressed and make my bed before the invasion of my morning. I ate my breakfast while checking email and other blog updates. The dished were put away in the cabinets, dirty ones shoved in the washer, and the hound's water supply replenished.

The repairman arrived and spent 2 hours tinkering with the A/C unit. Apparently, it works better, but I haven't notice a difference in functionality. There was a distinct difference in the appearance of my carpet which was promptly vacuumed to eliminate the massive amounts of insulation tracked onto it. At least I have my room back....I'll let you know when the A/C unit explodes.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Stormy Weather

Yesterday began with the buzzing of my alarm at 6:30am, a time with which I am not accustomed. Matthew was easy to wake; Christopher resisted a bit. Reinforcements arrived momentarily, climbed into bed, and whispered, "I love you" in a babyish voice.

"I hate you," smirked Chris as he pushed Joey off his bed. They groomed themselves and ate breakfast. It was a pleasant morning.

I arrived at work with my main purpose already having been designated as "John's perpetual reminder service." That doesn't guarantee that he actually accomplished anything on my To Do List for him. This just created a generalized edginess on my part for the possible blame that could be cast on me. So, I decided to read The Darth Side and Simon of Space for a while.

The rain began soon after lunch and worsened until torrents of water, thunder and lightning plagued the city. Personally, I enjoy a good storm every now and again, but this would easily wreak havoc during rush hour. The final crescendo and climax was felt by all around. Instinctively, I jerked my hands away from the computer keyboard as lightning struck something in the parking lot seconds later. The florescent lights blinked, the computers buzzed, and the floor shook. I froze in my seat. A few minutes later, the sky cleared as if by magical touch.

"You can't do that...I cut off your arm!" screamed Christopher as I returned home later that day.

"I have a robotic one!" replied Matthew as he swung his lightsaber toward his opponent’s head. Chris blocked and retaliated. I calmly strolled past, considering my newfound parental obligations. Deciding what had to be done, I raced upstairs to change my clothes. Comfortably clad in jeans, t-shirt, and a ponytail, I raced back to the kitchen.

"You know you're not supposed to be fighting in the house," I started. They dropped their guard just long enough for me to produce my lightsaber and commence a surprise-attack. Ironically, they're both Jedi Masters compared to my youngling skills. I died fairly quickly. Yet, this game is very similar to a video game: you die, you start over. I managed to beat Chris once, but I think I will have to become Matthew's padawan before I stand a real chance.

The night ended with laughter as Joey, Matt, and I watched Family Guy.

Monday, June 06, 2005

When the Cat's Away

"Evil Dictator."

This is the sound of my siblings rebelling to my instructions. Never mind that I was simply the messenger of Mom.....I'm in charge for a little while, so apparently, the boys should be allowed to slack off and trash the place.

Overall, this job hasn't been too hard. Exhausting, but not exasperating. The challenge has been a matter of enforcement: I'm not Mom, so I can't do anything. If Chris pushes his luck too hard, then he'll learn to retract that statement.

On a non-sibling related tangent, I discovered the joys of cleaning a much-in-need refrigerator last night. Let's just say that my current headache is probably directly related to the amount of Clorox I inhaled. Needless to say, I'm only so focused at work....assuming that I'm actually doing something...

Positive note: Matt was in the paper this weekend. He's the sophomore valedictorian....we'll see if he keeps his position next year...Congrats, Matt!

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Taking Charge

I don't particularly understand what has happened to me this summer. I feel stifled, I guess. I just haven't really done anything creative or intellectually stimulating. The constant physical and emotional pull from my family probably claims much of the blame as well as my general fatigue from sleep deprivation. Funny how talking late on a cell phone effects one's sleep patterns....

All who know me well know that this situation can't last long without a loss of sanity (assuming its there to begin with). I can't practice for the opera like this either; it'll wear on my voice.....I know this from recent experience. So, I've determined that I must take action: force myself beyond all restraining influences. I need to paint, draw, sing, play, write. Speaking of writing, I am taking suggestions for a pen name....I'm terrible at stuff like that and my name is irritatingly generic. Or, I could just stick with "Sash".....

Anyway, I have to drive to the airport way too damn early in the morning, so I must end this now. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Thursday, June 02, 2005

European flair

So, I took all my old postcards from Europe and made a piece for my wall. The walls are bland and this is a rental-friendly way to fix things a bit. One, maybe two little nails tops. And I get to daydream about returning to all those places and others instead of doing homework.

Its been rainy and cold here all week. I'm used to 85 degree temperatures this time of year and the daily high has hovered around 65. What gives! Although, its probably a good thing since the AC at my parents' house has been malfunctioning. A have a theory: I kill most house plants (there is that unidentifiable one that's thriving) and AC systems. The AC in my apartment took its good ole time to kick in and my poor roommate about died of heat stroke. I was quite alright since I'm fairly immune to the summer heat....I still wear long jeans. Yet, I'm aware that the cosmic payback will be a bitch since I will freeze to death whenever I visit Jim way up north, probably in December at this rate........but that explaination would fill a whole other entry with its stupidity and aggravation.....

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Deep Thoughts...

I'm going to sing for a funeral today. Apparently, the church has 2, but I can only get off to sing one. They're both supposed to be huge with "standing room only." I have never heard that phrase in conjunction with a funeral. It makes you wonder about your own life....does a large mass of sobbing people make you a better person? I know these 2 were wonderful people, but still...would they be considered less if fewer came to their funeral?
One a completely different tangent, why does every available man or teenage boy flirt with you when you have a boyfriend? This phenomenon doesn't occur when you're single...wouldn't that help a little? Its just obnoxious now. Not that it would have been particularly welcome before, the sleezbags like to flirt with you all the time anyway...yet, the nice guys wait until the moment of certain rejection. Either way, I really don't care too much, I'm very happy with my boyfriend...I'm just amused by the amount of irony involved in this strategy...

Monday, May 30, 2005

Beach Day!!!

We're all heading down to the beach for Memorial Day...too bad I didn't realize we were going until maybe 30 minutes ago. No one tells me anything. They all assume I know what's going on when I'm truly clueless. At least I'll get to see my week-old baby cousin, Julianne and Alyssa and Jack. The babies keep me entertained. Well, I should get ready to go.....

Thursday, May 12, 2005

10 Rules For Dating My Daughter

I finally found this list of rules on the internet. So far, I can't find out who actually wrote them, but, if anyone knows, please let me know. To whomever wrote this.....this is frickin' hysterical....good job!

Rule One
If you pull into my driveway and honk you'd better be delivering a package, because you're sure not picking anything up.

Rule Two
You do not touch my daughter in front of me. You may glance at her, so long as you do not peer at anything below her neck. If you cannot keep your eyes or hands off of my daughter's body, I will remove them.

Rule Three
I am aware that it is considered fashionable for boys of your age to wear their trousers so loosely that they appear to be falling off their hips. Please don't take this as an insult, but you and all of your friends are complete idiots. Still, I want to be fair and open minded about this issue, so I propose this compromise: You may come to the door with your underwear showing and your pants ten sizes too big, and I will not object. However, In order to ensure that your clothes do not, in fact, come off during the course of your date with my daughter, I will take my electric nail gun and fasten your trousers securely in place to your waist.

Rule Four
I'm sure you've been told that in today's world, sex without utilizing a "barrier method" of some kind can kill you. Let me elaborate: when it comes to sex, I am the barrier, and I will kill you.

Rule Five
In order for us to get to know each other, we should talk about sports, politics, and other issues of the day. Please do not do this. The only information I require from you is an indication of when you expect to have my daughter safely back at my house, and the only word I need from you on this subject is "early."

Rule Six
I have no doubt you are a popular fellow, with many opportunities to date other girls. This is fine with me as long as it is okay with my daughter. Otherwise, once you have gone out with my little girl, you will continue to date no one but her until she is finished with you. If you make her cry, I will make you cry.

Rule Seven
As you stand in my front hallway, waiting for my daughter to appear, and more than an hour goes by, do not sigh and fidget. If you want to be on time for the movie, you should not be dating. My daughter is putting on her makeup, a process that can take longer than painting the Golden Gate Bridge. Instead of just standing there, why don't you do something useful, like changing the oil in my car?

Rule Eight
The following places are not appropriate for a date with my daughter:

  • Places where there are beds, sofas, or anything softer than a wooden stool.
  • Places where there are no parents, policemen, or nuns within eyesight.
  • Places where there is darkness.
  • Places where there is dancing, holding hands, or happiness.
  • Places where the ambient temperature is warm enough to induce my daughter to wear shorts, tank tops, midriff T-shirts, or anything other than overalls, a sweater, and a goose down parka zipped up to her throat.
  • Movies with a strong romantic or sexual theme are to be avoided; movies which feature chainsaws are okay.
  • Hockey games are okay.
  • Old folks homes are better.
Rule Nine
Do not lie to me. I may appear to be a pot-bellied, balding, middle-aged, dim-witted has-been. But on issues relating to my daughter, I am the all-knowing, merciless god of your universe. If I ask you where you are going and with whom, you have one chance to tell me the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. I have a shotgun, a shovel, and five acres behind the house. Do not trifle with me.

Rule Ten
Be afraid. Be very afraid. It takes very little for me to mistake the sound of your car in the driveway for a chopper coming in over a rice paddy outside of Hanoi. When my Agent Orange starts acting up, the voices in my head frequently tell me to clean the guns as I wait for you to bring my daughter home. As soon as you pull into the driveway you should exit your car with both hands in plain sight. Speak the perimeter password, announce in a clear voice that you have brought my daughter home safely and early, then return to your car - there is no need for you to come inside. The camouflaged face at the window is mine.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Vanity Sizes

Have you ever wondered how clothing companies compete with each other? The first, most obvious way is to create a line of fun, flattering, and comfortable clothing. This method has been on its way out and I believe completely died in the 1970's Annie Hall craze. Clothes no longer need to match or even cover everything that truly should be covered. They don't need to be functional or comfortable as long as movie stars get one photograph printed in them. Don't believe me? Just take a stroll down the preteen aisle. You'll notice the ultra-low rise, worn-out looking, or barely-there type items. What has happened to our sense of style?


But, there has always been a single ray of hope: the blue jeans. Yes, there are drastically altered forms of the classic, but the basic set of jeans are modest, comfortable and flattering on most people. They are incredibly versital as work clothes, club outfits, casual Friday ensembles...the list goes on and on. How could the clothing company add frustration to this seemingly simple piece of cotton canvas?


Before I answer this question, please understand that I am a small person. I typically wear sizes ranging from 0 - 2 and those are already hard to find. One store in particular (we will not mention names) has created something called "vanity sizes." In this concept, someone who normally wears a size 10 can wear an 8 because the 10 is now labeled as an 8. This is done to make the shopper feel better about themselves, spend obscene amounts of money and return to the store.


This is the bane of my shopping experience. My sizes have now disappeared from the shelves. It wouldn't be so disgusting if it were just dresses and the like, but NO. The blue jeans are the items affected by the "America is generally overweight, so we'll boost their self-esteem to sell more stuff" mentality. What is wrong with people??? They will still be the same obeese people whether their jeans say size 100 or 98. Are we that lazy that we resort to sewing a new tag into clothing to raise the level of our self-esteem? And since when did size make us better people? I'm a short underweight Italian, but I work hard to sing and accomplish a 4.0 every semester. That makes me feel wonderful about myself.

I firmly believe our culture is based too heavily on appearance and social status and too little on life, individuality, and self-respect. To Hell with the brand-name blue jeans!!! I will buy my clothing in a store that does not lie to me about my size or resort to sewing them myself!!!

Monday, March 21, 2005

Speechless

Yet again, I return from time spent at home sick. Not sick in the contagious, "you've caught something" sense, but in the "I can't sing" sense. This has happened three times this semester - enough is enough. I've had the same symptoms every time, so I decided to do my own investigating. As it turns out, there is mold in my bedroom window at my parents' house. It wasn't difficult to discover where it came from either. The last major hurricane cracked the double-paned window, allowing moisture to slowly creap in. This moisture created a "fogged" look to the window - one I had been complaining about since - and encouraged the growth of something reddish-brown in the base of the frame. Voila! the reason I get sick.

The hard part is that I can't sing....I'm a singer, this is a problem. A friend also told me not to talk because my speaking voice sounds fairly rough as well. Anyone who knows me knows that this is impossible.....I just figure I'll talk a lot less and speak softer to avoid extra damage. Wish me luck!

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Human Annoyance

There are people in this world that annoy me beyond the point of exasperation...don't get me wrong, these people do have redeeming qualities. Its just that they chose not to show them around me. Those that don't know when to shut up are my particular favorite. They nag you about something you said which, by the way, THEY took to the extreme no one else came near. And why? Because it makes them feel important and superior to you. Aren't there better ways to raise self-esteem while minding your own affairs? I'm sure there are because I do not consider myself one of these obnoxious people - I'm certain someone will contradict that statement. My reply would be, "Bugger off and get a life!"

On a brighter note, the opera went exceedingly well. Thank you to all who came and supported us. I did manage to trip at least once a performance, but luckily it was at the beginning of an entrance where few would notice. Go figure. Major kudos to Mrs. Shaw who filled in on practically no notice. Without you, we wouldn't have had a show (Don't worry, Erica, we all love you and get well soon - I'll keep shouting for you as long as it takes!) Great job cast! Enjoy the vacation - God knows we need it!

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Plug For My Store

Yes, I have my own store and this is a shameless plug for it. I create designs for mugs, journals, bumper stickers, greeting cards, etc. I also sell prints of my original artwork online. This is a continual work in progress and I add designs and items frequently. If you want me to design something especially for you, let me know. Check it out - if nothing else, it makes me feel important that people are looking at my site. Here's the address and feel free to leave comments:

http://www.cafepress.com/cachinnation

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Classroom Stress

Ever been in a class where you feel like you're the only intelligent person? I have...every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. This is getting to be too much to handle. I can see little bits of my brain dripping from my ears onto the floor. The pinnacle of today's class was this quote: "I guess my roommate isn't that good of a Catholic because she didn't wake up with ashes on her forehead this morning." Go ahead, laugh. Its real - every word. The worst part was that the class neither laughed or corrected her. Don't misunderstand me, I wish no one public humiliation....but there should have been some sort of reaction from the class. Yet, none came. Just the eerie silence of mutual understanding and acceptance. As a friend of mine later stated, "What did they think happens? The Ashes Fairy comes in the middle of the night, puts a cross on your forehead, and leaves a quarter under your pillow?" I determined, as the lone Catholic in the room, that the task of enlightening this young women fell to me. I told her very gently that most of us go to a Church service to receive our ashes - and that this event usually occurred noon or after. I have determined that this situation is what my hell would be like, giving me the motivation to strive to be better than I am.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

No Pain, No Gain

I will be the first to admit that I have hundreds of little quirks...ok, some aren't so little. Yet, I never realized that I don't stand up straight. How did I miss that??? This discovery, among others, came during my weekly vocal lesson. I have trouble releasing my jaw; I don't breathe quite as well as I should; I stand in a way that hampers all my other efforts. Murphy's law has struck again, but don't worry....this problem can be fixed and we attempted it in class. Let's just say that it involved me standing with my back and head against the wall with my feet out a little ways in front of me. And in the mirror, it looked normal....to me, it was incredibly painful. Why? Because I've done it wrong for over 20 years and my body doesn't want to change itself. Wish me luck 'cause I have to practice this.

Monday, January 31, 2005

For Rai...

I had to put this act of human stupidity into writing. A few days ago, some redneck decided that it was a good idea to spit directly in front of me. Doesn't anyone else find this disgusting? I managed to avoid stepping into that visual representation of his intelligence, but a year or so back, my friend, Rai, wasn't so lucky. In fact, that incident caused to her to seriously damage her knee and use crutches for several months. The over-salivator didn't even stop to see if she was ok. Didn't your mother ever teach you not to expectorate in public? And if you decided to be that shameless, you should at least apologize for causing injury to another person. This is for you, Rai, that no more spit may cross your path!

Rai's sites:
http://www.snarkage.com
http://glittersavior.blogspot.com/

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Tempest of the Mind

The winds blow all around us. They shape us, pull us one way, push us another, and spin us until we don't understand where we are or where we were going. This chaotic whirlwind continues to confuse us until the day we get it right. On that day, the wind is at our backs, pushing us to who we really are and who we'll be. The path becomes clear to see and our purpose is found. But that day is not today. Today, the winds twist and swirl, obscuring my sight.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Damn You, Jack Frost

What the hell is wrong with this weather? Its well below freezing outside and we've had precipitation, yet not the kind for which we have been longing and praying. These frigid temperatures have no other purpose than to provide snow...and kill mosquitos, but that's a another post. SO, WHERE IS THE SNOW?! My siblings got a school day for a measly 1/8 of an inch. I just want enough to close the university for a day. Then, Mother Nature can kick Jack Frost out and let things warm up. I don't care as long as it snows. Winter cold isn't complete without a little snow, so bring it on.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

It's Such a Bad Idea to Give Me Free Web Space

I've apparently lost my mind. What could convince me to spend time I don't have to write commentaries that probably no one will ever read? Its free. That blessed four-letter word can make almost anything enticing. Seriously, what did I have to lose...besides all respectibility and the illusion that I'm a quiet, sweet-natured young woman? I think what got me to this point was the simple fact that I write a lot. I scribble my thoughts in a journal, write rants on my yahoo notepad, talk ears off anyone naively willing to listen. Life can get stressful and I lack an effective way of expressing that daily frustration. Not to mention, I can drive everyone surrounding me completely insane. This seemed like a viable solution - and a awesome way to zone out in class. So, for now I close my very first post, my stepstone to the world of the computer savy. Welcome to my blog....God help us all.