Tuesday, December 8, 2009


Part of what I'm exploring here on my little ol' blog is my creative process. My absence from blogging is worth exploring because it is indicative of an aspect of my creative way of being but I will write about that later. This time I just want to remind myself of my typical reaction to auditions. I'm not sure that at the age of 48 I can retrain myself but I certainly can and do recognize the pattern.

I rarely feel "nervous" about auditions. Instead what I feel is a sort of free floating dread and anxiety. No matter how good I feel prior, at about 30-24 hours before the audition I begin to feel hopeless. It's not just that I think I can't do the audition, I start to think that EVERYTHING I've ever done or will do is pointless and/or a failure. I feel what is akin to the deepest chemical depressions through which I've journeyed. I also begin to feel sick. I develop flu-like symptoms and frequently run a fever. Many times I'm unable to sleep at night, again, not because I feel nervous but because I feel sick or in pain. At the time I am going through all of this it seems enough to justify my never performing again. I could say, "If it's this much agony, then maybe it's your body telling you that you shouldn't be doing this." But, I also know that if I tough it out and just go to the audition, I will be fine. I ALWAYS find that burst of joy and adrenaline during the audition and even if I still feel unwell after the audition, I know that will dissipate within about 24 hours.

I've tried to re-train my mind, and actually, I DO think of auditions as opportunities and once I'm there, I enjoy them. But, my body has it's own way of responding. It's almost as if my body knows I must wrestle the demons out before I can effectively approach the creative fires of the audition process. I've learned to just acknowledge what is happening, to pamper myself a little but to just keep moving forward despite what I feel.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

"I detest audiences, not in their individual components, but, en masse I detest audiences. I think they are a force of evil. The spectator in the arena who regards the musical performance as some sort of athletic event is happily removed from the risk, but he takes some kind of glee in what goes on there. To me, this is heartless, ruthless and senseless. This is, of course, entirely separate from what is really going on, an effort by the performer to form a powerful identification with the music. A performance is not a contest but a love affair."
-Glenn Gould

Friday, November 6, 2009


Photo by RL Valde (my Dad)

This week's chapter of The Joy Diet, "Play" has helped me bring some things into focus. I have been blessed in that I have known what my "real career" is for nearly all of my life. What I do is where I feel at home, where I feel connected and where I feel joy. It has been where I play and it has also been where I work. That has been part of the challenge for me throughout my life, to allow it all to remain play even though it is my job. That hasn't always been easy.

Another great blessing I have enjoyed is the surprise of being a mother. It has been play and it has been an immense joy. For something I had never planned on doing, being a mom has felt so natural. It has the same feeling about it that singing has always had - it is instinctive, I feel called to it, and (most days) it's fun.

All of this is in flux at the moment. My daughter entered middle school this year and as several of you already know- it's a huge change. The rules are all different now and for the first time, I feel unsure of my mothering skills. Some days I'm just one step a head other days I'm two steps behind.

I'm feeling the same way about my performing as well. I won't bore you with the details here. I will just say that until recently, I felt on track. I had switched trains but I was still on track. Now, I'm not sure where I'm going.

I think this what some would call a "midlife crisis." That phraseology seems a little dramatic for my situation. However, everything is changing, my body, my role as a mother, my "career." I have been gathering in, quietly feeling around the edges of all this newness and moving toward what is next without really knowing what that might be. From the outside, I'm sure it looks like I am standing still. I thought I would be settled and rock solid by the time I was this age. I wasn't at all prepared to be in this place so it is a little disconcerting. There is a part of me that wants to get some mind numbing job just to fill the time. But, thanks to a phone call with a great friend (thanks Patricia) and a question Martha Beck poses in this chapter, I know I can't do that.

Martha asks, "what did you do after 9/11?" I, of course, connected with family and friends. But, I remember the two things that seemed crucial to me at the time. 1). loving my daughter and helping her obtain the skills she needs to blossom into the incredible woman I know she will be. 2. bringing comfort to others in the way I had to offer - through my voice. So often I have been told "you have a gift" and I say to myself "yeah, a 'gift' that cost as much as medical school." But, at that time it truly did feel like a gift. I actually had something of value that I could contribute and it felt like a gift.

So, although I'm not sure where I'm going, I know it still somehow involves these two things. This Chapter has been a great reminder to me to stay true to myself and to maintain my sense of play as I go through this transition.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Joy Diet - Treats

Am I REALLY supposed to be blogging while game two of the World Series is on????? JEEZ! :) (yes, I know this seems out of character - but that's me- I'm an enigma)

OK - here it is quick & dirty. I am one of those people who has a hard time thinking up treats and even when I do think of them - I don't do them. Last year I while I was doing a rather physically demanding show (many bruises) under stressful conditions I promised myself I would get a massage when it was over - never did it. Then after doing Midsummer while clinically depressed I promised myself I would get a massage when it was over - never did it. THEN after doing Heidi Chronicles (both times) I promised myself I would get a massage when it was over - well you know the drill now. Could it be my body goes into depression because I never follow through on my promises to it?

Why do I defer my desires, why don't I give myself the treats I know I 'd love. These are deep questions and I could (and maybe should) stop here to try to get to the bottom of them but I think they are questions I will probably be working on for quite a some time. So, I'll ponder and keep paddling. I've started a little list of treats and I'm starting to do them. Today I listened to opera even though other family members were home - baby steps, my friends, baby steps.

This weekend I'll treat myself to one of my favorite holidays - HALLOWEEN!!!


Thursday, October 29, 2009

5 Things

1. HALLOWEEN!!! One of my all time favorite holidays. I loved it as a kid, the dressing up and going out after dark. It was so much fun and seemed so magical - without all the pressure and hype of Christmas. I still like it for many of the same reasons. Now I like to see the kids whooping and hollering through the fallen leaves on their way to my door. Trick-or -Treat!!

2. My favorite Halloween movie is The Nightmare Before Christmas. I was singing in Orlando when they finished this up so I got to see the private screening in Orlando. I was enchanted by Tim Burton's wonderfully creative world and it has remained a favorite ever since.
3. My favorite jack-o-lantern idea this year. It makes me giggle.

4. Aren't these Halloween cupcakes just adorable? I found these at Le Cupcake. Go take a look at these and all of the other beautiful and imaginative cupcakes. Cupcakes as art.

5. Finally, what's Halloween without costumes??!! This made the rounds on Facebook and I got a kick out of it. I must have been a 5 year old boy in another life. Check out some more fun homemade costumes here.

H A P P Y H A L L O W E E N ! ! !

Monday, October 26, 2009

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Fall Glory

This is all Mother Nature - I didn't do anything other than capture it with my crummy little point & shoot. Ah! that color!!!!!!!!!!!! Glorious!!!

Friday, October 23, 2009


As we continue our journey through Martha Beck's The Joy Diet at The Next Chapter with Jamie Ridler we were invited this week to explore risk. "Every day, do at least one frightening thing that contributes to the fulfillment of your desires."

I don't have any big dramatic risks that are tugging at me at the moment. I'm in a much more contemplative place trying to figure out my next move. So, I won't be rock climbing or jumping out of a plane (although a former student of mine did just that this past week). My risks are smaller but just as seemingly inexplicable.

I have this baffling need to make art. Painting, drawing, photography, paper collage - you name it - I need to do it. I don't know why. I have no talent or training. I HAVE a god-given talent (as they say). I sing. I'm good at what I do. I get paid to do it, people come to me to teach them how to do it. So, why the hell am I painting for god sake??? I have NO idea.

These are also the risks that call to me: "Go ahead - buy that paint," "Get down on the ground to get that shot (even if people are looking)," "Take that workshop." And I did - all of it. I'm taking Carmen Torbus's Spill It workshop. There are people in this workshop who know what they are doing - I mean - they are artists. I haven't had any kind of art class since the third grade when our teacher threw a chalk board eraser at one of my classmates because his tree was "wrong." Yet, here I am posting my work right up along side of theirs. You have to be a risk taker or an idiot to do something like that!!!! Carmen and my fellow workshop participants have all been incredibly kind and supportive and I am so grateful for that.

I'm not sure where all of this is taking me. I pull at the thread of a thought that says, as I am changing, this amorphous goo in the chrysalis, what I have to say and how I say it is changing, too. I'm not sure that the visual arts will be the final incarnation of my metamorphosis but I know it will inform it. So...I paint.

PS: the item on top of my books is a really cool watercolor palette that my husband gave me years ago. He eventually took it for himself because I never used it. I still probably won't use it much. It's a little cumbersome and at the moment it's filled with his colors not mine. Reclaiming it, however, is symbolic. I acknowledge this part of myself.

(collage done for Carmen Torbus's Spill It Workshop)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

5 Things

(bad phone camera shot - remember to take the good camera with you)

1. This is not a great shot but that's sort of my point. The trees are GORGEOUS now. There are about 5-7 days a year when they are like this. SO, step away from the computer, grab your camera (so you don't have to resort to using your phone camera on the fly like I did) and get out there and enjoy the COLOR.

2. Improv Everywhere is so much fun. Watch the Grocery Store Musical all the way to the end, I love the guy who says, "What just happened. They did a musical - they turned life into a musical!"

3. Connie over at Dirty Footprints Studio is doing a week of art journal love. I especially liked "Dreaming of Modigliani" but you'll want to check them all out. You can feel her joy leap out at you from across the computer screen!

4. Chema Madoz's surrealistic photography is beautiful, brilliant and thought provoking - see several of his works here at haha.nu.

5. I'm reading Thinkertoys: A Handbook of Creative Thinking Techniques by Michael Michalko. It's a "business" creative book and that's usually not my thing but I'm finding so many really useful and interesting techniques that can apply to almost any situation.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Today India will celebrate the first of 5 days of DIWALI, a significant festival in Hinduism, Jainism, and Sikhism. Diwali, is known as "the festival of lights." Traditionally, "diyas," lamps made from clay pots filled with oil, are placed throughout the home. The lamps of Diwali are lit to give thanks for health, success, and peace. They signify the triumph of knowledge over ignorance and the belief that, through light, one discovers true beauty and the joy of life.

I have never celebrated Diwali but the essence of the festival resonates with me and I add my energy to those who are celebrating.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Joy Diet: Creativity

Last week's ingredient in The Joy Diet was "desire." I'm still unclear as to what my heart's true desire is at this time. As I've mentioned before, I'm in a place of transition at the moment and I'm ok with that. I also live a pretty charmed life. I have most of what my heart truly desires. So, I didn't have much to say last week.

Creativity was the ingredient this week. Here's where things got interesting for me. I consider myself a relatively creative person and being in the performing arts I call upon my creativity on a daily basis. But, in this chapter Martha Beck is really talking about creating YOUR LIFE. Ah! The assignment was to name one true desire daily and TAKE ACTION. Yep - you guessed it - that's where I get stuck. I was amazed, truly amazed at how frequently I defer my little everyday desires. I have a movie from Netflix that I've been wanting to watch for 6 months now!! I have a background that I've wanted to do an image transfer on for three days, I skip meals when I'm hungry, I have an ipod full of music I love that I rarely listen to. I've been asking myself "WHY" all week. I'm not even sure the answer is important and searching for the answer might just be another diversion tactic. This week I've been trying to diligently and honestly follow the suggest to identify one true heart's desire and take action on it. It hasn't been comfortable and I am still processing everything that has come up this week but I've been doing it.

5 Things

Birds on the Wires from Jarbas Agnelli on Vimeo.

Here's what Jarbas Agnelli says about the music: "Reading a newspaper, I saw a picture of birds on the electrical wires. I cut out the photo and decided to make a song using the exact location of the birds as notes."

3. Following Dreams: I saw this documentary on (again!) my local PBS channel. It followed a variety of people who followed their dreams, often despite the odds. Check your PBS listings and catch it if you can.

4. This week I was lucky enough to catch a photography webinar by Art Wolfe on light. I learned so much about photography and thinking like an artist. It was third in a series by Art Wolfe on composition. The first webinar is available at livebooks.

5. Artsyville is one of my new fun places to visit.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Today Creative Techs offered a webinar with Art Wolfe. I've been taking their photography class with John Greengo and received an email just yesterday about this class. I rearranged my schedule so I could be by my computer this afternoon and I'm so glad I did. I learned so much about light, light light. I think it's what I love most about his photography. He also mentioned over and over again the importance of being open to the unpredictable. You may be planning to photograph one thing when another will suddenly make itself available to you. You can't be too locked into your original plan or you might miss the perfect opportunity. It's a wonderful metaphor for life isn't it?

Moving My Life into the Foreground

I'm participating in the Spill It Workshop led by the wonderful Carmen Torbus. Our first assignment was to create backgrounds for our pieces. I had a great time doing this, intuitively moving the paint around the canvas with my hands. I learned so much and it was very freeing. This week we're doing image transfers. I am SO STUCK!! I just can't seem to move onto this next step. I was looking through my journal to see if something would inspire me and then it hit me - I NEVER cover the backgrounds. Well, I do - I write over them but I never cover them with images. I never move beyond that first step. I have another project that I started - I did paper collage over some old hardback book covers. I want to add images and paint but they have just been sitting on my table staring at me for over a month now. I think I'm afraid I will mess things up. It's as if my inner critic is saying, "Phew, made it past that first step without making a total ass out of yourself - better quit now before something bad happens." What happened to all of that wrecking I did this summer. I'm invoking my Inner Wrecking Warrior - help me wreck this canvas!!! Help me move into the foreground!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

5 Things

You shouldn't have to justify your work
-Judy Chicago

1. This week while watching my local PBS station I happened upon a wonderful documentary entitled No Compromise: Lessons in Feminist Art with Judy Chicago. In 2002 Judy Chicago returned to the classroom as a visiting professor at Indiana University. This film captures her work with the students and the students' artistic process from concept to execution. I loved watching her push the students to their edge demanding that they make their work bold, powerful and personal. Check your local listings - it might be coming to your PBS station.

2. I am taking the Spillit Workshop with the vivacious and talented Carmen Torbus. Carmen is a fantastic teacher - her videos and explanations are fun and easy to follow,Carmen herself is encouraging and enthusiastic and the other participants are creative and supportive. I highly recommend the workshop. We're starting week two today but Carmen is leaving registration open for a bit longer so it's not to late to join us.

3. Found this little writing prompt site, One Word. It's quick and fun and it helped me get a poem started.
4. Diana Damrau is probably the best coloratura soprano in the world right now. This video shows her talking about the roles she sings. It also shows her recording several arias. What's fascinating (at least to me) is that you can see her technical thinking physically manifested. This is the sort of thing we singers do all of the time when we practice but let go of when we perform. For me it was a mini voice lesson because I could tell exactly what she was thinking as she approached certain notes and phrases. Although you may not get the technical subtleties - you will at least be impressed with her impeccable coloratura.

5. I thought THIS was fun,too.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A Voice Unheard

For a while now I've been thinking that my singing days are pretty much behind me. I haven't really sung since Kiss Me Kate last year. I did manage to pull things together a bit for A Midsummer Night's Musical this past Spring but just barely. I began preparing myself for this a couple of years ago - voices don't last forever and it seemed wise to have a back-up plan. Although I do enjoy teaching, I'm like Cassie in a Chorus Line - I don't want to spend my life teaching others what I should be doing myself. I knew there had to be something else. So, I've been experimenting with this transition, doing theatre, painting, spending more time writing poetry. I can't say I've missed singing. I don't wake up thinking, "Today I want to sing!" But, to be honest - I hadn't had that thought in years. YEARS!! I'd wake up and think - "Today I HAVE to sing" because that's what I did EVERY DAY. It's was like breathing - I just did it - I didn't think about it much.

Some days I feel guilty for neglecting what most would view as a gift. Some days I feel sad - like I should be squeezing every last drop out of my voice. But, truthfully, most days I don't think about it at all. It has just slipped away and I figured it was like so many other things that are slipping away from me these days - my hair color, my period, my eyesight, blah, blah,blah! But, then this past Friday, Bruce and I went to see Showboat at another theatre. Not my favorite musical but I noticed that I was breathing with the singers. My body was physically responding to the music as if I was singing. It was completely subconscious. It is what my body does naturally. When someone sang a high note - I realized that I actually had to stop myself from singing out loud - my instinctive impulse is to sing. After the show was over I spent the rest of the night humming and singing to myself.

So, now I wonder, I am really done singing? Did I stop because it was the natural progression of things or did I stop because I am subconsciously sabotaging myself? What is my true desire- to sing or not to sing (that is the question *hee-hee*)? I am so close to it I can't tell right now.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

October Full Moon Dreamboard

As I meditated on this month's full moon I thought about the things that ground me -being in nature & feeling my connection to the earth, walking, meditating, yoga and my gratitude journal. This time of year I also love the "gathering in" activities of crochet (I just never have caught onto knitting) and cooking - especially rich, warm, yummy soups.

Ghost Light

Some families go to baseballs games or BBQs to bond - mine helped make a movie for the Project Twenty1 Film Fest. Great fun!

Bag Monsters

These guys made me smile today! I'd love to happen upon one of these bag creatures!

Thursday, October 1, 2009


(I'm posting early so I can go to bed early tonight - hopefully.)

This week I've been trying to face the truth. In her book, The Joy Diet, Martha Beck asks us to create and absorb at least one moment of truth each day. After 15 minutes of "nothing" she suggests we ask ourselves the following questions:

What am I feeling?

What hurts?

What is the painful story I'm telling?

Can I be sure my painful story is true?

Can I think of another story that might work better?

Here's what I know is true - I'm in transition. I'm perimenopausal, (which, by the way, pretty much sucks - I don't recommend it *hee-hee*), I'm drifting away from what once was my livelihood and full time passion and my little girl has become a teenager. I am acutely aware of all of this. The trouble with transition is - you have to go through it. Grr! My mind is full of questions, doubts, wonders and I know that this restlessness is practically oozing from my pores. So, when I plopped down to do nothing this week and ask myself the questions, I was pretty sure I knew which direction the answers were going to go. Lord knows I have all kinds of issues just standing in line waiting to unearth themselves.

I was derailed with the first question.

"What are you feeling?"

And there it was like a stretch of bright blue sky - I'm happy. I'm happy for no reason.

I'm happy.

You'd have to know me these days to really appreciate how surprising that was to me. Content, accepting, resigned, maybe - but happy? You'd have to know me to know how hard that is for me to say - I'm happy. Bitingly funny, sarcastic - probably - but happy?

How wonderful to know that along side all of this transition there is happiness. It's right there for me to grab on to whenever I want it.

My truth is I'm happy. Now ain't that somthing?

Come join The Next Chapter at Jamie Ridler Studios

5 Things

1. I've been taking creativetechs 10 week on-line digital photography class with John Greengo. We just completed week four. The classes are FILLED with information, stuffed to the brim. And, the classes are free. Since I don't know f/stops from train stops it's been highly informative and easy to understand. And did I mention - free!

2. If you don't know of Anoushka Shankar give her music a listen. It's so rich and interesting. She is a sitar player and composer. She studied classical sitar with her father (Ravi Shankar - remember him? Seriously if you don't, you're not as old as I am) and is considered one of the best. But, (here's the cool part) she also crosses over into flaminco, western classical, electronica and so on. One of my latest favorites is Red Sun on her album, Rise. Go listen - now wasn't that great?

3. Girls in Trouble. I found them while searching through the Amazon free MP3 downloads. They are uber cool. Their album comes out later this month. Here's what they say about themselves on their Myspace page: " Girls in Trouble = informed by years of classical violin training, Baltimore punk rock shows in the early 90's, and ancient Hebrew and Aramaic studies in Jerusalem as well as shyness, Emily Dickinson, and the symphonies Alicia has heard in her head since she was a small child."

4. I love to look at Sue Doodles. She inspires me - makes me want to doodle.

5. The Daily Om is offering A Year of Rumi. They will send you a copy of one of Rumi's poems everyday for a year. Sounds like a lovely practice. They are also offering the opportunity to pay what you can from $1-$100.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Stopping Thought

I've been reading the posts of fellow participants of The Next Chapter with Jamie Ridler. We're currently reading Martha Beck's The Joy Diet. Each chapter explores a different component of joy and the first chapter suggests we try 15 minutes per day of nothing. Almost every post I've read has talked about how hard it is to quiet the mind. I have that "problem," too, but I guess I'm a bit of a slacker and I've just accepted it. Though, I must confess that deep down I've thought of it as a character flaw. Today as I was going through old Yoga Journal magazines looking for images for my vision cards - I hit upon this article which dispelled all of my fears. BONUS: I also found the perfect image for my vision card!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

In my performing life I've discovered that each audience has it's own personality. Most are friendly, some are shy and a few can be downright predatory. This past weekend I decided that even if the audience turned out to be a Polar Bear - I'd be the Husky. It was amazing how re-enforcing my sense of play with this imagery freed me to just go out and be in the moment and enjoy the energy exchange between me, my castmates and the audience.

Friday, September 25, 2009


I have joined the wonderful Jamie Ridler's Next Chapter as we explore Martha Beck's book, The Joy Diet. Each chapter focuses on an aspect of Joy. This week we were to do NOTHING for 15 each day. Normally I live a rather slow, contemplative life but this week I found myself resisting doing nothing. It was tech week for Heidi Chronicles (we opened last night - standing o - yea!) and there just never seem to be enough hours in the day during tech week. I did sort of force myself to do it but once I did it was lovely. I sat outside on my back deck watching the fountain in our little pond. The splashing of the water and the buzz of the cicadas made a wonderfully hypnotic sound that helped transport me into nothingness. When I caught myself thinking I used the technique mentioned in the book of imagining I was watching a waterfall. When I was a child we visited Niagara Falls and I remember there was a place where you could stand behind the water and watch it falling in front of you. Although it crowded and touristy I remember being transfixed by the immense power and beauty of the water. I used to try to stop my thoughts but I don't do that anymore. Now I just try to notice them, accept them and not attach anything to them. Sometimes I imagine myself as a mountain and my thoughts as clouds. Some days there are no clouds and I get lost in the emptiness. Other days there may be lots of bright, fluffy, cheerful clouds and on still others there may be a thick blanket of dark threatening clouds. I try to remember I am not the clouds, I am the mountain. It usually works during meditation but not often in LIFE. I still need much practice!

I didn't get to my vision card this week. I have a very clear idea of what I will do but I opted to do nothing this week instead while my time is so limited.

Monday, September 21, 2009

First Rehearsal Blues

We begin the process of re-mounting The Heidi Chronicles tonight. I always have such trouble with first rehearsals. You would think that after years of performing that this would be old hat to me. Unfortunately, I put myself through a ridiculous amount of torture every time. I can never sleep the night before - I awaken with some sort of free floating anxiety - it never seems related to the show but to life in general. When I finally drag myself out of bed I'm filled with dread about the impending rehearsal and then filled with guilt about the dread. Every self-doubt I thought I'd dealt with and put aside comes sneaking back into my mind. I become paralyzed - unable to do anything other than physically get myself ready for the rehearsal.

I wish I wasn't like this. I wish I could just bop along grateful and excited for the experience. But, this is another of my "who I wish I was and who I really am" moments. Due to the fact that I know other people occasionally read my blog, there is a part of me that wants to express only positive things and not contribute to the negativity in the world. But, it's not true, it's not authentic. The truth is - I'm frequently a big fat mess before the first rehearsal. That is the truth about my current creative process.

My only consolation is that after years of experiencing this irrational behavior, I know to expect it and I know it will pass. By the time I'm at the theatre tonight, I'll be fine and on opening night when everyone else is dealing with jitters - I'll be calm and happy ( I think that comes from my opera singing years when I knew once the show opened, the conductor couldn't yell at me from the pit anymore - hee hee!). Until then, I'm going to just go easy with myself. I'll go for a little walk, watch some mindless TV and try to eat something and keep telling myself over & over that this too shall pass.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

My Joy

I'm very excited to begin The Next Chapter with Jamie Ridler as we dive into Martha Beck's The Joy Diet. I had such a wonderful time and met so many interesting & creative people with the last book, Keri Smith's Wreck this Journal. I have a feeling this adventure will be just as inspiring. I've also been a fan of Martha Beck's for quite some time. Anyone who makes me re-think my life while making me laugh out loud gets my vote.

It seems appropriate that I should be beginning this journey today. Thirteen years ago I gave birth to the greatest joy of my life - my daughter. She was a fabulous, unplanned surprise. I'd never thought of myself as at all maternal and POW!!! There has never been anything in my life that has been so right and filled me with such joy. Of course, now that she is thirteen she still needs me but in a different, less all consuming way (you know - be there but make sure none of my friends can see you). It's hard to admit but now as she grows older I feel a little melancholy. Don't get me wrong - I want her to grow, sprout her wings and fly and I have a very rich life of my own. But, I miss that little person & seeing the world through her eyes. I know it's time for me now to start finding my own joy as I go through this transition.

*Side note: I've been experiencing migraines on an almost daily basis and I've discovered that the computer is a big trigger. I'm going to do my best to get around to every one's blogs to meet you but it might take me a while.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Time Out

I've been back from my trip for a while now and might post about it later. Since the second day of the trip I have had a migraine every day. I do get them occasionally but have never had a bout like this. Needless to say - not much art got done on the trip! And, I'm finding now that the computer is a big trigger so I've been limiting my time here. Once this chain of migraines is broken I'll be back to more regular posting and visiting of blogs!! 'Til then - happy thoughts to all!

Monday, August 24, 2009


The MeMe Award

I just received my first blog award - the MeMe award from the lovely Beverly Baird. Beverly has been so wonderfully supportive of me and my little blog. Thanks so much to Beverly.
The rules of the award are as follows:
1. Share 7 tidbits about yourself
2. Share this MeME blog award with 7 blogger friends.
My seven tidbits are:
1. I eat popcorn everyday
2. I own yoga sweats, wearable art and concert attire and not much inbetween.
3. I like to make my own jewelry
4. I just bought a new camera that I'm a little afraid to use
5. I've lived in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Iowa, Minnesota, Florida and Missouri.
6. I love to read and often have 4-5 books going at a time
7. I once did singing telegrams for a living
Now I'd like to pass this award on the these blogger friends.
1. Hybrid J whose explorations in writing and creativity are inspiring and who has gone out of her way to extend the hand of friendship. Thank you Hydrid J!!
2. To Kavindra of A Clear Path To Happy whose compassionate heart and wonderful sense of humor make me smile everyday. Kavindra has also been generous in her support of my blog. Kavindra is generous in her support of all!
3. To LaWendula. Her One-Tribe-One-Heart Project is an inspiration.
4. To my friend Rebecca at Hemidemisemiquaver who probably doesn't even know I follow her blog. She's a woman of many talents!
5. To Judipatooti who is just so prolific and energetic it blows my mind!
6. To my friend Joey, of Cooking With Joey fame, whose blog got me thinking about starting my own blog, whose cooking is amazing and whose friendship is dear!
7. To Leeanne, my moonsister, who has just started her blog, Yoga Chat, and needs some blog love. I think you'll find her thoughts moving and inspirational.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Golden Wishes

I wish I could be more like my dog. It's not a new sentiment, I know. However, it is true. Goldie, my Golden Retriever, lives in a golden world. Everyday she wakes up excited to greet the day. Everyday she runs to the food bowl happy and grateful -"Hooray, dog food again!" She looks for opportunities to play, she'll drop anything for a hug, she loves unconditionally and she's the eternal optimist sure that THIS is the day she's going to catch that squirrel. She is such a well-mannered, gentle, lovable golden girl.
The dog we had before her, Buddy, was a mutt from the streets of Camden. He was six months old when we adopted him and already streetwise. Whenever I picture him I imagine him smoking unfiltered cigarettes, which is weird, I know (even weirder because he died of lung cancer). In many ways, Buddy was a dog only a mother could love. He had attitude. He did not love unconditionally. He didn't trust people outside of the family and although I'm sure he loved us I also got the feeling that there was apart of him that tolerated us - like he knew if he had opposable digits he'd be running the place. The one person he perhaps loved unconditionally was our daughter. Although he peed on almost everything of hers to let us know he was still in charge, he was also fiercely protective of her. He somehow instinctively knew she was his and she needed him. She could do anything to him. I could barely get a collar back around his neck after his bath. My daughter, however, on her third Christmas was able to deck him out in reindeer antlers, garland and a bow. I have a picture of it. It looks like he's saying, "oh please, get me a beer!" but he let her do it. Unlike Goldie, Buddy was not grateful for his dog food everyday. He smashed countless plates stealing food from off of the table the minute our backs were turned. One time he ate a block of cheese still in the plastic wrapper and didn't even get indigestion. He got in the trash, took things out of cupboards, terrorized the neighbors with his barking and snarling, and if there was something he had been instructed not to do - you can bet your bottom dollar he'd do it every chance he got. In many ways he was a big pain in the ass - and I loved him. I never wished he was different because he was BUDDY! I loved him for who he was.
I realize that although I WISH I was like Goldie, I'm actually alot more like Buddy. I'm a big pain in the ass. I don't love unconditionally. I wish I did but I don't. The one person I do, perhaps, love unconditionally is my daughter and I, too, am fiercely protective of her. I try to be grateful for my meals everyday but there are many days when I'm opening every cupboard thinking, "MAN, I wish there were some chocolate chip cookies around here!" Now - there ARE a few differences. I don't pee on people's things and I don't steal food (well, except for french fries). But, basically, I'm a cynical, rule-breaking pit bull mix that wishes she was a Golden Retriever. Sometimes I wish I could have the same acceptance for myself that I had for Buddy. I wish I could stop forever shaking a can of pennies at myself and could just shake my head, laugh and say, "Oh, Kim! You're a mess, but that's OK - I love ya!"

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

5 Things

1. In case you haven't noticed - I like movies. This week I watched Kolya. Usually, I run the other way when I see the phrase "heart-warming" attached to anything but this time I'm glad I didn't let it deter me. It truly was heart-warming without being sappy. Directed by Jan Sverak and starring his father, Zdenek Sverak(who also wrote the screnplay) this film won the 1996 Oscar and Golden Globe for best foreign film

2. I like just about every thing at Compendium but I especially like these little Expect A Miracle Window Cards. They are perfect to tuck into someone's pocket, lunch or purse as a little surpise word hug for them to find.

3. Speaking of cards, the new cards Leah Piken Kolidas has just put up on her Blue Tree Art Gallery are GORGEOUS!! You can buy them individually but you're going to want them all so you may as well buy the set!!

4. Ok, I have to admit that I found Indexed while looking up a review of The Back Of The Napkin. I was looking it up to see if anyone else had the same problem with it I did (ironically, I thought it needed more pictures - less words. But, don't let that deter you too much it still has some really good information). ANYWAY, in the section that says "Hey you might like this" I was directed to Indexed which is now one of my favorite websites. I read that it is a fav in bloggerville so apparently I am once again the last to the party but I'm a very enthusiastic partier!

5.) Do you know public radio regular and essayist Sarah Vowell? If you do then she's probably one of your favorites, too. If not, give yourself a treat in insight and belly laughs and read one of her books. I just finished The Wordy Shipmates. Anyone who can make the Puritains entertaining while also taking them seriously is worth a look.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


CED Check-in August 9th-16th
Another fun week of doing my best to be mindfully creative with Leah Piken Kolidas's Creative Everyday. I've kept up my practice of making 3 pages a day on which to write my morning pages. I'm also still fooling around with the extra paint (my funny fish above is one of the results).
On Tuesday I was lucky enough to be asked to do a reading of a play. I love cold readings (especially if the material is good - and this time it was). You have to just jump in and roll with whatever comes up. There's no second guessing yourself. You have to MOVE with whatever gut emotion comes up.
I was working on a poem that has been rambling around in my head for weeks -BUT - a completely different poem came out. In the poetry department I also toyed with the idea of writing a haiku a day again. I did that once one summer - it was a lovely practice. I'm pretty rusty, it might take me a while to get going again or rather slow down!
Keeping with the theme of MOVE I have been on a cleaning, purging and organizing rampage. It's the organizing part that requires my creativity. It doesn't come naturally. I'll stare and stare at a space waiting for it to tell me how to best organize it. Sometimes, it tells me to just go eat chocolate chip cookies. (I always eat them very creatively and mindfully!!)

Saturday, August 15, 2009

And I am owning it!!!! I don't know who hijacked this phrase but I am taking it back for myself. Being an opera singer, I guess I'm a little touchy about the subject. It just bugs the hell out of me that a phrase that was once used to describe a woman who had achieved great artistry in her field is now used as a derogatory phrase. It now means someone - a woman specifically (which REALLY galls me) - who is temperamental and difficult to work with (read bitch). I could write a whole other post regarding the misconceptions about opera but here I'll just say that in the opera world I have met very few women who would fit the above description. I know talented, hard working, funny, incredibly bright, dedicated artists who are most often very humble despite their many attributes.

The word "diva" is actually the feminine form of divus, god, therefore, meaning goddess. Elizabeth Gilbert explains in her Ted Talk how in ancient Africa during the moonlight dances when one of the dancers became transcendent, "lit with the fire of god" the people would begin to chant "Allah" acknowledging that god has passed through that person. Although I don't know the exact history of the word the same thing applies to "diva" - when an opera singer sings with divine presence, people call "brava, diva!" That sound, that beauty, that moment - that's god. I know very few women who have heard that phrase called to them and in turn mistook themselves for god. I do, however, know many women who have dedicated their lives to trying to be the vessel through which that divinity may be channeled.
So, just as I say "namaste" to others and to myself, I bow to and acknowledge the diva within me and the diva within you. I invite you to honor all that is glorious and divine within yourself. I call to you with my embarrassingly loud and hearty cry, "Brava, diva, brava!!"

Friday, August 14, 2009

August 14 2009

Sparrows and catbirds
Fill with life the branches of
the dying pin oak

Thursday, August 13, 2009

5 Things
1. As you know I'm a big fan of Dirty Footprints Studio and it's here that I learned of Heather Plett's website, What Are You Giving Away . I got to know Heather a bit through our wrecking adventures at The Next Chapter with Jamie Ridler. I'm truly inspired by Heather's vision. She challenges us to discover for ourselves what our own unique gifts are and how to use them to make the world a more beautiful and just place.

2. I working my way through Jennifer Lee's booklist and I've been reading and working with Lucia Cappachionni's book Visioning: Ten Steps to Designing the Life of Your Dreams. At first I thought it would just be a quick peruse because I've done vision boards before but the book offered some new ideas and meditations that I'm finding very useful.

3. I listen to Jacqui Naylor's music so much my ipod practically steers itself there now . Her "acoustic smashes," as she calls them, are brilliant.

4. This past week I watched Ballerina. It follows five Russian ballerinas from the Mariinsky Theatre. It is just beautiful to watch and shows the dedication it often takes to truly follow your dream.

5. I don't actually own one of these stamps yet (it's on my MUST HAVE ITEM list) but I love Paula Best's rubber stamps, they make me smile.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Sunrise Song

As morning breaks
the baby sparrow
calls for his mama,
flapping like a sigh against the window pane.
My breath tight as a fist, I pull back the blind to see him
and there he is
Like a miracle,
a small downy earth heart
fluttering beside the cracked plaster.
He turns one eye toward me
Black as a river stone
And into that infinity I pour my hope.
Trusting one day
with him
It will burst from the nest
And fly.

Monday, August 10, 2009

CED Check in

I think I might be doing this backwards. I'm posting for what I did last week (August 2-August 9). I just started CED this month and I'm already excited about the many opportunities to be mindfully creative.

Like many people I do morning pages a la Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way. Over the past several weeks my pages have gone from looking like this:

To looking like this:

Each day I play around with paints, pens, markers and colored pencils and make pages to write my morning pages on the next day. I have many more I'd love to show you but they're filled with pretty personal thoughts so I'll have to wait until I figure out a way to obscure the words a little bit.

As I've been experimenting with painting my morning pages, I frequently wind up with extra paint and it seems such a shame to waste it. One day I noticed a small blank journal on the table and I started to smear the extra paint there. Now playing with the extra paint in my blank book has also become part of my daily ritual.

I've been thoroughly enjoying these practices because I feel no pressure. I'm not making art. In one case, I'm just going to write over the pages anyway and in the other case I'm just using up the extra paint.

In addition to doing these pages each day, I've been up to a couple of other things. On Tuesday and Saturday I helped out some friends who are participating in Project Twenty1. They have 21 days to write, shoot and edit a 10 minute film. I was "the opera ghost" which basically meant I got to wear liquid latex to make me look like a ghoulish creature and pretend to be a ghost. They'd say things like, "Um, what kind of opera would you sing" and I'd make up some operatic sounding song. Or they'd say, "What would you do if someone shined a light on you" and I'd invent some wacky appropriate ghost behaviour. I gotta say, it was fun, mostly because I got to just make stuff up.

On Wednesday I made a full moon dreamboard. I've made vision boards before but this was my first time making one for the full moon and the first time participating in the amazing Jamie Ridler's circle. It's a lovely group and it feels very nurturing to have other women lend support to my intentions and it's also inspiring to witness the aspirations of so many powerfully creative women.

Thursday evening after I finished teaching I sat down and tried to mine a poem that's been sitting at the edge of my consciousness. I sat peacefully and just played with the words. I still don't have a poem but I was very much in the moment as I worked so I really didn't mind. I can't wait to get started on this week.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

5 Things
1. I'm inspired by Lawendula's One-tribe-one(he)art Collaboration Bag Project.

2. Check out this post at Dirty Footprints Studio. I love the simplicity of this philosophy. Is it Juicy or isn't it? I've applied it all day today and it was JUICY!

3. Coraline. Finally saw it - loved it. So much fun to be sitting in my own Living Room with my 3-D glasses and a big bowl of popcorn!

4. Here's to Life - Shirley Horn - 'nuff said!

5. Looking at the full moon and fireflies and listening to the crickets - no link - you have to leave the computer and go outside to enjoy it. Happy Full Moon!

My own little place to explore my creativity and imagination