Tuesday, October 30, 2007

My Prerogative

I plan on going to see this tonight. From what I've gathered about the opera, it should be a fantastical time. Not being a classical music aficionado I'm not real familiar with Maurice Ravel's work, but L'enfant et les Sortileges looked too fun to pass up. And it's free!

Though I'll find out a definite answer soon, I'm excited at the thought that I could potentially be getting paid to be an extra in a film starring Christopher Walkin, Morgan Freeman, and William H. Macy. There's also a possibility that I'll be an extra in a movie with Cameron Diaz and Frank Langhella as well. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Finished A House Like A Lotus. I tend to enjoy anything Madeleine L'Engle wrote (still sad she died), but I definitely liked this much more than An Acceptable Time even though the latter is a direct sequel to this one.

Now I start on Sabriel by Garth Nix. I've read it before but it was over a year long period and done in bursts. I didn't really get a sense of the whole story and I wanted to give it another chance since so many people tell me I should love it.

Oh, and my favorite quote from A House Like A Lotus?

"I do not think it is love if it is too easy."

Chew on that whilst I escape from the office.

A House Like A Lotus by Madeleine L'Engle

Monday, October 29, 2007

I'm A Cuckoo

What a weekend. The Sox win, the Lantern Parade (thanks to Margaret), babysitting, opera, and church. May not sound like a lot to some, but for me it was definitely an event-packed weekend.

Of course, since the Sox won last night, I was unable to really fall asleep until about 3am. People were screaming and shouting and honking their horns until around 2:20am. I even tried putting my noise-canceling headphones on and listening to my "sleeptime" mix but the sounds of drunken celebration could be heard even above that. Surprisingly I didn't feel like a zombie this morning, but I'm just dreading the 2pm hour when my usual urge to take a nap turns into an involuntary coma.

The Lantern Parade was a wholesome good time. As Mags said, it was quite a big night for me because of the hundreds of adorable children and babies in Halloween costumes and all the puppies dutifully marching around the pond with their owners. I only wish it was possible to capture on camera how beautiful the sight of hundreds of lanterns glowing and bobbing around the edge of this huge dark pond was. Anthony and I agreed that it definitely had the feel and look of a Japanese festival to it; then we mused on what it would be like to be a newly emigrated Japanese person and see this parade taking place and wondering how the hell America has taken over sushi as well as lantern festivals. Mags, Terrell, Anton, and I then proceeded to the pizza place of Mags's childhood and gorged ourselves on comically large slices of cheese pizza (except Terrell, who had yummy looking chili).

Dylan was awake for a whole 20 minutes before I had to put him to bed. I got to feed him his bottle, though, which I love doing. He makes hilarious faces and gestures whilst sucking down his formula. I'm sad I won't see him again until November 17th as the family is going back to NYC for a bit (they split their time between the two places). :o(

I went to church on Sunday by myself for the first time in about 4 years. I just never felt comfortable and connected with Harcourt Parish during my time at Kenyon; I went to Ash Wednesday services, but that was it. It just felt so stilted and forced compared to the kind of community and eucharist I was used to from my church in Cincinnati. It also didn't help that I'd had a bit of a falling out with organized religion during college, specifically with the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Ohio. All the beauracracy made it very hard for me to enjoy any kind of worship and even harder for me to believe that God had anything to do with these services. I'm not sure what I was looking for when I went to church yesterday, but what I found was a few hours of peace, a feeling of centering, and open faces. Being me, I was a little nervous about going to a completely unfamiliar place and even more nervous about going to the coffee hour after the service, but I'm so glad I did both. I met a handful of genuinely nice, very open people and shared a few laughs and some great pumpkin spike bread and coffee. I'm going back next Sunday when it will be a more traditional Rite II eucharist service instead of a Morning Prayer service (the former of which includes Communion while the latter substitutes Healing Prayer for Communion).

My faith has by no means been miraculously restored to the same strength and vigor it was in high school, but I think this is a good starting place. Being a creature of habit and routine, it was very comforting to take part once again in all the prayers and rituals I grew up with. Church was a big part of my life for most of junior high and high school--mostly because I was so attached to the other kids in my youth group and Sunday was the only time we saw each other--and it was unexplicably warming to have a piece of that back for a few hours.

Don't worry, this doesn't mean I'm going to start trying to Evangelize any of you. I was always uncomfortable with that, anyway. ;o)

P.S. I hate breaking in new high heels. My feet have healing blisters on them and they hurt. Price of beauty and fashion and all that, though. I need them for work, and I most certainly don't have enough money to buy the pumps made out of softest calfskin. Not that I would anyway, seeing as how they'd have to kill baby cows to get me those shoes. But you know what I mean.

The Scarlet Empress (finished)
Queen Margot

A House Like A Lotus by Madeleine L'Engle (almost done)

Saturday, October 27, 2007

4-3-2-1, Like the Barrel of a Gun

Last night Adrienne took me to an opera scenes program called The Countess of Seville, presented by the Boston Opera Collaborative. It combined songs from different operas--by Mozart, Massenet, Rossini, Milhaud, and Corigliano--that all told stories about Figaro, Susanna, Count Almaviva, and Countess Almaviva (the two most famous of these operas being The Marriage of Figaro and The Barber of Seville). It also used the text from Beaumarchais's Figaro trilogy that orginally inspired all the operas. What tied it all together was the story of Rosina, a young woman who was destined to become the Countess of Seville. The scenes were woven together using the songs and text to tell the story of her courtship, early days of marriage, and how everything fell apart because of a brief love affair with one of her servants. The songs were in Italian, French, and English with projected supertitles (hurray for translations!).

All in all it was beautifully done, and the fact that this group pulled it off in a Presbyterian church with minimal props/sets/lights made it even more marvelous. The female voices were overall much stronger than the male, but that's the way things go in the performing arts, it seems: men have a much easier time getting cast even if they're not possessed of the greatest talent because there are so few of them in the business. The older Figaro was very funny--reminded me strongly of Nick Lerangis--and the woman who played Marie Antoinette (oh yeah, she's in it!) could SING. She filled that huge church with the highest of notes and sustained them like it ain't no thing!

On a more personal note, I made a few revelations about myself and why I do the things I do this week. I've known for a long time that I'm not a person who deals well with change, be it little or big. In that sense I'm very like Dad: we both need set schedules and have an obsession with planning ahead. The only difference is that he does it because he has to have control over his life, and I do it because it gives me some stability, which is comforting to me in new situations. Ever since I moved to Boston I've found myself acting more neurotic than I usually am. Examples: dishes in the sink drive me nuts so I try to do them everyday, the counter must be clean so I wipe it with a Clorox cloth everyday, no posessions are allowed to be left lying around in the living room, my bed must be made every day. These may not convey it, but essentially I've been living by the motto "a place for everything, everything in its place". It's part of my routine. And when things aren't the way I like them it really, really irks me and throws me a little off balance.

If that weren't enough, I'm finding the social part of my new life to be the most challenging. It's not that I don't have friends (duh, I live with one) or can't make any; it's that, when I come home, I'm home for the night. I do not want to leave my apartment for anything that I haven't planned in advance: I'm usually exhausted from the day and all I want is to eat, relax, watch some TV, play on the internet, read, and go to sleep. Boring, but it's my routine and it's comforting. And that's the problem word right there: routine. Living here has made me realize that most of my friends in Boston are more spontaneous people than planners like me. For instance, if someone calls me up after I get home from work and asks if I want to go out to a movie that night, my first instinct is to say no because then I'd have to leave and break my routine. I'm fine if it's a planned event that I know about at least a day in advance, but I do not do well with spontaneity. My routine brings me comfort and balance, but it also hinders me socially.

Now I know some people would just say "Get over it!" But it's not that easy for me. I've been like this since I was little: I used to cry violently when my kindergarten teachers told me it was time to stop one thing and move on to another. I didn't want to do it unless it was my decision to move on. My Mom says that my Dad and I are very similar in that we could both be perfectly content being hermits for the rest of our lives: not going anywhere, staying in, and doing things by ourselves without any other human contact. I've been through phases where I don't go out and see friends for weeks at a time because I feel this intense need to be by myself. And it's not like I'm unhappy during these times; in fact, I have a great time and it's liberating because I don't have to worry about pleasing anyone but me. Hermit life is selfish, but sometimes the world is a little much for me. I need to regroup and restrengthen my "armor", as it were.

Anyway, I was talking with my Mom about this the other day. I was worried because I felt like a freak as none of my friends are like this, but she assured me it's not a good thing or a bad thing, it's just the way I am and always have been. She suggested I try to plan at least two nights a week where I do something by going somewhere, be it with other people or by myself. If it's planned into my schedule I won't feel such an intense need to stay at home once I'm home from work. We'll see how this turns out. Last night was an experiment and it turned out well as I had a great time even though I'd only known about it since late Thursday night.

Today was fabulous because I got to download and watch the next four episodes of Avatar: The Last Airbender that haven't even premiered in the States yet. For some reason the UK is ahead of us, but I'm not complaining! I had forgotten how much I love this show and how brilliant it is until they started airing the new episodes back in early September.

Babysitting tonight. Which actually means getting paid to eat good food and watch the Sox game while checkin in on the sleeping babe. ;o)

The Scarlet Empress
The Madness of King George

Agamemmnon by Euripides

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Adventures In Medicine

The most pointless doctor's visit in history was had on Tuesday, October 23. My eyes, the right one in particular, have been red/bloodshot fairly consistently for over a week. Being the well-informed daughter of a man in the healthcare profession, I deduced that this wasn't normal. I managed to get an appointment with a doctor by swooping upon a cancellation and leaving my office an hour early. Let's just say it took me more time to check-in at the doctor's than it did for him to see me. He shined a light in my eyes and told me to call the Eye Clinic at Boston Medical Center and left. No talk, no prescription, nothing. It was a drive-by doctor's visit.

So yesterday morning I get to work, call the Eye Clinic, and find out they have walk-in triage available. My boss practically kicked me out of the office when I told her, so off I went to get some answers. Four hours later I was back in my office, Panda Bowl lunch and two prescriptions in hand. I was in the waiting room for over two hours! But now I have medicine, I'm not allowed to wear contacts for two weeks, and even though the doctor didn't actually tell me what's wrong he told me it was not serious. And luckily my boss doesn't care that it took so long during a work day and told me I could just make up the hours (eventually).

Hurrah for first adventures in the Boston healthcare system.

Watched THE most horrible Japanese fantasy/adventure movie with Anthony last night: The Great Youkai War. At least we both hated it equally so we could have a good laugh at how ridiculous it was. How real people were actually talked into spending real yen on that production is something I cannot begin to comprehend on any physical, mental, or emotional level. On the opposite end of the film spectrum I saw Michael Clayton last night, starring George "I'm Hunky Even Though I'm Old" Clooney and Tilda "The White Queen of Narnia" Swinton. I enjoyed it a lot and found it much like Erin Brokovich with balls.

Lately I've been possessed with the at-times overwhelming feeling that I must do something with my life that will leave the world a better place than when I found it. Where I'm running into trouble is that I don't know how to do it (clearly). I've had so many ideas, but I just don't know how to get any of them off the ground. I've thought of ideas within my interests and without: socially-conscious theatre production, a magazine dedicated to news about causes/non-profits/world awareness, or giving birth to the next Mahatma Ghandi. I think of all those, the latter is the most unpredictable.

I know this seems like something a lot of people say while growing up, shouting "I'm going to change the world!" whilst running around with a towel cape around their necks. But I've realized that this is something I feel called to do, a yearning as natural to me as breathing, as much a part of me as my bad eyesight and love for Coke. It's not about being remembered--something I know I've struggled with more than once when contemplating what direction I want my life to go. It's about helping, about opening the public eye to the things it's possible to change. Is any of this making sense? I'm aware of how much of an idealistic, bleeding heart liberal college graduate I sound like right now. But I feel like I might be on to something that I could dedicate my life to, something I could look back on when I'm 90 and say "It was tough, it was heartbreaking, it was excrutiating, but it worked. And I wouldn't change a bit of it."

Okay, enough of my starry-eyed rant. These papers aren't going to file themselves, you know.

The Great Youkai War
Michael Clayton
Return to Oz

The Bacchae by Euripides

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Video Killed the Radio Star

The Godsmack music video shoot was quite an experience. The band members themselves were really nice and very funny, and I met some interesting folks. Bad parts? I was on my feet, standing, for 6 hours straight with no food break, and lots of people were smoking so my eyes got really irritated. But at the end of the shoot I was $50 richer, and by the end of the night I was $90 richer thanks to an easy babysitting job with Dylan (who is beyond precious, I just wish he was awake when I went over there so I could play with him!).

My job grinds on. Things are picking up as it's advising/scheduling time for undergrads. I got my free flu shot and set up an appointment with my new doctor for a new patient physical and the second of three Gardisil shots. Felt very responsible, but the whole process took forever as processes at health professionals' offices tend to. The Red Sox are going to the World Series (hell yeah!), but that unfortunately meant I didn't get much sleep Sunday night as all bar patrons/college students in my neighborhood (whose numbers are great) were too busy running around screaming and honking their horns 'til 2am. But yay Sox!

The parents' visit comes closer and closer. I'm so excited to show them this city and my new life. Other good things in my life right now? I recently won a $50 Amazon.com gift certificate from Experience Inc. (they're on a lot of college campuses--like a career service) for filling out a survey about job descriptions a few weeks ago that I had completely forgotten about. I bought new work-appropriate high heels (black and brown) because it's getting colder and I don't currently own any. Yes, I really would have liked to spend it on something more fun and less practical, like Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, but I'm trying to be a responsible grown-up person who has her priorities straight. So in that case, shoes necessary to maintain professional standards at work outweigh super cool video game fun awesomeness.

Found out I will be able to visit my best friend from the summer in January thanks to Greyhound or Skybus. BTW, for those who haven't heard, Skybus is the SHIT! Their prices always start out at $10 each way and increase in increments of $5 after all those seats are taken. I got a roundtrip to Columbus for Kenyon's graduation in May for $36. No joke. They don't fly everywhere, and they only fly to non-hub airports, but personally I think it's the greatest invention of the 21st century for poor twentysomethings who just graduated college and still want to see their friends.

Watching Return to Oz tonight, one of the most underestimated films of the 80s. I love it. It's nothing like Wizard of Oz: no singing, no witches, and a whole lot of creepy. Let's just say the movie starts out with Dorothy in a mental institution where her doctor plans on starting her on shock therapy. The movie combines the 2nd and 3rd books in the original L. Frank Baum series, for those who are curious. So it's still "canon" and not a made up sequel, for those who still care beyond curiosity. Most libraries have it, so rent it for free on DVD.

In the world of entertainment, I've become obsessed with two new comic books series: Mouse Guard by David Peterson and Scalped by Jason Aaron/R.M. Guera. Totally absorbing, though completely different from each other.

Okay, lunch break's almost over. Back to book ordering and filing.

Queen Christina (love me some Garbo)

The Tiger in the Well by Philip Pullman(finished)
Three Days of Rain by Richard Greenberg

My Neighbors the Yamadas
The Cat Returns
Whisper of the Heart
Kiki's Delivery Service
My Neighbor Totoro
Castle in the Sky
Porco Rosso
Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind
Mrs. Brown
Return to Oz

Wait for me, Bandwagon!

So even though I have a LiveJournal I'm going to start cross-posting on this thing. Who knows? Maybe these posts will be different from the ones I've got on my LJ. For now, though, they're exactly the same, so it will not behoove you to visit them both.

Unless you just really want to see my different layouts that much.