Friday, July 28, 2006

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Part of My Past

At one time in my life, I wanted more than anything to sing opera professionally. I had a gift and felt like I could make something of my life using that gift. I trained (not as much as I should have, I wasn't that driven) and even got into a music conservatory. Now, when I say I got into a conservatory, it was definately not Juilliard or the New England Conservatory of Music but when I just googled music conservatories, the school I attended was second on the list (not that it means anything). I wanted to dress in ridiculous costumes and wear too much makeup. I wanted to use my dramatic personality for good and not for evil. I was caught up in the glamour and sophistication. I wanted curtain calls and roses delivered to my dressing room. I wanted to move people to tears.

I have to say that I honestly don't know what happened other than God had a different plan for my life. More accurately, I was scared of not actually being good enough to make it and so it was easy to "blame it" on God's plan and not work hard enough to be successful. I was 18 and I wanted to play with my friends not study the stupid piano or learn music theory(how I regret not doing these things). I've always had a good story when people ask why I didn't pursue it. I can honestly say now that most of my decisions were made out of fear. I hate that about myself. I hate that I let my fears drive my decisions rather than honor God by being fearless. I know that I was given a natural ability to sing but my brothers were always hands down better musicians than I could have ever hoped to be (you should have heard either one of them play their chosen instruments back in the day). I was afraid that I would never be able to overcome my lack of natural musicianship, never be as good as them musically let alone all of the other people I was competing with in school. There has always been a joke in the music world that you can be a musician or you can be a singer. Never both. I was definately the singer.

In the last few days, as I've been giving Paula information for what I'm assuming is for my birthday, I've been mourning the loss of the career I didn't have. She wanted to know what my favorite song is. Simple question, right? Wrong! As a music lover, there is NO WAY you can pick one, but I immediately thought of an aria (I won't disclose in case it's part of a game or something. No questions, I promise, Paula). Everytime I hear this aria, I am moved to tears. As I've been thinking about this, accompanied with the knowledge that I'm about to turn 30, I wonder where I would be if I had finished my studies in music. As a Christian I can't discount God's hand in my life. I also cannot imagine my life without the move to Portland and knowing the people I know now. My life is forever changed because of my decision to leave the conservatory for both good and bad reasons.

I can't help but wonder what my life might be like today if I had not changed schools. I haven't thought about it much in the 11 years since I made this decision. I don't listen much to classical music because I begin to miss it and regret starts to creep in. I don't have many regrets in my life but when I sit down and think about it, I do regret this one at times. I try not to think about it and have avoided it as much as possible. When I do think about it, I begin to wonder where I would be living and what I might be doing. Would I have made it professionally? Was I good enough? Could I be singing in opera houses around the world? Would I have seen Paris and London, New York City? Would people recognize me on the street? Could I pay my bills? Would I be driving something other than my 92 Corolla? Would I be a waitress still hoping to be discovered at the right place at the right time? Would I be happier? Would I be more fulfilled? Would I be considered successful by the world's standards? Would I have a relationship with God or would I have forsaken Him in order to move up the ladder of success? I knew even then that I was capable of turning my back on Him. One of the reasons that I left that world was because most people you interact with on a daily basis have no appreciation for opera. How many 18 year olds do you know that are passionate about Puccini and Mozart, Wagner and Rossini? Do you even know who they are (my family and Sarah Parker are not allowed to answer this question)? In many ways, I felt like an outsider and I was desperate to fit in. When I moved to Portland, there were even fewer people around me who had any kind of understanding or appreciation for opera so I put this part of my life on a shelf. I never gave a recital in college even though I planned two and came up with great excuses both times. I came very close my senior year but my voice teacher left unexpectedly. If I really wanted to do it, I could have. In post-music life, I still never really fit in. My voice was difficult to blend because it was big, there was a definite classically trained sound that didn't work for a small group trying to sing contemporary worship music. I only really got to showcase my talent on the few occasions that a soloist was needed with the choir. I wish that, though I decided to give it up as a career, I would have continued to persue it for personal enjoyment. I wish I would have chosen to continue to train and coaxed friends into going to see the Portland Opera perform each season, just to give them the experience (even if they didn't like it). I wish I had given myself a little more credit and not been embarrassed by the voice God gave me. I wish I had enough confidence to develop the gift I had been given. I hated the people who came across so arrogant about their talent and didn't want to be one of those people so I, in many ways, stepped into the background and didn't acknowledge this part of who I am.

The impending big 3-0 has unleashed all of the pent up emotion and desire about this long lost passion of mine. Who knew that Paula asking me a simple question about my favorite song would open up so much inside of me that I didn't realize was being stifled for so many years? I am going to proudly embrace this part of myself without apology! While I can never attain the career that could have been, there are many ways to feed this part of my soul and I'm gonna! I am going to blast operas when I'm at home, I'm going to save up my money and buy tickets to the opera and I may even start taking voice lessons again! Maybe I'll get up enough guts to audition for the Portland Opera chorus or a community choir!

Thank you Paula for asking me about my favorite song.

Thursday, July 13, 2006


For a few years now I have joked that if I was unmarried by my thirtieth birthday, I was going to register for gifts. Please understand that while I love gifts (who doesn't?), I don't expect people to buy me presents. I don't feel anyone owes me but I thought it would be funny and I have a theory about the single girl that has recently been confirmed by Carrie Bradshaw. Single people get the shaft when it comes to celebrating them!

I am admitting to one of my guilty pleasures tonight (ok two...I am watching a tape of tonight's Big Brother episode while I type this). I love to watch Sex and the City. If you haven't watched it, I think that it is a great show about women's relationships with each other and their relationships with the men in their lives (obviously as the title implies). I wish it didn't have such blatant sexual overtones but its candor is appreciated. I LOVE watching the girls interact with each other. They do a great job of conveying the reality of a group of girlfriends.

Focus Rebecca.

Carrie (the main character in the show) is invited to a baby shower for a friend, a character played by Tatum O'Neal. Carrie gets to the party and is asked to remove her shoes, a beautiful pair of Minolo Blahniks, because they want to minimize the dirt and germs brought in to the children. Carrie tried to explain that her shoes were an important part of her outfit but in the end, she respected their request and added her beloved shoes to the pile. When it was time for her to go home, her shoes were gone! How does that happen? Did someone actually steal her shoes? Tatum's character lent her some hideous keds or something to borrow for her walk home assuming that her shoes would eventually show up. Her shoes never showed up and when she spoke to her host, she offered (eventually) to pay for her shoes. When Carrie told her how much the shoes cost ($485) she didn't feel like she should have to pay for Carrie's extravagent lifestyle. Here is how the conversation went:

"I shouldn't have to pay for your extravagant lifestyle choices"
Tatum's character.
"But you used to spend this kind of money all of
the time for shoes" Carrie responded.
"Well, that was before I had kids, before I had a
real life where you have to think about kids and mortgages..."
Carrie was stunned and left.
A few days later walking down the street with her
friend Charlotte:

" What happened to our friend? Why does she think her life
is more important than mine? Lifestyle choices??? I've done the
math...I have spent approximately$1200 celebrating her lifestyle
choices...engagement gift, wedding gift, three baby gifts...where's my gift???
Where is my 'Congratulations you didn't marry the wrong man' card?" Carrie
"hmmm...maybe you're right...ooh! Birthdays!"
Charlotte exlaimed.
"Nope, married people still have birthdays" Carrie

Charlotte nodded in agreement.
Later that week, Carrie left a message on
Tatum's machine announcing that she was getting herself and she was
registered at Minolo Blahnik.
Carrie received a replacement pair
of shoes in the mail (it was the only thing she registered for).
So, in celebration of single gals everywhere...I am sharing my wish list with all of you. You can find me on*. Shop away in celebration of me! If you aren't interested in buying me a gift for my birthday, I would love to receive "Congratulations on not marrying the wrong man!" gifts. Here's to turning 30 and not getting the gifts that others get when their lifestyle choices are celebrated! I want a Kitchenaid just like all the married girls!

*I actually created this list in an effort to remember books I wanted to read, movies I wanted to watch and evolved into a Christmas list for family. I promise!!! It's a great tool for remembering all of these things. I recommend it if you have an aging brain like mine.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

I'm Bored

I'm one of those people who would like to rearrange my furniture every 6 months but my stinking apartment is too small to do much reconfiguring so I feel ansy. All of this to say...I am bored with the look of my blog and would like for people to suggest a change. Would everyone participate in a competition to chose a new skin for my page? Any takers? What should the winner win?



Monday, July 10, 2006

Reflections On My First Day Back To Work

My first day back at work was fine. I came in and couldn't log onto my computer. I was hoping that it got damaged by the water leak while I was gone but it wasn't. I had a bad network card. Someday I will find a way to get a new computer!!! It took all morning for our IT guy to figure out what was going on (he did keep getting called away. I promise he's not dumb). I talked with my coworker for a bit but then decided to respond to emails from one of our other office computers. I managed to come back to only 4 voicemails. YAY! I hate using the phone, in case anyone was wondering. I would much rather reply to 10 emails than return 1 phone call. I don't know why. I am fine on the phone. I know how to talk on the phone, I have a fantastic professional voice but I just don't like talking on the phone (this, however, does not stop my mother from calling for absolutely ridiculous reasons, or no reason at all for that matter). I did learn something today and what I learned today is that sometimes taking a vacation is not beneficial. There were several conversations that happened where all I wanted to do was yell: CAN I HAVE ONE DAY BACK BEFORE YOU DROP THIS ON ME??? I got over it.

I only have 5 weeks left until the freshmen move onto campus. Yikes! Things will still probably be kind of crazy for the next couple of months. Things always slow down after the students get here and get settled in. How did it get to be time for me to say these things again?! This year seems to have flown by. There have been good things learned about my work. I do enjoy what I do. I'm thankful for knowing this. I know this is what I want to do so long as I have to work (where, oh where, is my sugar daddy?). This is a big deal! I never thought I would find something that I love to do. I feel like I'm mostly good at what I do. Obviously, there are good days and bad days. I make mistakes, I say the wrong thing or make the wrong decision in a situation but more days than not, I am proud of my work. I feel like I do something that matters. I feel like I'm making a difference every single day. How many people get to say that right?

I am going to go finish watching this MSNBC show on Wabash Valley Correctional Facility. There are some very seriously ill people in prison. I'm rather intrigued by the program. This is where my psychology nerddom gets a little attention. In case you didn't know, my degree is in psychology and I love watching programs on unconventional mental health work and other "rehabilitation" programs and whether or not they seem to work. A professor from Indiana State University has been volunteering her time for over 20 years. She is teaching the inmates Shakespeare (specifically Macbeth). Talk about doing something that matters. I find this kind of work brave. Ok...gotta go.

Good night.