Sunday, May 31, 2009



Went for a boat ride on the lake and marveled at the reflectiveness of the lakewater.

Thursday, May 28, 2009



Beaver Lake, at WM's family cabin. After two very nerve-wracking days in the car, sitting on the dock looking out at the lake was balm on ragged nerves.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009



This was supposed to represent today's drive. Taken at a rest stop, the weather I encountered after this was dark, gloomy and rainy.

Not good weather for someone who just had an accident in the rain. Nervewracking day. This represents the GOOD part of today's drive.



My pups knew immediately when we got home yesterday that something was wrong. Today, they kept extra close to me and I enjoyed every bit of puppy love that they gave me. They are the best pups in the world.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Happy List, Week 26

Perfect Rose

Look, halfway there.

1. Our party is over with. Means no more cooking en masse. Not that I didn't enjoy cooking with my parents... but the quantities got tiresome.

2. Seeing old friends and reconnecting with them at said party.

3. Seeing how thrilled our pups were when they were allowed to mingle and how even more thrilled people were with them.

4. Escaping outside when there were too many people in the house for me.

5. Good food in large quantities. Even our most popular dishes had leftovers which was good since none of us got to really eat until around 11pm that night.

That's it for the week... no one said it had to be 10... 5 is good enough for me. It was a quiet week, and Week 27's might be interesting.



Lots and lots of rain. Somehow lately, every long-distance drive seems to involve rain and lots of it.

Today, it led to an unfortunate event about an hour after this picture was taken.

Monday, May 25, 2009



Popovers... my most favorite breakfast treat. A belated birthday breakfast. Thanks, Mom!



Our whole feast (minus desserts). Yikes!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Party by Numbers

96: number of cloth napkins ironed (mom does not believe in paper napkins, can't say I blame her)

4: number of lasagnas (meat and spinach) made

2: number of mac 'n cheese (the real kind) made

twice daily for a week: the number of times the dishwasher ran to keep our kitchen mostly clean

2: number of chocolate-type desserts made

2: number of poppyseed cakes (my ALL-time fav, red velvet's a runner up) made

150+: number of madelines, both chocolate and regular, made.

30 dozen: number of empanadas made (ricotta cheese, Argentinean beef and sweet potato)

36 dozen: number of pot stickers made

140: number of dolmades made

countless: number of fruits (dates, watermelon, honeydew and cantaloupe wedges) wrapped in slices of prosciutto

countless: number of slices of bell pepper (see 7/365) wrapped in steak and boursin cheese

70: number of people expected

135: number of people invited

3: number of tired cooks & hosts

2: number of hopeful puppies waiting for crumbs

1: successful party

Steak and Boursin Wrapped Bells

One Half of the Table

One Half of the Table


As you can see, my parents LOVE cooking, and when they throw a party, they THROW a party. It was a lot of hard work but it was well-worth it.

There's many more pictures on my flickr photostream, and a few more related 365 photos.

Saturday, May 23, 2009



A rainbow of bell peppers, waiting to be sliced and diced...

Friday, May 22, 2009



A refrigerator's worth of ingredients, waiting to be made into lasagnas, mac and cheese (the real kind) and appetizers. So much more to do!

Thursday, May 21, 2009



Dozens and dozens of madelines for the upcoming party.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

365 Project: 1/365 - 4/365

Yes, I'm starting a 365 project, but at a unique time: my birthday.

I've been inspired by a few friends' attempts at this. I should really just try a 30-day project and see how I do... but I felt like taking the big plunge. Due to my job and the hours I keep, I may not be perfect, but I'm certainly going to try. I'm also going to try to have the photo reflect a part of that day versus just being a photo shot on the day.

So wish me luck. Here goes:



Where some of my cast members treated me to dinner and great conversation on the evening of my birthday.



My birthday henna tattoo, fully developed.



R is for Ricotta as in the cheese. Appetizer-size empanadas for my parents' upcoming party.



Happy Birthday, Tommy!! NINE years young! Enjoying some Pippin-free time.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Happy List, Week 24 & 25

Perfect Rose

1-5 from Week 24, 6-10 from Week 25

1. Living near a mall when you're packing for your next job and realize you left some important stuff at 8pm the night before you leave. (And the mall closes at 9pm)

2. NY & CO for having exactly what I needed, when I needed it, without breaking the bank.

3. Cinco de Mayo - because I met up with old colleagues and reconnected. We also chatted about the state of our industry... while not always necessarily happy, it is definitely good to be informed and up-to-date.

4. St. Louis Zoo. To me, a zoo should be free and fantastic. STL Zoo definitely qualifies...

5. 5 Amur Tiger Cubs... in an upcoming entry, you'll understand why.

6. IO. This was show #9 (technically) in 6 seasons. It's almost like coming home to family.

7. DJB. After 8 shows together, we make a good team.

8. Day off. Day off on birthday. Day off spent with a friend and colleagues. Joy!

9. New iPhone apps. I learn about new ones every day. More and more opera folk are getting them. I just can't get over the quality apps that are out there. Rock on.

10. The cast of Das Rheingold, GG, DA, EB especially. They rock their roles, they're fabulous colleagues and great people. They make me love my job.

Still to come: St. Louis Zoo, Indy, 365

Monday, May 18, 2009


My birthday, this past Saturday, May 16, was a lot of fun. I specifically booked myself at the job I did, because I thought it was going to be an easy job (a concert), with a company I've worked for a long time, with people I knew. I really like being around people I know on my birthday.

That being said, the job was not as simple/easy as envisioned. But despite the lack of sleep putting together an almost fully staged "Das Rheingold" in 8 days (first rehearsal to closing), it was well-worth it. I got to work with some fabulous singers, meet some great colleagues and I got my first exposure to Wagner. And liked it.

However, another reason I took this job was because my birthday fell on the (only) day off... and my college roommate and good friend, LR, lives in Indy. As luck would have it, I got to see her not once, but twice - and we spent most of my birthday together. Nothing like spending a birthday with a good friend.

My birthday celebrations started after the opening night performance. Being a Wagner opera, it's not short, and midnight came and went sooner than I had thought. Before we all parted ways, GG dragged me over to the rest of the cast and I got a very Wagnerian (i.e. very powerfully sung) Happy Birthday serenade.

Then, the next morning, I picked up LR and she took me to Hoaglin's for a sinfully delicious brunch and then it was off to Broad Ripple for their annual art fair. We were not deterred by clouds and it did rain a bit, but persistence paid off and it was well worth the trip. There were tons of things that we both drooled over yet couldn't afford. That being said, we did not leave the art fair without keepsakes of our own. And lust for items that we could only dream about.

Beautiful Glass

We also came away with tattoos (temporary, of course):

LR's "Tattoo"

My "Tattoo"  (Henna)

The evening was topped off by joining some of the cast members such as GG, DA, RPF, EB, for a thoroughly enjoyable dinner, both food- and company-wise.

All in all, it was a wonderful birthday.

Thanks to all who helped make this birthday special.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Task #22 - 1/31 - Hot Springs National Park

On my life list, I put that I wanted to visit all the National Parks, save a few. I was actually just informed that they keep adding to them at a fairly decent rate, so I'll probably constantly have to update my list. That being said, when I last drove from St. Louis to Houston, I passed by Hot Springs National Park (or at least the sign for it). I told myself that I really had to visit it on the way back.

So I did. I took off early enough from Houston to get there after lunch. It rained the entire way there (sometimes more severe than other times) and the entire time I was in Hot Springs.

Located in historic downtown Hot Springs, the National Park consists of Bathhouse Row and the mountainous area behind it. All of the springs are now protected and maintained by the National Park Service. The springs are over 4,000 years old and the park collects 700,000 gallons a day. The waters average 143°F... now that's hot!

Hot Springs used to be used for medicinal purposes, now its a luxury spa-like past time. Either way, I'm glad that it was a National Park, and I'm sure glad I passed by.

Check out all of the pics here but see some highlights below:

Steaming Cascade

Fordyce Bath House

Massage That Way


Hot Springs!

Up next: A visit to the St Louis Zoo

Monday, May 4, 2009

Happy List, Week 23

Perfect Rose

1. Diet Coke. Between that, and willpower, I somehow drove 900 miles in one day to get from Houston to St. Louis. Still don't know how I did that.

2. The expressions on Pippin & Tommy's faces when they saw me. I'll never tire of it. Ever.

3. Hot Springs, AR. I didn't get to spend a lot of time there, and it was hampered by rain, but it was still an enjoyable visit. Yay National Parks and preservation of history and beautiful natural wonders.

4. The Weather Channel iPhone app because it told me that when the sky darkened after the sun came up that I was driving into a red-on-the-radar severe thunderstorm. Forewarned is forewarned.

5. my 50mm lens. I bought it at the same time as the 55-250, but just hadn't gotten it out much at all. Now its one of my favorite all-time lenses. Makes me look like a better photographer - I'm still learning.

6. Dragging out the hammock I gave my parents for an important anniversary (we can't remember which one, but it was an big one... we think 30) and enjoying St Louis springtime weather.

7. Broadway Musicals. In addition to Diet Coke, they also helped keep me going. I always said that I felt energized after performing in "Godspell" in high school despite the fact that we were all onstage 24-7... so perhaps all that singing of various shows from beginning to end lent to the adrenaline high necessary to help one drive 900 miles. I haven't sang like that in ages. I miss it.

8. Home. There's nothing like going home to where you grew up. Sure, a lot of your stuff isn't there... and I may be sleeping in my tiny 'big girl' twin bed, but it's still Home. With a capital 'H'.

9. My parents' cooking. They love to cook. I like real meals. I need to learn how to cook better 'real' meals again. This also requires being around one's kitchen.

10. My car, which took me from here to there... it doesn't know that it's just beginning its multi-state summer traveling extravaganza. Just shy of 74,000 - it still gets me from here to there in relative comfort. Not too bad for a car that's 7 years young.

Now if you'll excuse me... yesterday's driving has FINALLY caught up with me. I can barely keep my eyes open. Hope there weren't too many spelling/grammatical errors...

Up Next: Enough with the yapping, back to photos. :)

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Saying Thank You

I think politeness and basic courtesy has gone by the wayside. I've noticed this a lot recently.

I work in an industry where sometimes the deadlines are tight, tempers can flare and tones can be misinterpreted... so I try to say thank you whenever possible. A little courtesy can go a long way, sometimes. With my specific job in particular, if we do our job right, we're invisible and sometimes we get forgotten. A little thank you can mean a lot.

I've always had it be my policy to leave positive reviews when interacting with customer service representatives, whether on the phone or in person. I feel like all people usually hear in those industries are the negative. When I have a truly good experience with them, I try to leave a positive review with their supervisor. A little good karma, if you will.

I was speaking on the phone with someone today, and I think she was truly surprised when I thanked her at various times during our phone call. Last summer, I frequented drive-thrus more often than I'd like to admit, but I guess most people are curt and rude, especially when they don't have to see them. I always thank the person taking my order, who takes my money and who gives me the food. After seeing surprise on a few faces and more than a few astonished "you're welcome"s, I finally asked. People just don't say thank you anymore. That disappoints me.

Maybe its the computer age where we've lessened the face-to-face time. Maybe people are just getting ruder. Who knows, but try saying thank you more. You'd be surprised how often its not said, and if you make someone's day with those two words, then bravo you.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog today. I know its not my usual fare (photos) but I felt the need to say it with words instead of pictures.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Simple Beauty, Simple Pleasure

I recently had the opportunity to wander aimlessly around the Houston Garden Center. I have recently started experimenting with my 50mm lens. It came highly recommended and I'm happy to say, it was well worth it. There's no zoom, so I have to do the leg work, so to speak.

It's really worth it - it takes great pictures without a ton of effort on my part. Sounds bad, but sometimes my best pictures have been complete luck. This lens makes it a little easier to get the picture I want, without ten million shots to get what I want. Part of that has to do with the lack of formal photography lessons on my part and a thorough understanding of exactly how my camera works.

Sometime, when I'm in one place for awhile, I plan on taking a class so I can learn how to better use my camera.

But that's then, and this is now. Here's a little bit of simple beauty to give simple pleasure:

Two Yellow Roses

Pinkish-Yellow Rose

Orange-y Red Rose

Red and White Rose

Yellow Rose

Red Rose

Yellow Rose

Peppermint Rose

Pink Flowers