Friday, July 23, 2010

Green-Eyed Monster

Yes, I confess it: I'm a jealous person. Not in the romantic way, I'm not one of those ladies whose boyfriend/husband/sweet baboo has to call her every hour on the hour when he's out, or who puts her foot down over watching television shows featuring beautiful women. No, I'm definitely a career jealous person.

Not that I've made jealousy my career. I mean, I get jealous about the careers of others. Why must my friends be so accomplished? Why do I feel like I'm being left behind?

I love my friends, I'm proud of them. Heck, I'm even happy for my less-than-friends when something good career-wise happens to them.


Except for the blinding flashes of jealousy I also get. And of course, that's my issue, obvs. It's time for deep breaths, and reassuring myself that This is not a race, and using it to spur me to move ahead. And meditating on crystals, or reading The Secret or something.

OK, just kidding about those last two.

Last week, I did awesome on my goals, with the exception of the piano. The studio is a bit of a disaster at the moment (I'm sure a shrink, or the person who wrote The Secret might say that the exterior clutter is a material representation of me blocking my pathways to success, but really, it's just mess and I'm lazy.)

So, piano will get added to this week's list.

This week's Five in Seven:

1) Practice piano

2) Drink water every day. I don't know why I have such a huge problem doing this. Maybe I need to make an inspiration board about water. Anyway, 8-10 glasses a day.

3) Sing every day. Because it seems to be working. Go figure.

4) Back to work on sewing that blouse. (This, along with piano playing, necessitates cleaning out my studio. Take that, imaginary shrinks and Secret author!)

5) Research some theatre companies, Canadian and outside the Great White North, who might like to read my skit-shows.

Have a great weekend, y'all!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Five In Seven

Sounds like some kind of infomercial weight loss plan, right? Like Deal A Meal (remember Deal A Meal?)

I was talking to an amazing, inspiring friend of mine about my frustrations about my vocal progress. I feel blocked. My reaction to feeling blocked is to take some kind of action, but I have no idea of what to do. And we had a long talk, and she gave me some homework. She said "if you really want to be a singer and you love singing, there is always something you can do to advance yourself musically." And she told me to think of 5 things I could do in one week that would move me along towards my goals.

I think that's great advice. I'm trying to get more positive and active, rather than dwelling in the negativity with the bitter people. If that means going out on a limb and trying new things, so be it.

So here's my list of things to do this week:

1) discover some new music/singers
2) review and re-remember key signatures
3) sing every day
4) get the italian translation for my aria
5) practice piano

Hopefully I'll be back with a completed list and another 5 things to by this time next week. They may or may not be singing related, though.

She also told me: "Remember, no one is ever going to come along and give you a license to be a singer. Don't wait until you think you're 'good enough'." Pretty nice advice, which can probably translate to some of my other plans and schemes.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Looks Like Dog Food, Tastes Like Vinegar.

My friends, as much as it pains me to confess it, I have very, very unpredictable cooking skills. Sometimes I'm great, sometimes I'm... well, when it's bad, it's horrible. Really, really horrible.

I take some comfort in being consistently good at baking, but a massive failure at cooking is always a crushing blow to my self-esteem. It's not that I can't follow a recipe. It's not that I don't measure. It's not that I make crazy substitutions for things. It's just something in the alchemy-- every so often, I cook something that's an unmitigated disaster for no apparent reason.

Take the Stewpie (STEW-pee) incident, for instance. When I was first living with my husband, I was trying out all kinds of new recipes. He's got a stomach thing that won't let him eat dairy or red meat, and before he met me, he was living on minute rice and cooked carrots. It never occurred to him to order a pizza without cheese, or to check out soy and rice cheeses, or just find recipes that didn't contain dairy, or whatever. So I was having mucho fun trying out a bunch of vegan recipes (I was just beginning to seriously explore vegetarianism), many of which turned out amazingly. My cooking reputation in our relationship was solid. Until, that is, I decided to try and make Stewpie.

I have no recollection of where I found the original recipe. It wasn't called Stewpie (a combo of stew and pie, for reasons that will become obvious). It was just some kind of vegetable pot pie. Which I was envisioning as a kind of yummy comfort food: flaky crust, warm thick gravy, nummy vegetables. And I think that's what it was supposed to be. And although it's hazy in my memory, I seem to recall that I even made my own pie crust. Things seemed promising. And then...

I won't try to embellish it, it was disgusting. Not disgusting in a way that would immediately induce projectile vomiting or anything. But it was horrible. Mushy, pasty, awful glop. Depressing. And J, bless him, ate TWO helpings before admitting he hated it and could barely stand to look at it. He thought that he'd hurt my feelings if he didn't eat it. But instead I find myself wondering if he *really* likes my food, or if he's just humoring me. To which he immediately responds "It's not a Stewpie!"

Anyway. Fast forward to last night. One of my friends at work had made this butternut squash dish that smelled amazing. Like, I wanted to chew off my own fingers and pretend they were butternut squash amazing. So I asked for the recipe and set out to make it last night.

Things all fell apart with the balsamic reduction. I don't know what I did, but it ended up looking like dog food and tasting like vinegar. I was laughing so hard, I was crying, because it was so disgusting and ridiculous. I tried to force myself to eat some, as a kind of penance, but I just couldn't do it.

I did get right back on the horse and make the filling for some potstickers for tonight. Hopefully those turn out a little bit better.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Television Guilty Pleasures

Yes, I have finally started watching Mad Men. As a matter of fact, I've got two seasons under my belt, and joy of joys, On Demand has finally put Season 3 up! Of course, they still show commercials for the new season during the episodes, which is maddening and causes us to stick our fingers in our ears and sing "Poker Face" at the top of our lungs while turning our eyes skywards. No spoilers, AMC!

So far, I am dying over the fashions. And all the fabulous mid-century modern decor. And the priceless things like shaking the garbage off your picnic blanket and leaving it in a glorious pile in the park. And the writing has been pretty good-- I wasn't a huge fan of parts of Season 2, particularly Don's bizarre business trip. But the last episode of Season 1, his monologue about the Kodak carousel made me crumble with jealousy a little bit. So yes, Season 3 begins tonight in my living room.

Of course, this will be after I watch the other guilty pleasures that Monday night brings, namely Intervention and Obsessed. Schadenfreude, anyone? Also, I don't really like watching Hoarders because I find it so repetitive, but I do tend to get a lot of house cleaning done. That, or I don't feel quite so bad about my own mess.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Fun At Work

I'll admit it: I've always been someone who thrives on responsibility. I was the kid who'd volunteer to take the money down to the office on hot dog day at school, who'd be the dissection class table leader. Yes, Iike being in charge of things, whether it be an envelope of quarters or a stainless steel tray of frog cadavers. Being entrusted with responsibility makes me feel accomplished, and dare I say, validated. And nearly every job I've ever had, I feel the pull of wanting to work towards promotion, to being in charge of projects. To having keys.

And, often, the thrill of validation disappears nearly instantly. Not that it leaves me in some sort of shame spiral, or hollow, esteem-less pit that drives me to drug use. It's usually replaced by at least one of two thoughts: I'd rather be doing something else, or the ever-popular People are intensely irritating.

Let me break it down. Advancing in my chosen field = awesome. The sizzle of being in charge of the odd-pay-period-wage-reports = fleeting at best.

Right now, I have 2 and a half jobs. One is working in the box office at a concert hall. It's mellow (for the most part), and they let me write plays when it's not busy. I also occasionally contract editing scripts for video games. And I do a bunch of freelance writing gigs-- newsletter articles, online publications, and so on. Plus my super-glamorous chosen field of THE THEAT-AH.

The concert hall has recently made me a key holder. Which I'm happy about, I mean, I get a pay raise, some benefits, keys to the place. But let me just put something out there. I don't know a lot about business, and I haven't worked there that long. But my thinking is, that if you have the better part of 4 hours in the afternoon to devote to drawing dragons in MS Paint, I had better not have any problems with your cashout. I mean, your cashout should be pretty much immaculate, because I can't imagine starting on the 4-tone rendering of Galthor's scales unless you'd actually finished your work for the day.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow.

And no, I won't be ranting like a 12-year-old girl in this one. I'm feeling a little more grown up and secure now. With a grown-up problem! A grown-up relationship problem. And no, it's not like that. I'm talking about being facebook friends with my hairdresser, who I'm thinking of cheating on.

Actually, I'm thinking about leaving her altogether. And in the good old days, you could just kind of disappear off the face of the earth, never to return to your old salon. Perhaps one day you would run into your old stylist in the produce aisle at Safeway, say a polite hello, or perhaps nothing at all. There would be an understanding. I mean, if you didn't have 10 inches of roots, it would just be assumed you'd moved on.

I am the worst at confrontation. Trying out a different stylist at the same salon is one thing, but just out and out leaving? Do I have the balls to drag my stuff into the living room and say "Torvald, I'm leaving." Also, my stylist's name isn't Torvald (I would never even think of leaving if it was!), that was just a bonus A Doll's House reference for the nerds out there.

The pros of my stylist:
I like the salon, and most of the people there are super nice. The rest are just pretty nice.
My stylist knows how to cut my hair really, really well. I have A LOT of coarse, wavy-ish hair, so it's hard to find someone good.
I've been going there for a few years. (Is this even a pro?)
I get a lot of compliments on my colour and cut.

The cons of staying:
They're out of my way. It's a pain in the ass to get there.
Expensive. I mean, I'm a big proponent of spending the money on your hair, but it's a little ridiculous.
I think my stylist takes me for granted.
The last couple of times I've gone, I've left with splotches of colour around my hairline, which I didn't notice till I get home, but which are a pet peeve of mine, because it's sloppy work.

So I don't know what to do. I have some ideas of salons I'd like to try, but it's hard to just make a clean break. Although this is supposing that my hairstylist cares passionately about whether or not I'm a client.

Anyone have tips on breaking up with a stylist? Or stories about cheating on your salon?