January 28, 2009

25 Things About Me.

Posted in Facebook at 10:42 pm by the Green-Eyed Siren

I don’t even have ten posts under my belt and I’m already re-using material. I was tagged on Facebook with the “25 Things About Me” meme, and realized as I wrote that it would get me a blog post that I didn’t have to think about for five days before publishing it (I told you at the outset that I’m an obsessive editor: witness my dumped 1300 après-election words, not to mention the post I’ve been working on since Monday). So, without further ado, but with apologies to FB friends who were looking for new content,

25 Things About Me

1. When I was first tagged and started thinking about what to say here, the only things I could come up with were about my children. And I could come up with a LOT of those.

2. My SAT scores were evenly split between verbal and mathematics. So were Mr. Unfocused’s, but his were 30 points higher than mine in each category, making his overall score 60 points higher. Bastard! It still drives me completely batshit crazy.

3. I said no to the only proposal I ever received. Mr. Unfocused asked me to marry him while we were riding the C bus between his dorm and my student apartment during our 3rd year of college, and I said, “Absolutely not! Are you out of your mind?” He never asked me again, and I never asked him either. We’re both slightly fuzzy on exactly how we came to be married five years later.

4. I get mildly but noticeably anxious over conducting simple phone conversations with strangers, such as ordering a pizza. Thankfully Mr. Unfocused doesn’t mind it, so that’s his job.

5. As a preteen I could solve a Rubik’s Cube greased with Vaseline in under 2 minutes. New cubes were too tight and would take me 3 minutes. Today I can only complete the first two rows on my own and need to hit the internet to get that elusive final third of the puzzle. Curses!

6. My dad got a deal on one of the first VCRs. It had originally been planned to be a Christmas present, and my brother and I agreed to give up most of our gifts that year in favor of this huge family expense. Then the delivery was delayed and we kind of forgot about it. We were old enough to be clear on the Santa Claus thing, but young enough that we still liked to hunt for Easter eggs; on Easter morning of that year, I found an egg on top of the TV and called out to my brother, “Hey, look, I found one!” Demonstrating greater observance than I, he was staring at the brand-spanking new machine sitting on top of the TV. I was so focused on the hunt that I failed to notice the VCR even though the egg was sitting right on top of it. Missing the forest for the trees, as it were.

7. I have seen Star Wars about a gazillion times, thanks to a bootlegged Betamax copy from before it was officially released. My children have had to accustom themselves to me jumping in and reciting extensive passages along with the actors every time they watch the film.

8. I may have committed more of Star Wars to memory, but Empire was really the film that clarified my entire understanding of life, the universe, and everything. Without the whole Jedi journey thing as a road map, I would never have become the singer I am today.

9. Sitting in the movie theater in 1999, I cried as the opening frames of The Phantom Menace began to play. It was such a very long wait. And, yes, I was disappointed in it, but not enough to diminish the thrill that it was finally here.

10. All that said, I am not actually drawn to science fiction as a genre, literary or cinematic.

11. But I do have a weak spot for Star Trek: The Next Generation.

12. The first time I sang a classical solo piece in public, as one of many singers performing in a Noontime Concert for a teeny, tiny, super-supportive audience, I shook so visibly throughout the whole thing that it’s a miracle I didn’t bounce off the stage. Think Wile E. Coyote after he took those earthquake pills.

13. Singing classical music as a soloist in public has always been a super pressure-inducing thing for me, because I’ve always felt like I was insulting the composer if I didn’t achieve perfection (impossible). It wasn’t until I was 38 years old and a composer actually wrote a song cycle for me that I had to confront this anxiety; going through that process was so empowering that it changed me from a singer to an artist.

14. When I first started studying voice in college, I zoomed through repertoire, practically a new song every week, Mozart and Menotti and Puccini and Purcell and Barber and Bernstein and God knows what else; it was exhilarating and fun. After I graduated and moved away from campus, I switched to a new teacher. I studied with that teacher weekly for more than ten years, and in that time we drilled the same three songs over and over and over again, all Mozart: Pamina’s aria from Magic Flute and the two Countess arias from Figaro. It was not so much fun as it was satisfyingly painful work (even if I never practiced), but it’s how I became an excellent technician. Ten years, three songs.

15. The best, worst, craziest, funniest, most upsetting, rewarding, stressful and entertaining job I ever had was concert manager for a midsized chorus & orchestra.

16. My former boss, who never came to the office but called in from home, used to give me orders and/or ruminate the burning issues of the day with me—by phone—from the bathtub.

17. The only way I made it to the stage of Orchestra Hall was by presenting flowers to a soloist at one of our Gala concerts. But even that was pretty cool.

18. The world of professional music is a funny place. Even when it’s high art and everyone’s really jazzed about doing it, at some point it’s still just a gig.

19. The fussiest musician I ever dealt with was a theorbo player.

20. The most easygoing musician I ever dealt with was the most widely known.

21. When I was an infant, a significant birthmark (hemangioma) developed under my left eye, which was considered to be very dangerous to my sight. I was very tiny, 4 weeks preemie and under 5 pounds at birth, but in spite of my size doctors did two major exploratory surgeries on me to attempt to figure out how to deal with it; I have visible scars on my neck and in my eyebrow as a result. The surgeries did not offer any hope, and they were about to attempt another, riskier one, when someone tracked down a doctor doing research on hemangiomas. He prescribed prednisone, which turned out to be a miracle treatment; surgery was avoided, and my birthmark scar is pretty minor. So I’m my mom’s miracle baby.

22. Thirty one years later, my daughter was born. On the third day after she was born we were still in the hospital (C-section recovery) and she showed signs that her liver wasn’t functioning properly. Thus began weeks of back and forth from the hospital in an attempt to diagnose and treat her, along with painful force-feedings of medications and lots of hideous blood draws. She was scheduled for a liver biopsy with the expectation that they would ultimately be doing a liver bypass until she was old enough to handle a transplant, when I demanded one last blood test. On that test she showed that she had finally started to get better; the doctors will never know what caused the problem or how her body was able to repair itself. So she is my miracle baby.

23. I believe in miracles.

24. And the Force.

25. My advertising-world genius friend says I am a long-form writer. As is obvious from my 25 Things. Not to mention all of my blog posts.

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