Saturday, February 28, 2015

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Whether or Not

I looked around my life today.
I looked intently,
And made a memory.

Because these glory days are
Flying by, flying by,
These glory days are flying by,
Whether or not we see them.

I memorized the everyday spaces
The music, the laughter,
I felt how young we all are.

Because these glory days are
Flying by, flying by
These glory days are flying by
Whether or not we see them.

I want to remember
These smallest, simple moments
That make my heart smile.

Because these glory days are
Flying by, flying by,
These glory days are flying by
Whether or not we see them.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

New Life Goal

Have a pair of dogs named Jerome Kern and Dorothy Fields. They will be perfect together, just like their music and lyrics namesakes. :)

In other news I'm on a Great American Songbook kick.  Dorothy Fields = the best lyrics!!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Note to Self

I do this because I love it and I'm stressed because I care.  It's all good.

Monday, February 23, 2015


I read this article about how "millenials" are too commitment-phobic now to even consider traditional dating labels as normal.  The author was using the term "dating partner."  It irked me and I want to expand on my thoughts but right now it is late.  I am writing this down so I don't forget... hopefully it will happen later this week - I have a couple plane rides so who knows...

Sunday, February 22, 2015


is gonna be just fine.
is gonna be just fine.
is gonna be just fine.
Just gonna keep saying this
'til I wake up tomorrow morning.

Nothing to dread... just battling apathy.  Grad-ior-itis has struck.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Dead Man Walking

Emotionally wrung from a phenomenal production of Dead Man Walking tonight by Opera Paralelle at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.  New favorite baritone:Michael Mayes.  Not only were the singers amazingly engaging both vocally and emotionally, but the stage design and direction were seamless. The chorus moved effectively throughout and their singing at the end of each act was incredibly powerful. Not to mention Jake Heggie's beautiful score being played so compellingly, conducted by Nicole Paiment.

New role I wish I could play: Sister Helen Prejean.

Sound of Silence

Hello darkness my old friend
I've come to talk with you again
Because a vision softly creeping
Left its seeds while I was sleeping

She appeared out of thin air
A thin, pale wisp, swathed in ragged black
I saw her red eyes darken
She screamed at the world: 

She broke the glass wall that surrounded me
And I saw the world as it is,
          People talking without speaking
Not reflected in the glowing screen
Attached to my palm
Fueled from my veins

My back is curved in
My shoulders caved
          People hearing without listening
My neck is cramped
To stretch my fingers out 
Requires a strength I barely recall

My eyes are nearly blinded
From the constant light of connection
          People writing songs that voices never share
My ears are ringing
From the deafening quiet of disengagement
From the sound of silence.

And the vision that was planted in my brain
Still remains
Within the sound of silence.

          But no one dared
          Disturb the sound of silence.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Wednesday, February 18, 2015


Oozing up from a crack
In the surface of my denial --
The fact that I care what you think
And that I'm hurting over
Playing the fool
In spite of my constant self-reassurance
That I'm better off without you.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Fat Tuesday

Confession: I didn't do my homework tonight. It's Mardi Gras - I lived it up with a friend in the rooftop garden of her smashing new apartment over brie, crackers, salami, grapes, M&Ms, and wine. Definitely part of the good life.

Tomorrow marks the beginning of the Lenten season. Matt Maher's "40 Days" has been stuck in my head for about a week - I'll share it tomorrow. I'm giving up complaining. And maybe added sugar. :)
"40 days to wander,
40 days to die to self..."

Monday, February 16, 2015

Day Off

Slept in, voice lesson
Good friend time and beer gardens
Nice President's Day

Edited because that original haiku was completely and utterly wrong.

Sunday, February 15, 2015


Who are you?
A mostly-smoked cigarette dangles from your fingers,
Which are swollen from dehydration and festering scrapes.
A wispy, pencil-thin blonde mustache
Trails over your grimacing, muttering mouth.
Your grey, ratty sweatshirt and jeans hang from your limbs
And your face sinks back into the over-sized hood,
Hiding your sharp and nervous light-green gaze
That darts around the train,
While you yell to the driver to "Get this fucking thing moving!"
And tell the guy next to you that this is the first night you will ever
Ride the line all the way to the beach.

I had my keys between my fingers
And my pepper spray in my fist
Because when you followed me onto the train,
It made me nervous.

When you didn't follow me off at my stop,
I let go of a breath I didn't realize I was holding.
Then I wondered,
Who were you?

You were once someone's little boy.
You were once a child
Without worldly battles and wounds -
A child with innocent hands, innocent lungs, innocent eyes.
I hope you were a child who knew love,
Who had carefree days,
Who felt cherished and adored.

As much as I prayed for protection
From the moment you gruffly said hello at the train stop
And sat on the bench right next to me
Instead of the other open seats,
A small voice reminded me that you were once childlike
And that you are still cherished and adored.

Peace be with you.

Climbing Up the Slide

Today, riding the N into downtown SF, I saw two kids attempting to climb up the twisty slide at the Duboce Park playground.  They were both two-thirds of the way there, though as I watched, the little girl of the pair was about to lose her grip of the metallic rim while the little boy tried to squirm past her.  C'mon, you can do it! I caught myself thinking.  I was rooting so hard for these kids to make it!  As the train began to pull away, I saw them heave themselves forward, landing on the platform above them in a laughing heap.  I was so proud.

Then I began to wonder, why is it that kids reach a point where the easy route isn't as fun anymore?  Why do we feel the need to try and climb the slide backwards?

I can't say that I came up with a definitive answer.  I think that there are people who prefer to just use the slide "the way it was meant to be used."  It's safer that way; still thrilling at times and yet it results in a comfortably predictable sensation, once you know how to use it.  And sometimes conquering the fear of going down the slide is one of the biggest parts of a life.  Who could imagine trying to go backwards up something that they just learned to face in doing the right way?!

But I was one of the backwards climbers.  And when crawling up it wasn't enough, I got into the rebellious "running up the slide" phase, trying to keep up with my cousin Jake.  I didn't always make it, but when it worked, there was that giddy rush of accomplishment that makes you ride down the right way and then attempt to run up the slide again.

I've picked a career (read: lifestyle) that will pretty much always involve climbing up the slide, as opposed to an easy ride down.  And at many times, even getting two-thirds of the way to the top can feel like the fight of a lifetime that you're about to lose your grip on.  But that final push to the platform is what does it; the triumph of making it, standing at the top, is the best feeling -- being on top of your playground, your world.

I climb up the slide because the view from the top is always best when I've earned it.

Saturday, February 14, 2015


Traitor, William.  Age 17.  Brown hair, yellow eyes.  Citizen Level: 3.

They changed our name to Traitor when my great-grandfather defected from the City in the Great War.  He was never captured, but his family didn't receive his coded warning letter until it was too late.  The police stormed my great-grandmother's house in the pre-dawn of a frigid winter morning, seized the family, and burned the house to the ground.  They were taken to the refugee housing, where traitors' families were re-programmed into the City files through blood tests, fingerprints, and eye scans.

In the years after the Great War, the refugee camps were slowly converted into Citizen Level 3 housing units.  My grandfather shared a small bedroom with his younger brother and three sisters while their mother slept in the living room on the couch of their tiny apartment, which they were granted seven months after the Peace Treaty had been enacted.  "It was a blessing," Grandfather would grumble, nodding to himself, "We got the rooms just before the year's first snow.  Maddelena would have froze to death."

There used to be Traitor Families all over, especially in the Level 3 neighborhoods.  There are still about twenty kids who carry the name in our Village school.  But most families have been able to change their names back.

Traitor Families are required to send their male heirs to the front, until three of them die in service.  Once they have made their sacrificial contribution to the City, their surname is reversed and they can work towards advancing their Citizen Level.  My grandfather was sent to the front along with his brother.  He was almost killed in a skirmish on the Outer Borders, but the rescue teams reached him in time and revived him from his coma after three days.  He was discharged for injury, though not with honor like the rest of the survivors.  His brother was killed in the same skirmish.

My father met my mother when they were sixteen, here in this same Village.  They wed in secret, an hour after his eighteenth birthday and with a foraged note of permission from her parents, who never would have approved of a Traitor marriage.  He was drafted hours later.

Traitor or not, all draftees are given a week before they are required to attend basic training.  A week after their wedding, he left her, pregnant and nearly penniless. Six months later, he was dead.

I grew up without my father.  I am my mother's only child - my family's only male heir.

I am the last Traitor of our line.  Tomorrow is my 18th birthday.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Dear Current and Future Concert Patrons:

"Please" and "Thank you" are key phrases in this situation.

I would hope that they are key phrases in any situation in which you interact with other human beings.

But let's at least work to apply them in this case.



Tuesday, February 10, 2015


I miss you a lot.  This is kind of a general statement, but especially lately.  And not just to talk to, but just to be around.  To laugh with.  Mull things over with.  I've just been looking at all of the pictures on my wall, many of which are of memories we share together.  In a way I want those days back, or I at least want to have a chance to create more soon.  We need to start a travel fund, stat.  :)

Just felt like an open letter tonight.

I don't know.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Being Reliable

It's one of my biggest pet peeves/turn-offs when people aren't.

That's all for today.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Flowering II

She dropped her backpack on the sidewalk as the bus pulled away and shoved her sleeve up.  What the fu- A small green lump was pushing up from under her skin.
Early the next morning, she sat up from her sleep deprived daze with a start -- her skin pinched for a moment and then the itching finally stopped.  Thank God.  She apprehensively rolled her sleeve up.  A pale green coil emerged from where the lump had been.  The skin around it was red and sensitive but the bud itself was almost ticklish to the touch.  If she watched it closely enough, it seemed to grow before her eyes, warming in the dawn light coming through her half-drawn curtains.

That's it.  I'm literally crazy.  Or dreaming.  Or crazy and dreaming.  

But it was there when she opened her eyes again.  And when she woke up from a few hours of fitful sleep.  And when she Skyped her Biologist Sister five minutes after that.

"But, Amy, you really see it?"

"Well, yes, I do."  Amy shoved her black, thick-rimmed glasses back up the bridge of her nose.  "I haven't the slightest idea how it's even possible.  But it's certainly there."


"It doesn't hurt any more?"

"No not really."  She rubbed her forearm.  "I can feel it under my skin still, though."

"Maybe it's a root system in your arm.  How fascinating."

"Yeah that's the word I was going for."

"Hey, you called me, remember?"  Amy leaned into her screen, her wild red curls falling into her face.  "I wish I could see it better!  And you haven't noticed any more?"

"Not yet.  Oh God do you think there could be more?"

"Well, I wouldn't rule out the possibility.  Especially if it's rooting in your veins."

"Fan. Tastic."  She rubbed an itch on her wrist.

"Just -- be careful, I guess?  And go and see someone if it hurts more."

"Okay.  Thanks," she sighed.  Jeeze I'm thirsty.

"Sure thing.  Love you, sis."

"Love you too."

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Blank Page

Erase the lines
Start it over
It wasn't bad
It wasn't good
Not taking back
Just trying again
Dust it off
Sharpen the pencil
Here we go

Friday, February 6, 2015

It's Been a Good Day

Not much on my mind to say today.  I'm pretty worn out from a long but good day.  Good news on the audition fronts - nothing solidified yet, but just feeling affirmed, good progress on music, and a decently good time at work (got some wine at the end, so no complaining here!)  Looking forward to tomorrow and just ready to sleep.  Sorry for a not very exciting post....

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Things Aren't Always What They Seem

Talk about a theme of the week.

I was stewing in  thoughts of feeling lonely and sorry for myself on my ride home tonight when a man across the aisle from me tapped me on the shoulder.  He was solidly middle aged, bald, with rotund features and watery blue eyes, wearing black jeans, a black t-shirt, and a black leather jacket, all tinged with grime.  My music was low enough to hear the people around me murmuring, but I only saw him mouth words at me. I yanked one earbud out, "Sorry, what?"

"Nineteenth avenue?" I thought I heard him say.  He was barely moving his lips and he had a heavy Eastern European accent, but his eyes were asking a question.  "Oh, it's up ahead.  About five stops or so."  His smiled gratefully, though slightly off somehow, and murmured unintelligibly.  "Sorry, I can't hear you," I said, yanking out the other earbud.  He reached out his meaty hand again to pat my shoulder.  "You are beautiful," he garbled.

Uhhhh ... "Thank you."  I gave what I hoped was a tight smile and turned away again.  But he was persistent and tapped my shoulder again.  "Nineteenth...?"  "Yes.  It's up ahead."  Can't you tell I'm uncomfortable here, buddy? He looked me square in the eyes - "You are beautiful."  "Thank you."  This time I physically shifted over in my seat and made it a point to disengage my energy and attention from him and put my headphones back on.  He seemed to get the message and turned forward again, apparently placated.

A sudden realization bloomed in my heart.  That was God.  The fog of my sad, poor me thoughts cleared away completely and my whole being relaxed.  That was God telling me that that everything is going to be okay.

We reached Nineteenth a few minutes later.  Tap tap tap on my shoulder again.   "Nineteenth?"  Earbuds back out.  "Yep this is it."  "You are beautiful."  He smiled again.  "I have a daughter... just like..."  One more small smile on my part.  He looked at me again, squarely, "God bless you."  Then he stood to get up off the train and swayed a little as he meandered down the step -- ah, definitely drunk.  Got it.  But that didn't change what I felt to be true.  I hope he'll be alright...

As the doors closed, a kind looking older gentleman who was seated in the row of senior/disabled seating grinned at me.  "Well, at least he turned out harmless.  He was definitely making us all uncomfortable."  "Yeah," chimed in the girlfriend of a boy/girl pair seated across from him, "I'm just sorry he kept touching you."  I shrugged, "Yeah, it turned out okay."  "Ugh, it just irks me -- he wouldn't have touched you if you were a man," she continued.  Probably true, I agreed in my head, and stood up to get off at my stop.  I thought I should say thank you for their concern as I left, but the stark contrast between my inner feelings and their reactions to the situation left me conflicted.  I opted for a quick turn around and wave to the older gentleman as I stepped onto the curb.  He grinned and waved back in return.

This whole situation just highlighted for me how some things aren't always what they seem.  My experience was not that of my neighbors.  And perhaps (as a lot of people would probably argue) my interpretation of the initial situation was skewed by some naive inclination to seek meaning in my every day life.  To that, I can only say ... I don't know.  All I do know is that that man gave my heart an answer to a question I didn't even know it was asking in that moment.  I called out and was answered by the most unlikely person and for that reason, I know it was special.


Waiting for the rain
My mind is a sneezy haze
I just want to sleep.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Talk It Over

I try to keep too much to myself sometimes. Call me queen of the one-sided conversation -- all I'll do is think and think, and answer my own questions, because obviously I know whomever I'm thinking of so well that I know what they would say. Or, wait, do I? What are the other possibilities?... And so on.

I can't be the only one who does this. In fact, I know I'm not. Don't most of us spend time just driving ourselves crazy over one thing, or person, or another?

All in all, I'm just reflecting on how good it is to have someone trustworthy to talk out all of the churnings of my brain with.  Friends let you drive them crazy, instead of letting you go crazy by yourself. How's that for a Valentine's Day card, Hallmark?

Monday, February 2, 2015


It started as an itch in the crease of her right elbow.  She noticed it one morning on the bus.  One casual scratch then back to her book.  But it wouldn't go away.  She adjusted her sleeve, trying to feel up the seam to see if there was something there.  Nothing. By now she was starting to get looks of mild annoyance from the middle-aged business woman next to her.  She sat in rigid silence, focusing her gaze on the words in front of her, her mind focused solely on the throbbing of her arm.

Three blocks.  Two blocks.  One.  She grabbed at the stop cord as casually as possible, inwardly frantic.  The feeling had only increased, spreading slowly through her arm, reaching her wrist and shoulder.  I'm only twenty-five - it couldn't be a heart attack, right?  The driver jerked to a stop and she leapt up while simultaneously tripping over the cranky business woman's feet.  "Sorry, so sorry!" she pleaded to the half-sneer, practically falling out of the doors in her effort to escape.

She dropped her backpack on the sidewalk as the bus pulled away and shoved her sleeve up.  What the fu-  A small green lump was pushing from under her skin.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

To Risk

What is it to risk?

Is it reckless, wise? Brave? Foolish?

I believe in thought, consideration, planning. I'm pretty miserable when it comes to being spontaneous. Yet, I have started to find that being too careful can sometimes lead to loss, too. Lost chances, one moment in life opportunities.

Our smallest choices can have the most unimaginable effects on the world. Choosing to hold the muni door for someone might get one person to work on time and another to be late. Of course, I personally think that good intentions in our choices regarding the lives of others tend to lead to good things. But what about when it comes down to your own life?

The risk of rejection, of loss, of pain, of hurting another, of guilt - these are all terribly overwhelming in facing choices of career, moving cities, love, education, family life, and so on. They certainly should be carefully considered.

But sometimes there isn't going to be a right answer before the choice is made. And then it's like having a cherry-red Mustang convertible in the garage and never taking it for a ride.

Life is about the journey. It's about making the choices, taking the risks, and growing through both the successes and the failures. If we don't risk, we risk never making the best choice.