I’m in! I’m in!

April 29, 2008

So last week, I felt like I had made the final leap into feeling like a true New Yorker.  There have been several steps in my initiation process…

…being shoved from behind (almost to my death) while trying to get onto an already full subway car
…seeing a man running down the street in a thong
…spending 2 months on people’s couches before finding an apartment
…spending in rent what a beautiful home’s mortgage would be
…having a bathroom in said apartment that is more tempermental than a soprano
…finding cockroaches in said bathroom
…pounding on the floors and ceilings of my apartment to tell my neighbors to be quiet
…walking a minimum of 100 miles per hour where ever I go
…picking up dog poop

the list goes on and for more details, please refer back to earlier posts, but the final initiation happened last week while on the bus.

The woman next to me fell asleep on my shoulder!

I’ve seen it happen to other hapless riders on the MTA and wondered how long it would take for it to happen to me.  Approximately 7 1/2 months. Not bad considering I live on the subways and buses almost as much as the homeless.

So I always wondered what I would do in such situation.  Well, I found out that I first laughed.  The shutter of my shoulder jolted the woman a little bit and she sat up for about 10 seconds before slumping back over onto my conveniently placed shoulder.  Feeling sorry for the poor lady who looked like every other over tired and over worked woman in the city, I didn’t just want to wake her up. (Mind you, had she been a man or someone dirty and nasty, I would’ve had no problem telling them to back off). So instead, I’d find some reason to move to get her to move off my shoulder (and she managed to sleep on). This was all fun and games until I realized I had to get off at the next stop, and not wanting to embarrass this poor woman, I didn’t quite know how to wake her to get past her.  Fortunately, I was spared the situation, when the next bus stop was announced and she stood up to get off.  Somehow she’d managed to sleep on my shoulder through all my shananigans, and yet still pay attention to the bus stops. 

New Yorkers are truly a talented breed.


I grew up in the back woods of Arkansas in the 80’s to parents who did not want their child exposed to the evils of the current pop music.  So instead, I was subjugated to country music and oldies.  Granted, this did not hurt me – I actually enjoy oldies (though country left my ears the instant I left home).  But due to this (what many of my friends commonly refer to as a tragedy) I am not familiar with 80’s music. So when someone throws an 80’s party, I’m left standing in the corner wondering what the hub-bub is about – especially since most of it is so terrible anyway. Tragedy? I think I was blessed.  My only exposure to 80’s music was Michael Jackson (apparently my parents didn’t find “Bill Jean is not my lover” offensive) and Weird Al Yankovich. If you play “Addicted to Love” over your speakers, I’ll be out of my corner faster than Michael Johnson and yelling loud with the words “Addicted to Spuds”.  It can be quite embarrasing when I realize I’ve cleared the floor for all the wrong reasons.  My husband often wonders what planet I have just landed from.  But he can’t say much either, because he was shielded even more than I was.

So Weird Al is my connection to the 80’s and one of my favorite remakes of his is “Another Rides the Bus” instead of “Another One Bites the Dust”.  Now, mind you, in the 80’s I lived on a ranch and then on a farm where the closest neighbor was 1/4 of a mile away.  So when I heard the lyrics to “Another Rides the Bus”, I didn’t quite understand the concept of hundreds of people squashed onto a bus. I mean, where in the world does that happen, thought my little 9 year old mind.  Well, yesterday I found out where. It’s called the  M72 crosstown bus at rush hour, or heck ANY crosstown bus at rush hour. As I sat in my envied seat,  the infamous lyrics came swirling back into my brain “The windows closed and the fan is broke and my face is turning blue. I haven’t been in a crowd like this since I went to see the Who. Well, I coulda got off a couple of miles ago, but I couldn’t get to the door. There isn’t any room for me to breathe and now we’re stoppin’ to pick up more” dun-dun-dun “another rides the bus-ah” dun-dun-dun.  Yeah, that was my life yesterday.  People couldn’t stand any closer, yet the bus driver felt it imperitive that we pick up every last pedestrian on the street. The bus even stalled a couple of times because it was so full and heavy.  You couldn’t see between people. There was no need to hold onto a bar if standing, because even if a boulder had falled from the sky directly in front of the bus causing an emergency braking situation, no one would’ve even noticed and no one would’ve died due to the immense amount of padding providing by flesh and bags.  I was “lucky” enough to have a seat with a very fat woman’s chest in my face. And, of course, it being rush hour, it took 30 minutes to go the 2 miles I was trying to go.

I think next time I’ll walk and instead of singing Tiffany’s “I think I’m Alone Now”, the words to “I think I’m a Clone Now” will be playing through my head.

Day of New York Tourism

April 23, 2008

Tim comes up to see me on a very regular basis. However, most of the time I am so busy with rehearsals, there’s not much time to do anything else. But this past weekend, I was free and we decided to be tourists. Our main stop of the Empire State Building. While this was an exhilarating, I was floored at how much they make from tourists. The basic entrance fee is $19 a person to ride an elevator to the 86th floor. For a mere $13 more, you get an extra 16 floors to the 102nd floor. Add another $25 and you also get a ticket to an IMAX virtual tour of NYC. Not to mention $8 for an audio tour and $8 for a flimsy panoramic map so you know what you’re looking at when you get to the top. Tim and I, of course, opted only for the basic entrance price. When speaking to a friend of mine later, he said the Empire State Building makes more off rides to the top then on rent! When you consider that our wait time to the the top was a mere 30 minutes, nothing compared to the peak of the season, I’m not surprised. Here a couple of pics of the city, not to mention a stop at Rockefeller Plaza for a pic with my favorite Sesame Street character.View of Lower Manhattan)I love Elmo!

Pictures of snow finally

April 22, 2008

Central Park in the snowSo I finally was able to get my camera to connect to my computer so I can finally share some of my pics of Central Park in the snow.  I’ll be posting more pictures this week.The Promenade in Central Park

NYC Yardsale

April 22, 2008

On of my favorite parts of the weekends in the Spring and Summer in “regular” America are yard sales.  I love the thrill of driving down the street at 10 miles an hour, scoping which sale might actually have something more than junk or their kid’s old shirt covered in crusty spit up.  Since moving to this concrete jungle where no one has a yard, or heck, even a patch of grass they can see from their apartment, I’ve been going through yard sale withdrawal.

That is until this weekend.

The sun came out, and it was a gorgeous Spring day.  Tim and I were walking down my street and as we turned the corner a great light shown from heaven, angels sang and danced and I believe there was a faint sound of the “Hallelujah” chorus.  There, before my very eyes, was a street full of New York yard sales.  Lining the sidewalk were people selling all their crap they decided needed to leave the compacted quarters of their tiny apartments.  NYC does have yard sales! I was so excited! Of course, my excitement lasted all of 10 seconds before I realized that in NYC, they really do sell their crap. I mean, when you only have 500 square feet to live in with 10 other people, you don’t really have the luxury or space to collect stuff you don’t need, so what I found on these blankets ranged from rusty utensils to electric cords that were no longer attached to their appliance.  There were a few sales with electronics, but I wasn’t sure if this was really their crap, or stuff they had jacked, so I passed them by.  The light from heaven disappeared, the angels were silenced and the faint choir faded quickly.

It was a fleeting moment of joy that faded quickly.  But at least I got to see a yard sale.

Spring has arrived in NYC!  The weather is beautiful.  Nothing like beautiful weather to bring all the New Yorkers out from hiding. And nothing like Spring to bring out the scuzzy men of the earth.

Apparently, this weather also makes them feel like they have free license to whistle, gawk, stare and make comments at any female that walks upright and weighs under 400 pounds.  Unfortunately, I fit the afore description, so I am not exempt.   Now, I can handle the whistling or the gawking, but this past week, I had two incidents that I could not believe were happening.

One such incident occurred in front of my voice teacher’s apartment building.  I’d been seeing him a lot to get ready for my role, and every time I walked by (like one day I walked by 4 times), there were men who would yell the typical comments at me.  Well, I finally had enough.  The next day I walked by and the comments began. So I stopped, turned to face them and said, “Look, I’m going to be walking by here a lot over the next few days, so you can just knock it off right now.” They, of course, claimed they had not been speaking to me, but we all know better.  But apparently it worked.  When I left the building, they didn’t say a word when I walked past, and they have yet to make any further comments.

So I’ve endured the barrage of comments without incident until today.  Again, leaving my voice teacher’s apartment (I think he should move) a 50-something, short, greasy looking man in a nasty white t-shirt came walking towards me making comments.  It was nothing out of the ordinary until he continued walking straight toward me and didn’t stop.  When he got within within 6 inches of me I stepped aside, stopped right in place and yelled in my most aggressive voice, “Back off!” Considering I had about 5 inches on him, I wasn’t worried about kicking his butt.  Had I not been on the phone, I would’ve had a free hand to deck him.  Unfortunately, that was not the case, but I think I’m going to always have a hand free in case that should happen again. He left me alone and was completely harmless, but the gall that these Dominican men have is mind boggling.

Welcome Spring!

Saturday was absolutely gorgeous up here in the city.  A friend of mine and I decided to take advantage and go for a walk and eat at a sidewalk cafe on the Upper East Side, which is where the opera company is located where we both sing.

As we were walking down the street a man in his 60’s came jogging toward us sporting the usual headphones, iPod, headband,  running shoes, black t-shirt, black tights, black underwear…..wait! Hold the phone! Underwear?! My Rolodex of latest running fashions went racing through my head, but underwear did not make an appearance.  To make sure I had actually seen correctly, I turned around and saw that he wasn’t actually wearing underwear…he was wearing a thong!  Yes, a thong! With black tights! Not running tights, but opaque black tights! And a thong!  A thong!  I looked around to see several New Yorkers witness the spectacle with absolute horror on their face.

At least there’s something out there still to surprise a New Yorker!  And I thought I had seen it all…

A mere 24 hours after arriving back in the city and I already have a great story to share.

Last night, I went to see a Chorus Line. First time to a Broadway show. It was fantastic. I’d never seen it before and loved every minute of it. 2 hours of full on entertainment. There’s a reason musical theatre shows are sold out and opera isn’t….hmmm…that’s a post for another day.

Anyway, high on my entertainment experience, I walk into my apartment and proceed to go wash my hands in the bathroom. Upon turning on the light, I first noticed yellow water in the toilet and thought, “I coulda sworn I flushed that thing”. Then I noticed the seat was splattered with yellow water and thought, “What man has been using my toilet?” Mind you, this all took place within a matter of 5 seconds. I looked around to find that my ceiling and walls were bulging with water and dripping. The entire floor was wet and my bathmat completely soaked. I immediately ran to tell the super of the building. Poor guy wasn’t there because he was busy fixing the broken water heater. I found him, he came in and told me that the water heater was leaking and everyone in the building that lives on that wall has this same problem. Good news? It wasn’t pee. Bad news: no hot water, I was getting dripped on, and I couldn’t walk in my own bathroom without rain boots. So at 11:30, I pack my bags and go stay at my friend’s place.

So the saga with my bathroom continues. I didn’t even bother to write back in February about the huge, gaping whole in my ceiling that wasn’t fixed for over week which then allowed Texas sized cockroaches into my apartment. That was fun, too. I think I’m going to negotiate my last month’s rent, which, thankfully, will be May.

Back in NYC

April 9, 2008

Well, my 1 month hiatus from the city has ended. I am now back in the Big Apple and back to the grind. Many of you have been waiting for me to get back here so I can share more crazy stories. I’m not sure how to take that, but I’ll assume you love me, but love my crazy stories more.

It’s very odd living in 2 cities. I find that when I am about to leave New York, I am sad to leave my apartment and my friends, but am so happy when I get to Nashville to be with my husband, my house and my friends. And when I go to leave Nashville, the urge to stay almost outweighs the money I have spent on my departure ticket….almost. But once I land in New York, I’m happy to be back. I suppose this is a good thing. It wouldn’t be much fun if I hated one of the 2 cities I lived in. However, I do find that when I go back to Nashville, it takes me a good couple of days to get used to being out of the city and about a week to catch up on sleep. But when I come back up here, I’m right into the swing of things – though I do need one night of sleep to get over the intense homesickness I feel for my husband. After that, I just miss having him, but at least my stomach doesn’t hurt anymore:).

So, here I am, at my computer, in my 400 square feet of space, feeling my feet vibrate from the bass coming through the floor from my extremely rude downstairs neighbor who woke me up again this morning with his bass. I used to think we had a system working, but now he’s just rude. I guess, I’ll just start singing some high notes!

Ah, home sweet home.

An actual career update

April 3, 2008

Wow, it’s been awhile since I’ve had a career update, but today I have one to share.  As I think I mentioned before, I’ll be singing this Summer with New Jersey Opera.  Originally, I was given Clo Clo in Merry Widow and cover (understudy) Flora in La Traviata.  I got a call today and they would like me to cover Angelina in Cenerentola (Rossini’s version of Cinderella.  Angelina is Cinderella), which is the role I’m currently preparing for Dicapo Opera right now.  So that is a great upgrade – still singing Clo Clo and am understudying the lead in Cenerentola.  I’m pretty stoked.

The funny thing about this is that as I wrote in Operatic Olympics this kind of singing is really hard, something I have shied away from, yet something that everyone has told me fits my voice perfectly, and something that I told God that I didn’t really want to have to do, and then voila, this is what He’s handing me. He ALWAYS does this! He’s pretty funny sometimes.  I’m very thankful to Him for giving me these opportunities.  I’m sure this type of singing will be great fun after I’ve got it down.