First Post from Binghamton

August 24, 2012

So I thought only weird people lived in NYC.  Well, Binghamton apparently has them as well. Only here, as our conductor shared with us, you can’t pick them out of the crowd.

It’s 1:30 in the morning, and I should be sleeping, but could not fall asleep because the upstairs neighbor (who is not home) has allowed someone to stay at her place who decided that coming home at 12:15 am and making a racket was a great idea. (This is the 3rd night in a row, so I’d had it) Side note suggestion: when a guest in someone’s home, be quiet.

So the singer who I’m taking over the lease from, and who’s lived here a year went with me upstairs to ask the person to keep it down.  He was very nice. Turns out he plays in a rock band, and is a night owl (oh yay for me). Then out of the blue, he asks, “Are you leftists?” I’m like, “Um…like a lefty, as in handwriting?” “No. Like liberal.” He then launched into supporting our unions. Um….at this point I’m thinking to myself, “It’s 1 in the morning. Are we really having this conversation? And, uh, I don’t think classical liberal will mean much to you.”  I just smiled, and we said our goodnigts.

Now to get some zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz’s.




July 26, 2010

do you parallel park your Lamborghini on 8th Avenue? If you have that kind of money, wouldn’t you put it somewhere a little safer?

Beat the system

July 18, 2010

I have arrived in New York. That equals an uptick in the blog entries. And today was no exception.

As with anytime I fly, there is some subconscious part of me that wants to “beat the system” i.e. show up at the airport much later than the “suggested” time. AKA, be as stressed out as possible and be that person in the security line checking their watch, sighing heavily, giving those people who didn’t take off their flip flops (hey, there could be something bad in that 1/4 inch of rubber) dirty looks for holding up the line. It’s a part of me that I just can’t deter. So I have come to just accept it and try to keep my heavy sighs and dirty looks to myself.

So I pull into the airport at 2:10 for my 3:05 departure. I planned to park in economy, but after going in and seeing no shuttle bus anywhere close, I went to short term. The hubby was flying in a few hours later, so I figured it wouldn’t be so expensive. I managed to get all my stuff for 2 weeks into my carry on (oh yes, I am woman, hear me roar!), so I grabbed my boarding pass and got in the security line. Suddenly it hits me, “hey, what time is it?” So I go to grab my phone. Not there. I empty the contents of my purse on the floor. No phone. I’m suddenly that person holding up the line. I dart out, thankful I’m in short term. As I’m leaving the airport, I hear the time announced “The time is now 2:30”. Ack! I’m racing to the car, sweat pouring in the 90 degree heat. Search the car. Not there. Just as I’m about to give up, I look down and lo and behold, there it is on the pavement next to the car. Victory!

The dash back to the airport is on. Back in line at security. I choose “expert traveler” lane thinking it will be faster. Ha! Thwarted again! No! It is slower than all the other lines. In fact, the TSA scanner guy is just sitting talking with his friends, laughing and such while we stand there waiting for him to move our plastic baggies with no more than 3 oz of liquid in them down the conveyor belt. He must have been good at least at finding those forbidden over the limit items. Below the belt was a graveyard of half full toothpaste tubes and hair gel containers (man, those are dangerous! Glad I’m not traveling with that sad person. Bad breath and bad hair?).

I make it through security. It’s 2:45. Where’s my gate? You guessed. At the very end of the terminal. Attempting not to be that person running crazily in the airport with my bags and other things flopping in ways they shouldn’t, I take up a quick pace. My shirt is now wet on my stomach and back from sweat. You can see it. Yeah, I’m that gross. The fortunes looked upon me, though, for I made it to my flight by 2:55 and was in my seat by 3:00.

Oh yes. I beat the system again.

But just when I thought things would be just fine…the other shoe hit the floor. That entry coming tomorrow…

(I know you will be on the edge of your seat, unable to sleep tonight, in great anticipation)

Sitting on the subway in New York is always an interesting experience. Most often you are serenaded by a Mexican Mariachi band, or a black gospel quartet, or some poor, white college student on their violin or guitar or you are asked for money by myriad of different folks, all with their own special story.

Well, this day was no different, except for the “special” part of the story.

A ragged, tired looking man drags himself onto the train and begins his slow, languid spiel (the “…” represents a long, dramatic pause). See if you notice something is not quite right. It goes something like this.

“Hello, ladies and gentlemen… My name is John… I am a man…living with AIDS…I live…in a group home where I receive treatment…I receive housing…food…and a small stipend for spending money…however…this is not much money…if you could spare…some extra change…so I can have a little extra spending money…I’d be very grateful…God bless.”

Ya know, when he started out with the AIDS part, I felt bad for the guy (though wasn’t sure if I actually believed him). But then when he began to inform me openly that he had food, housing AND spending money and just wanted more, I wondered, “Hmm…something doesn’t sound quite right. This is a very “special” story. Where in his mind does he think this story with behoove me to give him something?” Heck, I’d like a little extra spending money, too!

Does this make me insensitive?

A rare moment of New York actually fixing a pothole

Dear New Yorkers,
I have a few questions for you New Yorkers. If anyone can answer them, please make a comment.
Many thanks in advance,

1. Why is the Triborough Bridge full of potholes and basically in a constant state of suckiness? Each car is charged $5.50 whether they are coming or going. Isn’t the point of a toll to pay for upkeep? And why are the Williamsburg, 59th Street and Brooklyn Bridges in much better shape, yet they are free?

2. Why was the Triborough renamed Robert F. Kennedy? If I were a Kennedy (well, I mean a “real” one), I wouldn’t want my name attached to that piece of crap.

3. Why is the A train labeled “express” when everybody knows it is the slowest train in the city?

4. Why does the “slow” local train consistently beat the said A train to it’s final destination?

5. Why does the city of New York cut spending on cops, yet hand out flyers to heroin addicts teaching them how to properly take their drug so as not to endanger their lives?

6. Why is it allowed to put 10 people in a cab, half of them children and not buckled in, but if you have 1 kid without a car seat in your own, personal car, you get plastered on the front of every tabloid?

7. Why is it that when you sneeze on the subway, you will hear a chorus of “Bless you’s”, but when that subway stops, those same people will run over you to get off first?

Only in New York

April 19, 2010

For those of you wondering what the heck is going on in this picture – this is a professional dog walker in New York. I sure wouldn’t want to have to pick up all that poop.

Last year I shared with you about the interesting world of audition season in NYC the first 2 weeks of December. If you missed it, it is a must read. Truly, it will give you insight into a world you never dreamed anyone ever actually willingly subjected themselves to.

The opera singer season is upon us again, and I am back in NYC hittin’ the audition trail.  I’ve had 4 so far, and so far so good.  I am singing primarily for young artist programs an some mainstage for small houses.  At one smaller house, I sang for the young artist program and after finishing my first song he said, “Are you sure you are singing for young artist?” After a feeble attempt to not blumber over my words, he says, “Honestly.  You really think you should be singing for kids every day?”  So I replied, “Honestly, I want mainstage. I’m good enough for mainstage and that’s what I want. “And he said, “Yes you are.  Unfortunately there’s not really anything for mezzos this year with us.” Why am I not surprised.  Just once, I’d like to be in the right place at the right time, ya know? At least he liked me and maybe he’ll keep me in his head for next year.

The true force of audition season hit me today when I met up with a fellow singer for coffee. We decided to hit a Starbucks which happened to be near Nola (a major audition hub).  We walked in, and I kid you not, the ENTIRE place was opera singers.  If someone had broken out in “Libiamo” (The Drinking Song from Verdi’s La Traviata), everyone would’ve chimed in and we would’ve had a grand old time.  Well, since we’re all actually sick of that song, maybe the time wouldn’t have been so grand, but you get my point.  I ran into several people I know, and met at least another dozen who are in the same anonymous swarm of singers, subjecting themselves to such inhumane treatment.  We are gluttons for punishment.

So the rat race is in full swing, and I’m in the pack.  I’ve got 5 more to go.

Don’t touch my stroller!

October 22, 2008

I say it all the time…when I don’t have a thing to blog about, all I have to do is go to NYC and suddenly I have a plethora of subjects.  Here is a recent event on good ol’ faithful – the A train.

I boarded a fairly full car, but managed to actually find a seat (it’s actually easier to win the lottery up here than find a seat).  To my right is a lady with a stroller and baby.  Allow me to digress…why is it that people who live in cities and use public transportation insist on using the largest, bulkiest, heaviest stroller they can find?  The even do it in Europe? What ever happened to the stroller I was put in that was basically a potato sack slung between some metal bars that would’ve ended my life had I somehow managed to get my head through the cross bars?  That thing was small, light and compact.  I swear, if I have a kid in a city, that’s what they are getting.

Anyway, back to my story.  So I have stroller lady to my left and in front of me is yuppie dude reading a book and listening to his iPod (standing about 6 inches from her stroller).  All seems well until stroller lady says to yuppie dude, “Watch it! Don’t hit my stroller.”  He doesn’t respond. Mind you, I’ve been sitting the whole time and never saw yuppie dude even come close to hitting the stroller. Other passengers were hitting it, but she only concerned herself with him.  She says it again.  Again, no response. Finally, she starts tapping him. He looks over and takes off his headphones.  “I’ve told you twice. Watch it! Don’t hit my stroller.” He looks over at the stroller he has yet to accost, looks slowly back at the lady and says, “You do know that I didn’t hear you say anything because I’m wearing earphones and I haven’t touched your stroller.”  Well, that was not the thing to say to this mother.  She launches in to how no one is careful around babies and strollers and that it is a safety issue and how dare he not be more careful etc… He calmly turns away, puts his earphones back in and continues reading, all the while, not coming close to the stroller.  She continues.  She even gets her neighbor into the conversation about how kids these days just don’t have respect.  Again, all the while people are walking past her stroller and bumping it since it is taking up over half of the walkway.  Yuppie dude stood his ground. As I pondered what he would do, I witnessed someone bump her stroller.

He pulled off his earphones and said, “Hey, that guy just bumped your stroller. Aren’t you going to tap him and yell at him, too?”

Yuppie dude put his earphones back in and kept reading.

Score one for the the yuppie dude.

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.

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…