Friday, July 31, 2009

Diva Day

1. A tall glass of water . . . with ice . . . and lime!

2. A bowl of melon salad . . . with homegrown mint!

3. A cup of coffee . . . with milk!

4. A manicure . . . in "Keys to my Kharma" red!

5. A cool bath . . . by myself!

6. Shaved legs . . . and aromatherapy calf massage!

7. A nap . . . a nap!

8. A vocal warm up . . . with honey lemon tea!

9. A 5- minute updo . . . with Joanna Newsom!

10. Makeup. Dress . . . done.

(For those who might be in the Takamatsu area tonight and are interested in a romantic evening with coffee and sweets, the "Night Cafe" will be under the crystal dome in the Marugamemachi shopping arcade, near the Mitsukoshi department store. I'm singing my program twice: 6:00-6:30 and 7:00-7:30. Hope to see you there!)

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Lactose Insufficiency

I hate running out of milk. It's the worst. I don't care about the cereal, the pancakes, or even Hannah's oatmeal. Girl can have formula. It isn't about the cookies, casseroles or curries. It's the coffee that poses the problem. I never learn about the dwindling milk supply until it's too late - the coffee's been poured in my favorite mug. It's piping hot and aromatic, filling my foggy brain with hopes of Zing! and Woo-hoo! and Get 'er done! I open the fridge with charged expectation, ready to transform this black tar into a creamy beige delight and . . . no milk. The thought of black coffee sends my taste buds and esophagus into convulsions (can your taste buds convulse?). And then, the most beautiful and disturbing thought process invades what should have been a perfect morning . . . Icecream? Doesn't melt right . . . probably not real cream anyway. Formula? Powder doesn't dissolve in coffee . . . just clumps up and floats to the top. Honey? Vanilla extract? Orange juice? Mayonnaise? ANYTHING?????

I settle for a lump of brown sugar and a few drops of brandy extract. Disgusting.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Illustrations of my daughter

A milky belch.
She melts and her
body goes limp,
ready to dream.

She lifts my shirt
through her diaper change.

Her curls spring to perfection
in the summer humidity;
she twirls them with
dimpled fingers.

She wakes up with
rice in her hair.

Bite marks on my book.
At least
it was a good book.

Bowing, she says "Ah-to"
Waving, she says "bye bye"
as her closest friends depart.

She dines on
cherry tomatoes
from the garden.

Her fingers stained
with blueberry juice.

8:00 AM.
She prefers to stay in her crib
and flip through a book.

Her kisses come in threes.

Monday, July 27, 2009

when faces called flowers

I love imagining a lusty young soldier reciting these words to his coquettish young quarry. "Alive we're alive dear it's (kiss me now) spring!" Too fun this is. Again, try to ignore the amateur who flubbed up the words in this recording . . .

when faces called flowers float out of the ground
and breathing is wishing and wishing is having-
but keeping is downward and doubting and never
-it's april(yes,april;my darling)it's spring!
yes the pretty birds frolic as spry as can fly
yes the little fish gambol as glad as can be
(yes the mountains are dancing together)

when every leaf opens without any sound
and wishing is having and having is giving-
but keeping is doting and nothing and nonsense
-alive;we're alive,dear:it's(kiss me now)spring!
now the pretty birds hover so she and so he
now the little fish quiver so you and so i
(now the mountains are dancing, the mountains)

when more than was lost has been found has been found
and having is giving and giving is living-
but keeping is darkness and winter and cringing
-it's spring(all our night becomes day)o,it's spring!
all the pretty birds dive to the heart of the sky
all the little fish climb through the mind of the sea
(all the mountains are dancing;are dancing)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

in Spring comes

I didn't have the heart to knock these whimsical creations from the side of the house. I know July doesn't count as spring and cicadas are summer phenomena, but these photos harmonize with this e.e. cummings poem in a way my voice never will.


Spring comes(no
asks his name

a mender
of things

with eager


ing remaking what
-wise we should
thrown a-

way(and whose

-bright flower-
soft bird
-quick voice loves

and sunlight and

mountains)in april(but
if he should

nobody'll know

Monday, July 20, 2009

Tofu Scrambles

. . . are my protein savior. When eggs are harsh on my stomach and I don't cook with meat, tofu becomes the breakfast, lunch and dinner of this champion. Here are a few recipes from my beloved Student's Vegetarian Cookbook by Carole Raymond. Her recipes are cheap and easy, and they usually make enough for one or two people, which is awesome when you don't have a big fridge to store many leftovers.

Scrambled Tofu Curry (pictured above)

Makes one serving. Great with a slice of whole grain toast and a glass of chilled orange juice.

Prep Time: 7 minutes

5 ounces firm or extra-firm tofu
1 teaspoon vegetable, canola or olive oil
1 tablespoon finely sliced scallion or onion
1 tablespoon diced green or red bell pepper
2 tablespoons diced carrot
1/4 teaspoon curry powder (I like more)
Salt and Pepper to taste
*optional: I added a pinch of cayenne to give it a little kick . . . yeah, I pretty much add cayenne to everything. Hiya!

1.In a shallow bowl or plate, lightly mash the tofu with a fork so that it resembles the texture of scrambled eggs. Set it aside.

2. Heat the oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Saute the scallion, pepper, carrot and curry for 2-3 minute, or until the vegetables begin to soften. Reduce the heat to low, and stir in the tofu; cook for about 1 minute or until the mixture is hot. Serve immediately. Salt and pepper to taste.

Greek-Style Scrambled Tofu
Preparation Time: 7 minutes

Serve with hot coffee, a muffin, and fresh apple slices.

5 ounces firm or extra-firm tofu
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 cup chopped scallion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1 cup tightly packed chopped fresh spinach
2-3 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese
salt and pepper to taste

1. In a shallow bowl or plate, lightly mash the tofu with a fork so that it resembles the texture of scrambled eggs. Set it aside.

2. Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Saute the scallion, garlic and oregano for 30 seconds, and add the spinach. Cook, stirring until the spinach wilts, about 3 minutes. The water that remains on the spinach from washing will be enough to cook the spinach.

3. Reduce the heat to low. Add the tofu, and gently stir until the mixture is warm, about 1 minute. Stir in the feta cheese, and serve immediately. Season with salt and pepper if you desire.

Absent Egg Salad Sandwich

Prep Time: 6 minutes

This really does taste like egg salad! Spread the filling on toasted cracked-wheat bread. Tuck in a lettuce leaf and serve with juicy orange or tangerine slices. This was a great way for me to use up some parsley from my garden.

Makes 2-3 servings

3/4 cup Japanese silken tofu (about 6 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon prepared yellow mustard (I like more)
1/2 teaspoon honey
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 tablespoon celery, diced (I like more)
1 tablespoon onion, diced (I like more)
1 teaspoon parsley, chopped (I like more)
Dash of paprika
Salt and pepper to taste

Crumble the tofu in a mixing bowl with a fork. Add all of the remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Taste. If necessary add more salt and pepper. Refrigerated, it will keep for 2 or 3 days.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Aplogies in advance . . .

Dear chocolate,

We've had sweet times good 'n' plenty. Through the darkness, the white and the milky bittersweet you've been there for me. Despite the Snickers and skepticism, our bond has improved by leaps and Mounds. On more than one occasion you've inspired me to Godiva in and get my hands messy, showing me that it's ok when when things melt in your hands - in fact, it's kind of fun. I melt when you melt in my mouth, for you've lit a bon-bon fire in my heart. You've caked me in your chocolatey love and nurtured my nougaty center, clearing my mind to better sort out the truth from the cacao . . .

But I'm afraid, dear chocolate, that I've become a cocoadependent mess. And it shows - particularly on my blemish-covered face. Why my face doesn't like you, I couldn't say. It has been the gateway to this romance, inviting your endearing Goobers and Kisses in. It smiled the first time I Skored. It looked the other way when the zipper on my pants wouldn't fudge. It cried when I Cadburied a bag of M&M's in a frothy river of milk. Together you and my face have braved the Andes and York with no commint. We had our eyes set on Mars. It would have been a Milky Way to go.

But life behind chocolate bars is no life at all. So forgive me, chocolate, but I'm pudding you away for a while. Long enough to clear things up between you and my poor pores. I know this love was no ganache-ident, and I will love you until the choco-lypse comes. Think of me with Almond Joy as you bless the world with your Watchamacallit.

That is, if it's not too much truffle.

in Just-spring

in Just-
spring when the world is mud-
luscious the little
lame balloonman

whistles far and wee

and eddieandbill come
running from marbles and
piracies and it's

when the world is puddle-wonderful

the queer
old balloonman whistles
far and wee
and bettyandisbel come dancing

from hop-scotch and jump-rope and



balloonMan whistles

-e.e. cummings

Friday, July 17, 2009

Searching my face





Thursday, July 16, 2009

letting my hair down

dear diary,

all in all a good day. kanonji meeting felt a little more normal this week. getting back to my old cynical obnoxious self again. got awesome new pen, notebook and "accidental genius" from janell. hannah hit on alex, enjoyed everyone's attention. ate at cafe rodan - good food, would have been better had it not been eaten in 7.5 minuts. wrote quite a bit. read chpter of east of eden. worked on camp stuff - learned a lot more abt capoeira, prettsy much glorified gymnastiecs. learned the meanig of ponte, ginga, quexada, armada, me iea lua de compasso, and pundeiro. none of them english words. wondering how tht's gonna work at english camp? signed up for a heavier work schedule - the more i work the faster this wreckage will clear. played with hannah outside. made pesto with basil from garden - baby spoons are ideal for scraping every last bitr of this liquid green gold form the blender. hannah playe in the tupperware while i blended. made the mistake of letting her handle the juice box on her own. spilled milk i can handle. spilled apple juice drives me batty. can't get the stickines off the floor or my feet. 3-hour power outage made air conditioning not an option - rather nice for voice and skin. wore glasses go give eyes a rest. they're thanking me with uncustomary wakefulness. just sauteed and chillde the veggies for cold spaghetti and put hanna down for bed. set up rehersal with accompanist tomorrow. next: sexy cold shower followed by dinner and sandman. feels good to move. keep it up.


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Spring is like a perhaps hand

My favorite poem of the set, but also the most difficult to sing. Excuse my inaccuracies. Could this "perhaps hand" please place a few more millimeters of space between my tongue and soft palate without breaking anything?

Spring is like a perhaps hand
(which comes carefully
out of Nowhere)arranging
a window,into which people look(while
people stare
arranging and changing placing
carefully there a strange
thing and a known thing here)and

changing everything carefully

spring is like a perhaps
Hand in a window
(carefully to
and fro moving New and
Old things,while
people stare carefully
moving a perhaps
fraction of flower here placing
an inch of air there)and

without breaking anything.

-e.e. cummings

Monday, July 13, 2009

One of those days

The talking heads have my own head spinning today. I need to separate the truth from the white noise before I try writing something of worth. In the meantime, let me know what you think of this week's short story by Ray Bradbury. Bizarre yet . . . bland. How does that happen?

Friday, July 10, 2009

How to waste 3.5 hours of your life

1. Erase your brain of any and all computer knowledge.
2. Decide that you want to share music that no one is interested in.
3. Go to your iTunes and look for your album of Patrice Michaels performing "Songs About Spring."
4. Realize that you lost the album in transit between old hard drive and external hard drive.
5. Go instead to your senior recital and listen with gritted teeth to your own poor rendition of said cycle. Decide that you're a glutton for punishment, and it'll have to do.
6. Burn CD of senior recital in wma format.
7. Rip CD back onto computer using Windows Media Player. Pat yourself on the back for what you think is a job well-done.
8. Write short snippet about e.e. cummings and Dominic Argento.
9. Crinkle your brow in puzzlement and wonder how to get music clips onto your blog without making them into videos. Present this conundrum to the Google God, and be led to this website.
10. Follow the website's messy instructions. Register for accounts here, and here and even here. Spend at least 7 minutes coming up with cheesy username (SuzieMuse).
11. Upload ripped files to your new file hosting accounts.
12. Embed your masterpiece into blog. Preview. Play. Not working? Hmmm...
13. Go back to the Google God with your dilemma. Beg and plead and search for the meaning of all this. Get distracted on wikipedia's entry about e.e. cummings.
14. Learn that the website whose messy instructions you've been following is out of date, and therefor promotes a media player that no longer exists.
15. Find another website. Follow its instructions. Embed. Preview. Play. Nothing.
16. Google God.
17. Learn the difference between wma and mp3 files.
18. Download a converter.
19. Convert your previously ripped files to mp3's.
20. Repeat step 11. Embed. Preview. Play. Nothing.
21. Beg your friend Tom to go to your blog and click play. Bang your head against the wall when he says it's working for him.
22. Open a different browser. Hit play. Grit teeth at poor rendition again and quickly hit pause.
23. Ask Tom WHY???!?!?! Click on link he sends.
24. Download new flashplayer. Bingo.
25. Spend the next 30 minutes editing the html so that the damn thing won't auto play or loop.
26. Be happy for the things you've learned and for godsake change the poopy diaper that's been wafting in your distracted face for the past 45 mintutes.
27. Beat the dead horse and waste time writing a blog about wasting time.

who knows if the moon's a balloon

What would e.e. cummings have thought of having his poetry set to music? Chances are he'd be pretty pissed, and I wouldn't blame him. I think there are few if any composers who can match his avant garde and satirical style. It's my humble opinion that Dominic Argento comes pretty close. Don't take my word for it, though. Also, try to ignore the singer, if you can.

who knows if the moon's
a balloon,coming out of a keen city
in the sky--filled with pretty people?
(and if you and i should

get into it,if they
should take me and take you into their balloon,
why then
we'd go up higher with all the pretty people

than houses and steeples and clouds:
go sailing
away and away sailing into a keen
city which nobody's ever visited,where

Spring)and everyone's
in love and flowers pick themselves

- e.e. cummings

Suzie Muzik Nuz

Because I don't know how to organize this without writing multiple blogs a day . . .

The August "Night Cafe" program is taking shape. The company that hired me ask that I sing "less classical, more jazz" this time. I was a little miffed at first. Art songs and arias are art forms I can throw myself into and be somewhat pleased with the results. Jazz and Broadway feel like a sell-out. That's not to say I don't enjoy them or think they have merit . . . I'm just not suited for them. I guess I can't be the judge of that.

So, my program went from this:

1. The Water is Wide, an American folktune arr. by Mark Hayes
2. How Could I Ever Know?, from the Broadway musical The Secret Garden
3. Somewhere Over the Rainbow, from the Broadway musical The Wizard of Oz
4. Seit ich ihn gesehen
, by Robert Schumann
5. Gretchen am Spinnrade, by Franz Schubert
6. Du bist die Ruh, by Franz Schubert
7. Think of Me, from the Broadway musical The Phantom of the Opera
8. Song to the Moon, from Antonin Dvorak's opera Rusalka

To this:

1. The Sound of Music, from The Sound of Music
2. Somewhere Over the Rainbow, from The Wizard of Oz
3. My Ship, from Lady in the Dark
4. Can't Help Lovin' dat Man, from Show Boat
5. Hello, Young Lovers, from The King and I
6. Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again, from The Phantom of the Opera
7. How Could I Ever Know?, from The Secret Garden
8. Till There Was You, from The Music Man
9. Goodnight My Someone, from The Music Man

Despite my bruised ego, I'm pretty happy with the change. My original program was hodgepodge and hoity toity. The audience will enjoy the new set more, which is all the matters in the end, really. I'm enjoying letting loose and forgetting my classical singer's etiquette. This program is pure fun, which is what I need right now.

The next song cycle I'm forcing down your throats is Dominic Argento's Songs About Spring - a cycle of five songs set to the quirky and bizarre poetry of e.e. cummings. I can't find my recording of Patrice Michaels singing the cycle, so you're going to have to grit your teeth and bear someone else . . . ok, maybe I will post two blogs today. Aren't you excited?!?!

Finally, I want to "pay it forward" and pass on a rare and precious gift that a friend passed to me. It's called The Take-Away Shows, and it's about the best-thing-after-Hannah in my life right now. Musicians sharing their music whilst strolling the streets of Paris - genius. I'm specifically enamored with these performances by Andrew Bird and these performances by Grizzly Bear. I laugh and cry every time I watch them. I hope they make life a little sweeter for you as well.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Frauenliebe und Leben - part 8

Nun hast du mir den ersten Schmerz getan is the last song of Schumann's Frauenliebe und Leben. For those who have been listening along with rapt attention, thank you and bravo! For those who haven't, there may be hope for you yet.

Is it morbid that this is quite possibly my favorite song of the cycle? Maybe. I do savor the raw pain of the piece, but I think what really gets me is the piano's conclusion at the end - a quote of Seit ich ihn gesehen that makes this work TRULY a cycle. Like life. I love music.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Frauenliebe und Leben - part 7

An meinem Herzen, an meiner Brust captures the blinding giddiness, tongue-tied breathlessness and well-meant presumptuousness of early motherhood with startling accuracy. So this is what we sound like! Schumann sets this text as honestly as a man is able, which is all we can really ask.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Once Upon a Time

Music Credits: Joanna Newsom, "Bridges and Balloons"