Sunday, December 31, 2006

End of Year Stats

Every year I keep track of my stats. How many auditions I went on, callbacks I got, holds, bookings etc.

Just to give you an idea of how my first experience in the business contrasts with present day...here are my stats when I was working full time in the "business", supporting my husband through Business School, with no kids for the first part, and a 4 month old baby when I left for NYC:


2000-2002 in Washington DC
16 auditions
7 of those jobs called me back for a total of 14 times (Sondheim Festival saw me 6 times, and A New Brain, twice)
Booked all 7 jobs (ended up in COMPANY for the Sondheim Celebration)
Booked an additional 3 jobs that did not call me back
I did not book 4 of the 16 jobs.
I got 75% of the possible jobs.

This could mean a lot of things: 1. There is too much work to go around. 2. There is too little talent to go around. I like to think it is a combination.

A lot happened between that year and this year, but we will skip all that and just focus on the 2006 stats (as accurate as I can be with now two children, and a much busier life)

107 auditions
9 callbacks (that led to no work)
1 callback (and then a second callback, same job), that led to 1 job
18 holds that did NOT turn into jobs
33 jobs:
18 face/acting jobs (2 national commercials, 1 industrial, the rest print jobs)
15 other miscellaneous jobs (wrangling, a few live appearances, fittings)
5 jobs were booked with no casting session
8 clients were repeat clients

If we take out the miscellaneous jobs (because they are not counted in the 107 auditions)...then I booked almost 17% of the possible jobs.

Some might look at this percentage and compare it to 2 years in DC's percentage and think that I had gone down significantly: 75% to 17%....and yes it would be nice if I booked 75% of the possible jobs here in NYC....but the pay scale here in NYC is a little bit different from DC...so the numbers are ok.

I enjoy stats...hopefully you do too.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Condo Adventures Part 1

Welcome to Queens. Your lawyer is also a Caviar dealer. Yes, during our meeting with our lawyer yesterday, two different phones would ring. He answered one as himself, and the other: "insert Caviar Business name here". And I must say that the lawyer tone was a bit more intimidating then the Caviar tone.

As our lawyer went in and out of the office, making his own copies of the contract for our condo, my husband and I would exchange conversation.

The first: By looking around, it seems that our lawyer is WAY into cooking...there were cooking books all over. We also observed that he has three sons, and likes going on cruises with his wife....all based on the photos displayed.

The second: (and this is after the caviar phone calls started coming in): You know, if we had been here in Astoria for only 1 week, I think we would find this whole office (run down, messy), triple-business (caviar and lawyering, plus a travel agent in the front of the store) thing unacceptable. But since we know that Astoria is zen, we're cool with it.

The third: What was that he said about "Mr. Mexican" torching the place?

The fourth: Well, it seems like he's got our back...finding little things that we might not have understood, and acting quickly on them. This will work out just fine.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Dashing through the snow...


No, it has not snowed here yet. And when it does, we will not dash through it...that's for sure.
Tonight we put our twenty-month-old in her high chair for dinner, and as we were organizing her plate, we heard:

Da, dah, duh, duh, duh....duh duh duh DAH DAH DAH duh...

In the tune of: Dashing through the snow, in a one horse open sleigh.

Both my husband and I heard it, and we could not believe it.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

A few more gifts...

We just got home from our LONG trip away. Ok it was only 6 days, but that is long for us. Before we left I cleaned my entire house (750-SQ-FT apt). It was my Christmas gift to myself. Boy, was that a great gift. I walked into a spotless, sweet-smelling apartment. And now it is chaos again, 3 minutes after walking through the door. Oh well...

Then the UPS man rang. I did a little shopping online with a few gift certificates that I was given for Christmas, and my first package arrived tonight. I am really excited about a few items. I got this so cute trenchcoat, (in blue), this skirt, (in grey), and one very important element to this outfit (the one on the right) that one of my BFF's says screams VICTIM. I am ok with that...it just looks cozy and costumey to me. The sweater dress part arrived tonight, my bro and sis got me the bloomers (in dark grey, not the cream color shown), for Christmas, and I have tights, boots and a waffle to go with it. So fun.

I am looking forward to the rest of our new gifts to arrive so that my girls will be able to play with their new stuff, and so that we can get rid of some old to make room for some new...another gift to ourselves.

And finally, I had a conversation with a friend a while ago and I do not remember the specifics, but from it I have been determined to knit her a purple and orange scarf. I found the quirkiest, most random yarn that is mostly purple, with 3 inch hot orange sections on it. As a result, it knits up to be a purple and random orange-polkadot scarf. I am so happy I found it. I knit it during Pirates of the Carribean-Dead Man's Chest, and finished it off to Harry Potter. I am excited to give it to her as a HAPPY NEW YEAR gift.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Monday, December 25, 2006

Christmas 2006

Christmas Day 2006
I think this was one of my most favorite Christmas Days so far. I have been asking myself why it was different this year than other years. This year I celebrated with my parents, and all of my siblings and their families.

Here is why I feel it was different from other years:
1. This year both of my kids seemed to be very present for all the festivities. They understood that we were looking at Christmas Lights/Festivities while we were riding the local trolley. They loved their presents, and even SHARED quite a bit this morning. They loved opening and giving their presents...picking them out ahead of time too.

2. This year my little sister (the only other sibling that is married) had her baby girl here. Last Christmas she was pregnant and didn't even know it, so it was extra special to have her little girl with us. She really brightened the holiday.

3. In the past 8 years we have added 5 of us to the original 6, and this year the family didn't feel so new, polite and as a result uncomfortable. I felt that we had crossed a comfort line and it really felt like we were a family. I found this to be reflected in the gifts we gave each other too.

4. This Christmas was different because it really inspired me to want to be more Christ-like. I can't remember the last Christmas when I was moved to be more Christ-like. Of course I have always been touched by the Spirit, and made a conscious effort to celebrate Christ's birth, as opposed to just shopping and spreading lies about Santa, but not always specifically moved. So, I want to be more Christ-like, and more specifically--more kind and patient. Yesterday at church, the lesson was the reading of this short story by Leo Tolstoy. It is totally inspiring and beautiful, and if you have a few minutes, worth a read. Where Love Is, God Is by Leo Tolstoy.

I know there are only 4 points, but I found them significant, and just thought I would share. Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Glass Posse 12 Days of Christmas: Day 12

I remember the moment that I realized just how lowly the circumstances of Christ's birth had been.

I was teaching children ages 3 to 8 this song called Once Within a Lowly Stable, the lyrics of which go like this:
Once Within a Lowly Stable
Where the Sheep and Oxen Lay.

Now, I had seen the creche scenes my entire life, and of course seen the animals. However, it had not clicked until that moment, that there were animals present AT THE BIRTH. I started imagining the animals, and all that went with them: bugs of all sizes, mice, pee, poop, food, snot, fur, hairs, smells....and I was completely horrified.

Then I started to imagine what the birth would have been like at the inn, and even that didn't seem ideal for me, and I was not giving birth to a Savior (I wasn't pregnant for that matter, but this was my state of mind). I then pictured the sterile and sanitized (we hope) hospital, and compared that to giving birth in a barn, and that is when I realized just how lowly the circumstances had beeen.

I was completely in awe. It seemed all wrong, and then all right the very next moment. I tried to picture the birth in the inn, in a tent, at the hospital, in a cart pulled by a donkey, everything and anything that might apply, and no, it just seemed exactly right that it occurred where it did. I was extremely humbled by this, and had never felt as connected to the story as I did in that moment. I am so grateful that I experienced it, and through the singing of children as well...what a blessing it was for me at the time, and continues to be today. Merry Christmas.



Saturday, December 23, 2006

Glass Posse 12 Days of Christmas: Day 11


This window right in my very own neighborhood, takes the cheese for the best holiday window that relates to a business. Yes, the exterminators, who helped me identify my lovely pet mouse Charlie, a little over a year ago. Sick and twisted isn't it? But oh so right at the same time.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Glass Posse 12 Days of Christmas: Day 10

When I exchange gifts with friends, we usually don't wait until ACTUAL Christmas Day to open. We like to open the gifts in front of each other. Since one of my BFF's is out of the state, this is not possible this year. When I got the package in the mail, my gift was very skinny (like paper), and wrapped in tissue paper, so that I could see through it a bit.

Though I THOUGHT about waiting until the 25th, this see-thru business peaked my curiosity and I had to open it early. It was a gift from www.greatergood.org I am sending two girls from Afghanistan to school for one year. My BFF purchased their school uniforms and supplies for one year, in my name. That is so cool. My friend always inspires me, and she has done it again.

I have started to become a little more aware of all the charitable causes out there. Watching Oprah helps, as well as reading the wide range of billboards that I see from simply utilizing my local subway. In year's past I have been particularly motivated by Cancer Research, but this year I have really been thinking a lot about Africa. I have tried to support the RED campaign in small and simple purchases, and spreading the word. I hope that this gift will keep my ears and heart even more open to opportunities that I can take to help others.


Thursday, December 21, 2006

Third Person Thursday

She has never bought a condo before. She has no clue. She is hiring lawyers and signing her name on the dotted line a lot. She has complete faith in her financial guru husband. She's ok with not knowing every little detail, she has the basic idea.

She knows about the deadlines required, so she is trying to hound her attorney who seems to be invisible, but has a nice chunk of their combined change. She is hoping the attorney-guy is doing his job, but she just isn't sure.

She returns home from some new condo shopping, hoping that the attorney-guy has something to say, something for her to sign, some something that will show that he is doing some work. The red light is blinking. A message! It's the attorney-guy!

He is talking fast and she only gets bits and pieces. The tone sounds promising, but who is Christina? The sponsor is Jen Lee, the finance-lady is Carmela Dragonetti (no joke), and the bank dude has a name too, but now there is a Christina involved? She decides this is a good thing and calls her husband:

"Honey. The attorney-guy called and mentioned someone named Christina who is involved with something...I am not sure what he said exactly...do you know a Christina?"

Her husband says, "That's you honey, you're Kristina." Oh yeah.


She got in!

After the first round, and then the second round (which I didn't post much about), of auditions for Kindergarten, my daughter was invited to join the school today. Seriously, the BEST Christmas present ever. I am so excited for her future.

Glass Posse 12 Days of Christmas: Day 9


Hooray for Christmas Jammies!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Glass Posse 12 Days of Christmas: Day 7



"The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other." ~ Burton Hillis

Monday, December 18, 2006

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever


The parents have been in line for hours to get into the annual Christmas Show at St. Joseph's (the little Catholic School down the street, where my daughter bravely attends pre-K). Due to my competitive nature, I strongly considered arriving 3 hours early, camping chair, ipod and book in hand, to beat out as many parents as I could for the front row seat. But that did not sound like much fun.

Instead I decided to arrive about 25 minutes before it would begin, and take my chances. I follow directions very well. DROP OFF YOUR CHILD IN THE SCHOOL YARD AT 2:30. I dropped her off, and then I had a decision to make. I didn't know which way the line snaked around the block. Should I turn right, and assume the line floats up north and around, or go left and assume it snakes around to the front of the church. I went left, and then left again, and there was the end of the line, snaking around the corner and ending in front of the steps of the church. Wow, I was NOT close to the entrance at all. I was ok with it though.

My husband caught up with me right in the middle of Harry Connick Jr.'s Drummer Boy, and my music-listening was over. We chatted about our new condominium, and eventually made it through the doors of the school. The ENTIRE gym was packed with parents, and we heard a rumor there was a balcony, so we headed up there. We got third row balcony, just to the left of the obstructing basketball hoop. It got hot up there very quickly.

Then it began. The fifth graders acted out the Nativity Story. I have to say, in all my days attending plays of actors in a variety of levels, abilities, and ages, this was unique. It was so uniformly unique, I knew that these kids had been directed to do what they did. I hope that I can put it into words, because it was something else. I imagine the teacher gave this direction:

"Here are the rules of the play:
1. Whenever you say the word 'you', point directly out to the audience (even if YOU is a sheperd or an angel or Mary).
2. Whenever you say the word 'I' or 'me,' point with both hands, to your own shoulders.
3. Try to say your lines as much like a cheerleader as possible. Take breaks between words for emphasis, even though there is no punctuation that would indicate such.
4. Also, like a cheerleader, please nod your head for emphasis, especially when uttering the word Jesus.
5. When you travel from stage left to stage right, you may not counter or three-quarter turn, you may not put your back to the audience at any time. I would like you Mary and Joseph, to hold hands, and sort of chasse' back and forth when going from inn to inn.
6. In some plays the actors are taught to project, we just want you guys to yell as many of the lines as possible.
7. When you have a line, please wait until the person ahead of you has walked ALL THE WAY BACK TO HIS POSITION ON THE STAGE, before you even think about taking a step from your position ALL THE WAY OVER TO THE MICROPHONE to say your line.
8. If people applaud, just ignore it and keep saying your line anyway.
9. Half of you kneel on the risers for the entire 20 minute skit, and if you feel like you might faint for lack of blood flow, just pray that your line is coming up soon so that you can stand up and stretch for a second."

Hilarious right? This whole new style just kept me very entertained...so maybe I will take these techniques and file them away for future use!

Some of my favorite parts about the Christmas show are as follows:

Costumes: there were little angels, lambs, Santas, snowmen, reindeer, silver bells, shepherds, and my favorite, one lone eighth grader as the CHRISTMAS TREE during the song: Rockin' around the Christmas tree.

The 3rd graders did a really adorable dance with girls in christmas nightgowns dancing with Santa to the tune I WANT CANDY, but the lyrics: I WANT SANTA.

I really enjoyed the second graders chanting: Who let the ELVES out? WHo, who who who....

And of course I was oh-so-proud of my little pre-K girl who was front row center, singing and poeming her little heart out, and ringing her jingle bells at JUST the right time. It's moments like those that I need to hang onto when I am having a bad mom day.

All in all, it was a great experience, and I get to do it all over again tonight. Lucky me.

Glass Posse 12 Days of Christmas: Day 6

One of my favorite Christmas memories was the year I tested Santa. I was determined NOT to tell my mom what I wanted for Christmas, and ONLY tell Santa. I told Santa I wanted a tv for Christmas, and no one else...well almost no one. I did tell my Grandparents.

When I woke up on Christmas morning, I prepared myself for dissappointment--just in case I didn't get the TV, and just in case I found out Santa wasn't real. I ran out to the living room, and there was a TV. I was amazed, and I continued to believe.

Several years later I asked my mom about that Christmas. She said that on Christmas Eve night, in the trunk of her car was a TV. I think that my Grandparents had totally hooked me up. I guess my testing Santa theory had a slight flaw in it....I shouldn't have told them, but they did keep me as a believer for a few more years.

Even though I have known for a while that the Man in Red is a myth, I still sometimes believe he is real, and I still have that anticipatory feeling on Christmas Eve night, as fresh as it was so many years ago.


Naperville Men's Glee Club Concert ~ Silent Night

Click on more, to view a small clip from our Silent Night at the NMGC concert December 9th, 2006.


Sunday, December 17, 2006

Glass Posse 12 Days of Christmas: Day 5


One of my favorite decorations in all of NYC....the Cartier boxes showering down off the side of the building. Very theatrical.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Glass Posse 12 Days of Christmas: Day 4


Tonight we had our Christmas party over at the church. It was a little bit thrown together because no one had planned one, so a few weeks ago my husband and a few of the ladies in the congregation (we call it a ward), got together and decided on a potluck party and service project.


The service project was the part that my husband was in charge of. He found an organization called The Children's Village, that collects wrapped (and labeled) toys for children. together with the organization, they made a goal that our ward could donate 40 toys. He sent a sign up sheet around, and got 60 toy commitments. We were glad, because realistically, we figured only about 40 would show up. By the end of the night we had at least 100 gifts wrapped and ready to go. The back of our envoy is completely packed, so that you cannot see when you drive.

Good job everyone, and especially my DH for letting the Holiday Spirit bite him, and getting us to serve!


Friday, December 15, 2006

Glass Posse 12 Days of Christmas: Day 3


My little angel (devil) ANGEL. Happy 20 Month B-day Today!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Third Person Thursday

Her creativity was completely sapped. However, she did manage to get put on hold for the Miami-job next week: Gynocare. She doesn't usually ask, but she had to this time:
"How many other girls from the agency are on hold?"
"4", her agent replied. Well, at least at her agency she had a 1 in 4 chance...who knows how many other girls were put on hold at other agencies.

She also managed to re-do her website. It still needs quite a bit of cleaning and tweaking (the resume page is quite a mess), but she likes the new, clean and sleek design. There is no going back to the old one, b/c it has been discontinued, so she better like it.

Now she will finish the last few bites of her new obsession: chocolate peanut butter Haagen-Daaz. Yum. Maybe by next THPTH she will have something more creative and interesting to write about. She apologizes.

Glass Posse 12 Days of Christmas: Day 2

Top Ten Christmas Tracks of the Season:

1. James Taylor ~ Jingle Bells

2. Sarah Maclachlen ~ Song for a Winter's Night

3. Ann Margret ~ Baby It's COld Outside (I don't care what you say about it being a date rape song).

4. Il Divo ~ Rejoice ~ Where did I misplace my faith? Where did I set it down? Which one's the day that I forgot what this was all about? And I came so close to throwing it all away, but I'm taking it back again....so come and Rejoice....come and Rejoice....what was lost was found.

5. Some Children See Him ~ James Taylor

6. Snow ~ White Christmas Soundtrack

7. God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman ~ Sarah M. & Barenaked Ladies

8. Santa Baby ~ Macy Grey

9. Hallelujah Chorus ~ The Messiah ~ London Symphony

10. Mary, Did You Know? ~ Von Trapp Children

For more Christmas Music Discussion, click here.

Gynocare

I have a go-see today for Gyno Care---a product that makes heavy periods lighter. Since it is in my target niche, I think I might have a good chance. Cross your fingers, because it would mean a quick 2-day trip to Miami, right before I leave for Chicago for the Christmas Holiday.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Opinion: The Naperville Sun

You will have to enlarge it to read it, but it is pretty nice.

The only corrections are that I am not a member of Wesley United Methodist Church, and I have never performed on Broadway (close, but no cigar).

Glass Posse 12 Days of Christmas: Day 1


This is my book tree. Under it are all of our Christmas books, wrapped. Each day my daughters get to open one. They take turns, so that they open one every other day. It is really fun, and it makes our old favorite Christmas books seem like new again.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Picture a Christmas Concert

440 people traipsed through the cold and snow to attend my concert Sunday night. It was so nice of so many people to come and hear me sing. Some attending I had not seen in several years. It meant so much to me that so many people would attend. There was a whole team of people at the church who were organizing this event. There was a giant sign out front, newspaper ads, flyers, invitations, programs, and food.

I was nervous about this concert for a few reasons. First of all, I knew it had been highly publicized, and so many people were in high anticipation about my coming, even though they knew very little about me. Secondly, I knew it was at the end of a long weekend of talking and singing, so I was concerned about my voice holding up.

I slept in that morning, and went to the 1 o clock session of church. As soon as I got there, I almost fell asleep. I decided to go home for the next two hours of church to rest. I am really glad I did, because I took a much-needed nap. At around 4 o clock I got ready to go, ate some dinner, and warmed up. I met the kids choir at 5:30 and we had a great warm-up together, and after a few more moments alone, I felt ready.

I had to put away all the thoughts of self-doubt: I have never done a fireside like this before...am I ready? Will my voice hold up for the whole thing? Will I meet the crowd's expectations? Will I forget my words? etc. I put them away, and willed myself to enjoy the evening and be in control of the concert. I was calm, collected, and I did indeed feel in control of myself and my emotions, so I conquered my fears, and did the best that I could that night.

After an hour of performing, the fireside was complete, and I spent the next hour greeting audience members and signing my postcards. There were friends in the audience that I had not seen for many years, so it was nice to chat with them for a few minutes. I am looking forward to doing it again next season...maybe somewhere out west or in DC?...

Naperville Mens Glee Club

On the night of this concert I found a grey hair. Yes, about once a month I find a coarse, silvery strand poking its way through the sea of brown. I tried and tried to pull it out (because I don't believe that if you pull one out, ten will follow), and I was not successful. Then I decided I better leave it in, because everyone on the stage that night would have their fair share.

I sang with the Naperville Men's Glee Club, an organization that has been singing together for at least 18 years. There were of course a variety of ages, but like I said, a lot of gray hair. They were excellent singers, and excellent-looking, up there with their fresh hair cuts and tuxedos. I LOVE it when men sing, so I really enjoyed the concert.

We were joined by the Wesley United Methodist Bell Choir. It was fantastic to watch them in action with their white gloves and very specific arm motions. We were also joined by some family of the Glee Club, playing some wind instruments. I sang 4 songs from my album, accompanied by one of my oldest friends Mike Acquaviva. He and I sang our first solos back in elementary school: We've Only Just Begun (Carpenters), and went on to be in the freshman play, high school musicals, choirs, festivals, and the list goes on...together. He is now in his residency for Pediatric Anesthesia, but continues to play the piano and lead choirs all around the town.

I had a difficult time with O Holy Night. When I am singing about something that meaningful to me, sometimes my emotions get the better of me. The trip has helped me to navigate that a little better. I am always trying to strike a balance between giving a meaningful message and performing...I feel like I conquered it better at the Picture a Christmas Concert on Sunday night. Anyway, I was able to take a breath and hit the high note of O Holy Night, then I blew my nose and got ready for the Silent Night with all the performers.

I really enjoyed the entire experience. We got a standing ovation I think...if we didn't, we should have, because the entire concert was top notch. If you live in Naperville, you should look up the Glee Club...they have a wonderful sound and they are very entertaining.

The audience really responded to my music, and I had a busy evening following the concert signing some autographs and thanking everyone who came. I even had a few friends show up, which was so nice...I am always happy to have that added support in the audience, so thank you!

I think my favorite part of the evening was wearing my black gown, that I had not worn for almost 5 years. It looked perfect with all the tuxedos on the stage....I was really excited that I had that back in the closet. Thank you NMGC for having me sing with you this past weekend!

Monday, December 11, 2006

My Twin


Doppelganger

My Naperville Manager is my mother. She has been helping me handle sales in my hometown, and doing an amazing job. She carries around her bag of cds and promotes them as only a mother can. I am really appreciative of all of her help with my "holiday tour" including the cooking, cleaning, managing, and supporting me through all of my performances this past weekend.

I have always looked like my mom. We have always resembled each other. Apparently, in both of our old age however, we have become twins. 5 different times at my events this past weekend, audience members told her what a good job she did, and once when I was standing right, I mean RIGHT next to her. It was a very sweet little girl, and she was so embarrassed when I said....THANKS, I'm right here! I didn't mean to embarrass her of course.

Once someone who we both knew thought I was my mother, until I got a little closer. I am ok with this because my mother is a very attractive woman, and I am pretty sure my mom is ok with it, because I am 23 years younger then her, and she has entered that decade of life where she is studying the age-defying section of the beauty products, with her glasses on hand in case she might need to read some fine print.

I think for both of us, these occurences were unexpected, and really funny. My mom's response, at first was....no I'm the mom...but then she just started saying: THANK YOU. I think she might have meant that in a few different ways.

Thank YOU mom...see you in a few weeks.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Young Naperville Singers Concert Dec. 8th

Last night I had the opportunity to sing with the Young Naperville Singers. This is a children's chorus that was organized 23 years ago. I was in YNS from 1987 to 1991. I have already written quite a bit about them on this blog, so I will just skip to the concert.

I sang White Christmas as a solo, and then all the kids and the audience joined in on the refrain. The pianist played the most beautiful arrangement, that was nice and slow and sappy. I really enjoyed singing it with her.

In the second act I sang Mozart's Laudate Dominum. I was more worried about this piece because it is not often I perform classical music in front of a live audience. During soundcheck I got used to the acoustics and the choir singing behind me, and so by the performance I felt good. I was happy with the way the number ended up. I am going to order a cd of the concert as a keepsake.

Being around the children in the hallways before, and during the concert, and then singing on stage with them was so inspiring. Kids have boundless energy and enthusiasm for what they are doing in their lives. After spending time with them, I thought....maybe I could handle having a son.

I got a chance to speak with the third grade chorus and the 10-13-year-olds. The questions they asked were so fun. What was your favorite tv show when you were our age? What is your favorite food to eat? Have you seen Wicked? How old are you? Do you want some free airline tickets?, because I can get you some, my dad works for the airlines.

It meant a lot to me to sing with these kids and hopefully inspire them to follow their dreams.

The First "Holiday Tour" Adventure

The Mayor's Prayer Breakfast was Thursday morning. It was exciting because 500 members of the community gathered together to have breakfast and worship together. About 15 percent of the attendees were members of the clergy, and the same percentage of government workers.

It was the 2nd annual breakfast, so attendees were more excited to be there, knowing what was in store. My favorite part of the whole breakfast were the 6 children dressed as elves standing at the front entrance way, ringing bells, and yelling MERRY CHRISTMAS to everyone who came through. So cute.

I got to sing 5 songs at the breakfast. All of them went pretty well. It is held in a large and vast gym at the local YMCA, so the sound is challenging, but I did the best I could. The guest speaker was Dr. Eboo Patel. He was very inspirational and well-prepared. I confess to tuning out for parts, but that is because I was focusing on the song that directly followed him. Sorry, Dr. Patel.

After the breakfast, I had the chance to meet a lot of "fans". I sold a good number of albums, and I think I autographed most of them. Every one who stayed to talk to me were new faces. I knew a lot of people in the crowd, and didn't see one of them afterwards. I thought that was really cool. I was really happy with the whole morning.

Here is where the adventure part comes in. We decided to count how many CD's we had sold based on boxes. We brought 5, and ended up home with 3. I was amazed that we had sold 2 full boxes. I did the math and figured out how much cash that would mean needed to be in the cashbox. When I got home to count it, only half of it was there. I did not believe that the nice YMCA ladies working the table had robbed me of half the money, and so I knew there was a box missing. My Naperville Managers (parents) and I went round and round about it. Did we bring 5 boxes or only 4? It was so early....we can't remember. I thought there was def. a box missing, but had my doubts as well, because WHERE COULD IT BE?

I did not panic. I called the YMCA employee WOmanning the table, and she said the whole area was clear, and no box was left there. I think it was my mom's idea to go and check for ourselves. So, we jumped in the car and walked in. My mom walked right behind a giant penguin that was no where NEAR where we had been selling, and it was sitting right there. I think my Dad had just unloaded them in the front entrance, and forgot to come get the last one.

Though I was dissappointed that we hadn't sold 2 boxes, I was so releaved to have my box back: SAFE AND SOUND.

ps. Is that how you spell releaved? It doesn't look right.....gotta go...more singing to do.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

It's going well...

I can't quite come up for air yet, but when I do, I will be posting.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

1 Day to go.

I cannot believe that it is the night before I leave. I cannot believe that the inspiration of last year's trip has come to this full circle moment with a cd in the mix. It is totally unreal.

Today's Dones:
~I got dangerously close to finishing my Christmas shopping at old faithful-TARGET. Love that store.
~Refilled my prescriptions.
~Packed: 1 1/2 bags are Christmas presents (I am going back in just a few weeks to celebrate Christmas in Naperville), the other half of the one bag are my clothes, jewlery etc, and a garment bag holds my dresses and tampons. Yup, lucky timing for me!
~Updated my ipod again-I messed it up---I'm new at this.
~Answered last-minute emails about my appearances.
~Finished up some notes for my high school presentations.
~Practiced. I have been so worried about the stamina of my voice, but today felt really good, and I only have to sing LONG programs on the last night, so that is perfect timing.
~Blogged. I am particularly enjoying this thread.
~Watched Studio Sixty....I liked last night's episode, they did a nice tribute to Hurricane Katrina...very cool.
~Watched part of Mickey's Christmas Carol with my daughters. Nice memories of my childhood.
~Ate Chocolate Peanut Butter Haagen Daz ice cream. I had a long day with the baby-she is getting her canines, and she was a beast the ENTIRE day.
~Now I am going to turn in at a very nice 10:00 pm EST. I will most certainly feel rested when the alarm goes off at 6:30, oh wait a second, I never need to set an alarm because my darling baby always wakes me up at the crack of dawn (b/n 5:41 and 6:12) every morning screaming: MAMA!

Concert Week

Today marked the beginning of the concert week. Here is what I have done to prepare today:

~I tried to be on vocal rest most of the day...I did pretty good.

~I bought an ipod shuffle. How does this help me prepare you ask? Well, I can study my music without using my voice....practice words, order, mentally review how I approach certain phrases, remember tempos etc. I thought about asking to borrow my husband's ipod, but I got a little Christmas check in the mail from my generous father-in-law, and thought...what the hey? hay? I am listening right now.

~Finished up Christmas shopping. I shopped for the hubby today. I am really pleased with my purchases, but he is hard to shop for, so I am prepared if he needs to return everything.

~Almost finished my Christmas postcards. I still need a few addresses and stamps.

~Printed out all my stuff. Trip itinerary, Concert Programs, High School Presentation/Handouts, Schedule, and what I need to bring with me to each venue, and wear at each venue...this will help me with the packing that I haven't started yet, because my duffle bag is mysteriously unnaccounted for.

~Shopped at Costco. Hopefully my children will get fed while I am gone....and not just on ice cream and pizza.

~Caught up on a few Accounts Receivables.

~Sweeped, Swiffered and Mopped the floors, vaccuumed couches and rugs.

~Bought THE BEST CHRISTMAS PAGEANT EVER for my plane-reading. I just finished Christmas Carol, so I thought I should stay with the Christmasy reading theme.

~Tried on a gown that I haven't worn in 4 years...thinking it would be perfect for one of my concerts. It is still debatable...I have sort of shrunk in a certain place up top due to having babies, and I am not sure if I can make it work....I shall need a second opinion. Maybe a really big brooch will help.

~In case you haven't seen, I am giving away a cd for FREE, just click here to enter the Tales Freebie.

~Now I am going to pop some corn and watch my fave show, which is back!!! The Closer....on TNT....It's really great....really. Yeah, the date says Tuesday, but I am writing late Monday night, so same diff.

Forecast

It's cold in Chicago. I guess I better get packing....I need to add a few down-feather parkas and wool sweaters...

Monday, December 04, 2006

Last Quarter Tearsheets

As the year comes to a close, I am starting to gather the last of the tear sheets. There is nothing really that exciting, just a few jobs that are now accounted for.

Below is the Babies R Us Big Book Cover. I shot this cover with three babies, including my own. She actually sat pretty still for this one, so I thought she might have a chance, but Olivia got it instead. Fiona (of the playskool ad) and I also shot together, and I was pretty certain that she got the shot and she didn't...so I guess that shows that I know nothing.


A cousin of mine emailed me this morning with news that he had seen my photo on the Microsoft Website. I shot that job in October of 2005. I had checked the website before and found nothing....and to be honest, I am really surprised that he recognized me...the photo is pretty small. See if you can find me here.

Really, since August the print work for me has been pretty slow. In the last quarter, I have actually wrangled more then modeled. The next few jobs coming up will be my face in a gajillion hair magazines, the two book covers, and a small article in February's Nick Jr. Magazine.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Highlights: JTTW Concert

It was a success.

Members of our stake (the name for a number of congregations coming together as one group in a designated geographical area) tend to be perpetually late. Events start late, people come in late, we don't know who started it, but it is annoying to the small percentage of people who are on time (early) and just sitting in uncomfortable chairs looking at the clock wondering when something will begin.


I knew the concert would be brief (it ended up being 45 minutes, I was shooting for 1 hour), and that our talent would work really hard to make this a great performance. I did not want anyone who intended on coming to a concert, to miss it because of this perpetual punctuality (or lack thereof) issue.

My plan was to advertise the concert as beginning at 6:30, but intentionally begin it at 7. The idea was to bulk up the audience in that half hour and to avoid clock checking, provide them with a pre-reception. We had artwork to look at that the children had drawn, light refreshments, live carolers singing, Christmas decorations, a table with information about the church, and a host of ushers to greet people and help them find seats.

When I arrived at 6 there were already quite a few people there. And by 6:30 it was pretty full, but when I saw a large amount of people walk in at about 10 minutes to 7 (20 minutes late according to the flyer), I was so happy. These people got to see the entire concert, and we were not interrupted by latecomers noisily finding a seat.

So, the pre-reception was the first success of the evening.

The second success was the concert itself. The performers all looked smashing, and they performed with all their souls. Many people performing and in attendance could really feel a strong spirit. When the concert was over, a few of the ladies in the adult chorus had tears in their eyes, and I could feel it too. The kids chorus gave me the BEST hugs when it was over. I am really going to miss them. I took time early on to learn all of their names, and try to get to know them, and I will miss seeing them every Saturday morning, as will my daughter. She made great friends with some of the older girls, who were great examples to her and took her under their wing.

At the past two stake events that occurred, I made a note of how many people were in attendance. In July it was 67. I was really concerned that we would only have around that many show up, so I have been praying for many months that we could have a great audience...and sure enough, there were too many to count, and even a row of people standing in the back.

For me personally, I felt fine about my performance. At first, it was a really foreign feeling to be on a stage with lights. I settled into it during my third song...it took THAT long. I am glad to have it under my belt, because I feel more prepared for my "holiday tour" as my friends and family keep calling it. I sort of look at last night as a preview, like in the theatre when we have at least a week (some shows take months) to get used to being in front of an audience before it REALLY counts.

Today (the morning after) at church I had a lot of people tell me how great the concert was, and evidentally word had spread about the CD and I had a lot of folks interested today. I didn't have enough in my bag to go around. Next week when I am away, my business manager will have to handle that for me. Thanks honey!

All of you who wished me well in comments and through email/phone calls, I really appreciate you remembering and caring enough to say so. I could not have been happier about it, and it would not have been what it was without the commitment from everyone involved, especially my co-director, who will remain nameless to protect her top secret identity.


Saturday, December 02, 2006

Joy to the World Concert

Tonight is our Joy to the World Concert in Woodside, NY. We have been organizing this since July, rehearsing it since September, and advertising it since Halloween. Last night we had our technical rehearsal, and everything is coming together nicely.

I am really excited about the variety of the performances. There are dueted violins, a guitar ensemble (including mandolin and bongo drum), vibraphone, guitar and soloist, adult and childrens chorus. I have been working most closely with the kids. They are so excited about the concert. In rehearsals it was like pulling teeth to get a little volume out of them, but as soon as they got on stage these past few rehearsals, they just stand there and practically scream out the music.

As their director, I have mixed feelings about this. I am glad that they are enthusiastic, but dismayed that the musical quality has been a bit compromised. I will have a chat with them at our last rehearsal this morning, in one last attempt to restore what we have been working on every Saturday morning since September, but in the end what will be will be.

Last night I really tried to sieze the opportunity given to me to perform my songs on a stage in front of a fake audience. It felt good to be under the lights again. I am looking forward to giving my message through song, to all those who attend tonight. I am especially excited about singing I Wonder as I Wander with the vibraphone.

It's gonna be great. Come on by if you're in the neighborhood...

Friday, December 01, 2006

Shout Out for Steinway Pharmacy

My love affair with Steinway Pharmacy started on a cold winter's night. My daughter had a super high fever that was making her lethargic. I was scared. She does not take medicine well, just the sight of it causes her to throw up. Literally. As a result, I give her Feverall suppositories when she has a fever. This night, I had none in my medicine cabinet. I also had no cash in my wallet.

I could not possibly drag her to the bank or the pharmacy, and I was worried sick about her fever. I made the phone call: "Hi, my daughter has a very high fever. I need some feverall. I need you to deliver it to me, and I have no cash, so I need you to trust that I will pay you tomorrow." I didn't think they would EVER go for it. Their response: "No problem." Five minutes later I had my medicine, and I breathed a sigh of relief.

There are several chain pharmacies within walking distance of me: Eckerd, Duane Reade, CVS etc. When my insurance changed and Steinway Pharmacy did not accept it, I was forced to deal with these completely incompetant, crazy pharmacies. Sometimes I had to go to two or three different stores in order to get all the prescriptions necessary to treat ear infections, strep throat and the like. Even though I went all the time, there was no spark of recognition in the pharmacist's eyes. You would think with their fancy equipment, computer systems and white coats that they would be the ideal pharmacists to have, but that is not the case.

At last my insurance changed back to an acceptable one for Steinway. Every time I walk in, the head pharmacist: Monsour F. Monsour says: "Hi Glass" in his Arabic accent. My prescriptions are ready no later than 8 minutes after I have turned them in or called them in. They even work around the insurance restrictions when I need my prescription filled a few days early because I am traveling or something. And, they often just give me my pills if I don't have enough cash, knowing I will come back and pay the difference.

I love that they care about me, trust me, and deliver what I need in a prompt and professional manner. This type of customer service exists very few places now-a-days and I am so grateful to have it, especially in a pharmacist. So, thanks Steinway Pharmacy!

Oh, and why is Steinway Pharmacy on my mind today? I have a sinus infection. I went to get my augmentin prescription filled last night. Yup, that's right, 1 day before my first concert of the season, 5 days before I get on a pressure-filled airplane to attend the rest of my performances, and I have a sinus infection. This is SO my life.