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Oh hey, blogosphere! Long time, no see.

Well, okay, not exactly–if any of you have been following the blog I’ve been writing with my boyfriend James, you’ll know I haven’t been totally absent. But I haven’t written here in almost three months, and I thought, what better time to start blogging again than on New Year’s Eve Day?

It also happens to be the day I leave to start the biggest adventure I’ve had in ages–and I don’t just mean the solo drive through the American Heartland, although Angry Bird and his new friend Private Willis are already gearing up to keep me company.


Angry Bird is French and Private Willis is English, but despite their differences they seem to be getting along famously.

At the end of the drive lies Pensacola, Florida, which will be my home for the next four months. I will be an Artist-in-Residence at Pensacola Opera, singing the roles of Frasquita in Carmen and Clorinda in La Cenerentola, as well as performing at outreach concerts throughout the community. And most importantly, I’ll be skipping the rest of the winter in Chicago–if December is any indication, I’ve dodged a very, very cold bullet.

ANYWAY. I did think that because it’s New Year’s Eve, I would take this opportunity to tot up 2013 and resolve to do some things in 2014. So here we go.

Things That Happened in 2013

1. I met James! We spent two weeks together in Buxton (during which time I played Elsie and he played “the real Leonard, DOLT” in The Yeomen of the Guard), and then he came to visit me over Thanksgiving. We had a marvelous time, and he was a huge hit with my family–and not just because he’s got a cute accent.

Me and James and Lake Michigan!

Me and James and Lake Michigan!

2. I sang my first full opera role, Suor Genovieffa in Puccini’s gorgeous Suor Angelica. As a result, I can also now sing the entire first third of the opera by myself.

Here, have a video of me singing about my desire to see a lamb–and poking fun at the Zelatrice in the process. I was a pretty sassy nun.

3. I joined the Chicago Symphony Chorus and got to sing the Verdi Requiem conducted by Riccardo Muti and the Britten War Requiem conducted by Charles Dutoit–and featuring John Mark Ainsley (Charlie on my recording of Brigadoon) and Matthias Goerne (whom my grandparents and I saw in concert at the Salle Pleyel in Paris) as soloists. It was a thrill. And then there was Welcome Yule, the annual Symphony Christmas concert about which I will not complain because to be totally honest, I had a great time performing it. WOLCUM!

4. I came in second place in the Czech and Slovak International Vocal Competition in October, which involved learning and performing an aria in a language with not quite enough vowels, and traveling to Montreal on about thirty seconds notice. Two airplanes and a Greyhound bus–I felt very Simon and Garfunkel about it.

5. My mom got married! I sang the Sheva Brachot, or Seven Wedding Blessings, and it was just such a perfect wedding and a complete love fest for all involved.

6. I gave a recital consisting entirely of music I love to sing at the Chicago Cultural Center. The first half was Debussy’s Ariettes Oubliées, and for the second half, I cobbled together some of my favorite operetta arias from my year in France.

There’s more, but it was such an eventful year that I can’t remember most of it!

Go on to the useless presents–that is, resolutions. I’m trying to limit myself to resolutions that A. I am capable of keeping (unlike perennial favorite “Quit biting my nails”) and B. are not so important that if I don’t keep them I will be unhappy with myself.

1. Cook more. I bought myself a copy of the Zuni Café Cookbook for my birthday, and I can’t wait to dig in!

2. Wear all of my jewelry. Not at once, obviously. While I was packing for Pensacola I untangled and sorted through all of my jewelry, and there is so much beautiful stuff that I’ve never worn. I’m not much of a jewelry wearer, usually just earrings, but I am determined to break out some of my Bat Mitzvah jewelry.

3. Buy and drink less bottled water. I’ve bought a plastic water bottle with the intention of curtailing my bottled water habit.

4. Sing the arias I love and connect with in auditions, even if they’re a little obscure. I’m convinced that the auditioners can tell when I’m singing something because somebody told me I should.

5. Make a point of reading more books that I wouldn’t ordinarily pick up. If you had told me that Mordecai Richler’s St. Urbain’s Horseman would have fascinated me from Montreal all the way back to Chicago, I wouldn’t have believed you. I need more surprises like that!

6. Take everything a day at a time, and don’t worry about what I can’t know yet.

And with that, happy New Year, and off I go! (Well, not just yet. I’ve still got laundry to do!)