Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I'm Pro-America

I don't tend to delve into politics unless I know that I can have a thoughtful discussion with a person because I don't like arguing ideological differences to no avail. It's surely through having friends with such strong and varied opinions that I've gotten this way. I just don't like butting heads with no purpose, but as the title may suggest something has gotten under my skin.

I'm sure you've all seen more than your fair share of "pro-America" and "the real Virginia" clips.

It's really offensive to me that the concept of being a "real" American is being cast along party lines. Certainly we're in the final part of what has been devilishly long and ugly campaign, but I don't really find defense in that. One of the things that makes the United States great is that we are all entitled to our different opinions and the ability to voice them. What makes us Americans is how different we all are. The great melting pot. A place where brave men and women struck out to create something that they could call their own.

I am incredibly proud to be an American, a place where with hard work and marginal luck anyone can make something of themselves. I am proud that there is still farm land and we still grow food. I am proud that we have some of the most impressive cities filled with some of the most diverse people in the world. I am proud that we still have a culture that is connected to our roots when you travel to different regions. I think it's tremendous that you feel the difference in culture in New England verses the South verses the South-West verses the Mid-West verses the Plains verses the West coast and that we are still one country.

That is not to say that I am unequivocally proud of all actions that we have and will take as a country. It's like a mother saying to their child, I don't always like you, but I'll always love you. But I am grateful I live in a country where I can say whether or not I agree with something. Everyone is entitled to their opinions and the ability to share them.

Entitled. And I hate entitlement. There is nothing that upsets me in a person's actions more than a sense of entitlement. But I think that we're all entitled to free speech, I think every child is entitled a fair chance to grow and have options. While I'm defending the first amendment so vehemently I also support the second amendment. (obviously there are public safety concerns that come into concern with both the first and second amendments, and my opinions are in fact nuanced)

Here's the thing though, with this entitlement comes civic duty. This is not socialism it is living in a community, and we live in a community that is bigger than those who we know. It is bigger than the people in our church, the people in our town, and the people in our state. We should do good for people on a individual level, but as a country we are responsible as well. We are responsible to ourselves and responsible to the world, because like it or not we are part of a global community. So yes, it is my civic duty to pay my taxes, and I might even agree with the scoffed at line that it is patriotic to pay taxes. And even though I feel the nearly 25% of my pay check that gets taken each month between taxes, medicare and social security(only to be taxed again when I buy stuff) it is literally the price to pay to live in a safe and secure country. This is not new, in the Bible it commands that when a farmer harvests his wheat that he not reap to the edges of the field and not glean the fallen seeds. That which we have is not only our own.

I want to live in a country where we have programs to help the needy. I want streets to be paved, for there to be policemen and firemen. I want the government to be able to help in disasters here at home and abroad. I want to live in a country that has the ability to help in Darfur, and Myanmar and works with other countries to do so.

I am proud of our troops. I don't always agree with the missions that they've been sent on, or even in the way that they're conducted, but I am grateful that there are men and women who go. It is hard to separate the players from the game, but we must. And the players are for the most part good men and women. Just as this nation is for the most part good men and women.

Good men and women who disagree.

So just because I'm a liberal Jew who lives in a big city who absolutely loves brie and red wine does not mean I don't love this country. It also doesn't mean that I don't love beer and BBQ.

I really just wish that politics were not so incredibly divisive right now and didn't pander to people's fear.

Saturday, October 18, 2008


So, it's official! My friends are positively the coolest! Last night was the second Friday in the run of the show, which is traditionally a difficult show. However we had the best audience imaginable! They were really engaged laughing even at the really wordy jokes!

A huge number of my friends came to see us last night, enough that the director asked at intermission if I had a big group of friends on the right side of the theater, the answer was of course yes! It was so lovely. I love performing no matter what, but performing for an audience that already loves you was just so fun.

Then as I was heading toward the door to meet people afterwards, everyone was there waiting to talk to me. It's not that my friends came and liked it, but rather that they were so incredibly exuberant!

We afterwards all went out for late foods and drinks. It was great to able to chat with everyone and come down from the show with all of my favorite people!

Sadly I don't have a picture of everyone together, however I do have a picture of our silliness!

The pirate king and me! They wanted me to wear the crown all night, but it was meant for a six year old, so it didn't stay on very well.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

rainy day

It's a rainy fall day. I love these sort of days, the colors are all just so interesting. It's also a strangely warm day. So I'm sitting in my office listening to the rain and drinking a cup of tea. I'm happy for the rain, even if it has possibly destroyed my practiceing and running plans, it's rather comforting.

Things are finally back to normal, which is rather nice. I have had a productive week so far, and that makes me a happy girl.

I got to see a bunch of my friends on Monday, they had perhaps been wondering if I had fallen off the face of the earth, since I had barely spoken to them in a month and a half. It was a relief to spend time with my friends. Having comradery is wonderful, and appropriate for doing a show, but it's not the same as spending time with your friends (especially if one of those friends is your brother).

I was surprised at the number of times that people asked me if I was happy, it was not acutally easy to answer the question. I remember about a month or maybe more ago thinking to myself how I had been rather happy for quite some time and how great that was, but on Monday my answer was, well I think so.

Honestly I've been so busy that it is difficult to determine. Am I happy? Well I'm not unhappy, I'm busy, I don't know what I am, I'm really enjoying all the singing that I'm doing, and I'm not necessarily looking forward to it all ending. Monday itself had been a rather lonely day, but I would say that over all I am very contented. I'm not particularily plagued by any early 20's angst right now, which is lovely.

I do have grad school decisions coming up, whether to apply, where to apply if I do, what else to look to do if I don't, life decisions never really make for happiness in their midst. Afterwards they tend to, but during the process there is usually some decision making anguish. Luckily I'm only beginning to have to deal with all of that.

So there you have it, musings appropriate for the weather!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Great weekend!

I had quite the grand weekend!

I'm tempted to just list everything that I did, I mean I biked up to foster beach and back, made lots and lots of pancakes with Noel, and I sang my first night of Pirates! (which went quite well! You should all come and see...if you're in Chicago)

I also got to watch the Marathon (those Kenyans run fast!) nap in the sun, and hang out all afternoon with a bunch of my roommate's friends. We were all over the city! Ukrainian Village, Pilsen, it was great.

Now for some more of that sleeping that I've been doing so much of this weekend!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

High Holidays

So. I got through it.
I sang two services last night, and today I was back at Sinai at 9:30 and I didn't leave until 6:30.
It was really exhausting, but I really liked being part of the service. Sometimes it took away from the experience, needing to be engaged on a different level to make everything go smoothly, and sometimes it really added to be part of the service.

I didn't fast today, which I was a little conflicted about, but ultimately I don't think I could have made it through the 25 hours when I was singing for almost half of those hours.

I got to listen to three very good sermons in the last 24 hours. The one that's sticking at the moment is about how prayer is meaningless unless it leads to action. I think that is a very important thing to remember, especially on a day that you are praying for forgiveness.

Good Night

Friday, October 03, 2008


vocal technique is a strange beast.

You start out singing naturally, you don't think about how you sing, you just do it, and you sound like yourself.

Then you start messing with it, you get louder, or richer, things feel really different, you think about singing again. You wonder why singing is so much harder than it used to be, and how it is that you could be better if it's so much more work.

Then somehow that goes away, and you're just singing again, and you just sound like yourself again. But you actually sound different than you  sounded before, you're just now used to the new way you sound.

rinse and repeat.

Ideally technique should be making everything easier. With the correct technique singing the high c is really nothing at all, especially if you have the d and e above it. But you know it's high, and frequently you make it hard for yourself to prove that it is high.

I'm in a period of vocal ease again. It's very strange because once you stop thinking about these new things that you've developed, you sometimes start to worry if you're accomplishing them when you're not thinking about them. That's where I am. I'm singing and it just sounds like me, and I'm not sure if I've carried all my developments with me in a period of taxing vocal work. I think I've done moderately well at least, but it is very hard to tell from this end of things.