Saturday, May 24, 2008

Random Kennedy Center Pictures

These are some random pictures I've taken while enjoying the scenery around the Kennedy Center on my lunch breaks.

There is a reflecting pool out in front of the main entrance with mallard ducks in it!

Yesterday while I was eating lunch, I watched one slowly creep up on me from far away, and eventually sit down on the ledge right next to me. I'm pretty sure he was expecting me to feed him.

When I got up to try to get a better picture, he came after my carrots!

The view off the back deck of the Kennedy Center - you can see the Francis Scott Key bridge going across the Potomac River into Virginia and some kind of cool church poking up in the distance. The Watergate, where I work, is right on the other side of that tree on the right.

Friday, May 23, 2008

the many links in our lives

I really love how my 4-year-old niece Naomi approaches her bedtime prayers. You tell her its time to pray and she asks "What did I do today?" You talk about what you did that day and then her entire prayer is repeating that list with a "thank you for..." before each thing. I really love it. It is a great way begin a bedtime prayer. Its amazing to me how a prayer that begins with a few expressions of gratitude for a seemingly simple day can lead into a flowing communication with the Father, new (or repeat) revelation, and praise for his hand in your life.

This was the general progression of my bedtime prayer last night:

Thank you for another exciting day. I really am loving my internship and really think I've finally found something I can do and be passionate about for the rest of my life.

Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to do this internship.

I know I got this internship and am doing well at it because of my experience working for Express and all the things I've learned working there for so many years. Thank you for setting things up so that
five years ago when I walked into the door of Express needing a job from 8-12 Monday-Friday they would just happen to be looking for someone to work in the front office from 8-12 Monday-Friday.

Thank you for the opportunity to work for ANS in Plano before moving to College Station. I probably would never have gotten the job at Express if it weren't for the experience I got there. I got the job at ANS because of a guy I dated in high school, Randy. His mom worked there and he hooked me up with her.

HOLD IT, HOLD IT!!!! My entire career can be traced back to Randy?!?!?! No no no no no....

Heavenly Father, you really are absolutely amazing.

So we're not going to give Randy all the credit, but who would have thought that so many important things in my life would go all the way back to someone I knew when I was sixteen? I am so thankful Heavenly Father has been with me through it all, guiding me along the way and putting experiences in my path to get me where I need to be so that I can fulfill the mission he has for me - whatever that is.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Maestro Domingo... and other developments.

Updates as promised...

I happened to be filling in at the reception desk yesterday when Placido Domingo happened to be coming in to the office for a meeting (he doesn't actually come to the office very often). I saw him walking towards me from the elevator. I knew it was him. He stopped, shook my hand, and introduced himself to me as "Placido" with a kind smile, a soft voice and a very thick spanish accent. He was not the commanding and powerful presence I expected. He seemed more like just a nice old man. I introduced myself as the Human Resources Intern and informed him that his guests were waiting in his office. That was it. As he walked away I couldn't help but feel a little giggly and star-struck. It was just so cool!

Last night I attended my first WNO opera - Richard Strauss's Elektra. I sat in a $170/ticket seat for absolutely free! Now that is a good reason to work for an opera! I've never been that close at an opera before. It was so cool! The Opera House at the Kennedy Center is absolutely beautiful. As for the opera itself... lets just say this is not a beginners opera. It is a Greek tragedy put to music by a fairly modern composer. It is very very dramatic, expressive, and intense! I found myself zoning out a lot given the sad news I had received earlier in the day. The whole plot revolving around death didn't help. I might try to see it again next week. I think I will like it more the second time.

After the opera, Mr. & Mrs. Domingo (as in Placido) put on a party exclusively for opera staff. I didn't even see Placido, although I know he was there. I ended up spending most of the night mingling with a group of twenty-something women. It was very fun to hear their tales of crazy people on the metro, sacrificing wealth and prosperity for a career in the arts, how Angelina Jolie really is a nut job, and other enlightening topics.

My supervisor has caught on to the fact that I'm a good editor, and therefore one of the things I worked on this week is proofreading the Staff Directory, which includes job descriptions and short bios on each administrative staff member. I am amazed at how practically everyone has some kind of music and/or theater background. I am not in an organization of Business majors, I am in an organization of Music majors! That is so cool! I really think it is a testimony of how an education in the arts prepares the mind and increases aptitude to adapt, learn new skills, and thrive in a variety of environments.

There used to be two Human Resources people at the opera, but about a month ago one of the positions was eliminated. The person who left was completely responsible for the internship program, so my supervisor is still working on getting a grasp on how to handle the interns. I guess I've impressed her, because she informed me today that I am pretty much going to be handling the interns this summer. Most of them start this coming Monday, and I will be facilitating their orientation meeting and "icebreaking" activities. She will be present, but she is going to let me take control and lead the meeting. I could be wrong, but I think its a little crazy that she has this much trust in me after only knowing me for five days! However, I am excited to be given some real responsibility. I'm sure I will learn a lot... and that is what I'm here for after all!

One perk of being so involved with the interns is that I get to attend a meeting in July that is basically a group of internship program administrators in arts organizations around the DC area. Talk about a great opportunity to make connections! Oh, and can you guess where the meeting will be held? Wolf Trap. The opera company that was my first choice for an internship. A magically classy amphitheater in the woods of Virginia.

I am just so happy that things are turning out just how I had hoped. I am being flooded with opportunities to learn new things, meet important people, network, make connections, attend cultural events, increase my value as an employee, etc. This is just so cool!!!!!

Thursday, May 15, 2008


Again, its late and I need to go to bed, but I really need to blog tonight.

It was a great day at work. I had some networking opportunities, filled in at the reception desk all day, briefly met Placido Domingo, attended my first WNO opera, Elektra, and attended an exclusive party put on by Mr. Domingo for the staff after the opera. Everything is amazing with my internship. I'll write about all of that later.

In the midst of this exciting day I got some very sad news. I checked my voicemail on my lunch hour and was surprised to have a message from one of my Professors from A&M, asking me to call her back on her personal cell phone. When I did she informed me that one of my classmates was killed in a car accident yesterday. Mary Beth was my best friend at school. We just completed four semesters of music theory together, being the only two girls in a 5-member class. We were also the only two upper-level voice students. Lets just say we related to each other on many levels. We just recently started to do things together outside of school and were really becoming good friends. She just graduated last week, and I was really excited that she had decided to stay at A&M for grad school so that we could continue to be friends. I really really love Mary Beth.

It has been such a busy day that I haven't had a lot of time to let it sink in, but I have had some thoughts. Most of them are very hopeful:

Just this morning on my way to work I listened to Elder Earl C. Tingey's talk "The Great Plan of Happiness" twice (so it would really sink in). In this talk he basically explains how the Atonement of Jesus Christ is the Plan of Happiness. He explains how Christ's resurrection brought immortality to all of us, and how His suffering for our sins means that we can be clean and return to Him. I don't think its a coincidence that I listened to that talk today. I know that Mary Beth is eternal. I know that her spirit lives still and I know that it will soon be reunited with her perfected, glorified body. I know this because I know that the Atonement of Jesus Christ is real.

While some people may be sad by her having just graduated, I think it is wonderful. All her hard work, time, and money was not wasted. She has taken all that knowledge with her, and it will be useful to her as she continues her work throughout the eternities. What a wonderful thing that she spent her time on earth focusing on things that are of eternal value and can go with her.

Mary Beth was an absolutely wonderful person with high moral values and high standards. I was really looking forward to sharing more about the gospel with her. But, I know that she is now in the Spirit World learning about it. I hope that when she arrived on the other side she was greeted by her forbears, who anxiously put their arms around her and lovingly said something like "I've got something really really awesome to tell you about...." I don't have any feelings of guilt or regret. I just feel really grateful for the Father's plan to give all of his children a chance to learn the fullness of his gospel and accept it.

The day before I left for the summer Mary Beth and I got together to hang out and watch a movie. I didn't really have time for it, but we'd been talking about doing it for a while and I really wanted to spend some time with her before leaving for the summer. So, I made time. I am so grateful I did.

Mary Beth had her senior voice recital about a month ago, and I'm pretty sure her whole family came. How wonderful that all of her family got to see her so recently, and in an attitude of acknowledging her accomplishments.

It is amazing to me how a knowledge and testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ changes everything. This is not a tragedy, but an unexpected turn of events in Heavenly Father's great eternal plan. And, I know from ample personal experience that unexpected turns of events in the Father's plan always bring greater happiness than we ever before imagined -when we let our faith guide us through.

I am sad to be so far away right now. I wish I could attend her services. I wish I could be there for Silver Taps in her honor. But, I will look forward to next April 21st, when I will proudly answer "Here" as her name is called at Muster.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

First Two Days

Its late and I need to go to bed, but here are some highlights of my first two days of interning at the Washington National Opera:
  • The offices are actually located in the Watergate complex (its a cluster of buildings, including the famous hotel, residences, offices, and shopping). The Kennedy Center is directly across the street and a great place to wander during lunch hour.
  • Only two interns, including me, started this week. Everyone else starts this coming Monday. Therefore, my big project this week is updating all the information the new interns are given and putting together the binders for everyone. I literally read the entire notebook yesterday to proof for grammatical errors, update any old information, etc. I also searched the internet and made a list of free entertainment in the area - good to know!
  • Office hours are 10:00am to 6:00pm. Nice because I can take I-66 into the city, which is entirely HOV during rush hour, and with a 1-hour lunch that makes for only a 7-hour work day. Bad because the kids are asleep by the time I get home at night.
  • I found out that a lot of people in arts management careers are musicians who realized one day that they needed to grow up and get a real job. I was nervous about being in Human Resources with no business education. On the contrary, I found out that the reason they selected me is because I was the only one they interviewed that seemed to really know something about HR and act interested in it.
  • This Thursday I get to attend the opera Elektra by Richard Strauss. Placido Domingo is starring, and after the performance he is having a party exclusively for WNO staff and I get to go! I'M GOING TO MEET PLACIDO DOMINGO ON THURSDAY!
  • Next week I get to attend the last opera of this season, Handel's Tamerlano. I am really excited about this one because it is a very early opera - most operas performed today were composed much later than this one. Every performance is completely sold out, so my ticket is "standing room only." At least I get to go!
  • I get to attend the Opera Ball in June. This is a black tie affair held at the French Embassy. It is THE major fundraising event for the opera and apparently considered one of the the top 5 fanciest parties in DC all year. I volunteered to help out- I'm not sure exactly what that entails, but they did tell me that I might be in costume....? I'm just excited to get to go to the ball!
  • DC roads are insane and don't make any sense. I have lost count of the number of times I've gotten lost, turned around, on the wrong road with no way out, etc. Seriously. Last night I actually went back to the Kennedy Center to start over after getting so turned around I had no clue where I was but saw a sign that said Kennedy Center. About half an hour later I went back to the Key Bridge to start over from there. After over two stressful hours, I finally made it home. One wrong turn and you're doomed forever. There are no easy U-turns in DC. NONE!
  • I went to Institute tonight and met some of the ward. They seem like a nice friendly group. The #1 question following my telling them I'm here for the summer was, "From BYU?" ...No
  • I seem to be having a very hard time getting to bed on time, but whats new?
To hear about my fun weekend with Nancy & the family, check out Nancy's blog.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

The Road Trip

Mom and I arrived at Nancy's house in Virginia last night around 6:00. We had a very fun and relaxing road trip. We drove up through the Northeast corner of Texas, through Texarkana and across Arkansas, crossed the Mississippi River into Tennessee at Memphis, then stopped to spend the night in Nashville.

We got to Nashville around 5:30 so we were right in the middle of rush hour, but we took advantage of the slow traffic to cruise through downtown Nashville and see some sights. We drove through Music Row and actually saw a guy in a cowboy hat walking down the street with his guitar on his back -a classic Nashville picture. After a quick look around downtown we were determined to go to the Bluebird Cafe, known for being a sort of "songwriter's haven." Many songwriters (and not just country ones) have gotten their start there. It took us FOREVER to find it. It was not at all where we expected!- nowhere near music row or anything else "Nashville"-ish. We followed the GPS and still couldn't see it, so finally we went in to a Whole Foods Market and asked someone. We were lucky to find some music-loving locals who directed us there. We never would have found it without them! It is a tiny little place stuck in the middle of a strip mall between two retail stores with a very discreet sign.

We walked in and there were four songwriters sitting in the midst of all the tables, in a circle facing each other. The each had a guitar and a microphone. We sat and ate and watched them go around the circle taking turns singing their own songs. It was so cool! One of the songwriters did a couple songs that I actually know because they have been on the radio! One was "I Would Have Loved You Anyway" recorded by Trisha Yearwood and the other was "One Day Closer to You" recorded by Carolyn Dawn Johnson. I really like "One Day Closer to You", though it was never a big hit. Lets just say I can relate to the words.

The walls were completely plastered with signed headshots from various artists who have passed through the Bluebird. Some of the ones I noticed were Trisha Yearwood, Townes Van Zandt, Pam Tillis, Carlene Carter, Walt Wilkins, and even Barbara Walters! Have I mentioned that it was so cool!

We had a comfortable nights sleep at a hotel that night and were off the next morning to finish our trip. We spent almost the whole day yesterday driving through the Smoky Mountains and Blue Ridge Mountains. It was gorgeous!- hills and peaks covered with huge trees and different hues of green. Southwestern Virginia was beautiful with picturesque farmhouses with picket fences on rolling green hills with red barns.

Mom and I really enjoyed a relaxing road trip without an overly filled car, screaming kids, boys, or junk food.

But, we are very very happy to finally be here!!!!!!!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

All packed up

My roommate and I have a habit of leaving each other notes on the bathroom mirror in dry erase marker - especially during week's like this one where we're both so busy that we barely see each other.

Today I came home and this is what I found:

Ruth =( Your
room looks
so bare. =(
It makes me
be only 90% excited
for you & 10% sad....
I'm more like 80/20....
More like 20/80.

I'll miss you too, Heather!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Eye Doctor Blues

*** Warning! Much complaining to follow ***

I went to the eye doctor yesterday. The news was not good. There is irritation all over my eyes and little white spots all over my corneas - white blood cells. There is no way for the doctor to even determine what the problem is or what my proper contact prescription should be until they heal. Usually white spots like that appear from wearing contacts for too long, sleeping in them, not cleaning them properly, etc. But in those cases the white spots would only be in a couple areas. Mine are all over. The doctor says he's never seen anything like it before, but he tells me not to worry about it because it will heal. Right.

What that means? I'm banned from wearing contacts for at least 2-3 weeks. I told him I was leaving town next week and he actually suggested that I wear my contacts all summer and come see him when I get back! Yeah right! I am not wearing my glasses all summer! I will go see an eye doctor in Virgina in 2-3 weeks, thank you very much!

I do not like wearing my glasses! They are heavy, they slip down my nose, they mess up my hair, and they cover up my eyes which, I must say, are a very important element of my animated mannerisms! Plus, I really really don't like driving in my glasses. No peripheral vision, no quick glances into my blind spot, and no sunglasses. Plus, not wearing contacts is making my eyes run, which makes my nose run, which creates drainage in my throat - and my voice recital is tonight! AAAARGH!