decision dice

Living at home means that you often have nothing to do. Living at home while all your friends are on Spring Break means that you have absolutely nothing to do. Such is the case for Danielle and me.

It took us half an hour to decide we wanted to go to Barnes and Noble. The largest contributing factors to that decision were (a) we weren't hungry so going out to eat would be pointless and a waste of money and (b) we went to Target the night before. (This is truly the story of my home life.) I pulled on the first pair of jeans I saw hanging in my closet, adorned my feet with the fuzzy socks my sister got me for Christmas, and threw on my AOII sweatshirt, which I haven't worn in almost a year, since the Cal Alumni sweatshirt I usually lounge around in was currently spinning in the wash.

We perused the isles, pausing whenever something caught our interest. Travel books detailing the world's most fantastic and exotic locations. Cookbooks providing secrets to low-calorie, low-fat delectables. Biographies revealing the rags to riches stories of countless celebrities. And, my personal favorite, the bargain book section.

Scanning the shelves and tables for anything worth the $10 I was carrying in my wallet, my eyes fell upon a red and white cardboard construction: The Decision Dice. I was intrigued, enthralled, and curious. Clearly an upgraded version of my childhood Magic 8 Ball, I examined the small box I held in my hands and wondered how many people in the world actually believed in the magical capabilities of the three colored dice that box contained. I admitted to myself that sometimes, I could be counted in that population. The consequences of any decision can be far reaching and far worse than you had intended, and who wouldn't want to take a step back from that responsibility every so often?

I flipped the box over and caught a glimpse of a big red 50% off sticker, knocking the price down to a mere $5. Woah, I thought, $5 to have all my decisions made for me? I looked over at Danielle and said, "I think I should by this." She responded, "Why? Because you have a hard time making decisions?"


Two minutes and two more box examinations later, I muttered, "I can't decide if I really want to buy this."

Laughter ensued.


For the curious, I left the store an hour later, empty handed and with the decision to keep my money in my wallet.


notes to self

A bit of inspiration for the idealist in me...

She asked us all, "Who has neglected their responsibilities to spend some time working on themselves?" I startled me to think it's been a while since I've done so.

When in the process of obtaining a lifetime goal, sometimes the best thing to do is reevaluate your strategies and start all over. It might take a little longer, but if it really means that much to me, a few weeks won't matter in the grand scheme of things.

Take it one day at a time. Yesterday is done. Tomorrow is another story.

"You don't have to be perfect. You just have to be good enough."

Don't forget how happy I feel when I sing. I tend to lose sight of that when times get rough.

My friends love me. Sometimes, too much. Take what they say, listen, and then ask, "Is that what I really want for myself?"

"The key to success is picking yourself up one more time than you fall down."

I've done good, and I know I can do better.


i left my heart there too

We stood together and looked out at the sunshine. Peering towards the west, we decided to embark upon an adventure because it was warm, because we had the day free, and because we wanted to keep each other company. So we hopped in my Rav4, pulled out some toll fare, and drove into The City. It was a day like this, almost a year ago, that I secured three friendships: one of which has extended halfway across the world, another that has redefined my perception of integrity, and the third, one of my own greatest blessings. I wondered what lay in store for my friend and me today.

Brian and I spent the day in San Francisco without an agenda, placing our faith in the street signs that adorned every other street corner. A wrong turn down Stockton put us in the midst of Sunday afternoon shopping in Chinatown, an exciting detour as we made our way towards Coit Tower. The view from the top was as breathtaking as it was on my first visit, four years ago.

My Rav4 fought against gravity and forced its way up the hills to the Cable Car Museum, where Brian and I took an impromptu 15-minute self-guided tour. My love for San Francisco grew even more, as I studied one of its most characteristic attributes in detail for the first time in my life.

With about an hour until our scheduled return to Berkeley for rehearsal, we opted for dinner in the Marina district, one of my favorite districts to visit because of its grandiose architecture and vibrant colors. We turned onto Bay Street, and I smiled as the Golden Gate Bridge loomed ahead of us.

Driving back towards the East Bay, I felt more at ease than I have in quite some time. The spontaneity of our outing helped to restore my sanity and reminded me that every so often, I should allow myself some breathing room.

As much as I might say otherwise, San Francisco really is my favorite place in the world.



Artists in Resonance, ICCA West Region Semifinals 2006




Singing has always been more than just a hobby. For me, it's a way of life. It is difficult to recall a single day in my lifetime that has been spent without song. Those moments when I fall ill or lose my voice for one reason or another, though few and far between, are heartwrenching and leave me feeling empty and unfulfilled. But as much as I consider singing to be an important contributor to my well being, I have never visualized it as a part of my adult life. Perhaps it's because for as long as I can remember, the notion of responsibility has been emphasized as the number one priority by my parents, mentors, and rational-thinking friends. And consciously, I can understand and agree with their logic. Go to school. Get a good paying job. Buy a house. Settle down. Seek security. A lovely little progression, and one that guarantees success. I can't deny that.

But I'm starting to believe there is another type of responsibility that I'm neglecting from this equation. One that has to do with myself and my happiness. As I spend the whole of my days staring at a computer screen, answering phone calls, and desperately counting the hours until my next appearance on stage, I begin to consider the consequences between fulfilling my responsibility as an average member of society and fulfilling my responsibility as a unique individual with a repressed childhood dream. Why settle for a life of mediocrity when the possibility of something wonderful is just waiting for you to take action?

So Wednesday night, I took a leap of faith and auditioned for California Musical Theatre's Music Circus in Sacramento. Though not nearly as glamorous as Broadway itself, it has its place as a reputable company in Northern California. The Music Circus produces a summer series of musicals at the Wells Fargo Pavilion in Downtown Sacramento, and it solicits both professional performers and amateurs, like myself. All roles are salaried and provide plenty of exposure for old-timers and new-comers alike. Just what I was looking for.

I arrived with my sister at the Pavilion a few minutes before our scheduled audition at 9:00 PM. I was so thankful to have Cathy there with me. Over the years, our relationship has evolved from antagonistic to tolerant to adoring. I couldn't imagine a better source of support to have with me as I took this personal risk of mine. I was simultaneously tossing aside my strict regimen of responsibility and making myself vulnerable by putting my voice, which I have never considered good enough for anything other than family functions and local venues, on display for a panel of professionals.

I silently battled the snakes in my stomach (butterflies are reserved for happy occasions) as I waited alongside 40 or so auditionees in the Pavilion lobby. I surveyed all these would-be stage stars, poring over their music, tapping their feet along to a rhythm that only they could hear, or simply staring off into space. A few of them were clearly seasoned, easily chatting with one another and rattling off their accomplished performance resumes. All the while, I thought to myself, Dear God, I don't belong here.

The Assistant Artistic Director called us into the theater in groups of 10 to 12. My sister and I were grouped together, to my relief. She explained that we were expected to sit and watch as the auditionees ahead of us walked up to the stage, sang, then processed out of the theater. Being number 10 and my sister the last at 11, this meant that no one other than Cathy would see my audition. This served to alleviate much of the stress I was feeling because I knew that unlike the strangers gathered around me, she would reserve all judgment and supply me with the smile I was sure to need. And so, we began.

Within the my first five minutes in the theater, all my fears disappeared. The thought that plagued my conscience the worst was that I would not be up to par with the other audition's in the room. But having witnessed all nine auditions ahead of me, I quickly found that it was not the case at all. Not only was I up to par, but my singing and performance ability surpassed many of the other auditionees'. If anything, my sheer volume would be impressive, compared to the people ahead of me who could hardly be heard from where I was sitting, ten rows out from the stage. The longer I sat there and watched, the more my confidence built, until I was eagerly anticipating my chance to sing.

I walked up on stage, handed the accompanist my sheet music, turned to face the Artistic Director, and was thoroughly disheartened. As I began my introduction, the man did not even have the courtesy to look at me while I spoke. I was frustrated beyond belief, and I wanted to yell, "Um, excuse me sir, I did not drive all the way from the Bay Area to be ignored." Instead, I took a deep breath, and blew the roof off with my starting phrase, leading into the ending stanza of "The Wizard and I" from Wicked. That promptly got his attention. His head snapped up, and he inched forward in his seat. As the intensity of my performance built, he began to nod his head in time with the music. And upon the completion of my audition, ending with an impressive belted high C, he clapped his hands on the desk, laughed, and said, "Thank you so much!" I smiled, nodded, thanked him for his time, and collected my music from the accompanist who left me with, "Wow, thanks!" I happily sauntered off the stage just as my sister was approaching for her audition, with a huge smile on her face. One thought crossed my mind: I did good.

As we drove home later that night, I considered my prospects for both the Music Circus and my future. I've always known that what I have is a special talent, and until that audition, I never took it seriously. But what if I did? What if I actually took the time and effort to make something of and for myself? It would be risky, yes. In the cutthroat field of entertainment, I am likely to develop a propensity towards failure. But those moments of acceptance and appreciation from the leaders of the industry make my efforts seem worthwhile and make me feel like I am capable of something incredible.

I have come to the conclusion that I have to give this a try. Regardless of whether or not this audition takes me anywhere, I can't continue living my life of responsibility knowing that I could have done something better. Go ahead and call it irresponsible. Reckless abandon. Sheer insanity. Whatever the case, this little bit of exposure has done much more for my character than the past three months at my office job have and probably ever will.

Here I go, to the stage.


internal dialogue


Tuesday evening, 5:36 PM. A parking spot at the intersection of Channing and Prospect. Sweet. I jog up the steps of the Pi just in time for dinner. The boys of KDR are standing outside, de-thorning roses in preparation for their pledge serenade. I think of Brian and what he might be doing at this exact moment. At the door, I run into familiar faces whose expressions radiate with the warmth that accompanies homecoming. Both literally, in their cases, and figuratively, in mine. Inside, I plant myself next to my Lil Sis and former roommate and summarize the details of the past two weeks over roasted potatoes and herbed chicken, with the sound of embarrassed pledges singing along to Frank Sinatra in the background. I think to myself, times like these don't happen enough.

The doorbell rings, signifying the arrival of the East Bay Alumnae Chapter and the official start to my first alumnae chapter meeting. The experience is surreal, meeting these sister/strangers with whom I have so much in common with. It fuels my fascination with institutions and the means by which people organize themselves in hopes of creating a long-lasting legacy.

The meeting progresses. We discuss Sigma Chapter's upcoming centennial, the repair of house windows, membership dues, potential activities, and future meeting dates. And then it's time for officer elections. My ears perk up, my back straightens, and I feel myself inching towards the edge of my seat. All the while, my conscience is screaming, "What are you doing? WHAT are you doing?"

I can't help it. I am too much of a control freak. I long for a channel through which my opinion on executive matters can be heard. Yes, I can really be neurotic sometimes. While volunteers were being taken left and right, I engage in a mental battle with myself.

Arguments for taking office:

  1. I'm the youngest alumna in the chapter! I have fresh new ideas that will drastically improve the running of our organization!
  2. I've been an officer before, I can do it again!
  3. If I'm going to be involved, might as well take the lead!

Arguments for not taking office:

  1. I'm the youngest alumna in the chapter - basically I'm stupid, clueless as to what post-collegiate chapter life is really like, have never worked with any other alumnae, and don't even know what the real purpose of an alumnae chapter is.
  2. I've been an officer before - and with all the stress it caused, why the hell would I want to do it again?
  3. If I'm going to be involved - better just take baby steps before I bite off more than I can chew.

I almost took office. Everyone else had volunteered before I finished my internal dialogue. I still don't know whether or not I'm actually disappointed. I signed up to be a chapter advisor, just in case I turn out to be.

Again, "WHAT are you doing?"

Trying to stay connected for as long as possible. Helping out wherever I can. Slowly and secretly attempting to take over this whole operation.

A little bit of everything.

Mostly, I'm seeking to satisfy the need of a little girl who wants to be a part of something big.


why the switch?

A few reasons, actually.
  1. Google's fun. Gmail's great. Blogger's probably even better.
  2. Pictures are worth a thousand words. And here, I can finally post some.
  3. New year, new me, new webspace. It's that simple.

Come back for more of my life, unscripted.

Me and my Rav4