Sunday, November 30, 2014

Tis the Season...(Audition Season That Is)

    As usual I've been severely neglecting the blog, but I just haven't had the time or motivation for it recently. I also haven't been taken many photos these days, unless you count pictures of the cats and I doubt any of you want another blog post dedicated to felines.

Ornamentation is half the battle.
     Now that Thanksgiving is over, I know most people are gearing up for the holiday season with shopping and Christmas music. The beginning of my December, however, will be almost entirely dedicated to opera related activities, mainly auditions!

     After weeks of submitting dozens of applications (and paying dozens of application fees...), it is a relief to finally get the chance to do some singing. I have at least four auditions within these next two weeks, and then afterwards, my least favorite part of the process: waiting to hear back. Impatience has always been more daunting to me than stage fright.

     In other singing related news, I am currently studying two operatic roles with Sing Through Central. It's nice to have a project with a concrete goal to work toward when I'm practicing. My first sing through will also be taking place in the first two weeks of December, so between that and coachings and the aforementioned auditions, I find my free time dwindling quickly.

     I'll being singing Servilia in La clemenza di Tito this month with Sing Through Central, and then I'll be kicking off the new year with a sing through as Belinda in Dido and Aeneas in January. I'm excited to be learning both these roles, and the music is sublime.

     Since I will be busy with auditions and preparing these two roles, I can't guarantee I'll be updating here regularly for the next month or so. As a peace offering, I leave you with a video of the duet between Servilia and Annio from La clemenza di Tito:

(Kate Lindsey is a pretty dreamy Annio, don't you think?)

Upcoming Performance Alert:

      There will be more details hopefully later this month, but I wanted to give you all a heads up that Andy will be singing the role of the Vicar in Bronx Opera's upcoming production of Albert Herring, so if you're in the area in January, you should definitely come see the show. I hear the music rehearsals from our neighbors' living room, and it sounds fantastic. The two casts have not been set yet, but as soon as I know which nights he is performing, I will put the details up here.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Family, Friends, and Fair Food

Andy and the record setter for most Midway prizes accumulated in a day!

     I've been aching to make a trip back to the Midwest to see family and friends this summer, and last week, Andy and I finally took time off and flew back to our homeland. It was so great to reunite with loved ones we hadn't seen since Christmas, and I'm already looking forward to our next planned return in December!

     As luck would have it, our trip to Minnesota just happened to coincide with the last weekend of the State Fair. I've been to the Iowa State Fair many times (even worked there a couple summers), but I'd never made it to Minnesota edition before.

     I take great pride in my home state's fair, but I have to say that both Minnesota and Iowa are eerily similar in most ways. Lots of people.
Various foods on sticks, many of them fried. Livestock. The Midway. Humidity. So all in all, I felt right at home.

     Although I'm pretty sure no one ever wrote a musical about the Minnesota State Fair. Just sayin'...

     I have to say that we tried to tackle the fair with far too large a group. I think there were nearly 20 of us, and we probably spent most of our day standing around and saying, "Who are we waiting for? Where did they go?" It was not a sound plan of action. We should have split into smaller groups and met up later, but since it was the only chance for some of Andy's family to spend time with him while we were in town, we tried to make it work with our large herd on the busiest weekend at the fair.

Another State Fair Staple: The Giant Slide
     Apparently it was record breaking attendance at the State Fair that weekend, and the crowds were massive. Worst of all were the food lines! I love cookies more than anyone, but no way am I waiting in line for 20 minutes. Luckily our more persistent companions let me have a couple cookies from their bucket, so my craving was satisfied.

     For those of you who may be worried that I didn't get the binge eating experience that every fair goer must endure, I assure you I met the stuffing your face requirements with all of my favorites (giant lemonade, mini donuts, and pork chop on a stick) as well as some new treats (cajun fries, apple cider pops, and  frozen grapes).

     I will admit that the Minnesota State Fair had a much larger Midway than the Iowa one. They even had a Kidway as well? Minnesotans take their carnival rides and games seriously!

     We also had the luckiest kid ever with us at the Midway! I think he walked away with 5 or 6 prizes. Unheard of! We shouldn't have ditched the fair and headed to the casino to keep his winning streak going! I also felt bad for his dad having to lug all those stuffed animals around for the remainder of the day, especially the giant dragon. (It was a freaking awesome prize and surprisingly lightweight but cumbersome.) According to Andy, however, "He's a dad. That's his job." No sympathy.

      The one area of the fair that I was definitely looking forward to was the Minnesota Craft Beers area. I enjoyed living in Duluth for the plethora of local brews available, and I was looking forward to tasting some new brews.

      I felt a bit overwhelmed when I had to choose which flight of beers I wanted to try. Why couldn't I sample all of them? After much deliberation, I chose the flight of dark beers because it was the only set that contained 4 brews I had never tasted before.

     Apparently Andy's aversion to dark beers runs in the family, because everyone grimaced when I told them which flight I'd chosen. Oh well. More for me to enjoy!

Ye Old Mill: A State Fair Tradition.
Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox.
   I had a ton of fun at the fair, but by the time we started home, I was tired and bloated. After 8 hours of walking, my feet were OVER it. You'd think living in NYC where I walk quite a bit on a daily basis I would be better prepared for the physical strain of the State Fair, but my body was rebelling hardcore. Needless to say I slept soundly that night.

     Later that week, we made the trek over to Wisconsin to spend time with my family at the cabin. I would share photos of all the fun outdoor activities, rained the entire time we were there. (Stupid weather.) So I figured no one would want to see pictures of all of us playing Hearts, gorging on Top the Tater, singing musical theater, and looking sad because our bonfire got quenched by rainfall.

     I'm bummed we didn't get any sunshine so we could lounge on the dock, go swimming and kayaking, etc., but it was so great to spend time with my family and friend. I wouldn't mind, however, if our next visit to the cabin was equal parts fair weather and friendly.

     As always, our trip home felt way too short lived. We always try to fit so much into a week, because we want to see everyone and do everything. Now that we're back in NYC, I'm exhausted. Aren't vacations supposed to be relaxing?

     I have to admit that I am more homesick for the Midwest than ever upon our return to the East Coast. NYC is awesome, but it never truly feels like home.

     In the meantime, fall is fast approaching and with it the ominous audition season. Wish me luck!

     And simply because I couldn't resist...

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Run With Us

     I've always been a big soccer fan, and now that I live in NYC, I can finally attend MLS games regularly!

     Ever since Thierry Henry joined the New York Red Bulls, I've been a fan of the team, so when Andy bought us tickets to their season opener, I was thrilled. Some girls may want chocolates or jewelry for a Valentine's Day present, but he always knows how to pick the perfect gifts for me.

     Since then we've gone to at least 5 games at the Red Bull Arena as well as an away game viewing party. I think it's safe to say we are hooked. Especially with all the affordable deals we can find on tickets, a night at a soccer match has become our regular date night at this point.

    Whether Andy will admit it or not, soccer has definitely grown on him. I don't think he previously had much interest in it, but he's quickly is becoming an expert. I'm pretty sure he knows some of the rules better than I do. I'm still working on getting him a plaque or something as reward for sitting through all those world cup games with me. It was a lot of soccer to watch in a short amount of time, and he survived! (I'm also converting him into a cat person, but I don't think he'll ever agree to that title. Even if he and Sirius are BFFs...)

     Don't worry, Andy. I promise I will watch as many Vikings games as you want, even if it means trying to cram our way into Bar None with the rest of the Minnesotans who reside in NYC. Besides, we'll need a new regular date night option once the MLS season is over.

    In other news, we will be making a trip back to the Midwest to visit family and go to the cabin in less than a week, and I can't wait!!! I definitely need to get out of the city and away from the job for a little while, and it will be nice to see our families again. A week from today, we'll be at the Minnesota State Fair, chowing down on fried food on a stick. This next week can't go by fast enough!

Monday, July 14, 2014

June busted out all over and straight into July!

     I feel as if I made the mistake of blinking at the beginning of June, and all of the sudden we are halfway through July! This summer has slipped past me when I wasn't looking, and I'm not ready to give it up yet.

     I was promoted a second time at work in June, and while I am truly grateful to be so appreciated and rewarded at my job, it feels as if the new work load has eclipsed all other aspects of life for the past month and a half. I haven't had time to step back and really register how things are going these days.

     It is as if I have just recently taken the blinders off, take a look around, and realized, "Okay, I'm finally feeling less stressed at the day job, but I've neglected my passions..."

     Survival mode has gotten me through a lot of crazy times in my life, but just managing to make it through an 8 hours shift and then desperately trying to keep up with chores and laundry every week is not particularly fulfilling.

     Audition season is inching closer every week, and if I don't regain my focus, it will sneak up on me before I'm ready. The balancing act between working to survive and finding time to sing has definitely become tricky this summer, but I'm determined to do my best to get out of the daily grind mode and remember why I moved out here in the first place!

     I've also been battling with the other dilemma we singers face...waiting! Some performers fear the audition itself, but what I hate more than anything is waiting to go into the audition and even worse is waiting to hear back from the company! I understand that with so many singers auditioning for companies it is almost impossible for each of us to get a response, but it is maddening when you simply don't know. I'd much rather get the rejection email than nothing at all because at least I know where I stand.

   Obviously on a related note, the few auditions I did earlier this year are still up in the air. No responses... I'll be sure to keep you posted of course.

    All this ranting would lead one to believe that my summer has been all work and no play, but luckily I have Andy to make sure I take the time to decompress when I can on the weekends. We've been exploring NYC one parade at a time, and I promise that I will be posting about my favorite soon...

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Ever the Balancing Act

     My opportunity to sing in Bronx Opera's La Traviata this month was a very rewarding experience, but this week I'm glad to be done. Working all day and then rehearsing almost every night for the past month has taken its toll on me physically and mentally.

     I'm currently sprawled on our couch and missing work today due to illness, so obviously my body is paying me back for all the lack of sleep and strange eating schedules over the past two weeks. Hopefully I'll make a swift recovery and be back at it tomorrow. I want to be healthy and enjoy my new free time!

     If this recent experience with Bronx Opera has taught me anything, it is that balancing financial survival (aka the day job) with artistic fulfillment (aka the pursuit of the dream job) takes a lot of physical, mental and emotional discipline and stamina. It's easy to see why so many singers struggle to keep it going. I can definitely understand how tempting the steady paycheck of an office job can be, but when I get out on the stage and the music starts, those fears become irrelevant.

     I hope I will get the chance to keep this balancing act going with future operatic engagements, and when I do become involved in another production, I hope that I can use the lessons I learned during this last experience to alleviate my stress level and physical strain. Those sacrifices are worth it in the end, but the more prepared and organized I can be, the more I can enjoy rehearsals rather than dread them.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Upcoming Performance: Bronx Opera's La Traviata

    Hello once again! As I have previously mentioned, I am currently singing in the chorus and covering Annina in Bronx Opera’s upcoming production of La Traviata. I thought I would share more details about the performances with you all since opening weekend is fast approaching.

     If you'd like to come see me party it up onstage, you can attend the opera in either the Bronx or Long Island. The show is double cast, so if you want to see Andy singing the role of Germont (and believe me, you definitely do), he will be onstage for the May 10th and 18th performances.You can find more information about the casts, etc. on Bronx Opera’s website:

Bronx Opera's La Traviata Performance Dates and Locations:

Friday, May 9, 7:30 pm @ Lovinger Theatre, Lehman College, The Bronx
Saturday, May 10, 7:30 pm @ Lovinger Theatre, Lehman College, The Bronx

Saturday, May 17, 8:00 pm @ John Cranford Playhouse, Hofstra, Hempstead, Long Island
Sunday, May 18, 5:00 pm @ John Cranford Playhouse, Hofstra, Hempstead, Long Island

More info on how to order tickets here:

     There are discounted tickets available for the performances at Lehman College ONLY. Please message me if you are interested, and I will share with you how to purchase discounted tickets.

     It’s a great production, and we are singing in English so you won’t have to worry about reading subtitles to understand the plot. La Traviata is a classic, touching story, and it is my favorite Verdi opera. All the lead singers are talented and passionate performers, and whichever cast you end up seeing will be sure to pull you into the tragic tale of love and loss.  

     I'm really enjoying being immersed in opera on a regular basis once again, and I’d love to see any of you at the performances.Feel free to comment or message me if you have any questions about the shows.

     On a somewhat related note, I've had a couple auditions recently, and I will be sure to keep you all posted if/when I hear anything. Fingers crossed!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Cupcake Crawl: Sweet Revenge

     I know! I'm a total slacker when it comes to blogging. In my defense, I've been pretty well booked with opera rehearsals and work this month (not to mention trying to take care of an ailing Andy this past week). I like to think that those are all valid excuses... To assuage, my guilt, however, I have determined to finally update the blog!

     Now I know that this is technically a Cupcake Crawl post, but my latest cupcake venue discovery has made a complete addict of me. Working down near the West Village has its perks and dangers, and I consider Sweet Revenge to fall in both categories.

     The danger lies mainly in the fact that the bar is a mere block away from work, making it far too tempting to drop in during my lunch for a coffee and meal or during happy hour for a cupcake.

     The perks, of course, are all the readily available and delicious bake goods that I can procure on my way to the subway whenever I so choose. How can a girl with a sweet tooth complain about that?

     Sweet Revenge has found the perfect combination of two of my great culinary loves: booze and cupcakes. They even have a happy hour that caters to this with a beer/wine and cupcake combo deal in the evenings! I mean, I'm all for sipping on a latte or cocoa with my dessert, but a post-work potable makes for a way more satisfying compliment to a sweet treat.

     The menu is even specially tailored for pairing drinks with cupcakes. On the front, there is a detailed list of the four standard cupcakes as well as all the specialty flavors. On the back, however, there is a thorough chart which lists a wine and beer pairing for every individual cupcake. Examples of such pairings can be found here.   So far the menu hasn't led me astray when it comes to choosing the right drink to balance my baked good of choice.
     Aside from the awesomeness of booze and dessert combos, Sweet Revenge would have won me over for the cupcakes alone. They have a moist consistency that I love, and I enjoy that there are signature flavors I can fall back on as well as a multitude of new specialty flavors to discover.

     So far I have tried the Pure, the Dirty,the Cafe Mocha, the Dulce de leche, and the Black & Tan, as well as tasted Andy's favorite and the bar's signature cupcake the Sweet Revenge (aka peanut butter). All were delicious, and I can't wait to try more flavors in the future.

Cafe mocha cupcake with a chocolate stout. Decadence!

    Aside from getting my sugar fix at Sweet Revenge, I've also found a nice little lunch spot where I can cozy up with a latte and a light meal for an hour. I love sitting in the sunny window seat and getting out of the office for a little while.

     One of the first things that intrigued me about the bar was their chalkboard sign out front that enticed me with a never before seen brunch item: RED VELVET BELGIAN WAFFLES. Um...I love red velvet cake...and I love YES PLEASE.

     I finally treated myself to this decadent red delight for my birthday lunch (or in reality, Andy made a surprise appearance during my lunch hour and treated me to some birthday waffles), and it was everything I hoped it would be. I'm making myself hungry just looking at this photo again!

    Well, I think perhaps I have gushed about Sweet Revenge enough for one entry, but they got me. I'm a total addict. I foresee many waffles, wine, cupcakes, and beer in my future. Feel free to join me sometime!

    More posts to come in the near future I swear! Our performances with Bronx Opera are swiftly approaching, and I promise I will share more details about La Traviata as we get closer to those dates.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Add Another -ina to the Resume

     I just wanted to give you all a quick update on the opera career front. Still waiting to hear back from some auditions, but I am pleased to announce that I will be covering the role of Annina and singing in the chorus of the Bronx Opera's production of La Traviata.

     Andy will also being singing Germont in the production. (It seems like Traviata has become our show as a couple.) So if you come see the show, you'll get to see both of us!

     The performances are in May, and I'll be sure to post more details as the date approaches. For now, I'm just excited to start rehearsals soon.

More information on the performances and Bronx Opera are available at their website.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

My Honey Valentine

     Now that I am no longer working as a bartender, I rarely mix drinks anymore. I miss creating cocktails sometimes, and so as Valentine's Day approached, I thought it would be the perfect occasion to put my bartending skills to use.

     The main inspiration for this cocktail creation was Andy's new found favorite liquor, Jack Daniel's Tennessee Honey. I introduced him to it not long ago, and it has swiftly become his go to booze of choice. Naturally, I thought the sweet liqueur would be the perfect base for a Valentine's Day drink, so I started brainstorming.

     The cocktail was success, and I think it would be a tasty beverage for any season. I've shared the recipe below in case any of you would like to try it for yourself.

My Honey Valentine: 

  1. Pour 2 oz Jack Daniel's Tennessee Honey (or any honey whiskey liqueur that you prefer, Jim Beam and Wild Turkey both make their own version).
  2.  Add Tazo Passion Iced Tea. (It is a floral and fruity tea but not too sweet. It balances the honey nicely.)
  3. Add ginger ale. (Adds a little fizz, and the ginger compliments the honey flavor well.)
  4. Pour into sugar rimmed glass and garnish with lemon and strawberry. (Lime would also be a nice addition, and for a valentine flair, cut the strawberry into a heart shape.)
     It is a delicious drink inspired by a special guy. I hope you all had a wonderful Valentine's Day as well, and if I get a chance, I will try to share more cocktail creations with you in the future.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Bronx Bound

     After yet another hiatus, I am back and ready to blog! We are officially connected to the internet, so I no longer have that as an excuse for slacking on the entries. What better way to celebrate my return to the world wide web than to finally share the story of how I ended up in the Bronx with my beau and my black cat.

     It seems so long ago, but just a few months ago in November, Andy asked me to tag along with him while he looked at an apartment in the Bronx. His current sublet was almost up, and when a friend told him that a room might be available in the apartment, we took the train up to Bedford Park to meet the friend's father and to check it out. 

      When we arrived, the situation with the apartment was not at all what Andy had expected. I won't go into the details (our neighbor did...the story took up most of two hours while the actual tour took about 15 minutes), but it turned out that the entire three bedroom apartment was up for grabs rather than just a room.

      Before we sat down with our neighbor and began discussing the apartment, the thought that I would be looking at a potential home for myself had not crossed my mind. I was simply there to give Andy a second opinion, but as we walked through the spacious apartment (huge by NYC standards), I found myself being charmed by every room. Suddenly our neighbor starting going on and on about how wonderful it would be to have a nice couple like us living upstairs.

      I was startled at first by his assumption, but his words planted a seed in my brain. Andy and I had never discussed moving in together, and neither of us was sure how the other would feel about such a proposition at this point in our relationship. We were temporarily spared having to make that decision just a few days after our visit, however, because the original tenant who had disappeared (thus leaving the apartment up for grabs) randomly reemerged. Andy didn't particularly want a flaky, vanishing roommate, so the Bronx apartment faded from our minds.

   Cut to Thanksgiving week: Andy gets a call from our neighbor with apartment news. The original tenant had run off again, and they weren't giving him any more chances. The place was all ours (and only ours) if we wanted it. Suddenly we had to have the "do we want to move in together" talk, and we had to make a decision right away. December was fast approaching, and they wanted the place taken by the 1st of the month.

      As you can probably deduce, we decided to make the big step and moved to the Bronx. It just felt right from the start, and I am loving our new home. We were so lucky to find such a nice, affordable apartment. There are so many benefits to finally living in NYC proper as well. The money I save now that I don't have to take the Metro North every day more than makes up for the slight increase in rent. I'm also a big fan of not having to wake up at 5 am and make three transfers to get to work in the morning anymore. Yonkers was nice enough, but getting south of Westchester has made the commute much easier.

     What has astounded me most about the entire situation surrounding our move to the Bronx is the incredible generosity we encountered. New Yorkers have a reputation for being rude and inhospitable, but I have met so many people that prove this stereotype is far from accurate.

      Our neighbors went out of their way to make us feel welcome to our new home from the start. They drove us around for a tour of the neighborhood. They took us out to lunch at a local market. They even let us borrow their car to move our belongings from our separate sublets. Anyone willing to drive out to Yonkers and haul all my sweaters is the picture of generosity in my book.

      The most amazing example of the kindness of strangers was when a friend of our neighbors offered to furnish our entire apartment for free. Apparently her mother-in-law had passed away, so they had a lot of quality furniture that they just didn't have room for but didn't want to discard. She offered us enough items to fill three apartments, and almost every furniture item pictured is on loan to us from this generous acquaintance.

   The friend even paid for professional movers to bring all the furniture into our apartment. All we had to do was tell them where to put everything. It was overwhelming to experience such a gesture. Andy and I just kept wandering from room to room with baffled faces. Occasionally when we were alone we would just stare at each other and go, "Is this really happening?" It was a total "Pinch me. Am I dreaming?" kind of day.

     The best part about inheriting furniture from an elderly woman is the quality. Every piece is so unique (sometimes dated but never cheap). I've posted some exampled of my favorite pieces, including a gorgeous end table with gold trip and our hefty coffee table adorned with what I have dubbed "the Valkyrie swans." Sirius is particularly fond of nuzzling these fearsome looking birds. (I usually just end up bumping my knees on them.) Still...the beauty is definitely in the details.
     It was such a blessing to move into a fully furnished apartment. Since we both had moved out to NYC with mostly clothes and essentials, we had very little to put in our new place. Being able to walk in the front door without being greeted by stark, empty rooms really made me feel at home right away.

   Also, money is always tight living in the city, so it was great not to have to worry about making big purchases that would strain the wallet. They even gave us some kitchenware and linens! Sure we lacked a few key items, but overall we were set.

     Possibly the most unexpected and therefore most appreciated items they bestowed upon us was an upright piano. It is in great shape, and only a half step out of tune! We should probably get it tuned one of these days...practicing is always a little more difficult when I have to transpose everything up a half step. Having our piano is such a luxury though. I'm very grateful. What kind of musician wouldn't appreciate a free piano? I must have done something good in life to be this spoiled.
         We may decide to replace some pieces of furniture in the future, but for now we are quite content to enjoy the generosity shown to us in the Bronx.

      Of course, giving the apartment out own personal touches always helps make it feel like more of a home, and luckily we were able to haul some of our own belongings back to the Bronx with us on our return from the Midwest Christmas Road Trip Extravaganza. Thanks to Andy's expert packing skills we were able to fit quite a few desired items, in particular a wussy black cat in his carrier.

      My main contribution to our new home (of course) was books. I never feel truly settled until I have my favorite literature with me.We could only fit a small portion of my collection in the rental car, so I'm still missing the majority of my beloved tomes. (Apparently Andy can only fit so many sweaters and novels in the back seat and still leave room for Sirius...) I'll just have to be patient and reunite my collection gradually. Don't worry though. I have plenty to read in the meantime.

   As far as useful contributions to the apartment, I made my mark in the kitchen. Now that we have my limited selection of cuisine technology and cookbooks, the cabinets are looking a little less sparse, and our dinners have become slightly more varied. I forgot a few key kitchen items in my parents' basement, so perhaps when I'm back in Iowa for another visit, I can pick those up while I'm gathering more literature. I'm sure Andy would be much more pleased to lug pots and pans back east than my boxes of fiction.

     I'm also looking forward to making personal touches to our apartment together. Things always feel more special when they hold a shared memory. We're slowly acquiring more items that are considered "our" belonging rather than "mine" or "yours," and with them, each one solidifies the feeling that this is "our home."

      Andy's belongings probably did more to amp up the decor, since he has plenty of artwork to brighten our walls. I'm especially fond of his original photography (an example is pictured above), and I can't wait to see more of his creations displayed. 

      Well, I think I've rambled long enough for one post. I'll be sure to share more of my insights on living in the Bronx in the future, but I wanted to share the story of how Andy and I ended up in this borough. It has been a wonderful two months so far, and I'm so glad we decided to take this opportunity together.

      In true cat lady fashion, I'd like to end this post with pictures of Sirius enjoying the new apartment. Andy constructed some awesome kitty shelves in the living room, and though the fat cat was a bit nervous around them at first, he has taken a fancy to them at last.

      He has mastered going down the steps, and of course he excels at napping on them. We have some work to do when it comes to climbing UP the shelves, but for now, he seems more than content letting Andy place him on the top step and going from there.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

New Year, Old Roomie

     I am WAY overdue for a blog post I know. December has been a bit chaotic, and we have yet to find the time or money to set up internet in the new apartment. Also, my cell phone has been on the fritz recently which makes taking photos for new posts rather difficult. I think I finally solved the phone issue today, and hopefully we will be connected to the interweb in the very near future, allowing me once again to blog regularly.

     My "fans" (and by fans I mean my mother) apparently have been missing my entries, because I have recently received a request for a new post via my Facebook page. As luck would have it, Andy and I have been staying down in Manhattan for a couple days this weekend in an apartment with wifi, so naturally I brought my laptop along to take advantage of free internet and to fulfill the blog related demand.

     Despite the fact that I haven't been able to blog about it, December was a busy and exciting month. I'll try to break down some of the highlights for you:

1. Andy and I moved to the Bronx! I will share more on this later. I plan on dedicating an entire post to the new apartment, complete with pictures.

2. We also, courtesy of our amazing new neighbors, got to sing in the chorus of Bronx Opera's performance of Messiah. I adore Handel, so I was thrilled to get another chance to participate in his masterpiece. Nothing puts me in the holiday mood like Messiah.

3. Midwest Christmas Road Trip Extravaganza! It was a long drive back to our homeland, but it was so wonderful to be able to make it home for the holidays, even if it was only for a brief time. The week was the perfect blend of new introductions (meeting Andy's family) and reuniting with my own family.

     Now that I've caught you up on how I ended 2013, it's time to look forward to 2014. I've decided to start my new year of blogging as a true cat lady, so prepare yourself.

     Another bonus of driving to Minnesota and Iowa was the opportunity to haul more belongings back with us. I was particularly thrilled because I got to bring my favorite old roomie back with us to the Bronx (with Andy's approval of course).

     That's right! Sirius Black the black cat is back! I was so bummed that I couldn't bring him with me when I first moved out to New York, and I don't think he was very pleased about having to live with the bully calico cat at my parent's house. I am spoiled, however, and have an amazing boyfriend who was willing to welcome the fat cat into our new home, so when we loaded up the car for our trip home, my main concern was, "Is there still room for Sirius? Save a spot for him!"

Fatty in his element.
     Sirius was not happy about the road trip part of our reunion. He's a big scaredy cat, so he spent most of the 20 hour ride cowering in his travel box. When I did manage to lure him out of his shelter, he either curled up on the floor by the passenger seat or sat in my lap and buried his head in my arms like an ostrich. Let's just say by the time we got to the Bronx he was relieved to be anywhere but in a car.

     So far Sirius seems to love the new apartment. It is huge compared to my old place in Duluth, and there are numerous window ledges for him to plop down on and watch the streets below. He's pretty simple to please.

          The fat cat is adapting to his new role as a city cat pretty well. I don't think he's ready to go for walks in Central Park or anything yet (Andy has set this as a goal), but he has become less jumpy about sirens and noise from our neighbors over the past week or so. It's progress at least.

     We did bring Sirius down to Manhattan with us for the weekend, and he most assuredly did NOT like travelling on the subway or being out in the cold. He's been a pampered indoor cat his entire life, so I think the chilly air and the rattling subway car was a bit traumatic for him. He was a quivering, sulking lump in his carrier the whole time. We'll see if he copes any better on the ride home today...

     If you're still reading at this point, I'm impressed. I mean...I've been rambling about my cat this whole time. Yikes. One last amusing anecdote concerning the cat before I finish, and then I promise not to dedicate another blog entry to my cat for at least a couple months. (My Instagram, however, is another story.)

     Sirius is totally going to be spoiled having Andy around. There are already grand plans for cat friendly shelving so that he can climb up to the top of the entertainment center and survey the land. Andy also constructed a large kitty fort out of cardboard boxes for Fatty last weekend.

    I mean, look at that thing! It's huge! Of course, in true cat fashion, no matter how much Andy tries to get him interested in the fort, Sirius will have nothing to do with it. We've tried luring him in with catnip and by placing his scratch pad inside, but he stubbornly ignores it. Perhaps he is using it when we are gone during the day just to spite us... He did actually jump inside the structure of his own accord on one occasion to use the scratcher. Andy's face lit up with such glee only to immediately become crestfallen because the cat changed his mind almost as soon as he set foot inside. Cat's are fickle creatures.

     Alright, I promise I'm done blithering on about my cat! I'll try to make my next post more interesting and informative. Until then, I'll leave you with one last photo of the fat cat.

Stop photographing me, Meghan. This is so embarrassing.