Opera review: Manon Lescaut

A couple of weeks ago, I went to see Manon Lescaut at the Kennedy Center. I had never heard of it, but I like other operas by Puccini (like Tosca and my beloved, favorite, untoppable La Boheme) so I wanted to go.

In a word, meh. Part of it was my fault, a late arrival meant sitting in the back row for the first act and I couldn’t see the supertitles. But you can still kind of get the gist of what was going on, and I didn’t like it.

The whole premise was, there is this woman Manon who falls in love with a guy who doesn’t have much money. They’re madly in love, blah blah, but then a really rich guy swoops in and sweeps Manon off her feet and she marries him and lives in the lap of luxury. But all the while she’s remembering her first love.

Somehow, her brother smuggles the first guy into Manon’s palace with the intention that they should run off together. HOWEVER, and this is what I just found so stupid, they can’t escape fast enough (police were on the way to arrest her for adultery, I guess that was a crime back then) because she took too long grabbing jewelry and clothes out of her closet! Like really, you’re going to risk arrest and not getting to be with this man you’ve been pining for for years because you have to pack a bag of necklaces? Gag me! And why was it taking so long? Grab them and run! Ugh, I was so annoyed.

So she gets exiled to America. The scene where they’re shipping off all the prostitutes was very disturbing to me, the male characters were extremely aggressive with the female ones, there was a lot of shoving around and pushing down. The girls looked like rag dolls up there. It made me uncomfortable! Anyway, Manon and her poor fella end up wandering aimlessly through backwoods Louisiana when finally fat, spoiled, pampered Manon lays down and expires on top of a rock. Good riddance.

The music didn’t soar, but maybe just because I hated the main character so I couldn’t feel any love. Final review: don’t bother with this one. Sorry Puccini.

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Biffed it hard

I took yesterday off work to celebrate my birthday (I may or may not be a little too old to have week-long birthday celebrations but who’s counting?) and decided to take doggity on a hike in Rock Creek Park. As I set out on the trail, I decided to get my jog on a little bit.

“Getting my jog on” is not something I do with any frequency and am apparently pretty out of practice because on about the fourth step in, I don’t know what happened, all the sudden the ground was moving at me at an alarming rate. I went down HARD, it knocked my wind out a little! I just laid there for a second, and the poor dog was so worried he’s all over me frantic and licking my face. I was fine, got up, and shambled on my merry way. Learned my lesson about trying to go on a run, though.

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Still got it!

I got hit on last night by a 24-year-old. Rar!

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Feeling so good lately!

This post might be coming out of exhaustion delirium, but I’ve been so happy lately! It was my birthday a couple days ago and I was chatting on the phone with my dad and laughing at nothing the entire time, I couldn’t help it. And honestly, it’s not like things are going amazingly in my life. I just feel good. It’s great!

I’ll list the things I’m grateful for and happy about:

1) My seriously awesome friends and family for making me feel so special on my birthday, and every day.

2) The longer days.

3) High waisted pants coming back into style.

4) Easter candy.

5) These old adidas soccer shoes I wear every day. I’ve had them for years and they continue to be comfortable and don’t wear out. You really do get what you pay for.

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Enjoying treats

I have noticed that the pizza joint down the street is markedly more busy on Fridays than any other day. It’s the end of the week, people are ready to let loose and have some fun. Pizza Day it is! As I recall, pizza day was always on a Friday in high school, too. I personally love it, let’s get this party started!

I know I’ve posted about this before, but I saw a guy take an orange slice from the free samples tray in the grocery store and pop it in his mouth yesterday. Seeing him happily munching his orange segment filled me with joy, as it always does. I do not know why seeing people out and about enjoying eating makes me so fricken happy. It probably goes back to how much I love to eat myself. All I know is, I am a die-hard misanthrope so anything that makes me love people is a gift I should savor.

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Four things every person should do, according to me

In my daily dog walks, I do a lot of people watching. I have found there are four things I find very appealing in men and women, that both increase attractiveness AND are possible for every ambulatory person. Not that anyone cares what my preferences are, but I suspect I’m not alone. Without further ado:

1) Good posture. I don’t care if you’re self conscious cos you’re tall or have a big tummy, you get those shoulders back. Newsflash: that tummy you think you’re hiding by slouching looks even worse than if you shot those shoulders back and owned it. You gotta believe me. And if your bad posture is from sitting behind a desk or plain laziness then you have even less of an excuse cos you’re not trying to hide anything. SHOULDERS BACK.

2) Nice, meaty thighs. I cannot STAND chicken legs. I’m not saying obesity is good looking, but if you’re skinny, or normal sized, or even overweight, I want to see some bangin thighs. And that means squats if god didn’t give you any. Add weights if you have to. There is nothing yuckier than seeing a man take a step forward and realizing all he has under those pants is a skinny leg bone and wilting flesh. GROSS. SQUATS.

3) A confident stride. I come up on you and you’re shuffling aimlessly, I think you look slovenly. As a shuffler, I realize it feels good. But you look homeless. Pick up your feet, look straight ahead, and let’s get a move on. I’m not saying run into people or be a prick dodging in and out of foot traffic, just get some pep in your step. Again, maybe you’re feeling self conscious or sloppy and don’t want anyone to think you’re striding around, looking good. They don’t, they just think you maybe have an ounce or two of confidence, and that makes you more attractive no matter what you’re wearing. PICK UP YOUR FEET.

4) A closed mouth. This one’s for you, mouth breathers. I don’t know for sure how long it takes to form a habit, but I want you to consciously, all day long, for as long as it takes, take stock of your mouth. Is it hanging open now? How about now? Now? If the answer is yes, close it and breathe out of your nose. Do this until the answer is never yes. As my dad would say, the last time I saw a mouth like that, it had a hook in it. Not cute. CLOSE YOUR MOUTH.

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INFLUENZA

I have been sick with influenza for a full week. It’s so bad. My head pretty much never stops hurting so I can’t read, I have no energy to walk the poor dog, I cough, my nose runs, I can’t smell, I’ve been eating like a pig though so I probably gained ten pounds, I’m bored, I hate my apartment.

I hate this apartment. I hate it. It is an awful apartment. I would be happy if I never had to look at these four walls ever again as long as I live.

I’m so bored and squirrelly but I don’t feel well enough to go anywhere. Sigh. Get your flu shots, friends.

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A sad goodbye to my grandpa and uncle, who died the same week

I am well aware that my blog is a big downer, where I write about death and grief and cruelty more than any other topics. However, when it happens in your life, and your blog is about your life, I guess you have a right to mention it.

Ergo,

In a sad and weird twist of fate, my Uncle Leno died the Wednesday before last after his cancer metastasized to his brain. He actually had gone to the hospital for radiation on the brain tumor when his systems shut down. His body had had enough.

What makes fate weird is that my Grandpa died three days later, of completely unrelated causes. He had been in really ill health for years and began the final spiral right after Christmas. While more expected, it still just hit us like a ton of bricks since we had just lost Leno.

I feel so sorry for my cousins Jill and Becky, Leno’s daughters. That is a lot of loss all at once. And my mom, to lose her brother and dad. For it being the ultimate human condition, this shit just never gets any easier.

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It’s going to be a day of little patience

When I was walking this morning, I watched a Jeep do what I estimate to be a 17-point turn to turn around in a street, while cars backed up behind him. It was so painful to watch, the backing and the forthing and the backing and the forthing, I wanted to yank the man out of the car and do it myself. I managed to grind my teeth and kept walking. But you just know, when a day starts with you getting that mad at something that has absolutely NOTHING to do with you, doesn’t affect you adversely in any way, and is kind of funny when you think about it, that you are probably going to be a raging B all day long. Sorry world.

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Some things I think are stupid. Also some nice things.

These are some things I find stupid:

1) Getting really into professional football. It’s just such a waste of emotions, why give yourself a heart attack about this weird thing that doesn’t matter? Not to mention, it’s terrible how often players get really, really injured.

2) Those god awful pandora charm bracelets. They are so ugly. If you were toying with the idea of getting one for a lady in your life for Christmas, don’t. She won’t like it even if she pretends to.

3) Home remodels that gut the house and take out anything that gave the home historic character. Cool little townhouses and apartments with awesome period details get completely torn up, given open floor plans, sheet rock, and beige carpet, and then they look just like any other new build. And it usually doesn’t match the outside of the building. Not a fan.

Some things I think are nice:

1) House parties. I just went to a really fun one. So much better than going out to a bar. I guess I just don’t care anymore if I don’t meet random strangers getting wasted.

2) Fireplaces. I want one so bad, they are so cozy and wonderful. I’m reading a book by Joan Didion and she talks all the time about coming home to her apartment and building a fire. How fun.

3) Retro clothes. Taylor Swift took it to kind of a ridiculous extreme over the summer, but I love old 40s and 50s fashions, like they sell at Rocksteady.

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