Monthly Archives: June 2014

Concession Stand

One of my favorite volunteer activities in high school was manning concession stands. I didn’t do it a lot, but it was an ideal gig–you provide the candy, nachos, and pop that make a sporting event more fun (or that which parents will concede to purchasing to tie kids over until dinner). I was experienced in food-service (ha…I had experience, whether or not that makes me experienced) because of my job at the local DQ and it felt like I was on the inside…behind the scenes running of event XYZ. 

Frequenting concession stands was something I epitomized as a kid in late elementary school and junior high, although it wasn’t habitual. I remember going to the pool occasionally in junior high and coughing up the 50 cents for sour punch straws or a ten-pack of super sour warheads. Sometimes I went for the more-economical popcorn, sometimes I would get skittles. I was always thoughtful about how far my money would go…skittles, for instance, had more pieces (and therefore more time to enjoy) than a Snickers bar.

Concession has been a word that’s been rolling around my mind a lot in the last week or two. I’m in the middle of a housing hunt and though I have toured 9 very different places (we’ve got quite a spectrum), all of them come with some concessions…whether the cost or the commute (or both) or amenities missing. It’s such an exercise in priorities I can’t help but remember the simpler times when agonizing decisions involved candy. Those decisions usually worked out, as I’m sure this one will, but with grown-up choices come more variables. Some limitations I’m working through are my courage to drive in bad weather, my acquired furniture (and where it’s all going to go…knowing that I could sell it or store it is in the back of my mind, but when I eventually have a house I’d prefer to not have to start over), my timing (Thank you, July 31st, for falling on a Thursday…not), and my ignorance of the area. 

I’m realizing that the part of my house hunt that has prioritized comfort and “newness” has been heavily weighted, perhaps overly so. I am not so afraid to spend money on things that make life a little easier or help me to feel more secure (though I don’t rely on that security, living in a place with constant fear is not my idea of making a home), but I’ve allowed that to include spacious layouts, new appliances, and convenience of laundry. All good things, but not necessarily the most important qualities in a rental. Also, things that add significantly to the cost. It’s just money…yes…but have I been overlooking things that I could make work in favor of looking a certain way or living a certain way? I’m afraid so, and I’ve become adept at justifying these things to myself. In conceding the quality or classiness of the apartment I choose, I may be more motivated to settle into a more-permanent house (yay, home ownership!) and end my renting career, at least for now. That’s a concession I can live with!

Study Buddy

In the last three days I’ve been hitting music history listening pretty hard. We’ve entered a week of Romantic Italian and French Opera (admittedly only Carmen made that cut for the list, but who’s counting, anyway?) and I, being an instrumentalist who sings folksongs for kiddos for a living, have a limited background in the big works for voice. Where some of my classmates have performed these numbers or been to recitals, I’m thinking of all the movies or TV shows they remind me of because opera is so commonly borrowed.

Our discussion of Comps last week brought up using Spotify to study for the test. It’s an app (for your computer or tablet/phone) that saves your playlists of web-available music and allows you to organize it much like iTunes. I think you can even play your iTunes music through Spotify (but why would I do that? I’d just open iTunes)…and it’s been around for a while, so old news. I’ve avoided it because it’s got some sharing with facebook that I don’t like. But, now that I have found it and all the excerpts I needed were available, I’ve decided to dedicate my spotify account to studying for comps (or unit tests for now). That allowed me to listen to a shuffle mix while cooking dinner and doing dishes (and thinking through the details about the piece). My former way of studying…admittedly finding youtube clips of performances and playing parts over and over listening for tip-offs or clues for recognition (I know…anti-musical method, but I was desperate and short on time). It also didn’t give me much of a chance to listen blindly, as I had to type in all the pieces I wanted to hear. I suppose I could have made a playlist there, too…but spotify is nice for its minimize and small menu-bar controls.

As part of my studying, I’ve realized that I really enjoy opera. I had the opportunity to go see one of the operas we are studying in October, and it was amazing. I knew it was amazing then, but my sense of appreciation has raised a little more now that I’ve got some bearings for its place in music history and how far opera had come before that (it was Verdi’s Otello, which he actually came out of retirement to write in 1887; hesitant because Rossini had written his own version). I noticed the DMMO is producing another Verdi this summer and went out to check ticket prices for a matinee on Sunday. Gulp. I think I’ll stick with the yarn (or rent…or food) that money will buy me for now and hope that I make a point to go to more operas with more planned budgeting. All the cheap seats are sold, naturally.

One more week remains of this term. I am excited, and yet the next term holds way more than plain ol’ excitement. I’ll be moving and “in” class a lot more. What can you do? Not-a-much! Better head to bed!