Friday, June 29, 2007

Flashback Friday

My sister, Jenny, had Danny 12 years ago today and from that moment he has been one of the most special people in my life. I missed being at the birth because I was at church camp- Camp Christian, but I remember the moment that I found out that he had come into the world like it was yesterday. We were all sitting in the mess hall and one of the camp counselors got up to make the announcement. I was so proud to hear that my big sister had just given birth to a healthy baby boy named Daniel Robert. I started to cry and everyone congratulated me as if I had just had a baby. I had to wait three days before I would meet him, but it didn't take long for us to become fast friends. I was also lucky and proud to be chosen to be his Godmother. Danny's dad is a firefighter and worked a lot of 24 hour shifts. Lucky for me, I think, because Jenny spent a lot of time at home with mom and me. Danny was a snuggler and loved to be held and I loved to hold him. As he got older, he and I would play all the time. I know it's probably "not cool" for a twelve year old to admit to his friends that he still plays with his crazy Aunt Jodi, but he does. We always have a helluva time, too! When I left Ohio to follow my dream in NYC, the two hardest people to leave were Danny and his brother Jake. Danny fell asleep in my arms (at Red Lobster) the night before I left and it was so hard to let go. When I put him in the car I bawled like a baby. I knew that by leaving them I wasn't going to get to see them all that often and it meant they would grow up without me. Well, grow up they have. Danny is one year from being a teenager and Jake is almost a whole decade and they are both fine young men that I am sure will turn out to be even finer adults.This was in 2003 either Thanksgiving or Christmas (I can't remember which), but I was tired from the flight and these two little guys decided to hang with Aunt Jodi even though she was too tired to play.

This was my sister's family vacation to NYC. We were outside Castle Clinton waiting to go to Ellis Island. Me and Danny (pictured), Jake behind the lens (a budding photographer).

This is Danny at his 11th Birthday Party!

Danny, I hope you have a fabulous birthday and know that I would love to be there to watch you make a wish and blow out those candles. Just know that on many birthdays when I was young, I wished that I would come to NYC to follow my dream and it happened. You can make your dreams come true, too. Dream big, and today wish big! I love you!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

What a Day, what a show!

So, I went to see Company on Broadway today at the matinee. WOW!!! I am so sad that it is closing this weekend. What a gem, and it won the Tony award for Best Musical Revival (2007). If you happened to catch the Tony's, Raul Esparza, who plays Bobby, sang "Being Alive." I was told in all my musical theatre acting classes that the reason people sing in musicals is because the stakes are so high within the world of the show that the character has no other way of expressing how they feel but to sing. His performance in the show was nothing short of stellar and showed that concept better than I could possibly explain it. It truly is the reason I love musical theatre, because when it's done right it moves you, sends chills down your spine, and makes you think. I was crying before he plunked the first note of the song on the piano. The story is of five married couples and three single women in NYC who are all part of Bobby's life. It is the exploration of love, sex, and commitment from Bobby's perspective. All the actors are also the orchestra in this production which adds an interesting element. The song "Being Alive" is the final song culminating all that Bobby has learned and yearned for in love. I think the brilliant lyrics speak for themselves (and I encourage you to buy the album, because the lyrics are really only half of the inspiration. The music adds another dimension.
"Being Alive" music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim

Someone to hold you too close
Someone to hurt you too deep
Someone to sit in your chair
To ruin your sleep…

Someone to need you too much
Someone to know you too well
Someone to pull you up short
To put you through hell…

Someone you have to let in
Someone whose feelings you spare
Someone who, like it or not
Will want you to share a little, a lot…

Someone to crowd you with love
Someone to force you to care
Someone to make you come through
Who’ll always be there
As frightened as you of being alive.
Being alive, being alive,
Being alive.

Somebody hold me too close,
Somebody hurt me too deep,
Somebody sit in my chair
And ruin my sleep
And make me aware of being alive,
Being alive.

Somebody need me too much,
Somebody know me too well,
Somebody pull me up short
And put me through hell
And give me support for being alive,
Make me alive, make me alive.
Make me confused, mock me with praise,
Let me be used, vary my days.

But alone is alone not alive!
Somebody crowd me with love,
Somebody force me to care,
Somebody let me come through,
I'll always be there as frightened as you,
To help us survive being alive,
Being alive,
Being alive!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Ten on Tuesday

1. Laundry on a hot day is not fun to do. I'd rather be at the beach.

2. I have someone coming to look at my old living room furniture. I've had it stacked in my bedroom since my new stuff came and I'm tired of looking at it. It really was quite an accomplishment for me to have bought new furniture

this is my desk and bookcases from Crate and Barrel

my fold out couch and adorable chair from Jennifer Convertibles (not pictured- love seat)

3. The Jennifer Convertibles website is the most underdeveloped website I think I've seen. No shopping online, no paying your bills. It's basically a place to find a store and to browse through a catalogue. They really need to join this century, especially because their products are so good.

4. I finished God Delusion by Richard Dawkins. I really enjoyed it, but it took me a long time to come to a place where I could. He seemed extremely condescending to the idea of faith through half the book. But I really enjoyed the second half where he took a close look at morality and where it comes from and dissected religion's negative affect on morality. Anyway, I highly recommend it. I think it's important to be fluent in both sides of an argument before coming to conclusions. He also recommends fluency in the Bible because of its impact on the world in not only religion, but also in art and literature. I have to say that a greater understanding of the Bible really would have helped in my Shakespeare classes in college.

5. I am going to be part of a psychological study at Columbia University. I once participated when I was a teenager in a study that my mom played a part in setting up and I remember it being kind of fun and interesting. I had to take a psychological bubble test once honestly and then a second time I had to pretend as if I was hiding something. This Columbia study includes an MRI and a Petscan which I've never done before so that should be interesting.

6. It's the type of day that sitting in one spot causes a lot of sweat. (Accuweather says it's 95 degrees with the humidity at 42%- I suppose it could be worse).

7. There is no "degree" symbol on the keyboard. I wonder why?

8. The Kent State (my Alma Mater) building for Math and Computer Science's roof is the sine wave from trigonometry. I was always very good at math and particularly loved trig. It's strange to observe a loss of knowledge. I'm going to find a way to relearn this.

9. Alma Mater: I decided to look up it's etymology. It is from Latin meaning "nourishing mother" I also found one that said the Latin was "fostering mother." I think we need to instill in children and young adults this concept before they graduate. I think students would be less disrespectful of their teachers and institutions if they thought about it as a place where they receive maternal nourishment.

10. I could not find a video of the Dialogue Series with John Edwards, but you can download the interview portion with Brian Lehrer from WNYC. On this page it says "Listen to entire show." Click on this link to hear it or download the podcast to your ipod. Below is a short video clip which the John Edwards campaign put together from his opening speech. I am very disappointed how difficult it was to locate this program in its entirety.

John Edwards - The Cooper Union (excerpts)

This is so short and I really think that John Edwards's campaign would really benefit by posting the entire evening for everyone who was not there to watch.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Notes on the Weekend

First, the weekend, as most normal people experience it, is a new phenomenon for me. Because I am an actress and find myself waiting tables when I'm not acting, I haven't had the opportunity to really understand the joy of the weekend. While doing shows my weekend consists of Sunday evening, Monday, and Tuesday afternoon. I can never complain because I get to do what I love, but I have thought that it might be difficult to do normal people things while maintaining this schedule (insert family here!?). While waiting tables, the majority of the money comes in on the weekend and most restaurants don't allow you every weekend off. I'm going to have a hard time going back to that life, I think, because this weekend was a ton of fun! Friday kind of started with the blahs. I was exhausted from 4 auditions and the Dialogue Series with John Edwards on Thursday and then another audition followed by a long lunch on Friday with Jazmin. So, Friday night I stayed home and watched movies by myself. My Uncle Joe recommended Being There. It is a Peter Sellers movie from 1979. And, Uncle Joe, you were right it was good. I also watched Where Words Prevail which Odelle gave me because he saw it and thought I would enjoy it (I know, he's good!). It is a documentary of Cicely Berry who is the voice coach for the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Saturday morning Mere and I woke up had some coffee and a chat and decided to go to breakfast at IHOP at the bright and early time of 1PM (It was brunch). We shopped and tried on clothes at a really fun store called Mandee's. Neither of us bought anything, but we did enjoy trying on ridiculous outfits and laughing at them. Odelle picked me up later that afternoon and we headed to Brooklyn to Rollerblade. I LEARNED TO SKATE BACKWARD!!!! I know all caps seems a little juvenile, but it has been one of those things that has remained illusive to me ever since I was young and my mom would take the four of us to Rocky's Skating Rink. My mom was such a good skater and I could never go backward like her, and now I can! It's kind of like dancing the Rumba!

Sunday Mere and I were supposed to go wait for tickets to Shakespeare in the Park, but we couldn't get it together. There's always next week. Anyway, Odelle wanted to scope out a different place to skate so we went to Manhattan Beach in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn. It wasn't good for skating, but we went up and down the street anyway. We sat on the beach for awhile and watched this couple attempt to fly a kite. Odelle commented on the fact that they had bought the kite and that in Jamaica they make their own (kind of like Kite Runner, which is a fabulous book).

So, that brings me to today. OB took the day off from work and we made our own kites and flew them on the beach. It was a ton of fun, a lot of hard work, and a greater accomplishment knowing that the kites were made by us. They looked fabulous and I was so proud of us!! We made the kite with regular printer paper (which we drew pictures on: mine had a picture of a girl's face) and skewers. The tail we made with fabric. We used twine as the kite string. I know I have to get better at bringing my camera with me, I'm sure I would have had great pictures. All in all, it was a fun filled weekend. I'm beginning to understand why weekend is such a glorified word!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Flashback Friday

Since I didn't blog yesterday I thought I would use my Flashback Friday to incorporate what I did yesterday into what I did a year and a half ago. This is a picture of me, John Edwards, and my beautiful friend, the Miss Karrah Tines. We worked at a theatre in Florida whose owner is very influential in Florida politics. He held many rallies, events, and things for different candidates and he was always so kind to allow any of the actors to come free of charge to the events. This event was the second time that I got to meet John Edwards. This particular event was a fundraiser for Senator Bill Nelson (D-Florida), who was up for re-election in November 2006. He won handily against Kathleen Harris, who I am sure you all remember from the 2000 voting fiasco. Anyway, Edwards came to the event to throw his support behind Nelson. One thing that has always struck me, besides his obvious good looks, is how charismatic and intelligent this man is. His speaking ability reminds me of Bill Clinton. They also draw from similar beginnings. Clinton was from a town called Hope. His father was killed before he was born and his mother was a nurse. Edwards was born in South Carolina to a millworker (I'm not sure what his mother did?) Both men came from meager beginnings, worked and studied hard and made it to the top and they both use(d) that in their campaigns.
I have to say that I have not decided yet which candidate I'm backing and I don't think I'm going to for some time. I'm not in any rush and I think we would all benefit by taking a moment to breathe and really get to know the candidates. That brings me to what I did last night. I'm not sure if you heard that both Newt Gingrich and the former Governor of New York, Mario Cuomo came together and decided that there needs to be more aggressive debate on the issues with the candidates for president and in the country as a whole. Well, they did and we now have the Cooper Union Dialogue Series. The first candidate to accept an invitation was John Edwards. I would recap for you, but I think it's a better idea for you to either read a transcript or see a video. I am looking for a good copy of it on the internet so that you can also watch. I'll let you know when I've found it. (BTW- I took this photo to the right, I think it's pretty good). I have to say, I like John Edwards. I think he would strengthen any ticket as a vice president, but his lack of experience on foreign relations makes me a little nervous. One weird thing that happened at the debate, completely unrelated to Edwards, was some young adults who happened to be in front of me in line got kicked out. During the question and answer period (the questions were all posed by Brian Lehrer of WNYC), these people decided to start chanting "Impeach Bush, Impeach Bush." One of them was shouting other things as well about the war, but from where I was sitting it was indecipherable. I think there were only three of them and they were just there to be disruptive. And as Brian Lehrer pointed out he wasn't sure why they chose to scream at a bunch of people who probably felt the same way. They were escorted out because they refused to stop disrupting the debate. It was a bit of drama, not necessary, but interesting. Here are a few more photos from the evening.

The Cooper Union founded in 1859 7 East 7th Street NYC

Mario Cuomo outside The Cooper Union

Brian Lehrer and John Edwards during the debate June 21, 2007

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Take Action against Hate Crimes

I know not a lot of people read my blog, but maybe there are more of you than I know. Anyway this is an important issue to me and I hope that you not only take the time to watch this short video, but if you agree to send a quick letter to your Senators through the Human Rights Campaign's website You can write your own letter or use the letter they provide. Also by entering your zip code it automatically sends it to the correct representative or in this case Senators.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Ten on Tuesdays

1. I've discovered that blogging can be a bad thing. I'm late for an audition, but I'm still sitting here writing instead of getting ready.
2. An unfinished Life with Robert Redford, JLo, and Morgan Freeman is a poorly written movie. Mere and I watched it last night. The relationship between JLo and the sheriff is completely unfounded. We were surprised that it was so bad.
3. I had a friend ask me on Myspace if I had decided on a presidential candidate. I haven't. I'm an undecided voter. That is abnormal for me. I liked Bill Richardson after the last debate and I voted for John Edwards in the primary in 2004. I'm a little worried that by the time I get to vote in NYC the choice will have already been made. That's always a little disconcerting.
4. Thursday John Edwards is coming to Cooper Union to speak about health care. I'm hoping to get there early enough to get a ticket. He is a really good speaker and I'm curious about the way he plans on funding his health care initiative.
5. Come October or November I'm not going to have health insurance. Ouch!
6. 24% of the national debt is owed to foreign countries, most of it owed to China.
7. I found Stewie hanging out on my new chair in the living room.
8. Jazmin's back in town, YEAH!! I know we'll end up at Chipotle. Yeah for organic!
9. I talked to my mom for a little over an hour yesterday. She worries about me needlessly. I think it's something that happens when your "little girl" is far away. I know she loves me and that makes me smile.
10. I have to get moving. I'm going to arrive at this audition after the lunch break and I just know that I'll be on the alternate list and waiting forever. Procrastination is not a noble quality.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Notes on the Weekend 2

I couldn't figure out how to get this into a post I had already written. I talk about the song in the following post. Anyway, enjoy the video. She dances with an umbrella in pointe shoes. It's pretty hot.

Notes on the Weekend

I met a five year old girl at Odelle's soccer game on Saturday. She was absolutely adorable, funny, and full of stories. She came up to me on the bleachers to introduce herself by saying, "I know your name." I said, "Wow, you do? What is it?" I thought that maybe her dad who was playing on the team with Odelle told her who I was. Her answer was priceless. "All girls that look like you are named Jessica." "Well, no my name is not Jessica, it's Jodi," I said. I think she was a little confused and I'm not sure if she did it on purpose or not but the rest of the afternoon she called me Jessica. We had a fun afternoon of racing around the park and rolling down hills. The boys unfortunately lost their game against the other team. Most unfortunately I missed most of the game because I found myself playing with all the little kids in attendance. But, I did have a lot of fun. We went to dinner in Park Slope, Brooklyn at a restaurant called Santa Fe. It was an American-Mexican restaurant with yummy pomegranate margaritas. We had a fabulous time. We were discussing the song Umbrella by Rihanna and featuring Jay Z on the way home and decided to turn around and find the album in the city at 11pm (see the video above). It is the city that never sleeps. We found the CD in the village around Bleecker Street (I've realized that I need to be more aware of the places that I'm going to write about- I promise to be better in the future). There are a couple of what I would call teen songs on it but for the most part it's a lot of fun to listen to. The song was mentioned as the summer's sexiest in last week's issue of Time.

Sunday we went rollerblading and Odelle taught me some soccer moves. My forehead hurts today from hitting the ball with my head, but it didn't bruise and that's what I was worried about. We had a lot of fun and we exhausted ourselves, drank beer and watched a movie about Jack Johnson called "Unforgivable Blackness." Get it from netflix. He was a heavyweight world champion around the turn of the 20th century. It chronicles his life and how the government and the American people treated him so unjustly because he had not only beaten a white man for the title, but he refused to live the way a black man "should" at the time.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Flashback Fridays

Do It Yourself
So yesterday I decided I would finally accomplish a little apartment repair that I have been putting off since I moved in. I have this old beautiful cabinet in my kitchen that holds my dishes and glassware. I have been storing my coffee mugs on the only counter space I have because the cabinet was full. For some reason the previous tenant had hooks on the third shelf , but that is the only shelf high enough to store my wine glasses and vases. So, I moved the hooks to the bottom of the shelving so that my mugs would sit above the counter top. I also had to spackle the holes that the hooks had created and then repaint the cabinet shelf. Needless to say when I was done I was very proud of myself. It made me think of the subject of this Flashback Friday.

I grew up with a single mom; a very ingenuitive single mom who made things work without a lot of money. She raised four kids on her own while working full time and she put herself through college. The home repair fix all of choice in the Beck home: Duct Tape. When the linoleum is so worn that someone might trip over the holes that show the exposed wood below, use Duct Tape. And then cover with a throw rug for aesthetic purposes.

My sister Jenny and I came to understand the broad scope of duct tape's handiness one April afternoon. We were probably 12 and 9 and it was my mother's birthday. Mom's birthday always falls close to Mother's day so we decided that with our non-existent funds we would give her something that wouldn't cost us anything, but that might relieve some of the stress in her life. We were about to embark on a plumbing expedition of a lifetime. The kitchen sink was always clogging and of late had become a real problem. We knew without our intervention mom was going to call Roto Rooter and that was an expense we really couldn't afford and one Jen and I could avert by pooling our plumbing talents. We had seen mom and Uncle Tim and Grandpa all attempt to fix the problem so we knew the steps to take. I'm sure at this point you are wondering where our supervision was. John was asleep in his room.

Fist step, snake. We were really sure of ourselves on this one. We even knew how it worked. Insert the snake into the drain and move it around and push it along until whatever ickiness is in there moves out of the way. Well, when we pushed that snake all the way in and pulled it out the water still wasn't draining very well. So, we discussed the problem and decided to move to the next step. Step two, take apart the pipes. This, of course, was moving into uncharted territory. Neither of us had ever done this and I don't think we'd ever watched anyone either. But, we knew what a monkey wrench was and we knew how to use it. We pulled out mom's toolbox and found the wrench. We took turns turning the wrench along the joints of the pipes. It was hard work and the wrench slipped and fell and we would return it to the joints that much more determined to take the pipes apart. See, we believed that if we took the pipes apart we would find the clog, remove it and then put it all back together. Each section we took apart we looked for a clog only to be disappointed that it wasn't there. We moved on until there were no longer anymore aluminum pipes left to search. The only thing left was this big thick metal pipe that went into the basement. This was an unexpected dilemma. We had worked so hard only to find that the clog was in a big pipe that we couldn't take apart. We went ahead and snaked the big pipe having no way of knowing if we unclogged anything because there was no way to get water to the pipe. Well, despite our heavy disappointment we knew that we'd have to put everything back together and that mom's anxiety about the clog wouldn't be relieved for her birthday. We worked very hard to put everything back as it had been. We argued about how it all fit together and our small arms ached from the hard laboring of the last hour. We finally got it together. It looked exactly as it had before we took it apart. And in a last ditch effort to see if our snaking of the big pipe worked Jenny turned the water on, both of us looking expectantly between the pipes under the counter and the water collecting in the basin. Something unexpected occurred and we began to scream. These were not the screams of excitement of a mission accomplished, but instead and "OH NO!" moment. The water was spraying out of every single joint along the pipes. Jenny reached up and turned off the water. We knew it was time to wake up John. This endeavor had become too big of a mess to not include him. John is the type of sleeper that no matter what time of day (it was late afternoon) he sleeps hard and always takes time to wake up. Needless to say, when we dragged him out of bed and into the kitchen, showed him what we had done, he woke up. We had stripped the pipes he said. Every last thread on every joint was stripped. We would just have to explain everything to mom when she got home.

Jenny and I were devastated and when mom arrived home we could barely get out Happy Birthday without crying. Through our tears she listened to the story spill out of our mouths. She wasn't very happy, but I think in some way she was laughing inside. Mom got out the Duct tape and began the very arduous task of duck taping every joint under that sink. We placed a bucket to catch the water. It stayed that way for awhile with us replacing the duct tape when it got too wet and worn. My Uncle Tim finally replaced the pipes, but the aluminum pipes were too expensive, so Mom had him buy the plastic. It never really fit perfectly and we ended up duct taping them too.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Ever Sing to a Cat?

Well, regardless of how crazy it may make me sound, I have. And I have to say Stewie is the worst cat to bear your soul to. Last night I was having a mild breakdown where I realized it's been a year from the last show I did. All I wanted was Stewie to hang out with me on the couch (something he's not allowed to do) so that I could pet him. I thought it would help. Instead when I offered up a portion of the couch to him, he scratched me and the couch. Today I was dancing and singing to him and I swear he was looking at me like I was the crazy one. I have to say, I was silently hoping that he'd turn into Puss 'n Boots, stand on his hind legs and dance with me (and I also thought it would be really cool if he started singing like Antonio Banderas). So, how did I come to have this spirited cat in my home? Meredith moved in with me a few months ago and brought her cat along. Stewie was abused and starved before a friend of Mere's found him and made him "all better". (I think this person happened to be a veterinarian, but I think we all may have been better served if he were a cat shrink). Basically, what I'm trying to tell you is that Stewie's got issues. And, Meredith being the wonderful person she is felt that she could take him in and give him a loving home. Problem is, I don't think he understands love very well. He can be so mean sometimes. He will chase Mere around the apartment and then bite her leg. You can walk past him and he will lash out and scratch you. Now, I have to admit to everyone that before Stewie I had never had a pet unless you count the two fish I got on my sixteenth birthday that lived about two months. Ironically I named them Bill and Hillary. I should have realized they probably wouldn't last too long in the same fishbowl. I also have the privilege of being the daughter of a therapist who used to tell me stories of animals that would come out of the woods and talk to me. How does that relate, you ask? Well, I feel like I have this unique ability(by proxy) of diagnosing people's problems and to make it worse I think that I'm right most of the time. Because of the stories my mom told me, I think my ability also translates to animals. I think that Stewie is bipolar.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Ten On Tuesdays

1. I couldn't write yesterday because I was so exhausted from my weekend in Baltimore with Charissa.
2. I'm definitely sick again (or still), not sure which. I keep hoping I'll wake up and it will be miraculously gone.
3. I can't definitively blame it on smokey bars, but I'm sure that didn't help (I'm also sure staying up into the night and drinking probably weren't the smartest choices, but we sure had a great time). Baltimore, you probably don't realize it yet, but you'll be thankful when your smoking ban goes through next year.
4. Thank you Michael Bloomberg for NYC's smoking ban. It has left me sitting by myself inside while friends went out to smoke, but I don't have smell bad after a night out.
5. Mere and I watched the DVD Life As a House starring Kevin Kline last week. The first time I saw it I had just moved to NYC and my dad was in the hospital. It's one of those movies that makes you realize how precious life is. The metaphor of building a house and rebuilding life is beautiful. If you don't like your life, change it. Rent it, watch it.
6. Charissa, I'm not gonna make it to Union Square today. I'm sorry. I know you were counting on me to deliver your message to your new bf, but I woke up too late.
7. Spring Awakening won the Tony for best new musical. I haven't seen it, but I'm kind of confused.
8. I am going to the gym today. Maybe I can sweat this cold from my body.
9. I bought a 3 CD set of yoga meditations and I can't wait to finish this list so I can sit and meditate.
10. I'm kind of disappointed that more people didn't comment on my immigration post. Thanks, Denny. I know that I kind of lumped all immigration with illegal immigration, but it was the first time that I really started to frame my thoughts on the subject.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Personalize Immigration

Have you ever really thought hard about immigration? Do you ever turn the TV off and just think about it? Well, I think that might be a really good way for the country to come together on this. Will we be able to solve every problem? No, but because the problem is not completely solvable doesn't mean that steps shouldn't be taken for its resolution. Constant dialogue between citizens is an important way that we can all come to solutions that we can all live with. I encourage anyone who reads this to respond whether or not they agree or disagree. I also think that anyone who reads this and has a blog of their own should tell their story of immigration and how they feel about it. Let me also just say that although this written medium makes opinion seem final, my opinion on this is only beginning to form and I think it's important to acknowledge that. So, having said that, here goes...
First let me say, I'm not exactly sure how my family got here. (Also, if I'm incorrect in the details, someone from my family please steer me correctly). I'm more certain about my father's family than my mother's. His family arrived from Germany (Baden-Baden) sometime during the 19th century. I remember reading about them in a book with my father's family tree outlined. And that's about it. I can surmise they had an arduous journey on a boat, but from where they sailed or where they came to, I am at a loss. It's kind of sad how little I know about this and if you think about your own family's journey to this country, I hope that you know more about it than I do. I think that lack of knowledge of our own families' journeys may be part of the problem. We have become so far removed from immigration that it all seems seperate from us. (I, of course, seem to be addressing this to white European-Americans, not because I mean to exclude, but because that's what I am). We need to make it personal by reclaiming our own family's stories of immigration and sharing them. America is immigration: forced, legal, or otherwise.
I live in New York City and have worked with and met people of varying immigration status. I also live in a highly Hispanic and Latino neighborhood, Jackson Heights, Queens. I have no way of knowing someone's status, nor do I think it's any of my business as a fellow employee or as a neighbor. I put trust in the companies I have worked for that they are doing what they are supposed to. What I can tell you is that the people (most of the immigrants I have encountered at work are men) I have known are hard working individuals. Some send their money home to their familes in Africa, South America, Latin America, the Middle East. And others have begun starting their families here. The one thing that impresses me most, though, is the love they have for this country. This is the place of their dreams, not because it has to be because of birthright, but because of choice. That is huge. They want to share their cultures as much as they want to be influenced by the positive aspects of our own, primarily the idea of freedom.
I know much of the debate centers around illegal immigrants from Mexico, Latin and South America, but I think it's important to focus on what you personally know of immigration rather than feeding off a 30- second sound bite on CNN or Fox News. First and foremost I think that border security must come before any comprehensive legislation should be passed. Why? Because attempting to fix all the problems with one bill the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007, and all at once (regardless of time tables for the implementation of different parts) sends money in too many directions. With the amount of time required to accomplish the goal of securing the border we can begin real dialogue about the important future steps. I don't mean to discount the hard work of the many senators involved here, but it's important that we get this right and that a bill is passed that is easy to implement and directly solves the problems we face. In some parts of the country we are at crisis level with this issue. Individuals are taking matters into their own hands. We cannot answer this with short-sighted or bogged down legislation. Slow, but steady wins the race. This cannot be fixed with one bill, or in one moment, but we, the people, can start to talk about it too, and I'm sure we'll come to a place where we can all live with the results. Tell your story. Maybe then we won't be so fearful of those around us because we'll see how truly America is and always has been immigration.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Ten On Tuesdays

Not sure if this came from Charissa or Marie, but nonetheless it makes it easier to write today. Basically its a top ten list of my thoughts for the day.
1. I need to call my super today. My kitchen sink has decided that cold water is not necessary.
2. I am going to Baltimore this weekend to visit Charissa. YEAH!!
3. I went to the ear, nose, and throat doctor yesterday. I have a deviated septum which basically means that colds turn into sinus infections and then decide to hang out with me for weeks. I'm on day 14 and I have to say being sick sucks! The antibiotics did help the ear infection, but I still have some lingering symptoms.
4. The Republican debate is on CNN tonight. As I don't have a TV, I think I might spend the evening at my boyfriend's apartment.
5. Odelle, my boyfriend, is an amazing cook. Since meeting him I have expanded my diet to include Jamaican food such as curry goat- YUM, and my favorite whole fried fish. Basically, the fish is fried whole (head and tail and scales) and you break it in half, pick out the big bones and then eat everything else. The first time I had it, I had to close my eyes before I could eat the eyes, but I have to say, they aren't squishy like you'd think. It's good.
6. I love the Brian Lehrer show. You can subscribe to the program on your ipod and I highly recommend it. It is a WNYC program on my local NPR station. He talks about politics, interviews very interesting people, and basically makes you feel smarter after listening.
7. I took some time off from waiting tables because it was trampling on my creative heart, but I'm not sure I have enough discipline to make really good use of my time.
8. I need to go to the gym today and put in at least an hour. Half an hour on cardio and then half an hour on weight training.
9. I need to get new headshots. Everyone is using color now and I'm still black and white. I hate the expense, but I need to realize that spending money for my career is an investment. Unfortunately, I'm still at heart a girl from Ohio who thinks 125 an hour is too much for a voice lesson and 1000 is too much to have someone take your picture. Jordan Matter is really good though.
10. We really need our government back in the hands of the people. The amount of money being thrown around is disgusting. I believe the Supreme Court was wrong to say money equals speech. That invariably says that some people have more ability for speech than others. Speech is free or at least it should be.

Monday, June 4, 2007

It's hard to write

So, I'm forcing myself to write today in the hope that it will become easier as I go along. I don't really feel like I have anything to say. I started the day watching the second half of PBS's documentary on Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens). This very well may be why I'm having a hard time. He is considered one of the foremost American writers. It's hard to compete with that. Not that I feel I have to compete (and in point of fact it is difficult to directly compete with a dead man), but there is a part of me that thinks what I have to say isn't nearly as important. He had an ability of social commentary in the midst of simple stories. And, he was damn good at it. One thing that struck me though, is the abundance of writing that people accomplished during that time. There were times that he was in the middle of a novel, but still wrote letters to his family and also wrote reflections on his life and writing while doing it. I'm only mildly prolific if you count my emails which are rarely fully developed paragraphs let alone sentences, and my text messages which rarely use punctuation unless of course I'm using the punctuation to send smileys :) And while smileys convey a certain amount of mood context, I think I might be bastardizing the language. So, here in this blog, while I'm "Figuring It Out," I think I might try my best to use punctuation as it was intended and I'll do my best to explain my mood so that I won't be tempted to ;) at you if I'm joking, or :) at you if I'm happy, or :( if I'm sad. In effect, I'll allow the written word to stand up on its own and I'll allow you, the reader to determine my mood and tone.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Flashback Fridays

So I got this idea from my friend Charissa's blog. Basically, I find an old photograph and then tell you about it. And I chose this picture because it is of my dad, whose 70th birthday we celebrated last weekend. Some things to note: it was Christmas Eve 1988 or 89, myUncle Joe is behind the camara, I'm wearing my Dad's hat (I kind of wanted to be Debbie Gibson- now I wouldn't mind being Deborah Gibson, at least then I could be on "the Broadway"), and my sister, Jenny, has her Sally Jessie Raphael glasses on (they are so cool, right?). Christmas Eve we always spent with my dad. My Uncle Joe and Aunt Sally would come up to Ohio from St. Louis and they would take us all out to dinner and then we would open gifts at my dad's house and then go to midnight mass. We all have the biggest smiles and also the biggest laughs. It's something that I've come to admire about my dad. He has never had an easy life; often the troubles have been of his own making and the rest of the time it's really been a case of bad luck. But, through it all he has a joy about him. Maybe it comes from a sense of knowing he is lucky to be alive, but regardless the smiles and the laughter come easy to him. And it's infectious. If he laughs, everyone begins to laugh. That's my dad.