Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Ten on Tuesdays (+ 14)- Jamaica Edition

So I tried to only chose ten pictures from Jamaica for "Ten on Tuesday," but I found it impossible. We took almost 400 pictures. These 24 represent some of our favorites. Enjoy!

This was a swing we found near our hotel in St. Thomas.

A fishing boat just off the beach near our hotel in St. Thomas.

OB and me riding around the neighborhood on Kirk's motorcycle.Don't you just love OB's water goggles?

In the rear view mirror.

Jerk Pork in Portland.

Kids hanging out near Lisa's bar. The little girl asked me if I was Chinese!

A sugar cane truck in St. Thomas. The leaves are all burnt off to get the insects off the cane before it is brought to the factory to be turned into sugar.

The black sand beach. (You can't really see that it is black, but I thought the picture was pretty!)

This is a stick OB found at the black sand beach. This is one of his favorite pictures.

I love this picture (OB took it!)

We had a downpour outside Ocho Rios. It was difficult to see and we had missed our turn. OB had to run up to talk to Kirk.

He was absolutely soaked when he got back in the car!

10.0!! That's me diving off the dock where our boat was waiting for some people to come back from Dunn's River Falls.

These are the Green Grotto Caves. They were really impressive and have an amazing history.

Rastafari- a sign on the path to the Bob Marley Mausoleum.

These trees were all over the island. I think it is the most beautiful tree I have ever seen.

Salt water lake located in Stinkville (that's the name Odelle came up with for the town- it looks pretty, but it smelled awful).

Our hands with our mangoes.

The view outside our hotel in St. Thomas.

OB's picture of the sky. It looks like a painting to me.

Me and a beautiful flower at Dunn's River Falls.

Odelle- the champion of the falls!

My movie star photo at Dunn's River Falls.

We made it to the top of the falls in one piece. This was one of the best days on a vacation of best days! We had so much fun!

Monday, July 30, 2007

Jamaica Vacation

We arrived in Jamaica about two hours after we were scheduled because there had been awful storms here in NYC the morning that we left. It was already dark there because they don't observe daylight savings time, which had the odd affect of causing me to wake up between 6 and 7 am every morning we were there (I know, it was as much of a shock to me as I'm sure it is to all of you, but my mom always thought I was a morning person!) OB's friend Kirk met us at the airport in Kingston so that we could follow him back to the Parish of St. Thomas (where OB grew up, Morant Bay is the Parish's capital and we went about a half hour east of that). And all I have to say is thank God we had him to lead us. It was a treacherous ride not knowing the roads at all and not being able to see. OB thought it was funny that I kept alternately covering my eyes and mouth to prevent myself from distracting him by screaming. Needless to say we laughed a lot on the way to the hotel. We stopped on the way for my first taste of jerk chicken. This was to be the beginning of experiencing a wide array of foods that I have mostly come to love.

The second and third days we spent visiting with all the extended family and long lost friends of OB. It was great to see people figure out who he was. For some it happened slowly and for others it was as obvious to them who OB was as if he had never left. I met a family friend named Sir Knott (not sure of the spelling, OB?) who manages the grounds of the sugar factory and he invited us to his home and let me pick mangoes out of his tree. I LOVE MANGOES!!!! They are the best breakfast that a girl could ask for. There are probably as many varieties of mango as there are of apples. I loved the Julie mango. The easiest way to eat them is to bite off the outside (which you can actually eat- sometimes the skin wasn't very good, but other times it did taste good). Then you peel the mango using your teeth and pulling. It takes some practice, but by the end of our stay I could do it without getting it all over my face, hands, and stomach. The seed is kind of oval shaped and flat so you have to bite around it, but the mangoes were so good I found myself sucking on the seed, hoping that I didn't miss any of the fruit.
Friday afternoon happened to be the "fortnight" which was the day that all the people who work at the factory get paid. And what better way to celebrate payday than to have a party in the streets! And everyone is invited. There were a few DJs that had huge sound systems pumping music in the streets. We grabbed some beer, visited with people and walked through the town where we came upon a bar with a back yard where the music was playing. Yep, you guessed it! I danced all night! I had one man ask me where I was from. I think he was trying to figure out where I got my moves. Mostly, I just watched the people around me and tried to incorporate what they were doing to my own style. I had a blast! There was one man that I swear was channeling James Brown. It was the most fun! On the way home we stopped for some food at a roadside restaurant and I had the best rice and peas I have ever had. I spent the rest of the trip comparing all the rice and peas to the ones we found in St. Thomas.

Saturday we travelled to Montego Bay following behind (thankfully) Kirk, his son Kayim and Kayim's mom. We had to travel a long way back through Kingston and then north to Ocho Rios then west to "Mo Bay." When we arrived we met up with Ty, a friend of OB's that lives in Brooklyn. We went to a reggae concert that night that started at 9pm and ended after 5am. One of the performers was Mary J. Blige. It was so much fun! I think we may have had a contact buzz from the old guys in front of us who smoked the entire concert. These guys also let off fireworks which was really funny to watch.

Sunday we saw Kirk and his family off to head back to St. Thomas while we stayed in Ocho Rios. We went snorkeling and took a boat tour to Dunn's River Falls where we walked up the falls. We ended up waiting at the boat for some of our party to return so we got to swim right off the dock. It was so awesome. After getting off the boat OB and I decided to play some soccer. In reality, OB had been trying to teach me to play soccer. When we had gotten really hot we got in the water to cool down. That's when I was attacked by a jellyfish! I got stung on my thigh and I thought it felt like a bug bite until I felt it wrap itself around my knee. I shook it off and we got out of the water with me crying and asking OB if I was going to die. I know I'm melodramatic, but it really hurt and I could feel it swelling. I had never felt anything like that before and I just imagined that I might die. If it ever happens to you I'm sure you may jump to the same conclusion! OB took good care of me and found the life guard to get some alcohol to put on it. I had heard that you're supposed to pee on it, but I have to say even though I knew that I really can't imagine that ever being okay for me. We laughed the rest of the trip every time he mentioned me asking if I was going to die. The next day we stayed away from the Sea and went to Green Grotto Caves. We had the funniest tour guide. He really could have been a stand-up comic. Then we headed to Nine Mile to see the Bob Marley Mausoleum. The road was only wide enough for one car at a time, but we ended up passing a semi-truck on our way back down to town. Basically, we had to back up and stick ourselves precariously up against the rock wall while the truck miraculously passed without falling off the edge. Once again my hands were over my mouth to prevent screaming. We went back to Dunn's River Falls so that we could walk up the falls unguided. OB had done it as a teenager and remembered that it was far more fun to do it on your own than having to climb in a human chain. We arrived right before they were closing so we were fortunate that there weren't a lot of people. It was absolutely gorgeous. We took pictures with my non- digital camera because it didn't matter as much if it got wet. That night we had dinner in town with Ty and his wife Laura and son who had just arrived in town.

The next morning we headed back to St. Thomas, this time without an escort and I have to say that OB managed the roads like a pro. (I'm sure when you get your Range Rover OB, you'll definitely be prepared for off-roading!!) I spent very little of this trip with my eyes closed or my hand over my mouth. We stopped by a roadside fruit stand for some coconut water. When we finished drinking the water the man cut the coconut open so that we could eat the jelly. When a coconut is young there is a layer of "jelly" that looks and feels like an egg white. Needless to say I didn't particularly like it. When we arrived back in St Thomas we met up with an old family friend, Joyce. She took us through the woods (with a machete) to swim in the Sea at a black sand beach. We were the only people there. It was absolutely amazing. When we arrived back up at the house I had to bathe outside because there was no running water. OB laughed at me. I'm sure it was pretty funny, if not a humbling experience. Joyce's mother cooked us dinner. It was curry chicken and breadfruit. It was delicious. During dinner we watched TV and funny enough it was the episode of Charmed that my friend James O'Neill plays a monster in. I've never seen the show before and it was strange to be in Jamaica seeing a friend on TV. Before we left OB gave a little boy his soccer ball and the pump. In return the boy's father gave us some sugar cane. OB said when he was a kid it was really something to have a ball. This kid was so excited to not only have the ball, but the pump too!
The next day was our last. We ate sugar cane, mango and gnips (which I did not like and I can't find any information on them for you, sorry!) for breakfast on the beach. The water near our hotel was filled with seaweed that morning so we were forced to look for another beach to swim in. After a short walk around the inlet, we found a gorgeous beach. The water was clear and beautiful and we swam by ourselves for a while until we were joined by three little boys who wanted to meet me. They had many ideas about the world that were very interesting. They were disappointed that Odelle and I were together. They were all very cute and sweet and they asked if I could bring them back to America. They didn't have their passports though, so it wouldn't have been a possibility. Later we drove with Kirk to Portland which is on the far eastern coast. The sea is rougher there and just beautiful. Also, Portland has jerk pork which was described to me as the type of food that you'd "eat your arm off for!" It was really good. We met up with an old high school friend of OB and Kirk's, Lisa. She ran a bar and we drank- me a little too much- OOPS!!

The next day we left to return to NYC. I really loved being in Jamaica. It was a fascinating country that I am so blessed to have experienced in ways that other tourists can't. The beauty of it lies not only in the landscape, but in the people. I feel so lucky to have met so many wonderful people in such a short time. I met so many children that reminded me that happiness is simple. I could write for days and not be fully capable of sharing it all with you.

I'm Home, Safe and Sound

I can't wait to really tell you all about my vacation to Jamaica. I had so much fun, I really didn't want to come back. I have an audition at three this afternoon, so I have to go, but I wanted to let you all know that I safely returned Stateside on Friday afternoon. Odelle and I rented a jokey car from Enterprise that I'm sure even Rent-a-Wreck wouldn't use and drove to my brother Jim's in Virginia for his Cancer Free in 2007 party and for Joshua's baptism. More details to come on that too! It was a very exhausting way to spend the end of the vacation, but it was good to see the family. Here's a picture of the sun setting outside our hotel room in Ocho Rios.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Ten on Tuesday (The Late Edition)

1. I was so busy today that the day escaped me and it's now Wednesday and I'm finally getting to my Ten on Tuesday, hence the "Late Edition."

2. I said goodbye to some really good friends today. Joel and Rob are moving to Florida next week and I won't be here to send them off, so we all got together with Mere for lunch at DoJo's in the village and then later met up with Mere after work for a drink at a pub. I've known Joel and Rob for most of the time that I have been in NYC. We always have such a good time together and we laugh a lot. Guys, it's not goodbye. It's till we drink again!!

3. I leave for Jamaica in 12 hours and 39 minutes!!!

4. Jazmin, I didn't get a chance to look into that Burt's Bees Diaper Creme. I think I'll be okay without it and if I get burnt I have a ton of aloe and ibuprofen. I'll look for diaper creme when I get there if I need it. Thanks for the suggestion.

5. I plan on getting my copy of the last Harry Potter book when I'm in Jamaica. I hope that turns out to be as easy as it sounds.

6. If anyone needs to get a hold of me, I have international calling on my phone. It is $1.99 per minute so we'll have to keep it brief and if you leave a voicemail keep it exceptionally short (Jazmin, that means you!! HEHE!!) I can receive texts, but I won't be able to respond.

7. I'm so excited. It kind of feels like the first day of school is tomorrow and I'm not sure that I'll be able to sleep from the sheer excitement of it all.

8. We are flying Air Jamaica and it is a champagne flight. How cool is that?!

9. This will be my last post for ten days. Thanks to all who check daily, but you can have a little vacation from "Figuring It Out." I'll be figuring it out on the beach and I don't have any desire to blog while on vacation. I am bringing two cameras so I promise to post pictures when we get back.

10. Look out, JAMAICA, HERE I COME!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

I'm Packed!!!

More importantly, I'm excited!! JAMAICA!!! Okay, it's very strange for me to be packed two days ahead of time. In fact, when I leave to do shows in other places I usually pack the night before. I think that is actually easier because I'm usually gone for months at a time and everything I own gets packed. I still have to buy sunscreen/bug spray, lotion with aloe, hair ties, and a new pair of flip flops. Meredith helped me so much. She let me go shopping in her closet and we discovered that we both need to wear dresses more often. We both have so many cute clothes that we never wear. Today I discovered I have a ton of really cute jewelry that I don't ever wear. I'm going to try to wear different jewelry everyday for awhile. I need to get better with the idea that change is not only inevitable, but desirable.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Blog oh blog, why have I abandoned thee...

So sorry to my three regular readers. I have been busy this week. I wrote a Ten and Tuesdays that for some reason didn't publish and was not saved. It was sad and I didn't have time to retype it. I met Joanne on Tuesday for lunch at the Times Square Olive Garden (super ghetto, but cheap- Joanne, I hope Jordan doesn't read this. I know he says OG isn't real Italian). Then I got on the Chinatown bus to Baltimore for Charissa's 30th birthday. We had a blast and it was good to see all of her friends and hang out for an evening. We watched Wes and Drew play (if you're interested Charissa has many postings about these guys and it's worth it to check them out. They are a great duo). I came home Wednesday evening through a huge thunderstorm. The bus was breezing past semis on the highway, tossing up water from the road like it was nothing. I thought, "Oh God, I'm on that Chinatown bus. The one that ends up on the side of the road." So, what do I do in this situation? Sleep. I felt that way I wouldn't worry the whole way home and it would stop me from asking the driver to pull over so that I could get us all home in one piece. So, we arrived home a bit late and I had no umbrella. I resigned myself to walk in the rain and actually had fun getting soaked. I decided there was no need to be upset, it wasn't cold out and the rain felt refreshing. So, yesterday and today I have been shopping so that I am ready to go to Jamaica (we leave on Wednesday!). YEAHHH!!!! I'm getting super, super excited. I bought two new bathing suits at a crazy sale at Macy's today. I've never owned a Donna Karan anything and now I have a beautiful purple bikini (the top of the one pictured is what I have, but I have a regular bottom, not a skirt). The top was originally $72 and the bottom $60 and I got the whole thing for $30. Yeah, bargain shopping!!

Monday, July 9, 2007

Notes on the Weekend

So, this will be short because its so hot I can barely think and my computer screen is emitting extra heat which is making it more complicated. Anyway, Friday I went to see 110 in the Shade with Audra McDonald. Which was amazing. They made it rain onstage. The show closes July 29th so if you have the opportunity go see it. Also, if you are under 35 years old, you can sign up for hiptix which allows you to see Roundabout Theatre Company's Broadway and off-Broadway shows at discounted prices. I saw 110 for $36.25. The only downside is that you only get one ticket per show. I love to go to the theatre by myself sometimes, so it's not really a turn off for me.
When I got home I decided to treat myself to a netflix movie online. Netflix gave me this offer that lowered my monthly payment by a dollar and now allows me to watch movies on from my computer for 14 hours a month. There aren't DVD extras and the selection is not the best, but when you're waiting for a movie to arrive it's pretty cool. (OB, I am not saying this to brag, so don't feel too bad.) Evidently it is not an offer that is given to everyone and I'm not sure why, but it works for me because I don't have a TV and I watch movies from my computer anyway. I watched the documentary Maxed Out which was really good. I highly recommend that if you use credit cards, then watch this movie. The movie tracks the lives of some incredibly in debt people and also follows the trail of how the banking industry rewrote Bankruptcy law in 2005. MBNA was the primary author. Politicians really need to start answering to the people not the banks, credit card companies and corporate America. The only way that will happen is by being a more informed public. Find out where the donations to your favorite presidential candidate are coming from here. And then follow their voting patterns. Make sure that they are beholden to their constituencies and not the big guys. On the Dems side all the Presidential Candidates in the Senate at the time voted no except Joe Biden from Delaware who voted for the bill and Hillary Clinton from New York who was the only member of the Senate to not take part in the vote.
Moving on to the rest of the weekend because if I don't I'll end up sitting here melting into the chair. Saturday was clean the apartment day. And I must say it is beautiful. I have never had a pet before and I had no idea that they could lose so much hair. They also puke. Friday I learned that when you have a pet in the house you should not attempt to save energy by walking in the dark. Cat puke is not fun to step in with bare feet. Saturday night OB picked me up and we went to Long Island for a BBQ. It was a ton of fun and I learned that dominos is an actual game, not just a line them up and knock them down sort of game, but a game involving probability. I never got the finer points, but I'm sure I'll learn.
Sunday was a rest for most of the day because its hot out sort of day. We did go rollerblading for an hour or so, but it was hot and I didn't put on any sunscreen. I didn't get burnt, so don't worry mom! I am planning on buying 30 and 50 SPF for Jamaica. A woman I met at the BBQ said 50 is great, but if you miss any part of the skin then it makes for a really dramatic suntan/burn lines. Sun is not usually my friend so I will probably err on the side of caution.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Flashback Friday

It took me all day to figure out what I wanted my Flashback to be about. But now I know. My sophomore year in college I was privileged to play Sally Bowles in Cabaret at KSU. It was my first leading role in college and besides Aldonza in Man of La Mancha it was the most exciting character I have ever played. The rehearsal process took place during the spring semester and my mom and I decided to spend spring break in NYC. We couldn't get tickets to Cabaret because it had just opened and it was sold out for months. So, we filled our time seeing just about everything else we could. And then, it snowed. A lot. It was the morning of March 22, 1998 and my mom and I woke up in our hotel room to see the city in a blanket of snow. Of course that wasn't about to slow us down. So we got up, had some breakfast and prepared ourselves to stand in line at the TKTS booth in Times Square. My mom had a brilliant idea to have me stand in line at TKTS and she would head to the Roundabout Theatre's box office and see if there were any cancellations. Now, this was before we had cell phones, so she left me there in line to check on Cabaret. As I neared the front of the line I figured I would just let people go ahead of me until my mom came back. See, we were both convinced that we had no chance of getting Cabaret tickets. And then I heard it. From far in the distance around 45th street I hear my mother shouting my name. JOOOOODIIIIIIII, WEEEEE GOOOOT THEEEEEM!!!!!!!!!!! And then I saw her. She was running toward me. Now imagine her running down the street waving the tickets in the air with snow all around, piled on the side of the street. And shortly after I heard her I ran toward her. She was so excited and so was I. We got to see the original cast, with Alan Cumming and Natascha Richardson, that would eventually win four Tony awards and then run for more than 2300 performances. It would later play at the infamous Studio 54. There I saw it a second time with Neil Patrick Harris and Deborah Gibson. And tonight I was back at Studio 54 again to see Audra McDonald in 110 in the Shade. All I have to say is that I love the theatre. I loved it then and I love it now. What I really want though, is to be up there. I know what it's like to allow yourself to live in another world for two hours each night. And to understand the world through someone else's eyes. What a thrill it is to know you have the power to bring an entire audience along for the ride. The performances I saw then and now are the reason I keep pressing on. I want to be there. I will be there. It's only a matter of time.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

I Don't Understand.

What don't I understand, you ask? Well, Shoshanna, Meredith and I went to see Evening on Tuesday night. It was dreadful. Plain. and. Simple. Don't waste your money. And to tell you the truth it hurts me a little to say that. There are not enough movies written for strong women actresses. Movies are dominated by men and men's stories. Now, don't get me wrong, I enjoy things exploding and characters from comic strips, but I know first hand that there are more women in the acting business than men and way less opportunity. That's why I don't understand how so many fabulous women signed up to do this bad movie. In case you don't know this is the cast list: Claire Danes, Glenn Close, Vanessa Redgrave, Toni Collette, Natascha Richardson, Eileen Atkins, Mamie Gummer, and Meryl Streep. I know you are as shocked as I am that all these people are in a bad movie together.
First, the script is just dreadful. The main character is Ann, played in old age by Vanessa Redgrave, and as a young woman by Claire Danes. First of all, the old Ann is dying, but of what we are never to actually find out- most likely just old age. It kind of tries to be Alzheimer's or dementia, but twice she kind of makes noises as if she's in pain. The worst part is that she is confined to her bed throughout the movie almost completely. The best actress in the world wouldn't be able to hold a movie together when all the action takes place in bed unless it's a porn. It was tragic. On top of that the most common way for the action to slip from the present to the past was old Ann falling asleep most of the time mid-sentence. Which brings me to my second point. The movement between past and present was pointless. It made the movie seem even more scattered and did nothing to further the plot, add suspense or further develop character (all great reasons to include this device: see The Notebook or Da Vinci Code to understand how it's done well). And finally, the characters' relationships, which is what the movie is attempting to be about, are all poorly developed. Ann's daughters seem to be trying to figure out their own lives in relation to their mother's, but they seem to know nothing about her. They both argue (stupidly) that one has everything and isn't really happy (Richardson) and one has nothing and isn't really happy (Collette). And all mom wants to tell them is that there are no mistakes in life and to be happy, even though in her dying she is fixated on the one mistake she made- not getting the man she loved. Add into all this the nurse morphing back and forth from a nurse to a woman dressed in a white dress with a sparkling shawl that Ann seems fixated on, and the appearance of glowing butterflies which pointlessly get Ann out of bed to climb down the stairs and then run into the bushes. This was one time that she didn't fall asleep to allow the director to change from past to present and it was the only time that she got out of bed.
Save it for Netflix if you must, but otherwise go see A Mighty Heart or Sicko. I wish I had.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Ten on Tuesdays

1. I'm awful at blogging on the weekends. I don't even attempt to write. I was in Montauk with my friend Joel this weekend. I met his family and they were so much fun! We laughed a lot! Plus, the beach and the weather were absolutely gorgeous.

2. Sand angels are almost as fun to make as snow angels. I highly recommend them.

3. Montauk reminds me of Ireland. It's coastline is similar in many ways. Did I mention how gorgeous it was?

4. I learned from Meredith that it is unnecessary to press the space bar twice at the end of the sentence with a word processor. I couldn't figure out why the extra space was going away every time I published a post. I think it's a bit crazy that I never knew that before. I wonder how much time I've wasted by pushing that space bar an extra time over the last 10 years?

5. Tomorrow is the 4th of July. I love fireworks.

6. I'm going to see Evening tonight with some of my friends. I'll tell you all about it. I'm so excited to see such a stellar cast of women in one movie.

7. I'm thinking shish kebobs for the cook-out tomorrow.

8. GWB commuted Scooter Libby's sentence. He doesn't have to serve any jail time, but he still has to pay a $250,000 fine and he's on probation for two years. Didn't you learn anything from the Paris Hilton debacle, George? It sends the wrong message to young people that being famous or well connected can get you out of trouble or at least make it easier on you.

9. 9 of the 17 pardons GWB had granted as of August 2006 involved either weapons or drugs.
One of them involved a guy from Kent, Ohio (the location of my alma mater Kent State University).

10. I'm not endorsing a candidate yet (as if my endorsement is something everyone in the political sphere is waiting for with baited breath), but I'm really starting to like Bill Richardson. Check him out.