Saturday, January 31, 2009


     I will tell you something, I am an introvert. But the truth is that I absolutely love people. I enjoy conversation, meeting new people, and hanging out with friends. But, and here is the strange part (feel free to disagree), I usually get this burdened feeling inside when I find out there is something social I am expected to attend.  Unconsciously, I begin to make up excuses--watertight reasons why I should just go home.  

   Not all the time, I guess, but most of the time. 

    Honestly, I almost always want to just go home after the show and not hang out.  I have to force myself to be social. Most of the time I would rather close my door and write, read, play the piano (if one is available), or listen to music...I like to be by myself.  I get a lot of life from that. 

   However, when I do hang out with people, I really enjoy myself. But I particularly like the conversations; I like when I can speak with one person, find out more about their life, their thoughts, the history that shaped their life.  

  So for a long time I was under the misconception that I was shy. I realize now this is not the case. I am an introvert who loves people but does need time alone. And the world is happier when I get it. Maybe the world is an exaggeration; perhaps more to the point--I am happier. 

   I think I will buy some Jason Mraz music and listen to it. Alone. But if you want to contact me, don't be scared, because remember? I do love people.  

Friday, January 30, 2009

banned from the elevator!

   Mmmmmm. My stomach feels absolutely satisfied. See, I just came back from my friend's Dominican mother's delicious cooking. Did you follow that? Becky's mom is visiting. She is from the Dominican Republic. She made us some fantastic cuisine after the show tonight. Makes sense now? Good.

   This was a really good thing because during our final number in the show, I literally felt like I was going to fall over from sheer hunger and need of protein. All I could think of was hamburgers. And what I needed to be thinking of was choreography, lyrics, and looking like I was enjoying myself. See my dilemma?

    Of course I embarrassed myself while walking to the elevator en route to our dressing rooms and saying, I just need to eat something really big. Apparently I was not specific enough because some of the guys made comments that were quite ungentlemanly. 

   Ew, gross. 

   I know, to the pure all things are pure, but I was still quick to specify that I wanted to eat a hamburger.  A really big hamburger.  

    Oh, and speaking of the elevator, well, I have earned a bit of a reputation with regards to the Fisher Theater's finicky elevator.  See, it acts up and sometimes decides to trap people in it for lengthy amounts of time.  The thing is that I have only ridden the elevator three times--once each week I have been here--and each time I have ridden it, it has broken down.  

  So now everybody thinks I have bad elevator juju. The first time, I figured it was just a fluke. The second time--still, it was a coincidence--but there was a number of people who remembered and kindly pointed out that I had been in it the last time it had broken down and had not been in it until it broke down again. Tonight, however, I was tired and just did not feel like walking the three flights of stairs to my dressing room (remember, I was in sore need of protein and also had hamburgers on the brain) after the finale. So, I walked resolutely up to the elevator doors and told the boys I was going to prove to them that I did not make the elevator break down.  

  They all groaned. I laughed. It was silly, after all.

   We got in. We pressed the appropriate buttons. The elevator started to move...And then abruptly stopped. It. Would. Not. Budge.  Every pair of eyes zeroed in on me...I said, Come on, guys--let's not be hasty--it's probably just warming up...

   Nope. The thing was stuck again.  We waited. We pressed the little emergency button. We waited. It finally started moving again but not before I promised them I would not ride the Fisher Theater elevator again.  

   Sheesh. I am glad we are only here for a few more days.  Any ideas on getting rid of bad elevator juju?

Thursday, January 29, 2009

25, er...26 random things about me

So, I have been tagged on facebook by two different friends from two entirely different circles of life and took it as a sign that the fates were telling me that I should post 25 Random Things About Me.  So I did. On facebook. And just to go full circle, I am going to post it here as well.

1. When I was little, I wanted to be a mermaid when I grew up. I thought that was a valid, respectable profession. I don't remember the exact moment I found out it wasn't exactly something you go to school for. Also I never did become a really good swimmer. Or grow a tail. Or learn to breath under water.

2. I also used to sing songs to animals. I would go outside and make up songs about God and serenade our dogs, cats, and horses about how loved and special they were.  I hope they got the message.

3. My younger sister is adopted, but she is darker complected like my mom so people have asked if I am the one adopted before.

4. My brothers and I have this face that we inadvertently make when we look at ourselves in the mirror. It is extremely embarrassing and our respective spouses love to make fun of us for it. I don't blame them at all.

5. When I first met Drew he had a beard and therefore I was completely uninterested in him. Yes, this might mean that I am shallow.

6. I still remember the first time I performed; I was 8 years old, skinny as all get out, and armed with a tambourine and lipstick as I did a little ballet/folksy dance. I was smitten with being in front of an audience that was captivated by me and could not stop smiling. It was a feeling that consumed me, not all that unlike being in love.

7. I love bread. LOVE IT. I don't care what people say about carbs and how bad they may be for you--I will always eat them and do so happily.

8. I wrote my first song when I was 14. I still remember the melody and it's not half bad.

9. One of my dreams is to perform my music on a regular basis and get paid well to do so.

10. I love reading Dear Abby--like things. Anything involving people's problems and experts advice is completely intriguing to me.

11. I hate all thing florescent--especially lights. I like a good warm yellow light; reading and writing under the cold glare of a florescent light almost kills any inspiration I had before I turned the light on.

12. I permed my hair when I was 8 years old. Mom, what were you thinking?!?!

13. I wasn't allowed to officially wear make-up outside of performing until I was 16. I did, however, manage to get my hands on some brown-tinted lip gloss from the local health food store that I was allowed to wear and did so profusely...

14. I love God and how He dreams and then brings about good and beautiful things that bring much needed change into my life.

15. I am unbelievably loyal to my family and friends. I am unashamedly proud of being a Latshaw.

16. I absolutely hate any phrases that combine something above with something below--i.e. "brain fart" and "diarrhea of the mouth." Ew. Gross.

17. I really love Drew's last name and had always told my mom that I would never marry a man whose last name I didn't like. She always told me that was crazy; like what if I fell in love with someone named Mr. Butt or something?--but I always knew I would fall in love with a man with the perfect last name. And I did. 

18. I get paid to sing really badly and singing well is one of my favorite things to do.

19. When I have family/friends in the audience I feel like a little girl performing for the first time again, it makes me that happy.

20. I want to write a book someday.

21. I was blonde for most of my life. I think I will probably be again at some point.

22. I have always been more of a dog person, but I now have two cats and love them more than I ever thought possible.

23. I am really, really sensitive. Some may say over sensitive which would probably hurt my feelings. Case in point. 

24. Playing the piano is like therapy for me and I wish to God I could put one in my pocket and always have it handy.

25. red and yellow are my favorite colors, but never really together.

26. And just to prove this last point, I am always in need of an editor as you can see since this was supposed to only be 25 Random Things About Me and I have now made it 26 Random Things About Me. 

   Oh, and p.s. today marked our 300th performance of A Chorus Line. Woo-hoo!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

coupe, in more ways than one

    Okay, so tonight I cut myself during the ballet combination in the opening. This, my friends, is a difficult thing to do and I would not recommend you try this at home. It is generally not funny to cut oneself, but in this particular case it kind of is. This is because it is ironic--let me explain. 

    See, I was doing something called a sautebasque (soda-bosk) which is basically a turn in the air landing in coupe. Coupe is the step that these lovely little baby ballerina's are demonstrating:

   As you can imagine, landing in coupe while wearing 3 inch heels is not always the most delightful thing--especially if that heel digs into your unsuspecting skin, leaving you to look like this:
   But the ironic thing in this situation is that the french word coupe, when translated into english, literally means to cut.  

   So tonight I not only was able to demonstrate the coupe step, I was also able to accomplish it literally. 

  Ironic, right?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

the bright side

    I worked tonight and honestly, I was very grateful for something to do. Somewhere to go, some responsibility. There isn't that much to do here in Detroit. Actually, since downtown Detroit is so dangerous, we are staying outside of Detroit in Dearborn. Um, there's a Walmart nearby...So...yeah. 

    It's cold. The sky is an endless grey. The snow is beautiful, true, but since there is no possible chance of a snow day (the show must go on, people!) and being snuggled inside with my loved ones, it doesn't excite me that much. 

   We have a kitchen here, so I am making good use of it with the groceries I buy at Walmart.  This is great--saves me money, you know--but it also means that there just isn't much reason to go anywhere. Not even to go out to eat. Actually, I think I have eaten a meal at a restaurant twice since I arrived.

  There's a small gym right next to my room, and I am making good use of that as well...

   Honestly, I am ready to get out of here. It is, I think, deadening to something that is very vital inside. There is no piano nearby, either, so I miss that. I started writing some lyrics today, and guess what kind of feel they had?

   Yep, melancholy.  

   But, let's look on the bright side...I am going to be in Florida for the entire month of February. It's a balmy 75 degrees there on average right now. Drew will be visiting me in precisely twenty-five days and yes, I am counting. I saw the movie Slumdog Millionaire last night and was both moved and inspired. The story telling was fantastic, the love story breathtaking. You should definitely make the effort to go see it. Oh and it was only $5 admission--this can only happen in Dearborn, MI, I do believe...I am currently watching the new TLC show 17 kids and counting and the father's actual first name is Jim Bob. If that doesn't constitute a bright side for me right now well, you don't realize how very unbright I feel here in Michigan.   

   Really, his name is Jim Bob. How awesome is that?! But how does that work? Is it actually James Robert? I don't know; I've never been a double name expert and I was born and bred in the great, mostly single named North. 

  But I do have a fascination with the South. 

   Another bright side of life is that my roommate, Gabi, just adopted a kitty cat from the Dearborn shelter. Her name is Veronica and she is a black and grey tabby. She looks a lot like two cats I had growing up by the names of Simpson and Precious (my family will remember).  She's a sweetheart and very affectionate and makes sweet little sounds that do my heart good.  

  Any bright sides you want to share? I am looking for any good news at all, here--no matter how small...;-)

Monday, January 26, 2009

missing him.

          I sometimes lay awake in bed, wishing for sleep but finding none. My mind wanders relentlessly, almost always ending up in the same place: Drew.

          I have always had the ability to go to other places inside my head. I remember taking long car trips with my family as a little girl and just losing myself to my thoughts, content in the overtones of boring, adult conversation or even silence because my mind was anything but. I remember specifically hearing my parents and brothers speaking of the Big Bear; my eyes would grow wide in wonder as I pondered the bear that was somewhere in the great and dark outside, instantly feeling a thrill of fear overcome by a flush of warmth as I knew I was safe with my family.  

       It wasn't until later that I realized they were talking about a constellation, that bears weren't really around in Landenberg, PA.  It was disappointing, but probably safer that way. 

       Anyway, I have always felt accompanied by my mind--especially when I cannot sleep because of all these loud thoughts keeping me awake, talking to me. And no, I am not crazy. But right now, I am a woman missing her husband like crazy.

      I don't know how you two do it! I know me and my husband could never live that way...This has been said to me on more than one occasion by a well-meaning person. I understand that sentiment, I really do. But sometimes I feel a little less understanding and a little more defensive. 
    Of my marriage. Of whether or not I am being a good wife. 

    It's not like we chose for me to go on tour because it's not very hard for us to live apart. It's not like I thought, Luckily, I don't love Drew all that much so this decision is really a no-brainer...   

    No, this decision is one that God led us to, true; it's one in which we both have peace, yes--but sometimes it really sucks. I know that can be a crude thing to say, but it is true. Especially when I am laying awake at night with a heart full of so many both heartfelt and insignificant things to say to Drew; I want to tell him that we had an around-the-world-party tonight and I, along with a few friends, represented the United Kingdom; I spoke in a loud british accent--my volume making up for whatever might be lacking in authenticity--we served tea sandwiches, guinness, and I made cupcakes that I decorated by crafting union jacks on each one and let me tell you, that's not easy!  I want to tell him that I tried to pretend that I could stomach this drink that was served to me in the Brazil room because my friend made it and was clearly proud of it, but the truth is that it tasted like lava from an active volcano going down my throat and I swirled it around and held it until I found a nearby and inconspicuous ledge to leave it on and quickly walked away. I want to tell him that I had a hard time keeping my eyes open tonight in the show during What I Did For Love and felt like a real poser on stage blinking furiously, just trying to keep my vital signs strong so the audience would never suspect the truth. I want to tell him that I miss him, and I feel that more than almost any other emotion, I think--it is a defining emotion of my very existence...And sure, I could say all these things tomorrow when the sun is once again shining and he is on the other end of a phone conversation, but I might not remember it so poignantly or one of us might have only a moment to talk and then be called away and let's face it, no matter how much I tell him of terrible drinks, almost falling asleep on stage, and cupcake decorating, it's never as good as him being here.

     It's never as good as him actually experiencing it with me.  

     I want to tell him that I hold on to the thought of he and I experiencing life together again with all the strength of a drowning woman holding onto her one lifeline. I want to tell him that I am fine, true, but always, always much better with him. 

    And I want to tell him that if this wasn't our life, I would also innocently tell a couple who couldn't, at present, live together:

     I don't know how you two do it! I know that me and my husband could never live that way...

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Marvin Hamlisch!

    Tony award winning composer, Marvin Hamlisch, came to see our show this afternoon. Um, no pressure, right? I mean he only did a little thing like write the score of our show.  

   Anyway, it was a great show. The audience was awesome--maybe partly because it was announced that Mr. Hamlisch was present, giving people a little more incentive to laugh and clap--but, I like to think it was because the show was pretty great too.

   Mr. Hamlisch was very kind and funny and told us he loved the show and really appreciated how we made it our own. If you'll notice, we are all in our ACL robes (we change right from our finale costumes into those backstage before we even go to our dressing rooms); Mr. Hamlisch noticed, too, and was pretty upset that he didn't have one of his own.  We would have offered one of ours, but they were literally the only thing that we were wearing...

  Pretty cool that he stopped by, though, huh?!?!

Friday, January 23, 2009

news, news!

   So the other day my brother Josh calls me. I answer with the usual hey Josh! only to get a hold on for a second, Jess in response.


   I hear him dialing and pushing buttons, I have no idea what is going on--and then he gets back on and says, Is it working? Drew, you there? Jess, you there?

   Um, is this some kind of marriage counseling you are doing here, Josh? I ask. He ignores me. I greet Drew, he greets me. Josh says, You ready for this?

   Goodness, I think. I hope he hasn't offered to do some sort of male pregnancy experiment that has worked and he's about to break the news that we are about to be an aunt and uncle. Again. 

   You laugh, but that idea isn't so far from reality. At one point, Josh had seen an add somewhere asking for volunteers for medical research. This research involved toe amptutation. Yes, 5 g's for each toe. Josh was ready to remove all ten of his toes for a nice chunk of change. We all breathed a collective sigh of relief when it turned out the whole thing was a hoax. I guess none of us wanted to keep picking him up off the floor after he tipped over and fell flat on his face from lack of leverage.  

   Anyway, he says, You ready for this? We give our assent and he says, You got another gig, Jess! I booked you for the East End Cafe on Monday March 9th (which is really the only date I am available to play that night, due to playing in DC every other night of the week).

  Anyway, here's the deal--I am playing at the East End Cafe on Monday night, March 9th. I will be playing with a full band again--the awesome and talented Christian Dunn, Drew Copeland, Josh Latshaw, and hopefully Rebekah Latshaw will lend her voice again as well (though I haven't actually asked if she's available or not). You don't have to be 21 to go, I am pretty sure, so that is good news for those of you younger guys who were not issued a passport that happens to say you are in fact older than you are (ahem, Shane...).

  All you tri-staters, it's real real close. Please come; it will be a blast! And thanks for getting the gig, Josh, as well as the dramatic way in which you told us.

   And honestly, I am really glad Josh is not pregnant...And has all of his toes securely fastened to his foot. 

Thursday, January 22, 2009

No, I am NOT depressed. really.

Jessica, as a professional musical theater actress, please tell us what your daily diet is. 

     I am so glad that you asked. Oh, you didn't? Wait--you think I wrote that to myself?! What?!?! Listen, regardless of who wrote it, let's not argue on this public forum and instead, why don't you just let me answer the question. Okay? Okay.

  Sorry about that, guys...As I was saying, I am so glad that you asked. I mean, I was going to write a new diet book, but I figure I will first divulge my tip-top secrets here. To you guys.

  Now don't you feel oh so privileged?
  And what better way to tell you about the secret to all my success than to show you? As an avid blogger, I don't always ascribe to the saying talk is cheap, but for now, I'll go along with it. That's right, here is a picture of what now sits beside me on a ledge in our living room.  Yeah, our living room. Who has time to get up and walk to the kitchen these days? 

   And it is all mine--not my roommate's. Ahem. 

    In case you didn't quite get it the first time, here it is again. And maybe I should add: Kids--don't try this at home. This will be consumed by a trained professional who is currently stationed in Detroit in the dead of winter, is far from home and husband, and may or may not be on her period.  This is not recommended for those who do not have either the training or the special circumstances.   
    Okay, so the midol gives it away, I guess. And the tylenol pm is to combat the midol that is chock full of caffeine...I know, I know--she swallowed the spider to catch the fly, blah, blah, blah.
    And the truth is that the cadbury eggs were on sale and the first ones I had seen this year so I bought four. Yes, four. You only see three because I already ate one (this isn't rocket science here, folks, just simple mathematics). And the milk duds are nostalgic for me because when I'd go to the movies with my family as a kid, we'd always get milk duds and popcorn. The fact that they are delicious is beside the point entirely. And the cream cheese frosting and chocolate cake mix are there because I am planning on making cupcakes for the cast. At least, my hope is to share them with the cast. If they don't actually make it to the theater, well, nobody will ever know the difference, I suppose. And the pretzels are there because I love sweet and salty food together... 

  And then I wash it all down with a few gulps of vegetable oil. 
  Kidding, people, kidding.

  So really, I will not be eating all of this in one fell swoop.  But I did think that under my particular circumstances, coupled with my ah, lunar cycle, that little pile of food is very cliche.

  Just wanted to share.

   Now excuse me as I enjoy one of my cadbury eggs. And I do mean just one.  

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

plays well with others

         I think people are some of the most interesting creatures. I like to go to the mall to (let's just be honest here) shop, true, but I also really enjoy observing the behavior of others. I listen to their conversations and no, it's not eaves dropping if they are speaking out loud two feet away. Goodness, what do you expect me to do? Cover my ears and hum the Star Spangled Banner (yesterday was the Inauguration, true, but still!)? 

       As I was saying, I like to see how people interact. I even like to see how people dress and do their make up. Actually, when we are out, Drew often tells me to stop staring. I forget myself and get lost in analyzing people and yeah, sometimes that leads to staring. 

       Actually, funny enough, I guess my staring has gotten me into trouble before--more than just with Drew. When I was maybe 12 I was spending the night at one of my best friend's house. Her little brother informed me that his friend was convinced that I liked him ( not the little brother--the friend thought this). I clutched my proverbial pearls in incredulity! To make this preposterous accusation even more unseemly, the boy who was so sure that I liked him was two years younger than me. When you are twelve, that's like two lifetimes. The thought of liking a little ten year old was just absurd.  I'd sooner like a toad--at least there was the prospect of him turning into a prince, which was a much more acceptable object of my affection than a measly ten year old! After making it quite clear that I did not in fact like this ten year old who, apparently, was given to visions of grandeur, I asked how in the world this boy could come to that conclusion anyway. 

    Oh, said my friend's brother, He said you stare at him a lot during church.  

    Oops. And by the way, Drew is two years younger than me. But obviously I am not 12, so it's not so bad now.

   Like I said, I manage to do a lot of observing. And in this business, scratch that--in any business or endeavor, how you behave towards others is extremely important.  See, like it or not, people call the shots basically wherever you go. So if you don't get along with people, than you are screwed.  

   I once worked with a guy who made it very clear that he was not there to make friends, he was there to do a job. What happened? Surprise, surprise--he made no friends. He was lonely and isolated and eventually didn't even win a lot of respect from the creative team. His attitude went from strange to bad and that did not help the energy of the show. What he considered to be"professional"-- acting aloof socially, doing the bare minimum when it came to any kind of human connection, while learning his lines, choreography, and harmonies--actually left a bad taste in people's mouth. Because every job involves people to some degree, than the lion's share of "being professional" is learning how to interact well with others. To put it simply, you have to play nice. And he really didn't. 

  Oh, and it also didn't help that this particular guy was very stinky. Just keeping it real. Deodorant also goes a very long way in this business. 

   I have worked with other people who have so much ego that every note they get is a personal insult to them. I have literally heard an actor say that they should not be allowed to get notes after having done the show a certain way for a certain amount of time, in those words. What's worse, I heard other actors agree with that sentiment. 

   As if any actor is above a note. As if any person is above correction.  

   What I am trying to say, is that this whole issue of professionalism is really more simple than not.  I don't have the corner on it or anything, but I have seen that these are the things that tend to work and if you'll notice they are basically in accordance with the way you were (hopefully) raised: 
  • Be kind to others; respect them and listen to them. 
  • Most of the time it is wiser to say less. 
  • Be flexible and able to see that there may be another way to do something than your way, and wonders and wonders, it may even be better.  
  • Realize that you are not the only one on stage (or in the office, or wherever), and maybe somebody else is having a tougher time than you. 
  • Work hard.
  • Be gracious and thank your boss, your co-workers, your dressers, your security guards, your guy who runs the spotlight--everybody who makes it possible for you to do what you do. 
  • Be positive. Period. Or even when you're on your period. Even when you have rehearsal for something that you already know--maybe you'll learn something new or get just a little bit better. Or if nothing else, maybe it will be fun because you'll quietly make jokes with the person who stands next to you in the Ones and you'll both laugh but not in a way as to be distracting and this is purely hypothetical, of course. What? You thought I was speaking from experience? Why--I never...
  • Be willing to admit your mistakes and apologize, even if it was for something that was not intentional on your part. 
  • Have a sense of humor.
    Again, I am not saying I am perfect at this. It's a journey. But I try to live this way. And you know what? How you act towards others, no matter where you are, certainly does affect the outcome of your life. My first international tour was a job that I got because the casting director saw me audition in New York, was interested, and noticed that he was old buddies with someone who owned the dinner theater where I did my first ever gig. The casting director called his friend, asking if he would recommend me as a good employee--he did--and voila! I had a great job.

   But had I been rude, a diva, or difficult at this dinner theater in Delaware, then that door would not have opened. 

   Bottom line, it matters how you act and relate to others. All the time. And if you have anything at all to add to this list of how to work with others, please feel free to let me know. In fact, I would love your input.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

procastination vs. git her done!

       I am not a procrastinator. Back when I was home schooled, my mom would write out my lesson plans at the beginning of each week so I would know all the work I would have to complete before Friday. Sometimes I would do all five math lessons on Monday just so I could have that math-free feeling for the rest of the week.

      I have always loved just getting the distasteful things over with. If something needs doing, do it now so that you don't have to think about it. So it's not hanging over your head. So you can read your favorite book for as long as you want...After you get out of the way whatever it is that would prevent you from reading.

     That has always been my plan.
      Which is why working at night isn't my favorite thing. For a person like me, I have to deal with having work hanging over my head all day long. I see my life in diminishing hours--okay, five hours till I have to go to work, now three, now one...I'd much rather just wake up and get it over with. I'd much rather do a matinee and then have the evening off. And do you know how rarely we have just a matinee and the evening off? Hardly ever. 

    I have really had to learn how to let go of the weight of having a task before me that I simply cannot do until later. Like working. If it were up to me and was possible, I would probably do 8 shows on Monday and then have the rest of the week off.   But I can't do that, so I have to just relax and realize that just cause I have to work later does not mean I can't enjoy now. 

  And the strange thing is that I do love my job, even though I usually have to do it at night. I just wish that I could do it earlier and then enjoy an evening off, rather than the other way around. 

  How bout you guys? Are you in the I would rather relax now and work later camp or the I would rather work now so I can relax later camp?  

Monday, January 19, 2009

the things that bring hope

     So I just spent a very long time going through all of my posts and labeling them. You could say I set this house in order and phew! it was on ordeal. If you scroll down to the bottom of this page, you should be able to see the fruits of my labor.  


   I don't necessarily love to drive. If there are two kinds of people in life--you know, drivers and passengers--then I will sign my name happily right next to the passengers section. However, I am now sharing a car with a Texan and a Californian. Neither are used to or comfortable driving in the snow and since it has been snowing more days than not since we got to Detroit, this native Pennsylvanian is behind the wheel at all times.  I really don't mind all that much, though, considering that having access to a car on tour and yes, that means driving it as well, is a nice change of pace.   

  What I do mind is the state of the roads during a snow storm here. At times I was just driving on thick layers of snow and slipping all over the place. I felt like I would have done better navigating with a sled. We asked a dresser at the theater why the roads aren't better here and she told us that Detroit is broke; there's no money to plough the roads.

  Stupid economy. 
   Here is a facebook status I recently read that truly upset me: "John Doe is so sick of hearing about that pilot and the river. Move on already, jeeeez.
   Wow. I am sorry, but are miracles really so very boring? I mean, part of our job as humans is to relate to each other the very good, pure, and perfect things that can seem to so rarely happen on this earth; to marvel at them, remember them, and store them in our hearts. That is how the necessary element of hope is not only born, but grows. 

   It flourishes. 

   So yes, we will continue to be in awe of this miracle. We will see God's hand in it and rejoice with the people who not only said good-bye to their loved ones, but were also given the gift of saying hello to them once again, AFTER THEIR PILOT CRASH LANDED THEM IN THE HUDSON RIVER. Because those people could just have easily have been us. That is the great and beautiful crux of the human existence; our ability to see ourselves in each other's stories of heroism, miracles, pain, tragedy, and love is what keeps us close when all else threatens to tear us apart. And it is this compassion, this empathy, that stays the hand that would strike its neighbor, teaching it a better way, a healing touch. 

   So no, we are never going to get over this miracle. For it is miracles like these that give us hope as we sustain the next sad event; they are the bits of light we look for, yearn for, need. They are further proof of God among us. He landed that plane, kept all those people safe; surely he can keep us safe, he can keep me safe.  

  The psalmist said it well when he wrote, 

             I would have lost hope unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of God in the land of the living.

   Miracles like this are glimpses of just that--the goodness of God in the land of the living. And we will never grow tired of hearing about them, big or small.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

8th show, folks

      The eighth show of an eight show week is amazing in some ways. Your body starts to just effortlessly do what it knows, sort of like the horse that, within a certain perimeter of the barn, simply takes the lead because by that point, it knows the way.  And if it doesn't, the rider may just be too tired to correct it...Not that I would ever allow my body to just do what it wants (for instance, in the dark upstage corner, when I am simply standing, barely discernible to the audience at large, I would never let myself relax, maybe even shift my weight from one foot to another to give a brief respite to well, one foot then the other...).

   What else? Well, for some reason there is nothing left to prove. I don't know why, but come Tuesday, the first show of the week, you feel like you have a lot to prove. You've been separated from the show for a good 24 hours (and I do mean a good 24 hours, we do love our day off) and now it's time to show the world--or maybe, more appropriately--yourself that you can do this thing and do it well. But the 8th show?! Shoot, you're golden. You've done it practically forever this week already, you can surely do it one more time. Ain't no thing at all.

   And then there is the matter of the feet. Maybe the most beat up, unappreciated body part that exists; having to traverse many miles, wedged within the confines of the latest fashion, or worse, all natural--with nothing separating them from whatever happens to be on the ground that day. My poor feet have certainly been through it. And by the eighth show, especially, I feel it. Just tonight I was getting these sharp shooting pains throughout my metatarsal...but wait, U2 just came onto the TV screen...excuse me for a moment or two...

   I am back and wow, that was wonderful. I am watching the inaugural concert in honor of President-elect Obama and while I was just as happy to write while Shakira was on the screen, I simply had to give my full attention to Bono. You know how it is. 

  But, as I was saying, by the eighth show of the week, my feet hurt. Like the dickens. That isn't a curse word, is it? I don't think so, but perhaps it is an old fashioned one. 

  Oh, and last but not least, the eighth show of the week leaves me feeling giddy and ready to crack up laughing at the drop of a hat (which is quite possible since we deal with many hats in A Chorus Line)... 

  That is all for now. Happy Monday to all.

Friday, January 16, 2009

if it looks like a toilet and feels like a toilet...

     It is late, the middle of the night. I am twenty years old and asleep in the bedroom nestled in the corner of my parents' house. The next day I am going to visit my boyfriend in upstate New York, making my beauty sleep even more pressing.

     I get up, though, suddenly having to go to the bathroom. I quickly make my way there and attend to business, feeling a sense of calm as I am relieved of the pressure that drove me to the bathroom in the first place. 
   Wait, stop. I wake up again. No, not again--because I am in bed. What...? 
    I am wet. WET. And the calm gives way to a rising sense of disaster as the slow, awful realization of my situation clears out the cobwebs in my brain. Turns out I didn't get up, didn't go to the bathroom, didn't even get remotely close to a toilet, folks.  

   I dreamt the whole thing. Oh--well, except for the relieving myself part. Unfortunately, that was very real, as evidenced in my bed and all over my legs. 

   I jump out of bed with the reflexes of a cat jumping out of water. I strip it; I strip me, throwing a robe on. I turn on the shower and start piling the bed clothes together and this is how my mom finds me in the middle of the night. 

   What are you doing up, Jess? And (upon seeing me turning my bed practically inside out) what are you doing?

   I look at her. I am too tired, too shocked to even try to make anything up. Besides, she's my mom; she of all people has seen me soil myself before. Just not for a good 18 or so years. 

   I peed the bed, mom. 

   That's all I say, and my mom doesn't even look too shocked (now that I think about it, I wonder why she didn't look shocked that her 20 year-old daughter wet her bed, but well, she didn't). 

  And that was it. I went back to cleaning and I assume my mom went back to bed. However, a small worry did creep into the back of my mind: what if this happens again when I visit my boyfriend? 

  And maybe that was when I decided to not trust my dreams. Especially the ones involving a toilet. And maybe that is also when I started making sure I go right before I go to bed--sometimes twice--and then again, early in the morning. Call me paranoid, but hey, you can't argue with me when I say I've had...well, a bad experience.  

   I always promised myself that I would take that story with me to the grave. But then I stopped caring so much about being seen as an adult who has never wet the bed, I guess. But I would still like to be seen as an adult who has never wet the bed more than once...

  Any stories you would like to share? Any embarrassing moments that, at the time, you swore you'd never tell--even under threat of torture--but now that you've put some time between you and the event you can see the humor in it? 

  If so, do share. 

Thursday, January 15, 2009


    There are a few things on my mind right now. The temperature here in Detroit rose to a whopping four degrees today. I guess that is better than the one degree the day started out with. Those three extra degrees really made a difference.  

    Was anybody else riveted by the news and the image of the sinking USAirways plane in the hudson river? That pilot is a hero. Miraculously, everybody survived. Thank God. Truly. I was talking to my friends about it and said that if I were guaranteed absolute safety of myself and everyone else, I might want to experience something like that. What an amazing story to tell others!

  I mean really, that would make a great blog post. 

  Oh, and do you know the only thing that the pilot said before he landed the plane in the icy waters? Get ready for impact. Just like that. No preamble, no pontificating. Just a sensible, unarguable command. Again, wow.
  A conversation I recently had with my friend Ian:

Ian: I just saw The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and it was really good.
Me: Huh...(note I am not putting a ton of thought behind my next question, as you will see in a second) Is that based on a true story?
Please realize that I had seen the previews, I knew the premise...
Ian: Well, Jessica, it's a movie about a man who looks like he's eighty years old when he's seven and then as he chronologically gets older recesses into a tiny infant; you tell me.
Me: Oh yeah, guess not.
     I totally pulled a MacGyver tonight. Seriously, you should have seen it. But since you didn't, let me explain. 

     Me, Gabi, and Liza were driving to work and had just gotten to the parking garage. I went to grab for the access card we were given on Tuesday and with a start saw that it was not in its regular spot: inside the slide out extension of the sun visor. Without that card, the lever would not lift, meaning I could not park the car. So, I pressed the emergency button and a man came up to me. What's the problem? he asked. Um, we cannot find our access card...I said, still rummaging through any other places it could possibly be. Well, that's a problem, he noted (no, duh, I also note, I was the one who pressed the emergency button, remember?). What if we, uh, never actually find the card? I ask. Then I am gonna start charging you every night. He answers, sounding a little too happy about charging us every night. I mean, does he get to pocket the money he gains from people who lose their access cards or something?!

   He lets us in just tonight he assures us, and we don't doubt him. I park the car and start fiddling with the slidey thing in the visor. Gabi says aha! as she spies the card down in the recesses of the visor, quite out of reach for anybody whose hands are not two-dimensional. 

   Which ruled all of us out. 

    But then I remembered that a theater-specialized tax accountant had recently sent me a nail file included in her info packet. Perfect. I dug it out of my purse  and carefully, so as not to push it further away from our already dubious reach, started jimmying the card. 

  And I jimmied it right out of the visor, back into our hands, once again assuring our free parking for these next three weeks.

  And that is how I was MacGyver tonight. Awesome, right? 

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

back in the saddle again

        Stepping away from ACL for a mere 8 shows and then stepping back into it should be easy as pie, right? Two quick steps, kind of like dancing. And since I have my degree in dance performance--well, ain't no thing. 

         That's the theory, anyway. 

         But then throw into the equation a new theater that I have never performed in before, as well as a new zach light (two, small blue lights that are hung at the back of the house; it is these lights that we are supposed to direct all of our focus on when we are talking to Zach), the steps get a little bit more complicated then that.  

         Everything was fine. Fun, actually. I have this habit of going over my monologue and song while I am waiting upstage in the dark, back to the audience during At the Ballet, and today was no different. The words rolled through my mind with ease, just like that riding a bike adage. Even when Zach called me forward, it was fine, I was fine. But then I saw those little blue zach lights. And they were sooooo far away. And I started marveling about how far away they were in the middle of my monologue. And that was my Achilles' heel. 
        I blanked. Completely. 

         My body responded with all the red flags, my brain yelling to the rest of it's troops, ALL SYSTEMS DOWN!!!! My heart was racing, I got all hot inside and felt like my insides were quickly turning to something akin to a puddle.  Luckily, I play Kristine, who can't quite finish her own sentence anyway, so all the extra ums and ahs were actually in character. And it only lasted a few moments till I was back on track, but still it was absolutely terrifying. 

       It really shook me. Live theater, folks. Live theater. Which is why I can't beat myself up. It happens. Not so awesome that it happened the first show back after my vacation...But still, it happens. 

      And there you go. Further proof that I am not now, nor ever will be perfect (which doesn't mean that I am gonna stop trying!) Not that you guys were looking for proof. Those of you who know me probably stopped looking a while ago:)

   As you know, I am now in Detroit. Snowy, -3 degrees Detroit. What I didn't know before I got here is that Detroit is somewhat close to Canada, just a shortish drive away, in fact. And now I will pause so that you can laugh at my lack of geographical skills.


  It's okay, I really don't mind that you laughed. 

  And another thing. Driving to the theater tonight, we passed a small cavalcade of flashing and blinking police cars on the side of the road. Not every one was a police car, though; there was one that wasn't and it was the one with the large bullet hole in the front windshield. 
   Ah, Detroit. 
   God keep us and watch over us. 

Monday, January 12, 2009

strider and a little more

    No, this little guy is not a stuffed animal. He's a real live puppy. My mom and sister's new puppy, actually. May I present to you...Strider 

      And here his eyes are a little more open.  And yes, he is just as fluffy as he looks. Oh, and he is pictured above with my nephew Eli as well as my mom's head. Don't worry, it is the back of her head; she doesn't look like Cousin It at all. 
       I have to take some credit because I did suggest his awesome name. It was really difficult saying good-bye to him tonight, since I only just met him yesterday and I have to go back on tour tomorrow...

     Back. On. Tour. 
      How do I do that again? Pack all my clothes like it's no big deal; count the weeks and marginalize their number in my head, tricking myself into believing that it will go by fast; but it will go by fast, it always does; yet it's still time, precious time that I have been allotted and I spend it away from Drew; maybe I am crazy, yes I definitely am to do this; but then I remember that he's the kind of guy that won't allow me to turn down a dream job, even said yes when I couldn't, told me we would make it work; he doesn't complain when he goes home to a house that feels so big, so silent with the piano in the corner and me not there to play it; he is at once the reason why I can do it and the reason why a part of me hates doing it, being so far from him; but he's grace for me, more than I deserve and, again, we will make this work.     

Sunday, January 11, 2009

thoughts that involve home and spiders, among other things

         Drew is basking in the Eagles victory and it's enough of a glow that it's spilling onto me.  And I don't mind one bit. It's so very bright that it even survived the Philly airport losing our bags. That's right, even after waiting an hour for luggage that never did come, we are still happy.  

          Happy and home. For now, at least. And I am really trying to live in the present, so help me out here and try not to remind me that I am leaving again. Unless of course when it comes to me procrastinating on doing laundry. And packing. And actually going to another airport. Then maybe you can gently remind me about the contract that I did sign as well as the paycheck that I do anticipate and how both of those things are conditional solely upon me actually working. 

        Imagine that.  
        My parents picked us up at the airport with the newest Latshaw in tow, Strider. He's a 7 week old Malamute puppy and is all fluffy fur and silken ears and paws that speak of his potential to grow.  He immediately plopped his little head down onto my lap and graciously allowed me to stroke his fur and ooh and ahh over his absolute canine perfection. Seriously, the way he just lazily lay in my lap immobilized me by the sweetness of the moment.  

      But I am pretty sure my cats didn't think Strider's smell all over me was so sweet. They didn't love the fact that we were gone in the first place, and it certainly didn't help soften the blow by coming back smelling like a dog, of all things!

       There is an innocence and dependence about animals that is close to God's heart, I think.  And I have always been a sucker for them. Except for spiders. They do not look innocent and if they are ever dependent upon me, good luck. They'll need it. As would I, I imagine, if I were ever to find myself dependent upon a spider. Pray God that neither is ever the case.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

not ready, at least not yet

     It's hard to believe that pretty soon I'll be back on a stage, reciting a monologue that I haven't even thought about since this past Sunday.  It's a little crazy to reconcile this past week of amazing fun with my job. I mean, yeah, my job is fun, but in a very different, disciplined sort of way. Oh, and takes me far from Drew and family and friends (not to say the people I work with aren't my friends, because I can assure you they most certainly are).
      And where is it I am going, you may ask? I am rejoining my cast in Detroit, of all places! My brother keeps on kindly reminding me that Detroit has one of the highest crime rates ever and to please watch my back while I am there. 

     You don't have to tell me twice. I tend to be very suspicious of strangers; I don't know them, therefore I don't trust them.  

     So, I am trying to keep an open mind, trying to expect good things, but trying to stay practical about my expectations at the same time. For instance, there most certainly will not be Disneyland in Detroit:
   I will, however, still have the ability to give a hearty thumbs-up--even if I am not in Disneyland. I will be sure to do that while in Detroit, especially after seeing how cool it makes me look in this picture.

   Um, correct me if I am wrong, but I am also pretty sure that there is no Malibu Creek State Park or old Adobe houses with climbing Drew's hanging off the side in Detroit:
    But, I know there are houses, at least, if not necessarily adobe houses. Yeah...Detroit has houses. Right?

    And you know what, I bet there is a Benihana in Detroit. But there will not be these awesome people to share it with:

        Please do me a favor and look at the little guy's face on the right. Ollie had already been on a lengthy hike and we waited over an hour to be seated. The poor dude was just too tired to even muster up a smile. About ten minutes after this picture was taken he was sleeping soundly on his daddy's lap and his shrimp and chicken was put in a doggie bag. 

       I am not quite ready to go back to work, but I never really am when it means leaving Drew. However, the grace that I need isn't going anywhere and it'll be available on Tuesday. Just like always. 

Thursday, January 8, 2009

ice skating. in california. WHAT?!

   Today, we were strong. We were brave. We were resilient. 

    We were ice skating...
      Jason prepped Ollie, who turned out to be a maverick on the ice--skating to the beat of his own drummer as he perfected this combination walk/run on the ice, varied by grabs for the rink as his feet slipped out from underneath him and he hung by the railing like a monkey. Lyric was a champ. She literally threw up as soon as we parked the car, cleaned up a little, drank some water and grabbed a stick of gum before she insisted on still skating.  You can't keep that girl back when it comes to the ice!
   Jenna and Jase, mugging for the camera as we Latshaws can tend to do.
   Drew, anticipating another Eagles victory this Sunday, I think...
     What's better than the perfect couple? The perfect couple on ice, of course!
   A big part our trip out to CA was in celebration of the four years that Drew and I have spent sharing a last name (most of the time, anyway...At least when I am not on stage).  We would skate together and every once in a while (when Drew wasn't laughing at me for skating like a three year old, halting baby steps and everything) we would look at each other and say, 4 YEARS!!! Sometimes the other family members would join in, too. Passerbys probably didn't know quite what to think...
   Oh, and here's just a cool pic of the boy's car that caravaned to the ice rink. These guys are just too cool for school. 
   Ollie, on the side of the rink, where you could find him most of the time. Me, on the side of the rink, where you could find me some of the time...Oh, and the little girl behind me in the pink striped hat was skating all by herself around that rink; she put me to shame, for sure.
      Who knew ice skating in Santa Monica could be so fun?!?! 

people's choice awards!

  Tonight, Jenna and I went to the People's Choice Awards, thanks to our brother Jason.

   The stressful part of the evening was parking. In downtown L.A. During rush hour. We had this fancy pass for valet parking--should be easy, right? Yeah...About that.  Well, because a road was closed we could find our way to the valet section. After circling for a half hour, we finally found a kind security guard who told us how to circumvent that darned closed road and get to our destination. FInally. Oh, except they were full and the clock was ticking. See, it was now about 5:15, the doors were supposed to close promptly at 5:30, and now we were redirected to a new place across town.  


    So, we followed the new directions and couldn't find anything that resembled parking for the life of us. There was no sign, no flags, no orange cones, no nothing. It was 5:30, Jenna was starting to cry, sure that the doors would close with us irreversibly on the outside...

   Finally, we stumbled upon the garage, dropped our car off and hustled as quickly as our heels would allow us towards the Shrine. The doors were not, in fact, closed and--though I am not sure exactly how this happened--we found ourselves being ushered onto the red carpet. With Queen Latifah. No, we were not arm in arm with her, but still, we were sort of sharing the red carpet with her.

   And of course I tripped. Go figure.

   We went inside to our sweet seats nice and close to the stage and saw this:  
     We were having fun star-gazing, dressed up and alert for anything interesting.
  Carrie Underwood sang beautifully as well as snagging two awards.
  It was a little easy for us to tell who was going to get the awards, though; generally, if there were four different people nominated for any given category and only one of those were actually there, it wasn't exactly difficult to guess who would claim it. 

   Jenna and I each took turns striking a pose:
     Rascall Flatts gave an amazing performance. We were seated in such a way that a lot of the celebrities had to walk right by us. At one point, right after Debra Messing had presented, I overheard her say to her friend, Was that as awkward as it felt? Kid Rock walked by us a few times, holding his bottle of beer and looking a little strung out. Jenna and I each gave a scream (well I gave a silent scream since my voice is still on the mend since getting sick) for David Borealis, one of our favorite vampires.  Christian Bale was kind and gracious and of course dedicated his award for the Dark Knight to Heath Ledger...
   We had a truly great time!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

rancho santa fe

    Drew and I are living without a care in the world. For now. Of course, it wouldn't be a good thing to live that way all the time, but it's nice sometimes. Um, really nice.

      Our trip out here was uneventful and I'd take it so far as to even say restful since we both actually slept on the plane. It was also so refreshing for me to go to an airport and not be fighting back tears for once. This time I didn't have to say good-bye to Drew; I didn't have to pretend that everything was going to be fine as I turned my back to him and resolutely walked away.  Instead, we both got to walk towards the terminal together. He even lugged around both of our bags (until I remembered that I am a fully functioning human who can probably handle wheeling around a bag the size of a carry-on and so offered to just leave him with the really big one which guessed it, mine).   

     Oh, and I really liked glimpsing the Pacific ocean again--even though Drew told me that it was just the sky and actually had me convinced for a moment as I kept staring at it, amazed at how similar a sky and an ocean really look. 

    Turns out they don't look that similar. Drew laughed as I said once again, But I really think it is the ocean, and the jig was up. I know, I know--gullible is not found in the dictionary, ha ha. 

    Right now we are staying in Rancho Santa Fe, which is not in Santa Fe at all. It is, in fact, in California--outside San Diego. It is a picturesque little town about 7 miles from the coast that is part of a covenant. Sounds scary, like they made some secret pact involving blood and monsters, but in reality it means that they all have ownership of the town so that every little thing--down to a change of a mailbox, even--needs to be approved by the appointed board. All of the architecture is spanish and romantic and there is no McDonalds in sight which is just fine with me.  All of the landscaping is pristine and lush which again, if just fine with me.

   Tonight I had lobster for dinner and I don't think I have ever had lobster for dinner before. Drew had swordfish--I suspect this was because Drew is a sucker for anything that has a sword, but still, it was delicious. We ate while overlooking the waves crashing on the sand; the sky blended in perfectly to the soft line of the ocean (see--they really do look alike!). 

   And now I am listening to the sounds of a fire crackling and popping in the fireplace. I am with Drew; I am content.    

Sunday, January 4, 2009

vacay, baby!

      Tomorrow morning I leave for vacation. Let me rephrase that and make it a little better while I am at it: Tomorrow morning I leave for vacation with Drew.

    Yeah, that sounds about right.  
       Some reasons why this makes me very happy...Drew and I haven't been on a vacation since our honeymoon. We need one; every couple does. We need some days dedicated to nothing in particular. No deadlines. No appointments. Nothing involving work for either of us and everything involving us; the reasons why we fell in love and better yet, all of the reasons why we have stayed in love. 

       I haven't spent a week not doing A Chorus Line since late March. I love my job, true, but a break is in order. My body will thank me for it. My feet, especially, are looking forward to the lack of heels.  And some sand underneath them.

   And now I must say a huge thank you to all of the friends and family who have come and seen me in A Chorus Line over the past few weeks. Wow. You guys rock. You cheered and cheered and made me feel like a rock star. Thank you a thousand times over; it means so much to me. 

Saturday, January 3, 2009


    Well now, here's something new for you: A sports post.  That's right, something that has never been done before on, and you get to witness it. 

     How very exciting.

      I must say that I grew up in a house where the Eagles pretty much ruled. With the exception of one brother who was and is a diehard Cowboys fan (I know, I know--what drama! what angst! the eagles and the cowboys are sworn enemies! Ai-yai-yai...), as well as one mother who didn't and doesn't give a rat's tail about football, it sometimes felt like we all rose and fell with the Eagles. 

    And then I married Drew and quickly became a football widow. I was faced with a choice: either learn to know and love the Eagles as well, or miss out on a big part of my husband's life.  

   If you can't beat em, join em, right? 

   So I joined him. And to make it even more appealing for me, Drew started telling me all these human interest stories about the Eagles. For instance, Andy Reid is mormon and somehow always manages to hire one or two mormon players on the team--like Kevin Curtis, for example;  Donovan McNabb and Brian Dawkins generally room together when they are on the road, probably because they share the same values, Drew suspects; Shawn Andrews stayed out of training camp this year because he was struggling with depression, but then got help from friends, found God, and is even reaching out to other NFL players now struggling with depression.  

   Really, you never have to ask Drew twice to talk about the Eagles.  

   In fact, one night we were driving home late--I think from a Look Machine show--and Drew was listening to Gary Cobb's sports radio show.  Of course they were discussing the Eagles and of course Drew had to call in and add his two cents.  Well, in another 10 minutes Drew had something else to add, but was sadly turned away when he called.

   Apparently Drew had already reached his limit for times one is allowed to call in to the show within a ten minute span.  Go figure. He is nothing if not enthusiastic. 

   And now these beloved Eagles have won a spot in the playoffs and I am hoping that they win tomorrow.  Mostly because this will make Drew extremely happy, but also because this team has won me over--albeit, with Drew's help!--and now it would make me happy too.  

   So may the best team win tomorrow and by best team I mean the Eagles.



Friday, January 2, 2009

sooooo tired.

 Some things just need doing. 

  I mean, even after you've gotten home after leaving your house 14 hours earlier, warmed-up for and performed two shows, spent time with friends and family alike in the great city of brotherly love, drove your sister home and dodged deer as you drove yourself home, as well as fixed the furnace which likes to keep your house at a cool 50 degrees--even after all of that, sometimes you need to check your facebook wall. 

  Answer a few messages and comments. Make sure no new pictures of you that have recently shown up need to be untagged.  And yes, sometimes this needs to be done after you have spoken with your hard-at-work husband on the phone and begged off any real or lengthy conversation because, seriously, you are just plain exhausted. 

  But not too tired to tag everyone in this photo:

   At which point said husband immediately responds with this text:

   So. Tired. Must. Tag. Facebook. Photos:-)

   Oops. He caught me red-handed. Too tired to talk, but not too tired to tag him in a facebook picture, it seems...