Sunday, August 25, 2013

Annual Adventures

Hello everyone!

So it's been 7 months since you last heard from me.  And boy do I have a lot to tell you.

But I won't.

Not all of it at least.  I'll just share some of the fun things.

Let's start with my catering job.  I love it.  It's $19 an hour and it's the easiest thing in the world.  On top of that, I get to meet celebrities sometimes, I get a free meal, and I'm able to pick my hours day to day so I'm still able to audition whenever I want.  Sure, it's not going to be a place where I can work my way up or save tons of money to buy a house or anything, but it's great for now.

Hmmm......what next?  I guess I could explain the YouTube channel I started.  Although I feel like the people that read this blog are the same people that watch my YouTube channel.  Regardless, it's called 25andALIVE and I started filming on my birthday this May.  I turned 25 this year and wanted to capture all the positive things that happen to me - no matter how big or small.  It was a weekly project that lost its steam, but I'm motivated and will be filming episodes weekly again starting next week.  I'm excited about it.

4th of July was exciting.  I watched the fireworks on the Hudson river which was beautiful.  It was so crowded.  They blocked off a giant stretch of highway and it was shoulder to shoulder. 

I was so happy to have gotten to visit home toward the end of July.  I was able to see my family and just relax.  I also make it a point to always stop at a Spangles when I visit home.  There is something about their cheeseburgers and fries that I just can't get enough of.

Now that I'm back in New York I am gearing up for another busy Audition Season.  It's hard to believe that I will have lived here for a year now starting in September.  I've accomplished so much and I'm so excited to see what this next year has in store for me. 

Thanks for all your prayers and support!


Saturday, January 19, 2013

Holiday Adventures

Well hello!  There certainly is a lot to for me to tell you so I'll get right to it.  So much has happened!!  First of all, let me just say that after the events in the last month I feel like my guardian angel has put in some serious over-time.  I'm so thankful for that fact.  Also, thanks to everyone for your thoughts and prayers as well.  They were definitely appreciated.



This year I was fortunate enough to go to the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade IN PERSON!!  It was such a magical experience.  Also, it was a freezing experience.  But magical.  Let's focus on the magical part.

My two friends and I got up early and had breakfast and then went uptown to get our place on the street.  It was absolutely jam-packed with people, but we somehow found our way almost to the front and had the Radio City Music Hall in the background of all our photos.  You can click on this LINK to see my Facebook album of all the photos I took.  Here are a few pics for those who don't want to click (or can't figure out how to make it work):

A throwback to Charles Schultz and to World's of Fun.
This was my favorite balloon and my favorite picture from the day.  He looks like he's really flying in between the buildings of New York.
Santa and Mrs. Claus at the end of the parade.  Sadly, there was no Christmas fox.

I ended up coming down with a terrible sinus infection and was out for a week.  But thanks to my visit to the ENT (thanks Aunt Pam!!), I got healthy and was able to fit in a few auditions before heading home for Christmas. 


First Incident

I want to start this off by thanking two very amazing aunts of mine.  My Aunt Pam and my Aunt Heather.  Without the two of you, my trip would have been a disaster from the very beginning.

Aunt Pam woke up at 6am to get me to the airport.  She dropped me off and I went in, checked my luggage and headed to my gate.  Suddenly it struck me: I left my phone in my room!

I no longer have phone numbers memorized due in a large part to technology's vice-like grip on our lives.  I ran to a pay phone and realized that my parents had just gotten rid of our home phone number - the ONLY phone number I've had memorized since I was a child.  Thank the Lord I had packed my address book with me.  I called my grandparents and didn't get an answer.  (For an address book it really stuck to its name.  There were mainly addresses and only two phone numbers.)  Luckily, my Aunt Heather picked up the phone when I called their house and she was able to call my parents. 

I sat by the payphone after I hung up the phone and realized I had no way of knowing if my phone would be coming to the airport.  At that moment I remembered I packed my iPod and so I opened it up, half hoping that somehow my phone contacts had automatically synced from my iPhone to my iPod.  That did not happen, however, on a gut feeling, I opened up my email.  Because I had no wifi connection I only had the emails that I had opened the last time my iPod was turned on.  To my surprise, the first email that was already opened up was the email that my parents sent out to family members (a month earlier), letting everyone know that they were cancelling their home phone number.  At the bottom of the email were my mother and father's cell phone numbers. 

I quickly called my dad and we set a plan into motion.  My Aunt Pam made it back to the airport with my phone and I had enough time to run to my gate, run through security, and board my plane. 

I like to look at the negatives and turn them into a positive.  In this situation, sure, I had all the panic of being without a phone.  But I was able to call home on the payphone, I have amazing aunts who are willing to go above and beyond to help, and I ended up making my flight.  So it turned out alright.

Second Incident

Okay, so BIG thanks to my Aunt Sheila, Uncle Mark, and my cousins for picking me up at the airport in Kansas City and letting me spend the night at their house.  I'm so grateful for them.  Thanks guys!

My friend Jocelyn (Joce) had planned on picking me up and we would drive back to Great Bend together.  Things were working out and we were on the road.  We got to Lawrence and her car started vibrating and making weird noises.  We ended up having to stop and get a rental, however, the rental car company said we had to drive back to Manhattan where she lives and we couldn't drive it to Great Bend.  So . . . another delay in getting back home for Christmas.

This delay provided us with some quality hangout time and so it ended up not being all that bad.  I also got some Spangles so I was a happy camper.

Third Incident

Christmas was so bittersweet.  My brother had to head back to Texas on Christmas Eve Day to beat a snowstorm.  I was still happy to see my aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents, but it wasn't the same without him.  The day after Christmas was spent lounging with family and continuing a movie marathon.  However, (dun, dun, dun), around 11:30pm I started feeling a little weird.  I decided to ignore it and go lay down for a little.  I worked on a few things on my computer and an hour later the dull pain in my abdomen hadn't gone away.  I had felt these exact symptoms before.  I knew what was about to happen.  I had gone to the Emergency Room almost 9 months earlier (right before Spring Break of that year) from the pain that only grew stronger in my abdomen.  So, I decided to try to just go to sleep and maybe I would miraculously wake up without any problems.

That was not the case.  I woke up in terrible pain.  It felt like a balloon was inflating in my abdomen and I alternated between being in pain in the bathroom to being in pain in bed from 3am to 5am.  I finally had enough and decided to wake up my parents.  I knew I needed to go to the hospital. 

Once there, they gave me some pain meds and decided to start the tests.  My white blood cell count was elevated enough that they wanted to run a scan of my abdomen.  I ended up spending the night with an IV of pain medicine and woke up with the news that I was going to have an appendectomy that afternoon.  So, around 2pm on Friday, December 28th, I lost my appendix.  (I have pictures of the surgery - but I won't post those.  Sorry).

The next week was very uncomfortable.  I hate being inactive.  I finally started walking and could lay on my side to rest at night so I was happy.  Once I was able to walk without wincing, we decided to get my plane ticket to come back to NYC.  I flew back to New York only 8 days after having surgery and felt really great.  I cannot believe how speedy my recovery was.  I also cannot believe that this whole situation happened only two days before I was supposed to fly home.  The timing couldn't have been better.  This would have been awful had it happened on the plane or in New York.  I am very, very blessed to say the least.

And though I had to delay my flight back to New York because I had to have Emergency surgery to remove my appendix, I was able to spend a few extra days at home with my family and that is a priceless gift.  Plus, now I have some extra scars and, therefore, extra street cred.


So, here I am.  I'm back in the city and I'm doing great.  I moved out of my aunt and uncle's on Staten Island and am living in Washington Heights - subletting my first apartment in Manhattan.  I love my room and my roommates and can't wait to get auditions started again.  Like I said, I know that none of this would have turned out well without your thoughts and prayers and without the help of my amazing, ever-watching guardian angel.  These next few months are going to be FILLED with opportunities and I will keep you updated along the way!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Hurricane Adventures

Hurricane Sandy recently ripped through the East Coast (this is news to those of you who haven't read a newspaper, haven't visited the Internet, haven't watched TV, haven't listened to the radio, or have recently woken up from a coma).

Brace yourselves.  And not for the hurricane, but for this blog post.  It's a long one due to the fact that I have had a LOT of adventures recently, but I will try to keep your attention by inserting humor and periodically posting pictures (and apparently taking advantage of creative writing enhancements including alliteration).
Don't Mess With Sandra D
Sunday, October 28th

I spent the morning in training for my new job with the New York Kids Club.  It's basically like a Gymboree.  They teach all sorts of classes for kids from 2 months old all the way to 12 years old.  My job is actually with the Special Events Crew and that means I will work the birthday parties and special events on the weekends.

After training I got an Emergency Text from my phone telling me about the hurricane and to start making preparations.  Technology ceases to amaze me.  My afternoon training was cancelled and I hurried home to Staten Island.  The Subways were going to close at 7pm and all the ferries and buses would shut down that evening until the hurricane passed.

The clouds were growing darker and the winds were still slow and ominous.  I had that feeling you get when you think someone is watching you.

I bought some beer and junk food when I arrived on Staten Island and had a great evening.  Forced relaxation.  The Pugliese Family were all accounted for as well as their Aunt Marie, who stayed with us throughout this whole ordeal.  Her home was in "zone A" and so she needed to evacuate.  

Monday, October 29th

The skies were overcast and light rain came and went throughout the morning and afternoon.  I just looked at it like a "stay-cation" so I woke up and kept my pajamas on.  I read my book for a little bit (the third installment of Philip Pullman's "Golden Compass" series called: The Amber Spyglass) and watched a few episodes of my shows online (Happy Endings is an amazing show and everyone should check it out).

And then it struck.  No, not the hurricane..........the boredom.

The power was shut off by the electric company around 3pm and I had a minor panic attack.  Not at the impending doom that was about to come ashore, but for the fact that it would soon be dark and I had no idea what I was going to do.  Again, technology was ceasing to amaze me, but this time it was at the realization of how dependent I am on it for my happiness and sanity.

Melissa (my cousin and fellow hurricane survivor) and myself began drinking to pass the time.  We questioned whether or not this dark new world could ever fulfill us.  We played games on my iTouch - clinging to the last little bits of technology that were available.  Our souls begged to be given a chance to fly free again someday.  And we continued to drink.

The winds began to howl late that night and I kept thinking I was seeing lightning out the window.  I then realized that it kept happening in the same place and that it was a strange, blueish flash unlike that of a lightning strike.  Later that night I found out that the ConEd transformer on 14th Street in Manhattan had exploded.  This video looks like the end of the world (the first explosion begins at about 0:20):

With no more technology (my phone was dying) and no power, I decided to just go to sleep and see what the storm brought the next day.

Tuesday, October 30th

Still no power.

I woke up and had no concept of time.  I have no watch and my phone was dead.  The only thing I knew was that I should take advantage of the daylight and at least escape into the world of my book (Lyra had no idea what was coming for her, however if you haven't read the Golden Compass series then you're as lost as Lyra).

The storm was dying down and so were the winds.  However my restlessness was growing and so was Melissa's.  We decided to go on a walk to breathe the hurricane air and find inner peace.  Bundled up, we left our stronghold on Egbert Avenue to search for signs of life (and food and beer).

We soon found only one store was open (Forest Bagels) and they had no power as well.  They accepted cash and we gladly paid.  We now had chips, a cake, fruit pies, bananas, and beer.  Since no buses were running we just walked back to prison (home) and felt a little hope.

We had only heard a little bit of news on the crank radio and it wasn't great.  So many places were flooded.  Breezy Point in Brooklyn had a huge fire break out and 80-100 homes burnt down.  We later saw pictures and it looked like the Holocaust.  There was nothing but smoking rubble.  We started hearing of the death tolls and of missing persons reports.  Manhattan had lost power from 34th street down to South Ferry and there were large areas of flooding and damage.  The looting had begun as well.
Breezy Point post Hurricane Sandy, 2012
This is the entrance to the Subway at Whitehall South Ferry.  I take this almost every day.  As you can see - it's flooded.  Also, I think that's someone's head poking through the gate to look down at the water, although I can't be too sure.

Wednesday, October 31st

Still no power.  Still upset about that fact.

My Aunt Pam (God bless her) took our phones and electronic devices with her to the hospital she works at so she could charge them throughout the day.  I was momentarily relieved, knowing that I would be able to check my texts and emails in the evening.  We found out that the supermarket down the street had opened and some businesses had power again, so Melissa and I (my cousin and my bodyguard) decide to get some food, get some air, and get some more beer and wine (we were almost out again).  It was nice to see a bus or two back on their routes.

Back at home things took a turn for the worse.  We had no power, no phones, and had heard that it would be three or four more days before our power would be turned back on.  We were freezing and the temperatures were dropping pretty drastically.  I was in two pairs of sweats, two pairs of wool socks, a big sweatshirt, gloves, and my furry winter hat.  I was also indoors.  I was shivering.

A few people had the audacity to Trick-Or-Treat.  I had completely forgotten that it was Halloween and found their attempt at normalcy a bit jarring.  Also, we hardly had enough food to eat ourselves, so why would we hand it out?  ALSO, we were not in top mental health and didn't care for the frivolity of Halloween. ALSO, there was no power, so why were these parents letting their kids walk up and down the streets?!  Luckily, one of the "kids" at the door remained persistent, even after I yelled "Sorry, we don't have any! Go away!"

Turns out it was my cousin's friend Megan (Baby Kims).  She had come searching for us because we had been unable to text or call.  She took us away with her back to her home, which had power.  We watched the news, updated our Facebooks, continued to drink, and checked emails.
Melissa found some crayons and we colored this sign for the Trick-Or-Treaters.

And of COURSE, when the power goes out, public transportation is at a stand-still, and the East Coast is in a state of emergency, my agent FINALLY decides to send something my way.  The appointment was for Friday and I willingly accepted.  After all, this would be a better shot at getting the part since not as many people would be able to audition.  It was for a new musical called Big Fish (based on the movie) and will eventually end up on Broadway.

I slept that night and prayed for a day where I don't have to search for the toilet in the dark.

Thursday, November 1st

5:30AM - There was a strange buzzing coming from somewhere in the house.  Of course, I was too tired to get up and check it out, but not tired enough to actually go back to sleep.  Suddenly I couldn't see.  My eyes burned and I had to squint.  I almost started laughing at the joy of the situation - the power had come back and the light in my room had kicked back on!!  However, I was still tired and it was early, so I got up and turned it off and went back to bed.

I spent the day preparing for my audition.  I sent emails, read my book at night since I could turn the lights on.  I was happy.  I had made it through the darkness.

Friday, November 2nd

I woke up (again) at 5:30a.m., only this time it was my choice.  I needed to make sure I had enough time to figure out how to get to Manhattan for my audition at 11a.m.  I packed my backpack with extra essentials, just in case I got to Manhattan but couldn't get back.

The bus driver told me that the ferries still weren't open and I almost gave up.  Luckily he told me about a bus line that goes into the city and dropped me off where it could pick me up.  I made it onto the new bus and traveled through New Jersey, through the Lincoln Tunnel and was finally back in the city where dreams come true; dreams of one day getting power to the buildings below 34th street.

The audition went well and I was so happy not only to be in the city again, but to start auditioning again.  There haven't been a whole lot of auditions available lately along with the fact that I've been focusing on training for my part-time job.  I decided to walk from 34th street all the way down to South Ferry.  My cousin (Melissa, if you hadn't guessed) texted me that the ferries would open again at noon.  As I walked I noticed the gradual decline of my surroundings.  Dirt and leaves and debris were all over and lots of places were blocked off to keep people from getting crushed from falling cranes and such:
This busted crane was all we heard about for so long on the news.  I understand that it DOES pose a threat, but there were other things worth discussing.

 And although I was happy with my change of scene, my next text from Melissa-from-earlier-in-the-story read, "Just lost power" and I nearly sat down on the sidewalk - defeated.  By the time I rode the ferry to Staten Island and got on the bus I had accepted the darkness that awaited me.  To raise our spirits, my aunt and uncle took us out to eat at a nearby Thai food place and it was well worth it.  However, the lines for the gas station were a concern.  I took this picture with my phone when I got off the bus that day.

Oh thank HEAVEN!!  7-11
That evening we stayed home and listened to Pam, Steve, and Marie play poker.  We also drank some amazing Shock Top Pumpkin Wheat beer and I highly recommend it.

Saturday, November 3rd

I woke up to my light coming back on and was tentatively happy.  I wasn't sure I could trust it will stay on.  However, I needed to move I typed up this blog.


So you're all informed now.  Hopefully you are able to breathe a sigh of relief knowing I'm safe.  However, if you're still a bit tense from all the action and adventure, take a listen to this song.  It sums up a lot of how I felt this past week.  In more than one way.