There is a vexing sticker on the red Nalgene water bottle that belongs to actress Elizabeth Jackson, who is also co-artistic director of Defunkt Theatre.
"I got this one sticker from Powell's right before quarantine, and it just says, 'Go outside,' which I find hilarious," Jackson says. "I feel like it's now mocking me."
Mocking Jackson isn't a good idea—she's one of the toughest theater artists in Portland. When she played a mixed martial arts fighter in Defunkt's 2018 production of Girl in the Red Corner, it wasn't all acting. She worked out for a year, and her commitment paid off with a performance that triumphantly embodied her character's dexterity, discipline and rage.
Jackson is also the owner of a pet-sitting business, a lover of cheese plates and oysters, and the partner of actor Matt Smith (no, not the one from Doctor Who). Those topics and more came up as she revealed seven things that she considers essential in her life—and luckily, many of them don't involve going outside.
1. My family (partner, cat, bonus kids)
"I have an apartment in Southeast Portland, where I live with my cat, and my partner lives out in Raleigh Hills, almost Beaverton, with three kids from a previous relationship. We're kind of quarantining together. We're calling our houses one household, which is such a relief as a person who lives alone."
"I really didn't start getting into house plants until I moved to Portland from Texas about five years ago. I brought with me a pothos plant that I had saved from an old office that I had worked at. I have probably a dozen plants that I propagated from that one plant, and the last time I counted, I had 42 houseplants total. I really like taking care of them and seeing them grow and being surrounded by life and greenery. That's the way I like
3. Tea (a multidrawer tea box)
"It's a pretty simple oak box. It's probably 18 inches across, maybe 10 inches tall, 4 inches deep. My ex-father-in-law built it—years ago, he was a carpenter. My ex and I got it from a storage unit after he passed away, and I just started filling it with tea. It's actually meant to be a tool drawer where you would keep different screws, nails, things like that. I just love tea—any sort of herbal tea is my jam."
4. Preparing multicourse meals
"I prepare a menu in my head and normally there's an hors d'oeuvre, a salad, an entree, a dessert. I do that for just me, whenever I'm home by myself. And then, for Thanksgiving, Matt and I do a huge thing. We cook for seven, eight, nine hours, and I just think, 'OK, when are the potatoes going to be done? When should I pop the asparagus in? When should I wrap the prosciutto?' It's like a play."
5. Hot baths paired with cold fizzy water
"About a couple of years ago, I did a series on social media about everything I do while I'm taking a bath. I'll do my taxes or answer emails. I have fibromyalgia, so taking an Epsom salt bath provides a lot of relief. And then really, really cold fizzy water from a SodaStream is just refreshing and hydrating while I'm in the bathtub."
6. My Nalgene bottle
"It's like a safety blanket for me. I'm kind of obsessed with hydration. The one that I had previously I had since 2015, but on a trip that Matt and I took to Laguna Beach and Joshua Tree, we got stuck in Orange County traffic and we were so late to the airport. I tried to go through security, but I had water in my Nalgene and they were like, 'You have to go back through the line and dump this out,' and I was like, 'No, I'll just throw it away!' and it was like throwing away one of my children."
7. Marco Polo (the app)
"My sister is maybe my best friend. I get to talk to her all the time on Marco Polo, so it's pretty important to me. [We] both have a subscription to Ipsy, which offers a beauty product bag that you get each month. So we'll do our Ipsy bag unveiling for each other, but no one else can see it."