Sunday, June 28, 2009


It's crazy to think that this morning I was in Milwaukee.

Since then I have flown to Baltimore, got a ride with my cool sis Jenna, kissed my cats, kissed my husband, had lunch with a dear friend, and was able to be in the audience of a downright thrilling, hilarious, and moving production of Godspell.

Really, it's hard to explain how proud I am of them.

And it's hard to explain the magic that took place on that stage; the ways that each person walked out friendship with Jesus and how kindly and warmly He explained the best ways of living for us all; how the songs would flow from the dialogue seamlessly and the dancing was perfect punctuation.

And of course, Drew can always make me laugh.

And tonight he made me cry...Good tears, though; some of the best kind, I think.

Now it's time to sleep.

Thank God for this.

pesky rib, take two

Yesterday was trying.

As in I was trying to do the show after something in my rib cage popped.

Yes, popped.

I was on stage for the opening, just stretching. My rib had been feeling better, so I was maybe not being as tentative, when mid-stretch, I felt something pop followed by immediate pain.


My eyes filled with tears because it hurt so much. People were telling me not to do the jazz combination but my group was first and it made no sense to me to simply stand by idly and watch. I did it, but very very safely and small. I went alll the way through my scene, sang my song, and again it was done mutedly because I was trying to move my torso as little as possible.

My understudy went in about half way through the show; must have been interesting for the audience to see Kristine go from a tall brunette with cropped hair to a much shorter blonde with long hair.

Went to the ER and got to spend about three hours with Milwaukee's finest. They took x-rays and the good news is that there is no major
break; could be a hairline fracture or damaged cartilage, but it will heal so long as I do no heavy lifting or strenuous activity.

So there goes all my fun for this week.

Guess while I'm at the beach with my family I'm just gonna have to relax. And Drew's just gonna have to lug all my heavy stuff. Shoot.

I also got a sexy rib belt. Not exactly couture, but it does add some support that I'm not about to turn down right now. The man who put it on me in the hospital put it over my shirt. Over it. So I looked like a mummy or something. Yeah, that wasn't gonna work for me, so as soon as
he left I pulled my shirt right back over it.

Mummy problem solved.

Okay, gotta board my flight. Oh, and I got an upgrade to 1st class for $9...not bad at all.

And almost home...

Friday, June 26, 2009

it's not what you call me, but what I answer to--african proverb

The sweet strains of Japanese are serenading me right now as my roommate faithfully practices the language of the land which we are visiting at the end of the summer.

She now knows how to say, An adult woman is swimming, which will be a perfect conversation starter at the stage door, I am sure.

I mean, really, there's got to be an adult woman swimming somewhere in the world at that moment, even if it isn't exactly pertinent to the situation at hand.

I am feeling content with my thorough knowledge of the word, konichiwa.

That means hello, as you probably already know.

I plan on saying that a lot.

And when they ask me if I've had Japanese lessons, I will simply and modestly say no--self-taught, actually. And then I will take a sniff and mention something about how languages are just intuitive with some people.

As is the need to rise to a challenge.

To scale any wall.

And I don't mean that metaphorically, at least not tonight.

See, three of us are walking home tonight and on a whim decide to take the river walk to get there. It's just lovely here and who doesn't want to see the moon reflecting on the water as much as possible?

That's what I thought.

Anyway, we start on the river walk and much to our chagrin see that it has been closed off with a chain link fence, due to some sort of construction or other such nonsense.

We probably would have just taken the two block detour and veered away from the river walk had it not been for the two heckling men that were sitting by the chain link fence.

River walk's closed, ladies, the one guy seems only too happy to report to us.

Yep, you're gonna have to go around, guy number two says, I mean, whatcha gonna do--scale that fence in those pretty dresses?

And with that they both share an extremely long and generous laugh at what, to them, must seem like the most preposterous and ridiculous idea ever swapped between two men in the history of manly idea swapping.

And I am pretty sure there have been a fair share of ridiculous ideas swapped.

Just saying.

We don't need to say anything, really, their laugh having sealed the deal.

With resolution in our steps, we walk up those stairs and right up to the chain link fence. Like a good team, we work together.

Deanna stands directly behind me, blocking the men's view, should my dress lift a little too much as I am the first to scale the fence. With the river on my right and chain link on my left, I loop a leg over the fence. As I swing my body over it I glimpse one of the guys in the peanut gallery with his camera poised at me.


Hopefully he has a blog.

We pass bags for each other to hold and link arms as, one after the other, all three of us safely make it across.

We are Superwoman, Madeline Albright, and Rosa Parks all at once.

We take a few paces feeling quite proud of ourselves, laughing and savoring the moment as we leave those hecklers behind when suddenly we come upon an even bigger chain link fence.


Turning back is not an option.

Not with Thing 1 and Thing 2 back there; not with their camera and not with their laughter.

Again, we walk up to it, determined to make this thing work.

Thank God we are dancers. There is a hole, a tiny space between the chain link fence and the railing and one by one, we shimmy through, passing bags and grabbing hands.

We come through as women victorious. We wear dresses and climb fences.

And oh yeah, we get our periods.

Which is why I sent this text to my friend Emily today:

So I got my period at the beach today
and I fully blame you, my friend. Thanks
for dragging me into your lunar cycle;
really appreciate it...

After a few moments, I hadn't gotten any texts back from her, which surprised me a little.

Finally my phone lit up with a text and I looked down to see this from Amos:

With all due respect...I don't get a period so bugger off!!!


Thursday, June 25, 2009

chucks and Young Hawk

Sneakers make me happy.
Especially high tops.

Especially when they involve yellow.

Especially when they are $15.

And here is Lake Delton, where we spent some time singing and swimming the other night.
At the time of this photo, I had recently had my ribcage crunched, so was playing Mom On The Beach and hanging out on the shore.

Oh, you don't know about the Mom On The Beach phenomena?

Something seems to happen to women when they have children. Okay, so a lot seems to happen to women when they have children (though I haven't experienced it quite yet), but this is one thing that my brothers like to talk about. While dating, and even into marriage, their respective women swam in great bodies of water fearlessly. It was fun and tiring and wet. But then when a child came into the picture, the girl became Mom On The Beach and stopped actually going into the water.

And not just because the child needed to be watched on the beach, either, though that could be part of it for sure.

So when we all go to the beach, my brothers like to encourage us to not be Mom On The Beach. But still, that's what I was at Lake Delton.

Until, that is, I realized that my ribs were going to hurt no matter what I did, so I might as well try to have some fun and ventured in.

Today I went to a salon and a man named Young Hawk fixed the damage I had incurred.
He also disposed of the mullet that I was working on in the back.

Thank God for Young Hawk.

And young hawks.

They are the hawks of tomorrow, after all.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Why sneezing is just no fun at all anymore.

The first night after the roller coaster incident, I did what I always do when I am nervous that there is something wrong.

I went straight to a google search.

And boy they weren't kidding about one thing: It hurts like a sonofagun to sneeze with a cracked rib.

I was in the ladies locker room at the Y and don't worry, I was doing a modified workout. A very slow climb on the elliptical machine and some good old fashioned, doesn't-involve-the-ribs leg work.

But anyway.

While in the locker room, I felt it coming on and remembered about the warnings I had read on the web a second too late. See, generally I relish a good sneeze. The second after a sneeze must be the way sinuses were before the fall of man, just as God intended. It's a clear and invigorating breath with no hinderances whatsoever. Perfection, really.

But all that changes with a cracked rib.

The sneeze came out accompanied by a sharp pain and a heaving protest from within. And though I tried to strangle it mid-entrance, I only managed to make a loud whelping sound and startle every innocent bystander in the locker room.

I sounded like a goat or something.

In fact, those who only heard it and did not actually see it probably rolled their eyes in disdain and wondered to themselves why management puts up signs that say PLEASE NO GOATS IN THE LOCKER ROOM only to have selfish patrons ignore it altogether.

Thankfully I only have a cracked rib right now and not a cracked rib and a cold, so that sneeze was a singular event.

A cold on top of my state of being at the moment would be a one-two punch that would be hard to sustain, I think.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

I'll for sure think twice about riding something called Hades again.

This is just dumb.


Or like my friend Jordan said, maybe God just wants me to rest for a minute.


But I still say it's dumb.

See, while at Mt. Olympus Amusement Park yesterday I innocently got onto a roller coaster (Hades, to be specific, which probably should have been my first clue) and sat right next to a friend. At one of the more energetic twists, all of my friend's body weight slammed right into my ribcage and effectively crunched me between himself and the car.

And cracked a rib.

Another unfortunate part was that I was having a really fun time on the coaster right before that moment. Like, we had just taken a huge dip and I was feeling my heart kind of leave my body, you know? It was thrilling. But then I felt like my ribs were leaving my body and couldn't breathe and was just immersed in pain and was still being freaking jostled by that stupid roller coaster!!!

When all I wanted to do was breathe.

And when I finally could breathe again, I still didn't feel so good.

Everything was hurting. Well, maybe not everything, but breathing. And walking. And laying down. And getting up. And opening a door. And coughing.

But I guess thinking was pain free, which was nice.

Anyway, once I got to Milwaukee today I saw a doctor and he said I fractured my rib. The good news, he said, was that I couldn't really make it any worse at this point.

Short of maybe another go round with Hades and my friend, I suppose.

Basically I can do whatever I want, as long as I can take the pain. Which leads me to believe that maybe I will be back in the show tomorrow. And yes, I can be a very optimistic person.

So tonight, while everyone else is opening the show here in Milwaukee, I am chilling in one of my favorite vintage Eagle's t-shirts and contemplating attending the cast party in a few hours.

Sans the tee, of course.


We're all settled in now. Sleeping, or about to be.

There are four of us nestled in at the Aloha Resort here in Wisconsin Dells.

I know, I know--so appropiately named; when you think Wisconsin you think Hawaii. So much so that all the tucan birds and faux folliage cluttering the lobby isn't even necessary.

But you can't argue that it's a nice touch anyway.

We've just come in from one of the loveliest nights. The air was warm and damp, but since we were sitting on the dock of the Lake Delton, it felt perfect. Just like the symmetry presented in the skyline of trees that give way to the stars; if you didn't get it the first time in the sky, all you had to do was look at the lake to see it again, reflected in the water like God's own crystal ball.

Not that he needs one.

Of course there was music involved. We busted out every song we knew and remembered and sometimes barely even remembered but found our way through the melodys and lyrics anyway. David had his guitar and his Iphone unlocked chord progressions.

Thank God for that magic phone.

We sang quite a lengthy and fun pop version of Create In Me A Clean Heart, both of us having grown up going to church every Sunday
morning, so we knew it so well that we got into a nice jam and didn't want to stop.

So we didn't. At least, not until we repeated it at least 10 times past what it's author probably ever intended. At least, from a let's-try-to-keep-life-interesting-by-trying-a-different-song-once-you've-played-this-one-through-12-times-already standpoint.

But I think God enjoyed it, and I know I did.

I eventually grabbed the guitar and showed off the five or six chords that I know. We made up a song. And though I may not remember it in
the morning, it was a fun little melody while it lasted, not to mention the collaboration of lyrics it offered that commented on everything from the water slides we rode on today to the popular phrase our dear friend Mindy has gotten us all saying, No thank you.

And yes, you can sing about anything. It may not make albums, per se, but it'll do just fine in the late night hours on a dock among friends.

Besides, for all the laughter it brought about, that song was a keeper.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Fletch and how I met Mckmama

First things first.

Last night and tonight there is a man named Fletch staying with us. He is an actor-turned-law-student who is currently bicycling cross country to raise money for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids and happened to meet up with us while we were here in Minneapolis.

No, I didn't know him before yesterday.

Yes, one of my roommates did.


He is nice, though, and if you want to donate to his cause you can go here.

If you don't want to donate to his cause but would like to know what the man looks like who is currently sleeping wedged under a large window right outside my bedroom door, you can still go here.

Oh, and I met a blogger celebrity today.

Like, for real.

How did I meet Mckmama, you might wonder?

Well, it turns out that the doctor who takes care of her sweet son Stellan is a big fan of theater. He came to see our show here at the Orpheum and apparently raved about it--or so Mckmama said. Anyway, from a few comments I had left on her blog as well as the picture of our cast with her son's name that I had sent to her blog, she put two and two together that I was in the show that this doctor loved so much.

So she tweeted me.

That's right, I said tweeted.

For those of you who don't know what twitter is, just trust me that it is yet another form of digital communication and I find it pretty fun, actually.

Anyway, Mckmama asked me to email her, said she needed to talk to me.

Now she is quite literally famous within the blogosphere, so I was a little star struck to get that tweet...Turns out that she wanted to know if we could put our heads together for her to do something special for her son Stellan's doctor.

I offered to get a cast poster, have all of us sign it, with a special message for the doctor of course and bam! she swung by the Orpheum after my first show today and we did the drop.

I even got to see Stellan. Who looks incredibly healthy and is glowing with joy.

So that's how I got to meet Mckmama. I've loved reading her blog for a long time and prayed for her son often, as well.

You never quite know what life is going to bring, do you?

Now on to Wisconsin tomorrow...

Friday, June 19, 2009



Such a small word for such a big heart.
He's a lifeline to me.
A mirror that reflects me in a way that is far too generous.
He's not close right now, but he is, he is.
He's right here, safe in my thoughts, causing me to smile for a reason that to all the world is unapparent. He's the quick press of ten digits away; at work his voice is serious, his hey is a statement to let me know there are people around for whom and to whom he is responsible; in the car he is singing Jason Robert Brown or Coldplay or Seal and sometimes I hear a few of those notes as he answers and now he is free and happy in his jeep with the wheels that are taller than our nieces and nephews and he says hey with the promise of laughter in his voice; when he is home he is laying down, before sleep or right after, with a great orange cat mingling the sounds of purring with the soft tones of his voice as he calls me baby because now we are alone.

Or as alone as we're going to get with two phones and a fat cat purring noisily between us.

And I--

I am content.
I am not sure of a whole lot of things, but I think I have made a few good decisions concerning God and Drew and trying not to let my fear have the final word.

I think I have lucked into one of the best tribes on earth.
At least I'd think that if I believed in luck.

And though I find myself in all sorts of interesting places,
I can count on that tribe, my family and friends, to remind me of who I am.

And there is peace in all of this.
Lots of great gulps of laughter, too; but always, peace.

my new fringe

Every once in a great while I stumble upon some wisdom.

And when that happens, I try to record it here.

You know, for posterity.

So when you get the urge to cut your own bangs, first ask yourself these simple questions:
  • Is it 2 am?
If so, it might be for the best to simply wait until the light of day brings a welcome dose of practical thoughts to hopefully overcome the impractical ones that reigned supreme during the night.
  • Is the only thing that I could possibly use to cut my bangs, short of the kitchen knife, a tiny pair of rusted fingernail scissors?
If the answer is a resounding yes to this one, you should probably simply leave the kitchen knife alone because let's face it, you don't cook, and pick up those fingernail scissors and give your...I don't know...your fingernails a good trim, erstwhile leaving your bangs alone.
  • Do you have any sort of training in hair styling whatsoever? Have you ever cut anybody's else's hair? Do you remember how horrible it was when your brother Jonathan played barber shop with you and lured you into a chair like a lamb to the slaughter, leaving you to sit innocently while he went to town on your head; when your mother saw the damage style she had to take the scissors and cut a tiny fringe on the top of your forehead making you look like some sort of homage to Fryer Tuck--do you remember that at all?
If the answer is no to the first two questions and yes to the last, then come on, put down those scissors and walk away.

Just walk away.
  • And finally, are you in a show and therefore have to literally be in a spotlight before thousands of people eight times a week and would really rather not research the accessibility of bang extensions in Minneapolis?
Well friends, I can tell you right now that extensions are expensive and you gotta save that coin. So if the answer is again yes, it's just not worth it.

Trust me, I know.

I unfortunately was not privy to this helpful list of questions last night and if I had been, things might have gone differently. The truth is that I impulsively went into the bathroom, grabbed those tiny scissors, and just started hacking away.

I thought it was a good idea, actually.

I am sure somebody felt the same way about M.C. Hammer pants at one point, too.

It took about three minutes and then I came out of the bathroom and sheepishly told one of my roommates that I think I might have cut my bangs too short.

He took one look and said, Yeah you did. Why did you do that?!?!

And I've been getting comments on them ever since. Not so many compliments, mind you, but comments.

And there's a huge difference.

Anyway, here I am.

Please note the crooked bangs. The too short fringe. The fact that I now look like a fifteenth century french man.


I know they'll grow back, but still.


Anything you've ever done impulsively and had to live with the embarrassing results?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

opening night, mall of america, and buddy

Last night we had a lovely opening night party here in Minneapolis. That was where a few of us had a pleasant conversation with the manager of the Capitol Grille downtown. And when he proceeded to invite us to his restaurant for lunch on him, we graciously accepted and said we'd see him soon.

And we will.

Here I am with a few of my favorite girls in the show.
And then today, we just had to explore the Mall of America.

Though, we passed the Waterpark of America on the way, and I kind of wished we were going there instead.

But the mall really didn't disappoint.

We got lost in a maze of mirrors.
Actually, it really was quite confusing. Also, we had to wear these plastic gloves to keep from smudging the mirrors so we looked quite hilarious, to boot.

And there's this whole miniature amusement park within the mall.
We rode a roller coaster.
Which was operated by a woman who had never even ridden it herself.

Excuse me?

After she told me that, I assured her that it was quite fun and suggested that she give it a whirl sometime. You know, since she sort of makes her living off of it.

I can't really blame her, though. I worked at a coffee shop for almost a year and hated the taste of coffee the whole time and so never drank a drop.

I still don't drink it.

But I do think it smells lovely.

But back to the rides.

So there was one particular coaster that we had just ridden and, it being so much fun, we decided to ride again. Me, Brandon, and David were in line, biding our time, inching closer to our turn when the man next in line from the three of us struck up a conversation.

For the purpose of this story, I will call him Buddy.

Buddy was quite tall and very heavyset. He had slicked back hair and a trim mustache and sported an eagle t-shirt that was tucked into denim shorts. As soon as he asked us if we had ridden this roller coaster before, we knew he was special. We proceeded to have a conversation that went something like this:

Him: How many people does this ride seat?

David: Four.

Him: How many are you?

David: Three.

Him: Maybe we could all ride together.

Us: Yeah. Uh-huh. Sure (respectively).

He kept talking to us about the rides; it was quite clear that he has been a regular for a long time.

Finally we all got up to the loading dock.

Brandon jumped into the cart, followed immediately by David who, I couldn't help but notice, had quite a gleeful look on his face when it became obvious that I got to sit next to our new friend.

I sat down and buckled my seatbelt while Buddy lumbered in next to me. He sat down and part of him spilled over into my chair. He shoved to safety bar down as low as possible, but it stopped moving way before it should have. He started fumbling with his seatbelt, but could not see over his girth to get to it.

Would you like me to buckle it? I asked.

Sure, he said, happily.

I got the job done but by then the operator was trying to shove his safety bar down low enough for it to give that reassuring click.

It wouldn't budge.

She asked if we were all together, to which Buddy replied, I am alone, and single handedly melted my heart a little.

She proceeded to tell him that if he waited for the next cart, he could ride by himself and take both seats and fit. He said okay like it was no big deal and as he climbed back out onto the dock I heard him say, I really just want to ride this ride.

The three of us whisked off with Buddy watching and we couldn't even smile. We made that ohhhhhhhh noise that you make when something is either very very cute or very very sad.

In this case it was sad.

We actually had started to look forward to riding with Buddy, funny enough.

We stayed to watch him ride it and couldn't help but laugh at the obvious joy he felt while on the ride.

He wasn't embarrassed in the least over his ordeal; rather, he looked quite victorious as he rode that coaster by himself, smiling with two thumbs held high up in the air.
And he rode like that the whole time.

Lots of typos on this one cause I'm blogging from my phone...

I am ridiculous.

And before you try to tell me why I'm not, let me just tell you why I am.

See, I keep my stage makeup and life makeup together, without really much of a distinction. All of it is tossed en masse into a pink zippered makeup case in which the cover sports two ladies freshening up in front of a mirror with the words Ready to Rock written in bold cursive underneath.

My sister has told me more than once that the bag is ugly and should be replaced. The thing is, my friend got it for me the first time I ever did a musical. It was A Chorus Line, ironically enough, and because she played Val the first half of the run an I played val the second half, she said we were those two cool girls who are putting their makeup on, so obviously ready to rock.

So, I haven't been able to actually get rid of it, but I have managed to now leave it completely behind twice in one seven day span.

That's right, twice.

Last Tuesday I was coming back from vacation and left that pink bag in my bedroom. Poor Drew had to run to the fedex before five and overnight it to me. And I couldn't believe how silly I'd been.

And this Tuesday? Oh, I only left it in columbus Ohio and then proceeded to fly to Minneapolis. Lucky for me, Drew was still in Columbus
since he had a later flight than me and could once again run over to a fedex and overnight it to me.

And he never said one word of recrimination, either.

That's some major points. Major.

But this was topped by arriving at baggage claim only to wait for 45 minutes while trying to be happy for everyone else as they grabbed their precious bags and went merrily on their way. Finally that bin came down the conveyor belt--you know, the one you never want to see because it displays the words LAST BAG in bright and maddening letters?

I walked over to the claim desk and they said something hopeful like, "Is your bag black with white polka dots?" I eagerly gave my assent
and the woman told me to follow her to a back room where I, no joke, found my bag amidst puppies and birds.


I can only assume my bag had learned to growl or cluck and so had been taken to be one of them. When I correctly identified it as mine (while others around me were claiming their Fidos and their homing pidgeons respectively, mind you), an airline employee lifted the bag and started resolutley away. I politely told him the bag was mine. He walked. I got louder. He still walked. I finally sort of yelled that the bag was
MINE!!!!!!!!!! And he gave me the benefit of a glance as he set my bag down on the now empty and inanimate conveyor belt. It was a waste of his energy since I had been right there the whole time, but who knows? Maybe it's a rule that nobody can pick up a bag at an airport until
it has touched a conveyor belt.

And perhaps it's especially true of a bag that is thought to be an animal.

They never did find the second bag, but it was back at the hotel once I got home tonight, so it wasn't a huge deal.

And my friend took pity on the fact that the dress I was planning on wearing to the opening night party here was who knows where in the
continental US since it was packed in my missing bag and so let me borrow her Betsy Johnson dress.


And now I must leave you at that since I am really really tired and please be mindful of the fact that I blogger this post on my iPhone and please forgive the typos and this run-on sentence.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Columbus gig

Last night was so much fun.

Exhausting, true, but a blast.

It started with an early matinee, then rehearsing between shows with Drew and Clyde, another show in which it was very difficult to stay present and I may or may not have been reciting lyrics in my head while standing frozen on stage during What I Did for Love, and finally playing a full set.

Clyde played first (with Drew on the djembe) and they sounded so great.

The thing is, we had no idea if any people would even come. I mean, we were hoping the cast at least would show up (and they did!), but considering when we went this past Wednesday and I played a little impromptu concert to about five people, we just didn't know.

The nice thing is that the place was hopping.

And even if the cast hadn't shown up, the bar still would have been full.

The grand piano I got to play was beautiful.
And it was just as lovely to lean on, as well.
It's weird, when I play my music I don't really feel nervous. Just super excited to share.
Drew, myself, and Clyde apparently all got the memo that white shirts and jeans was the uniform of choice. We couldn't help but laugh when we showed up in different variations of the exact same thing.

But I was the only one in high tops.
Maybe my favorite moment of the night was the last song. Drew played the guitar and lent his voice for the chorus. It's a special song because I wrote it on a bus, in a moment when I let myself feel a little overwhelmed by experiencing so much newness and beauty alone.

Without him.

And telling him about it just isn't the same.

Anyway, my friend Mindy talks about our First Wives' Club here on tour---those of us who are missing our husbands. She asked me to write a song about that, to which I replied that I have.

So I dedicated it to them.

To us.
It was really special getting to sing it together, in this atmosphere.

I've been all over this land--
Seen the malls of middle America and the red desert sand;
I've seen crosses top the mountains, top the stone cathedrals too,
Oh I wish that I had seen it all with you...

And it's true.

Anyway, it was a beautiful evening.

*pictures taken by Julie Kotarides

Saturday, June 13, 2009


Sitting. And waiting. Trying to make the most of my time.

Between when the last show of the day ended and when I get to go with Clyde (who was kind enough to offer to drive his jeep) to pick up Drew.


Oh, here's something a little bit funny.

Not hilarious funny like when my brother Jason was strolling along, happily hand in hand with his (then) girlfriend Darby and my other brother Jonathan snuck up, switched his hand for Darby's, and kept pace with him for a short while. When Jason finally noticed that the hand he was holding and cherishing and interlocking his fingers with was not in fact a beautiful woman's, but rather a young man who looked a lot like himself, he dropped it faster than any hand in the history of hand holding has ever been dropped and the whole family started laughing.

Because that was hilarious funny.

This is only a little bit funny.

So, I am leaving The Alliance to room with Drew (obviously) while he's here. I email my company manager to make the reservation for us and he responds, saying the room is under Drew's name.

When I go to switch rooms tonight I ask for the reservation under Drew Copeland. The woman at the desk looks a little bewildered when she cannot find it and then tells me that the only Drew they have is a Drew Latshaw.


I think that is very funny because that would have meant that he had taken my name when we got married and though Drew is maybe the most laid back, go-with-the-flow guy I have ever met, his limit of lengths to which he would go stops right before taking my name.

I'm pretty sure, anyway.

Our matinee tomorrow starts at one o'clock.

Which, in normal people's time, would mean that you get to the office around 5 am.

And wear a leotard.

So what do you think about that?

And tomorrow night we have our show at James' Club88, for which I am psyched. I already have my set list and everything, all saved on my Iphone. I am going to play two covers this time--Boysetsfire's The Misery Index and Sarah MaClachlan's Do What You Have to Do.

I sort of cut my song writing teeth on her albums.

That sounds so gross. Song writing teeth?!?!?! What do they bite, exactly? Watch out--she's baring her song writing teeth!!!!

Not all metaphors are appropriate for every situation, I guess.


Listening to her music made me feel like I had to write, too.

Like I could write, too.

And now I only have twelve minutes until I am meeting Clyde in the lobby and then just twenty-seven minutes until we get to the airport.

Not that I am counting or anything.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

keeping it together

Tonight I almost lost it on stage.

How was it any different this time, Jessica? you might be wondering.

Well, it was different this time because it occurred right smack in the middle of my song. The last time I cracked up on stage I didn't have to say anything sensible for at least a good seven minutes. This time, I was already talking.

And the thing is, nothing really even happened to set it off.

Not so specifically, anyway. Or at least, not nearly as specifically as what happened last time--a cast mate being knuckle deep inside their own crack. So, I guess it was a conglomeration of things.

The orchestra being decidedly off.

Colt and I having to look directly at each other as he tries to "teach" me to sing.

But probably the kicker was the tiniest of silly looks we gave each other at that moment.

Immediately following, he could barely get his three blind mice out. But he did. And then it was my turn. My three and my blind weren't so bad, but then my mice was all shaky and laugh spasmy and so came out sounding more like a goat.

Then when I had to add my own commentary on it and say, It isn't intentional, the jig was up.

I was laughing, plain and simple.

The funny part was that the whole audience was too, so there's that.

After that, Colt and I just averted our eyes from each other in an attempt to not exacerbate the problem. I pretty much controlled it, but boy was my smile huge.

It was actually fun and though we did spend some time teetering dangerously on the edge of losing it all together, we were able to avoid a disaster and managed to simply look like one very very happy couple.

Which isn't such a bad thing after all.

Have you ever laughed when you absolutely were not supposed to?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

we're all in the mood for a melody

How is it that so many cool, kind people exist, live their lives, are given nine digit social security numbers just like the rest of us and yet we know nothing about them?

Until, that is, you meet them in a quiet bar in Columbus and bam! your faith in the human race is buoyed. And you start to think that even those obnoxious girls from Friendly's have a fighting chance, you are feeling that generous towards others.

And you start to wonder how some things might have gone very differently if a lot of life was spent around a piano bar; people smiling, their body language loose as they recognize the sounds of James Taylor, Carol King, or Billy Joel and raise a glass to the song. I mean, how many people could draw up plans for war when they are singing La la la, de de da La la de de da da da?

Would Goebbels really have had it in him to manipulate crowds to believe the worst and most ridiculous accusations against a whole people group if he had been singing, Sing us a song, you're the piano man, sing us a song tonight; We're all in the mood for a melody and you've got us feeling alright?

I would argue that such foul play is much harder to achieve when singing songs that fill the soul; when Joe on your right who just lost his job and Millie on your left who after thirty nights home with the kids straight finally got a babysitter is in the mood for a melody and starting to feel alright just like you, you start to realize something. You see more commonality among us than not. You feel something that is akin to patriotism in the sense that we are all rooting for a thing greater than ourselves, but it extends beyond just one country: we want life to be good.

The human existence.

And it feels good to realize that we all want life to be good.

Suffice it to say that we had a great time at this piano bar tonight. I ended up giving an impromptu concert of five songs and honestly, it was a blast.

I made a decision a long time ago that no matter where I was or how I was feeling, if someone asks me to play my music I would always say yes.

And I have never regretted that decision.

Not when I played for a Kenyan Bible School's commencement ceremony, not when I've played in multiple bars, not when I've played at different churches, and not when I played for Tyrese Gibson on the set of Annapolis at which point he said one particular riff was sweet.

The thing is, we are all together in trying to make life good and that involves sharing what we've got inside. The stories, the songs, the solved math problems, the fashion, the lessons, the organizational skills, the dances, the mothering and fathering, the wisdom, the jokes, the baking--all of it.

If it's inside and it's gonna make this life better, let it out.

James, the owner of the club, has a voice like silk and accompanies himself on the piano effortlessly. The jazz standards he sang were a welcome world in which to get lost. Wait. I also distinctly remember Sitting on the Dock of the Bay. Now I may come from a family who knows more about Crosby, Stills, and Nash than Cole Porter, but still, I am pretty certain Sitting on the Dock of the Bay is not a standard. Just wanted to clarify. We found ourselves singing along, too. Just a little, just enough. And when we forgot the words, we threw in some oohs and beefed up the harmony.

It reminded me of one of my favorite nights ever, actually.

We had basically finished our wedding rehearsal dinner at my parents' house and most of the guests had left for the evening. But Drew's good friend, Jesse, quietly walked over to the piano and just started to play. He's one of those gifted individuals who can play out any melody he's ever heard on the piano and it didn't take too long until most of my family--as well as Drew--were gathered around him.

We started calling out requests.

Oh Blah Dee!

Fire and Rain!

Bridge Over Troubled Water!

Do You Hear the People Sing!

And, jumping on differing parts depending on our mood, we sang them. All of them. More than just those, actually. And more so even than anything we had rehearsed in the chapel earlier, we consecrated the night with those songs.

Even after the last note was sung and played, respectively, an overarching sense of togetherness lingered.

Everybody was truly feeling alright, as the song says.

And nothing beats that.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

columbus. a show. a cookie. or two.

Back to work today.

But really, it's okay.

Quite honestly, it's fun to see the people I work with again. And to do my job. And to have a job.

Also, it doesn't hurt that Drew is coming out to Columbus this Saturday--a mere four days since having to say good-bye today.

And why is Drew coming out to Columbus, you ask?

Oh, you didn't?


Well, I will tell you anyway.

Other than wanting to spend every second of his life with his fantastic wife, Drew is coming out to Columbus to play a show with me and my friend Clyde. This Sunday night, we are doing mostly original music (with a few covers thrown in) at James' Club 88 Piano Bar.

It's going to be a great time and I am psyched for the opportunity.

But sad that most (if not all) of my east coast friends will not be able to attend.

And after waking up early, flying to Ohio (in a plane, but still), sound checking, doing a show, and attending an opening night party, I must say that I am utterly exhausted.

There are a few things that are flitting around in my head now, asking to be written, but I will simply go with the most obvious. I am currently staying at a Double Tree Hotel and if you didn't know, they hand out chocolate chip cookies from the front desk like it's Christmas. And not just any cookies, either.

Warm cookies.

I have already had two. And I haven't even spent one night here yet.

All I have to say is that it is a very good thing I am not here longer than one week.

Oh, and one more thing. I just saw a commercial for this stuff that promises to grow your eyelashes. Okay, cool. Sounds good, right? Wait. What about that part they slip in at the end of the add in which they warn you that the substance could actually change the color of your irises?

Your irises!!!

Like, the window to your soul.

All you want is some sensibly longer eyelashes and all of the sudden the window to your soul is a different color.

Not worth it, not in my opinion.

Keep your eye color. Wear mascara.

It really can do wonders for those blond tips.

Monday, June 8, 2009

snapshots from home

This has been a lovely weekend.

Drew's brother got married on Saturday, so we had to be at the church at 9:45 am.

Oh, and it was 45 minutes away.

Now, I told that to my sister-in-law in the kind of tone that says poor me, isn't that sooooo early? And this mother or four children simply said, Jess, that's really not that early.


But, did I mention it's a Saturday?

And that I work at night generally and so am not used to getting up before 9 am by a long shot, let alone playing and singing a song that is for a sacred ceremony such as a wedding and therefore carries some weight?

Because those are some factors that should be noted.

I was pretty excited because, for the occasion, I bought a dress that I would not have ordinarily bought since it was so bright. I was first drawn to the same dress but in white, but already having worn my white dress to a wedding once and for all, I decided to try on the salmon colored one.

And my friend convinced me to buy it.

And to my delight I realized that I already owned a matching pair of heels.
Like, I said I was at the church at 9:45 and the wedding didn't actually start until 11, so I had some time on my hands. You know, to take pictures of the way my shoes matched my dress.

For documentation purposes.

The groom and his groomsmen walked down the aisle to the Mission Impossible theme song and were all wearing their shades, of course.
Drew played the part well. Naturally.

And today I was all set to go to Cracker Barrel. After all, it does serve the very best french toast I have ever had the pleasure of experiencing. But Drew suggested that we try out this new restaurant near our house instead, The Cereal Bowl.

Honestly, I wasn't psyched about the switch, having already spent some time anticipating the french toast, but figured I'd give it a try. I've always been a cereal girl. Always. Ever since watching Sesame Street's music video, Cereal Girl, a play on words for Madonna's Material Girl, I'd sing along with those lyrics--I said I'd taste it/I'd give it a whirl/And now I am a cereal girl...With the knowledge that it was one of my life's theme songs.

I have a few, you know. Which is fine, by the way.

We walked in and I knew I was at the right place.

Cereal lined the lime green walls.
As did a funky do-it-yourself milk bar.
And not only did they have cereal, they also had every kind of peanut butter imaginable.
And I love peanut butter. On the road, it is one of my cannot-do-without staples.

I deliberated for a while, but after tasting a few, settled on two jars. One chocolate chip cookie dough peanut butter, and one Crunchy Munchy peanut butter. I cannot wait to try them out with some honey or some jelly, depending on whether or not I have access to a refrigerator these next few weeks on tour.

We stopped back at my parent's house one last time today.
To grab hold of that illusive marriage license so that I can get my life in order according to the state of Delaware.
This is one of my favorite views of my parent's land. And I love this time of year. The grass is so bright from the rainy springtime season and it seems that every possible thing that can grow does.

You can't really see it here, but in the shady right hand bottom corner is the stream that I spent many an afternoon while growing up. Catching frogs. Looking for snakes. Praying. Singing. Writing. Talking to friends and family. Even camping.

Anyway, I love that stream. Once I caught a baby snapping turtle there. Just had to brag about that. It is my blog after all.

When we walked into my parents' house we said the obligatory hello?!? trying to find out if any family members were hanging around. We heard some scuffling and Strider, my parents' dog came bounding around the corner into the kitchen, face split in a grin, and tail wagging so furiously that his whole body was twitching from the momentum.
Strider has a way of making you get down on the floor with him.
And when his furry paws wrap around you, it's over.
Life is just good. And you can't help but admit it.

And remember that Mt. Fuji size laundry pile I have been successfully ignoring?

Well, we finally got to it today.
And Taliesin might have gotten the worst of it.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

and now this blog has the F word on it. thanks, girls from Friendly's, thanks a lot.

Drew and I walked into Friendly's tonight for some ice cream but walked out with something else.

The desire to never have a young teenage girl like any one of the cluster we saw gathered around the claw machine (I am not sure, what exactly, that machine's technical name is but it's the machine from Toy Story with all those little aliens in it that, when the claw starts reaching down, are oohing and aahing, saying, the claw! and the one who gets nabbed pipes up with I've been chosen in quite the same manner that any one of David Koresh's followers might have know the machine?).

First of all, we walk in to an ice cream shoppe expecting that delicious vanilla and candy scent to waft towards us when instead we smell something rank and quite the opposite. Those girls are laughing uproariously and yelling at each other, respectively, for farting.

And believe me, I never even wanted to write that word on this blog. But these girls have forced my hand.

Now I understand the humor in it, I do.

It could be especially funny in, I don't know, the privacy of your own home.

In fact, I think that kind of joke is best done there.

Cause it seriously stank. I wondered if maybe there was something wrong with the plumbing.

Then these girls proceeded to use the basest words in the English language. With small children eating ice cream cones not three feet away.

Again, I understand that people have differing views on vernacular; that certain words which are offensive to some are simply funny to others.

But still, we are in public. There are small children. Have a care.

I guess my point is why didn't anyone ever tell these young teenagers to be aware of their surroundings? To realize that there are other people with whom they have to share this space? Why didn't their parents ever teach them about dignity, grace, honor?

About not smelling up their local ice cream restaurant?

As we walked out I looked at Drew and just said, Those girls...!

He finished my sentence with, ...Made me never want to have children at all.

Friday, June 5, 2009

nice (and boring)

I am listening to the sounds of Seal. There is a smallish creeper cat laying in bed and she's been watching us intently for a while now.

That is, until she decided to follow Drew's example and fall asleep.

And she's not even the one who has to get up early tomorrow morning in order to be at her husband's brother's wedding ceremony at 9:45 am.

But still, she is a cat and so it would seem that her calling in life is to curl up and sleep while remaining tantalizingly soft to the point that I just must pet her at which point she abruptly awakens with an irritated meow! attached to a thinly veiled threat indicating that there had better be a treat of some kind involved with this interrupted nap cause if not why don't we just pretend that being rudely startled out of my 17th hour of sleep today did not happen?

Oh, unless of course you want to keep scratching right there, right under my chin...

And so on and so forth until I am tired of scratching and she starts napping again.

Or I don't know, maybe I am reading too much into it. But I think not.

It's really nice to lay here and just be for a while. No schedule. No deadlines. Nothing that I have to do. Except maybe fold the nearly true-to-life size replica I have going of Mount Fuji on my dining room table that is otherwise known as laundry.

Except for that.

But laundry can keep. For now. And at least it's clean; there's gotta be some points for that.

Saying that it is nice to lay here reminded me of something. I have a bit of an aversion to people calling me that.


I feel like it's a cop-out. I feel like it's another way I saying I don't really know you and from what I can tell you seem pretty innocuous and maybe even boring so when pressed I will just call you nice.

When I finished my first year of UArts we had yearbooks of some sort. People, having recently left high school (or most, anyway, since I never did go to high school), were deciding to sign each other's. I was not asking anyone for signatures. I was fine without them, in fact. But one girl, Jen, saw my book and decided to just grab it and sign before I could politely decline.

Later when I opened up the page, it said something like Jessica, you are such a nice person and I am so glad that we are dancing together! There might have even been a heart involved with the exclamation point, but my keyboard isn't that cool, I guess.

My point is that this girl really didn't know me. It was such a generic note; it could have been written for a chicken. Chicken, you are such a nice chicken and I am so glad we are dancing together!

Well, okay, I guess it would only work if Jen was actually dancing with a chicken. But performance art knows no bounds and I would not be surprised if someone somewhere has danced with a chicken.

And afterward, written a note to that chicken which did nothing but affirm to the chicken that it's real personality was largely unknown.

And the chicken would rather be called a good many things other than nice.

Which is exactly how I feel.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

please let me find it, please let me find it, please let me find it.

I have nowhere else to look.

Not unless I stuck it in some book for safekeeping.

But I have so many books that the thought of flipping through each and every page is overwhelming.

But so is the thought of not having my license.

Um, either my driver's license or my marriage license.

And right now, renewing the former hinges upon me procuring the latter and presenting it to the social security administration.

This is so not what I intended for my vacation, but life happens. And one thing I have learned about life is that it involves many many important papers that have a way of disappearing like they are a part of some magician's act.

I only wish I had the skills to make them reappear.

But I am not really a magician.


I mean in the scale of important papers, this is like up there, right? It warrants a special place, maybe even a folder of some sort. Perhaps even one of those accordion files. Actually, we do have a few of them and though we saw fit to tab each one with apropos titles such as legal and pay stubs and words that rhyme with meander (salamander, in case you wondered), we don't have one marked with the only category I care to see right now:

Jessica And Drew's Marriage License Which is Fitting Proof Why Copeland Should Now Be On Her Driver's License Even Though She Didn't Actually Change Her Name With Social Security At The Time She Got Married Like She Should Have (and by the way, she regrets not doing that)

Who knows, maybe we did try to write that on the tab but ran out of room and gave up and then decided that it would be a better idea to just stick our marriage license in a completely forgettable spot and then surprise surprise, promptly forget where that spot is.

Oh, and I cannot even just renew my license with the name Latshaw because when I first moved to DE right when I got married I brought my marriage license to the DMV to prove my change of name and had the bright idea to print all three names, Jessica Latshaw Copeland (without a hyphen, thankyouverymuch; I'm really not a hyphen girl) on it. But because I didn't sync that with Social Security, I now have to present my marriage license to them so that when the DMV looks me up they have the same name on file.

Which would be no problem at all if I could only find it...

So now I have to carry around my passport to board planes and show that I'm of age and the only very bad thing about that is that I absolutely hate that picture.

Vain, true, but there you go.

And my passport only has Latshaw so all the upcoming flights I have booked under the name Copeland may be a problem.

And there's nothing vain about that, so now you can go ahead and feel good and sorry for me as you recognize that I have really gotten myself into a pickle this time.

But, there are some good things that have happened today despite the fruitless wait at the DMV and the Social Security office, as well as the search for the missing marriage license that has been a bust so far.

While searching, I ran into a bag of peanut M&M's that I didn't know I had.

I also found an itunes gift card that I had apparently forgotten.

I came across an old letter from a girlfriend of Drew's from high school that made me laugh. Her ultimatum for him to either accept the fact that she smokes or just decide to break up with her was quite to the point, I must say. And I'll have to ask him what he did.

And I got to spend some quality time with this little guy.
Meet Desmond, the golden doodle and newest edition to Jonathan and Rebekah's (my brother and sister-in-law) family. He's adorable and I couldn't get enough of him!

And now I hope and pray that God drops the marriage license in my lap tomorrow...

Cause seriously, folks, that passport picture is busted.

Oh, and it's my marriage license, so it's kind of a big deal.