Heart charm

I love that you made this. It's fine and just a little bit lopsided. So sweet, MM.



Things I didn't write in May

There were many things I didn't write about during our wedding in May, mainly because I was too busy DOING. I was throwing a huge party, spending time with out-of-town guests, planning the summer's American Idol tour, and preparing to leave town for four months. No wonder I was sobbing in bed the night before I left home, ten days after the wedding. But hey, it all worked out! No Idols or brides were killed so that's cool.

Even though I haven't written much about it, I've since thought about it a lot because other people bring it up. And I love that; I love that it was the kind of party that seven months later is still inspiring stories. I'm proud to have had "the gayest straight wedding" some people have ever seen, that so many more people in my life now know each other, and that I've been told we should have a wedding reunion in May 2011.

The thing is, though, that no matter how much you don't want to make a big deal out of weddings, if you have a big wedding it ends up being a big deal. Bringing 250 people together like we did to eat and drink and dance takes time and money. One way we tried to keep it feeling like us was to hire people we knew and support businesses that were local and/or small and independent.

I might have gone too far sometimes - my cousins Lauren and Mary Beth and friend Sunny probably would have appreciated more direction than "wear whatever you want, I really don't care" for walking down the aisle - but in the end they all looked comfortable and lovely, just not matching.

I hope that everyone felt appreciated for everything they did for us and with us and that if there was any stress it evaporated in the alcohol haze.

Cheryl Eschenbach, a family friend of the Coopers who accompanied Matthew at his many singing recitals growing up, played the piano before the ceremony. Our friend Kevin Frey handled the music during procession and got us the hook up on a ridiculously powerful sound system. The main DJ of the night - though others jumped in, including Matthew - was DJ Identity, another local friend.

Photo credit: DJ Empirical

When I spent the night with Miguel and Mark in San Diego a few weeks ago, they were telling me their favorite moments of the night and we were all laughing. Miguel recalled that the first record Identity put on the turntables got tons of people to jump out of their seats and dance. We don't remember what song it was, I just know that when it happened I was surprised it was still light out and people were already boogieing so hard.

Matthew AKA The Librarian

The fact that we opened the bar before the ceremony started - a hot tip we got from Sara and Michael - may have helped. The bar at their wedding was accidentally opened early and they received many thanks from those who sat through the ceremony nursing margaritas. We decided to do the same, but on purpose.

The night before we had a pre-party in the "train depot" on the Oneonta grounds. We had the land and the buildings all weekend so took advantage of the ability to pre-funk and let everyone get warmed up. I know some people think weekend-long weddings are overbearing but I think that if you have a lot of people traveling in from out of town, it's kind of nice to be able to pace yourself. As long as no activities are mandatory since I hate being told what to do.

The aftermath of the pre-party was a mess with empty and unopened bottles everywhere and from here Jocardo foraged a bottle of honey bourbon that everyone drank after the wedding ceremony was over.

Judy, my mother-in-law

Jim, my father-in-law


Our minister was Sara. The founders of the Universal Life Church may be crazy but they are also brilliant. I think it's beautiful that so many of us now officiate ceremonies for each other instead of some crusty old guy who doesn't even know you.

This is a photo of Sara slow dancing with Laura, our friend who made party favors for all of the guests.

Laura started Blackett Body Basics because her kids had allergic reactions to the products she bought in stores. She handmade all of of the bags we gave out and surprised us with the idea to imprint some of them with our symbols the key and the bee. So sweet. The second photo below is Motor Oil, the hand moisturizer she and Matthew designed for Race Car Productions.

Chrissy from Wai-Ching Clothing made my dress and I got my metal bouquet from the Refinerii Etsy shop. I first saw my boots when Matthew and I were walking around Vegas on Jan 1, the day of our Elvis wedding. I knew they were my wedding boots and went into the Diesel store to try them on but they didn't have my size so I didn't get to wear them that night to the Graceland chapel. Then, a few months later, I found them online for half off. Score!

Neil and Monica, the hair/make up team during the summer on tour, made us look pretty. Neil doubled as ring bearer and Monica as wardrobe. I especially liked when she steamed my ribbons using her flatiron and some heavy breathing and when she smooshed my boobs together so that we could pull the corset tight.

We bought thank you gifts for family members, the wedding party, and people who helped out from Cyberoptix Tie Lab and picked out scarves and ties with different hand-silkscreened designs that made us think of each person.

Appetizers, dinner, and brownies were made by A Forkable Feast, Jane's mom catering company. Thank you Randy Bloch! The wine served was Burnet Ridge, a winery in North College Hill, Cincinnati.

Bob Ihrig, a Cooper friend, took photos after the ceremony. And lots of others helped out, offering to pick people up from the airport, drive people home, do errands, and pitch in any way they could. It was seriously such a group effort and makes me really happy to remember. Plus? So fun.


laughing quietly to myself

About how packing lightly for the flight home goes great until someone gives you a solid statue for Christmas.

ps I love it, LE


North Hayworth Ave, Los Angeles

White people

Today I sent Jocardo a text about how I was watching people in the Ellen audience dance. Someone else watching who also happens to be white said simply, "White people..." and I started laughing.

Why are we so easy to make fun of?

Jocardo said it might, just maybe, be because our sense of entitlement gives us a false sense of being impervious to ridicule and that makes the stupid shit we do that much more funny and hilarious.

Yikes, I wrote back, we are a-holes, sorry about that.

But, Jocardo replied, some of the most adored and loved people in his life are white so he is truly cared for and loved by some amazing crackers. Unfortunately a lot of others aren't and that ruins it for the decent ones.

I presumptuously wrote back that I was glad to be one his amazing crackers. When he called me out I said, "Oh, you're saying I'm a substandard cracker?"

Then I mentioned I'd like to be a graham cracker or an animal cracker.

But when Jocardo said I'm a frosted honey graham animal cracker with rainbow sparkles I told him, "Ok, you don't have to kiss my ass."


Waking up in New York

Ring Dixie mix

I started making CD mixes for different roads in 2005. I was crashing with Bova in Columbus if you can call five months of free rent a "crash" - I think after three months it probably officially becomes a mooch - and I was driving my mom's car regularly down I-75 south to Cincinnati.

I would put my iPod on shuffle in the car and my dad's old voice recorder in the well between the two front seats. When a song sank into my head or made me dance in my seat, I'd say the song title in the voice recorder and my favorites would later become the mix, in that case the I-75 mix.

I'd burn the mix onto blank CDs, send them out to my people, and that would be that: the songs that evoke that stretch of road for me. I wouldn't keep copies for myself so I've completely forgotten what were on all those first mixes.

The last two mixes I made were Berlin 1 and Berlin 2 in 2008. They weren't named for wide interstates or narrow city streets; They were were sidewalks and weedy cracks, the puddles I waded through. They were the old wooden floors of the rooms I slept in, the grey winter skies, and the day I sat by a lake on a red towel.

It's been two years and I've finally mixed up a new batch of songs and put them together in order to pay homage to Kentucky and Iceland, specifically Kentucky's Dixie Highway, just up the road from where I live (for just a little longer), and Reykjavik's Ring Road, the road that is famous for being the only one that goes all the way around the island, the road that one cannot avoid in Iceland. This music is a little bit country and a little bit electronic and probably f'ed but that's me so whatever.

1. Kentucky (Interlude) - Cunninlynguists

2. My Eyes To See - Alcoholic Faith Mission - The Danish band we found at a bar in Reykjavik.

3. True - New Models
- A favorite RACECAR artist.

4. Baffioso - TOMBOY
- Interpretive dancing to this around my living room is very fulfilling.

5. Heard It On The Radio - The Bird and The Bee
- Ha ha! Hall & Oates remake. Thanks Lindsay.

6. We Don't Live Here Anymore - Jakob Dylan
- My friend Jimmy works for Jakob and we saw him when they played in Covington. Nice fellow, as my dad would say.

7. Exploding Head - A Place to Bury Strangers
- My head exploded when I saw APTBS live, in a good way.

8. 1000 Dreams - Miss Kittin & The Hacker
- I find it very difficult to make a mix without Miss Kittin. Like impossible.

9. Sólin mun skína - Rökkurró
- No clue what this is about what with its being in Icelandic but I like to sing along phonetically.

10. Arlene - Crystal Bowersox - Arlene is our bus driver on the Idol tour. She's a bad ass.

11. The Devil's Tears - Angus & Julia Stone
- I hear this song in sepia tones.

12. Lovelife - Atmosphere
- Atmosphere should be king.

13. Tornado - Jónsi - I considered walking down the aisle to this song until I listened to the words: Erupt like volcano - You flow through the inside - You kill everything through - You kill from the inside. Not EXACTLY what I was going for.

You can download these songs here here.


underwear that's fun to wear

In Target the other week I saw superhero underwear in the boy's section and it made me happy. I don't remember having Underoos as a kid but that's okay because I do now. Today I'm Spiderman! When we were checking out, for some reason the cashier said, "I hope these are for a kid."

Why, cashier? Why do you hope that?

"They're for me," I set her straight.

She kind of laughed but also gave me a look. Jealous?


T minus 30 days

We've been talking about moving out west and I think it's a good idea. I hope so because I SIGNED A LEASE LAST WEEK. Woo!

This will be Matthew's first move to the Pacific and my fourth (Olympia - 1996, Seattle - 1999, Los Angeles - 2007, Oceanside - 2011) but this time is different. The strongest incentive for us to move is our relationship; I go to California for work regularly enough that the three-hour time zone difference is annoying. And flying four hours for a meeting is annoying and not seeing each other for five weeks during tour rehearsals? ANNOYING.

It might also be nice to just, I don't know, be in California. Our apartment is in Oceanside, 100 miles south of Los Angeles, 30 miles north of San Diego, and seven blocks from the water.

Also, I've never moved with someone. Not really. I moved with a boyfriend to Olympia but but we didn't live together. I moved to Seattle with a friend but we didn't own anything. All of our belongings in the world fit into a Ford Escort. Now my material possessions have expanded to the size of a two-bedroom apartment and this might not sound like much to some but to me it's huge.

Not only do I own the most wondrous thing in the world one can own, a tempurpedic bed, but Matthew and I counted the other day and we own seven modes of transport, not including our feet, buses, and trains. We sold his car so that leaves us with one but we bought two mopeds from the 80's and we have four bicycles: his single track, his BMX, my ten speed and my Electra cruiser. Moving a lot of stuff is physically a lot more work but somehow it seems easier because I'm not doing it alone. Was that cheesy? Fuck it.

Several train lines stop in Oceanside so we could theoretically get to San Diego or Los Angeles without driving. Every time I say that to someone they say, "Yeah but what are you going to do once you GET to LA?" I don't know! I'm just saying I can get there without driving or flying which is more than I could do before. Jeez.

Last week, before I met Crystal in San Diego to begin working on the promo appearances for her album release (Farmer's Daughter, Dec 14 - You should buy it), I spent three days apartment searching in O'side. I was one step away from signing a lease on a place that I called The Boat because that's how small it was. I liked it though, because it had character - I'm a big fan of character - even if there was only room in the kitchen to chop one vegetable at a time and we would have had to hinge a chopping board to the wall.

I woke up my second morning in a panic, wondering if we'd be able to walk inside The Boat once we moved furniture in. If it feels like a small sailboat when empty, a single couch would make us look like hoarders. But it also had a giant yard and little french doors that opened onto the giant yard. And the next door neighbor owned a giant tortoise and a pig, bizarrely strong selling points for me. I was completely determined we'd make it work since the other places I'd seen in our price range smelled like garbage or were next to auto dealerships.

By the way, this is where I turned to Marisa and said I think I'm becoming booschy, as in the bourgeoisie.

There was another place down the street from the The Boat, a four-plex that looked really well taken care of from the outside and like it wouldn't smell of garbage. An ad had gone up for one of the units on Craigslist and I left a message. The night before I was leaving for San Diego, I called again and told the machine I was sorry to stalk it but I was leaving town and would really like to see the place before I go.

The next morning I was on my way to drop off the application at The Boat when the man from the answering machine called me back and I headed to the four-plex instead. And listen, I am not exaggerating when I say that I could chop 25 vegetables at once in this place (I don't want to, but that's not the point). There is a second bedroom so we have a work space / music studio and the floors are Spanish tile and we won't have to walk into the bathroom sideways.

Oh, and there's laundry out back. Because in California it's never a high of 22 degrees like it is in Kentucky. Not that I'm going to miss something, a certain je ne sais quoi, about my local KY laundromat with its smog of cigarette smoke and people yelling at their kids and calling them dummies.

Yeah, I signed that lease with a quickness. And handed over credit reports and dog photo album and offered 8x10 copies of my social security card and license. It was ours within hours. That night I stayed with Miguel and Mark in San Diego and Miguel told me the delicious news that he has a sailboat. A boat. That we are going to sail on.

We are now T minus 30 days, pulling out of the driveway on Jan 11.


Waking up in Oceanside

Marisa makes espresso and I get snaphappy

I'd like to put the following post into context. Over the summer, I took a total of 250 photos. I came home from a week in Iceland with 467. Last week, I stayed with Marisa in Oceanside, CA and took ONE HUNDRED PHOTOS of her making coffee.

Am I secretly in love with Marisa? I don't know, maybe. I might just also be in love with her craftiness. She lives in a small space that is insanely cozy and lovely and she kept whipping out gadgets that don't take up much space and don't use much energy but totally get the job(s) done. Enter the Presso espresso maker.

Sadly I didn't document the space heater that looks like a bulletin board on the wall or the window blind that pulls down to become a movie screen with help from the projector that is mounted in the rafters.

And if you start to feel like I'm getting long-winded, think of the 88 photos that I didn't show. Take it away, Marisa!


I'm just going to say it

The Doobie Brothers are awesome.