Tuesday, December 30, 2008


The "traditional" Western method of heterosexual courtship consists of a very specific set of rituals: - boy asks girl out, picks her up, pays for dinner, etc. While I often enjoy symbolism, I find the symbolism of this particular ritual troubling and somewhat insulting. It seems, historically, the male has specific, concrete, active ways to show interest in pursuing a relationship with another person: I will pay for your dinner. I will hold the door for you. However, what is the parallel ritual for the female in this situation? (You shouldn't have to think too hard about that one. Hint: rhymes with "put out.") In sub-cultures which discourage sexual relations outside of marriage, there is less of an answer to that question.

Meanwhile, the "hookup" culture seems to be becoming the norm among our generation. Totally absent are traditional dating behaviors. It seems - at least superficially - to be more egalitarian. However, I also find this replacement to "traditional" courtship troubling as well, for different reasons. It does not seem to be a solid basis for forming a lifelong partnership, which is, purportedly, the goal of courtship. At least as a courtship model, hooking up fails.

This puts young people from more traditional sub-cultures, such as LDS, which strongly discourages sexual activity before marriage, in a somewhat awkward position. There is an amalgamation, an entire spectrum of acceptable courtship behaviors present here: from the people who follow the traditional pattern very strictly, to people who opt for a more egalitarian approach (not to mention people who pick and choose). This can make things messy. Extremely messy. And that messiness sort of helps me to see the benefit of having things clearly defined. When there is no formal framework to distinguish a romantic relationship from a simple friendship, the participating parties can easily end up with differing expectations regarding or understandings of the interactions. Recipe for disaster or heartache or at least confusion. That point has been especially driven home for me recently.

So what are we left with?

The traditionally arbitrary, gendered behaviors? Lack of any sort of framework whatsoever within which to place the relationship? Is there some sort of compromise here - some sort of egalitarian ritual we create - perhaps from the traditional pattern superimposed with our current ideals? Or does it come down to that pesky adult behavior called communication?

I am interested in what other heterosexuals think. Also, I'm interested in how individuals within the gay/lesbian community approach courtship.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

One Day, a Week or So Ago, When it Snowed

We wanted to make brownies. We are always full of good ideas. But we had no butter or eggs.
Me: Ok so let's bundle up and get that stuff to make a treat. And maybe also get a smaller treat to eat while we're making the bigger treat. Don't you love the way my little brain works?

Beth: It is not little. It is a powerful machine.
Powerful machine. Did you hear that?

Anyway, we bundled up, trudged through the accumulating drifts to the grocery store, and bought some butter, eggs, and tiramisu.

Beth fell on the way home as we ascended a small incline in the parking lot, dropping the eggs in the snow. It was soft though (snow - duh), so they didn't break. When she fell again, because her boots had no traction, I offered her my hand. When she refused my assistance, I became just a little bit miffed that she wouldn't allow me to help her.

So, like any rational person, I left the tiramisu on the hood of somebody's car and walked off towards home.
Beth (muttering to self): GREAT. I didn't do what she said and now SHE's acting like a five-year-old too.
By the time she has caught up of course I had forgotten about the whole thing, because I was fully entranced with walking backwards and looking at my footprints in the snow.

We ended up not making brownies at all --- just eating "smaller treat" and going to bed.

Sunday, December 14, 2008


My dad and I rake the yard for awhile Thanksgiving morning.

The activity is a pleasant one, the sunlight bouncing through the empty branches and the air, with the slightest hint of winter's chill, pinching our cheeks. Over the years he has developed a method to minimize wasted labor and maximize the amount of leaves in each barrel. I do not know all the rules, but it involves specific patterns of raking, the specialization of labor among rakers, and a large round metal pan to compress the leaves inside each garbage can.

A few weeks after beginning my first internship during college, the first period of more than a couple minutes I had spent in an office environment, I remember coming home (I lived in Albany that summer) and helping my father turn over the soil for the garden, remember using all of my muscles - arms, legs, back, shoulders - to perform the task. And I recall also, a feeling of gratitude for the chance to move like that after sitting for so many days in a row. Thanksgiving morning, it strikes me again, as it struck me that day four (?) and a half years ago: human beings are not intended to sit at a desk all day, every day. It is a virtue to stretch and use the muscles of our bodies as they were made to be used.

“Does it hurt your back?” I ask him.

“Naw it doesn't hurt my back,” he says jovially. “It hurts my arms.”

The brown oak leaves and the dark pink ones like dried rose petals from the Japanese maple lie scattered in the grass/moss/weeds in our yard, strewn by the wind and rain like a fragrantly autumnal potpourri. A few weeks ago, my good friend from high school recounted to me a conversation with a San Franciscan transplant who was aghast that anyone could enjoy living in New England. E. described the first day of each season (the first day of that season's weather, not the first day on the calendar), how there is a change in the air; you can feel it, smell it, and it magically brings you back to each of the two dozen other autumns or winters or springs of your life.

This day, raking with my father, brings me back even further than the span of my own life. He sent out an email to the extended family a few hours earlier. The Reillys, Dad's mother's family, recently off the boat, were living in Maine at the time of the 1918 flu epidemic.

Happy Thanksgiving. I hope this finds you well, today. We just got the pies made.

So I do not know what to make of this story. The dad and the oldest son just lost their lives. No income. There was panic in the surrounding community over the flu. The kids wore garlic necklaces to school, if they were going at all. And the church offered the family a free turkey to cheer them up.

Mary Reilly turned them down. We'd be OK with out the turkey.

I don't know if she was too proud to accept charity. Or she wasn't feeling very grateful. Or maybe she just wanted to rest.

The story touches on some of the darker elements of life, but through it, these people, our ancestors, maintained a certain dignity, just as, to use Beth's words, “Dad's writing has a certain elegance to it.” We talk about where this branch of humanity is headed, about the family reunion this past summer, about next year's reunion, whether we should make a huge water slide from a large tarpaulin greased up with some dish soap. You know. For the kids.

We finish up on the driveway and head inside the house. In the kitchen, he rolls up his sleeves to remove the elastic braces on his forearms. “See I have to wear these because the tendon starts to tear back from the muscle.”

“Why does it do that?”

“I'm getting old, honey. When you're old your body starts to fall apart. You have to be aware of which body parts are most at risk when performing a particular activity. And you act to minimize that risk. So I wear these.”

I do not think of my parents as old. And I do not really want to think of them like that, nor the inevitable, what happens to everyones parents, to everyone, actually, in the end. I never even knew my dad's parents.

Falling asleep on the sofa, because I no longer technically have a bedroom in that house, I am guarded by looming towers of my parents' possessions. And I realize: this is what I come home to, what I come from; this is a part of the package, whether I accept it or not. And it will probably be healthier to accept it. I think of going to visit my mom's parents when we were younger, the forces in her childhood that shaped the person she is today. I consider how the forces in my life so far have shaped who I am, my dad with his six computer monitors tracking the stock market in the tiny basement office, going out to work on the car during lulls in trading activity... my mother quietly collecting every single memento from our childhoods; writing lists of everyones favorite foods on the inside of the kitchen cabinets; carefully taking her rounds of herbal supplements each day, morning, noon, and night. To the ticking of the seasonal garden clock with its familiar sun and moon that rise and fall, I imagine my future children coming to visit my own parents, tiptoeing around tumbling stacks of documents and craft supplies.

Past. Present. Future. Connected to this eternal strand of evolving humanity. Yes. This is home.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Somehow I have disabled comments and I do not know how to fix it.

Monday, December 8, 2008

My Life is So. Unfair.

Excuse me, but I am not the one who went away all weekend. I hardly got to see her at all except for one minute this morning before work. Now she kicks me out of her room as though she would rather be alone than with me.

Where does she expect me to go? In my own room? In the living room? BY MYSELF???

Oh gosh it reminds me of high school when she would always want to do homework, and she would whine and whine, and then finally Mom would have interfere. "Katie leave your sister alone."

All I can say is good thing these earphones are small and I can fit them under the ear flaps on this hat.

I shall listen to angry music.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Some Songs

Some songs make you want to cry and dance. Both at once.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

I just got to inquire

My sister and I went to sushi down the road several stops and were waiting to catch the trolley home. The stop is a small one, and at that part the road is pretty wide and dark and is flanked only by the semi-vacant stares of apartment buildings, no stores or restaurants. The street lights are dim and spaced further apart. When we arrived, there was nobody even there waiting. After a couple minutes a man and his little daughter had also arrived to wait.

We heard yelling and saw two men toss a third one out the front door of their apartment building onto the pavement and start beating him up. He tried to get up and they threw him back down.

I looked at Beth to see what we should do, but she did not know either.

The man called out to the father to help, but what could the father do? He had a daughter.

My sister and I and the father and the daughter all got on the train and left the man there to get beat up because we did not know what else we even could do except call the police. We arrived home to our apartment pretty shaken.

We had never known something like that to happen in our neighborhood.


The next evening I am running a little behind.

Even though you aren't supposed to do it, I am picking my way across the ballast, stepping over both sets of darkened trolley tracks. Avoiding headlights, I cross the main road, the narrow traffic island, then the parking/access street, finally reaching the far sidewalk, where I exchange brief grins with a somewhat older gentleman who ends up walking a couple paces behind me.

Up a few yards ahead, the shops are glowing, but here it is still a bit darker. I am a little nervous recalling the events of the previous night, nervous and - I am ashamed to admit - suddenly suspicious of this man whom I do not know.

I will definitely be fine in a couple moments, I remind myself.

Mid-whistle, I gasp. I hear the sound of something scrabbling, coming suddenly closer from behind. It is not the man, though, it is a rabid animal, a salivating raccoon ready to tear at my jugular with its tiny razor teeth and wild, wild eyes.

No, actually it is neither a man nor a beast. It is just a little punk-ass kid zipping by on a bicycle.

"Too fast" the man mutters, mostly to himself.

I resume walking and whistling, willing my heart to slow to its normal rhythm.

"Excuse me miss," I look over my shoulder. It is still that same man. "Excuse me miss, but I just got to inquire. What's got you whistlin' Dixie?"

"Ohhh... I don't know, I guess it was stuck in my head."

"I thought you must have had the most fantastic day or something."

"No my day wasn't really fantastic, just regular. It was pretty good. I was just whistling." Although it's pretty fantastic now.

A few more steps we go, past the Chinese food place with children's drawings papering the wall, not sure if we should put this conversation to rest. "Well you have a good night."

"Thanks. You too." He keeps going straight, but I have to turn the corner.

The experience the night before had me feeling a little worried, but now I remember that most of the people you will ever meet are actually really nice and good people and that most of the time I am just so glad to get the chance to talk to them or see them, even for only a couple minutes.

I just got to inquire!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Sacred Ground

Knowing me, knowing you, knowing anyone, that is a sacred space.

Remember that any time you step into the secret thoughts, hopes, dreams, sorrows of another human being, you are treading on holy ground. Take off your shoes.

Monday, December 1, 2008


(October 27th to December 5th)

The first time I saw the above words on a big sign in the neighborhood next to mine, I thought, What a great idea! Residents collected pretty leaves from their neighborhood, and then a local artist arranged them all into a public display.

My mind sort of went crazy for a few moments, thinking about the awesomeness of a community leaf collection.

Maybe there will be photographs of the individual people to go alongside it... or perhaps stories about the trees or the streets where the leaves were found.

I was in the middle of wondering the methods by which the leaves had been preserved (or whether their transience and inevitable decay had been one of the themes of the art installation) when I realized that the sign had been put up by the public works department so that people could have the leaves they had raked into yard waste bags removed to be composted at the city's facility.

Bummer. Oh well, it still makes me smile to pass by there on the bus.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving is Coming

My coworker has been counting down the days for about a month. It is really his number one holiday of the year. It is actually pretty funny how enthusiastic he is.

I just found out more people are coming for Thanksgiving. We are up to about 20. Yay.

The past few years we have been teaming up with our neighbors, who are 1) really awesome 2) Indian, so they make really really good food, and 3) vegetarians, so I have some sympathizers. Last year they hosted the feast in their home and we had no turkey as the main dish. Needless to say, I was thrilled. We have that 1950s-style tradition where we go around the table and each say what we are thankful for. Last year, the mother of the neighbors' family said that she was grateful that no living creature had to die for the meal. My mom likes the turkey tradition but I suspect she was secretly grateful NOT to have to prepare the de-feathered beast. So no turkey this year either. Wooo!

So we currently have
Eight of us in my family
Four in the neighbors' family
One German exchange student
One coworker from Beth's lab
About six bonus mystery people
My brother and two of my sisters and I are also planning on seeing the film, Milk, while everyone is in town, which looks to be pretty inspirational.

This year I am most grateful for people who truly love me, not just like. Like can make you feel pleasant, but love is what helps you through, takes the time. That is something special, and rarer than it seems.

Thank you friends and family who teach me about real love, who care.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Life Goals

My beautiful friend posted a list which inspired me to write my own goals, as the person I currently am. They will change as I grow in life, no doubt, and some of them will require maybe more than a lifetime's efforts.

See the northern lights, aurora borealis
Help to provide sustainable, affordable, and safe transportation options
Worm composting
Play the banjo
Learn to love myself and others more fully and deeply
Raise chickens or maybe a couple goats and maybe a couple children if I am up for it
Dip in each of the seven seas
Understand better the nature of the divine
Look at the worlds in a microscope and a telescope
Begin something beautiful (big or small, I don't really care) that spreads around the globe
And finally, when I die I want to be glad to have lived the AMOUNT that I did in the time that I had.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Getting Existential on Ya

If I am awareness, then I can never distill my self, my being, to nothingness. I can never deconstruct myself entirely out of existence, which has apparently been a fear of mine of late.

I have reduced myself to my most fundamental unit. There is comfort in this floor of reasoning.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Message for Obama

Ok I have been posting photos a lot lately. And I'm gonna do it some more.

I have great hopes for the future of the country. Not just because of the new leadership. I think a lot of people are ready for change. I think they are ready to be proud of their country, and to put in the effort to make a positive impact in their own small ways. If anything can change the world, I suspect it is a collection of many small hopes and actions.

Check out what folks have to say to Obama.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

In Pictures

As we wait for the election results...

I always love the BBC's "In Pictures" collections and photo journals from all over the world. Today's were particularly striking:

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Just Stuck

Usually the path I am to follow as to what I am working on in my life - personally, philosophically, emotionally - is clear, or at least feels right in some way. I will feel a strange energy to continue pressing forward if it is the way I am supposed to be going. Hard to describe really. I open one door, which leads to another room. I learn what I need to learn in that room and then move on to the next. Not necessarily linear, but at least there is some degree of clarity. However, recently I have been feeling like every door I try is locked or a dead end, as though, no matter what I do, I am trapped in this dimly lit room with walls and floors that are sticky with other people's dried beer, alternately pacing the linoleum tiles and sitting restlessly on the stained avocado green sofa.

For some reason I was reading through all of these old posts of mine and it struck me how silly and naive I sound.

I just want to yell GAHHHHHHHHH and swing the door wide open into the chilly November night, clamber down the fire escape like a wild little monkey, and run through the streets of Brighton naked down to my feet.

I have been working so damn hard at loving it but truly, truly, I am just sick. and. tired of being me.


I dreamed that for some reason I was making a huge database of all of the things that make me happy. I gave each item tags based on different ways that they might make me happy, for example, "soft," "tastes good," "funny/silly." Suddenly I found myself awake, and shivering from cold.

I reached to the bottom of my bed and grabbed my red blanket, spreading it on top of my other blankets, and, as I returned to slumber, made a mental note to add the blanket to the "warm" category.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Check out Steve Chasmar's collection of old Halloween photos. Beautifully creepy.

Not entirely sure what's going on here, but that doesn't stop me from loving it with my entire soul.

Yep, the two children on the right are dressed as oil derricks...

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

For Free

I just thought for some reason I would browse the free section on craigslist.
Wood - just what you would think, but I love the picture for some reason

Hannah Montana Undies - also just what you would think

Organic Soy Bars - because apparently "Soy Reduces Male Fertility by 70%" (if that isn't good advertising, I don't know what is)

Yankees Fan Bet - this one is by far my favorite, seriously now, seriously - just read it.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Another Perspective on Proposition 8

I do not live in California. But I live in Massachusetts; it is where I was born and raised. And I am proud of the position of my state regarding homosexual marriage.

Mormons for Marriage is a website, written by a group of members of the LDS church outlining ways in which supporting marriage for all couples - homosexual or heterosexual - can still be in harmony with the LDS church's teachings. If you haven't gotten a chance to see it already, I would suggest browsing around to see what these thoughtful people have to say.

There are many different reasons I choose to support my homosexual brothers and sisters in this this way, but I would say that the main one is that I see no compelling argument as to why these rights/privileges (i.e. to see their sweetheart one in the hospital; to adopt a child together, with their loved one; to call their union "marriage" when that is effectively what it is) should NOT be extended to heterosexual unions. I could go through the LDS newsroom article point by point and outline the ways that I disagree, the ways that I think it uses biased sources, and so forth, but I do not really want to get into that. If anyone is really interested, I will. I would much rather focus on the good that all people share, the ways that we stand on common ground, instead of the things that we find distasteful in one another.

I truly love about this religion in terms of principles, doctrine, and culture. Similarly, there is much I struggle with, including the formal position by the church's leaders on this issue (it would actually probably be fair to say I struggle with a majority of the teachings, and it would be dishonest to claim otherwise). However, I cling to core principles of Christlike love, the value of each individual soul, and the idea that we are continually progressing, moving from grace to grace.

I love the idea of divine potential within each of us. I love the countless opportunities to share experiences, to serve one another, and to receive love from others in the form of service.

It is with those ideals in mind that I support gay marriage.

I will obviously not be telling anyone how to vote. But for friends and strangers in California faced with this ballot initiative in a few weeks, I would urge you to charitably look inside yourself, consider different perspectives, and TRULY examine this question before you cast your vote.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A Smile is Easy to See

But our sorrows are among our most private posessions.

Monday, October 20, 2008


Katie: Did you just say I am a tool???
Beth: Yep. You're a tool. A tool for DNA to replicate itself!!!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Are We Human?

Oh. My. Gosh. I can NOT stop listening to it. I think I've already heard it THREE TIMES this morning.

Like the time I ate SEVENTEEN LOLLIPOPS.

I haven't felt this obsessed since... I don't know... Black Eyed Peas?

And I'm on my knees looking for the answer
Are we human?
Or are we dancer?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

New Header

I'm thinking of making up a new header for the blag. Why does this urge seem to come whenever I have a big certification exam coming up?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Artsy Fartsy

So I have been feeling all CREATIVE these past few weeks... writing poetry, producing random gestural studies in watercolor, all that good junk.

Here are some of the fruits of my labors.

One evening Belinda put on some classical music and curled up on the foutoon. I painted on the floor.

The whole family went camping this weekend in western MA and the trees were dripping with fiery hues.

I was struck by the beauty, but also the transience, the impermanence of it.

The last night, we went to the summit for a chilly autumn sunset, the brilliant finale of the earth's day before these glowing embers faded to cool twilight, silhouetting the layers of mountain and cloud in a gradient of shadow.

And then the next morning, after a weekend of ups and downs, joys, memories, and laughter, (and one or two hissy fits), we all went our separate ways.

It makes me wonder - is beauty always intimately and inextricably tied to TIME?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Did you know?

Did you know:
  • the use of native plant species in landscaping reduces the need for irrigation, fertilizer, and operating costs

  • vegetation can reduce the thermal impact of a project through shade and evapotranspiration

  • using materials with high solar reflectivity (for example, lightly colored) can also serve to reduce thermal impact of a project

Did you? Well now you do. These are a few of the many startlingly amazing facts I am absorbing for this exam.

Sigh... several other things happened today, some of which involved a state trooper asking me whether I possess even a particle of common sense (when surely he could have surmised that the answer was "no," based on the situation alone), but I just really don't have the heart to type about them just yet. I am home now though, the treetops are on fire* with reds and oranges and yellows, and my sissy and I talked about THINGS.

So there is peace in my heart.

Also, you should watch this movie. And be sure your volume is on, because it is simply a splendid sight to behold, and you've just gotta get the whole effect.

I like how his glasses move. And I have to wonder, who was dropping all those balloons?

*seriously today I saw trees so stunningly beautiful it pierced me where my soul is.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Five Things

(for Mooney)

10 years ago I
1. Didn't know how to match my own clothes.
2. Started high school.
3. Probably had a lot of angst.
4. Was playing my first season of field hockey ever.
5. Solidified some of the best friendships of my life.
Five things on today's to-do list:
1. Count cars in a parking lot. For money.
2. Study for LEED exam. Le sigh.
3. Dinner with Foffie?
4. Match my own clothes.
5. Mail JY's birthday present.
Five Snacks I enjoy:
2. carrots and hummus
3. cheese
4. brie cheese
5. maple syrup
Five Places I have lived:
1. Boston, MA
2. Albany, NY
3. Boston, MA (that is all)
Five Jobs I have had:
1. Day camp counselor
2. Residential remodeling with my dad
3. Labeling the size of rebar in engineering drawings
4. Geocoding accident report data for MassHighway
5. Traffic engineer/transportation planner
Five Pet Peeves:
1. hypocrisy (in myself and others)
2. being left out of secrets
3. "pup" (okay I have a love-hate relationship with it)
4. CVS no longer carrying my favorite deodorant
5. littering
Five things that bring me joy:
1. Tina Fey as Sarah Palin
2. Thunderstorms
3. Love
4. Watching strangers
5. My sissy... on a daily basis!
Five people whose business I want to know
1. Bubber
2. Chennifer
3. Areagar
4. Marby
5. 3M

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Because it makes Beth feel like a celebrity to appear here...

These are some little gems I typed up on Saturday.

Gem #1:
Beth and I participated in team FB-stalking this morning. The following conversation occurred while looking at one of her regulars. She just likes to look at pictures of him, so I do too. Because we are twins and only like exactly the same things.
Beth: Also he has this amazing hat.
Katie: (seeing this person for the first time) He's the awesomest little nubbin in my life.
Beth: Did you mean bubber?
Katie: No. If I had meant bubber I would have said bubber.
Geez, sissy.

Gem #2:
It's 10:20 AM and Beth and I are still dressed in our pajamas - shorts/a sweatshirt and PJ bottoms/yesterday's sweater, respectively.
Katie: (sitting on the floor in the living room surrounded by art supplies, a paper shopping bag, and sticky rat trap still in its packaging which our landlord dropped off) Come on Beth we need to clean the house.
Beth: I don't WANT to clean the house. I just want to put on my socks. (goes into her bedroom)
Katie: Okay.
Beth: I've got my socks on. I'm coming out now. Just try and stop me!
Beth emerges from her bedroom with knee-high, multicolored, argyle socks and prances across the floor. Recall she's still wearing the shorts at this point.

This memory is priceless and I will treasure it in my heart for ever and ever.

Friday, October 3, 2008

My Friend, the Architect

My friend, the architect, is slowly going blind. It is a gradual thing.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Diary of a 14-Year-Old

I was starting to get a little bit bummed out on Tuesday because it was pretty much dark outside when the trolley emerged from the tunnel on my way home from work. Soon it will be dark all the time... when I wake up and when I get home. The only sun I will get to feel will be at lunch and on the weekends. Last winter, my strategy was to maximize on those times. I think it helped tremendously. So I decided to have a really high-quality walk this Saturday and was considering the different places I could go. I could take the train to Concord and then walk to Waldon Pond... almost two miles to just get TO the pond.

I'll probably go to Mount Auburn Cemetery instead. Damn you Thoreau... didn't you have accessibility in mind when you picked out the location in which to live more deliberately?

Sometimes I make myself smile.

NO, Katie, he did not have accessibility in mind. Because that was the whole POINT. To be away from people. To be by himself. And then I remembered why Thoreau would sometimes frustrate me when we were reading Walden in high school. So moralistic, so excessively self-reflective that it can begin to feel like reading a 14-year-old's diary. Yes, I too would do whatever I wanted if I had a rich aunt to bail me out of jail, if I had nobody who depended upon me. Some people have SPOUSES or CHILDREN. Some people feel personal RESPONSIBILITY toward others, not just general responsibility to their private idea of virtue and justice. I read this stranger's blog yesterday morning about why s/he HATES Thoreau, and while I don't necessarily relate to the whole thing, it was the last sentence that really resonated.

The things I hate about Thoreau are the things that remind me of myself. What I cannot be, or more accurately, what I am not but would like to be.

I hate how we as a nation laud Henry David Threau and others for choosing self, personal virtue, over localized community. How the utmost of romantic ideals is to cut oneself off from neighbors almost entirely so that you can have what you want. MY house on a quiet dead-end street. MY plot of land with tidy green grass. MY car. MY profits. All monuments to ME.

And I might hate that because, well, focusing on me, the newt, is the one of things which terrifies me the most.

This tension... this tension within which I find myself caught almost every day... when faced with a broken world, with repeated daily actions that can begin to feel so meaningless, with countless “time-saving” strategies that only serve to consume our awareness and distract us from the important things, with beautiful damaged people all around who will make your heart ache because you cannot do anything... when faced with all of this, and an internal thirst for meaning, what is a person to do? Do you soothe, buoy up, listen to the heartaches, and care for the tiny cares of individual souls or do you break free from this humdrum, often unjust, existence for something more simple, or maybe more meaningful or virtuous?

I think of how we hold up Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and many other people who dedicated their lives to great and noble causes to benefit humankind. Yet their families paid a tremendous price. And that brings up the question, was that price too high for such widespread benefit to humanity? I am torn. I personally would lean toward yes, but I know a lot of people would say no.

Are we responsible to the individuals in our immediate communities first or to our personal ideals of virtue? Or is it not an either-or question? Is it possible to find the balance between on the one hand accepting both the joy and wonder AND the brokenness and sorrow of the world and on the other hand being your own person, fighting to change what is around you?

That is what bothers me, because I cannot pull myself away, I cannot forget it all and go live on my own. And I think sometimes you desperately need that. Sometimes you HAVE to say “no you know what fuck you all I'm building a 10' x 15' hut in the woods so I can watch the skaters and water-bugs and make my own dungarees.” At least metaphorically. Because I suspect that you cannot make dungarees for someone else if you can't even make them for yourself (hee hee... dungarees). And sometimes those you love ARE unjust and to stand by and do nothing would be to commit a sin against yourself, against them, and against something greater perhaps.

I am so tremendously good at letting things happen. Or so I like to think. But actually if you don't know how to be your own person, if you fear it, then you're not really LETTING anything happen. It is just happening.

At the other extreme, if you try too hard, nothing will ever change.

It goes back to a metaphor that came to me awhile ago of the balm and the flame. The balm... it just forms on the inner cavern of my soul, (this will sound gross but it's the best analogy I could come up with) like the uterine lining. It just forms there and I can scoop it out to share with those in pain around me or to use for creative expression. The flame, however... that is the one I cannot control. The flame burns low and quiet inside of me, so small, that I can't even always be certain it is still going. But then occasionally I will find it between my palms, grown to the size of a grapefruit, spitting sparks and light in a wild rage and I will have to hold it away from my body. When I find I have taken it out, it is too hot to hold, and I drop it... or I end up burning other people because I do not know how to apply it with any level of precision. It seems to be all or nothing. I either put everything I have into the task or the bare minimum. I know, however, that if I can learn to harness this power, I will be pretty much unstoppable.

My primary focus, the element I find myself most comfortable with is the balm. Hmmmm this idea is a little tricky to get across... Letting things happen, that is a function of the balm. It responds to others, and it serves as a creative force outside of other influences. Pure creativity and pure emotional reaction, that is the balm. It feels the joy and the sorrow of others and it is the medium of new ideas and new life. But it really can only echo things that already exist.

Being my own person... that is a function of the flame. In the presence of others who would use the balm excessively so that it would not be able to regenerate. The flame, when used correctly, is what says “no, that is enough.” I need to be capable of gently and carefully exerting the force of the flame, an action to preserve myself and to stand up when things are unjust. This action, if I could develop the capability of performing it in a somewhat reliable manner, would, I suspect, serve to help regenerate the balm.

So that is the balm and flame metaphor. The first startling realization I had yesterday morning on the trolley is that to “love myself” means to know the proper application of balm and flame in the universe. It is being capable of saying I need you to back off; I need to regenerate, or you are being unjust, or any other number of things. Secondly, you might make the mistake to think that the balm is equivalent to “loving others” but it is not true. It is only a partial love. Without knowledge of how to control the flame, it is only a partial love. Therefore, for me, and possibly for everyone, loving myself is synonymous with loving others.

From a 14-year-old's diary:

(I got some colored pencils, if you didn't notice.)

How marvelous! How simple semantically! How difficult to implement, practically. And I am going to learn how to make dungarees.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Native Speaker

In an email I sent to my boss earlier today (in response to the question "What is the annual average wage for the new jobs created?"):
This question will the [name of government agency] to provide the information.

Say what? It looks like it should be a sentence.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Life it seems lately has been shoving me into the ground and kicking me in the stomach in an effort to get me to be my own person.

All right already! I get it.

Well on the other hand, I am appreciating this cool, humid weather we've been having. Makes me feel like my human hair will begin to fall out soon to be replaced by beautiful green moss growing from my scalp. Like I could just inhale and gain all of the nutrients my mind and body need from the moist morning air. Like, if I knew the right words, I could probably perform magic, by the power of my own soul alone.

Autumn. Fall. Evening of the year.

Monday, September 29, 2008

I Love...

...the eels. They can talk to me about everything important, sad, and beautiful.

I bet you are flying inside.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

What can I say? We are hilarious... okay mostly just Beth

Beth: Look how cute you are... with your messy room.

me: nyahhhhhh (falls to the floor and snuggles with the mess)

Beth: (stares down at me with a pained expression on her face) And then my soul cries out for a new world. One in which there is not... this.

Anyway I'm off for a looooooooong run and then to study my little arse off for LEED Accreditation Exam. For which I'm signed up next Friday. For which I have read approximately 13/2,734,000,000ths of the material.

I'll be fine right? It's just like college.

Friday, September 26, 2008

More Sissy

(Because 3M gets such a kick out of it):

Beth and I planned and recited the following conversation this morning.
me: Guess what song is playing!
Beth: (stirring oatmeal) Our favorite song in the NATION?
me: (poking head into the kitchen) Nay. In the WORLD!
both: bwahahaha
...which was inspired by a statement made by Beth involving something with "favorite song" and "nation" and "world," a statement which may or may not have included the word "nay," as evident from our discussions as I recorded the "original" conversation.
me: I said "nay."
Beth: No I said "nay."
me: No I said "nay."

Hmmm... beginning to see a pattern here. The song? "Come Sail Away" by Styx.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

No More Tears

My tears dried up at the beginning of this year, and I haven't really been able to cry since.

Sometimes you just want a good CRY though. Like when you get to the warehouse room of IKEA and realize that they are out of stock on every. item. on your list. Even Alseda, which you so desperately wanted. And maybe at other times too, where crying is actually an appropriate response to the situation. It is like having a song inside of you but no vocal chords.

I can remember ONE time since March that I cried.

p.s. I am trying to break the 6 posts in one month barrier which I haven't seemed to be able to surpass recently.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Living with Sissy

I was in the shower this morning and my sister came in to brush her teeth.

Beth: Are you going to eat the leftover beans for lunch today?
Me: Are you?
Beth: No I don't want to bring a lunch today.
Me: Then I'm not going to either.
Beth: Why not? They'll go bad.
Me: If you're not going to eat them then why should I have to?
Beth: I don't want to bring a lunch today!
Me: Well I don't want to eat leftovers!
Beth: You're so annoying.
Me: No, YOU're so annoying.
Beth: No, YOU're so annoying.

...aaand we are both so mature.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


I just finished another journal.

I always love to begin the new book. Every page, completely bare, to be inscribed with the words of life yet unlived.

Who knows the marvelous ideas I'll come across, the beautiful old ones I'll revisit in new and striking ways? Who can say what sort of person I'll be when I close the last page of this new journal after months or a year of life? In which ways I'll have grown? Which new people I'll have met? What sorrow or pain or joy or sweetness I will come across? Empty pages bring a special kind of hope. And journal - at least for me - helps to reconcile our futility when faced with the infinite momentum of time.

Every time you close an old journal, it's time to open a new one.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Babushka Deli - Store of Awesomeness

We went to Babushka Deli to get a dessert and found a package of these cookies labeled simply as $4.24. They looked sort of like giant walnuts with chocolate creamy spread inside. We brought it to the front and tried to get some information from the young woman who was working there.

Me: What is inside of this? Is it chocolate?
Employee: No. Not chocolate. It's... milky.
Me: Oh, milky. Gotcha. What is it called?
Employee: It's just called... nuts.
Me: Oh it has nuts in it?
Employee: No. No nuts. It just looks like nuts.
Me: Cool. What does it taste like?
Employee: It tastes good. It tastes like... sweet. And milky. But it doesn't have anything special (I think she meant "weird") in it.

So of course we bought them. And brought them home. And ate them. And for the record, "nuts" taste sort of like a pastry filled with sweet and milky. Even as a native English speaker I can find no better words to describe the confection.

And this is just one item on the growing list of reasons why I love Babushka Deli and want to buy everything I own from there.

Monday, September 15, 2008

I Wonder...

Do you think there will be clothes required in heaven? Signore di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni seems to think no.

(look at God's buddies, I mean)


Beth and I went to Allston street fair, and it was amazing.

We saw the local band Bad Ash, which had the #1 most sincerely awesome drummer in the nation, and all the hipsters showed up in their best skinny jeans with their largest gauge earrings and their trucker hats and suspenders and cigarettes.

Oh and we got free organic salad greens. Seriously now, what more could anyone ask for?

Thursday, September 4, 2008


I was walking in the park during lunch break Thursday, sort of replaying some bad things that happened this week, when a thought came into my mind, "I am alive." This realization was followed by a couple others "I can walk. I have an entire, beautiful body comprised of billions of cells. I am aware of things. What a miracle. Alive."

Think about that for a moment.

You. Are. Alive.

What are the implications of that statement? Just think about it. It will blow your mind.

Friday, August 22, 2008

While I Ought to Have Been Packing

I instead read almost the entire blog of a British woman who attempts to go a month without using plastic products.

Best part is when she says "nappies."


Thursday, August 21, 2008

Who We Are

What is the human soul?

What is determined by our early experiences and what by our genetic makeup? Almost everything, I would say. Most of who and what we find ourselves to be at the moment of awareness is nothing of our choosing.

I know that I personally struggle with the details, with making decisions and following through, with occasionally finding myself disproportionately overwhelmed by minor things, with debilitating sadness that arrives at times from no discernible source, with deep feelings of insufficiency. Other people struggle with entirely different sets of issues, which I won't even begin to try to compare to my own or even enumerate. And here's the thing: I don't think that is the point. We are each running the race as ourselves, and ourselves only, with universally unique challenges and appendages.

I do not know how I found myself here, how I came to be who I am, but here you have it. Katie, la Dancing Newt, child of the rain, and daughter of dreams. This is me floating in all of these variables, all of these traits, treading to keep my head above the water in a pool littered with scraps of who I was and who I want to be.

I look at my parents, like many kids do, with pretty harsh judgment. I see all of the ways they are not who I want them to be, who I feel I needed them to be. I look at friends who have hurt me, who have let me down, at people who have damaged those I care about. And I find myself angry that they could be like that, that they could DO such things.

I realized recently, though, that my mom and dad, by all statistical models, should not be who they are. It is something I can only attribute to their souls, their will, that they are the strong and loving people whom I know them to be. Without going into unnecessary detail, let's say they both were raised in environments with at least one seriously unhelpful character. It would be easy to transfer that pain and bitterness on to their children or to avoid the whole messy process of raising kids altogether. However, the fact that they have consciously dedicated so much of their time and effort toward ensuring, to the extent that they are capable, that each of us feels loved, safe, and accepted speaks to me of something amazing and beautiful. Surely they were and are not perfect as parents. Surely their childhood experiences have damaged and biased them. But the fact is that they TRIED. They saw things within themselves and tried to change it.

I look at my friends and see how they are trying desperately to grow and to cope with the shreds that life has tossed them. And some are still working on just accepting who they are. And they are all beautiful. I've just had this strangely generous peaceful feeling lately.

First is blind struggling, second is awareness, and third is conscious effort. And, hopefully, change, to the extent possible.

This, I believe, is where you see the true soul of a person, the moment that they are MOST themselves: when you are aware of them struggling against the backwards current of probability, against what is easy and safe and convenient. As imperfect as they are, as I am, this example is something I am very grateful to have received from my parents.

Honestly, I do not know what I am capable of in this life, but lately I find I surprise myself almost daily.

Monday, August 18, 2008


I'm moving across town in exactly 2 weeks but it sort of feels like across the universe.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Autumn's Breath

Summer was gone and the heat died down
and Autumn reached for her golden crown

I looked behind as I heard a sigh,
but this was the time of
no reply.

I left work yesterday evening and didn't feel like descending immediately to the bowels of Park Street. So instead I took a little stroll along to the next closest station. The air was cool on my legs, neck, in my nostrils. The world had shifted somehow, the first positioning of its thoughts, the first inward breath. In a few weeks, it will exhale that gust and begin to spew Autumn all over us in dazzling oranges, crimsons, and golds.

The realization filled me with a familiar sorrow whose source escapes definition, remains unknown to me.

It might just be the relentless march of time.

My whole life I have felt everything passing by like trying to catch a tumbling leaf, like straining to remember a scent that is absent from you, like sand through your fingers. And while I look forward to the the future with hope and excitement, while I enjoy the sensation of the grains on my palms as they pass, I cannot help mourning what is gone forever.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Cape Cod and This Life

Got back last night from a five-day camping jaunt on Cape Cod with the family and had my first shower since Thursday. My roommates were all still at work and I had the apartment to myself. So I did what any normal person would do: laundry. And naked time. And blogging. Not necessarily in that order.

We gave the mommers the birthday CD we'd recorded of us performing church hymns and folk songs that she used to sing to us when we were young. Beth's friend let us use his equipment, and, for the skill and rehearsal we possessed at the time of recording, I think it came out decently. Well, it made her cry, and that's what we were going for. I think Beth said she specifically chose and arranged the songs for that sole purpose. Heh heh heh.

We made it to Nausset Light Beach for low tide a couple of the days, and the waves, though small, had good form. So we were able to take my father's old relic of a surfboard out. After smashing up jaw and kneecap with failed attempts, I was able to get up a couple times. So I am satisfied with my efforts. But Oh My Gosh does it take the life out of you. Now that I don't have field hockey to keep my arms in shape, I am thinking that I seriously have to train because they were WIMPY.

There's something about the ocean THE OCEAN that makes you feel your place in the universe so keenly: tiny, weak, fragile, and yet somehow, you are at your strongest there too, when you are connected to all the waters of the planet and you can feel the source of all life flowing around you. When you are in that wave, when you can channel that power of the water and tide into your own motion. And then you think of the first surfers and you sort of marvel at how awesome Mother Nature is that we have and are such brilliant creatures. I like what he says about play, “the product of an inventive brain and a restless mind.”

We collected pretty rocks and made up arbitrary rules, like that Rosie could only pick up green ones. Well I think she actually made that one, but Em and I enforced it and gave her every green rock we saw.

Saturday, everyone went on a bicycle ride along the CCRT from Dennis almost to Nickerson and back. BEAUTIFUL. We passed through cranberry bogs, woodlands, sunny meadows, and little kettle ponds that resulted from melting chunks of the glacier that formed Cape Cod as it retreated. If you don't know the geological history of the landform, you should check it out... it's fascinating. Anyway, along the trail, we happened upon my new favorite thing in the universe. Yes that is correct: bicycle rotary. Combining two of my other favorite things. Bicycles and rotaries.

Also, I learned to ride with no hands. No, more descriptive would be to say that I tried to learn. This mainly consisted of me saying wahhhhh and accelerating linearly and laterally, my oscillations becoming more and more amplified (please listen to the music and amazing narration) until they forced me to grab the handlebars or take a digger or worse.

Sunday, my brothers and sisters and I walked along a boardwalk through the marshes by the Sandwich Town Beach. There were all these kids catching crabs with chicken legs tied to pieces of string, the captured crustaceans scuttling around in buckets of salt water. “We're selling crabs!” “No we're not!” There was some debate, apparently, as to the purpose of the activity. Further out we got to a bridge where everybody was jumping off into a deeper area of the marsh. Kevin, Em, Rosie, and I jumped in (except that I was like that crab bait – chicken, and jumped last of all of us). The picture makes it look so peaceful and serene, and it was, but just imagine it with about 300 times more kids, yelling and laughing, running up and down the channels in the marsh grass with small nets and floaties, and streaming through the air from the railing right at the crest of that bridge. It would be a miracle to be a kid growing up there.

Each of these milestones of the summer, each of these things I have been looking forward to for months has been gradually approaching and then falling away into the my own history, to be savored as sweet memories. Weddings, travels, events... I try to absorb it all up to saturation for those brief moments of immersion, but it just seems like time goes by faster and faster the more you live. Last night I said goodbye to a dear friend who is moving from Boston tomorrow for a career opportunity. She'll surely be missed. Life is so bitter bitter sweet.

Time to move my wizard calendar to August.

Thanks to kelly - PTT for the image of Sandwich Boardwalk. You can check out her site here.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Grace Enough

It's almost finished, I think. I might have read it too many times at this point, though. Please tell me what you think... if any parts seem weird or choppy.

Is there grace enough for me
in this wounded gleaming universe?
Am I too blind
to my own light to ever See?

Will these shadows, curtains ever fall
And will we die
arise from ashes at the dawn's first light
and standing naked, embrace the day?

Which hand
which time, will stitch together every ache and seam:
which gesture?

Can all this gold within us glow?
We're just bounding through the galaxies.
And is it possible to know when we are streaming through molasses?
We tumbled headfirst into this World
caught by humans, loved and hated
we, these fragile human souls
dumb or brave or neither.

Oh fill me,
fill me with a greater love -
awareness, sight, and I dispense.

Teach me searing to feel again.
Tender aching joy begun
and filled with quiet miracles
of a raindrop
on a petal.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

My Own Smell

I cannot help it.

I just love my own smell. I walk into my bedroom after a long day: me, snuggle into my blankets: me, nestle my face into the pillow: me.

Warm air coming in the window and ME ME ME ME MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE...

It's nice to have at least one thing constant when actual identities seem to be so transient these days.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

You're a Rock Star Baby

In a bubblegum top with heavily bleached hair she stood facing the passers-by, among the cluster of wooden benches, still damp from the afternoon's rain, singing along to the portable radio. "There will be an answerrrr, let it bee-eeeee."

Her weather-worn friends, resting against the bicycle racks and benches, the entirety of their possessions in plastic bags at their feet, cheered her on as they tried to pass the bottles discreetly among themselves. And everyone else hurried on by, trying their hardest to appear as though they didn't notice this woman singing her heart out.

"You're a rock star, baby," the other woman cackled, taking a drag from her cigarette. And she was.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Role of Precision

We had scheduled a group conference call for 11:00 this morning with some key players for a regional project I am working on. The conference call service sends you a toll-free number and a numerical code for that specific call. All parties dial in, enter the number, and ta-daa, you can chat!

So, 11:00 rolled around. I double-checked the email, picked up the handset to my phone, dialed the number, and found myself greeted by some fine instrumental music with a light beat. I waited for the operator to speak or for some sort of signal to enter the numerical code. Instead, a woman's heavy voice came in over the strains of what turned out to be erotic lounge music, "Hey there, sexy. You've reached my one-on-one..."

Yeah I didn’t wait to hear which type of service was described by the term “one-on-one.” Bwahaha... good thing I didn't have it on speakerphone!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

A Secret

I will let you in on a secret about life.

We (humans, neighbors, friends, lovers) are all doing the best we can with what we've been given.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Smells Like Mole-asses

Sense of smell sometimes blows me away. You know how everyone has their own unique smell? A mixture of the shampoo, deodorant, and whatever other scented products they use, combined with a special fragrance which comes directly from them as a person - makes each of them smell their own special way.

I cannot help feeling so comforted by the smells of those I love and trust.

Some strangers have very nice smells too. Sometimes a person passes by me on the street and I get a surprisingly pleasant whoosh of THIRTY-FIVE-YEAR-OLD DUDE or a wave of SKINNY LITTLE ARTIST GIRL. I always feel like some sort of scent voyeur whenever I find myself really enjoying it. It feels like I am experiencing something private, intimate, without knowing anything else about them and without their permission. I try not to inhale too deeply.

What? It is July already??? We celebrate the end of another week, mourn the end of another month, celebrate the end of yet another year. That is life.


Sunday, June 29, 2008

Today II

"Sorry" said the plants as they push their way between the bricks, burst through glass panes, and wrap around any and every vertical thing. "You give us sunlight and a little rain and we cannot HELP growing..."

I stand with my forehead pressed against the greenhouse window, hands cupped on either side to shield the sun's bright glare and try to see within. Following vein patterns, the white paint peels off in clumps. There it is: time. Sleeping rows of irrigation tubes dangle from overhead pipes. The panes of glass on the roof are shattered, some missing entirely, and leafy tree tops spring from the gut of this lonely structure.

And as I peer into the past, present, and future I feel a giant brush rinsing swirling colored paint into my soul.

Today I

This is how I feel right now: blah blah blah...

Maybe I will go visit this old abandoned greenhouse next to the train tracks. Maybe I will see how the Mother of us all is reclaiming it with her green, green grasp.

The original greenhouse was a human imitation - pale - of its current destiny.

Isn't that so crazy to think of?

Thursday, June 26, 2008


almost left for work without underwear...

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Deeper Silver

Two days before my twenty-third birthday
He left
tired months with silence and suddenly away
Left me with six grey hairs and terror at ever loving again.

Twenty-four-and-a-half years old
In the bathroom at work I see it has sprung back glistening alongside brown curls
snatch a single strand from my temple
with a tiny ping and successive echoes
that he could walk down those stairs
how I now miss that youth
how I miss that optimism and trust
which were snatched from hoping fingers.

between which the hair begins to smolder, transformed, burning I almost drop it
Purified by molten life.
I see years, sorrows of brothers and sisters
Pain transfigured into understanding
and finally awareness
Yes the roots of life reach deeper now than they did before.

Damn you, hair. Deeper.

Sunday, June 15, 2008


Nineteen pods harvested today!

I probably ought to bring the soil in tomorrow to check it for lead.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Friday, May 30, 2008

Green Magic

Plants I am growing this year:
  • Peas
  • Tomato
  • Basil
  • Cilantro/coriander
  • Parsley (monster parsley, actually)
  • Oregano
  • Dill
I just used some of the cilantro for mango salsa last night. Yummers. Do you ever feel like there is this "Force of Real," and you'll occasionally do something - almost on accident - only to find it resonating tremendously, like when you're singing in the shower and you hit that one note that fills the whole room with a ringing, echoing tone? There's some inherent property of the room and then you stumble upon it and it SINGS.

I think the universe has spiritual properties like that, when you stumble upon them, it SINGS. Growing something that you will eat yourself (or even better yet, share with others) seems to be one of those, or perhaps it is the symbolic meaning behind it: some of the time it parallels life in strange and striking ways, painful almost. I just feel connected to the universe with my knees in the dirt and my hands arranging and placing these materials which will soon transform into something else entirely, something better. Not even of my doing, really. But I like to watch. And make small adjustments when needed. I'd possibly feel differently if I were doing it as a full-time thing, but I'm not, so I can sip it like maple syrup.

There was this song we sang in grade school choir that I've remembered all these years. I just love these touchy-feely lyrics:
Inch by inch, row by row
Gonna make this garden grow
All it takes is a rake and a hoe
And a piece of fertile ground
Inch by inch, row by row
Someone bless these seeds I sow
Someone warm them from below
Till the rain comes tumbling down

and this part:
Man is made from dreams and bones
Feel the need to grow my own

and this part:
Grain for grain, sun and rain
Find my way in nature's chain
To my body and my brain
To the music from the land

and this:
Plant your rows straight and long
Temper them with prayer and song
Mother Earth will make you strong
If you give her love and care

Some people don't believe in magic, but gardening is magic of the best kind. Ooops I was going to wash my hair this morning but I wrote a blog post instead... hahaha story of my life.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Spazzity Spaz Spaz

Just after lunch, my coworker called and I picked up because the person who normally answers the phone had stepped out. "Katie? I need your help. We're in the car and we've got three people following us."

Holy crap! I thought as intense chase scenes flashed through my mind. They are in danger! How will I know what to do? Then that rational voice came in, Pull yourself together, woman.

"Okay," I replied calmly. "What do you need?"

"We're in Burlington and we need directions to this restaurant. Are you at your computer?"

hahaha... can we say overactive imagination?

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Best Day of My Life

The elevator was out of commission today.

Some workers had come to repair it, but I needed to get out of the building for a semi-urgent errand. The one man offered me to ride down ON TOP OF the service elevator. I was a little hesitant at first, because it was dark and unfamiliar in there, but he had a work light and he said it was safe, that he did it every day. I thought to myself "when will such an opportunity ever present itself to me again?"

So I climbed on, stepping carefully between cables, pulleys, tools, and other elevator appendages. I glanced up, into the vertical chamber which tapered off to the eleventh floor as we slowly descended, shadows stretching and bending in the falling light as we glided down through this quiet catacomb.

Two humans on the back of the quietly rumbling beast.

When we reached the bottom he pried the doors open and the transition was instantaneous: sunlight, street and people outside, taxicabs, fortune tellers and nail salons. I just stepped out of there as though it were the most natural thing to pass between worlds like that. What a strange, strange life it must be for an elevator repairman...

Monday, May 12, 2008


is like walking around in a pale swirling mist.

Inside your stomach is a partially-completed puzzle. All different pieces float by lightly on the breeze, gently bumping into you. Though you cannot see them, you can feel them where they make contact with your body, and you try to grab at them as they go by. Suddenly one is in your hand and it is somehow strangely familiar. You hold it up and can make out a vague outline in the haze. You trace the shape with your fingertips. It feels like it would fit one of the gaps. You move your hand towards your stomach, blindly groping to see if it fits as the whiteness drifts around your eyes. You rotate it and move it around, feeling your way with your other hand. And then it clicks into place. A part of you that you knew at the dawn of time has been returned to where it belongs, and your entire body, mind, and soul rejoices!

And you continue along. Looking for those other missing pieces. Sometimes you hunt for one specifically. Other times you just grab at whatever seems useful and just try it out.

Some days you stumble upon one that fits perfectly and you swear you already found that piece last year. You actually remember placing it in there, right next to your small intestine. That is another secret to life: learning to keep track of your pieces, developing strong abdominal muscles to hold them in place.

One day you find a piece that you know won't fit into any of your spaces and you go to discard it back into the wind when you see a friend of yours through the fog. You walk over without knowing why and offer the piece to them not realizing that this is the exact one they had been looking for for months, years even. And they say "how can I ever repay you?" You try to explain that it's just something you had on hand and weren't using.

Yes that is life. And so we go filling in the blank spaces in our stomach puzzles with pieces that float by on the breeze.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

I am glad for all of this rain

...because as long as it keeps up my pea plants are probably NOT going to die. And because it renews EVERYTHING and makes the trees dark dark brown damp and carries life back into the world.

Here's the song I like to listen to over and over. You probably also love it, and if you don't, you should. Not sure how, but it manages to be both sad and happy at the same time. It is a song of tiny hopes springing forth amidst the ashes. I particularly love that part almost at the end where it gets slow and you think it is over because all of the birds are saying tweet tweet and then the guitar comes back with this tiny powerful flutter of breath. I don't even know the musical term for that sound but it moves something deep inside of me every time.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Dante's Rump

Sometimes in the bathroom at work you can hear somebody flushing the toilet from one of the floors above or below us and you can hear it trickling in OUR toilet. It reminds me of that part in Dante's Peak when the two young lovers are in those hot springs and the lava bubbles up slowly at first but then it engulfs them and they sort of burn up and evaporate to their deaths. Such vulnerable little humans, and really there's no stopping the universe like that. So then I freak out a little bit about lava coming up out of the toilet and searing my bum. Then I have to ask myself, honestly, why worry about such things? If something like that is going to happen, it's going to happen.

And also, probably it won't... right?

Thursday, April 17, 2008


Well, it is confession time: I have pretty much zero discipline. I know... aren't you surprised by this revelation? I have gotten/get by in life primarily through a combination of natural ability, the deliberate placement of myself in situations where I know there is external structure, and harnessing the energy of those bursts of passion which seem to come and go as they choose.

I've always been a little bummed out by this fact. Consistency, discipline, and structure are all highly desirable traits in our society. I deeply admire people who are able to apply themselves like that.

However, somehow I seem to have internalized the value of these positive attributes -- which do not come naturally to me -- to mean that floatiness (really the best term I can come up with to describe the lack of those qualities without defining it merely as their absence) is something to strip oneself of, something to fight. Perhaps it is cultural, to feel and believe these things?

But then I thought, "Why should I feel that way? Who says discipline is better?" If I take a moment to examine where I am in life, where I've been, and where I am going, I realize that I feel pretty satisfied actually. Proud, even. I completed a challenging educational program. I graduated with reasonably good grades. I secured a fun, technical, AND creative job in my field. I am coming to terms with the fact that I am a little (or a lot) different from other engineers. That is fine. I am contributing. I am helping to push into new frontiers. I am synthesizing. I am generally happy.

And the future? You guessed it. Full of possibilities.

Three cheers for floaty folk!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Things which make me feel like a Good Person

  • Paying my taxes
  • Donating blood
  • Giving up my seat on the train for an elderly person
  • Voting
  • Wearing my retainers

Probably because I don't really do any of them THAT often. I feel extra good if I get a sticker. Yeah I pretty much glow with pride if you give me a sticker that says good job.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

What I really want...

...is some peace man.

Well I was originally going to say "a lathe," because lathes are so awesome and I could make candlestick holders or other useful things which are axially symmetrical, but then I thought of that song, and looked it up on YouTube and couldn't stop laughing for about twelve minutes.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Magical Mystery Tour

Sometimes I pretend that the subway cars are being pulled by a pair of green and gold dragons. If you close your eyes you can hear them roaring and screeching as the train speeds through the dark tunnels under the city. And you sort of have to imagine that the conductor has a whole freezer of horse steaks in that first car to keep them satiated. But he can't feed them too much or they might grow complacent and not really give a rat's ass about pulling the trains anymore.

If you look out the window fast you can sort of see little gnomies taking a break from mining to watch the train pass, silhouetted by their lanterns at the mouth of tributary tunnels snaking off into the darkness. What are they always mining in there? Probably we'll never know.

One time we had to stop for like 10 minutes or something due to a disabled train ahead of us. One of the dragons was acting up. It actually would not budge one inch. Anyway, we were just waiting there and I noticed two of those little guys reflected in the window across from me (i.e. directly behind my head). I didn't want to turn around too quickly for fear of frightening them, so I simply watched in the reflection. They were a bit timid at first. However, we were towards the back of the train, far from the dragons, and once the gnomes discovered this fact, they didn't seem to have any fear. They jumped up and down, laughing and talking to each other, pointing at us, throwing little pebbles at the side of the train, calling for their friends to come and see. It was pretty cute actually.

But MAN did those little suckers take off when we started up again!

And that is why everyone should take mass transit.