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.