Category Archives: Uncategorized

the power of habit

I don’t wanna get ahead of myself here and be like, “I’ve changed my life forever in a little over a week!!” because I have a 35-year history of never ever ever EVER following through with ANYTHING.    BUT.  I’ve discovered something kind of cool thus far in 2014, which is that habits and routines are a little bit of fantastic.  

I can’t ever seem to develop any good routines.  I wish I could say that’s because I’m totally spontaneous and fill my days and nights with all sorts of different fun things.  Instead, the closest thing to a “routine” I have is coming through the door after work, walking straight to the kitchen (while catching up on the day’s Instagram posts) and standing there with my coat on, eating something out of a box or a crinkly bag for ten minutes.  After  that, I sometimes pull myself together enough to make dinner, sometimes tell Greg that we’re on our own to “scrounge” (which means probably something involving eggs or frozen chicken patties or spaghetti and a jar of sauce).  I usually brush my teeth before bed, but most of the time I can’t be bothered to wash my face.  I usually roll out of bed at the last possible second, sometimes with enough time for a shower, sometimes with enough time to at least wash my greasy bangs in the sink, sometimes with enough time to pull on a dress and lament my grossness for the rest of the day.  It’s a sad pathetic life for a 35 year old with no children.  

So slowly but surely, I’ve been trying to develop some routines.  I set my phone alarm for 9:55, a five-minute warning that I need to finish up whatever I’m doing and head upstairs.  I then have a whole grown-up routine involving vitamins, floss, my Clarisonic, mouth wash, moisturizer, etc.  In the mornings, I set my alarm for 6:45, and then get up around 7:05 (baby steps, ok??) and make smoothies for Greg and I.  Depending on time constraints, I try to do 20 minutes of yoga.  I then walk Porter and am out the door with enough time to be at my desk by 9am.  I’d love to get to work early enough that I don’t have to park a mile away in the weird overflow lot, but again, baby steps.

And guess what?  After a week and a half, I feel awesome.  

I do have more to say on this topic of habit though, so stay tuned…

2014, I could kiss you

We joked on New Year’s Eve that we should’ve created an effigy of 2013 to beat, burn, stab, etc when the clock struck midnight.  2013 fucking sucked.  But you know what?  I’m feeling good, getting back on the horse, and super excited for 2014.

As a palate cleanser from my last song post, here’s a song that’s not sad, that I don’t cry when listening to, and that I have no emotional connection with except that it sounds like The Kinks meets the Rolling Stones, which can only be awesome.

well, I’m a bit of a photog

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I’m self-deprecating by nature, and I don’t really feel comfortable praising myself.  Humility is a valuable asset but sometimes it can really get in the way of development.

We recently got back from at trip to Italy, where i managed to take 1100+ photos.  Why is it that it takes a vacation for me to break out my real camera?  Sure, I use Instagram like every other schmuck on the planet, but I wind up feeling too silly to carry my Nikon around on a regular basis.  Granted, it’s the difference of a 2lb monstrosity vs. a sleek little thing you keep in your pocket, but still.

I think, and others have corroborated, that I take relatively good pictures.  I’m no Annie Lebowitz, but I think I have a pretty good eye and I would like to start taking photography more seriously.  Maybe move beyond the “no flash” mode on my camera and get down and dirty in the art form.  It’s one of the few things that I feel I have maybe a bit of a raw talent for, so rather than decide that I want to be a master painter or a jazz pianist, I should start with something that I have SOME sort of aptitude for.

So anyway, I thought I’d start going through my overloaded hard drive and posting some of my better moments in photography.  The above is one I took in Florence a few weeks ago.  It’s probably my favorite from the whole trip.  Something about the storm clouds and the dreamy colors of the Ponte Vecchio.  The priest walking past was the cherry on the gelato.

chicken pancakes for the soul

Since my last post was such a thorough downer, I thought I’d go for something quick and uplifting (also because my to-do list for today had “blog” on it and I’m trying desperately to check everything off).  My friend sent me this video today, which I thought was the perfect antidote to Monday.

Afterward I popped over to the website – soulpancake.com.  I haven’t had a chance to really dig in much yet, but it seems like a fun site.  I particularly like that they have “activities” for you to do.  Although my younger self would never have believed it, the adult me enjoys completing as assignment.

There was one in particular called “Tweeting to the oldies” where you write a Tweet describing your grandparents.  Here was mine:

“The most wonderful flabby arms and the softest most wrinkliest skin. I miss her so much, 25 years later.”

Writing it actually made me tear up at my desk.

unleashing my inner…meh

If there is one quality that I am most envious of in other people, it’s creativity. I admire creative people and artists so deeply, and I feel so jealous that I don’t fit among their ranks. Of course when I say this to anyone their first reaction is always a trite, “What do you mean?! You’re creative!!” I think that word is something that’s thrown around a little too liberally these days. I’m not sure that baking muffins and writing HTML code constitutes creativity. But whatever, I know they’re just trying to be supportive. Living an artistic and creative life is my imaginary life’s goal. I say “imaginary” because I feel like it’s a little too late to become a “creative type” at this point in my life.

I was talking to a guy today who is a video artist, who apparently does audio visual installations involving who knows what. He was telling me a bit about being in school for it, about working on huge robot dragons and his professors who went to Burning Man every year, about friends with blue hair. And all I could think was, “Oh. My. God. I am so lame. All of my friends have regular hair and have never worked on robots of any kind, let alone fire breathing dragon ones.” For lack of anything better to say, I mentioned that I’ve been getting into doing woodcut prints. Which of course is kind of BS, unless you consider three prints to be “getting into”. I mean, I definitely downplayed it (like everything I do). In the end he asked me to send him some photos of my prints, and I just felt like, “Ummm…yeah I won’t be doing that, thanks.” I feel like my lame little attempts at swirls and boats are just embarrassing and don’t constitute any kind of “body of work.”

I think the thing that I’m missing is the fearlessness that creative people seem to have. Take, for instance, craft night. I started up a craft night at work on Wednesdays. A few of us stay late, sit around a big table, drink wine, listen to music and work on our own projects. Most of my time at craft night is spent flitting from this thing to that. Mostly chatting, maybe a few minutes of doodling. I rarely finish a project. It’s just that when I sit down to work on something, my mind shuts down. It’s complete creative paralysis.

An obvious issue is my lack of follow through with anything. Over the years it’s become a chronic condition of sorts. I absolutely cannot do something from start to finish. Why is that? I know that I don’t devote enough time to anything, I spread myself too thin. But try as I might I cannot seem to break out of the pattern of failure. I’ve tried doing The Artist’s Way, but of course I never finished. It’s kind of inspirational but doesn’t quite work like magic the way I thought it would. I have an entire studio in my house waiting for me to use it, but instead it’s used as a dumping ground for everything in the house that doesn’t have a home.

I do love doing woodcuts though. I took a woodcut class at Fleisher Art Memorial last year which was great, and I felt a real connection with the technique. I’ve always really been drawn to woodcut prints, even if I never quite put my finger on it. There’s something about the aesthetic of them that I love. If I could spend a few months working specifically on woodcuts that might get me somewhere creatively.

What I really want is to be “into” something, like other people get into things. Everybody seems to have their own specialty, the thing that they’re an expert on that nobody else knows about. Maybe woodcut could become the thing I’m into.

to blog or not to blog?

Every once in a while someone will ask me if I still have a blog (mostly when they hear that’s how Greg and I met).  I usually give an ambiguous “not really” answer, because that covers the fact that a) I don’t really want them to know and b) I don’t blog with any kind of frequency whatsoever.

 

Why do I keep coming back to this though?  I’ve had a blog since high school, back before they called them “blogs” and before Blogger even existed.  I feel like blogging made sense to me back then, because it didn’t feel so incredibly “done”.  At this point I’m not sure what a real blog of mine would look like.  My old blog was full of daily ramblings, random thoughts, recaps of things.  And I suppose I could go back to that, but why?  What does one gain from it? Especially since I post to Facebook a ton, and Instagram, and Tweet every once in a while, and pin to Pinterest, etc.  On some level all of these things make me feel like, “What more does the world POSSIBLY need to know about me that they can’t see in a photo or read in 140 characters?”

 

I told the girl who asked me last night that if I did have a real blog, I might not want anyone to know about it, because maybe what I want is to send my thoughts out to strangers.  Maybe the point is to share things that I can’t share with the people around me for whatever reason.  I think I’m way crazier in my head than what people would think, so I don’t want to share something depressing or strange and then feel like there’s this elephant in the room when I’m with people in person.  And of course the REALLY crazy shit is best kept to my private journal, which I do keep on a somewhat regular basis.  

 

But why is it that I can’t just keep everything to myself?  What good could come of sharing with strangers, especially when I don’t do anything to try to get people to read this thing?  Maybe I just don’t have enough friends that I can share things with, or get feedback from.   There’s also a part of talking to friends and family that feels very stifling, especially when you express doubt or self consciousness or basically say anything bad about yourself.   Friends always feel it’s their job to tell you you’re wrong about those things, either to make you feel better or just to shut you up.  “No way, you’re not like that.”  I think I’m honestly the kind of person who would rather hear constructive criticism, or be disagreed with, because ultimately I’m looking to make myself better and I can’t do that if I don’t know where to start.  

 

Ok then there’s the thing with blogging where I feel like I can ONLY write about things that I can’t say to my friends or family.  And then that winds up boiling down to the more depressing “meaning of life and the human condition” can of worms.  I always think if anyone read my blog or my journal they’d have no idea I’m that same person, because in person I’m funny and silly and laid back and don’t take things too seriously.  I guess my blog winds up being the outlet for Serious Kate, even though there are many Kates.  

 

One thing I have thought about though is that my head is constantly swimming with thoughts about all kinds of things (as opposed to everyone else in the entire world, right?) and I never give them the attention they deserve.  I like the idea of teasing out an idea or a theory or a thought, of looking it in the face and spending some time with it and seeing what develops.  And I can do that in a journal, but it’s not collaborative or useful to anyone else, and there’s also nothing pushing me when it’s just me talking to me.  

 

So the bottom line is that I might try to pick this back up again, this blogging thing.  I mean, I get like two visitors a week as it is (mostly from places like Indonesia and Azerbaijan, which I’m presuming are by way of spam) so baring my heart and soul to those two people can’t really do much harm.