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I cannot imagine a scenario in which I could be friends with somebody who has cell phone conversations in public restrooms.  So while I don’t know who was the owner of the boot-clad legs in the work bathroom yesterday I do know that they will never be invited over to my house for dinner.
 
Sadly stumbling across bathroom phone callers is not an infrequent experience but the thing about yesterday’s call is that it was on speaker.  I don’t know why hearing the full conversation makes it so much different but let me tell you it’s unnerving. Like, I found myself trying to hold it until there was a pause in the conversation so as not to interrupt.  Then I realized, no, it’s a fucking bathroom. But then I was super disappointed because I couldn’t hear the person on the other end of the phone over the sound of my own pee and I really wanted to hear her ask, “are you in the fucking bathroom?”  But the thing is – I don’t think she did. By the time I was wiping they were just gabbing away as if I hadn’t just peed in the background.  Which means this wasn’t the first time this has played out.  Which means that there are people in this world who think this is normal and okay.  And that makes me sad.
 
So anyway, not much is new here.  Mike and I recently went to Denver to meet our new nephew.  The thing I like most about newborn babies is how their lack of muscle control often makes it seem like they’re flipping gang signs.  The thing I like second most is how super cute they are.  Jasper is no exception on either count. 
 
Today Mike and cleaned out the garage.  By which I mean we cleaned out the garage until I came across a box of old photos and then it was just Mike cleaning and me sitting in the driveway looking at pictures.  I feel a little guilty but I’m also covered for the next gazillion Throwback Thursdays so in the end it’s a wash.
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Oh ye of little faith.

Did you really think that I had abandoned The Blogger Named Kate for good? Yes, it’s been over a year since I’ve posted but what a year it’s been!  I got married, started a new job, memorized all of the lyrics to Bust a Move, grew out my hair, sold my house, and finally made my peace with Jimmy Fallon.

So while I adored my little corner of the web it had to take a back seat for a while. But now, happily married and moved to the burbs(ish), I’m ready to focus once again on writing.  At least, every now and then.

The thing about writing after a hiatus is that I never know where to begin.  I mean, I guess maybe I should explain about my husband.  Three months of dating and – bam – engaged.  If it shocked people everybody was polite enough to only talk about it behind our backs.  The thing is… I don’t think it did.  At least not our families.  In fact, my mom called that scenario a long time ago.  She’s said for years that when I found the guy I’d be ready to commit quickly.  I was just lucky enough to fall in love with a dude who felt the same.

And so we got hitched.  If getting engaged so quickly was reckless, it’s certainly paid off.  In fact, right now Mike is downstairs making me Reese’s muffins (manna?) as I cuddle up on the couch with the dogs.  So, jackpot, amiright?

But seriously, Mike is incredible and here are some reasons why:

– He’s extremely creative.  Not only is he a gifted woodworker but he also re-envisions the ordinary.  If I leave some random little trinket or scrap out around the house the next thing I know it’s been whipped up into home decor.

– He’s a feminist.  He’s a feminist in all of the super important macro reasons and in trivial ways.  For example, he struggled as much as I did when choosing whether or not to take his name.  He suggested that we both hyphenate.  (Though, in the end, I decided that his surname was just so much cooler.)  And, that’s awesome.  And important.

– He has empathy and patience and understanding.  One of the things that I’ve decided to address in this OCDblog (but not this post) is my struggle with OCD.  There are only a handful of people in my life that know about this.  Spoiler alert – I step on cracks, I’m super messy, and this picture doesn’t bother me at all.  I’ll rant more about what I like to call “pop culture OCD” in another post.  But this is about Mike.  And Mike is super awesome because being close to somebody with OCD is not easy.  Plus, he always plays the role of husband and doesn’t let (and won’t allow!) his professional role as a therapist enter into it.

– He loves dogs as much as I do.  Which is to say a borderline unhealthy amount.

– Bonus: he’s super handsome.  I mean, look:

Mikey

So, there you have it folks.  After over a year – I’m back.  Keep an eye out for more posts soon and don’t forget to LIKE The Blogger Named Kate on Facebook.

Yup.

Well, readers, it’s sort of like this.

More soon.  I promise.

Plagiarism isn’t something I’ve given much thought to since I’ve started writing.  After all, in what scenario would somebody want to fess up to somebody else’s trials in dating or take ownership of a relatively ordinary life?  No, I never really thought too much about plagiarism until last night.

It’s a funny feeling seeing your words stolen.  I’ve had my car broken into 3 times and each time evoked the same initial confusion and the subsequent annoyed violation.  There’s an initial few seconds of, “Wait.  Something isn’t right,” followed by a longer period of, “motherfuckers.”  Having your words stolen is much the same.

I started using Match again after a hiatus and was looking under the “Who’s Viewed Me” tab.  At the top of the list was a woman.  That happens on a rare occasion and I didn’t think too much of it.  And then I got a glimpse of her profile preview.  And I was reading MY profile. 

But, but… I’m not a skinny buxom blond from Maryland making the Duck Face in the mirror wearing a Bronco’s jersey and teeny, tiny shorts!  NO!!  I am a slightly chubby flat chested brunette from Pittsburgh, thankyouverymuch, who would never make the Duck Face in the mirror or otherwise and would rather be caught dead than wearing a jersey that wasn’t black and gold.

She took all but the last three sentences.  She took the line about experiencing things for the sake of irony!  She talked about knitting, writing (*pshaw!), and creating.  She talked about her undergraduate studies in art!  Of course she lists her education as high school so while the biggest part of me is simply irritated about her stealing my words, there is another part that just wants to shake her and say that if she’s going to lie she has to be consistent!  Change your education status or do a little editing and drop the part about undergrad.  Geeze.  At least make the lie work!

I have to wonder if the form answers that she listed were her own.  I certainly hope they were because apparently she reads a lot of self-help books and I can only hope that eventually one of them talks about developing your own sense of self.

But…. In the meantime I got her account suspended.

So, listen, readers.  If you want to support my blog in the guise of standing up against plagiarism I encourage you to post the following as your FB status. Time to grow this blog!!  “I plagiarized this from @TheBloggerNamedKate and you should too.”

Wizards.

One of the main goals of first dates is to try to seem as cool as possible.  Thinking back on it, I probably failed miserably at that when I took along a first date to the midnight release of the 7th Harry Potter book. 

It’s just that I never expected the date to last until midnight.  As the clocked ticked on, I eventually confessed that I needed to be somewhere at 12:00.  And since no man wants to hear that their date has another “commitment” in the middle of the night, I admitted that I had pre-ordered my copy of Harry Potter and that no date, no matter how good, was going to interfere.  The bookstore where my copy awaited was within walking distance of the bars we were patronizing and so he agreed to go along with me.  So there we were.  On a first date.  Surrounded by people dressed up as witches and wizards. 

Of course, I’d like to say that I was above dressing up as a witch in honor of the book but that would be, of course, a lie.  You see, that wasn’t the first time that I found myself in a Harry Potter / cute boy quandary.  I used to be in a book club with 6 other woman – all in their mid-50s.  It was fantastic – I called them my book club moms.  They were the most wonderful group of women and I enjoyed being the “young” one.  One month, we decided to take a break from the rather serious literature and read Harry Potter instead.  (Some of us had already read the books but others had not.)  Since we were deviating from the norm, we also decided to… well… to dress up like our favorite characters from the book.  Something silly and fun since, after all, it was just us in the comfort of a private home.  Except, it wasn’t just us.  Yes, we were in a private home but that just happened to be the weekend when the hostess’s son – my age – was visiting his parents.  So there I was.  Dressed up like Hermione complete with a knitting needle wand.  Introducing myself to this guy. 

Of course, I’d like to say that was the first time I had dressed up like Hermione but that would be, of course, a lie.  During my senior year of college, a good group of my guy friends (including my then boyfriend) hosted a Halloween party.  I don’t quite remember why Nick chose to be Harry Potter (though I am certain that it was at my encouraging) but he did.  And he looked great!  I actually used to dislike “couples” costumes so I bought butterfly wings (lame – I would never do that now, FYI) and called it a day.  The thing is, people didn’t even notice  my wings.  Standing next to Nick with shoulder-length curly hair everybody just assumed I was Hermione.  Or those who did notice figured I was an animagus Hermione.  To this day, I have a friend who talks about what a great Harry/Hermione we made. 

And so, as I write this blog several years later, Gryffindor curled up beside me, I can’t help but wonder if maybe I shouldn’t go ahead and change his name.   

I mentioned in a recent post that it’s been a great summer but the highlight, by far, was Shelley and Jonathan’s wedding!  A big, huge, congratulations goes out to the couple!  I have never been to a wedding where such love and joy filled the air.  I wish I could find a way to put it into words but it’s simply beyond me.  Shelley and Jonathan exude love for each other and for their friends and loved ones.         

The best part about the wedding was how personalized it was.  From their favorite books serving as table numbers (reading is a shared love), to the playlist in which every song was handpicked, to the homemade favors that were jars of their favorite spice mix (cooking is also a shared love).  Perhaps the most illustrative example of this special J&S touch can be found in the ceremony itself.  Not only was it truly special to have the father of the groom (and of me!) officiate the ceremony but they also picked several friends to write snippets to read throughout.  They gave each person a word that they chose together as being an integral part to a strong marriage.  The words were: Risk, Commitment, the Shared Experience, and Laughter.  I was honored to be able to give the reading on Laughter and I’ve copied it below this post if you’re interested.  I was simply blown away by everybody’s reading.

But even more blown away by the vows that they wrote and the way they looked at each other throughout and their joy, joy, joy!

The speeches at the reception all turned out to be the perfect mix of sentimental and… hilarious.  Shelley’s sister had me laughing and bawling throughout – it was by far the greatest Maid of Honor speech I’ve ever heard. 

See, guys, I’m gushing and my writing is very stilted and even if I went back to rework this I couldn’t do it.  It was just fabulous all around!  

Of course no wedding is without incident and Shelley and Jonathan’s was not an exception.  That is because this happened: 

 

 

The good news is that all eyes were glued to the bride so there was no way anybody noticed… the bad news is my face.

 

 

On Laugher

“If we couldn’t laugh we would all go insane.”  Robert Frost

“There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humor.”  Charles Dickens

“I don’t trust anyone who doesn’t laugh.”  Maya Angelou

Shelley and Jonathan share a passion for books and reading and literature and solid, well-formed prose. And so it is wonderful to see that the word they picked out as part being an integral part of a marriage – laughter – has been so aptly defined as important by some of the most respected writes in history.

But for those of you who are a little more analytical, a little more evidence based, a little more booooring – I pulled the following excerpt from an article in Psychology Today based on the research of a well-known neurologist:

“Laughter establishes–or restores–a positive emotional climate and a sense of connection between two people, who literally take pleasure in the company of each other… levity can defuse anger and anxiety, and in so doing it can pave the path to intimacy.” 

And perhaps there are a few of you who are a little, well, let’s just say, progressive – I’ve got one for you too.  I’m told that the newest health trend is group laughter therapy, laughter yoga, and laughter meditation.  In fact, for $500 a pop you can even become a Certified Laugh Leader. 

So the case has been made that laughter – in life and especially in a marriage – is important.  And that is how I know that Shelley and Jonathan are going to be the oldest, healthiest, wrinkleiest, happiest old couple I know. 

Those two crack each other up!   

When my family first met Shelley, we were on vacation in Avalon, New Jersey.  Out of all of the memories from that week the thing that has always stuck with me are the car rides.  See, there were five of us on vacation that week so when we drove anywhere, I shared the back with these two. 

And every ride went a little something like this:

<Whisper sounds> <kiss sounds> <giggle sounds>

It was, in a word, adorable.  In two words, it was adorable and embarrassing – for me.  But that said, I think that’s when we all knew that Shelley was the one for Jonathan.  There’s something special about seeing a woman make your brother laugh and laugh and laugh and watching him have the same effect on her.

Since that time, nothing has changed.  Jonathan and Shelley still make each other laugh – often and with gusto – and it is still warms my heart.

And so, with that, one more quote from the Bard himself:

With Laughter and Mirth May Old Wrinkles Come.

I’m very happy about this whole naked Prince Harry situation.

1) He’s one of the top 5 sexiest men alive (I state this as a fact because if you aren’t of the same mind you clearly have no taste and therefore cannot be factored into the equation.)

2) The “crown jewels” puns are so wonderfully obvious that it seems that every news outlet reporting the story just can’t resist. And I applaud that.

Of course in these photos we don’t get to really survey the goods but for me that’s just as well as I’m sort of turned off by penises this week.

I’ve written before about how attending scientific conferences for work makes me question my choices in life but I have never addressed the military conferences that I go to. Now those are fascinating. The good: stocking up on cool military grade goods – caffeine gum, special bug spray, germ free pens. The weird: being surrounded by dummies with gruesome wounds and injuries. All throughout the exhibit hall there are companies displaying these very realistic mannequins for military medical training. Some have latex guts spilling out, others have the skin totally removed. The super creepy CPR dummies from high school health class have nothing on these guys.

One such booth was set-up two spots down from my organization’s booth at the conference that I went to last week. The dummy on the table had a leg cut off at the knee and in addition to his tendons hanging out from the bottom, he also wriggled and moved. He also had a penis.

In my experience at these conferences I’ve never actually seen one of these dummies with true to life anatomy – they’re usually as smooth as a Ken doll – so I admit to doing a double take when I glanced down the aisle. Which ended up being super awkward because I totally got caught scoping out the dummy’s package by the man working the booth. The first time I looked, there it was, just chillin’ for all the world to see. But when I glanced back the guy had covered it up and was looking at me. So…that was a low-point in my life.

Later I figured out this particular mannequin needed to have his naughty bits because he had a gash on his scrotum. Any guys reading this, go ahead, read it again: his sac was sliced open. And yes, by “figured out” I mean when I looked…again.

But, understanding why the anatomy had to be there still doesn’t explain why it was so…small. Trust me, people, my co-worker came to the same conclusion on her own…it was just…tiny.  If you’re going to have it there, you may as well make it at least normal-sized. But then I started thinking about how awkward it must have been fabricating that dummy. In my mind it’s a dude designing it and the poor guy! I mean, you can’t come out and show your boss a dummy with a big, huge porn penis. At the same time, you take a risk by making it too small for perhaps implying something about yourself! I just keep imagining a small group of uncomfortable middle-aged men wearing lab coats standing around the prototype not quite knowing how to proceed.