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December 27, 2009

Do more.

Over the past few days, I've started thinking about New Year's Resolutions, and goals and intentions for 2010 more generally. And I realized that most of them come down to doing more of something. Read more. Write more. Blog more. Knit more. See more films. Cook more. Clean more. Exercise more. Entertain more. These are all good goals, in and of themselves, but taken together, a problem emerges. You see, they all basically require time. And the issue, of course, is that I just listed nine things off the top of my head on which I want to spend more time, but I'm having trouble coming up with anything on which I want to spend less time. And all this time has to come from somewhere. So. I don't know. I have no great insight or solution to this. I'm just throwing it out there. Ideas, anyone?

Posted by Kat at 09:10 PM | Comments (2)

August 20, 2008

Good thoughts, please!

I can't really say why right now, but if you have any spare prayers or good thoughts lying around, I would appreciate them at about 1:30 this afternoon. (No, nothing's wrong, and it has nothing to do with health or anything. If you want to know, leave a comment and I'll e-mail tonight and tell you, unless you're one of the, oh, three people I actually don't want to know. And I'm sure you're not.)

Posted by Kat at 08:15 AM | Comments (11)

April 12, 2007


I don't know what's with me. I just can't seem to post recently. I'm fine, really. Busy, of course, but it's also just that... I have to say that I just don't really feel like it. And I don't know why. Or, sometimes, I do feel like it, but not when I'm at the computer and have time. So... I don't know. I'm sort of here, I promise. Life is just seeming more compelling than blog-writing at the moment. Which is, you know, not a bad thing, overall.

(Of course, I'm half-expecting that as soon as I post this, I will suddenly want to start writing real posts again.)

Posted by Kat at 08:16 PM | Comments (8)

October 15, 2006

I'm such a wuss.

My apartment was 46 degrees when I woke up this morning. I started worrying about pipes freezing, since the thermostat is in the room I spend the most time in, and sort of near the stove, so it's possible that other parts of the house are a lot colder. And my hands were too cold to type. So I nudged the heat up to 50. It came on for about five minutes, got things up to 52 or so, and shut off.

And then I checked, and last year, we didn't turn it on until November 23. So I'm feeling guilty. Why such a dramatic change? Is it just the lack of the insane freezing-ourselves-to-death version of chicken that Defulct and I were playing last year? Or maybe it's just colder this year. Hmm.

Posted by Kat at 08:54 AM | Comments (6)

December 14, 2005

Random Wednesday ('cause I can)

Yeah, I know, twice in one day. But I had stuff I felt like saying and liked the idea of posting Random Wednesday on Wednesday for once. (It is Wednesday, right? I think?)

1. First, because Lauren asked for it:

The five scarves-in-progress, albeit a bit blurry. The stray needle and brown yarn coming in from the left belong to another scarf-in-progress, but that one is my roommate's, not mine (thank goodness).

2. Tonight was my last class of the semester. We had pizza and wine and cookies and then left early. Really, all classes should be like that.

3. During class, my professor asked me: "Could you make your life any more difficult?" Hah. He doesn't know the half of it.

4. I also discovered that when I e-mailed my final paper to my professor yesterday, I didn't actually, you know, attach the paper. I am so smart.

5. While walking to the train after class I started calculating my Knitting Hours Per Day for the next ten days or so. Let's just say that it's looking rather appalling. Details, and hopefully a Plan, will be forthcoming. Tomorrow. When I'm bored at work.

6. I have decided that Green Day's "Holiday" is what I wanted Franz Ferdinand's second album to be. Not necessarily politically (because Franz Ferdinand is/are British [Scottish?], for one thing), but musically.

7. Today is the thirteenth anniversary of the fatal shooting incident that occurred at my alma mater. Although I was there long afterward and didn't know anyone involved, the reverberations are still felt throughout the tiny community, and I felt I should mention it and that everyone affected is in my thoughts today.

8. On a happier note, it is also my dad's birthday.

9. New Dunkin' Donuts favorite: Vanilla Spice coffee. Yum.

10. I'm dreaming, not of a white Christmas (well that too), but of all the things I will have time to knit after Christmas: the baby Aran, Birch (which was going along swimmingly until I finally had to admit that I should stop on it until after Christmas), Trekking XXL socks, and some sort of freaking head covering, already. I am in New Hampshire. It is cold. I do not seem to own a hat. What I really want is a hooded scarf, but I'm not letting myself think about it yet.

11. It sounds weird, but I have discovered that sleeping in hoodies (yes, with the hood on) is SO cozy. Another thing for which I can blame my roommate. Caffeine, Auden, alcohol, Michael Nava, Six Feet Under, cilantro, sleeping in hoods... what will be next?

12. Since I am home in time to go to bed on time, I should really do so, huh? 'night.

Posted by Kat at 10:35 PM | Comments (3)

November 29, 2005

First love

You may have noticed that I hesitate to refer to this as a "knitting blog." And really, this isn't just because I write about things other than knitting. The truth is that in the world of knitting blogs, I've always felt like something of an imposter. And it's not because I've never actually finished a sweater. Okay, confession time: knitting really isn't my "thing," my one main hobby, my overriding passion. Now, this isn't to say that I don't love it. I really, really do. But - well, I guess it's as simple as this: by the time knitting came along, I was already taken. My first love came into my life early on, and knitting never really had a chance.

My mother tells me that after she brought me home from the hospital, the first place she took me "out" was the public library. And I was, basically, a goner from that point on. Now, I don't mean to imply that she planned it this way, or that said trip to the library necessarily cast a spell over me or something (although I wouldn't be surprised). No, she took me to the library because the fact that she was a first-time mom with a brand new baby didn't affect the more central issue: she needed to have something to read. The main thing (aside from work, household chores, etc.) that I can remember my parents doing when I was young is reading: my mother reading mysteries while cooking or folding laundry, my father ending the evening with the New Yorker, both of them reading to me constantly, incessantly. Given this environment and my own natural (genetic?) inclinations, is it any wonder that I started reading as soon as I could and haven't stopped since?

I don't remember learning to read; perhaps it is more accurate to say that I barely remember not being able to read. My parents never tried to teach me; they just read to me all the time and answered whenever I asked what a word or letter or sound was. They tell me that my teacher called them at the end of my first week of kindergarten. "Did you know that Katie can read?" Their response was something like "yeah, well, we sort of figured." They started early with their pattern of being laid back about academic stuff. This was probably good, as it soon became clear that I was uptight enough about it for all of us.

I was your classic bookworm as a child. I read when I was supposed to be cleaning my room or doing my homework. "Playing outside" often meant "reading outside." I was generally more interested in my books than my classmates; looking back, I realize that this probably showed and was undoubtedly part of the reason why I never felt I fit in. (Reading at recess is not necessarily the best way to make friends on the playground.) And even with the friends I did have - well, I never really felt I was part of the group, or perhaps even the same world, in a way. Books were generally more real to me than the things and events happening around me. And books were easier to understand than either the "real world" or the pop culture/TV stuff everyone else was talking about. (Still are, actually.) I've been spending way too much time recently trying to figure out whether I was different because I read so much or whether I read so much because I was different. It's probably a little of both.1

Looking back, it seems odd that, given the above, the idea of majoring in English in college never occurred to me until I was actually in college (and trying to be a physics major). Through middle school and most of high school, I was planning to be a professional musician; I gave up that plan because I realized that all those hours of practicing would cut into my reading time. You'd think that would have told me something, but it didn't. I considered majoring in math, history, philosophy, physics... but never literature. There were probably a few reasons for this. My mother, a doctor, tends to consider much of the humanities and social sciences to be "not real academic subjects." And I didn't tend to like English class that much in middle and high school: we had to read books a chapter at a time and take notes with stupid prescribed methods and try to discuss things with all these people who just didn't get it and, worse, didn't care. And then there was the writing aspect. I love to write, but... handing in papers with rough drafts and pre-writing? Sorry, my brain doesn't work that way.

So anyway. (Do I have a point here, other than the history of my life? I hope so. We'll get there.) My first semester of college, I was taking the classes that good little science majors are supposed to take - physics and calculus and stuff. And I also took an Intro to Poetry class because it sounded interesting and I wanted to round things out a bit. Well. Turns out, me and physics? Not so much. I still found (and find) the concepts fascinating, but Physics 100 was all about plugging numbers into equations, and half the time the professor didn't even really say what the equations were about. So I decided that I liked reading about physics more than actually doing physics. And that poetry class? Loved it. So the next semester I signed up for two literature classes2 and no physics classes (although I did take the second semester of calculus, just to hedge my bets). And, of course, I wound up majoring in literature. I probably shouldn't have been as surprised as I was.

By my senior year, though, I was feeling a bit burned out. Writing a thesis can do that, I guess. I started to feel like reading wasn't all that much fun anymore. I didn't stop reading - I don't think I could stop reading - but I didn't like it much either.3 I just did it, because that's what I did. And then, once I graduated, I realized that I could read whatever I wanted and was no longer in the middle of a bunch of precocious, self-absorbed adolescents who would make fun of me for reading Diane Mott Davidson or Nora Roberts. So I did. A lot. I half-consciously decided that I didn't like "hard" stuff and spent a few years reading mostly fluffy mysteries and romances. Not, of course, that there's anything wrong with mysteries or romances or any kind of book. It just wasn't a very good balance for me, personally.

And, really, it was much more about my thinking behind my choice of reading materials than it was about the books themselves. When I graduated from college, I was burned out, overwhelmed, scared, and had no idea what I wanted to do with my life.4 So I decided I had to be "normal." I started watching more TV and reading more "popular" stuff because I thought that, if I couldn't help but read constantly, I could at least read what normal people read. And, probably, a break after finishing the thesis and all was helpful. But I got stuck in that self-created literary cage and then forgot why I was there and then that it was even a cage in the first place. And this all meant that, basically, I forgot why I liked to read. I did it, I even enjoyed it, but the magic and mystery and meaning was all but forgotten.

(Warning: Here comes my point! I told you I'd get there!)

Now I think I'm starting to remember. Several factors (the break-up, boredom at work, living with someone passionate about books, working at the bookstore again) have combined in the past few months to remind me of why reading is so vitally important to me. And I'm loving it. And wanting to read all the time, which is hard with the two jobs and school and novel thing. Sometimes, honestly, I get a bit overwhelmed by all the wonderful books out there just begging to be read. (Working in a bookstore does not really help this.)

So I guess the reason I'm writing this is because I feel like I've sort of been giving reading short shrift recently, especially given all it's done for me. And I felt the need to correct the impression I'm afraid I give that knitting or whatever else is "more important" to me. Because if I ever had to choose to give up either reading or knitting for the rest of my life, well, I wouldn't really have to think about it. In one of her books5, Steph says something like "I knit so much that it has become a personality trait. Other people are kind or patient or friendly. I am knitting." And I am reading.

1 I don't think that all this reading was necessarily better for me, though, at least in terms of making me into a normal, well-adjusted person. I feel like there are lots of things I missed somehow (flirting? Make-up? Huh?), and I still haven't figured out where/when/why I missed them. But that's a post for another day.
2 Including "Agony in Stony Places." Yes, I really took a class called that. It never fails to amaze people. (Or at least people unfamiliar with my bizarre college. So all of you except Cate, go ahead and be amazed. And Cate gets a prize if she can guess who taught such a miserable-sounding class. ;-) )
3 This was also the time of the (related, I must think) decision that I hated academia and didn't want to go back ever, except maybe for a library degree, which was more "professional" than "academic," anyway. Um, right. Can I claim temporary insanity? Anyway, that's another post for another day.
4 Nota bene: "Move in with your ex-boyfriend" is very rarely a good solution to this sort of issue.
5 I promise I'll check the quote when I get home.

Posted by Kat at 02:36 PM | Comments (3)

November 25, 2005

Giving thanks

Things I am thankful for this year...

* My family. They may drive me crazy, but I love them and I know they love me and that means a lot.
* My roommate. Not to be overdramatic, but the past year would have been much harder without him.
* My "real life" friends. I seem to have more of them than I think. It's nice.
* Especially the friend I spent Thanksgiving with... she's actually an online friend who seems to be crossing into "real life" territory.
* Which brings me to online friends/bloggers/e-mail lists/etc. Quite thankful for you all as well. (And then of course there's Erica, who also manages to straddle the real/online barrier, to sometimes interesting results...)
* Knitting. It has also done its part in saving my sanity.
* Books/music/movies. In all the relationship drama, I'd sort of... forgotten. Not had the mental energy to read/watch "hard" stuff. And I'd felt like I shouldn't, for various convoluted reasons. But I'm loving getting back to it.
* My job at the bookstore, because I love it.
* My other job, because it provides financial security.
* My lovely apartment, even with the bizarre shower.
* And now we get to the hard-to-define part... it has been an incredibly hard few months, and I can't really say I'm thankful for getting my heart ripped into a million pieces, but I am thankful for how it has made me take stock and think about who I am and what I want and how everything in my life was wrong. Um, I seem to be failing with the "positive spin" concept here. Sorry. But... I guess I'm trying to say that, even though I'm still fairly miserable a lot of the time, at least I'm getting better at letting me be myself. And that deserves thanksgiving.

Posted by Kat at 12:14 AM | Comments (1)

November 21, 2005

Things I Have Learned in the Past Few Days

1. Six Feet Under + Birch = up until almost two am. Yeah. Bad combination. By which I mean "extremely fun and wonderful." At least I didn't have to be up early the next morning.

2. When my apartment is 49 degrees, it is pretty difficult to get out of bed.

3. Knit.1 seems to have a gift for writing simple patterns in the Most Confusing Way Possible.

4. On Friday afternoon, my roommate had to go to a meeting that might have coincided with our free snacks here at work, so I was to grab a snack for him. I realized that I'd be more confident in ordering for him at a decent restaurant than I was picking out a candy bar for him. Does this make us snobs, or just adults? I'm not sure.

5. It is, in fact, possible to talk on the phone while rolling very hot cookies in powdered sugar. Just in case you were wondering.

6. Sometimes those "Oh yeah, this IS my real life" moments actually help. Yesterday I was trying to simultaneously bake cookies and write my novel, and feeling vaguely annoyed at the situation. And then I realized that, if all goes according to plan, I will be writing novels while baking cookies for the rest of my life. (Well, eventually it would be nice if I didn't also have two jobs and school to keep up with while writing novels and baking cookies, and then maybe I could have enough time to give the writing a break and concentrate on baking for a few hours. But really, no guarantees.) And, somehow, once I realized that this was it, the writing got much easier.

7. A radio station that replaces its DJs with recorded messages about how they no longer have DJs to talk too much is, in fact, more annoying than the stations that actually do have DJs that talk too much.

8. I want to be Meg Cabot when I grow up.

Posted by Kat at 01:41 PM

November 17, 2005

Dear universe,

Just a few small requests:

1. The new coworker in the cube next to mine really does not need to talk to himself, randomly laugh vaguely maniacly, or sigh and/or moan at random times. Really.

2. It is getting toward the end of November. Will you get over this wishy-washy "Oh, maybe I'll rain or just fog up everything" thing and just snow already? Hint: This might be easier if you would also stop with the yo-yo temperatures.

3. I like working with the public. Really. I'm just not sure how many more times I can explain something as complex as, oh, alphabetical order or the fact that the bookstore has two floors or how, if you want a price changed, you do in fact have a "price issue" without attaching "you idiot" to the end of all of my sentences. Could we make everyone just a tad smarter?

4. You don't really want Christmas to be in fewer than 40 days. Really. How about an extra week or two? How do you expect me to get all this knitting done?

5. I'd also vaguely like to know how I ended up with two iPods in my desk, but hey, I'm not complaining.

6. Oh, yeah: Thanksgiving. Haven't I agonized over this enough already? Shouldn't it be over by now?


Posted by Kat at 04:59 PM | Comments (1)

November 10, 2005

Denim dilemma

So, as I mentioned yesterday, my so-called "skinny jeans" are more or less fitting again. (They're still a bit tight, but wearable, so it counts.) I have four pairs of these jeans and I lovelovelove them. Therefore, of course, L.L. Bean has stopped making them. I need to diversify at some point, especially now that I am getting back toward a size at which I am willing to buy clothes. So I have been looking at pants on the L.L. Bean site, because, why yes, I am slightly obsessed with that particular brand. But hey, they're high quality and they fit.

And most of my other pants, now that I am starting to fit into them again, are things that I no longer actually like. I have determined that the correct fit for me is, as defined by dear L.L., "Fit: Sit below waist; slightly fitted through hips and thighs; boot-cut legs." So I think that, in the relatively near future, I will have to get myself a pair of these or maybe these, and probably one of these. (Yes, those last ones have straight legs, but I think that's a risk I'm willing to take in order to see the look on my brother's face when he sees me wearing cargo pants.)

And then I saw these.

Now, there are two main problems that I have with the so-called Boyfriend Jeans:
1. I am generally against the idea of paying someone extra to make my clothing look worn out. It seems a very elitest practice.
2. "Boyfriend Jeans"? What? Who borrows jeans from boyfriends? "Boyfriend sweater," I could see. But jeans? Huh? And besides, why can't these be worn out old jeans of my very own? What's with the implication that I need a boyfriend? (Would you date a man who wore jeans like that?)

These are both very good reasons. But. For some reason, I want them. Really. I have looked at them at least three times today. I am ashamed. So... what to do? Do I hold their name and inherent elitism against them, or do I add them to my Christmas list?

Posted by Kat at 04:18 PM | Comments (3)

November 07, 2005

Dear readers: Need advice.

So. Humor me for a minute and imagine a hypothetical scenario, okay?

You are a manager at one of a big chain of stores. Someone who works at the sister store up the street stops by to see your new paint job, and you end up talking for a while. (You've met her once before, briefly, at the other store.) Somehow the conversation turns to Christmas shopping and she mentions that she's planning to knit most of the gifts she gives this year. (Shut UP. I said this was hypothetical.) You jokingly describe a scarf you'd been wanting.

If said scarf were to actually appear sometime around Christmas, would this be a fun surprise or just creepy? (Erica? Would interstore mail be a possibility, a la the socks? We could start a trend...)

Yes, I know I'm skewing the sample a bit by asking a group primarily composed of knitters. But I asked a group of non-knitters (yes, I do know a few) and, while they concluded that no, it was not creepy, they also all said things like "So are you trying to hit on this guy?" and "Is he cute?" And no, that hadn't even occurred to me. But yes, I guess he is cute, although I wasn't really paying attention to that at the time. He did seem nice and smart and fun to talk to.

So, basically, the non-knitters said to go for it, but be aware that it could come across as flirtatious. I suppose my question for you, dear readers, is threefold.
1. Good idea or bad idea in general?
2. Are random acts of knitting inherently flirtatious?1
3. If it looks like a go... any suggestions on a reasonably priced yarn that comes close to the L.L. Bean color claret red?2

(Yes, I realize Erica, who also works at my store, will now undoubtedly proceed to tell me that she knows this guy and he's married or obnoxious or a psychopath or something. But psychopaths need scarves too, right?)

1 And after reading Juno's post today, I sort of also have to wonder whether that would necessarily have to be a bad thing.
2 It will probably show you a blue coat, but you can click the little "claret red" box to see the color bigger.

Posted by Kat at 01:33 PM | Comments (7)

November 03, 2005

Can we call it "opting otherwise" instead?

So everyone has been up in arms about Maureen Dowd this week, and who am I to let a perfectly good bandwagon roll on by? A lot has already been said, better than I could say it, so I'll give you some links on Dowd's elitism and the truth behind Dowd's examples of "backlash" and how Dowd's "data" is questionable at best. And, before I get into my main point here, I'd like to say that my first reaction upon reading the article was that dear Maureen needs to get over herself. Maybe she'd have more romantic success if she, you know, tried being nice to people, or didn't make it quite so abundantly clear that she feels she is superior to everyone around her. I was also a bit unclear as to how Dowd would actually like women (or, for that matter, anyone) to behave, as she seems to disapprove of, well, everything.

But anyway. The part that most bothered me was her take on the whole concept of "opting out." To her credit, Dowd does admit that "to the extent that young women are rejecting the old idea of copying men and reshaping the world around their desires, it's exhilarating progress. But..." And, of course, there's a "but." It's exhilarating progess, but she doesn't like it. She sees it as spoiled, pampered women turning their backs on long-sought education and opportunities in favor of dependence on rich husbands. This strikes me as a narrow view, to say the least.

A little background, although you probably all know all this: I am currently single and self-supporting1. I work for a reasonably large corporation as well as a very large retail chain. I'm in grad school, ostensibly to become qualified to be a professional in a particular field. And, given the chance, I would (I think) "opt out" in a second. But I don't think but reasons are horrible and unfeminist.

1. First of all, corporate life really isn't that great. Theoretically, some people like it, but I haven't met many of those people, either male or female. Other than for reasons of job security, I really couldn't care less whether the company I work for makes money. This isn't the greatest motivation for trying to climb the corporate ladder. I'd rather be doing something I thought actually mattered, somehow.
2. If I ever have children, I feel pretty strongly about staying home with them (and quite possibly homeschooling, but we'll leave that for another discussion) if circumstances allow. I don't think this is because I want to be a Stepford wife, though. It's more that I want to be with my children through their early development. I think that's reasonable (and really rather responsible) of me2.
3. I will admit that I have literary aspirations, and "opting out" of a nine to five schedule would give me more time to write. (Although not if/when there were small children around. I do realize that, don't worry.)
4. I also realize that there is certainly some amount of "the grass is always greener..." in this. Someone3 once posted about a sort of alternate universe fantasy they had: that somewhere there was another version of themselves, a single, childless version with a job and apartment and free time and freedom/money to travel. And I had to laugh, because it sounded like a romanticized version of my life, and I have a parallel alternate universe fantasy that was basically a romanticized version of that person's life.

So there are some of my reasons. Please note that "I want to be pampered and spoiled" was not among them.4 More importantly, though, I refuse to believe that corporate/business/career "success" is any more intrinsically valuable than raising children or knitting a sweater or baking fabulous cupcakes or, for that matter, fixing a car or playing a musical instrument. It's all a question of what you want to do and what makes you, not some ideal, happy and fulfilled. Dowd pays lip service to the idea that feminism is about having choices, but she clearly doesn't actually believe that any choice other than "the old idea of copying men" is a choice worth making.

1 Well, mostly self-supporting: my parents pay most of my tuition, and I don't want to leave that out or seem ungrateful.
2 Not to imply that working mothers are doing something wrong; I just think, for me, I'd rather be home.
3 I thought it was Cate or maybe Jody, but I can't find it in either of their archives. If anyone remembers, please speak up!
EDIT: It was Rachel! Sorry about that.
4 Not that I'd object to a little pampering occasionally. Everyone deserves that.

Posted by Kat at 12:16 PM | Comments (1)

October 30, 2005

Random Sunday

Because randomness can happen any day of the week, right?

1. Something strikes me a bit wrong about Weight Watchers sponsoring a figure skating event. Let's see, how many ways can they find to screw up American women's body image all at once? It's multi-tasking!
2. That said, boy, are there some pretty boys in skating. I've decided that Evan Lysacek is my new favorite. (And when I was finding his Web site, I realized how young he is. Eek.) But no, I like him for reasons other than his looks... he's one of the few skaters I've seen recently who really seems like he is a) paying attention to his music and b) having fun. Whee. Can't wait for the Olympics!
3. You know the "shoemakers' wives go barefoot, and doctors' wives die young" proverb? (No? Well, honestly, I only know of it through Anne's House of Dreams, but I figure Gilbert is a decent authority for this sort of thing.) In any case, it seems that a little-known corollary, at least in this house, is that knitters get hypothermia. At college, I was known for always walking around knitting things in the dead of winter but never actually wearing any of the hats or scarves or anything I made. Apparently the habit has stuck with me; when the cold weather hit last week, I couldn't find a single hat or scarf or mitten. All I found were my leather driving gloves. So. This must be remedied, especially as my roommate and I are playing the "heat game"; I seem to feel that if I can knit us enough warm stuff, we can keep the heat off indefinitely. His fingerless mitts will be done tonight and then I'll start on a hat for myself. Pictures soon.
4. I tried to make myself a grilled cheese sandwich and failed rather spectacularly. A freaking grilled cheese sandwich. Since I am, in general, considered to be a darned decent cook, I have logically concluded that the cause of my sudden culinary failure is the fact that I seem to be considering an advanced degree1 and maybe even a career in academia. (Yeah, I was surprised too.) The fates are reminding me that no, in fact, I can't have it all! Didn't they notice how I kindly conformed to traditional gender roles and let my roommate take out the trash the other day? (He said he needed to assert his manliness somehow.)
5. Have you read Michael Nava? No? What are you waiting for? I started with the last of the series, Rag and Bone, and absolutely loved it; I'm now tearing through the series from the beginning. Fascinating main character, insteresting mysteries, bittersweet romance. What more could you want?
6. Thanks to everyone who answered my questions (especially Cate, who has gone above and beyond) and expressed their support for my novel. I can start writing in 27 hours and 24 minutes! Not that I'm counting...

1 In this context, an "advanced degree" means a Ph.D. in something more strictly academic; I am currently in an MLS program but I see that more as professional training. (And really, it's about the most ladylike degree you can get, so the fates aren't interfering. They realize that spinsters need a way to support themselves. Isn't that why libraries were invented, anyway?)

Posted by Kat at 08:37 PM

October 22, 2005

The bad place.

One of my new blog addictions, a little pregnant, has a category of entries that she calls "Welcome to the bad place. Population: You." I have been, um, rather enamored of this category name recently, because it seems to fit how I've been feeling so very very well. (I am also wishing I had some more interesting category names, especially now that I'm writing more personal stuff. Hmm. Perhaps a project for tomorrow. Because I have, you know, so much time.)

Anyway. The bad place. I feel like I've been getting rather familiar with it the past week or so. Let's just say that, if I were to take one of those "Which Serenity character are you?" quizzes, I would not be the least bit surprised to get a resounding answer of "River." Why? That's not so clear. I mean, I'm not the most happy-go-lucky person to start with, certainly. And a lot of it is the break up. Yes, it's been two months or so, but you don't get over five years in two months. And yes, I was doing very well for a while. But now I'm doing not so well, which is probably good, because it means I'm not suppressing my emotions as much. It's not that I'm pining and wanting him back (most of the time), so that's good, at least. I'm just still dealing with the fallout.

The fallout, more particularly, is a sort of identity crisis. An old college friend recently said, mostly joking (I think), "I don't even know who you are anymore." It sort of hurt. But. There it is.

I don't even know who the heck I am anymore.

Welcome to the bad place, indeed.

Now that I'm here, though, and I've recognized I'm here, it's sort of comforting. The eye of the storm, perhaps. I am letting myself be sad, happy, insane, miserable, euphoric, distracted, scattered, and obsessed as I need - or all at once. I am not doing the "la la la it's all great" thing because, well, it isn't. I am letting myself think about who I am, what I want, and what I don't want. I am letting myself think about the past, and the future. (And, of course, Thanksgiving.) I am, periodically, trying as hard as I can to Just Stop Thinking. Oh yeah, it's been fun.

At the moment, though, I'm feeling pretty stable. I spent the evening eating Indian food at a new (to me) restaurant and then sitting around the living room drinking wine and listening to music with my roommate. I'm actually feeling slightly relaxed for once. (Don't worry, I'm sure I'll wake up stressed.) My aunt was supposed to visit this weekend, but she wasn't feeling well and decided to stay home. Now, I am sorry that I won't get to see her, but I am not terribly upset about the prospect of an unexpected free day.

So, my new and improved plan for tomorrow:
1. Sleep as late as possible.
2. Madly clean room.
3. Do homework.
4. Finish the gorram baby blanket.

I have made a deal with myself that as soon as I finish the blanket, I can knit whatever I darn well please. For a while, at least. So watch for a severe case of knitting ADD with a side order of existential angst, coming soon to a blog near you!

Posted by Kat at 11:10 PM | Comments (2)

October 21, 2005

And where was the graffiti, anyway?

Just to keep us updated:
Days until Thanksgiving: 34
Number of phone calls with parents about Thanksgiving in past two days: 4
Number of neurotic e-mails to roommate about Thanksgiving in said time period: about a dozen
Number of hysterical conversations with said roommate about said topic in said time period: It's kind of hard to say. Since we live together and work together, he has a kind of hard time getting away from me.

Conversational highlights:
Dad: "No, really. It's not like you're going to be missing anything fun."
Mom: "It's a holiday. Someone might as well have fun... Maybe I can tell them I'm on call?"
Roommate: "I had no idea Thanksgiving could be this complicated."
Me (e-mail): "One more thing and then I promise I will shut up about Thanksgiving until at least, you know, November."
(In my defense, I kept that promise for several hours until my mother called me at work to discuss - say it with me now here - Thanksgiving.)
After witnessing said phone call:
Roommate: "You know, I'm starting to be surprised you turned out as normally as you did."
Me: Hysterics. Sort of unquotable.
A bit later:
Me: "So now do you see how I'm not really being unreasonably obsessive about this? Just being prepared for the inevitable?"
Roommate: "It certainly does seem to be a learned behavior."
A bit later still:
Me: "I'm driving myself crazy. I must be driving you crazy."
Roommate: Did not exactly reply. Did watch a movie with me so I could, as I put it, just stop thinking for a while.
Yes, he's a very patient man. Yes, he will be getting a darned good knitted Christmas present. (No, let's not discuss my family's Christmas plans yet. Thanks.)

So, to help me Just Stop Thinking, we watched American Graffiti. Great soundtrack. Interesting seeing the actors (especially Dreyfuss and Ford) so young. Loved Harrison Ford singing "Some Enchanted Evening." But. WTF?

Problem A: The plot. Let's just say that I was not surprised when George Lucas said in the "making of" documentary that the original version was almost twice as long. I definitely felt as though a few of those deleted scenes would have been helpful for figuring out, you know, what the heck was going on.

Problem B: The message. Let's review what we learned:
1. How to get your boyfriend back: Don't sleep with him. Do get into a potentially deadly car crash with another man.
2. How to control a man: Threaten to accuse him of rape. Alternately, threaten to rape him.
3. How to control a woman: Threaten to rape her.
4. Women ruin everything. The boy with the girlfriend did not go away to college. The one without a girlfriend did.
5. Get in cars with strange men. Really, what could possibly go wrong?
6. How to be a good teacher: Chaperone a school dance. Smoke with one student and sleep with another.
7. How to find your soulmate: Hook up with your ex-girlfriend. Join a gang (okay, it was somewhat under duress). Get a message on the radio to "the blonde in the white T-bird," because there could only be one of those.
8. Or: when you respond to his radio message, make sure you don't tell him your name.

It also really bugged me that, at the end, there were little notes of what happened to the four primary male characters, but nothing about the women. Presumably they all got married and lived happily ever after. Or, you know, went insane from dealing with these men.

I also did not notice any graffiti in the movie. Huh?

Posted by Kat at 11:17 PM

October 20, 2005

Reality Check

So it looks like I'm not going home for Thanksgiving.

This in itself is not necessarily all that odd. Of the past four Thanksgivings, I have spent two away from my family, with my ex-boyfriend and his parents. That, in fact, is part of the issue. This Thanksgiving, I will not be with the person with whom I spent the past four Thanksgivings. I know, I know, Thanksgiving is about family... but still. This year will seem strange, regardless of what I do.

The reasons I'm not going, though, are more practical.

Here's how I think Thanksgiving should go:
Everyone should be relaxed and getting along. There should be snow flurries. I should be cooking yummy things with my mother. We should all be watching the Macy's parade. Dinner itself should all come off flawlessly and conversation should manage to be interesting while avoiding any dangerous ground. The rest of the weekend should be time to relax and have a bit of family bonding.

Here's how this Thanksgiving would actually go:
Wednesday: Work all day, go to Boston for class. Leave class at nine and head to Connecticut, arriving perhaps around 12:30 am if I'm extremely lucky. Try not to fall asleep driving. Try not to go crazy because of the inevitable traffic.
Thursday: Get up to watch parade. Argue with brother, who will think the parade is stupid, about use of the TV. Try to help my mom with whatever we need to cook to bring to my aunt's house. Head to aunt's house for fun family excitement! Try to figure out who's mad at whom. Get interrogated about my ex, school, my job, etc. Listen to comments about my, and everyone else's, weight and appearance. Be the good little peacemaker and try to keep everything running smoothly. When we all sit down and go around the table listing things we're grateful for this year, try to figure out how to appropriately phrase "I got dumped," "I hate my job," and "I am so beyond stressed right now. Why am I here?" Try to make conversation with my cousins. Try not to think about the in-jokes and whispered comments my ex and I would have been making.
Friday: Mom goes to work. I drive back, panicking about finishing my final project for class, due the next week and trying to deal with more inevitable traffic. Try not to think about last year, when my ex and I had a lovely (really) time at the day after Thanksgiving sales.
Go to work at the store either Friday or, at the latest, Saturday morning. Wish I had time to sleep or, you know, work on my final project. Try not to think about last year.
Now doesn't that all sound like fun?

Nevertheless, I had planned to go, mostly because I was worried about my parents' reaction if I didn't. And I was worried about my parents getting flack from the rest of the family if I didn't show. But then I talked to my parents, and they both seem to think that doing all that driving for so little time home, when I have all this other stuff I need to be doing, is, well, insane. So. Everyone seems agreed. No need for me to go home for Thanksgiving.

Now, of course, the question is what to do instead. There are a few possibilities. Plan A involves going with my roommate to his parents' house. Plan B, which is perhaps more likely, involves spending the day in my favorite pajamas, knitting and watching the parade and Christmas movies, and then having some sort of celebration with my roommate later in the weekend. Really, either sounds okay. I think. Of course, I'm not sure how I'll feel when the day arrives, but I'm trying not to worry about it too much. I'm sure some variation of sad (re: loneliness) and/or guilt-stricken (re: filial duty) will be in there somewhere... might as well let it be a surprise so I have something to look forward to.

Aren't holidays fun?

Posted by Kat at 11:02 PM

October 12, 2005

Well, this is fun.

Apparently the "Aaaaaah"ness of the previous entry led to a total meltdown in the car on the way from work to class. (It's about an hour drive, NH to Boston.) I spent the time alternating between fighting tears, wondering if I've finally just gone mad, and debating whether to just turn around and go home. Yeah, fun stuff. Now I'm in the computer lab at school getting ready to face a three-hour class. And then the drive home.

If I didn't actually have stuff that needed to get done at work (for once), I would be seriously considering a mental health day tomorrow. Ah well. I'd also sort of like a hug... but there's really no one around to get one from. I'm not comfortable hugging people I don't feel I know very well, but most of my friends in NH are not huggy types, so it's a problem.

Aaaah. It's one of those days when I feel like I'm too messed up or damaged to ever have a "normal" life and I don't deserve one anyway. And I don't know what I want. In practically any context. And I don't know how I'm going to face three hours of sitting through class and the requisite small talk with classmates, and then walking to the T in the rain and then taking the T and then driving home. And my brain won't stop and I'm just driving myself crazy at this point.

I'm trying to convince myself that this is all fairly normal post-breakup stuff... right? Help!

Posted by Kat at 05:40 PM | Comments (4)


I am now undoing all the data entry I did yesterday, because they gave me the wrong information. This is hours of work. And then I have to redo it all when they figure out the correct information. One of the people involved called to apologize, but really, couldn't they bring me chocolate or something? I was having a vaguely off day anyway. I don't feel good, but I have to be at work and then go to class. And work is being frustrating, and it's been raining for days, and I do like rain but enough is enough. And there could be some of what Cate is talking about going on, too. Actually, now that I reread Cate's entry, I'm identifying with a lot of it. Especially if you substitute "messy house" for "demon-possessed children." But yeah... cold/coughing, PMS, work frustration and overwhelmsion (WHAT is the correct form of that word? My brain is obviously gone at this point), contemplation of Big Life Changes, knitting frustration... check, check, check.

I'd like to say I'm going to go curl up in my comfy bed and drink tea and read and knit now, but, well, I can't. Which may be part of the problem.

Hope someone out there in Blogland is having a better day... send sunshine and cough drops.

Posted by Kat at 02:30 PM | Comments (1)

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