Big News! Big News!

30 Mar

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, do I have some news for you!  


Ok, ok, so probably most of you know this (because my mom told you?  Or is that just the major metropolitan area of Houston?), but for those of you who don’t, it’s true, I have new, fancy, lucrative employment!  I am going to become a temporary assistant production editor over at Sage Publications in Thousand Oaks, CA (a city about 45 miles NW of downtown LA).  This means I’ll be working to make sure their journal articles are error free, cited correctly, and looking good throughout the proofing/editing/re-editing process.  Basically it’s the perfect job for someone who is still getting pretty regular emails from friends and loved ones asking for editing help, and, more importantly, for someone who is answering those emails with LONG comments.  The temporary part is because I’ll just be doing this for a little under six months, but I’m getting my foot in one door and out another.

So, all this news comes with something of an explanation that I haven’t really felt comfortable putting on here until now.  The reason I have not posted much in this blog is only partially because I am a fool who can’t seem to keep a blog alive.  The main reason is because every time I sat down to write the only things I could think to say that would be interesting at all were less than positive.  Perhaps due to disposition or a variety of other reasons I have not enjoyed my time as a nanny as much as I expected to.  And I didn’t feel it would be wise or helpful to vent my frustrations on a long-form, public platform.  That sounds like a good way to get fired, right?  Right.  So instead I have spent a lot of time this past year walking around Target venting to my mom and buying nail polish and chocolate I don’t need to make myself feel better.  And sometimes crying in the parking lot.  And sometimes swearing a lot under my breath.  There have been many good days, of course, but those mostly consist of stories like “today I asked some one to turn down the TV and they did” or “today everyone was on time to their activities and we got the homework done.”  Gripping.  Sorry for sparing you that?

But, now I have two weeks left here, tomorrow I’m going apartment hunting with my friend Kim, and a bright new world is on the horizon.  One where I spend time with adults, have a kitchen where I can make my own food whenever I want, and get to wear skirts without feeling a little silly.  

Hopefully this will be a lot more blog worthy than the past ten months have been.




A gift of joy?

6 Mar

Though no one who has seen my room or watched me happily throw things on the ground as an “organizational method” would believe it, I am an online organizational goddess (unofficial title).  My chrome bookmarks are meticulously organized and nested.  Blogs have a folder, and in that folder is a fashion folder, and in that folder are unique beauty, hair, and clothing folders.  I regularly spend time placing new bookmarks, and actively make sure that things are where they are supposed to be.  When a girl wants a new recipe the last thing she needs is to sift through ten billion culture blogs until she finds a single cooking one, and sometimes you need to know how to do a smoky eye without looking like you’ve been punched NOW, not after you get distracted by that design blog you forgot to check.

Given this manic level of online organization, it’s no wonder I have, down at the bottom of my bookmarks, under job listings, apartments, GIFs, and gift ideas, a folder simply (and slightly inaccurately  titled, “Read and Smile.”  I go to this folder pretty often and the articles and videos in there never fail me.  So, I thought, as I was reading through them after realizing that LA is seemingly actively opposing my desire to live there while also eating food and maybe buying the occasional electricity of use of water, maybe some of you might like to see them too?  Here they are, peruse at your own rate.

*Note to any family members, friends of family members, or those who find vulgar language, well, vulgar, perhaps ignore this post and pretend it never happened?  But know that I have shown several of these to my own mother and she thinks it’s fine, so, you know, don’t worry too much about my spiritual well-being, or whatever.  Sorry for throwing you under the bus there, Mom.

McSweeney’s Internet Tendency: It’s Decorative Gourd Season, Motherfuckers.

Darci Ratliff | Sour Times (Bye Bye, Fuckface!) | The Nervous Breakdown

Hyperbole and a Half: Dogs Don’t Understand Basic Concepts Like Moving

Hyperbole and a Half: The Year Kenny Loggins Ruined Christmas

Noel Fielding vs Simon Amstell – YouTube

Smell Yo Dick (Official Video) – YouTube

R. Kelly duet with Usher – Same Girl – YouTube

Beyoncé – Countdown – YouTube

Infinite Drunk Ron Swanson

Meet the sloths on Vimeo

Muggle Hustle

If you think I’ve forgotten or missed anything major, lemme know, I’m always looking for something to make me laugh!



2012: a Year of Achievements

2 Jan

Yesterday I spent some time in my car, unable to play on my phone as it stubbornly died next to me, waiting for my friend to pick me up so we could go eat and drink and be merry.  Obviously I had some time to think about the state of things, what with the new year and all, and I thought of some achievements that I made and the things that I learned in 2012, which I think pretty adequately sums up there year.  Here they are in roughly chronological order:

1. Learned to understand a Scottish accent.

2. Drank scotch.

3. Baked a coffee cake in the morning, making my jet lag useful rather than simply irritating.

4. Learned to speak logically and sensibly about bills, yard upkeep, and party planning.

5. Stressed about something real.

6. Occasionally fed myself.

7. Occasionally fed others.

8. Poisoned no one.

9. Went to a doctor.

10. Graduated college.

11. Forwarded mail.

12. Got a job.

13. Learned how not to shower, without seeming like I had not showered (this one goes out to you, dry shampoo, and you, longer hair).

14. Drove cross-country (Houston to Orange County).

15. Rented a hotel room alone.

16. Convinced people I am a grown up (so much so that no one believes Verena is not my child) (I remain unconvinced on this point).

17. Gained a calm, intense voice to encourage people to do what I say.

18. Made Indian food (including cheese).

19. Drove in LA.

20. Saw my first celebrity (SHAQ, YOU GUYS, HE IS SO TALL).

21. Consistently made superlative soft-boiled eggs.

22. Kept a New Years Resolution (my commitment to a bold lip has surprised even myself).

23. Kind of, mostly, understood football.  Won t-shirt for football team.  Felt a sense of school spirit for a school I never went to (See picture at beginning of post).Image

I am not actually sure, though, even after assessing what I think I did last year, and thinking long and hard about what I want for the coming year, I know what my New Years Resolutions should be (intentional capitalization, y’all).  Or.  I do.  But it is all big and scary, still.  Or exercising and eating less cheese.  Which may actually be scarier.  

I really thought for sure at 23 I wouldn’t have a sense of abject terror thinking about the future.  I don’t know who convinced me of this when I was a kid, but someone convinced me good, and boy were they wrong.  

Anyway, here’s a melancholy toast to the new year, may it be better than the last.  



P.S. Also, everyone, I hear eggs are bad for you now?  If so, here is a short list of egg-based discoveries that were made this year, or, in other words, a short list of why I will not be the first woman to live to be 110.

1. scrambled eggs with cranberries and Parmesan cheese 

2. fried eggs with toast

3. egg sandwich with raspberry jam and Italian truffle cheese from TJs

4. poached eggs 

5. medium boiled eggs

6. soft boiled eggs

Eggs forever.

Sometimes I Like Things

3 Nov

Hey dudes!  I was really on a roll there for awhile, wasn’t I?  For like…  Two weeks?  I came up with a new blog post regularly.  And then I returned to my normal shlumpy ways.  Sorrrrrrrry…  Back to your regularly scheduled Kate-Blurt!

I have been doing a lot of whining lately.  Basically, since forever, but there has been a definite increase since I moved to California.  I believe this is primarily because, when left to my own devices, I am a sack of shit, or, if you are a member of my family who is now deeply offended, a no-good-nik, layabout, lazybones, hot mess.  I wake up at 10am, I go on “runs” once a week where I run for one minute and then get myself lost for thirty, I eat spoonfuls of Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter, I watch all of the Law and Order: SVU, and I complain constantly.  So, on a path to a better tomorrow, or at least to prove to those who are forced to listen to this bile that I am not a lost cause, here is a list of things I like.

1. Cooking

Originally this post was going to be about the various goods I made while my au pair family went on vacation, since that and watching L&O:SVU was literally all I did, but then I remember that I cannot take a pretty picture of food to save my life, besides the fact that I seem to only make things that look terrible on a plate.  Despite the lack of photographic evidence, know that while they were gone Smitten Kitchen fed me, and I made cheese for Saag Paneer, and the house always smelled like garlic.  The excess of garlic plus watching several seasons of SVU very quickly did lead to some disturbing dreams, though.  I recommend switching to Parks and Rec or 30 Rock before going to bed in an empty house, people of the world.

2. Baking

Oh, also, I made myself a birthday cake.  It was delicious and had raspberry in it, so even when my family came home no one would eat it except me.  This was not my initial plan, but it worked out well.

3. Eating

3.1 Jack (the man friend for anyone who is not up on their facebook creepery) lives less than a mile away from literally the most amazing Indian food I have ever had in my life.

3.2 Do you guys know what chilaquiles are?  They’re amazing, is what’s real.  Look them up, then come visit me and we shall feast on the best of the best.

3.3 I have found a pie place that has bourbon pecan pie.  I have not eaten it yet, but I believe it will be amazing.  They also sell popsicles that have really turned me around on the genre.

4. Nordstrom sales

Self explanatory.

5. How foggy it is outside at this time of year.

It’s also just now becoming cool again after a 90 degree October, which was annoying when it was 90 degrees while I was drinking pumpkin beer, but now I’m really excited about.

6. Petting zoos

Katrina, Verena, John, and I went to a church carnival for Halloween instead of trick or treating.  At first I was skeptical, but then I saw this carnival.  I kid you not, it looked like the Benton County Fair, but classier (which means there were rides, and ponies, and games, for those of you without fair experience).  And there were like eight food trucks, you guys!  EIGHT.  And a petting zoo with several  baby goats, one of which sneezed on me which was cute/gross (a word I wish combined more easily into a megaword:  cross?  grote?  grute?  coss?), a sleeping calf which was super soft, and some sheep, which did not have at all the evil eyes I remember them having (perhaps that is unique to Irish sheep being stalked by jet lagged students singing songs from Dr. Horrible?).  Katrina and I are now considering adopting a cow so we can pet it and be its friend.

7. Butter London nail polish

How is this stuff still on my nails a week later?  Is it magic?  Do you think they performed a secret rite over the bottle?  How?

8. “7 Psychopaths”

McDonagh does it again, you guys.  Also, I think Collin Farrell actually may be able to act.  It is unclear to me at the current interval, but I am starting to believe it might be possible.  Either way, what an amazing movie with a fantastic cast full of people I love.

9. “Pitch Perfect”

Sorry, I have apparently been seeing way more movies lately than is typical for me.  But this movie was excellent.  I love Rebel Wilson, I love Anna Kendrick (even though she’s a jerk during the whole first half), I love punnily named groups of any sort, I love performance movies (Bring it On, Fired Up!, Center Stage, The Sound of Music, all amazing examples), and the parts where she was in a radio station made me miss KWUR so bad I may or may not have actually started crying in the movie theater (even though I cannot stand mash ups or actually most of the music Anna Kendrick’s character claims is so alternative and cool and blah blah blah).  Despite any flaws, I say 10 out of 10.

10.  In the Woods by Tana French

I think in all of the letters I have written in the past two weeks I have mentioned that I was listening to this book with Audible (another thing I love), and that it was crazy and everyone should read it.  I stand by that.  It’s from the perspective of an Irish murder detective as he and his partner try to solve a child murder in the town he grew up in.  The town also, obviously, has an important connection to his past that he has to deal with, characters grow, etc.  Whatever, it’s amazing.  Also, no one else I know has read it and I have OPINIONS and THOUGHTS and THINGS TO DISCUSS, so if someone could just read it or whatever and be in a book club with me for like a twenty minute skype call, that would just really be great.  Poor Jack had to listen to me wandering through his house gasping and yelling at my phone or yammering at him in the car about who I thought did it.  I was totally wrong, by the way.  And it’s not even one of those nonsense books where the detective at the end is like “Ah ha!  I have figured it out, using many clues that I did not tell you and stuff that you could not possibly have known!  Sucks to suck, reader of the book, don’t you wish you were me, Miss Marple, old lady detective extraordinaire!”  Seriously, it’s not even like that.  Someone help a girl out, and read it already!

So, there is a list of stuff I like/love.  This also helps explain a lot of how I have been spending my free time now that the girls are back in school and my mornings are my own again.  Now back to SVU on Netflix.




Finally, an Ode to Someone Who is not Julie Andrews

1 Sep

Do you remember your most important babysitter?  This is not necessarily your first babysitter, or the one who let you stay up past your bedtime, or the one who gave you way too honest answers about what high school was going to be like.  This is probably the girl (or boy, as I am assured this is a thing?  I may be a little bit sexist with regard to childcare.  I’m working on it.) who came the most often though, and even when she was making you drink your milk (this was my childhood Mount Everest.  Give me a vegetable any day, but milk shall not pass through these lips if it doesn’t contain cereal) you would probably admit she was your favorite.

Mine was named Amanda, and she came every Saturday night when my parents went on dates.  Looking back, I’m pretty sure I was about 9 or 10 when she started coming, and she was 16 or so.  I have no idea how my parents found her, but she was the bee’s knees.  She had a Samantha American Girl doll that she brought over and let me play with (sometimes she even left it at my house for a week!).  Every week she would come over while we were eating dinner, make us finish before we got dessert (that milk incident was real, and something that led both of my parents to support her whole-heartedly), and then after we finished we would dance in the living room to Backstreet Boy’s Millenium or Christina Aguilera’s first album (classics).  After that we would color while watching Snick.  She read me Han Christian Anderson stories before I went to bed every week and always came to check on me (thus stopping me from reading until my parents came home.  I may have been a nerdy punk of a kid).  When she got older my parents left us with her for a weekend and we baked gingerbread cookies at a totally inappropriate time of year and got flour all over the kitchen.  She was in the Music Man at her high school and I went to see her in my first Broadway moment.  Also, she lent me a taped copy of Cats and Annie and fully supported my bid to get my parents to take me to see Cats (which was not successful, I suspect because my parents did not want to sit through Cats if they could avoid it).  She also let me sing all the songs from Cats a lot.  Including “Memories” AND “Magical Mister Mistoffelees” which are definitely the most obnoxious ones I could have chosen.  Basically, dudes, Amanda was the best.

Weirdly, looking back on it, legitimately all of the things we used to do are things I currently love doing.  I’m having a hard time figuring out the chicken or the egg part of this argument:  was Amanda my favorite because she was the same sort of person I am, or was she my favorite and I started liking things she liked because of how cool she was.  I actually have no idea, but I’m tempted to believe that it’s a little bit of both.  While I’m hanging out with these kids on a daily basis I think of Amanda a lot, especially as I watch Katrina and Verena start to veer towards the things I love doing.  If the situation continues as it has been Verena will know all of the words to every song in The Sound of Music (except for “Climb Every Mountain” which I hate more than almost anything in the entire world), she will be able to quote The Princess Bride, Katrina will be addicted to Sriracha (something I did not even encourage her to try), we will all be able to sing any song by The Beatles in three part harmony (specializing in “Back in the U.S.S.R.,” “Blackbird,” “Rocky Raccoon,” and “Help!”) and they will both have seen all of Doctor Who.  I don’t know what kind of impact this will have when they look back on me in 10 years, but I bet when they hear their Magical Mister Mistoffelees, they’ll be able to sing it out proud.

It’ll probably be “My Favorite Things.”  That song when sung loud and proud can stop crying in a moment.  Possibly due to laughing at the faces of those around when I loudly sing in public.  #don’tlookagifthorseinthemouth?

Another Box Off the Bucket List

24 Aug

As I mentioned in my last post, I recently went on an RV vacation with my au pair family.  Many of you who know me have probably asked your computer “why?!” very loudly; both of my parents laughed when I told them, and I don’t blame them.  I am not a camper, despite having been a camp counselor and owning fancy hiking/water sandals.  I like hotels.  I’m down with crashing on your couch, but I’m not really up for sleeping on your floor.  I do not take pictures of scenery when I encounter it, nor do I like to spend much time outdoors not lounging or eating.  So an RV trip does not seem like it should fit, but I was asked suddenly and my natural inclination is to say yes to things when they are directly asked to me, and I’d never been to New Mexico, so off I went into the great blue yonder.  Most of the details of the trip are not stunningly interesting, did you all know that when you RV you drive around a lot?, so I’ll just share some quick facts and anecdotes here and the couple pictures I took (John took enough for all of us combined, but I’m not sure they’ve been uploaded to a computer yet, so maybe expect to see a few of those later).

To start off, here’s the RV!

A 31 foot long home away from home, complete with four queen-sizedish bed, one sort of functional TV, a fully functional kitchen, and an airplane bathroom! Everything a girl could want.

  • The first morning in the RV Verena climbed up the ladder to my bed above the cab shortly before 7am and chirpily said, “Wake up!  It’s morning!”  Luckily my heavily sarcastic, “It certainly is,” only registered on a basic level.
  • I had my first sopapilla in Santa Fe.  It’s this crazy fluffy bread that you then put honey on and eat as a side to your New Mexican meal.  That stuff is amazing.  Since it’s essentially a pillow of bread with a hollow center, I am thinking of using one as my home in the future.  Concerns about the stickiness of honey are being dealt with.
  • Spanish Catholic paintings of saints are terrifying to unreligious children (or all children?).  While Katrina was beating a hasty retreat I learned that sometimes you are allowed to be crucified with your top hat on.  Choices for fashion, colonial saint style?
  • They don’t teach children to make clover chains anymore!  After driving for several hours in corn fields in southern Colorado on gravel roads we all needed to stretch our legs and eat some food, so we stopped for Subway and brought it to a conveniently located park in a tiny town (with proper paved roads).  While Verena was still having an excellent time playing Rapunzel (starring Barbie or Mandy Moore, it was impossible to tell), Katrina was beginning to grow bored and whiny, so I asked her to make clover chains with me.  She looked at me like I had three heads, asked me what clover was, and how to make it into a chain!  So I taught her and we spent a lovely half hour adorning ourselves in clover.  Eventually Verena joined in to make clover rings (due to an unwillingness to learn the complex technique needed for a necklace), and Katrina and I made her things to wear too.  Here are Katrina and Verena wearing what we made.  You all know how to make these right?  It’s a pretty necessary childhood skill!

This is also a pretty deec shot of the inside of the RV. Above the driver is my bed!


  • Toboggans do not work on sand dunes.  Nonetheless, the Great Sand Dunes National Park is pretty cool to wander around, and there is a park ranger named Jed who should run for president based on folksiness alone.  Young Jed Bartlett, anyone?
  • White water rafting is terrifying, especially when you go with two 11-year-olds who are not too good at listening to directions or rowing.  I think I almost died.  I know I almost died on the side of the gorge going down the poorly kept gravel road in 31′ RV to get to the river.  I am certain part of me died when we all realized the gravel road was entirely unnecessary, there was a paved road we could have taken.  Other than these completely legitimate fears, would recommend.  A grown man named Billy will expertly lead you and definitely bring you back alive.
  • Septic tanks are hard to empty.  And they smell.  Really.  Bad.
  • Scenic trains are neat.  Also useful when you need a moment alone, as the noise stops many conversations, and the peace of nature can soothe even a mind which was awakened three times in the night and then very early in the morning.  Naps: also available.  We went on one which boasted some particularly impressive views and a lovely southern man to tell us about the area, which felt a little bit like being home for Thanksgiving.
  • Hikes led by 55-year-old women are just my speed.  Ours included some super awkward conversations about the Lord, but ancient cliff dwellings were pretty much worth it.
  • By far my favorite moment of the trip though, and one of the final RV related moments was in the bathroom of the RV park we stayed at in Colorado.  I went in to take a shower in the morning and turn myself into a functional human being who can speak to other humans with civility and grace.  First I had a long conversation with an older woman about her grandchildren and her entire plan for the day.  Then, after my shower another woman came in.  We both said good morning and nothing else until, as she left, she told me to have a good day, and when I responded likewise she asked me, “Would you like a Biblical tract?”  Which is obviously a totally normal thing to ask a person as you are exiting an RV campground community bathroom at 8 in the morning.  Since I automatically say yes, I accepted, thinking this would end the conversation early.  It did not.  Then she asked me if I was a Christian, I responded specifically to show I wasn’t lying to get her to stop talking to me (who falsely claims to be Presbyterian?  No one.  Obscure enough to be believable, actually true for me so I can pull it off, and Protestant, so surely she can’t object since she’s plainly not a Jesuit or a nun!).  Despite this she asked me if I was saved, if I “knew where I was going if I died tonight,” AND if I’d accepted Jesus Christ into my heart.  Everyone, it seems I look every bit the heathen, and I really think she was disappointed by my insistence that I have it under control, at least religiously.  Then she left, without another word.  Note, to anyone likely to hand out a Biblical tract in an RV bathroom: not before noon.  Definitely not before 8am.  Also, there’s persistence and there’s persistence.  Come on, Joyce.  Be cool.  Also, make sure your Biblical tract isn’t just a page from the King James Version of the Bible in tiny font.  That is not convincing!  Luckily this gave me so much to talk about at breakfast I let my coffee get cold.  That’s right, everyone.  This all happened pre-coffee.  Frankly, it’s a wonder anyone got out alive.

So, those were my most notable bits.  New Mexico is pretty, Colorado remains pretty, both have some cool stuff going on.  RVs are not my favorite.  I am still not a morning person.



Perceptions, Perceptions, Perceptions!

20 Aug

Ugh, you guys, I am the worst at blogging on a schedule!  In my defense, the Olympics happened and I was gone on an RV vacation (“vacation?”) for a week, so I’ve been busy, y’all.  Super busy.  Or something.  Whatever, either way, I’m back on the horse, this will be the last post I will start with an apology because I am going to start posting more often!  Like, at least once a week.  If I don’t, feel free to send me abusive emails or texts, dear followers.

That nonsense/hopefully not empty promise out of the way, I’ve been meaning to write this blog post for awhile, because I need some help understanding something: what do I look like to the casual passerby?

I ask this not simply out of vanity, but because I’ve noticed something changes when there are kids with me.  First, I get flirted with a lot more often.  By old dudes and young dudes, dudes trying to sell me stuff, dudes we stand next to in line, dudes of all shapes, sizes, ethnicities, and dispositions, and it is weird!  This seems to happen most often when I am with just Verena.  For example, when at the farmer’s market instead of just trying to push product on me or seduce Verena with offers of juicy strawberries, I got asked about my smile.  Or I have been told I’m the best part of a soccer coach’s day as I haggardly kick a ball accross a field in an attempt to be on time to her practice, coffee in one hand, smelling no doubt of a mixture of my and Verena’s sweat after spending at least ten minutes putting on her soccer shoes (cleats?  I literally know nothing about soccer)  in the car.  Or I got howled at on my way to Target (by some punk teenager in his mom’s car, while she was driving.  In retrospect, this might not have been flirting, but it was certainly something which I still do not understand), or told I “dropped my smile” on my way in to buy gummy vitamins.  While I was on the phone with my mom.  At first I thought perhaps it was that I am not constantly wearing headphones or walking intently when I’m with kids, but this would not expain these last two incidents.  Then I thought it was because Californians are in some way strange, but I have known Californians before and they have been no more strange than people from any other state.  Currently, I am flummoxed.  Flattered?  But flummoxed.

Furthermore, no one seems to have any idea of how old I am.  Two days ago I ordered a margarita at a Mexican restaurant with the whole family and not only did I get carded, but when the waiter saw I was 22 he looked at me, startled, and said “you look much younger than that!”  What does that mean?  Do I look sixteen?  That much younger?  Do you think I’m in high school?  Early college?  Elemantary school?  I just pretty confidently ordered a mixed drink at a table with adults, how young do you think I am?  Also, I have never looked young for my age.  I was a super tall baby, I was a super tall elementary schooler, I was a super tall and responble/arrogant high school student, I am a super tall somewhat-mature-looking twentysomething.  I get carded, but not that intensely, and no one ever doubts the validity of my license.  Additionally, a few days before the margarita comment, someone though Katrina was my daughter and I was married to John, who is my parents’ age.  Now, I could be Verena’s mom, if I’d made some different decisions with my life, she is five, I am twenty-two, I would have been seventeen when I had her.  Not that weird, pretty believable.  Katrina, however, is eleven years younger than me.  If you’re doing the math there, that means I would have been eleven when I had her.  If you assume I could look maybe twenty-five (the waiter, I’m sure, would object to this), I would still have only been fourteen.  And Katrina looks thirteen herself, she too is of the super tall ilk.  Does that mean I look thirty?  Older?  And this was said by an adult woman, not a five-year-old who thinks everyone is the same age as their parents if they’re old enough to be in charge!

I don’t know anymore.  I don’t know anything.  Before, I thought I looked my age and sent out some pretty intense “don’t chat me up, for I am not interested” vibes.  What is this strange world I’m living in?  Can anyone help me?  What are the children doing to me!

Confusedly, Bemusedly, Bad at Coming Up with a Third Thingily,