I’m still alive and remember that this exists, I promise!

20 Jul

I got a very insistent text from my mom the other morning, it was actually the first thing I read as I fell out of bed (I like to allow gravity to do literally all of the work for me in the morning), it said, and I quote, “Kate, your last blog was July 1.  Your public wants more!”  So, you’re going to get some more.  I’ve been struggling with Grumpy Gus Writer’s Block, and currently have the headache that I think will kill me, but here are some pictures to prove that yes, I am alive, no, I have not forgotten this blog, and yes, I am taking care of children/enjoying myself!

What these pictures show specifically are, from left to right, top to bottom:

1. Verena feeding ducks bread (we luckily saw no geese or large water fowl, which I was extremely grateful for.  If you want to see the face of evil, look a goose or swan in the eye).  These ducks were cute though!

2. Jenny Lewis, love of my life, singer of the songs of my heart, expert concertress, giver of many smiles.  I saw her in Santa Ana at the end of last month on her I heart California tour and frankly, I heart it more now thanks to her.

3. KEEM.  I visited Kim in San Diego and we ate giant things.  Look how giant those things are!

4. Happy 4th of July everyone!  I post this without comment, accept to suggest you note my outfit and rethink where you live.

5. We went to the beach!  Here Verena can be seen returning from Kate Encouraged Sea Gull Torture.  If you want to see the face of evil, look a sea gull in the eye.  Especially as they do that weird thing where they tap the ground with their feet.  Definitely a sign of the apocalypse.

6. Happy Tea Party Princess Party, everyone!

7. Verena and I went to Knott’s Berry Farms and she rode many super cute kid rides and I had to ride almost nothing and it was awesome!

Alright, so now my mom should be happy, you all know I’m alive and kicking, and I can go lay in my bed wishing for death in peace.



P.S. Dad, if you’re reading this, Happy Birthday!  You’re old, I miss you, and I think you should know that you have instilled in me a life-long passion for basset hounds that should make you proud.


Ways I’m Turning into My Parents: A List of Quotations

1 Jul

It’s a well-known cliche that spending time with a child will bring up memories of one’s own childhood in misty sepia, and will turn you, with terrifying rapidity, into your parents.  This usually follows along gender lines in the books, but I’ve found myself turning into both of my parents in equal parts.  Here is a list of things I have said this month (I’ve officially been here a month!  AH!) that prove it.

1. “Why don’t you worry more about what you’re doing and less about what you’re sister is doing.” (For use when someone is tattling, bossing, or attempting to Be In Charge.  Credit: Dad)

2. “I am going to count to three and if you aren’t [in your chair, in the car, down from that ledge, listening to what I say] we are not [doing this fun activity]” (Credit: Mom)

3. “Don’t make me say it again.” (Best when said in a stern voice that implies consequences, especially helpful because it does not require you come up with any actual consequences/gives time for thinking of such a thing.  Credit: Dad?  Probably both.)

4. “Your knee hurts?  Well, should we cut off your leg?” (This always annoyed me as a kid, I didn’t realize at the time that the annoyance made me stop crying about the tiny cut on my knee.  Distraction is a useful tool with children. Credit: Dad)

5. “Quick like a bunny!” (This is actually the only thing that makes Verena speed up when we’re running late.  We then have to put on our seat belt “slow like a turtle” so it doesn’t lock.  Credit: Old school, Grandma)

6. “[name of child]” (Only works in stern voice, if done well, can stop child in their tracks.  Practice must be done on my end.  Credit/The Master of Such a Voice: Mom)

I have also started reading decorating magazines, making jokes no one thinks are funny, and using a variety of words and phrases to replace curse words (my parents went with Jiminy Cricket and muttered swears, I’m busting out Jeez Louise and using the word nonsense a lot more than is typical).  Everyone, the future is now.

Media I’ve Consumed and Liked

27 Jun

Hello All!

I have so many different posts zooming around in my head (commuting to and from activities gives me a lot of time for deep introspection while trying to ignore that Calvin Harris song I heard 8 times today), but this is the one I promised last week, and I am a girl who keeps her promises (disappointed Duplickate followers, no sass please or I will put you in time out).  So, here it is.  Books, Television, and Movies I have read or seen and liked (or felt feelings about), a short retrospective.


This is really where the hard core rebellion is taking place.  After four years of reading Literature and Thinking Hard and Feeling Bad or Falling Sleep During Pleasure Reading, I am taking full advantage of my chance to read trashily.  This rebellion has largely manifested itself in lots of YA fiction, with one notable exception that I will save until the end.

First, on my ride out here I started (on the recommendation of the Slate Culture Gabfest and my friend Amy) Philip Pullman’s Sally Lockhart Trilogy.  I’m currently half way through listening to the third one, and they are pretty good.  This was an excellent starting point, as they are by an established author I have never read (sorry, everyone I know), they are set in the 19th century in London and do a solid job of telling you important information about the social/political/economic issues of the time (for example, opium gets a really thorough explanation.  Seriously, everyone, ask me about opium now, I know things).  However, they’re also super pulpy mystery novels with a Smart and Plucky Female Protagonist, which, as anyone who knows me should know, is my favorite genre of television, movie, or book.  So, it’s been a lovely romp, and is also a good irritation valve, as when I listen to it and yell in my car about feminism and racism and classism, I then have less yelling left over in my heart for dumb stuff like not putting your shoes on fast enough or listening to TV on your iPad too loudly.  I would actually recommend these without reservation, and if you get an Audible account, the narration is really good and there are lots of accents and you too can yell in your car.

The only problem with starting out with these books, is that I got here and on the first night realized I had nothing to read.  Quick like a bunny (yes, Mom, I’m turning into Granny too) I rushed out the next day to buy The Hunger Games (which was amazing, but everyone in the world already knows that, so whatever, that’s enough about it), and Insatiable by Meg Cabot.  This is the single adult book that I’ve read, and it was the trashiest thing in the world.  It’s about a girl (plucky, New Yorker, cute, petite, cliches cliches cliches) who can tell how people are going to die, writes for a soap opera, meets a sexy vampire (prince of the vampires), totally does it with him, and gets involved in a vampire war AND a war on vampires.  Yeah, it was just as bad as you think it was.  So bad.  So bad in fact, that some of the sentences didn’t even make sense.  There were actually sentences in that book that were so terrible I actually could not understand the meaning of the sentences.  I believe this is a sign that Meg Cabot did not write this of her own volition but did this to us to make that paper.  Or she was forced to write it by her experience with a sexy vampire.  Maybe in a sexy dream.  Because that does happen, you guys, and one sexy vampire dream can do this to us all.

After that I’ve been delving back into Patricia C. Wrede and Diana Wynne Jones, my favorite YA fantasy authors growing up, and it has been excellent.  So many plucky ladies, and sometimes they’re witches!  But they have to look in themselves to find their secret power and over come the limitations they, and society, have set.  I am not looking too deeply into the no doubt Freudian implications of my continued love for these books, and I would thank you to ignore them too.

Oh, and I’m on the Agatha Christie boat like you would not believe.  Which transitions nicely into…


Everyone, if you do not have Netflix, get it.  Unless you prefer actually accomplishing things and can’t watch TV and accomplish.  In which case, avoid it.  Avoid it like you avoid giving a five-year-old ice cream after the first time when you saw a human with so much energy she was actually vibrating.  If you are a person more in line with me, it’s amazing.

Sometime after I came home from England, all English television became a beautiful safe haven for me.  It’s funny, it’s somewhat topical, it’s well acted, and I enjoy the constant sport of “Why Do I Recognize that Person.”  The show that has helped me along that particular road the most is the recent BBC version of Marple.  I watched all of them, I know all British actors now, I know how bad a faked American accent can sound (and have deeper worries than even before about how bad Anne Hathaway must have sounded in that awful movie), and I can solve a crime faster than blinking.  Oh, and I pass along to you this wisdom:  never invite Miss Marple over to your home.  There will be a murder, she will find out, and someone you love will turn out to be DEEPLY SORDID and probably sleeping with their sibling (incest is a serious Marple theme, also, no doubt, deeply Freudian).

In between Marple I have also watched all of Would I Lie to You, the newest season, and my favorites from old seasons, of 8 out of 10 Cats, and as much as YouTube would give me of QI.  I also watched all of Party Animals which stars a younger Matt Smith and is kind of like the West Wing, but less inspiring and a little sluttier.  So, rating is… Good?  I don’t know, make your own judgment, there’s a really cute scene where Matt Smith dances in one episode, everyone is good looking, and the relationship between the two brothers is remarkably realistic.  It’s also one of those shows where I felt compelled to tell my mom the entire plot and my feelings on the acting after I finished it, which is pretty impressive.


Actually, movies isn’t all that interesting, as there’s not unifying theme, but the fact that I’m watching them at all is exciting, for me at least, and I found a new Audrey Hepburn movie that I really enjoyed.  Watch Charade you guys, it’s on Instant Watch and I actually shouted, “TWIST” four times while watching it.

So, that’s trashy media and what I thought about it.  Or, How to Distract the Thinking Part of Your Brain While you Knit/Paint Your Nails/Do Origami/Listen to Music/Stay Up Too Late.  Don’t worry, I got Freedom by Jonathan Franzen from the library, so, I’m on a path to recovery.  But I’m also planning on seeing Lola Versus sometime this weekend.  So.  Whatever, I’m giving myself a couple months off from caring what society thinks about how smart I am.  Blammo.  Lemon out.

P.S. I am sorry this is so long.  I lied to you up there at the top.

What to do, what to do?

19 Jun

Finding what to do with myself is hard...

Well, friends, here we go.  At some point soon (like, before Friday) I’m going to do a round up of all the claaaaaaaassy reading I’ve been doing, and perhaps all the TV watching (which has been a mite classier, but that might be generous), but I thought I would pop in today and update you on what I have found to be the biggest confusion of post-graduate life, officially one month in:  finding something to do with all the hours in the day.

After thirteen years of public school doing a billion activities at first to learn something and so my mom didn’t murder me (day camp, swimming lessons, golf and tennis camp, ettiquite lessons, girl scouts), then to learn something, get into college, and so I didn’t kill my mom and she still didn’t kill me (drama, forensics, Student Council, NHS, a brief stint in Quiz Bowl), I got into college.  While this was initially a respite (summer camp all year forever!  With other nerds!), after I realized they expected me to work for my knowledge it quickly became even more exhausting, especially since like most students at Wash U I believe I have a minor (second major?) in extracurriculars (concentration: quick, courteous email response despite mounting rage).  I also succeeded in borrowing some of the over-achiever guilt I had avoided for most of my life, so even when I had time off I felt deep waves of guilt if I did anything too frivolous.  This does not mean that I didn’t have fun at school, nor does it indicate that I did not waste so so much time doing dumb stuff (ask me how much television I have seen in my life.  Or over the last four years.  Ask me.), but I felt twinges of guilt that no longer apply to me.  Also, that was on borrowed time, max I could spend three hours in front of the TV watching bad USA shows before I had to go read a billion pages of some lame book about New York (I hope you’re not reading this, Dan, I enjoyed your class, but I believe my final paper addressed this issue).  All of this is to point out the sharp change from then to now.

Now, yes, I work, currently, something along the lines of 9 to 5.  But this work is not the kind of thing you can take home, except in that I live where I work.  Sure, if someone knocks on my door with nail polish on their face confused as to how to get it off I will find my nail polish remover and deal with that, but it’s not like there’s much prep work for taking care of children, as long as you can think of things to do with them and places to go.  Thus, I have unheard of free time.  From 7pm to midnight I have nothing to do.  That’s five hours.  Five hours, people.  Where I have no requirements on my time.  And it.  Is killing me.

As you can see in the various pictures I have taken on the iphone (look up!), I have begun delving into nail art.  I am half way through a scarf I started three days ago.  I have used up almost a whole sheet of postcard stamps and ACTUALLY SENT THE POSTCARDS (if you want some, I have like 100 more postcards, by the way)!  I have baked, I have found mango juice, I have gone out to eat by myself, I have colored, I have made origami bows.  Tomorrow I’m going to rit dye a pair of denim shorts I own purple.  I am blogging!  As you will soon see, I have been reading trashy nonsense voraciously and have devoured movies and television and all the fashion magazines I can find.  It is absurd.

So, that’s my first realization about Being a Grown Up:  you have to find hobbies.  And that is kind of exciting, but also confusing.  I’m not sure how to deal with it yet, but I think trying everything is usually the advice people give.  So, on it!  Anyway, to avoid ending on a hollow sounding epiphany, does anyone want a scarf with some holes in it and uneven stitches?  Because I can totally give that to you.


Kindergarten Graduation

13 Jun

Kindergarten Graduation

Just a photo to prove I’m really alive and who I say I am. I went to Verena’s kindergarten graduation the other day and we celebrated afterwards with a series of amazingly ridiculous faces, you know, as one does after Deeply Important Life Events.

A Babe in Lala Land Explains

12 Jun

Hello all, 

I just thought I would take a moment to state my purpose before I embark on what is sure to be a beautiful and hopefully somewhat consistent blog journey.  So, here goes.  As many of you already know, I am a recent graduate with a degree in English literature with a minor in French.  I have decided to fully capitalize on those concentrations by becoming an au pair in Orange County, California for two girls ages ten and five.  I want this blog to be a space for a couple of things related to that.

Thing 1: Ridiculous things happen around children.  My first day here I was asked by a random child to tie their shoe, I have spent extensive amounts of time attempting to bathe someone who will only interact with my by barking and will not stand on two human feet, I am becoming both of my parents in equal measure super quickly, I have learned the entire plot of at least four separate Barbie movies.  I want to share these moments with you, the moments when I realize that I am out of my depth, or I need someone to share a moment but I cannot effectively text it.

Thing 2: As a literature student, I’m getting to read for the first time in many years the books that I actually want to read, and since I feel self-important for having conquered four years of literature classes, I refuse to feel guilty about what I know is trash.  That being said, I am reading a lot, and some of it is actually horrible, while some of it is quietly good.  I want to keep track of these things.  The same can be said of movies, which I have watched more of here than I did my entire time at Wash U.

Thing 3: As a human named Kate, I am devouring television.  I want to keep track of what I watch on some level, and since I can now no longer confront people on a day to day basis with my love for certain television shows so that when they need something to watch they immediately think, “if I watch this Kate will maybe shut up, probably?” I should probably write these things down.  Because I know none of you have watched Jekyll and you really should and I want there to be an archive of this.  

So, that’s basically what I’m trying to do here.  I may also post gross pictures of myself to prove I’m actually still a functional human who wears clothes.  This is also because I sometimes look cool and neither a five-year-old or a ten-year-old are going to realize this for widely divergent reasons (where are the sequins? and why do you look so weird? respectively).  I promise to try not to whine too much or come to emotional epiphanies at the end of each post, because you know what guys, sometimes a dance recital is just a shit show of poorly dancing youth, and not a reflection of all of us as we move through life wearing too much make up and questionable outfits for our body types desperately trying to find our places and watch the teacher for guidance all while being reminded firmly that we should smile and look like we are enjoying ourselves as our guardians watch on.  I promise not to end posts like that.  Mostly.