Category Archives: blog

stolen day.

Last Thursday, I got up at the should-be-outlawed hour of 4 a.m. and went downtown to catch a bus. Some of Phil’s family were in Seattle for a few days before shipping out to Alaska on a cruise, and I went up for a whirlwind day of sightseeing and family time. I’ve been to Seattle just twice before, so I don’t know it very well. This time, though, I was playing impromptu host and tour guide, so I did my research and had a fistful of maps and bus schedules.

My weather app said it would be cloudy and drizzly all day, but Seattle saw us coming and decided to be gracious. It was a perfect 70 degrees, brightly sunny and a little windy – an ideal day to spend in a beautiful seaside city. There were two things I for sure, absolutely, wanted to take us to see: Pike Place Market and the Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum by the Space Needle.

Pike Place Market is a feast for the senses, and shouldn’t be missed. It’s old, it’s packed with people, it’s noisy, it smells of fish, and it’s utterly magical. Stalls with rows and rows of flowers, strange and wonderful produce, enormous glittering seafood in frosty piles of ice, steep and twisting cobblestone alleys, and sudden, glorious views of the ocean. I’m always happy to wander there for hours, and we did. We spent most of the morning soaking up the sights, and wrapped up with a happy hour or so with some local beer and wine at The Alibi Room.

After that, we were off to the Space Needle. Again, I’d seen it before, but I’d never been up to the Observation Deck. This time, we took that trip and soaked up the incredible 360 degree views of the city and the bay. It was a bit windy up there, but completely worth it. It was so clear, and we could see for miles. Beautiful and exhilarating.

The Chihuly Garden was the star of the show, though, without question. Exhibits covered Dale Chihuly’s complete career from early work in woven blankets and freeform glass bowls to his elaborate, twisting contemporary glass sculptures. We all took dozens and dozens of pictures (our phone batteries died early in the afternoon), but no matter how good they are, they can’t entirely capture how alive these sculptures are, and how perfectly attuned to their settings. I’m still dribbling pictures onto Instagram, and will probably continue for weeks. I’m so glad I got to see it.

In the evening, it was back to Pike Place for cups of clam chowder, eaten in contented silence while we watched the boats in the bay. I was on the bus back to Portland by 7:30, and by the time I got to work the next morning it felt like a stolen day in Neverland. Which is a pretty good result for a day’s outing, I’d say.

blaugust #31: the last day.

What I want to put here is the >It’s over!< picture from the end of Teen Girl Squad, but that belongs to so just go see it there. Ok.

Here we are, Blaugustinians, August 31. We made it! There have been a couple of days when I complained mightily, but this has been a really great month for me. I’ve had some good interactions, found some new friends on Twitter, and gotten to know some existing friends better through reading their blogs.

I’ve set myself daily posting challenges before, but this is the first time I’ve ever participated in a group challenge. The sense of community has been wonderful, cheering each other on through the days when it felt hard, and digging into a conversation when we had things to say. I’ve enjoyed it, and I’ve been inspired by how many people participated. Big thanks to Belghast for sponsoring Blaugust, managing it, and encouraging us along the way! That’s a huge task, and I’m grateful to have been a part of this.

I’ve had this blog for several years, but there are times when I let it sit idle for long stretches. There’s a funny thing about a dry spell in writing, for me: I feel like I lose my voice. It’s not that I get writer’s block, but when I sit down to write, I don’t sound like myself. This mostly has to do with me being a shy person. Over the years, I learned to cope with that by becoming a pretty adept social mimic. It’s a useful skill, but also one that can feel fundamentally dishonest, and I’ve been trying in recent years to do without it. But it’s hard to turn off a coping mechanism that I’ve used for so long with such versatility, and it creeps back in the subtlest of ways. Like the way I write. If I haven’t been writing for a while, my voice will absorb and reflect whatever I’ve been consuming lately – an author I’ve been reading, or a tv series I’ve just marathoned, or a group I follow on Twitter. It takes a little while to shake that out and hear my own voice again. It takes a while to think of what I really want to talk about, and longer to talk about it on my own terms. This gets much, much easier when I’m writing frequently. So even when it feels like a huge obligation in the day (and I’m not going to lie to you, there have been several days this month that felt that way), it’s a good practice for me to have. I’ve never aspired to being a post-a-day blogger, but after this month, I’m feeling much more comfortable with just posting something without over-analyzing it.

When the month started, I had great plans for reading at least five other Blaugust posts a day and commenting on at least one. There, I haven’t done so well. There are several blogs I’ve followed and come to really appreciate, but I have come nowhere near reading them every day, and I’ve definitely not commented once a day. I have done a lot of liking, and some retweeting, but I feel like I’ve been the recipient of more post interaction than I’ve done. Thank you to everyone who’s commented here, or started a conversation on Twitter, or used the like button on Anook – I’m grateful to all of you, and I look forward to following you as we carry on past Blaugust.

Great work, everybody! I’ll see you on the internet.

(This is my 31st and final post of the Blaugust daily blogging initative.)

blaugust #29: pluviophile.

I woke up this morning to the sound and smell of rain. That probably, doesn’t sound unusual, given that I live in Portland, OR. During the summer months, though, it doesn’t rain here. Ever. At all. It doesn’t cloud over for an afternoon. There is no overcast. We have three months of searing, unrelenting bright skies and sunshine. It’s great for agriculture, generally speaking. Nine months of rain, and three months of sunshine, and everything grows and blooms.

I’m a person who needs rain, however. A long stretch of bright days without the relief of softened light, and I start to feel disoriented. This summer has been particularly hot, and it’s felt like it would go on forever. A grey Saturday morning, with the smell of petrichor and a damp breeze coming in the window, is a great gift. The coffee is on, the windows are open, and I’m going to enjoy it.

(This is my 29th daily post for the Blaugust initiative.)

blaugust #28: face off.

Perfect glasses.

Perfect glasses.

I need new glasses. I’ve needed new glasses for almost a year now, but a hairline fracture has started in the right lens of these and it’s forcing the issue. This past week, I’ve spent a lot of time on glasses websites shopping for the right new pair. I thought that would be fun, but damned if it isn’t a little bit upsetting.


Too green

Too green

I’ve had my current glasses for at least six years; maybe longer. When I got them, they were a backup for contact lenses so I wouldn’t have to travel with lens paraphernalia, and just generally to have a simpler option. They are so perfect for me that I switched to wearing them pretty exclusively almost immediately. I still have one unworn set of disposable contacts in the medicine cabinet – probably expired by now.



This pair of glasses arrived in my life at a time when a lot of pieces of the way I present myself kind of all came together. I started dyeing my hair crazy colors and cutting it in the early version of the wedge bob I have now. I finally figured out that short skirts and cardigan sweaters were far more flattering on my body than the long hippie skirts and giant sweaters I’d been wearing for years. And I got these sexy, dark red glasses with the narrow lenses and the scrollwork pattern on the arms. They suited me perfectly, and I felt the most like myself – the most right in my clothes and my hair and my body – that I’d ever felt in my life. Peak Kateri, basically. So yeah, I love these glasses.

Good red, but too big.

Good red, but too big.

Adding to my distress over this process is the fact that when I got my current pair of glasses, it was pretty much a 30-second process. I spotted them from halfway across the room, I tried them on, they were perfect, DONE. I kind of assumed it would be similar this time around. I thought to myself, yes, these were fantastic, but it’s time to move on and there will be another fantastic pair of glasses. A lateral move to Peak Kateri, continued. Alas, not so. My options are limited because my insurance doesn’t cover eye care, so I’m trying to stick to a narrow window of providers. I’m about to struggle through a third home try-on of things that I know before they even arrive are not quite right. I am trying some that I know are too narrow because they’re a good color. And one in a good color that doesn’t come in the right shape.

These weird two-color ones are kind of growing on me.

These weird two-color ones are kind of growing on me.

I know I’ll find a good pair eventually, and then I won’t think about it again for another six or seven years. But in the meantime, I’m surprised to find how much of a difference it makes to the way I see myself – looking at my face in the wrong glasses. Probably they don’t look all that other eyes (except for that one giant owl-eyed pair), but wow, it makes a difference to me.

blaugust #25: #365kateris

photo (44)

A few weeks ago I posted a bit of a rant about realizing I’ve been feeling uncomfortable with myself. On the heels of that, I decided to embark on a year-long daily self portrait project. I chose today to begin because it’s my birthday and that seems like the ideal time to begin a period of self-reflection. It’s also a good, unforgettable marker. I don’t have any rules for myself other than to post one a day. They may all be my face; they may not. For today, I decided to start by looking at my face in a place where I spend a lot of neutral time: waiting for a train. When I take pictures of myself, they’re always attempting to convey something. This time, I’ve tried to just look at my own face as other commuters probably see it. 42, waiting for the train after a pretty good day at work.

I’m curious to see where this leads me, and looking forward to seeing them pile up. I’m going to post these on Instagram, and they’ll be tagged #365kateris. The finished project will be collated on this website at the end of the year.

(This is the 25th day of the Blaugust daily blogging initiative.)