Category Archives: life

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

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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.)

blaugust #24: home improvement.

2015-08-24 15.33.57I posted something earlier today, but as it’s a business post I’m not counting it for Blaugust. Which meant that this afternoon I looked up and realized I needed a plan for today’s entry. I turned to a project I’ve been meaning to do for months.

My bedside lamp is a beautiful, graceful bust of a woman atop a column. It’s a faintly greeny yellow, with slight crazing in the paint. It’s absolutely lovely, and it deserves a much nicer shade than the plain one I stuck on it when I bought it. There’s a fabric I’ve had in mind to use for covering it, in a modern geometric print that echoes the chartreuse of the base and adds punches of black and aqua. So that’s what I did this afternoon.

2015-08-24 16.18.01First, I measured the shade and cut a piece of fabric to fit. Then I used a spray adhesive to coat the shade, and rolled it onto the fabric, smoothing it as I went. A quick trim of the edges, and then I tacked them down over the top and bottom edges of the shade with a hot glue gun. I also folded the fabric over at the seam where it met, and then glued that down as well. Ta da, lampshade! Now that it’s done, I’m acutely aware that this shade isn’t big enough for the lamp, but it’s all I could find that had the old fashioned grip-wires that grab the bulb. I’m also not entirely sold on this particular fabric for this lamp, although I really like the contrast between old-fashioned base and modern shade. This was really easy to do, though, so I’ll live with it for a while and if I find a better shade I can do it again.

(This is my 24th daily post for Blaugust.)


Goblin Charms


There’s a new project afoot in my studio. I’ve unearthed my treasured hoard of “this is the last one” beads and I’m doing something special with them in a new collection of jewelry I’m calling Goblin Charms. Each Goblin Charms piece is unique, and I’m selling this collection only via Instagram and Twitter. They’re literally one of a kind, and made in collaboration with my partner, Phil. When you buy a Goblin Charm, you’ll get a piece of jewelry designed and made by me, in a package with artwork made by Phil.

I believe that jewelry tells a story. When I make things, I’m imagining the person who will wear them, the story that this bracelet or that pair of earrings tells, the story that it will be become part of with a new owner. This new collection has a part of my story in it, as well.

Wear your story, and mine.

valentinesThis is a goblin love story. Fittingly, it starts deep beneath the earth, in a dark cavern veined with hidden treasure. Well, almost. Actually, it starts on the internet. Phil and I met on Twitter. We’re not 100% certain how we actually found each other, but it quickly became apparent that we both love books, extremely dreary weather, Spaceballs, inappropriate jokes, China Mieville, and making things with our hands. After some time, it also became apparent that we love each other. But PLOT TWIST! He lives in Yorkshire, England. I live in Portland, OR. We get to visit a couple of times a year, and we are very grateful to Google Hangouts for letting us be together in our virtual country. But we are in love, and we want to live together.

How are we going to do that, you wonder? We’re glad you asked. It’s a good story. I’m going to move to England. Patience is not my strong suit, and I may have already packed some stuff. But before this can really happen, I need to apply for a visa and we need to save enough money to pay for the visa, a plane ticket, and moving. As I said, we like making things. Phil codes ingenious tools and draws pen and ink monsters. I make jewelry. We’ve decided to make something together to help us reach our goal.

goblin with a ear rings and glassesFor a long time, I’ve been hanging onto a collection of rare vintage Lucite and glass beads. I’ve always meant to curate them into shadowboxes and have a permanent display, but somehow they’ve just stayed jumbled in a box. The truth is that I enjoy making things with beads more than I enjoy just hoarding them to look at. They should go out into the world and live their story there, even if it means they are lost or destroyed or lose their lustre. Beautiful things are meant to be seen and handled, meant to express themselves. I got the box out, and I started making one of a kind pieces of jewelry with these last precious works of art, and so Goblin Charms came to be. As I’m releasing a jewel hoard out into the daylight, I thought goblins were the perfect mascot. Phil draws excellent goblins, and he made a logo for us to use on packaging. Then he drew a small army of goblins festooned in jewelry just for good measure. This stripey lady just above with the John Lennon glasses is my favorite.

The money from each Goblin Charm sale goes straight into our savings account towards the day when we can live together. We are so grateful for our friends all over the world who have been watching our story and wishing us well. From the bottom of our goblin hearts, thank you. Your support means the world to us.


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blaugust #20: too many.

Dear Reader, oof.

I did not anticipate this one month challenge being so difficult. Normally when I have trouble sticking to a one-a-day thing, it’s because I run out of things to say, but that’s not the trouble this time around. My struggle at the moment is not having nothing to write about, but not having long enough to do the posts I want to do properly. I threw my hat into the Blaugust ring with more than a dozen posts in mind, and some rough ideas for the rest. It seemed so very doable.


It’s been busier than I anticipated. This has been great, because it’s all good stuff. And it’s been great, because it’s shown me that there are a couple of taps I need to turn off for a month or so in order to regroup and recharge. All of which is to say that I am once again not able to do the post I had in mind for today, and have to stick this extremely dull pin in just here to hold its place.

The next few days will be more relaxed, so I will go ahead and make a promise: tomorrow I’ll write about Murder She Drank, a Murder She Wrote bingo/drinking game that I’ve been participating in for almost two years. It’s one of my favorite things in my life, and every month our band of online bingo-ers grows. Our next event is coming up on Sunday night, so I’ll have details here as well as some of our funnier highlights.

Yoda out.