Tuesday, September 1, 2009

end of summer status report

Hey, bye summer. You will forever be associated with death in my memory, but it's still too bad you were so short. Also, a bit cool. Not a lot of great river tubing weekends. Summer 2009: When Not Bringing Death, Still Disappointing Me with Unfavorable Temperatures!

So where were we. There was that wedding; that happened and was lovely. There is another wedding next weekend, which means another outing for the happy green dress. And TOMORROW. Well, tomorrow is kickball prom. Oh yes. For which I have purchased ANOTHER dress, but I got this one at Ragstock for $12 so it's not quite time for me to join Dress-Fiends Anonymous. This one is red. It has poofy sleeves and there's a bow on the heinie and a bit of a train. It's pretty much the most tasteful thing there ever was, and if you'd like to see it you are cordially invited to come by Painter Park tomorrow night around 7:00. I can't say much about my kickball skills, but in the field of fashion I am about to bring it.

In other upcoming events, the final Uptown Market of the season is on September 20th. This thing has been the happy standout of my summer. I'll admit, when we first started talking about it, I wasn't entirely confident it was really going to happen. But then stuff kept chugging and chugging and we have had one, two, three events now, and people seem to like them and our vendors keep coming back, and when the markets are going on I look around at all the tents up and down the street and think, "Hey! I totally helped to do this!" And later I look at our Flickr stream and it's just this giant giant warm fuzzy. So yeah. That is happening. And we have some big ideas for next year, but regardless of what happens with that, I will forever be so proud of what we've pulled off this summer.

Well anyway, that's the update. And oh, I'm tweeting now, because I was looking for a new way to be obnoxious. So in between posts here, there may be tweets there, and that is how I will bare my life until they invent a way for everyone to post their genome map on the interweb, and then I'll do that and say hey everyone, look at me, me, me.

Monday, August 3, 2009

a remedy, of sorts

I'm pleased to report that I have now purchased a bright green dress with a totally inappropriate neckline, which I will wear to a wedding on Saturday. Thank you, Miranda and Scott, for scheduling a happy occasion. It is much needed.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

a statement re: death, funerals, attire

A few months ago I bought a black dress with a modest, funeral-appropriate neckline, knowing that I would need it and that when the time came I probably wouldn't feel like shopping. And yes, I have needed it, along with the modest, funeral-appropriate blouse ("blouse," eww) I also bought when I realized that these things sometimes involve visitations the night before. And on Tuesday I will need it again, and woe is me, whine whine whine, I guess the events themselves should help me keep things in perspective in regard to my depression about having attended so many.

I was thinking the other day about all the sad/lovely things that accompany losing someone and making peace with that. Wearing of their jewelry. Having dreams in which you're talking to them, and they're well and lucid and calm. Waking up and feeling comforted despite the lump in your throat.

At my grandma's service in California last weekend (a non-traditional affair, delayed to allow people to make travel plans), my aunt brought this goofy headband with pinwheels on springs, which she then made someone wear when she had a hard time getting through her speech. And it helped. Sad and lovely.

Everyone is in agreement that hospice is wonderful, or mostly wonderful, until the waiting drives you crazy and you just want it to be over, except you don't really want it to be over. But these places have well-appointed libraries. And, if you're lucky, a slide-top freezer with an excellent selection of ice cream novelties. If you weren't there for the reason you were there, it would be an awesome place to hang out.

In the past I have made attempts to rehabilitate clothing that has become associated with bad things; e.g. "This is the sweater I was wearing when I got dumped, and I'm going to wear it to the party on Friday because I'll have fun there, and then this sweater will no longer only remind me of getting dumped." But I think the funeral dress will always remain the funeral dress. It's not like I have many other occasions in my life that call for a dress that dull, which is a good thing I suppose.

But the funeral dress is short-sleeved, so nobody fucking die in winter, okay? Or at all, for that matter. Everyone eat veggies and quit smoking, seriously, thanks. I'm getting a little too practiced at all of this.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

in which things suck

Hey, guess what. My other grandma died last week. Also, on Tuesday I rear-ended a guy on Nicollet. A nice old veteran. So yeah, not the best week of my life.

Friday, June 5, 2009


There is a plan, you guys. There is a plan in the works to go on an adorable little Midwestern getaway. With a BOY. Well, a man. If I took a boy over state lines for this gig, I believe that would be a federal offense.

But anyway. Ummm... there is gonna be a CABIN, and a LAKE, and a FIREPLACE, and all kinds of just nauseatingly bucolic stuff. Which I am probably jinxing by writing about. And the lady still needs to send me the address to send the check to, and I will feel much better when that's actually done and the thing is like officially confirmed. I can't relax without being confirmed.

My inability to relax is a key contributor to my need to go on this trip.

Is it slightly smug to be writing about my upcoming mini-vacation with my fellow? Yes. But please remember that another vacation of mine in the not-too-distant past involved sitting on my couch for a week, watching "The Wire," probably eating Doritos. I have paid into the "pathetic loser" bank for quite some time. Now I am making a withdrawal.

Okay, that metaphor doesn't really work like I want it to.

Monday, May 25, 2009

in which I return, am a big downer, try to think of nice things

Oh hai. I’ve been away for a bit. Not like... physically away from the computer or anything, just away from le blog, because it seemed for a while that there was nothing I could write about that would be honest, because frankly a lot of things have been very sad and I didn’t know how much of that I wanted to put in here. And things still are sad, but there are happy things too, and hey it’s like summer now, so why don’t I cheer up a bit.

Sad things: A few months ago my grandma in California was diagnosed with cancer and given a pretty grim prognosis. Very shortly after that, my grandma in South Dakota was also diagnosed with cancer, and I don’t even know if they bothered to give her a prognosis because by the time they found it it was everywhere and she died pretty quickly after that. On the 15th, specifically. So there’s that. And there were actually a lot of things that were very okay about it. She didn’t seem to mind that much; she had Alzheimer’s and this came at a time when she was still mostly herself, but aware of the fact that soon she wouldn’t be, and my grandpa died nine years ago, so I think she felt this was a fine time to go. I hope that when it’s my turn I will be similarly pulled together.

I went back to work last Thursday and managed to be pretty okay with the saying hi to everyone and opening the nice card they gave me. But then our VP stopped by to say he was sorry, and added, “Grandmas are important,” and I almost bawled right in front of him, because yeah, they are. That sums it up nicely.

Okay, but other things, happy things, let’s make a list:
1. Brendan was named a Pulitzer finalist. And also won some fancy-pants award from Columbia. This is a happy thing in that a) I know him and I like to brag about it, b) it’s wonderful for him, obviously, and should help him go places at a time when journalists are finding that hard to do, and c) should he ever write me a letter of recommendation, my letter will SO beat any competitor’s. SUCK IT, THEORETICAL COMPETITORS.

2. My friend Roxie is starting an art fair/farmer’s market Uptown; I and a posse of helpers have been pitching in, and it’s looking like this thing is actually going to happen. We’ve been working with city hall and the neighborhood boards and it’s all official-like. We’re still taking vendors, and we’ll need volunteers, and we’ll need people to come and actually shop at this thing, so put it on your calendars, y’all. The first one is on Father’s Day, you can totally bring your dad and then go have a few beers at the Herkimer, YOUR DAD WILL LOVE IT.

3. Kickball starts this week.

4. It’s nice out.

5. I still have a job.

6. Hey, this is probably obnoxious to announce on my blog, but I totally started dating this guy in December and he’s totally my boyfriend. And today we assembled an Ikea bookshelf in under two hours, and that goes on the list of happy things. And so does he. He can juggle and stuff. He’s very talented. WHAT. SHUT UP.

7. My brother finished school. If anyone knows of any guitar repair/luthier job openings, he would love to know about it.

8. I made an awesome pasta salad yesterday.

Obviously, I’m supposed to be writing something else right now. I am clearly incompetent at the aforementioned job that I still have. Anyway, I’m back and stuff.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Oh, so kind! Except not.

Two emails I received today from the doctor's office:

from: Obstetrics & Gynecology Specialist's [Clearly not specialists in grammar- Ed.]
date: Thu, Mar 5, 2009 at 2:56 PM
subject: Loss of Insurance - Preventative visit offer

Dear Valued Patient,
Working in partnership with our patients has always been part of our mission. In these difficult economic times, the need for that partnership is even more apparent. Obstetrics and Gynecology Specialists is taking a step to acknowledge the current state of our economy and increasing numbers of uninsured women. For 2009, Obstetrics and Gynecology Specialists will be offering a low-cost preventive GYN visit to current established patients who have lost their insurance coverage. Our physicians have agreed to donate the entire cost of their visit fee. Women will receive a free pap smear and other preventive labs at a reduced fee. We are pleased to be able to take this step in helping our patients stay up to date with their important preventive care. Preserving health through prevention is a cornerstone of our practice. Please call our Edina office at xxx.xxx.xxxx or our Burnsville office at xxx.xxx.xxxx for more information.

Yours Sincerely,
Obstetrics and Gynecology Specialists

"Well, that's awfully nice of them," I thought. "I still have insurance, but good to know." Fifteen minutes later, I received the following:

from: Obstetrics & Gynecology Specialist's
date: Thu, Mar 5, 2009 at 3:11 PM
subject: Recall: Loss of Insurance - Preventative visit offer

Obstetrics & Gynecology Specialist's would like to recall the message, "Loss of Insurance - Preventative visit offer".

This is the same doctor's office that sent me the results of my last pap smear in a letter that said - and I don't remember exactly, but it was short so this is really close -

Dear Kate:
Your pap smear was abnormal. It is not cancerous or precancerous.

Dr. So-and-so

I am less and less confident in this doctor's office.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

La Cocina

New rule: No more printing off recipes I see in blogs until I actually make, umm... 10. That seems like a good number, considering I have a binder at home with at least 100 things I've clipped out or printed because they looked amazing- but apparently not amazing enough for me to actually get off my duff and make. Rainbow cake was a big exception, because that thing pretty much demands to be made. I mean, how could you not? Recently, I have added to the bulging pile o'recipes with this, this, and this.

It's pretty much all Jess's fault for getting me started down the addictive path of food-blog reading. Thanks a lot, jerk.

Something that I've noticed in all the blog- and NY Times-reading is that the authorities are very encouraging, regardless of the space or tools you have to work with. Well, I guess I mostly mean Mark Bittman, whose How to Cook Everything Vegetarian is the biggest baddest food reference I have in my teeny internet-less apartment. But also, when I sat in on Judy's cooking lesson for Brendan, she was very easygoing about technique and tools. It's heartening for me because this is my kitchen:

Now, I took this picture before I painted and moved in, so it's not quite that bleak anymore, but you can see what I have to work with in cabinet space. No room for a stand mixer here. But I do what I can. Sometimes. When I'm not lazy. So, not often. But sometimes.

Whatever. You know what I mean.

Monday, January 26, 2009

and another thing

Also, I made a rainbow cake this weekend, and it was awesome.

"Residences of uncompromising luxury."

Back when 100 Beacon was my college dorm, our shower had this weird metal wrap thing around the bottom which was of course rusty and one day I stepped on a piece of it that had flaked off and it punctured my foot and I had to consider if I should get a tetanus shot; also, the faucets had separate spouts for hot and cold water and the place was generally just kind of run-down and mouse infested, and, while conveniently located, was certainly not the lap of luxury.

My, how things have changed.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Shrimp is the fruit of the sea.

There's a nice article in the Times today about a new cookbook by Judy Walker, the food editor of the Times-Picayune. I was lucky enough to have dinner at Judy's house when I visited New Orleans in November, as I tagged along with Brendan and his coworker/roommate Chris for the cooking lesson she gave them. It was a major highlight of the trip- we made shrimp remoulade, seafood gumbo, and bread pudding. Then I died of happiness.

So what I'm trying to say is that this is probably a pretty good cookbook.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

God frowns on marrying dogs. I know this for a fact; a Catholic priest told me.

I went to a wedding this weekend, and, despite a horrifying ceremony during which the priest referenced marrying a dog, it was totally redeemed by the lovely reception at the James J. Hill Library.

Aww, books are romantic.

Also, there was a Beatles cover band. And I don't care if you're one of those hip hipsters who is too cool for cover bands; let me tell you this: Everybody loves a Beatles cover band. Especially when the band tries as hard for authenticity as these guys did. See, they played the first set like this:

And the second like this:

Dedication. An excellent quality in a cover band. Also a marriage, I suppose, so huzzah for the happy couple whom I do not know. Sorry I called your ceremony horrifying.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Papashoe.com: Are you trying to make my head explode?

This is the part where I post a rant about an ongoing bad experience I'm having with an Amazon seller. It's probably not interesting to most people, unless you get all self-righteous like I do when a retailer has done you wrong. So, you've been warned.

from: Kate
to: support@papashoe.com
date: Wed, Dec 17, 2008 at 11:07 AM
subject: Order/shipping status #xxxxx

I wanted to check the status of my order (number pasted below). Amazon is listing this as an open order still, and I'd like to be sure it arrives in time for Christmas.


Order Placed: December 15, 2008
Amazon.com order number: xxxxxx
Seller's order number: xxxxx
Order Total: $34.01

from: Support
to: Kate
date: Thu, Dec 18, 2008 at 3:48 AM
subject: Re: Order/shipping status #xxxxx

Valued Customer,
It will be a close delivery around the time of Christmas. If there are any problems, I will let you know.

Season's Greetings,

from: Kate
to: Support
date: Thu, Dec 18, 2008 at 10:51 AM
subject: Re: Order/shipping status #xxxxx

Hello again,
Hate to be a bother, but I just need to clarify. By "around the time of Christmas," you mean "before Christmas," correct?

Your information on Amazon states "Our goal is to DELIVER all products within 5 business days of payment, coast to coast. If for some reason a product goes out late, we will pay for expedited shipping to get you your product within 5 business days (at absolutely no extra charge to you!)."

So, even if we're not counting Monday the 15th, when I placed the order, 5 business days would mean delivery on Monday the 22nd. I really need to know specifically when the package will arrive.

Thanks for your help,

from: Support
to: Kate
date: Thu, Dec 18, 2008 at 10:19 PM
subject: Re: Order/shipping status #xxxxx

Valued Customer,
Your order has been shipped. However, we are encountering a glitch with our tracking numbers so they will arrive at a later date. Please do not worry, though. They will be at your door before Christmas.

Thank you for your business,

from: Kate
to: Support
date: Mon, Dec 22, 2008 at 4:27 PM
subject: Re: Order/shipping status #xxxxx

I've just checked the tracking for this package (FedEx #: xxxxxxxxxx), and the estimated delivery date is December 29.

Please read through the email chain below to review our previous communications. I hope you understand that this situation is completely unacceptable. Not only has your company not lived up to its "delivery in 5 days" policy, but I have been lied to by your customer service and now will not have a Christmas gift for my dad.

There is one acceptable solution to this problem: If you can overnight a new shipment to the same address to arrive by the 24th, I will be satisfied. If not, you can certainly expect to hear about it on your Amazon site as well as on Consumerist.com.

This is especially upsetting to me given the way your represent yourselves on your site as dedicated to customers and giving "5 star service." I think you can agree that that is not what I've received, and I certainly do not feel like a "Valued Customer."

Please contact me to let me know how you plan to resolve this problem. My phone number is 612.xxx.xxxx if you have any questions.


Not confident that the fine staff at Papashoe would resolve this matter in time, I called them the next morning and finally reached a sane person by the name of Dan, who actually seemed to grasp the bad-ness of the situation. Dan refunded my money and told me when the shirt arrived we should just keep it. Nice, right? I was mollified, and by that I mean that my opinion of this company improved from "suck suck suck" to "neutral."

So I left them Amazon feedback to that effect:

3 out of 5 stars
The copy on the seller profile that states they will deliver products within 5 days is simply not true. Email support was vague at best and dishonest at worst. I'd been told I'd receive my package before Christmas, but it didn't arrive until the 30th. However, the person I reached on the phone was polite and apologetic, and gave me the order for free.
Date: 1/7/2009
Rated by Buyer: Kate

Fair and honest, yes? Well, I'm a mean meanypants now, according to the email I just received:

from: Support
to: Kate
date: Sat, Jan 10, 2009 at 4:31 AM
subject: our request for a removal

Valued Customer,
Since we have given you this item for free to show you how sorry we are. We think that it is also fair that we ask you to remove your neutral feedback at the very least. Neutral feedback now affects us as adversely as the negative one does.

Thank you for your understanding,

Uhh... well, Papashoe, I'm sorry that you were adversely affected by my feedback. But I was adversely affected by your ineptitude, and I thought other people should know that. That is how feedback works. And despite the recent trend of feedback bribery and manipulation by sellers like you, people still rely on it to let them know if a company is reputable. Which is why feedback manipulation is against the terms of your seller agreement with Amazon. Which is why I forwarded them this email and reported you.

My dad better love the crap out of that shirt.