Thursday, September 18, 2014

Music: Shakey Graves

If you need a little funky, hand-clapping soul in your life (and who doesn't?)....

Then this is the song for you. My friend Carrie posted about Shakey Graves on Facebook a couple months ago, and I was immediately hooked. In fact, we bought tickets that same day to his show in San Francisco in November. (Stoked!)

Fun fact about this artist (real-life name: Alejandro Rose-Garcia): He dabbles in acting as well. If you've ever watched Friday Night Lights, he appeared as Julie's lifeguard fling, aka The Swede. (Remember him?) (Also, Julie is the worrrrrst.)

Anyway his music shakes up my soul and makes me want to shake my hips accordingly. Never a bad thing. In his own words, it's "simple, jaunty, 50s to 70s country music."

For this song he pairs with a female vocalist, Esme Patterson. I love this video -- they look like they're having a little party on stage. I'm into it. (Maybe he'll let me come on stage in San Francisco and sing with him? C'mon, The Swede! Fingers crossed!)


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Yosemite + Arizona


Note: Yosemite is not in Arizona.

But that water tower is. I **do** know enough about geography to know those little facts. But, I did go to both of those places in the last week so they are sharing a post. Because.....because.

I had a week off between roles at work because of contract stuff and orientation timing, so I first went to the great outdoors with a few friends, and then I went to AZ to see the ol' fam. I hadn't been home in 6 months, and I won't be home again til Christmas (DO YOU KNOW HOW CLOSE CHRISTMAS IS BUT FIRST LET'S THINK ABOUT OCTOBER ALMOST BEING HERE BECAUSE OMGOSH I LOVE ME SOME OCTOBER) (is September like October Eve? I think it is)

....I had an outburst. The point is, here's a few random pics from Yosemite (not pictured: my pained body when I hiked 5 miles up a mountain and regretted it severely because my groin is **still** injured) and a couple photos from AZ, namely: bonding with my nephew, my favorite gas station (it should be your favorite too) (it's more than a gas station. it's a way of life.) (IT'S A WAY OF LIFE. outburst again.) and a picture of the paint-by-number wolf I painted over the weekend.

Note: I am now obsessed with paint-by-numbers. #artistic #andstuff








Tuesday, September 2, 2014

finally goodbye // sweet, blessed, you


you slipped easily into my life
as easily as you slipped into the room
that first time i saw you
when i openly stared
and you glanced back
and my cheeks flushed
eyelids dropped
and my gaze hit the floor
but i couldn't peel my mind away from the view
sweet, blessed, view
of sweet, blessed, you

what it really comes down to
is that, you were foreign territory
but,
on my porch, after the first date
when we let go of the first hug
the way your hand lingered briefly on my shoulder blade
felt totally and completely familiar

and there are a million things i could say
but mostly the only words that seem to make sense,
are the ones that form around the sound of your fingers on guitar strings
and the look on your face when you started a song that you knew i'd love
and the way the look on my face felt when i recognized it
the way i felt my eyes crinkle
and my lips tipped upward, full and happy
and right then, i fell for you
i finally let myself fall for you
so much, irreversibly, in it up to my collar bones
with the head and shoulders whispering they'd soon follow suit
and oh, oh, did they ever
sweet, blessed, did they ever

and mostly
it's just a pervasive, thrumming feeling
that i'd like nothing more than to fit the curve of my body
to the path of your rib cage and the crook of your hip
and let you whisper goodnight stories
while my breaths deepen
and my eyelids get heavy
with the weight of every new, shared piece of you

and then there was the look of you
leaning over my bookcase
thumbing through my pages
tilting your head to read my titles
it felt like you were skimming the corners of my soul

and in that dark street
with my head tipped back to look you in the face
that part where i didn't break eye contact
and neither did you
i wish you could see yourself the way i saw you, right then
you had the ocean in your eyes
and desert sand in the warm lines around them
you looked like home
sweet, blessed, home

and that part where you crossed the room
to give me your blanket
when i hadn't even asked
just to make sure i wasn't cold
and you squeezed my shoulder as you tucked me in
i felt the imprint of your hand on my arm for days
and, technically, then, i wasn't yours
but in a million growing ways, i knew i somehow still was

and i don't think i could have stopped myself if i tried
when the sight of you climbing out of the car
in your simple gray t-shirt
loosed an audible sigh from my lips
and made my breath stop cold in my throat
there's just always something about you that moves me
and gray is my favorite color, you know
i know you know

and that one early morning
with you
and me, my scarf and marshmallow coat
with the icy air and the sun melting up and over the horizon
and the ebbs and flows of the swells in our easy conversation
and our easy silence
our quiet feet creeping along the path
with the faint sounds of lilting music from a nearby window
i don't know, there was just something
about hearing you talk about living your passion
sweet, blessed, passion
that made me want to live it with you too

but,
here's the thing....
you didn't want me
....and that's the whole thing

so i watched that movie
the one you said we'd watch together
and i made plans to visit that place
the one you made me promise i wouldn't explore without you
and i bought tickets to a show
our show
two shows
and i guess that felt sort of spiteful
but also sort of like healing
and i think i needed a little of both

and it'd been days, weeks
months, soon
when you squeezed my shoulder in passing
two days before a brief, unexpected email
almost so casual you'd think nothing had happened
and no time had passed
and i felt the familiar imprint of your simple touch
and i fell into your simple words
for just a second
until
my gut clenched
and breathing took reminding
and i wanted to pound my fists on the wall
and yell at the universe
to pleaseandthankyou remove your touch from my skin
and relay my unwritten reply
which i'm sorry, but it was
"leave me the hell alone"

it was your birthday.
and i would tell you that i remembered
but i won't.
because mostly, i hate that the day was yours.
i hated that it meant i was thinking about you.
not that i didn't, every other day,
but still.
you had no right to my thoughts.
you had no right to that day.
you had no right.
you have no right.

so then my heart went to someone else, you know.
yours did, so i followed suit.
and you were just a smudge on my mind, for awhile there

but then
oh
but then

my heart was back on the market
and soon, so were you
and i could feel you around the corner
so i dug in my heels
and pushed back with leaden hands

because
not this hurt again
please not this one again

but then we were face to face
and i wondered, in that moment
if all the things i told myself
about how someone else could be enough
and that you didn't need to be my someone
i wondered
as my smile cracked my face in half
and that old familiar electricity crackled from my skin and eyes

i wondered if, yes, this could be hurt again
or possibly hope again
sweet, blessed, hope,  finally, again

i wondered, i did
i took a step back in your direction
briefly
but just briefly

because then
oh, sweet, blessed, then
as quickly as it stole in
it was gone
simply, gone
and i was free
finally, free
like a weight off my chest
and all it took was a little truth
and some open eyes
and a healthy dose of realization
along with the details of the whole story

to finally peel your name from all my scattered thoughts
tear it from the walls, pull it from the backs of drawers
ease it from the cracks, crevices and under-the-beds
and give it away
relax my grip, and give it away

and to finally know that i don't need you
to finally know it
and finally mean it
that i don't want you back
that i finally don't want you back
and never will again

sweet, blessed, never will again

Monday, August 25, 2014

The Things I Do


There are multiple times every day when I stop and think about the random little habits I have, or my shopping/hygiene routines, or a funny story that happens, and I think "I should blog about that." And then I inevitably forget to. So today I thought, maybe I will just ramble whatever things I can think about, all at once.

So I made a list. And it is in lowercase letters (vintage throwback! I think I did all-lowercase for a good 2/6 of my blogging years) and I'm not sure why but it just is.

Oh, btdubs, I found out why I've had a "pulled groin" for the last six weeks....because it isn't a pulled groin! It's Iliopsoas Bursitis. (In plain terms: the bursa (little water-balloon-like sac of fluid) in my iliopsoas (groin/hip muscle) has bursitis (swelling/inflammation/tenderness/general badness).) Translation: Girl can't run (or play frisbee, wahhhhhahhhh) for awhile, and if it doesn't get better I'll be turning to acupuncture or steroids. Bother! But at least I have an answer.

OK now the aforementioned lowercase list. I do....

  • wash my hair only twice a week. sometimes three, if something like ocean-sand or extra-sweat happens to it. i've been letting my hair run its own show lately...and the show is wavy/frizzy/semi-wild with a middle part. i'm not making the decisions here anymore, and my life is easier for it! shrugggzzz.
  • put coconut oil....on everything. does it itch/hurt/seem slightly abnormal? put coconut oil on it. it is to me what windex is to My Big Fat Greek Wedding. ...and if coconut oil won't get the job done, baking soda will.
  • sleep with a white noise maker on. it's the only way to drown out the elephant birds and noisy neighbors. also that one bird that clicks? he needs to go.
  • put two pillowcases on my pillows always, always, always (can't handle one end just hanging open. it doesn't feel right.)
  • sit in my car in parking lots/in my parking space behind my apartment/wherever for longer than one needs to sit in a car, just listening to music or reading stuff on my phone. i did this even before i got a new car, so the new car isn't the appeal....i just like sitting in the warm car, putting off whatever i'm going to do next.
  • buy a good chunk of my clothes on ebay. ("where'd you get that shirt?" "well, it's j.crew/anthro/etc. ....but i got it on ebay.")
  • regularly clean out my closet and donate piles of things to goodwill. frequently convince myself that i can someday achieve "minimalism."
  • wear glitter eyeliner errrrryfrigginday
  • look at puppies on local rescue websites a few times a week and send my roommate emails with the ones i know we absolutely need to have (i'm partial to king charles cavelier spaniels, mini australian shepherds and various poodle mixes)
  • listen to my favorite songs on incessant repeat (sorry not sorry to everyone who follows me on spotify)
  • already plan/dream/ponder what type of Christmas tree i want. it's coming up!!!!
  • absentmindedly leave my keys hanging from our front door knob now and then (luckily there's a screen to hide them, but still, i gotta get a grip on that)
  • browse Tinder late at night for seriously no reason at all. i never meet up with anyone on there. but i do like it when i find someone i actually know in real life and then i can send them flirtatious messages and text them a fake critique of their Tinder profile. so this is my dating life? it counts? yes? i should put coconut oil on it?
  • play hard. concerts, beaching, picnics, camping, kayaking....i'm tan, worn out in a good way, messy-haired (as previously mentioned) and oh-so-happy-and-light.
  • watch a lot of netflix in my downtime, but never make it through a whole season of anything before getting bored. i need a new show to love unconditionally and commit to! stat!
  • daydream a whoooole lot about where i'm going to travel next (the iceland high has worn off! time for new shenanigans!!)
  • perpetually attempt to eat more vegetables and hate it all the time. still trying. uggghhh

So there you go! There's some of the things I do.

Ummmmm amen, now here's some photos from lately!
Note: The sea lion's name is Barnaby Wigglesworth










Friday, August 15, 2014

Job. Job. JOB. JOBBBBB

Celebratory chair spins, because....I'm not going to be unemployed in September!

Two weeks shy of my current contract ending, I'm **more** than happy to report that I accepted a new 12-month contract as a recruiting coordinator via my staffing agency (Adecco)....I'm staying at the Googz!

I am.....relieved.....tired....happy...and...slightly sweaty, probably. Always that last one, you know? It's summer. I wear too many layers. OK let's move on.

A flood of potential job things came at me these last few days, riiiiight when I was pretty sure I was going to lose it if I had to write one more cover letter or face unemployment again in September. I'm fairly the last year of  my career life has given me some serious stress ulcers.

So.....recruiting. What about writing?

So here's my thoughts on this. I spent the last year either freelance writing, or trying to find a full-time writing job. And, if we're being honest, I realized pretty quickly that there are really very few things I want to write about for 40+ hours a week. And, working a creative job full-time can really juice your brain to squishy little pieces.

So when the opportunity came a few months ago to try out my current role in HR, I was like, sure! Mostly because it was at Google, but also because HR has always intrigued me....I just never had the background to get into it, as far as I could tell.

I also had this identity complex about the whole writing thing. When you meet new people, they always ask you your name....and then what you do. And I had a hard time not saying, "I'm Katie, I'm a writer." I felt like I had sold out, and I was worried I'd always feel that way a little bit.

But here I am, 5 months into it, and......I like it a whole lot. I really do. I worried that doing more administrative things all day would bore me after being a full-time writer, but it turned out that I actually loved the straightforward, task-oriented work. And, then I could save my writing for the things I really WANTED to be writing, whether that was freelancing or blogging on this ol' blog, etc.

Also, there's the obvious fact that all my own interviewing and job hunting this past year has given me some valuable empathy that I will gladly use when interacting with job candidates as a recruiter. I think it will feel really good to help people going through everything I just went through.

These reasons are really just bonuses to the fact that I feel legitimately good about trying out this career switch, somewhere down in the part of my gut where the good decisions are made. (So, probably not the part of my gut that told me to eat a bunch of raw tuna at lunch today and follow it up with fruit snacks. Errmmmm.) (OK, that tuna was DELICIOUS.)

So here I go! Who knows what will happen in 12 months? Or after that? You never know. But that's what my adventurous little life is for.......risk and uncertainty, right? Right.

My name is Katie. I work in recruiting. (And....I'm a writer ;)

Monday, August 11, 2014

Our Sacred Little Infinities

"There are infinite numbers between 0 and 1. There's .1 and .12 and .112 and an infinite collection of others. Of course, there is a bigger infinite set of numbers between 0 and 2, or between 0 and a million. Some infinities are bigger than other infinities."
- The Fault in Our Stars


I'm fascinated by -- and a believer in -- the idea that sometimes it's the smallest portions of our lives that end up making the biggest impact. Take relationships, for example....we tend to try and measure them by length.

"We broke up."
"Oh....how long were you together?"

...like you can always measure the bad by the # of days the good occupied. Sometimes true, but not always.

But gosh, this post isn't about dating. It's actually about a weird little apartment in south Scottsdale, Arizona. The one near the zoo and across the street from the strip club.

There is a condo in south Scottsdale that I lived in for three years. It's the last place I lived before leaving for California, and it's seen a lot.....A LOT....of my important life moments and relationships come and go.

But this post isn't about that condo, or those three years. It's about the six months before those three years, just up the street, in a weird little apartment.

It was the first place I moved after college, other than a brief stay at my parents' house right after graduation (during which time I looked for jobs and ate my mom's food.....and watched four or five seasons of Lost on DVD).

This weird little apartment came about randomly one day.

My friend Rebecca (Reebs) called me and said, "Let's go visit Scottsdale." Which turned into....looking at apartments in Scottsdale. Which turned into....signing a lease the next day for an apartment in Scottsdale. What just happened? (I kind of have a thing for making big life decisions with spur-of-the-moment housing decisions. No complaints yet.)

This apartment was overpriced for what we were getting. It had loud neighbors and smelled like cigarette smoke. Things we did not have in this apartment: a microwave, a washer/dryer, a TV, Internet (and neither of us had smart phones at the time, holla 2009).....and also one time there was a naked woman in the hot tub late at night, and a terrifying man lurking in the laundry room.

And I honestly rank this as one of the happiest times of my life.

Those six months were full of much laughter, many late-night chats and In 'n Out french fry runs, endless episodes of Gilmore Girls on a small laptop screen, the one time Reebs locked me outside with my cell phone until I called a boy and asked him out (gosh, I sweat just thinking about that), many random first dates, dancing in the living room at 7am on my birthday to "You Make My Dreams Come True," finally cleaning the entire apartment (let's just say we weren't the cleanest gals around) to 70s disco music, and mannnyyy long discussions about the woeful state of both of our recently graduated, no-idea-what-we-were-doing-with-our-careers-or-anything life situations.

We only lived there for 6 months, before I moved up the street into the aforementioned condo and Reebs ran off to almost-Boston but actually back-to-Gilbert-AZ and then got herself married and ultimately ended up in Washington D.C.

When I think back on this little phase of life, I feel this....REVERENCE...for it. It actually wasn't so much WHAT happened during that angsty time period, but more of what was ABOUT to happen. Because what was about to happen was....everything. My whole life was still ahead of me, none of it had been written yet, and the world was my starry-eyed oyster.

So when I think about that part of my life, I don't really think about the loud neighbors or the lack of Internet and microwave. I mostly just feel like my heart is going to swell out of my chest with nostalgia.

So yeah, it was a small infinity. But also a big one.

Do you have any sacred little life spaces like this one?

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Blessed to Worry, Grateful to Know

If you've asked me about my life lately, I might have any number of joys and complaints to share.


On the complaints front, there's the ever-ongoing job hunt (3.5 weeks to unemployment as my Google temp contract dwindles and the dark circles under my eyes grow in tandem with the calendar date), the stifling temperatures of my AC-less apartment on warmer CA nights, the yapping seagulls and elephant birds that wake me up before the sun every.single.morning., the pulled groin that has ailed me for 3+ weeks....and so on.

I never want to be the type of person who belittles "first-world problems" with anecdotes about sex trafficking in Cambodia and starving children in Ethiopia. Or starving children and sex trafficking in my own city, also. Problems are problems and troubles are troubles, in whatever sphere and scope you experience them.

But, I always appreciate a solid reminder to keep my problems in perspective.

This is probably why I've frequently been accused of reading "depressing literature."

I like the stuff that really tears my heart open and turns my stomach over. I want to read about prison camps during WWII, human trafficking and female genital mutilation happening right now in our modern world, kids in my own area who don't have anything to eat besides the free lunch they get at school. I want to know the real stuff. I want to keep my whining in check. I'm not really into the "pretend it isn't happening" pattern of thought, because it doesn't ultimately make me feel better. So I guess, allowing myself to feel the worst stuff opens me up to feeling better, in the long run, because it lessens my own worry and displaces my personal concern into a more widespread compassion.

I won't pretend to understand the entirety of the conflict happening overseas right now.

I could read all day and still not know which side is right or wrong or what-have-you. It's not my culture, not my conflict, not my history -- so I doubt I can understand it all, identify the right side or draw the correct conclusions, no matter how many articles I read online.

And truthfully, part of me suspects there is no correct conclusion or right side when it comes to wars like these. Because no matter how you slice it, lives are being lost and innocent civilians are bearing the burdens of things they have little control over.

I loved this article I read this morning: Eight Days in Gaza: A Wartime Diary

I don't even know where to start with explaining which parts of it affected me the most. I think what I like best, overall, is how well it humanizes and personalizes what too easily feels like a foreign issue with nameless/faceless people. These are just parents with kids who want to play with their iPads....people in relationships....holidays about to be celebrated....grandmothers obsessively watering houseplants...........who all periodically go without electricity, and sleep in stairwells or local shelters, waking up every day to news about neighbors and family members whose lives and bodies have been bombed to shreds.

It's one of those articles that appropriately turns my stomach over and puts my own life into perspective again. Reading it doesn't make my problems go away -- I still have to find a job, I still have to pay rent, I still have to figure out why in the hell I got a letter from Arizona this week about a traffic ticket when I haven't lived there in more than a year, I still worry about running 14 miles at a Ragnar Relay in a month when I can't seem to kick this stupid pulled groin. I still have to deal with my "first world problems."

But it is a good reminder that I am blessed to worry about things besides the high odds that my family won't be alive in the morning, or that my street will be bombed to oblivion overnight.

And it makes me really, really wish there was something I could do to help. Because foreign compassion always seems to run into a wall at some point, where I'm not sure how to fix anything or make a difference. So yeah, I guess it might be easier to stay unaware rather than become informed only to stew over my ultimate helplessness.

But I'd rather know it than not know it. I'd rather have a heavy heart for people I don't know, and probably can't help, than live flippantly with ignorant blinders on.

I guess I like to think that when I see those people on the other side someday, that even if they understand that I couldn't do much to help, that they'll still be grateful that I at least cared to know their stories.

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