Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Göteborg to Leeds

Pigeons! In the train station!

So many people here with so many differently colored coats. In Sweden, it seems like almost everyones' coat is black.

The UK is unfamiliar to me, but it somehow feels so much more familiar than Sweden. In some ways, it almost feels more familiar than Seattle, as I sit gazing at the scenery out the trains. I don't know why that is. I don't think it is just the language - when I first noticed it, I was on a train full of Czechs, I think. The architecture, the fields, the occasional horse, the hedged lines between fields, the faint hint of frost seeping out from all the shadows and corners; perhaps it is in some ways like the midwest of my childhood, but in others not. Yet the feeling of familiarity is strong.

I found it funny to see Indian-looking people speaking with Scottish accents. Unexpected! My eyes and my ears could not reconcile.

I love subways. The feel in the core of my body standing on a crowded subway as it accellerates, runs speedily, and then decelerates, working to maintain balance. I feel taller, more at ease in my body, and more grounded when I step off. The faintly dirty, sour smell in the underground stations; I haven't smelled it since I was last in New York City,

Every train station that I have been to (3 so far) has been quite chilly. No overheating for these Brits! I like it.

I like London. I stepped out onto a London street at the King's Cross Station, and felt such joy! The buildings, the people, the double decker buses...I loved it the first time I saw it, at 13, and I still feel that way now that I see it again. I forget when I am away, but the moment I am here again and I step out into it, I want more. I want to visit London more. I want to explore her, to know her, to discover her crooks and crannies.

But, oh my - I had to pay to use the restroom. How very strange that was. Theoretically, I know that this is the way it works in other places, but I have never before paid to use the restroom, myself.

I am eating my first mincemeat pie. I'm not quite sure what consitutes mincemeat. I'm also not quite sure that I like it.

There is, of course, much that I should write about having to do with Sweden. But I think I am so deeply involved in processing it right now that I cannot step back to write about it. I feel more clear here on this short trip to the UK, a lovely little interlude.

I am, however, missing Henrik and Ravenna.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

All That We Leave Behind

Steve said to me at breakfast the other day that my leaving is one of the most significant events in his life.

I'm really going to miss him, too.


Happiness is a Nice Pair of Shoes

Someone said to me at the Beginner's Milonga last night, "I've always been too shy to talk to you, but I wanted to tell you I will miss your music. And your shoes. You have some of the best shoes."


Friday, October 15, 2010

Goodbye, Seattle Tango.

I cried tonight.

I didn't expect to. I was surprised when I did.

Tonight was a going away dance for me, hosted courtesy of Kathryn McDonald, at her practica at Dance Underground.

Quite a few people came. So many people that I was happy to see!

Greg Constantino DJed, and I loved it. The evening flowed nicely, and it was so lovely to be able to just dance, and not worry at all about what was going on or needed to be done.

I've never had a birthday dance or anything of the kind before, but tonight they insisted on a going away birthday-dance-style song for me. Greg played Jem's "Missing You", and then, to cries of "Opa! Opa!", he followed it with Israel Kamakawiwoʻole's "Somewhere Over The Rainbow".

I was touched, really, by both choices.

And I was touched by all the people who danced with me during the two songs. I felt...loved. And I felt so much love for all of them. And for this community that I've been a part of for so long now.

I was so touched, in fact, that I made a short speech after the second. I did not plan to talk. I don't even know any more what I said - just that it was from my heart.

I am sad.

Seattle has been long and hard and beautiful and wonderful and horrible and terrible and lovely. So many things. I've been here for 1/3 of this life, now, that I have been living...and here...now...I am walking away. From everyone. From tango. From friends. From people who feel now like family. From everything.

What am I doing?

After the dancing was done, the music was done, Kathryn came over and hugged me and said goodbye, and I could not help crying.

Ah...without endings, there could be no beginning.

I wish I could have the beginning without this end.

Thank you, Seattle.

Thank you everyone who came tonight.

Thank you to a community that I have sometimes struggled with, but which has also given me much love, and in which I have felt myself at home.

I will miss you.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Sadly, there still is no internet in my current residence. Except in one specific spot in one specific room sitting just so on the windowsill.

Google Search

The following two columns amused me terribly when they first came out, and I still get a kick out of them now. Here they are, for posterity (and so I don't have to search all of the internet again next time I want to reference and find them for a friend).

The Jungle

I'd like to see an Upton Sinclair for the 21st century bring GE salmon and the current workings of the FDA and any number of other issues to light and to the public eye the way he did meat packing and immigrant conditions in The Jungle.

Gene Patenting

I think Gene Patenting is ridiculous.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Core Values

Today, speaking to a friend of mine about how important I feel it is to allow Ravenna to dictate her own relationship with Jaimes, based on her own experiences, wants, and needs, uncolored by my own issues with him, I realized I was speaking quite passionately. This gift to her is greatly important to me and speaks to one of my core values. That got me thinking; what are my other core values? What drives my choices? As an exercise, I'm going to post a few now, and then post others as they come to me over the next few days.

* Give my children the gift of a clean slate. Maintain an understanding of what my own issues are, and with whom I have issues...and keep those as my own issues. Do not pass them on. Let my children develop their own relationships with people and the world, unfettered by my biases, prejudices, and injuries.

* Maintain dignity in my interactions with the world and with others. Treat others with dignity.

* Reach out to the people around me with love. Be a healing, nurturing force in their lives where and when I am able.

* Don't become too attached to wealth or material belongings. Save and be thrifty where it makes sense, but never lose a sense of generosity or a wanting to share what I have with those I love.

* Be open to goodness. Find joy in small things. Allow myself to be surprised and to notice and engage the world in new ways.

* Take sadness, angst, grief, anger, jealousy, fear, any number of other "negative" emotions, let myself feel them, savor them, truly experience them, and realize that they enhance the overarching experience of a life. Only through contrast can we most truly appreciate what we are and what we have.

* Respect my body. Foster an awareness of my body, of what effects my actions and non-actions have on my body. Breathe. Don't be afraid to take risks and to act at times in ways that stress or challenge my body, but be aware of the causal relationships and mindful of what it is that I am doing. Care for it when I push it to or beyond comfortable limits.

* Respect my spirit. Foster an awareness of what effects my actions and non-actions have on my spirituality and on my emotional well-being. Don't be afraid to take risks and to act at times in ways that cause emotional or spiritual conflict, but be aware of the causal relationships and mindful of what it is that I am doing. Care for it when I push it to or beyond comfortable limits.

* Act in awareness. Be mindful of what effect my actions have. Try to keep from acting in cruelty borne of carelessness; if I am to act or speak cruelly or unkindly, let myself be mindful that I am doing so, and take full responsibility for what I am saying, what I am doing, and any consequences it may have.

* Advocate for myself, for my own needs to be be met, but with mindfulness and awareness. Stand up for myself and be sure to find space and resource to adequately care for myself.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Drowning in Adrenaline

I was just standing in a parking lot just a short while ago that got shot up. My friend had the presence of mind to notice how things were escallating and to duck down under my car, but I just sort of stood there out in the open like a dumbass because I've never been around a situation like that before. I ducked down with her, but only after the shooting was done.

Next time i hope to ducke down at least midway through.

She is more worldly than I and thought maybe "it was 38's, but certainly not 42's".

I'm fine. Just kind of stunned. And drowning in adrenaline.

I am rarely out in an ihop parking lot at 3am. Almost never, i would say. I don't believe I will be in a hurry to be again any time soon.

I do live in a major metroplis, but i've never been around gunfire before in my life. It didn't even seem real. Seemed like firecrackers. Everything sort of moving in slow motion.

Oh my.

Breathe, Kathryn, breathe... deep breath, breathe now.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

2 + 2 = A Great Evening, For All That

Two people treated me coldly at a dance last night.

One, who I used to think was a close friend of mine, and who I approached at the end of the evening warmly and with no ill will, spoke disapprovingly to me of choices that he knows nothing about, and then dismissed me without further thought.

The other, whom I hardly know at all, turned his back on me at the end of a song and walked away without a word or a goodbye, as if to say, "I did not enjoy our connection as we danced, therefore there is nothing of value to you and you are not worth even a cursory goodbye."

I don't understand why people treat others in such a manner. Dance aside, tango aside.... there are so many ways to connect, and value in so many aspects of of the people around us. So much to appreciate. So much life beyond the small world of tango! Why brush that aside so brusquely? I am sure that I take the people around me for granted sometimes, but I want to try as best I can to keep perspective, an open heart and an open mind.

On the other side of the same coin, I had two absolutely lovely interactions tonight, as well.

Two relatively new friends of mine came out to the dance solely because they knew that I would be there. I greatly enjoyed talking with them, getting to know them better, and briefly dancing with one of them.

Another friend of mine soliloquized very sweetly to me, about me, at the close of the night. Her flattering but sincerely spoken words and were a balm to my spirit. I felt near to tears as she spoke.

I must be at a good point in my life. At other times in the past the cold interactions would really have gotten under my skin, but last night they rolled fairly easily off me. But just now I feel so good about the world, about this gift of life, about the amazing people that surround me, that a few people who are unfortunate enough not to notice or be privy to all this goodness are not able to blind me to it or to pull me down. It's interesting how much one's current inner space and state informs the way and degree to which feedback from the outside world is taken and internalized. And in what way that feedback is colored, and which feedback is given most notice.

Saturday, March 20, 2010


I'm depressed.

It's not a "just in this moment" thing, it's a generally thing. This last week, I find myself taking offense to things that people around me do or say, things that usually would not bother me. I'm having more trouble amassing the energy to do just basic things. And I feel....unhappy. For no reason that I can put my finger on.

I also feel isolated. I don't know how to talk to people about it; when I do they quickly respond with, "Is it something I said?"

No. It's not something you said.

It's nothing to do with you at all.

Maybe it's everything with Jaimes and the lawyer and all the money we've spent and STILL not being able to even file our initial paperwork for our residence application and feeling quite helpless as to determining my own destiny or timeline in this process, all of that weighing down on me. We had a large setback with Jaimes last week; a month ago I thought, for sure, here we are through the door and we will be filing within days, but turns out we needed just a bit more. But he's now again unwilling, and now we're back to being stopped up by him, not able to file anything at all. When we do file, it will supposedly take Swedish migration another 6-9 months to give us their decision, and we don't know when we can even start that process. This all certainly doesn't help, I guess, even if I can't pin it as the cause.

Maybe it's the weather. Except the weather has been amazing. The last few days felt like a bite of summer.

Maybe it's simple brain chemistry.

A lot of the time I feel okay, perhaps even most of the time. But more often than I would like, this last week or two, when I find myself with some time to stop and reflect, I feel...sinking. When I'm busy enough, I don't feel it. But in those respite periods, it feels like gravity is pulling on me harder than usual, everything is heavier.

Wish me well.

I hope this passes soon. I hope, also, that this most recent push with the lawyers turns out not to be too expensive, and is the last push we need to finalize and file the parenting plan we actually agreed to four long months ago.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

United Breaks Guitars

I'm not flying United, I'm flying KLM. Still, would it be unwise to bring my guitar?

It looks like they will probably let me bring it as hand baggage, "provided it fits in the overhead bin". But if they don't... aiee! It is a very nice guitar, and I don't want to trust it to the hold.

Anecdotal stories across the net seem to indicate that most of the time they will allow a guitar as hand baggage, but every once in a while they will force it to be checked. Please, please, KLM, do not force me to check it.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Happy, Happy, Joy Joy Joy.

Three people have come up tonight raving about my music. The last one said, "You always play the best music! You should DJ more!"

It feels...good, to be appreciated. I've been enjoying playing music more again recently, and happy to know that some people are appreciating my efforts. Feelings flying high!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Car Insurance Turnover

Goodbye, Geico, hello Amica!

Amica's offered rate cuts more than 20% off my premiums that existed before I reported the move to Geico. I'll now be paying 63% of what Geico would have insisted on charging me going forward, for the same coverage. Hooray for shopping around!

Car Insurance Racket

I'm moving this weekend. I'll still be living in Seattle, 6 miles from my current apartment.

For this, Geico is bumping my car insurance premiums by 20%. @#$@#%!!!!

My driving patterns have not changed. My driving record has not changed. I don't even have comprehensive coverage on my main car, just liability. I hardly drive at all; maybe once or twice a week, most weeks, probably somewhere in the ballpark of 1000-2000 miles a year total. This won't change at the new address; if anything, I'll probably drive less. And yet they're going to charge me an extra $40/month! What a racket.

I guess it's time to start shopping insurance. Or to hurry up and sell the Miata. And maybe the Taurus also.

So lame...

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Old Kat

We're moving this month, to a smaller place. In the process of trimming down for the move, I've been sorting through boxes of papers ranging the last 15 years.

Just now I found a small sheet of crib notes I must have made for a job interview some time back:
  • growth potential?
  • fast moving or stagnant?
  • how many recent new hires?
  • can people move on if they don't like it, or are they locked in for some time?
  • mobile? immobile?
  • consistent? (~ no growth)
  • how marketable will I be, coming out of your area?
  • how are you on training? will you help me? mentors? how do you help new people get on board?
  • how is your dept for teamwork? do people work together? or alone on separate components (as a "team")?
It was so...thorough. I don't feel like I'm really thorough in that way about anything I do in my life now. What happened to that Kat? When did I become so complacent? When did I stop asking questions?

Friday, January 08, 2010


Our goldfish is dead.
Why is our goldfish dead???
I really liked that fish.
I fed him.
I talked to him.
I enjoyed him.
We hadn't even had him two weeks!
Why why why why why?