Blogging vs. Real Life: Sometimes Real Life Wins

Things have been busy around here! Between wrapping up the last two weeks of teaching the 6-week summer program, day trips and weekend activities, and a girls’ trip to Nashville, I got a little behind on my blog. I really try to stay on top of the posts, but sometimes real life gets in the way, whether it’s in the form of a grading marathon, or a relaxing afternoon at a winery, or endless lesson planning. All three, plus many more, present good reasons to put the little ol’ blog on the back burner until more time opens up. Don’t fret: next week I will return with the next coffee shop post on Slipstream near Logan Circle. But this week, I am planning and gathering my materials for the Fall semester, which starts on the 31st.

The whole planning process takes a lot more time than expected. There are so many layers. First, you have to decide what’s due when. Then what reading to do on certain days. Then what overarching activities and objectives you want to accomplish. Then what you will actually do to accomplish those activities and objectives. It’s borderline overwhelming. In many respects, it feels exactly like this:

635191

At the same time, I love organizational tasks, so I don’t really mind.

With summer drawing to a close, I’m sad about the impending coldness and weekends full of grading, but glad that I was able to make the most of my summer over the past few weeks. Also, there are fall leaves already. WTF?!?!

why-the-face-gif

Having Rahul here PERMANENTLY is amazing, because we not only get to see each other every day, but we can enjoy our weekends together. We’ve explored our city a bit more, drunk wine and “listened” to a 90s cover band with friends (the band was far away and mostly illegible), visited the beach for our engagiversary, celebrated multiple friends moving away (with joyfulness and sadness), saw “The Book of Mormon” at the Kennedy Center (so funny!), and much more. In doing so, I’ve marked off a few things from my DC area to-do list, which included going to the beach in Maryland, going wine tasting in Virginia, and seeing as many plays as possible at The Kennedy Center.

IMG_3053

IMG_3092

I also enjoyed a fabulous weekend with some of my dearest friends in Nashville. The weekend officially kicked off our wedding countdown–less than 100 days to go! It was amazing to spend some quality time with my best gals, while also dancing it up all over Nashville. Country music everywhere! We stayed in a house for the weekend, which I highly recommend to anyone visiting the Nashville area. We were in East Nashville, which is an easy and cheap Uber ride to the city. Plus, we had space to spread out and hang during downtime.

IMG_3134 IMG_3135

 

Now that I’ve entertained you with details about my fabulous life, I promise to return to my regularly scheduled programming next week.

 

#lastminutenycadventure

I love living near D.C. In fact, when I found out I was going to be going to school right outside of D.C., I told people I was moving to D.C. instead of Maryland because 1) it’s more recognizable and … Continue reading

Eating Whatever the Hell I Want: Cherry Blossom Ten Miler Recap

Gathering at the starting/finishing line, the Washington Monument.

Gathering at the starting/finishing line, the Washington Monument.

I ran the Cherry Blossom Ten Miler on Sunday, and since then my biggest question has been how long can I use that as an excuse to eat whatever the hell I want? Pre-race pizza? Yum. Post race muffins? Necessary. Next day spaghetti? Sure. Next next day Indian food for lunch? Delicious. Next next day ice cream? Okay, now it’s getting a little out of hand.
To be fair, the ice cream was from Ben & Jerry’s free scoop day. So I feel like that shouldn’t even really count.

Rachel and I looking confident before the race started. Post race: confidence still there??

Rachel and I looking confident before the race started. Post race: confidence still there??

The race itself wasn’t as terrible as I thought it was going to be. In fact, it was actually great—although my face in some of the official race photos will try to tell you a different story. After waiting in the longest bathroom line ever—don’t think I’ve ever waited so long to use a Porta Potty—Rachel and I were able to start the race in the same corral. We were in the 10:30-minute mile one, which meant we passed the elite runners looking ever-so-cool at around their mile five right after we started. A fellow green-miler yelled, “whoo hoo fast runners!” to which her friend told her to stop focusing on the real runners and on her own running.

Love the costumes.

Love the costumes.

That was probably one of the best parts of the race, and what made it feel like not 10 miles. Since I was running with about 15,000 of my closest friends, there were always people around me. That’s a huge motivating factor. It’s even more motivating when you have fun things to look at, like the guy dressed up as a flower, or the America-themed couple. This was my first large race, and I was honestly expecting a madhouse. And while there were people EVERYWHERE—someone needs to teach those tourists to cross the road with conviction. If you’re going to cross the road with hundreds of runners coming toward you at a much faster pace, commit to it. Don’t stop and look at us—it was a good kind of crowd, as the crowd was a big reason to keep moving forward. That and the awesome signs passed along the way, two of my favorites being “This is the worst parade ever” and “Run like Phoebe!” Oh, and I definitely couldn’t have done miles 6-8 without Rachel running beside me, as my legs were absolutely ready to quit. But that makes sense when the longest I ran in training was six miles. Like a dummy.

Run run run! Run like walkers are out to get you!

Run run run! Run like walkers are out to get you!

This is my longest race since my half marathon two years ago, which was a much different scene. The night after the race (like we’re talking 8 hours later), I was helping myself to a generous serving of cake at an event I attended with my parents when a woman said, “Slow down, remember it was only 13 miles.” Yeah, it was ONLY 13 miles. I feel like that equals out to at least several pieces of cake.

I’m going to walk home today from the metro instead of using the bus, as a half-assed attempt at equaling out the ice cream consumption. But really, I can’t help but still operate under the fact that yeah, I ran 10 miles on Sunday. ONLY ten. So pass the snacks.

What Happens When You Lose Your Blog Password: A Study in Laziness

So there was a time when I was really good about posting on my blog on a regular basis. I made blog writing and posting part of my weekly routine–treating it just like a homework assignment–and was very religious in ensuring I always had something fresh for my readers.

Ha! That time has passed.

Over the past few months, there have been many different reasons for why I’ve found it hard to keep my blog updated. At first, it was adjusting to a new schedule and a new school year. And then it was because I ran out of things to write about and didn’t want to share my dumb life with strangers. (disclaimer: I don’t actually think my life is dumb.) And lately? Well, to be honest, I forgot my password and, after changing my password a handful of times because I kept forgetting it, and kept forgetting where I wrote it down, I just gave up. It would have been easy to change the password again, but I wasn’t feeling it.

To sum up: I’M LAZY.

But as the semester draws to a close, I finally decided to embark on the dreadful task of changing the password and here we all are. It’s springtime outside (and actually feels like it today) and with that comes new possibilities.
I could write inspirational cards, don’t ya think?

Exciting things that have happened in my (dumb-not-so-dumb) life lately:

The finished quilt top. Next step: the actual quilting.

The finished quilt top. Next step: the actual quilting.

1. I’m making a quilt and also going to finish a quilt my grandmother started decades ago and never finished. My amazing and talented friend Anna has been the inspiration behind this. If you are a quilter yourself, please check out her blog!

2. I’m staying for a third year to complete my thesis for my MFA degree. My thesis currently looks like this: ASDMKLASDJLWEJKWJK INSERT AMAZING SMART WONDERFUL BRILLIANT AWARD WINNING WORDS HERE ADJKASLDRJWELRKJQWELRKQW.

Happy!

Happy!

3. I saw Rahul over Spring Break! I also got to see my family, pets, best friends, Sonic, favorite sushi and Mexican restaurants.

4. A few friends and I pulled a pretty epic April Fool’s Day by putting googly eyes on EVERYTHING in their office.

5. Kid President is from Tennessee. Not just Tennessee, but like 20-minutes-from-where-I’m-from in Tennessee. Okay, this isn’t MY life, but it still feels pretty important.

6. The Cherry Blossom 10-Miler is in two days. The longest I’ve run in preperation for it? Six miles. Here’s hoping for a miracle….

7. There may or may not be a rat infestation under the PSK house.

And three of the more interesting things I’ve done lately….

The view from the Exec Building. Oh hey, Obama!

The view from the Exec Building. Oh hey, Obama!

8. Got to go INSIDE THE EISENHOWER EXECUTIVE BUILDING. Felt like a legit bad ass and also like Leslie Knope, except Joe Biden wasn’t there.

9. Attended an event about the documentary “No Job for a Woman: The Women Who Fought to Report WWII” at which SOLEDAD O’BRIEN was the panel moderator. And I’ll tell you something: she is SKINNYTINYSKINNY in real life!

Hey there Soledad O'Brien, Michele Midori Fillion, Leisa Meyer, Missy Ryan, Ann Rondeau, and Kristen Rouse. You are all awesome and I will probably never be as awesome as you are. K bye.

Hey there Soledad O’Brien, Michele Midori Fillion, Leisa Meyer, Missy Ryan, Ann Rondeau, and Kristen Rouse. You are all awesome and I will probably never be as awesome as you are. K bye.

10. Attended the 42nd Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities, held every year by the National Endowment for the Humanities. Who was the 42nd lecturer? Just this dude, Martin Scorsese. NO BIG DEAL.

My new BFF. Just kidding. I didn't get close enough to make that connection happen. NEXT TIME.

My new BFF. Just kidding. I didn’t get close enough to make that connection happen. NEXT TIME.

I will try to do better to keep this guy updated as the semester ends. But I can’t make any promises….

Gettin’ Crafty With It

I’m not the most artistic person in the world. As of late, I have begun painting my nails with some interesting and fun designs, but I don’t really think that counts. Two Christmases ago, I painted a pretty spectacular (as in my definition of spectacular) painting of a tree at an Art by the Glazz class. And I think that I have put together some pretty crafty gifts for Rahul, but for confirmation on that, you’ll have to talk to him.

So when my friend Anna offered to teach my other friend Rachel and I how to quilt, we took to the idea quickly. Anna taught herself how to quilt over a year ago, and now makes an impressive amount of quilts, pillows, gifts, and more. The girl is an impressive machine when it comes to quilting, and makes some really beautiful stuff. So who better to learn a craft from than from someone who knows it backwards and forwards, and won’t get frustrated when you accidentally de-thread her sewing machine a thousand times. I’m not saying that was me, but….

Anna, Rachel, and I before participating in a Case Study Competition last week.

Anna, Rachel, and I before participating in a Case Study Competition last week.

The trip to the fabric store was completely overwhelming, but we left with some beautiful fabrics for our quilted pillows, which was our first undertaking. Rachel and I picked some pretty complicated patterns for our pillows–well, complicated for first-time quilters–so the process is still in the making. We had to make 64 half-square triangles for our pillows, which involved a lot of cutting, pressing, and matching. But, even though the process is long, being able to witness a creation come together–and know that you’re the one making it–is an experience unlike any other. Take that, store-bought pillows! You have a new competitor in town.

My first fabric purchase!

My first fabric purchase!

The chevron design I am using for my own pillow.

The chevron design I am using for my own pillow.

My fabrics cut into squares!! The process has begun!

My fabrics cut into squares!! The process has begun!

Meet Jane, Anna's sewing machine!

Meet Jane, Anna’s sewing machine!

After sewing a color piece to a plain piece, the pressing comes next!

After sewing a color piece to a plain piece, the pressing comes next!

Cutting the pieces into smaller sizes.

Cutting the pieces into smaller sizes.

And voila, the pattern begins to take shape!

And voila, the pattern begins to take shape!

More of the pattern.

More of the pattern.

The patterned rows sewed together!

The patterned rows sewn together!

Our next project, after the pillows are completed, is the Giant Star quilt. Check out Anna’s blog for this pattern, as well as her wealth of other pictures and design tips. She is definitely the expert here! I’m excited to take on this next step in the learning process, and have the fabric ready to go. Picking eight fat quarters from this selection for the quilt is not going to be easy….

Fabrics galore.

My latest fabrics purchase. So pretty!

My latest fabric purchases. So pretty!

Fabrics galore!

Quilting fun.

Quilting fun.

The countdown begins….

I’ve made some changes to my blog lately, one of which is the “Milestone” widget. You’ll notice it at the bottom of the page. When I first saw this widget, I immediately liked it, but couldn’t think of any use for it.

But wait! I entered the lottery for the Cherry Blossom 10-miler in D.C. in December. And made it through the lottery. So now I have this race in a little over 2 months that I have to prepare for. I’ve run one half-marathon before, but that was two years ago and if someone asked me to just up and run 10 miles tomorrow I would throw up at some point during the run.
When my friend Rachel, who’s also doing the race, saw my widget, she sent me a text that said “Terrifying. Wanna run Saturday?” So maybe the little countdown widget will cast some magical spell over us that makes us constantly motivated to train.

That being said, I’ve created a detailed (and stolen from Hal Higdon) 10-week training schedule to get me up to speed. It starts off pretty easy (2 mile runs), so it was not hard to commit myself to it. Plus, I wrote it in my planner so now I have to do it.

I’m not going to obnoxiously post about my progress or shove it in your face that I’m training for something by posting pictures of my running shoes clad feet with a tag like “killing it.” Instead, I’ll post one annoying picture here of my now-I-have-to-do-it-because-it’s-in-my-planner race prep. And I’ll get excited as the countdown grows smaller and closer to the date.

This makes it real....

This makes it real….

Also, please take some time to check out what I’ve changed on the blog!

A Tale of Two Li’l Sebastians

One Li'l Sebastian + One Li'l Sebastian = TWO Li'l Sebastians!

One Li’l Sebastian + One Li’l Sebastian = TWO Li’l Sebastians!

No, you’re not seeing double. There are two plush Li’l Sebastians in that picture.

Let me explain…my boyfriend and I love the TV show “Parks & Recreation” and watch the new episodes together when they are available. So, when our 2-year anniversary rolled around, I was looking for things to get him that would be representative of our relationship. Since we have given TV-show themed gifts in the past, I decided a “Parks & Rec” gift would be a perfect idea. So I ordered him a Li’l Sebastian and had it delivered to my house. Only to find out…

Enjoying some downtime under some lovely plant shade.

Enjoying some downtime under some lovely plant shade.

he got the same thing for me! So now I have two Li’l Sebastians. We have our theories for why one is a little darker, scruffier, and thinner than the other, but so far they seem to enjoy spending time with each other and haven’t caught on to the fact that they’re exactly the same.

In their free time, they enjoy touring around to small towns to participate in county fairs and have people fawn over their size and adorableness.

Watching some "Parks & Rec" together.

Watching some “Parks & Rec” together.

In other news….

  • A new school semester has started,
  • I saw Barack Obama at Beyonce and Kelly Clarkson’s concert in front of the Capital Building,
  • The guys are back in the house, making their presence known through leaving the TV on 24/7 and turning the dryer buttons to the noise level,
  • I saw Silver Linings Playbook twice and now wish I had written that story.

Happy end of January, y’all.

IMG_2541

Which one is scruffier…..

My new BFF's.

My new BFF’s.

Lena Dunham, Will You Be My Best Friend?

So a while ago, my friend Courtnay told me to watch “Girls.” And then she told me again, and that I would really like it. And then she told me another time (and probably more times than that). In good ol’ Katherine fashion, I waited until last Wednesday to actually start the show.

And what happened next? I finished the show’s first season in five days, of course.

Not that that’s a remarkable feat or anything. There’s only ten 30-minute episodes. What’s more important here is that I have decided that Lena Dunham should be my best friend.

I won’t go into the many reasons for why I admire Lena solely based on the fact that she created, produces, directs, writes, and stars in “Girls” and she’s only 26. 26! So there’s that. Her crazy achievements at such a young age make all the rest of us feel like the characters on the show make each other feel about their varying levels of success, forehead shininess, and relationship status.

What makes the show so delicious to watch is how amazingly she captures 20 somethings. The dialogue is honest, fresh, and engaging. When her character states “I think I’m the voice of my generation,” that statement can really apply to the author/actress/badass herself. Because—as a member of her generation—I can agree with that statement. As I often struggle with what I like to call my “25-year-old-existentialist-crisis,” I understand what it feels like to question what you’re currently doing in life, question your abilities to achieve your life goals and/or the plans you have set out for yourself, and your ability to actually be an adult. Because it’s hard. And Lena captures all of that in the show, as we watch four very different characters struggle with what it means to be in your 20s.

And as a writer myself? It’s a good reminder that once you find that “perfect” story, once you land on what you’ve really been trying to write all along, your path is laid out for you from then on out. That’s what I feel happened for Lena Dunham, and that’s what I hope happens to me. Someday. Soon? If possible?

That’s why I need Lena to be my best friend. So she’ll read my stuff and then we can go skipping through fields of daisies together. Haha, just kidding—but only on the second half of that sentence.

Watch the season 2 trailer here.

Imagine Christmas Wishes Shooting Out of Your Eyes

My little Christmas tree.

My little Christmas tree.

The holiday season has been here since Thanksgiving (for some even since Halloween), yet I’ve felt that Christmas spirit a little less than recent years. It’s not because of anything outrageous. It’s just 1) hard to get into the Christmas spirit when your entire family lives elsewhere and 2) when you live in D.C. Even though D.C. provides a plethora of holiday-related activities, it’s also a city of dislocated residents, as many DCers are not originally from this area.
I’m aware that I don’t technically count as a DCer, but I’m close enough.

I’ve been looking for something to get me in that Christmas spirit. I have my little Christmas tree, my Christmas music, and the guys put a full size tree in the living room. I have had Tracy Jordan’s “It’s a Jordan Christmas” stuck in my head many times since December 1. Yesterday I made Christmas cookies. But I finally found my holiday spirit in the most wonderful of ways: Zoolights at the D.C. zoo.

The National Zoo keeps its doors open late and lights the place up with thousands of lights. Growing up, my family drove around looking at the Christmas lights in the area listening to our favorite Christmas songs, so this was a perfect holiday treat. Plus, a few of the exhibits stay open late too, except all the animals seemed to show us their rear-end side. Do you think they know we’re looking at them?

Regardless, the Zoolights were beautiful and a fun time spent with friends. I hope you’re all finding your own ways as well to get in that Christmas spirit. Only 8 more days, y’all!

Falling icicles, the trees looked like they were crying!

Falling icicles, the trees looked like they were crying!

A little train!

A little train!

I like the panda on the left.

I like the panda on the left.

A DANCING PANDA IN A SNOW GLOBE!

A DANCING PANDA IN A SNOW GLOBE!

The Elephant House

The Elephant House! Except we saw no real elephants. 

Little monkey holding his tail. Not as cute as the snuggling mama-baby gorillas we saw later, but unfortunately could not get a good picture of them!

Little monkey holding his tail. Not as cute as the snuggling mama-baby gorillas we saw later, but unfortunately could not get a good picture of them!

Pretty pretty

Pretty pretty

Merry Go Round!

Merry Go Round!

She was a very thoughtful alpaca.

She was a very thoughtful alpaca.

A dancing octopus!

A dancing octopus!

Excuse Me, Ladies, You’re Being Too Loud

D.C. is the city for brunching and when you’re getting a group of girls together to celebrate an engagement, what do you do? Go to brunch, of course.

Rachel—a fellow house mom, life saver of Katherine’s sanity during HC/GW, and good friend—got engaged a few weekends ago! To celebrate her engagement, a few of us got together a group of ladies for a brunch in D.C. at Crios, a yummy restaurant near Dupont Circle.

The brunch was extraordinarily fun, and the food was delicious. There were friends from several stages in Rachel’s life present, and it was great girl time. Or, as Leslie Knope says, “Just ladies celebrating ladies.” But, in all seriousness, an engagement is one of those monumental life markers that definitely deserves its own celebration.

Ladies celebrating ladies!

Ladies celebrating ladies!

However, in all our celebratin’, we apparently were having TOO much fun, as the waiter approached awkwardly to inform us the table next to us had complained that were “too loud.” Too loud! In a D.C. brunch restaurant where there’s bottomless mimosas and plenty of other people talking equally as loud in the restaurant. I’m sorry, I didn’t realize we had transported to a super fancy 5-star restaurant where excellent QUIET decorum is expected at all times.

Fortunately, it wasn’t the worst complaint in the world, but it did stir up a bit of confusion. In the midst of our joyful celebration, we received a message about the amount of our words and laughter, and that message was loud and clear: “Can you please keep your voices down?” I suddenly felt as if we were in the 3rd grade, getting in trouble for passing notes to each other.

So, beware all you D.C. brunch-goers: Keep thine voice down to ensure minimal complaints from other restaurant-goers. Luckily for us, the brunch was still an awesome time, and ended with Panera Christmas cookies (yum!). Our spirits won’t be brought down!