29 January 2010

A Roadmap of Sorts

Ahh, peeps, I know I've been posting a lot of filler posts lately instead of really writing.  I'm sorry.  I've been a bit busy lately, and almost overwhelmed at times.  I've also been doing some soul-searching and asking myself some questions about who I am, what I want, where I want to go, and how I should best get there.  If I have to be cooped up in the winter, I might as well get some good thinks in.  Life is about the little things, and sometimes I need reminders  to be aware of those little things.  So, below is a roadmap of sorts to remind myself not to get so caught up in the silly, unimportant, stressful things:
  •  hold your head up and your shoulders back
  • take an unplanned road trip
  • be thankful
  • try everything once
  • color outside the l--i--n--e--s
  • fall in love, just a little every.single.day
  • embrace change
  • trust in yourself
  • do what you love
  • dance when everyone is looking
  • eat dessert everyday
  • be nice to everyone
  • send thank you cards
  • be the friend you want to have
  • break the rules once in a while
  • do random acts of kindness
  • forgive, even when it is hard
  • always make time for family 
  • listen to your body
  • don't count the minutes, count the laughs
  • accept and move on, but never give up
  • treasure your dreams
  • heed warnings from those you respect
  • realize the best treasures are the treasures of the heart

27 January 2010

My Mantra

Because sometimes we all need a mantra to remind ourselves, it is going to work out.
 
Dubrovnik, Croatia.

26 January 2010

Creative Compliments: Princess Moves

Two male coworkers were giving each other "princess" waves -- yaknow the kind -- the half-cupped hand motion favored by beauty queens and royalty -- when I walked up and joined in:

"Hey look!  She's even got the little walk and moves and everything."

"That's the sign of a true princess."

YAY!!

My baby (can I still call him that even though he's taller than me by a good six inches and outweighs me by at least 50 pounds?) bro just found out he's been accepted to his dream school for college!








Of course, the middle bro and I both love that his dream school is the same college we went to too....

21 January 2010

American Wife


I read this book a while back.  Truthfully, I am not crazy about the book.  But, there's a passage that does the best job describing how I feel about the Midwest, and, the more I think on it, the more I believe explains just why I miss it so very much at times.  It also explains just why I had to leave the Midwest to discover just how very much I really do love the Midwest:

"When I was young, this was knowledge shared by everyone around me; as an adult, I've never stopped being surprised by how few of the people with whom I interact have any true sense of the states between Pennsylvania and Colorado........Admittedly, the area possesses a dowdiness I personally have always found comforting, but to think of Wisconsin specifically or the Midwest as a whole as anything other than beautiful is to ignore the extraordinary power of the land.  The lushness of the grass and tress in August, the roll of the hills (far less of the Midwest is flat than outsiders seem to imagine), that rich smell of soil, the evening sunlight over a field of wheat, or the crickets chirping at dusk on residential street: All of it, it has always made me feel at peace.  There is room to breathe, there is a realness of place.  The seasons are extreme, but they pass and return, pass and return, and the world seems far steadier than it does from a vantage point of a coastal city.  Certainly picturesque towns can be found in New England or California or the Pacific Northwest, but I can't shake the sense that they're too picturesque.  On the East Coast, especially, these places-Princeton, New Jersey, say, or Farmington, Connecticut-seem to me aggressively quaint, unbecomingly snug, and even xenophobic, downright paranoid in their wariness of those who might somehow infringe upon the local charm.  I suspect this wariness is tied to the high cost of real estate, the fear that there might not be enough space or money and what there is of both must be clung to and defended.  The West Coast, I think, has a similar self-regard-all talk of proximity to the ocean and the mountains-and a beauty that I can't help seeing as show-offy.  But the Midwest: It is quietly lovely, not preening with the need to have its attributes remarked on. It is the place I am calmest and most myself."

20 January 2010

Distraction from the Winter Blahs

I can't be the only one who gets a little lazy and lethargic this time of year.  Toss in a case of grumpy pms and I definitely wasn't as perky as I sounded during a crazy round of phone calls last night.  My attempted cure for the grouchies?  I pulled out every book I own that I have yet to read or cannot remember reading.  

Doesn't even include the book I'm reading right now.

Plant Advice Needed

Anyone know who this cheeky little fellow is?  Or how I should best take care of him?  He was left out for adoption in my hallway, and I just couldn't leave him behind.


He's been given fresh soil and water and a warm spot by the window.  And once I find one, a cute pot to call home.  Anyone have any helpful hints? 

19 January 2010

Oh. Joy.

My Love sent me this, so I know that someday, this is what I have to look forward to:

KtMac Confessions: Not Alone

Y'all ready for a great confession this week?

You sure?

Shh...c'mere.

Even though My Love is 6,000 miles away.....

I do not sleep alone:

Andy gets to sleep with me every night because he didn't move 6,000 miles away.

18 January 2010

Monday Definitions

Irony:  developing a rather painful sty more than six months after swearing off mascara for good.  *sigh*


Patience:  waiting impatiently for the dreaded highly anticipated, way-overdue, annual evaluation. 


Disappointment:  being so ridiculously, sick-to-your-stomach full from delicious Restaurant Week eats at Co Co Sala that you can't finish that sinful peanut butter gelato.


Sloth:  taking three hours to watch a single episode of The Office on Saturday afternoon because you keep nodding off for a nap every 5 minutes after re-starting the episode.


Priorities: deciding that 20 minutes playing Mario Bros is more important than 20 minutes of working out.


Global Warming:  when the outside temperature is considerably warmer than inside your office.


Humility:  begging coworkers to swipe their elevator pass (because management didn't give you one) so you can go up and down while the elevators are on lock-down during today's holiday.


Persistence:  not bashing in the printer when it takes 69173912538648231492734 tries to print a simple document.


Tantalizing:  that sparkly blue sky outside my window today after yesterday's rainy day.

Surprise Yourself

Tokyo by moonlight.

15 January 2010

Ridiculous Randoms

*  These days, I am c-R-a-v-I-n-g citrus fruits like crazy.  Oranges bring a little sunshine to a wintery day.  Clementines remind me of all the delicious ones My Love and I inhaled while I was last in Albania.  Lemons add flavor to my drinks.

*  Two weird things about me and lemons:  1)  I absolutely hate lemons in restaurants.  After working so long in hospitality, I know firsthand what a breeding ground for germs restaurant lemons really are.  2) At home, when I'm finished with my lemon flavored drink, I like to eat the lemon.  It's deliciously sour.


*  I never really realized just how much time I prefer to spend outdoors.  Until now that is.  With the brutal winter windchills, I've been spending a lot of time indoors.  And have been going a lot a bit stir-crazy in the process.


*  I don't usually do milkshakes.  But holy cow, a chocolate milkshake at 3 pm on a Monday afternoon?  Best idea ever.


*  I'm not sure what to make of it when someone seriously asks me "What kind of name is Kate?" and when I tell him it is short for Katherine, he replies, "Oh, my daughter's name is Katherine too."  Seriously?!


*  To cheer myself up a bit, I may have bought myself a couple of sassy cold weather items to warm me up this winter.  I adore both. 


*  I am one of those guilty ones who trudges to work when I don't feel good unless I'm practically on my deathbed.  I blame my Dad for instilling that dedicated work ethic in me.  But I'm becoming more and more a fan of strongly encouraging people to take sick leave or use the tele-work options.  Especially when you sit right next to me and are back in the office less than a week after first showing symptoms of shingles.


*  "I am needy, not greedy."  Sometimes, you hear a story that restores your faith in the inherent goodness of humanity.


*  Truthfully, I love those purple boots.  More than I thought possible.  And I love that it's Friday!  So excited for this weekend.

14 January 2010

The Lucky Ones

I have been trying to balance myself.  I really do believe that "Life isn't meant to make you feel good: Life is meant to make you feel."  But I also really do believe that I can choose how I feel (most of the time) and I choose to be happy.  One of the easiest ways to cheer myself up or feel happier about my life is to remind myself of what I'm thankful for, and so I'm going to try to do that more often. 


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It's been kind of a tough week.  Due to winter in Albania wrecking havoc with internet and electricity in the city where My Love lives, we haven't been able to connect with each other as often or as long as we prefer.  The truth is, the highlight of both our days are when we get to talk to each other.  And more often than not, it is the encouragement we both need to be patient until My Love comes home.  So when we don't get to talk to each other, things just feel wrong somehow. 


But the unpredictable internet and less than reliable electricity remind me of a story that I promised about why our vacation wasn't entirely perfect:


After several days of traveling (and no showers), I was enjoying a hot shower in My Love's apartment while he ran an errand.  Suddenly, the bathroom light flicked off, and my first thought was "My Love's home,"  until I remembered that he couldn't get into the apartment since I had locked the deadbolt.  A quick glance confirmed that the lightbulb had burnt out.  No biggie - I finished my shower and told My Love when he came home. 



But when he went in to change the lightbulb, it was so old, it had corroded through the socket and fell right into the turkish toilet.  Admitting defeat, he brought his neighbor over to help fix it.  The neighbor was able to easily fix the lightbulb.  A little too easily perhaps. 



The next day, we discover that when the neighbor changed the electricity to install a new light socket in the bathroom, he fritzed the electricity for the stove.  Translation:  we discovered that the stove didn't work at all when we were starving and just starting dinner.  Oh, and a lightbulb, even in pieces, down a turkish toilet is going to cause a few problems.  Because that's how it goes when things go wrong -- all at once. 


Long story short, we had to leave town for three days while repairs were made.  And even after we came back, the stove's electricity flow was highly questionable. 


My Love was frustrated.  Not that things fell apart, but that they fell apart while I was there.  But, honestly, other than r-e-a-l-l-y having to go to the bathroom when we first figured out the toilet was broken, I didn't mind. 


We had a place to escape to.  We had sweet neighbors fixing the problems for us.  And most importantly, on the bus ride back to his apartment, I realized, "We're the lucky ones.  This hard life isn't the rest of our lives.  We get to go home to America - where there is central heat, and reliable electricity, and food options if the stove breaks, and wonderful western toilets, and just a general ease to the daily living."


And the truth is, even as hard as it is somedays when we don't get to talk to each other or things fall apart, we really are the lucky ones.  In so many ways.  And all the news of utter devestation coming out of Haiti yesterday and today just help reinforce that mentality. My heart goes out to Haitians, and they are in my thoughts and prayers.

13 January 2010

A Reminder:

I should probably tape this to my bathroom mirror.

12 January 2010

Creative Compliments: No Kidding

A new to the staff VIP told me:

"Wow.  They really weren't kidding when they said you always have the best shoes."

KtMac Confessions: The Unsexiest "Leave Behind"

Every couple has their thing.  Ya'know, that cutesy thing that makes them a couple.  Some secret, adorable ritual.  My Love and I have our thing.  Only it sure as hell isn't a ritual that was planned, or intended to continue.  But, even after all this time, it lives on.

Most of you know My Love and I have a ridiculously long long-distance relationship.  It hasn't been easy, but it sure is worth it, and the long-distance part of the relationship is almost over.  But a long-distance relationship is the perfect excuse to pull the classic "leave behind" especially with a sexy little momento.  Right?

Not in my case.

Without even trying.  Despite being extra careful when packing my bag.  Even with the plentiful reminders from My Love. In face of all the solemn vows I swear not to do it.

Every.

Single.

Time.


I end up leaving behind a sock.

11 January 2010

Mario Bros


I spent a ridiculous amount of time this weekend playing Super Mario Bros on Wii.  It was one of my Christmas presents, and over Christmas, PMac and I spent a lot of time playing the game.  Well, I spent a lot of time trying to play while PMac actually played.


So, as I played this weekend, PMac and I started texting about my "record-setting" skills:


KtMac:  I really, really suck at Mario Bros without you killing all the monsters for me.
KtMac:  The game even asked me if I wanted a guide to show me how to play.  I am that bad!
PMac:    Awe hahaha, get better!!!
KtMac:  I finally passed the first level!  It only took me 17 lives...
PMac:    There's something wrong with that.  I have like 50 lives without dying...hahaha
KtMac:  Shh!  I thought that was damn good for doing it all by myself!
PMac:    Haha, wait, do you mean level or world?
KtMac:  Level.  Duh.
PMac:    Oh god.  Love you sis.
PMac:    Hahahaha, I'm sure you'll get better eventually.
KtMac:  Yay!  Leveled up with only 4 lives!
PMac:    Hahaha, oh god Katie
KtMac:  Hey!  17 to 4 is a HUGE improvement!*
PMac:    Yes, it is.  Yes, it is.


So, my goal for 2010 is to be able to play Mario Bros without setting all the records for Worst Player Ever.




*Over Christmas break, I was so bad that PMac would get his character to a safe spot and then take over my remote for me.  So, needless to say, HUGE improvement.  HUGE.*

10 January 2010

Looking Forward To


Somehow, in the beginning of 2009, I stumbled across Cue's little book of "Looking Forward To" and ordered a copy for myself.  When it arrived in all its cherry lemon yellow-ness, I knew it was a happy little book to have on my shelf.

I just found it again while looking through the other books on my shelf, but sadly, it doesn't look like Cue created 2010 books.   However, the things to look forward to in 2009 are things I want to be looking forward to in 2010 as well  (even if I can't blog the cute little pictures from the book):

* surprises

* going places

* chasing dreams

* making the best of it

* small packages

* big steps

* optimism

* more fish

* success

* seeing the forest and the trees

* believing

* balance

* an opened mind

* understanding

* imagining

* being different

* planning ahead

* learning from mistakes

* curiosity

* serendipity

* home

* laughter

* firsts

* best friends

* brighter tomorrows

* just rewards

I think this is a pretty good list of things to look forward to this year.  Anything else you would add to the list?

08 January 2010

Did You Know....?

That today is Elvis' 75th Birthday?

No?  Now you know.

I only know this because a coworker (the sweet one everyone has who always arranges all the office holiday celebrations), has put up a bunch of signs saying, "Happy 75th Birthday Elvis!"

And to celebrate, she has put out, get this....oh, so perfect.....wait for it......TWINKIES!

Dear Self

Dear Self,


When you spend over an hour on Wikipedia reading about various gangs and mobsters, do not be surprised that you have mafia-style dreams. 


Also, you have never been shot.  (*Knock on wood*)  So why would you point to a scar on your hip (not real) in your dream and say, "Oh, when I got shot, it barely hurt.  Just a bad pinch."?


Sincerely,
Self


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Dear Wikipedia,


Why, why, why is it whenever I get onto your site, I inevitably wind up reading about murder, and c-r-i-m-e-s, and gory, grisly deaths?  Especially when I started off reading about something innocent?


Sincerely,
KtMac

07 January 2010

New Year, New Randoms

*  I spend my free time at work thinking of all the things I want to do when I get home.  Clean, run errands, talk with My Love, call so-and-so, start projects I've dreamed up, etc.  Instead, this week, I've come home, plopped on the couch, started Skype sessions with My Love, and then proceed to watch six hours of NCIS

*  I felt guilty about that on Tuesday night.  Then I realized, this week is the first week in six weeks that I haven't been traveling.  It is O-K-A-Y, I have to remind my Catholic sense of guilt, to relax for a change and enjoy stillness after non-stop motion.

Tony DiNozzo makes me laugh.  A lot.

I am not, not, not a fan of Papa Johns pizza.  But their cheesy breadsticks?  Oh man, oh man, oh man.  Especially with that awful (but oh-so-good!) garlic sauce.  Yum.

*  I don't buy this global warming crap.  When I moved to DC, I loved winters here.  I was comfortable wearing just a lined trench coat most days, and never turned on the heat in my apartments.  Last year was bitter.  This year, already shaping up to be worse.  No way I've gone that soft in such a short time.  I am solidly placing the blame on Old Man Winter.

*  Persistence pays off.

*  I noted the other day that I never run into anyone I know in DC.  The very next day, I ran into a ghost from my past while walking down the hall at work.  Go figure.

*  Fleece sheets?  Pure awesome.

*  The downside to fleece sheets?  It's impossible to leave my bed in the early, cold, dark, winter mornings. 

*  Do I have type A+ blood because I have such a type A personality?  Or do I have a type A personality because I have type A+ blood?  The chicken and the egg, peeps, the chicken and the egg!

*  I have lots of ideas for the blog that will be forthcoming over the next few weeks.  Stay tuned!

*  Why is that whenever you come home from traveling, things in your apartment are broken?  If I'm not there to break the toilet, how did it get broken!?

*  One thing I need to remind myself more often is to take time to find the beauty in my everyday life too.  Not just when I'm on vacation. 

And to wear my hair in pigtails more often.  I'm sassier in pigtails.

03 January 2010

A Toast

2009 started off grumpily for me.  I wasn't optimistic about the year.  I had no plans other than just surviving the year. However, 2009 ended up being a fantastic year.  I had a lot of unplanned adventures, and I would not trade them in for anything.  Some were sweet, some were fun, and more than a few were just absurd.  I was going to do a blog post about the more absurd things I experienced in 2009, but I'm not a fan of spending a lot of time looking backwards, so instead, you get what just might have been the most absurd KtMac moment of 2009:

Drinking beer with a one-eyed owl in Albania.

As fantastic as 2009 ended up being for me, I have a feeling that 2010 is my year.  I can't explain it.  I just feel it in my bones -- this is my year.  I have so many things to be excited about this year.  Since so many of them are still in the works, and I'm a wee bit superstitious, I won't share all my hopes and plans just yet.  But no matter what, 2010 is going to be a fantastic year.  How could it not be after it started like this?

Ringing in 2010 NYC-style.

After such an awesome start to the year, of course I'm excited for what all else the year is going to bring.  And most importantly, it means this is the year My Love comes home, finally, for good.  That alone means 2010 will be fantastic.  So, to share my excitement for 2010 with you all, here's a toast:

Here's hoping that this new year brings y'all lots of love, luck, and laughter.