Reverb 16 | December 31 | Hope

Hope. What are you hopeful for in the new year?

I don’t have a Bucket List in the traditional sense.

Mostly because, despite loving to plan, I don’t want to prescribe. And partly because it sort of feels like tempting fate– as soon as I declare I want something, that something starts slipping through my fingers.

Instead of a list of things I need to do before I kick the bucket, I think of a list of things that fill my bucket.

I am glad I am writing this two days too late, because I am hopeful that yesterday (New Year’s Day) was just a foretaste of the feast of a great 2017. Aaron and I woke at the crack of dawn (after only 4.5 hours of sleep and, aside: I am not designed for staying awake until midnight anymore) and drove to the North Shore of Lake Superior–about 4 hours from home. Tettegouche State Park is host to a variety of trails, including ski and snowshoe, and a section of the Superior Hiking Trail.

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At the suggestion of the park ranger, we donned our snowshoes and headed for an area called The Drainpipe. We could see from the tracks that many other snowshoers had simply arrived at The Drainpipe and then retreated. But we could also see that sometime this winter, someone had gone up this narrow, nearly vertical path. So we tried it too.

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And what it unlocked to us was a section of the Superior Hiking Trail that has been untouched since the snow started falling this season.

The woods were silent and a gently blowing snow made everything glitter. We were setting our own path (with the occasional helpful guidance of the blue blazes that mark the through-hike). It wasn’t always easy, even with snowshoes, to tromp through the knee-high fluff. But we were oh-so-rewarded with the opportunity to be somewhere no one else has been yet this year.

 

 

And at the end of the day, after a warm meal and bellies full of delicious Fitger’s beer, I mentally put yesterday’s events into my bucket. The bucket I hope to fill with the best adventures and newly blazed trails before I kick it over in my final act of living.

And my hope is that the rest of the year is just like yesterday. A year of trail-finding and setting my own way, of climbing the Drainpipes after everyone else has turned back, of asking, “What’s over here?” and having an adventure partner who always says, “Let’s go look!”

Yes, 2017. Let’s go look.

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Reverb16 | December 10 | Holiday Eats

Holiday Eats. What dish do you look forward to each year at the Christmas party? Share the recipe if you can!

Can you sense my enthusiasm and excitement about still writing about the holidays?

But this is an easy one. And, to me, it is more about family and tradition and how that both changes and stays static as our families change.

For the last… 28?… years, my mom, sister, and I have baked and decorated simple sugar cut out cookies. The reason I don’t know how long we’ve been doing it is because I can honestly not remember a time when we didn’t. It is a tradition that is so tightly woven into what the holidays mean to me, that I can’t imagine what a holiday would have been like before it (my mom might say the holidays before it were easier, at least easier than those first few years of cookie-making when my sister and I were but a kindergartner and a toddler).

Through childhood, teenagehood, one going off to college and then the other, one going off to graduate school and then other, marriages, and now a baby joining the family, we have still always managed to find ourselves back at my mom’s dining room table about a week before Christmas, armed to the hilt with frosting guns and sparkling sugars and those tooth-shattering silver nonpareils.

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When I stop to think about the day-long event, I am sort of surprised at how strong a thread it is that ties me to Christmases past. Simple things, like the way the arsenal of cookie cutters has changed over time, like rings on a tree as our family changes. There is the simple diamond with scalloped edges and wooden handle that has been with us forever; the plastic airplane we bought to make cookies especially for my grandfather who builds model planes; the Santa with the giant beard that you can just heap frosting on to (!); the Star Wars cookie cutters I added when Aaron and I got married because nothing says “Season’s Blessings!” like a bunch of festively-decorated Storm Troopers. It’s not very often you see a whole part of your history laid out on a kitchen counter.

There have been some hilarious mistakes along the way– the hand cookie cutter is forever losing fingers, so we always end up with a cookie flicking everyone off. One of the Christmas tree cookie cutters always ends up making trees that look a bit pregnant, but we can never remember which of the 3 or 4 trees it is. Once we tried making the dough green, which worked GREAT for the trees, but it turns out people were less thrilled to eat a green cookie in the shape of a scottie dog. There is an amorphously shaped cookie cutter in the bunch and no one can tell if it’s a bird or a rabbit or a dog. We don’t use that one very much.

There is Christmas music, coffee, sometimes eggnog. There is a lot of laughter, especially as we consume more and more sugar and get more and more tired of punching out cookies from the cold dough and decorating each and every one individually. Rarely do any two cookies (of about 6 dozen) look alike. Unlike so many of the other things we do during the holidays, this feels casual and relaxed. It is small. It isn’t exactly “quiet” (see: sugar-induced laughter), but it isn’t rushed or forced.

This is probably the closest I get to what the truly holidays mean to me. Time with the people who have loved me the fiercest, even in the times I have probably not deserved it. Time to reminisce about the Cookie Days of the past. Opportunities to think about what future Cookie Days will be like.

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[Photo credit: Dad, who doesn’t really get to participate but has been stuck several years listening to the “cackling cookie ladies,” as he would say. Lately, he’s just been leaving the house for the day on Cookie Day. Ha!]

Reverb16 | December 2 | Cozy

Cozy: Some of us live on the Tundra, while others live where the tumbleweeds roll.  Either way, we still have to nest when December rolls around.  What keeps you cozy through the wintertime?

Minnesotan: born, bred, raised, and stayed.

And yet, still not that fond of winter. I feel like winter here makes everything take so long. So long to get your coat, and hat, and mittens on. So long to jam your double-layer socked feet into the big, bulky boots and lace them up. So long to shuffle your feet down the icy sidewalk. ‘Well, just get in the car!’ you say? Well sure, but bring along some provisions because you will be spending SO LONG on the I-94egon Trail just trying to get to the next city over. You will at least once consider caulking the Subaru and fording the river.

The best way to avoid wasting all that time getting to places is to not go to places. All winter. At all.

Instead, I like to be here:

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With one of these:

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And also usually with this gang, who I refer to collectively as Deez Butts, though this is less by personal choice and more by sheer force (the dog) and because I may suffer from Stockholm Syndrome in terms of my relationship with my cat:

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#Reverb16

(Also known as, Returning to Blogging After 20 Months Off by Writing Every Single Day. Oy!)

In 2010, I joined a little blogging movement called Reverb, in which bloggers from around the world answered a prompt every day in the month of December. The prompts are meant for writers to reflect on the year that is coming to a close and dream/plan/project for the year to come.

When I heard about Reverb in 2010, it felt like a perfect time for me to take a month and really reflect on the year in which my formal education came to a close, my career started, and the first seed idea of running a marathon had been planted. You can read Reverb 10 posts here.

But in December 2011, I realized that was the year I needed to really reflect. As the clock literally struck midnight and we rang in 2011, I was completely unaware that I was falling in love and that a simple, thoughtful text message 2 days later would likely change the trajectory of my life forever. I had my first sip of true wilderness and have wanted to keep drinking from that cup since. I completed my first (and so far only) marathon battered but not broken. You can read my Reverb11 posts here.

When December 2012 rolled in, I laughed at how naive I had been the previous two years, because 2012 had been The Year and Reverb was going to be vitally important to putting it all together. I started 2012 unemployed, terrified, depressed, and feeling broke. I ended it fully employed, engaged, as a homeowner, and with a new dog. A total 180. You can read my Reverb12 posts here.

In 2013, the pattern continued and I felt so strongly that this was the Most Important Year. We had gotten married, gone adventuring, I had changed jobs. There was so much happening that I felt like it needed all to get captured ASAP. You can read my Reverb 13 posts here.

In 2014, I grew a bit busier and a bit weary of Reverb. Perhaps, for the first time in 5 years the lack of major life changes was a welcome slowing of life’s pace and left me uninterested in adding to the stress of the holiday season by also trying to write a blog post every day. I didn’t even finish the posts for the year, skipping the final week of December, because presumably by the end of the holidays I had simply Had Enough. You can read the incomplete set of Reverb14 posts here.

In 2015, I stopped blogging in April. I don’t know why. Maybe I was finding myself uninteresting, or the fact that I am a creature of habit means that my posts tend to get repetitive. I like doing the same stuff over and over and over again. You probably don’t want to read about it over and over and over again.

2016 has been A Year. I am not entirely sure I have the words for it. But I am hoping that returning to Reverb, which is an exercise that really gets at the core of who I am– a storyteller, I will find the words to process. It hasn’t been all bad, but it hasn’t been all good. It has been at times confusing and frustrating and defeating. I am hoping for a full comeback, but it doesn’t always feel promised like it has in years past. Like every year before it, I am holding this feeling that this has been a defining year in my life. The pattern that every year feels defining has not been lost on me– a good reminder not to take these passing days for granted.

I am so looking forward to sharing my thoughts on the year with you and looking forward to 2017 (Because “Bye, Felicia!” to 2016, right?!). I hope you will read along, blog along, journal along, or find another way to reflect on the year you’ve had.

All the love,

Kate

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2015: Looking Fully Forward

I have been slow to write this post because I really wanted to finish the Reverb 14 posts, but the remaining prompts just aren’t inspiring to the point that I really feel like I have something new to say. I will keep them in my “Drafts” folder for a while and maybe I will finish them up, but there is no reason not to start looking forward to the next year!

I love fresh starts and new plans and adventures, so, to me, the new year is essentially glittered ponies with rainbow hair. I like the idea that I can neatly tie a bow around the box of 2014, store it next to all the other years that make me think “This life is nice!”, and then put my full energy and self into 2015.

This year I have several goals that I want to achieve, some of which are easy to measure and some of which are more intuition-based. Some I will share with others, and some I will work on privately. I do feel like all of them challenge me, and I am happy that I chose some things that will require some real resolve, planning, and intention on my part. More importantly, because I have more than one goal, I wanted to have a central ‘theme’ that I felt all goals worked towards, so that even if individual battles were lost, I still felt like I was marching towards the same outcome. I chose a phrase from my most favorite book, The Little Prince, to guide my 2015:

You have great truths within you.

It is not my goal to change who I am. It is not my goal to be someone else. It is not even my goal to be a “better” Kate. But it is my goal to live the truths within me– to continue to be more unapologetically myself, to pursue the things that give me energy, to speak and act in the ways that truly reflect my intentions.

It sometimes surprises me that any teenage girl makes it to adulthood intact, because I remember years of being embarrassed about who I was– whether it was my body, my knack for chronic academic overachievement, zits, my hobbies– the list of things the world tells girls and young women to be embarrassed about is never-ending. But now that I am slowly sliding out of young-adulthood into just regular adulthood I have learned that there is no such thing as a grown-up. We are all just pretending as we go along. And, dude, no one likes cleaning cat puke off the stairs. And no one likes paying the phone bill. And even if your job is awesome (mine is!), some days it totally sucks balls to get out of bed in the morning.

So, frankly, I don’t have time to pretend to like stuff I that don’t, or lie about the stuff I do like because it’s weird.

I am going to spend 2015 doing me. You do you. It’s gonna be righteous.

 

On Gratitude

For my family. For the family I was born into, who have all my firsts and know me to my bones. For the family I married into, who know all the parts of Aaron I wish I knew and who love and respect the new family he and I have created.

For my husband. For only picking on me a little when I dress just like him, for maintaining the commitment to adventure, for making coffee every morning, for his love of donuts.

For my friends. For longtime friends who do not let time and distance muddy the waters, for friends introducing me to new friends, for the emails and the texts and the snail mail.

For my friends who let me get entirely too drunk on a beach in Rhode Island, for my friends who let me wear Zubaz to a holiday festival in downtown Red Wing, for my friends who tolerate me biking & showing up sweaty to happy hours in the summer, for my wine book club.

For my health. For a great running season, for bike commuting, for learning to downhill ski.

For the people who gather at our home for dinner, for the people who gather at our home to celebrate semi-obscure Norwegian holidays, for the people who gather at our home to listen to records, for the people who gather at our home to visit the dog.

For coffee in the mornings, for craft beers in the evenings, for whiskey under the stars, and for Aquavit (but only once).

For the weddings and babies and birthdays that brought us together in celebration, for the losses that brought us together in mourning. For the love that keeps us together in the times in between.

For the fields of wind turbines on road trips, for the Japanese gardens on the hill side, for the summer evening baseball games, for the early morning bike rides.

For pretty running shoes, for Instagram #selfieswithcats, for good haircuts, for good books, for vegetable gardens.

For these things, I give thanks.

 

Race Recap: Twin Cities 10 Mile

This is, undoubtedly, my most favorite race in Minnesota.

The course is challenging but gorgeous, the crowds are fantastic, and Twin Cities in Motion works so hard to make the whole experience excellent.

I did set A, B, C goals for this race, but forgot to share them on the blog. They were:

Goal A: If the stars all align in my favor, I wanted to set a personal record. My old PR was 1:46:39. I got close to this in the Goldy’s 10 Mile in April, but missed by about 30 seconds. To get this PR, I was going to have to average a 10:36 pace.

Goal B: Run consistently. I have a terrible habit of going out too fast and suffering the most spectacular bonks in the second half of races. I simply get too excited at the start and follow too closely to runners going at a faster pace. I told myself to aim for a 10:35 pace, and try really hard not to go slower than 10:40 for any given mile and to absolutely not go any faster than a 10:10.

Goal C: If nothing else goes right, I at least wanted to finish without injury. Late in my running season I sprained an ankle climbing the Colorado Rocky Mountains and I have had a few issues with sore shins and mild plantar fasciitis. I really didn’t have high hopes going in to this race considering how my legs and feet had felt on my longest run– an 8.6 miler.

Let us work our way backwards.

Goal C: Accomplished. I think this race might be actually have some sort of magical powers. Because this is my second time running it where I have gone in to it thinking injuries would get the best of me, particularly because the course is hilly, and run it practically pain-free. At Mile 1, I said, “Well, sure. You feel good now. But you’ve got 9 more to go.” At Mile 3, “Well, it’s just the adrenaline. But eventually those shins are gonna get you.” And by mile 7, “I don’t deserve to feel this marvelous!”

Goal B: Accomplished. This feels like my biggest victory– like I finally “get it” with pacing. I have run like 30+ events in the last 6 years and I finally get it. Better late than never. I took a look at my Garmin lap data for Goldy’s 10 Mile in April to compare it to my lap data for the TC 10, and the differences are night and day. It is no wonder I had such a great race this weekend.

Goldy’s 10 Mile Laps

  • Mile 1: 10:11
  • Mile 2: 10:07
  • Mile 3: 9:49 (For a slow runner like me, this was a huge red flag. I never run sub-10s in any distance longer than a 5K. Never.)
  • Mile 4:10:15
  • Mile 5: 10:17
  • Mile 6: 10:09
  • Mile 7: 10:59
  • Mile 8: 11:02
  • Mile 9: 12:14
  • Mile 10: 11:08

At first my excuse was that the 2nd half of that race has some big hills, but miles 7-10 are clearly a gigantic bonk. My average pace was 10:33, which I wasn’t totally disappointed in, but doesn’t tell the same story as the lap data– it was a bad race. Unfortunately, in July, my half-marathon went almost exactly the same.

TC 10 Mile Laps

  • Mile 1: 10:32
  • Mile 2: 10:23
  • Mile 3: 10:38
  • Mile 4: 10:19
  • Mile 5: 10:43
  • Mile 6: 10:32
  • Mile 7: 10:38
  • Mile 8: 10:30
  • Mile 9: 10:24
  • Mile 10: 9:03

Mile 10 is not a typo. I not only had enough gas in my tank to get faster over the last 4 miles of the race, but I crushed the final mile. The race also ends on a big, long downhill that I sort of ran pell-mell down like a drunk orangutan, but the key is that I had enough energy to act like a drunk orangutan. Only a single mile that was slower than my Goal B pace and I know exactly why, and I am not upset. There is a short, steep climb in this mile as you leave East River Road and get onto Summit. It is easy to want to blaze up this hill, but once you hit Summit you have TWO MILES of hill. No way was I going to grind it out on this little sucker with no opportunity to recover on flat land before the Summit climb. Also, I saw my dad and sister in Mile 5 and that makes me cry and then I can’t breathe. A much better race technique than Goldy’s, resulting in an average pace of 10:25, which means…

Goal A: Accomplished. Crushed my PR by a little over 3 minutes. This was far and away better than I expected and even though I got my first sneaking suspicion I would PR when I was around mile 5, I thought I would be squeaking in by the skin of my teeth. Instead I came FLYING in with fire under my butt.

I could talk forever about how good it feels to feel good about a run, but just check out this picture my dad captured around mile 5.5:

tc 10 happyI am the happiest idiot out there.

And at the end, with 2 medals (one for the race and one for finishing the entire Summit Challenge Race series) and a space blanket, I am still the happiest idiot out there:

tc 10 finishFriends, life is good. It is so good.

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Birthday Post: 28 Awesome Things from My 28th Year

The best part about getting older is that every year gets more awesome than the one before it. In honor of my 28th birthday, let’s celebrate 28 awesome things that happened since my last birthday!

  1. I ran my second Great River Ragnar Relay. 195 miles, 2 days, 12 friends, 2 vans. I slept on a football field, I cursed the hills of Stillwater, I bonked. And yet, it was still awesome and I might be considering a 2015 team.
  2. My bridesmaids threw a phenomenal Mad Hatter’s Tea bridal shower and a great bachelorette party. I have some excellent women in my life.
  3. I attended the Internet Cat Video Festival at the State Fair. So did 10,999 other people. It was awesome.
  4. We went to a Mumford & Sons concert. I don’t go to very many big concerts in big venues, not because I am a music snob but because I kind of don’t like traffic and crowds and concerts are always too loud and [insert other old-ladyish excuses here]. I am glad I was able to put most of that aside and attend this concert because Mumford is one of my favorite groups and their concert did not disappoint.
  5. I tried single-track mountain biking for the first time. Thought I maybe liked it, then Aaron told me the course I was on was the “adaptive” course. The “easy” course would be harder. Went over one large rock placed unfortunately close to a stump on the easy track and decided my career as a single-track mountain biker had come to an end. Bike commuting/touring is where my bespoked heart lies and where my bespoked heart will stay.
  6. I took a new job at MDH. I love where I work, but I was not loving always being in grant-funded positions and the fear that if the money ran out, the job would too. So when a health communications job opened up on a team I was already working with, I gobbled it up. And I love what I do. I feel challenged but confident in my work, I am given a lot of opportunities, and I work with a huge variety of people. All in the name of a healthier Minnesota. So cool.
  7. I ran the Big Gay Race. I took a light running load last summer, after feeling a bit burnt out after training for the Fargo Half, but I knew this was a race I had to be a part of. Earlier in the summer Minnesota had legalized gay marriage, and that felt so significant to me in the year we were getting married that I wanted to do everything I could to support it and the legislators, community organizers, and activists that made it happen. With almost no training, it was one of my faster 5K times ever! That’s the power of love.
  8. Friends Emily and Sean took us to the Autumn Brew Review, which is maybe akin to an adult playplace in that, once you get in the door, it is sort of a total free-for-all. $50 gets you a small beer sampling glass and access to dozens of breweries. Unlimited pours. This is the event I think of when I tell people, “You have to live your real life while you are wedding planning. You have to sometimes drink 40 samples of beer the week before, wake up the next morning wickedly hungover.” Well, maybe not that exactly but I was so grateful for this day in so many ways.
  9. Surrounded by my favorite friends and family, I married my better half. I would do it again in a heartbeat.

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    Lightsaber candlesticks. Using The Force to light the unity candle.
  10. We honeymooned in Hawaii, which is perhaps the most peaceful place on the earth.

    At Hanalei Beach, after learning to surf/survive.
    At Hanalei Beach, after learning to surf/survive.
  11. We hiked the Kalalau Trail along the Napali Coast. Sure, there were some tears. And sure, I told my husband of 10 days that I hated him. But when we finally got to the Kalalau Beach, it was entirely worth the 11 grueling miles.

    Hiking. For a long time.
    Hiking. For a long time.
  12. When I was a kid, we used to play in my grandparents’ barn. In the workshop/tack room part of the barn, my grandpa kept a beer can collection. Many memories from my childhood include sneaking in there and hearing my sister or cousin yell after me, “Don’t touch those! Those are Grandpa’s!” But as a kid, I couldn’t help but be drawn to the bright colors of the cans’ designs, how the size, shape, and design of the can changed over time, and how my grandpa knew something about every can. I remember telling my sister, “Someday, I want Grandpa’s beer cans.” But I had never told my grandpa. So when I heard he was considering selling them, I knew they had to be mine. So a few years ago I said I wanted them. Then I looked around the spaces I was living: a small 3 bedroom apartment with roommates, my sister’s basement, and then a smaller 500 sq. ft. apartment… none seemed suitable to host 3800 beer cans (yes, that number is correct). Finally having our own house with a little bit of storage space, the beer can collection came home in November. It is awesome.
  13. I didn’t quit skiing and I actually even, might kind of like it a little bit.
  14. Drove (well, Dad drove and I talked) 10 hours round trip to eat at a Pizza Hut buffet with my grandparents. In a snowstorm. And I would do it again.
  15. I ran the TC Valentine’s Day 5K as part of the TC Summit Challenge. Besides that it was not above 0 degrees for the entirety of the race, I loved running it and I put up a decent time for the first race of the season.
  16. Then I ran the 100% Irish for a Day 5K and shaved almost a minute off my 5K time in the course of a month. Still working hard(ish) to get a sub-30 5K.
  17. Philip Glass concert in Decorah. Not only is he an amazing pianist, he’s Ira Glass’s cousin!
  18. I ran Goldy’s 10 Mile.And then ate donuts.
  19. I attended my very first opera and it was not outdated, stuffy, or weird. It was awesome, modern, and weird. I loved it.
  20. We went to Portland and had beer and donuts and rode bikes. Which is the same stuff we do in Minneapolis.

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    Watching soccer in Portland. Those stands were FILLED for the women’s team!
  21. I re-started taking art classes again. I like dedicating time to painting again and I like having a class to give feedback and challenge me. Some days are hard– my classmates are are incredibly talented, hyper-realistic painters and I… I make a lot of bold moves with the paint brush. paint
  22. Nothing says, “1/32nd Norwegian!” like hosting a Syttende Mai party.
  23. I got Harvard educated in Boston. trip highlights also include dinner with Amy (see items 24 &25) and seeing the Boston Marathon finish line.
  24. We celebrated Amy’s bachelorette party with wine tasting at 2 local wineries. I even took home some tips for caring for our grapevine!

    I just sometimes get SUPER excited about things.
    I just sometimes get SUPER excited about things.
  25. I traveled back to the East Coast to celebrate the wedding of Amy and Denny in Nanagassett Nagganassett Narranseggit Rhode Island. They hosted a beautiful beachside weekend and I got to spend some much-needed quality time with my bestie, Bridget. And if one is to measure the quality of a party by the hangover it leaves in it’s wake, then this party went all the way to 11. Uff dah.
  26. Aaron and I took a spur of the moment camping trip in Jay Cooke State Park, including a mini-brew tour of Duluth. This was my first time doing a hike in campsite, and let me tell you, things I did not miss about drive-up sites include: other peoples’ rude kids, RVs, televisions playing from RVs, slamming car doors, the wafting scent of a community bathroom, and yappy dogs.
  27. I ran my 2nd ever half marathon, the Red, White, and Boom! TC Half, and set a PR by 11 minutes. ELEVEN minutes. That is huge.

    Happy? Exhausted? Hapausted.
    Happy? Exhausted? Hapausted.
  28. I would love to say I don’t get sentimental about very many things, but I do. But some things just really get you, right? I kicked off birthday week this year getting to celebrate one of my most favorite couples, Shivan & Travis. I have known them for only 6 years, but I have lived with them, camped with them, gotten drunk with them, wallowed in hangovers with them, celebrated graduations and weddings and birthdays with them, learned from them, admired them, (tried to) entertain them, and loved them fully and completely. Everyone deserves a great wedding day, but no one more than these two, who- even on the day meant to celebrate themselves- were treating their bridal party to special surprises and including a million thoughtful details in their day meant to honor or highlight the people around them. Holy love buckets, ya know?

Let’s raise a toast to another race around the sun!

2014: Looking Fully Forward

Some people set resolutions. Some people call them intentions for the new year. Others pick the single word they want their year to be about.

You can hate on the goal-setting if you want, and wave your non-traditionalist flag loud and proud and say, “If I want to change, I can do that any ol’ day. I don’t need to set a resolution on the new year!” For sure, adventurers, you can change whenever and however you want, or simply not at all.

I think it’s nice to have a chance to reboot every year. It’s sort of what I like best about blogging the Reverb series– it is a great chance to look back and review and look forward to the coming year.

Looking fully forward into 2014, what is it that I want?

Authenticity.

Who am I, Oprah?  No. I have no Favorite Things to give to you. Or you. Or you and you and you. Sorry.

But seriously, when I thought about the list of things about myself that I wanted to sort of focus on, they all boiled down to this concept. To be honest (authentic?), much of this is driven by some of the irksome behaviors I have noticed in others that I later recognized in my own self: casting stones, gossip, fixation and obsession on desires, complaining, making others feeling guilty or shamed- even if unintentional. It’s not who I want to be.

How do I plan to AuthentiKate (see what I did there?! It’s a good one.)?

I don’t completely know. I do know I asked Aaron the other night if he thought I could go an entire month without saying one mean/judgy/rude thing about anyone, and he said, “A month? No snark, judge, or rude comment? About anyone? No.”

So… that needs some work.

Another part of the process for me is recognizing and understanding my flaws and stop apologizing for the fact that I am flawed, but only for the ways in which those flaws sometimes result in bad behavior (i.e. I am an extrovert– I am not going to apologize for that. Sometimes, I get so caught up in sharing that I fail to listen— I should apologize for that). I think another part for me will be respectful honesty. A lot of times, maybe particularly in the land of Minnesota Nice (To Your Face), I hear people make excuses for another person’s habitual disrespectful behavior. “Oh, So-N-So? She’s always late. Don’t expect her to be on time. Just get used to it.” I am not interested in getting “used to” someone’s rudeness. I can confront them without being confrontational. I just have to fine-tune the tools to do so and find my own ‘forgiveness vs. stick up for myself’ barometer.

Self-improvement is healthy and a lifelong process of accepting where you are and being excited about where you want to go.

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This is just one of my favorite pictures of myself. It’s an oldie (2010?) but a goodie.

 

Reverb 13 | December 14 | Feast

Feast: What was the best meal you had in 2013?  Was it slurped standing over the kitchen counter?  Was the menu written in a language you understood?  Were you alone?  Or at a table filled with family and friends?

The Lord’s Prayer includes the line, “Give us this day our daily bread.”

Notice that is quite different than “Give me this day my daily bread.”

I have long felt that there is something very special about breaking bread with others. And particularly being invited into someone’s home to share a meal. For many families, for many generations, meal time was family time. So it goes to reason that being invited to someone’s meal feels like an invitation into their family, even if just for an hour or two. I don’t think we take enough pause to consider how special that is.

There have been a lot of great meals in 2013. Some with beautiful, matching china on decadently decorated tables. Some in quirky and unique restaurants. More than a couple cooked over a camp stove or fire. The best of which have been those shared with friends or families. And when I leave, I often say, “My heart is as full as my belly.”

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Our trusty little camp stove. It’s maiden and only voyage… like the Titanic.