I’ve been so grateful, these past few days, for the funny people in my life.

From out-of-nowhere comments on Facebook to houseguests and old friends telling stories that have me doubled over, laughing so hard I can barely breathe, the past few days have been filled with mirth and joy.

Everything feels a little lighter, a little more relaxed. I’ve been motivated to make plans, to commit.

I just had a wonderful conversation with two friends for whom I have bucketsful of respect. We were talking about the pursuit of happiness, about how it’s so easy to say, “I’d be happier if I was doing this,” or “I’d be happier if that would happen,” but not only is that unproductive, it’s also erroneous, because you are what you are no matter where you are or what you’re doing. Your matter and being remain the same…for example, even if someone called me tomorrow and said, “Katie, I’ll pay you a billion dollars just to write a self-indulgent blog and slap together crooked a-line skirts out of cute fabric for the rest of your life,” I’d eventually return to being slightly discontent, a little bit uneasy, and curious about what else is out there.

After years of travelling to new places and trying new things to quell those feelings, I know they’re not going to go away.

There is no one thing I need to find; there is no single purpose. There is only finding peace in what’s happening now, being as content as possible with the given situation, with my own skin. Accepting what is and finding joy there instead of waiting for it, looking for it, expecting it to come to me.

Today is Jonny Copp’s birthday—Jonny who died in June. He’d have been 36, and even though I only saw him about once a year for the last 5 or so, each reunion was supercharged, those crazy eyes and medicinal energy overtaking any sadness or restraint in the room.

The people in my life—now and in the past—don’t wait for inspiration to push them out of bed. They find it themselves, on sandstone towers and granite ledges and snowy ridges leading to north-facing powder shots. And the whole time they’re laughing, enjoying the company and movement and laying down the plot of stories that will be retold—bigger and bigger—for years to come.

I'm grateful to bask in their energy, and, sometimes, to share it.


Born of Demeter, a post of renewal

I’ve heard that if you do something 21 times, it becomes a habit. Or maybe 17. Or 35. Whatever.

The point is that doing something over and over makes it part of the day’s unconscious choreography, something as easy and mindless as breathing.

For me, these steps include my morning migration to the coffee maker, driving to and from work, and a daily episode of self-loathing.


No wonder I’ve felt so miserable for so long. I’ve made feeling horrible a part of every day—an act as routine as taking my anti-depressant, feeding my dogs, and telling Brad, “sweet dreams” before bed.

This weekend, I spent time with three of the most positive women I’ve ever met. Despite dealing with challenges unlike anything I’ve ever known—unfathomably tough stuff that wouldn’t be out of place in Lifetime Television for Women movies or Oprah’s favorite novels—these women remained upbeat, encouraging, and supportive.

24 hours later, back at home and thinking about the weekend, I’ve realized that I can’t continue to dwell here, in this negative place. My outlook must change.

I’ve been focusing so hard on micro-problems—small areas of my life that aren’t perfect—I’ve been blind to the many blessings in my life.

I’m so lucky; I know that. But I think it’s going to take more than just knowing to make gratitude a daily part of my life. To make it routine enough to replace the daily tirade of negative comments I direct at myself. I think it’s going to take repetition. Conscious awareness. Saying it out loud. Writing it down.

The little things—my bad haircut, the dry patch of skin on my chin, my lack of skill at any number of sports—absolutely don’t matter when compared to Brad’s well-being, my family’s good health, my dogs being able to run pain-free, living in a comfortable home.

I can stand and walk and run and jump. I have a functioning mind. I can drive myself to work. I have a job. I have reliable transportation. I get to take classes and pursue hobbies and plan vacations. I am lucky, I am fortunate, I am blessed.

So, because even though half of Persephone’s routine was dwelling in the underworld for six months every year, the other half saw her returning to the Earth to deliver growth and blossoms and promise and hope.

Now that she’s back—having brought with her the baby chickadees at the feeder outside my kitchen window—I’ll make her routine my own.

Every day, gratitude.

Every day, thankfulness.

Every day, a little bit of happiness.

Today: I am unspeakably grateful for Brad.


One thousand one…

It makes me sad to hear people complain first thing in the morning.

Yesterday, at a 6 am aerobics class, I listened as the other attendees made small talk before the instructor arrived.

“I hate daylight savings time,” one woman barked.

“Why is it so cold in here?” complained another.

“I hope she does a new routine today,” grumbled a third.

As I said, it was 6:00 in the morning. How could things so bad that already, already they felt moved to gripe and whine and spread negativity?

I felt so sorry for these women. I wanted to touch their arms and tell them that everything was going to be ok. “You’re alive. You’re physically healthy enough to take an aerobics class. You’re mentally aware enough to clothe yourself, drive yourself to the gym, and make exercise a part of your day. Isn’t that enough?”

Of course, it might have been fear talking. Maybe these women felt intimidated by the class. Maybe they were nervous about looking silly or botching the dance moves—it only takes a second for a great mood to deteriorate when we’re scared.

I get edgy and curt when I’m worried about something—a big run, skiing in unfamiliar terrain, routefinding. When it’s over—when everyone’s standing at the car sweaty and safe and happy—I’m fine; the relief makes me downright giddy. But before the starting gun goes off, I’m a wreck.

I felt wonderful yesterday, though—happy and calm and able to focus on the good. Even when work felt overwhelming by 9:30 am, I was able to take deep breaths and keep things in perspective, remembering that no matter how stressful work feels, I have a wonderful family, a kind and loving husband, two dogs who delight me, and a very, very good life. I chose to remain calm and positive; I felt totally in control.

Then I got an email from a friend with some unwelcome news, and at once I felt everything spinning away from me—like I was physically losing my grip.

This took less than 30 seconds.

But yesterday, for the first time I can remember, I caught myself.

I reminded myself that my response was fear-based—fear of something that hadn’t even happened yet.

It was fear masquerading as protection—fear that saw me surrounding myself with imaginary couch cushions, keeping people out.

It was a clinging fear that, after a decade and a half of shielding me from unseen amorphous dangers, had done nothing but strip me of experiences and relationships.

It was getting me nowhere; it was time to set it free and take some chances,

This took less than 30 seconds, too.

Sometimes that’s all it takes.


A Doing Post

I write two types of posts: doing posts and feeling posts. Doing posts come together quickly, usually in list form. They comprise images and surface-level thoughts; they’re track listings. Feeling posts are harder to write. They contain equal parts whining, complaining, guilt, and fear; they’re the self-indulgent liner notes (“I’d like to thank God and my fans, you know who you are…”).

This is a doing post to fill you in on what’s been happening at the compound lately.

1. Brad took top 5 racing in his new motocross class. That’s a very big deal (it's a super competitive class), and despite my discomfort with the sport (too dangerous!), I’m very happy for him.

2. We found out that Red has hip dysplasia and arthritis. Even though that news was very, very sad, we were grateful to learn that we can manage his pain and keep him happy. In fact, since putting Red on a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (Deramaxx, which doesn’t hurt his liver or tummy), he’s shifted from a forlorn, mopey, snappy dingo to the sweet, smiley, cuddly animal we remember. We also tried acupuncture to treat his pain, but despite the very skilled efforts of the kindest vet in the world, Red just didn’t enjoy being poked with needles. In fact, he was so distraught he delivered a dose of Heeler acupuncture to Brad’s face.

If you look closely, you can see where Red acupunctured Brad. He felt very guilty and didn't want to leave the safe zone between couch and wall (where no one could get at him with a needle). It's ok, Red—no more acupuncture for you.

3. Arnold officially became a Good Dog. After six years of sweet, goofy, all-id living, Arnie and I went to Basic Dog Training (he had to learn the basics if he is to become a therapy dog). It was good for both of us—he had fun and I learned all the rules I’ve been ignoring. He even graduated first in his class! (He was the only dog there.) It was wonderful to see how proud Arnie was on graduation day. We’re proud, too. Our big golden horse will make a wonderful therapy dog.

If you look closely, you'll see that the instructor crossed out "Puppy" to write "Basic." Yes, this class is usually intended for puppies--dogs who are 6-months old, not 6-years old. I don't mind, though. We're thrilled for our little Spicolli.

See the resemblance?

4. I bought this Anna Maria Horner pattern—the Empire Evening Dress.

It reminds me of Grateful Dead hippie garb, which I love, as well as my favorite dress of all time: J. Crew’s Patchwork Talitha Dress (which debuted about 5 years ago, and cost something like $500, so I never owned it, but I adored it from afar and still look for it on eBay from time to time).

5. I also bought this Anna Maria pattern, a versatile tunic that will work in lightweight and wintry fabrics.

I really like it, but I think the sewing might be a bit over my head, so I’ll work on it here this summer.

6. My first quilt is done! We've been sleeping under it (and the dogs have been sleeping on top if it) every night. I love it, and have pictures to share, but sadly, they're on my camera, and I don't have the download cable with me. They'll show up soon. Also, my second quilt is well underway.

Since I took this photo (with the Dingo for scale), I've made about 20 more blocks, so I think I'm almost ready to sew the top together. I still need to organize the blocks properly, to get the correct color array within each diamond. I also have to choose a backing fabric...I haven't seen anything in our local shops that really wows me for this. Anyone have any suggestions?

That's all for now. Good weekends, all.