Thursday, December 2, 2010

You Again

Today at work, two older ladies with permed white hair came in dressed in colorful jackets. They chattered to each other between the door and where I stood at the concession counter, selling movie tickets. They reached the counter and stood for a few seconds, smiling at me expectantly.

"Oh!" one of them shouted. "Nance, what are we seeing again?"

"Um, You... something... You There?"

"You Again?" I supplied.

"There it is!" the first one shouted triumphantly. "Great, we'll have two for that. Can we go in now?"

I told them they could and pointed them in the right direction. They took their ticket stubs and disappeared around the corner. Eventually the two ladies reappeared in the lobby and sat on a bench to wait and talk.

I helped several more groups of customers and when I looked up, "Nance's" friend was leading another woman by the hand toward me. This new woman had dark tight curls and skin the color of milky coffee. She wore thick, wide glasses and had two deepset wrinkles around her mouth when she smiled.

"Hello again, Miss--" she squinted at my nametag, "--Katie. Could you please tell me what it is we're seeing again? I just clean forgot. That's what happens when you get old." I reminded her of their movie and she shouted to her friend across the lobby, "That's right, Yooou Again! Not me. You Again." They laughed at her joke and then she indicated her new friend beside her. "Now this lady doesn't know what she wants to see... I think she should see what we're seeing, You Something, but I thought I'd bring her up here to you kids and you could do your thing and sell some movies!" She sounded excited, like she was bringing me the opportunity of a lifetime.

Her new friend finally spoke up, "Well, I was going to go see Wall Street, but is this other one good?"

The first woman began to make her way back across the lobby, but turned to quickly put in her two cents on the subject, "Oh that ones' so serious! You want a comedy, don't you?"

I told the woman in front of me that I'd heard very good things about You Again and that Wall Street wasn't for another hour. I kept to myself the fact that You Again also seemed to be the current favorite for the Over 60 demographic.

"I could use some laughs," she said hesitantly.

"She said it's called You Again," the first woman loudly informed her friend on the bench again.

I suppressed a grin, but the woman in front of me smiled warmly. "Yes, I'll have that one then. That You Again. What a couple of sweethearts..."

I gave her her ticket and she wandered slowly over to the bench where her two new friends sat. The three of them sat and laughed together, and eventually they shuffled up the ramp to their theater.

After that encounter, I had a warm fuzzy feeling that lasted me for at least the next hour. When it wore off, I munched on a handful of fresh, salty popcorn and I hoped that one day I might be 80 and outgoing enough to make friends at the movies.

Mumford & Sons, White Blank Page

Transcribed from earlier in the evening--

I'm having one of those moments that you just need to write about and here I am with a pen and a half blank sheet of computer paper, so I am going to do just that. It's 11:20 on the first night of December. I'm sitting with a friend in the upstairs office at work; the closing tasks are done and we're listening to music and for the occasional thud and clatter of a movie "dropping" out in the booth hallway. We both smell strongly of popcorn and we're each curled up in our own black leather swivel chair. It's been a long day and it's nice to just sit and be still for a while. My friend's thumbs flit furiously across the screen of her iphone and I hold a clipboard across my knees, scribbling.

There's a thin, silver cd player on a desk in the office and we are blasting the new Mumford and Sons cd she bought at Walmart late the other night. Up until this evening, I'd only ever heard their more popular song, "Little Lion Man," but this whole album is quickly getting under my skin... I'm slowly coming to the decision that I'll have to make my own late night stop at Walmart on my way home from work.

The lyrics I'm catching, along with the singers' throaty, gravely, melancholic voices--and the late hour are making my eyes a little watery. It is also safe to say I have a newfound love for the banjo. And I'm remembering how much I love the fiddle. This night and this moment were simple and uneventful enough, but they'll stick with me for a while.

P.S. I went to two Walmarts tonight and finally, at the second Walmart I found their last copy of the cd. I also looked at the tracklist and found track five, the song that had stuck with me the most as we listened and the title was too perfect-- "White Blank Page."

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Hallelujah Chorus at the mall

Here is a video my sister actually showed me a few days ago. I'm one of those annoying people who's ready for Christmas in October...sometimes earlier. Now Thanksgiving has come and gone, Advent is here and anyone who objected to Christmas music and festivities too early in the season doesn't need to worry about it now. If you weren't in the mood or ready for Christmas, you will be after you watch this.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Advent. Day 1

Today was the first Sunday of Advent, four weeks in the Liturgical year set aside for prayer and reflection in order to prepare for Christ's arrival on Christmas day. Advent has always been one of favorite times of year. Granted, when I was younger, to me Advent meant preparing for Christmas in a more material sense. The first Sunday of Advent was also the day that my dad allowed us to start playing Christmas music in the house, which was exciting in itself. This year my brothers and I were excited because my dad put up our outside Christmas lights on the day after Thanksgiving, as opposed to waiting for the first Sunday of Advent as he usually does.

As I've gotten older and gone through year after year of Catholic education and watched my Theology teacher mom decorate Jesse Tree bulletin boards and plan prayer services, I've begun to appreciate Advent for what it really is--a time to prepare my heart for Jesus' arrival, as well as the coming Liturgical year. My faith has always been important to me, but it is not always something I am particularly vocal about. Also, as I've gotten older, I have found myself pulling away from my faith somewhat. I have noticed this especially during my last couple Advent seasons. I fall into a similar mindset as when I was younger; that is, I focus on the secular, material side of the season and often forget that Advent is more than a time for Christmas music and shopping, evergreens and peppermint. In fact, it is meant to be a time for sacrifice, something that very often gets lost in the shuffle of the pending Christmas season...

The point of this rambling blog post? While I do love preparing for Christmas in all its festive and material capacities, I am realizing that something is missing right now. This Advent season I am going to "find religion," if you will. All over again. Well, maybe that's a little extreme. I want to rediscover Advent. I'm not sure exactly how to go about doing that, but some simple prayer might be a good way to start. I'll keep you posted.

Here is a link for Pope Benedict XVI's address to those gathered in Saint Peter's square for the first Sunday of Advent--

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Snapshot

Oddly enough, my last post was on Veteran's Day, when I was also counting my many blessings. Well, all of a sudden, it's Thanksgiving, (Or yesterday was...) and here it is another day to give thanks.

While I have spent the the last few Thanksgivings with my grandparents and some aunts, uncles and cousins in Chicago, this year was my first Thanksgiving with my immediate family since my senior year of high school. It was quite nice to be home. Today's weather was also pleasant in a lovely, autumnal sort of way. We have recently had some unseasonably warm weather, even for Dallas, and it was disconcerting to think of celebrating Thanksgiving when it was in the 80s. But all was well when we woke up this morning to a chilly, blustery day with temperatures in the 40s. Just the sort of day I'd been craving. (After all, I had a new sweater I'd been dying to wear!)

The day was pleasantly spent talking and joking with my family, reminiscing, watching myriad football and basketball games, listening to music, cooking, eating, drinking... Not so unusual as far as Thanksgivings go. Even washing the dishes and cleaning up the kitchen was an enjoyable endeavor. Soon after the dishes were done, we had pumpkin pie and coffee and people began to fade very quickly. Most of the family went to bed, and my brother and I curled up on the pull-out couch where I'm sleeping for the next week or so, while my grandparents sleep in my sister's and my room. He sat and read a giant book of Peanuts comics and I sat with my computer on my lap. The fire that my brothers had maintained all day was smoldering into a pile of glowing ashes and the room was warm. I asked if he wanted to listen to some Christmas music and he looked at me sharply and grinned. So I found a medley of Christmas songs by our favorite men's chorus, and we sat and listened.

Tomorrow I have to go back to work, but friends are still in town for the holiday weekend and my grandparents are in town for a little over a week, so the merry-making can continue at least a little longer...

P.S. If you're not quite as ready for Christmas music as I am (and have been), here's a lovely Thanksgiving song by Josh Groban. "Thankful"

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A day to remember all my blessings

Today is Veteran’s Day, a day that we as a country have set aside to honor the men and women who sacrifice so much to serve and defend our country. Both my grandpas served in the armed forces—one in the Navy and one in the Air Force. My dad served in the U.S. Army for five years. I also have a great-great uncle who died in World War II, weeks before the war ended. Veteran’s Day is always a significant day for my family.

Yesterday and today, I went with my dad to two different Veteran’s Day assemblies at each of my brother’s schools. Yesterday was the Veteran’s breakfast at Bishop Lynch. I was my dad’s “plus one” and got to enjoy some eggs, bacon and cheesy potatoes, as well as some stellar choir performances. A man who was in the Army and stationed in the Middle East during Desert Shield and Desert Storm gave a very detailed account of his experiences in the military and overseas. In addition to the choir singing several patriotic themed songs, the BL band played a medley of each branch of the armed forces’ songs. As each song was played, people stood up for their respective branch. It was incredibly moving to see the range in ages and people who stood up throughout the medley. I also got a chuckle out of the slightly stooped, elderly man bopping around in time to “Anchors Aweigh.”

Today my dad and I went to St. Paul for their Veteran’s Day parade and assembly. Our primary impetus for going was the fact that my brother, Will had won third place in the school’s Veteran’s Day essay contest and he and the two other contest winners were to read their essays at the assembly. Before the essay reading, however, a motley crew of elderly veterans each stood up and introduced themselves, telling us their names, when and where they served and in which branch. Then two men gave accounts of their experiences during World War II and Vietnam.
Once all the reminiscing was over, the eighth graders read their essays. The prompt: Is patriotism still important? They were all very well written and insightful. However, not to be disloyal to my brother, but the eighth grade girl’s essay was my favorite. Her essay was simple and concise and very moving. She discussed how for much of her childhood, her patriotism had been like her religion—something she’d been born into and had not really ever decided for herself. As she has gotten older and learned more, however, both of these things have become more conscious choices for her and she has begun to take new pride in her country. In her essay, the girl recalled going to the airport with her family at Christmastime to greet troops returning to the States from overseas. In particular, she remembered seeing a soldier coming home to his young wife, toddler son and newborn baby—a baby he was meeting for the first time. This family, she wrote, is the epitome of patriotism. She realized just how much these brave men and women and their families sacrifice again and again in order to defend their country. They give up holidays with family, first days of school, watching their children grow up, seeing their children born. It also their families and loved ones, however, who get them through long, strenuous and dusty tours overseas. If you know me at all, I’m sure it will not come as a surprise that by the end of this eighth grader’s essay, I was crying.

I think far too often, many of us take for granted just how extraordinary our country is. We don’t often think about the many freedoms we have. We don’t often appreciate how unusually and wonderfully diverse a people we are. And we certainly do not often enough stop to appreciate and thank the veterans and soldiers who have made our home and lifestyle possible.
Today my dad wore a shirt that said, “Home of the free because of the brave” and it had each of the seals for each branch of the armed forces. When we were in Starbucks this morning, a woman came up to him, thanked him for serving and shook his hand. He was caught completely by surprise, but the encounter made his day.

So the next time you see a veteran or maybe even someone who is on active duty, thank them; express your appreciation. Maybe you’ll make their day.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

My first Starbucks experience

A couple mornings ago, my sheepishly apologetic father, who needed a ride to the mechanic and then to work, came into my room to wake me. I grudgingly rolled out of bed, slipped on a headband and a pair of flip-flops, brushed my teeth and graciously did my daughterly duty. I guess it wasn’t all bad because he felt so guilty, he offered to treat me to Starbucks, and since it wasn’t on my dollar, I sprung for a Mocha instead of my recent usual regular coffee or tea.

As I drove home, sipping from my recycled paper cup, I noticed the barista had written an odd spelling of my name at the top of the cup—“Kaity,” and I was reminded of the very first time a Starbucks barista had asked me my name for drink distributing purposes. I was an insecure, pimply high school sophomore and the prospect of ordering a drink from a hip and attractive barista made my palms sweat. I had only been to Starbucks a few times before, and was still unfamiliar with the various drinks and customs of the place.

My friend’s mom was taking us to Starbucks after school. My friend and I entered the coffee shop, the backs of our orthopedic, Velcro Mary Janes flapping on the ground as we walked. We were tired from a long day at school and we were both a disheveled mess—ponytails askew, oxford shirts untucked, knee socks drooping, shoes only half on. We were ready for a sweet, caffeinated treat. When we got inside and saw the brown eyed, shaggy haired and freckled hipster dreamboat working behind the counter, we both bemoaned the fact that we were not more put together and fit for such an encounter. Even though we both already knew what we wanted, we stood intently studying the menu boards for a good minute or two, and I finally ordered a “grandemochalitefrappucinowithextraqwhipcream.” The smiling barista then caught me off guard when he asked me my name, with a plastic cup in his hand and his sharpie poised. I blushed (I’ve never really been sure if I actually blush or not, but let’s just say my neck got very warm,) and I tried to keep my face from spreading into a goofy grin. I bashfully told him my name, and then he asked how I spell it. The cute barista wanted to know my name! Maybe he’d want my number too… Should I ask his name? Was this an attempt to start a conversation…? This was kind of exciting—I felt singled out and interesting. However, the idea of actually conversing with this attractive stranger was just too terrifying, and so I meekly shifted to the side and waited for my drink.

I then received a bit of a shock when my friend stepped up to the counter and ordered her drink, only to have the barista ask her name. This happened with the other two customers in line as well. I suddenly did not feel quite so special or singled out. Actually, I felt slightly mortified. Furthermore, as I began to frequent Starbucks more often, I realized that asking customers their names to then write on their respective cups is a common Starbucks practice. Something to make the whole Starbucks experience a little more personal, I guess. Well, it worked on me. And I have to admit that even now when I go to Starbucks and tell the barista my name when he or she takes my order, for a few minutes, I feel downright awesome.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Poem about getting old

My youngest brother asked me to be his Confirmation sponsor this fall. I was honored that he asked me, however, when I learned that this involved the two of us doing a few hours of community service together, I have to admit my enthusiasm faded somewhat. At our parents' suggestion, we decided to volunteer at a nursing home near our house. Now I wasn't looking forward to this afternoon at the nursing home any more than my brother. But when I saw just how much he was dreading it, I steeled myself to have a better attitude at least outwardly, in the hopes that it might rub off on him a little.

We ended up having a good two or three hours at the home. We sorted and delivered mail to the residents and then we went and talked to a few of the residents in the dining room. We made a friend, Mr. Stephens, who was a hoot and loved talking to us. He was incredibly friendly and very Texan. It was sad to talk to him though because the longer we talked to him, the more we realized how his mind was going, even though he seemed fairly lucid and healthy, especially compared to some of the other residents. Today both of my brothers went back and played Bingo with some of the residents and Mr. Stephens recognized my youngest brother and was very glad to see him.

After that afternoon at the nursing home, I wrote this poem:

Will you still love me when---

I’m weathered and ashen and old?

Of course I’ll still love you. Till death do us part, remember?

Will you still love me when my memory starts to fade? And I can’t remember the order of the days of the week? Or where I was born?

I’ll still love you. We’ll help each other remember.

Will you love me when my body is feeble and I can’t keep the tremor out of my voice or fingers?

I’ll still love you. I’ll hold your hands and help keep you steady.

Will you still love me when I stop caring what I look like? When my clothes are stained and I wear a navy sweatshirt with black sweat pants and brown shoes?

Yes. I’ll still love you.

And when I begin to lose control of my body? And I smell of flatulence and urine? Will you really still love me?

Even then, I will still love you.

What about when my mouth grows stubbly and scratches your lips when you kiss me? Will you still love me then?

Of course, I’ll still love you. I’ll even still kiss you.

And when I’m cold all the time and even our thickest blankets and you can’t keep me warm? Will you still love me?

Even then, I’ll still love you. And I’ll never stop trying to keep you warm.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


It's been too long since I posted. I know.
Here is a rough draft of a poem, inspired by a few texts I saved from a friend earlier during the summer.


Last night I had
the strangest dream,
my Old Friend Paul
whispered in my ear.
And I opened my eyes
slowly remembered
your voice
on the screen.
You told me you were naked—
the good kind of naked.
(You were always comfortable in your own skin.)
You sat in your bed and
told me about the sky
as it climaxed into a storm,
how the light zig-zaggged
and pulled apart the night clouds.
The rain tapped its tune
into your window,
lulling you to sleep
keeping you awake.

You warned me to pay attention
to what God has given me
and so of course, I thought of you.
And I thanked Him.
I thanked him for a few short months,
for hours spent in conversation, banter,
pens at the ready.
For evenings at the pub, for whiskey
and your favorite beer, rides in the car,
farewell notes and embraces
never quite long enough.

Monday, September 6, 2010

To-Do List

Right now my life is a list of things-- things I wish I was doing, want to be doing.
Here is a list of my shoulds. Because I'm exhausted but felt the need to write SOMEthing, even a mundane to-do list....

1. Unpack from roadtrip.
2. Consolidate boxes and general clutter sitting in garage from school/apt.
3. Clean room.
4. Wash car.
5. Study for GRE (re-learn Math after roughly four years of mathematical inactivity).
6. Find grad schools to apply to.
7. Apply to said grad schools.
8. Get ball rolling for substitute teaching.
9. Start doing something even remotely physically active.
10. Send some mail because who doesn't love to send and receive mail?
11. Write.
12. Read.
13. BLOG.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Wistful Thinking

So I spent the last few days in South Bend, visiting school friends and professors and walking around Saint Mary's, Notre Dame and Holy Cross. I'm not sure how healthy this was, because it really just made me miss school and Indiana and the people I left here--or at least the people I associate with the places.

My very first day, I met up with my friend Tara, who is a senior and I went to her Jane Austen class with my favorite literature professor. As I sat in that classroom next to Tara, it was as if nothing had changed. Granted, there were a few faces I didn't recognize and my hands were itching to take notes or WRITE something... But everything including the view outside the windows, the face and voice at the front of the classroom, the face and the handwriting next to me was familiar and comforting. It's been strange wandering the campuses, the residence halls, student centers and library, dropping friends off at Holy Cross or Saint Mary's after late night festivities.

I'm kind of pitiful really. I've never embraced change. In high school, most of my friends were ready to leave and move on to the next chapter of their lives. But not me; they practically had to drag me out of there. It's been a similar story with leaving Saint Mary's and adjusting to all the change and newness that come with such a transition. I've pursued a couple job opportunities in South Bend and now I'm here visiting. I hope to come up for a football game at some point in the fall. Anything to stave off the finality of leaving, I suppose...

What strikes me now, as I sit at a computer in the Saint Mary's library, musing over my all too brief weekend, is that in the few short months since I've been gone nothing and no one has really changed here except me.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Summer Nostalgia

I haven't written in a very long time. I'm not proving to be very good at this whole blog thing...

I'm sitting in a friend's apartment in Muncie, Indiana and the windows are open and there's an amazing breeze ruffling the make-shift, navy bed sheet curtains. Outside, it looks like what would be a stiflingly hot and humid day at home in Texas, but here it's the type of day that makes you want to go for a walk or lay in the grass.
To top it off, I just heard "Do your ears hang low?" warbling from an ice cream truck making its rounds through the apartment complex. I can't even remember the last time I heard an ice cream truck. I think the ice cream men might have forgotten about my neighborhood.

Anyway, the ice cream truck made me think of a poem I wrote for a class in my last semester at Saint Mary's. It's what my professor likes to call a "shitty first draft," but it evokes summertime and ice cream so it can't be all bad, right?

Summer Ice Cream

Nine years old.
A long-legged girl
runs after a bobbing white van
plastered with paper ice cream treats,
churning out fairy tales and nursery rhymes.
She pants down the street,
her bare feet flapping down the blistering pavement.
waving two dollars above her head.
Finally, the van stops
for Jason and Kimberly on the next corner.
She catches up, only
to labor over her decision.
This is her first ice cream truck ice cream
and the dessert must be worthy of the occasion—
drumstick, fudgesicle or rocketpop?
Finally, she points to the
dark chocolate bar above the window.
Two dollars.
It was worth the run, and she tears
away the waxy white paper and licks
the already melting chocolate running
down her fingers and mixing with
summer salt and dirt.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Insert warm, fuzzy title here

I haven’t written in quite some time. Every day I periodically log things away in my head as I think of them or as they happen to me—“Oh, I need to remember to write about this later…” Unfortunately, by the time I get home from work or wherever I’ve been that day, I’m more concerned with plopping into my bed and I’m often asleep before my head hits the pillow. So I apologize for my absence. My sister scolded me today for not updating my blog recently enough, so here I am, for those of you who are actually reading my lil’ stream of consciousness here.

Yesterday deserves to be written about. It started out as a fairly boring, run o’ the mill, long day at work. I worked in the box office until 8pm. And at the ripe old age of 22, I still don’t have a car, so I get dropped off and picked up from work most days. However, on this day, the family forgot about me. Eight o’clock rolled around and I called my mom’s cell phone to see where she was and make sure she was en route.

The phone rang and I was greeted with, “Oh crap, we totally forgot!” Roughly eighteen minutes later, my sister rolled up to the curb in our family’s maroon Buick and took me home.
I had late, laid-back dinner of leftovers with my family. We hadn’t eaten together in a long time and it was nice. There was a lot of laughing—hearty, belly laughter that makes your milk come out your nose. I don’t remember what we laughed about, just that it was funny.

After dinner and dishes with the family, I headed back to Plano to see my friend Nicole. It was her birthday and we’d planned to hang out after she had a birthday dinner out with her own family. We didn’t have any real plans; we just knew we wanted to spend some time together. Some other friends from work wanted us to join up with them for the evening, but we ended up just keeping to ourselves.

We sprawled on her huge, pink bed, talking for a while. I felt like I was at a sleepover. I’d been craving a Sonic chocolate milkshake all day, and I asked Nicole if she was interested.

“Well, sure!” she all but shouted and sat up and leapt off her bed in one smooth motion. (Last summer, we got to know the Sonic down the road a little too well, as we’d go there after work when we’d both close together.) We both ordered our favorite drinks; I slurped my chocolate milkshake and Nicole her Diet Coke with vanilla. I rolled the windows down, we leaned our seats back and propped our feet on the dashboard. I finished my drink and suggested we just drive around for a bit. I felt like seeing somewhere new.

So we drove and drove and drove until we were out of Plano and finally out of the familiar. Soon the roads were dark and dusty and we found ourselves in remote towns I’d only heard of. For a Texas night in late July, it was actually quite pleasant outside and there was a bit of a wispy breeze every now and then, so we kept the windows down. We talked a lot as we drove, but there were times where we were just silent too, and there was nothing but the sound of the car and the faint background music of my Amber Rubarth cd in the stereo. Even the sky helped make it a perfect night. The moon wasn’t completely full, but it was so bright and surrounded by fluffy, moving clouds. That sky made me wish I was a painter.

We found ourselves in Prosper and finally, Celina, Texas. Nicole spotted a thin, brown sign for the “Old Celina Cemetery.” She got really excited and insisted we at least find it and drive around. So we did just that; my huge Buick rocked from side to side a little as we slowly rolled up the gravel road and found the wrought iron fence and gate surrounding the headstones from generations of Celina citizens. As soon as we found the place, Nicole was petrified that we were going to happen upon some backwoods, cult gathering or ritual. I am here to say that the short drive through the Celina cemetery was quite uneventful.

When we finished our tour of the cemetery, we decided to turn around and head back the way we came and back to Nicole’s house.

All in all, it was a night that made me wish I knew how to paint and made me want to write. So… better late than never….

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A Pleasant Evening

Tonight I spent a wonderful, laid-back and carefree evening with a friend—a friend I haven’t seen enough of this summer. It was a night that made me feel young. Not that I’m saying I’m now old and wizened… But it was a night that made me feel thirteen again—in a good way, mind you. I laughed a lot, which felt really great. As I drove home, I realized I don’t know if I’ve laughed as much as I did today since I’ve been home for the summer. We laughed, reminisced, told stories, and ATE. We spent an hour at Cici’s, stuffing our faces with pizza, garlic bread and those warm, soft cinnamon rolls that melt in your mouth. We’d eat and let our stomachs settle. Then we’d do it all over again. Once we’d finished our meal that would’ve made both our mothers frown, we drove the few blocks to her house. There we talked more, watched an episode of Gilmore Girls, and yes, we ate some more.

I knew it was going to be a good night, when on my way to my friend’s house, I couldn’t help but see the amazing sunset the sky was gifting to us. I was driving down the George H. W. Bush tollway and I was pretty high up, so I had a spectacular view. The trees, water towers and usually mundane looking buildings made a small, black silhouette against the bright sky. The sun was huge and a bright, flaming orange, and I practically watched the horizon come up to meet it. In literally only about five seconds, I watched it disappear behind a stretch of light purple clouds. I realized how important a few seconds had been to my sunset viewing experience, and I was grateful that I looked up when I did. And with that, the sun reappeared after another several seconds. As I drove down the exit ramp and made my way down Coit road, I kept my eyes toward the west as much as possible, watching the clouds and the light and colors change as the earth shifted.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Little Things

Yesterday was a day for the little things--small, seemingly insignificant happenings that combined to make a pretty great day.

Part of me hates to say that text messages helped make my day better... But hey, they're like little bits of mail! I received several texts from a couple friends whom I miss a lot. I woke up to a few texts in particular, which then had me feeling inspired the rest of the day. I remembered my small notepad and pen and I stood at my post at the podium at work, and in between tearing tickets and directing customers to their movies, I wrote down all the thoughts swirling around my head and even penned a few short poems on the spot. It felt really good. Really, this is something I've tried to do regularly, but I haven't felt so inspired in quite a while.

Something that would normally have ruined my day actually ended up making it quite nice in a roundabout sort of way... I forgot my lunch. In the interest of saving money and hopefully also calories, I've been bringing a sack lunch to work this summer. The system has been working pretty well, minus the occasional day when my coworkers decide to go to Sonic or Potbelly and I have to fight the temptation to get food with the rest of them. So yesterday when I forgot my lunch, a friend at work was going to Whole Foods for a sandwich and she offered to spot me the money for one. I was pretty hungry at this point so I accepted her kind offer. Well, let me tell you. that was probably most amazing sandwich I have had ina very long time. Granted, I was also famished by the time I ate it, so that likely had something to do with it. It was turkey, provolone cheese, lettuce, tomato, avocado and some sort of chipotle ranch sauce on a large, ciabatta roll. Let's just say, that sandwich alone could have made my day.

I won't bore you, trying to explain the mundane details of my job. Suffice it to say, work got a little hectic yesterday and several customers recognized just how awesome and on top of things I am and was. One mom told me she could tell I was on top of things. Hey, I'm just like everyone else--every now and then, a little self-esteem boost can't hurt...

I came home from work yesterday to the smell of cinnamon wafting from the oven. My brother had baked a package of Cinnabon cookies we'd had in the freezer. I didn't even know such a thing existed! These cookies were delicious and I realize this is just another instance where food made me happy.

Later last night I went out with my friend Kim to the Village Burger Bar in Allen, where our friend Anne Marie works. It was a fun laid back evening hanging out with friends. Kim and I topped off the evening with one of their combo baskets of fries--shoestring fries and sweet potato fries!

So in summary, yesterday was a good day. My good day was due largely to food with some friends sprinkled in here and there...

Now good night before I fall asleep with my computer on my stomach again.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Cafe Brazil

Tonight I went to Cafe Brazil for some coffee, ice water and conversation with my sister and some of her friends. I like to think that they've sort of become my too... I think I've moved past that awkward "Facebook friends" stage with most of them... The point is-- we were at Cafe Brazil. And Cafe Brazil deserves to be written about.
Cafe Brazil is a place that without fail, almost always makes me start waxing poetic...or prose, as the case may be. Unfortunately, much of the waxing often happens in my head.

Cafe Brazil is a Dallas area "hot spot."-- not a wifi "hot spot," though I think they do have wifi. When I've had to describe it to people before, I call it an "exotic diner." Their slogan is "Not just another coffee house." There are several different locations sprinkled throughout the metroplex, and they are all open 24 hours at least on the weekends. My favorite and most frequented location, near Mockingbird Lane, is always open.

Cafe Brazil has a patio full of umbrella-covered, wrought iron tables and chairs. Walk inside and you are confronted with a large, sprawling room packed with square tables and chairs. The place is often packed; I don't know that I have ever been there when it is not packed, even at three in the morning. Across the restaurant from the front door is a long bar where customers can sit and eat. Behind the bar is the kitchen where everything from omelettes to crepes to barbeque quesadillas to chipotle steak and eggs to fried ice cream and something delicious called an espresso freeze are prepared. Oh, and they have over thirty flavors and kinds of coffee, which are available at a serve yourself coffee bar in a corner of the restaurant. My personal favorite is Snickerdoodle.

I realize I'm starting to sound a little like an advertisement...
Honestly, the food is good, but I always enjoy going to Cafe Brazil because there is always so much to look at. The walls are a startling shade of avocado green and bright orange, and there are samples of local artists' work scattered across the walls. But aside from that, I do some of my best people watching when I'm at Cafe Brazil, and I am always struck by the vast variety of clientele who frequent the joint, especially during the wee hours.

Though the restaurant is often busy whenever I go, this evening the place seemed unusually packed for a Wednesday night. Our group started out at a table for four, but as our number increased and we realized there wasn't room for us all inside, we decided to relocate to the patio.
At our indoor table, we were flanked by two very business-y parties. A pair of girls--maybe college age-- sat to our right, studying and eating. They were both dressed casually, in shorts, t-shirts and flip-flops, and their hair was tied up and out of the way. One wore glasses and the other had a pair pushed up to the top of her head. They each had a glass of soda and they were sharing a huge platter of nachos. Several crumpled napkins littered the table, and they had two binders full of powerpoint notes open in front of them. From where I sat, I couldn't make out what they were studying or discussing, but the girl with the glasses on her head talked to her study buddy and gestured wildly with her pen.
To our left was a small group of men dressed as if they'd just left the office, which I thought was odd since it was 11:15 at night. They had a lap top open in front of them, and they were all very serious as they discussed a list of bullet points on the screen, while digging into plates of enchiladas, pancakes and loaded cheese fries.

I noticed several more tables of pairs near us. A pair of bleary-eyed girls huddled over their table as they shared two decadent desserts. An intimate looking couple sat at the table next to theirs, holding hands on top of the table as they sipped their coffee and shared a single piece of cheesecake. Next to them, a more awkward couple leaned back in their chairs, haltingly picking at their late-night breakfasts. I wondered if this was perhaps the end of a not-so-successful first date.

Out on the patio, there were fewer people, probably a reaction to the muggy July night. There was a table with an older woman and a younger woman somewhere in her twenties, and I couldn't figure out their relationship. They seemed to be on friendly terms, but not necessarily intimate. They seemed to have set up camp at this table. There were several plates off different sizes with remnants of different foods, two water glasses and two coffee mugs. The older woman wore a long, colorful sundress and sandals; she held a dwindling cigarette between her fingers. Her younger companion wore tight workout shorts, a purple racerback tanktop and pink running shoes. She got up from the table multiple times to refill her coffee cup, and when she sat at the table, she fiddled with her iphone. By the end of the night, I decided they were mother and daugther, and I felt sort of sorry for them.

I think my favorite customer of the night was someone I've noticed Cafe Brazil every night I have ever been there, drinking coffee and drawing portraits of customers. He is tall and slender, and has dark skin the color of my coffee after I dribble some milk in it. He looks to be somewhere between 50 and 75...give or take... This evening he wore a well-worn, white, button up shirt with the sleeves rolled to his elbows. His shirt was tucked into pleated khaki pants with a dark leather woven belt. His face and hands are creased with age and the sun, and his eyes wrinkle at the corners when he smiles or concentrates on a drawing. This man is one of the best parts of going to this particular Cafe Brazil and I keep holding out for the night when maybe he'll see me and decide to make me his subject for the night...

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Dallas humidity ruins everything

So today was a quiet but fun day full of very old friends and very new friends. I feel like reminiscing about my day, but I am just too exhausted. Granted, I should be in bed right now, but I am not quite exhausted enough for that...

Instead, I'll dwell on the fact that due to the rain we've been having and the "cool front" Dallas has experienced, I would love to have been outside today and this evening. Aside from the humidity, tonight was a beautiful night. As I drove home, I rolled the windows down for a while. It was nice and cool as long as I didn't pay attention to the heavy, damp air fogging up my eyes and the middle of my windshield. There was a bright half moon partially obscured by thin wisps of grey cloud, and it moved around my car as I drove. I concentrated on the moon and Joshua Radin's voice crooning from the stereo and I let my hands and feet take me home. I thought about what I would do if not for the sodden ground and clammy air.

Pulling into the still, quiet driveway, I roll up the windows. I switch off the engine and gather my purse and cds from the car. I pull the cumbersome garage door closed as quietly as possible and tiptoe through my house, as the rest of my family is asleep. I slip off my sandals, dump my purse onto the floor of my bedroom and gather up the thick quilt from the foot of my bed. My sister is breathing heavily and steadily from her bed, or else I would rouse and have her come outside with me. My arms are full of blanket and my bare feet pad carefully through the black house on my way to the backyard. I slowly slide the glass door open and step onto the cool patio, bringing the door to behind me. The half moon and few stars are bright above me, but I can only see dim shadows of my dad's flower bed and our massive oak tree in our small backyard. I step onto the prickling grass and spread out my quilt. I walk across the quilt on my knees before finding the perfect spot. I collapse onto my back and rest my head on my palms, letting the unusually cool summer night air work its magic on my tired limbs. I stare straight up at the stars until my eyes water and I let myself drift.

One of the songs I listened to on repeat on my way home tonight---

This post was actually written last night.

Not much going on in my head right now. I'm mostly tired. And I feel old. I get home from work now with sore feet and a headache and I don't even feel like going anywhere or doing anything. I wish I had school to look forward to in the fall!

On another note, my family is currently watching Some Like It Hot with Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon. This movie is all kinds of wonderful and so much fun! If you haven't seen it, I recommend it highly. The movie was my dad's idea tonight. Last night it was some Hallmark channel original movie, also my dad's influence. "Something feel-good and schmultzy," as he said.
I'm so glad I grew up in a family of good music and old movies. And a dad who's a sensitive softie type who can spend a whole day during Christmas break watching Hallmark movies.

So I'm enjoying Tony Curtis's spoofy impersonation of Cary Grant and waiting for my friend Kim to pick me up so we can go be bums together.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

I made it! It was a very long day, but my afternoon training in booth went... smoother than it could have... but then again, not quite as smoothly as it could have. By the time six o'clock rolled around, I was getting the hang of threading the movies, but it was just taking me a long time. One of the assistant managers, Dylan trained me and I joked that he didn't even need to mess with any of the film or projectors on purpose and have me fix it, because I'd managed to mess some of them up all on my own! So hopefully with a little practice over the next couple days, I'll be ready to run booth all by myself come 4th of July, when I'm working 4- midnight. And after my booth shift today , I moved downstairs to work the podium until close.

Some things that happened, I noticed or mused over throughout my day--

1. When talking with Nicole at work, we reminisced about a past employee and his deep, rumbly voice. I asked what she thought his voice looked like. She thought this was an odd question, but she was a good sport and told me she thought his voice was likely brown. This became the basis for a poem I later started writing on the back of a couple of test tickets, while hiding on the floor of the box office.

2. I HATE HATE HATE when people wear rosaries as jewelry. I'm sorry, any sort of prayer beads are never meant to be worn as an adornment for the neck or wrist. It is a sacred item and wearing it as jewelry is just disrespectful. I don't consider myself to be super-religious, but this has always peeved me. Today, I actually saw two different guys wearing rosaries around their neck and I really wanted to either say something to them or take it off for them.

3. I get equally annoyed when guys wear their pants down below their rear ends. Pants were meant to COVER your rear end, so what are they doing dangling below your tush? Guys: You just look silly and you're only tempting others around you to pants you. So do yourselves a favor and wear your pants where they belong-- your bottom! Also, the fad originated in prison. Think on that.

4. When movies were letting out today, I saw a girl pull a huge can of hair spray out of her purse and start spraying her hair in the hallway in a middle of a crowd of people. I was pretty surprised and even her boyfriend was a little put off... "What? I have to spray my hair," she whined. "It's getting limp." Interesting.

Not much else to say today, as my day was fairly boring and consisted of work...

I'll leave you with a pretty awesome ad my friend Kelsey sent me and had me watch. I miss living with her and analyzing ads and commercials as we watch tv each night.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Apprehensive and Indecisive

Today has been kind of uneventful. I worked this afternoon, and even though it was a very short four hour shift, I actually up a sweat running around helping clean theaters and running for people in the concession stand. This summer has been kind of dead as far as summers at the movies go, and today actually felt busy! I think this was at least partially due to the fact that today was a Tuesday and Tuesdays are often busier than Friday or Saturday nights. That's because we have 75 cent Tuesdays! It used to be 50 cent Tuesdays, and I still miss that-- it just has a much nicer ring to it. So everyone and their brother shows up to see a movie on Tuesday. But this summer, even Tuesdays have seemed less busy than they could be. I remember what summers and Tuesdays during the summers were like three and four years ago and nothing has ever quite come close since.

So I got home from a short, but busy afternoon at work and took a shower to rinse off the sweat and popcorn. I went and had dinner with my friend Marissa at The Fillmore Pub in downtown Plano. It was very dark, but very quaint. It had the feel of an American bar trying to feel like a European pub. I think it was maybe the music throwing me off... But their beer list was quite impressive, and Marissa and I each had a Snakebite-- Harp and Ace pear cider. Tasty!

So now I'm home and I'm suffering from music ADD as I type tonight's post.. I've hopped from Hanson to Rosie Thomas to The SplendourBog... And yes, I'm a Hanson fan. Yes, they're still out there making GOOD music. All right, I've said my piece.

But what's probably foremost in my mind right now is work tomorrow. Tomorrow, I am training in booth at the theater. For all you movie theater lay people out there, "booth" or UB, as the position is sometimes called, refers to running all the movies in the booth above the theaters. I'm going to learn how to thread the film in each of the projectors and how to start the movies. Everyone keeps telling me not to worry and that booth is actually quite easy. But after working at the theater for as long as I have, I have seen so many things go wrong with the movies, and that just makes me nervous. Also, I'm worried about how long it will take me to learn the process. I'm eager to know how to thread and start the movies, I just wish I could skip the learning. Can't I just have the knowledge instilled in me somehow?
So that's what I'm doing tomorrow til about 5:30. Then I'll work an evening shift at podium. It'll probably be a long day.

So for now, I'm debating whether to read some more of A Tale of Two Cities, which I have been slowly wading through or to go catch up on an episode of True Blood.
Decisions to make before I sleep...

Monday, June 28, 2010


So about five minutes ago, I was distraught. I was almost completely finished with my second blog post. It wasn't as long as yesterday's, but it was a labor of love. I was writing slowly at different points throughout the evening. I wrote about working a tedious afternoon at the theater, and coming home to have dinner with my family for the first time in several weeks-- grilled hamburgers with melted sharp cheddar cheese on top. I wrote about all of us sitting in our dimly lit family room, watching Quantum Leap on dvd.

I wrote about an afternoon of people watching at podium, where I tear customers' tickets and direct them to their theaters. I wrote about the bajillion cute little kids who were seeing movies with their families today. I wrote about two little blond brothers clad in How To Train Your Dragon tshirts, grinning excitedly as each of them held one of their mom's hands on their way to see guess which movie... I wrote about a little girl who came up to maybe the middle of my thigh. She had dark curly hair pulled into a
bouncy ponytail. I couldn't see her eyes because she wore a pair of tiny, pink Dora the Explorer sunglasses, which she refused to remove even inside the theater. But each time she passed me at the podium, she smiled, her round cheeks dimpling, and she waved. I wrote about a dad and his little boy, also on their way to see How To Train Your Dragon. The boy came to his father's waist, clasped his hand and walked quickly to keep pace with his dad. They were dressed to match, from their green and blue plaid button up shirts and khaki cargo shorts to their sandy, chin length hair.
"You match!" I exclaimed to the boy.
The dad looked a little embarrassed,
and insisted that they only matched a little. I fought the urge to protest that they definitely matched more than "a little." And as they passed me at the podium and made their way to theater eight, the little boy looked at me over his shoulder, and grinning, informed me, "We like to match."

All in all, it was one of those days at work where the customers actually made it better.

So that's the general gist of my original blog post tonight that completely disappeared because my finger twitched and the next thing I knew, everything I had written was gone.

Good night for now.

My foray into the blogging world

Hello World!

My name is Katie and this is my blog. Even though I don't feel like one, I am now an adult. No, I didn't just turn 18. A little over a month ago, I graduated from Saint Mary's College in Notre Dame, Indiana. (It still feels very surreal saying that I've graduated from college. I wonder when that feeling will go away...) So at least for now, I am no longer a student, but a "real person." However, I am still living at home and I still lack my own car. Then there's the added pressure of having several friends who already have real lives and jobs--jobs that are actually in their chosen field. Oh well. Baby steps, I suppose.

I've moved from the South Bend/Notre Dame area back to sunny, hot'n'humid Dallas, Texas and I'm living at home with my parents and three younger siblings. I've gone from a lovely, spacious on-campus apartment that I shared with three of my close friends and where I had my own room and shared a bathroom with one other person to my good ole 10x10 bedroom that I share with my sister, Debby and bathroom that I share with my sister and two brothers. I also have a pretty sizeable cluster of stacked boxes and two footlockers sitting in our garage.
So here I am, in transition, or limbo, as my mom called my ambiguous situation the other day. I'm a college graduate with a bachelor's degree in English: Lit and Creative Writing and a frightening accumulation of student loan debt the size of Texas. What am I doing with my life? I am presently working the same job I've had since my senior year of high school and that I've gone back to every summer and holiday I've been home during my college years. I work at Cinemark discount movie theater. If you're from the area--the one at Coit and Park. There will likely be some stories coming your way in the not so distant future.

So that's sort of an introduction. Many blogs I have seen, read or visited often seem to have some sort of overarching theme. Well, I don't feel like limiting myself to a topic or subject that might become too narrow, so this blog is really just for me and whoever else out there might be interested. I'm an aspiring writer, (but then again, who isn't nowadays?) and I sometimes have trouble finding inspiration or motivation to sit down and just WRITE. Friends have been encourating me to start a blog for a while now, so we'll see how this goes.

I feel the need to explain the title/name of my blog. It's not just meant to look the way my name sounds with a stutter, but it is from a World War I song that has held a special place in my heart ever since I was little. The song is "K-K-K-Katy," and the story goes that when I was born, the doctor started singing the refrain to the song, and it's sort of been my song among my family ever since. My dad would sometimes sing the refrain to me before bed. Well, that or "Edelweiss."
Anyway-- on a whim, I googled the song just to see what might pop up and to find the lyrics, and I was ecstatic when I found a recording of the song from 1918! This singer's voice is a little weird, but hearing someone actually sing the song made me happy.

So with that, thank you for reading. And good night.