August 6, 2009, 7:35 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , ,

When I was rejected from the fellowship down in Maryland, my mother told me that one of her crazy coworkers told her that she looked up my birthday in her astrology resources, and the stars were aligned for things to look up for me this fall. “Not to worry,” she said, “Everything will work out for her this fall!”

My mother and I rolled our eyes.

I have been avoiding this blog because all I wanted to do every time I started to write a new post was pound my fists and scream and yell and throw a temper tantrum. Damnit! I went to a good school. I got good grades in a difficult major, with an extra (easy as cake major) just to even things out. I went to grad school immediately, no time off. It was the NUMBER ONE SCHOOL for that program, in the nation. NUMBER ONE. I got good grades. I graduated.

And then the economy fell apart. I have been enraged about my dumb luck and the stupid people who screwed up the stupid economy with their stupid mortgages and the stupid people on Wall Street and WHY WAS THIS HAPPENING TO ME WAH.

And then I felt guilty because there were other people out there who had it worse than me, and what right did I have to whine? I should be grateful for the roof over my head and food in my belly.

engagement 148

And also for the puppy in my house who loves me unconditionally. Especially when I take her for long runs in the dog park, with dips in the creek.

I haven’t been able to think of anything else for the past long while, and for that I apologize. I apologize mostly to myself because this was a period of my life that I ought to have recorded. My anguish, however emo and pathetic it may have been, was real. But so was the rest of my life. I did plenty of other things in the past few months.

1. I graduated


Which clearly my mom and I found hilarious.

2. I went to Kansas City and visited the Truman Library.


My father is more amused than he lets on.

3. While in Kansas City, my cousin was conveniently getting married. And so, I girded myself.


That dress is vintage! My nana made it over 50 years ago, after she birthed 3 of her 4 children. By the summer of 1954 she 3 children in diapers, under the age of 26 months. Crazy, yes, but she ended up thinner after that than she started. I guess growing 3 large babies in 26 months is draining. Either way, the dress came with a built in girdle to suck you in so you can zip it up. I also wore spanxx from my bra to my thighs to smooth things over nicely. I don’t think my abs have ever had a better work-out than wearing that get-up for an entire day.

4. I got engaged.

engagement 214

Notice I cropped out my terribly chewed up cuticles.

So I can’t help but notice it’s not fall yet. And yet, I’m starting an amazing job next week. It’s only a year, and I won’t get rich from it, but I’m taking classes for free, getting a degree for free, getting a free computer, and working in a medical library 20 hours a week. It’s a fantastic step to doing what I want to do, and I don’t even have to buy a car or pay for bus fare. I went to a new city, realized I can in fact get thinner, and I get to start planning a wedding with my best friend. All by August.

So, here’s to astrology, University ID bus fare, and the National Library of Medicine: I clink my beer bottle to the computer screen.


A conversation
July 7, 2009, 3:04 pm
Filed under: daily | Tags: , ,

We had breakfast for dinner. Pancakes and bacon. Afterward, I was reading on the couch, and Bear bent over me to drop a kiss or two.

Hi, he says.

Hi, I say.


I love you!

Love you, too.


We’ve been together a long time.



A really long time.

Are you trying to tell me something?



Do you not love me any more?



Are you sure?

kiss. kiss kiss. kiss.

Well, I love you more when you taste like bacon.

I’ve been having a hard time.
March 23, 2009, 12:04 pm
Filed under: daily | Tags: , ,

I guess I ought to update.

I have been avoiding this blog for a variety of reasons. I alluded in an earlier entry that I’ve been having a hard time. My instinct is to curl up in the fetal position and avoid all contact, let alone admit that I’m having a hard time.

I’ve been having a hard time.

We bought a house, and by ‘we’, I actually mean Bear. Bear bought a house! Holy mother of god! I don’t quite believe it myself.

It was stressful. Who knew? Buying a house is stressful! Bear even found his first gray hair over it. And then, because he’s so kind and thoughtful, he saved it in the bathroom for me to admire.

So Bear bought a house. It’s a nice, little house. It came with all appliances included, and all the important stuff, including the house, has been recently remodeled and updated. It’s 115 years old, and it’s  kind of funny looking, due to various owners with various tastes and levels of cheapness adding onto the house. It went from a 4 room, 2 bedroom house with no indoor plumbing to a 6 room, 3 bedroom, 1.5 bathroom house.

Most importantly, The Dog loves it. Most of the windows are old-fashioned, so she can just stand and look out the window, supervising the neighborhood.

It has a dishwasher! My standards are so low, I’m kind of embarrassed.

So, it was part of the hard time. For a while, we fell in love with a beautiful old house in Dormont: 4 bedrooms, 1.5 bath, hardwood floors, lots of windows, two porches, lots of charm, big back yard, low price. It got snatched out from under us. It was sad. We had to give up Dormont, because none of the other houses on the market fit our needs/wants/price.

So we moved from Dormont. That was hard. I love Dormont. It’s quaint, charming, friendly, walkable. I love the church, and I love the Dor-Stop, and I loved living there. I just didn’t love where I was living in Dormont. I don’t deal with change very well, and I had pretty much gotten my heart set on Dormont, and on the beautiful house. It was hard.

Then we found Crafton. Crafton is not Dormont, but it is similar to Dormont in good ways: it has charm. There are lots of things to walk to, like an Italian restaurant in an old-fashioned pharmacy, and a great bar/restaurant with an award-winning list of Belgian beers. It is walkable, with lots of beautiful Victorian mansions to admire. The bus way goes right through town, and the 100 takes me directly to Oakland and back every day. It’s a closer commute to work for Bear. The yards are bigger, much bigger, and the houses are less likely to be perched on a cliff. It’s even a bit cheaper.

But getting to that point was hard for me. Picking out a house that I knew for certain wasn’t a forever house was hard for me. I know it’s insane to think that this is the last house I’ll ever live in, but I never professed to be entirely sane. This house is not a forever house. Two of the bedrooms are really small, and one doesn’t have heat/AC vents. The bathroom is hard to turn around in. The kitchen is small, and so is the living room. But it’s a good enough house for now, and we’re definitely planning on staying in it long enough to make a profit.

The month between making the offer and settlement was stressful. We were not given the option of extending our lease month to month, so we had to tell our landlord that we were moving out in 60 days before we had made the offer. If it didn’t go through, we were going to be homeless, and have to scramble to find an apartment. That was stressful: I only wanted to move if it was to a house. If we signed a lease, we would be stuck for another year.

To add to that stress is the fact that I am graduating in April, into one of the worst economic scenes in a long time. My two main options for employment in Pittsburgh instituted hiring freezes indefinitely. Nobody is hiring librarians, and nobody else seemed interested in a medical librarian, no matter how much I spun it. I was looking at graduating after 4 years of hard work in a difficult major, and a year of my master’s, only to have no real job prospects.

Ego crushing, to be sure. I’ve spent my whole life being told that I was a shoe-in for success. I could do anything I wanted, and I would succeed. So far, I had no reason to doubt myself: I am smart, I am driven, and I am hard working. Everyone said that that combination was a great guarantee, and here the economy was taking all that away from me.

And I was sad. While I am so very proud of Bear for buying a house less than a year after graduating with his bachelor’s, and so happy for him that he has such a good job, I was jealous. I was sad that all the good things panning out for him were not happening for me. I spent a lot of time crying over my own failings, and the wretched timing.  I was disappointed in myself.

My only option is to leave Pittsburgh. And that makes me sad, too. I love Pittsburgh, if I hadn’t already made that clear. But I have to leave. My adviser recommended a fellowship program down in D.C. that would be a perfect way to jumpstart my career. It’s a one year program, and it’s everything I ever dreamed. But it’s in D.C. The day I decided to apply for it, I cried the whole way home.

I managed to get an interview, which is a very good sign. I will be heading down there, Bear in tow, for an all day interview next week. I know I can do this: I know I can get this fellowship. I know I have to do it. I have been told by those in the know at my current internship that if I get this, I can come back and do the second year there, which is a good path into getting a job there. This opportunity is incredible. It will be an easy way to ride out the recession, and a safe way. It will give me everything I want.

I just have to leave for a year. I am no longer crying about it. I am actually kind of looking forward to it. I know Bear and I are safe and secure. It’s just a year. It solves the whole ‘living in sin’ thing before we get married. It quells the arguments form the peanut gallery that we’re only together because we’ve never been apart. It will be hard, very hard, but it will be good. It’s great for my career, which is consequently good for us.

But I’ve been sad over all of this, and I also feel that I have no right to be sad. But there it is. I’ve been having a hard time, and that’s all I could think about whenever I sat down to blog, and it was the last thing I could stand to write about.

By the way, I asked my 94-year-old saint of a Grandma to pray for me a few weeks ago, to help me get a job. She prays a lot, and I think she likes being given something to pray for. Hot damn! I didn’t know the woman had so much pull upstairs. Within a week, I was offered an interview at one fellowship, and invited personally to apply for another. I should ask her to pray for me more often.

Coming up: pictures of the house! And probably the dog!

What Women Want
June 10, 2008, 9:19 am
Filed under: daily | Tags:

I am an oversharer.

I know this about myself. I would probably tell the mailman my life story if given the opportunity. And then, I would spend the next 3 weeks telling everyone else the same story.

Roommate! has to hear the same stories repeatedly because of this. Roommate! I am sorry.

But other times, I am an undersharer. I will chew over a problem until it loses its flavor, and then I’ll stick it in my hair (name that movie!). I mull it over and over, turning it over in the back of my head, until it finally comes to a head and I let it out. Usually in one big burst. Tears are involved.

Yea, I’m fun.

Bear is the one who deals with the brunt of this. In 3.5 years, he’s gradually starting to learn the lesson that all men need to learn in order to be able to handle their women without going totally bald.

Men? Listen up. When women come to you with their problems, unless it involves a large spider or a broken toilet, THEY DO NOT WANT YOU TO FIX THE PROBLEM.

Now, read that one more time. Bugs and broken appliances require fixing. I know that your natural inclination, when your lady comes to you crying over something, is to try to fix it. I’m sorry, but you do not have the tools to fix it. The only thing you can do is be there. Hugs are usually recommended, maybe a tissue. Ice cream is always in order.

Most importantly, you need to truly listen. Give her your full attention and talk through the problem with her. What she needs more than anything, more than suggestions or offers of help, is for you to rub her arm and make every effort to understand and really hear her.

Even if she’s behaving like a lunatic.

Bear is getting there. I know we’re young, and we’ve only had 3 years to get where we are.

A few weeks ago, I found myself crying in the Wendy’s in Oakland over my french fries because of an angry phone call from my mother, with yelling and lack of understanding. I decided that I needed to chill out in the sun on Cathedral Lawn before my night class. As I was walking, I saw some people throwing around a frisbee, a fairly normal site on the lawn. As I got closer, I thought, “gee, that guy looks an awful lot like Bear’s best friend.” A few steps closer, and I realized that it was Bear’s best friend. SURPRISE! Bear was there, too. Serendipity at its finest, really.

A few minutes of talking and I started crying again, and Bear extracted himself from the frisbee flinging to listen to me and hug me. We stood there under a tree, me trying to compose myself while he rubbed my back and listened. 2 years ago, he would have offered suggestions and asked questions and tried to fix it.

Such a good display of understanding doesn’t mean that he’s perfect, of course.

Last night, we got into a fight. It was hot as Hades here, so that’s not really a surprise. I was sweaty, hormonal and I have a bug bite the size of a child’s hand on my leg. I’ve also spent 3 years chewing over a problem. I won’t go into it here, I can’t go into it here because I do have some boundaries.

But Bear turned around and called his mom, which is precisely the exact opposite of what I wanted him to do. So then we fought about it more in the park, on the swings. We chewed it out, and I cried a lot (because I’m fun). He just kept going back to trying to tell me to “get over it”, like that strategy was one I hadn’t thought of on my own.

I know I have to get over it. I know it’s my issue that I need to manage. I know that. I know that a lot of it is in my head, but a lot of it isn’t. I know I just need to deal with it, because confronting the problem is not an option. Knowing these things doesn’t make the problem go away.

That’s not what I needed. I needed understanding, and I needed him to recognize that even though he doesn’t think I should be reacting like this, that I’m still feeling it. I needed him to understand me, and to really hear what my concerns are. He can’t fix this. The only thing he can do is hear me and support me.

After an hour, a lot of tears, and one delicious chocolate raspberry milk shake,  I think we’re there. At least, for this fight, we are. We’ll see about the next one.

I’m just going to guess that this is a hurdle that we’ll be fighting for a long time. I’m ok with that. I’d rather be fighting for this with Bear than doing anything else with anyone else.

Are you ready for my birthday?
April 11, 2008, 12:50 pm
Filed under: daily | Tags: , , ,

Today, someone found my blog by searching, “skinny hairy man”. SUCCESS! YOU HAVE FOUND ONE. His name is Bear. He is skinny as a rail, with so much leg hair that it looks like has pants on ALL THE TIME!

However, he is mine. You may not have him. My skinny hairy man. I’m glad we cleared that up.

My birthday is in 2 days. I will be 22. I already got my birthday presents of consequence. My mom bought me mah pearls on the cruise. It’s not like she could sneakily buy them and give them to me later. The cruise was a month ago, and I was ready to buy them for myself, credit card in hand and everything when she swooped in all, “I’ll buy them. They’ll be your birthday present.” FINE. BUY ME JEWELRY A MONTH BEFORE MY BIRTHDAY. SEE IF I CARE. I’ll wear them every day except the days I forget jewelry in RETALIATION.

Bear gave me my birthday present over a month ago, also, when he got back from New Orleans (Nwarlins). I told him a while ago that the only piece of jewelry I am craving (besides a big rock, but that doesn’t count) is a big amber pendant. With a bug in it. I know, peculiar, but that’s me. He got really excited about it, too. He knows I love amber in general (who DOESN’T want a chunk of really old tree sap?!), so he’s been keeping an eye out for amber for me. The bug will probably come later, like after he’s employed full time? With money? And stuff? But I’ll accept amber in the meantime. He found some beautiful silver and amber dangly earrings for me in a shop down there, and was SO VERY EXCITED that he COULD NOT CONTAIN HIS EXCITEMENT UNTIL MY BIRTHDAY BECAUSE IT WAS SO VERY FAR AWAY. So, FINE. Give me jewelry a month early! SEE IF I CARE.

He is going to give me a card on Sunday, though. Just because. And my mom sent me two batches of homemade oatmeal cookies with a card. Because I asked nicely. They are tasty, and no you can’t have any.

Also, my favorite Andrea is visiting from SYRACUSE this weekend. There are so many ways that I am excited about that. We’re going to look at apartments for her when she moves here this summer. YAY BEST FRIEND IN SAME CITY. How convenient. She is also bringing cheesecake. For mah birfday. But it is up in the air whether it will be allowed on the plane (HAHA punny), so we’ll see. I will understand if her birthday baked goods do not make it to Pittsburgh, I GUESS. I am just so happy she is visiting.

Hopefully, Sunday won’t be rainy/snow like it looks like it might be. WEATHER GODS. DO NOT DISAPPOINT ME.

How to get your boyfriend to propose to you
April 1, 2008, 6:44 pm
Filed under: daily | Tags:

1. Kick him in the bits and say “sh*t or get off the pot!”

2. Stop taking your birth control and oops! Get pregnant (not recommended).

3. Have car problems and then refuse to allow said boyfriend to help you buy a new car. Preferably cry. (This worked for my mom and her sister).

4. Dangle a doggie!

Conversation between Bear and I the other night:

Bear: Honey, I really want to get a dog in the next year or so, so I can take him hunting, and have someone to cuddle with out in the woods.

Katrina: Okk… (thinking: cuddling with a dog in the woods? Really?)

Bear: It’s just something that I really want. I miss having a dog around.

Katrina: Remember, we can have a pet, but it’s $30 a month in pet rent. That’s a lot of money.

Bear: A month?

Katrina: A month.

(They consult the lease. Katrina is correct, as per usual.)

Bear, crestfallen: Oh.

Katrina: Well think about it this way. We can’t have a dog until we buy a house. We can’t buy a house until we’re married. So, we can’t have a dog until we’re married. The earlier you propose to me, the sooner you get a dog. Just a thought…

(The grinding of gears in Bear’s head echoes around the bathroom.)

February 25, 2008, 1:12 pm
Filed under: daily | Tags: ,

Katrina: My adviser told me I’m a rare species because I’m going into library school with a hard science background.

Bear: I know you’re a rare species. That’s why I’m not allowed to shoot  you. Federal laws, and everything. Something about endangered animals? And not wanting to make them more so?