Category: lists

where we attempt to organize our thoughts

Household hints (and life advice) with Kate!

  1. You can put your sponge in the dishwasher if it starts getting gross. Also, Dawn dish washing liquid rots sponges much faster than anything else I’ve used, which is sad because it really does a great job at cutting grease. I tend to use eco-friendly stuff because I’m a fantastic person.
  2. If your cast iron has been used but isn’t super dirty and doesn’t have anything majorly stuck to it, you can clean it with vegetable oil instead of water. I know that people say it’s ok to use (gentle) soap on your cast iron, but I never do. Hot water if necessary, steel wool, a tablespoon of oil, and putting it back on the hot burner to make sure the oil soaks in while you rub it in really well. No oil should remain sitting on the surface. Think of it as polishing, not lubricating. Excess oil will bead up and leave brown stains on the your pan.
  3. NEVER SOAK A CAST IRON PAN. Dry it as soon as it’s clean and rub it down with oil while heating it up.
  4. If you have particularly stubborn crap stuck on a stainless steel pan, pretend you’re going to a science fair and mix up some household vinegar and baking soda in the pan. Heat it (medium low) on the stove if you want it to work faster to get the crap off. This also works on cast iron, but you want to be careful to not eat away all your seasoning, so only do it in an emergency.
  5. Cast iron is the only way to really cook a steak on the stove, and I am willing to die on this hill.
  6. For sticker residue, alcohol and a good scrub tends to work pretty well to get it up. Hand sanitizer works too! For something harder to remove, like bumper sticker adhesive, WD-40 is a very good thing to have around.
  7. The same goes for permanent marker. Rubbing alcohol and/or WD-40 work very well. You can also use a normal pencil eraser to get most of it off something non-porous.
  8. Dry erase marker cleans up permanent marker or stuck-on dry erase marker on a whiteboard. So does alcohol. It will mess up colored markers if you use them to clean up black ink, though, so be careful.
  9. 70% isopropyl alcohol is better for cleaning wounds than higher strengths. I’m not sure why this is, but I know that it is science.
  10. Wayfair is cheap for a reason. That reason is that their stuff is cheaply made. However, their refund policy is pretty great.
  11. Gatorade powder is available in stores and much cheaper (and better for the planet) than buying it one bottle at a time.
  12. If you sew, you should have at least one pair of scissors that aren’t used for ANYTHING other than sewing. I have two pairs, one large and one small. If your (now former) sister-in-law uses your sewing scissors for something else even after you repeatedly told her not to, tell her that she sucks and go out and buy new scissors. Move out and take the good sewing machine since they’re both yours anyway.
  13. Buy a decent sewing machine if you can afford it. Cheap ones break down really easily and do sloppy work.
  14. Same with vacuum cleaners.
  15. Dryer balls really do help make sure all your towels and other absorbent/thick items all get dry. Do not overstuff your washer or dryer. It’s better to do a second load than have a bunch of wet towels you have to hang up.
  16. If your clothes are particularly smelly (socks, anything mildewed,) putting a cup of white vinegar in the washer with your detergent will usually take care of it.
  17. Buy a waterproof, washable mattress cover. You might think “this is not necessary,” and I would tell you that you are a fool. Especially if you drink liquids in bed, or you’re planning to get e-coli.
  18. Do not get e-coli. Maybe make sure there are no produce recalls or advisories before buying a salad from Dominos? Otherwise, when you wake up at 1:43 a.m. with the worst stomach cramps of your life and spend most of the rest of the night in the bathroom, you might end up stumbling on the article about tainted lettuce several hours too late.
  19. If your shoes are not comfortable, do not wear those shoes. I buy used and discounted clothing all the time, in fact, I rarely buy anything else. But I do not do this with shoes. Shoes are vitally important because your foot bones connect to all your other bones eventually, and shitty shoes can hurt your knees, hips, and back.
  20. If you are blessed with breasts, find a bra that fits and is comfortable to wear all day. If you still love it after a month, buy several more of them.
  21. You can buy cheap beauty and skincare stuff and get by just fine, but the expensive stuff is often worth a splurge.
  22. Take care of your skin so you don’t turn into a wrinkled old hag. Start doing this before you think it’s actually necessary. Otherwise you’ll have to invest a lot more into reversing the effects of sun damage, smoking, and general carelessness.
  23. The Dollar Tree medicine aisle often has the stuff you need, and everything’s a dollar. Pregnancy tests, ibuprofen, generic Benadryl, wound care stuff… I even got retinol cream there that I use on my eyes at night (see previous part about skincare.)
  24. That being said, name-brand Band-Aids are worth buying. Other brands (Curel!) make good stuff as well, but generic brands almost universally suck. Also, if you’re allergic to plastic bandaids, you might not be allergic to the fabric ones.
  25. If you need stuff like fitness equipment, a curling iron, socks or new tights, etc.,) check Marshalls or Ross to see if they have it before splurging somewhere else.
  26. If you have a milk sensitivity (not necessarily lactose intolerance; for me it isn’t the lactose) heavy cream might not set it off as much as milk does. Non-dairy creamer also seems to work for a lot of people and I can’t taste the difference in coffee and tea. Instead of using milk and butter in boxed mac n’ cheese (don’t you dare judge me) I often use heavy cream and maybe a little salt.
  27. Poshmark, Mercari, and eBay are great for when you want vintage or designer shit but you aren’t rolling in money, god damn it.
  28. https://www.remove.bg/ is a great way to remove the backgrounds from photos for free. See below.
Also, if you have a tiny purse like this one, which is frickin Kate Spade and cost $60, people wont ask you to carry their shit around all the time.

I wish me a Merry Christmas

I’ve been tweeting this year, what with all the upheaval and the Covid and all that. It’s a good way to stay abreast of what’s going on, and I’ve been working on not getting into Twitter fights because they’re stupid and don’t change anyone’s mind. Instead, I watch animal rescue videos. Those mellow me out.

I find myself often recommending products that I really like on Twitter. No one cares. I have no sponsors, I’m followed by not-a-lot of people and no one knows who I am. But there are things I want to share with the world! Because I believe in them! And this is my blog! I do what I want! And this is my Christmas-themed post!

So here’s my list of the products and services I’ve enjoyed this year! Check them out if you like.

Glossier makeup has a lot of great stuff. I don’t really care for their skincare or scents, but for day-to-day low-maintenance wear, their makeup is the BOMB. Their prices are pretty reasonable for higher-end stuff, too.

  • I love their Perfecting Skin Tint, which gives my skin a lovely glow without looking the least bit fake. It’s very light coverage, but it really does make you look radiant without being done-up. I have an uneven complexion and this smooths it out just enough. Lasts pretty well, even better with primer. $26.
  • Their Generation G Sheer Matte Lipstick is also a real winner. I have it in Cake and Jam, and both of them give a lovely tint to my lips. It’s not super long-lasting, but it doesn’t dry my lips out and can be reapplied throughout the day. $18.
  • But most of all I want to recommend their amazing mascara. Lash Slick is by far the best mascara I’ve ever used. It creates length and definition without clumping, making my eyes look more awake and bright, but without making it obvious that I’ve done anything to my lashes. $16 and worth every damn cent.
Seriously, look at my lashes. This is one coat. LEGIT AMAZING.
  • Their Colorslide eyeliners are also totes amazeballs, they glide on your lids like buttah and last all day long. I have Stable Relationship, Brack, and Sparkle Shark, and they all get used on the reg. $15.

On the more expensive side, I just discovered Tom Ford Traceless Matte foundation and it is like airbrushing in liquid form. For when light coverage isn’t good enough, or for a full glam look, this stuff is awesome. It has a subtle lavender scent that fades quickly, it feels very lightweight on the face, it lasted all day without primer (I’ll use primer in the future, though) and it didn’t make me break out (always a concern with scented makeup and heavier foundations.) It’s spendy, but if you want a great medium-to-heavy coverage you can slap on and then not think about all day, it’s worth checking out. Comes in lots of colors, I just happened to get a sample that perfectly matched my skintone. Ordering a soon! $88.

My go-to scent this year has been Kilain Princess. It’s got a lovely, warm smell. It can be a bit overpowering, so use sparingly. They say it smells like marshmallows, green tea and ginger, none of which I detect. To me it smells like sexy comfort hugs. And doesn’t everyone want to smell like that? I’ve linked to the purse size because who the hell wants to spend $75+ on something without knowing how it smells on YOU? $30.

GoPuff is a fantastic service that I can’t recommend enough. It’s like grocery delivery for when you’re baked (or when you aren’t, in my personal case, but I can see the stoner appeal.) Our orders have always been SUPER QUICK and their reusable shopping bags are very well made for something they give out for free. Got the munchies? Want some Cheetos and a bath bomb? They will hook you up.

For the comfiest, non-wedgiest underwear I’ve ever worn, I highly recommend Thunderpants. They come in lots of cute prints, and they’re always adding new ones. They aren’t cheap, but they’re a treat to wear. They have camis, bralettes, and men’s & kid’s underthings as well.

And this is the year I discovered sports bras. This bra from Jockey is a great combination of supportive and comfortable. It’s available in more colors which are more expensive, but I love the dark grey anyway so I just ordered two more. It doesn’t flatten my boobs! But it also is wireless and super supportive! If you wanna forget you’re wearing a bra, this is a great option.

I bought some Reebok socks very similar to these earlier this year and they are super comfy athletic socks, excellent for taking a lot of walks. They’re a good weight for summer and fall, they wick well, and they’re very comfortable all day. Also, they’re well elasticized, and the ankle isn’t so tight that they leave deep marks scored into your flesh. Which is nice. They fit perfectly and seem to be holding up pretty well.

I could name more things, but this is probably enough. I love my Fitbit, except when it misbehaves, which it does sometimes because it likes to keep things interesting. I bought some boots but I’m not sure how they’ll wear yet (going great so far!) As always, Gap jeans fit my butt better than any other brand no matter how much I weigh.

Get Down With The Sickness

“Don’t borrow trouble” is something my mom says to me when I’m worrying about something I have no control over. It means that it’s silly to stress out about things before you know what you’re up against. I think it’s a pretty good idea, but it doesn’t always work.

At the beginning of summer this year, I started having weird symptoms. Some of them could be dismissed as symptoms of known or suspected illnesses, but all of them together seemed like something I should pay attention to.

  • Blurry vision
  • Double vision
  • Strange visual disturbances (flashes of light)
  • Minor aphasia (words coming out jumbled or incorrect)
  • Minor ataxia (lack of coordination, especially in my right hand)
  • Confusion
  • Inattention/lack of focus
  • Short-term memory loss

This was in addition to the joint pain, headaches, stomach issues, and other assorted FUN! things I always have going on. The above symptoms were either new or worsened.

The extra-alarming thing about all these symptoms is that I’d experienced them back in early 2012. At the time I blamed them on the car accident I’d had in November of 2011, and my neurologist diagnosed me with Post-Concussion Syndrome.

PCS doesn’t reappear 3.5 years later. I have had no recent head trauma. So it’s gotta be something else, and it’s not a coincidence.

I’m still having that FUN! assortment of symptoms, but with some new, exciting ones too!

  • Shaky legs
  • Worsening lack of coordination in both hands
  • Dizziness
  • I’m spacey pretty much all the time
  • Petichiae (clusters of burst blood vessels under the skin)

Those who know me might think I’m something of a hypochondriac, but this isn’t true. I just happen to often be hyperaware of any weird things going on in my body because I have so much annoying shit wrong with me already. I might unnecessarily jump to conclusions, but I don’t diagnose myself off WebMD. I talk to real doctors, I research things, and I don’t “borrow trouble.”

…but I’ve had my suspicions on this one. And it’s because of The West Wing. Yes, the TV show that ran from 1999-2007. It’s a really great show, you should watch it.

Martin Sheen plays an idealized president. It’s unrealistic and wonderful. Anyway, fairly early into the show (maybe the beginning of season two?) we find out that President Bartlet has a chronic, incurable disease. It causes a bunch of crises and good TV drama. Yay.

It planted an idea in my head.

But I try not to borrow trouble.

I’m trying to get disability. I went and got evaluated by a doctor last week as part of that (long, arduous) process, and when I told him my symptoms, he asked…

“Have you ever been screened for multiple sclerosis?”

Nope.

But that’s what I’ve been thinking too.

I have an appointment with a neurologist in two weeks. I am not panicking, or not much. I am trying not to borrow trouble. But I’ve done a LOT of reading, and… damn. It sure sounds like MS. There are plenty of other things it could be. But none of them fit quite like MS does.

It could also be a brain tumor! I wouldn’t prefer a brain tumor.

It could not, however, be “nothing,” as someone recently suggested. This is not “nothing.” Trust me.  Something is wrong, and I have a feeling it’s going to change my life in ways I can’t yet predict.

I don’t know what’s wrong yet. I am trying not to panic. But every night I find myself researching MS, learning how it’s diagnosed and treated, wondering how it’ll affect my life, whether it’ll be mostly annoying or totally devastating. It manifests differently for everyone, it seems. Some are inconvenienced. Some are crippled.

I haven’t been getting a lot of sleep.

They’ll do blood tests, and probably an MRI, and probably a spinal tap. Those are to rule things out more than anything else, because there’s no definitive test for MS in a living patient. They can find indicators, but they can’t prove it. It’s just an educated guess. Which will probably involve a spinal tap. I am not looking forward to the spinal tap.

I’m not really looking for advice right now. Since I don’t know what I’m up against, I don’t know how to fight it yet. But I think I’m going to buy a day planner to keep track of my health, mood, level of activity, food intake, and other related things.

I also don’t really want to be told to keep my chin up. This is scary and I’m being as brave as I know how to be.

I’ll keep ya’ll posted as I find out more.

Love,

Kate

 

Song lyrics in post titles:

Some of the more recent ones:

When you gonna love you as much as I do? is from Winter by Tori Amos

Some of them want to abuse you is from Sweet Dreams are Made of This by the Eurythmics

It’s almost everything I need Sullivan Street, Counting Crows

I’d rather leave than suffer this Monkeywrench, Foo Fighters

love is a hell you can not bear/give me mine back and then go there Sleep to Dream, Fiona Apple

Arrest this girl and i’ve given all i can, it’s not enough are from Karma Police by Radiohead

You might decide I’m a nut and give me a week or two to go absolutely cuckoo are from Absolutely Cuckoo

only something new Least Complicated, Indigo Girls

99 (er, 7) Problems

I WOULD NOW LIKE TO OUTLINE FOR YOU THE WAYS THAT MEN ARE OPPRESSED IN AMERICAN SOCIETY:

1. They often lose in child custody cases.

2. Sometimes they’re accused of rape, and they didn’t do it. I mean, sure, this hardly ever goddamned happens, but it HAS happened. And it’s totally as bad as rape, even though it’s less prevalent. Even though people who make false accusations are often fined and/or jailed. It’s oppression. Obvs.

3. Jock itch.

4. Not being able to cry at movies without being thought of as a sissy.

5. Sometimes, like, some bitch sabotages the birth control, right? And then the guy has to make these fucking payments for, like, 18 goddamned years. Oppression.

6. Women and children first off of sinking ships or whatever.

7. The Friend Zone. You know what I’m talking about.

How to fight the loneliness

I feel like crap today.  Here are some things  I do (and you can do!) to not feel quite so crappy.

  1. Make sure to keep eating, even if you don’t want to.  Even if it’s something small, make sure you put nutritious food in your belly.
  2. Get out of the house, even if it’s just to go to the store.
  3. If you think of something that might help, no matter how silly, try it.
  4. Find ways to distract yourself.  Books and music both help.  TV just numbs you, but maybe that’s what you need.  Try a book first.
  5. Remember that this too shall pass.  There have been good days, this just isn’t one of them.
  6. Don’t mope around with gross hair and dirty sweatpants.  Get ready for life, even if you don’t have anything planned.
  7. Do something indulgent.  Take a bath, take a walk, take a nap.  Treat yourself a little bit.
  8. Don’t sit around eating carton after carton of ice cream or whatever.  But feel free to eat a small bag of M&Ms or a reasonable portion of another treat.
  9. Get in touch with friends, just to say hello.
  10. Keep breathing.  Sometimes that’s all you can do.

Thirteen Albums

1. The National, “Boxer”
2. The Wrens, “Meadowlands”
3. Rachael Yamagata, “Elephants… Teeth Sinking Into Heart”
4. Spoon, “Kill The Moonlight”
5. Arcade Fire, “Funeral”
6. Harvey Danger, “Cream and Bastards Rise”
7. The Killers, “Hot Fuss”
8. Modest Mouse, “Good News For People Who Love Bad News”
9. Muse, “Black Holes and Revelations”
10. Nada Surf, “Let Go”
11. The Strokes, “Is This It?”
12. Old ’97s, “Too Far To Care”
13. The Shins, “Chutes Too Narrow”

10 Books

Off the top of my head, not in order:

  1. L.A. Confidential
  2. The Lord of the Rings
  3. In Cold Blood
  4. She’s Come Undone
  5. Under the Banner of Heaven
  6. Small Gods
  7. Reaper Man
  8. Lamb
  9. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
  10. The Little Prince

How to end a relationship in an adult manner without causing anyone undue stress

Here’s how I did it:

  1. I got very drunk at his house
  2. I tried to fix another drink, which would have been my fourth very strong vodka & cran
  3. He tried to stop me from fixing another drink, which was in everyone’s best interest being that I was already plastered
  4. We fought over my glass
  5. The glass fell to the floor and broke
  6. I tried to clean up the shards, but I was drunk, so he wanted to do it himself
  7. He had to drag me, in a heap, out of the kitchen
  8. I put vodka directly into the bottle of cranberry juice before he could stop me
  9. I wandered to the bathroom and purposely cut my fingertip with a razor
  10. …and then smeared blood on his face like tribal paint and told him he was “a warrior now”
  11. For the first and last time in my life, drove home while very, very drunk

TA-DA!!!

Famous People I’ve Met

1. Brad Pitt. He was with Jennifer Aniston, but I didn’t speak to her. We had an eight word conversation about his hat in December, 2000. “Nice hat, Brad Pitt.” “Thank you very much.”

2. Robin Williams, March 1994. He was at the Exploratorium in SF with his kid. I was 12 and made an ass of myself.

3. Sarah Silverman (and kinda Jimmy Kimmell, but he was an asshole), 2005. She was at the Coach store. We talked for a few minutes, and she hugged me goodbye! She was super sweet.

4. Mary Lou Lord, musician, July 1999. She was busking on Newbury St. in Boston, and she let me sing a song in her microphone.

5. Rhett Miller, singer of the Old ’97s and solo artist, April 2003. He was opening for Tori Amos. He hugged me, too, but I had to ask for it. Which was fine. HE HUGGED ME.

6. Nando Parrado, survivor of the Andes flight disaster, June 2006. I interviewed him for the PSU Vanguard.