Tuesday, March 29, 2005

My plant doesn't need me

When I started the program I am currently working on my officemate Shane bought me a office warming present.

A plant.

One of those plants that you get at the grocery store that is wrapped in silver and green cellophane with a big silver bow.

I love my little plant. She is pretty and tough and has survived everything from freezing winter winds (Shane left the window open one night) to life without water (I went on a trip and forgot to ask someone to water her) to drops from great heights (my mountain of reference books habitually knock her off the back of my desk). I used to love her independence and really looked to her as the embodiment of my own personality.


I've been sick for 4 days and didn't come in to see her. No one was here to say hello to her in the morning. She didn't get water, natural light or her soil massage. Still she looks great. Better than ever.

It kind of makes me sad that she doesn't need me.

It makes me wonder if this is sometimes how I make/have made my boyfriends (past and present) feel.

I am independent and strong and don't really *need* anyone. I have my own goals and plans.

I'm sure it is attractive at first, but isn't a basic part of every relationship based (slightly at least) on needing the other person? Does my strong will turn people away and make them feel like their presence is ancillary to my existence when that really isn't how I feel.

Even though my plant is strong, if she goes forever without water she will shrivel up and die...even if she doesn't ever give that impression.

Friday, March 25, 2005

The miracle of eBay

My friend Derek *** (last name replaced with *** to keep his identity from circling the globe further still) went down to Costa Rica last week and got mugged. It sucked because he had to cancel his credit cards and get a new drivers license. I felt bad for him.

My friend Bryan decided to be funny and "sell his soul" on eBay. This was the email Bryan sent this morning:

So, I had my soul up for auction on eBay (It attracted some pretty high bids). The guy who bought it was from somewhere in South America. I was all ready to pack it up and ship it off to him, and then I noticed that his name was Derek ***. I thought "That's funny. I know Derek ***. Why would he want my soul? He's got a pretty good one already."

So I called the phone number. It didn't sound like you. He had a pretty thick Latin accent. But he had several credit cards that checked out under your name, your drivers license number, your social security number, and he even said he sleeps in bright red moose print pj's. He didn't seem to know anything about Derek Land, so I didn't believe him, and canceled the sale.

What happened down there?

Sounds to me like the guy who mugged my friend in Costa Rica tried to buy my other friend's soul on eBay.

Eureka Watkins! We've solved the mystery!

Thursday, March 24, 2005


Oh. Sweet. Glory.

Reese's is making peanut butter cups in the form of Easter eggs for the holiday and they are sweet ecstasy in a brightly colored foil wrapper.

There's no place like home

The light that comes in from the guest bathroom window and falls softly over my clean sparkling kitchen counter.

The landing half way up the stairs has a little ledge that I use as a window seat sometimes when I read or just look out to watch the rain.

My huge beautiful bedroom with vaulted ceilings, overhead fan and strong white double French doors.

The porch outside my front door that allowed me to watch thunder and lightening storms in the summer while I lazily strummed my guitar.

The hanging light with a dimmer switch that is suspended at just the right height over my kitchen table.

The little space just outside my bedroom door that would be perfect for a large indoor plant, that I never got around to buying.

The walk-in closet bigger than any of my rooms in college.

The little community park just across the street, hidden from the outside and only used by the members of my neighborhood.

The gazebo in the middle of my complex that is never used except for the two minutes I pause in it on my walk back from the gym.

The walking distance to the grocery store.

The funny old man who lives next door and spends every evening in the summer listening to the radio on his porch.

The screen door which allows me to let the breeze and sunlight flow in on a warm afternoon without letting any bugs in.

The memories I have of some of my favorite people being there.

All things I'll miss when I move out of my place on Sunday.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Ode to the Ear Doctor

Can I just take a minute to be that silly stupid girl who adores her boyfriend?

Ok, thanks.

He is such an amazing person. This week is his spring break and instead of going off somewhere and doing something fun with his friends he decided to stay in town with me since I can't leave like everyone else. So sweet.

We've been spending every free moment with each other for the last couple of weeks and it is great. He's funny and gets me so well.

When I decided to move there wasn't even a second thought in his mind that he'd help me out. He wanted to help me.

Also, we can talk. I mean really talk. He is interested in what I have to say and what I think. If he has questions about our relationship, he asks them. If he wonders what I think about politics, he asks me. If he wants to go see a movie, he asks what I want to see.

Not only that, but he thinks I'm funny. He thinks my weird traits are cute and endearing.

Sometimes he doesn't like what I do, and he TELLS me that. He doesn't get upset and clam up.

He doesn't always let me have my way. (A very good thing for me)

He thinks of my needs before his own.

He tries to always be a better boyfriend/friend/confidant/man.

He is dedicated to his religion and takes it seriously.

He's just great.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Am I really weird?

Last night my sister passed a kidney stone. I felt so bad for her because I know that they hurt like a mo fo.

Anyway, when I talked to her this morning I asked if she'd taken a picture of the stone.

She reacted like I was crazy and gross to even think about taking a picture of something like that.

I just thought it would be interesting to document how small that little beast was that caused so much pain.

If it had been me, I probably would have taken a picture and then posted it here for all to enjoy.

Is that really strange?


Yesterday I systematically emailed every Stanford Mechanical Engineering professor whose research is remotely interesting and asked them for money.

I groveled.

I begged.

I pleaded.

I offered to grade papers or do grunt work.

On my way home from work I flipped on the radio. This girl was talking about how she bought her finace a $90K truck as an engagement present only to have to guy cheat on her 3 weeks later. Instead of demanding the truck back in court, she decided to just let him have it. She said, "I'm a trust fund kid so I paid for it in cash and it doesn't really make that much of a difference to me"

I was instantly ENRAGED!

It seemed so backward that some 22 year old trust fund kid dropped $90K on a guy who cheated on her and I'm sitting here ready to sell my soul for someone to pay my $44K tuition to the second best engineering program in the country. Surely that money would be better spent on my education than some moron's transportation?!?!?!

I can't even afford the $300 plane ticket to get out there for their prospective grad visit day on April 4.

Just another indication of how the whole universe is out of balance.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Colorado's Own Ripley's Believe-it or Not

Saturday the ear doctor and I drove an hour and a half away from the mountains into the flat, drab plains of Eastern Colorado in pursuit of the bizarre.

We'd heard about the Genoa Tower and wanted to check it out.

It was INSANE.

Every square inch of this place was covered in junk.

We met and hung out with the owner, Jerry Chubbuk. He was a character. The tour cost $1 each and was worth every 100 pennies. Before starting the tour he gave us a chance to win our money back. If we could correctly guess 20 items in a row he'd refund our money. I got one of the 20.

As we wandered through the 21 rooms filled with every bit of imaginable junk I was completely overwhelmed. Things were attached to every square inch of the structure. Sharp saw blades were suspended overhead by a twist of rusty wire and a screw.

My favorites had to be the stuffed people at the top of the tower, the 2 headed stuffed calf and the carcass of a fetal pig with 8 legs.

I do'nt think Jerry makes a boat load of money off his tours since it was Saturday afternoon and we only saw 2 other couples there. In fact, I don't even think he makes enough to turn on the heat because it was freezing out there. The only amenity out there was electricity. No plumbing necessitated making do without some standard convienences.

If anyone is every driving cross country on I-70, do NOT miss the chance to check this place out. It blew my mind.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Brett's Birthday

Here are my pals. Sorry for the poor photo quality...I'm pissed that my digital camera does this sometimes.

From left to right:
Kristian, Nicole (you can only see a bit of her face ), Eric, Calvin, Ear Doctor, Jocelyn

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Just an observation

Poodle got me thinking.

Where does the line between loving someone with your whole heart and becoming a doormat lie? Is the definition purely internal or is there a necessary external measure used? Can someone act and feel the EXACT some way, be a doormat in one situation and not in another? Is it dependent on a second party or not?

Most of the discussion I've heard about love states that real love is when selfishness vanishes. Does that mean that the "self" vanishes as well? I sure hope not because this is antithetical to my personality. Does that mean I'll never really be able to love someone else because I am independent?

I say no.

Love is not love unless the "self" survives. When someone "looses themselves" in love they have not truly attained it, because THEY are not in it anymore...Just a shadow of who they used to be.

It's really simple math.

If you take two separate people, combined them, melt them, join them, erase they old personas to make one entity you have LESS than what you started with.

If you take two separate people, join them but still keep them separate entities you really create 3: one person, one person, and one relationship.

You end up having more than you had to start.

Any thoughts?

A great compliment

Last night was my friend Brett's 30th birthday. After we'd all finished dinner, they brought out the pile of gifts for him to open.

He grabbed mine first out of the stack, and said, "Katie, you always give such thoughtful, creative gifts"

Isn't that nice? I was really pleased with that.

BTW-I got him a Simpsons puzzle and some apple juice. Strange? Sure, but to understand the perfection of this gift I have to take you back....

One Friday night about 5 months ago I dropped in late at his house to pick something up. All the lights in the house were off, but there was a triangular sliver of golden light coming from the cracked open spare room. As I got closer I could hear the unmistakable voice of miss Dolly Parton softly crooning. I pushed the door open slightly and saw one of the funniest sights.

Brett was sitting with his back to the door in front folding card table, slowly tapping his right foot. He was putting together a puzzle and languidly sipping a tall tumbler of apple cider.

Such a party animal.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

A night out with the girls

Well, it wasn't really "out" and it wasn't really with MY "girls" but it was surprisingly fun.

Last night we had an all-girl church activity where we were supposed to bring stuff that represented our talents so that other people could walk around, look at them and instantly understand who we are and what we're all about.


Tall order.

Between work, the gym, and hitting the mall for the finishing touches of my little sister's birthday present, I only had about 10 minutes in which to create this display that would fully encompass me.

I opened up the back seat of my car and started tossing stuff in.

I threw in my violin, my guitar, some CDs, a tall stack of books I've just finished, the 10 journals I've filled in my life, a bunch of photo albums, sheet music, my ski boots, goggles and gloves, a couple of frisbees, two huge posters I've made for work and some engineering text books, a patridge and a pear tree.

I drove like a madman to get there on time. When I showed up, short of breath, I realized that not everyone had been so quite to offer their entire lives to the event.

People had a painting they had done, or a photo of their family or a book of piano music. I was kind of embarrassed by the shear volume of stuff I'd brought, but I pulled it all out. I figured that just having that much stuff would show people how splintered and fragmented I feel these days.

Anyway, I ended up spending most of the night trying to explain what I do at work to a group of people with complete blank stares on their faces. Engineering tends to do this to people. I think it intimidates a lot of people, but I wish they would just listen and give it a chance because it really isn't as technical and difficult to grasp as they think.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Photo of the Day

This shot was taken from the window of a little 4 passenger plane going up over Corona pass in Colorado about a month ago. It was breathtaking!

3 things I'd rather be doing right now

1. Skiing. We just had a huge storm here on Sunday and I bet the snow is deep and fresh. Plus, it is sunny and bright out so I bet it is a perfect ski day.

2. Packing. I know, I usually hate packing like any normal person, but I'm moving in for a month with Sarah so it will be fun times for us for the months of April and May. It's been SO long since I was living with someone I consider my best friend.

3. Napping. I'm tired and my bed was SO soft and inviting this morning.

So, what are yours?

Monday, March 14, 2005

Pictures from Texas

Saturday it was 90 degrees in Dallas. We took a tour of the 6th floor museum and saw the window from which JFK was shot. I thought it was a little morbid that they painted a big white X on the ground at the approximate location of the car at the time of the shooting.

We walked around the West End of town and decided we didn't like it that much because it felt "manufactured" and "touristy." We all prefer having real city experiences.

Sunday morning we spent walking around the arts district. This was much more enjoyable. As we were going back to our car people were starting to line up for the St. Patrick's day parade. I felt a real closeness to all the red headed people. There was one red headed little girl that was so cute I found myself staring at her. In my distracted state I walked into a low marble slab and now have a nice little purple bruise developing.

Downtown Dallas. I thought it was so beautiful to take a picture of the reflection of buildings off a total glass sky scraper. The twirly ice cream cone building is a tribute to gratitude. I thought that idea was particularly appealing.

You're supposed to walk through this big gold ring and think of all the things you're grateful for and all the other people who are less fortunate than you. I guess is is supposed to make you realize your responsibility to help others for the advancement of the common good. Derek stood in it, with arms outstretched, and pretended he was Da Vinci's famous Anatomy piece.

Inverted advice column

I've always thought of myself as a pretty good girlfriend, but lately I've started to doubt my preconceived notions. Perhaps even I could improve in this area, but I just don't know what I could do to be better. In an effort to grow and learn I'd like to pose this question:

What are 3 traits of an awesome girlfriend?

Inquiring minds want to know.

A day of rest

I like walking around big cities on Sunday. Even though a lot of people don't use it as a day of worship anymore, it is still a day of rest, and a big city like Dallas is living proof of that.

As I walked down the streets, looking up from my cement bound vantage to the tops of buildings that truly seem to scrape the sky, this was the thought that passed through my mind, "where are all the people?"

Sunday is the day when the city slows down. It takes a hiccup and lets time hang for a day, taking that much needed exhale.

I like feeling the marked contrast between Sunday and the rest of the week that you get in big cities. You don't get that anywhere else.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Bill Cosby Himself

Have you seen that DVD yet?

Dad is great...Gives us chocolate cake

Pure Terror

I live in a 3 bedroom/2.5 bathroom condo alone.

I love living alone because it means that any mess in the house is intentional and I can deal with it if I want, but if I don't want to then I don't. I come and go as I please, cook dinner whenever I want to, have total control of the TV and pretty much live as the lord and master of my domain. It's great.

Last night I cooked a full beautiful dinner for the ear doctor and a couple of missionaries.

After dinner the missionaries left and the ear doctor and I watched Gilmore Girls and the amazing race. (Note: the ear doctor did a lab write up during Gilmore girls. It was his first time watching it and his favorite character was Kirk. Men just don't "get" that show.)

Anyway, he had to leave at 9 to go work on homework with a buddy, which left me home, alone at 9 pm.

I haven't been home, alone, and awake at 9 pm in FOREVER. I decided to get some laundry and dishes done while unwinding and watching and episode of Law and Order:SVU. It was an episode about a psycho rapist who preyed on young virgins. Yikes. It was riveting and freaky and deliciously entertaining. During the commercials, I muted the TV for a moment and couldn't hear the washing machine going.

In my head I tried to determine which cycle it should be on, and I immediately got annoyed because, by my count, it should definitely still be going. A little cranked, I went upstairs to check on it.

As I opened the laundry room door I was immediately struck by the scene which presented itself. There was my washer, full of clothes, and soapy water to the brim with the door wide open.

The first thought that ran through my mind was, "oh my gosh, some psycho rapist has somehow sneaked into my house and is toying with my mind and luring me upstairs into his clutches by opening the lid of the washer and stopping the cycle."

As I shut the lid and started up the cycle again, I dialed 911 on my cell phone, poised my right thumb over the send button just in case, and I picked up the hammer nearby. I don't know why I didn't just run from my apartment, but I thought I'd look around. (Suddenly all those damsels in B movie horror flicks don't look quite so dumb)

I moved slowly past each of the two empty bedrooms. I made a quick glance in each. If someone was hiding, I definitely wouldn't have seen them with the cursory look I paid to each, but I felt a slight reassurance that I had indeed looked in each room.

I glanced into the bathroom at the end of the hall. Empty (I didn't check behind the shower curtain because I was too scared).

I entered my bedroom. Empty.

I went into my attached bathroom. Empty.

I peered into my attached huge, dark walk-in closet. Empty.

I even had the guts to open the glass door of my shower. Empty.

A slight sigh of relief escaped from my tense lungs.

I set down the hammer, cleared 911 from my phone and went back downstairs to the TV.

Thoughts from every horror movie I'd ever seen (including trailers) flitted through my mind for the next 10 minutes.

I tried to think of some mechanical reason why the lid would pop open....Pressure differential, spring/switch failure, imbalance in the load...Nothing made sense.

because I really am just a little girl at heart when I'm scared, I called my mom. She told me to call the ear doctor and have him come and look the place over. Then, she said that I probably just tossed the soap in on top of my clothes and forgot to shut the door, but I was SURE I had closed it.

I went to bed scared and alone.

This morning as I was in a rush to get ready I was doing 10 things at once. Just as I was about to run out of the door I thought that I should rotate the next load of laundry. I entered the laundry room and what I saw almost made me laugh out loud.

I'd started the load, but forgot to put in my clothes or shut the lid. It was sitting there exactly like last night: open, full of water, silently laughing at me and my ridiculous panic attack.

What a nerd, huh?

Overactive Climate Control

Right now my office is about 80 degrees. Its only 50 degrees outside, but for some reason my office is SWELTERING. Is management trying to put me back to sleep?!?!?

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Great News

I got accepted to Stanford last night


I'm torn.

I don't really know if I'm happy about it or not. I know that if I'd been rejected I would have been really pissed off and secretly doubted myself.

I just don't have the same elation I experienced last time.

Two years ago I walked out to my mail box with butterflies in my stomach. It felt like I had waited forever and heard back from every other school. But not Stanford. The #2 school in the country. The real test of how I stack up, not only to other undergrads at my school, but undergrads all over the country. Because I am perhaps the world's most competitive little thing on the planet, this was a big deal to me.

As I opened it I caught a glimpse of a circular seal with a lone pine tree in the middle. Yikes.

For a moment I just stared at the white envelope.

Tentatively, I opened the seal.

The first word of the first paragraph of the first page was this: "Congratulations"

Waves of relief and reassuring self confidence washed over me.

I immediately hopped in my car and sped over to Derek's house. As I climbed the steps I pretended to be depressed. I did my best to radiate gloom and embarrassment. He opened the door and I was working up eyes full of tears. I announced that I had been rejected. For a moment I had him, but, knowing me as well as he did, he said, "No you didn't" and I couldn't hold it in, I ran to him, jumped into his arms and we spun around the front room of his little house.

I was so happy.

This is different.

I'm still reaffirmed, but I'm pretty sure I can't go, which is depressing. They didn't offer me any financial aid and they probably won't. There are a million kids who want to get into the program who are willing to pay that they don't mind letting me go.

I don't even really want to take a trip out there for their grad admit day because I know I'll fall in love with the campus and the professors and the program all over again and be tempted to just go throw caution to the wind and go there.

Plus there's the ear doctor.

When I told him last night I could almost feel the effort he had to put into saying congratulations.


Stormy Weather

Right now a big storm is rolling into Boulder.

The sky is flat, drab gray.

The leafless tress whip violently in the cruel winds that precede the imminent weather change.

And I like it.

Monday, March 07, 2005


I can hear my manager clipping his fingernails through my office wall. Gross. Do that kind of thing at home.

Who does that?

My sister drove over to Colorado to see me this weekend. She had everything packed up in her little green civic, picked up Sarah's sister to drive with her and then called me. Her first words were, "ok, we're all packed up, how to we get there?"

Who doesn't plan ahead, get directions, at least have a vague idea of how to get to the end of an 8 hour road trip? Only my sister.

Saturday morning I woke up early and went to the grocery store. While I was at the store Mags woke up and wandered down to the TV and flipped it on. All of the sudden, the doorbell rang. She was instantly freaked out. She was torn because she was pretty sure that no one should be coming to my house that early on a Saturday morning. After a minute or two she worked up the courage to go and peep out my window. No one was there. She opened the door and found that the ear doctor had left us a dozen Krispy Kreme doughnuts. From that point on Maggie's heart had been won.

Whose emotions are easily bought with a white and green striped box full of sugary treats? That'd be my sister.

Saturday afternoon Mags and I were chillin at my house after going to the movies. The ear doctor was on his way over to meet her. This is the first time he'd met anyone from my family. They met and things went just fine. The three of us were sitting on the fouton and Mags looked over and the ear doctor and said, "You have a lot of arm hair."

Who makes a comment like that to someone who might be feeling a little awkward in a potentially intimidating situation? Only my cute little sister.

Sunday my sister could only stay to the first hour of church, so she had to leave in the middle. We were almost out the door when she realized that she hadn't said goodbye to the ear doctor. She turned, ran back into the building and met up with him. There was a momentary pause and then she just threw her arms around his neck. They said goodbye and I walked her out to her car. When we were out of earshot, she said, "was the hug ok?"

Who asks if giving your sister's boyfriend a hug goodbye is ok or not? Only my precious little sister.

Friday, March 04, 2005

The weekend

So my little sister is driving over from Utah to see me this weekend.


This will be the first time she meets the ear doctor.

Last night over dinner he confessed a tiny bit of nervousness over meeting her. In an effort to feel more prepared he asked me what she was like.

How do you describe someone that you've known your whole life? Someone's whose faults are endearing to you....so much so that you cease to see them as faults and think of them as critical character traits that make them who they are?

I started out by saying that she is SO much different from me. She is so...good. I don't think I've ever heard her say something mean about someone (except her high school enemy, Andrew). She always sees the best in people. I am prone to being catty and meanspirited at times, but Maggie...never.

The next thing that came to my mind was to say that she thinks I'm funny. Except when I'm poking her with a stick for 2 hours...and even then I have a sneaking suspicion that she thought it was funny (deep down).

Next, I thought she's not good at handling change. She gets flustered when she has to make a choice.

She likes plans. She likes making plans. She likes sticking to plans. She needs plans.

She's a loyal friend.

She's just plain beautiful.

That's why I'm excited to see her this weekend. She's great!