Ferociously Observant

It’s not who you are that holds you back, it’s who you think you’re not. -Anon.

Leaving Home for Home 26 February 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — ferociouskater @ 4:12 pm

Where we love is home, Home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts. ~Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.


Yesterday, upon talking with a good friend about coming to visit my family this week, I used the phrase “going home” and he immediately pouted. “I thought your home was here with all of us,” he said in mock despair, and preceded to stick his bottom lip out and give me puppy dog eyes.

He’s right, of course – Tom is used to me calling my parents’ house “home” but he probably had the same reaction the first couple of times. I think partially it comes from still being the baby of my extended family and still being treated as such. I also think it’s a mentality kids automatically get when they go away for college and live in a dorm all four years – all of my dorm rooms or apartments were temporary, and while calling them “home” worked when my roommates drug me “home” at 2AM on a Friday night, the most fitting usage came when my last final was turned in and I was finally able to go home for a break.

As much as I may lament the fact, I’m not in college anymore, and I do consider the apartment I share with my husband and two adorable puppies my “home.” I can’t help it, though, especially sitting at this table watching the snow fall onto frozen Lake Erie, to still call my parents’ condo “home” as well. I can’t help to call it home when I crawl into a fluffy, warm bed overlooking the Cleveland skyline and know that I will wake up to fresh brewed coffee. I especially can’t help calling it home when I am just as contented watching a crappy cop show with my dad as I am shopping for new clothes with my mom.

And maybe this is still “home” not because it is where my heart is all the time, but because it is a place I feel warm, comfortable, and loved. And if that is the case, this “home” is actually one of several moving, ever-changing cocoons of contentment I return to whenever I need a break from this wide, exciting world.

Now if you will excuse me, I’m going to pour another cup of coffee, watch the snow fall, and write.

Writing in Lakewood


Our Rabble of Roombas 21 February 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — ferociouskater @ 3:37 pm

Tom, I hope you’re reading this. Because I’m never going to admit any of it out loud.

I love our Roombas. I thought Tom was crazy for buying the second one, and almost had a heart attack when I opened the box containing the third (“But it was only $20!”). But I have to admit that I really, really like them.

Like now. I wanted to get some writing done (this counts as writing, right?) but have also been neglecting housework since I’ve been spending time with B and K’s family and the new arrival. The laundry and dishes do themselves, right? So does the vacuuming. Our kitchen floor is a mess of dog hair and instead of being in there right now pushing around our hundred-ton Hoover, I’m here writing this blog post (and procrastinating writing anything of real value). Later I will set the other one up in the bedroom while I’m folding clothes and, in a matter of only about ten minutes or so, will be back in here to “write” (or maybe actually write) some more.

So yes, I may complain about them being loud. I may complain about Tom cleaning them or servicing them or taking them apart instead of doing other housework. But they are pretty useful. And kinda cute too.

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"Well, He’s Ugly.” 20 February 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — ferociouskater @ 1:45 am

For the longest time I thought newborn babies were so ugly. They were all red and wrinkly and smooshed looking. I would see pictures of them in the paper and on hospital websites and think, “Wow, how can anyone think those are cute?”

But I have to admit, after meeting my best friends’ new baby this morning, it’s a lot different when you know them. When you can pick out features in their little faces that remind you of those you know and care about. When you know that you’ll get to see him grow up over the years and you’ll remember what his first word was, where he took his first steps, and how he liked his first day of school.

Looking down at my new little “nephew” Sebastian didn’t make me want to go right out and have my own, but it did light a desire in me to make sure I’m always there for him. I will always be there for him just as his parents have been there for us, and how I know they will be there someday if my turn comes.

When Brian came in to tell us that Sebastian had arrived, he said, in true Brian form, “Well, he’s ugly.” And for the first time, I saw a newborn baby that was as far from ugly as Brian is from somber.

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A Brush with Celebrity, or Why I Suck at Meeting Famous People 11 February 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — ferociouskater @ 3:02 pm

I had the honor to represent Barnes and Noble at the Garrison Keillor performance yesterday here in Saginaw. Other than sitting by the front doors when it was negative five degrees outside and not really getting to see any of the show, it was a good time. B and I entertained each other throughout the long haul of the performance itself and we were able to attend a post-show reception with Mr. Keillor and the Premier audience members who paid more for their seats.

Having met countless “celebrities” and so-called “famous people,” B was comfortable standing in the short line to have about ten books signed. I, however, was mortified. Ten books? You’re kidding me, ten books? I have to stand here with ten books in this line of people that paid good money to meet Garrison Keillor while I just happen to be a Bookseller attending the reception for free? The face was red from the bottom of my exposed neck to the tips of my ears (of course it could have been the constant cold temperature they encountered all day, too). Chatting easily with Mr. Keillor about grad school as he smoothly opened each book to its front cover for easy access, B flew through his pile of about six books to sign with no problem. I, however, shrank back with my four (one of which was my own!) and hid behind the camera lens to take their picture.

After their pictures were taken, I tried to follow B with my (unsigned) four book but Mr. Keillor wasn’t about to let me off so easily.

“And what is your name?” he asked kindly, extending a hand. The man is like eight feet tall and if you think his voice is formidable on the radio it’s even more so when he’s standing over you.

“Kate,” I said softly, reddening even further, “I’m a bookseller too.”

He must have asked me something about what I did because I told him that I, too, was about to start grad school for an MFA, in fiction.

“I’m going to give you some sound advice,” he said, holding my attention completely. “Don’t ignore trying genre fiction. Those literary types don’t give it enough credit.”

I thanked him for the advice and after he shook my hand again breathed a sigh of relief as I caught up with B.

“Get your book signed?” B asked.

I looked down and frowned. “I”m sorry. I didn’t get these signed for you, either.”

B raised an eyebrow and gave me that “you know you want to” look and shoved me back toward Mr. Prairie Home Companion. “Just stand over there and get it signed.”

Knowing I didn’t have to capacity to argue with B (especially since he was arguing for me to get what I wanted), I inched back over to where Mr. Keillor was signing another’s book. I made eye contact with the people still standing in line and mouthed, “I’m sorry.”

“Mr. Keillor?” I said, mouse-like, “I’m sorry, I forgot to have you sign my own book.”

“Yes,” he said, taking it from me, “and would you like this personalized, Kate?”


I watched him writing, trying not to see what it was as I was still trying to make “sorry” eyes at those in line behind me.

Finally he finished and handed the book back, possibly shaking my hand, possibly not. I don’t remember. All I remember is being very excited to be back across the room with B.

“Get it?” he asked.

I nodded. “Thanks for making me.”

“You looked like you needed the encouragement.”

I opened the front cover. “To Kate, on the twisting path to authorhood. Garrison Keillor”

I left, head held a little higher for going back for this signature. It was worth it to add to my collection. I really did suck at meeting him – I was too shy, too mousy. Too unlike myself. I couldn’t believe that just hours before I had been picturing us having drinks with him. I hadn’t remembered being this stupid when meeting the couple of other “famous people” I’d met, like Jonathan Pryce or Richard Griffiths. But I also didn’t ask them to sign anything, get a picture with me, or anything else I would have deemed intrusive. Maybe that’s my problem – I’m so worried I about them seeing me as different from an average, bumbling fan that I forget to see them as average people.

All in all it was a good event. We were exhausted when we arrived home eight hours later after ringing all the sales back at work. But I’m glad I got the experience. Maybe the memory of it will help me next time to be a little more at-ease next time I encounter someone famous. Maybe.


Meet Phil, my Court Reporter 5 February 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — ferociouskater @ 3:34 pm

I have been doing a lot of introspection recently, and think that a good way to figure out who you are right now it’s a good idea to see who you were one, two, even four or five years ago. So I have opened my journal again and I found a really entertaining entry from Januray 16, 2004. I was just starting my senior year at Denison. Enjoy:

If one could have a court reporter in his head writing down everything he thinks or considers, mine would be typing like mad, all the time, 24/7. Sometimes the court reporter wouldn’t even need to record a day or time – it would be painstakingly obvious.

So tonight my court reporter, aptly named Phil, is at it furiously as usual. Every once in a while he looks up at me, rubbing his hands and shaking his head. He usually doesn’t even get a break at night. He’s mad, especially tonight, since he knows it’s back to full-time stress in a few days.

Tonight, of course this is only in part, his report might look something like this:

My head itches. And that guy with the telephoto lens looks like my mom’s boss. People are pissed at these refs, and for good reason – it’s a 7-14 game. What is with these rubber band-looking things in their hair? I hate it when they play the horn on the sign – it’s loud. Tom just yelled a command to the team but I don’t think even he knows what it meant. Why are little kids so damn cute when they run around? Some of these players are getting a bit of an attitude on ’em.

And sometimes, I want my court reporter, Phil, to record my vision, too. Like an ongoing camcorder. But who could be that artistic? Would it reveal so incredibly much about myself if someone could analyze everything I focus on? Would it mean something when my focus moved from the action of a fast-paced game to the Coleman water cooler that’s being drank out of? Maybe I was more concentrated on the finer points of that moment, the strange red hue of the cooler, the bright, contrasting white of “Coleman”, a reminder of camping.

But when would I have time to analyze such points? I’d have to stoop with pen and pad every few hours, perhaps even minutes, and miss that at-the-moment stuff like the 3-point shot I just caught in the corner of my eye. I’d have to have an analyst, too. My employees are expanding. Now I have the analyst, cameraman, AND Phil working full-time.

That analyst would always have to be checking with me in terms of what to keep and what to trash. The videographer would constantly be checking with the analyst to give him new input, and Phil would always, always, always have to submit all thoughts so I could check back for further perusal, in case I missed a genius point there somewhere. It would be a tiring, ongoing, Production that would last, well, my whole life.

So maybe I should fire Phil and the rest of them. I’ll be my own court reporter. Granted, the hand gets pretty tired this way but at least I’ll stay out of my head more.

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