Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A few humble Christmas suggestions

Christmas is in full swing over at Casa de KittyMarie. I had our tree up two days after Thanksgiving (pats self on the back), we've already been to our first Christmas party of the season (Poinsettias, FTW), and we are looking forward to a month packed with friends and parties and baking lots of things that involve butter. I decided against throwing a Christmas party at our house this year and, whoa, the relief that comes with deciding not to do something. In that spirit, I suggest you decide not to go out and fight the crowds at your local mall, and instead sit back, sip some cocoa on the couch, and let me suggest some gift ideas for the good girls and boys.*

Kick-ass games for a special friend who kicks ass

Cards Against Humanity
This "party game for horrible people" is fun for two people or twenty. Even funner-er if you play with Rando Cardrissian. As long as you have the capacity to be crude and politically incorrect, you will excel. There are several expansion packs, and CAH just released a holiday set of 30, for which you can pay what you want.
This is a game for two to five players. You work together as a group of specialists to cure diseases around the world before the whole thing goes to hell, which it usually does. There are many, many ways to lose this game, and it can be extremely frustrating. Mostly because as soon as you lose, you WILL HAVE TO PLAY IT AGAIN to try to win. I am not a huge lover of board games, but I am positively hooked on this. Seriously. I'm going to need to go to rehab in the near future. It's getting out of hand. If you want to see the level of redonk, check out the episode of Table Top.

Gifts that also support charity for the embittered, world-weary relative

Esperos tote
This tote is simple and lovely (who can't use a good tote?). When you buy one, a female student in Haiti receives one year's tuition. Now if that isn't a great way to give and feel good, I don't know what is.
Tom's shoes
I know I've mentioned these before, but they are just awesome (especially the sparkly ones, like in the image above). I have two pairs (both Christmas gifts!), and they have held up really well. Husband wore the tread off his hiking around Manhattan last summer, so that should speak to how comfortable they are! With each pair sold, a needy child also receives a pair of shoes.

For the Fantastic Fella in Your Life

American Giant hoodie
This hoodie is a bit pricey, but it is supposedly The Greatest Hoodie Ever Made (or so says Slate). If you only ever have to buy one hoodie again in your life, I can see spending a bit more for it upfront. All clothing from American Giant is made in America and worked up by a former industrial designer from Apple. Awesome, huh? I hope they think about making women's clothing soon.

For the Greatest Gal in Your Life

Epiphanie bag
I asked for this for Christmas/birthday. I'm in desperate need of a functional camera bag, and I love the bags at Epiphanie because they do double duty. You can carry your camera and your belongings, and it totally looks like you're just carrying a purse...nothing to see here, thieves (unless you want my wallet, I suppose. I just like that it doesn't scream: "I'm a tourist with an expensive camera! Please glare at and/or mug me!" Again, this bag is on the pricey side, but my plan is for this to last me many, many years.

For the Bestest Baby You Know

Mustache pacifier
Okay, so maybe this is more for the baby's parents, but how freaking hilarious is this? Someone in my life is totally getting this for their spawn.

For the irritatingly happy newlywed

Custom rubber stamp
I adore these. I really need to buckle down and buy one for myself. What a sweet and perfect gift for someone just starting out in life with a new partner and new address!

For the science geek (or the kid who wants a pet but would lose interest three days after one's arrival)

This is too cool. Just place the hand-blown glass sphere in indirect sunlight and watch a whole world unfold. The ecosphere contains live marine shrimp and require no maintenance. The average lifespan is two to three years (and it is surely awfully hard to get attached to these suckers).

*I am not suggesting you choose not to buy gifts locally. Buying from area merchants is the best thing to do. I just hate putting on pants and fighting crowds of surly holiday shoppers, so the majority of my Christmas gifts are purchased online. Do not be like me. 

Monday, November 26, 2012


As usual, I'm a day late and a dollar short, but no less thankful for...
 ...homemade black raspberry pie, frozen until a special occasion...
 ...and mothers- and fathers-in-law with sweet, gentle puppies...
 ...and regular ol' mothers and fathers with lots of cats...
 ...and handsome husbands...
 ...and bestest, lifelong cousinsisterfriends...
 ...and exciting news...
 ...and giant cupcakes for a grandma's birthday...
...and nature and nurture and all things beautiful in the world.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Equal rights. For all.

Please watch this video. It brought tears to my eyes. There are a thousand words I could write on this topic, but this helps crystallize all of them.

The Prodigal Daughter...

...returns. After an unintentional hiatus, I'm back.

Although I've continued to write posts in my head almost daily, I've had too much work to actually sign in and type those posts out.

(First World Problem: Darn all that work, almost more work than I can handle, for which I am generously compensated, which pays for my clean water, mounds of food, and warm, beautiful house. GAH.)

But with the changing of the seasons, I always find myself re-evaluating, re-envisioning, trying to check items off my mental to-do list and prepare for Whatever Comes Next.

I've missed posting. I've missed you. I hope you feel the same, because I think we should have a kick-ass party.

The wedding where I almost flashed everyone...

In early September, my dear friend Emmy Jo got hitched.

She was perfectly organized when I arrived to help her set up the reception site. She had even labeled her totes with warnings like "heavy." She had made many of the decorations herself, being the extremely talented crafter that she is. It was all lovely, the setup went smoothly, and aside from some torrential rain, the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner were wonderful.

 The next morning we met bright and early to get our hair did and our faces painted.

 And we dressed and took pictures and then got her married off.

After more pictures in the soft afternoon sunlight, we arrived at the reception site. We ate a delicious meal, the happy new couple cut their cake and tossed bouquets and located garters. I gave my matron of honor speech and cried at the end, because I love her and am a huge sap.

I believe it was around this time that the trouble started. I was up crossing the large room filled with the bride and groom's friends and loved ones when, suddenly, I felt a strange draft. The airflow on my derriere had inexplicably increased, and I reached down and realized that the intentional slit in the back of my dress had unintentionally gotten more...slitty. It was about to reveal my own personal slit (what? too graphic? you've got one, too, you know!). I rushed over to my husband and friends, blessedly located in a dark corner, and planted my rapidly exposing bottom on a chair.

Luckily, my matron of honor duties were complete, and though it was earlier than I wanted, we decided to shimmy out the door as quickly and as covered as possible (thank goodness for cold-blooded friends with sweaters). After passing off Bridal Bathroom Duties to a fellow bridesmaid, I broke the news to Emmy Jo and gave her a big hug. Thankfully, she wasn't upset, instead laughing at my predicament. Hard. I didn't mind -- I was glad she could find humor in the situation, especially since I felt so bad to sneak out early, albeit before I shared the assorted junk in my trunk with the people she loves most. 

I consider this further proof of what a good friend she is, and I am so happy that her wedding was beautiful and filled with laughter (of all kinds).
Congratulations, Mr. and Mrs. You are loved.

Emmy Jo's Bridal Shower

In July, I had the opportunity to serve as matron of honor in my dear friend Emmy Jo's wedding. With the help of her bridesmaids -- her sister and sister-in-law -- as well as her mother and a fantastic friend who showed up early to help set up the day of, we threw her a lovely little bridal shower.

Emmy Jo and I have been friends since her family moved to the area early in our high school career (way over ten years now, how scary is that?). She and I really solidified our friendship, however, when we became roommates during a summer study abroad trip to France. We made it through that summer unscathed and closer than ever. So of course I had to throw her a French-themed shower (she helped throw one for me five years ago when I tied the knot)!

I designed the invitations...

And we decorated the room with all things French...

And we all pitched in one some delicious food (I made madeleines and macarons, which was quite the experience)...

 And she mingled and opened gifts and (I hope!) had a great time...

She's worth it.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Happy Birthday...

Happy birthday to the best daddy a gal could ever have!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Yesterday was his birthday...

Yesterday we celebrated my beloved's 29th birthday.
I ordered him 'roni and sausage pizzas from Lou Malnati's, his favorite Chicago pizza place.
And he got to eat carrot cake (which I didn't have to make!).
I hope it was wonderful. You deserve all things that are good.
I love you.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Happy SysAdmin Day!

The last Friday in July is Systems Administrator Appreciation Day. I entered a contest to highlight my favorite SysAdmin, but since my entry wasn't chosen, Imma gonna go ahead and post it here! It's epic, y'alls.


Whose face is illuminated by the soft glow of the computer screen from dusk until dawn (and then until dusk again)?
My SysAdmin.

Who manages intricate networks, fiercely guarding my Very Important Data and pictures of kittens wearing hats?
My SysAdmin.

Who breathes life back into ostensibly dead hardware, God-like in his resurrection powers?
My SysAdmin.

Who benevolently translates complicated geek speak into intelligible language for the cubicle-dwelling peasants?
My SysAdmin.

To whom do I bow when I need a back-up, a viral cleansing, or a fresh bag of Doritos?
My SysAdmin.

If it were not for my SysAdmin, and SysAdmins everywhere, the world as we know it would fall into chaos. The apocalypse would be upon us. And I would have no damn idea how to reset my password.


I love you, My SysAdmin. 

Monday, July 16, 2012

Best. Night. Ever.

I'm sure that you have a significant other whom you love dearly. Someone who will bring you soup when you're sick, come and pick you up when you get a flat tire, make breakfast in bed for you on your birthday. I'm sure that person is just great, really.  All I'm saying is, that person could never, ever measure up to my husband. Go ahead, give your significant other the challenge. I'll wait.

On Saturday, July 14, we celebrated our five-year wedding anniversary. I've been working like a mad woman, and our weekends have been chock full of obligations, so we agreed: no gifts, no special trip, not even a card. Just dinner out that night with our parents. Little did I know.

Months ago -- we're talking February -- Husband started plotting. He contacted friends and family, calling all of them to convene at a local restaurant on the eve of July 14. Numerous friends drove hours -- and I mean hours -- to attend. One of them was sick. The other was celebrating his birthday the same day. But they came. Only one person from our wedding party was missing, and she is a plane ride away, so she gets a pass (although she did send the best game in the world, Cards Against Humanity).

And I had absolutely no idea.

I thought he might surprise me with a bouquet of flowers at the restaurant, but all I expected was a nice meal with our beloved families. When we arrived in the banquet room and turned the corner, we were met by a giant crowd of our nearest and dearest yelling, "Surprise!" I was completely shocked; I have no idea what I said or did, but I started to focus in on the individual faces, and I cried. I couldn't believe that these amazing people had taken the time (several of them very significant amounts of time) to come and celebrate with us. There were over twenty people in attendance, and I adore every single one of them.

Not only were we surrounded by the people who matter the most to us in this entire world, but my amazing mother-in-law, who fell and broke her wrist earlier in the week, had arranged for a professional photographer to capture the event, as well as five gorgeous floral arrangements and incredible vanilla and chocolate cupcakes.

I could barely sit to eat my meal because I was so blown away by the night, and we made the rounds to every person, just like our wedding reception. Those who could make it came back to our house afterward, and we sat and laughed late into the night.

Five years ago I married my best friend. My One and Only. He makes every day worth living, and I could not survive without him. I cannot wait for the next five, ten, twenty, a lifetime.
I love you so much, Kyle. You don't even know. Thank you for giving me one of the best nights of my entire life. You're the most incredible person I've ever met.
07071710 from Katherine Purple on Vimeo.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

June 10

Today on my way to work I saw a beautiful white cat, dead in the middle of the road.

At mid-day, my mother-in-law fell in her driveway and broke her wrist.

Today is an anniversary, but not one that should be celebrated. I'm so sorry that you had to go.

I'm ready for today to be over.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Daily Eye Candy

I want these shoes so hard. Why must they be almost $300? Whyyyyy?

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day to two wonderful men.

We love you!

Wisconsin Vacation

For my entire childhood, each summer my family vacationed on Lake Katherine in Minocqua, Wisconsin (no, the name of the lake isn't just a coincidence...). It was quiet and relaxing. We visited the same spots, ate at the same places, and spent most of our time fishing every year. To some it might have appeared monotonous, but to me it was a place to look forward to, a place that I felt truly at home.

I hadn't been back there for many years, and Husband had never been to the area. When we were invited to the nuptials in Madison, I jumped at the idea of taking a few extra days, driving the extra three hours, and enjoying my favorite little town with my favorite person.

We stayed in a hotel in downtown Minocqua ("downtown" being a broad use of the word since the city is quite small and surrounded by water).
In fact, the "downtown" is really just one street, lined with cute shops, a candy store where you can watch them work through the picture window, and one of my favorite restaurants, if only for the name.

"My" lake is actually located in a tiny nearby town called Hazelhurst.
She is the "Queen of the Northern Waters."
This is where I began to learn to swim, where I read for hours while looking up and gazing into her waters, and spent hours fishing with my parents, even catching an almost 40-inch muskie from her depths. I love her.
I hope husband loves her, too.