open invitation time!

i know that the casa has already extended an open invitation to the excellent spencer anderson, who is dreamy with his carpenter skills, good ideas, and glasses.

i am pleased to announce to joaquin phoenix (and any of 'his people' who might follow the casa blog) that he is also more than welcome to visit the casa at anytime. i mean, really...anytime. with his acting skills, handsome good looks, and really quite excellent singing voice, i would definitely cook him dinner.

also, if you haven't seen walk the line, you should. i really enjoyed it.


bah humbug! (or: here we go again...)

the holidays are fast approaching, and december is the most dread-filled month of the year for me. thanksgiving should be just fine: i'll make a nice dinner, we'll have people over for a post-t-day wind down at the casa, and everything will be low pressure super nice. i'll make an appropriate amount of food, the casa will smell good, i'll have fun entertaining...it'll be great. christina even got the night off work, so she'll be there for the whole thing!

then, there's christmas. i just got an email from dad, and the line "we'd like you to come home for a full five days" made my stomach drop. i love the idea of christmas, but i freaking hate it. and i feel this weird pressure to lose some weight before i go home, so that mom doesn't comment on it. i get to spend almost $500 to visit and get picked at, nagged, and bothered. for five whole days. my dad describes mom and i as being "on different sides of a brick wall, banging our heads". swell - i just can't wait to get home.

here's a little dialogue from last year. dad and i were sitting in the living room, quietly reading our respective books. then mom comes on the scene:

mom: are you cold? is it cold in here?

me: no, i'm fine.

now she looks at dad...

mom: honey, are you cold?

dad: no, i'm comfortable.

mom: are you sure?

dad and i: yes.

mom: kathryn, come over here and open the vent, i think you must be cold.

me: no, i'm not cold, i'm just fine.

mom: are you thirsty?

me: no

mom: how about some o.j.?

me: no, thank you, i'm not thirsty

mom: want something to eat? a sandwich? we have left-over ham!!

me: no, i'm not hungry, thanks.

mom: there's cookies!

me: mom, i'm not hungry.

mom reaches out and grabs my foot. please note: i hate people touching my feet. i retract my foot under a pillow to protect it.

mom: who did your pedicure? did you paint them yourself? etc. etc.

so this year: screw decking the halls. just keep my wine glass filled, thanks, and i'll try to avoid decking mom.



my office overlooks harvard square. currently, one of the (many) buskers is a troupe of south american gentlemen, theoretically in the garb of their native land. they are playing flutes, guitars and using synthesizers. it's the sort of music you might hear in "the nature store". i dislike this sort of music intensely. my boss is here, and she *loves* it, so the window is open and i can't turn on my music. so i'm just sitting, listening....and the tune they're playing is freakin' Unchained Melody - i am truly in hell.

and what a segue - from one pottery-related topic to another, namely: mine! here's the pottery i made over the summer, in my first pottery class ever. i know at least one person out there is
excited about this (hi G.O.D.P.!), so let's do it up:

here are the three i'm most proud of. i made a flower pot with a fluted edge for my sister (to replace one that the mysterious flower-pot vandals broke), as well as a small cup and a bowl. please notice how thick and clumsy the sides of the bowl are, and then compare to my (later) flower pot and cup, whose sides are slender and delicate. i am also a huge fan of bright colors, which i tried to incorporate. my teacher is a big 'cambridge-earth-tones' type, and she hated the colors and combos i chose. oh well! (edit: in the time i've put this blog entry on 'draft' - approx. 1 hr 15 minutes - they've looped back from playing the pink panther theme song to do a repeat of 'unchained melody' - are they on a freaking loop?!)

I also made a small pitcher. during our first class, we had to make cups. they were naturally awful, but my teacher had us keep them and "make them into something useful", so i took a sloppy cup and formed a wiggle into the spout, added a handle, and glazed it with a dip-glaze. there is a matching, also droopy sugar bowl but i don't have a picture of that one. anyhow - it is cute, in a child-like way.

and last but not least is my favorite bowl, because it came out well, and i love the colors i used. the finish is a little imperfect, but hey - people pay big bucks for handcrafted...right? there are also a couple of ashtrays - i only have a picture of one - but all of those were dipped, not painted. i wish the colors had come out a little better in the pictures, because it really is quite pretty. for bigger pictures of all of these (haha...) go to my flickr page.

overall, i had a pretty good time in class. if i had the money right now, i'd take another class, but in the meantime i'm keeping myself busy with other little projects.


as long as we're updating: the casa garden

i've just begun putting the casa garden to sleep for the long winter. there are a few small blooms still left on the Agastache 'Apache Sunset'. The common name is 'root beer hyssop' so named because when you brush the foliage, the slightly sweet, sticky smell of root beer is released. i spent much of a weekend digging up all the perennials and re-arranging them, as i now know how they look when more fleshed out than the tiny little plants i put in last spring.

i think it should be a good spring; i hope my favorites will come back up after the winter. the one and only plant that i am positively dying about, hoping they'll survive and bloom, are the Papaver orientalis. i saw some in a friend's garden in seattle two years ago, and fell in love - they have these huge, beautiful, rice-paper thin flowers. that's all i want: oriental poppies.

my columbines did pretty well this year, though, and i'm excited to see how much bigger they get. i've got several varieties planted: Aquliegia canadensis, Aquilegia skinnerii (Tequila Sunrise), and Aquilegia vulgaris (Black Barlow). i need to do a very thorough job cleaning up leaves and debris, though, because some have contracted leaf miners. in order to prevent their reappearance in the spring, all contaminated debris and leaves from the columbines must be removed. i've included a picture - they kind of look like intestines. gross.

other than that, there haven't really been any pest problems. though the local birds did snack quite extensively on the grass seed i put down a few weeks ago. no biggie - the grass hasn't really taken off, and i suspect i will just re-seed it in the spring. there are some precious little grasslings, though - kind of nice to think about new buds and growth even as things are slowing down and going into hibernation for the long, crappy winter. maybe i'll pull up those pictures in february to remind me of what's to come.

the garden's come a long way, though, and i'm proud of the results. the most recent task was to enlarge the perennial bed, and lay down a handsome bluestone border. we also took all the timbers from along the back fence, and made a raised bed at the far end of the garden near the big tree. i hope to put some interesting varieties of ferns and hellebores in that bed - plants that do well in shade. also, i love the unique color combinations and variations of hellebores. if i could afford to have a huge drift of them, i would - but toooooo expensive. maybe i can come up with some other ideas during the winter.

one of the benefits to being a card-carrying member of the somerville garden club is that i get a newsletter every month, with a handy list of tasks to do in the garden. it's nice to have such a climate/region-specific reference, as well as thoughtful articles on plants and horticultural goings-on in the area. you might initially think it a po-dunk operation, but the club has its shit together - the newsletter is well written and well designed, and i get emailed updates of club gatherings and projects. i'm bummed to have missed the november meeting (it was last night, i was hosting the volume vixens meeting here at the casa), but will be able to hit up the wilson square fall cleanup this weekend.

to document our progess, here are some pictures of the garden in the fall of 2004:
short weeds, tall weedshard at workhey fun! japanese knotweed!finally some progress october 2004

and in the fall of 2005, with some help from christina, kate and derek: (please be sure to note our posh bluestone edging, provided gratis by derek)
a view from the patioanother shot - slightly out of focus.

and the hopeful grass:

sleep tight, garden!
i'll be dreaming of you all winter.


an update from the upper half...

i realized that with the exception of my rant about the alderman at large race, i have been mostly quiet. been busy. here's a recap of what i've been up to:

* i got an apology from Rebekah and a statement that she would take me off her contact list immediately. i wrote her back thanking her, but explaining that might be difficult since i hadn't given her my address or phone number (oops). i rectified that. since then i have gotten no phone calls, and they have mostly stopped by only once a day, most times for the lower half. however, since they came by *twice* today and hung crap on my doorknob, i am still pissed.

* i did buy a car. i have a '98 honda civic EX coupe. it's green and looks a lot like scouties, only minus all the glitz. but it has a moonroof, so i think we will call it a draw. it passed inspection and gets 30+ miles to the gallon and in three years i will have it paid off. yikes.

* i have a new commitment to opening all my mail every day. new mail bin, new sorting files, and a new attitude. this might not seem like a big deal, but i have had a mail problem for years. it finally caught up to me in an evil way, when i missed a notice that they were canceling my homeowners insurance. i *will* open all my mail. really.

* trixie has the herp, and boo is getting wierder.

* i got to write a testimonial for my old boss, fred, at accent banner. the owner of the company is trying to block his collecting unemployment after he was fired (right after i left). fred asked if i would mind writing a statement about the hours that he worked. no problem. the owner of the flag store tried to get it tossed out of the court because it was hearsay, and i wasn't there to testify about it's validity or my own. the judge looked over my letter and said "she works for the state police. that's good enough for me. the letter is in." my current job has weird perks i never would have thought of.

* work is going okay. we've been busy taking over the running of our condemned building in agawam. i got a raise thanks to my union.

* and finally, mitt romney has actually done something right in my eyes -- Massachusetts has finally made a public statement about it's intentions to fully divest from Microsoft in the next year. we are moving to all open source software. this should be interesting. and i have been having a hard time at work explaining to people why this is a good thing. they are mostly computer illiterate, except they can use word, and maybe excell, and they can probably find porn on the internet. then again, these people also don't understand why there are constitutional challenges to the patriot act, and why the gays aren't happy with civil unions and keep trying for marriage rights. we just speak a different language.


an open letter to Rebekah Gewirtz...

Dear Rebecca, It was so nice to meet you on my porch. Thank you for talking with me about the campaign. I appreciate your thoughtful consideration for the race and i hope that I can count on you to LEAVE ME THE FUCK ALONE. Sincerely, -- kate

okay, here's my real open letter, actually sent to Ms. Gewirtz:

Dear Rebekah,

As a voting member of Ward Six in Somerville it has come to my attention that you are running for Alderman. It would be hard to miss. You have deluged my front porch with mail, and your partial smile glances up from me on the litter that surrounds my home, asking if you can count on my support. If for some reason I was visually impaired, it would still be apparent as your people call me daily, and sometimes twice daily, to ask if they can count on my support. My doorbell rings at all hours with your bright eyed helpers asking if you can count on my support.

Rebekah (and I feel like I know you well enough by now that we are old friends and I can call you by your first name), I got to tell you... Nope. You can't count on my support. In fact, with each incessant plea for my support, the chance that I would actually vote for you becomes more and more remote. With tonight's phone call, where your loyal telemarketer actually *cursed* at me, I have to say that it's just not going to happen. Now that we are square on that, please leave me alone. You are verging on harassment. I have asked your people not to come to my door, and the next time they will get bodily evicted. I have asked your telemarketers to put me on your do not call list (something which, by the way, they are required to do by law) and I get verbally attacked. I won't block your mail, so go ahead and feel free to kill dozens more trees. I won't read it, but it's a free country.

The saddest part of this is that I actually support some of your politics. I went to your website and I read your leaflets. But now I am just flat out pissed. So, perhaps a small lesson to you in campaigning: You want to push just enough to get your point across and be memorable, but not so much that the voters want to get a restraining order against you.

So, Rebekah, I hope that I can count on your support to respect my wishes and leave me in peace.


-- katherine


save the (2) trees

there are two beech trees outside the simmons cafeteria that they're tearing down in order to start work on the underground parking garage/school of management/grassy quad construction project. this has caused somewhat of an uproar in the simmons community. several students have been camping out in tents by the trees for the past few weeks. they attached ropes to the trees and their tents - if anyone tries to take those trees, they'll know about it! i'd like to say that i find this commitment to the save-the-tree cause inspiring, or at least sweet. but really it makes me angry. these kids don't have anything better to do than camp out by two trees? i'm all for being environmentally responsible, but protesting 2 trees being cut down isn't exactly 'save the rainforests'. this is a particularly ridiculous instance of middle-class college kids looking to protest something, anything. the administration's response to this tiny little protest is just as pathetic. here are some choice excerpts from dan cheever's email regarding the trees:

I am writing Simmons students, faculty and staff to invite everyone to
celebrate our wonderful beech trees outside the Fens Cafeteria. As you
know, sadly we have to remove the trees... I expect that this will be an
'in-the-moment' event where students, faculty, and staff will gather to
speak, read poetry, or simply reflect. Refreshments will be served on
the lower patio."

refreshments? student poetry?!? tree celebration!?! that sound positively *delightful*. count me in!

in other news i just discovered that some kid i went to elementary school with became a model. he used to walk me to my classroom in 2nd grade, until he asked me to be his girlfriend and i said no. it's clear from his glamour shots that i made the correct decision.