Sunday, February 1, 2015

Birthday boy

I was 18 when the doctor told me the weird and random autoimmune disease made it likely that I'd never be able to safely give birth.

Up until that point the only thoughts I'd given to child birth were ways to prevent it.  I don't think my brain and heart really got it at that point.

A few years later I was shopping for a baby shower for a friend and burst into tears in the baby aisle of my favorite Target. I still didn't really get it.

Then it was my tag line, my smart ass line about my barren self, how child birth might kill me so I just drink wine and play with my dogs. Make other people feel uncomfortable when I talk about it so I don't have to find a way to feel comfortable with one life decision taken completely out of my hands.

Instead, I'd be the cool aunt who could sleep in and take kids to the zoo and then return them to their parents.

I still hadn't dealt with it, I still haven't dealt with it, is that something you even deal with? It's just a thing in my life. Maybe my platelets and immune system will learn to live together in my body peacefully or maybe they won't.

I got dogs. They became my babies. Now I have a real baby that's not mine, but he gets to be mine one day a week and every day for the rest of our lives, or as long as he'll let me be his Aunt Kate. Although he can't say Aunt Kate. He can say dog and tries to kiss Molly and Bella just like he does me so he may think I'm the head dog at my house.

This is sweet baby Elijah James. When he was a newborn I tried really hard to convince his father to change his name to Spencer James so he'd be named after me. I wanted to put my mark on him to guard him forever.

His first few months in the world were a kind of bizarre chaos that I previously only thought existed in lifetime TV movies starring Valerie Bertinelli, and now know also in my family. Now he is here. He is perfect and he inherited the fake smile I used as a child and inherited from my mother when she was a child.

We wrinkle our nose and show you all our teeth. I'm not sure why, but it's a thing. He has blue eyes like the Pops he'll never know but here thousands of stories about and he loves to hold tight to you while he sleeps. Jenny Lewis songs soothe him when he cries in the car and anytime you hand him a stuffed animal he will kiss it on the mouth.

He will be one year old on February 3rd. It feels like yesterday he was a tiny newborn with dark hair that stuck straight up and we tried to figure out how our dysfunctional family was going to shelter him in the world.

Now he toddles around, throws balls and loves to read the mail. We have long talks about everything and he's the best brunch date I've ever had.

I may never have my own child. I may adopt as many as they'll let a foul mouthed workaholic have, who knows.

This boy stole my heart the first time I saw him sleeping peacefully in the chaos around him. He brings out the best in me, I've never been patient or kind or even cuddly until Eli decided Aunt Kate was a cuddle toy.

We sit for long times with his head on my chest. His hand on my face or patting my back. He smiles at me and gives me the side eye before doing something he's not supposed to. He can do whatever he wants as long as he gives me kisses on demand and learns to say something that sounds like my name.

Sunday, January 25, 2015


I cry a lot. At pop culture. The right book, movie, TV show, song and even award show acceptance speech will set me off in tears.

I don't cry a lot in real life. I make a joke. I roll my eyes. I take deep breaths and count to 10 or 75.

It's weird. I know. The last time I cried in public it was a gut wrenching sob that I never thought I'd be able to stop. I still don't know how I stopped. Sometimes I don't think I ever really did. It's just sobbing on the inside.

Every year this date rolls around and I kind of dwell on it in my head. Is the sense of loss more overwhelming on the anniversary of the day it happened? Does attaching a number, like 15 this year, make it more resonant? No. But the mind can't stop doing that. We're wired to commemorate things on a five count.

But it doesn't matter the year. The month. The time of day. It's there. Dwelling in my heart, my brain, an ache in my bones at times.

At friend's weddings I see them dance with their father. I see pictures of my friends' kids with their grandparents. I play with my nephew and think about how much he'd have loved his Pops. I close my eyes and see his glasses. It's constant.

So tomorrow will be 15 years since I lost my Pops. The man who with Mems raised me to be mouthy, spoiled and loved.

No matter how many years pass, I wake up every day thinking about him. Sometimes I laugh. Sometimes I cry. Sometimes I eat vanilla wafers and peanut butter and curl into a fetal position.

But then I let it pass. I get up and keep moving.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A new year

This blog started many moons ago as a New Year's resolution.

Get thin. Blog about it. Make people laugh.

It's all still a work in progress.

I'm thinner than I was, not as thin as I once was. Blogging fell by the wayside when things got busy. I find myself pretty amusing, whether other people do I can't say. I think I'm witty.

Now, it's time for a new year. I'm ringing it in after taking a handful of vitamins and some apple cider vinegar to stave off what I think is a cold.

I'm thinking about what I want to do in 2015. Instead of resolutions I want to do 10 things I've never done before in the next year.

So here goes:

  1. Hike the Keystone Ancient Forest. I've wanted to since I learned about it, but I've never done it. It's time to put on my boots and hike the trail. Blame my recent reading of Wild for this being up on the list.
  2. Run the Tulsa Run. I know I said I was never running again after I did the Oklahoma City Half Marathon. But you knew I was lying when I told you that, didn't you? I'm addicted. This is a hometown tradition that I've never done, so it's happening. 
  3. The crow. I've been doing yoga pretty regularly for a while now, so why the hell can't I do the crow? It's bullshit. It's pissing me off.
  4. Travel. I travel for work, but rarely for fun. I have a lot of places I'd like to visit. I think it'd be empowering to travel alone. I'd like to make at least one trip this year. I'm thinking Chicago. Mainly because I want to eat at Rick Bayless' restaurant.
  5. Write. I've been talking about putting my book of Mems and Pops stories together for years. God knows Mems gives me enough material. I need to outline it. I need to write out the stories in my head. I need to focus. 
  6. Read more. I aimed for 50 books in 2014. I ended up with 35. I know I can do this. 
  7. Breathe. I like to be busy. I like to have to do lists. I like to do things. I need to remember to not do things sometimes. I need to say no more. I need to sleep occasionally. 
  8. Take the GRE. I keep toying with the idea of getting my Master's degree. So let's take the damn test and see if I can even get into the program I want to take. 
  9. Conquer a fear. Any of my fears. I tried the height one with the trapeze. It kind of worked. What about my fear of public speaking? My fear of commitment? My fear of snakes? Let's 86 those. 
  10. Spend more time with the people I love. I'm a big believe that family is what you make it, blood or not. I've been kind of closing in on myself the last few months and not connecting with the family I've created for myself. I need to expand my circle and appreciate the people inside it. They're family for a reason. 
What are you doing in 2015?

Monday, June 16, 2014

Digging deep

I've been doing a weekly blog challenge on another site for a few months, using it as a tool to kind of dig into the dysfunction in my head.

Some weeks it's helpful, some weeks it leaves me a mess. I figure those are the weeks it's really working.

This is what came out of this week's challenge:

I remember I was pretending to sleep in my Mems' bed. My uncle was staying over and in my room. His EMT training something we needed in the house.

I was late. I don't remember what time.

I heard him yell, "David." His voice weaker than I ever remember, and panicked.

It took a few minutes for everyone to start moving. My uncle down the hall, Mems to his bedroom, me to the bathroom.

Phone calls were made, 911, to my mother, to my aunts.

The ambulance arrived. They talked about his DNR with Mems and asked if she wanted to take him to the ER to die or stay here to die. They said it nicer, but this was the gist of it.

They went to the ER.

I stayed home. In the bathroom sitting in the floor. I didn't want to see, they didn't want me to see.

My mother stayed with me, repeating that they'd make him better at the hospital.

I knew they wouldn't.

I found Remington Steele in re-runs on TV in my Mems' room and climbed in bed and half watched.

The phone rang not long after they left. My mother answered and started crying. She didn't have to say anything to me.

I rolled over and pretended to sleep. Tears soaked my pillow.

Father's Day is tough for me. Some years. Some years it's fine. The same goes for his birthday and holidays and the day he died.

Sometimes they're just ordinary days in my life. Sometimes I sob myself to sleep after looking into his eyes frozen in a picture too long.

It's been 13 years. And no time at all. We knew it was going to happen and it still hit the family like a sledge hammer, we're still splintered, broken wood.

One day I'll have been alive without a father than I was with one. One day I'll get married and walk myself down the aisle. One day I'll think about him and not
break down.

One day Father's Day won't be like opening a barrel of emotions and thoughts jumbled in my head.

At least I think so.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Doing the detox

So, I did a detox. 

The Dr. Oz 3 day detox to be exact. I spotted it on Pinterest one night and on a whim decided to do it. 

So, I went to Sprouts and stocked up on everything I needed and made sure to eat one last delicious meal before I was off food for three days. 

Breakfast was a cup of green tea with lemon and stevia and the breakfast drink.
 Breakfast drink was my favorite. It had a nice flavor and was easy to make, not a ton of chopping.

The smoothies are also pretty huge so it was hard to be hungry. I got a smoothie for every meal and could repeat one of the drinks as an afternoon snack.

I never repeated the lunch smoothie. It was not my favorite, but it was tolerable.

The green lunch monster before it was blended.

And after it was blended. 

It had cucumber, kale and coconut in it, which are not my favorite things. But I made it every day and chugged it down. The flavor was okay, I wish it was a little sweeter. But I get that I was off sugar.

Dinner drink, being shot by Jack Bauer.
 Dinner drink was also ok. My mango wasn't super ripe, but the blueberry/coconut water combo was nice. It was easy to stomach, except for the kick of cayenne pepper.

Bath time!
The detox also called for a nightly 30 minute detox bath, that's 2.5 cups of epsom salt and 10 drops of lavender oil. It's apparently good to soothe muscles and ease bloating?

It was nice to have an excuse to soak in a bath and read the new Carole Radziwill book every night. I do love lavender so that was also nice.

Final verdict it was easier than I thought and I noticed some changes. I slept better than I've slept in months. I'm assuming that's the lack of caffeine. I did feel clearer in the head, but I also got really punch drunk at times between drinks.

A friend at work told me to stop talking because he wasn't sure what I was going to say if I kept talking.

I didn't workout during the detox since I wasn't eating a lot of protein and I thought it could make hunger more of an issue.

According to the scale I lost 5 pounds, I think that was probably water weight. I am staying off sugar and caffeine post detox.

According to Mems my stomach looks flatter. So we'll see if it keeps up.

Monday, April 28, 2014

So, I ran a half-marathon (more or less)

I feel like a fraud when I sign up for runs.

I'll train and be excited for whatever 5k or in this case half marathon I've decided to do and then race day I'll show up and look around at the 'real' runners and feel like I shouldn't be there.

I haven't trained enough, I'm not thin enough, they can tell this isn't my thing.

But I keep doing it. Kept, I should say.

I ran my last run on Sunday. It took me three tries to go through with it, but I finally ran the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon.  Well half-marathon.

I started training for it last year and half way through jacked my knee and could barely walk for 3 months, let alone run. So I deferred my registration to this year and started training in October.

Several years ago I registered and never trained or showed up for the run.

This was my year.

About a week before the run the tornado predictions began. Being a native Oklahoman I was not surprised or scared. The same could not be said for my Mems who watched the Weather Channel obsessively and daily urged me not to go and to skip the run.

Nevertheless I went and the morning of the race sat in the rain crying at the Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial. I've never gone to the memorial and not cried.

It's something in my blood, being in that place, seeing the reflecting pool and the chairs to honor the victims. Sometimes it's hard to breathe if I look around.

While I struggled to deal with my emotions and prepare for the mental and physical challenge head of me the race was delayed. Four times.

I finally took off more than two hours later. Tired, hungry and wet from rain. But I kept going.

I looked at all of the 'real' runners around me and felt their (imagined) judgment at my funny t-shirt and my Red Sox cap with my neon running shoes.

Every time I took a walk break, which happened more often as the cold, rainy weather became hot and muggy, I felt like they were shaking their heads at me, 'Why is that chubby girl trying to run?'

Then when I realized I was less than halfway done and my foot was numb and all my training seemed to be for nothing I saw a firefighter in full gear walking the marathon.

I started crying, for a million reasons. Exhaustion, thoughts of my Pops a former firefighter, thoughts of the firefighters pulling victims and survivors from the rubble of the Murrah building.

Then, I kept going. Every time I'd start to feel like quitting again I'd come across another firefighter, from another city, walking the course in full gear and I'd cry a little, suck it up and start again.

As I started the last mile I was almost openly sobbing as I went. Not for my hip that was in agony, but because I'd finally almost done the run I'd felt a need to do ever since it started.

I'd finally done this run to recognize all the victims I'd watched on the news as a child. The families I'd see come together every year to remember their loved ones.

The people I wrote stories about when I got into news. The people etched in my heart since that day in 1995 when I heard about the news from my teacher in school.

I realized as I finished the 13.1 miles that I may not have felt like a true runner when I started that race, but by the time I finished I knew I remembered I was a true Oklahoman.