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Mar. 13th, 2009

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Day 1 in Shanghai, in incomplete sentences

Idea borrowed from Jae from her updates about her most recent vacation. I love the idea of documenting highlights, but not bothering to write up whole sentences and paragraphs to describe what can be 90% summed up in loose phrases.

Day 1:

Survived 14 hour flight with massive head congestion: blew through 3 pocket packs of kleenex; stayed high on Sudafed; read several chapters of ‘War and Peace‘ (seriously!); watched ‘Burn After Reading‘ (good stuff); ate too much; slept a bit. Happy reunion with Paris at airport (Charles is away on business but will be back Saturday mid-day). Introduced to Tom, their driver. Rush hour traffic into town.

Tour of apartment (wow!) & shown to our guest room suite (wow!). Paris should win awards for being super-thoughtful friend and hostess. It helps that their place is amazing.

Much-needed sickie nap for me while Karsten & Paris chat over snacks & wine.

Dinner of vegan fried rice and dumplings with tofu & spinach (and more wine), prepared beforehand by housekeeper apparently despite confusion becauseĀ  “egg is not meat” so it should have been OK to include. She did an awesome job anyway. Can’t wait to meet her and thank her for such a delicious meal.

Amusing overview of content on Chinese TV stations. Introduced to ‘True Blood‘ - watched first 2 episodes. Alan Ball is a genius. Belgian chocolates and yet more wine. Paris points out that we can see The Bund from where we’re sitting in the living room. Have I mentioned their place is amazing?

Off to bed. Cozy with Karsten. Not a bad night’s sleep.

Day 2? Coming soon.

Originally published at Sticky, Sweet, & A Little Overdressed. You can comment here or there.

Sep. 13th, 2008

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Home!

The hospital discharged me early yesterday evening. Karsten has had his hands full ever since. Keep him in your thoughts. :)

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Originally published at The Bee Hive. You can comment here or there.

Aug. 9th, 2008

sad face, baby clyde, sorry

Sad news about Karsten's dad

Karsten’s father passed away yesterday. He was 84, and he’d been dealing with a variety of illnesses including emphysema (despite having never smoked a day in his life) and prostate cancer (which he beat — it was the treatment that led to complications). So while his death was not entirely unexpected, it was still rather sudden.

He hasn’t decided if he wants to be present for the visitation, but I think he’s leaning towards going. I’m navigating this as carefully as I can, because even though I know Karsten and his dad had a complicated relationship, I think Karsten is more affected than he expected to be.

We’ve been through so many shades of loss in the ten years we’ve been together, from the long, drawn-out, excruciating loss of my own father to the abrupt and devastating loss of Karsten’s mother, and now the sudden and emotionally puzzling loss of his father. We could really write a book. I suppose it would be more appropriate if we just wrote a song. Maybe that’s the project for this week.

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Originally published at The Bee Hive. You can comment here or there.

May. 31st, 2008

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We’re well preserved!


We’re well preserved!

Originally uploaded by Kate O’
(Thanks to Busy Mom for the subject line. :) )

Not sure why this didn’t post to my blog when I posted it to flickr. That whole “post to flickr and your blog at the same time” function is kind of sketchy, I find.

The moment we’d been waiting for finally arrived, and our house won a preservation award from Nashville’s Historical Commission. We genuinely didn’t think we’d win, sitting at the ceremony watching all the other winners be presented, with projects far bigger than ours. But when they called out our names, we sure weren’t going to turn the plaque down!

Karsten is thinking of wearing it on a chain around his neck. He says he’s busted up enough concrete around here to have earned it, and I quite agree. But in all likelihood, it will be as it is intended: mounted at eye level next to our front entrance. In this picture, I am holding it approximately where it will end up.

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Originally published at The Bee Hive. You can comment here or there.

Mar. 16th, 2008

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Things that probably deserve their own post

Yes, each of these probably merits a post of its own, and my blog has been sorely neglected of late. But since I’m powering through my to do list, I’m giving them each a bullet point, and I may choose to come back to one or more of them later.

  • I’ve been working very, very hard. If you visit Magazines.com over the next few months, you may see some cool changes start to take place.
  • I’ve been traveling a lot. Since the beginning of February, I’ve been in San Francisco, New York, Cincinnati, Salt Lake City, Chicago, and Boston. And not in Nashville very much, clearly.
  • My 17-year-old cousin (well, first cousin once removed) has lymphoma. But she’s got a great attitude and a lot of fight in her. I’m thinking a lot about my cousin and her family.
  • My coworker’s 10-year-old nephew just died from cancer after 9 months in the hospital. And then, at the funeral, the same coworker’s mother-in-law collapsed, had a heart attack, and died. I’m thinking a lot about that family.
  • Karsten and I are about to go on our first cruise. It’s a vegetarian cruise.
  • This weekend is the fifth anniversary of the crazy little experiment Karsten and I performed that we like to call “getting married.”
  • I finally convinced Karsten to join Facebook. We’re now married on Facebook! I feel so hip.

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Originally published at The Bee Hive. You can comment here or there.

Feb. 9th, 2008

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Birthday present - for both of us


Birthday present

Originally uploaded by Kate O’

Around the middle of December, Karsten was getting ready to start making visual art again after a long, intense period of house renovation, and in the middle of a period of exhaustion and depression, he needed a comfortable project to ease him back into it. Unfortunately, he’d also gotten his mind set on oil painting, which is a medium he’d done almost nothing with since art school.

I’m no artist, and I know almost nothing about oil painting except what I’d learned from Karsten while he’d been doing research, but I do know projects and I know how complexity compounds difficulty in execution. And I know Karsten, and how ready he is to feel bad about himself when something he tries doesn’t go quite right.

So I was worried that he would take on a painting project that would require a lot of skill with oil paint and he’d get frustrated and disappointed in himself. I tried to help him think of something that would reduce the variables in the process: we talked about copying an image from somewhere else and doing it in solid tones. The thought was that not having to work from an entirely original concept seemed like it would reduce the risk of losing faith in his own artistic vision due to medium complications, and not having to make elaborate color mixing decisions seemed like it would reduce the complexity of the painting and leave him to get familiar with other elements of technique, such as the application of the paint itself.

And then I happened across a print in a Chiasso catalog (which is seemingly no longer available). It was orange and white, like the colors I’m starting to use in my new home office concept, and featured a simple silhouette of a vine. I really liked it, but I thought it lacked a sense of animate life and needed a perched bird to be truly perfect. And I saw a wonderful multi-effect opportunity emerging.

When I asked Karsten if he thought he could paint the picture for me, he was unsure if he was up to the challenge. That was his fatigue and depression talking, of course, and I did worry that he might not be ready to try it, and that if he tried and felt like he failed, he’d be crushed, but he agreed to give it a try so I crossed my fingers.

It took several weeks, and I got to peek at it during the process, and it was always just as wonderful as I hoped.

He presented it to me a few weeks ago, and I have it sitting on a shelf in my home office, waiting until we finish painting the walls from their current dirty-pepto-bismol-pink to a simple crisp white before we hang it.

You can see how it fits in with some of my office accessories in this picture.

I just love it. It’s about the best birthday present I can imagine, for so many reasons — not least of which is that Karsten now has so much more confidence about taking the next step with painting. So maybe it’s sort of a present for him, too.

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Originally published at The Bee Hive. You can comment here or there.

Jan. 1st, 2008

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How about a REALLY happy new year?

I thought about writing a year-end update yesterday, but the truth is, not all that much of note happened. And that’s a pretty good thing, as it turns out, because I was also thinking yesterday about how I’m feeling more balanced and centered than I have in — gosh, what? — maybe 8 or 9 years.

In the meantime, the highlights were clear:

  • Karsten and I celebrated our 10th anniversary of being together and being crazy in love by going to Paris, world capital of romance. And it was romantic. The trip wasn’t 100% perfect all the time, but it was wonderful on balance. As for being together 10 years: wow. Our ties to each other just keep getting stronger, and having that is the best thing life can offer in any year.
  • I started working at Magazines.com in January of 2007, and it’s been a really good move for me. I worked a lot (so much so that I seem to have lost my ability to update blogs), but I’m really OK with it. In fact, by far most of my efforts and energy in ‘07 were directed towards helping make something really special happen there. And it looks like that will be the case in 2008, too, and again, I’m OK with that. (Although if that’s still the case in 2009, I will have to re-evaluate my effectiveness. I want to be able to find better balance around then.)
  • We got the front porch, doorway, and fence built, and the front of the house is transformed. I find so much pleasure in those last few yards of my drive home, coming up over the top of the hill in front of us, looking at such a charming house and being perfectly content to live there. I’ve never had that feeling about a place where I’ve lived before, and I don’t take it for granted that I’m this lucky. (And who knows — we might even be able to begin the major addition and renovation in 2008.)
  • Karsten and I got close to another song placement, and although it didn’t ultimately come together, we ended up having much-needed clarifying conversations about our level of commitment to our songwriting (both still very committed) and how to refine our writing process under our current highly-unavailable circumstances (maybe more on that later). That clarity should help us over this next year, too, as we both continue to be heavily distracted by other areas of work (me with my job, him with renovation and visual art) — we should still be able to make progress, as long as we continue to want to. And so far, we still want to.

There were other events, of course: stressful conflicts at work, pests in and around the house, disappointments, disagreements, and so on. But they don’t stand out in hindsight, and that tells me exactly what my resolution for 2008 needs to be:

I resolve to find as much happiness in the current space of every moment as I possibly can, remembering that, in the end, it’s the happy moments I’ll want to carry with me.

May 2008 be the happiest of new years for all of you, as well.

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Originally published at The Bee Hive. Please leave any comments there.

Oct. 16th, 2007

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Karsten at Oktoberfest

Check out the pic of Karsten and our neighbor Jeff at Oktoberfest. Taken by the lovely and talented Sheila at A Blessed Mess.

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Originally published at The Bee Hive. Please leave any comments there.

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Sep. 12th, 2007

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Non-comformist appearance + musician + artist = hopeless drug addict?

Originally published at The Bee Hive. Please leave any comments there.

It’s hard not to be irritated with doctors in general right now.

Let me back up for a second. Ever since the rat problem in the back yard and the flea infestation in the house and all the cat sicknesses, and all the rest of it, Karsten has been having a lot of trouble sleeping. He hardly sleeps, and then when he does sleep, he’s been waking up with major anxiety attacks. You can imagine how, after a while, that would start to make you not want to sleep at all.

I’ve been trying to convince him to go to the doctor and get a prescription for Ambien or something similar. He’s willing to take something over the counter, but I foresee the possibility that this will turn into a fairly long-term arrangement and I feel like a doctor should be monitoring it.

But the problem is, doctors have had a history of misjudging and mistrusting Karsten, especially when he goes in asking for a prescription. They think he’s a drug addict, and this seems to be based partly on his somewhat non-conformist appearance and partly on the fact that he works in the arts. Once, when he was being examined for sinus problems, a doctor said “You’re a musician, so you’ve used a lot of cocaine, right?” while nodding his head at Karsten as if to encourage him to agree. When Karsten replied (somewhat indignantly, no doubt) that he’d never used cocaine at all, the doctor regarded him with a suspicious look and refused to give him any medication at all.

Another time, when our apartment neighbors back in San Jose were making our lives miserable (one actually spit in Karsten’s face) and we were both jittery wrecks, Karsten went to the doctor — a different doctor, of course — and asked for something to help calm his nerves, like Valium or something, because he couldn’t write at all. This doctor also asked about Karsten’s recreational drug use (none) and refused to give him anything stronger than what amounted to a placebo.

After all this, I think it’s pretty understandable that he’s reluctant to go in asking for a prescription for sleeping pills.

But I suggested that he explain his state of mind, explain what’s been going on, and ask the doctor for a recommendation. If the doctor refuses to prescribe something, I said maybe he should offer to take a blood test to prove he doesn’t use drugs. He actually seemed comforted by having that card to play and it sounds like he’s going to go.

Has anyone else ever received this kind of suspicious treatment from doctors? If so, what do you do to ensure the outcome you’re hoping for?

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Jun. 17th, 2007

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Long term relationship = communication shorthand

him: I need to see a movie with lots of explosions and death.
me: Oh, did you call your dad?

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Originally published at The Bee Hive. You can comment here or there.

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