Spark notes.

what do you really want from life, romeo?   he said kibble!

Today Gabe is wearing a brown sweatshirt, khaki pants, grey socks, and black shoes.

(Romeo is wearing white fur. And nothing else.) (Typical.)

You guys, this week I did something I really never thought I would do.

This week, I grabbed a credit card and went online, and I ordered The Desire Map, which is a book made by Danielle LaPorte and which is a place to think about your goals (or, you might say, your desires) and make plans to go get those things you want. Once you know what they are.

And that’s not something I ever thought I would be spending my money on.

But in the last few weeks, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to what my goals are and where I actually want to go in my life. It occurred to me that instead of just thinking about these things while I go on walks, and then put those thoughts on hold until the next day’s walk, that it might actually be useful to write these things down.

And not just in a notebook, because I learned a long time ago that my attempts to journal “big ideas” usually result in the first 1-2 pages of a brand new notebook being somewhat-filled with tentative half-thoughts, and then abandoned. And later burned. Because seriously, how embarrassing.

So I thought: maybe in this case, a system would help.

Maybe someone else giving me some guidelines and questions to answer and tips and inspiring/a-little-bit-eyeroll-worthy-but-still ideas might be useful for turning those embarrassing half-thoughts into some real, actual ideas.

And so I got one.

I’m excited. And a little weirded out – I mean, buying journals about “feelings” and “goals” is really not my style most of the time. But this week, it felt like the right move.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

And as long as we’re talking about notebooks that just might change your life…

I want to share something with you. It’s a Kickstarter we launched yesterday at Popforms, and as of right now (like, right this very second!) you can pledge and support a pretty cool project and get a sweet notebook of your very own.

kickstarter video jpg

The Spark Notebook is something that’s been months in the making, and I can’t believe it’s actually out there and people can finally actually see the video, and the pages, and actually donate to get a real-life notebook of their own. You guys!

16ee2eb2e6b98ffce917b6501efe9c13_large   1a7329fcdc046b775e27df832aba9b35_large

4c55558f5dc4c50607af6f30fa8501d2_large   af57f28b22fdee1cccc45235940428c1_large

I’d love for you to check it out! Amazingly, we met 100% of our funding goal yesterday (like, 14 hours after the project went live!) which was insane, but really exciting and validating. I couldn’t believe it — I was basically glued to the computer all day, starting at 6am and going on until…I don’t even remember when I went to bed.

We’re really excited to see what we can do if we can keep this amazing momentum going. Adding some new goals, some new designs — we have lots of ideas.

If you like the notebook and want to pledge, honestly it would mean so much to me! Or even if you just share it on social media (you get free stuff, if you do!). If you leave a comment on this post letting me know you pledged or shared the project, I’ll send you a hand-written thank you note.

For reals. Because it means a lot, and also because I love a good hand-written thank you note.

And that concludes the notebook section of this post.

Quick poll: has anyone else noticed that yoga class sometimes seems like a competition for who can breathe the loudest? Asking for a friend. Who is a lady I don’t know. Who was sighing ridiculously loudly on the yoga mat next to me last night.

Just wondering.

Candy heart.

just happy to be here   SERIOUSLY happy to be here

Today Gabe is wearing a green t-shirt, khaki pants, and brown flip flops.

This week my post is late because I transitioned back from Central Time to Pacific Time, and I guess that laid back West Coast spirit took over and caused me not to realize how quickly Friday morning would come.

Or maybe it’s just because at some point in the last few days it became fall, and my fingers are so chilly I simply can’t bring myself to type.

Or maybe I just lost track of this week.

Either way, I’m back in California after narrowly escaping the first snowfall in Illinois this week. I flew out Wednesday and got a photo from my dad on Thursday showing me the snow on the ground in their backyard. I’m going back in December to visit for Christmas, so I guess I should prepare myself for the fact that I may actually be interacting with snow for the first time in like 3 years.

Do I even remember how to make a good snowball?

Last week, while I was in Illinois, I had a week off — an actual vacation, where I didn’t work (that much) and I spent lots of time going on walks, watching crime TV shows, and making soup — and now I am back in the real world. And the real world is cold.

Even as I type, I am huddled next to a wood stove at Gabe’s parents’ house. It’s raining. Gabe is lecturing me on the virtues of patience and the art of building a good fire. I am thinking quietly, “Yes, but warm fingers are a nice thing too.”

But I take his point.

While I was at home visiting my parents, the following things happened:

don't say i never did anything for you   dad + apache watching law + order

To put these photos into words: I ate all (and I mean ALL) of the leftover Halloween candy, and I watched Law And Order with my dad and his faithful sidekick, Apache the cat.

It was very nice. Although the full day of three flights getting there and back is long and not that great, I’m looking forward to going back in December too.

Do you want to hear a joke? You’ll probably have to read it out loud for it to be funny, but here goes:

What do you call a deer with no eyes?


No eye-deer.

Central time.

"oh hello yes how are you doing?"   what do you mean there's no one standing next to me?

Today Gabe is wearing a blue sweatshirt, khaki pants, brown boots, and green sunglasses.

“I don’t want to be here anymore.” I shook my head to try to shake this thought out of my mind, since, at the time I was thinking it, I was in an airplane 30,000 feet above Iowa.

I wasn’t always a nervous flyer, but once I started having to do the 3-flight trek between a small town in Washington to a small town in Illinois every holiday season when I was in college, I got the fear. Oooh yes I got the fear.

I started seeing signs in the days before my flight that I was convinced were warning that my plane was going to go down. Once on board, I’d jump at every little noise and bounce, even while the plane was still on the ground. I was really not a good flyer.

Then, a couple of years ago, I got it together. I learned about the trick where you just stare at the flight attendants, and watch how completely bored they are by every aspect of the flight. I started showing up at the airport imagining (seriously) that I was a serious business traveler who just couldn’t be bothered to care about “just another flight”.

Did my palms still sweat during turbulence? Sometimes. But I just forced the fear down, and it went away.

Well, it went away until earlier this week when I had the feeling that people who have *serious* fear of flying describe: the feeling like you absolutely have to get off the plane right now, this second. It was really the worst. I tried to tamp it down, but of course with this kind of thought, once you think it you can’t un-think it.

I was on my second flight of the day, and still had one more to go before I was at my final destination of my Illinois hometown. I was starting to feel like I wouldn’t make it.

So we circled above Chicago and I felt my palms start to sweat. I tried to remember my yoga. “Unclench your shoulders. Breathe a deep sigh. Close your eyes.”

My eyes popped open and my shoulders met my ears as we bumped down through the clouds.

I worried that I wouldn’t be able to do my third and final flight. After 8 hours of travel, I worried I might just cry for the whole 30 minutes of the third flight I had left. I worried I might never be able to leave once I actually made it there, since I have another 3 flights to do in order to get back home to Humboldt.

But on the third flight, I told myself to get it together. I closed my eyes, and turned on a podcast. I held a book in my lap, gripping it lightly with both hands. I focused on every single word the host of the podcast was saying. And if I ever got distracted and felt tempted to peek out the window or think about how amplified turbulence is in a tiny plane (which it happened to be that night) I took a huge, sighing breath and listened harder to the podcast.

And by the time we landed, 30 minutes later, I was over it. I was on the other side.

My mom fed me a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and vegan cookies, and my dad let me rattle on about this new podcast Serial I had been listening to all day. It was good to be home.

A few photos of things enjoyed pre-flight:

let's go surfing now   i was an art major so just business as usual here

bring me that horizon   swaddle that baby

Arm bind.

can you spot the difference?   (it's the horse's head)

Today Gabe is wearing a blue sweatshirt, khaki pants, and brown boots.

The other day we visited a friend who has 30 chickens, 1 duck, 2 dogs, and 1 horse (pictured). I wanted very badly to touch one of the chickens, but every time I approached a docile-looking one, it would flap its wings, creating a cloud of dust, and run away just out of reach.

“Simone!” I called out to the duck, taking one cautious step towards it, and then another. Simone scream-quacked and waddled away.

I don’t have good luck approaching barnyard animals. With one notable exception, aka the greatest day of my life when I touched a cow’s nose. I love animals, and I *get* cats and dogs. They like me and I like them.

But these barnyard animals…well, I guess I just don’t have the right confidence to just grab a chicken by the gut and hoist it into my arms. And so they run away from me. And I chase them. And they run some more.

Not giving up, I walked directly into the chicken coop hoping to corner one of the dumber ones and try to touch its feathers. It was only after I’d crossed the entire length of the chicken-feed-and-droppings-covered floor of the coop that I realized I was wearing my favorite loafers.

…And now I just don’t know what to do!

I was so blinded by my love for animals that I ruined one of my other great loves – really good loafers.

They didn’t get irreparably dirty, but the bottoms were gross. I rinsed them off, and I scrubbed them on the grass and then again on my rough, scratchy doormat. But still, I can’t forget the gross place that they walked through.

Is it possible to forgive (myself) and forget what these loafers have been through? Or do I need to admit that I might never feel comfortable putting these on my carpet again, and just do the humane thing and throw them away for good?

When I finally got to the other side of the coop, all the chickens wised up and crossed back to the entrance of the coop I had just come through. On my way back across the muck, dejected, I noticed something funny:

ain't nobody here but us chickensDid you know chickens perch?

I had no idea. But as it turns out, they do, and these chickens were perched right up around eye level, looking at me.

Whether they realized in that moment that they were trapped or not, I don’t know. But I do know that I stepped over to them, stuck out my hand, and petted each of them, feeling their weird soft, slippery feathers.

They bobbed and waddled, but they allowed it.

And it almost made up for my shoes continuing to sink down into the worst place they have ever been.

This week, I’ve been listening to audiobooks: I finished Agatha Christie’s ABC Murders and am getting close to finishing Dale Carnegie’s How To Win Friends And Influence People.

I got an Audible subscription so that I could listen to business books, but it has been really nice to have things that aren’t work-related to listen to since I do most of my audio-listening at times where I am actively trying to avoid work-related thinking (like on an afternoon walk).

Unfortunately, I don’t have any good ideas for what to listen to next. Any suggestions? What are you reading right now?

I, and my tainted loafers (who used to accompany me on many-a long afternoon walk, and may still – or may never again), thank you in advance.

Rain drop.

exploratorium   ew is this dirt? let's go inside!

Today Gabe is wearing a white t-shirt, red shorts, and brown boots.

Oof. I had a sinus headache all afternoon yesterday, and unfortunately my week was so busy this week that I didn’t get a chance to compose an actual interesting, nice post in advance. So in place of a real post, here is a collection of miscellaneous notes from this week:

Note 1

I think I might have stopped using baking soda and vinegar for my hair washing routine. Let me explain.The other day  I was over at Gabe’s parents’ house, and my hair was feeling so dirty. Which, by the way, has been happening more and more in the last few weeks.

At first, when I started doing the baking soda thing, my hair was super clean and good looking, for many days at a time. But over time, my hair started to feel dirtier faster, and it didn’t look much different than back when I was using shampoo.

So anyways, I was at Gabe’s house. Since I didn’t want to whip up a baking soda concoction in their kitchen just so I could take a 5 minute shower, I decided to take a chance and wash my hair with the Dr. Bronner’s soap that was sitting in the shower stall.

And you guys – my hair looked amazing. Like, better than it’s looked in weeks. So I bought some Dr. Bronner’s for myself and I have been using it. And my hair looks so much better than with baking soda. I might be out of that game.

I haven’t heard many people who have quit shampoo and then gone back to washing their hair (even though Dr. Bronner’s isn’t really shampoo or even normal soap…). I wonder how many of us there are out there?

Note 2

I skipped yoga on Monday night and went to the movies instead. I saw Gone Girl. It was in some ways better than the book (the movie ending was WAY better than the book), although the characters were a little less deep than in the book…

Note 3

Here’s another yoga story: on my way into the building earlier this week, on a particularly rainy night, a guy who happens to look eerily similar to someone I went to high school with, and who I have seen around the yoga studio a lot, got to the door at the same time as me.I almost never interact with him because he looks so much like my old friend that it gives me the creeps. So to have him hold the door open for me was…a weird moment.

So I hurried up (don’t forget, it was raining) and as soon as I took my first hurried, wet step into the building, I slipped and fell directly down onto the ground.

It was one of those falls where nothing hurts; you’re more surprised than anything. One second I was up, and the next I was down. I laughed quickly to let him know I was okay, and looked up to see if he was offering me a hand.

Instead, he did nothing. He said nothing.

I said, “Don’t worry, I’m okay!” thinking maybe he was just a little bit in shock. He still said nothing, just standing there, still holding the door open as I fumbled to get up while halfway in and halfway out of the building.

Finally, as I was back on my feet and walking into the building, he said, “Did you hit anything?”

For a split second I thought about running away and quitting this yoga studio forever before I could never overcome such an awkward encounter, but decided I should probably just go to class instead. As usually, I got very sweaty.

In one great moment, though, my teacher opened the window and a cold breeze — along with a few glorious cold raindrops — blew in on me.

Note 4

I met a black cat on my street. I briefly considered becoming the kind of person who carries a baggie of kibble in their pocket. I decided against it. For now.

Worry warts.

where's gabe-o?   i think in the woods, therefore i am. (in the woods.)

Today Gabe is wearing a grey fleece, khaki pants, and brown boots.

You guys, I think I came up with a genius strategy for time management this week. Maybe I should write a book.

Well, maybe I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me run this brilliant idea past you first.

Okay, so you are gearing up for a big end-of-year push at your company. You are like, sooo busy. So busy that you just put your head down and get ready to plow through it. No time to think about how busy you are. You just have to DO.

You work hard during the day. You sleep hard during the night.

But then you do this fun thing where, during the time you used to waste on sleeping, you don’t sleep. Sure, sure, you are busy during the day and your body really wants to shut down and restore itself at night, but instead of doing this, you just don’t.

Then, you start worrying about things like renewing your lease. You start worrying about the future of your business. You start worrying about never having enough money to buy a house, ever.

You start worrying about how you’ll ever have time to keep up your personal blog, which is one of the highlights of your week, because you are so busy you can’t possibly actually think about money or the future or your blog — you only have the time and space to worry about everything.

See how easy it is? Just don’t go to sleep! Ever! There is so much to worry about!

This is the brilliant time management solution I came up with Wednesday night and you guys, wow is it effective. I mean, I can work all day un-distracted because I know I’ve got a solid 8 hours of restorative, relaxing worrying to do between the hours of 10pm and 6am.

And the best part is, your nighttime worrying can go on without end. When you worry about business phone calls you have to make about things like leases, you will never actually be able to make those calls at 3am! So you are free to imagine disastrous scenarios to your heart’s content without ever having to worry (ha ha) about finding an actual solution.

I don’t have insomnia very often anymore, but you guys, when I do — oh wow, do I make the most of it. If you think insomnia just has to be about sitting on the couch flipping through channels and staring bleary-eyed at bizarre early morning programming you never knew was on TV, then boy are you behind the times.

Oh, sir. Next time you can’t sleep, try worrying instead. You won’t believe how productive and stressed it makes you feel, which means you must be really, really important.

(This blog post brought to you by one sleepless night.)

But really. Things are fine. Don’t believe me, readers and/or Sleepless Kate? As proof, please accept the following pictures of Romeo The Cat.

perfect couple   four ears

oh so dignified   i hate christmas

hello dear   weird body, steely gaze

Role modal.

i love the woods!   let's count the trees...i see one, two, three...

Today Gabe is wearing a brown sweatshirt, khaki pants, and brown boots.

Well unfortunately, this week we’ve taken a few steps back.

Over the summer, I got really into the idea of dressing up nice every day because it makes you look good and feel good, and because, I mean, I am a grown adult woman who works from home and boundaries must be set somewhere.

But then, a few weeks ago, I needed to buy some new pants to sleep in because it was getting colder out and shorts weren’t going to cut it anymore. My only other available sleep pants option were these ratty old blue sweatpants I’ve had since high school, whose elastic is all but gone and that look, just, terrible.

Gabe once said, “You’re dressed like me when you wear those sweatpants.”

We both knew what he meant.

So I did some online shopping and, you guys, I found something wonderful.

I think they’re technically classified as “loungewear” but if we are being honest, I think it’s more accurate to refer to what I discovered on the internet as glamour sweatpants. And I love them.

Do you believe in love at first sight? I do. Well, not exactly love at first sight, but I have — at many times in my life — met someone and known instantly that this was going to be an important or special person in my life. I felt that way the first time I met Gabe. Same with my boss/mentor/cofounder at Popforms.

And same with these pants.

I saw them on the model and I just knew. I was about to hit “order”, but decided, even though my heart was sure, that I owed it to myself to be logical. (Though we all know love isn’t logical.) Still, I took the time to scroll down and read the reviews, and you guys — there was not one single person who had a bad word to say about these pants.

So what are these magic pants?

They are a pair of thin, slim-fitting, olive green, made-of-modal-the-best-fabric-in-the-world lounge pants and they are perfection. As soon as I saw them I knew I had to have them.

And as soon as they arrived in the mail, I knew I had to try them on.

And as soon as I tried them on, I knew I was ruined.

First of all, they look great. They’re flattering, they’re understated, they go with everything…they are just perfect.

Second of all, they are so comfortable. The fabric is so soft, and the shape is comfortable without being baggy and weird.

I look forward to going to bed every night because I know I’ll get to wear them and feel so comfortable but beautiful and also so cozy and happy.

And with all kinds of intense, all-consuming love, it went a little bit too far.

This week, finally, despite all my best intentions, came the day where — on one grey, misty, “don’t want to get out of your PJs morning” — I went for a run, took a shower, got dressed…and made the decision to put on my glamour sweatpants instead of real pants.

We’ve wandered into dangerous territory. Mistakes have been made.

But how can love that feels this good be so wrong? Maybe just for one day, it’s okay to wear your glamour sweatpants while you take business calls and write marketing strategies. Right? Right??