Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Go Hang Out with the People Who Knew You When You Were 16...Right Now

Last weekend, one of my best friends from high school, Jackie, got married.

That's her on the right in the white! This picture is from the winter of 2006 when we went out a mini-tour of rural Pennsylvania colleges to visit Jen (next to Jackie) at York College of Pennsylvania and Jackie at Juniata College. Needless to say it was a weekend of a lot of pictures and way to many shots (we didn't really drink in high school and were still getting the hang of it at this point). Kim (in the brown) and I nearly exploded with excitement as we drove up to Jen's dorm that freezing cold night, we were so excited to see her.

Apparently long sleeved white tshirts were something we though were appropriate to wear on a night out?
This picture is from our first winter break home from college at our Annual Holiday Extravaganza (notice the capitalization? It was a super serious event). If ever there was a picture that illustrates the joy of reuniting with your friends from home after your first semester away at college, I think this is it. "Look at us!" our eyes say "We are so worldly and we know everything there is to know about everything! We are very mature and take ourselves very seriously!"


I think I can count the number of times I've seen Jen, Jackie and Kim on two hands since that picture was taken. And that really sucks. We didn't have a falling out (at least I don't think we did? Won't it be super awkward/terrible if they read this and are like "YES WE DID, KATE, we hate you!") and I never made a conscious decision to not keep up with them. It just kind of happened and before I knew it, it was 2013 and we were all adults. Getting engaged, getting married, having jobs that made us move away kind of adults.

My three best high school friends see a lot of each other. Maybe because they live in the same state (though not particularly close, Pennsylvania is a big state!), maybe because they are just way more proactive than I am. Maybe because people change and grow apart and that's fine.

But this Saturday we were all in the same room again and it was the lovliest...it just happened to be that the room happened to be a church and then a reception hall and one of us happened to look a lot better than the other three (no offense to Jen and Kim, but we just really weren't competing with the dress and the killer eyelash situation Jackie had going on).

And so I say to you: go hang out with the people who knew you when you were 16 right this second.

It is the strangest/weirdest/coolest experience ever. Its extra strange/weird/cool when you have significant others!

Have so much fun and leave on good terms. Make promises to see more of each other. Because I think even if nothing comes of those promises, when you get married or graduate from graduate school or buy a house or have a baby the people who knew you when you were 16 and awkward will be there. And you'll be able to say to each other "Remember when we had the Holiday Extravaganza and we gave people pumpernickel toast with cream cheese and pickles to eat?" and laugh and laugh. Because the people who made that toast together were important to each other and I think its important to remember that and hold on to it if you can.*

So, I'll see you ladies in December at Jen's wedding...and maybe after that, too.


*My Mom is shaking her head right now and saying "I told you so, Kate"

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

In & Around Mt. Hood

After our day in Portland, we had one full day to explore Mt. Hood, Oregon and the area around it. For some reason, we were all up at 6:30 AM our first morning there, which was great because we were able to watch the sun come up. We arrived in the pitch dark the night before so we had no idea that this was what our patio overlooked...so pretty!


Shannon's lovely friends, Maureen and Brooke, not only offered to be our Oregon wilderness tour guides for the day BUT they also brought us Voodoo Donuts, they are the best! I've been friends with Becca for a long time and I've never seen her more excited. I think her exact words were "I've been waiting my whole life to eat these donuts".


After we ate our fill of donuts, we hopped in our crazy, tiny minivan (that wasn't quite a minivan) and head out into the great outdoors (can you tell from the tone of this post already that I don't do the outdoors very well?)!

We took a scenic drive up, up, up a mountain and then all the way down...getting out along the way to appreciate the views and take some pictures.




Maureen and Brooke are legit nature lovers and knew all the best routes and things to see. I think the should open a tour guide business, but they seem to already have full time jobs. I really think they could make a killing though...look at this view!


In the New Student Seminar I'm teaching this semester, we read Wild and wouldn't you know it, we accidentally found a part of the Pacific Crest Trail! I exclaimed "STOP THE CAR! I need to get out to take a picture for my students!" John stared at me in disbelief that I was actually going to send them pictures from our vacation but you guys, I take my teaching very seriously.


And then I pretended to warm myself near this fire pit and yes, this is one of two pictures that I sent to them (all 50 of them) when I got back to New York. The message included, "Please note that much like Cheryl, I wore inappropriate footwear" (leopard sneakers). I like to think that they thought I was super cool, but really they probably just rolled their eyes. 


We drove to Multnomah Falls, which I loved so much. 


Here's a picture of me and John getting drenched. I could have stood there for an hour, but John didn't have a rain jacket on and it was pretty cold. No one else came up with us and when we came down soaked and grinning they looked at us like we were kind of nuts. 


AND THEN Brooke and Maureen took us to the fish hatchery, which was the coolest. I think they thought I was kidding with how excited I was because they just met me and really, how excited could a person be at a fish hatchery? If you're me, very excited.

There are people who work in the fish hatchery whose job it is to count the salmon as they swim upstream. During prime mating season, they could count up to 20,000 fish per hour. Isn't that incredible? If possible they also take not of physical characteristics and size of this fish...look how big that one is!


We also got to go see Herman the Sturgeon! Herman weights almost 500 pounds and is more than 70 years old! I didn't get a good picture of him, so you can Google it, but you should definitely go see him if you can. I loved him!

Please take a moment to enjoy this photo of me and Becca...


In typical Kate fashion, after the excitement of the day, I promptly got in the way back of our mini-minivan and fell asleep on our drive to the Timberline Lodge for dinner. I woke up and it was winter, full fledged with snow and everything! The temperature had dropped and I was not dressed appropriately at all.


If you made it to the end of this super long post, you are dedicated readers. Mt. Hood is beautiful and you should visit! Get the clam chowder at the Lodge! If you need advice on what to see, I would really call Brooke and Maureen...they can make you like the outdoors even if you don't ordinarily! Doesn't it look like I do the outdoors all the time from this post? I know, its a miracle!

Friday, November 14, 2014

!

Its Friday! And that means its time for our weekly ! post! I love ! posts because I get to end everything in !s and they are my favorite!

Zula is still super into this bed that my Aunts got her and so is Dilly! I'm fairly certain their having a feud over it because now their "play fighting" involves Zula leaping into the air! I'm moderately alarmed when it happens, but luckily they're both missing body parts that would be essential to cause actual damage to each other so it ends up alright!


This week's important realization is: I don't like Bloody Marys! I want to so badly because everyone who drinks them seems to love them, but I just cannot! They taste like melted ketchup to me and this one that I attempted to drink on Sunday was so SPICY! I didn't even know a drink could be that spicy, but I didn't like it at all!


I've kept these flowers alive since Sunday! Even with the cats chewing on the leaves all day! They are why we can't have nice things!


Its my new goal in life to have a house with a pink door! We passed two in our neighborhood this weekend and I was never so excited about a door in my life! My question is: do your neighbors not hate you? Or are you just so happy about the pink door that you don't care? I think probably the latter! 100 points for giving no shits, house owners!




Happy Weekend!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Some Things to See (and eat) in Portland


I need to start this post by saying flat out that I am not cool enough to live in Portland. I know that a lot of young people are packing up and heading West, but I am not that person. With that being said, we liked Portland! Here are some things we did!


We went to Powell's Books. John and I l-o-v-e-d it! Its basically The Strand but bigger and more open and a normal temperature (I always feel like I going to melt in The Strand). Everything is very well organized with places to sit and a coffee shop!

Then we walked up the block to Blue Star Donuts (DON'T FREAK OUT everyone, we ate Voodoo too, its coming in another post) and they were great! I especially loved the one that had an accidental heart in the middle of it. I especially especially loved that John and I ate three donuts between us on the way to lunch and had no shame. Being married, man. Its super great. (Not great: the gym this week where I feel as though the donuts are lodged in my upper stomach)


We were going to go to Por Que No? for tacos but there was a line out the door. Apparently the line moves super fast but we were non-cool tourists who didn't know that. Luckily my friends all commented on my Instagram and said that we NEEDED to go to Pine State Biscuits right this second. They were totally correct and you also need to go right this second. John got something called The Reggie which included cheese and gravy. I went with something that had lettuce on it, but let's not kid ourselves: there was also fried chicken,bacon and ranch dressing. So much eating.


AND THEN John told me that he had spotted a yarn store on our walk to the restaurant and did I want to go in? YES! I do want to go in John! When have I ever said no to yarn?

A note about yarn and vacation: I brought no yarn with me. I thought it was only 8 days and I could not crochet for 8 days. That was a mistake. Portland was day 3 of our trip and no lie, my hands were starting to get itchy from their stillness. SO I did what any self-respecting crocheter would do: I bought more than $50 worth of fancy yarn and am currently crocheting myself a present in between all my holiday gifts and charity pieces. I even got patterns with my yarn purchases, so I can't recommend Close Knit enough!


After the yarn store, we met back up with Becca and Shannon and their friends' apartment AND THEN we went to a dinner that was three hours and six courses. I have no pictures of it because we were literally exhausted (maybe jet lagged?) and in a food coma within seconds of eating the second course. It was a terrible food day. And by that I mean it was a day filled with really great food.

HOORAY PORTLAND! Over and out.

Monday, November 10, 2014

On Last Names & One Year of Marriage

Yesterday, John and I celebrated one year of marriage! When you get married everyone tells you about how fast everything moves and I have to say they're right; its like I blinked and its a year later!


After our wedding, John and I took a spur of the moment trip to Atlantic City for two nights (where I won $300 from a penny slot machine after hitting a deer on the highway on the way to our hotel...it was a pretty eventful trip). Our first morning there, I opened Facebook on my phone and promptly changed my last name from plain old Legnetti to Legnetti-Olsen. 

366 days later Facebook is the only place that name exists. 

It only exists in that place for a few reasons, I guess. First of all I am wholly intimidated by the process of changing one's name. The Social Security Office seems to be involved and so does the DMV. I have to get a new Passport and a new Drivers License and a new Social Security Card. And our bank accounts need to be changed and the proper supporting documents provided? That's a lot of paperwork. 

The other and more pressing reason, I think is that I have no idea what I want my last name to be. 

Before we got married, John made it completely clear that he didn't care what my last name was. He asked if I wanted him to take my last name and hyphenate it with his, so we could both be Legnetti-Olsens. I thought about it and for some reason that seemed a little too progressive for me (more power to you if that's what you decide to do, but it just didn't feel right to me). 

Then I started thinking about the hyphenating my name and then I kind of decided that when we had kids, I wanted them to be Legnetti-Olsen, too. But then we would all have the same last name and John would just be plain old Olsen.

But if I kept my last name and the kids were Olsens, then they would all have the same last name and I would be the stand alone Legnetti in our house.

I really like my last name. I like that its so uncommon, I like my signature, I like how it sounds...I just like it. And so I think for now, I am keeping it. 

But...Facebook. 

I thought about changing my last name back to just Legnetti a few months ago, but then I thought that everyone would think we were getting divorced and it just seemed too dramatic. So I left it. And I think I'm going I going to leave it, because I think I like how it looks and maybe I just need some more time to get used to it and/or psych myself up enough to start the process. 


Maybe when we have kids I'll feel differently about what our names will be. Maybe I'll want us all to be Legnetti-Olsens. But maybe I'll always want to be Legnetti and for John to be Olsen and for our kids to be Legnetti-Olsens. Maybe I'll wake up one day and want to assume some internet anonymity and will become Kate Olsen-untraceable via Google because Kate Olsen sounds a lot like MaryKate Olsen. 



I know that sometimes women who don't change their last names get offended if they get mail that says "Mr. and Mrs._____" or if they go to a wedding and their place card has them with the same last name as their husband. I'm resoundingly not in that boat. Call me what you want...I will happily smile at the mail you sent me or be thrilled about the fact that I'm included in your special day.

Whatever I decide about my last name and whatever we decide about our hypothetical kids, I feel pretty wonderful about the fact that I even have the option to take some time to decide. I love that I married a man who didn't assume I would take his last name, that we talked about it before bed one night and that he was legitimately OK with whatever I decided. I like that the only person who blinked when I said John and I have different last names was a sassy bank teller last December. "Oh look at YOU!" she said. 

Yeah lady...Look at ME. My name is Kate Legnetti and I have  husband named John Olsen. We've been together for almost seven years and have been married for 366 days. We've got two cats and a house in Brooklyn. We've got crazy, loud families and friends who we love. He plays a lot of video games. I have more yarn in our living room than I should. We're a family regardless of what our last names are, and I love him more than anything. 

Happy Anniversary, babe. I love you.  



Wednesday, November 5, 2014

20 Hours in Seattle

After a moderately horrible (maybe moderately is an understatement?) start to our trip, we arrived in Seattle after a 12 hour stay in JFK, a flight to Portland, 8 hours in a Portland airport hotel (not as terrible as it sounds) and then a three hour drive to Seattle.

We stayed at The Hotel Maxwell which we would totally recommend (we had a view of the Space Needle from our room!) and after dropping our stuff in our rooms, we made a quick escape into the rain to make the most of our 20 hours in the city (seriously, we hate you JetBlue). 

In case you were wondering, people are NOT kidding about the rain in Seattle.

It was drizzling on our way in from Portland, but by the time we had finished lunch and started to work our way to the Space Needle it was downright pouring. I think the Space Needle would have been slightly more fun had it not been raining sideways at the top.

The woman also told us on the way down that the Space Needle sways something like 1 inch for every 10 miles per hour of wind. I wasn't really into it...I like my buildings to remain stationary. 


Then we made our way to Pike Place Market, which I was SO excited for. I loved nearly everything but I EXTRA loved the flower stands. They had the most beautiful bouquets for under $10. Becca and I walked the whole row of them, while John and Shannon wandered somewhere wondering what was taking us so long.


AND we found the Gum Wall. Let's talk about the Gum Wall, shall we?

I kind of assumed going in that the Gum Wall would be gross. Its literally thousands of pieces of chewed gum, so OK yes its a given: grossness.

IT WAS SO MUCH GROSSER THAN I THOUGHT IT WOULD BE.

AND...it smelled.

Ugh. I'm sorry if I'm ruining your plans to go visit the Gum Wall (I think you should still go) but I think you just need to be prepared for what you're getting yourself into.


That night before dinner, we went to Rachel's Ginger Beer (there's so much stuff to do in that Market!). I can't recommend this place enough...we LOVED it! They make cocktails and non-alcoholic beverages out of this delicious ginger beer, which I didn't even think I liked! I had a Moscow Mule with Blueberry Gingerbeer and it was basically the best thing I've ever had in my entire life. I like Moscow Mules, I am so hip!


After dinner (seriously this was one of the longest days of my life) we went to a bar that had a very old lady drinking at the bar (and her wheelchair parked next to her), clowns hanging from the ceiling, terrible scary circus music in the bathroom and a whole back room of pinball machines for John to play! He was thrilled and so was I because he got rid of all my quarters. Side note: I am WAY too much of a control freak for pinball and I'm terrible at it.


And then we went back to the hotel and fell asleep at 8:30PM. #vacation

The next morning, we loaded into the car at 8:00AM to head to Portland...but first we made a quick stop at the Freemont Troll!


I was excited for the Troll but I was kind of like "meh, its a sculpture...how impressive could it be?" The answer is SUPER impressive! We had a great visit and it was even better because we were the only ones there.


Shannon climbed to the very top of his head (Becca nearly passed out watching her) but I stuck to the lower parts of his body.


Seattle, you were great! We'll try to stay more than 20 hours next time!


Nearly Ten Years of Friendship: A Photo Journey

I met Becca on the first day of our college Orientation in July of 2005 (that is so long ago I could cry). She kind of scared me because she had a nose ring, but we started talking anyway.

Almost ten years later, we've probably taken hundreds of pictures together. Potentially thousands. In that time, I'd like to say that we've perfected the photo taking but I would be lying to you.

These pictures kill me and I had to share them. It sums up the process we go through for nearly every picture we've ever taken together.

"John! Take a picture of me and Becca on the top of the Space Needle!"


"Hold on, I have to zipper my jacket"


"Should our hoods be up?"


"No, the hood should definitely be down. How does my hair look? I feel like its flat from the rain, is it flat from the rain?"


"No, OK let's keep the hoods up."


Upon reviewing my pictures later that day I realized that Becca's eyes are closed.

Nailed it.
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