Thursday, August 30, 2018

Last Chance.


If you are still finding this blog, I encourage your to bookmark Better Kate Than Never. This is my new blog, on a new platform.

While I won't be migrating content over, I have downloaded all my posts (erp) and hope one day to find a book in here somewhere.

I will be deleting this blog in a week or so, I highly suggest making your way over to the new one. I'm updating content much more often there, anyway.

Thanks so much for your time, interest and support over the years. I look forward to seeing you in my new home on the interwebs.


Friday, August 10, 2018

Better Kate Than Never

As you've probably noticed (all six of you), over the last few months my contribution to this blog has dwindled significantly. In trying to keep my professional blog updated with relevant content this site has been virtually ignored.

I've also been percolating a new blog idea: one more focused on my over-arching goals of health and wellness. It's been on the back burner most of the year, but with some new-found clarity today I decided to go for it.

I introduce to you my brand-spankin' new blog: Better Kate Than Never. 

This new blog will focus on health, wellness, nutrition, and empowering others who may not feel so sporty to step up and get started. Because if I can, you can.

I'm going to leave this blog active for a while longer. There are some really good posts I need to dig through and migrate over to someplace safe.

But most posts will now be going over to the new spot. I encourage you to bookmark the new blog and check it regularly. The currently plan is to post weekly, but we all know how that works.

Thanks so much for sticking with me here, and I look forward to seeing you at my new and improved space! 

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Becoming the Thing You Never Thought You Could Be

This past weekend was my very first Kempo Camp. Six 2.5 hour classes over three days: One Friday evening, three on Saturday, two on Sunday.

You guys, I survived!!

Actually, I'm not nearly as sore or injured or beat up as I thought I would be. I do have a mighty crop of bruises on my arms, but that's it. Oh, and I may have pulled a really deep muscle in my left hip the last day (heck, the last hour) of camp, but that seems to be rectifying itself. Oh oh, I did get elbowed in the jaw. But luckily it wasn't full power so not even a bruise there.

I'm bragging about being elbowed in the jaw. Who am I?

I am not the same person who started this journey nearly two years ago, that's for sure.

Last night when I went to class (that's right, I went to class after spending the previous three days immersed in techniques and forms), the sensei asked what my goals were now that I'm a first degree Green Belt. I told him Brown Belt by May. He nodded in approval and said "right on track, perfect."

I am immensely proud of that piece of brown electrical tape.
Also, did you know they made brown electrical tape? I did not. 

On our final day in camp, as part Testing they had all of us get onto the floor and perform our Forms. You kept going until the Forms out-ranked you, and then you stepped to the side and let the higher ranks work. I noticed something: the higher the ranks, the fewer the women. When it got to all Black Belt forms, there were only two women there.

I'm telling you now, someday there will be three.

Going regularly to the dojo I've seen many people cycle into, then out of, the beginning classes. Many of them are women. They'll get to a certain rank and then I think it becomes a little too intense and they stop coming. I'm so pleased to see so many women in our Dojo right now. There are currently four of us in Intermediate Ranks, about that many again with men. Brown belt - considered advanced - are currently all men.

Again, that's going to change soon.

You gotta be willing to take the falls, to inflict some pain, and frankly, to take the pain inflicted. It's not for the faint of heart, and it is freaking scary. As women, we're not taught - not allowed - to roughhouse like the boys do. Girls are supposed to be gentle and nurturing; to take care of the boy's owies and bruises. Girls are supposed to squeal and scream when the boys wrestle. They're supposed to be impressed. They're not supposed to join in.

Guess what? Changing that narrative is one of my goals.

This is going to be effing hard work. The techniques and the forms don't scare me: I've learned them once and I'll learn them again. Refine them again. It's the physical fitness and endurance that I need to work on. And for the next nine months, my training truly starts. Because it's one thing to play around as a beginner, and to maybe start taking it seriously as an intermediate. I'm aiming for advanced. That's when it gets real. It's not playing around anymore (even though it may look like it sometimes).

So, I'm taking this week to heal from the intensity of this past weekend. Then my training starts in earnest. Losing weight, eating better, getting in shape. It will be a process, and I know I need to go slow. But I've already come a long way from two years ago.

This is something I can do. This is something I will do.

The Road to Brown Belt is nearing its destination...

...the on-ramp to the Black Belt Highway.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

So.... You Want to be an Artist.

For the last several weeks, I have been working through The Artist's Way. This book has been out since the 1990's and I've been aware of it for over a decade, although this is the first time I've picked it up.
I need all the pens. I wish I had more pens. In all the colors.

Each chapter is a new week, with new ideas and new exercises to help you unlock the artist within, and to remove blocks that have been placed there; either by yourself, other people, or circumstances of life.

The ultimate goal is to give yourself permission to Create. Because after all, you were given these talents; you may as well use them!

While my focus is currently on The Artist's Way, I am using it in conjunction with Creating on Purpose. I'd already started that book prior to picking up the second, but they complement each other well.

I'm currently on Week Five of The Artist's Way. Each week focuses on something a little different, and depending on your set of circumstances things will resonate differently depending on the focus. Personally, this week is really hitting home for me.

This week is all about what happens when a blocked Artist doesn't use their gifts. It's also about confronting all the reasons why we "can't" create; all the reasons holding us back, big and small. It's about all the things we're not "allowed" to do, and how we lull ourselves into a false sense of virtuosity by putting ourselves on the back burner while going out of our way to fulfill everyone else's needs.

It's about all the things we wish we could do. Seriously, one of the exercises was to finish the phrase "I wish" eighteen times. On the nineteenth, you completed the phrase "I most especially wish." My answer:

I most especially wish I had Jedi powers and could wield a lightsaber.

Ironically enough this is the one wish I'm truly working on fulfilling (hello Green belt in Kempo with an eye on a weapons class starting in September that will include Bo Staff work).

But I digress. This week's exercises have really pulled to the foreground just how much I subvert my needs and desires under the umbrella of "serving others" and "being a good person."

There will always be more grocery runs, more laundry loads, more meals to cook. There will always be more walkies, more lawn mowings, more driving all over town doing errands. They aren't going anywhere. And yet, where they've been going is ahead of my writing, my creativity, my me time that would give me enough space and quiet to have some frickin' creative ideas once in a while.

Seriously, the hardest thing for me has not been the Morning Pages (three pages of journaling every morning), but the weekly Artist's Dates, where you do something all for you that you will find fulfilling and - most importantly - fun.

You guys, I suck at Artist's Dates. Here's how the last four have gone:

  1. Week one: never happened
  2. Week two: Successfully completed exactly what I wanted to do, and had a great time.
  3. Week three: wanted to go berry picking, then make strawberry shortcake. Got called on account of rain and a very hurtful comment that ended up with me in tears and depressed the rest of the day. Ended up calling an early morning walk I did prior to the comment as the Artist's Date, although that's not what it was meant to be.
  4. Week four: had plans to take a trip to a local museum. I was really looking forward to it, but last minute family needs necessitated me postponing the date. I ended up doing a less planned Artist's Date the next day, wherein a bought a cute hat and took myself on a picnic.
I know what you may be thinking: Kate, you did three out of four! That's great! Sure, they didn't go as planned but you still got something good out of them. You should be happy and grateful that you were able to do anything at all. 

Here's my response to that: but I didn't get what I wanted.

Yes, I know you don't always get what you want. But when you're in the habit of putting your needs behind everyone else's, wanting something as simple as going berry picking and then having to do something else because life got in the way is not fulfilling. It's settling. When you spend your life settling, trying to climb out of that hole by having to settle some more is not helpful or effective.

Also, I realize that I am doing this to myself to a certain extent. I'm not completely in the dark here. It's a boundary issue as much as anything else. It's not putting my needs first. Another term for Artist's Date could very well be Self-Care. And we all know how good I am at that.

I have this week's Artist's Date planned for tomorrow. The current plan is to do an extended date (one of last week's exercises, and the one that got pre-empted). I'm getting an acupuncture/facial treatment in the morning, then I'll take myself out to lunch and then to the Museum I didn't get to last week.

That's the plan. I'm almost scared to say that out loud.

But you know what? Overall, the course is working. I bought a sketch book. I haven't sketched since high school. 
My very first sketch in over 25 years. Framed for posterity.

Last week, I wrote fiction. For the first time in almost twenty years, I wrote fiction. It was just a couple pages, never meant for human consumption. I just wanted to see if it could be done after all this time.

It could.

I don't think that will be the last. Not anymore. I'm pretty rusty; my imagination has been off limits to everyone but me for a very, very long time. But I'm interested in seeing how far I can take that.

My steps are small, and I've still got a lot of personal crap to work out. But I'm moving, god damn it. It doesn't matter if it's forward or backward; I'm moving. I'm shaking off the stagnation and trying.

And that's half the battle right there.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

In Case You Missed It....

It occurs to me...

...just now, after much caffeine...

...that some of my Dear Readers may have come here originally for my posts pertaining to Yoga, Wellness, and General Making-One's-Self-Betterness.

I am still doing these kinds of posts, although these days I'm saving them for my professional blog.

I update that blog weekly (for the most part), and I try to keep it insightful and relevant. This blog is more about personal goings-on and life adventures these days, although it's not exclusively so.

Anyhoo, if you're of a mind to read some of those other blog posts, you can find them on my website at

Feel free to scroll through the archives, as you see fit, and leave a comment!

Thanks for reading. 💕

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

How Do I Make this Work?

This past weekend, I took a day-long workshop on becoming a freelance book editor. It turns out, copy editing, line editing, and proofreading are all different things.

Did you know that? I didn't. They all sort of lumped together in my brainium.

It is exciting to think that maybe I could make a living with words. I would very much like to do that in my next career. I am hoping to transition to an increasingly part-time massage practice. I'm keeping hours four days a week now, and that seems fine. But the reality is, my body hurts. Keeping that pace is not going to be realistic for another eight years.

If I can spend the next two years transitioning to working with words full time (and by full time, I mean about 25 hours a week, so part time), I'll be in a good place. I'll be able to work from home - or anywhere, really - and do what I love to do.

I can make this life my own.

Now.... if I can just figure out how to become a writer/editor with ease and grace, and oh yeah, convince myself that I don't suck at either of them then I should be good to go.



Monday, June 4, 2018

Project 251: Better than Sitting Around the House

This past weekend, we went back up to the Northeast Kingdom to knock a bunch more off the list. We've still got maybe one more slog up that way to finish it off, but we're close.

Also, new milestone: we have officially completed the entire top border of Vermont!

Our blurry, coffee-stained, wrinkled map.

As you can see by our "It's Seen Better Days" tracking map, we've got a good portion of the state done. And we also have a very definitive line we seem to not cross in the south. That's going to change shortly!

Anyhoo... here are the thirteen (!) towns we hit this past weekend:

156: Berkshire, VT. I'll pinch your head!

157: Richford, VT. My dad was a railroad engineer (as in, drove the trains).
He used to come out here a lot for that.

158: Jay, VT. The winter after I graduated from college, I worked up at
Jay Peak Ski Resort in the day care. I hate snow, and I don't ski. It was
a very long winter.

159: Kirby, VT

160: Concord, VT

161: Victory, VT. Population: 62. One third of which holds town office.
All of whom are regularly Hattfield and McCoy'ing each other.

162: Granby, VT. There is also a Granby, Quebec. They have a zoo there.
When I was a kid we went up. The only thing I remember is the polar bear
exhibit, because while we were standing there one of the bear let out
a gigantic fart. It's been over 30 years, and that's what I remember.

163: Maidstone, VT. This building is pretty much it. Aside from spectacular views.

164: Guildhall, VT. Pronounced Gillhall. We stopped for lunch here on the town green.
A lovely picnic under the bright blue skies.

165: Lunenburg, VT. Somewhere along the line, they dropped the H at the end.

166: Waterford, VT

167: Barnet, VT

168: Ryegate, VT. We stopped at a cemetery so I could continue my
futile search for an ancestor. Still SOL on that. 

Last Chance.

Hello! If you are still finding this blog, I encourage your to bookmark Better Kate Than Never . This is my new blog, on a new platform. ...