Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Congo

I have a new friend.  She's from the Congo and plays the guitar.  She's also Canadian and says "eh" from time to time. 

Saturday, September 29, 2012


translation: the Upper West Side

Friday, September 28, 2012

So Long Astoria

This morning I woke up in Harlem to the sound of pouring rain.  I went running in Central Park, anyway.  And returned to my host home on West 122nd Street soaked in and through. 

For the second day in a row I spent several hours in my temporary office space on 34th street, down a few avenues from where I use to work at the Empire State Building.  The location comes with free wifi, free parking, and today, because of national coffee day - free coffee.  Yes, today I'm thankful for Mc Donald's. 

Later in the afternoon, after finding a parking space in Chelsea, I walked over to Union Square to meet up with one of my former students.  We then ventured down to Washington Square where a guy by the name of Justin approached us with a guitar.  He wanted to serenade us - and had a list of songs we could choose from. 

Typically I avoid these money making scams, but when I saw the song "So Long Astoria" by the Ataris on his play list, I decided he couldn't be all that bad of a guy, and why not be serenaded in the middle of New York City.

Justin serenading a couple of other gals after singing for us.

And so Justin got on one knee and played So Long Astoria.  And somehow I gave him $5 to go towards some cause I didn't catch the name of because he told me it as I was reviewing his play list.

Justin  told me I'm now in the running to win $500 and tickets to Saturday Night Live.  Supposedly he plays bass for Saturday Night Live's house band and is volunteering his time to raise money for this great cause.

Anyway, my student Kendra, Justin, and I got talking for a while.  And we heard the fabulous tale of how Justin met his fiance, and how they had known of each other for 14 years, but it wasn't until a year ago that they hung out.  And when they did, they just both knew it was right, and 9 days later Justin proposed.

I have to admit, I'm a bit envious of Justin's tale.  I'm still hoping for a story of my own someday - because right now, all of my romance stories are stories of the almost maybes.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Resting Heart

I recently learned I have the resting heart rate of an Olypmic Athlete.  I thought this was a rather fun fact, and so after sitting on it for a few days, I proudly shared it with someone I met last night.

And he replied, "Oh, is it somewhere between 40 and 50?"

"Yeah, actually.  My doctor told me last week it is 45."  But I was rather surprised this guy knew anything about resting heart rates.  I didn't think it was something people know much about.  I mean, I've been talking for over 3 decades now, and to my knowledge, I've never had a conversation about resting heart rates. 

The guy picked up on my surprise, and explained, "Yeah, the only reason I know is because I tried out for the Olympics."

That's when I felt less than cool with my fun fact.  I was in the presence of a near Olympic Athlete.  He admitted to not making it, and I admitted to never trying out.  But wow, so fabulous that he went after the dream.  Leave it to New York to be surrounded by some of the most ambitious and driven people in the world. 

But currently, rather than embracing my natural inclination towards the ambitious life, I'm in survival mode.  It's 8:30 PM in the evening,  and I still don't know where I'm sleeping tonight. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


Guys, in general, tend to be funnier than women. 

This is one of my theories, except I really don't think it is a theory.  I think it's true.

Today I drove from Michigan to Manhattan and arrived just in time to help co lead my coed small group.  It was our 2nd week meeting and the ratio of men to women is up to 1 to 3 from last week's 1 to 4.  And with the increase in men in our group, there was a significant increase in witty comments and laughter at tonight's meeting.

To think, I almost nixed the idea of doing a coed group - so glad I didn't.

In other news, I'm still homeless.  The place I'm supposed to be staying at for Oct. and Nov. has no running water, which means, well, I'm not sure what this means for me yet, but I do know this isn't a good thing. 

I've stayed at a literally a dozen different places this past month.  I'm soooooo craving a place I can call home.  Because being homeless, unlike witty men, is not so funny.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Tales of Italy

Last night I took a walk along the shore to visit the guy from down the shore.  With the cottages now closed for the fall and coming winter, the only light to help guide my way was the dim light of the half moon, half hidden behind the towering trees along the south shore.

As I walked through the darkness, I recalled the 6'8" football player, who insisted I hold his hand as we walked the same shore.  He claimed to be scared.  He wasn't, but I held his hand anyway.  That was when I was in high school - 8 years before another guy used the same line on me. 

It was much darker out than I had anticipated, and wondered if I should have brought a flashlight with me.  But as I walked, I grew in confidence.  I knew the shore well.  I had walked and jogged the same route so many times before that such assistance wasn't necessary. 

About a quarter mile down, I finally came to a lit cottage.  I walked up the stairs to the yellow and white cottage.  The guy from the down the shore welcomed me in and I joined him for conversation in front of the fire place. 

I felt like I was in a book.  Because his cottage should be in a book - with its wicker furniture, and cottage smell, and fireplace.  And he and I would make for good characters - except the book would want some sort of romance to evolve between us, but he and I aren't romantically compatible.  Not because he isn't attractive, because he is, but rather, because we view life too differently. 

As he smoked his cigarettes and told me tales of Italy, I envied his approach to life.  Because he seemed so carefree and content.  Nothing really seemed to get to him.  And I considered how wonderful it must be to not care, but rather to simply enjoy life and to be.  The problem is, I can't - at least not for extended periods of time.  Because with the faith I hold I have to care about the world and the people around me.   

Monday, September 24, 2012

Ping Pong Payout

This evening my dad excitedly showed me the surpise he received in the mail today - a check from Greenwich Street in New York City.  It was a royalty check, actually, for the International use of music he recorded in the 1960s.  He was thrilled to learn that his music is circulating throughout the world.  I think it's rather fabulous too.

I also collected money from my Dad's talent this evening, but it was from his ping pong talent, not musical talent.  I hung out for a bit with the guy from down the shore, and mid conversation I remembered he still hadn't payed up from the ping pong bet we made earlier this summer.

The guy from down the shore pulled his his wallet down from on top of the fire place and pulled out a $20 bill.

See for the full story of how I won the mulah.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Directional Dysfunction

I recently shared with one of my guy friends that if I ever get married, rather than an engagement ring, the guy should probably just get me a GPS system.  I explained, a GPS system would probably more beneficial for our marriage, because I get lost and turned around A LOT. 

I'm the worst directionally challenged person I know, and still have to say never eat shredded wheat to be reminded which way is east, and which way is west.  For some reason north and south has always been easy for me to remember, but east and west is a whole difference ball game.  Although, now that I've lived on both the east and west coast, I'm starting to get better in knowing which way is which, without having to talk about not eating a cereal that I actually like. 

But when I first moved to So Cal 7 years ago, I'd occasionally tell people I lived 45 minutes west of LA.  To live this far west of LA would be difficult to maneuver because it would involve living in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.  Which, actually, for a short time frame, I wouldn't mind living on a house boat. 

Tonight was one of those night where I was nearly half way home, but somehow, rather than getting on my next Freeway, I ended up accidentally circling back and returned nearly 30 miles in the direction I had just come from.  Needless to say, rather than taking an hour and 15 minutes to get home, it took me 2 hour and 15 minutes to get home.

But while I was driving around aimlessly, I got in a good phone conversation with a friend.  And so my time and gas lost, didn't seem so bad.  In fact, my friend told me, "I'm glad your driving around in the middle of nowhere." 
And actually, I'm glad it happened too, because I encouraged my friend, and she probably neeeded it.  And she knows I'm not one to throw out flippant encouragement.  Typically it takes me a lot intentionality, but tonight it didn't.  The words just came, and I didn't stumble in trying to think of what to say, because it just flowed out of my belief in her. 

Anyway, with all that been having said, maybe my future husband should get me a ring rather than a GPS system after all.  Because maybe God wants to use my directional dysfunction in mysterious ways to be a blessing to others.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

I'll Be Back

I've been sick for over 9 months now.  It isn't good, and over the course of the past 2 months I've been getting progressively worse.

A new friend shared with me tonight that she was sick for nearly 10 years.  Doctors wrongly diagnosed her with all sorts of stuff until she finally figured out what was really going on with her body.  And once she knew, it didn't take all that long for her to get better.

Thankfully, after seeing my doctor this past Wednesday, I now know what's wrong with me.  The problem is, there isn't an easy fix, or medicine to take care of the issue.  If there was, I'd be all over it.  Granted my sickness shouldn't extend 10 years, like it did my friend, but it could be a while before I'm better.  If you would, please pray for healing, and hopefully I'll be back to my normal self soon.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Bad Luck in PA

This morning I woke up in Pennsylvania and dropped my retainer in the toilet.   These two ideas are unrelated, but both are true events that happened to me today enroute from NYC to Michigan. 

Dropping your retainer is never a good idea, but dropping it in a toilet is an especially not good idea.  I've dropped my tooth brush in the toilet before, but aside from having to reach in the toilet to get it out, it really wasn't that big of a deal.  Mainly because I then immediately dropped the toothbrush into the trashcan beside the toilet.

Toothbrushes are easy to come by, and about 3 or 4 bucks.  But retainers are like 3 or 4 hundred dollars, and require a special appointment with a special doctor in order to get a new one.  I won't be wearing my retainer tonight, but tomorrow, after much disinfecting, I will be sticking my toilet watered retainer back in my mouth.  Ewh!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


Not yet finished...

I reached my arm through the opened subway door and gently placed my hand on his shoulder.  He was maybe 8 years old, possibly 9, and tears were streaming down his face. 

"That man was wrong."  I told him.

His tears fell quicker as he started to give his defense, but what he didn't know is that he didn't need one.  I knew the door would be closing any second.  I interupted him, and again told him.  "I want you to know, that man was wrong."

I pulled my arm out of the subway car and the door closed between us. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

From LA to JFK

Written on my RedEye flight...

After Mosaic in Hollywood…

My friend Sarah and I walked the stars to the 25 Degrees restaurant located in the Roosevelt Hotel.  I stopped and took a picture of the Tony Danza star because it reminded me of one of my NYC friends who has had drinks with him on a few occasions.  I considered posting the pic on facebook and then tagging her, but then thought she might be facebook friends with Tony and he might not be amused by the post.  
Anyway, over dinner my friend Sarah and I conversed about all sorts of awkward matters.  It wasn’t awkward for us, but occasionally our waiter would stop by to check in on us and every time he did, he’d arrive just in time to hear Sarah make some remark about something I can’t write about here.  We know we made our waiter feel awkward - it was absolutely fabulous. 

Last night was my final night staying with my friend George in downtown LA.  We’ve been friends for 16 years, and I think I’ve stayed with him more than any other one person over the past decade.  Staying with George is pretty much like staying at a 4 or 5 star hotel.  He has this extra bedroom and an extra bathroom fully equipped with white towels from Pottery Barn and a heat lamp for when you get out of the shower.  He likes visitors and insists I am more than welcome to stay with him whenever I’m in town.  I will be taking him up on this ongoing offer, but only because I know he means it, and because I also know he won't try putting the moves on me.

Earlier this afternoon I headed up to Santa Monica and jogged barefoot up the coast.  It was my second time this year jogging this same route along the ocean’s shore.  The run felt like a paradise of sorts.  But in April it was slightly better because it was then that I had just received a text from a certain someone. 

Funny how certain someones can impact you in certain ways.  Funny to be at a place in my life where there are multiple certain someones, without an any the one.  As I wrote a while back, my preference would be for one certain someone, but until I find a someone who I believe is the someone, I’ll be out dancing in the deepest ocean, just like The Cure sings.

And yes, I swam in the ocean after my run today.  I also peed in it, if I'm being perfectly honest.  I then hung out with Brennan Manning for a bit.  Not for reals hung out, but I’ve been rereading one of his books I first read through nearly a dozen years ago – Ruthless Trust.  It’s a book I refer to in my own book and I’m considering the possibility of including a few quotes from his book in mine.  But I won’t write those quotes here, not because they’re awkward, like the stuff my friend Sarah said, but rather because I don’t want to give away what one day might be in my book.

This evening, on my way to LAX, I made one last pit stop at In-N-Out.  My friend Colin met me there, which makes for a total of 3 non date, dates with 3 different guys during my stay in LA.  I suppose that’s one aspect of life I miss being in NYC – good guy friends. With the exception of a few former coworkers, I don’t really have guy friends in New York City.  I think because friendships with guys in New York are complicated, and aren’t really friendships because who in New York really wants to start up new friendships with the opposite sex when you’re in your 30s, just for kicks. 

Still, oddly I’m envious of my one friend who recently explained to me she doesn’t have a whole lot of guy friends any more.  Instead, she has this one, really good guy friend – her best friend.  And so instead divvying her heart out to lots of guys, she gets to keep her heart a bit more intact.  AND she even gets to have sex this guy.  Now THAT’s the type of guy friend I want.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Wedding Weekend

After staying Thursday and Friday nights with my friend Jen in Redlands, on Saturday I headed to a wedding for one of my former student leaders from CBU. 

The wedding was held at this place called Hidden Oaks, and let me tell you - Hidden Oaks was exactly that - hidden and nearly impossible to find.  I drove up and down Hermosa Avenue several times before I finally found the venue a few minutes after the official start time.  Thankfully the ceremony started about 20 minutes after 3, so it was as if I was on time.

During the reception the guy who caught the garter looked rather familiar.  And then I remembered - oh yeah, I caught him hiding in a girls' dorm room outside of visitation hours his freshman year at CBU.  That's why he looks familiar.

The wedding wrapped up earlier than I had anticipated, so I headed West on the 210, and joined a few friends at The Oak Tavern in Sherman Oaks for the remainder of the night.  Apparently "oak" was the theme of my Saturday night.  Not a very exciting theme, but at least I had a theme.  Most evenings don't.


Friday, September 14, 2012

Thursday, September 13, 2012


By the middle of the meal, he had me blushing.  I didn't know I was blushing, but he said I was, and since I felt uncomfortable enough with his words, I believe what he claimed is true.

He was going on this rant about how he thinks it's dumb that girls want to be told they are attractive.  He claimed not to get it, especially since he doesn't need to be told he's handsome.

He then went on to give examples of things he doesn't want to have to say, and with each comment he made, I felt increasingly uneasy.  Although they weren't real compliments, the words were still being spoken.  And yes, I'm a girl, so I couldn't help but react as he complained to me about the stupid stuff  he doesn't want to have to tell a girl, things such as...

"Katrina, you're pretty."
"Katrina, you're beautiful."
"Katrina, you're gorgeous."
And then he told me, "Ah, Katrina, you're blushing." 

Even though he was simply giving examples, I still felt the impact of the words.  I so badly wanted to tell him to shut up or to give him the middle finger, but I'm not one to do either.  So instead, I told him the story of the one time I did give someone the middle finger. 

It was this past summer to the guy from down the shore when he teasingly interrupted one of my stories, claiming I was name dropping again.  I smirked, gave him the middle finger, and then carried on with my story around the campfire.  The story nicely deflected his fake words.

The things is, a few years ago I would have melted in hearing him say those things to me.  Now, I'm only annoyed that he doesn't understand that isn't about the compliments, but rather it is about knowing that we, as women, are cherished and adored.  And that doesn't even necessarily have to involve words, because I can recall specific instances with guys I've dated when they looked at me in such a way that I already knew his affection for me to be true.

Which is how my favorite ex-boyfriend and I started dating...
One of my youth girls called him out on it saying, "I just figured it out - you, have a crush on Katrina."  He shrugged, as she continued on.  "You do, you do.  I can tell by the way you look at her." 


Wednesday, September 12, 2012


This afternoon I met my second hottest guy friend at my first hottest fast food restaurant - In n Out.  My second hottest guy friend arrived wearing a Michigan State t-shirt.  I explained to him the conversation I had with my friend Sarah that I wrote about the other day.  (See Pasadena post.)

After some dialogue, I realized I initially posted the wrong So Cal schools.  USC has the hotter men, not UCLA.  Since then I've gone back and fixed my post.

But my second hottest guy friend insisted that the same applies for the women at these schools, stating, "It's a known fact that Michigan State has the better looking women."  I didn't argue.

In conclusion, smarter people, in general, tend to be less attractive than, well, "dumber" people. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

3rd Street

Off the top of my head I can't tell you what is found on 3rd Street in downtown New York; however, I can tell you some of what is found on 3rd Street in downtown LA, because that is where I've been staying this week with my friend George. 

My friend Sarah asked me how I know George, and I explained we danced on top of a picnic table together at some frat party in college.  You can read a bit about him and my exposure to Greek life in the opening chapter of my book. 

You can also read about another guy friend of mine who I met up with for lunch today in Beverly Hills.  I wanted to pitch my idea for my second book to him but never really got there in conversation.  I hesitated because I'm not sure how he'll feel about the book because it involves a lot of him.  In fact, the title of the book is him - My Second Hottest Guy Friend. 

After lunch he headed to work and I headed to Santa Monica to yet another 3rd Street - the 3rd Street Promenade, located just a few blocks in from Santa Monica Pier.  I intended to spend the remainder of the afternoon on the beach, but the clouds pushed me inside to a coffee shop to write instead.

Before traffic got mad I returned to LA's 3rd Street to be a part of a studio audience for a potential new television show - a show similar to the one I've been dreaming about ever since I was in college and wrote a 30 page research paper on the effectiveness of the use of media in the dissemination of the Gospel.  I honed in on radio, television, and film, and in doing so realized how poorly Christians have utilized the gift of mass media.

The professor I was working under, who didn't share the same faith as me, equated the Gospel with fundamentalism.  I didn't even know what fundamentalism was so I didn't know I might need to explain to him that Jesus and fundamentalism are not the same thing. 

Anyway, I ended up at this filming because I saw a tweet by Rob Bell explaining there are still walk up openings to be a part of the studio audience for this show.  When I learned the show was being filmed on 3rd street in downtown LA, and that several of my friends were on the film team, I knew I had to attend. 

Now, this is where wonderment gets me.  Why did I need to attend?  And did God want me to attend so badly that he orchestrated my visit to LA, my housing arrangement, my tweet feed, and a seed planting conversation with the film director, who is a good friend of mine?


I anticipated some sort of significant conversation would take place, or that God might have a specific reason for why I needed to attend, but instead, I'm just left going hmm... what was that all about?  Why did God want for me to see an old dream of mine becoming a reality, when that dream really isn't mine any more?  Or maybe it is still a dream, but perhaps I've let it escape me.

Monday, September 10, 2012


Evidently when it comes to good looking guys UCLA is to USC as Michigan is to Michigan State.

I met up with my married friend Sarah last night in Pasadena. Over dinner I asked her a very serious question, and she gave me a very serious response.

"Sarah, what do you think is the biggest need for women in the Church?"

Without any hesitation, she replied, "A dating service." I laughed, but she went on. "No, I'm serious. I think a good dating service would save a lot of time, heartache, and stress."

Sarah has been in the marriage club since she was 28, and she now watches all of her single g-friends drown in the drama of the Christian dating scene.

Sarah went to UCLA, but explained to me that she had to go to USC to find her husband. Evidently the University of Michigan and UCLA have the same "problem." All the good looking guys go the the other school. I wrote about this several months ago, concluding that Michigan State has the better looking guys. Fascinating that So Cal and the Michigan have the same "issue" with smarter guys being less attractive.

The good news for smart, ugly guys is girls will pretty much fall for any guy who adores her. Good-looking or not, if a guy has good character, and isn't a creep, all he needs to do is treat a girl well, make her feel special, and she'll be hooked.

I'm not sure why we are like this. It's rather ridiculous, but for whatever reason, that's the way we're wired. Nothing gets me more than a guy who I'm already slightly interested in when he tells me I'm beautiful. That, and when he smiles at me in a way that I know I make him smile.

A few smiles were exchanged this past year. One in particular had me hooked. But for whatever reason, he decided to toss me back into the sea.

Still swimming single, knowing I'm a great catch, but waiting for the right fisherman.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Spirit Materializes

Disclaimer: This post is going to sound extremely New Agey.  Nothing I write on this matter is a conclusive statement of my understanding, but rather a dabbling in seeking to explain the spirit world.

I'm still processing the world wind of information I absorbed yesterday.  The idea I'm particular fascinated by is a potential explanation of the spirit realm in relation to reincarnation.

Erwin suggested, since spirits transcend time and history, it makes sense people might recall experiences from a past life.  He says spirits travel, searching for a places to reside, and we, as humans, allow spirits to take residency in us.  These spirits stay "alive" even after people die, and so they'll seek new homes, and take with them the memories and experiences of their previous "home."

These spirits are different from our soul.  Souls don't travel in and out of people; they don't travel throughout human history.  We each have a soul, and we don't "share" our soul by entering into another human being unless we are talking about marriage/sex, and the idea of two becoming one, but that's another discussion for another day.  But even in marriage, we are still our own person. 

More often than not there isn't much intentionality in which spirits we allow to reside in us.  Most of us aren't going around saying, "Hey spirit, come hang out in me."  But if there is space, we shouldn't be surprised if a spirit stops in for a visit, and stays for a while, and possibly the rest of our life if we let it.

In some instances, there is intentionality, like when people open themselves up to the spirit realm, by inviting spirits in, the way a psychic might.  Or it may be more discreet, like when we let down our guard in certain situations - perhaps by drinking way too much, or experimenting with drugs, or by spending time in "dark" environments.  (Funny how alcohol is also called spirits.)

I know there are lots of evil spirits roaming about, hoping to take residency in each of us.  However, I'm not sure if there are multiple good spirits.  But I do know, the more my life is filled with what the Scriptures calls the Holy Spirit, the more kind and patient and loving I am.  The Spirit God has for us, if we invite it in, is all good stuff - really good stuff.  The Scriptures say, the only way to get this good Spirit is to ask Jesus for it.  Jesus wants to drench us with the Holy Spirit, and drown out the icky, evil spirits.

But unlike the evil spirits, the Holy Spirit only comes upon us when we invite him.

You should try it out sometime - especially the next time you have a shotty day.  Simply say, "Come, Holy Spirit come."  Make that your "mantra."

Whatever spirit we have inside of us, is the spirit that then materilizes in us as we go about our days.  It impacts how we how we go about lives - the decisions we make and the way we treat other people.

*Please comment adding your thoughts on this matter.

Saturday, September 8, 2012


For months I've been listening to my LA friends rave about this teaching series called Letters.  Every month or so Erwin McManus takes a Letter and then spends an entire Saturday teaching on it.  I was thrilled when I discovered my flight to LA just so happened to coincide with a Saturday set aside for Letters.  And so last night, rather than staying out late, I stayed with my writer friend Sue.  And today we got up early and headed to Mosaic in Hollywood to hear Erwin speak.
To my surprise, it wasn't a chapter by chapter, verse by verse study.  But rather Erwin took audience questions, wrote them on a board, and then spent the rest of the day answering them.  There were A LOT of audience questions, probably 40 or so, no joke.  I didn't get a pic of the questions, but here is a pic of Erwin's explanation of 1 John. 

Erwin is one of my favorite Christian speakers/teachers and I've been hounding him via twitter to bring Letters to NYC.  He's in and out of NYC all the time, so I know it wouldn't be ALL that difficult to make happen, and I even volunteered to coordinate. 

NYC has some decent speakers, but for as large as our city is, and as diverse as our population is, we need more voices speaking hope into our city.

I hate that the cliche Christian thing to do if you work in the C "industry" is to move to Colorado or Nashville.  So Cal is well-stocked, but NYC is desperate for more men and women to step up and be light in the city.

I shouldn't be writing this post, because I'm not certain I want to stay in NYC much longer.  And I'm praying through the possibility of moving back to LA after the New Year.  I would loooove to be back with Mosaic, but I also recognize not everyone can do NYC, and it may be the very place God has for me a bit longer.  (However long a bit may be... that, we shall see...)

Friday, September 7, 2012

My NYC Doctor

Why my NYC doctor is the Best - See last paragraph of e-mail exchange.


Good Morning!

I'm wondering, did you happen to find anything of note in my June blood work? I've been taking an iron pill a day, but I haven't been feeling well the past couple of months - extremely fatigued, like I felt before I started taking the iron pills.

Any insight? Perhaps I picked up something in Africa?

Hope you're enjoying these final days of summer.
Katrina Blank

PS I'm currently in Michigan, but will be returning to NYC at the end of this week. 

Today's reply:

I am attaching the lab report to this email, and I remember looking at it when it came in and thinking that while things were still abnormal, they were getting better and they seemed to be 100% consistent with iron deficiency anemia, and that the values would return to completely normal with a few more months of iron supplements.
If you're feeling poorly, give a call and set up a time to come in to the office so we can chat. I am not sure what your health insurance is like, but whatever it is (or isn't) please don't worry about that - I am happy to see you for whatever you can afford/think is reasonable, even if it's nothing.
The good news is, it's normal for me to still not be feeling well; I'm relieved.  :-)  My iron level in February was 8.4 - normal is 12-15 and if you dip below 8, a blood transfusion is recommended.  Basically, I was only getting 65% of the oxygen my body needed.  And so I started take iron pills to get better, and I thought they were working their magic, but funny now, thinking back, what probably happened is I got tricked into thinking I was better when I wasn't because there were other fun, exciting things happening in my life overriding my poor health - or so that's my theory.  Or it could have been my friends praying over me too... hmm...

Regardless, I'm still on my way to getting back to me.  Can't wait until I'm fully there! 
Landed in LA tonight... it's great to be back on the West Coast!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Germans

My German relatives are in town, well, 1 German relative plus his girlfriend.  Sebastian and Olga arrived in the city yesterday, and we met up this evening for dinner at my favorite (and most expensive favorite) dining location in New York City - the Lake Side Boat House in Central Park.  My sister offered to treat the 3 of us to the meal - she treated us very well.  :) 

We enjoyed our meal together, but I'll admit, I find telling stories with a language barrier to be a bit of a challenge.  I actually have to think about what I am saying.  I become cautious about my word choice, and then get self-conscious because I question whether or not what I am saying actual makes sense to my listeners.  And then I start not making sense because I'm focused on not making sense and hence become my own self-fulfilled prophecy.

Sebastian and Olga didn't seem to mind me stumbling over my stories this evening.  They are simply thrilled I am writing a book, and requested I send them an autograph copy once it's complete.  Sebastian told me he thinks I'm going to be the next Carrie Bradshaw. 

I think not.

Earlier in the day I picked up a few photos out in Brooklyn from my former roomie (forever known as room), Shannen.  Here's a pic she took on the way to my storage unit when I was clearing out my apartment this summer. 

I stopped by my storage unit today.  It was a miserable experience.  I was reminded I don't have a home.  I don't recommend going without one, unless it is some sort of experiment, carefully thought out and planned.  I've been couch surfing this week in NYC, and it hasn't been quite the adventure I would have hoped it to be.  Note to self: in the future, when couch surfing, line up places to stay at least a week in advance.  Couch surfing is less fun when you wake up each morning uncertain where you'll be laying your head that night.

Tomorrow I fly to LA.  I have no idea where I'll be sleeping once I land, but at least I have a rental car arranged for the duration of my stay.  Wish me luck! 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


A friend of mine who is 25 years old shared with me the other day that she is going through some sort of crisis of faith.  Instead of being overly sympathetic, I inwardly celebrated.  Perhaps a bit insensitive, I know.  But her "crisis" further confirms for me the book I'm writing is worthwhile.  I'm beginning to believe the content of my book will help this friend of mine and a lot of other twenty and thirty somethings as they wrestle with their understanding of who God is and whether or not they can trust him.

Tonight I'm writing from the ACE Hotel on 29th Street between Broadway and 5th Ave.  The lobby is as happening and as loud as a dance club, and although the music is appropriate enough, nobody dances.  The guy next to me inquired how I can get any work done here.  I explained the noise and music simply gets me in the zone, and I have no trouble at all. 

Sometimes the drowning of really loud music is the very thing that brings focus to the thoughts stirring in my head.  At least it does for me, which is why I always need to go running with my head phones in.  I need the music to help me forget I'm running, and to help focus my thoughts on processing all the stuff in life built up, waiting to be acknowledged and sifted through in search of solutions and direction.  And when answers aren't found, the mess of my thoughts become my prayers.

Thankfully the guy beside me took the hint that I actually do want to get some writing done while I'm here.  Rather than persisting in conversation, he returned to his food and chit chat with his guy buddy across the table.  Too often when I attempt to write in fun, public places, I also become bait.  It's nearly impossible to get any writing done when you have men hitting on you.

Back to book writing, with a reminder from the stairs of the ACE Hotel, amidst the chaos of life, everything is going to be alright.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Curwood Castle

Late night conference planning... once again, writing e-mails, rather than blogging...

This past December my friend Ryan Duffy and I returned to my birth town of Owosso, Michigan, for a day long forum.  That forum has since turned into a summer conference, and now a fall conference that I've been taking the lead on in administrative coordinating. 

There something to be said about the time and place in history that we are born into.  I'm still trying to piece together whether it is of any significance that I was born in Owosso.  My friend Gordon would argue yes, but I remain skeptical.

Anyway, my favorite place in Owosso is Curwood Castle, located down the river behind me in this pic.  I remember as a kid crawling up the winding stairs inside and thinking it was the coolest thing ever.  Perhaps because, at the age of 3, it was the coolest thing I'd ever experienced. 

Curwood Castle now has to compete with the Great Wall of China and the Empire State Building.

Monday, September 3, 2012


This AM my friend Bethanie and I completed our morning ritual - Starbucks followed by a run in Central Park.  Granted, this is only day two of our ritual, and since it won't continue on tomorrow, I suppose it's no ritual at all.  But I do supspect we'll be covening for coffee and running every so often this fall.

This morning as we walked in the park, sipping on our Starbucks, I asked Bethanie what irritates or frustrates her the most.  I'm not sure why I asked, but I'm glad I did, because I learned she is a timely person.  She gets frustrated when people are uber late - like 1/2 hour to an hour or more. 

Funny thing is, I would have thought she would be one of those late people.  A lot of my close friends fall into that category.  We'll make plans, and then I'll sit around waiting and wondering if that person values me at all.  Because if they did, I would think they'd at least text or call to say they're running late and perhaps be apologetic when they arrive well after our set meeting time.

Ever since my trip to Uganda, I've been processing my understanding of time.  Because, we, as Westerners view time much differently than much of Africa. 

I explained this to my Ugandan Co-leader when we were in Africa...

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Back in the City

Last night, after some Michigan football, I reconnected with my new friend Bethanie for drinks at the Boat Basin in the Upper West Side.

She shared with me what she learned over the summer.  For a better dating life, she is realizing it is in her best interest not to be texting guys.  Her new conviction and strategy must be working rather well because she has 4 dates set up for this next week. 

Funny she would come to this conclusion because earlier in the summer she was encouraging me in texting guys.  In fact, she insisted on texting a pic of us from her phone to the guy I'm most interested in.  I knew it probably wasn't the best idea in the world, but she thought I needed to throw something his way to make it clear I'm still interested.

And now she is telling me the opposite.

I feel like there are a lot of mixed messages thrown my way in knowing how to interact with guys - especially for girls like me and Bethanie who are confident, attractive, and put together.  We are "instructed" to sit back and wait for guys to pursue us.  Yet, we're also told we're intimidating, so most guys (at least Christian ones) "don't have the balls to ask us out."  It places us in an unfortunate predicament.

My friend Matt from Spring Hill insists guys need some bait thrown their way, otherwise they won't go after the girl.  My other friend Matt from college says he only pursues girls he knows are already interested in him. 

Meanwhile my second hottest guy friend tells me, "Katrina, guys aren't that smart."  While my friend Sally's husband tells me, "Guys are idiots.  We need women to throw bricks at us."

Needless to say, I threw several bricks this summer, hoping the guy I'm most interested in would consider the possibility of us once more.  But I'm now realizing with each brick I threw I probably pushed him one step further away from wanting to explore the possibility of us.

To clarify, the "bricks" I'm talking about are symbolic.  (I'm not a violent person.)  I'm referring to unnecessary text messages.

I feel like I should mention something about making a commitment not to text, but I won't.  Because I know it's inevitable I won't follow through with it.

But my conversation with Bethanie is a good reminder, if he (whoever he might be) is not making a point to initiate communication with you, he's just not that in to you.

* I'll save Ruth's scandulous "strategy" for another day. 

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Trout Lake

Kicking off September 1 with fabulous friend in the Poconos  :)