Posts Tagged ‘silliness’

katie green coat black ink

A color story:

For several years, my favorite coat has been the jade-green wool one I found at a consignment shop in downtown Boston. It matches my eyes (like a certain Boy Who Lived, I have my mother’s green eyes) and it is warm, stylish and comfortable. It also garners compliments – from friends and strangers – like no other article of clothing I’ve ever owned.

When I started showing up at Darwin’s every day, some of the staff came to know me initially as “the girl in the green coat.” (They know my name now, and they also know my fondness for their chai lattes, shortbread cookies and soups of every kind.)

My green coat – with a warm scarf, fleece-lined tights and appropriate footwear – is perfect for many, if not most, winter days in Boston. But occasionally, we have arctic blasts (or blizzards) that send the temperatures dropping to near zero. That means I need to pull out the big guns: my knee-length, hooded, quilted down coat, which is red. (In the mornings, when I look around the subway platform, I’m often the only person not wearing black or gray.)


A few weeks back, I walked into Darwin’s on a single-digit day wearing my red coat, and chatted with a friend behind the counter before going up to place my order. The staff member working the register stared at me for a moment in utter disbelief.

“Katie!” she exclaimed. “I didn’t even know who you were when you walked in!” I laughed out loud, and reassured her that the green coat would be back soon.

I told my husband this story that night. His comment? “Only you could wear a red coat and go incognito.”


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tulips candle dog table

If you know me in real life, you might know that I have a thing for dachshunds. (I could not resist that dachshund creamer, above, at Fish’s Eddy in NYC last fall.) My family had two dachshunds when I was growing up: Molly, a black-and-gray dapple with a fondness for long naps, and later Peanut, a black mini dachshund who wanted to play all day long.

Both of those sweet dogs are long gone now, and we can’t have a dog in our current apartment. But lately I’m getting my dachshund cuteness fix through Instagram.

It started with Mary Todd Lincoln, a tiny dappled dachshund (with amazingly fuzzy ears) who is one of the resident shop dogs at Parnassus Books (Ann Patchett’s bookstore) in Nashville.

Sunday funday. #marytoddlincoln #FLOTUS #dachshundappreciation

A post shared by Mary Todd Lincoln (@marytoddlincolncoffman) on


I mean. Is she not completely adorable? She also likes to accessorize – or tolerates her humans’ tendency to accessorize her.


Chillin' with my stunners on. #futuresobright #marytoddlincoln #FLOTUS #bookstoredog #shopdog #nashvillepaw

A post shared by Mary Todd Lincoln (@marytoddlincolncoffman) on


The second account I’m obsessed with is Harlow and Sage – which these days actually means Harlow, a Weimaraner with the funniest facial expressions, and Indiana and Reese, her dachshund pals.



They are seriously silly, and seriously cute.


Probably dreaming of cake and pizza and cookies and donuts and popcorn and crackers.

A post shared by Harlow, Sage, Indiana & Reese (@harlowandsage) on


The third account I love is Riley the Dachshund. Riley is a tiny black mini dachshund (I swear he looks just like Peanut) who was adopted via the Puppy Bowl.


Hi! Play with me?

A post shared by Riley The Dachshund (@rileythedoxie) on


My husband rolls his eyes sometimes when I have to show him all the cute dachshund photos at the end of the day. But they make me so happy.

Any animals you’re obsessed with on Instagram or other social media? (What a strange world we live in.)

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bag contents

Journal, keys, wallet, notepads, makeup bag, various toiletry items, and always a handful of pens.

What’s in your bag?

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agatha christie n or m nectarine summer

This is Just To Say

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

—William Carlos Williams

A little whimsy to conclude National Poetry Month. Happy Friday.

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Valencia 116

I love both tea and chocolate, but I don’t usually like tea with chocolate in it. But I am loving the Read My Lips tea I bought at David’s Tea last month. Rich, satisfying and slightly minty. (I bought it when I ran out of Santa’s Secret, their holiday black tea blend with peppermint.)

I don’t usually care for crude humor, but Tommy Boy makes me laugh so hard I weep. (Partly because I first watched it with my cousin Andy – and watching him crack up was even funnier than the movie itself.)

I’m not a coffee drinker, but on a trip to Spain a few years back, I tried cafe con leche and savored every sip. (See above for photographic evidence.)

I’m not a devotee of fantasy lit in general, but it is difficult to overstate my love for both the Harry Potter series and the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Pure magic, these books, in all the best ways.

I didn’t think I liked hot pink (my sister is the pink-obsessed one), but a college roommate brought me a bright pink scarf from a trip to New York long ago and I still wear it all the time. (That one wasn’t so much an exception as a misperception.)

I grew up with spontaneous prayer, so a lot of memorized prayers feel forced in my mouth, but there are two that come easily: the Lord’s Prayer and the table prayer of my grandparents.

I’d almost always rather read a novel than short stories, but I’ve loved this collection of stories inspired by the Sherlock Holmes canon. Really fun and clever.

What are the exceptions in your life?

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Back in January, Leigh confessed that her To-Be-Read (TBR) pile had burst the boundaries of its allotted shelf. We book nerds all know this delicious, addictive problem – the teetering pile of books you want to read, the library holds that come in seemingly at their own whim, the books picked up on a quick run to the bookstore. Soon the last batch of books you bought, fully intending to read them, is buried under the next one. (This problem gets worse if you’re a reviewer who receives advance copies in the mail.)

Leigh issued herself a February Reading Challenge: for one month, the shortest month of the year, she pledged to read only books she owned. No library books, no buying new books. She invited us all to join in, and because my TBR table usually boasts four or five stacks of books, I took the pledge.

Then, of course, the holds – all six of them – came in at the library.

library book stack

I couldn’t ignore the library stack. So I started the month working through it, eventually reading four of those books (I abandoned two). I also read the latest Flavia de Luce mystery, bought at the end of January, and a novel borrowed from a friend (Orphan Train).

Mid-month, I reread two middle-grade books about ice dancing (just in time for the Olympics), and tackled Spy Mom, a two-book set that had sat on my TBR table since August. (And – ahem – a few more library books, since apparently I cannot stop placing the library holds. It’s a sickness.)

Throughout the month, I read six of the advance copies that pile up on my TBR table. (One of them was Micha’s memoir, Found, which is SO good.) And I savored Brigid Pasulka’s wonderful second novel, The Sun and Other Stars.

So how did I do? Not too badly, until the last week of the month, when I bought two new books I haven’t read. (I’d bought one used book before that, but I’d already read it, so it didn’t expand the TBR stack.) But thanks to the copious library books, and the 12 (!) ARCs that came in the mail this month, the piles on the TBR table are unwieldy as ever.

tbr table books march 2014

I’m considering giving up book-buying for Lent, which starts this week, but I wonder if that will just make me cranky. Perhaps I need to tackle a certain number of books from the TBR table each week? Or clear off the ones I know I won’t read? (I do that regularly with the ARCs anyway.)

Your opinions – and book-nerd sympathy – are welcome. And if you participated in the February Reading Challenge, how did you do?

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This is, as I’ve said before, my fourth winter in Boston. And while I’ve learned a few tricks for bundling up against the cold and navigating the snow-lined, slushy streets, I am continually astounded by the sheer volume of what I didn’t know about these winters before living through them.

Hence, a list.

snow harvard cambridge ma winter

1. Winter has a particular scent – a crisp, cold, thin one. On the first few truly frigid mornings, you can smell it in the air.
2. The days grow abruptly shorter after Daylight Savings Time ends, and this is almost more difficult than the cold.
3. Road salt is hell on boots, shoes, and dogs’ feet. (Hence the silly-looking dog booties I see around town sometimes.)
4. Clorox cleaning wipes are pretty good for cleaning road salt off said boots.
5. Sometimes the snow is thick enough that people actually have to shovel their porch roofs, lest they collapse under the weight of it.
6. Black ice is a real thing, and it is slippery, treacherous and nearly invisible.
7. The temperatures can drop low enough that it’s too cold to snow – and when the mercury rises and the snow starts falling, it actually feels warmer.
8. Down is appreciably warmer than wool.
9. Related: you need at least one down coat and one wool coat, for different types of cold days.
10. Blasting heaters indoors and frigid air outdoors make layers a necessity, and dry skin, flyaway hair, and dripping noses an inevitability. (I grew up in a warm, dry climate, where winter is a totally different and much gentler animal.)
11. Related: damp cold can be harder to take than crisp, dry cold. The former gets into your bones.
12. Piles of gray slush are infinitely harder and more depressing to walk through than fresh snow.
13. Related: puddles of melting snow/sludge can be deceptively deep.
14. Seeing light in the sky at 5:00 p.m. feels like a real victory.
15. Related: December, with its twinkly good cheer, is only the beginning of winter. The longest, hardest slog comes afterward.
16. It is possible to hate the cold and have cabin fever at the same time.
17. Your attitude toward snow changes dramatically after you watch it bury your car and street several times.
18. Related: sometimes it takes days for the snowplow to reach your street.
19. Also related: there are some streets and sidewalks that never do get plowed.
20. Despite the above, city workers and the maintenance folks at my workplace are my new heroes.
21. As long as the power’s on, you usually have to go to work no matter how bad it gets.
22. I wouldn’t have believed it, but it is possible to get tired of soup.
23. Spring clothes are infinitely tempting and also crazy-making, because you know you won’t be able to wear them till at least (at least!) April or May.
24. Taking a vacation to a warm place really does help.
25. As do Vitamin D pills and light boxes. But they are not cure-alls.
26. The sight of bare, damp earth can feel positively springy, even if it is mid-February.
27. Ditto crocuses, even if they’re peeking through snow.
28. The subway often runs more smoothly on a snow day than on a normal one.
29. If the winter is long enough and cold enough, you may start to go a little nuts and make lists like this one.

snow hood jacket

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