It was a blue sky. It was an American sky.

Tom Lyman. Righteous road-trip driver and most excellent boyfriend. We just returned from our weekend in Vermont (why is Barry Manilow on a continuous loop in my head?) and we had a grand time.

- Climbing the peak of Mt. Mansfield (Vermont's highest mountain at 4600ft) woefully under-dressed for the terrain. How quickly a Northwestern girl forgets the power of the hiking boot when she lives in the flattest country in the world. It was raining most of the way up and the Converse were doing just fine, but we finally turned back with about 200ft to go when we were drenched from above in perhaps the greatest rainstorm of all time. It was really fun, especially in hindsight and with dry pants. Props to the high tech rain gear that I bought on clearance at H&M. Who knew it would ever see nature?

- The Trapp Family Lodge is outside Stowe and Tom actually went with me so I could wave my SoM geek flag. I found a green hillside and twirled. He took pictures and didn't die of humiliation -- at least outwardly. I saw photos of the vonTrapp family in the gift shop and none of them looked anything like Julie Andrews or that guy who played Spiderman on tv.

- Being in a small town for Memorial Day weekend and embracing all the red, white and blue that an American holiday brings.

- Giving the finger, sometimes two, to the exit signs for Boston. I may not be a Yankee fan, but I support Tom's enthusiasm.

- We stopped in Deerfield, MA so I could see the plaques documenting two of my ancestors -- one on my mom's side and one on my dad's -- who lived there during the 1704 Deerfield Massacre. Unlike historic sites that resemble a roughhewn Disneyland, this historic site sits amidst a working neighborhood -- albeit a fancy working neighborhood with private schools and docents with eager smiles and many white teeth.

- I felt like I was transported back to Oregon for a weekend, due to the green and the lilacs and the mellowness of it all. And then it was back to the view of Manhattan from Tom's apartment and my usual greeting for one last time before he moves: "Hello, pretty."


Poiret glee

Yesterday I went to the "Poiret:King of Fashion" show at the Met and it was FANTASTIC! So good I went through twice. I loved that most of the clothes were not displayed behind glass, so I could lean in and get a bit closer as well as crane my neck at odd angles in order to better look at the details that made these clothes absolutely amazing. The entire show was beautifully curated and evoked the period, and Paris, in an un-fussy but transformative way. I dare say I was enthralled by it all.

At one point, I was staring at a blue and burgundy dress and marveling at scalloped hem and sleeves, which at first I thought were symmetrical and then realized they weren't, which I thought was a charming surprise and then realized that the buttons down the front of the dress were actually trompe l'oeil, not real at all and THAT was a charming surprise, and then when I looked at the back, there was a purely decorative bow at the neck. I frantically looked around for someone to share my glee, and said to the two random women closest to me, "And there is a bow on the back!" They both looked at my quizzically, so I went on, "It's just so CHARMING!!" One woman looked at me like I was an idiot, but the other woman said, "I know exactly what you mean!" And then we giggled. I wish my mom could have been at there with me, as she would have loved the clothes and details as well. One of the jackets Poiret designed looks amazingly like a jacket she already owns, which just proves once again that she is ahead of the curve, style-wise.

The trip to NY is great -- we are off to spend the weekend in Vermont. There will be photo documentation. And maple syrup.


Happy Birthday Gemini

For Zippo, with love.



Found this morning while running an errand around the corner from work. My "bargain-sense" tingled and I went into a shop that I rarely visit. My size (OK, half size too big, but that just leaves room for the thick tights), last pair and under 150 euro.

Surprisingly comfortable too.

Who is the luckiest girl in the land?


new job!

Starting 4 June I will be an interactive producer at Wieden. This is a huge deal because it is the first job that I have identified as something I wanted to do and actually worked to make happen. And there is a plan for growth and it will let me use some skills that have been a bit dormant for a few years. I am very, very excited.

I took this photo the second that I got home after riding home in a surprise rain storm. It was wet but very fun. Things are good right now and I thought this Holden Caulfield moment was an appropriate way to capture it.

Eurovision recap

I watched the finals on Saturday night (prior to the police station) and it did not disappoint. There were teams that qualified for the finals that didn't even have to perform on Thursday's semi-finals, so I had a whole new batch of fabulousness to watch. I can not begin to fully describe the wonder that is Eurovision. From the performances, the camp, the painful voting process and the outfits, I was in heaven. And I am not alone. If you want to read the best American redux, check out my favorite girls at Go Fug Yourself. They, like Eurovision itself, didn't disappoint.


The token American and footless tights

What a weekend. I haven't been to bed before 4am for two days, which is shockingly rare for me. Perhaps unheard of. And this afternoon I went to my friend Kerrie's place for lunch, which involved much wine and good food and has led me to cancel my plans for tonight ("EuroTransvision" at the Winston for those of you playing along at home). I was the only American at lunch, surrounded by two Italians, a German, a Scott, an Australian and my English hostess, which was fantastic -- just like I imagined my Sundays would be like before I moved here. On the two block journey home, I caught a reflection of myself in the windows: giant baby doll-type dress bought in Paris with the BEST detailing on the sleeves and neck, black footless tights, black ballet flats and a bright green purse. As I walked by myself, I thought, "Damn! That girl looks cool!" And then realized it was me. Did I mention the quantity of wine I had this afternoon and my lack of sleep?

Last night when I was in the police station at 3:30am (not getting arrested, just giving a statement) I went to use the bathroom and was impressed by their cool modernistic use of blue light, but then learned today that the blue light is so junkies can't see their veins. I foresee a huge photo essay coming of all the Amsterdam bathrooms that feature blue lighting. Could be interesting...

Must say that my life here is getting better and better all the time. Meeting some fabulous people who are funny and interesting and also finally getting to know people that I work with better as well. And really. Footless tights! Come on! Where else...?


Eurovision! Where have you been all my life?

There is this thing that happens every year called the Eurovision Song Contest. I didn’t know it existed until today, but it’s like I discovered part of my other half. Brilliant and campy and so very, very entertaining. Apparently it used to be better and now it is too produced and the wounds caused by the first and second world wars completely affect the voting (meaning that Germany will never win) and no one votes for France or England because they are prats (that is a direct quote from an actual real-life British person, not me just being mean). I watched the semi-finals and blogged live. Here are my reactions to all the semi-final teams.

Bulgaria – Gypsy music meets Shelia E. Outfits: leather pants and chain mail. Lots of hair.

Israel – Klesmer music meets French cafĂ© music meets Yiddish rap meets sort of a Fishbone thing. Outfits: Camouflage guitars, a fat guy in a giant tent playing the accordion and the rest is all over the place.

Cyprus – Boring, though the lead singer has an unusually large head. Singing in French, which may be a blatant suck up move to get votes.

Iceland – “No summer wine, no Valentine.” Four guitarists rocking out to a power ballad. “A tiger trapped inside a cage. An actor on an empty stage.” The bass player looks and plays just like Jeff. Fabulous rhyming! Any excuse for a rhyme and to pull out those leather pants from 1995.

Georgia – Russian dancers like in “The Nutcracker” behind a lady singer. No band to speak of. Perhaps there are teeny tiny synthesizers in the kneepads of the costumes. Oooh! They have swords too! Points for originality and dialing up the cultural reference.

Montenegro – Rock and freaking roll! It is nice to know that the guitar rocking (the bass player and the guitarist leaning against each other and rocking back and forth to the beat) is truly international.

Switzerland – There are twenty people on stage. Half dancing and half just standing there. Oh, they played the “Forever Young” card. The song is about vampires! Oh my god.

Moldova – Who says that skills learned in high school flag line won’t serve you well later in life? There are several people on stage twirling fabric. Singer is very flat…ears are bleeding…must leave television.

The Netherlands – Girl band starring cast offs from “Holland’s Next Top Model.” Boring.

Albania – You know how you always felt sort of sorry for the Eastern Block girl athletes during the Olympics before the wall came down because of their blue eye shadow and hopeless barrette situation? They didn’t know they were camp; they were just making the best of their situation. This is the case with Albania. There are many people on stage all taking themselves very seriously. I have a real issue with violin players who rock out and brandish their bow like a sword. A little to Yanni loving his pan flutes.

Denmark – DRAG QUEEN!!!! GIANT CROWN ON STAGE!!! FEMMY BOYS DOING A DANCE WITH GIANT PINK FEATHER FANS! Song is called Drama Queen, which is no surprise. Nice veneers on her teeth. Very Bob Fosse ending. Points for doing three costume changes while on stage. Love it.

Croatia – Bluesy. Main guy singer has a kick-ass smokey voice. No camp to speak of, but the main girl singer looks suspiciously like Shakira.

Poland – Sort of Black Eyed Peas, only without any talent. Except the lead rap guy has nice arm muscles and the lead girl singer looks good in a short skirt. YAWN.

Serbia – We have a wider version of k.d. lange singing very soulfully. Interesting. She isn’t wearing a tie with her suit, but the lipsticks behind her are…

Czech Republic – After all the mournful ballads and soulful dancers, it is LOVELY to have long-haired old men with no necks rocking out in Czech.

Portugal – Again with giant fans, but these aren’t feathered. Have worked in the “Dancing with the Stars” angle with the addition of a samba duo to the side…the man dances with the singer when she has a break in the lyrics.

Macedonia – Again with the dancers, but no fan. Lots and lots of Macedonia fans in the audience. Wind machine! “Music is the only world for me!” Sing it windy sister!

Norway – The dancing theme is overdone. These guys are singing in Spanish! Why?

Malta – Shirtless men – one playing violin and the other banging the gong. And fans.

Andorra – Cute little pop-punk boys who play their guitars low on their hips and have the classic three chord song down pat. Sounds a little a bit like Good Charlotte combined with Blink 182. Andorra is a landlocked country in the Pyrenees bordered by France and Spain.

Hungary – Blues. She is carrying a suitcase across the stage and wearing those acid washed jeans that have the white patches at the top of the thigh and below the knee – the two places that jeans never get faded.

Estonia – Dancers. Wind machine. Dare I say ubiquitous?

Belgium –Love! Horns, satin shirts, sunglasses, 70s vibe, singer has horrid voice but is super cute. The chorus, “Can you feel the love power coming your way? Can you feel the love power today?” I predict the finals for sure!

Slovenia – Operatic wailing brought the crowd to its feet.

Turkey – “Shake it up, shake it in, you’re my only sweetie.” A troll in a red coat is squealing about sex, surrounded by belly dancers in curly extensions. “Lovely dovey, lovey dovey, all the time, I have lots of candy for you.” Perhaps the most disturbing lyrics of all time.

Austria – Gay! Gay! Gay! Singer is resplendent in a sequin hoody with background singers in red feather hoods.

Latvia – Three men dressed a bit like Marice Chevalier in “Gigi,” singing very dramatically and in harmony. Oh my. Now there are five of them. Now six. Crap! They are multiplying. Maybe they just got the entire Latvian football team to put on top hats and sing onstage.

The teams going to the finals on Saturday are in bold. Also going to the finals are Slovenia and Belarus, but I missed them somehow. It is a veritable eastern European song fest! I can already imagine the grumbles from western Europeans, "They come over here, they take our jobs and now they take our Eurovision contest.

Here is the official link, if you want to explore the madness for yourself: http://www.eurovision.tv/


A conversation in my head

While I was staring into the abyss of my closet this morning, I had the following imaginary conversation between myself and an account director I work with:

"Katie, what do you want to do with your life?"

"I wanna rock." [followed by loud guitar chord]

Not kidding. I actually thought the guitar chord.


Hitler and the pigeon

Disturbing events at Eerste jan van der Heijdenstraat 41 last evening.

I was sitting on my couch, when I saw a flash of movement in the garden. A pigeon had flown across the yard and was perched against the boards of the fence on the right side, flapping his wings and gripping the wood tightly with his feet. "Not normal behaviour for a pigeon," I thought. It then flapped down to the table and onto the garden chair when, suddenly, there was a burst of white coming from the ground. A cat! The pigeon then flew directly, and loudly, into my glass back door. I got up and ran to the doors to check and see if it was ok, but Hitler the cat was already there. EEEEWWWW!

I ran back to the couch and hid until I saw Hitler carry the pigeon up and over the fence on the left side of the yard. Before I went to investigate the carnage left behind, I called Tom on Skype and carried my laptop with me, talking into the speakers, as I inched toward the door. Gross smudge on window...checking for a head or feathers...checking...checking. Nothing. Not a single drop of blood. Not a single feather. Hitler the cat had killed the bird and carried him away without any sign of struggle. Disturbing.

It's like I live in a nature reserve and saw the harsh side of wildlife last night. I am back to being a vegetarian.