No Time!!!!


I’ve gotten lazy with the blogging. In all honesty, it just seems like so much work to write anything nowadays when my emotional energy is going into adjusting to a new job and a new dog.

So… here’s what’s been going on:

I have not yet made any sales with Aflac, which means that I have not been paid. I’m trying to be okay with it, however, I did have my very first appointment scheduled for last week, and the guy stood us (my manager and me) up. This is demoralizing, so I went online and applied for a bunch of salaried jobs right after the waiting forever for the no-show.

Even though this is demoralizing, I still believe this might work and be awesome. I don’t believe that every moment of every day, but I believe it about half of the time.

Last week, my manager and I sat down with Lori, which was a networking meeting rather than a sales meeting, and he got my name wrong like 6 times. To be fair, he got it right about 4 times, and seems to finally have it down. He was switching back and forth between calling me Katie and Kelly. I completely forgot about it, and thus, did not warn Lori. She is a great friend, however, and did not giggle or even break into a smile.

This morning, I enjoyed a regional sales meeting, where I got to talk with some other sales associates, and they were delightful. Also, we prayed before the meeting started, which is kind of amazing.

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In regards to Moose, I’ve discovered that his digestive tract does not do well with peanut butter. Also, he does not like it when I try to get thorns out of his foot, or when people touch him in a way he wasn’t expecting (especially with people he doesn’t know super well). He’s kind of a squealing sissy about it, and will sometimes even make scared screachy noises when nothing has happened. He might be lying on the couch, not moving, not doing anything, and, all of a sudden, he’ll let loose a random yelp. I have ruled out all medical causes for this behavior, because it decreases inversely with his confidence and trust level. The more he trusts me, the less he squeals.

Also, Moose isn’t particularly motivated about greeting people at the door when they get home. I’ve made a big deal out of it every time I walk in the door, so he’s getting better with me, but he pretty much ignores Kendra when she gets home, even though she’s now gone during the week, working in Phoenix.

I’ve realized I have the unfortunate tendency to compare Moose to my previous dog, which is really unfair. He isn’t as smart or tough as she was. Also, he doesn’t chase balls or eat ice cubes. I keep trying to make him more like Annabelle was, but he is delightful in his own ways. We’ll figure it out.

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I have taken tons of pictures of things I’ve cooked, and I will eventually post another picture book kitchen thing, but it’s probably going to be awhile because it takes such a long time to upload everything.

Otherwise, I’m missing the Hilsts quite a lot lately, but writing letters to Ashly has gotten me very motivated with the snail-mail and it’s given me a way to support my grandmother a bit. She never writes me back, but I’m enjoying writing letters the old-fashioned way, and my mother says going to the mailbox is a highlight of her day.

I’m way behind on reading. I set myself the goal of a book a week, like I did last year, but I don’t think I’m going to make it. I also haven’t been actively working on the manuscript, but I think I’ll have a good season of hard work with it soon – things have needed settling and organization in my brain, and I’m closing in on the revisions I think I want to make.

Much love, Readers.

Don’t Hate…


I’ve just realized that my greatest reservation in selling insurance has nothing to do with the actual job. I obviously should have noticed this before, but it’s only just occurred to me that people judge sales people. Also, I didn’t realize so many people would give me the you-sold-out eyebrows. If I’d gone into non-profit work, they’d be supportive, but I’m getting the disapproval eyebrows all over the place. Also, several people have given me the impression that they are really expecting me to fail.

In response to the silent judgments:

I place my likeliness of failure at 50%.

I think it’s okay to fail, and I don’t understand the timidity I’m seeing in folks’ eyes. So what if I fail? Worst case scenario: I have to sell the house. So what? I would be upset, sure… I love my house, but stop thinking this is an enormous thing. It isn’t. I’m trying something new that may not work. It’s okay. I’ll start looking for another job when the ish hits the fan.

Aflac policies aren’t at all what most people think they are.

Aflac sells complementary policies… not regular insurance like major medical.

Also, Aflac does not pay claims to hospitals or doctors. It pays individuals who can use the money to meet everyday needs. They can pay their mortgage; they can buy food; they can even pay their deductibles on other insurance plans.

This is important to me.

I do not have any moral reservations about working for Aflac, and I don’t believe this is somehow less noble than teaching children. This is about helping people when they have Cancer, or when their kids have Cancer.

Also in the category of morality, I will be selling to small businesses that often don’t have the funds to offer great major medical plans. However, they definitely can afford to offer Aflac, because there are tons of options for how to do it, including employer paying zero dollars. The plans (that I’m still only just learning about) do not run in the normal range for premiums… they run in the let’s-make-sure-it-costs-about-one-hour’s-pay-per-week range. Therefore, when small businesses don’t or can’t offer major medical because of the cost, they may offer certain Aflac policies to help employees a little.

I was severely unhappy.

There are too many things to mention that made teaching unbearable for me this year, and I’m really looking forward to some of the lovely things about my current job. Maybe in seven years, I’ll be severely unhappy again. That’s cool. I’ll work it out then. Every scenario can look good initially, but sour in the long run. That’s to be expected. However, here are some things that are really appealing to me about the insurance biz…

Technically, I’m self-employed. I’m contracted with Aflac and they offer me training and support, but I ultimately set my own schedule. I have a combination of in-person one-on-one meetings, group presentations, and solo work researching and preparing.

It’s really blissful to think about giving presentations to groups of 10 people or so.

Also really blissful: being only responsible for myself.

Also blissful: getting to pee on my body’s schedule.

Also blissful: building relationships with adults.

Also blissful: the prospect of never having to read the same pages in a novel 4 consecutive times in the same day. (Or have the same conversation 12 times in a day. Or listen to kids make the same comments year-after-year-after-year).

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Maybe I’m reading it wrong thus far, but the general response to this life decision of mine has seemed all condescending and judgy, and it’s pissing me off a little.

Maybe I’ll go back to teaching. Maybe I’ll get married. Maybe I’ll live a life that other people understand. Maybe I’ll make choices they can respect and even admire.

OR

Maybe I’ll move to Cambodia. Maybe I’ll change careers again in a few months. Maybe I’ll publish my book. Maybe I’ll buy a cello.

It’s all fine, and I don’t appreciate those eyebrows.

I always used to tell this one to my students, and I think it applies here…

Don’t hate; congratulate!

Or, there’s always the Wil Wheaton standby of, “Don’t be a dick!”

Picture Book Kitchen #1: Pasta Plus Leftover Spaghetti Squash Plus Homemade Sauce


Essential Stats

*No recipes consulted/no exact measurements/vegan

*An hour and six minutes commencement-to-couch, including dish-washing that should have been done the night before.

*Pasta sauces are the best for using up Bountiful Basket ish. They can also be reincarnated as pizza sauces, and it’s really difficult to ruin them.

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New Hobbity Series Here on the Blog… Picture Book Kitchen????


Cooking Background: I feel the need to disclaim a difficulty I foresee in this plan. I feel a compulsive concern right now for others’ perceptions, mostly because some people talked about me behind my back not too long ago, and have ignored my attempts to address this conflict… so my feelings are still hurt.

I am not a kitchen guru, but I’m also not a cooking Padawan, though there are people in my life who see me as both extremes. I’ve cooked. For years. I’ve also not cooked. For years. I don’t think I know everything, so don’t get all, “Katie’s on a kitchen power-trip.” (That’s similar to the thing the people were saying about me).

In all frankness, I’d rather folks not think about me in the kitchen (or really at all in life), because the point of posting these things isn’t to showcase myself. The point is to have fun and display some kitchen whimsy. Recipes are often anxiety-inducing. What if I can’t find the exact right product, or what if my measuring spoons are dirty and I don’t want to wash them????? My idea is to post some things that are the opposite of that. My idea is to help myself and others love cooking, regardless of the outcome.

On that line of thought, like running, the kitchen and life can be ruined by others’ opinions. According to The Cool Impossible (written by somebody whose name I can’t remember at the moment), “The hardest thing in the world is for a runner to run at her own pace when she knows someone is watching.” Cooking and running and life shouldn’t be about the opinions of others.

That said, I’ve been cooking a ton lately, and I care a lot about food right now. I don’t currently have much of an income, so I’m cooking to save $. I purchased the Thug Kitchen Cookbook, which is miraculous in the accessibility it provides to vegan cooking. Everyone should own it. Also, I’m becoming more vegetarian/vegan ish… though not fully either vegetarian or vegan yet.

To support my new cooking habit, I started doing the Bountiful Basket thing, which I’m enjoying immensely. All of that is where this post finds its origins: several people have asked me if I’m capable of using an entire Bountiful Basket, and how I go about cooking it all.

True Answer: I haven’t ever found a limit to how much I could eat, so I’m definitely capable of eating an entire basket. However – and don’t judge – using the entire thing isn’t particularly high on my list of priorities.

My Personal Philosophy on the Basket: I want to use most of what’s in the basket, and I want to experiment. A little waste doesn’t bother me.

My Personal Philosophy on Cooking: I don’t think cooking or eating should be stressful or even structured. Cooking to me is art. It’s creative. It’s relaxing. It’s fulfilling. I consult recipes rather than following them; Shasta once said that I’m really difficult to cook with because I basically do what I want in the kitchen. I eyeball or completely reject measurement recommendations. I usually feel like my hand is a much better measuring device than spoons or cups. I substitute what I have or desire for what’s “supposed” to be included in a recipe.

So… Idea: I’ve decided to start a series in which I combat the Instagram by posting real pictures of things I cook… without much explanation of anything, and without discarding 82 photos before getting a beautiful one that’s post-able. Sometimes the pictures will be blurry. Sometimes the food will turn out bad. It’s okay.

I’m going to call the series Picture Book Kitchen.

The End.

Career Change and the Education


I haven’t posted in awhile because I’ve been busy learning about insurance.

Upon passing my Life and Health Insurance Licensing Exam, I will start working for Aflac. I take the exam some time next week. I can take it 3 more times if I fail, and I’m not that worried about failing.

Some things about this:

1. I’m so sad that I believe I’ll be making significantly more money than I made in the classroom. As my teacher friends go back to work, I feel a bitter-sweetness because I know I made the right decision. As they tell me about their weeks, I feel a reinforcement that getting out needed to be done, which is terrible. They mention their first meetings and how they discussed marketing their school and came up with department mottoes… and I think I might vomit. Since when is it a teacher’s job to write a department motto? Since when is education something to sell? Since when did education lose its status as a privilege and a social mandate? Since when…????? While my decision is reinforced because I can’t stand the ways education is warping, I miss it. I haven’t even been away from it yet, but I miss it. I miss the kids. I miss the colleagues. I miss the shared commitment to and direct impact on the future. I miss it.

2. The class I’m taking to prepare for my test is a 10-day online thing, and it sucks.

I’m a decent student, but the class is built so that I read for something like 4 hours a day (on a screen), and I watch videos for something like 10 minutes. The reading is dry and cold. The vocabulary is pulled completely out of context. Sure, insurance was always going to be technical and legal, but a good teacher can find ways to present that information so that it’s relevant and accessible. Also, I would have rather purchased a hard-copy book than this insufferable book built of pixels and links. It doesn’t even offer me the capability of taking notes in the margins, so I keep taking notes by hand on paper, which is easier done if I have a hard-copy book. Also, I’m realizing that one of the primary ways I accessed info from school as a kid was by building a map of the book in my brain. Even if I couldn’t immediately recall info, I always knew which part of the chapter the info was in, as well as which part of the page to look at to find the info. The class also doesn’t allow me to build my own flash cards; I have to use the ones they created, so I’m writing out my own hard-copy flash cards. So, without the technological benefits of getting to type out my notes or cards, I still feel the nausea of staring at a screen all day. Luckily, I can print the chapters for a fee, so I’m doing that, but sheesh…

The videos begin with someone speaking in a soothing and cheesy voice about how so-and-so and his spouse died in a car accident after he purchased a a $100,000 life insurance policy on himself and listed the spouse as the sole beneficiary… if spouse dies, where does the money go????? Aside from the fact that the video isn’t explaining anything that wasn’t already explained in the reading, and isn’t explaining it in a more comprehensible or even a different way than the text explained it, I find the voices to be sort of surreal in that they are clearly uncaring about the hypothetical people who are dying or being dismembered. Yes, those people are fake, but they represent real people, and I want the voices to show some empathy. All I can think is, this would be sooooo much better if I had a teacher with whom to interact. A teacher would have a human tone and visible empathy… I hope. In all fairness, there’s some sort of webinar thing I can sign into to watch a real teacher, but I’d really like to be in the same room with a human being who knows me and will talk to me. I’d like to be able to raise my hand and ask questions.

The world is changing, and I don’t like it.

3. My pay will be entirely commissions, which is terrifying, but also awesome. This means that I’ll have flexibility in my schedule, and my pay will likely have a direct correlation (or close to it) to the number of hours I invest.

And now, dear friends, although there is much more I could write, I must return to the studying… I’ve got about 2 more hours of reading to do today to stay on schedule, and I’d like to re-read some of the more complex and detailed ish that’s been tripping me up on quizzes.

*And, sidenote: Aflac has been amazing thus far. I’m not complaining about Aflac. I’m complaining about… the future and our culture’s obsession with online everything, and I’m complaining about education. And if you wake up tomorrow, and find that somehow all of the technology in the world is broken and you have to chase down a Javelina for your dinner, you can scream out to the heavens in anger, knowing that I am responsible. And even if I die of dehydration because I live in the desert, it will have been worth it to restore humanity to humans.

Top Ten Purchases to Make When I’m Employed


The thing about not having a job is how much more I want to buy things than I did when I had one. Here’s what I want to buy in descending order of desirous intensity:

10.Fancy letter-writing materials – that’s right, snail mail is the way to go!

9. New laptop and/or writing software – this little guy has been awesome. I bought him like four years ago, I think, and he has outlasted many a more expensive, new-fangled gadget. He outlasted my mother’s laptop, which was purchased at the same time. Although, I think what’s slowing him down is the Scrivener. Scrivener is fancy writer software that’s amazing. I already paid for Scrivener once, but  something about the way I saved my manuscript makes Scrivener believe I shouldn’t be allowed the member updates I paid for. I think Scrivener doesn’t like the backups I have on flash drives and external hard drives, because it seems like I copied the software rather than the manuscript… I promise it isn’t about the software. It’s about the manuscript. It would be a travesty to lose years of work. Therefore, I have a ton of copies of it.

8. Home decor – I got the urge to buy or build shelves and other storage or homey things… coat rack, console table, desk, rugs, etc…

7. Ragnar registration – I don’t like having expenses that I know are coming, so I usually pay them when they’re on my mind. However, it seems unwise to pay now… I feel like I should wait, so it keeps being on my mind.

6. Not a purchase, but I have land in North Carolina, and I need to pay the HOA fee for the year, but I keep thinking I should maybe not pay it yet. It’s the kind of HOA that really isn’t going to charge me late fees for like six months, so I don’t want to spend my $ on it until I have a steady income. It bothers me to wait.

5. New clothes. I want fancy red shirts for interviewing, and I want running pants and shorts. Why don’t they ever hand out pants and shorts for finishing races? I have more shirts than I know what to do with, but not nearly enough pants and shorts.

4. An iPhone running armband holder thing. If I’m going to buy in to all this b.s. of mapping my runs and listening to music and sermons, I don’t want to have to hold the damn thing for hours of running (depending on my distance).

3. An iPhone adapter for the car and new speakers for the car so that I can listen to sermons and music I actually like.

2. A new compressor for my car. Now, even when I get a job, I’m not going to buy this because it would be more cost-effective to buy a new car. The compressor at this point is probably about twice the value of my car, so I will continue to suffer in the 100-plus degree temperatures, but a girl can dream, right? Maybe I’ll just buy a new car when I get a job.

1. A dog… I think it’s maybe because I’m not working that I sooooo want a canine companion. I keep going on all of the rescue sites, reading stories about how Molly was left under a bridge and she just wants a family to love. :-( I want a dog! I want one!

What the Flip… Where’s the Complementary Chapter, eh?


I’ve been reading Numbers. I basically started with the beginning of the Bible, read an OT book, then a NT book, then an OT book, and so on… and I’m currently reading Numbers, which begins with a bunch of numbers – go figure. The first four-ish chapters are about counting different groups of people who are able-bodied enough to perform tasks surrounding the setting up, tearing down, transporting, and maintaining of the camp, including the tent of meeting and dealing with the Ark of the Covenant.

So I was pretty excited to be on chapter five, because it isn’t a bunch of numbers; it’s more along the lines of, “This is what you do if (very specific sin thing) happens. I’ve unexpectedly found these kinds of laws pretty interesting of late. My interest in the details of law that in most ways are impossible to apply today probably makes me a weirdo, but I’ve been really into thinking about atonement lately, digging animal sacrifice and how that and the gospel overlap and align. Also, with the taking some first steps towards vegetarianism, I’m pretty grossed out by some of the sacrifices because they seem real and graphic to me, whereas they used to seem so far removed that they were irrelevant.

Chapter 5 is mostly about what to do if a man suspects that his wife has committed adultery – if he has no evidence of the adultery, but feels what’s described as “jealous of his wife.” That doesn’t read well in modern American English, but I think it means he has all of those jealous, betrayed, bitter feelings that come along with wondering and maybe even believing your spouse cheated on you.

The chapter goes on to explain an oath, some water of bitterness, and the possibility of bitter physical pain, a swollen womb, and a thigh falling away. I’ve read some commentaries that suggest “thigh” there is a replacement word to sanitize the language when it’s really talking about lady parts… no one really seems to know for sure what it means. It’s all very, “It probably refers to…” or “It might mean…” Also, I should note, there’s a supernatural aspect to this situation and its justice, as the oath and the water will not bring pain on an innocent woman.

Numbers is one of those books that people often don’t read because it soooo gets into the minutia that it’s hard to stick with it. It’s too specific for our attention spans or something. It’s this consistent level of detail in addressing every possible scenario in this part of the Bible that led me to assume chapter six would be about what should occur if a woman is “jealous of her husband.” However, I was highly disappointed that the book seems to keep its silence on that one.

Is it just me, or does it seem unfair not to have the complementary chapter where a guilty man’s thigh falls away?

Of course Numbers is a book that can’t be taken out of its historical context, so I get that things weren’t particularly fair to women. I get that all of my thoughts are tinted with the insidious effects of having lived in a time when men sometimes decide to become women, and get to be all over the Facebook and the news for having had a sex change. I get that my idea of gender roles is wonked out by this crazy culture I inhabit… but I feel dissatisfied with what I read today. It feels unfair and unjust.

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In this same category of thing: I haven’t written about it before now because I don’t know how to write about it well, but my reading of this chapter is also tinted by the recent adultery of someone I’d consider to be my brother. The ripples of betrayal that spread out around any infidelity are too shocking for words. And, while I feel a sense of defensiveness towards Brother, because his actions don’t make him any less my brother who I love, I read that chapter in Numbers and my heart cried out at the unfairness in the unaddressed situation where the husband rather than the wife has sinned (or is suspected of sin). My heart cries out for the Bible to explicitly condemn the great men in its pages who had multiple wives, but, as far as I know, it remains silent there as well. The double standard bothers me. I lack resolution with it that I feel I should find there, but I can’t see it.

Then, there’s the added thing of how a friend called me last week, needing advice because one of his close friends had cheated, and Friend wanted to talk through how to be a friend to his friend, how to think, how to forgive…

Unfortunately, I didn’t have answers for him. I hope I said some things that are helpful, but it isn’t an equation:

Friend cheated + (something I need to say or do) = I’m a good friend

or, worse yet:

Friend cheated + (something I need to say or do) = problem solved

Maybe that’s why I’m annoyed at the Bible right now. Numbers went at this scenario as if a man would and should want his cheating wife to suffer physical pain and be publicly shamed; it’s a foregone conclusion that he would, without evidence beyond his intuition that she’d cheated, take her to the priest and subject her to a test of her character.

Did my wife cheat on me? + Test the priest can perform = Problem solved!

This equation doesn’t account for the affection and gentleness that a man should have toward his wife. Numbers and the law boil life down to what must be done, omitting the ineffable human parts…

They exclude mercy and its provision. They exclude the mercy I want for Brother.

I’m angry. It would be dishonest to ignore the anger I have, that mostly manifests itself in a desire to list all the ways Brother’s actions impacted me and others I love. Though I try to remember that love keeps no record of wrongs, it feels like an injustice for him to remain ignorant of his affect on the entire body of Christ. I’m sure he’s aware, when I actually think about it. The body is mysterious in its interdependence, and he knows, but that’s still where my anger rests… in wanting him to know and care about the parts that matter to people who aren’t him… the little ripples that are easy to miss while focused on the big picture.

Yet, even in my angriest moments, my lack of desire for Brother to suffer physical pain stands conspicuous to me. Maybe it’s different when it’s closer… maybe if I was the spouse of infidelity I’d want him pummeled. Maybe.

However, it seems universally true to me that the affection and desire for a person’s good doesn’t vanish when he sins or betrays, no matter how personal and evil the sin.

One of the reasons reading Numbers is so dissatisfying is it takes sin out of the context of Christ. The only hope I have for simultaneous mercy and justice for myself, Brother, and the rest of the people who mean something to me… the only hope is the cross. The only place the anger and hurt can be worked out satisfactorily is Calvary. No law, penalty, consequence, or punishment can provide what Christ gave us on the Cross.