Wednesday, September 30, 2009


I am obsessed with this song  by Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros. It's called "Home"  and it's quickly making its way onto my very non-willy-nilly all-time-favorites list.
 Love it.

Moats & boats & waterfalls, alley ways & pay phone calls
I’ve been everywhere with you

That’s true

We laugh until we think we’ll die, barefoot on a summer night
Nothin’ new is sweeter than with you


The rap song about me and ski team memories...

Kanye West is now famous for his bad hair and prowess in ruining the moment, but whenever I hear his music, I think about driving up Parley's Canyon and Ali cranking up the music to wake us all up as we prepared for a day of training on the awesome Olympic runs at Park City. Definitely something you needed to be awake for. It was a wet-your-pants, cheek flapping, heart pumping, snot-in-your-hair amazing good time.

I also remember that this particualr training trip was when I discovered that Kanye was singing about me, Kate Westby, in his Touch the Sky song. I kid you not. Let the video load, turn it up, and then start played it at 1:58 and listen for "Kate Westby!"

Friday, September 25, 2009

Fake sewing

I don't really know how to sew.
I try, but I usually end up breaking things. Jacob found this amazing old sewing machine on the side of the road this summer. He brought it in and had it "fixed" up. I finally worked up the courage to try and create something. I was so motivated. I decorated a shirt and was super happy with it, so I went out and bought a bunch of supplies to make a half-a-dozen more. Then I broke it.
So, thankfully the machine is pretty sweet looking, because that's all I am going to do with it ever again... just look at it. I also get to look at the pile of stuff I bought that's sitting next to it.  It's not my fault. I'm shopping for something more user-friendly. Suggestions are welcome. Here's the one thing I made...

Happy Birthday Grandma!!!

Today is my Grandma's 91st birthday! We are headed for dinner tonight to celebrate another happy year for Irma Lundquist. She is a sweet, spunky, amazing lady and I am so grateful to be a part of the same gene pool. So, here's to you grandma, and another year full of love, laughter, and sticking out our tongues in joy while squeezing each other as hard as we can :)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Fall Roundup

Often times, when I am attempting to study, I find the intense urge to complete tasks that are completely unnecessary at the time. For instance, when there is a big assignment on the horizon, my apartment suddenly becomes very, very clean. I had a big astronomy test yesterday, therefore, I spent much of my study time on Sunday collecting items for a fall "roundup." I love "roundups" and thanks to Monday's test, I finally made my own.

I am also happy to report that I also aced the test :)

Owl mug on Etsy - perfect for chai tea lattes
Orange Ginger hand lotion - a warm, clean scent - perfect for fall
Chili! One of my all-time favorite meals...yum :)
Feather earrings from Etsy - the guy who makes these also ties and sells lures for fly fishing
Scarves - sort of like an adult security blankets for your neck, plus it's fashionable
Freya Art print - to me, fall is fresh and full of adventure
Sweater shrug on Etsy - mmmmmmm...sweaters...

Thursday, September 17, 2009

True Confessions of an Ole Alum

This is a video that a friend shared on Facebook recently. It's a slide show of images accompanied my music from the St. Olaf choir and orchestra. Watching it puts a huge lump in my throat. I miss it deeply. There is something about St. Olaf and my experiences there that have forever changed me and will always stay with me. I probably get more homesick for that small community on "the Hill" than I get for the home I grew up in. Walking across the gorgeous campus and through it's castle-like buildings is just as fairytale-like as they look in photographs. The beautifully wise old trees have quietly witnessed the stories of generations of Oles. Every limestone brick holds a dozen secrets of the past. The knowledge and rich experiences on the Hill are densely saturated and endless, but you only get four years to gather and absorb as much has you possibly can. The people there are some of the highest quality people I have ever met, and as I continue to encounter Oles in my life, there is some inexplicable connection that seems to bond people all members of the St. Olaf community. Even inhaling is comforting, as the Malt O' Meal factory down the road fills the air with scents of cocoa and cinnamon. There is just no other place like it.

... I don't know, maybe I drank too much of the Kool-aid in the caf. I find it difficult to admit such a deep connection to something. I am always fearful of falling too hard for anything, but I'm not going to lie - I am an Ole, and I love it.

Um Ya Ya :)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Dharma Pears

There is a very healthy pear tree growing behind our apartment building. I love how it conveniently covers my bedroom and bathroom windows, love how the leaves rustle in the breeze, love that I'm lucky enough to have a beautiful fruit tree growing outside of my apartment in the city, love the blossoms in the spring, love watching the squirrels get drunk on the rotten pears in the fall, love hearing the sober squirrels drop pears onto the cars below (That's not a parking spot... kharma!)

I also love these Buddha-shaped pear molds, and my desire to have one is really killing my chances at Nirvana...

But how cool would that be!?!?!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Six steps to another scarf/necklace hybrid

Step One: Go to the thrift store/a garage sale/your grandma's closet/ragstock. Pick out your favorite scarf (Thin fabric with smaller patterns with lots o' color work best.)

Step Two: Go to the craft store/grandma's costume jewelry box and pick up some large round beads. Beads are easy to find, but in all honesty, bouncy balls, marbles, jaw breakers... these would all work (actually, jawbreakers might get a bit sticky- especially if you are a sweaty person.)

Step Three: Cut a strip from one corner to the opposite corner about three inches thick.

Step Four: Tie a knot about 6 inches down and wrap a bead in the scarf, twist around a bit and tie another knot right after it to secure. Not as hard as it sounds. You can use a touch of glue stick to seal the seam if you are concerned about it.

Step Five: Continue step four until you are satisfied with your necklace.

Step Six: Wear your necklace proudly.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Window of Opportunity

Remember when I said that went into a crazy craft mania last weekend? Well, the dresser and frames were not the only things created in those three unbelievably productive days. Amazing what an extra day off will do for my motivation! Pretty sure it's not a condition. After the mania, I do not go into a depressed state. More like a time-to-hit-the-books-again state. Which can be kind of depressing... but it's nothing serious... just in case you were concerned... which I know you're not... but I'm saying it anyway... alrighty then...

This is a flea market window that I picked up earlier this summer. I wanted to make it into a frame or a white board (clear board?), so I sort of ended up doing both. It's right by the back door, so I can write myself notes, hang up my keys, and collect photos and do-dads. That's right do-dads. I collect a lot of them.

Here's the "before" shot....
The glass is actually really old. You can kind of see the waves in it. I love that.

I got to use the drill my Dad gave me for Christmas to install the hardware. After putting these loops on, I stretched and tacked a old coffee bag on the bag on the back. Then I got to use the drill AGAIN when I attached the birdy hook thing.
Thanks Dad :)

This is the birdy hook thing. I hope you understand my very technical terminology. I got this from my grandma when she moved a long time ago. I really love it but never could find a good spot for it.

It's a white board (transparent board?), key holder, picture/do-dad holder all in one!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

WWF Advertisements

These ads strike me as ironic. They are not selling a product, but rather an initiative to protect the world. Promoting Earth because we've become so wrapped up in ourselves that we've forgotten that we actually share this planet. How depressing is it that we have to advertise responsibility? And should it really be a "responsibility?" How about just an expectation. Am I "responsible" because I avoid ingesting toxic chemicals in lethal doses on a regular basis? No, people - that's just good old common sense. So, when exactly did convenience take priority over common sense?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Labor of Love

This Labor Day weekend was really wonderful. I accomplished so much AND did a fair share of relaxing and having fun. I spent Friday working on repainting my dresser and went to the Herk to hang out with some Oles. Saturday I finished the dresser, rearranged the living room wall, went to the beach, rode my bike around the lakes and ended the day "rolling" with friends at Bryant Lake. We had a Westby family reunion on Sunday, and Monday included some much needed cleaning, an amazing picnic, ice cream and more bicycling adventures. Whew! So satisfying :)

Since I have recently become a manic project fiend, I have lots of creative work to share. I have a before and after of my dresser makeover and just the after of my living room wall with it's new arrangement of mismatched frames.

Before Dresser: Old dresser from my parent's basement. It used to contain costumes. Yes, that's right - we had that many costumes.

After: The new lighter color makes my room seem bigger. I sanded the edges and rubbed a brown glaze over the off-white paint to make it look old and distressed. It turned out really well. The knobs are all mismatched and from Anthropologie. I call it my "gypsy" dresser, although, a friend of mine told me that the word gypsy is very un-p.c. Whatever.

Close up of the knobs. I love the bee. I could have done all bees, but I liked the idea of having them all be different.

Q. What do you do with a bunch of mismatched frames?
A. Buy a few more at the thrift store, paint them, and clutter them all on one wall!

This is an image of both sides of the wall close up and mashed together. Kinda looks like the corner of a wall, but it's not.
That's a mirror in the middle... not a picture of a window...

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

My plight to become a poor science teacher

Last night, I went to my second night of astronomy. I was really excited about this course at first, but so far, I have been less than impressed. The class is a mix of adult learners (some seeking prereqs for master's programs, like myself), high school PSEO students, and your garden variety community college student. I have noticed a lot of army decals and veteran's plates in the parking lot too. You would think that with such a variety of learners, the prof might put a little effort into engaging her audience. Nope. Not only is she terribly dry, but she totally lacks time management skills, so we are already a whole chapter behind...and it's only week 2. In addition to the challenge of staying awake, I am finding it somewhat difficult to learn about these very large, very 3-dimensional concepts using only my very 2-dimensional textbook. Did you know that a first quarter moon in MN (which looks like a "D"), looks like a third-quarter moon (which looks like a backwards "D") in the southern hemisphere!?! My professor actually told us that she has no idea what the astronomy textbooks look like in the southern hemisphere, because everything must be opposite. Tricky stuff. Wish I could get my brain to engage. It's kind of hard to get myself to learn physics from a dull prof, on a Monday night, after being at work for nine hours. If I was good at physics, I would have majored in physics, instead of biology. Darn you, Minnesota State Board of Teaching!

So, this morning, I awoke feeling a bit discouraged about the year ahead. A year of pre-requisite courses from various community colleges. A year of the LSU "Distance-Learning" program. A whole year of forking out more money for undergraduate courses, just so I can continue to work toward my masters. A year of three separate physics courses - barf. I looked in the mirror and thought about what I was doing. Did I really want to become a science teacher? Is this really what I'm supposed to be doing?

...and then a tiny little fruit fly buzzed by my face and landed on the mirror. I looked at it and immediately identified it as being a wild type Drosophila melanogaster. The red eyes were a dead giveaway. I thought about how the entire genome for that little bug had been mapped out and studied by millions. I then I realized that I had just answered my own question. Yep, brush your teeth Kate. It's time to go to work so you can pay for all those classes. And tonight when you get home, it's time for geology. Get after it.