Feb 03

End of an era

This summer will mark the 10th anniversary of this website (and the 11th anniversary since I began blogging – remember those early days on Livejournal? Sigh. The memories). Seven years of posts are contained here (the preceding three were mostly lost in the Great Blog Crash of 2007), and it’s amazing to think how much of my life is chronicled on these pages. It’s a journal of some of the most important years of my life, and certainly some of the most eventful, and I’ll always be glad that I have these words to remind me of the wonderful, terrible, happy and sad things that have happened.

As that milestone approaches, I’ve been thinking about the things I write here, the things I would like to write here, my audience, and my life in general. And the thing I most get stuck on is that second one, the things I would like to write about.

I have been very intentionally open about the things I have blogged. I have written about family issues and mental health and relationships and all kinds of struggles, and have done so unapologetically. This is my perspective, my story. I never claimed to be fair in any of it. For the most part, blogs do not exist to provide a well-rounded view of any topic; they exist to represent one person’s thoughts and feelings. Mine is no different, and I’ve tried to keep that in mind as I write.

In the past two years, though, I’ve found myself hesitating. Writing posts and then deleting them. Longing to write and choosing not to, for various reasons. This website has a pretty large audience (it’s not reflected in the comments but this little corner of the internet gets a couple hundred hits a day), and for the most part, I love that. However, some of those readers are people that at this point in time I would like to share less of my life with. Some of them are also people who have repeatedly told me they don’t read this blog – but blog stats don’t lie. I can’t stop them from reading, even if I wish they wouldn’t – or at least wish they wouldn’t lie about doing it. It’s a public blog and I don’t want to change that.

What I’m getting at is that, after nearly a decade, According to Kate is coming to an end.

It was a tough decision to come to. This website has been me for so long. But it doesn’t feel like me anymore, when I can’t freely share my thoughts and feelings.

It doesn’t mean this site will disappear. There’s too much history here for me to just close up shop and shut down the website. Plus, accordingtokate.net has been mine for so long now that I don’t really want anyone else to have it. Hashtag sentimental! So the blog will stay, as it is, but there won’t be any new posts after today.

It also doesn’t mean I’m going to stop blogging. I’m just going to do it elsewhere. I’ve set up a new site, and I’m eager to get started over there.

I’m also eager for you to join me there. If you’d like to keep reading, please just email me at kate@accordingtokate.net or leave a comment on this post and I’ll send you the link.

When I first decided to start a blog back in the fall of 2004, I really expected that maybe four and a half people would read it. The fact that there are hundreds of you, and that you’ve kept coming back is really humbling, and to be honest, incredibly flipping cool. Thank you so, so much.

See you on the other side.

xo Kate

Jan 30

Kate goes to California, Day 9 & 10: San Diego and hooooome

I don’t know if I can possibly accurately convey to you how sore I was when I woke up on the Saturday morning in San Diego. I ached from the top of my head to the bottom of my feet. And oh, my feet. They were still swollen, and oh so achy. But we had plans, and I was determined that we were going to have a good last day in California.

One thing was for sure, though. There was no possible way I could wear the same sandals I had worn to Mexico – for one, they had molded to the shape of my feet after standing on them for so long in the heat and I knew they would just hurt like crazy, and two, they were so dirty it was disgusting. And I had only brought one other pair of sandals and I had broken them three days earlier.

So we stopped at Wal Mart to buy a cheap pair of flip flops and decided to grab breakfast at IHOP since it was nearby. I would say it was about halfway through the meal when I started to feel not so good. My stomach was bubbling, and I felt pretty queasy. I felt as though I might be sick, so we headed back to the condo, but after giving it a while I felt mostly okay, so we set off again, this time for the zoo!

We hadn’t originally planned to go to San Diego Zoo, but the friends we’d gone to the worship night with had given us some coupons for 50% off the admission price, and we figured since we were in the area we might as well; the zoo gets great reviews and it was something to do. It was a little bit rainy when we got there but it didn’t bother us.

A rainy afternoon at the #sandiego #zoo. #kategoestocalifornia

We bought our tickets and got stamped to say we had paid for the bus tour, and I instagrammed this picture with the caption, “prison tattoo?” because that claw was kind of hardcore:

Prison tattoo? #sandiego #zoo #kategoestocalifornia

We decided to start with the bus tour, see what all there was, and then decide where we wanted to spend more time. As we got in line for the bus, there was an announcement that it could be a twenty minute or so wait before the next tour. The waiting area was covered so we weren’t getting wet, so no big deal. Until about ten minutes in, when someone in front of us said, “man, this is going to take hours.” And I started to feel a little panicky. My heart rate sped up, and as I looked around at the people waiting, I said, a little bit desperately, “I don’t think I can wait in this line for hours. I don’t think I can do it again. I’m just not sure I can.” And then it was pointed out to me, “Kate, we could leave this line. We don’t have to stay in it.”

Oh. Right. We are at a zoo in San Diego, not a border line in Mexico. I swear it felt like a PTSD flashback.

The bus did come a few minutes later, and we got a great tour of the zoo, but first of course I took a selfie – where, can I just say, I think I look not so bad given my nightmarish day the day before:

#zoo #selfie. Also, the photo I will submit with my application to the CIA. #sandiego #kategoestocalifornia(also will be the photo I submit to the CIA with my application)

Then we saw the zoo:

Just hanging out. #sandiego #zoo #kategoestocalifornia

#elephant #sandiego #zoo #kategoestocalifornia

#brownbear #sandiego #zoo #kategoestocalifornia

"What in fact is an evil giraffe? 'I will eat all the leaves on this tree. I will eat more leaves than I should. So that other giraffes may die. Ahahaha.'" What do you mean, it isn't normal to turn a normal #zoo visit into an #eddieizzard comedy routine?

#giraffe #sandiego #zoo #kategoestocalifornia

Baby #antelope! #sandiego #zoo #kategoestocalifornia

A blurry #koala eating eucalyptus. #sandiego #zoo #kategoestocalifornia

When the tour was over, we decided we would go see a sea otter show, but a few minutes after we got to the stadium thingie, it began to rain harder, and we decided we didn’t really want to get wet. We went to the gift shop and browsed a bit, and then bought this for my nephew:

Clearly I bought my 6 year old nephew one of these. #sandiego #zoo #kategoestocalifornia

It was raining pretty hard by that point, so we left the zoo and headed out across the Coronado bridge, because I had heard nice things about Coronado and wanted to see it. I had also heard there was a military base out there where you could plane spot, but I wasn’t sure exactly where it is, so we ended up just driving along the coast, which was very pretty, even in the rain.

Back on the mainland a little while later, we returned to the condo to shower and pack up. It was only about 2 PM and our flight wasn’t until 10 PM that night, but we decided to clear out of the condo and take another drive before we had to go to the airport. We said goodbye to our lovely hostess and packed up the car, and headed out to the last place I really wanted to see – La Jolla.

There was really only one reason I wanted to go to La Jolla was that my dad had loved it. To be honest, the entire trip was kind of wistful for me in that sense – there were so many things we saw that he had talked about and enjoyed. He really loved California, and I remember him talking about La Jolla often. He pronounced it the way it’s spelled, which always made me laugh.

The drive up through the area was very pretty, a mix of mountains and the sea. We saw the Torrey Pines golf course, some giant homes in the area, drove down the main strip, and then found a place to park to check out the water a little better. It was chilly and rainy, but it actually brought a nice quality to the water.

A dreary day in #lajolla is still a pretty day. #kategoestocalifornia

A clothing store called Fresh Produce. Why not? #lajolla #kategoestocalifornia A clothing store called Fresh Produce.

I didn't think I'd shared enough pictures of water on this trip. #lajolla #kategoestocalifornia

#surfers in #lajolla. #kategoestocalifornia

#lajolla #kategoestocalifornia

I took one last selfie, where my ridiculous Mexico sunglass tan line is very visible:

I would like to promise you this is the last vacation selfie I'll post, but I have a long night of traveling ahead of me and who can say what might happen? #nomakeup #tired #lajolla #kategoestocalifornia
Posting that photo shows real dedication to chronicling the entirety of the trip, thankyouverymuch.

And we saw the cutest thing – down on the beach, a man was working out while his dog frantically dug a massive hole next to him. It kind of delighted me to watch for a few minutes.

This guy was working out at the water's edge and his dog was digging a massive hole in the sand. Buried treasure? #lajolla #kategoestocalifornia

By the time we were done in La Jolla, it was gone 5 PM, and we decided to head back toward the airport and return the rental car. We thought there was a Chilis in the airport so we were going to have dinner there and kill some time (we were wrong, which was a bummer, but oh well).

At the airport, the first thing I did was slip into the bathroom and change from my sundress into jeans. Once checked in, we had hours to kill, so we wandered the airport a little bit and grabbed some pizza for dinner before just settling in at the departure lounge and waiting.

Serious travellers. #sandiego #airport #kategoestocalifornia

#sandiego #airport #kategoestocalifornia

I really wasn’t feeling all that well. My stomach had continued to be iffy all day, and while I wasn’t looking forward to the flight home, I figured I would probably just sleep the entire way since I was absolutely wiped out and it was a night flight.

I was kind of wrong. We left on time, and I did doze a little here and there, but mostly I was just restless and uncomfortable and awake. It was the middle of the night when I Instgrammed this photo from the plane:

 "Thirty thousand feet above, could be Oklahoma"  #thoseflyoverstates #kategoestocalifornia
I was listening to the song “Fly Over States” and it seemed appropriate.

We landed in Atlanta around 6 AM, and had three hours to kill. We found a lounge with comfy chairs and settled in. My left foot was aching like crazy, and when I took off my shoes, I gasped. “What the hell am I going to do about my foot?!” I believe I said at one point:

Just got off a plane in #atlanta. What the hell is wrong with my foot?! #iblamemexico #kategoestocalifornia

Seriously, I swear I actually do have ankles.

Finally, it was time for the last leg of the journey home. I felt like absolute crap by the time we boarded the plane in Atlanta, and when we sat down, I immediately asked for a blanket, pulled it up to my chin and closed my eyes. And pretty much didn’t open them until we pulled up to the gate in Toronto. I didn’t sleep; I just knew that if I opened my eyes, I’d puke everywhere.

I did open them for a split second during the flight when I felt the sun hit my face through the window. I snapped this photo, tucked my phone back in my bra and shut my eyes again to combat the terrible motion sickness I was feeling.

Somewhere between #atlanta and #toronto, and between #earth and the #moon. #almosthome #kategoestocaliforniaSomewhere between Atlanta and Toronto, and between the earth and the moon?

I was so, so happy to set my feet on solid ground. We had a relatively easy time with customs and finding our bags, and then it was just a matter of picking up the car and heading home. When I got home, I dragged my stuff inside and fairly collapsed on my couch. I did end up getting up a little later to go for dinner with a friend, and then went to bed and slept approximately 13 hours. I spent much of the next day laying on the couch with my fucked up foot elevated by propping it up on the back of the couch, and by the end of the day the swelling had gone down quite a bit, thank goodness.

California was an incredible adventure. From San Francisco to San Diego (and the day in Toronto before we even left), six ballgames total, an epic drive down the coast, amazing sights, good food and hilarious mishaps, it was just amazing. What’s that song, the one that says, “I left my heart in San Francisco”? I definitely left mine in California. Whether it was San Francisco or somewhere along highway 1, there’s no denying that the state got to me. I’m so grateful I had the opportunity to go.

Jan 29

Kate goes to California, Day 8: San Diego & Mexico (but mostly Mexico)

When the trip to California was planned, I started thinking about how close San Diego was to Mexico. I had heard that pharmaceuticals are exceedingly inexpensive there, and, having a neck injury, that was pretty appealing. After doing some research into whether or not it was safe to venture into the country, I decided that it was, and added a little jaunt across the border to the itinerary.

Oh it all sounds so idyllic.

The Friday morning, the second to last day of the trip, I woke up, threw on a denim skirt and a pretty summer top, grabbed my purse and sunglasses, announced I’d be home by noon at the latest (it was about 9AM) and headed out toward the border. On the way, I Instagrammed this photo with the caption, “just going to Mexico quickly. BRB.”

Just going to #Mexico quickly. BRB. #kategoestocalifornia


Be right back, indeed.

I parked the car about a quarter mile from the border, in a lot I had researched. I wasn’t at all nervous about going to Mexico on my own, but in the interest of ensuring I came back with everything I left with, I left my iPad and most of my money in the glove compartment.

It was an easy walk to the border – down a street, over a pedestrian bridge, down a flight of steps and then around a corner. I stopped on the way to exchange some money into pesos, and then headed for Mexico, unsure of what I’d find.

#mexico. #kategoestocalifornia

Oh but first I took a selfie on the bridge with the Mexican flag in the background, because of course:


Getting into Mexico is easy. The border is literally a turnstile. I’m not joking:

The Mexican border: a turnstile. #mexico #kategoestocalifornia

You walk up to it, go through it, and bam, Mexico. Actually, that’s not entirely true. Just on the other side of the turnstile are men in army fatigues with huge fuck off guns, but they mostly just stood there and didn’t make any eye contact. There was also a sign saying that bags would be searched, but they didn’t even look twice at me as I walked through. Then I emerged in the sunlight, and then bam, Mexico.

I had read online that the wait to get back into the U.S. would be about 100 minutes, so I decided to quickly do my shopping and then get in line. I had thought about going a little ways into Tijuana to do some souvenir shopping, but found a pharmacy right next to the border, and ducked in there. It took less than ten minutes to buy three bottles of strong muscle relaxants (the same thing that you can find in Robaxacet but like three times as strong), and then because I was alone and didn’t know where I was going, I decided to forget the souvenirs and just get in line to go back. Really the trip was about just doing something kind of different, being able to say I’d been to Mexico, and adding another adventure to the trip. So to me it didn’t matter that I’d be in Mexico less than two hours total.

Oh, and I should mention here, because it’s important later, that I had to pee at this point, but I didn’t think I’d be able to find anywhere with a public washroom nearby, so I figured I’d hightail it back to the States to use a washroom there.

Oh, the universe is laughing at me right now.

It took me a few minutes to find the line for the U.S. border, and when I did, there were two of them, which confused me until someone explained that there was a line for regular people and an accelerated line for people who have the Mexican equivalent of the NEXUS card. Only by the time that was explained to me, I had been in the line for half an hour, and didn’t really want to go all the way to the back of the line. Cue Kate sidling over to the other line and just inserting herself into it.

It wasn’t such a hot idea.

I had realized by that point that the wait was going to be considerably longer than 100 minutes, as I had been there more than 30 and hadn’t really moved. I still had cell service so I quickly sent a text saying it might be a bit longer than I had thought but that I still thought I’d be home by 1PM.

Cue two hours of the people in front of me yelling at me in Spanish that I was cutting the line, and that I was stupid and ugly and white. Here’s the problem. I understand a lot of Spanish, but I don’t speak very much of it anymore. So if someone is speaking to me in Spanish, I can understand most of what they are saying, but I can only answer basic things. I understood every word these people were yelling at me, and all I wanted to do was yell back, “yo entiendo todo!

Related to nothing, somewhere around this time, I looked up and saw this billboard and just had to take a picture:

It *was* just going to be a quick trip, but now that I've seen this I'll have to stay in #mexico a little longer. #questionableplasticsurgery #kategoestocalifornia

Around the two and a half hour mark, my feet were starting to feel a little sore, but it wasn’t that bad. I still had to pee, but not really any more than I did when I got in the line. I had no cell phone signal anymore, because literally, I went further into Mexico in the winding border line back to the U.S. than I did shopping, so I was a little bit bored, and I was hot because it was 45 degrees and I was in full sun, but I just kept thinking of the tanning potential.

Three hours into the line, I was dying of thirst, and when a roadside vendor came by selling bottled water for twenty pesos, I bought one. I was a little hesitant but I figured that they always tell you to drink bottled water in Mexico so I thought I might be okay. More than anything I just hoped that if I got sick, it wasn’t until I was back in the U.S.

Incidentally, around this time I watched the woman in front of me purchase a shrimp cocktail from another roadside stand and then proceed to drink it, and I’m completely serious when I tell you that I nearly puked on the spot. Shrimp. In 45 degree sunshine. Dear. God.

Three and a half hours in, I began to despair.

Four hours in, I was exhausted. My feet were aching. I was pretty sure my tan was turning into a crazy burn. I felt dehydrated. Whereas the Spanish-speaking people in the line made friends and talked to each other and took turns keeping each other’s places in line so they could sit down and rest a while, I was alone and couldn’t converse with anyone around me. And to be completely honest, I felt a little like I was losing my mind.

So when suddenly I could hear different languages being spoken near me, and I realized I could understand them, it was like a gift from the heavens. Somehow four French Canadians and one American were in front of me in the line, and as I listened, I realized that they had all been almost near the front of the line when they’d realized they were in the wrong line, and they’d been sent all the way to the back. The Canadians and the American weren’t together but I guess they’d all woven their way back up to near the front of the line.

I didn’t even care that they had gone in front of me in the line. I was so relieved to have people to speak to that I was happy for them to stay there. I learned that the Canadians were on a 6 week road trip through the U.S. and the American guy, whose name was Steve, was a San Diego resident and had only been in Mexico for a few hours. He had to work in another couple hours back in the States, and was hoping to get back in time. The problem for all of them was that a Mexican cop was looking for them in the line, to tell them to get back to the back of the line – and in fact this is exactly what happened to the French Canadians. Steve kind of turned away, put his ballcap and sunglasses on, and I was more than happy to try to help “shield” him from the cop. This nearly backfired, because the cop actually thought that all four French Canadians, the American and I were all together – and understandably, the line was like a thousand Mexicans, six white people and then a thousand more Mexicans. I began to panic, thinking about how there was absolutely no way I could go to the back of the line and wait several more hours, and I decided right away that if I had to, I’d find a shady place to sit, and just wait until later in the evening for the line to die down before I tried again. I just kept repeating, “no no, cinco horas!” to try to convey that I had been in the line for approximately three days.

In the end, the French Canadians were sent to the back of the line, and I felt bad for them, but I was mostly just relieved that I hadn’t also been. Steve’s phone had a signal, and he was kind enough to let me quickly send an “I’m not dead don’t worry the line is just taking forever I’ll text you when I can this kind stranger let me use his phone don’t reply to this it will cost a fortune” text so that other humans would know I was alive and also not bound, gagged and in the trunk of a car somewhere. He also became my personal hero when he agreed to hold my place in line while I ran into a little convenience store just to the side of the border line and bought a bottle of Powerade. I was so tired and hot and dehydrated that I was shaking from head to toe, and that bottle may have literally saved my life. Up until that moment I actually had been thinking I might pass out, and I just kept praying that if I did, it wasn’t until I was actually in the border building, because I was pretty sure the Americans would help me then, but if I passed out in the line outside, I knew the Mexicans would just step over me and leave me there to die.

Four and a half hours in, we were finally inside the building, which provided some refuge from the heat but no real relief. We were corralled into lanes, and I spent most of the time bent over with my arms leaning on the lane dividers, my forehead resting on them. If I’d had any fluid left in my body, I’d have been crying. Remember when I said I needed to pee when I got in the line? I no longer needed to. It was like my body was like, “we’re taking this back.”

At some point in this part of the line, I heard a funny noise and opened my eyes, still bent over at the waist leaning on the railing. Hanging out near my feet was an adorable (and huge) chihuahua type dog. I don’t know if he belonged to someone in the line or if he was a stray, but seeing him made me smile in the midst of what was very nearly a breakdown, so I snapped a pic.

The #chihuahua I met in #mexico.

I’d had a thought about halfway through the line that the muscle relaxants I’d bought aren’t sold in the United States and therefore there was a chance they wouldn’t even let me bring them into the country. Five and a half hours after I got into the line, I finally reached the front. A border agent took my passport, glanced at the drugs and waved me on through. I was probably at the desk less than thirty seconds. Five and a half hours for less than a minute’s scrutiny.

Once I left the counter, I had to put my purse through an x-ray machine and then I was free.

I slowly made my way back to the car, and when I got there, I just sat for a minute with my eyes closed before tiredly starting the car and heading back to the condo. It was after 5 PM when I got there, and when I walked in the door, the first words out of my mouth were, “I know I was gone forever and it wasn’t what we planned for today but you can’t be mad at me because I’ve had the worst day ever and I’m sore everywhere and exhausted and can hardly move!”

Yeah I was pretty desperate.

The first thing I did after I took off my sandals was to fill the bathtub with cold water and sat on the edge to soak my poor feet, which I had watched begin to swell in the line. I’m not kidding, as soon as I dipped my feet into the water, it turned black – I was absolutely filthy. The water felt good but it really wasn’t cold enough, so we dumped all of the ice from the maker in the freezer into the tub and I sat there, practically moaning in relief, until it was all melted.

This is what my foot looked like about an hour after icing it:

This is what #mexico does to your feet. Those marks are from the shoes I put on *after* I got home and soaked my feet in ice water. Beautiful swelling and glorious cankles! #sorefeet #tired #kategoestocalifornia

Those marks, by the way, are from the shoes I put on after the ice.

You’d think after a day like that, I’d want to have a shower and climb into bed. But actually we still had things to do that night – namely, a ball game. We decided we weren’t too fussed about getting there right at the start, so after I’d changed out of my disgusting Mexico clothes, we went across the street to the Spaghetti Factory and had dinner before walking down to the stadium.

Petco Park is really beautiful. It’s one of the newer major league ballparks, and it shows. It’s modern and clean and just really nice all around.

Last #ballpark of the trip: beautiful #petcopark from the inside tonight! #mlb #baseball #sdpadres #sandiego #kategoestocalifornia

My ballpark pictures that night show a tired, possibly slightly overtanned girl.

If I look hunched over and exhausted it's because I am. Five and a half hours in the line to get back from #mexico will do that to a person. This person is tired. #mlb #baseball #petcopark #ballpark #sandiego #sdpadres #kategoestocalifornia

Last #ballpark #selfie of the trip. Home tomorrow night! And maybe bedtime very very soon. #tired #mlb #baseball #sdpadres #sandiego #kategoestocalifornia

Despite being absolutely exhausted, I did really enjoy the game. The Padres beat the Braves 10-1 so it was an exciting game to be at. Especially considering they celebrate home runs with fire:

A #homerun at #petcopark calls for #fire. #sdpadres #mlb #ballpark #baseball #sandiego #kategoestocalifornia

It was a pretty enjoyable way to end a horrific day. I did laugh to myself during the game as every time I looked down at my foot, I noticed that it was swelling up again. I figured it would go down by the morning after getting some sleep.

And sleep is exactly what I did when we got back to the condo after the game – after showering off the remnants of Mexico, of course, because there was no way I was going to get into bed in that state. I nearly wept with relief when I finally did slide between the sheets that night.

The verdict on Mexico? You know, I’d do it again. I’d do it differently – I’ve since learned a lot about how best to shop in Tijuana – but I’d do it again. It was worth it for the cultural experience (my God, the difference one wall makes is incredible – extreme riches on one side and extreme poverty three feet away), and I think I’d have enjoyed the shopping and possibly an authentic Mexican meal somewhere. And I feel like I should state that in spite of what I jokingly call my Mexican near-death experience, there was never a time where I felt fearful, at least for my safety. So many people I talked to about my plans go to to Mexico expressed worry about how safe it was. I never ever felt unsafe or like I was in any danger, except for when I thought I might pass out and collapse from sunstroke, exhaustion and dehydration. But that’s not Mexico’s fault – if anything, it’s the United States’. So yeah, I’d do it again. But I’ll be very glad not to repeat this exact experience – once in a lifetime is enough for that.

Jan 21

Because I needed the reminder


Nothing will change if all the plans I make go wrong
Your love stays the same
Your light will guide me through it all
I’m hanging on
I’m leaning in, to you

Nothing can reach
The end of all your faithfulness
Your grace is with me
Through every shadow, every test
I’m hanging on
I’m leaning in, to you

I don’t know where you’ll take me
But I know you’re always good

My hope is built on nothing else
Than your great love, your righteousness
I will not walk another way
I trust your heart, I trust your name
I’m holding on
I’m holding on, to You

You are my rock
When storms are raging all along
You shelter me, God
I’m safe with you on solid ground
I’m hanging on
I’m leaning in, to You

I don’t know where you’ll take me
But I know you’re always good

My hope is built on nothing else
Than Your great love, your righteousness
I will not walk another way
I trust Your heart, I trust your name
I’m holding on
I’m holding on, to you

Paul Baloche – “My Hope”