AKA Kate, Existential Editor extraordinaire.

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Author, Nov 6, 2020

Quick fun facts: I’m 45, have been married since I was 18, and have two boys over the age of 21. I’ve got a Bachelor’s in Business Administration, and I owned my own company for five years.

I’ve taught myself sewing, jewelry, bottle beading, cross-stitch, embroidery, making headdresses, and costumes. I designed my tiny house, learned landscaping, carpentry, painting, patio building, driveway repair, and building code. I navigated dealing with contractors, worked as a home stager, organizer, and decluttered a ton of junk. …

Everywhere I go.

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Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

It never fails. The beginning of the year seems so fresh and new. Then the end of January reminds us that our finances are in a choke-hold, inextricably intertwined with federal, state, and local government interests. You know, like the military, the military, and the military in that order.

I’m good with the fact that my tax money goes to keep the cogs of our country running. I’m okay that I’m not technically involved with deciding where the money should go, despite voting for people who are supposed to care marginally about where I’d like my tax money spent. …

But they did tell me that I’d have days like this.

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Photo by Med Badr Chemmaoui on Unsplash

Levity, a much-needed respite, comes entirely at my expense this week. The whack-a-mole game of house design within the confines of 152 square feet of space is both epic and repetitive.

My builder in Oregon, ever patient, is designing my steel frame with a Texas company. I sit in Minnesota with bated breath, hoping that today is the day I get notice of production. Interstate lines are repeatedly crossed as we continue to play a game with Google Drive.

“I uploaded the information.”

“I can’t see it.”

“It should be there.” …

These are not my United States.

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Photo by David Todd McCarty on Unsplash

In my teens, I became disillusioned about politics, fairness, and government. Maybe it’s because I grew up in Arizona, where people always seemed to suffer and toil. Possibly it’s because my family always side-eyed government like it was a dirty necessity. I really don’t know.

In the last thirty years, I’ve watched this country bloom and blossom. We came together more and more. It felt like things were improving. I began to hope against hope that maybe my America was finally maturing, finally out-growing its terrible beginnings.

I was wrong. We were all so very wrong.

In the 80s, I encountered Donald Trump through my Grandmother’s Republican eyes. She disdained him as a rich, selfish man, beneath her notice. I have never been one to take other people’s opinions as fact, and so I watched him through the years. …

What are you carrying in your filthy pockets?

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Photo by Mr.Autthaporn Pradidpong on Unsplash

I love traveling. I adore meeting new people. I enjoy getting lost in new places. It is my favorite thing to adventure off the beaten tourist path. One might say I like journeying too much, but then that “one” is my husband.

Every trip starts with a basic plan — travel this way, stay here, spontaneously go somewhere else when I get there. On rare occasions, my trips entirely consisted of driving or busing. Flights are more direct and cost-effective.

The lead up to my flight looks like this: I write out a list of things to pack before my brainmeats go on vacation. My mind goes braindead about three days in advance. I pack my clothes the day before. I usually travel early (by car, bus, or train), and I have to wait at the airport. …


Nothing is more important than your environment for creativity

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Photo by Ray Hennessy on Unsplash

March through May saw people with unexpected time on their hands. Neighborhoods purged themselves onto driveways and into roll-off garbage bins. People’s homes miraculously fixed and cleaned themselves day-after-day. House purchasing grew to frantic levels as the populace moved from too-crowded Covid cities into fresher-air suburbs. We baked so much sourdough that it makes us sour to think about it. The state of stir-crazy became an art.

As the year finally winds down, people are still fleeing from themselves, Covid, and chaos. How do we get to a better mental space for creativity in 2021 after so much pain?

Change our environment

No, this doesn’t mean that we pack up our entire snail-on-our-back-belongings into cars and move in a more rural direction (or to another country). 2021’s focus on our environment starts with making our current locations more breathable and comfortable. It’s challenging to find our voices when we don’t have novelty in our lives. …

2020 has to end somehow, right?

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Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Ever since I was old enough to put up my holiday decorations, the holidays made me happy. I even had a family rule — first snow, the tree always went up. Always. One year, the first snow was on Halloween. I dressed my infant as a pumpkin, then spruced up my tree with homemade ornaments and lights to the tune of “The Nutcracker.”

I decorate for Halloween, cook for Thanksgiving, and hang up everything for Christmas, year in and year out, with very few exceptions.

Take 2019, for instance. We were in the process of redoing our kitchen that winter. I didn’t decorate at all. I made Thanksgiving at my sister-in-law’s house. (All we had was a toaster oven, a microwave, and a terrible desire for real food). Last Christmas, I did nothing to decorate. There were no presents. …

I see them everywhere.

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Author Picture, Blessed Home Cleaning, Aug 1,2020

Living in a large city means that there are too many companies to count. How do small companies in my neighborhood stand out? By being regrettably named or having the best gimmicks ever.

In the movie The Cutting Edge, Doug Dorsey’s brother owned a bar called “The Penalty Box” located in Duluth, Minnesota. Not to be outdone, the suburb I lived in also had “The Penalty Box.” Don’t bother Googling. If you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. Penalty Boxes are everywhere.

Continuing with the theme of TV/Movie references, Minnesota Mystery Machine gets together with Minnesota Mystery Inc. at local conventions. …

How to give back after death.

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Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

As more and more people become eco-conscious and environmentally aware, they change their habits and lifestyles in the hopes they’re helping more than they’re hurting the world. Most of us have heard about reducing our impacts through recycling and composting. What a lot of people aren’t aware of, though, is that they have options to reduce their impact of death on our environment.

Corpse management changed a lot over the years. It used to be the norm that families would care for their dead and handle the other aspects of the death of loved ones. …

Established March 2020, when the pandemic first overtook us.

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Author Picture, December 12, 2020

I learned how to garden from my mother and grandparents nearly forty years ago. In the desert, the non-existent rain and ground cover were necessary to keep plants living and thriving. My grandmother grew up during the Great Depression and valued self-sufficiency and careful planning. Poverty had always been a close thing for my mom’s family. We held a waste not, want not philosophy.

Somehow, though, I’d slipped into wastefulness all the same. I continued gardening once I married, but never with careful planning or need of good returns. Part of my attitude stemmed from gardening in the rich soils of the Midwest. Gardening is almost too simple here. …


Sunshine Zombiegirl

Existential editor. Mostly alive sort of undead, jack of all trades, master of none, but better than a master of one. AKA Kate sunshinezombiegirl@protonmail.com

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