Well There You Have It!

I took a personality test today. In fifteen minutes I answered a series of questions and the tiny, little analyzer internet minions spit out pure truth.

When looking at Personal Motivators, “Aesthetic” was my highest score.

The test said:

  • Katie enjoys the beauty of her surroundings and would like others to share
    her passion.
  • She will enjoy the more traditional form of beauty as compared to the
  • She is in tune with her inner feelings and likes surroundings that compliment these feelings.
  • Katie seeks self-realization and fulfillment.
  • Katie needs a sense of harmony and balance in her surroundings and relationships.
  • Being recognized for creativity is the highest form of achievement for her.
  • Katie is interested in studying and appreciating the totality of a situation.
  • Creativity is only limited by external, not internal boundaries.

How do they do it? Completely GET you after a series of 12 questions! I am amazed and delighted that this analysis confirms what I sometimes deny to be true about myself.

These truths have trickled into my internet space and affirmed, yet again, that I believe in the pursuit of beauty. I believe in it ever so much!

Writing about feelings and surroundings and harmony and balance makes sense because these building blocks make up my core. I believe that creativity is worth achieving and equals accomplishment. The pursuit of beautiful things being more important to me than money or fast cars or fancy jewelry (although if this blog brings me money or fancy jewelry I wouldn’t say no.) I believe in being honest about feelings – fear, doubt, happiness, joy, confusion, grief. Bring them all on!


Photo by Diego PH on Unsplash


So I raise my arms in praise to the Universe for sending a confirming message that I’m on the right track. In writing, in the pursuit of beauty, in the privilege it is to just be myself.

Let’s keep at it eh?

1400 Pennies

Clink. Clink. Clink.

I sat criss-crossed on the carpet sorting coins on Sunday night. Pouring piles of pennies onto the floor as fresh air blew in from my open window.

Piles of ten. Add up to fifty. Over and over again.

Rain drops sneaking their way through the screen. Olive snipping at a fly buzzing above.

Clink. Clink. Clink. Metal on glass. Coins exiting a mason jar.

I took home a canning jar full of coins from my mom’s house after family dinner on Sunday. The jar had sat in my parent’s medicine cabinet for years. Pennies collecting scum and dust and pieces of lint.

Each evening, Dad would take coins out of pockets and throw them in the pile. Circles of copper waiting for a bigger purpose. Something to be saved. I don’t know what he did with his dimes, nickels, and quarters. This jar was only full of pennies.

Mom moved the jar out of her reclaimed closet a few weeks ago.

I’ve always been motivated by money. In elementary school I rose to Dad’s reading challenge – you get one dollar for every book you read from now until we go to Disney World. I read one hundred chapter books much to Dad’s surprise. He held up his end of the deal and I think I got a souvenir. Knowing me, I probably saved some of the cash. In high school I spent hours organizing holiday greeting cards for an odd acquaintance – paid by the package. Nimble fingers make for quick compounding pay outs.

This is an interesting personal trait considering I’ve spent my career working for nonprofits, writers, and small businesses. Passion pays the soul. It can also leaves zeros missing at the end of paychecks.

So yes, when Mom said I could have the cash if I took the heavy jar home, I jumped at the chance. This nerd already had rolling papers for the coins waiting to be filled.

This aint my first coin jar rodeo. I sat, I poured, and I rolled up those pennies.

Clink. Clink. Clink.


1400 pennies in all. When I finished counting, an overwhelming sadness overtook me. This would be the last interaction with Dad’s always present coin jar. The one that sat next to the Advil and aloe in the cabinet. Never again will his contributions of loose change add up to something bigger.

I held the rolls of money in my sweaty palms feeling their weight. Went to bed.

In the morning, sipping my coffee, I glanced over at the pile of paper rolls and stared. His fingerprints, his grime, his pockets, his molecules in those little cylinders. Beautiful reminders of his after-thoughts at the end of his days.

I went to the bank this afternoon and swallowed the sadness as I handed the teller my beautiful pennies in exchange for some dollar bills. She laughed a little and asked if I had a side project collecting the coins.

“Something like that,” I murmured.

I walked out the doors of the bank and pocketed the cash. I told myself it is ok to let go, once again, of the many little things. That’s what grief is. A constant letting go.

There is beauty found in the grimy copper coins, in their distinct clinking noise against glass, in their memories.

I spent the dollar bills on a craft beer with a friend tonight. An EIGHT DOLLAR craft beer. I think Dad would have liked the ale but I know he would have rolled his eyes at the price.

Beauty in beer, in letting go, in acknowledging the sadness. In the saying of thank you, Dad, for keeping your coins. In realizing I can still say, “Dad, this one’s on you.”

Find Your Passion

photo 3

Look at my tomato plant! This little guy is growing. I can’t believe it. And to think my mom just started it from a seed. She’s a little jealous since I am growing them on a deck, they were spared from the last hail storm. Her little veggies got shredded a little before salad season. I seriously can’t believe that this process is working! My lettuce, eh…. Carrots – they are taking a long time – delayed gratification and they grow down. I can’t see their progress. But I sure do put hope in these little tomato plants.  Oh the metaphors, the lessons that vegetables can teach us. I could do a whole extended metaphor thing here, but I don’t think that’s the direction I want to move tonight.

Instead, I’d rather focus on Chickens. Felted Chickens.


Look how cool this little guy is. He has tons of friends, and the artists that make these guys were so wonderful! This is truly not something you see every day. Take a moment to learn more about the artists The CitygirlFarm. You know what’s funny? I’m not sure why these caught my attention because frankly, I hate birds. But these were so innovative, and pretty, and I, for some reason or another, am drawn to fiber arts. Funny, too, because who thinks of resting their feet on chickens?

This weekend we got to go to the Cherry Creek Arts Festival in Denver – a favorite of mine each summer.  I love walking around the ritzy neighborhood, thinking about how some day, just maybe, I will be able to purchase some original art for the walls of my home. I usually just collect business cards, and hand outs that the artists share their contact info on. Free art! Even if it is in miniature.

I love looking at how artists spend their time and creative efforts. How refreshing it is to think about how people choose to break out of the every day monotony of paying bills, worrying about what’s next, and instead channel efforts into different mediums and landscapes, and lines and textures. How freeing it can be; to express yourself on canvas. Or wire. Or sculpture, Or paint. I did a lot of art in high school – somewhere along the line I got afraid I wasn’t good enough. I was traumatically affected when my high school teacher told me my work didn’t have a theme, that the connection wasn’t strong enough through my threads of pieces. As a perfectionist, this hit me hard. I’m better now, but still think I should dabble more into art. There is beauty in choosing to create regardless of what the critic thinks.

My new line when I don’t quite understand someone else’s hobbies, or maybe am just a little jealous that I haven’t honed my own true talent yet, is “find your passion.” Well Thecitygirlfarm certainly found their passion – and they got to share it with me – and I love it! And this weekend, at the art festival, it seemed just like all those people were doing just that. I love the beautiful conversations art invokes, the way artists open their eyes and shift their perspectives and are brave enough to put their view into form, and offer it up to be sold into people’s homes. That is such a beautiful combination – vulnerability, perspective, artistic truth, culture. How wonderful.

Below are some of my favorites from the festival. Check them out. What questions do they make you ask? What’s your passion?

Katharine McGuiness – “The Sky is Falling”

Ginny Herzog – “Detroit”

Jerry Brem – loved the book paintings  – someday, in my library maybe

Chris Dahlquist – the business card title is “object maker” – what a wonderful title!

Liz Quan – the coolest porcelain lights ever! And she works in Colorado!

Jessica Magee – loved the abstractions and the colors – you just want to stare at the pieces

Debo Groover – funky polymer clay and mixed media works – love love love