Kelly In Catty

This blog is Kell's attempt to keep in touch with friends far away who complain that I don't e-mail nearly enough.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Musical Advice

A few years ago, I met Rachel Zylstra at a film conference at Calvin College. One night the men at the conference got together to go bowling, which left us ladies free to hit the town on our own. We were joined by another new friend, Donna. We all seemed to hit it off right away.

We talked for hours as old friends will do - except we were new friends... so the conversation was full of "get to know you" questions, interesting explanations, and many many new stories of our lives in our three home states, our families, our jobs, and our hopes for the future. We were interested, we were funny, and we were totally enjoying our girls' night.

At one point, a man at the next table stood up. He'd been sitting there for awhile, and was alone. He walked to our table and placed a note, scribbled on a napkin in the middle of the table. He muttered something like "Excuse me, sorry-to-bother-you..." and walked out.

The funny thing? The note wasn't for ONE of us - it was for ALL of us. He apologized for eavesdropping, but said our conversation was both enlightening and entertaining, and thanked us for the "company." He mentioned he was a nurse - and if we had any medical questions, we could always call him. He left us his number.

None of us kept the note... and certainly never contacted him, so we'll never know if he was just being sweet, or was a crazed lunatic.... All I have to say was that he was right - the conversation WAS both enlightening and entertaining... and I'm really glad I had the evening to get to know Rachel and Donna.

ANYWAY - all this to say, sometime after the conference, Rachel moved to NYC to begin her musical career. She's a remarkable pianist whose playing style reminds me of Tori Amos'. Her music is well-crafted, art-house fare... In her, I see an original. She's not following trend, and she's a sound-alike to no one I can think of. However, her songwriting style elicits a pinch of the Mercury (Freddie that is), as well as those clever singer/songwriters I love - like Jonatha Brooke, Jewel, Paula Cole... You know the stuff. Good, honest, fun...

Rachel is doing a new thing - which I applaud her for - A musical advice column - hosted on blogger... You can find her here. You owe it to yourselves to give her a listen. She's not only remarkably creative, but pretty insightful!

For example, to an unemployed woman who wants to know if it's okay that she tell others the truth of her current status as jobless/homeless and in need of a job, Rachel sings:

"You gotta take this full-on; honesty can be fun. Here’s your script:
“I’m unemployed - aka on the ready
to be your friend or colleague or your girlfriend going steady -
keeping real, keeping gracious with my peops and my folks as I camp out at their places
and I laugh at all their jokes.
Yeah boy, I’m homeless, living on a bum flux,
riding on a need wave – surfing for my own house.
In the steady meantime, I possess a width of time.
I’m overqualified; I can make your sentence rhyme –"

(KELLINCATTY's ASIDE: She sang "BUM FLUX!!!!" If I ever quit my band, I'm going to find a new one and name it BUM FLUX!)

Here she is on YOUTUBE: doling out fashion advice:

So fun. Check her out. Ask her a question - She'll tell you no lies.

And Rach? Can I produce your music videos?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Photo Inspiration

I've been on a quest for inspiration lately, so a friend of mine and I started a photo inspiration site... you can find it on Facebook - type "PhotoPhotoPhoto: Inspiration for Shutterbugs" in the search bar - and you can join us - post, comment, and have fun.

My faves are the purple mask and the little perfume bottle & quarter... both shot in my house with no special lighting (save a bit of tin foil wrapped around a cereal box to give a little highlight to the perfume bottle). I did mess with the mask in photoshop - the original background color was orange.


Monday, March 08, 2010


A few months ago, I had a scuffle with a company called PEEL, INC. Today, out of curiosity, I looked them up - The Chicago Better Business Bureau reports this:

Government Actions

On February 17, 2010 IL Attorney General Lisa Madigan filed a lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court against Peel, Inc., and its President Brian Dale. The company sells products online at dozens of Web sites, including,, and

The company markets its products using "free trial" offers and requires consumers to provide their billing information purportedly to cover shipping and handling fees for the supposedly free merchandise. However, within days of signing up for a free trial, consumers begin receiving unauthorized charges ranging from $19.99 to $49.99 on their credit cards.

Further, Madigan's complaint alleges that if consumers are able to reach Peel's customer service, the company allegedly promises to stop charging consumers but fails to do so. Consumers continue to receive unauthorized charges on their credit cards. Madigan's Consumer Fraud Bureau and the Better Business Bureau have received more than 2,300 complaints against Peel and its affiliated Web sites.

Madigan's suit alleges the defendants violated the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act by placing unauthorized charges on consumers' credit card bills. The suit seeks a permanent injunction barring the defendants from doing business in Illinois, restitution for consumers, civil penalties of $50,000 for violating the Consumer Fraud Act, and an additional $50,000 for each violation committed with the intent to defraud.

I'd like to think I had a hand in taking these horses'patooies down! Shame on you Brian Dale. You deserve to be making license plates in jail.

I'm still a dope for falling for these losers - but you won't find me falling for this crap again.

Saving Face(book)

I'm such an idiot.

The other day I posted a new status on Facebook. It went something like this (I've since deleted - so forgive the paraphrase) - "Kellincatty wonders what Sarah Palin wants to be when she grows up. Standup? Jay Leno, I never took you for an enabler."

Big mistake, but since I'm unpacking and unloading right now, let me explain a few things.

I'm not a fan of Palin... but not for the reasons you may be thinking. Where some people see her as a champion of conservative values, I just see her as a big ego with legs... I see her as striving to be... as opposed to just being. To me, she's the Bree Hodge of politics, desperately seeking to appear perfect when she's as flawed as the rest of us... To me, that's sad.

In addition, she seems to want to be all things to all people: politician, leader, supermom, hot wife, champion of traditional values, author, star interviewee, keynote speaker, commentator, sports analyst, storyteller, Republican pinup girl, Presidential material, hero of Alaska, FOX sweetheart and now standup comedian? Too many hats for me!

Now I realize that the whole pantheon of politicians very likely have the same mythic self image... but what I can't understand is this Svengali-like hold she seems to have on certain people. But maybe it's just too simple: My husband shrugs, "She's pretty good lookin' Kell..."

Ok - so now, do you guys understand the issue I have with her? I just view her antics as desperate unprofessionalism. I don't think she's necessarily unintelligent (although she has not a shred of talent in extemporaneous public speaking). I don't hate that she has family values (although I didn't personally take offense to the episode of Family Guy where Chris falls for a Down's Syndrome girl). I don't care that she wrote on her hand. I think it's great that she's making enough money to send her kids to college. Honest... I just wish she'd stick to what she's good at.

It doesn't matter that I'm not exactly sure what that is.

However, when I wrote that status on Facebook, I was accused of being anti-values... sort of. Let me say I felt like I was accused of all this and more.

At one point, someone admitted that Palin may not be presidential material, but might make a good cabinet member (meanwhile, Kellincatty thinks - "What, How?") Then I purport that perhaps the commenter has a crush on her. (I know, mean, right?) Commenter then says that no one reads de Toqueville anymore... Or the Federalist papers - so we no longer understand the values on which this nation was built.

Because I didn't see what this had to do with my point, I just started poking fun. I posted this little de Toqueville gem, which succinctly details my feelings for Mrs. Palin: "As one digs deeper into the national character of the Americans, one sees that they have sought the value of everything in this world only in the answer to this single question: how much money will it bring in?"

I also mentioned that we don't see Ann Coulter running for office...

To make a long story short, this elicited a slew of comments (and another de Toqueville point which leads me to belive you can apply his words to anything you believe...) - not just from my accusatory friend... everyone was getting in on the action - even my mother. Finally, I deleted the thread. Enough is enough.

Know what the weirdest part? I wasn't mad about the run-amok-comments about Palin. I was angry because I felt like my accusatory Facebook friend wasn't hearing me... He just wanted to get his digs in - about how he hates our president and the "Chi-town thugs" (his words) who sit in the White House.

I never intended to get into the litany of her values and politics. I just commented on Palin's behavior. And the more I failed to make my point clear, the more badly I behaved... and for that I need to apologize.

I really should know better. Where I love a good fight, I've gotta either start directing my communications in a more positive way - I should just save face(book) and politely refuse to enter the fray.

The worst part? I now have to give Sarah Palin one more friggin' hat - counselor.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Drive Me Crazy

I was driving my nephew home after he spent the weekend at my house. He is one of those 13-year olds who will never agree with anyone - because he desperately needs and wants to feel smart - perhaps even superior:

Nephew: Women can't drive. They're terrible drivers.
Kellincatty: I'm driving now - Do yo feel unsafe? I mean, that's a pretty broad statement you're making...
Nephew: It's true.
Kellincatty: How can you say that? I mean, you're making a very broad statement.
Nephew: No...
Kellincatty: Know who the worst driver I've ever come across is? The one I refuse to ever get in a car with when he's driving?
Nephew: Who?
Kellincatty: Your father. He's a guy. Not a girl.

It's true. The last time I got in the car with my ridiculous former brother-in-law, I honestly thought I was going to die. He wouldn't pay attention. Five seconds after I gave a "turn right here" direction, he'd continue going straight. If I said 'Take the next exit,' he'd keep going... It was miserable, and I'm tired of it. The next time I had to transport myself and him, I told him I was driving... He kept saying, 'I can drive....'

It just wasn't true.

This week, I was told I couldn't drive a transport van (my van, mind you) to pick up some friends at the airport, because someone "would feel safer if it was a guy."


Then came the post script: But can we still use your van?

Granted, the one who would feel safer if a man drove to the airport backpedalled a little and said "Hey - I was just thinking that a woman driving to JFK at night wouldn't be as safe as a man driving to JFK at night..." (But can I still use your van)

Hey - for all you toads out there, I just want you to know that I haven't had (knock on wood) a vehicular accident in well over 20 years... I've caused no incidents, I've created no problems, I don't drive drunk... My insurance is really inexpensive because 1) I've taken good enough care of my car that I've had it for over 10 years... and 2) because my driving record is really really good.

And for you scoffers who want to note the crack in my bumper, feed on this: My husband borrowed the car - and backed into a dumpster on his way home one night. I wasn't even in the car - let alone the driver.

You boys with your convoluted ideas? You drive me crazy.... I arrive at "crazy" safely and in one piece... but I'm at crazy nonetheless.