Author Archives: katie ett

Canal Winchester, Ohio, Photography: Sarah

Filed under all of my friends are prettier than i am, just pictures, no i really do love ohio, photography
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While I was in Ohio for Christmas, I got to take some portraits of my lovely friend Sarah in the old-timey town of Canal Winchester. I met Sarah when a guy I grew up with started working with her at the science museum where I also used to work–though it was well after I had left and moved to NYC–and told her she should look me up as she passed through NYC on her way to live in India for six months(!). It didn’t work out that time (I blame her entirely), and then when she returned to the U.S. and decided to stay in NYC for a time, I put off our meeting for months and months for no reason other than that I was like, “Meh, whatevs, I have enough friends.” But then we finally DID meet, and it was like I had known her my whole life and wanted to continue to know her for the rest of it. So of course she moved back to Ohio, like, two months later.


Canal Winchester, Ohio, Photography

Bemused Sarah.

Canal Winchester, Ohio, Photography

Meandering creek.

Canal Winchester, Ohio, Photography

Winter flowers. (Weeds.)

Canal Winchester, Ohio, Photography

Sultry Sarah.

Paint Sample Obsession

Filed under arts and crafts, photography
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Have you ever painted paint samples on your wall and then become absolutely obsessed with them? My roommate/landlord/former co-worker/boyfriend, Jack, helped me paint these on my bedroom wall yesterday afternoon, and I’ve since checked on them approximately 400,000 times. As if they might have dried a different color between seven hours on my wall and eight hours on my wall.

Paint Samples

I think I might like the two on the right together, but I really have no idea. And it’s not like it actually matters, since we’ve lived in this apartment for three years now and have gotten along fine without paint so far. And we’ve actually been seriously talking about painting for eight months now but haven’t, so this is clearly one of those “no, really, I’m totally going to make all of these crafts I’ve pinned to my Pinterest boards” situations.

By the way, I took that photo with the new 14mm f/2.8 lens Jack bought me for Christmas. I was about half a foot away from the wall when I took it. The lens on this thing is so curved that I can see inside your ears when I’m two inches from your nose.

Wide Angle Lens

An Ode to the Greatest Grandma Couch in NYC

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When I moved to NYC in 2005, I came only with one of those plastic storage totes, crammed full of clothes and duct taped closed so it wouldn’t explode in the plane’s cargo hold. My boyfriend, Todd, already lived here in an NYU dorm, so when we moved into our first apartment together, we had absolutely no furniture. We sat on black beanbag chairs at first, but I eventually got antsy and found us the most beautiful modern Victorian couch on craigslist, cream-colored with a brocade pattern, carved wooden arms and legs. A guy had inherited his grandmother’s apartment when she’d died (probably on the couch) and wanted to get rid of it, so I paid him (or likely Todd’s dad did) $150 for the pleasure of owning it for the next eight years.

That couch saw a lot during its lifetime with me. It moved from my first studio in Chelsea to my two-bedroom in Park Slope to my two-bedroom in Williamsburg to my two-bedroom in Downtown Brooklyn. It never went with anything else I owned, and basically everyone but me thought it was hideous. But it was my grandma couch, and I loved it. Here’s a list of all of the people I can think of who shared special times with that couch, in chronological order:

• My friend Lauren, who was in a college writing class with me in Ohio, visited me basically the moment the couch came to my apartment and slept on it for a week while forcing me to go see Broadway shows that I couldn’t have cared less about. But she also introduced to me to H&M.

• My friend Mike visited from Ohio and was approximately twice as tall as my couch was. And also twice as big as that studio apartment was in general.

• My blogfriend Amy came to visit from Missouri, told me Life of Pi was her favourite book before I’d ever even heard of it, and got asked for directions by 9 out of 10 people who saw her on the streets because she looked so much more confident visiting here for one day than I did living here for years.

• My BFF 4-ever and 4-lyfe, Tracey, drove ten hours in the rain to visit me from Ohio. When she arrived, the streets were lined with garbage, and the air smelled like wet garbage, and she was horrified that I lived in this ugly, smelly place, but she loved my couch.

• My sister, Joanie, and my cousin, Bethany, visited from Kentucky and Ohio to accompany me to NYC tourist sites when it was 2 degrees outside. Bethany would later buy me an air mattress, but nothing would replace the couch for friends-sleeping-over purposes.

• I moved to Williamsburg with my co-worker, Wen, in late 2006. He didn’t buy a mattress for the first six months we lived together and slept on my couch instead. The couch was never the same. It also had to watch as I painted the apartment pink and light blue one weekend and then Wen repainted it dark red and navy another weekend behind my back.

• My blogfriend Aaron came and slept on the couch from Australia basically just to let Kamran buy him a $14 sundae at Serendipity.

• My parents visited in the fall so my dad could see what all of the hullabaloo was about NYC, so I slept on the couch and gave them my bed. My dad wasn’t so impressed with NYC. But I’m sure he loved the couch.

• My original NYC BFF, Beth, slept on the couch for two weeks after leaving NYC for a while in order to be able to drive her Alfa Romeo, realizing she missed midnight bowling with me too much, and coming back. She brought golf clubs with her to an island without a single golf course and with apartments the size of bathrooms elsewhere, which about sums up Beth perfectly.

• In 2010, I moved in with my co-worker/friend Jack, and we immediately Oxicleaned the thing, which was somewhat successful in that parts of the couch were bright, sparkling white, and parts of the couch were still infused with Wen oils for life. Jack slept on the couch for a month when the air-conditioner in his bedroom broke all the same.

• My friend Kim came over to watch all of season 1 of “Game of Thrones” with Jack and me before season 2 began and then spent the night. And then woke up at 8 the next morning and put on a nautical-print sundress for brunch, because she is a true New Yorker. She’s since spent what adds up to days of her life there, talking to me about boys and our superior taste in literature and watching movies usually centered around teenage killing sprees.

• Jack’s best friend Chris often stays up half the night playing Halo on Jack’s XBox and then falls asleep on the couch. Jack has special sheets for him. Aww.

• My blogfriends Ellie & Kinard visited for Ellie’s birthday and let me take them to my very favourite restaurant and didn’t complain about the very un-New-York thick-crust artichoke pizza I fed them. I assume that one of them slept on the couch but don’t actually know, since they woke up hours before me every day to do totally weird things like read books and do yoga.

• My former co-worker from Ohio and one-half of the one of the many marriages I take credit for making happen, Sarah, came to visit me while very pregnant and adorable. When she went to sleep one night on the couch, I dumbly closed the swing lock so no one could break in on her and cut the baby out of her for black market sale, and then Jack came home at 3 a.m., and she had to waddle to my bedroom door and tell me that someone was knocking outside.

• My cousin, Ethan, brother of Bethany of the famed air mattress, came to visit with his pregnant wife, Katherine, who slept on the couch. They made BBQ and vegetables for my friends and me using their famed homemade BBQ sauce, and we all drooled on everything and each other because we hadn’t had a home-cooked meal in so long, and they were horrified.

So, that couch and I share a lot of memories. I’ve recognized for a while that it’s seen better days and that a normal person with a job and self-respect probably would’ve replaced it long ago. But it had just lasted so long that I didn’t want to cut its life short unnaturally.

Well, on New Year’s Eve, I was hanging out at home with my roommate/landlord/former co-worker/friend, Jack, and he decided he wanted to sit next to me and plopped down on the couch without thinking. The crack of wood echoed throughout our cavernous 900 square feet, and we flipped the thing over to find that one of the major crossbeams had fractured. NBD, we thought, the sides were still holding everything together well enough, although we noticed that two of the side pegs doing the heavy lifting had also broken off. I argued that we should let the couch live on until it just completely fell apart, but Jack started casually browsing the Internet for fancy new leather and metal mid-century wannabes all the same. And then we happened to fall in love with one of them, and he bought it.

And then two hours later, when I pushed myself off of the couch to go to bed, it straight up broke off at the sides and sent us plunging to the ground. The middle leg splayed out, splinters flew, and the life of my couch tragically ended just in time for a new one to take its place.

R.I.P. Grandma Couch, R.I.P.

Broken Couch

Tasty, Tasty Baby Cheeks

Filed under holidays don't suck for me, just pictures, no i really do love ohio
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A commentary on another Christmas come and gone, the passage of time, and the need to cherish the ones you hold dear while they’re still here . . .

. . . or just some pictures from my trip home to Ohio that I liked.

Christmas Tree

Grandfather Clock

Baby Kennedy

The last one is of my new niece, Kennedy, who was born to my sister, Joanie, and her husband, Josh, on December 1st and whom I visited at their home in Kentucky this past weekend with my parents. She’s already such a human-looking baby that I totally understand why my sister’s talking about being obsessed with her and not wanting anyone else to hold her. I also understand now why people talk about wanting to eat babies. GOBBLE GOBBLE GOBBLE.

Still Not Dead

Filed under just pictures, living in new york is neat
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Heeeeey, blogfriends. I hope I’ve been conspicuously absent from your bloglife, and at least one of you thinks I’m battling a creative depression, but I wanted to pop in and tell you that I’m actually living


Okay, I don’t want to be melodramatic, but things really are going well. I won’t rub it in your face if you’ve been waking up before noon to go to work every day, but unemployment has been incredible for me. No, I haven’t bought myself any new clothes since July and it’s eating away at my soul a little bit, but I’ve been cooking dishes that involve more than four ingredients, catching up on the backlog of unedited photos I have, watching every movie ever made, going to the gym regularly and not hating it, playing five rounds of Candy Crush per day and absolutely no more because I’m not addicted, doing laundry in the middle of the afternoon when no one else is around, and applying for jobs with the resume and cover letter I’ve edited so many times since July that I think I should start a resume-and-cover-letter business instead.

I’m eating dinner with my friends and not worrying about the money because there will surely be more money when I need it. I’m invested in my low-carb eating, loving it, and losing weight. I’ve been riding in cars to places like the Bronx and Connecticut and Staten Island. I’m dating, and it’s totally surreal and also totally not at all as scary as I thought it’d be. I’m visiting Ohio for two weeks at a time and not having to worry about using up my vacation time at work. I’m loving Brooklyn more than I ever have. I’m loving myself more than I ever have. Oh, geez.

Here are some pictures from my current life:

I went to Ohio for the Circleville Pumpkin Show last month and had suuuuuch a good time in addition to falling even more in love with pumpkins, if that’s possible. I ate all of the things I planned to eat, and my roommate/landlord/former co-worker/friend Jack was there, and I got to hang out with two of my best friends from high school whom I hadn’t seen in years, and everything was completely new and yet also totally the same in the best way.

Since I was in Ohio for my birthday for the first time since I moved to NYC(?), I threw myself a birthday party the night before at my BFF, Tracey’s, husband’s favourite Italian restaurant, Caffe DaVinci, which has also become my favourite Italian restaurant (with Olive Garden a very close second, of course), and got to see so many of my friends. On my actual birthday, I spent the day harvesting corn with my dad on the farm and the night eating fried ice cream with Tracey and then going to see Battle of the Year, the breakdancing movie starring Josh Holloway of “Lost” fame. We were the only ones in the theatre, obviously. I accidentally got child-sized 3-D glasses and spent the entire movie with my face being crushed, but I was raised to not complain about things, even on my birthday.

Jack and I had to go to Sheepshead Bay to rent a car to drive to our friend’s Halloween party way out in Long Island (because renting in our neighborhood was literally twice as expensive) and then had to return it the following Monday morning at 7 a.m., so we went through the McDonald’s drive-thru (the least New Yorky thing you can do) and then got to see the sun rise.

My friends and I went as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for Halloween, and obviously I was April O’Neil, and owning a red wig is the highlight of my life.

That Sunday, we took the car to City Island, a little slab of land off of the Bronx that isn’t even a full square mile, and had fish and chips at Johnny’s, and the moon was rising over the water all orange and full when we arrived, and a lone swan swam through the pool of light reflected off the bay, and we ate outdoors even though it was waaaaay too cold to, and it felt like summer had officially ended.

Things started to die, like these flowers on my rooftop,

but that made them even more beautiful in some cases, like when my friends Ash and Kim and I went to The Cloisters museum in Washington Heights to see medieval art, and Fort Tryon Park was the epitome of autumn, and Kim brought costume jewelry for us so we could take pictures of ourselves in which we pretended to be princesses. I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP.

Jack and I went on many a long walk through our neighborhood right as the weather was changing and people were beginning to huddle indoors, so we were the only ones to see the Manhattan Bridge look like this at this moment. Just as I took the picture, two of the subways that use it to cross from Brooklyn to Manhattan passed each other going different directions, and I had to close my eyes because it felt too perfect and powerful.

Of course there are some scary parts still to this life. I feel like I’ve squandered my unemployment by not blowing up my photography business or eating all of the $35 prix-fixe lunches in town for my food blog or not using this as an opportunity to learn French and then become the attaché to the embassy in Paris. I’m concerned about seeming flippant or unmotivated when I tell people I haven’t had a job for four months and haven’t exactly felt bad about it. I’m still fairly concerned about never finding a job again and having to live out of the dumpsters behind Per Se, but I’m also really trying to enjoy this while it lasts.