Life Lessons from an Argument

By kate on January 20th, 2014

My friend of 20+ years, Kim-An Lieberman, recently passed away from cancer. Her husband asked Kim-An’s friends to write letters to her children to share things they remember about her. After some reflection, I chose to share the story of our biggest fight to illustrate a life lesson I began learning from Kim-An and am still working to master.


Dear Cassia, Kellan, and Mireya,

Me & Kim-An, 1995I knew your mother since 1993 when we were in college. While we were at the University of Washington, we taught a few classes together and were roommates for a while too. We did a lot of fun things together, but when I tried to think of a moment to share with you, I thought of our one big fight.

Neither Kim-An nor I were prone to arguing, and we were both pretty reserved. Even through our years living together, we didn’t get really close or connect on an intimate level. We were friends with a lot in common, yet we let our shyness and reticence get in the way of a truly close friendship. I always wanted to be closer, but let my insecurity keep me from risking that step.

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Good Riddance to 2012

By kate on December 31st, 2012

2012 was a strange year. In the pedestrian scale of my own life, things went pretty well. My job, health, and relationships have all been good. But a lot of hardship and tragedy befell my friends, and at the end of the year that’s what stays with me.

This year, four friends were killed in two sudden, shocking events. First Drew and Joe were lost in the Cafe Racer shootings. Only a few months later, Lee and Judy, off on a childfree anniversary adventure in Peru, died in a car accident. All four people were inspirational to me in some way already, but seeing the outpouring of tributes to each gave me an overwhelming sense of the impact one person can have on the people around them.

2012 was also the first year that cancer hit close to home, striking three friends in my own generation. I’ve been anxiously watching updates on email and Facebook, unable to do very much, hoping with all my heart that the limited scope of current human technology is enough. So far, the news has been cautiously good and my friends all continue to fight. They’re never far from my thoughts – my most fervent best wishes to Molly, Chris, and a third friend who’s not public with it all yet.

Is this just what it’s like to get older? To have illness and death sidle closer and closer to you, capriciously choosing one friend after another until it’s your turn? I knew that would eventually be the case, but it seems too soon. I’m not even 40 yet!

So, with the turn of the new year, I’m going to optimistically say that I hope 2012 was just a dark year, and that 2013 will mean good things for not just me, but everyone I care about. Happy New Year!

UPDATE 1/20/14:

One of my friends lost her battle with cancer in December, leaving three kids, a husband, and community of friends and colleagues bereft. On the good side, my other two friends mentioned above are in remission and recovering well.

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Urbanspoon (and I) oppose SOPA

By kate on January 18th, 2012

[I’m honored to be the one asked to write my company’s blog post for today’s SOPA/PIPA blackout. I’m re-printing it here.]

Why Can’t I See Reviews on Urbanspoon?

Today on Urbanspoon, you’ll notice that some content in the United States has been blacked out. We’re making this dramatic gesture to illustrate what might happen to the internet if a law currently proposed in Congress is passed. Along with Google, Wikipedia, Tumblr, Reddit, and thousands of other websites, we’re participating in a coordinated blackout today to focus attention on this critical issue. Here’s an explanation:

We believe that if SOPA/PIPA passes into law, it will be lethal to the internet as we know it. That may sound exaggerated, but we encourage you to read the information on these sites to learn more and see just how serious it is:

Most importantly, PLEASE contact your senator and representative today to express your opposition to SOPA/PIPA. Here’s one site where you can email Congress.

In closing, enjoy the video The Day The LOLcats Died.

UPDATE: The Oatmeal contributes an excellent anti-SOPA piece.

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A Visual Introduction to Chef

By kate on September 9th, 2011

At Urbanspoon, we’ve recently started using Chef to manage our production servers. Now that I’m familiar with it, I love its ease of use and flexibility, not to mention the time savings.

When I was first learning Chef, though, I found the learning curve pretty steep because of all the terminology. It was hard to understand how all the components related to each other. I wasn’t able to find anything online that would have helped give me the overview I needed, so I created one myself.

Click image for full diagram.

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Offbeat Divorce Part 2: Advice for separating couples

By kate on May 4th, 2011

This is the second of two posts I originally wrote for Offbeat Bride.

As I said in Offbeat Divorce Part 1, my marriage failed. After a period of struggle, we decided to separate (and have since divorced). The separation process was also fraught and sometimes felt impossible, but I got through. Here are a few things I learned.

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Offbeat Divorce Part 1: Advice for struggling couples

By kate on April 27th, 2011

This is the first of two posts I originally wrote for Offbeat Bride.

Hi, my name is Kate and I failed. I had a somewhat offbeat wedding, was married for 8 years, ultimately failed at it, and got divorced. I’m starting this way because it’s not something you hear people say very often. After a marriage falls apart (or serious problems are worked out), it’s swept under the rug, put in the past, and never mentioned. This might make the newly-divorced feel better, but it creates a false impression that most people are happy and have never had these problems. When my marriage was exploding, I felt so alone and so defective in a world full of (apparently) shiny happy people.

In this post, I want to pass on a few of the things I learned while my marriage was struggling, before we decided to separate for good.

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