Confessions of a Still Maybe Kinda Goth: Werqitout!

A quick update from last post: my walking buddy Annie May was adopted last weekend!!!

Oh, lord, the tears of joy (and a little bit of selfish sadness, I admit) that sprung forth from my fountains of tearbending eyes!!!  She had been at the shelter for almost a whole year, and I am so elated that she's found her forever home! <3

Back to our regularly scheduled program:

A few weeks ago I wrote about my first road race and ventures into the fast shuffling running world.  As a result of the race, and running in general, I’ve lost some weight and have gone down a couple sizes. I was digging around in my closet on Monday because nothing I usually wear is clean and I found this RED skirt with polka dots that I had gotten at a thrift store for $3 nearly eleven years ago! For shits and giggles, I had to see if it fit...


(BTW, new word: Joon Intrusion = JOONTRUSION.)

I got many compliments at work, but I mostly think it’s because I didn’t look like I rolled out of a warzone as usual it wasn’t ALL BLACK as per usual. My funeral director attire tendency to wear all black is still fairly strong (considering everything else but the skirt is black) but maybe if I dig further into my endless closet, I’ll find some other random pieces I can wiggle into my wardrobe.


The ring is from Apple 8, who I’ve written about extensively before. I LOVE THEM.

Also, I’d like to also point out that my hair is stupid long and the summer was hell to get through with basically a long haired animal attached to my scalp/neck, and if I ever say to any of you “Oh, I think it’d be a great idea to get BANGS before the summer begins” JUST SLUG ME IN THE FACE AND TELL ME NO because not only does my hair take four trillion years to grow even an inch, having bangs in the summertime is equivalent to dousing your face in a bowl of molten lava. All day long.

Anyway, my hair’s long and I don’t know what to do with it anymore. Suggestions?

Looking back at previous CoaSMKG entries of my blog and the unfortunate driver’s license photo of myself three years ago, I’m happy that I’m more active and healthier than I’ve ever felt before, and I think it shows!  It’s a lifelong journey, and I’m glad it’s already begun.


Hounds on the Sound 2012 (or, DOGGIES EVERYWHERE ZOMG)






For a few months now I have been volunteering at the New Rochelle Humane Society, an amazing no-kill shelter in New Rochelle (obviously). I found Joon and fell in love with her at this shelter, and I have always wanted to volunteer and give back to NRHS for giving me what is possibly the greatest source of joy in my life who just farted next to me as I'm typing this.


Now that I'm at least in the same state as the shelter, I've been going up once a week or so to help walk and give the dogs some human interaction. I have particularly bonded with a dog named Annie May—you'll probably understand why when you see her:



She's basically a Joon look- and act-alike with a head about 2x as wide. However, unlike Joon, she likes to be around other dogs (especially little dogs, it's so cute, I can't even). So, for the annual Hounds on the Sound walk-a-thon at Glen Island Park, I volunteered to help walk dogs, and I was ecstatic that I was given a chance to walk and be with Annie May all day long, and try to talk to her up and hopefully get her adopted!


I woke up Sunday morning at some ungodly hour and made the early morning train up to New Rochelle. It's about a fifteen minute walk to the shelter, so I grabbed a coffee before heading in—I needed a little pep to my step to make sure I stayed alert and aware of my dog at the event. There were going to be hundreds of dogs in attendance, and I was confident that Annie May would be great as always, but I didn't know all these dogs she was interacting with and needed to give my A game—the goal was to show Annie May off in the best light possible so that someone out there finds her as irresistible as I do and gives her a forever home!


Annie May was bathed before I got there and smelled like dishsoap. I gathered her leash, her “adopt me” vest (which was too small so I had to make some adjustments, IT'S OK TO BE A LITTLE CHUNKY, GIRL) and her treats and food. Lookin' sharp, girl!




Al, another volunteer, drove me and Annie May to Glen Island park, which I had never seen before. It is a beautiful island, and it was a gorgeous day to be outside. I yanked a pretty pink bandanna and she was looking so beautiful!!






After about 2 hours of milling around and looking adorable, Annie May and I walked over to the starting line of the walk-a-thon. It was about a 1.5 mile walk, but I was 100% certain that we were only going to walk a little bit. Annie May is freaking lazy gets tired pretty quick and really just wants someone to sit with her and lean on them and get pets from everyone. But, because it was a walk, I thought we would at least give it a try.


This guy had it easy though:


We met up with another walker from the shelter who was walking a dog named Rainn who is another favorite of mine. Rainn was not really sure though how to walk in a straight line.







But for the most part, they walked so cute together!! Joon doesn't like other dogs, so it was a really new and fun experience for me to walk dogs together. They looked like adorable bffs! I was smiling the whole way while taking in the scenery.


Along the way we came upon a little beach area, and lots of dogs were jumping in the water. I wasn't sure if Annie May liked the water, so we walked down there and she went right into the water!


...and then QUICKLY EVACUATED ONCE THE WAVES STARTED ROLLING IN AND CHASING HER. Hahahaha, I'm laughing to myself right now just thinking about it! We stayed and watched the waves and the other dogs playing in the water.




Back on the trail, we went about a quarter of a mile total before Annie May decided that she was DONE-ZO and veered off the path to a patch of grass where she laid the hell down and rolled onto her side. THE WALK WAS OVER, SAYS ANNIE MAY.



We sat on the grass for awhile before heading back to the tent areas where someone had set up picnic tables and food. There was a DJ and lots of families with their dogs enjoying the nice weather!


This guy was pretty spoiled!


Annie May met a lot of new and old friends and I know that I was asked a lot of questions about her; her age (4-5 years), her breed (pretty pittie!), if she likes cats (NO), if she likes other dogs (YES). A few inquired about coming down to the shelter to see Annie May, so I am hopeful that maybe one of those people could be her forever home. She won a lot of people over with her calm, mellow disposition (a lot of dogs were going crazy bananas with all the activity going on, which just made Annie May look even better, YES, YOU MAJESTIC, REGAL PRINCESS DOG).



Even though I want desperately for her to be adopted, I know that the people at the New Rochelle Humane Society love on her constantly, and make sure that she is interacting with people all the time. So, even though she is not adopted yet, at least she IS very well taken care of and gets constant attention. She is an incredibly good listener and will sit before she eats and goes out the door every time, because they have trained her to be a good, adoptable dog! I know that when Annie May DOES find her forever home, it will be a bittersweet day for all the people at the shelter. She is like the unofficial mascot!


Uncle Al loved on Annie May even while driving (NOT RECOMMENDED, BUT STILL ADORABLE).


I really encourage you, if you can spare some time, and if you love animals as much as I do, to volunteer your time at a local shelter. It's basically a natural anti-depressant! In a no-kill shelter, some of the dogs are there for a really long time (Annie May has been there since last November), and even though the staff provides food and water and shelter it's up to the volunteers a lot of the time to simply provide fun and love and human interaction, which is so important to these dogs.


The shelter staff tell me that about two years into her “residency” at the shelter, Joon was very very depressed—she wouldn't eat much, or drink much, or do much of anything at all. Dana, the shelter manager, told all the staff and volunteers to make sure that Joon was taken on lots of walks, to make sure she was given lots of attention, and that she needed a little extra love. I'm so, so grateful to NRHS for not losing faith in Joon. Because, even though I love going on walks and playing with the shelter dogs, it is good to know that I can come home to this:



That's all for now! As always, more photos from Hounds on the Sound are up on my flickr. Hope I started your week with a dose of adorable awesome!


Awkwardly Running for my Life: The Long Island 10K

I know this is a long time coming but I finally have what I wanted to show you guys, which is the official photo of May and I from my first road race, the Long Island 10K!!

HELLO CHEESY YET UNDENIABLY EXPENSIVE OFFICIAL PHOTO.  Major major love and thanks to my friend May, runner pro and #1 encourager and inspiration, for running this first race with me.

I had never taken part in a race before, so everything I’m going to say here is probably really typical if you’re used to doing races. If you are familiar with road races, PLZ EXCUSE MY REDUNDANCY TO YOUR AWESOME, but for those who haven’t experienced a race before, hopefully this is as NEW and INTERESTING to and also a little scary to you as it was to me!

The day before, we had to go pick up our racing bibs at this .. sports fair thing?

So, there were a ton of vendors and reps from other races and running groups at this fair, a giant tent that was full of racers there to get their bibs. We got a bunch of free stuff like 5 hour energy drinks and these cardboard-tasting fiberific energy bars, and also our free T-shirt for the event!

(It is made of that dry-fit stuff so sweat doesn’t stick to you! but mine does anyway because I’m a beast of sweat.)

Also, May got a giant cupcake the size of her head.

By this time I was frightened as fuck pretty anxious--even though I had been training for months, I wasn’t really at the time that I had wanted (11 minute mile).  I would get really tired and discouraged over hills and stuff, and I think the general scared-ness of my being really played into my naturally pessimistic nature and I got sort of sad and depressed the night before. My parents had flown in from NC to see me race, and I didn’t want to disappoint them.  A small part of me, as RIDICULOUS as it sounds, thought: WHAT IF I WAS LAST!? MY PARENTS FLEW ALL THE WAY HERE TO SEE ME COME IN LAST OH GOD OH NO

(Scared Katie does not equal rational Katie)

Anyway, most of these feelings were eradicated when I woke up way the hell early the next morning. I wasn’t scared or nervous--I was so excited, and feeling awesome. So what if I was last?? So what if I was slow? I was SHUFFLING RUNNING. In a RACE.  A year earlier, if you would have asked me if I would ever run over 6 miles of my own volition I would have laughed in your face, or said something snarky like “Only if there was a cheeseburger running in front of me” (of which I still would run after that cheeseburger, btw).  Even though hundreds of thousands of people run road races each year, and it’s not that big of a deal in general--our bodies are made to move, anyway--it was a VERY big deal for one Katie Lee Grosskopf. I was really proud of myself that I was even doing this race to begin with, and I was smiling as I chugged down a 5 hr energy (gross) and a peanut butter protein shake. And I was ESPECIALLY smiling when putting on this AWESOME SHIRT I MADE FOR MAY AND I TO WEAR DURING THE RACE.

(We sort of have a running joke between us that what really brings us together is a love of eating, especially...eating meat. Vegetarians everywhere may hate us, but at least we’ll full and happy.)

So, with May as a t-bone steak and me as a chicken drumstick on my chest, I picked up the zipcar with May on board as well and we drove out to Long Island where we managed to make excellent time, not get lost, bag check our stuff, use the portajohns, etc.

By this time there were tons of runners everywhere, stretching out, talking with each other, and saying words of encouragement--it was a really great feeling! I chose to run because not only is it free (FRUGALITY WINS AGAIN), it’s mostly a solitary endeavor--the thought of a gym makes me dry heave. However, I’m guessing that it’s because running is something you do alone, it’s a great comfort to be surrounded with people who I’m fairly sure have felt the same as me at one point or another--that whatever stressful day you had can be eradicated with a few miles of feet to the pavement, to the soundtrack of your own breath keeping time and pace. It was the closest thing I’d ever felt to being on a team sport, only my team was the THOUSANDS of people who showed up to run the 10K that day!

The race began with FIREWORKS. WHOA I WAS SO MAD I DID NOT HAVE MY CAMERA ON ME, IT WAS SIMULTANEOUSLY AWESOME AND RIDICULOUS.  It took us nearly 10 minutes just to get across the start line there were so many corrals of people in line ahead of us (the lines for the portajohns were...kind of long).  Because May is a rockstar runner, and I didn’t want to ruin her time completely, we had agreed beforehand that we would run the first three miles together, and then we’d meet each other at the finish line. I warned her that I may have to walk--I had run the 10K before in practice, but with a couple of walking breaks.

To my surprise, I was still running when May and I parted ways (aka, May left me in the dust, lol!) and I was STILL running until I hit about the 4 mile mark!!  I HAD NEVER RUN SO FAR CONTINUOUSLY IN MY LIFE IT WAS CRAZYTALK.  The rush of all the people around you running, the encouraging onlookers and cheerstations, and probably the adrenaline that was pumping through my body propelled me for longer than I had ever run before!

Around the 4 mile mark, my legs started to shake a little bit so I thought I’d be smooth and take a cup of water from the hydration station and drink it WHILE I WAS RUNNING.


I guess this gets easier in practice, but uhhhh I will never try to drink water and run at the same time because I got into a coughing fit that stalled me for at least half a minute, I felt like such a doofus, lol!! I can barely type this blog and listen to music at the same time, I JUST CANNOT MULTITASK. So, I noted that for future reference, and after a severe and embarrassing coughing fit, I righted myself, drank water while being stationary, and continued the race.

I stopped to walk once around the five mile mark, but picked up again about a half mile later when I heard all the screams and cheers from the finish line! EVERYBODY WAS SO LOUD AND IT WAS GREAT.  There were a few other runners I met along the trail that were so encouraging and really helped push me to the finish line--when it was in sight, another shot of adrenaline pushed me forward and I summoned every last bit of energy I could muster to sprint to the end, of which the professional race photographers caught in all it’s horrifically embarrassing glory:

May calls the second one “helicopter arms.” >.< I 100% do not remember doing that with my arms and now I know definitely what NOT to do at my next race, haha!

My parents also caught my chubby ass as it closed in the final 20 yards.  They were at the finish line and seeing them there almost made me tear up like the giant sap that I am.

I thought a lot about when I started to gain weight when I was in third grade, and how my brother and his “popular” friends relentlessly teased me through elementary and middle school, until the breaking point where we went to separate high schools. I thought about how upset I would get when my roommates in college would get ready for a night out and could borrow clothes from each other’s closets, except for mine. I thought about how I never bought clothes for years and years because I was always so afraid to find out if I had gone up another size.

And when I was approaching the finish line, and I saw my mom and stepdad there with their cameras out, waving to me, it was a kind of confirmation that even though I was so sad and miserable in the past, it was just that--in the past.  It didn’t even matter anymore.  

Our bodies are such amazing things that, when we take ownership of them, give back more to us than we probably deserve. I thought about how much I had taken it for granted before, and now that I’m taking care of it, really learning how to love it, it is responding in kind, and I’m more grateful for it now than I ever thought I could be.

I’m so grateful to May who opened me up to this amazing thing, this running thing, which scared me shitless at the start, but is something that has truly affected every aspect of my life, my self-image, and my self-worth. I’m not exactly at the finish line of where I want to be, but I know where I have to go, what steps I need to take.

And I will run to get there.


Food Adventures: I wish everything was pizza

(the best image ever found on Pinterest--follow me there, if you'd like!!)

Before I moved here a year and a half ago or so, I lived in a lovely house in Atlanta, GA with some of the most fun and sweet neighbors in the world. We lived in a big ol’ house (“Ol’ Blue”) with three stories and a basement divided into 6 apartments. I was in the basement, but the way the house was structured, there was actually a lot of light that came through the windows on the west side of the house into a spacious studio area (one of the many reasons why it was ideal).

The last year I was in the house, there was a big snowstorm and we were stuck in the house--Georgia has TEN SNOWPLOWS ALTOGETHER and it could not plow the entire state overnight, so we tucked in and kept each other company for almost a whole week.  I found out that basically everyone who lived in the house was an amazing cook--we had these complex and carefully laid out and prepared meals every night we were snowed in (I contributed beverages).  I was embarrassed because I could barely make a frozen pizza in the house without it being AN ORDEAL.

One of the many reasons why it was an ordeal and I never cooked often in my kitchen was that it was literally five square feet. Total.  The fridge door didn’t open all the way--it would hit the wall on the other side.  Same with the oven--when the oven door was open, it just barely missed the wall on the OTHER SIDE OF THE KITCHEN.

I could literally stand in the middle of my kitchen and open my arms and touch both walls of my kitchen.

So, when I moved up here, where my kitchen is four times the size of my place in Atlanta, I knew it was probably advantageous that I take...advantage...of this space and kitchen, but I didn’t really know where to start. I could make spaghetti and chicken soup that my roommate showed me how to make and hamburger helper and that was really the extent of it.  

Long story short, I’ve really tried to make interesting food and not rely on spaghetti (again) over the past year, and it’s been more or less pretty successful!! I’ve had a lot of fun learning about cooking and making meals for myself that will last a few days and save me a ton of money--you know that the average sandwich / beverage / fruit lunch in my part of NYC is usually $15!?  I can’t spend $15 a day on just my lunch!!

Ever since I started running, I also get really excited about the prospect of food being relatively healthy and made with whole ingredients that I prepared myself.  I’m not a “health food nut” by ANY means (give me a cheeseburger any day and I will WOLF THAT SHIT DOWN)

Tonight I had a craving for pizza, and I could have gone to my local pizzeria and picked up a pie for $10, but I looked in my pantry and fridge and saw that I could make some simple pizzas here at home with my trusty toaster oven! **

THEY WERE DELICIOUS.  This was a Budget Bytes recipe originally, but I made a couple of shortcuts and changed a few things to better fit my tastes and budget and size of my toaster oven, so, without further ado:

Tomato, Kale, & Swiss Mini-Pizzas of Awesome

1 bunch of kale or spinach (I had kale in my fridge leftover, so I just used that)
1 tomato
2 cups of shredded Swiss
3-4 garlic cloves, depending on how much you enjoy garlic
pizza dough (I used this kind: that is made to make one 14” pizza, and you just add water to it and it’s like 99cents, so everyone wins. You can definitely make your own pizza crust buuuutttt I’m low on time and funds for that. Kudos to you if you make your own dough!)
olive oil or vegetable oil


1) MAKE YER DOUGH.  Like I mentioned in the ingredient list, I used a pre-made dough thing where you just add half a cup of water and you mix it and then you have all the dough you knead, AHAHA PUNS! need. Let it hang out a minute while you prepare the kale.


2) Rip the kale off the stem and put it in a pan with the minced garlic and a little olive oil or vegetable oil. Saute it lovingly until it wilts. Your house should be smelling awesome. (That is, if you like the smell of garlic, which I definitely do)


3) Get some dough and ball it up, about the size of a ping pong ball. Joon approves of this message.


4) Something on the package said to use a rolling pin or some kind of pizza pan crap buttt I just used my fingers to push the dough balls out (this is not as dirty as it sounds) to form little miniature circles for the crusts.


5) Brush a little olive oil (or in my case, push around with your fingers) on the surface of each.  Add a pinch of oregano, and some Swiss cheese.


6) Throw that kale on there.


7) I cut the tomatoes into slices and then in quarters, putting half a tomato slice on each mini pizza.  You could use smaller tomatoes, but this is what I had on hand and they are, like, 10 cents at the produce stand by my apartment.  FRUGALITY WINS.


8) ADD MOAR CHEEZ and oregano, then POP THOSE MINI PIZZAS IN THE MINI OVEN.  Wait about 10-12 minutes in anticipation for greatness.


9) Take them carefully out of the oven when the edges of the crust are golden brown. BEHOLD. YOU HAVE MADE DELICIOUS PIZZAS.

These are a perfect size for a quick lunch, a snack, or an appetizer at parties or a dinner for someone who lives alone and doesn’t have a full oven!  The flavors are all very complimentary and I can get my pizza fix without the 10 lbs of grease and the cost.

(But, don’t get me wrong. I LOVE good old greasy hot NY pizza. But, my pants size doesn’t like it all the time, just some of the time. For now, I have these.)

Hope you guys enjoyed the recipe!  I have lots more food posts coming up!  I ended up getting a NY Public Library card (!!!) of which I’ve been totally geeking out about for all two days it’s been in my possession.

After pillaging the YA section of library, I looked through the entire cooking section at the branch by my workplace and found three cookbooks which will hopefully deliver more easy Katie-friendly meals to share with y’all.  Until next time!

**Because, if you remember from my Thanksgiving post, I don’t really have a working oven, and so any recipe I find that requires an oven I have to modify as best as I can for my toaster oven. This goes out to all the bachelorettes out there, lol!!!


Around the World in a Lifetime: RI, Dragon*Con, and my beautiful NYC!

OH HELLO MY FRIENDS. I feel like I haven't had a chance to sit down, especially since the weather is gorgeous again (read: not the blazing daystar that IS BRIGHT AND BURNS ME) and I've been beelining straight for the Prospect Park loop when I'm done with work for the day.  I've been to a few trips lately and seen some lovely things in my own fair city and I'm excited to share ALL THE THINGS with you! <3

I’ve never actually been to Rhode Island before. To be frank, I could really think of a reason one goes to Rhode Island, however, this year my lovely friend Caitiy invited me for a weekend at her beach house in Narragansett (which is the name of the town that I must google every time because that is a lot of consonants and stuff, right?!)

So, I know you’re thinking--Katie, you don’t like ANYTHING about the beach. The sun, the sand, being outside....nature in general...these are all things that I am infamous for staying the hell away from as much as possible. HOWEVER. I do have a slight vitamin D deficiency, so I needed some sun in the very smallest of doses, I like going places I have never been before, and I only get to see Caity (who is from Boston) once or twice a year.  So. ONWARD I TRAILBLAZED.

We went to a farmyard /touristy giftshop wonderland-like place called The Umbrella Factory. LOOK AT ALL THIS NATURE, GUYS.


Okay, I don’t know if you guys have ever been face to face with an emu before, but I was shown a picture of one and was very excited to meet one because they sort of look like Lorax trees but alive, and who wouldn’t love that? Instead I found out that they are six feet tall and terrifying and makes a noise that sounds like someone knocking on the gates of hell, and he makes that noise WITHOUT OPENING HIS MOUTH/BEAK CONTRAPTION OH GOD WHAT IS THIS.  It’s like a dinosaur, but not the friendly ones that I think up in my imagination, like one of those scary ones that take off your arm in Jurassic Park.  

Anyway, while I recover, here are some photos of the beach area (not ON the beach just....around it):

But mostly, I just did this:

Which is the biggest reason I wanted to go to the beach anyway--catch up on some reading and RELAX FOR LIKE A MINUTE.  I have more photos of my Narragansett trip up on my flickr, but MOVING ON, WE HAVE A LOT TO TALK ABOUT BECAUSE IT’S TIME FOR THE ANNUAL


As you all well know, in previous years, I get a little too excited when I see my old Atlanta pals and we end up staying out all night, rolling into the con at around 9 o’clock at night, and just drinking ourselves into oblivion but OH HO HO that is in the past because I actually made it to the con and waited in line for panels!

Or maybe it was just one panel. I found out that The Guild was going to have their entire cast present at the con for one panel on Friday, and LO AND BEHOLD, I WENT TO MY FIRST PANEL AT DRAGON*CON.

The cast was incredibly patient and nice and funny, because you know at Q&As people can...BE A LITTLE EXTRA, as my friends and I say cordially.

Anyway, the rest of the time was spent running around the artist alley, drinking (OLD HABITS DIE HARD) and taking four billion pictures, so, here are some of my favorites--as always, you can see the rest up at my flickr.





Back in my lovely city, as you know, we have just passed the 11th anniversary of probably one of the most horrific days of my generation, and I won’t say anything more about it here because I really, really get upset about it and the feelings that the day conjures up whilst living in it are, with lack of better words to describe it, intense and overwhelming.  I love this city so, so much, and every day I find something new and interesting to do or see or eat.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art has an exhibit on the rooftop by a sculptor Tomas Saraceno called Cloud City, and I was lucky enough to see it / walk around it / experience it on a beautiful day in Manhattan!

The structure is huge, and I wish I would have known that you had to make a timed reservation to get all up in tharrrr because I would have done so in a heartbeat! Still, it was a thrill just to BEHOLD THIS BEAST in person and to see the amazing view! I have a few more photos of it in my flickr as well.

(Eek! There's me!)

(The view from the rooftop!)

I have a TON of posts queued up to share with you guys, and I can’t wait to start blogging regularly again! Until next time!