Meanwhile, A Metta Post

I did things a bit bass-ackward today and started blogging before I started reading blogs. So I just want to say that I didn’t mean to touch any sore spots on the whole feminism tip: I didn’t know about the latest difficult conversations happening in The (R)WOC Blogosphere, since I pretty much only read FlipFloppingJoy these days, and I didn’t make it  over there til now. It seems like people are hurting as a result of those discussions, and I don’t want to exacerbate that at all.

So in that spirit, a new tradition here at Kloncke: Metta posts.

Continue reading

Friends, Meet My Trip To Spain

Yes We Carnaval!

Well hello there!  Fancy meeting you here on the internet!

I don’t have a lot of time, friends, so this’ll have to be brief, and a bit outdated.  But I wanted to share a little about the beginning of my travels.

The following is just a copy of an email I sent out to friends and family about two weeks ago, right before I started the 10-day Vipassana meditation course that finished up on Saturday.  I won’t go into detail about the course yet, but in short, it was wonderful.  And today, after a brief rest in Barcelona with the same couchsurfing couple I stayed with when I arrived, (they are marvelous, and we’ve since become good friends — a total, total blessing) I’ll head back to the same meditation center to volunteer as a server for the next 10-day course, cooking meals and cleaning for the students.

So, without further ado, here are some words and images.  From now on, I’ll always try to post copies of these mass emails, since the blog is easier to follow for some folks.

Sending love and wishing y’all the greatest happiness!



11 february 2009

dear friends and family,

buenas noches de barcelona!

as most of you know, i´ve embarked for the next year or so on a journey in spain, and tomorrow marks the end of my first week in the country. i came here without a program, without an institution officially backing me, and without a fully-formed idea of how the next year will look. (though i can tell you right now, if i stick around barcelona, the year will probably look like Winston cigarrettes, sprung-from-nature buildings, 3-minutes-apart metro trains, and well-groomed pregnant people enjoying government-sponsored maternity leave.)

since mass emails are not my stong point, i´ll keep it short. mainly, i just want to say thank you for your presence in my life. each of you has given me something vital, something that has made possible this incredible opportunity for growth. some of you teach me not to be ashamed of my desires. some of you inspire me with your genuine, compassionate motivations for travel. (more than tourism; less than ´saving the world.´) some of you show me how to embrace spirituality. others remind me not to take myself so seriously. (key.) and still others have birthed and raised me. (double-key. hi, family! :->) in any case, meditators often dedicate the merit of their practice to other beings, and i want to start out by dedicating to all of you any merit that my travels might generate.

okay, now a little of the nitty gritty. my first week here in barcelona was spent couchsurfing with a sweet young expat couple boasting gorgeous georgia drawls. i signed up to couchsurf with them expecting to sleep under a roof and endure some awkward small talk. one poker night and a three-hour, nine-person, bib-festooned catalunyan feast later, not only do they want me to come back and stay again, but i´m also borrowing camping equipment from friends i met through them. and another small community is born.

falling into the arms of nurturers has been a major blessing during what feels like an unstable time. so far (for the last six days, at least), the lack of structured plans has both helped and haunted me. my attitude toward concrete itineraries has vacillated between: (a) itineraries are desperately needed — they fundamentally determine the success of the trip, and (b) itineraries are essentially unimportant — they possibly obfuscate of the main point of the journey. just when disaster looms (like yesterday, when the meditation center i´d applied to, my main logistical reason for coming to spain, told me i couldn´t get in for another two months), another path opens and balanced perspective is restored. to me, this is a beautiful gift of travel. the future is so clearly out of my control that choices become much simpler. when everything is going to shit, my options are: try again, or try something else. matters will unfold as they unfold. and when i´m not fixated on a particular outcome, i can appreciate each step for its own sake.

por ejemplo. one of my best moments so far was taking the train to the meditation center, unannounced, in the middle of one of their 10-day courses, just to appear in person and see the place with my own eyes. hoping they´d say there was room for me, but mostly just enjoying the process of going there, out of the city to el campo. the desolate train station in palautordera; the apologetic smiles punctuating my lousy spanish; the countryside: the sun, the clouds, the hills, the dogs barking; the getting lost, the truck driver who grinned and pointed uphill; the ascent; the soft, awed folding of my hands as i stood outside the center´s iron yard gate, waiting for someone to notice me; the wry, bulbous cheekbones of the woman who finally did — a woman who appeared to age as she approached; the friendly, non-committal answer; the three-mile walk back to the station on a road of mud; the waiting for the train while peeling a small, precious grapefruit with fingernails the color of blackberry jam. it was a mini pilgrimage — not in a religious way, but in the sense that you can make a pilgrimage anytime, to the grocery store, for example, or to the home of a loved one who has fallen ill. do you know that feeling? it´s one thing i´m hoping the meditation practice will help me to consciously cultivate: that vivid awareness that transforms errands into adventures.

okay, friends, i lied: this is not short — it is, in fact, way way way WAY too long! i am sorry. and i totally understand if you didn´t make it all the way through. for those who did, thanks! (mom, dad, hehe.) tomorrow i begin the 10-day course at the meditation center, called Dhamma Neru Centro de Meditación Vipassana. (three hours after they´d told me no, they called me back and told me yes!) after the course is over, i´m hoping to stay on for two or three more months as a volunteer, more or less, living in the facilities and serving the other students who attend the courses. but until then, the dormitories are full, so it´s the great outdoors for me. hence the newly borrowed camping equipment. :->)

with love,
and hoping this note finds you happy,



ps: a few pictures, yeah? ;->) a few from the city, one from s.m.palautordera, where the meditation center is (the building pictured ain´t it, though), and a couple from that banquet, which centered around calçots — a special kind of onion in season right now. they char them over an open flame, and then you pull the slippery, sweet insides out from the outer husk, kind of like you would a crab leg. the whole scene, in fact, definitely had an upscale-crab-shack air to it: bibs, dipping sauces, plates of hollow residuals…delicious.

Gaudi's La Pedrera
Gaudi's La Pedrera
Skeletal Fashion On Diagonál
Skeletal Fashion On Diagonál
Almuerzo de calcots al restaurant Maisa Can Borrell
Almuerzo de calçots al restaurant Maisa Can Borrell
On the stroll after calçots
On the stroll after calçots


Wow.  Today I fly to Barcelona.  I don’t know when I’ll be back.  Spain might keep me for a while.

Miraculously, everyone has given me their blessing to go.  What a gift!

I don’t have very much to say, really.  Most of you know the loose reasons for the trip: studying Buddhist meditation; learning Spanish; traveling; participating in various intentional, resource-sharing communities.  Learning different ways of living.  Apprenticing.  Adventuring.  Trying to establish attitudinal habits that will anchor me for decades to come.  And for me, going to a new place is a great way of jump-starting my beginner’s mind.  But even with those general goals as guides, I really have no idea what to expect in the coming year.  Which is exciting — not in the way that a bolt of lightning is exciting, but more like the ebbing at the shore that reveals all the tidepools.  If that makes sense.  I don’t know, I also just really love tidepools, ever since I was little.

Now, let’s talk logistics for a second.  I’m not bringing my computer to Spain.  I’ll have an international phone, but it’ll basically be for coordinating travel while I’m there, or in case of emergency.  I am bringing my trusty stationery and stamps, and I would LOVE to write you letters and postcards when I can.  Just email me your address at katie (dot) loncke (at) gmail (dot) com (which is a new gmail account), and when I make it to an internet cafe, I’ll be all over it.

On the blogospheric tip, I have to give my warmest, strongest recommendation for the most bad-ass fantastic website you’ve ever seen in your life: brownfemipower’s Flip Flopping Joy.  It’s not in my blogroll because I don’t know her, like, personally (though someday…maybe someday…one can hope!), but she’s seriously one of my favorite writers of all time.  An extraordinary teacher and a major inspiration for this project, that’s for sure.

As Kloncke comes to an end (or goes into hibernation — who knows), I want to say thank you so much to everyone who has contributed to it — through comments, emails, links, or simply encouraging me to write.  Lately a few people have said some really kind things about this space, and my earlier blogging at cambridge common, and I just appreciate it so much.  To know that my thoughts have helped bring someone else a little peace or inspiration is…it’s maybe like when you’re a baby, and you’re playing with one of those puzzles with, like, only four or five big pieces that fit into the holes to teach you shapes, or animals, or whatever, and you put one of the pieces into its corresponding slot.  You just sense that something is right with the world.  You look at the filled, wholesome shape for a few seconds…and then you take the piece out of its hole and start testing it in all the other spaces all over again.  Yeah, it’s kinda like that.  An adventure of the best kind.

Sending you all so much love, and wishing you the best in all things for the coming year,



To live would be an awfully big adventure.

–Peter Pan

Marvels, Continued

WordPress is being wack about picture formatting, so here’s a separate post for non-inaugural marvels encountered since California.  (For those who check my facebook, sorry for the repetition!)


Junot’s Tribute

Junot Diaz Day
The City of Cambridge declared January 25th Junot Díaz Day.
Petey and me
Junot and me
junot times 2
you could say he's really blown up


Split Pea Soup

I add kale for texture and cherry tomatoes for flavor. Yum.

Basic recipe via vegetarian superstar Heidi Swanson.  Normally I like to use a little cumin and cayenne, but this time I was out of the former so I threw in a couple of bouillon cubes.  Rapunzel stock makes everything tastier, I swear.


Erin Present

erin present

So here’s the story. One day, in college, Erin and I were talking after a WGS class when she looked at my bare collarbone and said, “You need a necklace.” She then took off her own necklace and gave it to me. Wait, it gets better. She MADE this necklace, metalsmithing. Not only did she make it, but it’s actually the ‘negative’ of a beautiful ring that she cut and welded as a gift for someone. Erin present, very important. Now you know the story.