Monday, June 29, 2009

Reason #269 to love OKC ....

.... a Monday-afternoon IM saga in one act.

Or, a.k.a. sometimes it is worth it to chat with some total unlikely character, just to see where it goes.

Randomguy: How would you do against me in a wrestling match?

Karin: Do you have wrestling skills?

Randomguy: lol* maybe. how strong are you?
*common slang for "laugh out loud or "ha!"

Karin: Hard to quantify. Although I do power yoga. I have strong shoulders.

Randomguy: how about your arms and legs?

Karin: Yes, I have them. Do you?

Randomguy: lol. I am pretty strong. Used to work for UPS. Your legs look very strong in that one pic (see exhibit L)

Karin: I suppose they are. The muscles are pretty defined from having been in ballet for a long time... and then becoming a runner.

Randomguy: Hmm it is hard to say who would win if we wrestled

Karin: Probably, yes.

Randomguy: what do you think?

(Karin views Randomguy's profile. Randomguy, incidentally, lives in Arizona.)

Karin: Well, you don't list any vital stats on your profile. But, based on your photo .... well, you do seem to have a stockier chest. Which would be good for wrestling, obviously

Randomguy: I probably have a stronger upper body but you probably have a stronger lower body

Karin: I'd say, maybe a draw ...

Randomguy: you might be right. ever wrestled anyone before?

Karin: Not in an official, officiated sense.

Randomguy: lol how about in a less formal capacity?

Karin: What is your interest in wrestling?

Randomguy: lol just thought you look fun to wrestle

Karin: Thanks!

Randomguy: You're welcome:)

The end.

A beer

I went out at 7:30 p.m. Friday with a man ... for "a beer."

Which ended up being many beverages, of multiple malt levels, and a tour of the Fort Point Channel bar scene. We started at Lucky's on Congress Street, where I extended my love affair with Chimay Rouge and Kobe beef burgers. Then stepped across the street and down the stairs to Drink, for the ultra-trend crowd and some fresh lemon juice and tequila (but not a margarita) concoction. Then took a short walk along the water and there we were, under the big tent at The Barking Crab, drinking something I don't now remember out of keg cups. Then we couldn't not head back to the real Southie, to Tom English's Cottage, for a dive and a $2 Guinness before they (literally) kicked us out at 1 a.m.

To explain why this is all relevant, you should know that in 2 days I fly out for the purpose of attending the Cando (N.D.) quasquicentennial celebration and all-school reunion.

(Yes, I had to look quasquicentennial up, too.)

I'm not suggesting super model ... but I want to look reasonably together when I go to the swimming pool and the talent show and to the picnic with my classmates last seen in 2000 and, of course, to Gordy's Bar at any other waking hour to see everyone else.

So I made an (evidently nebulous) pact with myself last week about how I was going to catch up on sleep and cut back on alcohol consumption so I could be well-rested -- with a well-rested complexion, and a waistband un-artificially enhanced with carboyhydrates.

Guess not.

But hey! I did exercise my drinking-and-staying-up-until-all-hours chops, which will serve me well at the Friday and Saturday street dances where it is not uncommon -- if nothing else, for the practical purpose of not having to fight the crowds at Gordy's more than once -- to triple-fist cans of Miller Lite until the sun comes up.

Although the (excellent) Chimay and the (robust) Southie Guinness will not have sufficiently prepared my palate for same-said activity, perhaps. We shall see.

Saturday, June 27, 2009


It was certainly only a matter of time before someone on OKC would contact me using his penis for a profile photo.

That time was today, 9:03 a.m. Briefly online, reading an e-mail from a man in California with whom I'm conversing about my family being from Minnesota ...

... and up pops a chat window with an erect penis.
(followed 14 seconds later by)
"did u see what you did to me?"
I was so taken aback I logged off the site. 

(Ugh. Make it go away.)

But tonight I was online again, and once again, the same (47-year-old) penis appeared:
(followed 21 seconds later by)
"did u see how hard you made me?"
Shouldn't have been shocked. I recognized the handle of the sender; he sent e-mails 2x last week.  The first: to say I was a good-looking woman.  The second: suggesting I am "really hot," and that he wanted me to know he had "NINE INCHES TO SHARE."

Sigh.  At the time, ignored it. Which usually makes such folks go away.

No. He really meant to share it with me. 

I've thought about clicking on his profile to flag it for inappropriate content.  But surely this would only encourage him, thinking I'm checking him out.

The joys, the joys.  One more attempt and I might have to go all Lorena Bobbit on him.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Relief in the run

For years I've been defined by myself, and by many standards, as a runner.

In periods where I can't run when my body doesn't cooperate, I'm impossible.

Thirty-six hours ago, I e-mailed my physical therapist, demanding he tell me how to fix the creeping groin issue that kept me from sitting comfortably, much less walking wince-free, much less anything stronger.  He returned fire to advise that flare-ups are normal, even when a condition is improving, and that I should just keep stretching as we had done for many weeks ... and furthermore, I should chill out.

Thanks, Ian.  But this I most certainly could not do.  Insomnia the last 2 nights would attest to it and the restless eating of much Kashi GoLean, always the tell-tale sign, would seal it.

A relief, then, to enroll in a race like tonight's Corporate Challenge and just. do. it. 

To remember what sub-8:30 miles feel like. To sweat in streams, soaked-through and smelly.  To skitter in gutters and on and off curbs and dodge past walkers.  To trample boulevards on Commonwealth Avenue in order to stay unfettered by those slower runners, maintaining a tempo that feels good in the thighs and the knees, with no trace of the ankle complaints that have dominated these last 7 weeks.  

(Where did they go, pray? Did the sunshine -- appearing just before race time after weeks of cold damp -- loosen and soothe the joints?  Will they show up tomorrow, and a stiff back too, when the clouds roll back in?)

I'm a runner, but I'm also known as a pianist. A singer. A writer.  A biker. A soother of wealthy individuals who don't like paperwork or down-markets. A yoga-craver.  A rambling public speaker.  A flake, constantly 6 minutes late for everything and constantly apologizing.

Yet it is running (and sort of losing the ability to do it before sort of getting it back, at least for 29.2 minutes tonight) that produces more of a high than any of these.  

Scary how much I've come to depend on it and crave its benefits to feel worthwhile.  Especially when I know bodies do nothing but get older, and how definitely finite such physical splendor can be.

Thursday, June 25, 2009


for proof that the sky, indeed, is still blue.
(I swear.)

At 2:24 pm these, indeed, were necessary,
although at 2:57 pm they no longer were.


Since I
surmise that both my patience and yours are
saturated with commentary on the
state of our (lack of)
summer thusfar,

I promise

no further
about the weather.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Dateline: view from the office 6/24/09

It has looked like this since last Thursday morning.


I want to plug-in a hairdryer and blow it over the Atlantic before it seeps any further into a brain already cloudy from insomnia.

At least I'm not alone. A random sample of Facebook friend-status updates from this morning:

" ... rain, rain go away."

".... is tired of the rain."

".... if it doesn't stop raining very soon is going to find a cliff with a gorgeous, green view...and jump from it."

"June is almost over and I still haven't installed the a/c units yet."

"... really need the sun to come back. I don't know how much more of this rain I can take ..."


I suppose I could work on happy thoughts.

Like some about my Grandpa .... who died on this day, a very early Saturday morning in 2000 ... and who also gave such frequent and vigorous hugs, complete with backslapping, that one felt like they were having a lung squeezed out.

Those were some good hugs.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Cynicism is sexy (evidently)

I registered a profile on OKCupid! on Tuesday, Feb. 3.

Which makes today my 20-week anniversary!

Twenty weeks .... halfway to a full-term pregnancy. Two weeks longer than a sanctioned marathon-training program. Thirteen weeks longer than any romantic relationship I've been able to sustain.

Late last week, for the first time almost since signing up, I went in for a full profile re-write. Fresh bait, so to speak.

As a result, unless the crappy weather has inspired a high percentage of males to stay inside, chained to computer, it has been adventuresome.

Bare-Chest now frequently says "hi" via X-rated IMs, often suggesting I meet him on his lunch hour, in his car, to execute said X-rated activity. Audacious Man re-introduced himself. At 12:45 Sunday morning, I responded to a flirtatious chat request from a man who turned out to work at a company just like mine ... and we instead discussed hedge funds and portfolio returns for 2 hours.

Then, at 12:45 this morning, checking e-mail upon returning from drinks out with a friend, I found an enthusiastic (much older) musician, seemingly waiting for me to log-on so we could discuss Ned Rorem and what musical I'm directing next fall and if it was too forward for him to ask me for a drink. I told him we'd have to discuss further.

"Stalking" numbers are also way up .... today, as of present time, 15 views on profile. Monday, 33. Sunday, 22. From these, perhaps 6 chat requests I haven't responded to and at least that many e-mail messages.

I can't (yet) speak to long-term viability of any of these situations, but I am heartened at the uptick in activity. Must have needed a reinvigorating shot of something ... and this is a shot of something.

So today I revisited my profile, for a proofread ... and wow, do I sound cranky. The number of times I (unwittingly, yes) incorporated the word "cynic."

To wit:

A self-summary:

South Boston girl by way of North 120-percent citified.

When I cross the street on foot I give the middle finger to drivers who don't yield.

When I bike down the street I gesticulate with "what are you, a dumbass?" hands to any car who rides my back wheel too close.

When I'm driving down the street I yell soundless obscenities at jaywalkers and bikes who run red lights.

I know cynicism isn't sexy, so I'm working on chilling out RE all of the above.

What I’m doing with my life:

Updating my dating profile. It needed a tune-up.

Surviving the financial downturn at a financial company, using 10 years of client service skills to sooth irritated wealthy individuals who are now slighly less wealthy.

I used to run a ton. Then I stopped because my hip hated me. Now I've started again just in time for summer on the Charles. (This is also a ploy to make me less cynical.)

The six things I could never do without:

1) Espresso-charged coffee in the morning.
2) Another espresso-charged coffee in the morning.
3) Espresso-charged coffee in the afternoon.
4) A 5-mile run at sunset, whenever I feel like it.
5) Musicality.
6) My ability to laugh, even when I'd rather cry.

On a typical Friday night I am:

Running, I hope. Or doing yoga to unwind from the running. Or waiting for the 9 bus after running and yoga and, while getting antsy, instead running across Boylston to the Vietnamese cafe for an emergency pad thai and riesling.

You should message me if:

You need a little light in your life and Debby Boone just isn't doing it for you.

Or you have a known cure for cynicism.

Or you feel like going dancing with a girl who needs to start dancing again.

Still pondering now what to take away from this observation ... and wondering if, damn it all, cynicism is sexy .... and if I'm on to something.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Oh, sweet Thursday,

for the love of all things holy and unholy.

come hither.


Boston five-day forecast

RainRainRainMostly CloudyPartly Sunny
RainRainRainMostly CloudyPartly Sunny
65° 57°62° 58°65° 58°69° 62°80° 67°

P.S. 3:21 p.m., Tuesday: The Globe provides additional confirmation that yes, our fair city is imitating Seattle in the winter.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Old-fashioned (or, 5 weeks to phone)

I grew up in the 1980s, many years before I had an e-mail address, much less daily access to a computer. Thusly, it took time for me to accept that Instant Messaging is now the accepted flirtation portion when dating.

Something about the word "chat," maybe, sounds juvenile.

But I'm now on board with IM, particularly after 4 months of being both good and bad on OKCupid!. It's the method of choice, actually. I myself have gotten much better at it, and now depend on it to get a painless and, well, instant sense about a man's crucial interpersonal skills. Such as .... how quickly he can type? Can he banter on the fly? Does he try to tempt me with lewdness or wit?

The last 5 weeks I've been engaged in a give-and-take on OKC with a dude from Cape Cod. He first hit me via IM on Friday, May 15. I was on the site only sporadically that day, so we didn't engage fully until after 5 p.m., when I was briefly on-line before leaving work. So I apologized for cutting it short, but said I'd chat with him later. He responded:

CC: (508) XXX-XXXX if you're interested, Karin. It's a better way to introduce oneself.
That was as quick as I have gotten anyone's phone number. In the meantime I had checked out some details of his profile, which included the following:

"I’m really good at ... making you uncomfortable, I would imagine. I'm not too shabby with loud electric guitars, either."

"You should message me if ... you're not going to flake out. Think hard about that one, please."
A sense of the demanding about this one. I wasn't going to call him after 15 lines of an innocuous IM chat. I went about my weekend, did not call him.

Sure enough on Monday, May 18, mid-afternoon, he reappeared:

CC: Hello again

K: Hey there.

CC: I dropped off my number just in case. I like recklessness.
Being at work, I couldn't talk for long.

K: Hey there, gotta go.

CC: Sorry sorry. Ah, well, use that number. : )

We returned for a slightly longer conversation after 5 p.m., but it ended abruptly when I had to take a work-related phone call. No goodbye or future plans. I still did not feel compelled to call him. Too vague.

Consequently, we fell out of touch, which happens frequently on the OKC. Weeks passed.


CC: Hi again (June 8, 4:51 pm)

CC: Hiiii. (June 9: 3:11 pm)

CC: Hi. (June 10: 4:12 pm)

CC: Hi . (June 10: 4:22 pm)

A barrage of chat requests, never at a point where I was in a position to answer them. But I had to admit falling prey to such persistance. So I that night I sent him an e-mail.

K (12:01 am): So the story seems to be that whenever you hit me to chat I have already gone offline and these scintillating "hi" messages show up in my e-mail instead. Sorry for the perceived ignoring. Not the case. How goes?

CC (7:29 am): They ARE scintillating, aren't they? I'm telling you - 508 XXX-XXX. It'll feel more human, AND there won't be any ambiguity where ignoring me is concerned. It's a wonderful idea.
A week passed. As you may guess, no phone call from me. And .... yesterday, again, he sent me a chat request when I wasn't online.

Sigh. At 5:09 p.m. I jumped back into the fray.

K: Hiiii....

CC: hahah Hi!

K: hahah hi! back

CC: You know I figured that I just freaked you out last time.

CC: But I'm nothing if not persistent.

K: What, by the whole "you must call me or else" bit?

CC: I don't remember, honestly. : )

K: Are you in the habit of freaking people out (or at least believing that you did)?

CC: The latter, absolutely.

K: It does give good credence to your argument that talking in person probably alleviates the unknown.

CC: Mm hmm. It does.

K: Although, why are you always worried about freaking people out? I'm just kind of wondering what that says....

CC: It says I freak people out often, and that I don't particularly enjoy it.

K: Oh.

K: My question more was .... what exactly is it that you are doing to cause such a(potential) reaction?

CC: Intensity, that's all.

CC: Call call call constant IM-ing. That weirds people out, believe it or not.

K: Well, I suppose it is all in the context. It's cool if it is welcome.

CC: Sometimes, determining that sort of thing is difficult.

CC: For me, anyway.

K: True.

K: Ah, online romance.

K: Awash in ambiguity and misunderstanding.

K: Mostly.

CC: hahah Romance, yeah.

K: Yes.

K: Perhaps romance is a misnomer.

CC: I think maybe yes.

K: What shall one call it then....

CC: Tryst-ism.

"Tryst-ism" became a word at 5:18 p.m. We chatted for another 30 minutes, about what traditionally ends up being a subject of a chat conversation between 2 folks who list "casual dating" as one of their interests: past dating activity on the OKC. Likes and dislikes. Sex. Him feeling "sheepish" because he had "prodded the living s#$*" out of me.

And it ended as such:

K: But we should chat.

CC: You have the number.

K: Because I agree that it would be interesting. When is a generally good time of day?

CC: The evening.

CC: Only took a month to seem interesting. ; )

K: F*#$ off! ;-)

K: OK. No waiting by the phone, but I'll check in sometime. Tomorrow might be better.

CC: heheheh I'll do my best to stop begging.

CC: Thanks for saying hi.
This better be one fan-damn-tastic phone call.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

................. BBC 5: My 10-speed and me .................

this much of 
Boston, Brookline and Cambridge 

Took off under
blue, empty skies
 Southie at 7:05 a.m. 
to end up at
333 Longwood Ave for
95 minutes of lunges and stretches,
heading then to
Copley Square
and the 
440 minutes of filing and typing,
after which it was onto
3 more miles
to pick up a forgotten sweater
a friends' place on 
School Street in JP, 
then due west to the
due north to
Brookline Village
and then 
lovely, wealthy, residential
Brookline itself, 
Boston University and
crossing the river
on the bridge
named after it,
to end up with another friend
at the 
Central Square,
followed by a 
sangria-fueled trek
south on Mass Ave
in the dark,
past the 
departing Red Sox crowds clogging the crosswalks
at Boylston
at the same moment the
buses were filling up with
and clogging Huntington, 
before breaking free and sprinting
over 93 South 
back again through 
Andrew Square
straight up the 
Dorchester Street Hill-o-Pain,
itself a mini Heartbreak 
mile 19,
at 10:52 p.m.,
cruising the last 2 blocks
back down the hill
to Emerson Street


More jury love ....

As you may recall, last Friday, a guilty verdict was returned in the kidnapping trial of Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter (a.k.a. "Clark Rockefeller") at Suffolk Superior Court.

This was one of the highest-profile court cases in Boston in recent years. You may also recall I went to some length in tying myself to the event on account of my concurrent service at the same courthouse.

(Alas, it is what we bloggers often do .... try to make ourselves relevant to everyone and in all places.)

But I was taken aback, nonetheless, when Saturday at 2:05 a.m., I found this message in my Facebook inbox:
Subect: Connection #4

"Hi! I read your blog and saw all the connections you listed to the Clark Rockefeller case ... you have an additional connection: you know me!

Yes, I too was called in that fateful day after Memorial Day and selected with 15 other lucky people to decide his fate and then spend the rest of the day today dodging media.

Seriously, channel 7 showed up an apartment I haven't lived at for a YEAR! I set my facebook to ultra private, but I have a feeling these people are good...."
So a Rockefeller Rock-Star Juror (featured Sunday night here, on Dateline: NBC) is one of my Facebook friends .... a.k.a., a fellow Rock-Star Alto in our church choir. On the Dateline video, she was also a featured interviewee.

Figuring she spent the weekend being mobbed by everyone she has ever known, I replied:

"Craziness! I promise not to harass you for details ... but would be very curious at some point to hear the process of how you got sat .... as well as, perhaps, how you went about deliberating. Glad to hear you were able to come to agreement.

Best of luck surviving the media scrum!"
Being a Rockefeller Rock-Star, my friend still maintains a balance of humor, articulateness and intelligence .... no surprise, since that's how I know her as a Rock-Star Alto. After sitting on a trial jury myself, I would want her thoughtfulness as a co-deliberator.
"I'd love to share details at some point," she replied yesterday. ".... And actually, I'd feel more famous appearing on your blog under some wittily vague moniker (such as "The Civic-Minded Chorister" or "The Singing Juror" or maybe just "The Jurister") which will make everyone think I learned all my legal chops from 'Trial by Jury ...' "
Which she followed by attaching a video from that particular comic opera by Gilbert & Sullivan: "When I, Good Friends, Was Called to the Bar."

Infinitely more classy than the man she helped convict.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Feeling good ... for a minute, anyway

Last night I ran 3.57 miles.

Out the gym and onto Stuart Street, past the Park Plaza hotel, circle of the Common, the length of Beacon to Mass Ave, and around for the last .4 miles of the marathon route down a Boylston Street amazingly devoid of traffic for 8 p.m. on a Monday. I skipped the sidewalk dodging and ran down the middle of the road. For the first time ever, noticed the number "26" painted on the street in front of the Prudential Center. Crossed the finish line on the paint.

I felt good. The core stabilization training from physical therapy paid off in the power I felt through my thighs. My left ankle twinged for the first 5 minutes and some overworked quad muscles protested occasionally, but no groin pain. Orthotics seemed to do their job.

I was all ready to come in before work today and pen a thoughtful retrospective about what seems a very real return to running. Meanwhile, as I waited for my morning iced black-eye at Starbucks, our company president (K) and a woman (M, about my age) from our marketing department got in line behind me.

K is tall and lanky, good-natured, but occasionally hard to read .... as in when we converse he conveys a joking tone about things that are not jokes. He reached over for a shoulder hug and asked how I was doing, and if my manager was treating me right. And since I am known primarily in my office as the marathoner who bums donations for Children's Hospital, I knew what his next question would be.
"So, you been running?" he said.

"I haven't been,"
I replied. "Been having some hip issues ... but it's been improving so I'm starting up again."

"You should go for a run with M,"
he said, gesturing to our colleague.

"Oh, should I?"

"Really. Do you know why?"

"Do I want to know why?"
I teased back. "I don't know if I do."
M did not offer any assistance here, smiling because she knew where this was going

"Well you do realize that M is a long-distance runner. A marathoner, actually," he said. "You realize that she qualified and ran in the Olympic trials in 2004, and then ... M, you did the ones last year in Boston, too, right? And didn't you lead for awhile?"
I had not realized this, not at all. M is so self-effacing that 14 months after the fact, I had no idea one of the top 150 female marathoners in the U.S. sat down the hall from me. Personal record of 2 hours 42 minutes. Walking back to work, she explained she had indeed run in the 2008 trials, even having taken 6 weeks off from work to train, but injured herself during the race and wasn't able to finish.

Meanwhile, I was going to come here to boast about my fabulous 3.57 miles in 32 minutes.

It's good for the ego to occasionally be humbled in such a fashion.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Neighborly, not so much

God must have shoved Eastern Mass under a meringue layer about 15 days ago. I'm sick of gazing up into the impenetrable underbelly of a cloud pile.

(However, I haven't had to water my impatiens at all. And they thrive. Thank you, God.)

God also granted us a blue-sky exception on Saturday. It was so loverly that, after finishing laundry, I took my blanket, sunscreen, iced coffee, and the Times, and walked over to Dorchester Heights Monument.

I often come here on the weekends to relax. There's an expanse of grass without too many sunbathers. It's at the top of a hill, so teenagers refuse to bike up it and loiter. And at that elevation, one gets a panaroma of Greater Boston ... sans Southeast Expressway sounds or ambulance sirens.

It's nice.

It is also one of Southie's dog parks. The water fountain includes a stainless-steel bowl at ground level, so pooches can drink and don't put their lips on the same spigot as the humans. (A laminated sign explains this.) On a day like Saturday, 2-3 dogs and owners mill about at any one time.

I have no problem with lying on the dog-park grass. I like dogs. And I check for turds before walking anywhere in my bare feet.

And in some ways, I entertain imaginary scenarios (like every f#$*ing romantic comedy known to man) in which some dog gets loose from its brawny-but-sensitive owner and goes sniffing around a girl, lying on a towel in her bikini top and denim cutoffs and reading some scholarly rag, and when the owner runs over to grab the errant leash, he stops to apologize, eyes meet, and 6 dates later they are brunching with each other's parents at Amrheins, the dog chilling at their feet.

Which never happens.

No, what happens to me plays more like this:

1) Girl in bikini top and denim cutoffs, reading her Times, rises from her stomach to do physical therapy stretches on the lawn. Because, she thinks, why not heal the bursitis while getting a tan.

2) As part of the stretching of hip and hamstring, and not just because she's hanging in a dog park and wants to stick her butt in the air, girl assumes yoga's favorite downward-facing dog position.

3) After meditating in that position with eyes closed, she opens them to gaze appropriately back between her knees at downtown Boston and the blue sky and sees nothing but a fast-approaching white bulldog. Who charges into the back of her ankles and causes her to fall over.

(Dog sets about sniffing through the girl's unfolded Times, shoulder bag, empty coffee cup.)

4) Bulldog owner comes running, yelling, "Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey! Sorry! Sorry!" He grabs the dog by the collar.

(Girl notices that the owner is an attractive, tousle-headed 30-something male. With a friendly dog. Who both, evidently, live in the girl's neighborhood.)

5) Realizing this, girl collects her legs and newspaper about her, smiles up at the owner's approach to reply, "Hey, no problem! What a sweet dog!"

6) Owner, on cell phone, has already collected dog and is walking away and down the hill.

7) Girl, tumbled on her ass, is at that moment reinforced in her assertion that all attractive, unmarried 30-something males in Boston are attractive, unmarried 30-something males for a good reason.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Jury love

It was a notable day at Suffolk Superior Court in Boston, those of you following our boy "Clark Rockefeller" in the national news. After 9 days of evidence and nearly 5 days of deliberating, the jury came back today and gave the man of many aliases a new moniker:

"Mr. Guilty of Kidnapping and Assault"

Suffolk Superior is where I served on a 9-day medical malpractice trial recently and, frankly, I assume vicarious connection to this case because:

1) My trial started May 26, the same day as the Rockefeller jury empanelment.

As I arrived at the courthouse that morning, Court TV and a half-dozen other cameras greeted me. Once in the courtroom, the Honorable Regina L. Quinlan explained that we jurors were empanelled several days early, because the court knew they'd need an extra-large jury pool on account of overwhelming pre-trial publicity. So Clark, in a roundabout way, determined the case I helped decide.

2) The court officer who directed my trial's empanelment was the full-time court officer on Rockefeller. Which means she led the defendant into court every day. So all photos of Clark include her mug.

3) No less than 15 friends, when hearing I was on a jury, asked if I was a juror in this case.

Almost felt like it, actually.

Our real trial wrapped on Thursday, June 4 with the unanimous acquittal of 3 doctors and a hospital of negligence and wrongful death. While the verdict itself was not joyful, I was so busy rejoicing that I could make my Friday-morning flight to Minnesota that I forgot to assess the experience in this space.

I'll start by answering the burning questions that all readers of this blog, no doubt, are still itching to know:

Did I find the love of my life during this trial?

Or, at least, did my jury service lead to a sweet hook-up?

Or, at the very least, a coffee date?

Of course not. I wouldn't have waited 8 days to write about it. My 5 male counterparts, not to mention attorneys and defendants, were all one or several of the following: married, seriously attached, 25 years my senior, or totally not my type.

Jury service was well-worth it, though. I don't say that just because the Commonwealth is paying me $350 and Judge Quinlan (who, herself, rocked the house) sent a personal thank you for giving my time to her courtroom.
1) I can tell you what you want to know about propofol, obstructive sleep apnea, how to decipher healthcare shorthand, what an asystole is, and how to manually luxate a tooth.

2) I can say that anyone agreeing to serve as an expert anasthesia witness for the plaintiff should only write a quirky blog under a pseudonym. The defense team will most certainly mock ... and did.

3) Trial attorneys work very, very hard and have to think even harder. Any exhaustion I felt during service was on their behalf.

4) Our jury was made up of uniformly rational folks. Deliberations were smooth and focused. It is possible.

5) As we left the courthouse for the last time, I struck up with a fellow (female) juror who also is a Writer-at-Heart-Working-in-Finance. Much like myself. We exchanged blog addresses. I think we might be friends.
Good stuff, all.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


Today I needed to type "running" into the search function of this blog to confirm the last time I went for a run, because I couldn't otherwise remember.

It was Thursday, May 14. For 4 questionable miles. In that entry I surmised that outing to be on 12 days of rest. Which means after running nearly every day for the 6 months prior, I have run once in 6 weeks.

Thank you, groin pull or hip bursitis or Illiotibial Band Syndrome or whatever the hell you actually are.

But I also should thank Ian, my physical therapist as of 3 weeks ago, for commanding me to hold off running while performing endless bridges and sit-ups and contortion stretches and pelvic "clamshells" with 5-pound weights on my thighs multiple times a day, every day.

Last night at my appointment, he ever-so-casually propped himself on the bench next to me and asked, "So .... have you tried running?"

When I said no, he said, "I think you could, and should."


Hooray and amen.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Why I LOVE living in this city (part 68)

OK, I'm not the most alert city parker, and I'll own it.

Paid $40 one April day for blocking an auto-body driveway, having stopped there at 1:30 a.m. in a non-attentive stupor. Did not argue with the tow truck asking for $135 to haul the Mazda 8 blocks so the city could both clean Dorchester Street and charge me an additional $40 for forgetting it was Thursday.

But I refuse the notion that I could park in Southie resident parking for 3 weeks with a borrowed Southie resident parking sticker ... only to one random morning find one random meter maid decided that offense was worth another $40 for non-resident parking. Even though my car has been registered to my Southie address since February 2008.

If it wasn't a crime for 3 weeks -- or more to the point, for 13 months -- why was it a crime that Saturday night in February?

(Now I know you're all going to tell me to just get thee down to City Hall and get my own parking sticker. Which I should. But I still find the logic of why I deserve a ticket, I don't know, completely illogical.)

Meanwhile, I parked adjacent to this crosswalk at the corner of I Street & East First on the Saturday night before the St. Patrick's Day parade, along with 6 or 7 others:

You tell me where the No Parking sign is. I had to search it out after I came a week later to move my car and found 3 $15 tickets on the windshield.

(See the light pole? The one that that white pick-up is parked right in front of?)

Three weeks ago I composed a letter to the City of Boston Parking Clerk appealing all 4 tickets. Arguing about the resident sticker violation, when I don't have my own resident sticker, was of course going to be a stretch. But I tried to appeal to common sense:

"My resident parking sticker does not match the license plate; however, the vehicle does have a sticker .... valid through 2009 for South Boston. This sticker came from the car's previous owner, also a resident of South Boston, which is the reason I have not replaced it. I am indeed a resident of South Boston and this vehicle is registered to the above-referenced South Boston address. To that end, I have enclosed a copy of my Motor Excise Bill to the City of Boston issued on 2/4/09 that proves this fact."
Then, based on the photo above (which I enclosed) and the argument below, the request to waive the second batch of tickets would be a no-brainer:

"I note again the inconsistent enforcement. The car was parked for 3 days and nights before receiving a ticket, and did not receive any the last 2 days it was there. Why would some officers choose this to be a no-parking situation and others not? I would suggest it is due to the same confusion I experienced: the sign is simply not clear that the area is a no-parking zone."
So yesterday I heard back from the City of Boston with near-identical rejection form letters:


Additionally, the resident parking violation is no longer eligible for an appeal hearing since ACCORDING TO THE BOSTON TRANSPORTATION RULES AND REGULATIONS AN APPEAL MUST BE RECEIVED WITHIN 45 DAYS OF THE FIRST MAIL NOTICE.

The impersonal all-caps printing of these notices rankled me more than the notices themselves. The 45-day period, arbitrarily assigned. The blanket rejection of reasoned logic with, most likely, no consideration or appreciation for situation.

I thought back to growing up in North Dakota where no one ever bothers you for simply parking on the street near where you live.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Useful euphemism

Precisely 5 hours after last suggesting I had zero date action in play, I struck up a Gmail chat with one of ye olde bare-chested dudes from days past.

(See #4.)

Bare Chest and I had one previous such chat on Memorial Day weekend.  To characterize it as titillating would be exceedingly polite.  X-rated would be more accurate. I enjoyed it as a girl should enjoy a frank sex discussion on occasion.   And since this is a family blog, that is where the details stop.

Today's chat started out benignly enough. 
BC: How was jury duty?

K:   Long, but interesting. We finished last Thursday.

BC:  Cool.

K:  Medical malpractice. We exonerated some MDs.

BC:  I would love to hang out with you sometime.

K:  Sure. Realistically, what would you have in mind?

BC:  Let's grab some coffee and take it from there.
We talked about setting up a date.  Five minutes later, he asked me what I was wearing. Two minutes later he crossed into a territory I am now censoring ... in other words, the meat of the conversation.  I went with him for a spell.

And I'm still blushing a little.

(This is not the first time you don't get the whole story.  Readers who have been around might recall the expression "satisfactory goodnight kiss" to discuss the more intimate details of my outings with the CFO.)

For the myriad of personal life details I am compelled to spill (down to how many boxes of cereal I consume per week), I'm amused how shy I am when it comes to discussing sex.  Which partly has to do with a readership that includes both my former pastor and my mother.  And that a Lady Never Really Tells.

Nonetheless, I'm 36 years old.  Sex comes up either conversationally or actively (although by no means exclusively) on many dates I have been on.  Perhaps as a reader you have inferred this. I'd hope that since I don't admit to doing anything more than kiss a boy, yet just confessed that sex frequently comes up during my dates, that you can agree I've kept a somewhat tactful lid on the subject.

Entirely coincidentally, as well as fortuitously, I today clicked on The Boston Globe advice blog by Meredith Goldstein, Love Letters.  ("Sometimes love stinks. Let us help.") Goldstein invites readers to anonymously submit their woes; the host herself first offers a solution, then opens it for comments, and often hundreds of readers weigh in. It's good stuff.

Here is the intro to the June 2nd entry titled "Allergic to 'Grilled Cheese'":
"A disclaimer from Meredith: When this letter arrived in my Love Letters InBox, it was too risqué to post on .... But because I believe the reader’s question is valid and worthy of our discussion, I’ve decided to post it -- with all of the writer's R-rated phrases replaced by my G-rated euphemisms. I'm asking that you use my euphemisms in your comments so I can post them .... "
You can read the entry if you're so moved.  However, I will tell you now that this is a column about sex.  "Making Grilled Cheese" is not about making grilled cheese.  The kitchen is not a room in the house. And it is f#$*ing hilarious.  Especially when 300-plus readers got into the spirit and extended the metaphor to all facets of preparation, cooking and consuming ... among other activities.  All the while extending relatively useful advice.

I'm inspired.  I'm all ready now to brainstorm more creative ways to tell a story about sex, should I find myself heading into Satisfactory Goodnight Kiss territory anytime soon.  My mother might still not approve .... but then again, maybe she'll not read under the surface and just be glad I'm baking cookies for a friend.

Which would certainly be OK.

Monday, June 8, 2009


Today was the first day in the last 17 that I got up, ate my oatmeal covered in Dannon yogurt, fed the cats and watered the flowers, and biked up East Berkeley to the office with the intent of working a full day, like normal.

It's about time. My schedule and focus have been collectively scattered for what feels like forever. This certainly reflects in the last 10 days of blog entries, the majority of them summations of how scattered my schedule and focus are.

So far I have failed to write the entry suggesting specifically how difficult I found it to focus on a blog entry when sitting on a medical malpractice jury for 9 days, then going to work until 7 or 8 each of those nights, and making sure to not miss my physical therapy appointments and the hour of attendant daily exercises so that someday I can get back to the important business of running and feel normal again, while trying to coordinate 2 consecutive weekend trips to Minneapolis in part to make up for 6 months of not seeing my baby nephew and then while there, making sure to spend all possible time watching him scoot himself across the floor and eat pureed carrots, and in part to help 2 friends get married by producing the bulletins and making sure the organist got to the ceremony at the right time, all the while eyeballing my backpack every 5 minutes to ensure that my wallet was still within.

(Which, I'm happy to report, it still is.)

Not to mention through this haze, I have now officially watched the momentum of my dating life trail off into vapor. There are no dates known to me. There are no e-mail conversations in progress. There are no OKC hellos awaiting me.

So today it is good to be normal, sitting at my desk at 10:41 a.m., with nowhere to be but here, and nowhere to be after work but the gym, and nothing to do after that but sleep so that by tomorrow the scattered focus will have realigned to normalcy.

And maybe I'll start having some dates to write about.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Dateline: Medford, MN 06/06/09

My man Mitch and his bride Sushma. A celebration worth the price of the plane ticket.

Many ridiculously happy returns.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Um ... (Coda)

On Friday night I last saw my faux-leather wallet while exiting TSA security at Terminal A, Logan Airport

Tonight at 10:15 I was back at Logan, at the State Police Barracks, retrieving said wallet from an officer who, when I arrived to pick it up, told me at first, deadpan voice and eyes, that he didn't really have it, then without cracking a smile, told me he was joking, explaining that it was just a little police humor.

But of course he did have it, covered in Scotch tape to hold it closed, intact save for $15 cash. American Express, library card, Healthworks and workplace IDs,  all present.  Found on the Jet Blue baggage carousel in Terminal C over the weekend.

Thank you, someone, somewhere, for something I didn't deserve to have returned.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

BBC 4: View from a stomach crunch

Since I'm still in jury mode this week, I have an argument to lay out.

If you can assume: one of my favorite things about Boston is the ability to do just about anything I want anywhere public and no one seems to notice or care

And if: I have a physical therapist who last week preliminarily diagnosed my left leg woes as bursitis of the hip and prescribed core-strengthening exercises to do 2x daily, which sometimes I have to do on my lunch hour

And if: I work in the Back Bay and often hang out in Copley Square on my lunch hour

And if: it was 69 degrees and partly cloudy at 12:32 p.m. today

It then follows: I could do 20 minutes of ab crunches and glute bridges in the middle of Copley Square on my lunch hour today and no one seemed to notice or care.

Except for Trinity Church and the trees.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


Yesterday afternoon while walking my bike down the east side of the Boston Common, I came upon a man with a scruffy chin and long khaki cut-offs, holding a clipboard, smiling, eying me.

Not man of my wildest dreams, no. City-center denizens should know who I'm talking about ... in all seasons, but mostly during the summer tourist swell, it is the street solicitor.

Perhaps a pre-teen selling M&Ms and Hershey bars to purportedly raise money for youth sports programs. A college student for MassPirg, or asking passerby to donate to an environmental group. During election season, the same, to register voters or join the Democratic National Committee.

My nemesis yesterday represented Save the Children, according to his royal blue smock. Because no one was between us, I saw him checking me out from a half-block away. He fixed his glance, summoned the smile, I also saw, and began calling within a quarter-block.

"Hey miss! How you doing today?"
I'm not against what solicitors try to sell, but I dislike being forced to discuss their causes for no other reason than I'm in their line of vision. My policy is to affect a wry look, to show I'm not a total ass, shake my head and say "no, thank you," and keep walking.

Which I did in this case.

But of course, sometimes the wryness is misconstrued and encourages conversation. Which, I'll give kudos to this guy, he picked up on. As I came even with him, he turned and walked alongside me a few steps.

"Now you look like a woman who has this, I don't know, aura," he said.

"Look at how you hold your shoulders back. Like someone who knows what she wants."

Aura? Like a distinctive atmosphere surrounding a given source? An energy field that is held to emanate from a living being?

"Someone who knows what she wants?"


I replied that I thought his aura was also fabulous ... and kept walking. So his organization got no new money from me -- not due to lack of charm from said solicitor -- mostly because my wallet is still out at Logan Airport Lost and Found. (Ha!)

But I thought about his comment for the next couple hours, kind of wishing I thought Mr. Save the Children was telling the truth. That perhaps he knows me better than I think I know myself.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Um .... (Verse 2)

Got into work from jury duty at 3 this afternoon to find a voicemail from Trooper Poor with the Massachusetts State Police at Logan Airport, designating a wallet containing my ID as "item 380A" to be claimed.

My sister just sent an e-mail, suggesting I have a "wallet angel" in my corner. I tend to agree.