Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Quarter-end wish list

At lunch-hour yoga today, I was a bad yoga girl. I did not focus on my ujaii breathing or otherwise visualize my inhales washing my muscles with a warm, golden light.

Instead I composed, in my head, a list of pure brain candy.... my favorite things, if you will .... thinking perhaps when I find myself feeling that same goodness about a man, I can handcuff us together and book a reception hall. I'll be that certain.

In other words, if you are a man and wish to date me, it would be helpful to inspire feelings equating to:

-- the taste of the first Reese's Piece out of a jumbo bag

-- the way the hip relaxes and settles during a half-pigeon

-- the passion of Brahms Intermezzo in B minor (op. 119, no. 1) between 1:02 and 2:15 of this

-- the relief when an airplane's wheels touch runway, the brakes engage, and you can confirm you will not, on this trip anyway, be a crash statistic

-- that tenth-of-a-mile between 2 and 2.1 of 12 -- when pace, rhythm and energy meet and running is fun

-- the end of a date, maybe the first or second, when you decide it's worth it to reach in for a hug and the other person presses also reaches back, then presses back, and then holds on

There must be others. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Need for Speed(o): Inauguration Day

As OKC always comes through for me when this blog lacks spice .....

.... so I need to challenge my body to a duel when, once again, it foists on me the ability to inhale a full box of Kashi in one sitting (as was accomplished last night), inciting grave concerns that the waistband of my jeans won't keep up.

On December 12, I'm going to take part in this:

Probably wearing something like this (and, minds out of the gutter, something on top):

You might remember last winter's Bikini Challenge? Kind of want to get back there.

I have had fewer more successful motivational tools than the thought of y'all seeing my bare stomach. Believe me when I say the thought of y'all seeing it in perpetual motion should be far greater ....

Thusly, 10 weeks and 5 days from now, this space will feature video of my 1.25-mile circle of the Back Bay in prime-exposure mode.

You've been warned.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Hmmmm. (It's a Monday)

My energy level must be symbiotically connected to some database at OKCupid! that determines my profile rotation.

Because just when I think I have absolutely nothing to write about .... a sampling ....

Message #1
"I have strong hands for a non-toughguy. I'm only mediocre at the piano (I'm better at other instruments) but I want to play like Billy Preston more than anything in the world. Can you teach me?"
He's thirty-something and "seeing someone."

By his estimation, he's really good at "bumping my head, stubbing my toes, banging my shins into coffee tables, harmonizing, MacGyvering things, wilderness navigation, board games."


His self-summary?: 01101000 01101001 00100000 01110011 01101001 01110011 00100000 01100011 01100101 01110010 01100101 01110110 01101001 01110011 01101001 01100001 01101101.

He's also dark and attractive and evidently is up at 2:03 a.m. thinking about hiring a piano instructor.

I can't lie; I could use the extra cash.

Message #2

From a late-20s female, also in a relationship:
"Please understand that there aren't many avenues to search for such an adventure, thus, I'm writing you on here. If you're not interested, no worries, and I wish you the best.

"What I'm looking for is a girl to possibly wrestle/grapple with. I know it sounds funny, but my guy loves it and I'm trying to learn by practicing with someone my size (or at least a little closer in size). And by no means am I an expert, we can learn and try techniques together, this will be new for me as well. It's not a sexual request and we can just wear shorts, athletic tops, etc."
Hmmm. Her pictures show a beauty queen body, face hidden, who looks fit enough to lift cattle. Intriguing to contemplate as a cross-training activity, perhaps supplementing physical therapy. I also admire her chutzpah in just throwing it out there.

Although amazingly enough, not my first request to wrestle ....

Message #3

"Girl di North Dakota? Works for me!"
What a relief, because anyone writing is going to have to face the fact that I come from there.

In a rare feat, I seem to have attracted the only man in the Northeast (albeit about 3 hours away in Connecticut) who is on OKC and interested in more than casual sex. More bluntly, his profile states,

"I'm looking for that special woman -- "The One".
In fact,

"You should message me if: you're 'the one', a good candidate or curious."
Wonder what one's criteria for being "the one" is. He's a tall, curly-headed businessman who likes to golf. I'm a short, curly-haired businesswoman who likes to golf.

Maybe that's it.


Sunday, September 27, 2009

Blah blah blah blah.....

I've had trouble coming up with blog topics in the past, but this is the bottom of the well of nothingness I'm scraping tonight, folks.

Bone dry.

Sorry. I've spent the last hour (2, almost), trying to compose something witty and kind about the 2 perfectly pleasant (in perfectly distinct ways) outings from Thursday and Friday. Or my perfect 12.5-miler on Saturday night, followed by pleasant cocktail party with theater friends. Or, generally, how pleasant the weekend was.

Whether it is fatigue or a chocolate hangover (a full bag of Hershey's kisses during a YAGMCB production meeting tonight) or the unanticipated speeding up of normal brain cell disintegration that comes with aging -- I have been stopped in my tracks again and again and have ended up with what you're now reading.

Well, we all could have it worse than having to read a stilted piece of writing from me. We all could have had a weekend like Roman Polanski -- thinking he was on his way to Switzerland for a lifetime achievement award and ending up in the clink for a 32-year-old sex crime that he's successfully evaded for 31 years, since the Los Angeles District Attorney's office has nothing more pressing to worry about.

OK, I've got to just stop. This is painful. Tune in tomorrow, if you dare....

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Return of feeling (it's about time)

It was a typical weekday morning o' minor mishaps in Karin's Southie apartment:

1) Set alarm for 6:30 but actually don't get up until 7:55 .... check.

2) Trip on cats who insist on planting their mewling selves 2 steps in front of any attempted human footpath ... check.

3) Pull on favorite plaid knee skirt and black v-neck before realizing a black bra is preferable underneath for so many reasons and -- in resulting haste to switch to correct bra because it was already 8:35 so hurry, hurry -- stretch sweater neckhole down around hips rather than up over head, remembering only then that said technique ensures said v-neck will remain stretched in Karin-waist-shape forevermore ..... check.

4) Remember to brush my teeth, find the correct heels, and actually go to work .... check.

Thank God.

Despite such chaos, I'm going to suggest that so far (coming on late afternoon) I have not entertained 1 angst-ridden thought today. And this coming shortly after last night on OKC ... in which a stranger, not 30 seconds into our chat, began employing all known rhetorical powers to lure me to his hotel room for assorted nefariousness at 12:15 a.m. .... and while never seriously considering it, I actually thought that his suggestions had a certain appeal.

(Sorry, mom.)

Wow. Desire on the basest level .... it's still there, somewhere. Hallelujah.

You might recall my recent, spectacular crash with Saturday Date Meltdown Man, an event that put me in a sort of neutered limbo: wanting very much to be interested in dating but unable to make myself interested. Which is an inherently depressing place to be. You might also recall the number of times in the past 3 weeks I've written about said place ... inherently depressing stuff to read.

Not sure what triggered last night's jolt back to normalcy. Although I suspect it was partly driven by recognition (also triggered by what? who knows) that I'd been in neutered limbo for much longer, perhaps for the better part of this summer, in my sort-of relationship with SDM Man. We had good dates every couple weeks. Although I can see now that in between the dates, I didn't know where we stood and was afraid that if I asked him the good dates would stop .... kind of OK with the lack of commitment, kind of getting more attached than I planned and then mad about the lack of commitment, kind of torturing myself for spending time in a sort-of place rather than a definite place. In the meantime, I abandoned other potential channels ... let other OKC conversation threads die off, for example, no room for anyone else when my emotions were too splintered between what I really wanted from SDM Man and frustration over what I was accepting.

None of this is SDM Man's fault, despite our rotten end. He was just being him, which was only sort-of being with me, and I let him be, sort-of.

Ah. Perhaps it is this rare clarity that fuels good feeling.

C-1 wrote me today to figure out what movie we'll see tomorrow night, and when. I replied to let him know that I would probably skip yoga so we could do an early show, and that we should find a cocktail on either side of that. He thusly replied: "Cocktails, most definitely. Let me find shows / times, and I'll get back to you."

I find myself genuinely excited at the thought.

I'm also genuinely psyched to find C-2 in Davis Square, as a date or not, later this evening.

(With props to Handel this time, can I get another Hallelujah, Amen?)

However, I'll hold off on the random hotel trysts ... for now.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I DO have (a) pseudo-date(s)!

Actually, I have 2. Kind of.

In all my whining about finding the time or mojo to meet a man socially, I forgot that I indeed have plans to meet my Very-Occasional-Suitor, C, for a movie Friday.

(Ah, flakiness. C & I set this up Sept. 2, when we last saw each other. I came home that night to find my apartment infested with flies and was distracted for several days.)

Meanwhile I reconnected on e-mail this week with the other man on this blog I call C and also almost never see (and also promised not to really write about). He lives near Davis Square and likes to go out late; I have 4 weekly rehearsals in Davis, most of which end late. So we're going to attempt another Beer Out on Thursday, our first since mid-July.

Both Cs are fine fellows. I'm looking forward to seeing both. Except I'm not entirely sure either constitutes a date in a date sense.

Especially C-2, since all we've done since meeting 7 months ago is share our respective stories of dating other people. I also remember it was I who suggested to C-1 that we see a movie .... meaning he didn't really ask me out. Besides, we've been acquaintances for literally years to get to this point. There's been scant discussion of romance, other than the fact that we're choosing to spend time together.

Is "pseudo-date" a good term for these sorts of get-togethers? Which brings up the point, should I be going on pseudo-dates, period? Like, when I'm searching for a boyfriend, is ambiguity the best route to follow?

Good questions.

In the new spirit of not riding the timid wagon, I should probably just ask C-1 and C-2 what they think and go from there.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Deep thought: marry Neil Patrick Harris

My friend Kaitlyn posted this YouTube link on her Facebook page yesterday:
"Speaking of Neil Patrick Harris being an amazing host. Did you people see his closing number from the Tonys? Gayest man I've ever wanted to marry!"
(She's got good taste. I watched this clip, easily, 40 times after work. In fact, I skipped going to the gym because I was caught up in watching NPH delightfulness. It is so delightful I'm going to make you watch it too.)

As you might remember, Kaitlyn is currently my cohort, the director (to my music director) of "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown." So I commented thusly, sparking this string o' comments:
Karin: Kaitlyn. I want to marry him too. And I'd like to hire him for our show. Can we?

Kaitlyn: Yes. We can. Who will break the news to [the members of our cast] Matt? And Mike? And Jason? And Rachel?

Mike (who plays Schroeder): I'll willingly offer my spot to NPH

Sandy (Kaitlyn's mother): Love him, too. So why aren't you watching him every week on TV? (Monday nights 8:00 CBS) The rest of the show is ordinary, but - go figure! - he's very fun!

Kaitlyn: Let's see... what am I doing at 8pm on Mondays? Oh yeah. I'm rehearsing a show. And since Mike just gave up his spot, that's what NPH is doing Mondays at 8pm too! Way to take one for the team, Schroeder. ♥
At rehearsal last night when greeting Kaitlyn, I brought up the Facebook posting .... and she smiled, and we sighed in unison ... the unspoken implication being, "he sings, he dances, he acts, he charms, he's stunning, he's witty, he's deft, he's smart, he's rich .... if only he didn't have a live-in boyfriend ...."

Our nearby stage manager, who happens to be lesbian, heard this exchange, to which she added:
"Neil Patrick Harris? LOVE him."
So let's review: 2 straight girls (1 single, 1 not), 1 straight guy, 1 married woman and 1 gay woman ... all in love with the gay man.

(And we are not alone. This article from yesterday's New York magazine goes fully all-in.)

NPH is a singular talent and more appealing than the average, gay or straight. Most likely he does not want to marry any of us. Although it is clear we all (pretend to, anyway) think that we would bypass his sexuality in exchange for a lifetime of hanging out with his appealing personality.

Eh. I'm not about to give up male/female sexual tension in my relationship; at least right now, it matters a lot to me. But is there a lesson about priorities in this observation?

Monday, September 21, 2009

Happiness is (fill in the blank)

So here's the kicker: I had a fulfilling and enjoyable weekend, even though it did not include a date.

(It is indeed possible. Thank the lord.)

It was also exhausting. Between Friday night and Saturday morning I slept, if you could call it sleep, a total of 2 hours. Most of it scattered between 5:30 and 9 a.m. Most of it upright in the driver's seat of a 15-passenger van, parked among 100 other such vans in a constant state of coming and going, surrounded by 5 sweaty guys also sleeping sitting-up.

It's difficult to explain Reach the Beach Relay either to non-runners, or to runners who don't enjoy going without rest or shower between a series of 4- to 9-mile jaunts, many on rolling hills, many that are steep in both directions, many through rural New Hampshire in the damp cold and cover of night.

I should just let you read the 44-page race handbook.

However, it is fulfilling. My teammates on squad Cheap Yellow Mustard made it even more so. I like hanging with them, generally, because they're good-looking, funny, nice guys who are also engineers who run 7-minute miles. And as running is so often solitary, I think we collectively embrace the chance to be running nerds together.

So anyway, enough about that. I'd say more about my sore butt muscles, but you probably don't care to hear, or if you do, would do better to see me in person and ask me to tell you. This weekend Drained my Brain, and this entry thus far has been an exercise in trying to overcome this mental fatigue. I hope you can't tell it took me 2 hours to compose these previous 5 paragraphs with all their adjectives and clauses.

It's apropos, then, this piece from yesterday's Sunday Times by resident uber-smart ass, Maureen Dowd. I came upon it last night, theoretically trying to sleep to catch up from the weekend, but in reality contemplating how I was ever going to get the energy up to rewrite my dating profile and, if I did and it actually succeeded in getting me a date, when I was going to fit one into my the next month with its rehearsals and training sessions and church choir and pesto-making-so-my-basil-plant-doesn't-go-to-waste.

The column is about busy women, and a research study that tries to determine if busy women are consequently happier. Speaks to the scattered way we try to better feel fulfilled. These lines, particularly, spoke to me:

In the early ’70s, breaking out of the domestic cocoon, leaving their mothers’ circumscribed lives behind, young women felt exhilarated and bold.

But the more women have achieved, the more they seem aggrieved .....

“Choice is inherently stressful,” [one of the researchers] said in an interview. “And women are being driven to distraction.”

The more important things that are crowded into their lives, the less attention women are able to give to each thing.

Add this to the fact that women are hormonally more complicated and biologically more vulnerable. Women are much harder on themselves than men.

They tend to attach to other people more strongly, beat themselves up more when they lose attachments, take things more personally at work and pop far more antidepressants.

“Women have lives that become increasingly empty,” [one of the researchers] said. “They’re doing more and feeling less.”

I'm feeling that way today, despite the great weekend. Emotionally empty. A crazy schedule -- which in some ways I keep to be a more interesting person to date -- keeping me from having the wherewithal to actually find someone to date.

Friday, September 18, 2009

200 miles, 200 miles.....

Hey running fans.

I'm off to New Hampshire and off the grid (hooray!) until Sunday,

To run some 15 miles as part of this

Through scenery like this

In a get-up like this

With teammates like this

On a team named for the generic term for this.

(Cheap Yellow Mustard, Version IV)

Should be a hoot.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Mary Mary (another tribute)

It's nostalgia week here on the old blog ......

The music of Peter, Paul & Mary was a favorite of my parents, who owned all the trio's early-1960s releases. My sisters and I discovered these about the time we were old enough to sing along in harmony .... which we did, frequently, in front of the stereo speakers in our living room.

"In Concert" (the double live album pictured here) was a particular favorite. Its 1990 remaster became my second ever CD purchased. I still have it and have listened to it so frequently I can recite the correct order of the 16 songs, from memory. If you've never played air guitar along to "If I Had My Way", I highly recommend. Then go back and listen to "500 Miles."

Mary Travers had been sick for awhile and her death yesterday was not unexpected. But her spot in this world is a hole not so easily re-filled. Like her compatriot Peter Yarrow wrote this morning, she was

"..... honest and completely authentic. That's the way she sang, too; honestly and with complete authenticity. I believe that, in the most profound of ways, Mary was incapable of lying, as a person, and as an artist. That took great courage, and Mary was always equal to the task."

Between that and the incomparable timbre of her contralto, she was singular, to be sure.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Deep Thought: Go on a Date

The Young Scientist and I used to IM frequently, yet haven't done much since May, caught up in our respective dating lives and other lives.

Our gap wasn't due to anger or repellence, and we had had good chats, so I knew we'd reconnect eventually. Thus, not a surprise to log onto g-mail yesterday to find:
Young Scientist: hmm no dating news in your blog since the disaster date?

I'm not that swift on the turnaround...

I have to revamp and recoup...

the readers demand a sacrifice

K: Such as? (example?)

well not a literal sacrifice

but perhaps you'll have to take one for the team and go on a date
Good point.

I know that one can only take so many stories of post-grad sex chats and old cars (with, BTW, a set of $300 ball-joint repairs my mechanic strongly recommended just this morning) and photos of either a) Henry or b) my toenails.

Young Scientist and I chatted for awhile. We reviewed my months-long experience with Saturday Date Meltdown man, concluding that in this fallout, what I really want rather than a Casual Boyfriend is a Boyfriend Boyfriend.

Meanwhile, YS just ended a relationship and is in the mood to casually date.

Acknowledging that in 7 months we have never made it onto the same dating page at the same time .... we could agree on the refreshment of fresh starts, and that we each should go forth boldly.

OKC may err on the slimy side. But it has, without peer, provided me with copious dating opportunities. I haven't updated my profile from the strong-hands "I'm a cynic" theme since mid-June. And if I want to go for a Boyfriend Boyfriend, I need to say that and stop being so coy.

So that's next on the agenda. The profile rewrite. When I re-do it (this weekend, perhaps?), you'll know about it.

Hint: you're allowed to hold me to this.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Long live the dancer

Everybody's doing it ...... but Patrick Swayze must be memorialized in this space on this day.

Oh, this clip from the climax of "Dirty Dancing", when Johnny Castle takes Baby and her twirling skirt out of her corner and into the spotlight.

I've seen it, without exaggeration, more than a thousand times. Enough to anticipate that circling camera shot (0:45), Baby's awkward head shakes (1:19) and best of all, the moment (2:50) Johnny leads the Latin Groove back up the aisle to get his woman.

"Yes I know what's on your mind when you say, 'stay with me tonight '.... "

This movie has easily the most cheesy, cheesily-delivered lines ever found in one film in the history of the industry. ("He wouldn't know a new idea if it hit him in the Pachenga.")

But that moment is powerful and Patrick Swayze is beautiful.

I was in 8th grade in 1987. As the biggest cliché of awkwardness to ever pass through puberty, I nevertheless wanted to be Baby Houseman. To wear those embroidered blouses and Keds and have that flouncy perm. (I took her photo to my hairdresser, even.) These things were definitely cool , but only because I wanted Johnny to spirit me to the lake on a rainy afternoon to practice the lift ... in white jeans, natch.

I had no self-confidence as a female teenager, with the triple threat of glasses, wings for bangs, and enormous sweaters. I did not know how to look a boy in the eye. I had zero concept of flirtation. I had no true objects of lust, maybe because I couldn't imagine anyone lusting back.

So let it be said: Patrick Swayze (those cheekbones, that gallantry, that butt) was the first boy (amazingly, at 35) who made me want to wear white jeans, who made me fantasize about waking up next to someone, who made me want to find that elusive soft-hearted bad boy for myself.

(Do they exist for real? Tell me yes?)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Top 10 reasons to not lose my shit ...

.... just because my car spent the weekend in a tow lot.

10. Because Kanye West, Serena Williams, Dick Armey, and about 20,000 fellow Americans I hope never to meet in a dark alley all lost their shit this weekend. It was roundly unattractive. And no need to pile on.

9. Because I didn't have a car when grocery shopping last night, I burned a mountain of calories hauling bags up the steps of multiple T stations. Yes.

8. There is no longer a justifiable reason for me not to drive to work for the sake of curbing pollution. I did not drive my car to work Friday morning, which is why I did not see the fresh "don't park from 7-5 today" signs, which caused a police cruiser to have to drive 2 miles round trip to ticket it, followed by a diesel-engine truck to make a 6.2-mile round trip to tow it, and then me to add 4 more miles this morning in picking it up, most of that idling through standstill traffic in Roxbury during rush hour ... totalling 12.2 miles of environmental waste.

7. After having to repeat it multiple times, I have finally memorized my license-plate number. Will be handy the next time I'm standing on a street corner looking at where I thought my car was parked, and perhaps I won't sound so brainless talking to the towing dispatcher.

6. I got to see the inside of a Boston Police Precinct for the first time and it wasn't in handcuffs!

5. For the first time in ages, I got to ride the Ashmont train south to my old hood, Fields Corner ... still as grimy and shady and covered with slow-moving pedestrians as I remember.

The $156.78 charge to the towing company in Dorchester achieved 2 goals at once: stimulating that neighborhood's economy, while also earning my Visa crucial dollars towards my next flight. Score!

3. While watching the agreeable, young, bearded A & B Towing rep charge my Visa, I realized I didn't actually mind that my cluelessness was helping pay his salary.

The zen from that realization lasted through the Roxbury slow-down (see #8) and into my office, where I found myself unexpectedly drawn to The Police's "So Lonely" when it came on the radio, happy that a song that uses the word "lonely" 40 times is actually pretty danceable, and then even happier to find that the version on YouTube features the band riding the subway. Riding the subway.

1. Writing a blog entry about a car gives me an excuse to print this photo of a car.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Saturday night in the city

It's amazing how short the day feels when it doesn't start until 12:45.

That's what time I finally heeded my cats' cries for food and rolled out from under the comforter this afternoon. This followed a midnight bedtime so, despite a couple abortive attempts to get up around 10 and head to yoga, I'll call that 12.5 hours of sleep that was probably totally necessary.

Since I usually only sleep 6 and many of today's waking hours were accompanied by coffee, I estimate I'll be up now until at least 3 or 4 a.m., burning off that excess rest.


It's 11:05 and I've got a whole evening in front of me .... and I've been reviewing recent blog entries, albeit with some nausea. I find myself wishing I wanted to shed self-pity and write a bravura pitch of female empowerment and enthusiasm.

How I love (instead of merely like) everything I'm doing at the moment, including 4 weekly 3-hour rehearsals for the next 3 months.

How I most definitely don't need a man and how I should have apologized last Saturday even in the face of irrationality.

How I can't wait to rewrite my OKC profile to ditch the sexy cynicism and reference to "strong hands," searching for some approach that will stop getting me treated like a smart, witty-yet-disposable sex object while attracting something besides vanilla cuddlers in their late 40s.

How I can't wait to do something for my dating life besides looking online, even though I've taken up 3 hobbies that only offer social opportunities with married, or gay, or much older gay and married men.

How I don't really get laid low by my time of the month like I said I did.

(Although I know full well once you admit that you can never take it back.)

Kind of wish I felt that way.

Instead, today I just wished I had someone to take care of me. It was the moment at 5 p.m. I walked out to find my car only to not find it .... which could only mean that the City of Boston had gotten its meathooks into it.

Sure enough. The spot on Dorchester Street I legally parked in Wednesday night turned illegal Friday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. to make room for a moving truck. The parking spot was not in my walk-to-bus route, so I didn't see these signs. Several phone calls yielded, helpfully, that the parking department is closed both Saturday afternoons and Sundays and that it will cost $15 per day in storage fees, in addition to the towing costs and the parking citation.

Which means that it is Saturday night, my car is chilling in the city tow-lot and costing me several hundred dollars to do so, and I am sitting in my running shorts, alone next to the espresso machine at Trident Booksellers on Newbury, fending off 21-y-olds wanting to chat on OKC, blogging about my lack of a date, and trying to concentrate as the undergrad next to me tries to impress the bartender by asking her ceaseless questions about the Italian Ice syrup bottles.

It's a scintillating life, although I'm not complaining about it.

I just kind of wish I had someone to come give me a ride home.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Cranky, begone

Today was _that_ day of the month.

[Ladies, you're with me, I know. The day of the month before the day of the month. The day the hormones kick at your tear ducts and patience meter and cause you to hate everyone from the bus driver (going too slow) to your marketing co-worker (daring to ask for help after 3 p.m.) to the Herald's Howie Carr for his umpteenth year of obtuse, tasteless commentary.]

So refreshing, then, to get the news from my mother that she doesn't have even the slightest bit of cancer in her breast. She's been nonchalantly panicky since her mammogram several weeks ago .... when there was enough of an abnormality to require a biopsy. But the news came back this morning, negative. The good negative.

This news that means I have no right to be crabby.

To prove I'm working on moving my mood correspondingly into positive territory, I give you the lyrics to the song that, when it came over my iPod on tonight's run, made me cry in front of all the Berklee undergrads blocking the sidewalk on Mass Ave.

Cheesy, but perfect.

by Clark Gesner

Happiness is finding a pencil,
Pizza with sausage, telling the time.

Happiness is learning to whistle,
Tying your shoe for the very first time.

Happiness is playing the drum in your own school band.
And happiness is walking hand in hand.

Happiness is two kinds of ice cream,
Knowing a secret, climbing a tree.

Happiness is five different crayons,
Catching a firefly, setting him free.

Happiness is being alone every now and then.
And happiness is coming home again.

Happiness is having a sister,
Sharing a sandwich,
Getting along.

Happiness is singing together when day is through,
and happiness is those who sing with you.

Happiness is morning and evening,
daytime and nighttime too.
For happiness is everything and anything at all
That's loved by you.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


I've mentioned before that I'm a pianist, but not that I've worked a lot as an accompanist and, as a matter of fact, am in rehearsals as music director for a local staging of "You're a Good Man Charlie Brown."

The production staff has been prepping since May; we auditioned and set the cast a couple weeks ago. Last night was the first practice.

This is my first job as a music director, so I'm still working on my leadership style. Nervewracking, a tad. But it'll keep me out of trouble (i.e., probably not chatting with 25-y-olds on OKC) for several months.

So far, it has been a joy collaborating with Kaitlyn, the director. Her love of Peanuts characters and commentary is infectious, causing her frequently to dance around any room at any time. She gets to do this near ceaselessly, since the musical is comprised only of vignettes from Charles Schulz's imagination.

Even so, as the strip ran in daily newspapers for 50 years, there's a much greater body of work than can ever be staged. Kaitlyn's remedy to this has been to, on each day of rehearsal, produce a daily comic for cast and crew as inspiration.

This is almost like having someone take care of smiling for you every day. So far, so cool. (Joe Cool, maybe.)

Here is the one from Tuesday, which to me feels perfectly at home in the blog entry of a girl trying to sort some stuff out.

Communication conversation

I'm always glad to hear from Cousin J. But even more so during all this reflection on communication styles thanks to the Saturday Date Meltdown.

(It works doesn't it? "SDM" having the appropriate verbal resemblance to such satisfying-sounding words as Sodom, or Saddam, or Sadomachoism .... ? I'm not going to go on about this forever but giving a bad memory a title does sure make having to remember it more palatable.)

J's a right wise one, and a willing partner in experiments on self betterment. The note from Managua came in shortly after the initial Sunday post, which led to this exchange:
J: wow, too bad the date went south, but you are wise to take the learning route, i am going through little learning things with colleagues, trying to be more quiet and listening rather than reacting ... i'm working on my poker face more than usual bc i need to take in a bit more before judging these days ....
K: Your thoughts about listening more are wise ones, indeed, and I too will make an effort this week as an exercise. [My date] was an ass about how this happened but he did, originally, have a likely beef with me and I need to avoid that type of thing going forward. Thanks for the tip.

J: Ok, we're on. Listen more, think first, talk with wiseness not gut blabbering. I'm in! I'll report back if you will! (not to assume your issue is the same, simply that we can report on whatever it is) This week, I'll have lots of interaction with my volunteers, a perfect time to not be bossy but instead listen and help them answer their own questions.
K: I will suggest that I will simply talk less .... Since I had a blabberfest weekend, it will be a challenge. But will supposedly affect my workplace and rehearsals (that start tonight).
Then tonight:
K: So I'm happy to report that the conscientious listening was a big help at work today. It really just calmed me down in my communication. I made coherent, clear sentences when speaking at co-workers.
(Really, folks. You have to understand this is not normal.)
K: [The calmness] helps because ... I just read [my date's] e-mail again, and it's bothering me more today than it did yesterday. This whole bit of 'wow, that was so awful that we should throw out months of interaction over this.' For some reason, that rationale is aggravating the shit out of me at present. I'm sure it will fade.
J: You can probably take something from the incident and learn, be wiser, quieter, more cautious to hear the other person or to do a check-in right in the moment (and avoid later conflicts) but he is as at fault for the clusterf*** of a situation and even with months of history, still not worth your life of confusion.
I heart girl friends and their sagacity and for always being on my side.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

(Lack of) honesty: Epilogue

Hi there.

I apologize for the lame opening, but I'm still stun-gunned from the date meltdown of Saturday. Whip lashed, really. How quickly a misunderstanding turned into a battle of indignant silences and into the end of something.

My date and I, you see, had been seeing each other regularly -- albeit infrequently -- for a couple months since meeting on OKC. You haven't heard about him because I withheld publication at his request, and I'm not giving him a nickname for the same reason. But they were worthwhile dates, and I'm sure he would agree. Varied and comfortable and companionable, probably a dozen.

Saturday was another such. This night, we were out at a bar where we encountered some of my theater friends. After a fashion, I left him at the table alone while I went to talk to them. Upon my return he didn't tell me he was upset, even though I now realize we moved into less positive conversation. Perhaps I should have realized my etiquette breach and sensed his mood.

But 3 beers after a long day tends to cloud perception. Which contributed to why again, later, I crossed the room to talk to the girls without inviting him. This then became his invitation to leave the bar without saying goodbye. It was his equal justification 10 minutes later for not responding to my 3 frantic phone calls and 2 texts looking for him, the last one saying: Please call me.

I cannot remember ever feeling as impotent as I did on that Cambridge street corner at 12:07 a.m., getting voicemail voicemail voicemail.

In fact, when I got home, I was seconds from screaming murder into an e-mail before recalling how his silence had so handcuffed me. That I could thusly handcuff him back.

Sunday held the silence.

Monday came. He wrote first, late morning, pointing out my many errors of judgment, still angry that I hadn't yet apologized, suggesting we call things off. I promptly replied, suggesting that he hadn't let me apologize, admitting lack of sensitivity but in turn lambasting his "infantism" and asking why he didn't tell me he was mad when he was mad before turning deliberately unkind, and if this was his default reaction to my faults I couldn't see any reason why I should want to see him again, either.

And that I was sorry this is how we were ending things.

So apparently we have mutually ended what we had, via e-mail and hugless, and I'm sad. Not entirely surprised. We always acknowledged substantial obstacles to anything long-term, but had maintained because of an intangible vibe that was quite good when it was good. After all, it was preferable to being alone.

Now we will go down in my journal as example of how lack of honesty guillotined a relationship. Both of us guilty. If he expressed his frustration straightforwardly without waiting for me to guess it, I could have apologized. Or if I listened more and noticed his feelings, then asked about them, he would have felt invited to be straightforward.

Perhaps he wouldn't have felt alone, and then he wouldn't have left me alone, and then we wouldn't together, now, be alone for real.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Sunday, September 6, 2009

All (lack of) honesty is politics

I had a date Saturday that for 5 hours was one of the better dates of my life. It unexpectedly ended at hour 6 with me driving home, alone at midnight, typing and erasing (and typing and erasing) text messages to said date containing mostly words starting with B, F, and A.

For dignity's sake, I'm glad I talked myself down from sending any of them. I awoke today doubly relieved I didn't ... even though I spent the better part of the morning, including 90 minutes in church, re-composing these zingers in my head. (A cathartic exercise to be recommended, I might add.)

The date and how it tanked isn't the point here. More that in romance I've subscribed to the cliché of honesty as the best policy, i.e. "I feel this way so why shouldn't I be allowed to say it?" Which I've always subscribed to because of seeming more emotionally healthy.

In this case, I was a couple thumbs from sending vitriolic screeds to a man I thought deserved them, and I stopped ... because, I must admit now, I didn't want to admit to him how upset he made me. It was more important for me to project unaffected nonchalance, and see how he reacted to me not reacting, than directing the anger to where I felt it.

Politically expedient, is what it was. That by holding back now I might have a more satisfying conversation (and perhaps more satisfying resolution?) at later date.

We'll see if it happens or not. If it doesn't, chalk up another life experience to learn from.

Despite the above-mentioned head drama, so far this particular restraint is working for me. I enjoyed a Sunday spent walking through the sunny South End, brunching with an dear friend from Michigan, lying on the Southwest Corridor park lawn reading a Laura Ingalls Wilder biography and talking to my 89-y-old grandmother in Minneapolis, the cell phone reception as clear as the next room, not regretting my lack of honesty in the slightest.

I might have to let you know later if it ended up being emotionally healthy, after all.

Thursday, September 3, 2009


I had concerns about today because of how I began it:

Jolted out of sleep with no provocation at 6:15, blanketless on the sofa and wearing last night's skirt and sweater. Popsicle wrappers on the ground next to me. Cats batting them about.

Ah yes. I was reminded then what I had been doing a few hours earlier .... from 12 to 2:30 a.m., just having returned from a drinks outing with C .... standing on a chair with spray bottle and sponge, scrubbing every conceivable surface from stove to counter to refrigerator-door seals to ... since I had just smashed 9 of the most enormous, red-eyed houseflies ever indoors, after having also dispatched 10 of them the night before last .... convinced, as I still am, that a batch of pupa hides somewhere in my kitchen, daily hatching a couple dozen beauties ... because there is nothing more fun than a fly infestation .... and all the websites told me to eliminate all sources for them to spit on and feed off .... so I'd best not waste a moment more leaving grease or crumbs available or, for that matter, 9 smushed fly bodies on the white cupboards.


Upon completion of this task, I needed to unwind with a treat and the latest New Yorker before going to sleep. I evidently stayed awake about 8 seconds after the last popsicle.

In any case, all of this fun must have showed on my face after I dragged myself up and off the couch, labored through physical therapy for a couple hours, and was in line at the Starbucks on Longwood Ave, about 9:30, awaiting my large iced black-eye. Which the barista handed over with this explanation:

"You must be really tired!"

"Excuse me?" I replied.

"Oh, there's like 3 cups of coffee in here," she said, swirling the ice around to cool the espresso shots. "You must really need it."
Thanks for the news flash.

Can't a girl just perk herself up without having to explain that she was up half the night killing over-sized insects? (Or, did I really look that much like I was dreading the next 14 hours of life?)

But, you know, the day didn't get any worse from there, as I had anticipated. Perhaps the barista's comment shocked me into serenity, because I was suddenly, and quite ridiculously calm. To illustrate:

1) Stuck in back-to-school traffic near Simmons College, I didn't scowl .... in fact, I remember staring at the haunches of a bike messenger waiting at the red light with me, fascinated at how he balanced on his pedals while at a dead stop, a sudden longing to be in his place instead of in my car.

2) At the next stop light I ended up behind a cream-colored Nissan 350Z, driven by a middle-aged man in sunglasses, then watched him pull westbound onto Storrow Drive, ostensibly out into the country, and I was so very glad for him.

3) Cruising Storrow myself, although eastbound towards my office, my thoughts were, in this order: how blue the river; how green the Esplanade; how I wish I were out running on it.

4) Then, walking from my parking spot up Comm Ave to work, I smiled (yes, smiled!) at the man walking 5 different breeds of dogs with one hand and, yes, wanted to be doing the same.

I can't explain why these things all made me happy. Perhaps it was just a crisp morning in September before a 3-day weekend. Or perhaps God is just gracious and gave me the boost I needed to get through this day.

Which I did.

(Although .... if you have any suggestions about how to a) stem a housefly plague or to b) get a date when it is known I have a housefly plague about me .... please share so I can get through tomorrow.)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The younger set

Some days I believe I should pay OKCupid! a commission for providing the bandwith that facilitates the IM chats that so often lead to blog topics.

About 7 last night, I was prepared to explain here how I realized August 31, 2009 was, yes, the last day of my 1st decade living in Boston. A topic meriting dissection. Could open a million retrospective doors.

Blah. Who wants to open a million doors. The topic seems insurmountable to someone who, despite the waves of weddings / anniversaries / birthdays this time of year, has found it taxing to wax reflective about anything lately.

(Which accounts for all the photos, btw. Maybe later today, after completing the 1st day of the 1st month of my my 11th year -- all those 1's! -- I'll be inspired. I did begin it by rising at 6 a.m. for a 7.7-mile run through the streets of Southie ... and the sky was empty and the breeze crisp and the legs feel good. Who knows.)

Meanwhile, when doing my ritual Monday peek on OKC to explore who might have viewed my profile over the weekend, up popped a window from a 25-y-old dark-and-handsome. A-ha! Younger man.

You've been here with me. Very few such hellos turn out promising. But I was in the mood to talk to someone, so I returned his "hi!" It was an inauspicious start.
Karin: So, what's up with you?
D&H: nothing i was just looking at your profile and figured i'd shoot you a message
K: That's kind, thanks.
D&H: you're welcome
Sigh. The drama.

We soon discovered we live just a few blocks apart in Southie. Then he picked up steam by citing adjectives from my profile. Flattering me.

D&H: so kissable and feisty huh? not a bad little combination
K: Well, I try. Thanks.
D&H: you're welcome


He revealed himself as a dental school student. Me as a lapsed creative writing MFA. Then, to the meat of things, so to speak, following the standard script ... or man following his libido:

D&H: what are you looking for? so what brings you here?
K: To OKC?
D&H: Yup.
K: It has varied. Depends on the time and the mood.
D&H: haha well what about recently or now?
K: I've been a bit ambiguous lately. Other parts of my life very distracting and frantic.
D&H: i see
K: I think I'd like to pursue something more relationship-like, but hard to get it started with other stuff going on.
D&H: ya...
D&H: would you be open to something more casual?
Naturally. Welcome to my life as a 36-y-old woman on OKC. Men in their 20s who want something relationship-like with me, especially if I intimated I wanted it, are rarer than Republican congressmen from Massachusetts.

K: How casual is casual?
D&H: i dont know really lol
D&H: wine and a movie
D&H: followed or interrupted by some passionate sex
D&H: we live so close i figured it might work out well for both of us... and i have a thing for cute older women (well older than me)
I'm a cute older woman. Who knew?

(Stay with me here.)

K: hmm. Kind of a one-night thing, you're saying.
D&H: no, not at all actually
D&H: unless thats all you wanted.
D&H: i was thinking kind of a steady thing, or whenever we both felt like it
K: Yes. Well I suppose that would depend on if we got along or not.
D&H: well of course
K: Of course.

And thus commences my favorite revelation.
D&H: i have never been with someone over 30... and I want to very badly
D&H: and you seem interesting, smart, and very cute
K: Oh? Tell me more about that.
D&H: more about what?
K: Desire for women over 30 .... what drives it?
D&H: idk what it is.. maybe the maturity .... or letting them be more in control
D&H: i have always dated younger women
K: Ah, I see.
D&H: you have a beautiful womens body
K: Thanks.
D&H: and i yearn for that
D&H: and someone to just take control of the relationship a little
So this is new, this men in their 20s thinking that women in their 30s have figured out what they want and want to control things. Most guys that age that want to talk to me mostly want to discuss the size of their penis and how they will use it to control me.

I thought I might tell him that, really, my greater desire at the moment is to have a man who wants to take care of me, so that I have someone to help me keep my (currently) thin grip on the list of responsibilities that makes up my life.

But didn't want to cut off his idealism. If he will be worth it, he will be swayed by this argument in person. So I next suggested that perhaps we meet for a drink before we do anything else and he suggest the time and place. I get this sense he thinks it is the minor formality necessary for him to perform so that I'll agree to jump his bones. He may or may not follow through, but:
D&H: that sounds good to me
D&H: you would be fulfilling my greatest fantasy!
D&H: thats gotta be kinda exciting for you too right?
K: You're funny.
D&H: i am!
D&H: do you have any fantasy i can help with?
D&H: haha something tells me you can handle it
D&H and you want to

Oh, to be 25 again and be that hopeful.