Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's Resignation


I'm trying to remember....didn't I start this year with a sigh, also?

After the last couple days (and weeks, nay months?) trying to convince myself that this last year was more than just one big sigh ...

.... as I'm sitting here tonight as the last person (of the year? woo-hoo!) in my office, listening to the kids and perhaps already half-sober adults) down in Copley Square blowing vuvuzela horns audible from the 28th floor ... my left lower molar throbs while waiting for the 800 mg of ibuprofen and amoxicillan to kick in and make me forget about it for another 8 hours since, hell, if you're going to get a toothache why not over a holiday weekend when your dentist is on vacation ....

.... as my voice is again lost to a fresh cold that caused a sea of coughing as well as near-zero sleep the last 2 nights, due to said coughing ...

.... as I think of the 3 parties I'm not attending tonight because of the tooth and the cough and the amoxicillan and near-zero sleep and my general lethargy, and that I've chosen instead to drive with a friend to Worcester for a 4th party instead, since I think all non-drinkers should be designated drivers on such a night ...

... as I contemplate that Sunday-night Man did write me back last night to say that he had phone problems and sent texts over Christmas that never arrived and that he was sorry, that he'd love to hang out as we have but doesn't want any more of a relationship than dinner and a make-out every 3 weeks, which seems a fitting end to a year when I seemingly met every man in Boston who has time to date but not time to Date For Real ....

....aaah, yeah.

I'm just trying to remember the good of it.

Alan's inauguration.
New girl friends and their new perspectives.
Eastern Europe with Balint.
The beaches of the Northeast.
Cousin J's good news.
Mom & Dad's 45th.
Good kissing.
Marathon PR.

And, of course, a paying job that stayed a paying job, a home that I can still afford, a car that still runs, a city I can still admire, friends that cook dinners and buy drinks and water plants and give rides and teach lessons, and cats that still nuzzle my ankles whenever I come near.

Happy eve. Happy morn tomorrow. Happy good year to come.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


Tonight I finally wrote the e-mail to Sunday-night Man that I've thought about writing for the last week.  When after a seemingly awesome date on Dec. 17, after an e-mail a few days later to say thanks for it, and after a text a few days after that to ask about his holiday weekend plans, he had failed to do that thing which he said he would as he kissed me goodbye, which was to talk to me later.
"So hey:
I thought it was kind of a good date. I was under the impression we might get together again.
But then it's been obviously quiet on your end. So I'm wondering if I was mistaken.
Mind commenting either way? That'd be cool."
Wonder if he does mind. I'm working on staying levelheaded about either what he responds with or how I might respond if he chooses not to.   It's a learned skill I'm quite good at.  Still, when I've invested a couple months of emotional energy in a scent grown cold, I can't be entirely sure I won't get pissy about it despite all intentions to the contrary.

(It's something about that two months of emotional energy irresponsibly doled out.)

I got a good laugh today, though, while sitting on the toilet.  My current bathroom reading (which, admit it, we all have) is Amy Cohen's The Late Bloomer's Revolution: a 2007 memoir about a Single in the (New York) City writer, about her family, about a facial rash, and a lot about her dating maze.  Kind of like the book I'd write if this blog were a book and I actually had a book deal.

Which means it is worth quoting.  In some form the following paragraphs have appeared on this blog many, many times.  In fact the second is so spot-on that I wondered if it were something I did type but just forgot to push print after finishing.

Thanks, Amy, for writing this instead of reading Proust.
"Although I seldom heard it discussed, I had noticed in my thirties a certain divide between women and their single, childless friends.  We cared about one another and were still close, but often without even realizing it, we seemed regularly to make assumptions about one another...  My single friends and I complained that many of our friends with children thought we had nothing but free time, never understanding how difficult it is to organize your life when you always have to keep it flexible...
"It wasn't that I had so much free time; it was just that unlike my married friends with children I had very little to show for it.  In fact, if I added up all the time I spent setting up the first date, choosing what to wear, meeting for drinks or dinner or coffee or brunch, coming home not sure I was into him, but wanting him to call anyway, getting the call, anticipating the second date, choosing what to wear again, going on the second date, deciding I kind of liked him, going on a third date, deciding I really liked him, going out a few more times, fantasizing about our bike trip to Italy, getting more serious, feeling happy to be alive, wondering if things were getting weird or whether it was just my imagination, obsessing over why things didn't work out, chastising myself for not trusting my instincts in the first place, losing a week or four to mild then extreme depression, slowly feeling better, vowing to forge ahead and not get jaded, starting the whole process all over again, I could have gotten my M.D.  Read all of Proust. And written an opera.  In German.  Twice.  That's what I wanted to say when these women asked me what it was like to have so much free time."
-- The Late Bloomer's Revolution (Amy Cohen), pp. 157-159

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Single girl's eve after

9:56 PM


Christmas card assembly,

My So-Called Life,
the complete series.

Three jiggers of Bailey's Irish Cream
and a shot of Ketel One,
on the rocks.

Fervent hope that,
the office will be closed

Fervent gladness to not have had
for once.

Fervent desire that
(in addition to the cats)
my company included a live
at this moment.


Go back to that first picture
of a blizzard.

It's a bit too quiet.

Merry Christmas.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Single girl's eve

'Twas the night before Christmas,
 the laundry 'twas done

the floor, doth scrubbed

the feast doth prepared

the carols doth aired

the green dress (and knee boots) doth weared

the cold doth braved

and the worship doth shared.


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

All is calm ....

... or at least I'm attempting to be.

For a change.

Work is still crazy.  It's that end-of-the-year-in-the-finance-world thing, with folks needing to make charitable gifts and pay taxes and take Required Minimum Distributions and set up tax shelters, and sales guys pushing through new accounts to meet unmet sales quotas, and advisors calling on their cell phones from shopping malls with cash liquidation requests, tempers short because everyone involved would rather be doing just about anything but business.

But for the first time since 1999, I am not flying anywhere this week.  The annual mid-December weather crap-fest affects me not.  If the car gets buried in the next couple days, the car gets buried in the next couple days.  No nightmares about the black hole of the Midwest.  No running through any airports with rolls of wrapping paper sticking from a backpack.

I decided to stay in Boston this year.  For a variety of reasons best unelaborated.  Although thinking about it now, long after the decision to do so,  I must have realized I could stay here and still feel at home.

And I do.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Mixed motives

Love Letters caught my eye today: 
"I'm a 30-something woman who has been dating a few men casually for the past several weeks. I've been honest about the fact that I'm not looking to get serious.

"One of the guys I've been seeing is a real standout, and in the past week or so I was starting to feel as though he could be a great boyfriend. We have a great time talking, have marvelous pajama parties, and seem to want the same things from life. At the same time, he's moving to another state in the late spring, so I wasn't sure if trying to make things more serious would be worth it. Some serious mental debate over the past several days.

"This past weekend, he tried to invite me over, and got VERY angry when I told him I was with someone else. His primary objection was that I'd choose someone else over him. I told him what I was thinking, including that I had debated us becoming exclusive, and he got even angrier. He stormed off and I'm not sure what to do at this point. Can I fix things?"
This letter epitomizes a common dilemma about, for lack of a better word, motive.  Do I have to have one? 

Like, what is the definition of being "serious"?  Do I have the time and/or money?  Am I beholden to tell a date if he's not the only one I'm seeing?  And if I do, does he have the right to be upset?  Why so uncouth to change one's mind about level of seriousness or commitment in the early stages?   Why so elusive to find the right time -- not too soon and yet soon enough -- to display cajones and say "I like you"? Why so impossible to discuss each other's motives without scaring each other off?  Why the fear?

I'm a bit there right now with Sunday-night Man.  After the great Sick-Off of 2010, he emerged last Friday to ask me over for takeout. I went and we had a great time on levels big and small  (date #3, y'all!), after which he said he'd talk to me soon. And on Sunday night I wrote him a follow-up thanks for the great time. And 2 days later, I'm still waiting for him to respond ... even though it isn't required, I'm finding I want him to ... in fact, I find myself wanting to propose another date .... while at the same time, fearful of coming on too strong if he doesn' t feel likewise ... while at the same time wondering what would happen if I just stayed chill ... but find I'm not really wanting to be chill .... because the clock is tick tick ticking away ...

Hooray for the endless dance.

Sunday-night and I have only briefly discussed motives and strategy either about ourselves or with each other.  But since he and I first went out in early November, other than moping over C-2 I've not pursued dating anyone else.  Partially cause I've been kinda in the dumps.  Mostly because I like him enough to want to see where it goes.  

Hell if I think I should say that to him, though.

(Should I?  Say that while I'm not exactly running through the Alps and singing like Maria von Trapp in love with the Captain, I like him enough to see him more?  To see if the running and singing might follow?)

The Love Letters Letter Writer took it on the chin for finding a guy she likes in the middle of trying to find out what she wants ... and then mucking it up without really trying to.  It's an unforgiving position to be in and somewhat impossible to navigate cleanly.

Where's the damn instruction manual for this dating thing?

Monday, December 20, 2010

Deep Thought: Hormones and the holidays ....

....  are a potent combination.

And .....

.... I thank the good lord who invented coffee.

Friday, December 17, 2010

The card's in the mail ....

....or at least I hope it will be soon.

The Christmas letter I'm promising myself I'll get together this year and send the old-fashioned way.

Like I have every year for the last 17. Except for last year.  When I somehow thought I'd exempted myself.  Because having a personal blog and a Facebook account seemed like a lot of personal sharing already.  Because after several unproductive Decembers in a row, I acknowledged I might be losing my ability (maybe my willingness?) to tie up loose ends from both a logistical and emotional perspective.

(This worried many folks who are used to hearing from me in postal-service fashion at the holidays. This worries me, generally.)

This year I have again begun to feel the same.  That familiar unproductive December dread creeping in.  Felt it last night at the company holiday party, being reminded I do OK in my achievements while still looking at all my colleagues and thinking how much more they achieved (and, perhaps, earned).  Knowing I've created my own worry by not having the family presents ready to mail to Minnesota until the USPS's arrive-by-Christmas deadline date....and that Sunday and Monday will contain an expected Nor'easter.  Admitting I have bought iced coffee from Dunkin' Donuts nearly every day in the last 17, which would mean having to admit The Year of Making Coffee was indeed not one of my 2010 accomplishments.

Yet, I'm fighting the dread.  So far it's been pushed back.  As of December 17, the project is still in process.  Last week I recruited Claudia over to my workplace to help with the photo-shoot component .... in which I would stand outside the Hancock and pretend to be Mary Tyler Moore throwing my hat up in ecstasy.

Throwing a hat in the air and catching it is quite a bit harder than Mary makes it look.  Especially in a wind tunnel.  It is even harder to capture it in a photo.

Although I'm coming to appreciate this shot (one of many Claudia made, my favorite) more for the way it actually illustrates my current state:  hurrying, disorganized, dropping, underdressed, high-heeled, balancing, recouping, trying to smile because if I don't in this season, I'm going to start worrying folks, and also because I know I need to laugh at my personal chaos so I don't start worrying myself.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

I stand corrected

In the interest of full disclosure, I must amend a previously asserted inaccuracy in regards to my outing a few weeks ago with Student Driver:
"I cannot top her with the sheer number of different men I've dated in the last year."
This morning I did some calculating and got back to her with concrete numbers, and she got back to me with some too.
Me: 15 (for a total of 29 outings. Thirteen containing quality-and-more make-out sessions. And one or more dates pending with Sunday-night Man, whose schedule might just be freeing up.)
Her: 34 (and, she's ending the year with the one she's been seeing regularly since July.)
She wasn't lying when she suggested I might be off in my estimation of victory. Snaps, my friend. Thirty-four men in 7 months is full-press dating.

Is less than 3 dates per month a lame average? Perhaps. Regardless, it wasn't unenjoyable to scroll back through the many hots and colds that have brought me to my current state of lukewarm:

-- The months of July and August .... where I was entirely dateless but super-social, including dozens of fruitless nights fantasizing on chat with HBI and doing the Rooftop Thursdays thing that produced dozens of new friends, mostly from the great state of Michigan.

--Valentine's Day Weekend .... when I didn't have a date but found myself first consoling a good friend who had just gotten dumped, only to end up in a hot embrace with another friend who didn't deserve it because he was part of the reason for friend #1's dumping and the hot embrace developed while he was apologizing to me for his role in said dumping, only to then end up more-or-less dumped by the man I was actually kind-of seeing and for no reasons related to my hot embrace with friend #2. Oy.

-- March / April / June/ October .... whose make-out sessions with C-2 must still be deemed the wickedest and most dramatic (Spy Pond grass or handprints on the windshield, anyone?) and, despite his flake-out at the finish, still the most visceral. I'm still working out why, and why I'm still attracted to him in spite of him.

-- My general failure to have dated any men this year because of politics. Or work. Or church. Or musical endeavors. Or bikini-wearing.  Or running (when allowed to spend 2 days bonding in New Hampshire with a vanload of talented runner-engineers, discovering only one would be single and he would not be interested). Which are the activities I spent the most time doing. Evaluation of my activities may be in order.

In any case, please swing over to Student Driver's blog entry summing up her year of Learning to Drive Stick.  Do congratulate her. After trying on 34 men, would you agree she might be able to shed her training-permit status in the new year?

(And, SD, please take that as a compliment.)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Birthday Shout-Out: Fellow Dancer

I must have at some point told you that, while growing up, I took ballet, tap and jazz lessons for 12 years.

Here, friends, is the teenager tutu proof.

Pretending to be the Ruby and Sapphire
fairies from Sleeping Beauty - c. 1989

I'm on the left ... the off-kilter, frowning, looking-over my-shoulder-to-make-sure-we're-synched one. My younger sister is on the right, with her elegantly elongated carriage, chin up.

Missy studied alongside me for all 12 years and longer. The above scene was replicated hundreds if not thousands of times. She was several inches taller from age 10, and our fellow dancers frequently assumed she was the older of us. Not surprising, because she was also the bolder of us. A decision-maker, the ringleader who people followed because she could always make her choices sound like the best options.

Happy to report she still retains that teenage persuasiveness today --without the teenage attitude -- as she turns 36. Even though I've grown out of looking over my shoulder for her lead, she has taught and still often teaches me the best path forward in life decisions big and small .... and I'll not be unhappy if this is the way she and I will always roll.

Chad & Missy w/Oliver - December 2010

Monday, December 13, 2010

Comfortably neutral


I was riding the T up to Cambridge after work tonight and found myself trying to put a pin on my emotions these last 2 weeks.

A period that included birth of nephew.  Preparing and singing a concert of Praetorius Advent tunes.  One friend's divine birthday celebration at Bin 26 on Charles.  A massage.  A visit from a high school friend and her introducing me (instead of vice versa) to Giancomo's on Hanover.  Radio and face time with Student Driver.  Sushi and Belgian Ale with Claudia.  Running and chocolate stout with Bill.   Way too much Grey Goose with all the gay boys at a seriously happening benefit on a Sunday.

Sunday-night Man even (finally) e-mailed tonight after 2 weeks of sick and busy.  Said he's been thinking a lot about me and my black leather knee boots with the 4-inch heels.


All I can feel is numb.  Not negative.  Not elated.  Neutral as in beige.  As in the gearshift position between R & D. As in a dull knife edge ... cutting things, but not very well.

(Case in point: it has taken me nearly 2 hours to write this blog entry. Maybe because I don't have enough strong feeling about anything today that warrants writing about.)

This happens from time to time and even with experience, I'm stymied about how to jumpstart ye olde joy-o-meter.  Even Vitamin B-laced coffee drinks are not helping.

Suggestions are welcome.

(And thanks for sticking me through the drought.)

Friday, December 10, 2010


Riding the #9 up East Berkeley today, I watched as, 3 times, a man heading the same direction on foot leapfrogged the bus whenever we slowed for stoplights.

He was reedy and tall in tights, hat and a windbreaker, Camelbak strapped on.  Sprinting with the ease of a professional.  Giving a proverbial f***-off to this morning's temperatures.  Going faster than the bus.

I doubt he was giving a f***-off to me or anyone else, sitting warm and sedentary, observing.  He was keeping up with his training.

But I couldn't help but take it personally .... the girl who has run 2 times in the last 19 days ..... who looks at a person displaying chutzpah and boldness and perserverance towards a goal and remembers vaguely what it feels like to do that, but only vaguely.

Thursday, December 9, 2010


This not being able to sleep when tired thing. Again.

This burning desire to take the margarine tub from the fridge, mix cinnamon and sugar in a bowl, and liberally use a spoon to dip into both.

This dry chill outside producing the cough that lingers. And lingers.

Something in all this blechiness makes me want to confess that tonight I've been (trying) sleeping in this Wes Welker jersey.

I'm confessing because I did not buy it.  I confess I didn't know who Patriots WR Wes Welker was until 6 weeks ago, when walking to Shaw's at JFK late one Sunday night.  I confess that this jersey lay mid-sidewalk outside The Stadium on Old Colony Ave and upon seeing it, I did not leave it for its owner to find or drop it inside the bar for safekeeping.  I instead picked it up and stuffed it in my backpack.  I took it home and washed it.  And now I wear it to bed pretty regularly.

So.  I'm sorry, you, whoever dropped Wes Welker's number on the ground never to see it again.  I'm sorry that I like this jersey very, very much.

(There.  Feel better now.  Maybe the guilt was keeping me awake?  Maybe now there Might. Just. Be. Sleep?)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Just a couple girls, cross-posting

From today's
"I was on my friend Bella’s radio show this [Sunday] evening and also met up with a new friend, who I met through my blog. Southie Single, as she is known, is awesome. Witty, attractive, intelligent, a great catch in a city full of douche bags. So, she and I decided to meet for a drink and commiserate over our dating woes."
"... so, here we are, sitting at this tiny bar in this tiny bistro in a quiet neighborhood of affluent bitchiness ... "
Student Driver has read my blog for several months. But only because I visited hers and linked it to my reading list, which caused her to stop over here to see where the traffic was coming from. The only reason I started reading hers in the first place was when this man, from OKC, mentioned it in a chat I long ago deleted.

This being the super big town it is and all, it was a man whom she, naturally, knows by name and still talks to, as she explained as we downed delicious and potent cocktails in said tiny bar.

Student Driver and I couldn't be more different and yet quite similar. She's got me beat in chutzpah, conversation-starting, leg warmers, and locating creative boyfriend gifts on e-Bay. I can top her with the sheer number of different men I've dated in the last year. But we're about the same height. We use the same bank. We've got about the same level of openness to whatever-the-hell .... although her anonymity allows her the freedom to explain her sex life in much greater detail. We both like to talk, generally. Our evening started at 4:30 and ended at midnight and included one stop at Macy's to shop for hats and another at her friend's online radio show to talk about our dating blogs.  On the air.  Where I told a story from 6 years ago involving an ill-advised porn video shown by a man (or more accurately, "douchebag") whom .... she also had almost dated. And remembered by name.

Of course. Since this is such a super big town.

So I stayed up a bit too late and drank exactly enough, but talked a bit too much and, as a result, am starting to once again lose my lost voice only recently recovered. Which means I'm going to sleep now....

... and means you need to stop over to Student Driver's blog and read her fuller account of the evening, douchebags and all.

Another Good Poem


by the muscular sea,
we are lost,
and glad to be lost
in troughs of rough

love. A bath in
laughter, our dive
into foam,
our upslide and float
on the surf of desire.

But sucked to the root
of the water-mountain --
immense --
about to tip upon us
the terror of total

delight --
we are towed,
helpless in its
swell, by hooks
of our hair;

then dangled, let go,
made to race --
as the wrestling chest
of the sea, itself
tangled, tumbles

in its own embrace.
Our limbs like eels
are water-boned,
our faces lost
to difference and

contour, as the lapping
They cease
their charge,
and rock us

in repeating hammocks
of the releasing
tide --
until supine we glide,
on cool green

of an exhaling
to the shore
of sleep.

--May Swenson

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Surreal gladness

My nephew Oliver finally (hooray!) showed his face Wednesday night around 8.  After staying in the womb 11 days past 40 weeks, he flew out in 2 hours of labor ... so quickly he was within minutes of being born in the hospital elevator.

My sister's Facebook page proclaims that, at 9 lbs 7 oz, Oliver is "healthy, chunky and cute!"  (Which I'll confirm or deny upon receiving pictures ... hint, hint ...)

Missy called me at work this morning to share all the gladdening and gory particulars of her Wednesday.  It was only as we matter-of-factly discussed searing pain and dilation and post-birth clean-up that I fathomed the craziness of my sister having this pain, having this joy, helping create this life. 

My sister.  Surreal.

The girl once short enough to be mistaken for my twin before she got way, way taller.  Who shared a bedroom with me for 16 years.  Dance classes for 12 of those. Joined me in, way too often, inhaling peanut butter from a jar and Pepsi while watching "Brady Bunch" reruns in the basement, belching relentlessly.  Helped me choreograph jazz routines in front of the dresser mirror.  French-braided my hair before I could figure out how to do it myself.   Invented the world's most calorie-laden mashed potato recipe that no one in the family dares not make. Always sang any song she tried more convincingly than anyone else in the room.

Now, mother of two sons, one of who can call out "Hi, Aunt Karin!" when picking up the phone. And no doubt she and Chad will encourage his younger brother to also do so, sooner than I can probably imagine. So when they're growing up in Minnesota, 1400 miles away, we get to know each other the best we're all capable of.

Good work, Miss.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Sore throat (and other related sexiness)

Those of you with bad eyesight certainly know that, when making out, you can only wear your eyeglasses for so long. After 5 minutes they just get in the way. At which point your kissing partner removes them, and you in turn pray he puts them down somewhere where they don't get sat on.

Sunday-night man and I engaged in this sort of exchange on Monday night. At the designated moment he put my glasses on a coffee table where they were, indeed, never in danger of being smushed. All well and good. But, as we said goodnight a few hours later, he remarked:
"You are just so different when you take your glasses off!  It's not like you're even the same person."
I've been parsing this sentiment to make sure I understand his definition of "different."  My wearing glasses and my attitude/look/behavior while wearing them was enough to get us to the point of making out. At which point he took them off me. After which we made out a lot longer.

Which half of different was the good half?

Meanwhile, you recall I lost my voice between Sunday night and Monday morning -- a combination of fatigue and overuse. By Monday night I was working with very little vocal tone. Since Sunday-night Man and I were planning to meet at a potentially noisy restaurant, I texted him ahead of time:
"I have to warn you ... I sound a little like a crank phone call heavy breather ..."
To which he replied:
"That's hot!!"
(Thank you for the double exclamation!!)

The date was not without some resulting conversational awkwardness: he leaned in and asked me to repeat just about every sentence. But halfway through our meal he leaned back, smiled, and confessed that, indeed, he found the gruff tone of my voice "sexy."

Good man. I felt like crap, but he knew how to turn it to both of our advantages.

Meanwhile, in another boy-related (but otherwise unrelated) incident:  Balint gave me a ride home from a church meeting Tuesday night.  For most of the 10 minutes this took, I coughed the unceasing dry cough of the dead. And whenever I would try to respond to something in the conversation, I either squeaked or sounded like Barry White. Balint initially ignored this ... until we pulled up and double-parked in front of my place.
B:  You sound horrible.
K:  God, I know. I'm sorry.
Pause. Turn. Look.
B:  Although, you know... your voice like that makes you sound kind of vulnerable and sexy. Like you need taking care of.
And then he said he felt like getting a beer. I knew I had PBR in the fridge. So I told him to park the car and come in so we could have some. We had the best conversation we've had in months.

Hmm. Maybe I need to keep this lost voice around permanently.