Monday, January 31, 2011

New friends

Thirty-seven is
(not)
too old
to participate in an
all-day
pub crawl.

Or
at least 5 hours
of the one I hit up
Saturday,
with its hundreds of
20- and 30-somethings
wearing t-shirts from
Iowa, Michigan,
Penn State, Illinois,
Minnesota (hooray!),
the friendliest folks
you'd ever meet.

(All alums,
but not ribbing me
for not being
an alum.)

Folks who would be
that friendly anyway,
even if not
filled to the brim with
trash talk
and
Bud Lite.

After this
august occasion
(beer-induced
gut rot aside),
I told my friend L
how much fun I'm having
becoming better friends
with her,
and actual friends
with her Michigan crew,
all
uniformly friendlier than
they have to be.

And that it's
no knock on my
old friends.

But
new friends
are
good for the soul.

Day 30 of 31:  3.15 miles
Day 31 of 31: 2.2 miles
January Total:  50.01

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Mohawk!


Time for a haircut, ya think?


Day 28 of 31: 2.3 miles
January Total: 44.66

Friday, January 28, 2011

Chivalry

I was all prepared to make a post about how old I felt because someone reminded me this morning that it's  been 25 years since the space shuttle blew up.

(FYI, when something formative happens when you're  in 7th grade, you don't refer to it as the "The Challenger Disaster."   You remember walking through the halls between classes asking any other kid you saw if she had heard that the space shuttle blew up and how awful and sad it was but how cool it looked when .... )

Then I went to the intersection of Dorchester Street and Broadway to stand inside a bus shelter with one slender dug-out lane through the boulevard snowpile to get to the street and, ostensibly, the #9 bus when it arrived.

Then when the bus pulled around the corner, I climbed up and into that icy lane with trepidation due to my irresponsible black leather knee boots.

At that moment, a young man in wool coat swiftly appeared on the street below, offering his leather-gloved hand to assist my descent.  Which I took.  After which he stepped back and allowed me to get on the bus first.

I know unforced chivalry isn't (quite) as monumental in the grand scheme of things.

But it was equally unexpected.
Day 27 of 31: 3.25 miles
January Total: 42.36

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Snow go

My top 5 favorite things re: January Snowpocalypse 3:

5) Not needing a car to get where I'm going, 'cause the #9 bus never doesn't run (even though, during rush hour, there is no slower way to get where I'm going).

4) Opportunity to be late to work and still be the first person in (and to furthermore not raise the ire of my coworkers and managers who live in bigger houses than me in quieter neighborhoods than me, none of whom are in because they're still shoveling driveways).

3) The (rare) opportunity to be glad that I don't own property (that needs to be shoveled).

2) The (even rarer) opportunity to tell everyone I meet I grew up in North Dakota and they're all being wimpy.

1) The (new) snow (that fell on the mammoth piles of slush) is pretty and the sky (only recently cleared) is blue and that is (so incredibly) much nicer than (our typical) winter grey.

St. Botolph Street, Back Bay -
from boston.com (Joseph Liao)
Day 26 of 31: 2 miles
January Total:  39.11

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The hell(ishness?) of FWB

(And no, don't mistake that for FWaBs, as clumsy an acronym as possible .... despite their occasional hellish qualities.)

In 3 years of hardcore dating, I've experienced every variety of romantic interest ... but none so prevalent as the man who thinks life would be dandy if I'd be his occasional sex buddy.  Some of these requests I've laughed off.  Some felt like cop-outs and pissed me off.  Some I thought worth trying out -- the guys, maybe, I thought would be worth keeping around for whatever reason -- and did.

And, here I sit 3 years later, without a date on the horizon or a Friend with Benefits in the stable.  I'm not considering this a tragedy. Just my version of proof that sex on its own merits truly doesn't have staying power (and I don't mean the Viagra-induced kind).  Despite all intentions to the contrary.

As if reading my mind, Salon.com's Tracy Clark-Flory parsed the topic on her blog yesterday:  "Does Friends with Benefits Work? -- As non-relationships get the Hollywood treatment, I'm not alone in thinking they suck in the real world."

You can read it for yourself, and some of what's said is slap-head obvious, but I'm thinking her most relevant conclusions could be:

1)  A person who says she doesn't want a commitment is lying either to the other person or herself.  She most likely agreed to FWB with subconscious hope that a commitment would develop. (Guilty as charged.)

2) Sex does change friendships. Sometimes it kiboshes them. (Guilty, again.)

3) All FWB scenarios start out sounding like total fun and nearly all end up with someone's heart breaking.  (Oy, yes.)

As Clark-Flory notes:
"Given the high stakes, why do we do it? As my former 'friend fling' said: 'Because the idea of sex without consequences is the most awesome thing on the planet.' He waxes poetic about the appeal: 'It's that delicious, delicious mixture of freedom and dependability. You have somebody you can rely on, you have a safety net, you have somebody you can call when you're lonely -- but you have none of the consequences. You get to not commit but still kinda be committed.' Non-committal commitment, if you will."
No consequences? 

Bullshit.
Day 24 of 31: 2.25 miles
Day 25 of 31: 3.5 miles
January Total: 37.11

Monday, January 24, 2011

Weekend observations...

....from a Monday in the deep freeze.  (The river I wished I had to skate away on, thusly materialized. Now if I just owned skates.)

1) Thank heaven. 

Just in time for sanity, friend L reconstituted Rooftop Thursdays into Fireplace Fridays ... the second of which I hit up at posh Post 390. Remembered all the Michiganders by sight, a few by name. Sociability level still high. And 2 glasses of riesling took the edge off my getting-dumped pissiness. Resulting in multiple animated conversations with multiple eligible bachelors of all ages and professions, one of whom said as I was leaving, "you're coming back next week, aren't you?"

Indeed.

2) Diet be damned.

Between Wednesday and Saturday I ate an entire jar of peanut butter straight from the spoon in addition to all other regular meals.

But I still fit into the dress Saturday night.

So ha.

3) Good point.

Joshua came to my cabaret performance Saturday night, after which we stopped for a beer at People's Republik on Mass Ave in Cambridge. During which I expounded at length my frustration at men in their 40s with self-involved lack-of-commitment annoyingness. To which he listened patiently and then replied: "I know that he dumped you via wishy-washy e-mail, but would you have preferred he instead just disappeared and said nothing?"

Of course not.

3a) Good point #2.

During same conversation, we recalled one of Joshua's ex-girlfriends .... a relationship that was notorious between us at the time for me thinking he should break it off and him kind of also thinking so, but unable to drop the axe for something like a year. To which Joshua noted: "Isn't finding the words to end a relationship you want to end one of the hardest things to find words for?"

Of course.

3b) But still.

Even further into same conversation, I talked for 10 minutes without pause about my frustration with unrealistic pre-expectations and lack of patience in dating among folks my age, set in our habits and ways as we are and unwilling to compromise. As in, with Sunday-Night Man, how I felt he and I, from what he told and showed me, were 80 percent compatible .... not perfect, enough for me to want to see him and get to know him better .... because who on this earth is 100 percent compatible with anyone?

Yet he wanted 100 percent compatibility and immediate emotional connection without putting in the face time. Four dates spread out over 12 weeks is not going to breed emotional connection, and he did not choose to make himself available for more.

I'm no longer mad about Sunday-Night Man. Yet I'm concerned most men his age will continue to be like him. And all I can see on my horizon is frustration ....

.... unless I, too, learn some further patience.

4) Relationships, too, sometimes suck.

After long hiatus, I reconnected yesterday with Student Driver .... because I noticed she hadn't blogged in eons and eons. And discovered that, sadly, it has much to do with her current angst with her current love.

When feeling pissy about one's relationship status, it is often helpful to remember that fustration is not limited to the dateless.

(And hope that Student Driver's man shapes himself up.)

5) So do delayed Christmas cards. 

If you're still waiting, you might be getting one today .....since I finished writing and mailing another 20 last night.

Only 40 more to go. Only a month behind. Only for sure going to finish this week.

(Sorry for sucking.)

Friday, January 21, 2011

Dumped (again)

Maybe when I first meet a guy, I should inform him that if he's just going to eventually dump me via e-mail mid-afternoon on a Friday in January in a wishy-washy tone, he's going to get whatever response I decide he deserves.

Believe me.  I do get tired of trashing guys that I date.  I don't enjoy it.  I'd actually rather be dating them. 

Speaking of, I thought I had a good time with Sunday-night man last Saturday.  He kind of had a good time, but not good enough:
"Hey Karin

Had a fun time...always do with you. But I’ve been thinking about things and realizing that I want to have a an emotional connection with someone that I am being intimate with and I don’t really feel that between us. Honestly, I really do enjoy being with you, but I think I want something more – but not necessarily something serious – I’m a bit up in the air about this so not sure how to convey this correctly....so I think I need to take a bit of time to figure this out. Also, I’m stepping the job search up and I tend to get distracted by women – big time! Oh and if you see me on okcupid, it’s really out of procrastination and boredom – plus it’s a bit of a turn on for me with out having to engage further.....make sense?"
Yeah.  It does.  Fancy way of saying you're not interested.  You were initially hoping we could get together for makeout sessions but because you decided already to take yourself emotionally out of it because you're ostensibly pursuing a career, you're surprised to discover that, voila, we don't have an emotional connection.  That makeout sessions without a connection don't connect nearly as well.  (Funny. Tell yourself you're going to close yourself off to emotions .... and you probably will.)  But you'll probably troll around for sex-chat buddies because better to be bored and procrastinating with girls who don't require anything from you than putting any effort to connecting with someone that you already invested in.  (Guys like toying with women online to get turned on?  Color me speechless.) 

I should have probably said this. 

Instead I did what I thought I needed to do, which is to turn around 10 minutes later and reply: 
"No, your ambiguity is confusing. You have fun, but you don't feel the connection, you enjoy me, but you want something more, but not something serious, but you don't know what, but you're up in the air.

Blah, blah, blah.

When you get around to figuring yourself out, how about not leading someone on for months at a time. Total waste of my energy and that's 3 months of my life I don't get back."
Of course, I don't get that reply back, either. 

I spent the rest of the afternoon wishing I could send a follow-up simply stating:
"Oh.  And also:  you're an ass."
That would be lamer than my initial e-mail.

Besides, I'm exhausted, drained, and feeling foolish for even letting it go on as long as it did.  Mad that he had to go and ruin the start of my weekend.

I wish I had a river I could skate away on.

(Hardly) snowing

Snow, folks.

It's just
Snow.

And it's after midnight,
And there's supposed to be 8 inches of it,
Soon,
And I don't see any of it.

Which is why
I don't understand

the
Snow hysteria
and the
Snow emergency
and the
Snow day
for those
Who hardly need another one
and the
Blatant
Snow Wimpiness
of my
Fellow Bostonians.

Buck.
Up.

Figure it
Out.

If I have to,
You have to.
Day 20 of 31: 3 miles
January Total: 31.36

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Help in civilizing self, please.

Perhaps reading the Times Sunday Styles section on the Wednesday night bus ride is the uber-convenient metaphor for my chronic tardiness.   (An hour late to work this morning .... ugh .....)  As in most folks, by Wednesday, are usually reading the Wednesday paper.

Then, as if karmic, the 2 articles on Page 6 I got through on the ride were:

"When a Former Life Beckons": one (37-year-old!) woman's tale about re-designing her drunken, done-in-her-20s bikini-tattoo, as a way of reminding herself that she wasn't totally "settled down."

It scared the shit out of me.
"I breathed, and then I breathed more, enduring the kind of sharp, mean and intense pain that had been impossible for me to feel in my 20s. I cried, acutely aware that only now was I capable of feeling this pain, and remembering my young recklessness. If this current pain was so intense, what, I wondered, might I be vulnerable to feeling after another 15 years that I can’t yet imagine at 37?"
Right next to it was the blog "Studied":  "The Marrying Kind:  Born or Made?"
"Women have long been saddled with the onus of 'civilizing men.' According to studies of varying reliability, once under the womanly wing of matrimony, men work more, make more money, go to church more, eat more healthily and drink less unhealthily. Sociologists refer to this as “the marriage effect."
"But there has long been a niggling question: Is marriage responsible for turning the beastly male into a well-behaved husband? Or are the upstanding men the ones who marry in the first place? The debate is between selection bias (men who marry are not misbehavers) and causation (married men don’t misbehave). 
Thinking of my own behavior as of late ... staying up until ungodly hours 3 nights running and then oversleeping same; walking the city during a snowstorm carrying a box of cat litter in one hand and a 12-pack of Sunkist in the other while wearing paisley waders, red gym shorts and a parka; seeing Saturday-night's wine glasses still unrinsed, sitting next to the sink, and leaving them unrinsed yet another night ....

I'm ready for my civilizing effect, methinks.  Wonder if I can find a man who's ready to be saddled with the onus of me ....?


Day 19 of 31: 3.01 miles
January total: 28.36

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

(No) excuses

Don't suppose
you have
any interest
in reading
another post
in which
I admit
I haven't
been running
for days
(even though
I said
I'd run
every day
in this
blasted,
cold,
wet,
sloppy
month).

Oh well.

Sorry.

I've no excuse.

Not even the
blasted,
cold,
wet,
sloppy
month.

Off to the treadmill I go ....

Day 18 of 31: 2.99 miles
January total: 25.35

Monday, January 17, 2011

Ok with it

Sunday Night Man and I had our date Saturday.

It had all the hallmarks of a date I'd want to have.  Cold, snowy night.  My date taking charge in the kitchen while I find a jazz station on the radio, light candles, pour wine.  Conversation and making out on the couch.  Sleeping in the next morning, waking up hip-to-hip and making out some more.  He tossing scrambled eggs with spinach and feta as I prepare notes for my rehearsal, before driving me to the train station so I can go to rehearsal, kissing me goodbye.  Promising me that he'll show me his egg-scrambling technique the next time we're together.

Totally OK, really, that it'll probably be another month before we have another date.  

Realized that it was enough to have a good date, go on our respective ways, and then reconnect when we feel like having another one.  Shocked myself, really, with how OK I am.  As in I'm not in any way faking this OK-ness.

(And it's so convenient, because that's all he wants, too.)

Not sure if it is because I realized this is the level that Sunday Night Man and I are meant to be at and don't desire more.  Or if I don't desire more from a date than this, period.

Surely, I must?

Or maybe my latent cynicism doth render me numb to higher expectations.

Friday, January 14, 2011

BBC 9: Friendly neighborhood

Some days the streets in Southie after a blizzard are very much like this:
"Last year in South Boston, a woman chased trash collector Vladimir Diaz down Old Colony Avenue with a knife after he took the chair she was using to reserve her shoveled-out parking spot. On N Street, a guy tried to drag him out of his garbage truck, he said. Then there was the group of men who surrounded the truck. 'They just kept kicking it,’ he said."
And some days (like this morning, for me, on my way to work) they're like this:
1)   Leave apartment, climbing up and over and down waist-high piles of crust to get to the sidewalk across the street.

2)   Encounter my mechanic, standing on said sidewalk, having a smoke.

3)   Greet one another in passing.

4)   Get a block further away and remember leaving my lunch at home.

5)   Return home via same route.

6)   Leave apartment and climb up and over and down the same waist-high piles of crustiness to get to the sidewalk across the street.

7)   Encounter the same mechanic ... who, seeing me return and re-emerge, went back into his garage and re-emerged himself, dangling my spare Mazda 626 keys gone missing since its last service call  ... from that Thursday morning in September when he  fixed my flat tire for free.
Yeah.  Since September. And yeah.  For free.

Sometimes it's a good hood.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

(Thanks for the) cleaning help

So after great delay #3, Sunday Night Man and I have Date #4. 

As in a real, live date on a Saturday night.

In light of our respective economies, we'll stay in.  I'll cook a chicken dinner to which he will contribute a vegetable.  We'll assemble at my place, after 2 dates at his.

Can I mention again that I'm cooking?  Can I also mention that he graduated from culinary school this summer and now works as a cook for a living?  And that he's the 28th boy I've dated who is allergic to cats, requiring an Allegra intervention?

So.  Last night while making my own dinner and otherwise puttering about, with this knowledge in hand, I had a dual revelation similar to when Adam and Eve ate from the Tree of Life and their eyes were opened to their nakedness:

1) The kitchen I'm inviting an opinionated culinary guru into is a grimy, crumby, greasy, disorganized clutterfest with dull knives and an empty salad spinner in the fridge only because I can't find the cupboard space for it.

2) Cat hair and tracked-out litter is on the couch, the windowsills, the rug, the floor and the tops of picture frames.  It's (bleeping) everywhere.

And I was not necessarily ashamed.   But I was spurred to stay up until 2:45 a.m. in a first swipe at restoring order.

Which reminded me of one of life's greatest unassailable truths:  the desire to not gross out a date has and probably always will be my most powerful incentive to clean.

(Whatever it takes, eh?)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Dateline: View from the Office 1/12/11

The building is swaying
but I must admit
the rooftops are pretty.

Copley Square, Back Bay to Charles, 2:36 pm

The trees at ground level, 8:16 pm
Day 12 of 31: 0.00
(I know. Lame.
But come on. 
Wet feet suck.)
January Total:  22.36

Essential

"A snow emergency has been declared in the city of Boston"
Forecasters issued a blizzard warning for the east coast of the state ... effective from 2 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday. They warned of a potentially dangerous combination of northeast winds of 20 to 30 miles per hour, with gusts up to 45, and snow falling at 2 to 3 inches per hour. 
Parking ban will go into effect. 
Boston Public Schools will be closed.
Non-essential employees are directed to stay home.
Businesses are asked to consider having employees work from home, particularly as the heaviest snowfall is expected during the morning commute.
Oh, to be non-essential.

Mostly because I'm just sitting here, looking into the black, waiting for 2 a.m. and for the snow to start, as if I didn't have to go to work not too many hours from now, half-hoping the blizzard will be wicked enough to intimidate the #9 bus drivers, perhaps, but knowing that unlikely, and that if I hadn't scheduled a conference call for 11 a.m. it wouldn't possibly have mattered if I were to stay cozy under the covers with my coffee and my WBUR and my cats until maybe the after noon, since our office manager decreed that my co-workers and I could "use our best judgment" on whether or not or when we came in, and I know what my best judgment would be if my other judgment hadn't already made decisions that made it essential for me to sway through yet another blizzard in the tallest building in Boston.

Day 11 of 31: 1.96
January Total: 22.36

Monday, January 10, 2011

Further kick

In 11 days, I'm playing the piano for a gala fundraiser (shameless plug) benefitting The Longwood Players.

Earlier today I received an e-mail from the show's producer, reminding me and the other performers that "attire for the show is very upscale - gowns or very upscale cocktail attire for women and tuxes or suits for men."

(Perfect reminder, what with feeling dry-skinned and bloated and limp-haired and without-spending-cash, with a closet that would delight the hosts of What Not To Wear...)

A relief, then, to remember that I still own this sassy thing .... circa 2004, yes, but still sassy.

I know that I want to fit smoothly into and have buff shoulders and triceps on top of this dress when I wear it on stage in front of 200 people next Saturday.

Which is a further kick to keep f***ing (off) my funk, because I see 11 days of running, sit-ups, vegetables and sleep in any future that includes me and pink roses and spaghetti straps in January
.


Day 10 of 31: 4.16
January Total: 20.40

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Va-cay (staying awesome)

I can't say I'm entirely pleased to be back in town after 6 days off the grid.

(Work, auditions, and a half-assed running goal await.)

Although I am at least a few steps out of my December funk that had bridged the new year.

QT with my nephews played at least a small part in the rebound.

Oliver (5 weeks) & Henry (27 mos)

I think it's because at this point in our relationship, they still think I'm pretty awesome. Of course.  They have little evidence to the contrary.

Not wanting to provide them that contrary evidence should be all the incentive I need to just buck up.

Go, January!


Day 7 of 31:  2.31
Day 8 of 31: 0.00
Day 9 of 31: 0.00
January Total: 16.24

Friday, January 7, 2011

Va-cay (for real)

Sorry for being so absent.

I've been hanging out with my nephews and I got distracted.


Hope that's OK
and see ya soon.
Day 4 of 31: 0.00
Day 5 of 31: 0.00
Day 6 of 31: 4.30
January Total: 13.93

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Va-cay (oy vay)

All that stands between me and my flight to Minneapolis are

5 hours and 50 minutes
a bowl of pasta and sauce
a hot shower
an empty suitcase
a $30 cab ride
(and maybe a couple hours of)
sleep.

All that had better be on my radar for the next 6 days once I get to Minneapolis is

nephew time
sister time
parent time
grandma time
many runs
many more vegetables
sweatpants and hoodies
a piano
daytime tv
(and at least a zillion hours of)
sleep.
Day 3 of 31: 2.74
January total: 9.63

Monday, January 3, 2011

Just do something.

I've had more stellar beginnings to new years than this one.

Including 2002 ... the 3 apple martinis and a double-shot of J├Ągermeister in under an hour, followed by 3 hours of bringing it all back up on the dance floor of Club Cafe, followed by 2-day hangover.

That felt stupid but temporary. 

This weekend felt markedly less stellar from a general state of wellness.  A low point after a long, slow descent.  Funk with a capital F. 

Brought on in some ways by waking up January 1 with a toothache, facial scab, chapped lips and no voice.  Reminded that the guy I've tried to date the last 2 months just wants a glorified booty call every couple weeks.  That the apartment still smells like cat litter, even though it was just changed.  That after successful marathon execution on November 21, I've not found the energy to run anywhere near 26.2 miles in the last 6 weeks. That I've eaten little other than sharp cheddar, diet orange soda and Christmas cookies in those 6 weeks.  And my favorite jeans ripped down the thigh yesterday.

Time to buck up, campers.  Time to put the brakes on the downward slide.

A daily run, I think, for the next month. Minimum.  Two-mile minimum.  Out of doors.  No exceptions for blizzards and sub-zero temps. No exceptions for chapped lips and toothaches and 40-something men being selfish.

No exceptions for despair over ripped denim.

Day 2 of 31: 4.27
January total: 6.89

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Dateline: 1/01/11 Southie (11:38 pm)

Well, if I don't get to start the year with a boyfriend, at least I get to end the first day of it with a 25-minute run through the snow, in shorts.


(Day 1 of 31: 2.62 miles
January total:  2.62 miles)