Friday, May 25, 2012

A Thousand (and Outta Here)

The time has come.

You’ve seen it coming and so have I. 

One friend said:  don’t stress it, just stop it.  Meanwhile, my brain said I had to give you an explanation of why I’m stopping it while my gut told me to not be an overdramatizing cliché.  In the end I wanted to write 1000 words for my 1000th post but then feared that might end up being tedious and nauseating to all of us.

(FYI:  It’s 754, give or take a few. Feels long enough, right? Right!)

So instead:   I’m hoping what comes out here on the Friday night before summer, from the 28th floor of the John Hancock tower looking out onto a purple sunset, strikes the balance.

Starting with me thanking you for reading this blog.  You did.  You let me overuse ellipses and sentence fragments and declarations starting with "and".

You tolerated my training for 4 of 9 marathons ... Boston, Philadelphia and DC and, almost, Stockholm.

You liked my legs. (1000 pageviews, baby.)

You read a whopping 43 posts about my insomnia, as well as all the ones I forgot to tag because I (obviously) hadn’t slept enough.

You sat on my patio with me at 1:24 a.m. and admired the basil and impatiens.  Once we listened to Jethro Tull together and I’ve not listened to them since.  (Have you?)  

You let me sell you on Charlie Brown and Secret Garden and Jason Robert Brown musicals and, occasionally, showed up at the shows.  You saw me buy my first piano.  You believe I can play the piano (don't you?), many without ever having heard me do it.

You tolerated my bikini challenges and my weight loss attempts and my cereal binges (and my copious apologies for them after the fact).   You tolerated 18 (and maybe more) Inexplicable Photos of My Feet and never asked why.  (Still inexplicable, BTW.)  You let me use the word penis as often as I wanted.

You heard me say kissing C-2 is better than just about anything in the world and didn’t throw up because of its idealism….or at least hid it from me if you have.  You didn’t chastise me for going back to him, and back, and back. You didn't know his name doesn't even start with C.  No, I'm not going to tell you what it does start with.

You didn’t ask for more information about the Man from San Francisco, despite my reticence to share details about him.  He is still in the picture, by the way. 

You didn’t give me a hard time for having (at least) 86 weekends where I was without a date.  Or for shamelessly transcribing OKC Instant Messenger chats.

You let me turn 36. Then 37. Then 38.  Then 39

You’ve met my mom.  Bobbo.  (The ever-awesome) Martha, on many occasions. The sisters older and younger.  Joshua.  JustinStudent Driver.  Balint.   Bill.  Cousin J. The CFO.  Many, many others.

You let me bitch about Southie.  And an ancient vehicle I refuse to replace.  And parking tickets.  And parking. 

You took my recommendations for good songs.  Sometimes for good poems.  You never told me if you liked them (or even read them) … but that’s ok.

You went with me to Hungary, San Francisco, west coast Florida, Minneapolis, the North Dakota prairies.

You tasted Pretty Things Baby Tree and PBR and homemade Altbier and Grain Belt and Left Hand Milk Stout and Guinness.  And Guinness.  And Guinness.  And Guinness.  And Guinness.  (Yeah.  Guinness should have had its own tag, I'm seeing.)

And for all that, what is there still to say?  But thanks.  For being my friends, my critics, my motivation for observing.  My motivation for drinking too much.  For staying up too late.  For whining.  For chatting with 21-year-old penis-pictures and female wrestlers.  For trying to be good at things.  For trying to get better and for trying to excuse bad habits and for never really trying to sleep enough.

I'm still (sorta) single.  Still thirty-something.  Still renting.  Still in Southie. 

It's time to go. 

You can write me at sage (dot) risotto (at) gmail (dot) com (if we’re not already Facebook friends) and you want to stay in touch.  I promise to write back if you promise not to creep me out.  I promise to tell you when the inspiration returns and when I start writing .... something ... again.

And with that, this blog is over and out.


Karin -- May 21, 2012

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Screenshot: An Analysis.

May 4 was the 4-year anniversary of this blog and this post is the 999th entry. 

But today I did something for -- I swear -- the first time in Single in the City's history:  googled

Not a software engineer or SEO-algorithm-type so perhaps there is logical rationale for all this, but still amused to learn from this search....

....A Mystery:  I have visited this page 4 times, last on January 8, 2012.
So it must not have been me who wrote the additional 68 posts this year.  Or the 931 posts prior.

....What's Popular:  The months January-August 2011 and my March 2009 post about Boston Marathon training injuries are seminal highlights.
The marathon post was one of two in the blog's history (the other: "Sexy in January? Inconceivable!", which might be the best title line I ever conjured) linked to the front page of The Boston Globe for a weekend.  It was also the last time the Globe touched me ... which leads me to wonder why, never, since? Prudes.

Furthermore: I spent much of early 2011 maundering about C-2.  While I should know Tales of Unrequited Love day after day is a fascinating trope.... still.

....That Kissing Makes Headlines:  Of the dozens of comments I've ever left on Evan's piece of the internet, it was my shameless plug about French-kissing that endures.  That, and me admonishing him about not knowing what a scone is.
Lovely.   Like teenagers swapping spit and insults.  For the record:  I've never either kissed (or, thank God, Frenched) with Evan.  He would undoubtedly reply with the same level of relief.

 ....And This Blog Doesn't, Really:   "In the United States, is ranked 2,653,720."  
Hmm.  I guess that's better than 2,657,672nd.

Click here to view full size


In case you're breathless with anticipation over what Magic Post 1000 is going to be....

Join the club.  So am I!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

A May Saturday

Five years ago, on the last Saturday, May 12 there was, we were all in Minneapolis celebrating with Kristin and Bill:

Happy anniversary, smoochers.

Saturday, May 12, 2007 turned out to be a mourning day, too.  That afternoon, one of my best friends from my Pipestone, MN days died at age 43 from metastatic melanoma.

Brad and wife Becky at his last Christmas (2006)

And this weekend is always the time to pay tribute to mothers.  I know at least 3 awesome ones near and dear to me.

Four generations:  Martha, Kathie, Missy, Henry (2008)

On top of all this, tonight we close the show after 3 months of fruitful collaboration.  The run has gone well.  I will be glad to see it go.  I will be nostalgic that it is over.

And, it is 80 degrees with a cloudless sky.

A worthy Saturday.  Amen

Friday, May 11, 2012

Up and away

My younger sister called me, unexpectedly, this morning.  Life has been busy for all of us, and we hadn't spoken in a couple months .... she called me on my birthday in March and left a voicemail that came in while I was at a rehearsal, and that might have been our most recent contact.  On that occasion she was joined by the boys:  Oliver then had just enough verbalization to say my name, not much more; on that message, Henry preferred to sing "Power Rangers rock!" instead of the traditional congratulations.

Look at those long legs and that utter sassiness in dinosaur pajamas.

Henry: 3.5    Oliver 1.5

They're growing up without me, that's for sure.  The length of time that has passed since my sister and I spoke had gotten away from me, too.   She's not the only friend I've started to lose track of in that sort of back-shelf, lazy fashion -- kind of like I'm losing track of keeping up with blogging -- and I'm glad a few things in life are slowing down this month and next, so maybe I can pull back all these drifting balloons worth gathering once again.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

What I found today....

....after not really looking at my OKCupid inbox for the last several weeks.
"hey! i figured I would take a shot at messaging you. I have always wanted to get to know a cougar for friendship and more ;-) and yes, before you ask, my girlfriend is totally cool with this. she knows this is a fantasy i have had for a while, and she is alright with the idea of me being with a woman older than myself. if you wish to talk to her about it, feel free!"
- - -
"Greetings from a French pilot at the Hilton Logan aiport.
I love the piano
I was a drummer before...
what about a meeting ?

- - -
"You do have great legs. Yummy :3"
- - -
"Oh you are so damn attractive and complicated. Permit me I really like you! From what I can tell from your profile. Tho an LTR may be an oft desired goal, Anything from that to a "longish short term Rel "(whatever that is, just sounds kinda cool) to a Mr right now is fine with me; companionship beyond my regular friends, serious flavorful hugs are sometimes life-giving, or so it seems at times, laughing at bad puns, good jokes, or just the whole jitteriness of life. After all, as someone way smarter than me said about experiencing life, essentially enjoy it cause no one gets out alive!"
- - -
"E.B. White is indicative of your style? That's not an easy thing to accomplish--God knows I've tried."

Friday, May 4, 2012

Fourth Anniversary (aka Post 995)

And, I still own and wear that dress.

*     *     *     *     *

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Must be the exposed collarbone ...

So I'm not married.

Meanwhile I'm 35, have two cats and don't own the dwelling I live in. These are some serious strikes in a city full of overachieving financiers, engineers and architects.

Boston has provided me with a random selection of dating options: guys sitting in the pews behind me in church; craigslist trollers responding to my posts for apartment roommates; the buffsters in polo shirts, met without verbal intro on dance floors after 12 or so "courage" martinis; the very occasional straight man in community theatre productions; the even rarer single man among the suburbanites in my office.

(The good news is that it is tremendously easier to be single in a city of this size. Easier to blend in, that is. I spent many years in small town in the Midwest and when you are 35 and not married, you are a constant object of speculation. Or perhaps you just think that folks are speculating. Or just wish they were and/or were providing you with dinner dates when inviting you over, rather than leaving you as the only single person in a room full of couples and kids.)

All these roads have led me to, or rather back to, After trying it last fall, then taking a 4-month hiatus, I'm back at it. Re-posted the profile and loaded-in a new picture....the one from my 34th birthday dinner with my sisters, showing a little collarbone and shoulder. (Hint: It's the photo attached to my profile here.) Added a tidbit about having run the Boston Marathon last month (working not to sound boastful) and how nothing is more satisfying than a long, hard yoga class.

So that was Thursday night.

One of the most fun features of is the counter that shows how many people have viewed your profile. Since then, I'm up to 171 views. Plus 6 "winks", or simply "hi, I'm here!" notices, and 3 straight-out e-mail messages. This is a huge rise in volume of views over last fall -- so I'm trying to figure now what caused the uptick. Must be the exposed collarbone.

But I knew I had to make the subject of the inaugural post of this blog yesterday afternoon, when a message popped up in my e-mail inbox with the title: "New Hampshire Calling." Woo-hoo! I opened it to find the following: my potential suitor is 73 years old. He likes to garden. He once studied at Harvard. He said I have nice legs.

My first thought was: wonder if he's rich.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

30 days to go

Gotta love the Swedes.  My favorite phrase on this instruction sheet:

FINAL NOTE:  Take it easy!  Remember that running 42,195 metres on hard roads is demanding.  Do not start unless you are entirely healthy.  Remember that there is no reason for embarrassment if you cannot finish the race.  Anyone can have an unlucky day.  Good luck in the 2012 ASICS Stockholm Marathon!

Saturday, April 28, 2012


Busy. Tired. Brain Dead.

That's me.

I just stayed at the office until 9:30.

I just biked home into the wind.

I just ate 3 servings of pasta and black beans.

It's been a long week.

I'm feeling unable to collate sentences longer than 10 words.

I keep thinking ..... I'll just sleep more.  And then I don't.  Usually it's because I want to take some of that time to talk to MSF.  Other times, I'm just too jacked to put my head on the pillow.

Oh well.  Aprils are often this way.  The end is soon.  Although May comes shortly thereafter.  After which there is a marathon to run.

Cousin J provided some needed perspective a few nights ago, though.  She was e-mailing helpfully with ideas for planning the Sweden trip.  At the end of which she said:
"So...big hug to you in this crazy week, I see you are at the apex!  Hang in and enjoy the ride!"
I appreciate the hug.  I more appreciate that I should enjoy myself more. Be it a 13-mile run tomorrow morning or the chance to practice on a real live piano some very fun music.   Fatigue is often the reward for a life well-lived, right?

Soldier on!  BTBD or not.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Procrastination is O.K.

I've known my friend Joy for many years and as speech-language pathologist, wife and mother of 2 toddlers, she's as bright and as practical as they come and rarely not on-the-go.  If not in the midst of cooking for friends or working weekends or making her own yogurt, she's organizing large-scale group activities for charitable organizations or her daughters' pre-school.  When she began blogging at Bundles of Joy earlier this year -- writing about her lif e as it is, much as I write about the down and dirty of mine --  I was unsurprised that the medium suited both her opinions and writing skills well.  It's been a lot of fun to read .... and keeps me up on her family's life when all of us are running in a million directions.

Joy is a busy lady. 

I'm usually not as busy as her .... but currently, in a way, I am.  This is the week in April that pops up every year and   I love so much:  the apex of time-sensitive deadlines at work and piles of pending reports-to-mail are as high as my head .... plus the point in marathon training where Saturday runs are 20-plus miles (and this year including trip-planning for Sweden that has been inexcusably back-burnered already) ... plus the point in the musical production where it's all coming together (open in 10 days!) and rehearsal is every night to 10:30 and that doesn't include the bike-ride home or making dinner after. 

Yeah. The week where I feel I don't know my friends anymore and realized I haven't spoken with my parents since mid-March or my younger sister since mid-February and my hands are swollen and my body over-caffeinated and it's only 10 a.m. and already I kinda wish this day was over and I was flat on my back under the covers

That said, I'm not now suggesting that I'm glad to read this entry from Joy's blog from a few days ago. (Joy set herself up promising a weekly Sunday post about her stewardship of various personal details.)  Just relieved that other busy people aren't shy about letting their fatigue show and relaxing the self-improvement regimen we often all impose on ourselves:
Sunday Procrastination Again

I should be writing a blog entry. But instead I'm watching back episodes of GCB and giving a doll a new hairstyle. Actually, I'm trying to make the doll look like she has hair again instead of a nasty frizz puff on her head. I promise to try to write more tomorrow....
And, most nights in the past 10 days, I've been playing Facebook Tetris and Solitaire Blitz instead of writing blog entries. 

So Joy ...... it's OK. 

I absolve you.  :-)

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Running long

Stockholm on June 2 is (hopefully) my ninth marathon in 10 years.

I've logged between 400 and 500 miles in preparation for each, not including the races themselves.

Still, though....the first time in any training I successfully manage more than 20 miles on an outing (which was, today) running the length of Newton and then the length of Brookline and back out the entire length of the Emerald Necklace, starting and finishing uphill, avoiding sunburn and windburn and dehydration and boredom ... 

That this happens, and that life can continue after, still humbles the f*%& out of me.  

Find more Run in Boston, MA

(As does the water of Southie's Pleasure Bay in April.  Holy f@#$, indeed.)

Friday, April 20, 2012

Shameless plug

You know you want to come see my show.

It opens 2 weeks from tonight. 
There are 6 performances to choose from:
weeknights, weekends, matinees, evenings.

The music is awesome.
The singers are awesome.
The band is awesome.

Parking is not difficult. 
Or expensive.

I'd love to have you.

Please come!


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The return; the remembering.

Longtime readers in this space will be familiar with C-2 .... my slight, bespectacled Somervillian who was first my OKC story-swapping friend and then my stay-out-all-night-on-Kingston-Street friend and then someone I craved desperately because of his kissing and cleverness and daring.  And then despaired over when he got clueless and distant and sad and left me feeling same, just before leaving town in a rush.

That was a year ago.  I stayed up until 5 a.m. on the morning of my 38th birthday to help him pack a moving truck and wave him onto the freeway.   His move was good for me in its finality .... forcing a closure his behavior had long-before forecast but I wasn't accepting;  I stopped thinking he was more to me than he was.   While we met up on a Sunday last June for a Foley's-fueled fling, it was in the spirit of heedlessness, temporary and gluttonous, with no consequences.  Since then, he reached out every couple months with an e-mail or text if back in town for work, and I've largely not reached out, and only occasionally responded.  I'd moved past him, realized I didn't have to stand patsy, didn't quite care either way.

Last night, C-2 and I hung out at a bar on Beacon Hill.  At his request.  He wrote me on Good Friday, noted he was in town for a couple weeks prospecting (he's a political consultant, election season is gearing up, this is his home turf), wanting to meet for a beer.  I thought again I'd ignore him, then thought better.  Something broke in my cynicism.  We spent a few days crossing paths in futility; then I realized I was fairly dying to know how he was.  When he texted last night at 10:30 and trained down from Davis, I drove over and it was easy, like the first time we met.  Shooting politics, gulping Guinness, chatting the other barflys, standing in the bar entryway after close while he smoked Camels, sharing our respective dating foibles of the last 18 months.  It was a conversation we really hadn't had in that long, I realized near its end, and I had missed having it.

The night ended as it often used to .... very late on a very deserted downtown street in the front seat of my parked car.  But there was no imminent hook-up or window-steaming.   We talked about the times we had hooked up and had steamed the windows and chuckled, fondly, noting how we both remembered all of them ... the time he tossed one of my shoes out the sunroof and a sock to the back window that I found only months later.   He then explained that the entire year of 2010 had been a wash for him:  he shared a personal experience that was the primary source of pain.  I could only nod, but had not known his troubles.  In 2 years he had breathed no such explanation, and now it explained so much about him, my frustration with him, and why he did things he did ...  yet I couldn't be angry at either it or his reaction to it.  Just clarity, and a relief for an angst in my past I now have no good reason to mourn.

I knew we would eventually kiss, because we used to kiss so well and we had started talking about how well we did, so then we did.   We kissed in that way we always used to .... him leaning over the gearshift and reaching to pull my chin in, laughing, gripping my hair, me pressing towards him and tilting my head back with the pull of his hands, our breathing rising.   It escalated, but plateaued .... as if sensed it was just a remembering of something sweet that needed a fresh taste for the memory banks.  And then we parted.

4:30 a.m., and morning birds were chirping as I got out of my car in Southie. I texted him, as I always used to at his request, heralding safe return ... "Home.  It was good to see you." 

"You too. :-)"  he texted back. 

For the first time in a long time I believed that when he said that he meant it.  It was the first time in a long time, too, in taking leave from him, that I knew for sure I didn't want from him anything more.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Will sun salute for food

Hey campers!  It's that time once again where I tell you something that I'm planning to do so I actually do it. 

In this case it is getting my decidedly non-bikini-shape torso muscles into enough shape so that after 3 months of hard and heavy eating, I'll survive this fool marathon I'm (hopefully still) going to run in 46 x 24 hours.

Each day between now and Saturday, June 2 (in addition to whatever else may be going on, including work, long runs, all-day musical rehearsals, Guinness binges at 2 a.m. or red-eye flights to San Francisco) I will complete either:

Option A:   Core Bomb

Various abdominal strengtheners (5 min) +
Lower back strengthener (1 min) +
Face-down planks (2 x 1 min) +
Rolling side planks w/out stopping (5 each side x 30 sec) +
Push-ups (3 x 12) +
Tricep-dips (3 x 12)


Option B:  30 minutes of Yoga

(This morning at 6:30 I did 60 minutes. Thank you,
free David Farmar Baptiste podcasts from iTunes.)

Yes.  This is my kitchen. 
Yes.  That is my cat eating breakfast next to my block.

Incidentally, I may or may not post an "after"  picture. 

No way, this time, am I posting a "before."

Monday, April 16, 2012

Dear God...

.... please be with the marathoners today.

Thanks for the summer weather, but I know the type of runner who runs Boston.  He will be a serious runner.   He has earned his trip and his chance to PR a very difficult race and, while he is not dumb and will be Type A and have planned every mile-split and water stop and gel-inhalation, he will have pride and will want to say he ran a very difficult race on a very difficult day very well, even if much of that race unfolds on shadeless concrete boulevards -- both the downhill in Framingham and the uphill over Rt 128 in Newton (why, God, why?) -- full of other sweaty, heaving, gasping strivers.

Please do your best to convince him, should his pride trump his physical and mental capabilities, that it ain't worth heat stroke.  Even if he prays to you otherwise.

Thanks, by the way, for not trying to convince me that, last fall when registration rolled around, I should run it too. Running a mile in 85 degrees is a challenge.  Running any more than that is a special form of hell. You've seen to that.


Thursday, April 12, 2012

I haven't griped about parking in Southie for a pretty long time....

(since November 2009, actually)

.....which makes it OK to point out today the existence of this sign taped to all markers running on both sides of the length of the street that runs past my apartment:

And, point out the existence of this sign on the closest cross street next to my apartment.

(And I'm not even getting into these signs being posted starting the very week that street cleaning rules go into effect.  I'm not showing you the signs that abut the (not 1 or 2 or 3 but) 4 multi-unit condominium construction projects in a 3-block radius around me that also have "no parking" signs taking up 5-6 parking spots per site, with indefinite end-dates in 2013.)

Let's sum up:  for 6 weeks I cannot park my car on the street during the day on any street within reasonable vicinity of my apartment.  This also means the 40 or so other cars that might park on those streets also need to find other places for these 6 weeks.  And they can't park in front of any condo construction sites until 2013, just like me.

So (score) last week I came across a spot just in front of this sign and put down stakes.  Woo-hoo!

So, naturally on Friday morning I head out to find this slid under my windshield wiper.

Which tells me I'm parked in a "No Parking 3/17 to 4/15" spot.  Which clearly tells me the City of Boston wants me to pay $55 for their failure to correctly update a sign.

Damn straight this one is getting appealed.  Damn straight.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

When in doubt .... a song.

On Facebook this morning, my eye was caught by a post from a man about about my parents' age ... someone I've known since 1985, when he first directed me and my classmates in "Bye Bye Birdie" in the Cando Summer Arts program. Larry wrote:

"I'm old, I know, but this is still just an awesome piece of music."

It's a Gordon Lightfoot number from the early 60s about a bum watching a plane take off and feeling regret for a hard-living past. I could think of no good reason to post this song ... we did have heavy clouds earlier today, but the skies have cleared. I'm not making any imminent plane trips. I'm not craving drink and (at least at this moment this morning) I'm not filled with regret. I'm actually not even in a foul mood.

But I could think of no good reason not to post it either. That's some awesome guitar playing and some awesome harmony. It inexplicably makes me want to play it on repeat. And it was good to know Larry still has good taste.

Monday, April 9, 2012


(At the risk of revealing something I'll likely later regret, never having done that in 5 years of blogging of course) I confess that for the first time in the history of my financial-services career, I took a nap at work. During work. At my desk. While sitting up, with my hands on the keyboard.

In fact, I confess I took 2 naps .... about 5 minutes apiece, both in similar fashion. I was not totally asleep either time. But I was definitely resting my eyes. During the second one, I woke myself up with a little snore.

Yes, I am 39 years old and I napped at work.

Today I am tired, and I wish not to intrude on your joyous post-Easter thoughts with what might emerge from this brain on such a day.

Instead, I give you this:  a review in this coming week's New Yorker of the new book by Eric Klinenberg: “Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone."  A sample:
"At one point, Klinenberg suggests that living alone provides “restorative solitude”; it may be “exactly what we need to reconnect.” But most of the people he introduces seem neither especially restored nor vigorously connected. They are insecure, proud of their freedoms but hungry for contact, anxious, frisky, smug, occasionally scared—in short, they experience a mixture of emotions that many people, even those who do not live alone, are apt to recognize.
"Take, for example, Kimberly, a New Yorker who’s in the film business, and who underwent a sort of crisis when she found herself past thirty and living alone. She threw herself into her work, but at night she numbed herself with epic sessions of TV. “It took me a long time to figure out that it wasn’t gonna happen the way it happened in college,” she tells Klinenberg. “People didn’t just drop by.”

"Things changed when she made the decision to buy an apartment, committing to a future alone. She renovated, began hosting parties, went freelance, tried Internet dating, and made contact with Single Mothers by Choice, a support organization for unattached women hoping to raise a child. Was this self-realization or resignation? Kimberly confesses, “I didn’t want to hang curtains by myself. I’d always thought I would do it with a partner and a lover.” Yet autonomy as an ideal brought her happiness, she says, partly because it freed her from the shame of falling short."
This is a blog about living alone and the pains and various joys thereof.  Therefore, go forth and learn.

Then read this Tumblr, Text from Dog, and pee your pants.


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Blogoliloquy: Boston! (and, we open...)

After walking the long route to work followed by a day preparing for quarter-end client reporting and a treadmill run and an orange juice and honey-roasted peanut supper and accompanying the first full run of the  hand-pounding musical that opens a month from today (that's 2 straight hours of JRB piano stylings, baby) and a half-hour nursing an Ultimat Mule (mmm, ginger beer....) and the saltiest french fries known to this city while waiting, I met Justin at Franklin Cafe Southie last night just before 11 so he could find room for post-rehearsal supper (direct quote when asked the last time he had eaten: "I know had breakfast and I think I might have had something about 4....") and a couple pints of Brooklyn Lager to unwind from the last rehearsal for the Boston blogs performance extravaganza he (naturally) conceived and wrote and directed and produced (and even re-hung the lights in a black box theatre just before the final run when the seating arrangement required unexpected readjustment) while doing things like having a full-time job in Manhattan that requires regular cross-country air travel and enjoying a lovely wife and 9-month-old son and moving from Plainfield to Jersey City and asking someone on Etsy to build him a kitchen table the new place and, hell, simply living in New Jersey and coming to Boston to direct and produce and hang lights for a show that he wrote and conceived when he also has an organ-playing gig on the Thursday after the Wednesday opening and and the Sunday morning after the Saturday close in, of course, New Jersey, and while we were unwinding early into this morning (did we just about close the place?) he was kind enough to say to me (exhausted and tipsy and over-sodiumed  and articulating the inertia of having lived in the same apartment for nearly 6 years and having the same job for almost 9 and going to the same church for more than 12)  that one of the things he most appreciates about me after nearly 10 years of solid friendship is that I have this way of "creating home" wherever I end up (including in this blog, which he has read from the beginning almost 5 years ago), to the point where maybe my inertia is simply not wanting to leave the comfort of something good and to some degree, that isn't the worst thing in the world, and I was reminded that the things I appreciate most about Justin are how he always finds a bigger picture in my smaller gripes, how he makes a big world feel manageable, and how he lives large and, even though I may kick and scream on the way, how he insists on trying to take me with him.

Thanks, friend. Break a leg.

Monday, April 2, 2012

No more p***** pics! (Can I get an A-men?)

This was sent my way today. It's from 2010. Considering how many penis photos have been gifted to me by men from OKCupid in my lifetime (including this winner), I'm amazed I didn't stumble across this myself already. It says everything I've ever said to the screen in response.

Choice quotes:
0:45: "Come on. Enough with the tricky camera angles on that baloney pony. Man, it is UGLY!"

0:57: "And, yes. Sometimes we save the pictures. But just to show our friends how weird yours looks. And make fun of how much of a douchebag you are."
Please share with a loved one. Man or woman, depending on their needs.

(PS: Thanks, MSF.)

Sunday, April 1, 2012


I've lived in Boston long enough that I know I take it for granted at how easy it is to travel a short distance and/or pay a minimal fee to hear some pretty spectacular music.  A week ago Saturday, I was privileged to hear J.S. Bach's St. John Passion performed at Marsh Chapel on the Boston University campus.  This past Friday, the Handel & Haydn Society did the other great Passion of Bach, St. Matthew's, at Symphony Hall.

How fortunate. Both were brilliant productions. And to get into Marsh Chapel I paid 10 bucks .... Symphony Hall, 25.

Since today is Passion Sunday in the Christian calendar, seems quite appropriate to share my favorite pieces from each of these venerable works -- both bass solos:

Betrachte, meine Seel (St. John)

Betrachte, meine Seel, mit ängstlichem Vergnügen,
     Observe now, O my soul, with fearful satisfaction,
Mit bittrer Lust und halb beklemmtem Herzen
     With bitter joy and with a heart half-anguished
Dein höchstes Gut in Jesu Schmerzen,
     Thy highest good in Jesus' torments:
Wie dir auf Dornen, so ihn stechen,
     For thee the thorns there which have pierced him
Die Himmelsschlüsselblumen blühn!
     As keys to heaven's flowers bloom!
Du kannst viel süße Frucht von seiner Wermut brechen
     Thou canst pluck much sweet fruit from his most bitter wormwood,
Drum sieh ohn Unterlass auf ihn!
     So look unceasingly on him!

Mache dich, mein Herze rein (St. Matthew)

Mache dich, mein Herze, rein,
     Make thyself, my heart, now pure,
Ich will Jesum selbst begraben.
     I myself would Jesus bury.
Denn er soll nunmehr in mir
     For he shall henceforth in me
Für und für Seine süße Ruhe haben.
     More and more find in sweet repose his dwelling.
Welt, geh aus, lass Jesum ein!
     World, depart, let Jesus in!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Lucky Friday?

Yesterday a colleague who, like me, works in client service for our finance firm incited a lively workplace discussion by suggesting a work pool for the $540 million (and counting) MegaMillions Jackpot:  chip in 1 to 5 dollars apiece and he'll buy as many tickets as he has cash for by 1 p.m. today.

"Regardless if you put in $1 or $5 the winnings will be divided amongst everyone evenly."

This is finance: we're all about return on investment.  One of the Investment Managers naturally replied: "Good idea! However, the line highlighted is a bit troubling for us investment minded folks. Shouldn’t the winnings be proportional to your contribution?"
Client Service: "I figured the investment people would have questions..."

Investment Manager: "Someone has to keep the sales/marketing folks in check!!"

Client Service: "You can trust us Client Service folks, we are known for our GREAT ETHICS!!!"

Compliance Rep: "I thought that was what compliance was here for. :-)"

Operations Rep: "If it was proportional rather than equal would you put more in the pool? If the answer is yes, then go proportional and buy more tickets. If we win, I’ll put together the spreadsheet to divvy it up ;)"

At the end of it all, the pool was my CS colleague's baby, so he kept the (in the words of another colleague) "quasi-socialist" equal-share rule despite the protests of others.  About 25 of us have put in....which means about $27 million pre-tax apiece.  He's getting the tickets this afternoon and will give everyone copies so we can follow the 11 p.m. drawing tonight, ourselves. 

The last couple hours we've been klatching informally about the future of our lives and our firm should the odds fall in our favor....the joke being that if we win, will anyone remain at the firm at all, or will we all put the winnings into accounts that could be managed by each other.

Me?  I might just buy a new car.  And a cabin in the hills of Vermont.  And a condo in Seattle.  And a grand piano and a 'cello and the services of Yo-Yo Ma to teach me to make it sing. And unlimited airfare to Minneapolis from anywhere else in the country so I can see my grandma and play with my nephews more than 3 times a year.  And a guru to meditate with me every morning and lead me through 2 hours of power yoga every night.   And all the Pretty Things Baby Tree Quadruple in stock in Greater Boston, with which I would throw a block party to rival that of the Southie St. Paddy's Day parade.

Crossing fingers, y'all.  Crossing fingers.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Blogolioquy: boston! (teasers & tickets)

I give Justin a lot of credit.  He's read this blog from the beginning in 2008 and to assemble blogolioquy: boston! for Turnstyle Theatre Company, he went back and read a lot more of it.  This is while also reading years and years of entries of these blogs, too:
A Proper Bostonian:  Outpourings from an old-fashioned room in a historic neighborhood in the fairest city of a very blue state by a person who understands the importance of layer cake.

Dad Today:  for the big mysteries revealed in the small moments

Formula 457:   Things I would talk about over lunch or tea. If anyone ever took me out to lunch or tea…

How You have Wronged Me:    I may only be in my 20s, but much like my favorite muppets - Statler and Waldorf - I am a cynical, angry, curmudgeonly old man at heart. Chances are I do not like you. This blog tells a story. A story about how you have wronged me today.

Some Assembly Required:  He's no better than I am; he's just got a suit!
Check these folks out if you want to get up to speed on what to expect....mix of funny and serious and very, very locally specific.

Other answers to questions you didn't know you had about the show:

A)  The show's coming up next Wednesday through Saturday at the Boston Center for the Arts in their Plaza Black Box Theatre. It is indeed a high-level observance week for both Christians and Jews, but would you consider my special dispensation to observe Holy Week or Passover on 3 of 4 nights and spend the 4th in less serious contemplation?  Atheists and agnostics, you've got no excuse.

B) Tickets are $17.50 and can be purchased here

C) I might be there for opening night if I can blow out of my church choir rehearsal -- and for sure will be there Saturday at 8 p.m., if you are one of the (rare?) folks who reads this and has never met me.  (Fair warning: I am not in high-season bikini shape, nor will I be wearing one to the show.) 

D)  If you are a friend and curious about whether or not you might be featured unknowingly onstage, here's a few teasers about what Justin chose to include:
Midnight walk home from the Broadway T (August 2011)

No-handed bike ride on a warm September night (September 2010)

Argument with Bill over parking regulations (November 2009)

Running into an old flame at Whole Foods (August 2011)

Maundering over grocery shopping alone (January 2009)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Progress (?)

I just spent my morning pushing the browser "Refresh" on a client page at a bank website, waiting for 2 trades to settle to cash so I could then wire the proceeds to another account for a time-sensitive real estate closing. It took substantially longer than I thought. In fact, just all I did between 8:30 and 12:30 today was call the bank to expedite, refresh, refresh, call the bank again, refresh, refresh, placate client with a call saying we'd get back as soon as we knew more, refresh, explain to my manager what was happening and ask for opinion on next steps, call the bank for an update, refresh two more times, pace around my chair trying to decide if I can afford to leave to go to the bathroom, call the bank to make, sure they were expediting, refresh, refresh, and finally, breathe out.

A small error (not mine) accounted for this last-minute tomfoolery under deadline; while I paid the ulcer-inducing time-suck price, the client got the money eventually. I'm not mad....these things happen from time-to-time. Although I do wish if an ulcer were to be induced it would be for a reason involving money that was actually mine....

Several times during this period I was tempted to come on here, or to log onto Facebook, and proclaim that I was good and ready for Happy Hour. Or a Makers Mark & ginger. Or a Guinness. Knowing that saying "it's time for a drink" is one of the great cliches in response to stressful situations kept me from doing so.

In the meantime, two things happened:

1) I remembered I need to run 5 miles today, and I could do that now instead of later. I am now sitting in my tennies and shorts and leaving in 5 minutes

2) I remembered that Julie Andrews sings this song from The Sound of Music:

With each step I am more certain
Everything will turn out fine
I have confidence the world can all be mine
They'll have to agree I have confidence in me

I have confidence in sunshine
I have confidence in rain
I have confidence that spring will come again
Besides which you see I have confidence in me Strength doesn't lie in numbers
Strength doesn't lie in wealth
Strength lies in nights of peaceful slumbers
When you wake up -- Wake Up!

It tells me all I trust I lead my heart to
All I trust becomes my own
I have confidence in confidence alone
(Oh help!)
I have confidence in confidence alone
Besides which you see I have confidence in me!

I'd say there could be worse things than turning to running and self-empowerment before drink.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Maybe because it's Monday...

.... and maybe it's because I only manage to never find a seat on the days I think it is safe to wear my black lace-up heels during my commute (rather than the saner, safer running shoes),

But I still do not understand how the 6 men seated in the back of the #9 bus this morning were content to watch me stand in their midst and hold onto a pole (while acknowledging that my choice of shoes is my own), ignoring my struggle to stay upright for a 25-minute ride that included stopping once a block while on a downhill while additionally braking for 10 or so unpredictable Southie double-parkers and a half-dozen more errant pedestrians, followed by a 6-series of 110-degree turns to wind around the Broadway T.

All were about 30 or younger.  Five of six were head-down on handheld electronics.  The sixth was sitting right in front of me....about 6' 4" and wearing workout clothes. Not sure how he didn't notice my passive-aggressive evil stare for the majority of the ride, to catch his eye and plead for mercy and see if he noticed my tottering and swaying and attempts to shake the numbness out of my necessarily-elevated left arm without pitching over.

I refuse to beg for chivalry from strangers.  But the lack of it sometimes still disappoints me.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Blogolioquy: boston!

Dear friendly blog readers:

I have a friend named Justin

He's a little crazy, but I love him.
(And I know he thinks exactly the same of me.)

Justin runs a theatre company
and likes to produce performance opportunities and experiences. 

it is my solemn duty to inform you that
he is producing a show about blogs in Boston.  

He has excerpted work from 6 local blogs,
woven them together into acts,
and is directing a group of actors on stage to read them.

Because I have this friend named Justin who is does all this,
this blog is part of this production:

Wednesday, April 4 through Saturday, April 7 - 7:30 p.m.
 Plaza Black Box Theatre at
Boston Center for the Arts, 539 Tremont Street
Blog awesomeness. 
Ticket info TBD

Stay tuned for more details.
You won't want to miss them.

Best regards,

Thursday, March 22, 2012


I started this birthday out on Columbia Road,  in shorts and t-shirt in the pitch black, 2 miles into a 3.5-mile run, listening to Allison Krauss and Union Station sing "Forget About It."

Then I came home and took out the trash.

I grabbed a Sam Adams Cream Stout from the fridge.

I sat down at my piano and practiced music for "Songs For A New World" rehearsal later tonight; the one that needed the most work was a piece called "She Cries."

Trying not to read too much into the depressing subject matter of these early-morning pursuits.   Or that I'm starting out the year staying up so f@#$ing late.


Oh well.  Looking forward to waking up to some warm sunshine.


Y'all.... I had a fabulous birthday.  The co-workers bought flowers and cupcakes.  The family all wrote.  The (100 or so) Facebook friends weighed in;  others texted, called, and one sent this awesome link to an NPR feature on the Goldberg Variations.  MSF sent jewelry.  At rehearsal, my musician friends sang en masse; Claudia and Cousin J sang solo on my voicemail;  my sister called with the nephews so Henry could sing his Power Rangers song and Oliver could say "Aunt Karin" for the first time in my life.

Meanwhile. the weather was the first day of summer instead of the second of spring; I biked the 7 miles home from Davis Square at midnight in nothing but running shorts and a cardigan.  Earlier, I clocked a 4-mile run in a sunny breeze;  then when crossing the Mass Ave bridge on my way to a 7 p.m. rehearsal, got to view this sunset over the Charles basin:

All good.  All turning my frown upside-down.  Thanks, all.

Monday, March 19, 2012

I know it was 70 degrees in Boston today....

.... but it was 85 on Bonita Beach, FL.

And while this photo's subject decidedly lacks a uniform tan and contains a noticeable bloop at the beltline and a hairdo that most definitely emerged unwashed from under a baseball cap moments before, let's admit that's a pretty blue sky and leave it at that.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Southward, ho....

.... and I'll cop to, after the ridiculousness of our mild winter thusfar, actually being quite excited at the biting chill in the Boston air these last 3 days, if only to make a long weekend in Bonita Springs, FL with my aunt and uncle more contrastably enjoyable.  Packing tanks and shorts last night while shivering in a scarf and sweater, it sweetened the thoughts of sun and humidity warming bare shoulders and legs, of leisurely breakfasts on the lanai, of novels consumed poolside.  Sunglasses necessary.

A couple weeks ago, I promised a bikini photo for y'all on Monday.  While it's been a trying couple of weeks since then and I can't guarantee the jelly belly doesn't still exist, I will make good.

Until then, stay warm!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Time suck solution?

As one of the world's great procrastinators and the Boston Queen of Being 5 Minutes Late To Everywhere, I was interested in this summation of a recent Wall Street Journal article about time management. 

It's overly simplistic yet compelling if true:
We lead busy lives and use our limited time as an excuse to procrastinate and avoid getting things done, but often claiming we don't have time is a lie. It's a lie we tell others and ourselves. It helps us believe we'll never get anything done, and this is a problem.

Fortunately, the solution might be as simple as changing your language. Wall Street Journal writer Laura Vanderkam explains:

Instead of saying "I don't have time" try saying "it's not a priority," and see how that feels. Often, that's a perfectly adequate explanation. I have time to iron my sheets, I just don't want to. But other things are harder. Try it: "I'm not going to edit your résumé, sweetie, because it's not a priority." "I don't go to the doctor because my health is not a priority." If these phrases don't sit well, that's the point. Changing our language reminds us that time is a choice. If we don't like how we're spending an hour, we can choose differently.
It's a simple idea, and a great one. Our language is often used to provide a polite answer when the truth might be hard to hear. Sometimes we even subject ourselves to more polite language and end up in situations like this one. How you use your time is very important. It's a limited resource and shouldn't be wasted. Don't risk putting it to poor use by failing to be honest with yourself and others about your priorities in life. Alter your language and you may just discover what's most important.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Pi Day!

There was a fire last night that cut power to the entire Back Bay (and my workplace until early this morning),  the sky is covered in residual haze from that plus a sheen of blanket fog, I physically don't feel that chipper this morning and I'm most certainly not a math major. 

Thanks, then, to my San Francisco cousin K for making me smile by reminding me that the 14th of March (otherwise known as the day between brother-in-law Chad and Aunt B's birthdays) is Pi Day .... in honor of the mathematical constant 3.141592653 (+ 2 quadrillion more digits).




(K works at a science museum, The Exploratorium, that is also home to the physicist who coined the Pi Day holiday back in 1988.  She's even featured on the local public radio's story on this year's celebration with some great exposition on what Pi is:  "There's No Such Thing as Too Much Pi."  You should listen.  A band of Exploratorium employees has written a pretty funky song about it.)

Here's some fun facts about Pi Day, lifted verbatim from the Wikipedia page:

*  Pi Day is observed on March 14 because of the date's representation as 3/14 in month/day date format. This representation adheres to the commonly used approximation of 3.14 for π.  What some call "Real Pi Day" will be celebrated on March 14th, 2015 at 9:26:53 AM. These numbers (3/14/15, 9:26:53) correspond with the first 10 digits of pi (3.141592653).

*  On Pi Day 2004, Daniel Tammet recited 2, 964 decimal digits of π.

*  On March 12, 2009, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a non-binding resolution (HRES 224)recognizing March 14, 2009, as National Pi Day.

*  For Pi Day 2010, Google presented a Google Doodle celebrating the holiday, with the word Google laid over images of circles and pi symbols.  (Like so:)

*  There is also a Pi Approximation Day held on July 22 (or 22/7 in day/month date format), since the fraction 227 is a common approximation of π.

Most definitely think that today calls for some pie, too.  Thanks for the reminder, K!

Monday, March 12, 2012

A truly Mondayish Monday

This was my Facebook status at 9:17 this morning:

"Karin ... is thinking this Monday already has way too much Monday in it for its own good. Lord give me strength."
It's 5:45 and I'm still looking for strength. 

It was a day of fatigue and bad hair.  Of feeling unmotivated and somewhat alone. Of feeling the sting of clients departing (through no fault I could name).  Of feeling vaguely disturbed at 72 degrees in winter. Of feeling frustrated that a health matter has grounded me from running (more on that later) for a week when I have a Bikini Challenge and a marathon to prep for.

Still not sure what the remedy here could be.  Sleep, of course.  MSF living closer, perhaps.  Less inertia and skepticism about my career, definitely. 

However, lacking these things occurring, perhaps interim solution:  walk to Davis Square for rehearsal tonight from work.  Clear head.  Breathe air.  Think not.  Google Maps says it is 5 miles, walkable in 1 hour 41 minutes, althoughtI betcha 10 bucks I can do it in 1:20.  Rehearsal is at 7:30.  It is now 5:53.  Time to get cracking.

And here's to a Monday nearly done.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Other girls' (dating) lives

Since my dating life of late has been fairly static, what with MSF around (even if from afar), I fully acknowledge that said details of said dating life are also relatively nil.

So. Well.  This is the time, then, where I direct you to some awesome blogs of women who are writing about their dating lives:

Things Deb Loves .... sharing the nittiest of the nitty-gritty about first and second dates in lengthy, lengthy detail.   Warning:  bathroom humor and much exasperation.   Also, perhaps you have never heard of Freeganism before; read this and you will have.

All the Wrong Cards .... 3 women talk about a bevy of goods, bads, earlies, lates, OKC chats gone right.  The most recent entry contains a reference to a penis made of jello.  I kid you not.

Good Times with Jess ... a local bartender with a boyfriend, a vibrator, 30 pairs of underwear for a weekend ski trip, and a therapist  She's pithy, razor-sharp and overhears a lot of conversations.

Do, please, patronize these ladies' tales.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

(The other) Grandpa

My paternal grandfather, Pete, died on March 6, 1985, at the Towner County Memorial Hospital, in an early-morning Code Blue rush that sealed a lifetime of chronic heart problems.   He was 71. 

Our grandparents lived in the same small North Dakota farming town we did;  they were lifelong Cando icons, known to all and any as the newspaper family and 2 of the town's most robust boosters.  Grandpa was head of the Chamber of Commerce and even the mayor for a time, a golf club fixture, a Lutheran church figure. 

Grandma, Grandpa, Dad, Aunt Diane

I was 12 then ... and still now remember many crystal moments. Being woken before school by our parents, told we needed to stay home and wait for the pastor to come over. Sitting on the edge of the bed, crying, next to my sisters. Spending many hours at Grandma's across town, the first time seeing my dad cry, stream of friends passing in and out through the front hallway. Going to school the next day, finding Mrs. Lybeck and my 6th-grade classmates had constructed a Karin-sized card decorated with colored flowers and ivy, "We share your sympathy"... Grandma&;mistakenly giving a pair of my mother's eyeglasses to the funeral director, later discovering them on Grandpa's face during the wake and matter-of-factly plucking them off right then and there. First experience with small-town "mourning" casseroles that filled our fridge. My first funeral ever, my thinking I must wear black but not owning any (in a kinder, gentler pre-teen era) and being frustrated at having to wear a perky grey dress with cherry-shaped buttons. 

There's very little else I remember about Grandpa today. Only with hindsight can I see how little I knew of him, how surface my knowledge. The shadow of impending health crisis.  His inexplicable loyalty to the Atlanta Braves, his drinking beer straight from the can and fanning card tricks, his intense conversational gesticulating that I inherited while not remembering any substance of what he was conversationalizing about. This likewise inexplicable powder-blue suit and tie.

The family (adding Aunt Kathi) in 1984.
Grandma Blanche would die in 1993 from cancer.  On the other side of the family, Grandpa Roy died in 2000 and Grandma Martha (whom y'all have met) is now 92.  I got to be an adult around all three of them, even if nominally, and got to view them with an adult-nuanced perspective.  It's one of my great regrets to not be able to think of things he said and know if I'd argue or agree.  I knew only later that his even keel tempered Grandma's often-hot emotions, his death leaving a blank and dangerous void between her and my mother in the years that followed, that my dad struggled to navigate.

He was a man of integrity and loyalty and dedication to home, work and family.  I regret, too, that because he's been gone for 27 years I often don't remember to thank his memory except for this sad anniversary.

Thanks, Pete.