How it's going so far

We are both alive! This dog is a true delight but sometimes I’m ready to hand him off to strangers on the street. Let me break it down for you:

  • Potty training: A+ (no doubt because I work at home and take him out once an hour when he’s not sleeping)

  • Sleeping: A- (he wakes up between 4:30 - 5:30 a.m. daily but seldom during the night)

  • Eating: A+ (aka HIGHLY MOTIVATED)

  • Chewing: Glass. Metal. Wood. Stone. Earth. Wind. Fire.

  • Jumping: D

  • Biting: F@#&

  • Crate tolerance: D

  • Spatial awareness/private time tolerance: F

  • General outlook & puppiness: ☀️

He’s only 11 weeks old, to be fair, so overall I award him an A. Sometimes that stands for “asshole,” but surely he would say the same about me. I harsh his mellow on an hourly basis.

Life these past three weeks has compressed and expanded. It’s just me and the first thing that has ever needed just me. I’m learning as I watch him, as I suppose he is learning about me: my inconsistencies, my flaws, the limits of my patience. Puppy blues are a real and honest thing, and the only way out is through. People were not lying about this! There have been some low, low moments. But I think about this, from Cup of Jo, all the time:

Says Caitlin on should we get a dog: “I’m a huge Gretchen Rubin fan, and she had similar reservations when her two daughters asked for a dog. Ultimately, she chose to go for it, and I think often about her decision in my own life. She said, ‘Have trouble deciding whether or not to choose a course of action? Like — whether or not to get a dog? Try this: Choose the bigger life.’ I already have a dog, but ‘choose the bigger life’ is still so powerful for me. It applies to everything — going on that run you’re dreading, moving to a new city. Choose the bigger life, Joanna!”

I did that, finally. And I do. And then I look at this face:



It's all I have to bring today

Holy shit, it’s been 15 goddamn years. And it all started so auspiciously, too.

Is this blog important? Lord no. Is it necessary? Not at all. Does it matter? Oh, it does to me. It’s a record of who I am, or was, of what I think, or thought, of what I remember.

It’s the story of my whole time in New York, of friends and family, of trips and joys and tremendous losses, of great adventures and small defeats, of enduring obsessions and the most insignificant of thoughts. Of what my life has been.

Vive le dumb blog, et cetera, et cetera, ad infinitum.


15 years is a long time to talk about yourself. I’d like to know that I still have something to say and a reason to keep saying it, because I’ve been phoning it in for a while now. I’m going to take some time to think about where I want this blog to go next and what I want it to be when it learns how to drive. Heh topical humor, nobody drives anymore. Anyway, be cool & let’s hope I’ll see you soon but till then good night & good luck.


3 things for today

1. I’m doing a lot of thinking lately about what work means to me, or more accurately what “success” means to me. If I have to care quite so much about reaching some nebulous goal or set point—if there is a set point—or if it’s okay just to make “learn something” a goal, and then how to get there. How to make sure my goals are mine and not something I’m borrowing from other people, which is a habit I have. Thinking what other people want is what I should want. Or maybe I’m trying to justify laziness. From the New York Times:

But how about just giving up? What about wasting time? Giving up or perhaps giving over. To what? Perhaps what an earlier age called “the life of the mind,” the phrase that describes the sovereign self at ease, at home in the world. This isn’t the mind of rational thought, but the lost music of wondering, the sheer value of looking out the window, letting the world float along. It’s nothing, really, this wasted time, which is how it becomes, paradoxically, charged with “everything,” liberated into the blessed loss of ambition.

2. From Jeff Tweedy’s book Let’s Go (So We Can Get Back):

Sometimes I think it's my job to be inspired. That's what I do that most resembles work. It seems to me that the only wrong thing I could do with whatever gifts I've been given as a musician or an artist would be to let curiosity die. So I try to keep up with other people's craetive output. I read and I listen. I'm lucky that's what I get to do with my time—keeping myself excited about the world and not being discouraged when it loses its spark. By now I've been doing it long enough to say with some confidence that if you can remain open to it and you're not afraid to call it work sometimes, inspiration is limitless.

3. Let’s Go Rain:

+ I’ve been waking up in the middle of the night for the past couple of weeks, which is really fucking with my head. Usually I just lie there and baste in anxiety over the fact that I’ll never fall asleep again which as you can imagine is very effective. But last night I got out of bed and came into the living room and laid on the sofa and read Mary Oliver for a while. It didn’t immediately put me to sleep but it was calming. It was nice to have a companion.

We do one thing or another; we stay the same, or we
Congratulations, if
you have changed.

Things to report

1. I’ve waited my entire life for this “Throwing Out My CDs” post on EVITA at Broadway World; it’s smart and delightful and the series is a prime example of loving what you love with your whole good heart. When I was first introduced to EVITA, via cassette tape on a spring break road trip to Florida at the fine age of 17 (shows you the kind of crowd I ran with), I had neither the resources nor the inclination to follow it down as many rabbit holes as Ben Rimalower does, but I appreciate the effort and the passion. For me EVITA is Patti and Patti alone (“So share my glo-ry/So share my coff-ffin”). And Mandy, obviously.

2. Tonight’s agenda: MAMMA MIA! live on stage

3. Tomorrow night’s agenda: SCHITT’S CREEK! up close and personal and live on stage!

4. Bob’s Burgers: I’m sorry/grateful that it took me so long to discover this show (“You son of a snitch! What’s your favorite movie, Squeal Magnolias?”). What a tragic waste of many years of my life, not knowing Bob and Linda and Gene and Tina and Louise. Last night it led me to this Vulture interview with Eugene Mirman, where he answers the silly question “are there too many podcasts?” in the best possible way: “Probably not. In the same way that there aren’t too many TV shows or too many places making french fries. It would be funny if a new band came out and people were like, ‘This is really good, but there’s enough music in the world.’ I don’t know, it’s a medium. No one has to listen to it.” Too many places making french fries! Can you imagine? (cf. so many books)

5. Indie bookstores in DC. Indie bookstores in general! I released my Amazon death grip and am rolling back to days of yore: ordering, anticipating, and collecting goods from my local indie bookstore and my local library. Better ways. The deeper breath. The longer view.

Long tales of a short cut

I do have something smart to say after all, which is that I got my hair colored today. “Lightened,” is the common parlance. Or “dyed,” if you’re my mother. I’m trying to fight the gray while waiting for it to grow and let me tell you it has been a long, sad, demoralizing process that brought me right up to the brink of… I don’t know. Self pity? Madness? No surprise there, as I forded both those streams a long, long time ago. Let’s just drop it in a bucket called “ambivalent aging” and everything that comes along with being female. (Dudes, you are on your own.)

If I could work my way through every decision that brought me to this place, I would end up in 2014 or so, reaching back through a tangle of clips, barrettes, elastics and misguided keratin treatments and—I’m not gonna lie—a lot of ridiculous tears. I stretched and fried it to within an inch of its life with a flatiron and finally I cut it all off and moved through a long series of increasingly hellacious styles and both my head and I were miserable for years. Years. Add to that a gradual switch to wearing glasses full time, gaining X lbs., and then changing my lifestyle wholesale overnight, and it was a recipe for some kind of disaster. I had no idea who I was anymore.

And—no surprise either—disaster came! I can see now how all that misery fed off itself after a while, how I tried to go from A to Z while skipping B through whatever (um…Y, I guess), and thinking I’d never miss the journey or the lessons I would have learned along the way if I had only asked myself what in the hell I was doing. And why I thought it shouldn’t or wouldn’t matter, or that I could outsmart it. How I confused moving back here with letting go of everything and thinking I could somehow stop caring about how I look. How I convinced myself that pride and a little vanity were bad things, when they’re not really, not always, not if they mean taking care of yourself and being good to yourself and understanding, most importantly, how it makes you feel when you don’t.

This won’t make sense to anybody but me, btw, but why should it have to? Sense is overrated, ask anybody who’s alive and capable of watching the news. It’s as useless as wishing for yesterday.

However! I am starting to feel like myself again, and to recognize who I see in the mirror. And even if nobody else notices (does anybody else ever notice? doubtful), it matters to me, just a little but more than I thought. And I’m going to be honest about that, even though this is an embarrassing, bordering-on-narcissistic-asshole thing to type, and I promise this is the last time we will ever talk about the important subject of my hair.

A ha hah hah haha hah ha hah ha! Of course we will always talk about my hair.

++ A random update! The ants finally came back. I battled them on my own for two weeks and when that failed I called in reinforcements (i.e., the management, who called in pest control). Now they are gone again and all is quiet. I mean it’s me vs. millions so I’m not holding out hope, but when you think about it everybody needs a nemesis. It seems the Formicidae family will be mine.

Welcome to the community

I took my first Pilates class today. It seemed like the right thing to do, although the fashion of it irritates me and I have failed at most class-based fitnesses in the past. Aside from my running group, which was more like play than anything, even for me, the lazy-ass slowpoke who always brought up the rear while getting yelled at to pick it up. I did yoga for a while at a studio on my block in New York, until I caught a cold that I continue (probably unfairly) to hold against yoga. We were really packed like hot sardines in there, and one guy kept moaning out loud every time we held a pose, plus in general I don’t like sweating that close to strangers. Also it seemed like a total head game to me: there was just too much down time while you listened to yourself breathe and stared at your own armpits. No thanks.

As for Pilates: I loved it! There’s complicated machinery involved, which lends the whole affair the imaginary risk of medieval limb loss, and it moved at a snappy pace so I did not fall asleep. In other words, say hello to the new Kari! Exactly the same as the old Kari, only very very wise.

+ please read, you won’t regret it

Your explanation of benefits

I hate to be that person who blogs when she’s crabby but I’m crabby most (94-9%) of the time so if not now when? My fingers still work so what’s the holdup? Sometimes I try to convince myself that I should only blog when I’m in X mood or have Y important things to report or Z thoughts on important world topics but let’s get real. I have zero thoughts on important world topics. I blog because I have a keyboard and some free time and otherwise I’d just be talking to myself. Which I also do, all day long.

Anyway, Tim Carmody has a long post at Kottke about social media and the state of blogs today and it’s smart and recommended by me, although he’s mostly writing about Important Blogs with many readers that helped to shape lives and careers and media ventures and this has never been and will never be that. Ho ho hooooooh no this will never be that. I started this blog to talk to (well, at) my friends and because I can say any stupid thing I want knowing most of them will get it or at the very least roll their eyes and shake their heads and forgive it and frankly that’s what kept it going the whole time I was in New York, although if I’m really being honest, I mostly kept it just for me. Just to say here, this is what’s happening, this is what I’m thinking about, this is my voice. This is what I’ve got.

At the end of that post, Tim Carmody asks: “Was it just a place to write and be read by somebody, anybody?” Yes. Yes it is.