The pleasures you find may be mild, but the intention to find them makes a drastic difference to how it feels to do almost anything. You’ll probably discover that we have a natural appreciation for very subtle things—the click of a latch closing, the feel of laundered cotton, the evening din of a grocery store, the tiny punch of a thumbtack through notepaper—and that life offers hundreds of these pleasures daily. There’s even pleasure to be found in the simple motions of standing up, sitting down, and putting an object in its place.
"How to Enjoy Life" at Raptitude

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So far the highlight of my day has been changing the battery in the thermostat. The second highlight is counting the minutes until temps reach 0 (scheduled for 4pm) because I have an unusual craving for Pizza Hut pizza (very specific). Although who can say anybody will be around there either? Maybe pizza doesn’t exist anymore. Maybe my car has evaporated. Man, I really thought I’d be a better shut-in than this. If only I were Diane Keaton in Baby Boom, making artisanal applesauce and sleeping with the lanky local vet. And taking care of a baby, I guess.


On cabin fever: fight or flight


This Frozen Alive piece at Outside magazine is one of the most harrowing things I’ve ever read


YouTube’s recommended-for-me-videos are pretty spot on:

The American way of life

Well, it’s cold. No two ways about it. It was -22 when I woke up this morning and it crawled up to -13 by 4pm. Right now it’s -16 and according to Dark Sky it feels like -34. I don’t know what this means since I haven’t set foot outside since Monday morning. Is the world still out there? How would I know? The TV still works. I still get the news, and oxygen.

The whole week has had a holding quality to it: that feeling when you’re a kid waiting for a snow day to be called. That breath you don’t quite let out. I work at home anyway and most of the people I work with work at home a couple of times a week so this has been a regular week, but still. It’s weirdly quiet. I feel packed in. There isn’t much traffic and nobody’s out walking and even the geese are in hiding. I haven’t heard a single dog bark. I’ve kept the heat at 68 to give the furnace a break, which is plenty warm, but it’s a big apartment with drafty windows and my feet are cold with two pairs of socks on. Not a complaint (I’m done complaining!), only an observation. I have it good, I know this. And we’ll all run wild this weekend, no doubt, when it bounces back up to…44 degrees?


A typical family exchange:

Behind the scenes

I made these NYT chicken enchiladas last night and they were literally (“literally”) one of the worst things I’ve ever eaten. They tasted like paper. Maybe if I ate paper all the time I would have been cool with this, but as it is I do not. Nor am I cool with the three years or whatever I spent cooking and then shredding chicken, likewise not a top hobby. I will admit that I used store-bought tomatillo salsa, so I suppose I could blame it on that, or on the sour cream & onion potato chips I ate while these were baking, which may have artificially inflated my tongue expectations and in retrospect were probably a mistake. But I’ve gotta find some scapegoat, and it’s not going to be my desire for food that tastes like something. I don’t feel like that’s a very high bar to meet, frankly. “Tastes like something” is pretty much my floor.

In summation, I can see why this recipe got over 300 comments although I haven’t read any of them because I’m not that interested in the thoughts of others (news to my millions of readers, I’ll bet), and all I want to do at this point is complain. I don’t want anyone to come around and tell me what I could have done differently or better or how this recipe could have been salvaged. I just want to be petty and small.

Anyway, flavor: try it sometime. But not these enchiladas.

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

3 things for today

I just deleted a whole snotty post so it’s only one thing: my brother Kyle sent me a mix tape for my birthday and he printed out his own CD cover and everything and then labeled it “Driftless Winter,” which is just about perfect, the effort and the caring that went into a detail like that. Good ol’ Kyle. It’s the second really nice, thoughtful, personal gift I’ve gotten in the mail in the last week and together they made me remember that even the smallest things are vital.

Oh! There is one more thing: go to Twin Anchors & get them ribs, stat.