A Short List of Reasons I Fucking Love Yoga

  1. Come as you are. Some days, I show up and my legs are silky smooth and I have an adorable pedicure. Other times, my legs are stubbly and I have an old crone’s feet. You know who doesn’t care? Yoga.
  2. Some days it feels so easy, and it’s okay when it doesn’t. Sometimes the flow is flowy, transitions are smooth, and I am present and breathing and all is well. Other times, I struggle to remember my right from my left, and one side of my body is loose and lithe while the other feels like a tangle of wire coathangers. You know who doesn’t judge? Yoga.
  3. You really can keep your eyes on your own paper. I don’t know what anyone else is doing on their mat. Depending on the class, I am too busy either trying not to fall down, or focusing on my breathing and trying to be present in the moment and in my body. (Okay, I *occasionally* glimpse at my neighbor to confirm just what the hell I’m supposed to be doing with one of my limbs…) You know who encourages you not to compare yourself to others? Yoga.
  4. Good teachers. The reason they make it look so easy is that they’ve failed more times than you’ve ever tried, and they will tell you so. You know who teaches humility? Yoga.
  5. The studio space. There’s a reason those rooms feel so soothing. Nothing else goes on in there but yoga. There are no phones, no pets, no furniture or clutter. You know who pushes you to leave your shit behind? Yoga.
  6. The calming the fuck down. I don’t think I need to expand on this, except to ask: Who is the reason I didn’t murder the woman in front of me at the sandwich shop who apparently required nuclear launch codes to build the three most perfect sandwiches in America today? Yoga.

I love you, you gently magnificent bastard.


Shedding My Skin

Several weeks ago, I was puttering around in the garage, loading the recycling into the car. I turned around at one point and there, RIGHT WHERE I HAD JUST BEEN WALKING, was a large, coiled black snake.

Now, I don’t love snakes, but they don’t terrify me as much as, say, bugs. (If that had been a huge, nasty bug, I’d have left a Katy-shaped hole in the garage door and never looked back.) I took a deep breath and got him/her out of there with a broom and a rake, no big deal. I was so proud of myself for keeping my cool and not going nuclear!

Later that day, I found what I presume is the same snake’s skin on the opposite side of the garage. Um, this thing is HUGE.


At the same time I was geeking out over how cool it was, I was also a little nauseated by how real it was. Nothing will wake you up quite so much like discovering that a large reptile was keeping house in your garage, possibly for months. I found its skin inches from where I get out of my husband’s car; this sucker was CLOSE. And all day, all I could think of was, Well, what do you make of that, human? Still feeling in charge?

A surprising impulse told me to keep the skin, and here’s why:

I used to be a professional organizer; by the time I was finished consulting with clients, doing paperwork, driving to their homes, and spending hours helping them declutter and lighten their loads, I really didn’t feel like doing my own stuff. Oh, my house was fine, if not great: I could find what I needed without much trouble; my bills were paid on time; I didn’t have (many) piles of random things that needed my attention. Our clothes and sheets were clean, and the sink was (usually) free of dishes.

But I wasn’t asking myself the questions I was asking of my clients: How do you want to feel here, and how does that compare to what you feel now? Do you feel heavy and burdened when you come home, or sheltered and comforted? Do you feel free?

I was always pretty good at keeping a box for donations going, and popping it in the trunk of my car when it was full and time to move on to its next phase of life. If something new came into the house, at least one old thing had to go. I cleaned out the fridge every week on trash night, donated books to the library, all that good stuff…. Cue the snake; it was time to step up my game.

Do you feel free?

Forget the stuff, forget the house, what dead and dusty layers are you dragging around, human?


So during this heady mental and emotional period, life continued to occur, as it will. Major house repairs came screaming to our attention, with a price tag that continues to take my breath away. As stressful and awful as this stuff is, dealing with that fear (so, so much fear) and uncertainty has realigned my brain cells into a new way of thinking about this property. Maybe we fix the old place and sell it, lighten our load, shed our skin. It would be difficult and time-consuming and uncomfortable, AND we would be okay.

My husband rented a Dumpster while I was out of town, and went on to purge the absolute hell out of our basement, a project that fills me with joy. It is still a work in progress, but the space is clearing and beginning to breathe again. With the old crap gone, the new spaces are exposed and a little vulnerable–but clean and new, ready for their new functions. Healthier.

Do you feel free?

This is all occurring at a weird, difficult, but surprisingly welcome period in my life when I am simply cutting the shit, especially my shit. I want to feel free; I can either be a victim or a volunteer.

Perhaps this is the second wave of a mini-midlife crisis. Maybe my body is nudging me toward menopause. Maybe I’m tired of thinking instead of doing.

I don’t really care why, and that is revolutionary for me.

Cue the snake.

Don’t Tread on Me. Seriously, I Will Fucking Cut You.

I have always been very protective of my personal space, and am keenly aware of when it’s being infringed upon.

Because of this, I’ve been thrilled by the relatively high coverage the obnoxious “manspreading” phenomenon has been getting, among others. I frequently do little experiments such as NOT automatically getting out of the way when someone is approaching on my side of the walk, etc., which often leads to near-collisions. Or, let’s not kid ourselves, actual collisions that end with me getting bewildered, dirty looks.

This happens constantly and to all of us: we experience it at the grocery store, the coffee shop, on our sidewalks and even on our roads. It is epidemic and maddening, and is doing NOTHING to curb my hermitic tendencies.

Several years ago, I had the unique privilege to go to Japan for my brother’s wedding. Not only was it gorgeous and thrilling and the opportunity of a lifetime, I fell in love with the culture of respect I observed in just about every interaction. I could go on for days about this (the trains actually RUN ON TIME! **swoon**), but I will try to keep my focus on the respect for personal space I encountered.

We spent most of our time in Tokyo. There are a LOT of people in Tokyo, and space is obviously at a premium. I was so struck by the way that most people comported themselves and how that translated into an attitude of “Look, there are a lot of us and there’s not a lot of room. Let’s put the welfare of the community first, and work together to make this, you know, work.”

It was heaven.

Americans have earned our cowboy-loving, “don’t fence me in” reputation, and often act as though personal space is a religion unto itself–unfortunately, we can and do behave as though this entitles us to everyone else’s space, too. I have lots of theories as to why this is, but they wouldn’t cover any new ground and frankly, I don’t have the strength. But I digress.

So our Japan trip went absolutely perfectly, and what wasn’t perfect was apologized for and fixed above and beyond the call of duty…. Then we returned to America. I won’t bore you with travel horror stories, just suffice it to say that it kind of went to hell once we landed in Chicago. Whatever, that’s travel and shit happens. The thing that was most shocking to us was the total lack of regard for others’ personal space. People bulled onto the elevator and train before we had the chance to get out (and we are not dawdlers). This began a months-long, whispered refrain of “This would never happen in Japan.” Sometimes with a smile, but more often without. Two totally different worlds.

Look, I love my space as much as anyone, maybe even more. I don’t begrudge anyone wanting or needing as much space as Montana. I get it, I really do. But JESUS, people, can we rein it in?

So, to the willfully clueless and outright rude:

Enough with the square shoulders on the wrong side of the walk. Breathing down my neck at Starbucks isn’t going to get your order taken any faster, and is an excellent way to make me “accidentally” hit you with my giant bag as I swing it over my shoulder. If you crash into me on my side of the sidewalk, it will be awkward and you will know that it was you who caused it. (Conversely, if I am the one being clueless, I will apologize profusely.) If you start piling your purchases (or worse, TOSSING THEM) on the counter before I’m done with my transaction, I am going to acknowledge it. Not aggressively, but clearly.

I am not going to live in fear of being called a bitch because YOU don’t know how to act in public. That’s how this horrible behavior gets so rampant. Fuck that fear. Even now, my conditioning prompts me to just get out of everyone’s way rightthissecond, even when they’re barreling through mine. I have been known to apologize while throwing myself out of my own path for them…. I am also currently fighting tooth and nail to unlearn this behavior. It is a slow, hard slog but absolutely worthwhile.

I am under no illusion that I’m going to change the world by somehow magically altering everyone else’s behavior. That is a fool’s errand, an excellent way to make myself miserable, and like I mentioned above, I’m just too tired.

But I can stand my ground. I think I’ve earned the right to be here.

It’s Spring! … Or I Will Level This Entire Goddamn Block.

There is fall cleaning, and spring cleaning. And then there’s THIS spring cleaning.

In the fall, we prepare for winter. We turn our focus inward, bringing in the outdoor furniture, putting our outside plants to bed for a long winter nap. We prune and mulch and haul wood and generally begin to batten down. We say goodbye to fresh air (as late as possible!), closing our windows against the cold. We prepare to hibernate to the extent that we need to, both personally and geographically. We get ready to get COZY.

And for a while, it is wonderful. We bundle up in sweaters and warm coats, pile under blankets to watch movies or enjoy a fire. Forays out into the world are quick and strategic, the cold sometimes so biting that it physically hurts to breathe. It’s a lot of fun, even feeling like an adventure. Maybe we get caught up in the holidays and the details that go into planning for family reunions or winter vacations.

After a time, the charm begins to fade. Frustration mounts with the bulkiness of all of our STUFF: heavy coats, mittens, hats, scarves, bags, boots. Our bodies might have gotten bulkier, too, feeling slow and sluggish and pale. Being cooped up inside is no longer a cozy adventure;  cabin fever sets in and we get claustrophobic, snappish. We are weary of snow, ice, school cancellations and delays. WE ARE BORED AND WE CAN’T FUCKING BREATHE INSIDE OR OUT.

But then, seemingly all at once, the thermometer is well north of freezing and we can breathe outside without scorching our lungs. Next is the absolute heaven of being able to open the windows and let the house take a nice, deep breath of its own. The dust and clutter that frankly became wallpaper over the winter is suddenly intolerable. EVERYTHING MUST GO: dust and cobwebs in the corners, recycling, old files, ashes from the hearth, clothes that have worn out their welcome, EVERYTHING.

And all the while, the house breathes through its open windows, coughing the winter dust and grit from its lungs: in, out, in, out. It feels the sun on its skin just as we do, and the sounds of stirring life outside fill its ears, too.

There is something especially primal about this round of spring cleaning. I feel this urge every year, but there is a feral quality to it this time that is kind of shocking to me, though not unpleasant. There was something particularly tough about this winter, which started off mildly enough. Perhaps I just have a polar vortex hangover from last year, who knows?

Maybe (and more likely) I’m just getting older and *gasp* actually liking myself better. I have long believed that less is more, and I think there’s a part of me that is ready to put my money where my mouth is in a new way. I’m pretty good at purging things periodically and I’m always equalizing (something new comes into the house, at least one old thing must go). What’s happening, though, is that I’m experiencing a much deeper cut, and not all of the shit I’m jettisoning is shit you can see. Under these old, dusty files are the archives.

Oh, those archives. We’ve all got them. Buried under lock and key, combination vaults booby-trapped with poison darts, encased in concrete and sunk to the bottom of the sea. THOSE archives.

I’m bringing them up.

And what’s most amazing to me is that I’m not scared. I attribute this largely to being in my forties, a time in which I have experienced the most peace and freedom in my life. Additionally, I have a decent amount of very good therapy in my past, as well as lots and lots of other support. Life is not always easy, but it is damn good and I am a lucky woman.

My approach is different this time, too. In the past, when I’ve decided that something needed to be changed, I went at it hammer and tongs. There was nothing peaceful or forgiving of myself about it, no gentle curiosity. It was a tactical, combative, 100% fight-or-flight mentality. This time, I’m confident that I can go through the archives slowly, cleaning up and dusting off one patch at a time. I can carefully oil the locks and retire the darts and explosives, one by one. I can take a long, cool look around and see what needs to go, and what can stay.

This spring is reflecting back to me a very interesting, pivotal crossroads. Don’t know why; doesn’t matter why. It’s not that I think I’ll NEVER get rid of this old baggage if I don’t act now, but there’s something that’s really compelling me to act on it now–respectfully. I want to cultivate and protect this feeling of lightness and freedom and see where it takes me, this “lean horse for a long race,” to borrow a phrase from Kaye Gibbons.

There’s every chance that we’ll get another snowfall yet, but I see you, Spring. I SEE YOU.

Notes from the Krazy Kabin: Invisible Work Sucks

I’ve reached that point of the winter when I am absolutely desperate for some fresh air in the house. We have not been pounded to death by snow like the East coast, but it is cold enough to sear your lungs if you’re outside for more than five or ten minutes. Cabin fever has set in (helped along considerably by my own hermit tendencies) and I think I’m doing all right, but how the actual hell would I know? I’ve been staring at the inside of my skull for how many days?

The good news is, I’ve managed to keep fairly busy between working quite a bit from home and tending to the needs of our animals. I sometimes complain about how needy they are, but I’m really very grateful to be of service to them–they help keep me out of my head, and that is the best therapy there is for someone like me.

Being somewhat housebound has inspired (HUGE eye-roll here) me to do some deep organizational projects around the place. Forget any mental images you might entertain of pretty boxes and baskets and color-coded files. I’m talking shredding here, people. Lots and lots of shredding. These are papers that have been languishing in boxes in my “office” (HAHAHAHAHAHA) for longer than I am able or willing to admit. But every day I’m knocking a little bit more out, doing a little early purging for spring… should it ever get its sweet ass back here. If it ever gets above fifty degrees outside again, my hope is that I will be ready to just throw the windows open and let this place take a nice, deep breath.

Basically, I’m doing a lot of what I like to call “invisible work.” It is like a deep cleaning of cabinets and drawers that no one else will ever see, but I will know is there. Getting through this process is how I feel about getting through these seemingly interminable winters: you do the hard work, feel great for a little bit, then take a look around and all you can see is how much more work there is to get done. You have plenty to show for it, but it doesn’t actually SHOW. The feeling of lightness I achieve by purging all of this crap won’t actually show up on anyone else’s radar, and that can be incredibly discouraging when I need just the teeniest, tiniest “attagirl.” I’m guessing you can relate, yes?

INVISIBLE WORK, YOU GUYS. If you do it and things go smoothly/as they should, no one notices. If you don’t do it and everything goes to hell (you can’t find anything you need, there’s crap everywhere and you can’t clean properly), EVERYBODY notices. It is damn hard sometimes.

And here’s what I’m doing about it: I have this wee corner in my living room that is spare and lovely and calm. Even when the rest of the place feels knee-deep in dog hair and grit from outside, this place is calm and pretty and CLEAR. I look to this corner when I’m doing bottomless paperwork or shredding, or the damn dishes AGAIN (wth? Didn’t I just do these?), or society expects me not just to wash and dry my clothes, but fold them and put them away (again, wth, society?). I can look at that spot and have VISUAL PROOF that all of these tiny, annoying, but necessary chores are actually in service of something greater: the well-being of myself and my funky little family.

I cannot recommend this little trick enough. What does your wee corner look like?



Dog Songs: Grabbing Joy at the Unicorn Discotheque

My iPod is really kind of an embarrassment. I use maybe .0004% of its capacity, my playlists are weird and narrow, and let’s face it–it’s mostly 90s. There is a decent amount of blues, a dash of 70s, some pretty terrific stuff from the 2010s. And while the 80s produced a LOT of really abysmal crap, there was some downright awesome music, too.

So I have all of my songs on shuffle, because I have stuff to do and can’t be arsed to choose a playlist when I’m going somewhere. I’d rather skip through dozens of songs like a maniac until I find the perfect one, doncha know. Nena’s “99 Luftballoons” has gotten lodged in my head after coming up on the playlist recently. But instead of being annoying, it’s made me quite happy because it has fed another ongoing source of joy for me: my dogs.

Seti is, like all of our dogs, a rescue from a local shelter. She is an incredibly sweet and good dog, even handling our recent addition to the family beautifully. But for weeks after she got here, we couldn’t for the life of us name her. We had plenty of names that we loved, but they just weren’t HER. For whatever reason, her first and enduring nickname (our dogs historically have about ten names apiece) was Puppypie. Eric almost immediately worked this into “Yesterday” by the Beatles, and I banged out some new lyrics:

Puppypie, you are so crazy and I don’t know why/

You want to stay up watching “Superfly”/

Oh, I believe in Puppypie…

You get the idea. It was cute at first, then quickly became hideous because Eric wouldn’t. Stop. Singing it. Then some time passed, she finally told us what her name was, and it became cute again.

Now, I have many fine qualities that make me a decent, productive human citizen; being even a tolerable singer is not one of them. It’s not good, you guys. I have friends who also can’t sing, but love to do it in the car or shower anyway. I can’t even do that. Nope, nope, that’s not helping anybody out.

But oh, to sing to my dogs. The privilege! The joy! The absolute lack of judgment! They may think I’m insane, but they’re not talking. And really, they will take all the attention they can get, so I’m chalking this up as a victimless crime.

Back to Nena.

It’s not just that I have “99 Luftballoons” in my head, it’s that I’ve got my new lyrics, too, about my beloved little mutt:

“Puppypie in a little toy shop/

Buys a bag of balloons with the money she’s got…”

And now all I can think about is my sweet pup who had a rough start in life but landed safely and now is buying herself some balloons with her walking-around money. This is totally weird, I know, and couldn’t be further from the anti-war anthem the original is. But it makes me indescribably happy that our girl got another chance and is now thriving away from the chaos and want she came from.

Joy is a weird, slippery little monkey and you have to grab it with both hands when you find it, wherever it is. Shit is getting weirder and weirder these days, you guys, and it would be the worst kind of extravagance to waste joy.

I also find my pockets of joy in the following places, to name but a few:

Laughing and being incredibly inappropriate (to say the least) with my husband and friends; knitting; doing yoga; walking on the beach every chance I get; excellent naps and baths; watching a really smart movie or TV show; making a new friend who is similarly twisted and bent. It’s like falling in love, really.

So lick those beaters clean. Go find your joy, or remember it. Make it where you can; don’t worry about how it looks to someone else.  Most importantly, GET AMONGST IT.


No, I Don’t Want Kids. No, I’m Not Sorry. No, You Don’t Need to Worry About It.

Next Life, NO Kids is doing this cool #Mommitment (dang, I have to get on the Twitter now, don’t I?) thing to end the Mommy Wars. Whether you have kids or not, the idea behind this movement impacts us all. Check it out–it’s smart and there’s likely going to be a lot of swearing, so you know I’m in. To that end, here is my humble contribution:

There’s no doubting the existence of the Mommy Wars. What I sometimes see and hear mothers doing to one another both online and in person turns me WHITE. Happily, there is a growing chorus of voices saying, in one form or another, that it’s time to cut that shit out.

I submit that there is a broader conflict, the Uterine Wars, if you will. Heated battles include, but are not limited to:

  • Who’s using theirs?
  • How?
  • Why or why not?

I think we’ve all seen this, including smaller but no less nasty skirmishes about breast-feeding, co-sleeping, baby-wearing… the list goes on. But if you think you’ll avoid this kind of BS simply by not having any kids, think again.

After a great deal of time and consideration, my husband and I decided years ago not to have children. Making that choice has brought its own brand of shitstorm.

People think they can say the most amazing things to you when you are a woman who does not want children of her own. Here are just a few cherry examples:

“Well, what’s wrong with you?” (This immediately after I said to the woman, “Some people actually come out and ask what is wrong with me.” Brilliant.)

“Some of us never grow out of that ‘selfish’ phase.” (PLEASE don’t make me enumerate the reasons this is obnoxious, condescending, and simply wrong. I don’t have the bandwidth. Some other time.)

“You should have them anyway. You’ll regret it later if you don’t!” (1. No, I shouldn’t. 2. Now, THERE’S  a good reason to reproduce: fear of possible future regret. Way to possibly ruin everybody’s life there, genius. “I call this one ‘Fear and Regret Insurance’.”)

“Oh, that’s probably because of your childhood/broken home.” Not all women who don’t want kids are broken, PERIOD. Parenthood is not for everybody. Yes, I have a uterus; no, I’m not using it to have kids. I also have legs; I’m not using them to run marathons but no one’s giving me any shit about that. YET.

“I’m sure your husband would love to have kids if you wanted them.” Nope. No, he wouldn’t, not even a little. The man gets downright nervous about my motives when I show him cute pictures and videos of my friends’ kids.

I love my nephews and my friends’ children. I love seeing their pictures and hearing about school and their latest tot obsessions. I don’t have a problem with kids; it’s their parents who are sometimes insufferable.

My point is this: whether or not you choose to have children, there is enough insecurity and emotional baggage in the world so that everybody gets a turn in the Uterine War trenches.

But wait… what if we just… didn’t?

Bear with me for justasec. What if we decided to make an effort to just CALM OUR COLLECTIVE BALLS? Your decision to have kids or not, how they sleep, what diapers they wear, etc., actually has no bearing on my life whatsoever. The odds are great that the woman who is doing things differently than I would IS NOT HARMING ME. Or (and most importantly) her kid. So… how exactly is it productive for me to shoot my mouth off about how she’s doing it wrong?

Before we get too het up about another person’s life choices, let’s first pause and ask ourselves: Is this any of my business? If the answer is no, AND IT USUALLY IS, then don’t worry about it. Truly. It can actually end there.

I’ve got about a million other things to do besides worry about what the next person is doing, and how that somehow detracts from what I’m doing. It doesn’t. It’s time for us to cut the shit and keep our eyes on our own papers. Who’s in??

Even My Filth Smelled Like Peppermint Yesterday

Yesterday was one of those days when everything just WENT: I got a lot of good work done; I ticked chores off my list much more easily and quickly than anticipated; I even shaved my legs (in January. WHAT?)–not for the husband, not for the yoga class, not for a massage! Just because it needed to be done and things were already ROLLING. I even remembered to drizzle a little peppermint oil in the bottom of the recycling container after I emptied it. (I’m certainly no Martha Stewart, but I was kind of proud of that last one.)

Then it was today, and “things” decided rather abruptly not to go. It is gray and drizzly and cold out there (duh, JANUARY), and it has seeped into my very cells. We’ve been fed, the animals have been fed; I even did the breakfast dishes!

But I don’t. Wanna. I had big (?) plans to make cookies today, and now, meh. I need to shower and wash my hair so that I can pass for a functioning human being tomorrow, and I’m mentally fighting it like a little kid. The sheets need changing, too… maybe tomorrow.

As a person who has a long history with depression, this isn’t it. I can tell. I know that grim-faced bitch like the back of my hand and she ain’t here. Maybe it’s hibernation behavior, maybe it’s laziness, maybe it’s just a raw Sunday that needs to be spent under a blanket with at least one snoozing dog leaning up against you. Maybe it’s just a mature (ha!) attitude of “Eh, I’ll get ’em tomorrow.” Whatever it is, I’m grateful that I know that today doesn’t have to look just like yesterday.

This is one terrific lesson I learned from yoga. Some days, I show up strong and energized and balanced; others I fall constantly, sometimes literally on my face. Often, what I can manage with my right side is a far-off dream for my left side. I know I’m in good shape, mentally, when I can just accept this and say, “Well, sir. That’s not going to happen today because my left hamstring feels like a Slim Jim. No big whoop.” I’m not paying attention to what’s happening on the mats around me because what matters is happening on my mat, right now–not what happened yesterday or last week.

Slowly, very slowly, I’m becoming quite good at not comparing myself to others, or, even more powerfully, to other “versions” of myself.

Theodore Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” I freaking love that guy. And in that spirit, I’m not comparing today’s lazy, spacey, kinda funked out sloth-me to yesterday’s energized, obsessive-compulsive, achievement-junkie-me. Today, I’m just going to lovingly let them both be.

C’mon, give it a try. Don’t you want Teddy to be happy?

All of the Exactlies.

You know what it’s like: You meet someone new, or find an organization that just nails it, or you read something by a person who not only gets it but also expresses it perfectly, and you go, “EXACTLY.” (If you’re like me, you’re reading and nodding and possibly saying this word aloud repeatedly.)

I have plenty of acquaintances and friends I like very much. I also have a small but powerful gang–all very different, all flung over many states–who I could go to war with. They have loved me through my worst, and celebrated with me at my best. The rest of the time, they just are: there’s no drama in this posse. We’re all too old, and life is challenging enough, for pot-stirring. Many of them have never met. Come to think of it, there are a couple whom I’ve never met in person, either. I got to know them either on Facebook through mutual friends, or I read their work (“EXACTLY!”) and over time we struck up a correspondence.

The point is, these people get allll of my exactlies. Their brains and senses of humor (paramount), their values and work ethics and abilities to question themselves and their own motives. Their HUMILITY. The older I get, the less time I have for people who don’t practice turning a cool, appraising eye to their own behavior. I need to surround myself with people who can look at a rough situation or an unpleasant exchange of words and ask themselves, “Was that me? Did I cause that? What was I trying to accomplish there?”

This is hard work. I try my best to practice this, and by no means get it perfectly, or even every time. The most important thing is that we TRY. I can no longer be a person who crashes her way through life, certain that I’m right all the time. It is exhausting and destructive and Sisyphean. It makes me tired. It makes my buddies tired, too. Many of them figured this out way before I did; in fact, one or two seem to have been born knowing this.

Having humility does not equal being a wuss. Not even close. It just means that we hold ourselves to the same reasonable standards we hold those around us.

Here are just a few things and people that get allll of my exactlies, in no particular order:

Ricky Gervais and his animal welfare activism–all of my exactlies.

When I read something written by a person who clearly just gets it–all of my exactlies.

When I meet a new person who shares my interests, but also has respect for the opinions and interests I don’t share with them–all of my exactlies.

Fellow clumsy people–all of my exactlies.


People who can laugh at themselves and others without being cruel… you get the idea.

Everybody knows by now that it’s a good, healthy thing to count our blessings, not just around the holidays. During these short days of winter when the sun can seem like a blurry memory, I’m counting my exactlies.

Getting Bounced from the Unicorn Discotheque

I’m writing to you from the sidewalk outside the Unicorn Discotheque.

Try as I might, sometimes I just can’t get into that place. It is damned hard. I can see the lights, hear the throb of the music, sense the “zero fucks given” vibe from inside… and this mofo bouncer won’t let me in.

For those who have never heard of it, the Unicorn Discotheque is where I go in my head when it’s all. Too. Much. It is a fine place.

The UD is home to feel-good, funny TV. It can be smart, but not heavy. Parks and Recreation gets played a LOT in there. Ditto The IT Crowd, Peep Show, 30 Rock, The Good Wife, Seinfeld, etc. The show may deal with less-than-funny issues, but not so serious they can’t be tidily wrapped up by the end of the show.

There is no world news in the UD. Not even local news, come to think of it. We walk a fine line between keeping ourselves sane and burying our heads in the sand. It is a tricky line to navigate.

Facebook usage is severely limited, DUH.

Texting is permissible. Between very funny and smart people, it is actually encouraged. No gossip, though. Not a single one of us is an angel, but the UD is not the place to feed our baser impulses. If it makes you feel icky, or icky about yourself, pass when you are in the UD’s hallowed halls.

Por ejemplo: So I got my nails done yesterday, a rare treat. The color looked okay in the bottle, kind of a neutral violet hue. The tech was a few nails in when I noticed that, uh, this shade looks kind of terrible on me. Out of the bottle, the violet is more of a beige…. But who cares? I was in with a dear friend who was visiting from out of town, and we decided to get manicures on the spur of the moment because we weren’t quite ready to say goodbye yet. I think the shade is godawful on me but now I’m kind of perversely into it. So into it that I spent much of last evening texting with a different buddy about what horrible names this color should have been named. They were exceptionally rude, I mean, so bad that I’m not totally sure I want to publish them here. The nicest and most PG name I came up with was Corpse Mauve. You get the idea. We had a LOT of fun with this.

I still haven’t fully realized that my buddy is gone again. (She’s not dead, Brown. Get a grip. Jesus.) It won’t be pretty when I figure it out, and maybe this is why I just can’t get past the UD’s velvet ropes today, no matter how I try.

Here’s why getting into the Unicorn Discotheque is sometimes a real bitch:

How dare I get  a manicure when my good friend is in town? What about Paris, and puppy mills? What about the dogs at the animal shelter that I didn’t save? What about the people who don’t have a warm and safe place to sleep while it is so Christing cold? How dare we indulge ourselves?

Don’t I owe everybody an explanation?!

No. No, I don’t. I know that today, and believe me, I’m working on it. But that noise, right there, is what makes it so hard to get into the UD sometimes: Guilt. Worry. Sadness. Powerlessness. I can’t always make it through the doors, and that’s okay. I don’t think the feelings are quite done with me yet.

The difference is, today I know the Discotheque is there. Tomorrow, I might even get in. And while it might be juuuust out of reach, I have you guys here with me. I never have to be alone again.

So… who’s got a cigarette?