Archive for January, 2008


ode to an old field-plowing ox

My dishwasher and I share a special bond.

 That may sound silly to most people, but if you have ever been lulled to sleep by the swish-swish of a dishwasher, you may know what I’m talking about.

It’s an old dishwasher, and generally it’s too loud to run during the day while I’m in my apartment.  But at night it’s perfect, like running a fan, and the gentle swishing carries down the hallway from the kitchen to my bedroom.  It’s most likely a model from the early 90s.  This photo is of a similar-looking model.  I assume it’s terribly inefficient by today’s energy standards. 

I suppose that’s something we have in common; I’m not always energy efficient either…by any standards.

Like an old field-plowing ox, my dishwasher gave out this week.  The dishes were being washed, no water was leaking, but  it was LOUD!  Swish swish grrrrraaaa swish grrrrrrrraaaaa!

It kept me awake.

I turned on the lights and shuffled out in my pj’s to visit the dishwasher.  I pushed it.  I pulled it.  I tapped it lightly.  I tapped it hard.  No change.  Swish grrrraaaaaaaaa swish!  I laid on the floor, closer to where the nose originated.  I listened closely to the engine, as if I could diagnose the problem.  (I give myself too much credit because I fixed an old fashioned typewriter once.  See photo below of actual aforementioned feather in cap.) 


 I went back to bed.  It was like listening to a wimpering dog and not being able to help.

I called my landlord the next day.  She seemed sincerely concerned.  Over-the-top concerned.  “Oh my goodness, that’s horrible!  It shouldn’t be making that kind of noise!”  My attempts to diffuse her intensity were met with more we’re-gonna-get-this-looked-at determination.

When I came home from work, there was a note from the maintenance man.  He had grabbed a napkin off my table and scribbled in crazy handwriting:


Until I read that note, I had always considered the dishwasher mine.  Even though I rent my apartment, it was still my dishwasher.  But to have someone from the property management company come in and deem it ‘out of order’ made it such a corporate entity, like a vending machine.  The wimpering dog was now a silent vending machine.

It’s the ball bearings.  There is something wrong with them and apparently too expensive to fix.  They’re going to replace my dishwasher, and they’ll probably do it while I’m at work some day.  That’ll save me an emotional moment.  Take it away whilst I am unaware! 

I am eating dinner at Panera tonight because I don’t want to hand-wash dishes.  How energy ineffecient is that? 


charlie bit my finger

If you were checking my blog for something meaningful, turn away — at least for now!

My sister Jill referred me to a great youtube video that I must post here!  It’s called “Charlie bit my finger — again.” 

I take pride in being the youngest in my family, thus making me the Charlie of my household.  Watch Charlie’s face and how he also tries to gobble the blanket at the end.


no high-risk stocks. pha – woo!

This morning, Matt Lauer told me that the U.S. economy is most likely headed toward recession.  Well, that’s what his teleprompter told him to tell me.  It’s also what Brian Williams told me last night, so I assume they have their reasons.  They have down-turning, jagged line graphs to prove it! 


 When I was a kid, I kept a ‘money sock.’  It was a white tube sock, filled with loose change.  It was tucked into my sock drawer.  That was my lame attempt to hide the money sock amongst the other socks, lest a thief break into a ten year old’s room looking for money.  It could have been used as a weapon, it was so heavy.  Yeah, I was loaded…with pennies.

Now that I have a few dollars in my pocket, I figure the jagged line graphs on NBC News must effect me somehow.  Right? 


If anything, the tone of voice the newscasters use and the urgency in their speech effects me.  It makes me nervous.  Nervous and excited that I’m on the fringe of ‘what’s new’ if I know what to panic about.  But as far as the down-turning economy directly effects me, I’ll have to check my high-risk stocks.  (checking funds now…shuffling of papers)  Oh yes, I have no high-risk stocks.  Phew!

Only a ballet stage would be more awkward for me than the floor of the NY Stock Exchange.  Not much could be worse than ballet for me.  See image below.  Change that — wearing a tutu at the NY Stock Exchange could be worse. 


Anyhow, all I know of the NYSE is what they show on television — the paper scraps on the floor, the tv screens hovering above, scrolling dot matrix numbers and letters.  Red is bad!  Green looks good!  Many yelling men in suits.  Some are wiping their foreheads, some are giving thumb’s up signs.  They seem to speak in abbreviations. 

I’m no dummy.  I could understand the stock exchange if I really applied myself.  Maybe I’d even do well?  There must be an adult version of keeping camouflaged money socks.  

What do you all say?  Should I apply for a job as a trader (stock broker?  What are they called?)  on Wall Street?  Would that be any less stressful than placing people in temporary jobs?


phony FBI agents = great writing?

I wrote a novel when I was 15.

The story line went like this:

                The main character was a scientist who had been working on a drug that would make people live forever.  But then one day the lab was broken into and the drug and all of the research was stolen.  Naturally, the FBI was called in to investigate.  The main character was asked to join the FBI investigation.  The big twist was that the FBI agents were actually the people who stole the drug in the first place!  They weren’t really FBI agents, just crooks in business suits, trying to lead law enforcement down a wild goose chase so the case remained permanently unsolved.

As I was writing the book, I ignored obvious questions like #1.  Why wouldn’t the real FBI have investigated a crime of this magnitude?  #2.  Why would the crooks put themselves in such close proximity to legitimate law enforcement?  #3.  Why would the FBI, real or fake, include a scientist into their investigation of stolen property?  The plot was as porous as lava rock. 

The book was over 300 pages and took shape over the summer of 1995.  Our house was not air conditioned and I was upstairs at my father’s word processor.  Physically miserable conditions.  Many sweat beads.

Most of the novel is destroyed.  The word processor we had was replaced by new computers and I never printed all 300 pages.  Oh well.  Fame, you shall discover me another day…

I was a writing major in college.  We writing majors were a motley bunch, but I never quite felt like I was as ‘artsy’ as the others.  Mostly I was sillier, more resistant to deeply theorizing writing, and talked louder than they did.  But I kept writing and read my work before my peers, confident that they perceived I was a tad uncomplicated at times.  Heavy handed writing doesn’t suit me well.

Like a lot of teenage girls, I wrote some poetry in high school and college.  Poetry comes in handy when you’re 16 years old:

When life was so

Complicated it was best


In broken

                  Lines and fragments,

When life seemed


                    So followed

                                My formatting.

What a slap it was to recognize that I wasn’t very good at poetry!  My heavy handed peers were better than I was, and as I grew older the romance of writing poetry grayed.  I do enjoy poetry though not mine.   After all, what’s worse than a bad poet unaware?

There were years between college and the beginning of this blog where I didn’t write a single creative word.  I was working.  I was playing guitar, I was taking photographs.  Once in a blue moon someone would ask me about writing and I would squirm a bit.  No, I hadn’t been writing.  Like a kid leaves a once-favorite toy in the corner, I had turned my back on writing. 

I don’t need the fake FBI to solve why I stopped writing!  It just wasn’t practical.  No one was going to pay me to write and I was supporting myself.

No one pays me to write this blog.  Thanks for reading this and thanks for all the encouragment that I’ve received since starting the site.  I’ve been rediscovering the toy in the corner and remembering why I liked it so much to begin with.


missing out on rampant poor decision making

I turned 28 on Wednesday.

 My coworkers and I went to lunch at Red Robin.  The waitstaff brought me a melted ice cream sundae, gathered around our booth and lethargically sang a birthday song.  They gave me two helium balloons to tie to my wrist.  I clapped along to their song, mostly because it would have been more awkward to sit silently as one would during a serious performance. 

I’ve seen others blush and look away when the waitstaff at chain restaurants sing birthday songs to them.  It didn’t bother me, really, because in my everyday life no one sings to me.  If you would like to gather around my table and sing to me, be my guest because it’s only going to happen to me once a year at best.  I will clap along!  Though I am not a little blonde boy, as this picture may suggest, I was smiling like he is (green smudge on cheek included).


Thoughts on being 28:

#1.  I can remember what I was thinking 10 years ago

               Until now, I could always use the excuse that 10 years ago I was a kid and therefore didn’t have to take accountability for what I was doing/saying/thinking.  But I clearly remember turning 18 years old and embracing the full responsibility of Kari.  I liked it.  I liked realizing that I was legally an “adult” and that I could pretty much do whatever I wanted.  You know those conversations:

Betty:   Did you hear that (insert name of person who just turned 18) got a tatoo and moved into the slums?

Marilyn:  Well, she is 18 now.

            I can’t say that I tested many boundaries when I turned 18, but I knew that I had the freedom to and that’s what was so appealing.  My decisions were mine, my money was mine, and the consequences of everything that I did belonged to me.  My car insurance, on the other hand, was still under my parents name.  Let’s not rush into anything too adult.

#2.  I am officially in my late 20s

             Should I be having the best years of my life?

             I suspect this is the time period that some middle aged people look back on as their wild times.  Rampant socializing, rampant late nights, rampant poor decision making, rampant not-knowing-where-I-woke-up mornings.  The paychecks are coming in for the upwardly mobile but no children to sap the money, rent not mortgage payments, you can still watch MTV and not be creepy.   It’s ‘young adult’ world.

            Where IS this world?  I believe it exists like I believe heart disease exists.  I’ve heard of people who have experienced it, I’ve seen evidence and heard stories, yet it only touches my life tangentially. It’s not that I choose to stay away from ‘young adult’ world, it feels more as if it were never an option for me.  When my father died in 1998 (I was 18), I let go of my care-free thought life like a child lets go of a helium balloon.  Gone. 

Dancing Baloons in the sky above London

#3.  I have two years to get used to being 30

        I’m primed.  Reference thought #2.