Note to Self …

Holy Cowabunga!

All kinds of amazing personal self-discovery going on over at Havi’s today! Check out some of the links in her post, especially this one:

S is for Stimming, which for me is Supportive of Sanity and Serenity.

I personally self-identity (S-word!) as HSP and not so much with autism but hello, stimming (my dear friend!), and also hello, spectrum, another important S-word. May we all find a comfortable spot, a sense of security and “oh, this is me!”

And this one: rediscovering-stimming-as-an-adult by ExtendedExile.

Please read them, and the awesome comments, and then come back here. (Oh, please do come back – I’d miss you something fierce if you didn’t!)

Those posts are being as transformative (in the last 2 hours!) as reading “You Mean I’m NOT Crazy, Stupid or Lazy?” was.

I really AM OKAY, just the way I am. I’m NOT broken or wrong or crazy – I just don’t didn’t know how to use my brain-hardware happily.


Bright [if chilly (understatement of the year – it’s 5 above right now)] Blessings to you all ~

Karen / Kharmin / Kay 🙂


Hah! Another Friday morning dash-it-off post ~ And SEND!

I’ve just recognized a costume that one of my Monsters often wears: “But I don’t know HOW…” is really about “I. Mustn’t. Risk. Failing.” while I try something unfamiliar…

He conspires with his Monster friends to throw up all kinds of distractions: dishes that want to be done or hunger growls or running out of time before something else needs doing – and the ever-popular Not Enough Money bug-a-boo!

Also: “must have mindless brain occupying (pattern recognition practice)” NOW! AKA Solitaire or games. (Those can be good for hours of “Not Risking Failure, while I also ‘don’t do’ the thing I don’t know how to do”!)

He was probably born in early grade-school, when I started to hear “You’re so smart about A, B and C, and X, Y and Z – how can Q or R be so hard??” from Very Important Adults.

Now that I know another place where he hides, maybe we can come up with a new job description for him, that helps instead of hinders me?


This popped into clear view as I wrote a comment over at Carol Tice’s writing blog:

Thank you for the safe space to grow in, Carol ~

And Bright Blessings, always!

Karen J




This article just came across my transom, courtesy of Lissa Boles.

It’s Mike Rowe from “Dirty Jobs”, talking about what I call Micro-Rules and finding your *perfect* (whatever):

A Fan Asks Mike Rowe For Career Advice…He Didn’t Expect This Response, But It’s Brilliant. 

Mike Rowe from Dirty Jobs is an awesome guy. He can build or fix anything, he’s very entertaining, and has a great sense of humor. Mike also tells it like it is and gives great advice to others. A fan wrote him and asked him for some career advice:

Hey Mike!

I’ve spent this last year trying to figure out the right career for myself and I still can’t figure out what to do. I have always been a hands on kind of guy and a go-getter. I could never be an office worker. I need change, excitement, and adventure in my life, but where the pay is steady. I grew up in construction and my first job was a restoration project. I love everything outdoors. I play music for extra money. I like trying pretty much everything, but get bored very easily. I want a career that will always keep me happy, but can allow me to have a family and get some time to travel. I figure if anyone knows jobs its you so I was wondering your thoughts on this if you ever get the time! Thank you!

– Parker Hall

And here’s the reply…

Hi Parker

My first thought is that you should learn to weld and move to North Dakota. The opportunities are enormous, and as a “hands-on go-getter,” you’re qualified for the work. But after reading your post a second time, it occurs to me that your qualifications are not the reason you can’t find the career you want.

I had drinks last night with a woman I know. Let’s call her Claire. Claire just turned 42. She’s cute, smart, and successful. She’s frustrated though, because she can’t find a man. I listened all evening about how difficult her search has been. About how all the “good ones” were taken. About how her other friends had found their soul-mates, and how it wasn’t fair that she had not.

“Look at me,” she said. “I take care of myself. I’ve put myself out there. Why is this so hard?”

“How about that guy at the end of the bar,” I said. “He keeps looking at you.”

“Not my type.”

“Really? How do you know?”

“I just know.”

“Have you tried a dating site?” I asked.”

“Are you kidding? I would never date someone I met online!”

“Alright. How about a change of scene? Your company has offices all over – maybe try living in another city?”

“What? Leave San Francisco? Never!”

“How about the other side of town? You know, mix it up a little. Visit different places. New museums, new bars, new theaters…?”

She looked at me like I had two heads. “Why the hell would I do that?”

Here’s the thing, Parker. Claire doesn’t really want a man. She wants the “right” man. She wants a soul-mate. Specifically, a soul-mate from her zip code. She assembled this guy in her mind years ago, and now, dammit, she’s tired of waiting!!

I didn’t tell her this, because Claire has the capacity for sudden violence. But it’s true. She complains about being alone, even though her rules have more or less guaranteed she’ll stay that way. She has built a wall between herself and her goal. A wall made of conditions and expectations. Is it possible that you’ve built a similar wall?

Consider your own words. You don’t want a career – you want the “right” career. You need “excitement” and “adventure,” but not at the expense of stability. You want lots of “change” and the “freedom to travel,” but you need the certainty of “steady pay.” You talk about being “easily bored” as though boredom is out of your control. It isn’t. Boredom is a choice. Like tardiness. Or interrupting. It’s one thing to “love the outdoors,” but you take it a step further. You vow to “never” take an office job. You talk about the needs of your family, even though that family doesn’t exist. And finally, you say the career you describe must “always” make you “happy.”

These are my thoughts. You may choose to ignore them and I wouldn’t blame you – especially after being compared to a 42 year old woman who can’t find love. But since you asked…

Stop looking for the “right” career, and start looking for a job. Any job. Forget about what you like. Focus on what’s available. Get yourself hired. Show up early. Stay late. Volunteer for the scut work. Become indispensable. You can always quit later, and be no worse off than you are today. But don’t waste another year looking for a career that doesn’t exist. And most of all, stop worrying about your happiness. Happiness does not come from a job. It comes from knowing what you truly value, and behaving in a way that’s consistent with those beliefs.

Many people today resent the suggestion that they’re in charge of the way the feel. But trust me, Parker. Those people are mistaken. That was a big lesson from Dirty Jobs, and I learned it several hundred times before it stuck. What you do, who you’re with, and how you feel about the world around you, is completely up to you.

Good luck,


PS. I’m serious about welding and North Dakota. Those guys are writing their own ticket.

PPS. Think I should forward this to Claire?

That’s one more reason to like Mike Rowe. He’s too cool! If you enjoyed Mike’s advice, share it with others.

Source: The Real Mike Rowe

(found again at  April 7, 2016)

The most important line is in the last paragraph: “…most of all, stop worrying about your happiness. Happiness does not come from a job. It comes from knowing what you truly value, and behaving in a way that’s consistent with those beliefs.

All I can add right now is “The grass is always greener where you water it!” – Listen for your own Micro-Rules that keep what you truly want far away from you. Make changes in how you talk to yourself, and to the Universe. Your world will change right along with you.

Blessings, all…



I was mourning for my tree, and for myself and for my status quo.

I’d made a “gut-wrenching no-brainer” decision: to allow the HomeOwners’ Association to pay for taking out my 60-year-old ash tree that gave me beautiful shade in the whole back yard. (Ash trees in the Midwest are being attacked by Emerald Ash Borers, and municipalities are taking the hardest line possible against this invasive non-native bug: take away ALL their host trees.)

The guys were here all day, cutting off branches and grinding up limbs, and I knew it was “for the best” – I couldn’t have afforded the removal, and it was inevitable…

I still felt like I’d just decided to “pull the plug” on my best friend. Again! …and I didn’t even realize that was what my heart was doing, until 10:30 last night.

I’m still very sad for the reality of this, but today, I see it, and I’m acknowledging the feelings, and keeping on doing “what else needs to be done”. The first thing is writing and sharing this, the next is delivering magazines, and the only way to get that done is to get up and get out.

Thus: I’m grateful that I could write this, and that you’re reading it. Bright Blessings!  and….


On more check-it-offs and fewer blows to your self-regard ~ from David Caine at Raptitude

“You don’t need the mind’s approval to get started. All you need is to get clear, on an intellectual level, what you want done, and then move your body until you’re in the middle of it.”…

“Your body, quite reliably, does what you tell it. Your mind insists on deliberating and debating, consulting with a hundred trustees and boards. It draws up complex documents for you to sign, demanding feasibility studies, immunity from all liabilities and a guaranteed return on investment. Skip this meeting, it’s a trap.”

I convene *that* meeting several times a day! It is a time-suck and an energy-drain, and a slippery slope into depression. ~ It’s time to install a new management model.


Since this post, like most others here, has been sitting in Drafts – untouched – for several days, I am taking more Baby Steps to installing my “new model”:

“POST!” 🙂

Added, ten minutes after “Post” ~

Corrina Scott-Barnes’ post from yesterday:

Beautiful, and just what I needed to see and hear this morning! {{{Corrina}}} – you’re beautiful!  ~ K


And this, from Andrew at Nurturing Creativity:

Closing the window now, and putting my coat (back) on… 😉

My “stories” are incredibly old, and incredibly hard on myself –

“Nobody likes me, really…”

“I don’t believe in any of the Positive attention I do get – I’m only worthy of contempt  for being such a consistent fuck-up  – since Grade School, I’ve been a fuck-up!” And here’s the reinforcements that pop up:

Sister Donna Marie – the principal! – insulted me in front of the whole class when she handed out final report cards, for getting a B instead of an A in math – because “you’re so smart!” That the rest of it was all A’s was completely ignored!

And Sister Ansilion not only didn’t tell me about what I did well (right? in ART???), she gave my sister a harder row to hoe, too, by telling her “I hope you apply yourself better than Karen did”! So Barb, who was better at follow-through to begin with, got an extra boost of “git’er done”, and I got an extra slam of “Don’t bother even trying to finish – it won’t be good enough, anyway”…

Heck, in kindergarten, the sub in penmanship (printing) class (also the principal!) didn’t believe me when I told him that Bruce grabbed my pencil at the end of class, when they were collecting the pencils… and as he pulled it out of my hand, I put a slash on my paper – (and of course, we weren’t trusted with erasers!) … my printing was fine (great even), but I got marked down (and called out in class) for that slash. AND, my explanation (excuse? I don’t think so) was publicly either not believed or dismissed!

I missed social cues right and left: at the only birthday party I was ever invited to in high school, Brin, the birthday girl’s used-ta-be boyfriend, hit on me, so we went under the stairs and made out. I completely missed the importance of him being the *only* boy there, and that she wanted to get back together with him… I got tagged with “tramp” before the end of first semester of freshman year!

… And it seems like “sexy”, and even worse, “easy” are the place that guys gravitate to first…That’s soooo not what I want them  to remember about me! I want to be valued for my intelligence and my creativity, and being funny…. sexy is a good thing, and I enjoy it (I’ve always known that, too) but not #1, #2 AND #3, please, dammit!!!

I’ve been a painfully People Pleaser since g.s. too – when I was in lower grades, I was “allowed to” hang out with the 7th and 8th graders, because I’d hold their coats while *they* jumped rope or played hop-scotch.  And I wrote imitation excuse letters from their Moms for the “cool kids” – and I gave them the answers on tests, or let ’em copy my homework…

In 8th grade, when I gave Tommy one of my “sharing size” class pictures, he tore it up in little pieces and put it back on my desk!!! Owww-eeee!


So, what do I do on a Friday morning? Write – self-indulgently! Instead of getting on the road, and taking care of my immediately-income-producing job…. What the hell is *that* about??? Another post, methinks… I have some thoughts, but no time now!


Deep thanks to my friend Sarah for writing a very vulnerable (and valuable) post yesterday (just saw it this morning). And to Shanna Mann and Ariane Benefit and Sue Rasmussen and Mark Silver and Linda Anderson and Kay White and David Caine – for pieces of what’s starting to come together, even as I write….  (links this evening… I’m out of time – again)

5 minutes after “Publish” – I’ve already remembered more contributors ~ Bridget Pilloud, and Ken Bechtel and Lissa Boles

(2-15 ~ more links to come – please check back!)

I love you-all for reading this ~ Happy Valentine’s Day!

(I am feeling better about myself, just for having written this…

“I want a(nother) cigarette… “

I hear that in my head on a regular basis, sometimes within 3 minutes of finishing one.

This morning, I asked myself: “What part of “I” wants what part of that cigarette?”   Mouth? hands? lungs? brain chemistry? blood chemistry? brain habit? (which one(s)?) body habit?

Is it the smoke? the smell? the broncho-dilator effect? the blood vessel dilation? the muscle relaxant effect? the muscle-movements of inhaling? the tiny little division of attention needed to type AND hold a cigarette between my fingers? a ‘cool factor’ (This is what a writer, writing looks like – from really old movies, don’chya know)?

Am I really hungry? thirsty? resisting some Authority?  …my own Authority? Am I bored? scared? confused? excited? (forgot one: horny?) (also: really, really relaxed ~wink~)


One thing I’m certain of, is that it’s not – as the sound-bites would have us believe – “all about the nicotine” — there’s a ton of other things (emotional, logical and physical) going on, too.

And a “smoke break” has a different effect than a cigarette *at the same time*. ~ Sometimes the best thing to do is to get up and get away from the project. ~ Sometimes, what’s really called for is that boost in the *right-here-right-now*.  When I want to stretch and widen my focus, give my attention room to wander,  “Must go outside” is useful.  When I need more focus on the project at hand, the last thing that would help me is to put it all down and go somewhere else and risk losing track of what I was doing.


I’ve been more-or-less successful in keeping to 1 pack per day or longer (20 smokes in 24 hours) but some days are far, far from that goal.

I do smoke much less when I only buy one or two packs at a time, not by the carton.  (There’s no longer a price differential, so using the “scarcity” trick does come in handy!)  Another “trick” I’ve just thought of while writing this is “What else could today’s $8 be used for?”

I can’t give a general answer to any of those questions because they’re all situational: “It depends…” is the only accurate generalization that applies! Maybe simply digging up the questions will help find more deeper answers, though…?

Bright Monday Blessings to you, my friends ~


PS: This article definitely shouldn’t stay buried deep in the comments:

Much thanks to Joel Zaslofsky from The Value of Simple  for turning me on to this:

Neil Gaiman addressing the University of the Arts (Philadelphia) Class of 2012…

“Make Good Art!”

Neil Gaiman is only one of the most brilliant, original, life-inspiring fiction writers I know of … He wrote among other things: “Coraline”, “American Gods”,  “Neverwhere” (with Terry Pratchett), and DC’s “Sandman” comics.

This message is for everybody, not just “artists” or “creatives” – we ALL could benefit from spotting our mountain and heading for it on purpose, every day of our lives.

If  you’re sleep-walking through your life (like I did for so many years) I hope this helps to inspire you to Wake Up!

(Truth be told, this is as much for me as for all of you ~ and it’s swiped from a wonderful sales page(!) that Ariane Benefit sent out this morning. )

Happy New Year!

Every new year brings with it an opportunity for a fresh start.  As you are reflecting, I hope you find yourself delighted by the progress you have made in your life in the past year.

My personal benchmark is to look for not only “what” I’ve accomplished, but also at “who” I’ve become.

Have I become

  • a little wiser?  more peaceful?
  • a little more patient? more compassionate?
  • a little kinder to myself and others?
  • a little more accepting of my new normal as each year of aging affects my body?

I know I’ll never be perfect and in fact, I no longer even want to be!  I’ve found that what I used to think of as my weaknesses (like not having a biological clock, or not following orders well) are actually what makes it possible for me to deeply connect with people and be forgiving and compassionate.  They are actually my sources of strength.  Each little struggle makes me that much stronger.

There is no healing for the holes in your soul like being able to see yourself as you are and liking what you see.

In 2013, my deepest wish for you is to have lots of moments every day where you stop for a minute, pause the endless stream of what isn’t done yet, and just give yourself credit.
  • Credit for all that you are putting up with.
  • Credit for all that you are going through, and
  • Credit for somehow still being a caring, giving, creative and generous person who is always ready to help someone in need.
Find out more about Ariane and her new AgiliZen program at


My wishes for us all in 2013 ~

  • May you feel the Love you are surrounded by with an open heart
  • May you be Gentle with yourself and with others
  • May you see the Beauty that is in the World with new eyes
  • May you Grow in wonderful and unexpected ways

Bright Blessings, my dears!



This week, I really wanted to spend some time with a friend who was coming through town for a couple of hours, on a day I was scheduled to work. (Part time, temporary, important, but I’m essentially a cog).

I didn’t actually realize how much my Soul needed to see him, until I was relating the “but I can’t because of work…” to someone else, and started crying!

Wise Jessi said “Wow! You really do need to have some face time, don’t you?” Me: “Yes!!! And an organic hug, not just a virtual one!”   “But it would cost me a lot of dollars that I need, to take the day off.” (Notice the true-but-fuzzy-ness of that objection?)

When I got off the phone, I decided to count what it would *truly cost* (wages + parking or train and bus + lunch = $75) and weighed that against how bad I was feeling at the prospect of missing him, and gave myself permission to give “calling off” a shot.

Within 20 minutes of making that calculation (hadn’t even made any phone calls to find a replacement, yet), I got a call from a client asking what I’d charge to do a tiny job for her, very soon.

“I’ll be coming into the city tomorrow anyway. Why I don’t I bring my kit and do it on site? Does $25 sound like a doable price for you?”

“Oh yes! That would be terrific!” Plans were made, and the dollar-cost of my day off was down to only $50 already.

I talked to the boss then and he said that “We actually have extra people scheduled for Thursday, so Go! Do what you’ve gotta do.” (This was an ‘Unexplained No’ on my part, BTW – I didn’t tell him it was a mental health day or anything of the sort, just that I needed to go into the City in the morning. ) (The gist: “No is a complete sentence. You don’t have to explain or justify or apologize. Just say it when you mean it” ~ Jon Acuff)

When I walked into the coffee shop, G hugged me and held me tight for a long time (first Score, and the original point of this exercise, remember?), then handed me $75 cash, as my percentage of his CD sales last month (second Score! and I’m now up $25 for the day). A delightful day was had (Caribou Coffee is excellent, for the record), and I was reminded of how much I enjoy the energy of the Loop. I made a donation at the cashier, and later gave the kid who asked for a dollar to “help get a ticket home” the whole ten bucks he needed so he didn’t have to keep begging (clearly painful for him). (What goes around comes around, you know?)

When I got to Julia’s, her partner greeted me with “I have another commission for you, if you’re interested…” (totally Bonus Score! + the $25 for the original project). “Yes!”, plus I made a time-line-commitment that won’t strain my schedule.

~ And had dinner with another friend + left-overs for tonight.

~ Plus a blog post, too complete in and of itself to put into Drafts.

All-in-all, Thursday was a huge WIN-WIN-WIN-WIN ~ mentally, emotionally and financially, for me and my friends. What a wonderful world. 🙂


Thanks to Shanna and Cordelia and Erin and Dave and Ken for the constant blog-reminders of these truths.
Have you proven something beautiful to yourself lately, that you’ve been resisting? Feel free to crow about it ~

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