I’m doing a ‘thing’ this week that surprises even me!
I’ve posted this:
because I’m Moving.To.Detroit.
This is a huge Yes! in my heart – change of atmosphere, change of scenery, change of ‘background noise’! (OMG – Illinois!) (OMG – Chicago!)
I’m jumping off the down-escalator that is ‘Chicago in 2016’ and onto the up-escalator that is Detroit. They were roughly where Chicago is now, several years ago, and are now climbing out of that dollar-hole. http://www.forbes.com/sites/petesaunders1/2016/04/24/detroit-after-bankruptcy/#670df2b338e4
The cost of living is lower; the job prospects are better; and my head-space for finding something is better!

Take a look, please, and if you can conribute (money or moral support) you will be a Hero in my book forever! Share it and you rack up Karma points 🙂

Love and Bright Blessings!

Another “Me, standing up” post. 🙂

Here i am, asking for your help to make an exciting adventure happen without the energy-killing stress of ‘how can this really happen, without going broke in a week?’

I’m not running away, this time, or hiding from anything – I’ve never been so jazzed about a huge change on the near horizon. I’ve found out *so much* about myself in the last year, and a whole new environment presents a magnificent opportunity to ‘start over’, using all that new knowledge, and applying myself to whole new experiences.

All kinds of support – good juju, candles, prayers, dollars, and sharing – will be most welcome!

Happy Canada Day (yesterday), and Happy (US) Independence Day (day after tomorrow), all!


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 just did [a thing] that I’ve been resisting for a long lo-o-o-ng time.

KarenJ / Kharmin / Kay



I sat down and wrote honestly about myself, and some of the ways I’ve been less-than-together (under-statement of the century) in my Real Life, and then Actually. Ask. for Help! (Progress, right?) (Thank you, Ash and Shanna and everyone who’s ever written about how vital that is.)

The next step is to ‘make that visible’, because, well, *writing it*, committing it to screen is one thing (Yay, Me), but if nobody can actually *see it*, it still doesn’t do much good, right?

So, here’s Me (Ms. Karen Johannessen in Chicago, Illinois, USA), being vulnerable and visible at the same time: gofund.me/j1z7k8.

All the heavy-duty resisting and denial I’ve done in the last year (decade?) – about losing the house, editing my stuff (by definition: eliminating options!), getting what’s left packed up and mostly stashed out of reach – all of that has come down to ‘spare-rooming’ it (a step up from ‘couch-surfing’ but a really small one), and now, losing the latest couch (at the end of December!)

It’s time to step up, get a “real job” with a “real income” (I know: you-all are a lot about “‘don’t just ‘work for the Man'”, but right now, I haven’t left myself time to start a side gig – face-palm!), and get into a place that supports my genuine needs. I see that as a place of my own, where I can be not so off-balance every minute of every day. First I need the place. I need the job, too, to support the place, but the hard deadline for a place is January 1!

Meanwhile, Thank You all for your wisdom, your advice, your support and your role-modeling. If it weren’t for my friends and the folks I’ve found on the internet, I don’t know *where* I’d be now (not anywhere any more comfortable, that’s fersure) ~ Blessings to you, and a shiny New Year!

Please take a look at this page, and if you can contribute, I’d surely appreciate it. Even if you can’t (or choose not to), I appreciate you, for sharing You, and for reading my words! gofund.me/j1z7k8. If you see fit to share it, that would be wonderful, too.

Bright Blessings (the sun’s coming back, hurray!) and

Happy Winter Holidays (all of them) ~ Karen J

PS – I do have a PayPal account, too: k m johannessen at yahoo dot com. (Thanks for the reminder, Cordelia’s Mom!

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 http://www.lifebuzz.com/mike-rowe/  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….


Is it okay to toot your own “Today’s my birthday” horn? All over the (inter-webs) place? (That’s the 19th- I’ve been working on this a while…)

Well, I suppose the answer to that is: Why the hell in Heaven’s Name (see item #1) not? Are all you friends-I-haven’t-met-yet supposed to “just know”? It’s not commonly a topic of on-line conversation, is it? It’s not like I’m gonna just insert a reminder in your calendar or anything… !



I’d like a visit from the “magic dishes fairy” so I never have to wash ’em again. they’re always clean when I want them to be! (“Phrase your Request in the positive voice” –ht to Bridget P!)
I *really want* in on this incredible “Effortless Productivity” webinar (via Carol Tice): http://www.makealivingwriting.com/Ed-Gandia-Productivity/. (Listen to the interview, soon, folks. Even the invitation will yield AHah’s!) – but ^that^ ain’t currently gonna happen without some outside support*…
[I really, really want all of Ed’s ideas and hacks to “appear by osmosis” in my brain (in) and my gut, so I can multi-task those 6 hours “on something else”.]
I want for my TinyLittleThing to grow tall and strong…
and for the couple of GreatBigOMFGThings that try to crowd everything else out of my awareness, to relax and just keep flowing in “the right direction for me” without all that ruckus in my head!
Oh, and…
~ more Whirled Peas and less “Me, My, Mine & Fuck You and Yours”, 
~ less “outsourcing Customer Service to the customer”,
~ more composting and less Roundup(TM),
~ NO MORE FRACKING – like: STOP doing it TODAY! Forever!
~ more people Asking “And Then what ?” more often, and being Heeded, before the decisions are made…
Now? Hit publish! – It Is Done
*Contributions gratefully accepted at my (no spaces) kmjohannessen @ yahoo . com.
Hugs and Blessings forever…

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…

Because Jess totally ROCKs  – and every one of these posts is a gem of “You probably don’t need to “Personally Develop” anything – you just need to do what you already know!”

Go here, read this:  http://www.thebrazenbible.com/


Fancy Meeting You Here!

 No, seriously. It’s fancy.
I’m even wearing pearls.

So, here’s the deal.

The Brazen Bible is your bustling hub for tackling your ifs and butwhile holding your butt. Picture your grandmother’s attic, assuming your grandmother’s attic is stuffed to the gills with information, resources, and anecdotes about carpe‘ing that motherfucking diem and still finding time to go to happy hour(s). It’s your time to kick fear in the nards, bust down the walls you’ve systematically built yourself into, and LIVE. Because settling for mediocrity? Isn’t actually living at all. 

Disclaimer: Shit gets shouty ’round these parts.

Ready? Set! Win.


And then read anything and everything that catches your eye (or your heart).

I read that old saw again yesterday – you know: “You only have one chance to make a good first impression.”

And I started wondering  just how true is that??? I mean, it’s true in the microcosm – with these particular people, in this particular venue — but mostly, if you change your target, you get a whole new audience to impress! And since (contrary to your “I AM the Center of the Universe! aren’t i?” voice) you aren’t the topic of all conversation, most of the folks who didn’t see the first iteration won’t ever know about it; so you can start over, again and again and again.

But — your Inner Voices will always remember what that very first time looked and (more important) felt like – and I think that’s what really underlies the oh-so-commonly-paralyzing “fear of failure”!


So… Your assignment, Mr. Phelps* whether you choose to accept it or not(!) is to look at the story you’re telling yourself about this, and rewrite it so  it doesn’t become another club for your I.V. to beat you with, but an “AttaBoy” for Doing It At All (flagged with a fluorescent sticky-note and a glowing gold star)!

Love to you-all, and to me (that’s important to remember, too) and

Bright Blessings, as always!


*Yes, that’s a “Mission Impossible” reference, there (wink)

Hooray! This only took one morning to write, edit AND POST! Yay, Me! 🙂

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