do you see the sign on my back? it says “kick me.”

Remember that voice I was telling you about? The one that ate paint chips as a child and had NO business making suggestions about how I live my life? The one that told me that if I could just run eight miles once, I would have no problem completing a half marathon?

Well, that voice can go straight to hell. Hell, I say.

It turns out the voice wasn’t completely wrong. One can actually pound out 13.1 miles with insufficient training. One can even do it in pretty good time. So long as one is willing to risk getting two, yes two, stress fractures in her foot.

Yes, my friends, I am writing this blog post from my couch, my booted foot propped up on the ottoman so that the blood can stop pooling near my ankle giving the illusion that I have (gasp) cankles. I can’t decide which is worse, my humiliation or my self pity.

I have an MRI tomorrow morning and I’m still holding out hope that I’m going to show up, their going to take a looksie and then tell me that actually nothing is wrong. I can take off this #&$#!(*& boot and coast through the next two weeks until it’s time for me to go to Hawaii on vacay.

Oh, yes, that’s right. I am supposed to be hiking the mountains and trails of Kauai in less than two weeks. Not to mention the private yoga lessons that I’m been looking forward to for the better half of 2010.

I lied. The self pity is way worse than the humiliation.

The doctor has made a medical suggestion that I not doing any walking. I made a medical suggestion that he reevaluate my course of treatment. In order to avoid walking to work I have to, uhh, walk to the train station, take a train, switch to another train, and then, uhh, walk to work from the station. It is ridiculous. I live less than a mile from my office.

So, for now, I’m going to sit here feeling very, very sorry for myself and hoping that whatever is wrong with my foot is all a crazy mix up.

Clearly it’s making me cranky.

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ask caroline!

In an effort to get some regular content going on the blog, as well as entice readers (that’d be you) to play along, I’m going to make Wednesdays “Ask Caroline” day. You may email your questions to me at and I will pick a few to answer on the blog every Wednesday. Won’t that be fun?

Now, you should know this is not a completely random idea. Yesterday I received the following text from a friend in need:

You’re the only person I can ask. Is it okay to shave your pubes in the showers at the gym?

I felt so honored, so lucky that I could help someone with my vast knowledge of the universe. And then I realized I could help tens of dozens of people right here on the blog. So here it is, I’m ready, willing and able to help you. Whatever you’re wondering, whatever is bothering you, just ask me and I will answer your question–anonymously– right here. On Ask Caroline Wednesday!

Drumroll please! Our first Ask Caroline Wednesday advice:

Dear Confused Pubes,

It’s an interesting question that you ask, one that I myself have pondered. Gym Etiquette has always been a questionable subject, especially because there are so many factors. While I’d like to think that etiquette represents the breeding of the person regardless of situation, that simply isn’t true. Take myself for instance. I was raised well. Two parents who were almost married the whole time, upper middle class, private school. Everything was set in motion for me to become the wife of a lawyer with 2.3 children and a Range Rover. And look at me now. Tattoos, swears like a sailor, and writes for a living.

So first I must ask myself a few basic questions. What kind of gym are we talking about? The YMCA? The Boston Sports Club? Equinox? Also, are there shower curtains? (God I hope so.) Are the showers communal? (God I hope not.) Are you bringing your own razor? Are you maintaining your grooming or initiating?

The way I see it is that if there is a curtain and you wash away the evidence thoroughly, you are totally in line. I can only imagine that there are women doing much worse things behind those curtains than a little Southern Shave. What’s more important is that you not hop out of the shower and walk over to the body cream and lather your newly minted parts in front of everyone. Let’s show a little decorum.

The type of gym will dictate the behaviors though, or at least how covert you need to be in execution. I imagine at the Gold’s Gym ladies are shaving their parts at the sink so everyone can see their piercings. I’m sure at the YMCA you’d find a mother in the shower using one of her four children as a foot prop while the other holds the soap up. (All while she nurses the youngest.)

Use your best judgment, but so long as you’re being discrete and ladylike, I’d say it’s well within your rights to trim the hedges at the gym.

While we’re on the topic, though, there are a few things that we should cover about gym etiquette:

1. It’s never okay to use the complementary Qtips for belly button cleaning. I know it’s tempting, I’m even on team needs to do it, but it’s not okay.

2. There is never an occasion where it is too much of a hassle to put on panties before blow drying your hair. Never. For the love of the innocent put on some britches before you bend over.

3. The hair dryer is meant for top of head hair only. Get it near the Southern Shore and you are asking to be ostracized.

4. The steam room should be treated like a civilized ladies lounge. If you would spread your bits about while having tea with friends, then you may do it in the steam room.

I hope this helps you with your quandary. It’s tough to navigate what’s okay and what’s not, especially when everyone around you is pressuring you walk around topless, stick Qtips in your navel and blow your lady parts dry. Resist, Confused Pubes, and you’ll be high society at the gym.

Email your questions to

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are you there, project runway? it’s me, caroline.

Tim Gunn embroidery
Image by Totally Severe via Flickr

So I’m a little strapped for cash. Big surprise. Yes, I know, I make fine money. Yes, I know, I have a lovely apartment. Yes, I know, I eat out too much. But what you don’t know is that the hubs spreadsheet is an evil little bastard. He it gives me a meager stipend with which to live on. I am forced to rely on the generosity of others to see me through month to month. My own mother doesn’t support me. Come to think of it, my own father doesn’t either. They just let me live this way. Like a beggar.

Actually I just can’t stop doing things like spending Saturday afternoons with Yoga Marc to the tune of $100. Or going out to dinner. Or making friends with people who have waaaaay more cash than I do. I don’t know who the hell I think I am. Wait, yes I do. My name is fun loving girl just trying to navigate and gravitate. Jesus. Leave me alone. It costs money to look like this. Or does it?

Due to my impoverished state, or because I have a hole in my head, I decided that I would save money (or just not spend money I didn’t have) by not buying a dress for a gala I’m going to tomorrow night. Sitting in my swiveling chair at work it all seemed so simple: I would obviously just make something.

Now you’re thinking oh! caroline! what a great idea! how clever of you.


What you should be thinking is caroline?! what the fuck is wrong with you? do you even know how to sew? or read a pattern?

You know what the answers to those questions are?

I don’t know. No, I don’t. Negative ghost writer.

For some reason my ego didn’t seem to think that mattered. Buy some fabric. Pin it together. Make clothes. Illegals from coast to coast are doing this for fifteen cents a day. I can make a dress in four days. No problem.

(I am being real with you, reader, when I tell you that it never, ever, not even one teensy time, occurred to me that this was not possible. Like a stupid gnat or something I just buzzed into that fabric store like I was picking out fruit for a salad.)

For starters, Rookie here thought she needed nine yards of fabric to get this done. Nine. I think I could reupholster my sectional with all the fabric I bought. Additionally, I did not buy a pattern. I had a plan. In my vast and capable brain. M.o.r.o.n.

Not knowing how I was going to keep the whole thing together, I bought ribbon, snaps, and hooks. No zippers. Too complicated. And some black thread. Didn’t figure you’d see the stitches and those you did I planned on passing off as “contrast stitches.”

When I got home I drew a picture to try to collect my thoughts. It was terrible. Rather than take this as a clue that I wasn’t going to be a successful designer and seamstress, I thought about how silly it was that I went to art school and still can’t draw a decent picture. (Now you’re wondering how I’m going to express my vision in fabric if I can’t express it with a number two. This is what us literary types like to call “tragic irony”. You the audience have way more foresight into my future than I, the subject, do. You know doubt know that this is going to go south. I still do not.)

You know what’s absolutely clutch when it comes to dressmaking? A bust form. Without it you are standing your hallway staring at yourself in a full length mirror taping fabric to your naked body. Then come the pins. Oh the pins. You know what isn’t awesome? Trying to accurately pin a dress to your body without giving yourself a little gratis acupuncture. Note to self: bust form.

Another nicety would have been a pattern. Or maybe some patience. Either would have come in handy. Without them, I was frustrated within twenty minutes. No wonder those Project Runway kids are such whiny bitches. Twenty minutes of taping, losing track of what was the front and what was the back, and asking Stuart to get off my creation and I was about to homicide/suicide. Stuart in the toilet, me in the oven. Like Sylvia.

The bobbin ran out shortly before that happened. The hubs is the only one who knows how to replace it (he is also the only person who knows how to make the stitcher thing move backwards) so I was done for the night.

On Day Two I decided I was approaching it all wrong. I needed to be more conceptual. Less perfection, more whim. AKA less time, more finishing. That was a super awesome theory. Except I still didn’t really have a goddamned clue what I was doing. And I was starting to lose some serious blood from the pin holes. I managed to eek out a skirt that was an accomplishment except that it made me look like an Oompa Loompa. Even the hubs couldn’t veil his surprise. I think he said something like oh! well would you look at that!


At work today I devised a plan. Too late to buy anything, plus I couldnt afford to buy anything. I needed to salvage my vision. I swung by the fabric store for some extra supplies and began the tedious and mind numbing task of hand sewing hook and eyes to the outfit. (You may have noticed that dress magically became skirt. Dresses involved a skill set I do not possess.) Then for good measure I just began stitching randomly. Like a crazy person.

And then, exactly like a crazy person, I stopped. As though a divine muse, the keeper of dreamers, seamers, and makeshift bust forms, told me I was done. The masterpiece was complete.

Unfortunately the divine muse is obviously blind. And now I’m going to debut my creation in front of hundreds of Boston’s People. (Capital P.)

I’ll keep you posted. Pinky swear.

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