Hat on Top, Coat Below


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April 1, 2002

I’m Karen. That is my real name. I live near Detroit, Michigan, USA with my husband and my guinea pig. I work for a small software company as an application developer. Before that, I was an accountant and an auditor. I have a CPA certificate. I design and make quilts. I recently turned 40.

Who they are

Mr. Karen: This is not his real name. He’s my husband, to whom I’ve been married since 1986. We started dating our senior year of high school, back when dinosaurs roamed the earth and David Lee Roth was still with Van Halen.

Bubba: He’s the guinea pig, whom we adopted from a former coworker of mine. She named him.

Why I’m doing this

I’ve been reading online journals for years. I’ve often wondered about having my own. Would I like it? Would I be able to do it well? Now I get to find out. I can’t try everything that intrigues me (playing professional football comes to mind), but this is something I can try, so I will. There’s also an element of sharing in this; other people have been sharing their lives with me, and now it feels like it’s my turn to share mine with them. That seems a little weird, doesn’t it? Maybe even egotistical: my words are a gift to the world.

I want to go to JournalCon. People have been known to go to JournalCon without having a journal, I hear, but that’s cheating, and I don’t want to be a cheater. Okay, it’s not cheating; I just don’t want to try and talk a journaler into vouching for me. I’m shy and don’t like to ask for favors.

I want a place to rant. (Other than at Mr. Karen, who unfortunately takes the brunt of my crankiness). I could just keep doing that over at The Usual Suspects, but it’s rude to subject everyone on the forum to lengthy diatribes about whatever has pissed me off lately. Short diatribes, sure, but not all my griping can be done in a paragraph or two.

I want another place to show off my quilts. I can post pictures and talk about the process and if I’m boring anyone, they can tune out without worrying about offending me.

I want to see if declaring my goals in a public forum makes it easier to achieve them. Maybe a sense of obligation or accountability to a possibly real audience will be just the thing I need.

I want to be famous. Just kidding. Besides, even the most well-known online journalers have a small audience. If I’m going to be famous, I want it to be the very rich, lots of assistants kind of famous, and I don’t think online journaling is the way to do that.

Why this might not work out

Time. To do it well, I feel like I should update regularly, and I’m not sure I’ll be able to make it a high enough priority consistently.

Lack of privacy. It’s hard to be anonymous on the Web, so I’m not going to try. I’m not going to post my home address, either, though. I doubt I will be controversial or enticing enough to attract stalkers, so I feel pretty safe.

Commonness. It seems everyone has an online journal these days. I don’t like to be bandwagon jumper on-er. I’d rather be the smug “I got here first, before it was cool” person. Maybe that’s actually a reason to do it, to cure me of that smugness. Get there late and still have fun.

Why it’s called what it is

When Mr. Karen and I were at Michigan State, a new performing arts center was built. One of the features was special hooks for patrons to hang their outerwear on, and each hook had the instructions “Hat on Top, Coat Below”. This amused us–I don’t really know why–and I joked that the phrase could be the title of my first album Since it now appears that I am not likely to make any albums, I decided to use it to title my first online journal.

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