Figuring out what I wanna be when I grow up.
Oop..I AM grown up...

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Hi, My Name is karen, And I'm A Flower-aholic

But it's all in the name of AESTHETICS! Making things pretty can't be all bad, can it? CAN IT?!? Well, it would appear that I may be getting a little out of hand. People, since my mother died, I have indulged, and indulged often in what I like to think of as "emotional shopping." A few weeks after Mom, I was out and decided to go for it and buy the shoes I was admiring. Usually I'm incredibly cheap, so $40 for a pair of sandals would normally have been outrageous for moi. However, this karen-like voice chimed up in my head suddenly and said; "go ahead--buy them. You're mother is dead, so you deserve a little pick me up. Besides--you never know when YOU MIGHT BE DEAD TOO!" Yes, WONDERFUL reasoning. And you may think that was kind of harsh sounding, but oh, how soothing that urging was. So, karen said; "yeah! My life BLOWS right now! I DO deserve this!" And so I bought the shoes.

And so I have found myself, often, out at some department store, handing over my debit card yet again. And then, planting season arrived. Okay, so I've always had a thing for flowers. I like to sketch them, paint them, buy paintings of them, and buy the real thing. The garden at the front of the house was mostly inherited from my grandmother. It's fairly shady, being a north-facing garden, and it already had various varieties of nice, mature shrubs, hostas, and a few perrenials. So, I'd said to my husband; "I'm not going to plant a lot up here. I can't be bothered with dragging the hose out to a million gardens, and the shrubs are low maintenance, and that's what I want. I'm just going to leave it as is."

Yeah, good one.

I planted some gladiola bulbs in May in little plastic cups. Then they started to sprout! Euphoria of watching things grow! So, I planted them in this ridiculous little strip of garden in the back yard. I bought some geraniums to keep them company. Oh, and then I bought a morning glory vine, and urged the reluctant man to string up a piece of twine alongside the eavestrough, for the vine to climb.

And then I decided to plant some window boxes under the two side windows. How very European-charming, thought I. I also planted four pots of mixed annuals. Okay, I thought, that should do it. Then one Monday morning my daughter was at nursery school, my son at kindergarten, and I wasn't going for my usual walk with my girl friend. Weeeeelllll...I'll just mosey on over to the local grocery store's garden centre. They had a peony plant on sale for $10! WHAT A DEAL! But wait--look at this fabulous David Austen rose bush...and look at this pink, old fashioned rose bush, wow, you never see roses like that anymore. HEY!!! THIS HANGING BASKET IS 50% OFF BECAUSE THEY OVERWATERED IT--I CAN BRING IT BACK TO ITS ORIGINAL BEAUTY. Okay, so I crammed my car with flowers, breathed in the rosy scent and felt SUPER HAPPY on the little drive home.

Well, that was enough plants for one season.

And yet--doesn't the front garden look kinda blah, and sad, and lacking in pizzazz???

Welcome begonias, sunshine impatiens. Hm...still lacking...and I haven't even made an herb garden, so I'll take a trip to the garden centre just down the street from my brother's. OH, what a lovely trip! I found thai basil, regular basil, lemon thyme and regular thyme. How lovely. Hm...need just one more begonia and one more new guinea impatiens to fill in that empty spot. Oh, and who can resist this large, pink begonia???

Ponder,, look at that large bare spot on the right side of the front porch. Hm..the left side of the garden looks fantastic, but the right side is LACKING, PEOPLE, SADLY LACKING. Starting to consider sneaking in to my mother's rock garden to divide and pilfer...oh wait! I'll call my sister. Hooray, my sister will gladly devide some of her daylillies for me! Still--all the world has yellow and orange lilies, I want PINK ONES.

***I have to interject here with The Sad Story of karen's Lavender Plant:

Back at her old house in suburban hell, karen had a decent little garden with a large and impressive lavender plant. Every summer around Canada Day, the plant would flower, and karen could cut bunches and bunches of lavender off, tie them with ribbons or twine or whatever girly-girly thing you may wish, and put one in her fancy underwear drawer, though one must wonder why, since fancy underwear really isn't as comfortable as the man-sized cotton gitch, and why do we care if our underpants smell like lavender anyway, since they are on our @$$es? karen would also place a small bouquet on the nighttable beside her bed, and in an old white pitcher, and after doing so, karen would feel oh-so clever, and by the time she tossed the bouquets into the garbage months later, they had no smell, and were completely covered in dust. So, as she was about to move back to her home city, karen looked sadly at her garden and thought; 'why the eff am I leaving some of these plants for the new people???' and she hauled out a lovely plant with little neon-pink, bell-like flowers, and a cutting of lavender. The lavender didn't over-winter very well, and when karen put it in her new garden, it went PPPPPPFFFFFT and died. The end.

Then I said to my husband; "You know, I really miss my lavender. This will be the first year I don't have a big bunch of it."
Fatally, he replied; "go buy yourself a new one."

Yippee! Off to that fantastic, big garden centre I hadn't been to yet this year, with my little buddy Ella along for the adventure. Hm...still need one more begonia and one more sunshine impatiens, and ooooo--look at this annual; it looks like a poppy! Better buy it. And then they had PINK LILIES shining out at me. Hm, they're a little pricey, but they'll come back again, so it's okay. Lupins! Love lupins! They're the OLD FASHIONED garden flower! I'll get this tall purple thing too. Then, around another corner, I almost keel over at the beauty of the pink butterfly bush. "LOOK ELLA! I say enraptured; "THIS BUSH WILL ATTRACT BUTTERFLIES!" How do you NOT buy this?!?!

*** here I have to interject again to point out a little irony: that being, how terrified of butterflies I am. Oh well, think no more upon that...

So, a hundred dollars later...I had another car full of gorgeous flowers, and a feeling of pure happiness. I immediately had to plant all of them, which irritated my back enough to give me a deep ache in the right cheek of my..well, not my face.

THAT'S IT! I told myself. NO MORE! And yet, today I found myself out buying "orchid food" for my phalaenopsis orchid, which looks so pretty in my bathroom.

Yeah, I have a problem. House looks pretty though.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Everyday Is Like Sunday

Dear Dad,

If I had it in me, I'd have called you tonight, but I didn't. I didn't call because I'm tired, and I guess I'm a coward, and I know you'd have been crying on the phone. While all the grief books and online grief literature I've read, with all their nice platitudes and generalizations, have told me that this is OK for us to cry to one another, I can't handle it very well I guess, because I really just want you to not have nights like these.

If I had it in me, I'd tell you that I miss Mom too, and that I cry every day. It's typically for silly reasons too, like that I can't ask her if it's normal for a cut on my foot to still hurt a week later, or that a new season of "True Blood" has started up without her, and that "Lost" ended without her, and that I don't really know what are the best flowers to plant in a north-facing garden.

If I had it in me, Dad, I'd have told you that I totally understand why even though you think these Sunday family dinners are a great idea, that they can still be a great big bummer. So really, I'm not mad that you couldn't stomach the stupid fruit crisp I made. I just wish things were a lot different.

If I had it in me, I'd come over and sort out that chest freezer down the basement, but I can't. You see, it's filled with perfectly organized, labelled, dated meat (first wrapped in plastic, and then in foil to defeat freezer burn). But, I'm a coward and can't bear to see stacks and stacks and stacks of silver parcels with that familiar hand writing.

As for redecorating your bedroom--it's hard, but I'm working on it. We'll make it a nice, new-feeling place for you to sleep.

So, in conclusion, Dad, I hope you can get some rest tonight, and nevermind about all this. I'll see you for coffee in the morning.



Thursday, June 24, 2010

Random Ranting: I Hate Abstract Art

"Belle Zed" by one of my very favourite artists, Stephen Mackey (

I was just having a little fun here in the blog world (thus far I have resisted referring to it as the Blogospere or Blogsphere, or whatever the hell the rest of y'all call it), simply by hitting the "next blog" button on the top of my blog page. It's like pulling the handle of a slot machine--you never know what will come up. Also, if you'd like to add in to this analogy that you can pull the handle on a slot machine 50 times and never win, by all means do so. I'm not trying to be an arrogant prick with that last comment, but honestly, it's surreal how much garbage there is out there.

Ahem. I've probably put my seemingly-not-arrogant-but-jerk-sounding-just-the-same foot in it. Whatever.

So, first of all, it's fascinating to me--absolutely fascinating how many blogs there are on here that are simply about people being a family. Or, about a couple and their love. Does everybody really think that their mundane life is really that freaking interesting? Don't give me any lectures about the pot calling the kettle black. I can dig it. I write about my everyday world. However, I like to think I branch out a little further than the rainbow, pink ribbon, heartshaped candy box these peeps think they're living in.

This isn't going well. I may be entering into PMS territory. Just sayin'.

And yet, why am I surprised? If you meet 10 new people, how many of them, would you say, are going to be "listeners," rather than "talkers"? How many of them will simply wait for you to finish talking just so they can continue their self-starring monologues? Are we all most interested in ourselves, because that's who we have to live with more than anyone else???

Okay, so enough about the huggy snuggy "we just got engaged, here is the story of our life, our love and all the silly little things that happen in between! Giggle, SQUEEK!" blogs. As I was pulling the lever, if you will, I came across a blog wherein the lady was promoting her art. Cool, I really dig art. I love amateur art. I don't love ALL art though. I can't bear quaint art, and that's fine if you like it--it probably looks lovely hanging in your living room. However, you can keep those pictures of little girls and boys skating on a rink in front of their lovely, be-ribboned turn of the century (think more, "Little House on the Prairie") home. I'm also really not a fan of what I like to think of as "Dentist's Office Art." You can picture it--a dilapidated barn sitting on a grassy knoll beside a stream that goes nowhere. Blech. I think art should make you THINK and FEEL and should show that no matter how much some shmuck wants to, not everything can be called art if it doesn't present itself as a result of a great deal of talent. So this begs the question: is the quaint stuff not art? Well, it's probably drawn out well, and does show talent, but it doesn't evoke a lot of thought (in my opinion), so it's certainly not my kind of art. I guess it's art just the same. And now I'll back out of this before I both confuse and totally contradict myself.

What I really hate--what I really can't stand is ABSTRACT ART. For an example of some abstract stuff that truly makes me bananas, go here . I had the same art teacher twice in highschool. She was quirky, quick tempered and I really liked her. We went on a field trip one time, and while in the abstract art section of the gallery, she said, before anyone else could say anything; "Now, don't tell me 'I could do this,' because you COULDN'T, and you DIDN'T." Fair enough, but I wonder just the same. Is anyone going to tell me that an abstract painting is a work crammed with as much talent as this? Granted, Bouguereau may not be your cup of tea, and his work may have become somewhat trite, thanks to being turned into "calendar art" (50% off after Christmas!). In another gallery, I once saw a painting that was simply, thick white paint layed on the canvas. It looked like a vanilla cake, iced with peeks and waves the way my Mom used to do it. I believe it was then that I thought; "okay, that's it. This sucks." Yes, yes, someobody else may have loved it, but not moi.

Now, who can recall the interesting little controversy over an abstract work purchased by the National Art Gallery of Canada back in the late 1980's? Well, let's just cut and paste that, shall we:

Voice of Fire is an acrylic on canvas painting made by American painter Barnett Newman in
The purchase of Voice of Fire by the National Gallery
of Canada
in Ottawa for its permanent
collection in 1989 at a cost of $1.8 million caused a storm of controversy, as
the painting consists only of a red stripe on a blue background.[1]
Some residents mocked the purchase with striped T-shirts and ties that mimicked
the painting.[1] A
book called Voices of Fire: Art Rage, Power, and the State, edited by Bruce
, Serge Guilbaut and John O'Brian and published in 1996 by the University of
Toronto Press
, discusses the issues around the purchase of the painting.[2]

(see "Voice of Fire" from Wikipedia)

Am I wrong, or didn't some guy reproduce this on the side of his barn? Oh wait, remember what my art teacher said; "Don't tell me 'I could do this,' because YOU COULDN'T, and YOU DIDN'T." Ha ha on us, here's your sh*tty art. Oh but wait, didn't I say that art should make you think and feel? Well, kudos to you Barnett Newman. It certainly has done that.

And so I return to my original statement: I hate abstract art. I looked at some of the lady's paintings, as they were displayed on her blog and grumbled, and said to my husband, "gee, would you like to buy that?" Nor would I. Personally, it makes me think of finger painting for adults. How unsophisticated I must be, you are now thinking. Well, there's a perfectly gorgeous abstract art piece on my sister's wall. The colours are magnificent. I believe it's an untitled work, created by her daughter who is ONE.

Here endeth this rant.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Bugs, Deep-ish Thoughts And General Wednesday This & That

The other day, I was having a typical conversation with my son:
"Mom, maybe Pluto can't talk?"

Me: "Yeah, maybe he's just a 'regular dog.'"

Jack (suddenly offended): "He's NOT, Poo head!"

Honestly--I just read today that Lady Gaga is not ready to have children at this point in her life because she finds babies "terrifying." I'm paraphrasing here, but she also said that basically children kind of curb a woman's creativity. Gee, do ya THINK? Okay, that's probably going to earn a back-lash of "but children are wonderful, and how could you even think such a thing, and she's wrong, and waa waa waa, I protest too much!" I'm not going to say anything more, but if my burnout could be measured somehow...well, I'd better get off this topic.

Anyhow, it is Wednesday, and several of you lovely people have been asking me what the hell the outcome of BUG KILL TUESDAY was. Well people, the Bug Man came yesterday, and apparently piped poison around the homestead here. Now, when I call him "Bug Man," I do not do so with any condescension--no, no, for I admire someone in his vocation so much, that perhaps I should frame a picture of him and put it prominently on a wall in my home. He told us a few days ago: "after I've sprayed, will you still see ants? ABSOLUTELY. But, if you see ants after 10 days--YOU CALL ME." Can do, my friend. As I look down at the floor here next to me, I see 1 teeny-weeny ant, but that's an improvement from being able to look down and see at least 10.

Now, as for the disgusting, nauseating, loathsome flying ants--I haven't had the courage to remove the makeshift barricade from my bedroom floor; you know, the plastic bag weighted down with several books? Maybe I'll have the courage to do so tonight. And yet, I doubt it. So, no bugs people, but then, I hadn't seen too many since I went on a total cinnamon dumping rampage around the house. The Bug Man scoffed at my cinnamon, but he wasn't here when I saw at least six ants look at the spicy wall I'd built around my boxes of cereal, try to climb it and then back the hell out of there. So, take that.

Speaking of bugs, last night I was enjoying the setting sun on my front porch. There was a lovely breeze, and I was enjoying a lite beer. Then, the sun sank just a little further, and those idiotic harbingers of summer came out to bump into bushes and things--JUNE BUGS. I hate those things. Big surprise. No, seriously, I HATE those things. They're so erratic and relentless, and they're bigger and weightier than a fly, and therefore intolerable. Plus, one time as a kid, my family and I were crossing an open field at dusk, and one of the monsters lobbed over, landed on and clung to my lip.

So, I was watching them winging around and remarked to my husband about how much I hate them, and how pointless they are, because it appears their whole raison d'etre is simply existing. They come out and spaz around trees and upright objects for a few nights in summer, mate, die, then come out again next year. I was all smug; "yeah, they have no purpose other than to exist and further their species." Hyuk, hyuk, hyuk. And then I stopped and stared for a moment, and wondered if we as humans were really any different. What is our purpose? Yeah, we invent purposes for ourselves to pass the time, and we're driven to further our own, better stop thinking about it. It hurts my brain. It also hurts my supposed sense of awesomeness. Ha ha, I kid.

June bugs. Shudder.

So, about an hour and a half before dinner, my tiny monsters raced outside to play with the neighbour girls. Approximately five minutes later, Ella was screaming at a pitch that would probably break glass. And whattaya know--she had stepped on a bee. So, even though I felt a ton of empathy for her, and felt extremely sorry for her to boot, I am essentially a typically crusty mom, so I am always compelled to say things like; "well, now you see why I tell you to wear your shoes when you go outside," and then I like to go for a little overkill by saying; "so, you children will wear your shoes now when you go outside, won't you."

How did I turn into this? I think I used to hate those kinds of admonishments. However, it occurred to me again recently, as it also did some time ago, that I have essentially lost all sense of being a kid. That means I'm at times humourless, crusty (as mentioned), and probably almost completely devoid of all that magical kid-ness.

Well, this is getting a bit rambling. It's Wednesday and all I wanted today was a nap. At any rate, it's time to wash the dishes.

image references: Bugs ~
Dead June Bug ~

Sunday, June 20, 2010

This Means WAR!!!

Okay, now I've had it.

You may recall my blog about how much I love living in my c1928 homestead here, wherein I waxed nostalgic about the beauty of living in a home so filled with memories and "character." If you missed that blog, it's a bit of a nicer one because it's not all ranty rant, so have a read: This Old House

Well, that was then. I've been doing a lot of bitching about little black ants. Since the beginning of spring, the little bastards have been marching around my kitchen with impunity. I didn't love it, but I was trying to be logical about it: ants are everywhere, it's unreasonable to think that anyone can truly get rid of ants, because they're a part of nature and blah, blah, yackity blah. I hated the way they marched out from under the quarter round on the kitchen floor, so I lined the whole perimeter of the kitchen with ground cinnamon. Okay, goody--the things stopped coming in on that side of the house. I vacuumed them up from the pantry. I smashed them, swatted them, put down drops of poisoned sticky sugar goo, hoping they'd take it back to their queen and DIE M**THERF***ERS DIE! Incidentally, that stuff is crazy hard to wipe off the floor by the time the ants stop giving a crap about it, and it becomes a cat hair/dust filled circle.

See, I'm not into chemicals and pesticides. I like to think I give a crap about the planet, and I care about my kids too. So, I have ONE bottle of chemical laden bathroom cleaner, and other than that, I have all this supposedly earth-friendly cleaning stuff. Yay me. Well, I'm not thrilled about having the kitchen floor lined with cinnamon, but if it keeps them out of the house, I can live with it.

Then, the BIG black ants started making an appearance. Yuck. I can feel my throat closing up a little just thinking about them. Okay, swat, smash, more delicious liquid poison. And then there was Saturday morning...

Friday night, we went to bed with the windows closed because we had our new-fangled central air on. Saturday morning we awoke to the sound of *tic..tic..tic..tic..tic..tictic..tic.." and find that all around the sheer curtains, and under the blind, the window is loaded with


and what we were hearing was not rain, but the sound of their little idiot bodies pinging off the glass. Oh wait, did I not say this clearly enough--INSIDE OUR ROOM. Oh the horror! After a nice session with the shop vac, their were no more flying ants in our room.

I went shopping Saturday morning for shorts. I won't go into detail about how demoralizing trying on clothing is, and how my self esteem flushes itself down the toilet ever time. No, no, I won't go into that now, because this is about freaking ants. Came home, felt hungry, went to the pantry to fire one cookie down my yap and saw that shelf was loaded with little ants. FREEEEEEEAAAKED out, and started smashing them in a frenzy of rage. In the meantime, tossed the cookie into my mouth. Ugh, a piece of cookie was stuck to the corner of my mouth--you know, right where the upper and lower lip meet. THAT WAS NO COOKIE--IT WAS AN ANT! The ant, was hanging on to the corner of my mouth with its jaws. Okay, I know these things are teeny tiny, but suddenly it seems I have flip flopped into sci/fi/horror land. And by the way, though tiny, that little ant's bite HURTS LIKE HELL and for a long time. A LONG, LONG TIME. Oh yeah, there was another one hanging on the inside of my left cheek, but I'm trying not to think of that.

Saturday night: evening drawing to a close, decided to make myself a nice adult cocktail of whisky and lemonade before hitting the proverbial sack. Came into the kitchen and whipped around to tell my husband something, and sent a glass flying off the kitchen table. It smashed into many pieces, one of which flew off and sliced the inner side of my foot. Ow, ow, OW! Blood was nicely pouring out, and I'm a total baby about cuts, so I was rendered useless. The man dealt with all of it, which was lovely, and then he made my nice, stiff drink.

Felt lovely--good buzz going on, time to hit the hay. Hm, husband's now in the bedroom vacuuming away as I notice that the flying ants are back by our window, and the cold air return vent in the corner of our room is swarming with little black ants. So, as a couple of flying ants flip onto the side of my bed on the nice white sheets, and roll around stupidly, Jon says; "well, GOOD NIGHT!" This joke means; who the hell wants to sleep in this horror pit???

And now it is Sunday, and I've had a terrible sleep, as I woke constantly fearing that ants would be walking on my FACE. The entire perimeter of my room, including the window frame is now loaded with cinnamon. It kept any more from coming in.

The saga continues--and let me tell you people: I am no longer averse to CHEMICALS!!!

image reference:

Thursday, June 17, 2010

sleep sleep sleep sleep sleep sleep sleep sleep sleep

See that picture there? I was 21 or 22, and I had MONO. Best time of my life! Yes, I was ridiculously tired, and yes I had swollen glands all over my head, but damn, that was some good Me-time. I did freak out when I found a swollen gland on the back of my head. Who knew you could get a swollen gland there?? However, my second year of university had just ended, it was gorgeous spring, and per my doctor's advice, I had to delay returning to my seasonal hotel housekeeping (CHARWOMAN) job for two weeks. So, I took our little family sheltie (Shetland sheepdog, if you want to sound froo-froo), to a local park and we went for walks nearly every day. The worst of the illness had passed, and I felt a little tired, but not too bad. So, I have fond memories of those days, ironically enough.

Sometimes at night, still, when I'm feeling particularly stressed and want to calm down, I do a little visualization therapy, and imagine I am on top of that field, on a blanket with Woody the dog, as the view stretches out all the way across the farms below, and over lake Ontario. I picture us on a warm, windy day, with Woody and his long doggy fur blowing in the wind, and if we feel like it, we just have a little nap right there, because there's noone else around.


I am obsessed with sleep. OBSESSED. I think about sleep all the time. I crave it. I yearn for it. I fantasize about it. I fret over it. I feel despair when I think about it. I never, ever seem to get enough of it. Actually, I would have to say that I probably only wake up about once every couple of months and think 'wow, I feel great.'

Nope, I roll out of bed feeling like a great, worn out dishrag, or a big, wrinkled pillow case nearly every day. I am a light sleeper. My husband snores. He also, while sleeping, will suddenly raise one knee, and slowly let his foot shnick..shnick.....shnick......shnick....down the length of the bed. This drives me bananas. "YOU'RE DOING THAT LEG THING," I will humourlessly say. Or, if I happen to flip over onto my left side, even though he is sound asleep, he will immediatlely flip over and face me. My god I hate that. I can not bear the steamy breeze of someone's breath washing over me as I sleep. Sometimes he'll throw an arm over my side, and as he falls deeper into sleep, his arm becomes heavier, and heavier and heavier, until it weighs approximately 300 pounds.

I miss my single bed! I miss it! WAAAAAAA! I used to share a room with my sister for YEARS! I could put my arms and legs any way I liked. I could sleep in a starfish position. Teenage karen would sleep and sleep and sleep. My sister and I used to get up between 11 AM and noon. My Mom would graciously lie for me if someone happened to phone, so as to hide my secret shame; "I think she's washing her hair right now. I'll have her call you when she comes down." YOU GO, MOM! Sometimes people would try to tell me, that by sleeping till noon I was "wasting" half the day. Wasting it. there actually anything better than sleep?!?

When my son was born, six years ago, I experienced total culture shock. I couldn't believe that I could be so tired, but still could not get more than a couple hours' sleep at a time. Also, getting up at 4 in the morning was horrifying. Yeah, dramatic, right? Plus, I found my new baby terrifying, but I digress. My parents came to visit not long after I had Jack, and when they were leaving I was sobbing on my dad. He told me that I was no longer on a twelve hour clock, but that I was on a 24 hour clock. Funnily enough, that was comforting. So then, as time marched on, and my son entered a long phase of endless colds, throat and ear infections, and then some dandy gastroenteritis (I hate you, stomach flu), deep sleep became a thing of the past, as I learned to listen for every change in breathing, or for sounds of imminent vomiting.

And then, along came Ella. My little love Ella was born on a Tuesday. She was born just after noon. I got ZERO sleep that night. Every time I tried to put her down--"WAAAAAAAAAAA!" And so I gave up on sleep, sometime around 5 in the morning. I didn't get more than two hours sleep at a time until FRIDAY. That's the most sleep-deprived I'd ever been. I was starting to feel very weird--spacey. Ella likes to get up at the @$$ crack of dawn. She doesn't come downstairs and quietly watch TV as her brother did. No, she harrasses for anything and everything until I finally emerge, homicidal, from my room.
"I'm thirsty. I need juice."

"I'm hungry. I need breakfast."

"Somebody help me put a movie on [the DVD player]"

*CRASH!!!!!!!" (a whole bag of building blocks has been dumped onto the UNCARPETED hardwood floor)

Last Saturday was particularly fantastic: thanks to a whole new dimension of sleep disturbance, called GRIEF, I now wake up even more times during the night. Interestingly enough, for a few nights I would wake up, look at the clock and see


Weird. Okay, so last Saturday I idiotically went to bed at midnight. And then I was awake from 2 AM till 4 AM. And then my little morning person came trotting downstairs to start her day at FIVE FORTY FIVE. 5:45. Sweet mother of god, I didn't know whether to weep, or go out and beat the crap out of some random person.

Oh yes, and let's not forget my thyroid. My sucky, sh*tty, used up, burnt out, nodule-on-it thyroid. I'll have to blog another time about the joys of needles in the neck, but for now let's just say that while arrogant doctors have informed me that my thyroid is "normal, normal, normal," my last doctor did concede that I am at the 'low end' of normal. In all my medical ignorance, let me explain it thusly: if your magic thyroid number is "5" and over, it merits treatment. Last time I had a blood test, my count was 4.75. Gee, no wonder I feel like coughed-up crap all the time.

Actually, this blog is making me a little ill now. I already do enough obsessing over sleep, so this has just revoltingly put it over the top.

blech. At least there's naps.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A Brief Interlude From Griping

Okay, nobody panic. I've decided that once in a blue moon, I can be nicey-nice, and post some random pics of beauty from my own little world. So, pardon me while I bury my head in the sand for a moment, forget that the world is a fairly rancid place, and take some snaps of my garden. I'm sure I'll be my old crusty self again soon enough :)

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Are We Really Unique?

Okay, well there's the old fingerprint there that means we're unique...

Recently I've been thinking about us silly humans, and wondering if we're really all that unique. Okay, it's a given that we all come with our our own unique (I've almost said "unique" enough for the word to lose all meaning) genetic makeup, and we have our own fingerprints to identify us, and nobody looks and thinks exactly like I do (unless there's another whiny, cynical, chubby, procrastinating, discontented homemaker/mom out there with a burnt out thyroid, who likes to unscramble word jumbles, roll meatballs and go mildly bananas when she notices other people who still haven't learned that 'their,' 'there,' and 'they're' really do have their own unique place in the grammatical world, and that 'I seen,' will never be the right way to say it..but I digress).

The point is, we all do so much of the same damn stuff, that I wonder just how original we are. I used to have a friend who was a philosophy zealot. He had written for anyone who cared to read his profile page; "you are not unique." I felt all up in arms about that--defensive, and protective of my own self-importance, and self-supposed uniqueness. "Am too!" I wanted to shout.

So then, once again, I took a few things into consideration, beginning with our own beginnings. Babies. My Mom loved babies. Loved, loved, love them. She used to tell me that the reason why women (especially those who've been lucky enough to have children) love babies so much is because they "all do the same things, and so it reminds you of your own kids when they were babies."'s true though. We all do particular things around particular ages, give or take a few months here or there. For example, at a certain point of development, a baby will point at objects around him or her, in order to express interest. It's super cute, but it's a given: at a certain age in your life, you liked something so you pointed at it. I have to say though that this does bring up a whole n'other argument about uniqueness, because my son never pointed at anything when he should have been pointing at things. Does this mean that being a member of the Autism Spectrum club rendered him "unique?" Or is he actually still not unique, because kids who live with various degrees of "Autism" typically don't point at hurts my brain...


I used to work as a cashier in a casino. Incidentally, I have to always punctuate this by stating it was a truly heinous and repulsive job, and if I ever have to serve the general public again, I will probably stick a pen in my eye at some point. I cashed in slot machine tokens, exchanged money, cashed in some poker chips, etc, etc. Over and over again, people would say that same stupid crap, and act like they were the first person to come up with it. I can't tell you the number of times, as a bus tour would be about to leave, the people cashing out would say to me: "Gotta go, gotta catch a bus!" Seriously. Over and over again:
"Gotta go, gotta catch a bus!"
"Gotta go, gotta catch a bus!"
"Gotta go, gotta catch a bus!"
"Gotta go, gotta catch a bus!"
"Gotta go, gotta catch a bus!"
You can only smile and nod so many times people. And then there was St. Patrick's Day. It must be noted at this point that our uniform shirts were GREEN. So, imagine a million happy-slappy @$$holes coming to buy or cash in tokens at my window and saying; "I see you got [sic] YOUR green on!" Over, and over, and over again. Every one of them thought they had invented a new, super funny joke. It was pointless to say; "I have to wear this. It's a uniform." Instead, I smiled, nodded, and died just a little bit more inside.

I've also been thinking about the stages of grief. If you "google" the "stages of grief," you will be given your pick of about 540,000 results. If you're interested, you can go here: and learn all about the stages of grief. The point is, these feelings we have when we are experiencing intense grief, are so typical, they can be outlined into 5 distinct, succinct stages. My dad has been going for grief counselling, and recently went to his first group meeting. So guess what happened; one person said that since the death of his/her spouse/loved one, he/she has been SOOOOO TIRED. Everyone in the group nods their head, eyes widen; "ME TOO!" Someone else: "I've been having trouble concentrating, and completing the simplest task." Everyone else: "ME TOOOO!" Another person: "I feel like I'm going crazy." Everyone else--well, you get the picture.

So right now we're all saying to ourselves, "I am too unique! I like coffee with chemical whitener in it and brown sugar, and everyone else likes cream or milk, so NYAH!" Yes, yes, we all have our little differences, but I have to wonder if we are really any different from that colony of tiny black ants THAT WON'T GET THE EFF OUT OF MY KITCHEN NO MATTER HOW I SWEEP THEM UP, OR VACUUM THEM, OR PUT CINNAMON BY ALL THEIR ENTRYWAYS, OR PUT DOWN THAT LIQUID POISON FOR THEM TO BRING BACK TO THEIR QUEEN AND WIPE OUT THE WHOLE COLONY...

sorry. I wonder if we're any different from a colony of ants, scrambling around, keeping busy, simply existing. Cynical? Probably.

Still, every time I want to wallow in self pity, and say; "I am sad because my mother died," there is somebody else out there who says; "ME TOOOO!"

Scramble, scramble, little ant.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Holy Hell I'm Tired

I have officially over-extended myself today. Okay, it usually goes a little something like this: during PMS, which can last anywhere from 7 to 14 days (yeah, nothing but good times), karen becomes so apathetic, blah, and of a all encompassing "who gives a $^*!" type attitude, that lots of important household tasks go right down the toilet. This can include laundry, general cleaning, dusting, regular dish washing, making quality dinners, putting any clean laundry away, etc, etc. And then, the black cloud passes by, and I am overwhelmed with the knowledge that my house has turned into a dump, the children had to wear underwear that was probably already worn today, and my husband has probably been forced to go without underpants altogether. OKAY THEN, time to get to work.

So, I put away a laundry basket that was brimming with clean towels, sheets, pillow cases, dish towels, and some precious clean clothes for the kids. Then I did four loads of laundry, hung two of them out on the clothesline to dry, and put the other two in the dryer. I patiently endured my son's rage when I insisted on washing the underpants he was using as "violins" for his stuffed bears, and I even endured some typically earthy conversation with my daughter ("poops are slimy," she casually informed me, as she ate her lunch. While this may indeed be a "given," I'm not particularly thrilled about these types of topics, but then, I'm all grown up for the most part).

I artfully concocted a banana bread pudding, which handily utilized all the end pieces of the many loaves of cinnamon/raisin bread my son consumes. The end pieces, apparently are too disgusting to even consider eating. Then, I zipped out to the grocery store with my daughter, because I am insane, and I HAD to have FRESH BASIL for the super yummy tomato gratin dish I made. This trip to the grocery store pretty much sucked: no fresh basil. So, go to another store right? Well, here's the problem: we also went there for ice cream. Once I picked up the tub we'd chosen, my daughter became SINGLE MINDED with her need to EAT THE ICE CREAM. Before I paid for it: "I can eat ice cream now," said Ella.
Me: "I have to pay for it first!"
Ella: "THEN I can eat it?"
Me: "We have to go home, and then I'll make you an ice cream cone."
In the parking lot..Ella: "Can I have ice cream now?"
Me: "We have to get home first."
Ella: "But I WANT ice cream!"
Me: "WE HAVE TO GO HOME FIRST, SO STOP ASKING ME FOR IT, OR YOU WON'T GET ANY! about we go to another store so Mummy can find basil?"
Ella: "I just want to go home so I can eat my ice cream!"
Me: *grumble, grumble.*
At home..Ella (in a sing-songy voice) "Now I can HAVE ICE CREAM!"
Me: "yes, yes, you can have ice cream!!!!"
Ella: "can you get my ice cream?"

Okay, so, no fresh basil. I hate being thwarted. Made a really nice dinner, then put on ugly clothes in order that I might PAINT THE BATHROOM. And here's the pathetic part:

The bathroom had already been painted. Back at the end of March, I picked out this browny pink colour, and the man slapped the paint on for me. I loved it. I said to my Mom (who was sick, and afraid to come over because my kids had their millionth cold); "you'll have to come see my new bathroom colour! I love it!" I was all excited about it. I never choose colours in this pallette. I think it was called 'rum raisin' or something like that. Anyhoo, then my Mom went into the hospital. And then my Mom died.

As time passed on, I started to hate the colour. It was now the colour of the room that I painted when my Mom was really sick. It was the colour of the room that my Mom never got to see. It was eerily like a colour of lipstick my mom would wear. Get it the f*** off my walls. And so I forked out a good chunk of money for a new can of some colour called 'popped corn.' White, in other words. I was slapping the paint on that room, and thinking about how my inlaws, without saying it, couldn't fathom my need to repaint a just-painted room. So, like a little mantra, as I painted, I kept saying to myself; "MY house, MY grief." And so then I finished painting. And then I cried.

And now I am mucho tired! Holy frock. Still, I only have three weeks to catch up on my neglected housework until PMS sets in again! Good times, girls, good times.

*I am NOT checking this for typos.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

#*%$@! Lasagna

I hate ME sometimes--I truly do. You know, I almost never make lasagna anymore. It's very time consuming, and it costs a fair bit, once you buy all of the necessary ingredients. Also, a local company makes several delicious variations of lasagnas, and theirs either is cheaper than homemade, or equally as expensive. Also, theirs is almost as yummy, so, why go to the trouble, right? I'll tell you why one goes to the trouble: arrogance.

So, today I am having my dad, my sister, and my nieces over for dinner. I'm going to make a masterful mushroom lasagna, I decided a couple of days ago. It's going to be fantastic! So, I bought the ricotta cheese, another package of mushrooms (already had one), a large package of Italian sausage to make an extra yummy sauce, a container of grated Romano cheese, some spinach, and some parsely.

I started at 10:00 this morning by first removing the casings from the amount of sausages I wanted to use, cutting them into smaller chunks, and then sauteeing them in olive oil until they were lovely and carmelized, along with a couple of cloves of minced garlic. Then I dumped in a very respectable jarred pasta sauce, some coarse-ground black pepper, a bay leaf, and a lot of dried basil. I simmered this concoction for about three hours.

Next I got two packages of sliced mushrooms, a third of a nice, sweet vidalia onion and another clove of garlic, and sauteed them for ages until the onions were nearly carmelized, and all of the liquid had cooked out of the veg. I chopped and added some fresh thyme whilst they were cooking, along with salt, and black pepper. When all the liquid had cooked away, I added a good glug of red wine to the mushroom mixture and cooked that until it was all absorbed, along with a pinch of sugar.


THEN, I mixed together in another bowl: ricotta cheese, an egg, some fresh-chopped parsley, dried basil, a lot of grated romano cheese, and some grated mozzarella cheese. I mixed this all together, and set it aside.

I then shlopped together a very hasty, phony bechamel sauce (stroke of genius, if I do say so myself), and set it aside.

AT LAST, I began assembling my lasagna: layer of yummo sauce on the bottom of a large casserole dish, a layer of noodles, then a layer of mushrooms and phony bechamel sauce, another layer of noodles, and then ricotta cheese...

OKAY, so you get it--it took a lot of time. By the time I was assembling my lasagna, it was getting close to 2:00. I was putting my last layer of noodles on, when SUDDENLY (and I wonder why it only happened at THAT moment...perhaps because I am the great cosmic joke) I stopped, and though; "hey, did I buy "oven-ready" lasagna noodles? Surely I did, right???

OF COURSE I DID NOT. I now have no idea how the frigging thing will turn out. I decided to try to salvage it (after I stood and just looked at it for ten minutes), by pouring piping hot sauce over the top later, and quickly sealing it with aluminum foil, hoping this might cook the thing a little bit before I put it in the oven. So, now I'm going to try to bake it for two hours at a slightly reduced heat, and PRAY that I don't serve LEATHER LASAGNA to my family.

So big deal, right? Yeah, it's not the end of the world, except I do this kind of thing all the time. This kind of stuff happens to me so often, I could weep.

* A couple of weeks ago, I made a gorgeous apple pie. The pastry was beautiful, it was piled high, and as soon as I put the top crust on I realised I'd forgotten the cinnamon.

* One year I made hot cross buns for Easter, and got them in the oven in time to realise I'd forgotten the salt

* the next year I made hot cross buns, I forgot the sugar

* Once I tried to make this fancy, rolled up, stuffed cod dish, whereby the fish cooked in chicken broth. I assembled and rolled up all the fish, cracked open the can of broth, poured it over the casserole and realised then that it was BEEF BROTH. Jon still says "Beef Fish" was the only truly bad meal I ever made

* The last meal I attempted to make for my mom was homemade chicken soup. She had been sick for a long time, and I thought I would make a soup that was just crammed with healing and restorative powers. I lovingly skimmed the fat off all day, and was about to strain out all the depleted soggy vegetables, and then replace them with fresh chopped, lovely veg. I put my FAVOURITE LARGE GLASS MIXING BOWL in the sink, colander on top, and brought my boiling hot soup over to pour through. My mom was sitting at the kitchen table and we were chatting. We were about 20 minutes away from eating dinner. As I began to pour I heard a loud "CRACK," as the bowl cracked, and all of my broth gurgled down the drain. I stood there with dropped jaw, staring in disbelief for ages.

I could fill pages with similar frustrations. Should any of this happen during PMS WEEK? SHOULD IT?!?!?!?

I just stuck the thing in the oven, and said to it; "Godspeed, A$$hole."

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


If I've changed the milk bag once, I've changed it a billion times. Just sayin'.

Hey, how do you like that drawing? That represents a solid forty five minutes of Mom Job avoidance. Yeah! At one point my son came up, as I was drawing away at the computer, and exclaimed with hyperbolic despair and disbelief that his lunch STILL was not ready! Oh, the tragedy! The day he learns to slice the crusts off and slap the pb and j on himself will be a day that's almost as exciting as when he finally learned to wipe his own bum with passable competence. Milestones, people--we can all look forward to milestones.

I am crammed with PMS. I'm QUAGMIRED in it. I have read that in some cultures, while women are having their periods, they stay in a special hut. Have I innacurately noted that it is perhaps called a "moon hut?" Well, at any rate, that sounds dreamy. Imagine it--no kids, no men, just peace and tranquility. It sounds like a vacation to me. However, I think the hut would be far more beneficial during PMS time; a time when all the right hormones converge to make me nearly homicidal. There's even a regular day during the bad pre-hormone cycle whereby I will faithfully declare that THIS HOUSE IS A PIGSTY! I hate to admit this, but a couple of months back, I warned Jon to note on his calendar the week that I would hate all mankind (and I mean humankind by that). I showed him where abouts good old PMS begins, and then the blessed date with the star on it when my little red friend might show up. So, he, thinking he was very clever, marked on the calendar the day he figured I would start freaking out about the state of the house. I forgot about this, and would you believe that on that very day I shouted out; "THIS HOUSE IS DISGUSTING!" He was delighted. Grumble, grumble.

So anyway, I just want to be alone. Alone! ALONE! A*L*O*N*E Yesterday I ran a small errand for my sister, and when I pulled up to her house, her super duper jerk neighbour was putting his garbage out front, and happened to be looking at me. I fixed him with a good; "give me a reason to kill you," look and he soon looked away. "Yeah, that's right MOFO, you'd BETTER LOOK AWAY FIRST!" Brutal. Still, these emotions have me in their power--not that I take them out PHYSICALLY on anyone. I'd rather plug my ipod into my head and listen to "Break Stuff" by Limp Bizkit. I can't go into too much detail if you haven't heard the song, because it is chock full of the really good swear words. Anyway, you should get the general idea just from the title. I planted four containers of flowers last night without anyone bugging me, and then I felt much, much better.

Today, however, I'm back on the PMS train. The kids were getting on my nerves as usual, and I told them again that if they didn't KNOCK IT OFF, I was going to send them on a vacation to TIME OUT ISLAND. Then, after a flash of inspiration I said; "actually, I'm going to send you to TIME OUT WORLD. It's next door to Disney World." Jack said; "is it???" I said; "yeah, only you don't get to have any fun, you just sit there and SMARTEN UP all day. Ha ha! 'From this point, you will be SMARTENING UP for one hour...'" Then both kids shouted; "Aaaaah! I don't wanna go there!" This time-out wishful rant was probably in reaction to my son telling me that I was "pissing him off." He's at that age right now whereby newfound bad words are like shiny treasures. I said; "WHOA, WHOA, WHOOOOOOOOA! You can't say that until you're old and ugly, like Mummy!"

You know what else is really important when one has PMS? Sleep. Okay, so that's a hot one. If "Snorry Snorrington" doesn't wake me up several times during the night, my daughter Ella is pretty much up for the day anywhere between 6 AM and 7. So, at 6:30 this morning, there she is, all perky and FRIGGING RELENTLESS beside our bed.

"Daddy, I need apple juice." If you just forgot that I typed FRIGGING RELENTLESS, then you won't understand why it's pointless to NOT GIVE IN and get her the apple juice. Relentlessness: this is a quality both my children have in spades. While it will give me an aneurism eventually, I have to think that it will serve them well in their adult lives. Still, there's that aneurism that I'll be getting to one day...

***NB No, aneurisms are not funny. I'm not making a joke about people who've had them. Trust me. The point is, 6:30 in the morning, after a sh*tty night's sleep, is really, really not funny either.

So, what I want to say is, "dinner? Laundry? Washing dishes? Today? You people can suck it!" I don't think they'd take it too well.


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