Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Little children come trick or treating to my new house, the hookers are gone!

In good news, I took off that godawful picture of my giant sweaty head.  It was making me not want to come and check my own blog it was so hideous.  One day I will do a blog header photoshoot and come up with a good one for you all.  For now we are back to nothing.

I am working on the moving in process.  We are painting over our hideous red bedroom, and the blue and pint children's room (or as I like to call it, the princess fetish room, you'll see...).  The only problem is how to get the mirror of the basement ceiling.  What?  I never mentioned that before?  O that is because it is creepy and weird and I have to clean the carpet down there at least twelve times before I ever even dream of going barefoot down there.  It is stuck in the middle of a crazy black spaceship kinda design.  It is very big and embedded into the ceiling.  I will post pictures for you, don't worry.  I am going to start a home renovations by the unemployed series, based on my gross rental house.  I hope you are ready for that kind of drama.

We got our keys on Tuesday and went in to start painting before we move Saturday.  That is when I discovered all of our outdoor lights are red.  We are moving into an ex-brothel.  Confirmed.  People's private lives are freaky and disgusting, that is what this small glimpse has taught me. 

I was coming on here to tell you my internet access will be limited for the next while and you will have to deal with your life without me to brighten it, but obviously I got distracted by that stunningly hideous story. 

While you are waiting for me to come back I need you to watch this video.  At first it will seem cute, but watch it at least 100 times, preferable after a bottle of wine.  This is the funniest damn thing I have ever seen.  EVER!

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Good bye Toronto!

I have always described my relationship with Toronto as 'love-hate' but as I went to write this post I realized it is really more of an abusive relationship.

I moved to Toronto, fresh out of university, living with my cousin (okay, if you must know, we accidentally moved in right next door to Regent Park because we got a great deal on the sweetest little apartment).  I came to Toronto, bright eyed and full of dreams.  Ready to make a difference in the world.  Wanting to experience the excitement of the big city.

Our first day went something like this...

Me: Hey Toronto, I'm exhausted, we spent all day moving and cleaning.  But I am so excited to get out and explore and get to know my new home.

Toronto: I'm so excited for you to be here!  I can't wait to show you how wonderful I am.  I am a clean city full of friendly people with a Pickle Barrel walking distance from your house.  You will be so happy here.

Me: Yay!  I love this great city of greatness!  Fantastic!  *skips to Pickle Barrel and stuffs face full of joy and chicken wraps*

Night falls on this delicious city.  Our first night.  The stars twinkle, and then Toronto comes at us, full force.  On a walk outside we find crack addicts and dealers, a sweater abandoned and covered in vomit, we hurry inside and spend the rest of the night listening to sirens from various law enforcers, screams and what we thought might have been gunshots.  We cowered in the darkness and prayed to live to see morning. 

In the morning the sun shines.

Toronto: Good morning Sweetie.

Me: Don't 'sweetie' me.  What the hell was that?  Holy frick!  That was the scariest night of my entire night.

Toronto: O it was a mistake.  I didn't mean it.  It won't happen again.  Trust me this time.  I want you to love me, I really do.  Come on, come to the Eaton Centre, see Kensington Market, do your grocery shopping in Chinatown, wander Yorkville and dream of being rich and important.  I have so much to offer you.

Over and over and over again that year we played this game.  Horrible, awful experiences.  Then Toronto would smile, bring me flowers, play nice for a few days and I'd be sucked back in.  By the end of the year I called myself 'Toronto Karen'.  I had grown assertive, I had become more worldly, I could take the subway without getting lost which was an achievement in and of itself. 

Then I left.  After being home in Niagara for only one year Herm got into law school in Toronto and back I came.  I have been here for almost four years now.  I would like to say it has gotten better, that me and Toronto have developed a healthier relationship and established a routine where both of us benefit.  But, that's not true.  Toronto won't give me a job, won't accept that I am a qualified and ready to work individual.  Toronto doesn't want to help me with my career, or my education.  There are no first chances here, never mind second chances! 

So, Toronto, this is where I break up with you.  We're leaving.  Next Saturday.  I will no longer live here, I won't have to fight through your horrifying public transit, I won't have to deal with your mess and your noise and your pollution and your lack of green space and your over crowdedness.  Nobody will stab me with an umbrella in the rain, or try to run be over while I'm biking, or shout at me for no reason except that humans were never ever meant to live like this and eventually the frustration gets to us all.

But then Toronto does what Toronto does best. 

Toronto: Okay Karen, if you think that is for the best.  If you have to leave.  But won`t you miss baseball games (and by baseball games I, of course, mean the nachos at the Skydome)?  I know Hamilton has malls, but Hamilton doesn't have Yorkdale.  Just sayin'.  Remember when you went to the zoo for your birthday?  Or Sneaky Dees nachos?  Will Regis have a dog park like Sunnybrook to play at in Hamilton?  Do you have a balcony to watch the sunset from, and grow a little balcony garden?  Will you be able to come to Steven and Chris every week? 

I mean, it's fine.  I totally understand that you want to go.  But what about the ROM?  You know you love that crazy mummy and trying to sneak in with your expired student card on Tuesdays.  Remember the time you went to the ballet?  Or the time you tripped up those stairs and the homeless guy shouted at you for blocks asking if you were okay?  Or when you drugged up on gravol and conquered your fear of heights long enough to take the elevator to the top of the CN Tower and have a well deserved glass of wine?

All the cool kids go to the zoo for their 24th birthday!
 I have answers to all of this.  Toronto, I will find new places to go, new things to entertain me, new malls and shopping and maybe even a job!  I am not worried to be leaving you, in fact I don't even think I like you very much at all.

Then Toronto plays its trump card.

Karen, I get it.  No hurt feelings.  But, one more little thing.  What about your friends?  The friends you have made and collected from all over this city?  The ones who have become your family away from family?  Your in-laws who never remind you that you aren't actually related?  What about all the people who have taken you in, shown you the best fro yo (Menchis) or the cheapest beer (maybe Toby's until that guy broke a bottle and slit someone's neck, now we don't go there), or the greatest Mexican outside of Mexico (Mariachi), or where not to get food poisoning (another Mexican place, will remain unnamed)?  The first place you and Herm lived together?  Where you brought your puppy home to?  How can you leave? 

Karen, this is home.

Me:  Goddamit.  Goddam you Toronto.  I want to leave.  I really do, I want a smaller city and parks and no smog days and peace and quiet, somewhere that I feel safe all the time.  But I will miss it.  I will miss you so much.  Not just the city and the excitement but the friends and adopted family I am leaving behind.  We still have a week together.  Let's make the most of this week.  Maybe it isn't always healthy, and maybe not everybody understands why I keep coming back, but in the end I take this city for better or for worse (but NOT for another term of Rob Ford at mayor!). 

Friday, 21 October 2011

Everything is Crazy in this Cockamamy World

Yesterday I experienced the most amazing good luck.  You are not going to believe what happened to me.  Proceed with caution while reading, this story may cause you to become insanely jealous of my life. 


The scene: My living room. 

Husband and I are playing Trivial Pursuit. 

Final question, for me. 

It is something about a common phrase that is depicted using the number of letters in each word, being 1-4-3.  Loser Karen would have said something nonsensical like, "Pickle dee schmickle dee" because I couldn't be bothered to think of common phrases and how many letters each word had.  I don't generally like games, and I give up easily, especially on trivia questions.  I never win trivial pursuit, for a variety of reasons.  First,  Herm is a trivia genius, and I am not.  I am also absolutely terrible beyond belief at geography questions.  I can't answer sports ones, I am better at Canadian history than American and so I fail most of those.  BUT last night I was on a hot streak.  I had 5 pie pieces before Herm had any.  And I knew I had luck on my side. 

My being in the lead and answering the last question, it made everything become crystal clear.  Suddenly the entire world made sense.  "I love you."  That was the answer.  Chaos broke out (aka I reacted in an unnecessarily rediculous manner).  "I love you!!  I do love you.  I won.  I WON!!  I JUST WON TRIVIAL PURSUIT!!!!!!  WOOOOOO"  I was up and jumping on the couch, inventing the most beautiful winner of trivial pursuit song you have ever heard.

"I WON, I WON!!!!!!"

"Please stop yelling in my ear." 

Oops, I totally was yelling directly in his ear, in case he had somehow managed to miss this momentous event. 

"This is the best day of my life.  No seriously.  BEST DAY OF MY LIFE!!  I can't remember ever having a better day than this!!!!!"

"Well I really hope that isn't true, for your sake."

"No it's true.  IT'S THE TRUTH!!!!!  ........  (thinking)..........  okay maybe our wedding day was a little better than this day.  But I certainly can't think of another one"

Husband is exasperated.  "Please clean up the game.  I'm taking the dog out"

I was in such a hysterical state.  He was right, I had to settle myself down.  This was unbelievable.  By the time he came back I had managed to calm myself.

"You know what this means?  This is my trifecta of good luck." I whispered in amazement.

"What?  What does that mean?"  he asked, confused.

"Trifecta?  It means three, like a tricycle."  I am now confused by my husband's weak grasp on the English language.

"Not trifecta.  Your good luck.  I don't know what you are talking about."

So let me tell you about my fantastic day.  When I told Herm the story it involved a lot of yelling and jumping and dancing.  I have edited that all out for the sake of clarity, and not to appear like a total nut case.

First, I got a job interview.  Not a real one, but one for a chain store, in the mall near my new house in Hamilton.  (by the way, I am moving to Hamilton next weekend, more on that later)  But it is a chain store I would quite enjoy working at.  Let me tell you, at this point underemployed is far better than unemployed.  Good thing #1.

In preparing for our move I spent a lot of yesterday going through my crap.  I was supposed to be finding stuff to throw out to eliminate clutter in my life.  Unforunately I couldn't find anything to throw out.  I almost threw out this set to make Barbie clothes that I've had since I was little, but the black yarn is very sparkly and beautiful.  Maybe next time we move I'll get rid of that one.....  Anway, I looked in this little piggy bank in the shape of a London telephone booth with bears on it (obviously another keeper!) and what did I find?  $40!!!!!!!  Just when you think a day can't get any better.  Good thing #2.

Good thing #3 was obviously my miraculous win at trivial pursuit.  If you have ever had a better day than this one I would love to hear about it.  I apologize if this story has made you realize how sad and depressing your own life is.  But, cheer up, if a day this good could happen to me, it could probably happen to you too!

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Pig kissing, and other travel related adventures

Thursday morning book review!!  Yay!!

I must admit I've felt a little guilty about almost, but not quite, cyber punching a little old lady in the head yesterday.  I mean she didn't really do anything wrong, in fact she might not have even been being sarcastic.  Husband and I talked it over and he said she might have actually been making conversation in an nice, albeit a little weird way.....  Moving on, I do not take back that post because I believed it to be true at the time of the writing.  I am just letting you know today's post will be a little nicer.

The book I am reviewing is called "kiss the sunset pig" by Laurie Gough.  The title is from an obscure line in a song, and also maybe a folk tale, and also partly from some unpublished memoirs.  The story is a woman driving from Guelph to California.  Along the way she remembers a lot of her other crazy travel adventures, as well as having some new ones.

I love to travel and I love to read about other people travelling.  Her travel style is a little more intense than mine.  I don't think I am a high maintenance traveller, but her favourite memory is the week she spent living in a cave on the California coast without speaking to another person, eating granola and hoping she didn't get sick from drinking spring water she had seen cows bathing in.  A little too rustic for me, but I appreciate the sentiment.  I think you find a better, truer part of yourself when you travel.  I like to see what other people have found about themselves through adventuring.

After a particularly challenging trip to Sumatra she says, "trips don't mean you have to have a good time.  All you need to have is a 'time' for its own sake where you see this baffling universe in a different way than you've ever seen it before.  Bruno said I should go to Sumatra to see it and to see myself in it.  I'd done that, and even though I didn't always like what I saw in either, it would change me".

I think every trip changes you.  My sister and I went to an all inclusive resort in Cuba last year.  For $530 including tax we got our flight, food and alcohol, and activities for a week.  We had a blast, eating mostly raw vegetables (because one day we saw two guys carrying a dead goat across the resort, and that night it was on the menu), napping through the extreme heat every afternoon, and I took an accidental intimate shower with a tree frog (that story is for another day). 

Marea del Portillo

One day we decided to go horse back riding.  Our guide rode us off the resort and along dusty not quite paved roads and right into the heart of the village of Marea del Portillo.  This was not the romantic horseback ride along the beach you see in brochures.  We stopped at a roadside bar while the guide joked with the locals in Spanish.  We tried our best to interpret, refused multiple offers of beer, and had a small glimpse into someone else's life.  We saw how they lived in the village, not from the view of a large tour bus, and not as white saviours coming in with supplies to give them.  Just as two girls, bouncing in on horseback, alone in this foreign world.

When I look back on that vacation I think about the things I learnt from a week spent with my sister, about the laughter and the relaxation.  Would I recommend this resort based on its food, or comfort of the rooms, or safety?  Probably not.  Do I regret going?  Absolutely not. 

The end of the horseback riding story is that as we approached the beach the guide said to my sister, "When we reach the beach your horse gallops."  We had little time to think this over before we hit the beach and her horse took off at full speed leaving me trotting behind wondering how I was going to explain her unfortunate death to my parents......  She made it, but was told by her doctor when she got home, for the sake of her tailbone, to quit horseback riding!

I saw myself in a remote village in Cuba.  I wasn't as brave as I had hoped, or as fluent in Spanish.  But it definitely changed me.  Brought me a little bit of peace with who I am and what I am capable of.  Be brave and strong my readers!  Travel the world and come back and tell me about it. 

Today I am concentrating on seeing myself in my life here in Toronto.  I will admit, I don't always like who I am in my every day life, but really seeing that will help me to change into what I would like to be.  Hopefully.

Hey - give me one post of self reflection, I promise tomorrow I will be back to punching little old ladies! 

Maybe these little guys are my sunset pigs?

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

It's almost a punch in the face....

I am going to file this under 'face punching' but it was more of a strange encounter and I guess I want to punch the encounter itself.

Since Husband and I are moving in just over a week (more on that later), we headed out to spend our leftover wedding present money on new bedroom furniture.  We have decided to rent and not buy a house so we can continue to spend money frivolously on furniture and vacations and our fur baby rather than being responsible adults who pay for things like new roofs, and worry about the basement flooding or buying a new washing machine.  We are not ready for that.
Anyway, the point of this post is not that I can ramble on about nothing for pages and pages....

The point IS we found ourselves standing in the hallway waiting for the elevator.  You may remember, the elevators in our building are rather slow.  See my previous face punch for proof of this.  We were waiting and waiting and waiting.  Then the most adorable little old lady came to wait with us.  Picture this - she's about 4'5, slight stoop but not enough for a grotesque hunchback, lots of lipstick, standard little old lady haircut (you know exactly what I mean), a cart on wheels almost as big as her.  Adorable, right?  She stood and looked at me and said, "You know it's pouring rain out there, right?" 

We were headed to the parking garage to get the car, so I was only wearing a sweater and jeans (no, not the jeans I have outgrown, an older pair I can still squeeze into, no cause for celebration).  I smiled, as one does at cute little old ladies, and said, "o we're just going to the garage, but thank you."

She smiled sweetly at me and inquired, "Do you have a car?"

I continued smiling, trying to be polite even though my cheeks were beginning to hurt.  Isn't there a time when the pleasantries have gone too far?  I am just waiting for the elevator, we don't have to be best friends.  We can wait in silence.  Crazy little adorable lady.  But she was being sweet, so I replied, "Yes." and was hoping to end the conversation there.


She was still smiling, although it now felt a little strained, and slightly sinister.  Then she said, with saracasm dripping so heavily from her voice it formed a little puddle of bitterness at her feet, "Well isn't that nice for you." [italics mine]. 

For some reason, this last comment was a strange mixture of mean and snobby and pleading (we both felt as though we should offer her a ride to a place of her choosing), with a little bit of 'none of your business', and it struck me as hilarious.  Really irrationally funny.  I could hardly hold in my laughter.

This being the end of the encounter, you understand my confusion.  I can't possibly punch this little lady in the face, not even in cyber space.  So here I am, not punching her, but left with the feeling something should be punched.  You decide for yourself.

I do have a few real punches while we are the subject.  First - PUT AWAY YOUR CANADA GOOSE JACKETS TORONTO!!!!!!  Just because you can afford a jacket that costs roughly twice my monthly rent doesn't mean there is any reason at all to wear it while it is about 15 degrees out.  Toronto never gets cold enough to really need one of these jackets anyways, so really you just look wimpy and stupid wearing it in the beginning of autumn.  If you insist on having one at least wait until it gets somewhere closer to freezing. 

Second, I had a special request for a punch - those disgusting new commercials for cold sore medication have gotten disgustingly graphic.  If your mouth herpes are so bad they disfigure your entire face, do us all a favour and stay home.  Do not show them to me on television.   I have a sensitive stomach.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

My New Header

Hello Friends,

I have spent a rediculously long time trying to figure out a wonderful picture to put as my header.  Because what is better than a blog that you write primarily to entertain yourself about nothing and posting random pictures of yourself and pretending people care?  More writing and bigger pictures, that is what!

Let me take you through the thought process that went along with this.  First - I had a cute picture of me and Regis cuddling on the couch.  Fine.  Then I couldn't make it fit, and I tried to google search how to do it and the answer said something about checking the html.  Once I got up from rolling on the floor with laughter at imagining myself knowing what 'html' meant I realized there was a button I could click to make the picture fit.

But, seriously?  Enough of the dog pictures, he is adorable, but I don't need to be the internet equivalent of a crazy cat lady.  (Side note - speaking of crazy, I was at a course this morning and just noticed I am still wearing my name tag 3 hours later and clearly walked home with it on.  Oops...). 

So I looked at all of my pictures to try to find a new one, but I'm not sure what I'm trying to express here.  I was going to put on of me lounging by a pool, but maybeit would undermine the seriousness of my job search.  Then I was going to put one of me sitting by the Grand Canyon, to look artistic and contemplative about my future, but that seemed like a bit of a stretch for me.

I finally went with this one - me at a slot machine.  I thought it seemed fun and cute, gambling on my future, my ability to get a job, but still like to have a good time.  You might not want to employ me, but I'm okay, you haven't worn me down.  I look adorable and like to go out and have fun still.  I do not sit around in leisure pants and cry every day.  Nope, not this girl!  Yes, that is the right picture and vibe for my blog.  Definitely!

I got it all posted and went to check out my blog.  Well what do you know, apparently in order to make the picture fit blogger decided on a close up of my face (which is looking a little sweaty, I'm willing to admit), no real shot of the slot machine, and a full ashtray in the background.  I assure you I do not smoke, if you know me you will know I get headaches easily and am a bit of a whiner, and cigarette smoke makes me extremely dramatic, causing me to complain of being about to vomit, becoming quite dizzy, vision loss, and also ruining my hair. 

Anyway, I have decided to leave the picture because I thought maybe blogger was foreshadowing my future as a compulsive gambler, who takes up smoking, and has awful shiny gross skin.  I mean, let's be real, my skin isn't great to start with, and this picture has nothing on my current stress rash, but it can only go downhill from here. 

If you have any better ideas for a picture, let me know, otherwise I will try to come up with something on my own.  Do not be alarmed if I change it frequently over the next weeks.  It is all part of me trying out my new awesome blogging skills!

O - just in case you were wondering - here is the original picture...

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Unemployment Outfits

I have been struggling for a long time as to whether or not to actually post this....  but let's be honest, I have no shame.  I think it might help people who are currently unemployed realize they are not as alone as they think they are, we are all in this together and we can help each other.

My sister writes a fantastic fashion blog you can check out here.  This post will actually be the opposite of that.  This is about what my life has become, the depths I have sunk to, and I am not really sure if I can ever recover. 

First - a little bit about myself.  I have always been too poor and not super dedicated to really get into fashion.  I had  a little while in highschool where my style might be described as 'ugly' or 'hideously bad with a side of slutty'.  I still have enough self respect to not show you any pictures from these years.  As I matured I tried to stick with classic pieces and plain colours, possibly to counteract the 4 years I spent in jeans with fuzzy purple zebra print (I wish that wasn't a true story....  dear god how much I wish that....). 

Here we go -

I wake up every morning in my pajama pants, I'm not going to lie, by 7pm I am usually back in them, drinking beer and watching tv to numb the pain of another long and boring day.  This is the look.


The pants are fairly new and cute.  I love pajama pants, but cannot wear long sleeves to bed.  Instead I wear that delightful shirt with my name on it, to remind myself who I am.  When I wake up, or before bed I often snuggle into a hideous green sweater I stole from my Mom many years ago (sorry Mom, you can have it back just as soon as I get a job!).  Please take note of the excessive holes and faded print.  Very comfy.

Sometimes I switch into my lounging pants, or leisure pants, or just 'the leis' as they are known to me and my sister (not the one that writes the fashion blog, another one).  I wear these because I cannot wear pjs all day, it makes me feel like I am 8 years old and home sick from school.  These are obviously a step up.  Karen, where can I pick up a pair of these delightful pants for my very own, you ask?  I will answer.  These pants, elastic ankles and all, were found at Walmart, in the little boys section, in a variety of boy colours like dark gray, navy, black, forest green.  While I was tempted to get more than one colour I stuck with only the light gray because it is coziest.  Also, these babies will set you back $6, so you don't want to get carried away spending money like that!


Occasionally I also have to go out in public, to do things like walk the dog, or buy groceries, or visit friends and pretend my life is not in pathetic shambles.  For these occasions I used to wear things like jeans, or cute dresses.  Since in my unemployment I have gained so much weight my jeans no longer fit, and I have a vague hope that a job will help me drop the weight, and no money to buy new jeans, I have taken to wearing sweatpants.  I also call these my 'dog walking pants' because back when I had a job I didn't think they were suitable for wearing anywhere except on muddy hikes.  Boy has unemployment shown me how wrong I was.  These are now my dress up pants!

They are always paired with my dirty Gap sweater.  Depending on the weather I sometimes also wear a vest.  When the Gap sweater is being washed I will pair these hideous pants with some other ugly sweater, but never for long, as soon as my Gap sweater is washed I put it back on.  In fact, while my husband was taking this picture he commented that I wear this particular outfit every day.

Which brings us back to pj time!  Now I am ready to be carefully tucked back into bed and go to sleep before another day of bad fashion choices and hopeless job searches.

p.s. In case you were wondering, yes my face is covered with a hideous stress rash that I no longer bother to cover with makeup, partly because it is too awful to cover, and partly because I just don't care anymore. 

My final piece of advice is, don't be afraid to mix and match.  While downloading these pictures to my computer I found this candid shot where I appear to be lounging in my leis, while wearing my Gap sweater.  That's right, the possibilities are endless.....  actually considering there are only seven pieces in my wardrobe and half of them are pajamas, and one of them is the grossest sweatpants known to mankind, I think this is the end of the possibilities.... 

What I can't figure out is what combination I would wear to a job interview if I were to ever get one.  Decisions decisions....

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Say Cheese!

Thursday?  Check.

Morning? Check.

Book review?  Nope, sorry friends.  But, I have an explanation.  I ambitiously went to the library last week and took out four books.  These all turned into disasters.  The first was a book on fibromyalgia.  *note - I had written some funny stuff about fibromyalgia, but realized it isn't very popular to make fun of 'invisible illnesses' right now, and I would never want to demean or hurt anyone suffering just to make myself laugh, and considering I am hoping for a job in the social services, I feel it is in my best interest to not look like the world's biggest jerk!  HA I can make mature decisions. 

Next book - about Toronto.  After a summer of travelling I thought it would be fun to read a travel book about my own city.  Nope.  Not fun.  Apparently I know nothing about this city and the area I have always referred to as "the beaches" is actually "the beach".  I thought this piece of information was rediculous enough to give up the book, BUT earlier this week I went to a movie at the theatre in the beaches and noticed it did in fact say "Beach".....  strange but true.....

Third, a book about finding your dream job.  I had hoped to use this practical advice to help me get a job, but also to pass on some useful knowledge.  I realized a few pages in I have already taken this book out of the library and it didn't help last time, plus now my library records show exactly how lame I am.

The fourth book was a history of the condom.  Yes, I randomly wander the library grabbing anything that catches my eye.  I would be such a sucker for books with shiny covers!  It was fine, but more historical and less interesting than I thought it would be.

So, instead of a book review, I have decided to share with you some life advice I was given yesterday.  My love for free things and excessive spare time has led to me attending talk shows in Toronto.  In case you thought Steven and Chris was a one time only thing, I was there yesterday and last week I went to Marilyn Dennis.  Proof?  Sure no problem.

Steven and Chris yesterday had a segment on how to be happier.  I thought this was well timed for my life and was looking forward to some practical tips I could try out.  I only heard the first one, and it was so profound and life altering I couldn't possibly concentrate on the rest of them and tuned out completely.  In fact I have no recollection of the rest of the segment.  Except the psychologist was wearing adorable gray shoes. 

I could make you wait until October 18th when the show airs, and you can see me in the front row again.  Listen people - I was also in the front row of Marilyn, this is not a coincidence anymore.  Jen and I are gorgeous and you just have to deal with that.  I cannot help it if you get chosen for the 3rd or 5th or even back row.  But I do have a fabulous tip to make you happier.

Enough with the suspense.....  here it is......  "Smile at random strangers".

  Yes.  That was it.  It will apparently change your life.  Through this simple act you can spread joy to the entire world.  I don't mean to be rude, but I'm not sure this will work...  especially not in Toronto.  People here are trying so hard to be 'big city' and 'world class' they forget those terms do not also always mean 'extreme asshole'.  Toronto barely survives at being civil.  We let homeless people die on the street, daycares in Regent Park are shutting down because the rich people who have moved into those big new condo buildings don't want their rich white children going to school with poor kids, the TTC has body bags under the tracks for the extreme number of people who can't take it anymore and jump, o and at the Toronto Zoo a mother polar bear just ate her baby cubs to avoid having them grow up as Torontonians.  Could this city use an extra smile or two?  Absolutely!  Am I going to be the one to start?  Hell no!

That's not entirely true.  I did try yesterday.  I showed Jen my friendly, "hello stranger, I am here to brighten your day" smile.  Jen said, "uhmm  that is really more of a grimace....  you might actually scare people like that..."

BUT I did have a small success!  While Jen and I were pushing people out of our way, and sighing loudly at the slow old lady who needed directions from the ticket seller at the subway, Jen got on the escalator first and I went to get on next when a man stepped out in front of me.  When he saw me barrelling through he moved out of the way.  Normally, I would have rolled my eyes and given him a little elbow on my way past for ever trying to get in my way in the first place.  But no!  I had been inspired.  I looked at him, smiled and said, "Thank you."  I was so proud of myself.  I can only assume my kindness brought a smile to his face and his whole day was made better.  You are welcome stranger for my smile.

Jen, obviously following my excellent example, gave it a try this morning on her way to Cityline.  By the way, what is the matter with you Cityline?  Why couldn't we have two tickets?  Sheesh kabobers.....  But I digress....  This morning I received this text from Jen, "Can you please blog about smiling at strangers.  I tried it.  Awkward!  We exchanged a weird 'funeral' smile.  Like, 'hi, I'm so sorry to see you.'.

In conclusion (I always love how even in university I was taught to use that phrase to start a concluding paragraph, in future posts I will also be starting them with, 'in the beginning....' although that sounds a little biblical....), please try smiling at a stranger today.  Let me know how it goes.  I will keep you updated on my attempts at bringing happiness to this city.

I promise to review a book for next week.  And to blog about things that actually pertain more to unemployment than my random babbling.  Okay I don't promise that second one....

UPDATE  I have been rather unsuccessful, yesterday on a walk I told a lady my sweet little puppy was dangerous and would jump on her just to avoid the awkward small talk of her wanting to pet my dog.....  today is another day.....  I will try again......

Monday, 10 October 2011

Giving Lots of Thanks this Weekend

Hello Everybody,

So I realized occasionally my blog may take on a rather negative tone.  Possibly because I am slowly sinking into an unemployment depression and have occasionally lost the will to be civil to the outside world.

BUT - I am here on Thanksgiving weekend, heating up my turkey leftovers and feeling well rested and surprisingly upbeat from a great weekend at the cottage spent boating, looking at leaves and enjoying the global warming induced fantastic weather.  So I have a little story to tell you, it is going to seem corny to some of you, I know, you have permission to skip this one, but it made my weekend a whole lot better and I want to share with you.

Before I went up to the cottage I indulged in a wonderfully relaxing yoga class.  I have been known to fall asleep in yoga or giggle too much, but I kept myself under control for most of the class, and in the end while we were doing our final relaxation, the yoga teacher said something that really hit home for me.  She said to picture the world and how the world was reflected and acted inside of ourselves (I do realize yoga often seems super cheesey and more than a little silly, but stay with me, put yourself in my spot, your muscles are sore, you are given an hour of no stress out of a very stressful job searching week, and you are relaxing in the semi darkness with nothing but quiet and your own breathing). 

Back to my story - so I pictured the world and all the craziness of the financial trouble and environmental trouble and unemployment trouble and all sorts of other trouble and everything swirling in and on itself outside and also inside of me.  The yoga instructor told us to acknowledge this world and the truth of it.  So I did. 

Then she said to accept it.  We can't change what has happened outside of us, accept what the world is and work within it instead of constantly fighting it.

Finally, she said to show ourselves compassion.  I had never heard, or thought of that before.  I haven't been showing myself very much compassion lately.  I constantly beat myself up, maybe if my resume was better, or I wrote a better cover letter, or I was more aggressive with my applications.  Maybe if I had chosen a different major, or gone to a different school, or gotten better placements or internships.  When she spoke the word compassion, I thought, maybe I need to give myself a break.  I am willing to give almost everybody else a break, to say, I know you are trying hard, but it is a tough time right now.  I've never said it to myself. 

So, if you are spending this weekend sad and unemployed and feel like there is nothing to be thankful for, please show yourself a little compassion.  Not an excuse to slack off, or quit the job search, or give up.  Just a brief respite of niceness to yourself.  I deserved it, and so do you. 

Don't worry, I'll be back to hating my life by about noon tomorrow! 

Yes, Regis wears a lifejacket in the boat!

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Prediction for the Future - a new all time low!!

I wish this story was a lie, or at least an embellishment of the truth.  But, sadly, it is not.  This is what my life has really come to.  Two nights about I had two separate and terrifying dreams.  In the first one I found out I was pregnant.  There is no better way to ruin your life than with a pregnancy.  Sorry - if you have a family and children whom you care for and love, maybe you don't see it this way.  When you are barely hanging on taking care of your dog and yourself, a baby is never a cause for celebration.  I woke up in tears wondering why such an awful thing had to happen to me.  I settled down and realized it was just a dream.

Then came my next nightmare.  A woman, who I actually know from our building, we've never spoken, but I've seen her around, had jumped off the building and I watched her bang into different balconies and finally fell onto ours instead of the ground.  I ran to call 9-1-1 because even in my dreams I am not brave enough, or a good enough person, to try and really save someone.  But calling for help, I'm your gal!  So while I was dialing, she got up and crawled to the edge of the balcony and jumped again.  Jesus Christ.  I woke up and did not go back to sleep.  I decided that was a sign I should get up for the day instead of tempting my brain to come up with some other horror story. 

For the last two days I have been busily pondering what my subconscious is trying to tell me - although I think it is screaming "GET A JOB!!!!!".  I can only assume the baby dream was my complete inability to care for my future and a lack of prepardness for the real world.  The balcony jumping, although I'm not an expert in dream reading, I am pretty sure represents my sanity and it's relentless pursuit of trying to escape me (I gather this because the woman in question has the most awful sense of style, no seriously, awful, coming from someone who regularly wears sweatpants from Walmart little boy's section that only cost $6 at least half a decade ago).  Well excuse me, soundness of mind, but you haven't gotten away that quickly or easily. 

With all of this in mind, I flipped through the paper to my horoscope, and I kid you not, this is what it said,
"Aries (March 21 - April 19)
If a two-year-old can have a meltdown over the number of apple slices on her plate and a teenage breakup can usher in an entire year of emo angst, then of course you get to wallow in your own misery this week.  But, Aries, you'll have to pull yourself together during the workday and self-medicate with a martini or two in the evening, like a grown up."

I glanced around suspiciously at the other people on the subway, wondering if somehow they knew that this silly paper had accurately portrayed my entire life in just two sentences.  I just don't know what to make of this.  It spurred me into action and I came home and squeezed into my jeans which I haven't been able to get on since June (hence the aforementioned sweatpants...) and I put on a real shirt, not my stained Gap sweater.  Unfortunately that is where my action ended and the only other thing I could come up with was to blog about it all....  yikes! 

Go and vote!

I love face punching, and complaining and being unemployed and depressed and lonely as much as the next depressed, unemployed and lonely girl. But what I would really love is some change to the world. However can we make that happen? Here is my solution. Vote. We are lucky enough to live in a democracy where we have the choices and options to vote.

Blah blah blah there are a lot of complaints about our system and reasons why people claim not to vote. Do rich, white, men represent most of Ontario? And especially most of Toronto? Absolutely not. Does the occasional rich white woman make this vote more representative. Maybe marginally so. Do politicians really care about you? No, they do not. Let me explain to you why not. WE DON'T VOTE! Check this out. In the 2008 general election only 37.4% of youth between 18-24 voted. Only 48.1% of us even bothered to register to vote. 25-34 year olds didn't do a whole lot better, 48%. Less than half. Do you know what this means? Politicians don't have to care about you because you aren't going to vote. From the age of 45 and up, 60 to almost 70% of people vote. That's right, as a generation we suck. We are apathetic and pathetic.

Enough boring numbers, if you are still reading, I am slowly getting to my point. There are a lot of things we all have in common - we don't have jobs, we don't have job prospects, we are over educated for the jobs we are trying to get, we will never pay off our OSAP, and in the future our children won't have safe and affordable day care, we won't be able to buy houses, our health care and later our own health will fall apart. We will end up working 3 part time jobs all for minimum wage, none with adequate benefits, just to make rent on our small apartments while our children are in daycare from 7am to 6pm and we've gone with the lowest bidder to be in charge of their well being. Is this your future? It sure is looking like mine.

Here's the solution. VOTE! Maybe this election they don't care, but when 70% of 18-34 year olds are voting, politicians will have to start catering to us. They will bribe us with tempting offers and they will offer us voting choices in a range of skin colours, genders, sexual orientations, backgrounds, and income levels. We can have a real say in this country.


I used to think in order to vote you should be well educated on the issues, know your candidates, watch the debates, have real discussions about politics. I think now the situation has gotten too dire. We need to get our voices heard now. I'm not going to tell you who to vote for, or even who I am voting for. Pick a voting method and go do it. Stay up all night researching issues and political histories and make a good choice. Choose your favourite colour and go for it. Vote NDP in memory of Jack Layton, vote not NDP in memory of Jack Layton. Go into that little cardboard box and play 'eenie meenie minnie mo'. Or pick the funniest name, or the longest, or the one that starts with a vowel, or the one that has the same name as your grandmother's neighbour's parakeet. I don't care. I just need you to get out there and vote.

Go here, look for the big yellow posters in your community October 6th, and go do it!! For me, for yourself, for your friends and family and for your children who all deserve better and greater opportunities in this world than what we currently have. Do it or else my next face punch is going to be for you!

Monday, 3 October 2011

Cha Cha Cha Disgusting!

I have a punch in the face that I've been waiting a long time to send out.  It is to those damn little Charmin Bears and their little bear butts.  I see this commercial all the time.  Mama Bear is upset about the state of Baby Bear's behind.  It is simply covered in toilet paper residue.  I have to see this commercial while I am eating, or trying to relax.  I have to watch this little bear wave his dirty little bear (bare?) bottom all over our television set, and quite frankly, I am sick of it.  It makes me feel physically ill.  I will admit, I am often over sensitive and have been known to cover my eyes during violent movie scenes, or graphic episodes of CSI.  But not commercials.

These bears simply reveal too much.  It is not cute.  They are gross.  I hate them.  Really and truly.  Hate!  If people all over the world are really having problems with too much toilet paper being left behind after they use the washroom, well I just don't care.  Much like yeast infection commercials, this is one I can do without.  If you are having this problem, figure out a solution quietly, you don't need a dancing bear!  Although while searching for pictures of these little bears I found this blog post that made me laugh.  Above all else, if you are going to feature dancing bears with toilet paper stuck to their butts, it is essential to be accurate, especially about the quantity of debris left behind.  Really?  Who decides if cartoon bears are not honestly displaying the correct amount of paper left behind after wiping?  Can I have that job? 

Writing this face punch reminded me of a fun bathroom display in NYC.  We were out and about for New Years Eve and needed to find a bathroom when this exciting Charmin display appeared!  Okay, Charmin, maybe you aren't all bad....  but enough with the bears!  Please.

Free bathrooms!  Yay!  This was a great way to spend a few hours in NYC!

After bathroom activities included fake tobogganning with this Charmin bear.

Cheerleading.  Do you prefer soft or strong?  What an odd and effective ad campaign.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Another money making idea...

Hello Friends - I bet you are ecstatic to see what I have come up with now.  Get ready....  I have decided to sell my wedding dress.  I have now been married for almost three wonderful months, and let's be honest, the novelty has worn off.  After seven years of dating and three years of living together, married life is much like unmarried life.  Wonderful, but no reason to have 35 pounds of dress hanging in my tiny closet any longer.  To be truly honest it doesn't even fit in my closet, it is hanging on the outside door.

O I know, there are wonderful things you have do with your wedding dress after the wedding.  In twenty years I can try to wear it to a fun party that someone decides to host where we all wear our wedding dresses - but I starved my face off to fit into that thing at 26, what are the odds my ass will ever fit it in at 45?  I'm going with slim to none.

I was told to make it into the bassinet covering for my babies.  This seemed cute and sentimental, but just not practical considering my dress was mostly corset style, thousands of unnecessary buttons, and lots of fluffy fluff, not a lot of baby basket covering material. 

There is the classic - pay $200 for someone to steal it and give me a plastic covered box and say, "Don't ever open this or else it will turn yellow and fade into dust within ten minutes, you hear me Cinderella?"  I just don't really understand this.  I would love someone to explain the infatuation with a dress that will be out of style within two years being saved for all of eternity.  After I'm dead, whatever remaining friends and family I have can gaze fondly at that box and remember how I used to be young and beautiful?!?  Or, I can use it for the classic, torture my daughter and pretend she might one day want to wear my beautiful gown.  Be honest, would you wear your mother's gown?  Why the heck would a future, unborn daughter want to wear yours? 

So, I say sell it!  Sell it quickly.  I can't help but think, when I see 6-10 year old dresses advertised for sale, that there has been a divorce and the dress is now saturated in bad karma.  Sell it now.  Full of excitement and positive energy, still in style.  Pay your rent.  Take a vacation.  Buy groceries.  Focus on your marriage, the fun and excitement is all there, not in an overpriced rediculous dress.

p.s. If you are interested, it is a Pronovios Fauna, size 2, about 5'5 including my heels.  Email me.  O, and this seems to be essential in every used dress ad I have seen - it's only been worn once.   

Punch in the Face #3

This is going to sound like a petty complaint...  you will think, "Karen, you do nothing with your life, you have nothing but time to waste every day, shut up already."  Now you have been warned.  If you still want to hear my sad story, please continue reading.  *Cue very tiny violins*

This has been an especially busy move in/out month in our apartment building, I was told 40 apartments are changing hands for October.  Do this math for me, will you?  40 apartments, 4 elevators, minus 2 elevators that are broken, minus 1 elevator on service for the cleaning staff, minus 2 elevators that are on service for move ins, minus 4 elevators that once they go to the basement skip the ground floor, leaving crowds of people stranded waiting on the ground floor while they carry on up to floor 26 with only a single person.  To top it off, today was flea and heartworm medication day for my puppy.  To put it gently, this medicine makes his sensitive stomach 'upset' the day he takes it.  There is absolutely no time to wait fifteen minutes for the elevator to dilly dally about, being repaired and cleaning floors and moving in new people.  This is especially frustrating because it has been going on since Wednesday and shows no sign of stopping.

I am giving this face punch to the higher powers in this building who have allowed so many new people to move in and take over our elevators.  Who are these new people?  We don't know them.  They could be serial killers, or loud music players, or people who throw items off their balconies.  We have no reason to trust them, no reason to give them our precious elevator space.  This is simply madness.  To inconveniance good, rent paying, quiet, perfectly lovely tenants for the sake of these unknown strangers simply doesn't make any kind of sense.

I am also face punching the elevators themselves.  Elevators, why must you break down?  Why do you always need to be repaired and even after being repaired are still broken?  I can't understand why you continue to torture me.  Remember the time you locked me and my dog in your moving coffin of a body?  Must I really endure more than that?  Is it because my New Year's Resolution was to take the stairs every day and in the last ten months I have taken the stairs approximately twice?  Is this my punishment?  I apologize.  I will try harder.  I promise.  But for now I must punch your face, don't take it personally.

Finally, this one is where it gets personal.  Today, after waiting an obscene ten whole minutes to get on an elevator, a man who was clearly moving in, filled an elevator, taking enough room for at least two people, with his foot stools and clear plastic container.  You are the new one here, show some respect, do the right thing, don't start on the wrong foot.  BOOK A GODDAM ELEVATOR!!!!!!    Consider your face punched sir.  Welcome to the building.