Welcome to The Chronicles

 This is a blog solely dedicated to my rants and theories and the quest for happiness in  life. Yes, contary to popular belief, I actually like questing. I always thought people who write blogs were incredibly self-centred and delusional to think that other people want to actually read about someone else’s life.

I actually still do.

You will notice several things about this blog:

1) I don’t actually DRINK Starbucks coffee more than twice a week. I do love Starbucks, but I love my hard-earned money more.

2) I wear skinny jeans to work. Because I can.

3) I rant and come up with odd theories on how the world should be. Some of you call it complaining. I call it my blog.

So I hope you enjoy your time here. Feel free to click around on different subjects that might interest you. This blog is work in progress as I have just moved from Blogger and I’m still trying to get settled in WordPress. You can find out more about me on my ‘About Karen’ page.

Happy Reading!

The Girlfriend Zone

So I have been debating on whether or not to share this with you guys for a while. Maybe I felt kind of shy telling the whole world about the man that completely changed my whole world. Maybe on some level I am superstitious and did not want to jinx it.

This is basically what convinced me to write about it: The Friend Zone. It’s a post I wrote on February 2, 2012. Exactly one year after I wrote The  Friend Zone, I met Allister on February 2, 2013.

*Author’s Note: It just occurred to me that this was post I wrote on February 2, 2012: Reality check: Why I’m going to be the next Bachelorette. Either post works really. They both speak to my hopeless humorous situation at the time. 

As a lot of you may have come to know about me, I had my own views of what relationships should be like. I had never been in a serious relationship but I had a lot of friends who were in a lot of serious relationships and observations taught me many things.

People in average relationships seemed happy enough. People in great relationships, however, seemed…quiet. People in great relationships knew what it took to make it to where they were. I always wanted a great relationship. I knew it would take work.  But that’s okay…every great thing takes a lot work to obtain, right?

Against all the odds that I imagined there to be in this world, I actually found someone that also seemed to want a great relationship.

I am by no means an expert in relationships. I could have somehow gotten away before by telling you guys I was an expert at being single. But to being relationship-savvy I have no claim to fame.

As practical as I would love you guys all to have believed, I had very skewed, Hollywoodized ideas of a great relationship. Things were really not what I thought they would be when I finally got into one. Unlike what I imagined real relationships are like, there was no drama, no waiting by the phone and there was no sleeping around with a million people until one of us had life-changing epiphanies.

Allister and I met at a dinner arranged by a couple of girlfriends a year ago. He thought my plans for starting a business of writing online dating profiles was preposterous. I thought he was hotter than two rabbits in a wool sock. He offered me a ride home that night. I invited him to my place for house party the week after.

Three weeks after Allister and I started dating, he told me point blank that he wanted to be my boyfriend. Had I been the practical person I wanted to believe I was, I would not have wanted run for the hills. After years of being single, I had almost developed a Stockholm syndrome towards the Friend Zone. But he saw that. He told me that when I was ready, send him a postcard and he’d be there…still wanting the same thing. (All paraphrased)

Eventually our first major fight happened four months in. There was a lot of crying on my part and a lot of listening on his before he addressed what bothered me.  Contrary to how great I thought I was at being reasonable, he was better at deflecting fights before they escalated to destructible levels.

That was also the night he said I love you for the very first time. He told me later that it may have been the least romantic moment to me, but he never meant it more.

I turned 27 last September. He celebrated it like he was making up for for the last 26 birthdays he missed. That was when I knew that I would never ever be able to celebrate another birthday without him.

Everything about dating Allister was unexpectedly alarmingly easy. I was not sure if it was because years of failure had lead me to believe relationships couldn’t be drama free but I would always wonder if we were going wrong somewhere.

Where was the downside of being in a relationship that everyone talks about? People always told me to enjoy my single days. Being in a relationship has its rewards but it is SOOO MUCH WORK.

They were NOT lying when they told me it would be a lot of work.

Over the past year it took a lot of arguments, heated discussions and flat out fights with each other for me to realize that relationship are a LOT of work….on myself.

I learned just how blinded I am to my own faults. I pout, I fight, I bitch and I yell when I don’t get my way. Oftentimes, I found that the arguments we have had were born out of a sense of injustice I felt when someone else failed to do things my way and when I assumed the worst of my partner not realizing that having two people in a relationship ALWAYS means there are two sides of a story.

It took a lot of work for me to admit that I am a far cry from the perfect person I thought I was. And it takes a lot of work to fix it.

At the end of it all, the paradox of happiness that I stated in The Friend Zone remains true:

In order to be happy, you have to make someone happy.

In order to make someone happy, you have to be happy yourself.

If at all somehow by some fluke of the Universe, the fates are kind and bless you with someone that makes you happy, you best do everything you can to be the person that makes them happy. Even if it means you lay down your pride. Especially if it means if you have to lay down your pride. Because according to the paradox, that’s happiness.

And as someone who strives to make this guy happy, I can definitely attest to that.

PS: You can’t see her in this picture, but there was a thousand year old woman sitting on the side who came up to us with these pearls of wisdom for Allister: 1) Always wash your hands. 2) Never be mad at each other

So I will ask you this: What have you learned from your relationships? Here’s a  poll to help, but I would love to hear from you as well!

The Good Samaritan that never was

I have always prided myself at being AWESOME at life. Part of being AWESOME at life was seeking out opportunities to help the less fortunate. Like one time, I gave my gloves to some homeless guy. 

Another time, I gave my seat to a super pregnant lady. The look of gratefulness she gave me was enough to melt the heart of God himself.  

And another time, I was at Shopper’s Drug Mart, I almost bought a $5.00 gift card for the next person in line from me. I refrained when I saw that it was some old geezer buying Lottery tickets. Pfft…screw that! I may be awesome at life, but I’m no enabler. 

Anyways. 

The problem with this whole act of kindness thing that I’m mildly obsessed with is that there’s always an air of pride that’s dancing along with that.  I never do things for people if:

- It’s inconvenient for me.

- They’re crazy.

- If they clearly look distressed but also look like they are totally capable of lunging for the carotid with a machete and the kind of enthusiasm that only comes with being a repeat victim of the Toronto Transit Commission. 

Most people who need help in Toronto fit one or all of the above categories. 

And then I met Ivan last week. 

I was going to buy some groceries on my way home from work when a rotund little man with a cane and two heaping grocery bags was walking towards me. He was talking to himself no less. 

“EXCUSE ME, KIND LADY! Will you help me with my bags?” He was looking straight at me. 

He fit almost all of my above stated categories. Although, he wouldn’t be able to run fast enough after me with a machete with those bags so I obliged. 

“Sure, I’ll help you!”

“Thank you, kind lady. My name is Ivan and you’re a kind lady!!”  Of course I’m a kind lady, Ivan!

Turned out he not only needed help with his bags, he also needed a shoulder to lean on. Literally. He almost fell off on one side. When you’re not strong and you need a friend, you lean on Karen. 

To say his bags were heavy was an understatement.  If his bags were a food group, they’d be trans fat. If his bags were a feeling, they’d be a mixture of guilt and daddy issues. If his bags were a mustache, they’d be Tom Selleck.

The point is, I couldn’t actually carry his bags and have him lean all of his 250lbs on me at the same time. The only thing that kept me going was pride that I was doing something good. 

Ivan was a character. If the personalities of Walter Matthau and Uncle Leo from Seinfield had a love child, it would grow up to become Ivan’s personality. 

He shouted at everyone on the streets about what a kind lady I was. When he found out  I was Catholic, he yelled some more about how protestants are fools.

“NOT the place or time, Ivan”, I scolded back at him. 

“Whatever you say, kind lady”

Luckily, the City of Toronto is God’s own green earth of polite, tree-hugging atheists. All I got were stares of unadulterated sympathy. 

The subway station, where Ivan wanted to get to was three minutes away. Twenty minutes later, we were still crossing the street and Ivan was still bitching about protestants. 

He finally noticed that I was struggling with the bags and just stopped and asked, “Oh kind sister, would like some help with those bags?”

I stared at him dumbly.”No Ivan, you need help with these bags, remember?”

“Oh you’re such a kind lady”. 

By the time we got down the stairs to the subway platform, Ivan had already yelled at every passerby about how kind I was and I, in turn, was ready to fling his bags onto the subway tracks. 

The train finally came by. Ivan wrote his number on my hand and insisted I call him because he liked kind ladies. 

Before he left he yelled one last time, “WAIT! I have something important to tell you”

He said this with all the self-importance an enlightened Siddhartha could muster. Maybe this was the moment when I was to find out that he’s really a wise man and he’ll give me a piece of profound wisdom that would make sense all of that had just happened. 

“Remember, kind lady”, he said. “When you go grocery shopping today, stock up on juice. JUICE IS ON SALE!!”

Fuck you, Ivan. And the subway door closed. 

Moral of the story: Its okay to have a little pride when you seek to help people. There’s nothing wrong with being proud of doing the right thing. But its better to have humility. Because without it, nothing you do to help people will ever make sense to you.

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PS: Thank you all for such a warm welcome back. It feels good to see all of you again :)

Of all the things that have changed, blow-drying avocados is not one of them

Happy New Year you guys!!

Yes, it has been exactly 9 months since my last post. That’s enough time for a whole human being to come into existence. (This is NOT the reason for my disappearance)

It seems that I’ve been through a series of life changes over the last 9 months. And not changes like, Oh hayyyyy…I bought a new plant.

No, I mean real changes!

1) I got a new job- no more skinny jeans to work, just corporate rags. That’s right…CORPORATE. And ‘corporate’, as we call know, is just another word for I have better looking people on my commutes.

2) I moved. I used to live in a basement with small windows.l have now upgraded!! :D

Now I live in a basement with big windows). More importantly, it has shortened my commute time from one hour and a bus full of mass murderers to 30 mins and a couple of hobos.

3) I got a new boyfriend. Guys!  I’m now actually dating an real human male,  not a Ryan Gosling meme. I was able to  confirm that we’re boyfriend/girlfriend when he changed his profile picture on Facebook (you know shit’s real when…)

I thought this might be a good place to pick up where we left off- with big changes. I considered  changing my blog name and starting over but that made no sense. This was what I built everything on. But I will admit there will probably be some changes in content:

- Won’t have any more of my single girl escapades. We all know that was the cornerstone of this blog.

- Won’t talk about the suburb freaks on public transit. Now it will be the urbane freaks. Freaks all the same.

*Another new development that was totally missed out the first time around*- My best friend Bernice, who I have been friends with for over 10 years, got married (I wrote her a kick ass Maid of Honor speech) AND MOVED DOWN THE STREET FROM ME!!. Buh bye, Skype.  Hello many after work happy hours and pie dates!

On the flip side, here are the things that did not change:

- I still take public transit,

- I still live in Toronto ( Immigration Canada still sees me fit to live here.)

- I still find myself browsing feminist Ryan Gosling memes at 2am. Apparently dating someone does not magically make Ryan memes any less addictive. Sometimes I look at Grumpy Cat memes too.

- I still come home from work and lounge around with Suits/Mad Men/Dexter reruns.

This blog will be different but still the same as The Chronicles. It’s still me, just facing different things. But still blow-drying avocados in the winter.

Its good to be back, folks. Again. ;)

What have all you guys been up to when I was gone?!

The New Year of First World Problems

This year I spared myself the pain of failure of New Years Resolutions by cancelling them out totally. This is demonstrated by the fact that this post was started in January as a “New Years Resolution post“ but is only successfully published in March, Why? Because the pressure to follow through with blog posts  is WAY less.

For the past couple of years, I’ve had some hipster feelings about New Years Resolutions. People tell me all about theirs and I just sink into an emo abyss. New Year Resolutions are soooo oppressively mainstream. I came to this conclusion when I miserably failed at my lenten resolution a few years ago. If I didn`t have the willpower to keep my daily coffee intake to under three dessert bowl sized coffee mugs for 40 days, why cause more self-inflicted low self-esteem?

In my last post, I told the world that I became one of Canada newest landed immigrants. I’d like to think that the patriotic honeymoon phase will last eternally but the truth is, my newly minted Canadian status has been lacking some of its intial lustre lately.

Hardly two months after I became a resident and all the hoopla of immigration died out and my all friends stopped offering to take me for “celebratory coffees”, reality set in that my life hadn’t changed one bit.

The weather still displays asshole-like behavior, I still ride the same buses and Rob Ford is still the mayor of Toronto.

Mayor Rob Ford

Mayor Rob Ford

But I feel a sense of pride to be able to call myself a Torontonian even if the word ‘Torontonian’ sounds like a name given to baby T-Rex.

One of the things that became very apparent now that I’m an official resident was an overwhelming realisation of first world problems. They were always there and they`re now significantly magnfied since I don`t have third world problems to deal with anymore.

Here are some of the worst first-world problems I`ve had to deal with. Read it and weep for me.

1) The “high“ setting on my hair dryer is not high enough.

How hard is it for Sears to carry a brand of  hair dryers whose high setting doesn’t feel like a pair of butterfly wings fluttering around a lotus flower in the morning sunshine? Now I have to wait for this shitbox piece of crap to burn out until the next useless Conair I buy on sale. Life is pain.

2) The inability to cut avocadoes.

Anybody else think Canadian winters are the worst time to buy avocadoes? Those little bitches are hard as nails to cut up. Anyways, being the overflowing wellspring of patience that I am, I thought of a genius plan of quickening the avocado ripening process. Put the avocadoes in a brown paper bag and use my useless hair dryer to blow bursts of warm air in the bag. Fruit likes warmth right? Is avocado a fruit? My parents, past science teachers or anyone with two and half functionally firing neurons would have probably sighed with hopelessness at the sight of someone blowdrying avocadoes. No guacamole till April. Life is pain.

3) When your lipstick is done perfectly and you have to Roll up the Rim:

Every year, Canadian coffee chain Tim Hortons contributes significantly to seasonal depressive disorder by inflicting the ever popular “Roll up the Rim” upon overcaffienated Canadians. Throngs of people line up at Timmies every morning, noon and night for their double-doubles with excitement and anticipation at the prospect of biting off the rim of a paper cup to see just how much of nothing they won. It’s like the shittiest orgasm in the history of life. You keep building up to the promise of something sweet ( a free stale carrot muffin) only to have all of it crashing to pieces around you when you get nothing. Because there is nothing like the words “Sorry, please try again“ to pep up your mojo.

No stale muffin, no lipstick and no orgasm. Life is pain.

Here’s one my co-worker Kat ranted about the other day:

4) When you go home after a long day at work and your mother has dinner waiting for you but it`s something that you don`t like:

“I absolutely HATE it when I go home exhausted from work , and my mother has dinner waiting for me and it`s cauliflower. Yuck. So what if I`m still living at home? At 27. Rent free. ” Life is pain.

And for the grand finale…

5) When the hardest life choice you have to make comes down to deciding beween a coffee maker and toilet paper:

My coffee maker died right around  the time I ran out of toilet paper and I felt the world closing in on me. Since I do not own a vehicle, I could only carry home one of the bulky items from the store…toilet paper or a coffee maker. It is important to note that this impossible decision took two whole days to make, during which I exhausted all my emergency TP.

In the end, toilet paper won. Shit happens. For everything else, there’s Starbucks. I came up with a plan that was winning at life: I ordered the coffee maker online so it would be delivered straight to my house and went out to Shoppers Drug Mart to buy toilet paper. I wouldn’t have to lug home a large coffee maker box and toilet paper was light enough for my delicate frame to lug home.

But of course this first world universe had to shit on my parade. The very large bulk supply of toilet paper that I brought home that night turned out to be all paper towels instead (because I clearly cannot read labels). Three days later, I found a note on my front door telling me that Purolator dropped by to deliver my coffee-maker but since I wasn`t home to sign for it, I would have to go all the way to the post office and pick it up my myself.

I took that note and walked in the cold to the post office to pick up my brand new coffee-maker.

Now I have limp hair, seven rock-hard avocadoes, wasted lipstick, back pain from lugging home a coffee maker, frost bite, and a shit load of paper towels. But life is definitely less pain when you have coffee and toilet paper.  

What are some of your first world problems? 

Unbreak my Umbrella

As per usual, I have taken one of my increasingly frequent leave of absences from WordPress. But I decided to come back, red-faced with shame, with this little cartoon strip. In case you were wondering how my patriotic honeymoon with Canada has been going, wonder about this no more. 

This has been the story of my (Canadian) life since you last heard from me. As you can see, in less than three months, I have become an expert Canada-complainer, diving enthusiastically into the realm of complaining through badly drawn cartoons even. 

This particular event happened yesterday:

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And that’s what I have been up to since December.  

But I’m back! :D

Immigration officers say the darnedest things

If for some reason you have felt my blogging absence in your soul for the past week- don’t fret, children. I actually have a legit excuse this time.  As a lot of you already know, my never-ending immigration problems with Canada have been a constant source of bemoaned bitch fests on this blog.

Around this time last year, I wrote a very heartfelt letter to Canada making a pretty strong case of why this country needs to drop all this Bollywood-style drama and welcome me to the family already. Unfortunately, none of the big wigs in Ottawa read my blog or they would have seen that my love for Canada knows no bounds.

I’ve been living here as a foreigner for so long that I was sure the government must have either forgotten about me or has been using my application as a place-mat for their Tim Hortons’ coffee cups.

And then last week, just as I was in the middle of writing a miserable blog post about why Hallmark should hire me as their executive greeting card writer (I clearly have big dreams), I received an email from my immigration lawyer. It was an email I have been waiting a very very long time for.

I’m getting teary-eyed even writing this sentence: After 8 years, 3 months, and 21 days, my immigration application to become a permanent resident in Canada was finally APPROVED.

I was a little most excited about becoming immigrant than these people were about Canada winning gold at hockey in the Vancouver Olympics.

I was a little more excited about becoming an immigrant than these people were about Canada winning gold at hockey in the Vancouver Olympics. (Source: http://www.chicagotribune.com)

The past eight years of my time in Canada were probably the happiest and the hardest years of my life. I met some of the most amazing people whom I eventually called friends, I started this blog, I found religion, my first immigration application was denied, my status was incorrectly filed and as a result I lost my entire savings to the government in taxes leaving me completely broke. And then I broke my foot.

I laughed about it all till I almost peed my pants, and I cried about it all till I almost peed my pants…and eight years later, all of it came full circle as I stood in the immigration line clutching my confirmation letter- happy, proud, relieved and exhausted all at the same time.

But as much as I would love to tell you all more about my harrowing immigration ordeal, the whole point of this post was actually to tell you about the awesome immigration officers who marked the end of this chapter in my life.

Border immigration officers have always scared the crap out of me. They are stoic, expressionless fixtures who are trained to be suspicious of everything from puppies to empty tuna cans. Part of the whole charade of becoming a landed immigrant in Canada meant that I actually had to “land” in the country.

This required a drive to Niagara Falls, crossing the border into the States and then “landing” in Canada at the border on the way back. 

Crossing the US border is a feat in and of itself. I blame it on the fact that I was born in Kuwait. Names of Middle-Eastern countries stamped in your passport are never meritorious in these situations. We had a two hour wait in the line up in the immigration office at the US border.

The US immigration official dealing with my passport was a young man with the same stoic appearance as everyone else.

He asked me some questions, and then stared suspiciously back and forth between me and my passport. I almost shit my pants.

US Immigration officer: “How long are you going to be in the States?”

Karen: “Just a day”

 US Immigration officer stares at me again. I was sure I was never going to get out of here. 

US Immigration officer: “Do you know who Selena Gomez is?”

Karen: “Huh? Umm yeh.”

US Immigration officer: “You look like her”

Karen: “Thanks. I get that all the time”

US Immigration officer: “Sorry to hear about you and Justin Beiber”

Karen: “I’m not crying myself to sleep over it”

US Immigration officer: “Good to see you’re pulling through.”

Karen: “I do what I can”

US Immigration officer: “Here’s your passport. Have a good trip.”

When a US Immigration officer pays you such a high compliment, there's no other choice but to believe it.

When a US Immigration officer pays you such a high compliment, there’s no other choice but to believe it.

It was a relief to know that the Americans weren’t trying to link me to some terrorist ring…just to Justin Beiber. Clearly they already thought I was Canadian enough. Now no one can say that US Immigration officers don’t have a sense of humor.

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The Canadian border immigration officers also had an unusual sense of humor…which they displayed through this very cruel prank they played on me.

Our car pulls up to the window and we hand the immigration officer lady our passports.

Canadian Immigration officer: “Who’s doing their landing here?”

Karen: “I am!”

Canadian Immigration officer looks at me confused.

Canadian Immigration officer: Umm…were you told to come to the border to do your paper work?”

Karen: “Yes. I was told I could come to the border anytime.”

Canadian Immigration officer: “Who told you this? I’m sorry, but we don’t do permanent residence paper work on Saturdays. You’ll have to come back.”

For the second time that day I almost shit my pants.

Karen: “What?!? No!! Please. I was told I could get it done anytime.”

Canadian Immigration officer: “No ma’am, you can’t. Also, do you realize your visa here expired a couple of days ago?”

Karen: “NO IT DIDN’T!”

I was visibly on the verge of tears. The Canadian Immigration officer took one look at me and burst out laughing.

Canadian Immigration officer: “I’m so sorry. I’m just messing with ya. Come on out. Breathe. We’ll go in and do your paperwork”

I chalked this one down to the fact that maybe this woman was sitting out all day tired, probably needed a little entertainment and I was the perfect scapegoat.

The officers inside took all my forms, stamped all my documents.

They finally handed all my stuff back to me and said the words I never thought I’d hear:

“Congratulations, you are now a landed immigrant in Canada. Sorry you had to wait for so long.”

A declaration AND a quasi apology from a Canadian government official.

I smiled and walked out of that office feeling like I just won the life lottery.

Friday Chronicles: Five things to be thankful for this Thanksgiving

I know I’m a little late, but better late than pregnant…right? (Right Breezyk?)

Welcome again to this week’s edition of The Chronicles. I’ve been seeing a lot of Thanksgiving related posts these days and obviously The Chronicles will take a piece of that pumpkin pie. If the fact that it’s Friday/Saturday doesn’t already bring a lone tear of gratitude to your eye, then I don’t know what will.

Sometimes even when life is good, we may find it hard to be thankful. Our first-world problems, although trivial can really be a cause of stress. The Friday Chronicles understands, and ensures that this won’t be a post trying to make you feel guilty about not being more thankful for the shit loads of things you already have.

And so without further ado, let’s begin!…

1) Kate Middleton  returns clothing gift from Kim Kardashian:

This is by far my most favorite story of the week and was what convinced me that maybe this world is not down in a sewer just yet. The Duchess, in this very strong rumor, allegedly returned some clothing items that Kinky Kardashian sent her in hopes of publicizing her klothing line, Kardashian Kollection.

Just a few months ago, Kardashian’s krush Kanye urged his hoochie mama to be more poised and sophisticated like Kate. Well, Oprah and Disney may tell you that “anything is possible”, but the truth is that some things are REALLY not.  

Red Carpet soul sisters

2) Man buys Toronto Maple Leafs toilet for $5,300.00:

There are two things Toronto is really not good for- the Queen Street streetcar, which is hailed as an urban myth and the Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto’s shiteous hockey team. Over the past few years, Leafs die-hard fans(because you’re either a die-hard or completely indifferent)  have been paying anywhere between $117-$300.00 to watch the Leafs continuously lose and go home in bitter tears.

Obviously, all the disappointment over the years wasn’t enough to sway Toronto native Jim Vigmond, who just paid $5,300.00 to literally take the ultimate crap from the Leafs. The expensive potty is one among many Leaf items that was auctioned off to crazy fans. The Maple Leaf Gardens, where the Leafs and their toilet were orginally based, moved and now is converted into a grocery store, hence leaving some of their random shit for the die-hards.

A toilet

3) Ukrainian priest slaps Pussy Riot sympathizers with censer:

Continuing with this shit-for-brains theme this week, a bunch of guys with stockings on their heads stormed into a Ukrainian Orthodox church to perform a terrible version of the already terrible version of the feminist group’s “Punk Prayer”. But the priest was having none of this nonsense. The old guy proceeded to smack these crackpots with a censer, after which, he handed them over to the police.

Just in case you don’t know what a censer is (I didn’t), it’s the vessel used to dispense incense. Which makes the mental picture of an old man swinging this at the stocking-clad members of Penis Protest even funnier.

A censer is a vessel used for dispensing incense and knocking sense into dumbasses

4) Israel-Palestine photo goes viral:

In the midst of all the craziness that has been going on in Gaza, two regular guys in Manhattan posted this photo with a touching message.

Picture taken from The Huffington Post

While these guys are thinking about their people dying in war in a far off land on Thanksgiving, I’m thinking about what’s going on right here at home. My photo didn’t get nearly as much attention:

Story of my life

5) Last installment of the Twilight series in theatres now:

For the pièce de résistance, I hereby leave you with the last news item for this week. Twilight is back on the big screen. Control your excitment, folks. 

Whether you are a Twi-lover or a Twi-hater, I have found you all the perfect youtube video celebrating the end of this God-forsaken franchise. 

And with that, we complete this week’s edition of the Friday Chronicles. Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends! 

Don’t forget to participate in this fun poll:

The Writing Maladies of a Sensitive Blogger

For the most of this past summer I was MIA on WordPress. Believe it or not, the sentence “this is me showing up at the page” was all I could come up with. I would sit in front of this blank screen with the blinking cursor silently mocking my failure at stringing along a few decent paragraphs.

Eventually, I couldn’t bear to see it flashing before me, closed the tab and avoided WordPress altogether for the better part of the summer.

Why am I telling you this? Maybe I’m just looking for sympathy. Or maybe I just want to know that someone else out there can relate.

I started this blog in 2009. Three years ago, I was a very different person. Well actually, I was the same person but I saw things very differently. I started my blog for the same reason many of us start blogs. The feeling of an escape from life, or perhaps the need to have something new that is utterly and completely in your control. In my case, it was both.

The blank page was my best friend. I could fill it up with whatever I wanted. Life was a mess, but the page was clean.

I didn’t really care who read the blog. I loved to write. Writing made me happy, and my happiness had nothing to do with how many views my posts received. I learnt that I was my biggest critic. If I liked my post, then it didn’t matter who else did. If I hated it, all the positive feedback in the world wouldn’t be able to convince me I did a good job. 

And then something happened. Call it time or call it Freshly Pressed. Let’s call it Freshly Pressed. 

Freshly Pressed was probably the best and the worst thing that ever happened to this blog and its writer. Freshly Pressed gives you about 48 hours of fame and instant gratification, a window in which the world loves you. Followers and likes and comments rain down like confetti on the celebration of your blog’s success.

If you are a blogger who was Freshly Pressed, you may be able to attest that things change after that. For me, it stopped being about the love of writing and expression. It was now all about the audience. This is not to say Freshly Pressed was a bad thing. I ran into so many of you because of it, and for that I am grateful. 

But the pressure that I put on myself was definitely on. I placed my creative self-esteem in the hands of audience feedback. And solely positive feedback. 

If I didn’t think someone would like what I was going to write about, the post either landed in my saved documents or in the trash. As a result, hundreds of posts were aborted out of fear of disinterest, fear of negative feedback or maybe the worst- fear of complete indifference.

I seemed to have forgotten why I started this blog. The main reason this blog even exists is so that I don’t take myself too seriously. Ironically, I’ve never taken myself more seriously. For example, take this very post. It took me two weeks to write it and an hour and a half to come up with a title.

Creative process of normal people:

…whatever your definition of normal is

My version of the creative process:

I make this look more complicated than it really is

Of course, I cannot blame my blogging blocks entirely on Freshly Pressed. A lot of it was also personal issues that added to the mix. 

While I may have been absent from blogging, I wasn’t completely absent from reading some of the blogs I`m subscribed to. Mainly, you guys. This is where I talk about why Freshly Pressed was the best thing that ever happened to me. Take this any way you want to (actually, please take this in a good way) but I envied you all.

You all are fearless writers. (Yes, you!)  Whether it’s a post about finding roses in the garbage disposal, or a post about getting mad when people call you by stupid nicknames, or a post about the joy of getting voting stickers, you guys taught me that I shouldn’t care too much about other people’s opinions. Even if I do, it shouldn’t stop me from writing. You all have the metaphorical pair of blogger balls that I really need to start growing.

In many ways, they both feel the same.

Eventually of course, my summer pity party ended and I started writing again. Even if it was a post about talking to my blender, it had to be written if only to break the cycle of fear of not being liked. This post has no fancy play on words, no clever puns (except the blogger balls one, which is really a metaphor and not that funny). It`s the first time in a long time that I’m not trying desperately hard to impress everyone.

If you have gotten to the end of this post- Thank You. I may have spent a whole post talking about how you are indirectly the cause of my writing anxiety, but you are also directly the cause of infinite encouragement and inspiration. I could write another 3000 words about how awesome you guys are but I won`t because I’d like to stop being such a sap and get back to my usual no-nonsense sarcastic self. 

To all of you awesome WordPress bloggers, seeing you guys regularly on my reader has inspired me by kicking my ass into gear. Now I’d like to know your secrets: Why did you start blogging? How do you get past social acceptance fears? Does blogging ever feel like a job?

Friday Chronicles: Diabetes and Moose poop

After a long hiatus from my weekly commentary on the idiotic behavior of idiots, the Friday Chronicles is back for another round of cheap laughs at the latest and not-so-greatest weekly news items!

I’m aware of just how long it has been. By now, some of you may have  acquired spouses, allergies, illegitimate children, book deals or, if you live my life, absolutely nothing. But no matter how crazy or not crazy your life has gotten since the last lifetime, there’s always time for some LOLZ for your Friday.

Politics seems to be the theme of this month. I vowed never to dabble too much on politics on my blog, and I’m not about to break that for the sake for the Friday Chronicles. But every once in a while, politics makes for some good humor.

1) Obama wins the presidential election 2012:

This news is stale and unless you’ve had your head stuck in a tin pipe in some sewer on Jupiter for the last two weeks, I really don’t think I’ve ruined the ending for anyone. The Republicans are now prepping for the end of the world, and the Democrats are advocating for women’s rights to choose between a binder and large manila envelope. But the actual news item that I’m trying to get at by using this as a leeway is:

2) Republicans threaten to move to Canada after Mittens Romney’s defeat in the 2012 presidential elections:

Time to bust out the Say Whaaaa face….

All these fools be so ridiculous that I can’t even eat my fried chicken in peace anymore.

This was clearly the highlight of the elections for me. In a rush of NObama frenzy, disgruntled and fed-up  Republicans expressed some adamant wishes to move to Canada, the one country that embodies the Republican nightmare: shiteous taxes, government funded healthcare, zero abortion laws, zero gun policy, gay marriage, jungle-is-massive lineups at Tim Hortons, Parti Quebecois…

Here are some clearly agitated Repub tweeters expressing their views:

And my personal favorite:

I love how the media uses the word “threaten”. Because in addition to the global warming panic-attacks Canadians experience whenever the weather is humid, and the by-law stating that all Canadians must spend at least 35.8 minutes of their day holding the door open for strangers, we now have to worry about disgruntled Republicans storming into our igloos and making fun of our poorly designed plastic money. 

As terrifying as these issues sound though, nothing compares to the biggest obstacle Republicans will have to face when they move here: switching to the metric system. 

Come on, Republican America! Is this what you really want?

“I’m telling ya, Barry O! All we need is a moose and a gun loaded with Timbits and we can rule the WORLDDDD!”
Diabetes and moose poop- Canada’s line of defense in case of foreign attack

(Quick Glossary: Timbits= Canada’s gift to the world= lethal balls of sugar from Tim Hortons)

If you are really hard pressed for a place to move to, here’s a suggestion:

3) Kuwait lands in the Guiness Book of Record for the largest firework display of life:

Kuwait, which is a relatively unknown little oil-rich country in the Middle East (and NOT a small farming town in Manitoba), made it into the Guiness Book of records last week. Why you ask? Because they just spent 15 million dollars on a firework display to celebrate the 50th anniversary of their constitution.  Take that, Fourth of July! Don’t even TRY to top this. Because Kuwait will just sneeze out a few million barrels of oil and buy your whole country.  

Here are some images:

You can click on the title of this news piece to see more of these pictures

I tried to think of some smartass comparisons but I keep getting distracted by all these lights. And after having lived in Kuwait my whole life, the only way I can describe this is by the image of Kim Kardashian: Hot, flashy and so ridiculously over the top. 

4) Facebook creates new “Couples Pages”:

Singles Unite! We now have another reason to drink vodka and write blog posts about talking to our kitchen appliances like they are real people. Facebook announced that they will now be collating all the information about you and anyone you have listed as being “in a relationship” with into your own couple’s page. And as with most new Facebook features, you have no say in this. 

It’s just like Facebook to take away any last shred of joy that one experiences when, after hours of stalking, manages to overcome all the obstacles of privacy settings and find personal information about their exes. But of course, I found an upside to all this. Less time for stalking can only mean more time to correct everyone’s grammar. 

And finally,

In my search for news stories this week, I found out that my husband celebrated his 32nd birthday on November 12th! 

5) Happy Birthday, Ryan Gosling!

And CLEARLY he doesn’t mind that I actually had no idea when his birthday was, as evidenced by what he said to me:

YES.
(www.effyeahryangosling.tumblr.com)

And with that, we complete this week’s political, hormonal, self-deprecating round up of “news”. Join me next time for another round my social commentary on the wonderfully weird things making the news. Happy Friday and have a great weekend, comrades!

At least I have Eton A. Holton

November historically is a month known to usher in numerous first-world problems. Darker days, pedophilic facial hair, wrist-slitting Christmas holiday music while you’re standing in a three mile line up at Walmart to buy socks…

The worst thing about November for me is that winter is so incredibly close to kicking you in the ass for the next three months. Toronto put up a brave fight last year and came out victorious, officially cutting out winter 2011-2012. The only thing Toronto is cutting this winter are the lineups at the pharmacy for anti-depression meds.

But you know me, I’m not one to waste too many words wallowing in this annual life obstacle. Obviously, I will fight the winter blues in the best way I know how: Food and listening to Taylor Swift.

T. Swift’s music is the perfect laxative for tough city girls like me who suffer from seasonal bouts of emotional constipation. The other day I was having my dinner and listening to Taylor’s new album when all of a sudden, I burst into tears for no apparent reason. Taylor is a lyrical genius, I thought to myself while sobbing into my very large bowl of vegetable casserole. 

But I know this year, the cold is coming out swinging. If my only defense mechanism is being an avid emotional eater and a proud Swiftie, then I might as well put a target on my ass and moon winter.

I needed something more concrete. In my daily routine of scouring food websites, I found it. The key to (temporary) winter happiness: a blender.

I thought about this thoroughly. The endless possibilities when you have a blender!  Just think of all the indoor culinary adventures one could engage in this winter! Elaborately made gourmet smoothies, homemade jams, chutneys, almost every home-cooked meal (you’d be surprised at how many meals need a blender),  guacamole…just about anything that requires shit loads of work, patience and washing up later on.

I trudged my way to Sears. Picking the right blender is key (to having fun at Sears). I asked one of the many salesladies who didn’t speak English about which blender would be ideal for me. After making several blender hand gestures and voicing blender sounds to the ESL saleslady, I was finally pointed to the general grinder section. I sifted through the entire family tree of food smashers until the holy Sears spotlight of kitchen appliances fell on my new BFF.

Eton A. Holton was not available at the time for a photo-op. But he’s a fine poser for Paint sketches like these.

His christened name is Eton A. Holton.

I took Eton A. Holton out of his box, gave him a bath and introduced him to his new home in my kitchen. Because I have no patience, I immediately loaded raspberries, blackberries and yogurt into Eton A. Holton. I sealed in the top, plugged him in and hit the grind button. Nothing happened. Eton A. Holton stood there staring at me silently while I stared back confused. 

I removed the berries and the yogurt which was no easy or tidy feat, dismantled everything, put everything together again and screwed the top back on. Again….NOTHING. Eton A. Holton stared at me stubbornly. Angrily. Passively. Stupidly.

What the hell was I doing wrong? I finally had the bright idea of reading the manual. Under the section “How do single girls get Eton A. Holton to work after you stuff him with berries”, it stated that I make sure Eton A. Holton is fully plugged in, stuffed with food (but not too stuffed) and most importantly: put the lid on and close this tightly the right way. 

Eton A. Holton was closed alright. I kept removing the lid and trying out a million different ways to close it, but all in vain. I wanted to cry but couldn’t because only T.Swift has that kind of power over me.

The manual had a phone number for tech support. It hit me, as I collapsed on my kitchen floor in shame, that this was the lowest point in my tough,  city girl single life: having to call tech support for a blender. 

I dropped everything, ate a cookie and thought I’d go back for one last try before I called Sanjay in Mumbai Scott in Maine for help. I must have screwed Eton A. Holton’s top on right this time because the moment I hit his buttons, he smirked and roared into gear.

In four and a half seconds, I had an expertly blended but very disgusting tasting smoothie. 

It was then that I realised how very similar me and Eton A. Holton really are. We are two perfectionists brought together by fate and Sears to teach each some important life lessons. I have learnt three so far:

1) Don’t be such a tight ass. Oftentimes there is more than one right way to do things. 

2) Enjoy the moment. Sometimes the blended fruit of your life’s labors isn’t even close to what you imagined it to be and you realize that the most fun you had was the process of putting it all together and making it work. 

3) Don’t settle. The right person will take the trouble to learn exactly how to turn you on and push the right buttons before you give away your smoothies at the yard. 

I have no more lessons because its only been a week since I’ve had Eton A. Holton. So far, we have made a six month supply of crushed garlic, spinach-chickpea fritters and one expertly blended, disgusting tasting smoothie.

Eton A. Holton hasn’t budged on the right way to turn him on, but he does push the boundaries with how much food he can take.

Lesson 4) Try as you might, you can never eat more than a Holton. (Holton= Hole-ton=Whole-ton…for those of you who didn’t catch my pathetic attempt at wordplay) 

Audience Questions: 1) What are you guys doing to beat the winter blues?

2) Does ANYONE here know how to make a decent smoothie?