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?!

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.

_____________________________________

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:

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?

All saints save the day

I had (in theory) such a great Halloween costume idea in mind this year! For once I didn’t go as myself, a crippled Disney princess or a pre-pubescent singing sensation. My Duchess of Cambridge costume had the dress, the pantyhose, the shoes, THE RING, and a supremely shiteous brown wig (to add the scary element of Halloween).

All I had was my wine, that big ass ring and the weight I didn’t realize I’d gained since I bought that dress

Unfortunately, this year Mother Nature went as Hurricane Sandy for Halloween and quite literally blew my costume out of the water. I never ended up getting to the Halloween party I was supposed to go to on Saturday. Instead I built a hurricane shelter of decorative pillows, ate potato chips and caught up on my new favorite show The Mindy Project.

I decided that in addition to being a fightercock for Halloween, I will also go as Mindy Kaling next year (who is a fightercock in her own right). Not only will this be a racially appropriate costume for once, but I have no qualms about completely removing my already dilapidated filter and becoming a verbal-diarrhea inclined noise box for one night.

We are also both pretty self-absorbed

So what did I actually do on Halloween day?

Have you ever been to one of those haunted mansions where you walk around getting aneurysms every time some asshole dressed as a zombie jumps at you? Well, my bathroom is worse. Think of the worst fake haunted house you’ve ever been to, multiply that by Fear Factor and double it by Flavor Flav. THAT was how frighteningly dirty my bathroom was. 

So on Halloween, I dressed up as a dirty bathroom cleaner and cleaned my dirty bathroom.

This costume comes complete with rubber gloves, my stained old York hoodie and a smile full of fake excitement.

But even though Halloween may officially be over, today is one of the best Catholic holidays: All Saint’s Day!

As a practicing Catholic who can`t get through a full Hail Mary without thinking about what I’m going to eat next or what I would do to my hot neighbor if he ever saw him again, patron saints are my lifeline from not getting permanently cut off by The Big Guy.

With so many prayer requests, 95% of which in recent years had to with my immigration papers, it is only natural that God assign some His most trusted buds in the bizz to handle bitch fests prayer intake paperwork.

Roman Catholisicm may have had a pretty bad rep, but those guys thought of everything when assigning saints. And so today, in honor of my Catholic upbringing, here are a list of some favorite saints and some random ones that I mentally yell for on any given day:

1) St. Anthony- Patron saint of lost things.

Common prayer: Dear St. Anthony, I lost my mind. Can you please find me a bottle of Pinot instead?

2) St. Joseph- Patron saint of workers.

Common prayer: St. Joe,  can you please inspire my patients to shower?

3) St. Isidore of Seville: Patron Saint of the Internet
Common prayer: St. Is, how many naked Ryan Gosling pictures can I download before Rogers flags my account? #girdyourloinswithgosling

4) St. Dymphna- Patron saint of insanity and mental illness

Common prayer: St. D, since my fifth cup of coffee, I’ve had purple cucumbers dancing in my head. Now they’re on my Spreadsheet. 

5) St. Drogo- Patron saint of Unattractive people

Common prayer: St. Drogo, I’m 26 and single. Please take away this plague of zits so my Neutrogena money can be better spent on a cat. 

6) St. Francis of Assissi- Patron saint of writers/journalists/bloggers

Common prayer: St. Francis, please let this post get thousands of likes and ten thousand comments. Self-esteem doesn’t magically appear out of nowhere.

7) St. Genesius- Patron saint of comedy

Common prayer: St. Genesius, these pretzels are making me thirsty. Get it? (Of course he gets it! You think Seinfeld came up with this shit on his own?)

8) St. Jude- Patron saint of lost causes.

Common prayer: St. Jude, please let Michael Kors have a sale. Also, can you make me Canadian?

9) St. Anne- Patron saint of finding love

Common prayer: St. Anne, find me a man, as fast as you can, who doesn’t drive a white van, someone with a nice tan and preferrably not a Nickleback fan. (This is the lamest prayer ever)

10) St. Joseph Cafasso- Patron saint of Prussia

Common prayer: St. Joe C, Prussia hasn’t existed for the last 65 years. If you’re not doing anything, can you please help a sister out? And when I say sister, I mean St. Anne. 

Bonus saint:

11) St. Polycarp- Patron saint of dysentery.

Common prayer: St. P, please let it all go down with one flush. 

This list represents only a tiny fraction of the multitude of saints at your disposal. There’s a saint for any human need you could possibly imagine. And all jokes aside, I don’t know where I’d be without their constant intercession. I don’t talk about religion much, but I will say that some of these saints helped me through the toughest times in my life and that deserves way more than just a light-hearted blog post. 

If you are still mourning the end of Halloween and care not much for saints then let me try and change your mind:

Come on!!! How can you say no to baby Mother Teresa?!

Seriously!! How can you!? 

Halloween Fightercocks

My mother has a talent of giving this deadpan delivery of hilarious one-liners (or one-paragraphers) without realizing it 98% of the time. I speak to her almost every Saturday morning on Skype and yesterday, I asked her what she was doing for Halloween. 

She proceeded to explain to me that true Halloween is not about (barely) wearing an inappropriate costume and drunkenly falling face first into your plate of onion rings at an after-hours diner. She might have not used these words specifically, but it fully captures the essence of her schpeel. 

I asked her about what Halloween was like growing up. She grew up in Goa, India where Halloween was actually “celebrated” on November 2nd- All Soul’s Day, a day observed by Catholics to honor the dead. Here’s an actual serious conversation we had about All Soul’s Day  and a little cultural lesson for us all (me included) about “Halloween” in Goa:

Mom: “No one dresses up on All Souls Day, unless you want to look like a jackass. All Soul’s Day is really supposed to be  scary.”

Karen: “So what do you actually do?”

Mom: “People rob and steal your things.”

Karen: *insert this face*

It takes A LOT to tear my attention away from chicken wings and my mother knows just how to do it.

Karen: “People steal stuff?”

Mom: “Yes. You know, because its scary. It’s like a ghost came to mess with you. Sometimes when you wake up in the morning, you may find all your vases in the garden missing. Or you may find your vase in a different location in the garden.”

Karen: *still has the face*

Mom continues…

“This one time, all of Marie Lou’s expensive pond rocks went missing. Her son bought them for her from Dubai you know. Turns out they were all at the local cemetery.”

Karen: Her son went to Dubai and bought her rocks?

Mom: “Yes. They’re decorative.”

Karen: “Nevermind. How the heck did Marie Lou know where to find her pond rocks?”

Mom: “If you lose something on All Soul’s Day, its most likely at the cemetery.”

Karen: “Sounds like a hassle for everyone involved.”

Mom: “No kidding! You have to be so careful too, especially if you are a fightercock. Then everyone hates you and  steals your pond rocks.”

(Quick glossary: The word “fightercock” is my mother’s umbrella term for bitches, douchebags and people who shouldn’t be talking.)

Karen: “So I guess if you’re a fightercock, most of your stuff will probably be dumped at the cemetery.”

Mom: “Oh yes. But you have to go there as soon as you can and claim your stuff. You don’t want robbers to take your things from the cemetery before you get to it.” 

My mom’s village apparently ran on the adage- Rob me once, I’m a fightercock. Rob me twice- I’m a lazycock. 

She continues, clearly enjoying my rapt attention to  this newly discovered Halloween tradition. 

Mom: “And not all your stuff ends up in the cemetery…some of it is in other people’s houses”

Karen: “Whaaaaaa?” *insert this face*

I don’t know who this fightercock is. But she was photo bombing our picture so she probably deserves to have her pond rocks stolen.

Mom: “Yes! Sometimes stuff from your garden will end up in someone else’s garden and vice versa.”

Karen: “Doesn’t anyone call the damn cops?”

Mom: “Cops don’t like getting involved with ghosts, Karen.”

Karen: “Right, of course not”

Mom: “One time, Sebby woke up on All Soul’s Day and found all the bananas off her banana trees in the backyard GONE! In all fairness though, everyone knew what a big fightercock she was. Now, she lost her bananas. Haha”

Karen: “Poor Sebby. Did she find her bananas at the cemetery?”

Mom: “No. But she visited her archenemy Antoinette later that day and saw that Antoinette had an unusual amount of bananas at home. When she asked her about them, Antoinette told her she bought them to make banana fritters.”

Karen: “Ugh! Banana fritters my ass!”

Mom: “Indeed! Watch your language.”

By the end of this conversation, I wanted to just drop my Kate Middleton costume altogether and replace my neighbour’s pots of geraniums with pumpkins. Or steal the lawn gnomes off my neighbours down the street and send them ransom notes for each one. Granted none of my poor neighbors are fightercocks, but its been so long since I’ve been able to blame anything on a mischievous ghost. 

I made a firm resolve that next year for Halloween, I’m going as a fightercock. 

Because in the end what it comes down to is this: Would you rather go the traditional route and wear a Halloween costume? Or would you rather piss the hell out of the fightercocks in your life?

Also, I know I’ve asked you guys this before but everything’s funner when there’s a poll:

The ring shopping experience Prince William never had

Halloween is fast approaching. And like most over commercialized North American holidays, Halloween comes with its own unique set of first-world anxieties.

A couple of years ago I obsessed for a week over whether I should go as 1) Justin Beiber or 2) A crayon. Beiber won the bid because I was sick that weekend and wearing a warm hoodie seemed a better alternative to puking into my pointy crayon hat. In retrospect, I could have gone as Beiber Fever. (Beiber with an actual fever…get it?)

The only thing Beiber and I DON’T have in common is blond hair

My other fantastic costumes from the past included:

Halloween 2010: A blind date.

Technically, Batgirl’s blind date.

Halloween 2011: Pocahontas  The Indian/Indian princess. It was a pun about how you can’t get anymore Indian than this. As you can see, the pun and I were both lame.

Smile! 2011 was the year of the broken foot

Fast forward to 2012.

The time has come again this year when 50% your Facebook friends will lament the annual exodus of sexy hamburgers and sexy convicts while 49% will be dressed as said hamburgers and convicts. I fall in the 1% who are at home trolling their stalkerfeeds panicking about what/who they’re going to go as.

This year though, I knew who I wanted to be. It’s who I’ve wanted to be when I hit puberty (and 3 years after that): Prince William’s wife. 

Yes…Halloween 2012, I’m going as The Duchess of Cambridge…or as I’d like to call her- Kate.

Before you laugh uncontrollably at my dreams of becoming British royalty,  let me tell you that Kate and I have A LOT in common. To start, we’re both women, we both love Prince William and we both look better with our tops on.

The real task here is putting together the Kate look without the Kate price tag. Being Indian, I come with the gene for “economical spending”. I made a list of items that would be required:

1) A pretty dress: Kate has been known to get some of her dresses at H&M. I get ALL my dresses at H&M. Soul sisterssss!

2) Pantyhose: Sears

3) A pearl necklace: Dollar Store

4) A wig. (In a moment of insanity and a cheap Groupon, I went and chopped off all my luscious locks of hair last month. Fingers crossed that Kate will get a shoulder length bob one of these days, preferably before Halloween, so I won’t have to spend $7.99 at Value Village)

5) A crazy hat that only looks good on British royals. (optional)

6) THE RING: dun dun dunnnnnnnnn. (This means I haven’t got it yet)

The success of my costume hugely depended on my ability to find a replica of Kate’s ring. For those of you who don’t know what it looks like: 

I knew that after the Royal Wedding last year, knock offs were everywhere. But last year I was too busy nursing a broken foot and being an Indian princess.

I began my search with my most trusted source of information about everything: My patients at work.

These were some of their suggestions:

1. “Go to the dollar store. It has EVERYTHING. You’ll find gold there if you look hard enough. If you can’t find it, just buy a regular ring with any colored stone and spray paint it blue. You’ll find the spray paint in the crafts aisle. They’ll never know the difference

2. “I’m sure you could make one yourself.”

3. “Are you sure you want to go as Kate Middleton? Maybe you should have a backup costume.”

My second trusted source was eBay. I found one for $8.99. Life was wonderful until I got to the checkout and saw that shipping would be $39.00. This did not appeal very much to my economical spending gene. I cancelled the order.

I had to find this ring. Without it, I would have to pick some next lame-ass last minute costume. My friend Aleks suggested that if I didn’t find anything, I could just label myself as sugar and tell everyone I’m brown sugar. I always appreciate a good subtly racist pun. But not this time. This time I just wanted to be a white princess duchess for Halloween dammit! 

My last ditch effort was to try the mall. I went to the usual teenybopper accessory stores. This yielded the same results as my patients:

1) “Kate who? I’m sorry I don’t know who she is. I don’t think we have any of her stuff here” (HOW THE EFF DO YOU NOT KNOW WHO KATE MIDDLETON IS!!?!? This salesgirl was either an Eastern Bloc spy or a recruit from a Carly Rae Jepsen concert)

2) “Is it like the rose-gold colored one with a flowery middle?” (WTF is wrong with people?)

3) “Maybe try the dollar store?”

I went home completely dejected. Kate’s ring couldn’t be found anywhere. Prince William has NO idea how easy he had it. 

But you know that saying in dating that annoys the piss out single people?

“It will happen when you’re not looking and you least expect it”

Apparently, this saying applies to costume jewelry as well. 

Yesterday I went grocery shopping and outside the store there randomly happened to be an older lady selling jewelry on a makeshift table. I took a quick gander. Sure enough, this completely random old lady had a Kate Middleton ring sitting in her ring collection. It was a size too big for me but a perfect replica otherwise. $15 later I was back on track to being a Duchess.

Now all I have left on my list is the wig, which I’m hoping to be easier to score than the Duchess’ engagement ring.

And if I can’t find a wig, brown sugar it will be. 

What I’d like to know is what are all of you folks dressing up as this Halloween? What is the craziest costume you’ve ever worn/seen?

Un petit morceau de Montréal

Disclaimer:

Dear French people,

Please forgive the very likely possibility that all my French words/expressions are wrong and/or misplaced. Je suis sorry :(

Last weekend I took a trip to Montreal. Granted it’s already been five eight days (I started this post on Friday)since said trip so some parts of this post might be made-up hazy on the details. The last time I went to Montreal, it was one of those single girl Eat, Pray, Run from hobos weekend.

This time it was more of an Eat, Eat, slow-comatose-jog away-from-hobos type of deal. I learnt a lot about my digestive capabilities, much like how Elizabeth Gilbert learnt how to make millions writing about hers.

Regardless, I tossed a dollar into one certain hobo`s venti Starbucks cup; he was a real entertainer. He was outside the Metro, theatrically jumping up, down and around a milk crate giving a gallant French sermon in a booming voice that would make The Tenors want to tranquilize him, steal his vocal cords and leave him with a ten dollar bill, bleeding from the neck in a ditch behind a Montreal poutineri.

Many people asked me whether I was visiting friends in Montreal or whether I was taking a trip with someone. Apparently,  the idea of going alone for no conceivable reason isn’t something that crosses the minds of normal people. This is why I never update my Twitter. It’s easier to just shrug a no then it is to type ‘Solo getaway to Montreal, bitches!! #foreversingle’.

Is it really so bad  that I find sitting awkward and alone in fancy restaurants infinitely more appealing than taking long knee-busting yet dreamy romantic walks through the cobblestoned streets of Old Montreal? #sarcasm

Speaking of fancy restaurants, I went to many! When I say many, I mean two.

It was Friday night when I had my first food experience. I was perusing online for places to eat when I stumbled on one very close to the Bed and Breakfast I was staying at. It was a tapas place. Tapas make me nervous. Who knows how the hell to order them?

The place I wanted to go to was called Confusion Tapas du Monde. The irony of its name was not lost on me while I spent the next 45 minutes goggling what is tapas and how to order it. The best answer was: Ask your waiter.

I called the restaurant. This was the actual conversation we had:

Tapas waiter: Bonjour!

Karen: Hello sir. Do you speak English?

TW: Yes ma’am. I actually speak very good English.  (Dollop of politeness with rich warm undertones of french sarcasm)

K: Great! I was just wondering….do I need to make reservations for one?

TW: You’re coming for dinner on a Friday night by yourself?

K: Yes.

TW: We can give you a table at the bar.

K: At the bar?! Can I not have a table?

TW: But the bar is actually quite pretty.

K: I’ll think about it.

I thought about it. As much I’d like to brag that I decided to have my Montreal adventure on my own terms, did I really want to sit alone at the bar of a restaurant where I’d be too culturally handicapped to properly place an order?

Of course not! But I went anyway. I have no Eat, Pray, Love reasoning behind embarrassing myself except that I was just very hungry.

Confusion Tapas du Monde. The bar (against the wall) WAS very pretty. Yes, those are swings. Genius.

I had three dishes.

Exaggeration alert: The broccoli soup was THE BEST I ever had. It came in a mason jar. 

The coolest and most ineffective way to eat soup

I also had escargo on a slice of zucchini and some grilled calamari. I couldn’t take pictures of everything on account me looking like a complete moron. So I drew you the closest thing.

I even ate the leaves.

Average rating of Tapas Confusion: 4 out of 5 maple syrup lollipops. An extra half eaten one for the smartass waiter.

_______________________________________________________________

The next restaurant I want to talk about is Verses. This is a restaurant that I stumbled on by accident which is why I’m so pleased with myself. I originally intended to go to another restaurant that I checked out on Trip Adviser  But when I got there, it was looked like a truck pit stop with penis drawings on its Closed sign.

N’importe quoi! (my cheap googled french way of saying whatevvverrr!)

I walked around hungry looking for alternatives but everything seemed unnecessarily expensive. Finally, in the heart of Old Montreal, I found a cheaper oasis called Verses. The interiors were fancy enough. And yet their prices were deceptively cheap(er). $22.00 for a two-course meal was acceptable to me.

I ordered the cream of cauliflower soup because I`m a toothless old woman at heart.

The best part of this soup was that I didn’t need my dentures to have it.

The entrée was where I had a similar conundrum to Confusion Tapas. There were three items I could pick from: 1) Boring salmon. 2) Interesting sounding beef tartare 3) Good ol` steak.

The beef tartare looked very intriguing. Mainly because I had no idea what the hell it was and this weekend was all about treading into the unknown. I had no google on my phone, so I texted one of my friends and asked her. No response. I decided to bite the bullet and asked my french waiter whether he recommended the beef tartare or the steak.

“Madamoiselle, beef tartare is raw beef.“

Steak it was. I`m all for treading into the unknown, but you have to draw the line when the unknown involves the possibility of explosive diarrhea.

My blackberry camera makes everything on this plate look rarer than it actually is

Average rating for Verses: 4 out of 5 maple syrup lollipops. And extra one for the waiter not judging me.

For the sake of this blog post not becoming 72 pages long, I will now only post some more very bad photos I took of my food from all the other places I ate at. This neither diminishes nor takes away from the fancy feel of everything.

Like this whole wheat crepe filled with walnuts, pesto and goat cheese at La Brioche Lyonnaise- a cute little cafe on St. Denis:

I endured three stares and a dramatic eye roll for taking this picture. You’re welcome.

This tiramisu that I took to go without taking a fork.

When our minds fail us, we have hands.

And the most terrible crime of manners in the history of manners: A sneaky shot of the first course of my lovely THREE COURSE homemade breakfast that our host Nathalie made for us. This was poppy-seed bread pudding.

Each following course does get bigger in portion size

And for good measure, here’s the farmer’s market where I got the best honey and maple syrup in the world.

Beautiful fall day at the farmer’s market

I just noticed that there are grapes hanging from the ceiling.

And that was my awesome food adventure in Montreal. I hope you enjoyed these photos as much I enjoyed eating whatever is in them. I have officially decided that a spring and fall trip will be a Karen tradition from now on. Where else would I get honey for my tea?