One Blue Unitard

Giving Up the Ghost may hold the record for my longest post E-VER: 2345 words.  Apparently I was having a little bit of trouble letting go of Captain Grief and this blog :). I have learned a great deal writing the queer parenting blog The Ginger Menace with PinkPlayMags and with my own blog Brave.Creative.Me.  I have created a massive amount of online work but I am more relaxed about things now. I post when I need to and I know that outlet is there for me when I really need it. Just like my old friend Captian Grief, but way more polite!

imageOne of these times has come upon me in a big way!  What seems like a long time ago a dear friend of mine Jennifer Neales (seen far right) from University of Guelph theatre days ask me to be part of her production #HERStoryCounts. I am one of  six other women telling our own stories.  This project is about making our voices heard and treating our own stories with the respect that they deserve.  It addresses the lack of diversity in theatre, particularly where female performers are concerned.

I am honoured to be among them and privileged to share my story. As I went through draft after draft of what I was going to use in my monologue it became clear that I also needed to share the story of Captain Grief!  She quite literally changed my life after Kara died and now she seems to be changing my life again! Work-a-holic.

Kelly Wilk, Tenneille Read, Sundance Nagrial, Evangelia Kambites

Janet Romero-Leiva, Ordena Stephens-Thompson, Susan A.Lock, Jen Neales


Moving on to a new blog I also took the opportunity to read my work at public events. Joining the gay choir Singing Out!  (get tickets here for June for the Saturday Jun 4th concert) reminded me how much joy and freedom singing brought to my life.  It was transformative and healing all by itself but when I was given an acting role in the tribute to Broadway Showstoppers I was amazed to realize how much theatre never left my blood.

Captain Grief has been secretly wanting to jump off the page since she returned from Cuba. Now she is getting that chance and I purchased a shiny ass blue unitard for the occasion! This character feels wonderful to experience in my body because in the same way she is free. Free to laugh, to cry, to swear, to stand up for herself!  And now she is literally breaking the barrier of a two dimensional world, cursing her way on to the stage.  We open at The Red Sandcastle Theatre in Toronto, 922 Queen St. E. on Friday, April 22 and running to Sunday, April 24.

If you want more info than this I have also written a kid friendly post on The Ginger Menace Step Aside Son and a not so kid friendly post on Brave.Creative.Me. Enter Sniffling. So for now I will say tickets are sold out for the 22nd but there are some left online for the 23rd and 24th to GET YOUR TICKETS today and….

500 words, ha.


The Ginger Menace Takes Flight!

imageI am such a proud queer mommy right now! And I am so excited to announce the reign of a new superhero and the unleashing of my new queer parenting blog……

The Ginger Menace!

Captain Grief may have hung up the cape but The Ginger Menace’s mom is going to have so much fun. Illustration and a lot of credit is due to abwarriner! Follow us at to read about our rainbow hued queer parent blog adventures! For a direct link to my first Ginger Menace post click here, and get ready for a family friendly, queer parent superhero son, rainbow adventure! Also as a final note, received this lovely post card from The Captain, who is living life at cruising speed in Havana. Hoping for a care package of rum!

cubacard“Dear Kelly, so glad to finally be on vacation, the flight was terrible, ran into a flock of seagulls, they wouldn’t give me an autograph! Ha ha ha! See I’m already getting back my sense of humour. All it took was a few pina coladas, a massage and a few rounds of tease the shark in the water! I’m really glad that The Ginger Menace is taking over, he’s got lots of energy that he can channel, good luck with that. Have you launched your new creative blog? Let’em hear you roar girl! And good luck learning to write shorter, family friendly posts, cause fuck man you say a lot of shit. Take care of yourself and say a thanks for me to all the readers who have kept up with us on The High Flying Adventures of Captain Grief! Gotta go, I see the hottie at the bar who has been making eyes at me! So long, Captain Grief xox”

Giving Up the Ghost

Was feeling badly for myself and looking for a sympathy card but couldn't find one for this particular situation...go figure. So I made one.

Was feeling badly for myself and looking for a sympathy card but couldn’t find one for this particular situation…go figure. So I made one.

You would think I would get that it’s hard to let go. “DENIAL!” as my wife liked to say, “it’s not just a river in Egypt.” It is one of the verifiable stages of grief. It is also what I have been experiencing for the last few months, when I thought about ending my stint as Captain Grief. Half Baked was easy as I already had that in the can from January. Funny Valentine was celebratory, vital and invigorating for me, but in the end it was my attempt at BARGAINING. I knew it was time to let her High Flying Adventures go but I stalled, and anguished as major changes in my life were fixing to roll in. I was definitely a rabbit in the headlight of life, but now, I think I have to let go of the GUILT and find ACCEPTANCE.

I have been feeling very guilty about moving away from Captain Grief. She provided so much laughter and solace this past year, and she gave me a reason and a vehicle to write after Kara died. She was like the most awesome cane, not only did it prop me up but I could use it to hit things when I wanted to. I was also considering how other people might feel, if they would miss her, and honestly, however insecure it feels to admit, if people would still be interested in me as a writer when she was gone.  Okay…hav’in a bit of a cry now. 

I have known for some time that I don’t need her anymore. I leaned on Captain Grief for a long time, but now I am out of the cast she has become more of a shield than a sword. I used to need her, and now I just want her because I am afraid to let her go. For obvious reasons I have become very attached to her and really don’t want to lose her and all the wonderful things she brought into my life. I am actually pretty positive it is my lot in life to experience many forms of loss, to some kind of karmic end.

imageIn previous drafts of this post I wrote out the considerable list of ways I have experienced loss. After some reflection it just felt yucky to read that list over. I realized that things like loss of a loved one, having a physical disability or attribute that affects your functionality in every day life, have a way of defining you in negative terms. That is my challenge, to not let it.

Loss is painful, horrid and exhausting but it is even more so when it’s held very close. I think this is why, when the time comes, letting go of it is so freeing. There are a number of ways to let go of loss, and artistic expression is a great way. However I am also entertaining the notion of trying to accept the positive things that have come from the loss I have experienced. This blog for example, I would not have been brave enough to do this if I had not had that need to be bigger than my fear.

I would not have learned so much about self care and self advocation if I had not had to deal with fibromyalgia, and other chronic conditions. And the lessons I have learned about pain, grief and illness have put me in the position to be a compassionate and exceptional healer. In all these positive ways loss made me who I am and any way I look at it, I cannot and would not take that back. And nor would Kara or my father.

imageAs Janis Joplin said, “freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.” That groovy chick knew what she was talking about but not in the way I think she meant it. I will hazard to wax new age poetic now and say I have arrived at a new stage in my life where I am asking some fundamental spiritual questions. The most important being do we really lose what we lose, or is it just that we have to say goodbye to it for a while? It doesn’t mean the loss hurts less, it’s just that I am developing more peace with the fact that the loss is there to begin with. And I am more readily leaving a door open for healing. And so it is getting easier to say goodbye. However you know I have never been opposed to a little something sweet to ease the pain of LOSS. 

imageWelcome to the guess how many words contest! Okay Captain Grief fans, this is for you! Count how many times the word “loss” or “lose” appears in this post to win. Prizes will be provided for the first five contestants that make the five closest guesses to the correct answer. Record your answers as a comment to Giving Up the Ghost and maybe some words of farewell to our snarky hero in yellow boots.

imageI will send you an official Captain Grief poster and if desired, a baked good from my very own chaotic kitchen. Or a baked good IOU depending on convenient delivery time and travel required. Note: it WILL NOT be an Orange Chiffon Cake. And hey, you can only guess once smart asses, and there is a catch. That is you must leave your answer on or before March 28th. Winners will be announced March 29, 2014. Which is as intention would have it The Ginger Menace’s third birthday! Sniff.

Okay back to the post. I can remember one of the first times I wrote after Kara died. It was the first time I walked down the street as a widow. The November day was brisk but very sunny. The perpetual, surreal haze sat heavy on me, but I suddenly felt like I could breathe and that for some reason I was going to be okay. Maybe it was getting away from the house and the gathering of people in it? Maybe it was taking a break from mommy duty? The Ginger Menace was quite reluctant at the time to let me wander very far from him. Maybe it was the sun? 

For whatever reason I revelled in my alone-ness, my anonymous-ness and wandered store to store until I had a very strong impulse to buy a new journal. On a day of newness it was a relief to see a fresh lined page under my hand and the first thing that inked that page was memoir. Captain Grief was a place to make-believe, a place to play, a place to escape the loss and learn to confront it in a very safe space. The blog itself was like a fresh page, over and over, every week, but memoir is where I live.  

imageVery often it distills to poetry but that personal focus remains. My memoir and poetry are very reflective of the loss in my life. However, after Kara died my writing naturally took on a new level of vulnerability and rawness, which I was not yet ready to share with the world. When I first began with Captain Grief and my friends and family started to get to know her, they would often make reference to her in moments when I was attempting to be brave. 

“Put on the cape!” they would say.

And I would, I learned to slip into that unapologetic alter ego when I needed to take care of myself, or my son. I willingly donned that persona when the major evils came tromping through my life. I took a breath, put on the cape and I gave those villains something to think about! Then slowly, and without really noticing I felt stronger, happier and more inclined to laugh at my misfortunes than ever before. There were days that I truly felt I could take to the sky and soar with the eagles because I had something better than feathered wings! A slinky yellow flying cape, bitch’in boots and one hell of an attitude!  

This attitude infiltrated my life and the singing, dancing, cooking, writing, laughing me has emerged. When I look at the soundtrack of my life there has been ample bawl-your-face-off music but that is slowly starting to change. The significant songs don’t make me cry as much. Sure if they catch me off guard in a grocery store I can be very quickly disarmed but for the most part my soundtrack is changing.

imageLooking up favorite artists on 8Tracks I found a mix titled “I Can and I Will” selected by aPoemByPoe ( As the Pink heavy mix cycled through I heard “Brave” by Sara Bareilles for the first time and before I knew it, I was singing “I wanna see you be brave” at the top of my lungs. “Stronger” by Kelly Clarkson was making a regular appearance, and who couldn’t feel like a super hero with lyrics from “Roar” by Katy Perry; “I am a champion and you’re gonna hear me roar!” Best “I am woman” video and best tiger I have ever seen!  I was also introduced to a new artist that I had not heard before.

imagesTo all who know me I have long attested to have a bitter dislike for Country music but it seems to just sidle its way into my life, and I discover songs that I like.  Kacey Musgraves “Follow Your Arrow” has pierced my heart and my funny bone. It is a super silly, super sexy song that I killed myself laughing at when I looked up the video. You just know this artist has a sense of humour. Her costume was like Daisy Duke meets Country Barbie in Wonder Woman’s pants! Wow that really sounded way more dykey than I even intended it to be…go me. Anyways, with a chorus like this, it was love at first listen.

Make lots of noise, kiss lots of boys or kiss lots of girls if that’s something you’re into. When the straight and narrow get’s a little too straight roll up a joint, or don’t, just follow your arrow wherever it points, yeah follow your arrow wherever it it points.”  

Watch Kacey Musgraves “Follow Your Arrow” you won’t regret it!  

Well I am doing my best Ms. Musgrave and now that these new and well-loved tracks are running in my head I know I am changing. I think it is time for me to fly on my own. And now that Captain Grief has launched me from her bow I think it time to leave her behind.  

What I liked about Captain Grief is that she allowed me to develop her character traits in my persona as well as leaving ample room for tears, anger, and snot. Despite her own anguish she was unarguably allowed to experience laughter, confidence and joy. Sometimes I think I have spent so much time developing her that I maintain her as her own person. On a picnic at Toronto Island a friend asked me, 

image“Did you invite Captain Grief?” 

“Nah,” I answered, “she’s a bitch.”  

Well, as it turns out the lines between us are starting to blur and in a few areas they have all but disappeared. The queer superhero in my head and in my heart is re-assimilating with me. At first she was like a brace, so I could stand up straight and remember who I was.  Now I am quite nervous to take off the brace and go out to find new ways and new spaces to keep expressing myself, without the flashy veil. What I had to remind myself of this week is that Captain Grief, as wonderful a character as she is, is in fact fictional. She however, is also me.

Brave. Creative. Me.  

So now you know and have processed that fact that Captain Grief and her High Flying Adventures, however dear to me they may be, have actually outlived their usefulness, I would like to share with you something special. Lets call it a parting gift that is also a present to myself.

As befitting to this wonderful character and the role she played in my life and the life of others, it is time for her to go out with a….






Introducing the new, the improved, less griefy, less angry, less teary, less depressed, less snotty and much happier Captain Grief, drawn by my wonderfully talented girlfriend Amy Beth.

And so this is goodbye and hello. I will not say I will not shed a tear cause we all know the likely hood of that! I will say however, don’t worry my super friends and family, this blog may be over but new and daring adventures will continue with my brand new queer parenting blog…

The Ginger Menace!

Going live on April 1, 2014 at PinkPlayMagz

Captain Grief has graciously stepped back I might add to let The Menace we all know and love shine. He and I will be adventuring out to explore all the things that make being a kid with a queer parent easier. I will do the writing. He is almost three and certainly opinionated but not so much up to snuff on the written communication or typing skills! Stay posted and details about my personal start date will follow…

Until then, thank you to all of my friends and family who have loved and supported me, and helped me get through what has been one of the hardest years of my life.

Thank you to all the people I love who will always be with me in spirit, to heckle, to encourage and to laugh along with me.

And thank you to my hero Captain Grief. Go back to The Alps for a long earned vacation! Hang out with the goat herder you convinced to be your wedding cake topper. See if he will come party and provide the beer!


Half Baked

No one can hold a bone of contention like my mother especially where baking is concerned. In this case the bone would be my Grandmother’s coveted Orange Chiffon Cake. The contention would be over passing the recipe, signified by my mother’s struggle to hang on to it while my grandmother is attempting to wrestle it right back. I imagine myself to be somewhere in the middle, like a judge watching a white flag tied on a rope in a tug of war. Until now I have been hesitant to enter the fray, having witnessed this particular battle throughout my life, that is, until now.

I have of course enjoyed heckling from the side lines in similar family scrimmages, occasionally tossing my hat in the ring and tagging one of them out. In the case of this, my father’s favorite cake, I have remainded a spectator. When I found myself at my mother’s house on my father’s birthday in January I had a misguided attack of nostalgia. Stupid stupid me.


For inquiring minds who want to know, this is what an Orange Chiffon Cake is SUPPOSED to look like. Anyways, the description of this baked good battle implies that Grandmom never actually passed the recipe on, which is not the case. She gave it to my mother alright, and in this enslaught of complicated information the passing of this torch was more akin to Grandmom handing over a live granade. It blew up in her face a lot.

As The Ginger Menace was weaving in and around our ankles I said to her,

“How did you do this with the two of us in the house?” She looked at me in disbelief and said,

“I didn’t! I made it while you were at school. And I usually had to make it several times because the f-ing thing never worked.” Perhaps it was safer that we were out from under foot and away from the explatives?

In any case, with a number of notches on my Kitchen Godess apron quickly multiplying I felt confident that I could give it the ol’ Wilk try.

There are things in life that you are expected to achieve. There are things that you expect yourself to achieve. Then there are things that at some point you would like to achieve and they kind of float around in the back of your brain until you have an opportunity to attempt them. This was one of those things and my father’s birthday was the opportunity.

imageWe started with the recipe, it is officially called The Betty Crocker Sunburst “Chiffon” Cake. Typed out on a creased paper yellowed with age, this set of seemly antiquated instructions has seen many kitchen battles. We began with the separating of seven eggs. Now, whenever my mother expressed frustration with this recipe my Grandmother would always ask,

“Gayle, did you use brown eggs?”

“Yes Herta” she would answer.

“Were they freshly laid?” she continued.


“From the farm?”

“YES HERTA,” she gritted her teeth and answered in the affirmative, even if they weren’t. I don’t really blame mom, this cake was always a touchy subject. I’m sure Herta did go to a farm for eggs but the fervent importance she tried to state it with, made me picture her with her hand in an oven mitt shoved under a chicken, waiting for the eggs to pop out.

imageI cracked the first brown, store bought, fridge cooled egg, cradled the yoke in my fingers and let the white fall through into the bowl. I looked up to see my mother watching me. Yes I realize that the eggs in the picture are in fact white, and believe you me, there is a reason!

“That is an interesting way to do it” she said puzzled.

image“That’s the way Kara did it.” Thinking back however I remembered a small gadget which was really a plastic measuring spoon with holes in it. This was an egg separation assistor, and most likely one of the things mom found in her stocking one year and had to take 15 minutes to figure out its use. I had just gotten so used to the way my wife did things in the kitchen that it felt like the way I had been doing things all along.

imageSo I continued cracking. When I was finished I poured them lovingly into the 70’s edition sea foam green Mixmaster, expounding on the sentimental emotions it evoked for all those years of mixing. Shaking in the cream of tartar I must admit I was realizing a quiet feeling of superiority as I watched the whites firm. Perhaps it was the dash of ego that threw it off?

The whites looked almost merangue like until their progression to molded peaks arrested and actually went backwards. With a feeling of panic and loss of control I knew something was wrong. The white mixture was getting thinner and thinner and The Ginger Menace was losing his mind about something. That is when I felt the initial urge to swear.

Looking at the mixture and the rising colour in my mother’s face it was easy to see how this dessert nearly drove her to want to kill someone. We determined that the Mixmaster must have had its day and was now going to be kicked to the curb like a piece of junk. It was also obvious that this batch of whites was going nowhere but an omelette, so I got cracking again. I hoped the cake gods would be kind even though I only had six brown eggs left and two whites. It yielded a light whipped foam that we were satisfied with.

Taking deep breaths mom and I took turns whipping the egg whites by hand until they submitted and formed the correct consistancy. We then began grating the oranges and after my patheic attempt mom launched herself at the oranges with a vengeance. Mom produced far more rind from the same oranges I thought were exhausted. It looked like a bad day to be an orange.

imageDumping the rind into the yoke batter batter we again stirred by hand and again we had a problem with the consistancy. Except this time it was at the other end of the spectrum. Now we were practically giving ourselves a hemmorage trying to stir a batter that was more like orange cement. Given that the next instruction was to pour the batter slowly and delicately, “drop by drop” in fact, into the foamy white bliss, we knew that wasn’t happening. It would be like airlifting a construction crew into a performance of swan lake, it just won’t work out the way you wanted it to.

imageWe tried to brainstorm a solution. Orange juice. Yup. Lots and lots of orange juice. After wetting the batter down we finally got it to “drip” into the foam it actully looked pretty enough to take a picture. Feeling a little shell shocked we poured it into the pan and prayed.

imageWaiting for it to cook we had a glass of wine and when the time came to test the cake we were looking for a cake that would spring back when pressed. Our initial sign that something was not right in the oven, was the fact that it looked about half its proper height and when we pressed it, it didn’t so much spring but shrug. Placing the pan upside down on glasses to let it slowly drop, yielded nothing. And so we turned the pan over and slid a knife around the edge. The outside spring form of the pan fell down and yet the bottom of the cake was still firmly connected to the insert of the pan.

imageThis cake was reportadly supposed to be so fluffy it would make the angels cry, and now it was the consistancy of pound cake. Cutting it away from the bottom of the pan and keeling over with laughter we chewed and swore. As I can’t remember tasting Orange Chiffon Cake I thought the flavour not bad at all. Mom was incapable of speech as she shook her head snorting. The Menace and I enjoyed the cake over the next few days with tall glasses of orange juice, but mom refused to touch it. I guess in this case ignorance was missing something but it was blissful.

imageNow I fear this recipe may be lost to history. My Grandmother just gleefully celebrated
her 100th birthday in February and is well deserving of issues with her memory, so I don’t think I can ask for clarification from her. I guess there is nothing to do but make my own mark with a less complicated recipe. Or I can live to at least 101 and attempt to make this cake for the next 35 years of my life, as I am just as stubborn and feisty as she is. Or else fall back on the Bettry Crocker I know and love that comes from a store.
My cake

Orange Chiffon Cake

My cake

Orange Chiffon Cake

You get the picture….oi.

Funny Valentine

Me: “Happy Anniversary Captain Grief!”

CG: “Happy Valentines Day Kelly!”

We clicked mugs of tea at the Second Cup after bundling in from the icy cold February day.

Me: “My this is a pleasant exchange…”

CG: “Do you want me to be surly? I can do that…” grumpy cat

Me: “No, no it just caught me by surprise.”

As I was looking at my super human friend I knew something was up, but for the first time I didn’t have a sweet clue as to what that could be. She looked a little dazed and if it were possible actually gleeful, enough to perhaps say…

Me: “Do you have a date or something?”

CG: “Nah. The girl in the super mailroom is cute but I think she’s straight.”

Me: “So what’s the deal? You seem kind of mellow and chilled out and…”

At that point The Captain looked at me with moony eyes and I could almost see the beginning of tears forming in them. I just looked at her in disbelief as she stared back at me and quietly crooned…

CG: “Kelly…. I love you.”

Then I was speechless for about a minute and a half.

Me: “Ah…thanks. What ah, brought this on?” I said trying to get a better look at her pupils. They seemed normal albeit a little watery.

CG: “Oh” she said “you know I was just thinking of last year on this day, when I was so griefed out I couldn’t even get out of bed to come to the launch of the blog…that was so nice!”

IMG_0891Me: “Yeah, no worries. But you are right, we are both doing much better than when we wrote Valentines Day Sucks. Wow that seems like a long time ago, I was so grumpy. At least now we are less bitter and a little less sarcastic.”

CG: “Hey sarcasm is fun whether or not you are grieving.”

Me: “True, I will treasure the “Sorry About Your Spouse” card forever.

CG:  “Well as it turns out I have collected a number of other appropriate greeting cards for people surviving Valentines Day.”

Me: “Do share.”

Captain Greif then reached into her unatard and pulled out a small stack of greeting cards and spread them on the table so we could look at them. (cards throughout post start here.) She still seemed a little teary though.

Me: So was that it for you, just a little tender nostalgia?” hitler

CG: “Well yes and no. I was just thinking about the last year we have spent together, even if I have been on retainer for the last few months” she eyeballed me with a little familiar steel and then reverted to her sappy expression. “The ups and downs, the laughing, the screaming, the people we cussed out, the lists we made, the demolition, the cakes.”

Me: “We did make some good ones.” IMG_0938

CG: “But it wasn’t just that” her tone took on a slightly serious note, “blogging with you again, on Valentines Day and thinking about how far I have come…I hardly destroy stuff any more. And my Kleenex bill has gone way down. I am eating better, sleeping better and still giving myself permission to do the chucking and snotting if I need to. You helped me so much!” She looked at me with one long affectionate glance and said,

“Kelly, you’re my Valentine!” And she handed me this card.


I was then speechless for about a minute and a half, trapped between laugher and heart thumping awe.

Me: “Oh Captain Grief, that, is so sweet! And I love Wonder Woman, she was my favourite super hero, until you came along…” and then I felt bad for all the times I called her a bitch, even if she would have agreed with me.  I feel like we should go out to dinner or something to celebrate making it through the year..” without killing each other I thought.

CG: “Champagne and a four course meal!”

Me: “How ’bout sushi?”

CG: “Can we drink sake?”

Me: “Sure.”

CG: “Can I play footsies with you under the table?”

Me: “No…Maybe.”



CG: “Will you cuddle with me in the cab?”

Me: “Okay we’re getting creepy now.”

CG: “Fine, but we’re watching Hancock when we get home. Charlize Theron is the shit.”


Looks super to me

Me: “Yes, but you do know she’s not a real super hero right?”

CG: “Oh isn’t she.”

Me: “Not unless you know something that I don’t.”

CG: “I just might.”

Me: Wow. Well what about Ann Hathaway in The Dark is Rising? She is a dangerously seductive Cat Woman.

CG: Come on look at her, how could she not have super powers?

cat woman


Me: I knew it! Have you met her? Oh she was a fantastic cat burglar! And that butt shot they did when she was on the bat bike, seriously gratuitous, but seriously appreciated. I love you Ann Hathaway.

CG: Don’t make me slap you.

Me: Could you send her a Valentine for me?

Captain Grief looked offended and flashed this car in my face.



hate-youMe:  Okay back on task, we are celebrating getting though the hardest year of being a widow. We do the treats and the wine, the movie. We are reconnecting, what do we do now?”

CG: “Well you know how some couples get to a point in their relationship where things need to be renewed?”

Me: “Sorry?”

CG: “Well, I think we should do that.”

Me: “Renew our…vow?”

CG: “Yeah.”


I would have bought this last year for sure!

Me: “Hmmm, well I haven’t felt the same intense need to write as when we first started. At first I really relied on finding humour in the everyday uck of grief, but that has changed. These days I find less things I need to transform from frightening to funny. I guess it would be better if we just focused on the funny part of The High Flying Adventures of Captain Grief, just for the joy of it. Even if we don’t post every week it will still be nice to have this as an outlet.

CG: “So we are going to stick around?”

Me: “Yeah, I think so.

CG: “Okay then, come fly with me…my funny Valentine, sweet comic Valentine, you make me laugh…”

Me: “Really?”…

CG: “With my heart” she mimed a thumping heart on her chest and continued to serenade me, stepping up on the coffee table.

Me: “Ah! Who are you and where is my super hero alter ego when you need her?”

CG: “Your looks are laughable, unphotographable…your figure is less than Greek, your mouth a little weak..”

mehMe: “Screw you.”

CG: “But you’re my faaaaaaaaavourite woooooooork of art” she continued in a loud shrill voice. I put on my sunglasses and headed to the door.  As it closed I could hear her painfully pantomime swoons, “stay little Valentine stay…”

She should leave Funny Valentine to Michelle Pfeiffer (another sexy cat woman) and stick with rude greeting cards, I thought. I’ll catch up with her next week.

Bone Head Move

change aheadI feel like I have been getting memos from the universe these days. On the bad days I feel like they read “get up off your ass” or perhaps “try harder stupid.” They don’t actually say that, but sometimes it really feels like it. There are a number of things that the universe has told me in a number of ways. The most recent of which sent me hacking and gasping to the back door in a cloud of smoke.

This incident also gave me an automatic blog post for this week. I needed something obvious as a sign post I think, to signal me to get past the writers block, hectic sheduals and any other excuse I have been using for the past few weeks. I have had a lot of change in my life recently and have definitely been resisting it. However, the universe has told me change is here, whether I like it or not!

Change is a funny thing. It is an opportunity in the disguise of a disaster. And when it comes to disasters, I have had a fair few on the radar. With The Ginger Menace rapidly growing to a height above my waist, and at the tender age of 2 and ¾ years old no less, I am expecting natural bumps in the landscape.

When my wife passed, he was only 19 months and at that age, the ways for him to respond to an event like that were limited. Of course there was confusion and crying but he did not have the words to understand death in a literal way. All he understood was loss and that someone that he loved was not there in the same way any more. Another way children this age react to loss is regress in terms of previously understood concepts or skills. In the case of The Ginger Menace, he regressed on established eating and sleeping habits and as I would learn months later, language.

It seems he still does not have the words to understand loss, but he is getting there. I have learned, however, that the best way I can help him is making decisions about what the rules are,  being as consistent as possible. This is a challenge sometimes when even mommy has trouble getting up off the couch and motivating herself.

As a result, I have found myself becoming a fan of snap decisions. When the Menace was running around the inside of his crib screaming at the top of his lungs and I couldn’t take it any more, I decided one night I was just going to let him tire himself out, going in and out to check on him until he learned to accept this as the new norm. When he was clamoring for movies all day long as his coping tool turned habit, I suddenly made an ‘only-in-the-afternoon’ deal nudging him towards music as an alternative. When he was clamoring for bottle after bottle with me while in daycare all he would use was a big boy cup, the universe hit me upside the head to get my attention and asked, “so who is the parent here?”

I had been wondering for a while when and how we were going to pitch the bubbas. As I said he loves his bottles, they seem to be an endless source of comfort for him. On one hand it makes my heart ache to think of taking something away from him that is soothing, and yet on the other hand, I suspect he is playing me like a bloody violin. I had been meaning to sanitize the nipples but didn’t get around to it. As today was catch up day, we had breakfast and I plunked five or six nipples in a pot of water and set it to boil. Then I got on with my other tasks.

Time went by and a friend phoned. I had wanted to speak to Naomi for a couple of days, so I picked up. Soon we were laughing and giggling as per usual and I wandered into the kitchen to get away from the loud word practicing that The Menace was doing, which was really just a whole lot of noise.

It was my new shiny pot, slightly blackened at the bottom and smoking ever so gently. Crap, crap, crap. I went tearing over to the stove to lift the lip to see how low the water had gotten. I had let onions caramelizing onions boil to slightly burned the other day and hoped it was not that bad. It was.


Where there had been water, there was now only a sizzling puddle and seven dingy, cruddy, partially melted rubber nipples that puffed a noxious burning stench into my face as I removed the lid.  I turned off the burner and put the lid back on coughing and closing my eyes to the acrid stench. Naomi asked me what the heck was going on.

“Well” I answered, “I forgot I was boiling nipples. I was thinking about getting rid of them today but I hadn’t totally decided. Guess they’re gone now.” I looked above my head and saw the tumbles of smoke and listened to Naomi laugh as I opened the back door, took the pot outside and turned on the fan. As the putrid smell of burning rubber filled the kitchen and the smoke began to curl towards the living space I ran to the front door and opened it as well, greeting the postman in my pyjamas.

IMG_0075Memo from the Universe received. It said, “yes, he is playing you like a violin” and “we are going to try and make this easy for you.” Amy creatively suggested arranging with a toy store to take the bottles and “trading” for a new toy. My daycare lady suggested I convince him to pack them up because another new baby needed them, but I guess those ideas were somewhat vaporized.


Okay, I can do this, I thought. Yes I happen to have two premade bottles in the fridge already but what if they didn’t exist?? What if the only option for The Menace to transport milk into his little mouth was his shiny blue sippy cup with Mater on it? Hummm…could such a reality exist, like the true reality away from The Matrix, under the flashy surface reality where a baby can play his mother like an instrument and get a bottle whenever he wants? Yes! It can!

Stopping bullets

Neo from the Matrix dodging bullets…that don’t exist!

So I did it. Lunch came and went and we had fun slurping spaghetti noodles. He was still hungry so I sent him to the couch with a bowl of apple slices and some goldfish. I steeled my courage and grabbed the pot off the stove.

“I have to show you something,” I said in the most sheepish tone I could manage. I sat next to him on the couch. “Mommy made a totally bone head move” I smiled and held out the pot. He peered in, one finger resting on his gappy front teeth and grinned. “Mommy burned the nipples. They’re all gone.” He knew the phrase “all gone”.  It is his favorite as ‘gone’ was one of his first words, coupled with open hand gesturing.

“So”, I continued “we have no more nipples for bubbas.” He reached into the pot. “No!” I squealed.  “You don’t want those they are dirty and they stink!” He peered closer ,wrinkled his nose and laughed at me. That was a very good sign. Sigh. So I pushed my luck. “Would it be alright if we drank milk out of your Mater cup at nap time?”

“Ah-ha” he nodded. I smiled, returned with the pot to the kitchen and did a little dance.

I was disproportionally thrilled compared to normal when I sloshed some milk into his cup and grabbed a soother. Not up to trying to give up both today,  I presented him with the cup and told him it was bed time. He looked at the cup and frowned, to be expected. Before he could start to whine I ran to the kitchen and said,

“Remember, the nipples are gone?! We have to use this cup, okay?” Why does this make me feel Machiavellian? I don’t know but I love it! Sippy cup drunk. Horton Hatches an Egg read. Ginger Menace tucked in. Nap had. Bone head move was a blessing. Memo received. Thanks, will see you at bedtime.

Beer and Butter Tarts

Today is the day!

I am off to the Toronto Indie Arts Market Small Press & Literary Festival.  They are celebrating the launch of Beer & Butter Tarts, a Literary Food Journal from Stained Pages Press, that is publishing a short work of non fiction called Going to Market  as part of their collection. I will be heading there for around 11am if anyone wants to join me. Copies are $15 including admission to the Festival.

Toronto Indie Arts Market Small Press & Literary Festival
Saturday, December 14th, 10:30am – 4:30pm
Gladstone Hotel, 1214 Queen Street West, Toronto
admission $5, partial proceeds to Parkdale Project Read

You can still purchase online as well through Pay Pal or Lulu

In Canada – $18 including shipping
In USA – $20 including shipping
International – $25 including shipping

Direct from Lulu (ships immediately) – $15 plus shipping

And here is apparently the best recipe for Butter Tarts!