my forays through love and other gastronomical stories

The Lesbian Chronicles: You Reap What You Sow. — November 28, 2017

The Lesbian Chronicles: You Reap What You Sow.

I am co-habiting here in Montréal with my Mother due to a confluence of events much too complex to write about today, better saved for that proverbial rainy day blog.

Here is my mini version:

Years ago in a different time and place I was a practicing Buddhist. When the day arrived for my naming ceremony I felt quite hopeful, as I was attempting to rename myself from my given name of Rhona and my adopted name of Katharine to something else altogether.

I entered the temple and waited patiently for my turn, and hoped the Buddhist Name Goddess would be kind. My teacher gave me a blessing and named me ‘Sawjack’. I asked my teacher what my name meant and was told ‘You reap what you sow’. (This is where you insert that creepy music from the movie ‘It’ when the clown is about to do something very very bad.) At that time I didn’t understand the ramifications of reaping what you sow, today I most definitely do.

I have up until recently chosen only powerful but cruel women. Truth be told, their cruelty turned me on, but only in limited quantities. When they acted according to their character, I demanded that they treat me with kindness instead of cruelty.

“How did that work for you?” You might ask. “Not so well!” I answer. So here I am, living in Montreal with my cruel and powerful mother and certainly reaping what I have sowed which to be honest, is mostly manure.

C’est la vie! I have learned a lot and continue to do so. I am one of those irritatingly optimistic people who believe what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

‘Till next time,


Shadows And Light — April 15, 2017

Shadows And Light

Recently  I made a video of myself reading one of my stories and frankly I was quite dismayed. I wasn’t sure who I was looking at, certainly this person on the video did not match up with the image I have of myself.

This was the first time that I had ever seen myself on video and frankly I was more than a little disturbed.  I did not like at all how I looked, or more specifically how I spoke. In still photography I look fine, because I can smile like everyone else, I’m just not able to smile with my teeth showing. On video however, I can see that when I speak I certainly do not speak as most people do.

I have Moebius Syndrome, or Moebius has me. Regardless of the how or by whom, having Moebius means that some muscles in my tongue do not function, forcing me to speak differently than the norm.

In my community which includes healers and therapists; there is a movement to look toward the light, believing that if you are in the vortex of positivity you will be rewarded with all the riches, healing and love that you have been longing for.

I have toyed with these concepts for a while and find them lacking. Here is why –

If I can’t make peace with my flawed mouth then I will have failed and the kingdom of heaven will then be permanently closed.

In my opinion however, this concept of praying away the shadow only forces the shadow deeper underground. I  am a perfectionist. I can never not be one, perfectionism is written in code into my DNA.

Now how can I make peace with not looking perfect?  I can’t. What I can do is this. I can finally make peace with never being normal and make peace with not looking nor sounding like Joni Mitchell (my heroine). Then paradoxically I can relax into me, because I just gave myself permission to love and accept my unyielding perfectionist self.

So I am loving the hater part of me instead of shaming the hater part of me into submission and into the shadows where she has lain waiting, always waiting to find another opportunity for self abasement.

Accepting the all of me just as I am: the good, the bad and the ugly. 

Forgiveness — September 12, 2016



Definition of Forgive

1: to give up resentment

2: to grant relief from payment

3: to cease to feel resentment

I have had such difficulty writing this piece. I wanted to give all of you something perfect and shiny and bright. I wanted to wrap up my story with silver ribbon and a blue box from Tiffany’s.

Instead you are getting my truth which is not wrapped with a bow but in yesterday’s newspaper, and I didn’t even use the cartoon section for the wrapping, but the obits.

The greatest sorrow of my life has been my relationship with my mother. My first days of life were spent in an incubator in the ICU department of the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montréal, where my mother abandoned me for a business trip with my father to Québec City –

” Why would I have stayed with you in the hospital? said my mother
The nurses were there!”

Late this summer when I told my mother I needed to stay with her for two months due to my untimely exit from the apartment I had shared with my now ex – partner Lorraine, her response was less than enthusiastic. I ignored her non response, and proceeded to annihilate what was left of my fantasy mother by asking her to come back with me to Toronto so that she could help me deal with the unpleasantness brought on by my exit from my aforementioned apartment.

“You know I’m not good with that stuff!” said my mom.
“Mommy!!! I need you!! I need you now!!!!” said desperate me

“I need you mommy!” was now looped through my brain and played non stop throughout my day, like an itchy ear worm.

I couldn’t stop myself. I understood intellectually that I did not win the good mother lottery prize but emotionally I was still just four years old, begging my mommy to come to my tea party. She never came and my Barbie’s had to drink their tea with just Ken and me for company.

In my desperation I called a psychic I saw advertised on my Facebook feed. Rachel told me I needed to forgive my mother before I can move forward. Really? This is what I paid five dollars for? ( It was a special offer.)

How do I forgive? According to the Miriam Webster – I need to stop feeling anger toward the person who wronged me.

I have tried repeatedly to do just that. I really have. I have gone to therapy for years with hopes that I could come to some type of peace with my mother. I have talked incessantly about my situation with Jodee, my long time therapist. I thought I was making slow but steady progress, but in Montréal all healing went to hell in a hand basket. I felt unhinged, as if I literally was coming apart. I was desperate for my mother to take my face in her hands and say –

” Don’t worry Katharine, I got you”

I so wanted my mother to create a safe space for me in Montréal, even though that had never happened on the thousand trips I had made to Montréal previously. I didn’t think I was asking for much, just a drawer to put my clothes in, and an acknowledgment that this was indeed a scary and difficult time for me.

As a child, I did not enjoy Halloween, as dressing up in costume made me anxious. I lived with parents that put on masks every day when they went outside our home. Just like the parents who caution their children to use their inside voices during school and synagogue; my parents used their inside face with me, and their outside face with others. The mask they showed to others was so radically different than the one they showed to me at home, that I am still disturbed by masks of any kind, knowing what danger can lurk beneath.

I tried this time, I really tried to make believe that I could calm this frightened fragmented inner child of mine, but I, like my mother before me, threw baby Katharine out to the wolves. I could not console her and I let her rage at being abandoned take me over.

I so wanted my mother to come to my rescue, just this once.

I kept on repeating:

” Mom, you can redeem yourself for all the damage that you have done before, all I ask is that you create a safe place here for me to rest and recoup until my new apartment becomes available in November.”

And each time I begged and each time I pleaded, I lost a little bit of my soul and a lot of my dignity but I could not help myself, so desperate was I to be seen. To make matters worse, as a retired psychotherapist, I understood intellectually that my mother was not ever going to give me what I needed, and in fact took pleasure in seeing her former jappy princess daughter reduced to sleeping on her not so comfy couch, but I was not able to make my brain meet my heart.

Weeks passed in this way, and then my birthday happened, or didn’t happen, to be more accurate.

I had spent the weekend before my birthday celebrating with my close friend Marcus and his family. Before meeting Marcus I had an idea of what familial love should feel like, but did not have a body memory to go with it. Thanks to Marcus and his family, I have experienced love as a felt sense. To celebrate my birthday, they surprised me with a weekend at the splendid Hovey Manor, located in the Eastern Townships.

When I came back I made the mistake of sharing my joy with my mother. If any of you here tonight are familiar with the reality TV show Survivor, whenever the winner of a reward challenge gloats about her reward, the people left behind become angry. I came home so happy, I forget my own rule about keeping my joy contained so as not to risk my mother’s wrath.

Too late.

Now I was to be punished, and since the punishment level was in line with my joy, the punishment was extreme. My mother decided to banish me from her kingdom which meant that my birthday would not be acknowledged.

No birthday cake. No birthday card.

” But I’m sixty, Mommy!! See me! Celebrate me!”

And my shame at my bottomless need to be seen by her, obfuscated my otherwise sound judgment.

And still.. and still.

I’m now back in Toronto, safely ensconced in my new cozy apartment. Every morning before I get out of bed, and every night before I go to sleep, this agnostic Jew prays to the Divine Mother and my Guardian Angels and anyone else I can think of, saying my prayers out loud because I don’t want to take any chances on any unseen helpers not hearing my forgiveness plea.

“I release you mother, and the hold you have on my heart. I am going to do my best to stop blaming you for not being the mother I so desperately wanted, and to try my best to live a life unencumbered by my old friends shame and blame. Please dear Mother God send me your love and healing and if you’re feeling really generous, please send me my Beloved. I am ready to receive her now!”

Hopefully these prayers will help me this month when Chanukah comes around, so that when I light my Chanukah candles sans Maman, I can take comfort in knowing that like the Maccabees before me, I have won the battle even though I have lost the war.

The Lesbian Chronicles: Artemis and Me — January 24, 2018

The Lesbian Chronicles: Artemis and Me

He slipped into the booth adjacent to mine this morning at the coffee shop down the street from my mother’s apartment.

He told me his name was Hugh. When I asked if Louie and Dewey were coming to join him, he did not appear to be amused. Perhaps he was averse to ducks; perhaps he was averse to me.

Hugh was lit from the inside, he seemed both birthday candles and birthday cake.

My heartbeat. The hunger. I want it. I want it.

Hugh was wearing a beaded tiger’s eye bracelet on his left wrist that immediately grabbed my attention.

I had to have one just like his, even though I had long forgone jewelry, even though I had long forgone men.

My heartbeat. The hunger. I want it. I want it.

I lusted after his bracelet, knowing if I owned one just like Hugh’s, his super powers would flow from his bracelet to my mine.

Hugh told me about Jasmine who sold her jewelry from her home across from his yoga studio.

Of course he practiced yoga, I’m sure he brought his own mat made out of organically grown hemp.

After some not so gentle prodding, Hugh gave me Jasmine’s number. I could feel myself inching closer to the magic.

My heartbeat. The hunger. I want it. I want it.

I sent Jasmine a text. She replied instantly. “Come over right away! I live in St Henri.”

Which meant nothing to me, since I am directionally challenged on the best of days.

“Is that far?” I asked “I don’t have a car and I will be walking with my puppy Lucille.”

“It’s not far at all” said Jasmine “Just walk down Greene Street, then turn left onto St. Jacques. It should take you less than twenty minutes.”

So off we go, intrepid Journey woman and her trusted canine companion.

Except that it doesn’t take us twenty minutes, or thirty minutes or even forty but I tell myself I don’t care:

because it’s all downhill,

because it’s a sunny day,

because Lucille is happy,

because the eye of the tiger is calling me home.

My heartbeat. The hunger. I want it. I want it.

I reach my destination, then boldly knock on her crimson coloured door. A full bodied woman wearing a vintage Japanese kimono greets us and says “Welcome, I’m Jasmine!”

My heartbeat. The hunger. I want it. I want it.

“I’ve been walking on my knees for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.” I said.

“Then you must be very thirsty.” said she. She offered Lucille and me water from her well. I had never tasted water so pure and so sweet.

Jasmine brought out her baubles for me to admire. She had bracelets made of amethyst and garnet, lapis and hematite. There were bracelets made of silver and gold, copper and pewter. My tiger’s eye bracelet however, was nowhere in sight.

Worriedly, I asked Jasmine if she could make me the same bracelet that she made for Hugh. “I’m so sorry.” said Jasmine “Hugh is divine incarnate. I made that bracelet just for him.”

And just like that, with one little snap, I was banished from the island where hope and hearth and family reside and I most definitely now, never will.

I couldn’t help myself, my eyes immediately filled with tears. Jasmine offered up a consolation prize, a bracelet made of hawk’s eye.

Hawk’s eye? I was not a graceful loser, always mortified to come in second. When the going got tough, I left the race. Safer to escape, than deal with the shame of certain defeat.

So there I was, my tears staining her cherry wood table, when Jasmine gently took my hand and placed the bracelet on my wrist.

“Look Katharine, I think hawk’s eye suits your skin tone even better.” “Tiger’s eye is the sun, but hawk’s eye is the moon, and didn’t you just tell me that your favourite colour was grey?”

I did and it is and I keep a portrait of Artemis, Goddess of the Hunt and the Moon on my nightstand beside my bed.

I know my hunger, my wanting, will never be sated by donuts and Dim Sum, baubles with bling, winning medals of honour, or donning angel wings.

I get that, I truly do. But the wanting, my wanting, is the closest I’ve gotten to feeling tethered to something tangible.

So for a moment, that one brief wanting moment, I can stop feeling that I’m here, dangling all alone on the edge of the earth.

My heartbeat. The hunger. I want it. I want it.

The Lesbian Chronicles: Signs — January 14, 2018

The Lesbian Chronicles: Signs

I believe in signs. As an incurable romantic, when I found a small diamond ring embedded in the snow this afternoon my initial feeling was one of joy, for what better sign for love impending then finding a diamond ring? However, on further inspection I realized that both the gold and diamond were fake.

Now how should I interpret this? My intuition tells me:

 Love is coming, though I must be judicious before falling, for I haven’t waited all this time just to be lulled into thinking she is the real deal then gutted when her glitter fails to sustain and the diamond is now clearly seen as the glass it always was.

Note to self: Listen to Joan Baez sing ‘Diamonds and Rust’.

I am a Lover — December 9, 2017

I am a Lover

The buzz word in popular culture right now is ‘Warrior’. I heard it first on a fundraising  commercial for a local children’s hospital, then I overheard my mother and sister use the phrase ‘I’m a warrior’, obtained most likely from the Tony Robbins weekend workshop they participated in this past summer.

Last night while watching my favourite episode of Survivor, where the remaining contestants see their family members for the first time in a month, I saw a commercial for the new movie ‘A Wrinkle In Time’. I watched as Oprah, dressed as a queen/fairy/witch implores the young heroine to  “Be a warrior!”

Why would I want to be a warrior? To be a warrior I must first be involved in a battle, and quite frankly, I am battle weary. In a war, there is always duality. A winner and a loser, the good team and the bad team, the victorious and the defeated. Instead of the duality of war, I am choosing the singularity of peace. I am discarding my fatigues for a cloak of many colours, working hard to negotiate peace through love.

If after much negotiation, my goal of peace through love can not be reached, I will walk away, taking solace inside my comfy cozy coat, knowing that in choosing love, I am  choosing not to abandon myself to the fragmentation that inevitably results from war.

Hot House Flower — October 16, 2017
1. Love — October 14, 2017

1. Love

I have had a migraine for the past five days, and when I’ve been ill like this, my normally bouncy self loses it’s resilience and just lies down flat, void of buoyancy and affect. The only antidote that seems to reboot my bounce are the three C’s: Caring, Comfort and Compassion. I haven’t run into those three C’s often in my life, partly by fate, partly by choice.

In partnering with women who replicated my mother, I enjoyed the negative pleasure of choosing cruel and physically powerful women who could double whammy me in both mind and body.

I’m so over that now. These past few months have brought me to my knees, the pain so deep it excised the anger and resentment I had been storing up for over 50 years.

I feel re-born, re-newed and re-invigorated. Despite my health challenges or perhaps because of my health challenges, I have re-prioritized what is important in my life.

Here is my list:

1. Love

There is no 2. because love is all that matters. Giving it, getting it, creating it.


There you have it, my mini manifesto.

Love is Love is Love.

Love Is Who I Am — October 8, 2017

Love Is Who I Am

This from Brene Brown,

‘You either walk into your story and own your truth, or you live outside of your story, hustling for your worthiness.’

I have always been that hustler, that hooker, that looker, offering up my body as a token of my admiration, beseeching her to love me through my trifecta of tools: shame, blame and manipulation.

Always dancing as fast as I can, all the while singing the same refrain stuck on repeat,  “Please love me. Please fill me. Please heal me. Never leave me. I will do any thing and be anyone you need. I will make your every wish come true.”

Hoping always that ephemeral, elusive feeling of safety would land on my right shoulder like a butterfly’s kiss, like a benediction.

But that was yesterday. After a lifetime of yesterdays, on this day of giving thanks, I can walk straight into my story, thankful to proclaim my own truth, which is this:

I am worthy of love. I am inherently loveable. I did not need to change my surname to Love. I did not need to lie prostrate on the floor, begging to be loved. I just needed to know, I just needed to feel, I just needed to own that my flawed and broken self has inherent value in this world. And it does, and I do, and therefore I am, extremely thankful.


Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Beauty Awakes! — October 2, 2017

Beauty Awakes!

 I’m in my second bath of the night, my bath being the only place I feel even somewhat comfortable, given this is my third day of suffering from a horrible cold.

This afternoon I was pondering why I haven’t felt disturbed that my mother did not called me today to ask how I am feeling, since I had spoken to her yesterday and told her how unwell I felt. This was a novel experience for me, since I’ve been keening for my mother’s love and acknowledgment for most of my childhood and certainly all of my adulthood.

I realized that I did not care if she asked how I was doing, because for the first time in my life, I’m actually taking really good care of myself. Such good care that I finally feel mothered by my own innate good mother who, like Sleeping Beauty has finally awakened after sixty years of slumber.

However, unlike Beauty, I was given the sole task of waking up my good mother self. This has been my life’s work, the challenge I have been grappling with for the last forty years. How do I mother myself when I was never shown proper mothering?

So painful was it for me to be unmothered that I put myself to sleep, allowing addiction to take the place of genuine nurturing. As I was healing my lifetime of disordered eating, I began to understand that my underlying addiction was to my mother.

I have felt totally captivated in her web of cruelty, unable to wrench myself from the negative pleasure I was receiving by repeating my particular pattern of call and response.

After what feels like a lifetime of therapy and self reflection, I have forgiven my mother for her inability to protect and care for me. I am certain my mother didn’t wake up each morning asking herself “Now how can I injure my daughter today?” I’m not saying she didn’t cause me grievous emotional and physical harm, I’m just acknowledging that she did what she did without conscious thought, and should there have been moments of clarity, the impetus to harm was so much bigger than the impetus to heal, that it was impossible for her to stop.

Once I forgave her, I was able to wake up my slumbering inner nurturer and have her take care of my wild beast of a child.

For the past three days I have stayed inside my apartment, only venturing out to get supplies and to take my puppy Lucille for a brief walk. I calmed down little Beastie my assuring her that Lucille will be fine without our daily marathons, and that she can feel sad about staying indoors on three consecutive sunny days, but that this is the best way to get better.

I’ve been feeling so proud of myself that I haven’t need to look anywhere else but here, to receive my own blessings and my own congratulatory responses.

“You are such a good girl!” I say to myself on repeat, and guess what?

I’m actually beginning to believe that.

“And I think to myself, what a wonderful world” — September 25, 2017
“And I think to myself, what a wonderful world” —

“And I think to myself, what a wonderful world”

Today was a wonderful day at Hanlon’s Point🌴,  where clothing is optional. Lucille and I met a lovely couple who shared their umbrellas along with delicious ham and cheese sandwiches. We swam in the warm water, we played ball, and everyone was impressed with Lucille’s fearlessness.
As we were walking back from the beach, I lost one of my insoles. As I began to trace my steps I encountered a comely gray haired man. (Picture a naked Sean Connery.) I asked him if he had seen a lone sole on the beach and he replied in the affirmative. Lucille and I traipsed after him and shortly thereafter my sole was found. I thanked him profusely and he said “When you tell this story, make sure you tell everyone I’m a saver of soles.” And he is, and I have.

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