my forays through love and other gastronomical stories

Mother no more — August 3, 2017

Mother no more

 After a lifetime of gaslighting and verbal abuse from my mother, I have decided to stop speaking to her. If this proves too hard and I break down and engage, I will forgive my needy child self and try again.

This is the hardest thing I have ever done, and I have done many hard things. My mother has been my obsession and my greatest wound. She is my pusher and I am her addict. I  tell myself that I’ll have just this one more hit, then I’ll stop; but I feel powerless to stop, my need for her poison bigger than my need for self- preservation.

  All I ever wanted in this life was to be seen by her. Really seen and acknowledged and taken in.  I get it now. I get it in my body, where it counts the most. She can not ever and will not ever be the mother I have longed for. No one can understand this obsession unless they themselves have experienced the same.

I feel a little embarrassed talking about this here, worried that people will judge. Sixty years old and still obsessed with getting her mother to love her? My rationale for sharing is my hope that this blog will reach at least one person with a similar mother, who will then feel understood. 

For today, I am free. Still raw, still trying to integrate what I know in my body to sync up with the story I have told myself in my mind, the fairytale where the princess (me) wakes up to find that her mother was captured by an evil queen and only my being perfect would free her from the spell. I’ve tried to be perfect but I was never perfect enough to break that damn spell. My mother of her own volition chose to act unkindly. No evil queen needed.

Today I must say “Mother, no more stomping with your dirty black pointed boots on my just cleaned yellow tiled floor, good bye, haste la vista,  please close my door on your way out’ .

I Know For Sure I Don’t Know — July 25, 2017

I Know For Sure I Don’t Know

Twenty five years ago I was lying prone on my black and white tiled bathroom floor trying to comfort my six month old daughter Victoria, who was lying and crying on top of me. We were both cranky and exhausted from another in a series of sleepless nights.

I knew my daughter was suffering, but her constant wailing was wearing me down. I was trying my hardest to stay present for her, though the temptation to abandon felt overwhelming. I knew that if I checked out now, I would be repeating the cycle of leaving that began with my grandmother Gertie, who had been left motherless when her father took her and her brother to Canada, leaving their mother Ruchel behind in Poland.

That morning on my cold bathroom floor I made a promise to Victoria. I promised I would never abandon her. Chances were astronomically high that I would fail, but I would get back on course as soon as I could, no matter that I came into this world directionally challenged.

I wanted to stay present for my daughter. I needed to address my myriad mental health issues, but didn’t know were to start. I held my crying baby in one hand, and in the other looked in the Yellow Pages for a psychotherapist. I stopped at the B’s and phoned Dr. Bloom. I was hoping he might be simpatico to a fellow neurotic Hebe. I dialed his number and my journey began.

I have been addicted to so many things – food, cigarettes, shoplifting and creating stories that would inflate my life. Though I have successfully recovered from all of the above, I have not however been able to heal one very peculiar addiction: my desire to find and keep a good and true name for myself.

This name obsession has been my personal kryptonite. This story begins in the summer of 2007. My friend and mentor Jean came over to my home one hot summer morning and proclaimed “My name is now Alexandra, Jean is dead.” I was initially shocked by her decision, then I understood. Jean had just turned 50 and was feeling invisible in the way that many beautiful woman do when they reach middle age. What better way to reinvent herself than by changing her name, killing overlooked Jean then resurrecting as the alluring Alex. I immediately hopped on the name changing band wagon, destination unknown.

My issue with my name started in third grade. My mother named me Rhona Marylin after Rona Barrett the gossip columnist, and the actress Marilyn Monroe. Why she decided to add an H to Rona, and to invert the I and Y of Marilyn remains unclear. My mother never completed high school, I can only assume that proper spelling was not high on her list of priorities. The addition of the H afforded my classmates a reason to torment; calling me Ra-Hona, making me hate my name and by proxy my mother, even more.

When Jean suggested I too change my name, I agreed immediately. I thought for months about what name would best resonate with my unadulterated soul. I looked through baby name books and magazines until one day I came across the magazine Mirabella, which featured the actress Anjelica Huston on their cover.

I felt intuitively Anjelica was the name I had been searching for. I opened the magazine and began to read. Anjelica’s mother was from Spain, and every night before bed, she would whisper to Anjelica “Good night, my Anjel.”  This was my heart’s desire. I wanted with every fibre in my being to have a mother who whispered those four words. I had been waiting my entire life for my own mother’s love, waiting for her to show up, waiting for her to shower me with gentleness.

I just knew that when I changed my name to Anjelica, the magic of Anjelica would call forth someone who loved me enough to whisper “I love you my Anjel”. Perhaps not in with a Spanish accent, and never from my own mother’s lips, but the name Anjelica would become a talisman, bringing forth all measure of good fortune into my life.

I was flying once a month into New York to study Reiki. I was so impressed/infatuated with my teacher Deidre that I culled together a group of women to study with her in Toronto. I couldn’t wait to share my new name news with Deidre. I picked her up at the airport, rushing through the obligatory pleasantries. “I’m changing my name to Anjelica!” I told her excitedly. “Anjelica?” she exclaimed “That is a stupid name. You should change your name to Kimberley!”  I then did the only thing I could do, I jettisoned Anjelica as my sacrificial offering.

Eventually I landed on the name Cassandra, but just as the thrill of Cassandra was wearing thin, I happened upon the movie ‘The English Patient’ with the actress Kristin Scott Thomas playing Katharine Clifton. Katharine was beautiful, British and contained. Three things I was not and most desperately wanted to be. I spent the following year studying numerology in order to procure a perfectly balanced name. I decided on Katharine Angelina, then applied successfully for a legal name change.

 Katharine Angelina translates numerically to a number six vibration, the six representing safety, home and family. What more could I possibly want? More than that obviously, since I’m obsessing still.  I just can’t make a name stick, it slips off of me like gum on Teflon.

I understand that a new name cannot bring me a good mother, nor can any name help me to feel safe. Changing my name is akin to painting my bedroom a different colour. The colour might be different but the room stays the same.

Lately I have playing with variations of Rhona:  Rhône – Rowland – Rhonwen. Perhaps I can rest here, close to my beginnings with just a slight upgrade.


this is the place where i rest — July 7, 2017

this is the place where i rest

this is the place where i rest

learning how

to stop




has been a challenge

for me

beginning with

my arrival, where

no body was

there to soften

my fall, so I


into food

and boys

and then


always looking for comfort

always looking

for faster and faster

ways to

stop feeding

my pain

waiting on

the tracks

for the

one train

with faulty brakes

to break me

into ten million

little pieces,

finally feeling

no thing

at all.


i knew

that marrying this man

was a sin

against myself

but i

so desperate for a

tribe of little

me’s and

my family’s praise

failed to hear

my timorous

voice that said

“no no no.”


this time around

i will let myself


only when

when i trust

myself enough

to know

that i can

safely release

into her



saying yes

to the kindness

and no

to the harshness

breathing in

breathing out

embracing myself

over and over


over again.



Father’s Day — June 18, 2017

Father’s Day

My Dad loved me, the only person in my entire extended family who did.
Love is a verb, therefore action is necessary to activate the love. Remeber the game Twister? Remember the floor board that came with the game? There was a plastic mat with large different coloured circles on them. I imagine my Dad standing on a large red circle. This circle represented the love he felt for me.
Unfortunately he couldn’t make it over to the green circle which is where he would have activated his love, because he got stuck on the yellow circle in the middle. That yellow circle represented all his baggage. He had a trio of matching pieces from Samsonite, one holding shame, one holding rage and the last holding his emasculated power.
I have often imagined what my life would have looked like had my Dad been able to have unpacked those three pieces of luggage, and had been free to be his organic unemcumbered self.
I am working daily to unpack my own set of LV bags, but that darn zipper is stuck in the bag that holds my unlovablitity. I’m walking over to Canadian Tire to get some WD-40 as soon as I finish this piece, so that I might be able to feel what my Dad never felt; a sense, a knowing that I am deserving of love, just because I exist in this world.
We did find interesectionality in humour. We both shared a fondness for long convoluted stories with great punch lines. This is my favourite joke and I send it out and up to my Dad, wherever he now resides. Happy Father’s Day, Dad.
Here is the joke:
A woman went to the only hairdresser in town to get her hair styled for a vacation trip to Rome with her husband. She mentioned the trip to the hairdresser, who was of Italian descent. “Rome? Why you go there? He responded.” It’s crowded and dirty. Full of tourists. So, how are you getting there?”
“We’re flying US Airways,” was the reply. “We got a great rate!”
“US Airways!” exclaimed the hairdresser. “Too bad. That’s the worst airline. Always late. You should have asked me first. I’m always flying to Italy. So where are you staying in Rome?”
“We’ll be at this little place over on the Tiber River called Teste.”
“Oh, I know that place. Everybody thinks it’s going to be something special and exclusive, but it’s really a dump.” You should not stay in Rome, and you should not visit the touristy things there.”
“But we want to see the Vatican and maybe get to see the Pope!” Exclaimed the woman
“You and and thousands of other people. He’ll look the size of an ant. Watch out you don’t get your pocket picked in the crowd.” Said the hairdresser
A month later, the woman comes back to the beauty parlor. The hairdresser asked her about her trip to Rome. “It was wonderful,” explained the woman “not only were we on time in one of US Airways brand new planes, but the tourist class was overbooked, so they put us in first class. And the hotel was great! They too were overbooked, so they apologized and gave us a suite for the price of a room!” “Well” muttered the hairdresser “I’m happy for your good luck, but I was right it was a waste of time to try to see the Pope, wasn’t it?”
“Actually, we had a wonderful experience at the Vatican, too. A Swiss Guard tapped my husband on the shoulder, and explained that the Pope likes to meet visitors, and if we’d like to step into anteroom of his quarters and wait, we would get a brief audience with the Pope. We did and five minutes later, the Pope walked through the door and blessed us! He even talked to us a little.”
“Oh, really! What’d he say?”
He said, “Who fucked up your hair?”
Artemis and Me — June 14, 2017

Artemis and Me






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 –

or 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 large

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 ago

given up jewelry-

even though

I had long ago

given up 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 mine.


Hugh told me about Jasmine,

creator of the bracelet,

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 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 and

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 dog.”

“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

my puppy Lucille and me,

intrepid journeywoman

and her trusty 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.


I reach my destination

and knock boldly on her

crimson coloured door.

A full bodied woman

wearing a vintage

Japanese kimono

opens the door and says

“Welcome, I’m Jasmine!”


My heartbeat.

The hunger.

I want it.

I want it.


“I have been walking on my knees

for a hundred miles through

the desert repenting.” I said

“Well then you must be thirsty”

said she.


She offered Lucille and I

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.

She had bracelets made

of silver and gold,

copper and pewter,

but no tiger’s eye in sight.


I asked Jasmine if she could make me

the same tiger’s eye

bracelet that she made

for Hugh.


“I’m so sorry” said Jasmine

“Hugh is divine incarnate,  I made

that bracelet only 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.


My heartbeat.

The hunger.

I want it.

I want it.


I couldn’t help myself,

my eyes immediately

filled with



Jasmine offered me 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.

Most often when the going got tough,

I left the race, easier to escape

than deal with the shame of 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 bedside table.


I know my hunger –

my wanting,

will never be sated by

donuts and Dim Sum,

baubles and bling,

winning medals of

honour or any shiny thing.


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,

for 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.




Facing My Fears: The Big Black Dog — June 5, 2017

Facing My Fears: The Big Black Dog


                                    “It’s a beautiful day in the neighbourhood.”
So said Mister Rogers from the iconic children’s show Mister Roger’s Neighbourhood, and I. We have been deluged by rain all week here in Hogtown. Today the sun was finally shining, making this day perfect for a walk with my puppy Lucille in the Rosedale Ravine that lies kitty-corner to my apartment. This particular ravine reminds me of a 19th century castle nestled in the Scottish country side, complete with crumbling stone walls and a tumbling creek.

We were about to make our way down the usual route to the creek when something caught my eye. I saw in the distance a very large black dog unleashed, the dog’s owner busy on her cellphone.

Here is where I make my confession; I have an enormous fear of large dogs.  I am terrified that they will jump up on me and their largess will make me lose my balance, and just like Humpty before me, I shall tumble down.

Ten years I ago I was working as a Reiki Therapist.  One day while carrying my massage table to my car, I felt something pop in my groin. I knew something had gone awry in my body and it turned out I had now earned myself an inguinal hernia. I had surgery to correct the issue, but the surgeon told me it would be best from now on if I didn’t lift anything heavier than fifteen pounds. In my mind lifting felt synonymous with large loping lumbering dogs jumping on top of me.

Because I am a self proclaimed control freak, I fear the unknown. The seconds before a dog approaches me is always when my fear reaches its apex, not knowing if said dog will be friend or foe. My motto has always been:

When you see a big dog, run!run!run!

I decided to take the path less traveled, away from the black dog down to the St. Claire reservoir. I felt proud of my proactive decision. I kept reminding myself that I was safe,   keeping my breathing steady and my focus on my feet, working hard not to think about being Devoured by Dog.

The terrain here was much rougher, but equally compelling. I turned up the volume on my IPod, using music to help me focus on the narrow path. Suddenly I felt something  rush by me. It was the big black dog on the loose! She/he was running up and down the narrow path looking for it’s owner. Even in my panicked state I could tell it wasn’t interested in Lucille nor myself, the poor dog had just lost track of their owner and was frantic in their attempt to find her.

“Katharine, you can never escape the big black dog.”  I said to myself ruefully. Winston Churchill coined the expression black dog when talking about his depression. It stands to reason that this particular black dog represented my own personal demons.

I am both the hunted and the hunter. I am both the big black dog and my fear.

After decades of feeding my fear with food, I am finally free of my addiction, ready to deal directly with my terror, which has manifested itself today in the shape of a big black dog.

I  must face my fear of being lost as well as facing my fear of feeling fearful. I must face my pre-verbal fear of being devoured by my mother. I am a trauma survivor who now is working hard to transform myself from Survivor to Thriver.

An acronym for fear is False. Evidence. Appearing. Real.  I had nothing to fear from this particular black dog, so I did the only thing I could do. I just kept on walking, one step at a time.

Popsicle Toes — June 1, 2017

Popsicle Toes

“And the time came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” Anais Nin

There is no growth without risk, or so the saying goes. Yesterday I tried to do something incredibly difficult. A friend of mine was celebrating her fiftieth birthday by throwing herself an afternoon tea party.

I really wanted to go;  my friend is a therapist and a lesbian to boot, so I knew I would be meeting people at the party who were my kind of people. Since I want more than anything to find a partner, this would be an ideal venue to meet my beloved. 

I drove to her home and found parking right in front of her house yet I couldn’t make myself get out of the car. I  drove around the block and tried a second time, still frozen with fear, unable to do the hard scary thing I desperately wanted to do.

 For my third try, just like the game show where you can phone a friend for help with the answer, I phoned my friend Bobbi who agreed to be my wing- woman. However, by the time I picked her up and returned to the party it was approaching dusk, and it felt too late.

 I came home feeling incredibly discouraged. As I soaked in my Epsom Salted bath, I reviewed my afternoon and said to myself ‘Face your fear, baby. It will grow you up’ .

Clearly I isn’t growed up yet. There is still a part of me frozen in time, clinging desperately to my mother’s non existent apron strings begging her not to leave me here, all alone and without agency.

I am going to spend the rest of my days here on earth, trying my best to be present for my tiny frozen in time little girl, reminding her that she is safe here, with me.  I am hopeful the warmth of my gaze will defrost her frozen bones and she will finally after 58 years be free to get ‘All growed up’ .


 May this be true for all of your popsicle little children waiting inside of you to be growed up by the one person, the only person that is best suited for this most challenging of tasks.  Let’s take the greatest risk of all, together. Let us believe deep down in our core that we are lovable and worthy of rescue.

Let’s get out our comfiest towel, warm it in the microwave and place it on our hearts  imagining our little frozen child inside of us slowly, slowly, warming.

Thursday Morning Musings — May 25, 2017

Thursday Morning Musings

Studies have shown (yes, those ubiquitous studies) that when people choose lovers who resemble themselves, those relationships are often stronger and last longer.

Therein lies my problem. I have yet to choose someone just like me, instead choosing lovers for their Beauty.

Here is just one on my list of important qualities –  beautiful hands.

I am born under the sign of Libra and Libra is ruled by Venus. Venus is the planet of love, relationships, and beauty. So it stands to reason that when I meet a woman who has beautiful strong hands I often fall just a little bit in love.

I imagine those hands constructing an outdoor hot tub, because I have always wanted an outdoor hot tub custom built by my very own handy dyke. While mine is a worthy fantasy, after that tub is built and we are chillin’ in our tubbie, my fantasy crashes and burns.

I am a series of anomalies wrapped in a tiny but chubby body. I read The Globe and Mail every day so I am well aware of current events but choose not to discuss politics or business nor the state of the world, choosing instead to talk almost obsessively, according to the dykes I have dated, about Relationship. This does not go over well with said dykes who would rather take a blow to the head than talk about Us.

I am a Jew who goes to my local LGBT church. I am J.A.P who doesn’t wear makeup or blow dry her hair, but loves to frequent five star hotels. I eschew jewelry but am obsessed with my oversized Rolex. I am a voracious reader who prefers not to talk about the books I have read, instead choosing to keep them close to my heart.

I am an expansive relational woman who finds other expansive relational women too much –  hence my trajectory toward the cold contained W.A.S.P dyke who then rejects my wild heathen ways.

Oh well, it is what it is, and I am what I am. As Doris Day sings ‘Que Sera Sera’.

The Inside Out Film Festival begins this week, and I am off to stand in line in the rain to see if can purchase a ticket for the film ‘The Ring Thing’. Perhaps if the fates allow, I shall be standing in line when a gallant dyke offers me the shelter of her umbrella.

Stayed tuned…

Oh Happy Day — May 22, 2017

Oh Happy Day

On this day 1/4 of a century ago, I was a little pregnant and a whole lot overwhelmed for I was committing to a man that I did not love, wearing a dress not of my choosing and marrying in the very same synagogue where I had lost my faith years before.

But then…..

There was that moment.

That one perfect moment just after those enormous wooden double doors of the sanctuary opened and I began my slow walk down the long red carpeted aisle, when I heard a collective gasp from the crowd, and for those few fleeting seconds I felt like a real Princess Bride.

Then it was my parents turn to march. They walked down the aisle to meet me halfway where we would walk a trois together towards the Beemah.

As I reached out to hold their hands, I tripped and all of my princess beauty collapsed into a heap in the middle of that red carpeted aisle, my true self exposed for all to see.

Of course, there was the matter of the groom. And even though it ended with vitriol and violence, it was worth it all for those few glorious seconds where I actually felt in the deepest down part of me, that I was finally being seen as the Radiant Self  I so longed to be.

I Just Want To Thank You — May 20, 2017

I Just Want To Thank You

Early this morning, I walked over to the park on the street where I live, Lucille-less. I  just wanted to be in the moment, breathing in the fresh morning air unencumbered by my puppy, who is charming and funny but needs constant supervision since Lucille feels it is her personal mission to eradicate every single one of those pesky squirrels that live just to torment her.

I  am terrified of large dogs, so I rarely go to this particular park even though it is literally across the street from my home, because this zaftig neurotic lesbian Jewess does not think it is at all relaxing to be jumped on by large loping roaming free dogs despite their owner’s protestations that Rover is super friendly.

 However, on this particularly beautiful spring morning I thought it might be worth the risk, praying to God (which is after all, Dog spelled backwards) that my doggie neighbours would still be fast asleep in their doggie beds.

So off I went, down the steep step of stairs that brought me directly into the park and then, boom! sun glorious sun and wide open space and no one there but me and I was so happy and so grateful to be alive and whole, arriving Here
to watch the sun rise on this glorious day.

 Just then the song ‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough’ by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell came on my IPod and I began to dance with abandon, singing gloriously off-key, opening my heart once again to the magic of our world.

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