my forays through love and other gastronomical stories

Pride Goeth….. — August 18, 2017

Pride Goeth…..

When I first moved in to my teeny tiny apartment my tub was not painted properly, there were nicks and splits and the paint was all bubbly.
Management called in these two lovely men who spent hours repairing my tub.
They were so proud to give me this beautiful shiny new bathtub and I was happy that they cared so much about their work, and happy to have a sparkling bathtub redo.

But….of course this story comes with a but… but, there was one small problem with my new sparkly shiny tub, there was no traction. It was now super shiny but it was also now super slippery. I kept telling myself I needed to get a rubber bathmat but I didn’t like the idea of my bum sitting on the uncomfortable rubber. I take multiple baths a day and through the night as sleep often eludes me and the warm water offers comfort, and comfort did not include rubber bath mats.

The tub was particularly precarious when I would put conditioner on my hair, and with my wild beast mane of hair, that happened at least once a day.

What I would need to do to get out of the shower safely was to get down on my hands and knees and grab the rim of the toilet seat and hold on as I carefully hoisted myself out.

Yesterday something went awry. I think I got caught in my shower curtain and somehow slid and fell backwards into the tub, hitting my shoulder in the process.

As I gingerly made my way out of the tub I stood in my bathroom for a moment, just letting the enormity of what could have happened sink in.

This fall could have had ended very differently, and who would have known if I fell and had hit my head? My dog Lucille of course, and I’d like to think her barking would have alerted someone, but Lucille leans toward the loud every day, so I’m not certain anyone would have been concerned until it was way too late.

I took myself to the hospital to have my shoulder examined. I thought it was just badly bruised but didn’t want to take a chance that I was wrong and needed the assurance of the professionals.

This was the first time in a hospital that waiting for hours didn’t bother me. Yes I was in pain, but I WAS ALIVE!!!

I was eventually seen and diagnosed with just a bruised shoulder as I had initially surmised, and sent home with a prescription for pain meds which I promptly threw out as I am more terrified of feeling out of it than I am of pain.

On my way home I stopped at my local dollar store and bought this burgundy bath mat which I am presently sitting on in my bathtub, shoulder doused with arnica cream, writing this note to all of you. See More

I Am Here, Right Where I Belong. — August 15, 2017

I Am Here, Right Where I Belong.

I have worked so hard to get myself here. Where is here? Here is where I am. I don’t mean to sound like a Buddhist koan, but I’m feeling rather Zen- like lately. 

It’s not just about losing the extra twenty pounds I’ve carried around like armour, and the dissolution of 46 years of an often debilitating eating disorder; more important is that I am changing the way I react to life.

I have been swimming daily, taking my little barkalicious puppy to the park, often for hours at a time. I am constantly checking in to see what my body needs as opposed to wants, and most importantly, I hold myself emotionally responsible for creating my best possible life.

This is not the life I had imagined as a child when I would come home for lunch every day from school and watch The Hollywood Squares and imagine the day when I too would become famous.

I would hold the ketchup bottle as a mic and rehearse my Oscar acceptance speech. I had a special shout out to Gordon and Cheryl, two kids from my grade school who were making my life a special kind of hell. “Look at me now, losers! I’m a star!”

I wasn’t sure exactly how I would achieve this acting accolade but I had my priorities straight from the start – from my perspective, it was all about payback.

Fortunately for the viewing public, my acting career never got off the ground, and instead became a therapist; but payback or restitution never really left the forefront of my mind.

I could help others but never myself as I was perpetually stuck in revenge mode.

Then the day came where I became too ill to work. I was diagnosed with Moebius Syndrome, a condition with multiple symptoms, one of them Chronic Fatigue. I could not work anymore and moved in with my partner Marian, who reluctantly offered her home up to me. .

Of course I was grateful, but her unwillingness to share her life and her body with me was extremely triggering and I found myself acting out in ways that mimicked my Borderline Personality mother. Part of me was utterly ashamed by my behaviour, but my actions felt automatic, and felt bigger than I could consciously control.

Marian was then let go from her job, and our relationship went from bad to worse. I tried so hard to be kind to her, but her declining mental health was terrifying for me to witness and I felt trapped by my own reactions. I tried to find somewhere else to live, but I had no where to go, no family to take me in, and no money of my own to sustain me. I should have tried harder to appreciate what I did have, an apartment that I was allowed to live in gratis; instead my lifetime feelings of restitution became my downfall.

Last August when I was visiting friends in Montréal, Marian called the police and told them I had tried to kill her, and was afraid for her life. This gave her the opportunity to oust me from her apartment and her life, in one fell swoop.

There was never any attempt on her life,  but I did throw a glass of water in her face. I remain totally ashamed of my behaviour, but all I could think about in that split second was retribution for her cruel comment the moment before, and all the years of gaslighting and torment that preceded.

Now officially homeless, I had to scramble to find a place to live. I sold my Rolex watch,  then had enough money for one year’s rent, and found a teeny tiny apartment to live.

I had always been afraid to live alone, telling anyone who would listen that I was not a living alone kind of gal.  All that has changed.  I have been so grateful to have this year to heal and review my life. I could see that being constantly resentful with what life was offering up to me was undermining my peace of mind, and had destroyed my relationship not only with Marian, but with all whom I encountered.

I joined a wonderful support group for women who suffer from eating disorders. They have provided comfort and concrete ideas for me to move from resentment to emotional freedom.

I am not certain what will happen to me when this year is up. I am on the wait list for subsidised housing in a small hamlet outside of Toronto, but that will take up to three years to come to fruition as they have torn down the existing structure and are building a new one.

I do know that whatever happens, I will great my life with gratefulness.


You are loved — August 7, 2017

You are loved

Good Afternoon my WordPress friends!
May the wings of the Shekhina, the divine feminine, enfold and protect you, reminding you of the great whole of which you are a precious part. May gratitude for life expand your heart and extend to every corner of your world. May any and all resentments dissolve and forgiveness take root in your heart like a healing balm. May you rest in the knowing that you are loved.

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.

%d bloggers like this: