Monday, December 4, 2017

Another Episode of A Day in the Life of Karen's Feet

This may be one of the grossest videos I have posted, and believe you me, I know Gross. In fact, I married him almost 30 years ago.

It is not the grossest video I have ever taken, but for the sake of my more delicate and discerning friends, I have restrained myself from posting them. You're welcome. You may also want thank Megan for not letting me post footage of a cat giving birth. Now who wouldn't want to see that? You can put your hands down now, I can't see you.

So then, with no further ado (or we will be here until you are eating dinner when you finally get to see the video), let's see if yours truly can get the video from phone to blog. This could take awhile, excuse me, talk amongst yourselves.

And: there you have it. Once again I have successfully managed to upload a video from my phone. I won't tell you how long it took, but I should not have concerned myself  about the delicate constitutions of my friends and anyone who may have accidentally wandered onto my blog. It was several hours past lunch by the time I got it posted!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The Writing on the Wall

         When the Writing on the Wall . . . .              

 . .   .  .  . .. ..    .  ..     . .  .      . .  .  .  
.. .. .  .. .   . ..     .  .    .. ..  .    ..    .  .  
 . .     .     .        .  .     .            .    .  .  
. . .  is written in Braille!

   I saw a sign in a public washroom awhile back that I thought was a bit odd. The first line was a normal message for the territory: "Employees must wash hands before returning to work." The sign was posted above the mirror over the sink. The second line was, I assume, a translation of the first -- in English, I also assume, although I could not read it. It was written in Braille.

   I've noticed in many public buildings that the doors have name plates with the room number and designation in print and in Braille. Often the door to the restroom also has a Braille notification. But I have never seen a blind person reading the door plates or desperately searching the walls for the men's or ladies' room. I am sure that there are blind people who do make use of these labels, I just have never noticed.

   But this "Employees must wash hands ..." notice gave me a rather disturbing mental picture of a blind employee running her dirty hands along the walls, checking for any Braille signage on the walls, until she comes to the mirror. Reaching up, in my mind on tiptoes because I would probably have to stand on tiptoes to reach, her sensitive fingers find a sign in Braille, and she remembers that her germ covered hands must be washed before she returns to work. 

It made me ever so grateful that I can read with my eyes. 

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Artificial Life

It could be just a conspiracy, but I have come to suspect that life here in North America is artificially sustained. Have you observed this? Here are a few clues:

Do you know where your food has been? Has hunting and gathering been replaced with Spam and Tang? 

Do you eat food from plants, or has it been manufactured in a plant?

Do you use cleaning products that contain real lemons for that "lemony fresh scent" while your food contains artificial flavors and colours?

Can you leave a loaf of bread on the counter for two weeks before it starts to get mouldy?

Do you have to buy vitamins and nutritional supplements  to replace the nutrition that has been processed out of your food?

I remember the first time that my kids made the connection that the chicken on the table was actually a bird. We went to a luau once, and my kids were horrified that we were going to eat a dead pig. 

I think that cartoons with personified farm animals were created to turn kids into vegetarians. Except for McDonalds hamburgers of course. 

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Who Moved the Floor?

          What is up with down?

     Nobody warns you about this stuff. I remember talk about how older people tend to get shorter -- something about your spine . . . disks shrinking . . . the bones of your vertebrae shifting or something . . . and I'm pretty sure that I have lost some height while gaining some width; so the floor should be closer now -- so why does it seem like the floor is farther away every time I have to bend down to pick something up? Have you noticed this too?

     And if I am getting shorter, why are my toes so far away? I'm sure that it used to be a lot easier to cut my toenails too. For quite some time now I haven't been able to reach my pinkie toenails at all. Is anyone else having this problem? 

    As if that all isn't enough, chairs are getting lower! It didn't used to be nearly this difficult getting out of a chair, and I am sure that I used to be able to sit down with a lot more grace . . . .

    Is this you too?



Sunday, October 8, 2017

Is This You Too?

Ever realize that you have been surfing the net for an hour, procrastinating the dozens of tasks that ought to be done already, just because you hear a 'ping!' and you tell yourself that this time you are just going to check  Facebook Messenger to find out who pinged you, because you feel guilty about all of the stuff you should be doing, but whoever is sending you a message might need an answer right away, or it could be a very important message, who knows who could have sent it, so you will just stop at the computer for a minute or two, and then you will get back to the laundry, the dishes, the vacuuming, or whatever;

 and then . . .
[pause for breath here ....]

 --  you remember that the reason you stopped at the computer was to check messenger -- and you haven't done that yet?

Been there, Done that???

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Justice, Equality, and Water for All!

The other day, while Derek and I were having lunch in a little Chinese restaurant in the city, we witnessed an injustice perpetrated against a woman of no visible minority. I'm pretty sure she was blond. Then again, I am not very observant and I forget details almost before I see them. I would make a lousy witness. But this woman made quite an impression.

She was dining alone, and seemed a bit agitated. Suddenly she jumped up and stomped to the back of the restaurant.We didn't mean to eavesdrop, but in that tiny room there was no way to not hear.

She was irate over water. Seriously. The waitress had come by with water a couple of times and topped off our glasses. She did the same for the two people at the table next to ours, but for whatever reason, she skipped the table where this woman had been sitting. The irate woman wanted to speak with the manager because the waitress didn't offer her more water.

The manager, the waitress, and the kvetcher all made their way to the front of the restaurant. The waitress pointed out the half full glass of water on the table. The manager asked what the problem was. Apparently the customer was the 'glass half empty' type. She complained that everyone else in the restaurant (all four of us) had our water glasses topped up, while hers remained half empty. In her own defence, the waitress protested that the woman had not asked for more water. There was no deliberate attempt to deprive one of her customers of water.

The manager asked the woman why she had not asked for more water, and if she still wanted some. The explanation? The customer accused the waitress of discrimination against her, pouring fresh water for all of the other diners without asking if they wanted more. Why should she have to ask? All that she wanted was equality.

For water. In Canada, where water is free and plentiful.
First World Problems. Seriously, people.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Write by the Numbers

My rant for the day is brought to you by the numbers 58 or 59, and 95; and by the letter Q.

Digits are everywhere! But although I routinely scored in the 99th percentile in the Canadian Tests of Basic Skills when I was in grade school, I don't belong in this digital world. Just like when I finally found the film for my photographic memory, everyone else had gone digital. Figures.

Like, how can I have 95 followers on Instagram, when I have never signed up? Did someone sign up on my behalf? That's scary! A leader with no followers is just a guy out taking a walk, but 95 followers with no leader? That would be anarchy. I have nothing against Instagram, I am just so busy wasting time on Facebook and Twitter, I already have e-mail and g-mail, plus I have three blogs on Blogspot and one on Wordpress, and I am still pretending that I am working on my next book, when my brain turns into three-day-old oatmeal mush heated up in the microwave without any raisins ... so I am diligently ignoring Instagram and Pinterest like anything with a pentagram, which is nonsense I just made up.

And what's up with my Facebook page? For weeks now, Facebook has been sending me messages informing me that the 59 people who like Karen Lucille Gross's facebook page haven't heard from me in a while ... Now today I got one that says that 58 people who like Karen Lucille Gross's facebook page haven't heard from you in a while ... What's the deal with that? Did someone take back their "like"? Has one of you given up on ever hearing from me?

The letter Q is a bonus - take for it whatever you want. Just don't forget to bring a U for every Q that you take.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Thinks by Me

Thinks I Thunk and Stashed Away . . .
       ~ Today I let them Out to Play!

A few thoughts, wise or otherwise, from my collection of random thunks:

Crazy how the advice we glean from that ubiquitous, all-knowing but ever anonymous source known only as ‘they’ changes direction and course like Cher changes costumes during a concert gig. And somehow public opinion sways with ‘them’, matching tempo and stride so that the wisdom du jour maintains continuity without missing a beat as the camera pans stage left to stage right, and the viewing audience at home thinks it all forward progress.

Q: Who is more honest: atheists or Christians?
I think that anyone who knows what he/she believes about God, whether atheist or Christian, has done some thinking about the big questions of life, and they are perhaps more honest than someone who has never plumbed the depths of his/her own soul. I know a lot of Christians who used to be atheists, so it is possible that when you get to the bottom of your own soul you can look back and realize that there is a huge vacuum where God belongs. It just depends on which side of eternity you take that backward glance that determines your eternal destination.

 God will lift you up from the muck and mire,
          But don’t expect Him to pluck you off your Lazyboy recliner.

Cloning a creature is not a sign that scientists have created life. It’s plagiarism.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

The Weirdness Factor

People do weird things, and exceptionally weird people do exceptionally weird things. I take exception to that! But I am finding that my weirdnesses are not as uniquely weird as I thought they were. Can you relate?

Do you monitor the wobble of the celery in your fridge to see if it is ready to throw out yet?

How about checking for mould in the jam that no one in the family likes? I can't throw out a jar of perfectly good jam just because no one is going to eat it. I have to wait until it starts to go bad before I can toss it!

How many of us hang on to stuff we don't like and have no use for just because it was a gift? That's one of the excuses I have for my hoarding.

One of my many weaknesses is my book collection. Logic would dictate that I buy ebooks. They don't take up space (except in cyber space, which must be getting extremely cluttered by now); they are easier to read; and they cost less. But I refuse to be dictated to by logic! I want the ebook to read and the paper book to add to my collection.

Funny coincidence: I just glanced at my bookcase and saw my college textbook for Logic. Good thing it just sits there and doesn't dictate anything to me anymore.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

It's About Time ...

. . .  and my inability to be on it. On time, that is.

       My professor in the Time Management class that I took back in college (yes, I took Time Management in college. And yes, I went to college!) taught us that if we are not at least five minutes early for an appointment, we are late. So.....I am generally running about ten minutes behind schedule (Yes, I do make schedules for myself ... I just have a very difficult time keeping them.), so factor in the goal of arriving five minutes early when I am ten minutes late - I should have taken some more math courses. And maybe another semester of Time Management, 'cause I missed the first five or ten minutes of almost every class . . .

  . . . . So what was I talking about when I so rudely interrupted myself? (That's another thing that I have difficulty with -- not interrupting people. When I interrupt someone, it causes the conversation to go off on bunny trails. In fact interrupting people, even myself, can derail ...) Sorry. Wrong track.

 . . . Why is time so difficult to keep track of? You remember that old saying, "Time flies when you are having fun!" It's a lie. Anybody who believes that time flies when we are on vacation has never spent three hours listening to a litany of "When are We Gonna Get There?" from the back seat.

       Why is it that no one wears a watch anymore, even though we are more over scheduled than ever? You ask anybody what time it is, and they have to reach in a pocket for their phone. And speaking of needing pockets to carry our phones everywhere we are, why do women's clothes have fewer pockets than ever? No -- those minuscule indents in the back of today's low-cut jeans do not count. Let's take a count: hands up those of you who have never had a cell phone fall into the toilet . . . Then again, let's not. We don't have the time.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Did you hear the one about ....?

Me:    Hey – did you hear about my Uncle Bob?
You:   Yeah, I heard he got a job at a watch-making factory.
Me:    He did, but he got fired yesterday.
You:   Already? What did he do?
Me:    The boss caught him making faces.
You:   That’s too bad. But I heard he also got a girlfriend. How is that going?
Me:    He did, but she left him yesterday.
You:   What happened?
Me:    She worked at the watch factory too, and she caught him making time with the boss’s daughter.
You:   You don’t say. Any more bad news about Bob?
Me:    As a matter of fact, yes. Uncle Bob’s got a new dog yesterday.
You:   But that sounds like good news.
Me:    No, poor Uncle Bob lost his new dog already.
You:   Has he checked at the pound? Maybe the dog catcher got him.
Me:    Nah, the dog catcher couldn’t get him.
You:   How do you know that?
Me:    He was a watch dog, and he was running too fast.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Random Reality Check

My top ten list of realities that are just too real for comfort.
Originally posted on Triond in 2012. 
Do you brush and floss your teeth every day? Exercise and eat healthy? Why are good habits so easy to break; and bad habits so hard to shake?  Here is my top ten list of stuff that I know is true, I just wish it wasn’t. My list is probably different from yours, because I have Parkinson’s disease, but I’ll bet you can relate.
[Update: Five years later, and I still can't take my own advice.]

10) Cake and ice cream are just for birthday parties.
ource: Dr. Jim Sears from the TV show "The Doctors."

     Oh, say it isn’t so! Dr. Sears is a pediatrician who says that this is the rule at his house for his own kids. Maybe that’s just a rule for kids...but Dr. Sears lost a bunch of weight in the first season, so if I want to lose a bunch of weight this year, I should follow his advice. Oh, Oh, IDEA! Could everyone reading this article please invite me to your birthday party this year? If you live too far away, I could just have some cake and ice cream here in your honour. We could Skype

9)  Exercise is good for people with Parkinson’s.
          Source: My neurologist, my family doctor, my neuromodulation clinician (the nurse who programs my Deep Brain Stimulation Device), my physiotherapist, my fitness instructor, all of the various publications I have read from the Parkinson’s Society, all of my fellow Parkinsonians, my husband . . .
     OK, okay, I get the message already! And I agree with all of you – I know that this advice is very wise. I just wish that it wasn’t true. Why can’t lying in bed hopped up on pain killers, watching TV be good for people with Parkinson’s instead? No?

8)  Being overweight is hard on the body.
          Source: all of the above, especially the last one. Plus I heard it on “The Doctors” again today.

     Hubby tries to say it nicely -- most of the time. Being fifty pounds overweight is like carrying a fifty pound load around ... and losing weight would reduce the strain on my knee and all of my other joints; yada; yada; yada. I hate it when he is right.

7)  The Internet is very addictive.
          Source: too many to list.

     Probably everyone who is reading this post knows about the addictive nature of the Internet. Otherwise why are you on the internet, reading my blog? The Couch Potatoes of yesterday are the Mouse Potatoes of today. Where did I spend all of my time before Facebook? Was there life before Facebook?

6) Old people can’t text.
        Source: my kids.

        I wrote an article entitled Why Old People Can’t Text way back in November of 2010. I have had two years to practice sending text messages since then, and I am a little faster now, but now I need bifocals to read the text...
 [Update: and five years later, still slow, now need trifocals.]

5) Two Bite Brownies should be eaten in two bites.
          Source: My daughter Megan. She is wise far beyond her 17 years.

     I took a break after #6 because I was running out of wise words. I joined Megan for an after school snack. We were discussing the wisdom of the two-bite brownie. I said that if you eat it in one bite, you won’t leave crumbs. That sounded wise, but really it wasn’t. I put a whole two-bite brownie in my mouth at once, and discovered that it was almost too much to chew. Megan said something quite clever, along the lines of “I told you so.” I hate it when the kids are right. It reminds me that they may be my caregivers one day, completing the course of role reversal.
[Update: Megan is 21 now. How time flies!]

4) The ability to laugh at one’s own stupidity guarantees a life full of laughter!
          Source: Apparently me. I found this one in my “Wise Words” file, and I had attributed it to myself. I don’t think that I would lie about something like the source of a quote.

     That one sounds self explanatory, and quite wise. I don’t remember writing that, but therein lies the wisdom of writing (or typing) things down and organizing them into files. That reminds me that I need to spend some more time writing down all of the cute and silly things that the girls did and said that I can remember. By the time they get married, I might be further along on the path to dementia, and I will need this information for my toast to the bride. At my wedding, my uncle gave a toast to the bride, and it was an actual piece of toast – cold and unbuttered at that.
[Update: Since the original posting of this article, one of my girls got married. They wouldn’t let me speak. Derek had specific instructions: ”Whatever you do, don’t let Mom get hold of a microphone!”]

3) Editing sometimes means cutting until it hurts.
        Source: My friend and fellow word smith, Terrie, from whom I have learned that I don’t know nearly as much about writing as I think I do.

     I know you might find this hard to believe, but I have a bit of a habit of rambling on and on, and sometimes I go off onto bunny trails that have nothing to do with the topic. I’ve entered a few writing contests that have word limits, and I have enlisted Terrie’s help to try to prune my work. It is not a task for the faint of heart. Once I sent her a work of fiction that was already twice as long as the limit and I had barely introduced my characters.

[Update: Terrie’s assessment included the notion that my “short story” sounded more like the first chapter of a novel. So instead of entering it into the contest, I expanded it into a novel, and had it published as “Sacrificed to Vanity”.]

     I read somewhere that when you take that cruel red pen (figuratively speaking), the first thing to do is to find a paragraph that you think is especially clever, and cut that out. That sounds harsh, but I have found it to be good advice for staying on topic. 

2) Make a plan first.
          Source: all of the organized and self disciplined people out there.
     I don’t like planning ahead. It is easier and so much more fun to figure things out as you go. My husband is one of those organized planning type people. He uses a lot of graph paper. His problem is finishing a project. He loves the planning stage, but when he runs out of steam and graph paper, it is hard to get him motivated again.
     My problem starts off as the opposite of Hubby’s, but the conclusion is the same. I start right in without a plan, but then I get bogged down by logistics and I don’t finish projects either. For example, this article may not have taken me all day if I had made an outline first, or at least figured out the ten   phrases first.
     But I am almost done now, and at least I knew what my #1 harshest reality truism was going to be.

      1)Ice cream doesn’t work as a medicine.
      Source: My cyber friend and fellow wordsmith Brenda Nelson. Hubby is also of this opinion.

     Bless the heart in that skinny body of hers, Brenda has pointed out the incongruity of my claim that ice cream is the best medicine with my complaints about my ever expanding keister. She also doesn’t buy my theory about gremlins in my closet shrinking my clothes. I know it too, but don’t tell Hubby.

Well, there you have it, my top ten harshest reality bites list. Do you have a few of your own? Leave a comment; I would love to hear from you.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Dontcha just hate it when .. . .

. . . .

I had planned to spend the whole morning knitting Derek's new slippers while watching game shows on TV, but then my obsessive/ compulsive nature took over, so instead I spent the whole morning trying to move an image on my blog (not this one, and not but on

All I wanted to do was to change the picture of me sleeping with Mittens on my lap (nice picture, but a little outdated since Mittens ran away from home when we moved into town -eleven or twelve years ago- and I think I have mourned that loss for long enough), so I wanted to put up an image of me and Brandi,and then put a small picture of Brandi beside that one.

I spent about three hours trying to set up that page, and after all that, I still have not made the change. I just gave in to the way the website design monster wanted to go.

I know that some of my friends seem to be capable of clicking, cutting, and pasting magic, but I kind of miss the days when cutting and pasting involved a pair of scissors and some glue.