Thursday 31 December 2009

Regarding Angelique No. 2

She is my oldest child. She is my heart walking outside of my body. She is my first experience of selfless love. I was her first home and she was my first resident. She is the oldest of my three children. She has taught me more than I could ever teach her.

My darling girl and her loving husband Don have given me two of the most incredible human beings ever; sweet Josephine and darling Domenic. Domenic was born this year on A.J.’s birthday, needless to say Jacquie is quite thrilled about that. Like all of our kids Angelique is a total split of me and Wahid. She is most like me in that she totally is not judgmental.

I know you want to meet Angelique and I couldn’t blame you.

She is the oldest of my children, my heart walking outside of my body, my first lesson that I could love someone better than myself. Angelique thank you for the privilege.

Happy Birthday Angelique. Love Mom, Dad, Nadalene, Nathan, Josephine, and Domenic.

*artwork by Kelly Vivanco

Wednesday 30 December 2009

Welcome Home

Bernice died on Monday. The last time I saw Bernice was at Sandi’s funeral, and even though she was very sick she looked beautiful like she always does.

We laughed; she always would make me laugh. Big gold earrings were on those ears of hers of course and she was dressed to the nines.

Sally and I are the only two left from my original support group now that Bernice has died; many friends and many deaths. I loved you all and I always will.

Bernice you wanted to be met at the Gates of Heaven and I believe you will, not only by your parents whom you adored but our dear friends that have helped to lighten our heavy load.


On Christmas Eve and Boxing Day I banged into Bernice’s husband at Riverview where my Mom still is and Bernice was. He said she wasn’t doing well but he would give her my love.

You wanted peace dear one and I hope that you have found it.

Goodnight dear friend.

Monday 28 December 2009

Grateful No. 4

On Christmas Eve I received a treasure chest. It was gold and green speckled and I knew that it would leave an X marked on my heart forever, before I even opened it, I knew it would.

Christmas day arrived with many bangs by the bats. They did not want to go outside to play; they said it was too cold. So inside they stayed. I fed them a little bit of bat poison and they seemed to fall asleep. Good thing.

We had a wonderful Christmas dinner with curry shrimp, dhal purrie, stewed chicken, trifle and wine.

We sang to Domenic ‘Domenicky nicky nicky nicky Domenicky nicky doo.’ We had tea served to us out of jeweled cups poured by Ms. Josephine using her Mrs. Potts teapot. I even got to drink out of Chip. She wheeled it around on its magic cart and how delicious it was to have invisible tea with nonexistent milk and fairy dust sugar. Nathan was quite happy as he scored the best gift for Josephine.

We opened our gifts to each other and we all thanked and hugged one another. We all loved our gifts, all of our many gifts. We are so blessed.

When we were done Nathan suggested that we all open the treasure chest and so we did. Oh what fun we had. Oh how blessed we felt.

We opened the box.

We gasped.

You took our breath away. You all did.

To see the astonishing gifts blossoming in front of us, the treasure was overflowing. Not only with gifts of love but with stunning splendor and glittering unexpected magic.

We sounded like broken records saying ‘How can people be so generous. Look at this. How beautiful. How talented. How kind. How thoughtful. How humbled we are.’

What did you do you lovely, lovely friends?

You have given not only me these gifts, but all of us. You have given my children memories that they will always have. ‘Remember the time all those wonderful people sent all those wonderful gifts for Mom. And not only Mom but Auntie Jacquie too. Remember that Christmas as we all unwrapped something one at a time and marveled together.’

You blew us away.

The treasure chest full of treasure did more than make us happy, that would be an understatement. It was something else entirely, almost otherworldly. It was as though you were sitting there with us sharing love and fellowship, right there in that room with the Christmas tree in the corner and the family in awe. You were all with us. It was truly spiritual.

Blessed be your hands, with which you have touched life in its beauty and in its need. You have given your hand in friendship, held out your hands to those who were suffering, worked with your hands to create. May your hands be blessed and held firmly in the hands of the Eternal forever. ~~ Kosu Boudreau ~~

I have received many other Christmas treasures too, no they were not in the treasure box, but they were picked up off the sand on the way to the treasure. They were treasure that led me to more treasure; treasure that was just as treasured as the treasure in the box. I have had many dear friends mention on their blogs what has been happening in my life and asking for prayers of loving energy. I have had paintings done and poems written and I want you all to know I will never forget this.

So many of the things we think about within our lives such as jobs, houses, possessions, etc. they count for almost nothing, really. Our lives are about people, and the people that we love.

Truth be told, we are all better when we are together, not because we need each other but because of our faith and trust in each other.

You all remind me that I am doing more than surviving this world and so are my kids and so are all of you. We are all thriving, and one of the reasons is because we have found each other and made love happen! Our hearts have met and that is what is important.

I hope it is okay with everyone if I don’t mention the gift but just your names. The gifts are amazing and they consisted of paintings and boxes and a sacred spiral and ornaments, and necklaces, and dolls and silk scarves, and more cards and paintings and books and poems, and the most beautiful hanging bird that held a dream, healing eucalyptus, and a Renee Angel and a Jacquie Angel, and slippers that were made with bliss in every stitch and a scarf that I know was made the same way and a tea that was specially made to banish bats and an angel cup to drink the banishing tea. On and on and on they go; but I know that it is your heart that mattered; the heart that you put into the gifts.

Thank you dear friends:

kj and JB
Sweet Mango
Lori Ann

If I have forgotten anyone, please forgive me, and let me know as I would like to add you to the list. It will be entirely my fault as my brain is a sieve.

Jacquie, Camille, Nadalene and I sat at Jacquie’s going through the same magical routine with her gifts that were sent to her and she; like me, was humbled too. When Angelique, Josephine, Domenic and I had arrived at Jacquie’s she was crying and very sad. Everyone was able to go see our Mom at the hospital as she is very sick but Jacquie couldn’t just get up and go like everyone else. Jacquie had to stay home and miss our Mom from afar. It isn’t easy for Jacquie. When Nadalene and I left at night instead of tears Jacquie was smiling and ever so grateful for all the kindness that you have all extended to her. She remembered that there is a world that people do care for others. Jacquie asked that I let you all know that she is forever grateful.

I am forever grateful to each and every one of you for the support that you have shown to me. I am glad to know that you all inhabit part of this space with me.

Love Renee xoxo

*Nathan opening our treasure chest

Sunday 27 December 2009

Regarding Mickey

I was born when my sister Mickey was just a little over 4 years old. Mickey had two older brothers and two older sisters; she was the 3rd girl born and the 5th child in a family that would be comprised of 13 children.

Many of my earliest memories of Mickey are of us in bed. How we talked the evenings and nights away. We banished the others from only what we two could hear. Mickey is considered the beauty of the family. In reality Mickey is that combination of beauty and brains. Together we are a kick-ass trivial pursuit team.

I have so many memories of Mickey from my childhood. I remember Mickey always letting me wear her clothes to school and I loved them. She worked and bought her own stuff and I was too young to work, but old enough to wear such cool clothes. Mickey would never let anyone else wear them. Only me! One time Colette or Jacquie or Camille had on a top of Mickey’s and when she got home Mickey had a total shit-fit. They would say ‘You let Renee wear it.’ Mickey would say “So, get it off now.”

Camille reminded me the other day of how one time she put on Mickey’s bra and Mickey went berserk yelling ‘You don’t even have anything to put in there.’

Between us Mickey and I have had 20 ear operations. I have had six and Mickey has had 14. My first ear operation was done at the same time as one of Mickey’s. We shared a hospital room together. I was only about 12 and so Mickey would have been 16. My friends were not allowed in the hospital as we were too young but Mickey’s friends were. I still remember her telling them all; night after night that they would have to leave as she was tired, but really it was just so that we could talk alone together.

Mickey and I had the most fun when we worked together. Oh what a blast eh Mickey?

We would have candies and I might cough and shove one in my mouth and then pass Mickey some too and she would cough and put one in her mouth har har. I don’t even know what that was all about.

Mickey tells me one of the girls at work thinks Mickey has put a curse on her and we laugh our heads off. Mickey is perplexed by the whole thing but I personally think it is hilarious. Like fuck yeah, Mickey just put a curse on you. Right! So I proceed to spread the word that people must be aware as Mickey has the ability of cursing people, and almost killed someone once with her bad thoughts about them.

We worked with this one girl Gerpal who was such a weirdo in the strangest way possible. She literally would scratch herself all the time. I am talking about scratching herself in private physical places in public places. Mickey and I are talking and Gerpal comes up to me and says ‘Oh your gaining weight, what’s going on? Are you pregnant?’ Mickey still laughs today because I said “What’s it to you scratchy snatch? Go have a shower.’

Mickey is my ultimate tag-team partner. Pity the man that gets in our clutches, his head will spin within minutes. Remember the men Mickey, putty in our hands.

I am Mickey’s favourite and of that there is no doubt. After all, really, who else is there?

Mickey is the family speech maker. We have an event, Mickey gives the speech. She not only gives them she writes them too. She is as clever as they come and as beautiful as the day is long. In every family speech Mickey states that Dad and Mom love her best and everyone in the room groans ‘yea right’ and then Mickey corrects it and says okay Dad and Mom love Renee best and everyone says ‘yes that is right.’

Describing Mickey I would say that she is a very attractive woman. When Mickey laughs she lights up the city. Mickey has gorgeous eyes and she is sincere, funny, super funny, kind, and will do anything for someone that she loves. I am happy that Mickey is my sister.

When Sheldon and Jacquie were in the hospital Mickey barely ever left it. While I was with Sheldon; Mickey would be with Jacquie. While I devoted my energy to Sheldon, Mickey devoted her energy to Jacquie.

For when three sisters love each other with such sincere affection, the one does not experience sorrow, pain, or affliction of any kind, but the other’s heart wishes to relieve, and vibrates in tenderness….like a well-organized musical instrument. ~~ Elizabeth Shaw ~~

I love my sister and she means the world to me. Mickey thank you for the privilege.

Happy 58th Birthday Mickey. Love Renee, Wahid, Angelique, Nadalene, Nathan, Josephine and Domenic.

*artwork by Kelly Vivanco

Friday 25 December 2009

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to all of you from all of us. May you be with all the people you love the most. If you cannot be; remember your loved ones and know that no matter where they are they are still with you.

Love the Khan Family xoxoxo

*picture Renee and Wahid

Thursday 24 December 2009


*artwork by Christopher Denise

BLD No. 16

Dad cooking in the kitchen and making the best stuffing in the world. Our turkey was cooked in a brown paper bag. Dad of the big gestures giving Mom the most extravagant gifts which she always loved.

Mom always looking beautiful and giving the kids tons of kisses and hugs and saying that Santa was going to be coming later that night.

Harry pushing his hair back and wearing a black leather vest, having his name called out to come and get his gift.

Kathy getting fabric from Nana and tossing it on the table.

Mom’s golden boy Dwain getting a drum set that Harry had convinced them to get Dwain because Harry said Dwain was really talented, and he was and still is.

Suzie getting a watch and fainting at Mass.

Mickey getting her Christmas presents marked with ‘Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday.’

Camille wearing a blue dress and shutting the car door before I got in and they left me at church.

Jacquie wearing a brown dress that matched Camille’s blue one. Jacquie getting new pajamas that matched Camilles’. Jacquie getting more stuffed animals.

Me getting to open the Sears Christmas catalogue. Me getting left at church and brought home by a stranger on Christmas Day (they never even knew I was missing). Me getting a cowgirl doll that even had an extra outfit. Me leaning against Mom while the adults and older kids played poker.

Colette and me sitting on plush stuffed sit-on dogs by the Christmas tree.

Lori doing the baking and making fudge. Lori getting a doll that was as big as she was.

Gerry is Santa and is the best Santa we ever had. Gerry awake on Christmas morning wrapped in a blanket which he would sit in all day.

Shelly is getting little troll dolls and always has long hair.

Joey is getting some kind of keys. Joey are they for a car or a mini-bike? Joey hating that I am the one to take him to his hockey games.

Have a wonderful evening everyone.

*artwork D by Anita Philips

Wednesday 23 December 2009

Gabriel's Message

BLD No. 15

I remember it being one of the potato times. The times where we had potato soup and potato fries and potato pancakes and bread with margarine dunked in sugar.

We were rich. We had it all.

It was the year that we received doctor’s kits. I don’t know who all got them, but a few of us did. The kits were new and they were special because we all received a doll that was broken and were told that Santa had fallen down the chimney and had wanted special girls that would take care of and love the dolls with their broken finger, or chipped nose or missing leg.

Each doll had a new dress on, or it appeared new as my Mom made sure they were sparkling clean.

Oh the hours we spent loving and mending those dolls.

Our home was an earlier heaven.

*artwork by Christine Pym

Tuesday 22 December 2009

Little Drummer Boy

BLD No. 14

Angelique sucks at baking like me, but this she can make like no one’s business.

7-Layer Magic Square

½ cp butter
1 ½ cps graham cracker crumbs
14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 cp butterscotch flavoured chips
1 cp semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 1/3 cps flaked coconut
1 cp chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 325 degrees for a glass dish.

Place butter in a 13x9 pan and melt in the oven.

Sprinkle crumbs over butter and then pour condensed milk evenly on top of crumbs.

Top with remaining ingredients in order listed. Press down firmly with fork.

Bake 25 minutes or until lightly browned.

Cool and cut into bars.

Eat as many as you want because you can always make another pan.

*artwork B by Linda Olafsdottir and D by Christopher Denise

Monday 21 December 2009

You're A Mean One

BLD No. 13

Time for a game of Christmas trivia, yes Mickey you and I are partners.


In the Polar Express movie, what is the first gift of Christmas?

What is the name of the rabbit in the magic hat in Frosty the Snowman?

How much did Lucy charge for a psychiatric session in the classic Christmas TV special ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas?’

What was the most likely reason that The Grinch hated Christmas?

What was the name of the angel in ‘It’s a Wonderful Life?’


A bell from Santa’s sleigh.

Hocus Pocus.

5 cents please.

His heart was two sizes too small.


*artwork B by Terri Murphy and L by Christian Birmingham

Friday 18 December 2009


Did I tell you that I have a colony of bats who hang upside down in my guts? Well I do.

All day long they fly around and hit the walls of whatever is inside those guts. Bang, bang, bang, BANG, BANG, bang, bang……..BANG, BANG…..

It is not comfortable to say the least.

You know it is hard to maintain my girlish figure of 217 pounds and right now I am worried about doing so as I am always starving and can’t get things down my throat. Either because the tumors are pressing on the esophagus and won’t let me swallow or whatever I’ve eaten hits my stomach and makes me nauseated.

I feel like I did when I was on taxotere and now I’m not even on it and feel like shit.

Bang, bang, bang, BANG, BANG, bang, bang……..BANG, BANG…..

I have spent a few nights retching my guts up and nothing comes up. It is blocked and so all I do is retch and retch and feel like I cannot breath.

Angelique was over the first night with the kids and ended up having to clean me up and the floor, poor girl. Nadalene came over later and I was able to sleep.

The next time Nadalene came over and lied beside me and helped me feel better. Angelique came over later with Domenic but I was asleep by then.

Nathan and Wahid take earlier shifts listening to me call for pail, water, cloth, they hear me choke out ‘Sit on my bed and don’t move in case I can’t breath. Don’t leave me alone.’

I need them to listen to me try to catch my breath. I need them to bare witness to my misery. It is not easy and I just want to feel better.

Bang, bang, bang, BANG, BANG, bang, bang……..BANG, BANG…..

I have now added a new trick to my repertoire I foam at the mouth. Funny, yes and no! Funny in the ‘what the fuck is that next department’ but not funny in the ‘for Christ’ sake it feels like I’m choking on foam.’

Also I am very selfish and always have been. I catch myself complaining to dear Jacquie all about this and hardly ask how she is because I’m so wretched myself. And Jacquie who is as unselfish as they come cries over me.

Thursday 17 December 2009

Feliz Navidad

*artwork by Gabriel Fabry

BLD No. 12

Wahid proved to himself that there was no Santa Claus when he was just six years old. On Christmas Eve he tied a sock to one of the springs under his bed and in the morning he looked to see if Santa had filled it. He hadn’t so Wahid felt he had proved that Santa didn’t exist.

I have been wondering if I did my kids a bad turn by buying them pretty Christmas stockings. I got Josephine and Domenic ones made this year too.

The problem with them is they never have to dig for a clean sock. I remember that being so much fun.

Oh chaos of a different kind, how I miss you.

*artwork D by Elizabeth O. Dulemba

Wednesday 16 December 2009

December = 12

Do you celebrate Christmas? Do I ever. Christmas has been and still is my favourite time of year. I like that everyone is kinder and more loving. I love the soft edge around people almost as if their corners have been covered by a nice layer of snow.

Have you ever been kissed under the mistletoe? I have been kissed under plastic mistletoe but never real mistletoe which is going to change. I am going to go and buy some this year. And than Wahid pucker up.

Get anything special last year? Last year Jacquie bought me a digital camera and gave it to me before Christmas. I love it. Horrible, I don’t even remember what I got last year from anyone else.

What do you want for Christmas this year? All kinds of things, most of which I cannot have. I want to be able to swallow food without feeling like I am choking. Also to stop retching would be nice too.

Tuesday 15 December 2009

The Holly

BLD No. 11

In Tudor times (16th century) the traditional meat was swan, goose or woodcock if they could be caught. That all changed in 1523 when turkey was first introduced and King Henry the VIII got his first taste of it.

The Tudors would also have eaten venison, peacock (which was skinned and roasted then put back inside the cured skin with the feathers on as a table decoration) and wild boar which was often the centre piece of the mean.

There is a long tradition of having a boars head for feasts, possibly originating from an Anglo-Saxon tradition of sacrificing the boar for their Yuletide celebrations. It would be carried into banqueting halls on a dish of gold or silver and was accompanied by trumpets and the songs of minstrels.

Another common Christmas dish was Souse which was pickled pigs feet and ears and then there was the Christmas Pie. The pie consisted of a pigeon inside a partridge inside a chicken inside a goose inside a turkey, which was then put in a pastry case called a coffin and served surrounded by hare and other game birds.

The Tudors enjoyed their mince pies which had far more significance than they do today. They were made with thirteen ingredients which represented Jesus and his Apostles and were mixed with mutton which represented the shepherds.

*artwork D by Janet Samuel

Monday 14 December 2009

Silent Night

*artwork by Baron Arild Rosenkrantz

BLD No. 10

Love all and hate none. Mere talk of peace will avail you naught. Mere talk of God and religion will not take you far.

Be a blazing fire of truth, be a beauteous blossom of love, and be a soothing balm of peace. With your spiritual light, dispel the darkness of ignorance; dissolve the clouds of discord and war and spread goodwill, peace, and harmony among the people.

Never seek any help, charity, or favors from anybody except God. Never go to the courts of kings, but never refuse to bless and help the needy and the poor, the widow, and the orphan, if they come to your door.

This is your mission, to serve people. Carry it out dutifully and courageously.

~~ Hazrat Khuaja ~~

*artwork B by my darling friend Ces and D by Christine Pym

Friday 11 December 2009

Don We Now

*artwork by Thomas Cooper Gotch

BLD No. 9

Shelly was telling Angelique and I about this site with an interactive Santa Claus.

Angelique did it for Josephine and she just loves it. She was showing me it on Tuesday and kept saying to Angelique ‘Mama my email.’

It is super adorable and comes on like there is interference from the North Pole.

At one point Santa says ‘Oh I see you want candy for Christmas.’ Because that is what Josephine says she wants.

Anyway, totally adorable! Now get over there and hook up your kids or grandchildren. They even have one for grumpy teenagers.

How adorable to get an email like this.

*artwork B by Tom Browning and L by Victoria Ball and D by Walsh Works

Wednesday 9 December 2009

Amazing Grace

BLD No. 8

Christmas cranberry highball anyone?

1 ½ oz rum
1 ½ oz pineapple juice
½ oz triple sec
3 oz cranberry juice
1 oz raspberry juice

Shake ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Strain and pour into a highball glass. Just before drinking telling each person you are with why they are so important.

*artwork L by my mental swan Sarah Sullivan

Monday 7 December 2009

Regarding Daisy No. 2

My mother is amazing. Not because she is beautiful or tough as nails or because she never gives up or because in the 50s and 60s she thought it was retarded how women behaved. No, she is amazing simply because she is.

When I was having the gastroscopy last week and she was still in the hospital they would come to try to give her tests and she was telling them to go away because she is saying the rosary, her daughter is having tests and so the rosary could not be interrupted.

It is my Mom’s birthday today and if you want to treat yourself to an original character then check this out.

I know more and more that the faith my mother has put in me is the same faith I have put into my children. I love you Mom and thank you for the privilege.

Happy 83rd Birthday Mom. Love Renee, Wahid, Angelique, Nadalene, Nathan, Josephine, and Domenic.

*artwork by Kelly Vivanco

A Scottish Soldier

Especially for you on your birthday Mom.


BLD No. 7 (2)

Now just pray you don’t get any of this crap for Christmas. And seriously people these gag gifts are ridiculous and nobody wants them.

New York based ten worst Christmas gifts for 2009:

Swine flu survival kit – has everything you’ll need to survive this nasty H1N1.

Dog poo Christmas ornament – the ornament does not smell but is so vile looking it will make you sick anyway.

Life vest for golf balls – a tiny orange flotation device is custom-made to fit over your golf ball.

Freudian slippers -- these plush slippers feature a stuffed Sigmund on the front and can help your anxiety, paranoia, and obsession melt away.

Wall Street finance chimp – since the stock market has been run by monkeys, for the cost of a few bananas you can get financial advice.

Choke the annoying chicken – anger management toy, you can choke the chicken and it goes away dancing and strutting to the chicken dance.

Belching beer pager – with a click of the remote your beer holder will burp loudly and light up from as far as 60 feet away.

Talking toilet paper – no more boring bowel movements, you can record your own voice for six seconds and when people pull the toilet paper they will hear you and think you are with them.

Obama dress up kit – you get outfits and can decide to dress him up how you like.

Reindeer food for humans – a bowl of reindeer pellets that is fun and safe for human consumption.

*artwork L by Helz Cuppleditch and D by Victoria Ball