I’m Going to be Ex-Communicated From My Family Just For Writing This

Dear Grandma,

Thank you for the birthday money. I spent it on hookers and booze. Just kidding, I’m far more classy than that; I spent it on expensive hookers and booze. You should have seen Francesca’s knockers Grandma, were it not for the rock solid feel when squeezed, you would swear those babies were real. Also the thirty year aged port was amazing. Especially when consumed from Francesca’s belly button.

Happy Birthday to me indded. (Photo Credit : genius.com)

Happy Birthday to me indeed. (Photo Credit : genius.com)

Your birthday gift made turning thirty less painful. I can’t really say much for the day after though. I guess at some point one does have to pay the piper. Thanks again Big G, maybe we can make your ninety-first birthday equally memorable and invite Champagne, Francesca’s actress best friend who moonlights as a stripper.

Tylenol Consumingly yours


This made me giggle. My ninety year old grandmother is lovely, generous, and above all tolerant, but although she accepts my weirdness, she does not understand it. So I’m sending the thank you card that I wanted to write, to the internet. You’re welcome interwebs. By contrast, my grandmother will receive a tasteful card with flowers and a simple message about buying a ski lift ticket. Personally I prefer fabricated stories about Francesca’s voluminous breasts

A Heartfelt Valentine

I can’t remember not knowing Nadine*. She’s a family friend that’s been around for so long that she leaped the hurdle of friend and became family. When pushed to describe our relationship we say “mother-aunt” because she is as close as an aunt but she has stepped in to play the role of mother when mine was unavailable. In high school, when I was learning to drive and would get lost returning from the corner store, if my own parents didn’t pick up when I needed directions, I would call Nadine’s house, hoping to hear her soothing tones while frantically searching for missed turns. Her poor husband, Nadine raised two wonderful boys, both of them thoughtful, organized gentleman, while I was a whirling dervish of chaos and even harder to deal with when flustered, sometimes Nadine’s other half would answer the phone. During those fast paced conversations where I would shriek cross streets into the speaker of my cell, demanding when I should turn, it was difficult to say who was more confused by the call, me or Nadine’s soft spoken husband who was accustomed to his calm, mature boys.

Nadine is a person who is set to “warm”. No matter the topic, she has an interested question to ask. In conversations with her, you feel important and valued. It’s a quality I strive and fail to channel. Both of Nadine’s boys have her wry, quick sense of humour; it adds spice to every conversation. Today, on this day that is traditionally reserved for passionate couple love, I challenge you to find someone who has loved you all your life, to send some gratitude and warmth to.

To : Nadine

Happy Valentine’s Day. Yours is among the voices that I hear in my heart, one of the people that no matter how old I am, truly understands and knows me. I value my relationship with you so much. I’ve always felt this way, on weekends when our families would tour gardens together and the four kids; your two boys and Diana and I, would be given the option to ride in either your car or our parents’ vehicle, I would always choose yours. Sitting in the backseat as you asked me questions about school and my friends, I felt so loved. I used to imagine how it would feel to be your child all of the time. It was marvelous.

Now that I am older, I appreciate when you accompany my mom and I to our artisan shows so I can try on beautiful clothing for both my Mom and my mother-aunt. And best of all, it gives me the opportunity to listen to your sage words. You give the best advice of anyone I know.

From : The Great Unwashed

*Names have been changed to protect the identities of ones whom I hold so dear,I am want to share with the world.

We’ve Upped the Ante, Forget Days of the Week Underpants, We’re Bringing Out A Valentine For Friday

To: Friday

You’re awesome, You really should come around more. Monday seems to come by all the time. And I never invite that jerk . But seriously Friday, even when you’re the thirteenth, you bring good things like scary movies. In essence you are the cool catch all friend that everyone wants to hang around with, but always seems to have something better going on, so you leave abruptly. Luckily your closest bud Saturday isn’t too bad

Getting back to the point of this card, Friday, you are amazing, I like you, I’ve liked you since I was in grade one and refused to speak with all of the other children and the weekend was a break from being encouraged to talk to my classmates. Friday you are the signal that all day pyjamas and lounging about doing nothing starts NOW.  Which is why I’ve decided to up the ante and throw out the traditional saying “Thank God It’s Friday” for this week and cheer “Happy Valentine’s Day! It’s Friday!”

From : The Great Unwashed

Romance Should Not Equal Dead Raccoons, But In This Case It Does

After I wrote “Facebook thinks I’m Fat and Lonely” because of the number of dating websites and weight loss ads that were appearing on my feed, Tex and I created the following comment thread.

Tex on February 11, 2015 at 11:40 AM said:

Does this mean we need to post those nauseating couple Facebook profile pictures? Where we’re holding hands in a wheat field? Or maybe holding guns? Dead raccoons? I’m not very good at this.

The Great Unwashedon February 11, 2015 at 2:40 PM said:

Please can we make holding dead raccoons a regular part of our date nights?

Tex on February 11, 2015 at 3:16 PM said:

The novelty might wear off. Maybe we could wear dead raccoons instead. Or turn it into a game. Raccoon Toss!

“Step right up, step right up. Throw a coon, win a prize.”

I didn’t continue the thread because tonight’s Valentine is my reply.

To : Tex

I love you. You are the only one I want to chuck deceased rodents with. Games never get old with you, and if they did, we could switch to lobbing ungulates.

From : The Great Unwashed

Oddly enough, I’m certain Tex is going to love this. We’re a match made in flying, dead raccoon heaven.

Valentine From a Random

Ok I’m not a random. But I might as well be; when push comes to shove, I haven’t spoken to these people in person in well over six years. That being said, the ability to stay abreast of events in peoples’ lives whom you haven’t spoken with in years is one of the few benefits of the internet. This Valentine is for a family who I know(ish). I worked with the husband quite a bit for a couple of months and worked one memorable evening with the woman who would become his wife. Together they are quite possibly the most adorable couple I’ve seen, at well over six feet the gentle smiling man towers over his four foot eleven wife. The only thing cuter than their appearance is the warmth they obviously have for one another. It comes across even in pictures and short updates.

To : The Smiths*

Happy Awkward Valentine’s Day. I know we haven’t spoken in eons and I know that it’s early but I just wanted to say that. Your happy little (soon to be bigger) family brings me joy so I wanted to give some of that back.

I wish good things for your family. On electronic screens, I’ve watched the two of you and then the three of you move about the country, trying to find a place to call home. Though I never “Liked” any of your triumphant updates about jobs and opportunities, inwardly I cheered you on, egging the universe to bring more and better doors for your family to walk through. Because you both deserve it.

Though I only had the opportunity to perform a lot with one of you, the experience left an impression on me. Each day with that gentle giant was a reminder to always put forth my best effort, no matter what and of course to smile and be courteous (that’s one that I definitely need a reminder about). The two of you are so lovely, that when you found each other I think the world smiled. I still smile when news is shared about your lives. So Happy Valentine’s Day, may your enjoyment of that day be as great as your enjoyment of one another.

The Great Unwashed

*Names have been changed to protect the identities of innocent bystanders from my work live’s past.

There’s So Much Cheese It’s Like a Wheel of Gouda

Life has been good lately, so I decided it was time to send some thanks to the cosmos.Welcome to Day Ten of the Great Unwashed’s fourteen days of love and Valentines month.

To : The Universe

Happy Valentine’s Day. I just wanted to send you a short note to remind you how awesome you are and to thank you.

Universe, your habit of making kittens that are always cute is purrrrfect. Also when I’m in the woods, I enjoy listening to hoots of nocturnal birds. As long as you create those night-time musicals Universe, owls be yours. While we’re on the topic of animals, whenever I visit petting farms, I adore the hogs and kisses I receive from the pigs. It’s so good of you to express your affection that way.

Moving away from the topic of animals, I just wanted to say that just like Saturn, you are out of this world! I’m sure that I’m not the only one telling you this, I imagine the forests are asking in their tree voices “Wood you be mine?” In this month of love and affection I could even see inanimate objects like cars expressing positive sentiments, their tires turning safely over the snowy roads humming “I wheelie like you Universe!”

I once ate a pound of brie in one sitting. It sat in my middle like a rock-hard chunk of abdominal pain for three days, so before I give you a stomachache, I’ll end my card here by asking you one last question. Orange you glad it’s almost Valentine’s Day?

Much fondness and far too much dairy,

The Great Unwashed

An Ice Cream Cone Boob Shaped Valentine

Sorry, that title was really awkward. Almost as awkward as the set of knockers that rode around on the city buses for over two years. If bus signs can be 3-D and interactive, these totally were. The advertisement itself was for a radio station and the star sporting the rack in question was Katie Perry whose marketing people must have decided that if the Coneheads were successful than why not slap two giant pointy shapes on the popstar? Mind you they looked pretty wonky on her head so they strapped them to her chest then took a photo.

The end result (Photo Credit: lfpress.com)

The end result (Photo Credit: lfpress.com)

To Katy Perry,

Happy Valentine’s Day. No offense but I’m glad that we’re not friends, because you’d be the super hot girl and I’d be the dumpy wingman. Only exchange “super hot girl” for “person with the best costume” and “dumpy wingman” for “kid who didn’t wash his face for a week and went out calling himself a hobo”.

Katy, I picture your life as being a perpetual Halloween. On day you’re dressed all in lollipops, the next your hair is green, the day after you’re covered in sequins. Like the chubby sidekick, I just can’t keep up, I mean like any good weirdo, I have a couple of wigs in the closet but after a couple of days any rapid, different hair colour is coming out of a bottle. And that’s just too much work. Also sequins look a little weird after thirty.

That being said, I hope you have a wonderful Valentine’s Day and dress up as a candy box or possibly climb into one. I feel like that might float your boat too.

From : The Great Unwashed

P.S. My mom likes your song “Teenage Dream”, for whatever reason this creeps me out. It’s one thing to suspect your parents were wild partyers. It’s another thing to catch them jamming to music and all but reliving the ruckus days of their youth. This may explain why my mother never enforced my curfew.

Facebook Thinks I’m Fat and Lonely

Dear Facebook,

Thanks for your recent concern regarding both my love life and physical appearance. I’m not sure where your information about my dating status came from but it’s wrong. Facebook, clearly you haven’t been keeping up with my blog. It’s ok, I get it, you’re a busy social media site; it’s difficult to keep tabs on everyone.

I don’t think I’d be nearly so offended by your consistent campaign to snag me a man if the guys on the dating sites you keep advertising to me were my type, which for the record is nerdy crossed with outdoorsy, but when those advertisements are followed up with “articles” about how to lose 10 pounds FAST, I start to question whether the problem is you or me, Facebook.

However in the spirit of love which includes the act of forgiveness, I forgive you Facebook. Happy Valentine’s Day. Thank you for trying to help me; my enormous rump, Erasmus and I will be celebrating the fourteenth with Tex, my hottie hottie boyfriend. So you can ease up on the number of dating adverts I’m shown. Unless of course I start googling “How to eat an entire tub of ice cream while crying in your pyjamas over a break up” in which case you need to send me flowers on Valentine’s Day, and perhaps a personal trainer. At this point, the phrase I will most likely be googling next Saturday is “How to make homemade bacon ice cream that’s supposed to be a gift for my beau not taste like salty bike tires?”

From my heart to your electronic innards Facebook, Happy Valentine’s Day,

The Great Unwashed

Armpits, Ponies and Mystical Training Bras : The Unsent Cards of Valentine’s Day Past

Every February, without fail, I would painstakingly write out all of my classmates’ names and then sign my own on the Barbie/Ninja Turtle/ Rainbow Bright pre-cut Valentines my mother bought. It was a painstaking process. Mostly because I didn’t like the majority of the people I was giving them to. A fact that concerned my parents, “Unwashed, we’re sending you to therapy, you don’t have any friends, so you need to learn how to play nice.”

The biggest problem was that I didn’t want to play nice. However that argument didn’t work on the playground or in heart-covered, impromptu, paper bag mailboxes. So every year, I dutifully wrote out all my classmates’ names on individual tiny cards and signed my own.

Here are the Valentines I wanted to write.

Nothing says affection like crime fighting reptiles and bad puns. (Photo Credit : tumblr.com)

Nothing says affection like crime fighting reptiles and bad puns. (Photo Credit : tumblr.com)

To : Jimmy

The sound you make when you blow your nose is super gross. Also please stop putting your used Kleenexes in my desk, that’s grosser.

From : Unwashed

I never figured out whether it was dye or some sort of life threatening disorder that made the horse's mane multi-coloured. (Photo Credit ; pinterest.com)

I never figured out whether it was dye or some sort of life threatening disorder that made the horse’s mane multi-coloured. (Photo Credit: pinterest.com)

To: Janice

I like your pony bracelet. I liked it less after you beaned me with it. I hope ponies bite.

From : Unwashed

To: Joshua

My feelings for you are ambivalent- my mom made me write this card.

From : Unwashed

Poor Josh, he didn't even warrant a brand name card. Only I would have crossed out the love and wrote "from". Don't want to give him any ideas. (Photo Credit : ivillage.ca)

Poor Josh, he didn’t even warrant a brand name card. Also I would have crossed out the “love” and written “from”- wouldn’t want to give him any ideas. (Photo Credit : ivillage.ca)

To : Ainsley

I noticed you wear a training bra. Is this because you have breasts? How did you grow them? Please send me instructions.

From : Unwashed

To : Damien

Farting with your armpits is only funny sometimes. You don’t seem to understand this based on the daily fake flatulence symphonies our class is treated to.

From : Unwashed

I would have added the words "Once a week, maybe twice but only when pretend to fart the flight of the bumblebee." (Photo Credit : pinterest.com)

I would have added the words “Once a week, maybe twice but only when you pretend to fart the flight of the bumblebee.” (Photo Credit : pinterest.com)

To : Jordan

You scare me. Sometimes I wish that a piano will fall on you. All the other times I run when I see you coming.

From : Unwashed

My eight year old thought process "I'm not sure whether the Power Ranger tattoo with make Jordan more or less scary. At least this one is temporary, however that is one kid that is destined to be covered in ink." (Photo Credit : blog.samuraicast.com)

My eight year old thought process “I’m not sure whether this Power Ranger tattoo will make Jordan more scary or less scary. At least this tattoo is temporary, however that is one kid who  is destined to be covered with ink.” (Photo Credit : blog.samuraicast.com)

To : Austin

I like you. I think our wedding should be teddy bear themed.

From : Unwashed

After three sessions I decided I liked talking to the therapist even less than the kids at school, so I cut a deal with my parents that I would make friends if I didn’t have to go to therapy anymore. I think this process wouldn’t have gone nearly as well had I expressed my true sentiments through my Valentine cards.

A Valentine to my Best Lady

Dear Sula*,

I love you. I love you in a way that is so fierce, passionate and big, that for a time my WASPy family expected that I would run away with you and we would live together in rapturous lesbian sin. If I was even a little bit into girls, I would have bought a house, married you, and happily eaten the questionable wild game labeled “STEAK” out of your freezer every night by now. For the record, our children would have been beautiful. Also you really need to inform the hunters who you taxidermy for that calling muskrat or coyote meat “steak” doesn’t make it so.

Each day, I grow more proud of you. Your love for your work and commitment to science is remarkable. Little wonder that so many companies want to associate you with their brand- it’s clear that you and your arctic research are going places. The only person who was surprised by your decision to go back to school was you. When you returned from your extremely successful field season, the only person who was amazed by your ability to lead a crew of five people to collect great data in a camp without running water or electricity again, was you.

Sula also didn't have electricity here. She had the gall to call her visit to this place "a vacation" despite driving on a road so rough that it blew a tire. (Photo Credit http://northofthegrid.com)

Sula also didn’t have electricity here. She had the gall to call her visit to this place “a vacation” despite driving on a road so rough that it blew a tire. (Photo Credit http://northofthegrid.com)

Sula, you have a shine, even when doing something as mundane as cooking bear pizza, which to date is the best thing I’ve ever put in my mouth, you emit a radiance that people flock to. My most cherished memories of the past two years were the nights we spent together eating dinner then crafting by your fireplace.

Your friendship has meant so much to me. You offered your house as a place of respite when my own home became a sad, scary place to be. I can’t count the number of nights that I stopped there on my way home from work, just to spend a short time with you and Maddie, to gather enough courage to face my life. Our innate understanding of each other brought me such comfort when my whole life was in upheaval. You are my favourite person to talk about everything with because of that.

I supported and was delighted by your decision to pursue your PhD, but even still, your moving away broke my heart a little bit. Thank you so much for choosing to store your furniture at my house, sitting on your couch, in the living room of my new home consoled me. Though you yourself weren’t there, the memories we shared were; when you learned to crochet left-handed in order to teach me how, the hours you spent afterwards sitting next to me checking my growing blob of stitches, the time that I glued my hands together making a scrapbook tree out of found materials, or when I would munch on lettuce leaves ripped fresh from the huge potter that always sat in your living room.

I will hold those evenings, and all the other experiences we’ve had together, dear to me always. I can’t wait to hear of your new arctic adventures this coming spring and for our conversations and visits to come.

Love always,

The Great Unwashed

*Names have been changed because I get grumpy when even one person crashes Sula and my time together let alone the whole internet. Back off interwebs, she’s mine.

Some of my family members have a weaker grasp of technology than me, which is to say, I occasionally arrive home to find them sitting in the dark because the contractor put in fancy light switches. The following instruction is for them. If you click on the picture below, it will take you to Sula’s website of science and wonder.

Photo Credit: northofthegrid.com

Photo Credit: northofthegrid.com