Dear America,

I’m really sorry.  That seems like such a useless and uninspired thing to say after the chain of events you’ve had to endure over the past few weeks. But at this point I have no idea what I could possibly say to make anyone feel better.  So all I can do is let you know that I’m thinking about you.  And that I’m sorry.

I’m writing to tell you that every day I think about your winds and your rain and your storms and your people.  I’m thinking about the families in Texas who were forgotten because of the tragedy in Florida.  I’m thinking about the families in Florida who were forgotten because of the tragedy in Puerto Rico.  I’m thinking about the families in Puerto Rico who were forgotten because of the tragedy in Las Vegas.

This little note is to let you know that none of you were actually forgotten.  You weren’t. Everyone is still thinking about all of you.

I know you’re America and you can get through anything.  But there are only so many punches even the toughest one in the room can take.  No matter how big you are, sometimes it’s nice to hear that someone is thinking about you.

When you’re the one that other people normally count on, it’s easy for us to think you never need support.  That you’ve got it together.  That you can handle anything.  But even the biggest and bravest need a shoulder.  You might not need it to cry on but it’s nice to know there’s someone with a shoulder you can rest your head on.  A shoulder to take some of the weight off for a little while.

Know that other countries are thinking about you.  Canada is thinking about you.  We go to bed touching and we wake up touching.  We share land and water.   You are family to us.  We might not agree with all of your policies. We might not agree with all of your laws.  We definitely don’t agree with your decision to not serve vinegar with french fries.  But no matter what the differences, you are family and family support each other through thick and thin.

As we Canadians head into this Thanksgiving long weekend I wanted to make sure you know you always have a place at our table.

Get well America, and again … I’m sorry.  We’re all really sorry.






  1. Judy says:

    You are a unique person with an exceptional voice and an endless list of consummate skills,beauty, intellect and a wonderful naughty sense of humour. But now you have reached Sainthood. I can not tear myself away from MSNBC and the rolling wreck that is my Country and the progress we had made away from bigotry,divisiveness and seemingly endless War signed away by a guy with a weird signature and a pathetic giant ego that may wreak more harm in his short 4 years than thousands of years of tyrants and despots. They lacked nukes and biological weapons.

    How gut wrenching to see the wonderful progress humanity had achieved from brutality and cruelty to one another to a burgeoning sense of what I want and need every soul wants and needs and it is not so difficult to make that become reality if only the few do not feel their need of possessing.. everything…. .supersedes the need of all of us to have something.
    A life of comfort and free from want,not flashy,not a competition just a contented warm happy existence. And the one and only reason they won’t impeach him is greed. He will remove all regulation and taxation from the super rich and that’s what they must have. Come Hell or High water and with climate change unchecked you can bet on that- Hellish heat and rising oceans guarantees it. Too soon old and way too late smart. Sob……..

    • Jenifer says:

      I have to believe that love and kindness will win in the end. It’s not flashy or loud so sometimes it gets lost in the noise but it’s still there. I’m sending you some from NY now. <3

    • charlotte tataryn says:

      Hi Judy, I had to wiz through the comments, as I’m up 2 hours late, and of course, doing what I shouldn’t and that is reading our lovely Karen’s blog. Your ‘letter’ is a lovely, and obviously heartbreaking one, and I have to say that Karen is speaking for us, the Canadians, beyond that border, currently invisible. What is happening in your country is hard to fathom, understand, but despite our ‘opinions’ (quite varied) on your laws, and your ruler, you, individually, are people just like us, and are trying to make the best of what has become a very harsh, real, and unkind world. Here, we are thankful that, to date, we have been relatively untouched by all of it, but every day, we can see it coming closer. Hope is what you, and we, as individuals, have to hang on to, and try and do some little ‘thing’ everyday, just to make our friends, some we haven’t met yet, and our neighbors, ditto, feel safer and welcomed.
      Your very celebrated Thanksgiving is coming up, and I wish you a day of family, love, peace and much thanks for all the good things in your lives, much as we did yesterday. One person can make a difference, even if NO one ever knows about it.
      And Karen, this was a really, really nice thing to say, and do, and I think so much more of you now, than I had. You’re a very cool chick!!!
      Charlotte T

  2. Jean Munroe says:

    Thank you, Karen.

  3. Linda Huffman says:

    Thank you Karen, and I like malt vinegar on my fries.

  4. Tina L says:

    Positively sublime. Thank you, Karen. And happy Thanksgiving.

  5. Tina L says:

    Positively sublime. Thank you, Karen. And Happy Thanksgiving. 💙

  6. Jari J. says:

    Karen, thank you. We’ve never met, but simply knowing another person is reaching out helps make the world less scary. And Canada, remember we’re are here for you as well.

  7. That was beautiful Karen. Thank you.

  8. Kate says:

    Dear Karen,
    Thank you for your post. You are a godsend.
    We love you too.
    Kate in Boston

  9. Marjorie Kramer says:

    Thank you and happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. Peace, and pass the balsamic with the fries.

  10. Michele Morrison says:

    Thank you. That was beautiful.

  11. Vicki Husted says:

    Dearest Karen,
    You are so very, very kind. I didn’t realize I needed a shoulder–much less one to cry on–but I surely did, and your beautiful expression of caring showed me I did.

    Oh, now you’ve gone and done it–made my mascara run, or it would be running if I wore it. You’re an absolute jewel and we all love you for it. Hope you have a beautiful Thanksgiving.

  12. Breanne says:

    There’s suddenly a lot of dust in my eyes. *thank you. It’s been a rough year down here.

  13. Kathleen says:

    You brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for so eloquently saying what the rest of the world is feeling. (Except the being neighbours part – we’re too far away)
    Stay strong America – the rest of the world is also very sorry and grieving with you too.

  14. Karla says:

    Karen, thank you for your posts in general and this one in particular. It’s this sentiment that will help us to heal. And this sentiment which we should all share with those in need around the world. Thank you for caring.

  15. SERA says:

    Thanks, Karen. As a Washingtonian, I fully agree that we should be serving our french fries with vinegar. AND Dijon mustard because I voted for Obama .

  16. Sara says:

    Dear Karen,
    Thank you for your kindness and respect. My Canadian friends are a fine example of Canada and Her people: brave, caring, virtuous, and friendly. I have always felt proud of Canada.

    I am very grateful that our family did not have any damages or harm. live in Florida and have never seen a storm like Irma. My daughter moved from Orlando to Houston. Her family is safe and her home did not flood. Her husband was able to work from home.

    Thank you again for my kindness and your website.

  17. Mia says:

    Thank you so much Karen<:} When I see inspiring Facebook posts about all of the great things your amazing and enlightened Prime Minister is doing in Canada, I am left bereft, puzzled, disturbed, traumatized at where the US has found itself today. There is a great malaise that has settled upon my community of friends, which has been compounded by the terrible losses both natural and unnatural that have swept over us recently. It's as if we're living in a bad movie that just won't end and keeps getting worse, week after week; but amidst all of that and in spite of it, the spark of optimism for a better future lives on for many of us Americans. We haven't given up. Hope still floats and humor still blooms from the cracks in a gray landscape. And many of us do indeed love vinegar with our French fries. And so I feel compelled, in the spirit of the moment, to ask this favor of our dear Canadian friends…could you please, please, PLEASE interfere in our next election? Apparently it's not that difficult to do (it just involves a whole lot of people twiddling with Facebook and Twitter), and we could really use Canada's help for the next round.<:}

    • Kelly says:

      The only enlightened thing about Justin is his head. He’s selling Canadians out. Be least Trump
      loves your country as much as you do!

      • Annette says:

        @Kelly You certainly have a few identities, Kekov.

      • Jeannie says:


      • Francie Thornton says:

        Agreed Kelly. Proud to have a President who loves our country and wants the best for all citizens.
        We appreciate our Canadian neighbors and wish the best for them as well, but don’t want anyone “interfering” in our elections.
        Thanks for your kind words Karen but no one has been forgotten, it is just a lot to take in, seemingly, at once.

    • Catherine says:

      I am profoundly grateful for our Prime Minister, whose policies, I agree, are enlightened. I have many good and long-term friends in the States who feel precisely as you do, and your comment was beautifully expressed. They would appreciate your words immensely. Karen’s post today came from a place of building-up…something which is what I sense you are seeking…and what Obama did so well. Let’s continue to build up.

    • Jenifer says:

      Yes. Yes. Yes. Everything from feeling inspired by Karen and her PM to the state of the US today to insisting on vinegar with fries to the desire of Canadian interference.

      After reading today’s post, I found tears in my eyes that I hadn’t even realized I was holding back. It’s tempting to put blinders on and just go to work and do the laundry. It can be overwhelming and difficult to process the events of the recent past and I, too, appreciate the kind and compassionate words offered here.

      Thank you.

  18. Nan says:

    Thank you. If we are human we must be touched by these tragedies. Not just in the U.S. but all over the world. It is only when humanity joins together can we heal.

  19. Bambi Mayer says:

    Thanks, Karen. Yep, we are going through some really sucky times and have been for several months now.

  20. Kimberly Miner says:

    After alll the bullshit I keep seeing on social media, this is one of the best things I’ve read in awhile. I love my country and this made me a bit emotional. Thank you Karen, and thanks Canada.

    • Melissa says:

      What Kimberly said, almost exactly. I get scared that all this insanity is being normalized. Thank you for reaching out in the blogosphere and being kind.

      You are one heck of a human being!

      <3 <3 <3

  21. Thank you Karen! We really needed that, even though many of us, including myself didn’t even realize how badly we need your heartfelt support. Thank you!

  22. Renda Bullock says:

    Thank you, Karen. That was one of the nicest letters I’ve read in a while. It made me cry. It’s very easy to feel alone and overwhelmed when bad things happen, but with the help and love of friends and family, we can get through it.
    Thank you again.
    (Here’s a Hug for You!)
    From Oregon, USA

  23. kddomingue says:

    I just found your blog through a link that my buddy “Canadianmango” over at Apartment Therapy sent me and had to reply back to her that she hooks me up with some of the nicest people…. also mentioning that you’re a hoot and a half! Thank you for your kind thoughts. We’re reeling from the gut punches life has been dishing out recently.

    May you have a joyful Thanksgiving.

    • Alena says:

      I knew I would find you here one day soon! :-)

      And you Karen, should also know that KDDomingue said you were batshit crazy funny – in the best sense of the word, of course.

      • kddomingue says:

        THAT’S NOT FAIR! You don’t go by the same handle here! Lol!

        Well, I was trying to be polite with hoot and a half but, I guess after having read through some of her posts, I can hang that up! She IS batshit crazy fun! It appears that I’m going to be inadvertently snorting a lot of coffee up my nose reading her posts…..nasal coffee enemas are NOT fun when the coffee’s hot btw! Ask me how I know. (you’ve done it to me before!)

  24. Becky Couch says:

    It’s been extremely tough mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Your sentiments mean a lot!

  25. Marlene says:

    Thank you! It’s scary to me the kind of world my children and grandchildren will grow in. My family is in Puerto Rico and for thirteen days I couldn’t get a hold of them, still haven’t heard from my twin sister and her husband! My heart grows weary and for the sake of them I need to be strong but it’s hard! Thanks for letting us know that you and Canada have our back! Praying for all the people on the path of natural disasters and man made disasters and particularly praying for strength in the middle of the storm. Enjoy your Thanksgiving!

    • Tina says:

      I hope your sister and her family are fine and I hope your entire PR end gets rebuilt and stays safe and healthy.

      • Elaine says:

        Hello Marlene – Karen expressed exactly what I’d say if I had a blog! It actually brought a lump to my throat. I live in the same town as Karen and keep hoping I’ll bump into her.

        I pray that very soon, you will hear good news about your sister and husband! Our hearts go out to all of you! I love the US and up until my husband’s death, crossed the border to vacation for approximately 40 years. I miss the US a lot and miss its people. I have always found Americans to be friendly, caring and exceedingly generous! Take care!

      • Marlene says:

        Thank you for your kind words.

      • Marlene says:

        Found out all my family is safe even though they don’t have running water or electricity yet. Is the rainy season in P.R. so there has been more landslides and floods around the island . Supplies at supermarkets is very limited and the lines for gasoline are still long in certain hours. Most hospitals still need diesel for their generators. The death toll keeps rising. We need help and we need prayers. Thanks for caring!

        • Tina says:

          Marlene, I am glad to hear your family is safe! I hope our government can learn that Puerto Ricans are also Americans and help the way they would help any other state. Take care and I wish health and happiness to your family!

  26. Suzanne LH says:

    Thank you. We definitely need a shoulder.

  27. Tracey says:

    Thanks for such wonderful words of kindness! If only everyone was so kind what a wonderful world this would be. I think we all needed to hear that. 🇺🇸🇨🇦

  28. Angie says:

    Thank you for your sweet words. I didn’t think it would touch me, but it did. Also didn’t think it would make me cry! :)

  29. Diana says:

    Thank you.

  30. Meredith says:

    I didn’t know I needed to hear that, but thank you! That really comforted my heart.

  31. Gretchen Sexton says:

    Thank you. Thank you.

  32. Jani Wolfe says:

    Only you…..that is why we all love you so much! Thank you so much as it really means alot!
    Happy Thanksgiving!

  33. Jennifer says:

    Thanks neighbor.

  34. Jeri Mearns says:

    Such a lovely post. Thank you so much, and Happy Thanksgiving.

  35. Robyn says:

    I agree – except that Puerto Rico was forgotten long before the tragedy in Las Vegas. I understand the chain of events – but Las Vegas was after the neglect

    I’m thinking about the families in Puerto Rico who were forgotten because of the tragedy in Las Vegas.

  36. LaVon Parker says:

    Thank you, Karen… and bless you.

  37. WoniyaWaken says:

    Thank you Karen…and happy thanksgiving.

  38. Jeanne says:

    Karen you bring a tear to my eye. You are so kind and good and thoughtful. I am far from the states where these tragedies happened. In fact closer to Canada but the pain is still with me. Thank you fine Karen for thinking of us. We need to heal the hurt.

  39. Brenda says:

    That was really kind & thoughtful Karen. Thank You for being one of the nicest Canadians. What she said!

  40. Paula Beattie says:

    What a lovely sentiment and, oh so Canadian, you make us proud, Karen! You are correct, we do think about everything that has happened in the U.S. and it reminds us of how fortunate that we have been/are in Canada. Chin up U.S. (-_-)

  41. Pam says:

    Gee, thank you. That really is nice to hear.

  42. Jayne says:

    This Canadian gal is chiming in with Karen – stay strong America!

  43. Mike Flegle says:

    Thanks, Karen.

    You didn’t have to write the post you did, but you did. That alone speaks volumes.

    Please know that the vinegar-served-with-fries thing may be what America really needs at a time like this. It certainly couldn’t hurt. Food is medicinal like that, eh?

    I’m off to begin peeling potatoes, to keep my mind off other things.

    • TucsonPatty says:

      Karen, you always know how to say it best! Thank you. This also brought me to tears, as does any offering up of sympathy. You said it so well, Texas to Florida, to Puerto Rico and The Virgen Islands, to Las Vegas, which impacted people from so many different states, and also you, Canada. And now on to Louisiana, I’m afraid. My problems have always been first world problems, and this brings that realization home even more strongly. I will be sharing your post with my family and friends. Thank you again for your kindness in our hour(s) of need.

      • TucsonPatty says:

        Oh, the reason I replied to this comment – that is why we do have vinegar flavored potato chips! They just want to grow up and be your fries with vinegar…

  44. Lonelle Minesinger says:

    Thank you so much. We have been getting hit coast to coast. Being in Southern California, Vegas hit very close to home. So scary and so senseless. I just continue to pray for everyone effected, and for my friends that were there that were injured and scared.

  45. Marilyn says:

    Well said Karen. And happy thanksgiving. I always think of you when I make the only pie I bake all year at thanksgiving. Because it’s your fault. Pumpkin pie ..made with real pie pumpkin. Anything else just doesn’t cut it anymore. So now because of you I have to make one pie ..ok ..two ..per year. So. Good. Well I make the filling.tenderflake helps me out with the crust.

  46. Erin P says:

    This confirms that Canadians really are the nicest people! 😉

  47. Cass Watson says:

    very well said Karen

  48. Bethany Jones says:

    I needed that. I didn’t know it, but I did. Thank you, Karen.

    • Colleen says:

      I’m with Bethany. I didn’t know I needed it, but I did. Thank you, Karen

      • Megan says:

        Same here. Didn’t know I needed that. I’ve been to numb to cry, but this truly brought tears to my eyes. Thank you!!

    • Same here, Karen. I just posted this on my Facebook page:

      “In light of everything that’s happened here in our country this year, and especially in the last couple of months, I’ve felt frustrated, angry, disappointed, helpless, and sad. These feelings haven’t taken over my life (much), but to not acknowledge I’m feeling them wouldn’t be honest.

      I couldn’t sleep tonight, so I got up and did a few things around the house and had just sat down to take care of some business on the computer, when the most recent blog post from one of my favorite bloggers, Karen Bertelsen of The Art of Doing Stuff, arrived in my mailbox.

      I read it and it unleashed a torrent of tears, which took me completely by surprise. But you know what? I needed that cry. It was overdue. Karen and Canada, we feel the same about you and it truly does help to know you’re there for us, even if only in your hearts. Thanks, friends. ❤ “

      • Kitty McCarty says:

        I agree that I did not realize how comforting it is to cry. I also shared it on my FB page, but it was difficult to type a comment through the flow of my tears. The timing of this is perfect as so many of us down here in SE Texas are becoming frustrated with the “seeming” lack of help. Now when I drive down our streets and see so much of people’s possessions stacked out on the curb, I’ll remember that “Yes, there is care, there is hope”.

    • Katie Schneider says:

      Ditto. My throat is all lumpy right now. Thank you!!

    • Carlene says:

      Absolutely agree. The last 4 weeks have been one long sucker-punch, topping off a year that’s been…less than ideal, shall we say. This was nice to read.

  49. Edith says:

    Thank you Karen.

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