Just ONE More Post. My Relaxation List.

I know I said I wasn’t posting again until the New Year, but I have one final piece of business to address.

Karen Bertelsen in classic Eames chair.

please enjoy this photo of me pretending to relax

 I was about to pack up my laptop and iPhone and iPad and old iPad and emergency old iPhone that I mainly use for streaming music, and super extra old iPhone that only has a battery life of 7 minutes – when I realized I hadn’t given you a list of what I intend to do on my time off between Christmas and the New Year.  I can’t pack that stuff up for my official week off until I’ve given you my annual list of how I’m going to relax.

This is a burning question in your mind I’m sure, right up there with how many ice cubes you currently have in your freezer.

As someone who spends their whole life doing stuff, and loving doing stuff, I sometimes have to remind and/or force myself to relax.  To sit back and rest my brain and body;  allowing drool to cascade down my chin as I gaze at the television from the comfort of my workshop.

I mean couch.

How I Plan to Relax

  1. Handcuff my ankles and wrists to the front, left leg of my couch, forcing myself into a locked, permanent fetal position. Inform neighbours and family to ignore any pleading or screaming they might hear from December 26th to January 1st.
  2. Realize plan #1 might be incomplete and come up with a “safe word” in case of emergencies.  Alert neighbours and family to my “safe word” – tinkle.

How I’ll Actually Relax

  1. Handcuff my ankles and wrists to the bathroom vanity. ‘Cause that’s just more sensible.
  2. Knit.
  3. Wean myself off of elastic waist band pants.
  4. Dig sparkles out of my scalp.
  5. Make a hand puppet out of my back fat.
  6. Do my nails. (organize by type and size)
  7. Learn how to use my new camera.
  8. Learn how to use my new dehydrator.
  9. Learn how to speak Chinese with a Russian accent.
  10. Clean up all the Christmas crap.
  11. Reorganize the basement to better accommodate the Christmas crap which may involve a jackhammer and drywall.
  12. Read a book.  This book. (I’ve actually started it, I just need to finish it)
  13. Come up with 156 post ideas for next year.
  14. Contemplate whether it *really* matters if I finally throw out the frozen blob of something in my freezer I’ve been trying to identify.
  15. Refuse any and all New Year’s Eve invitations in favour of walking around the neighbourhood after dark so I can get a *really* good look inside other people’s houses.
  16. Sit.  I’m really going to sit.  Honestly I am.  In a chair and everything.
  17. Order compression socks in preparation for my busy week of sitting.
  18. Maybe make a lasagna.
  19. Clean up, reorganize, declutter, get a new television for, streamline, cozy up, make perfect, make imperfect my office.
  20. Unplug.  My coffee maker and give it a thorough cleaning.

O.K., that really is it for me until the New Year.  I hope your time off is as relaxing as I’m planning mine to be.



  1. Karen W says:

    Have yourself a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I’m sure you will come back with lots of stories of things you discovered or did over your so called holiday. Personally, I think I’ll plan on sleeping through January!

  2. Marcia says:

    Let us know what you think of the book. I’ve read a couple of his. One I really enjoyed, and the last “The Road to Little Dribbling” that seemed to be an endless narrative of him going on long hikes to little failing towns in England that used to be charming, but have gone seriously downhill due to a failing economy. It was a bit depressing. Merry Christmas!

  3. Judy says:

    Have you given up rug Hooking? I find that very relaxing

  4. Lesley says:

    Got to the second paragraph and yelled out, “OH MY GOD ICE CUBES!” and frightened the cat. I have people coming tomorrow for drinks and nibbles and I’d have forgotten for sure. You’re a life saver! NOW I can relax :)

    • marli says:

      And at reading your comment I laughed (ok, snorted) loudly, scared MY cat, and woke my husband who is snoring on the couch. You totally win tonight, thank you for that giggle!

  5. Grammy says:

    I’m a sitter. No problem. Maybe because I’m always reading something, maybe because I’m lazy. Probably both. But, I do find it exceedingly relaxing to get to just spend a week or so “getting things done” that aren’t big major projects, just stuff that got moved to the bottom of every list all year because something else had to be done. Cleaning, reorganizing, figuring out how to do something, etc. are among those things. So, your list looks good to me.

    Just remember to stay hydrated — it’s easy to forget to drink enough when you’re engrossed in enjoyable activities that you’re doing because you want to.

    Then, after the New Year begins, you will have plenty of cool stuff to tell us about. Win, win.

    Merry Christmas!

  6. Summer O says:

    I absolutely love walking (or driving really slow) through neighborhoods to peek in other’s windows and see how they decorate the interior of their homes. My husband thinks it’s disturbing and calls me a peeping tom. Glad to know that I’m not alone in my enjoyment of this. Merry Christmas!

  7. Congratulations! You are the winner of “my favorite person I’ve never met” 2018 contest. No prize and I woukd have snail mailed you a sparkle sash and acorn crown but the squirrels absconded with all the acorns and two bushels of tulip bulbs. Cheeky bastards… seriously I cannot thank you enough for the laughs

  8. Alena says:

    Loving task #6:
    Do my nails. (organize by type and size)

    I am still laughing. I should follow suit though.

  9. Erin says:

    One of my favorite books! Bryson is an excellent writer, and makes the wild and varied topics he covers fascinating and hilarious. Enjoy, and have a wonderful Christmas/Break!

  10. Nan Lorenz says:

    Karen~ For all the good advice, fun and especially the smiles you have given all of us ~ Have the Merriest and Happiest! Salute, Prost, Skol, L’Chaim 🍷🍾🍻

  11. Dale says:

    See ya next year. Merry Christmas.

  12. JodyG says:

    My first thought echoed Nancy, Karen, go find the rancher dude. Then I started to wonder – is Roch Hart a REAL name? If it is, it one great name. Anyway, I really enjoy your blog. Merry, Merry and Happy, Happy.

  13. Maryanne says:

    Merry Christmas Karen
    Thank you for a wonderful year of fresh ideas and interesting posts!
    I hope you do sit…sit soaking in your beautiful home!
    Regarding #13 if you take requests, I have a few
    how to make a healthy flavored creamers. Coffee creamers, though I would be using it in my tea.
    Homemade unique birthday gifts
    TNR – getting the word out to your readers what TNR and community cats are!
    making ice decorations to hang outside this winter
    Making homemade ricotta cheese
    These are some of the things I planned on tackling last year
    and never did!
    Cheers to a great 2019! Health, Happiness and Posts!

  14. Arlene Stopps says:

    At this point …a few days before Christmas…I hate it!
    I start off liking the idea…then …I hate it!
    Where is the fun?
    Anyway…have a wonderful week off…relax and enjoy.
    I am looking to run away!
    Love your blog!
    Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!🎄

  15. Suzanne says:

    Are you there? You did not comment on anyone’s comments….please sign back in…just for a minute….please…because I NEED TO KNOW WHERE YOU GOT YOUR BOOTS! They are wonderful!
    Have a happy, healthy, Karen-kind-of-relaxing Christmas, and New Year’s spying on your neighbours!

  16. Mary W says:

    I really had plans for my dehydrator but found it was used annually to prepare the best in the world beef jerky for my grandson. Oh, and I tried dried flowers which didn’t work so well. So decided that he would enjoy it more than me and gave it to him. He has made jerky twice and I don’t think he tried anything else, even though he planned to – just like his granny. I love dehydrated food, the idea of dehydrated food, the ease and smell and sense of pioneering from dehydrated food. Just don’t do it – now please discover why so I can stop myself from buying another one which I really want to do. Crazy old jerky loving granny.

    • Jacquie Gariano says:

      I had a great dehydrator during my “Mother Earth” days and dehydrated everything and I mean everything. The house really smelled when I did onions and garlic…LOL
      I gave it away for some unknown reason and regreted it later. A couple of yeas ago I bought the same brand again and love it. My grandson likes jerkyn too, but I make it for him. I don’t want to see my dehydrator gone again.

  17. Amy says:

    So far I’ve had a ROTTEN DAY of FIRST WORLD ONLY problems. I came to the post downright grouchy, I’ll confess. The item involving back fat had me BUST OUT LAUGHING! Thank you for restoring my sense of humor and perspective. Thamks gor a great year of laughing and learning, along with the proper perspective adjustment!

  18. Tess Turbo says:

    Enjoy the Solstice and bring in the New Year with your usual flair and style.

    p.s. sadly compression socks don’t come in very flattering colours, so tart some up and see what happens. Start a new trend in sitting fashions!

  19. I love Bill Bryson. And so will you. Happy relaxing!

  20. Cathy Reeves says:

    First off, the coat. I MUST HAVE THAT COAT. The boots are only a good idea in Canada.
    We just don’t get that much snow. Second, I agree with the others who observe that you look so tightly wound you might spring off your perch there and launch yourself across the front fence. How will you explain flying across the windshield of your neighbor’s car?
    One more thing while I’m ranting here, I hope your 2019 list includes some travel. Go to the other side of Canada and tell us what’s there. Or the other side of the other side. Or come to the states and do a ‘progressive fan’ visit. You could probably visit all 50 states before I do. ( don’t forget about the coat!)

  21. jaine kunst says:

    Hmmmmm, I just don’t buy that story about sitting in a chair and relaxing.
    Merry Christmas, Karen and really, enjoy your time off.

  22. Patricia H Otto says:

    Bill Bryson, nice Iowa boy, anything he writes is worth reading. Enjoy and Merry Christmas!

    Pat (nice Iowa girl)

  23. Patricia Otto says:

    Bill Bryson, nice Iowa boy, almost anything he writes is worth reading. Enjoy and Merry Christmas!

    Pat (nice Iowa girl)

  24. Katherine L Varnum says:

    Good morning Karen. 4am from Vancouver US. I work for a 93+ woman who does not stop doing stuff all day long. The kids have me there with her so she has help if she gets herself in a pickle. We are a great pair. She is 93+ and I am 69. We are busy all day long doing stuff. Our plan is to keep doing stuff till we drop. Good on you from us. We love your style!

  25. Sandy says:

    Merry Christmas, Karen. Wishing you the very best in the new year.

  26. Roch Hart says:

    I tripped upon your blog as I love doing stuff. I’m a guy ranch manager dude entrepreneur, an entrepreneur is just another word for thinking too much, and loved to read how you write. Also, love the stuff you do since I’m always doing stuff between all the stuff I should be doing. Anyways, this particular blog is my problem. I find it impossible to not just sit. Drives me batty. Unless of course its at the end of the day and I can enjoy my Rum and Diet Dr. Pepper and Curse of Oak Island, which my family hates, as they spend millions looking for a treasure. I digress. Love your blog, Merry Christmas!

    • Nancy says:

      Karen, you should give up on Idris and go find this rancher dude. Sounds like your kinda guy.
      Beautiful photo, Roch! Where are you? Are they wild?? Just gorgeous!!
      Joyous Solstice and Happy Holy-days, y’all.

  27. Cheapdiva says:

    Can’t imagine getting through the next 11 days without you! Please share what you end up watching and what color polish you go with. I’ll be getting a mani over my 10 days off and like you, organizing my basement – still have boxes to unpack from my October move into my new old farmhouse!

  28. Annie says:

    Merry Christmas to you and thank you for the bright spot you add to my life! It’s always a delight to read your posts. Take care and I’ll see you next year. Annie

  29. Francine Nault says:

    I totally agree with you about Karen. I cannot find where I can comment on her page so therefore I also wish her a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year and always enjoy her posts.

  30. Catherine Vosper says:

    If you could bottle some of that energy and sell it you would b a rich woman overnight!! And I would be your biggest customer. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, may all your wishes come true.

  31. Edie Marie says:

    #1,7 & 10 would be at the top of my list! Especially #1 as I’m aging, I mean becoming extremely “mature”! Thank you for helping us not take ourselves so seriously during the pre-Christmas stress and “Have yourself a merry little Christmas”!

    Christmas blessings – Edie Marie

  32. Maggie Van Sickle says:

    Sounds like a plan. Merry Christmas Karen.

  33. Mary Michelle says:

    Enjoy your time off! I once read that when your mind is tired work your body, when your body is tired work your mind, when they both are tired – QUIT!

  34. Kathy K says:

    Maybe having a project IS relaxing to you? What’s wrong with using everyday to its fullest?
    I once saw an interview with Martha Stewart about sleep. She was told she needed at least 6 hours a night of sleep in order to have a healthy mind, but she could never sleep more than
    2 or 3 hours at night. She did all sorts of things, including medication to relax and sleep. She started to wonder and then decided to research how very successful people slept and relaxed?
    Results-Most very successful people slept 2-3 hours per night, they actively relaxed (meaning they golfed, hiked, sailed, etc) Sitting and doing nothing (ex: watching TV) was unacceptable, lazy, and unproductive. Martha realized what a true gift she was given to be able to function very effectively on only 2-3 hours per night. Just something to ponder during your planned relaxation.

  35. Marna says:

    Funny! Hope you do get to relax a bit and have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! :)

  36. judy says:

    get out the new camera and document all of your accomplishments,your terrace-patio among them(I know they are already documented in a cloud that may become so weighty it spews them forth onto the perfect haircut) anyhoo force yourself to take stock and admit that you are not whatever drives you to keep erasing from the chalkboard of your life your negatives by getting stuff done and done and what the hell else can I do? You are an A+++++ human. Your very existence is probably on some cosmic chalkboard where alien tentacled creatures admire you. Only the two appendages you say?…well ten digits of course and don’t forget opposing thumb-scratches head, nods- yes yes, quite remarkable- too bad about the sleigh but my son found it quite tasty.

  37. Danni McLaughlin says:

    merry christmas and thanks for all the inspiration! lower case bc we’re low-key like that.

  38. whitequeen96 says:

    I can tell it was KILLING you to sit there pretending to relax! I can sense the coiled energy, barely held in check.

  39. Celia says:

    Good luck. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

  40. Dana Studer says:

    Funny you mention ice cubes. I counted mine earlier today. I have 13-if I budget 3 cubes for each drink, I don’t need to refill the 5 empty trays until Sunday.

  41. K Hamilton says:

    Number 6 is brilliant!

  42. Ramona says:

    Enjoy your magnificent week! And Happy 2019💕

  43. canadamsel says:

    You have a new dehydrator? Please do tell what you have planned for it. Mine has been sitting here, unused, for oh, about 3 years now.

  44. Sue McKnight says:

    As you sail away on the ship of relaxation… I must say I’m exhausted after reading your list! Bon Voyage and have a wonderful time trying to master the art of relaxation….😉

  45. Jenn Kirksey says:

    You make me smile too!

    Enjoy you vacation!!!

  46. Jeri Mearns says:

    Great post and great year of posts! Thank you and have a great time chained to the couch.

    • Punkie says:

      Not the couch She said she was going to go to the bathroom. It’s more practical. Love your ideas for relaxation. Doesn’t sound like you can get much done while locked to the vanity. Happy Christmas and merry new year.

  47. Georgia Girl says:

    So – you’re signing off for real this time? … you’re not coming back until next year, right ?
    I miss you already!
    🎄Merry Christmas, Karen! 👯‍♀️

  48. Loreen says:

    You make me smile.

  49. Martina says:

    I’m sorry but if that’s a pic of you relaxing…lol What I get from the pic is…”hmmm….what should I tackle next?”
    Go ahead tell me I’m wrong…lol

  50. Tres says:

    I love your list and that completely unstaged picture of you relaxing! ;-) Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

    • Francine Nault says:

      I totally agree with you about Karen. I cannot find where I can comment on her page so therefore I also wish her a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year and always enjoy her posts.

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