The Family Newsletter.

My Uncle has suddenly taken to writing a weekly newsletter for members of our family. It’s the sort of thing people normally send out at Christmas along with a group picture of what are apparently relatives.  They’re wearing matching hats. You don’t know these people.

My Uncle, on the other hand I know, so I’m more interested in what he’s doing than say, the second cousin of my father’s Aunt’s ex husband’s neighbour.  I’m not all that interested in the fact that they bought a new RV.  I’m more interested in how they got my mailing address.

So like I said, Uncle Jack started sending out a newsletter once a week outlining what he’s done every day of the week.  Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday.  They’re all covered and include the most important news of the day such as the purchase of a new television remote, or the cost of having his drains snaked.

It’s well written with some humour thrown in but basically it’s just a few sentences about what’s going on in a retired man’s life.  Day to day life.  Here’s an excerpt on his hernia for instance.

“I had a very rough day with my “bump”.  Spent most of the day laying down and pushing the bump back into place.”

And then of course we all got to learn about the hernia surgery.

“The surgery was at 8:30 am sharp and my roomie and I spent  the day on our backs.  No getting up and so all amenities were provided.  Lunch, dinner  Advil, and use of a portable urinal comprised my day.  Jack: “I have to pee”.  Nurse:  “Turn on your side”.  Jack: “What! That will hurt”.  Nurse: “Yup, turn on your side”.  Anyway I struggled to turn over only to discover that my penis had completely “turtled”, making that stretch to the bottle basically look like an attempt to reach Mars.  It might just as well have been a mile as only an inch.  At this point all humility has left the building.”

This isn’t the sort of thing most nieces read about their Uncle’s penises I don’t think.  It might even be the case that most nieces go their whole lives without hearing anything at all about their Uncle’s penises.

The newsletter entries are normally more mundane.  Boring really.

And yet.  We all find these newsletters FASCINATING.  We love them.

I have no idea why.

Getting to thinking about it, I sort of wondered seriously – why??  Why is it so interesting for all of us?  I came to the conclusion there were 3 main reasons.

  1.  The newsletters are short.
  2. The newsletters are well written with humour.
  3. The newsletters aren’t fakery.  It isn’t the life we see all over social media.  Perfect photos of perfect lives in perfect houses.

He doesn’t own a single anything with chevron pattern on it. I know that for a fact.

I think we need Pinterest and Instagram and glossy magazines because those sort of pictures are inspirational.  And they’re just plain nice to look at.  But hearing about a real life is reassuring.  A life where people buy remotes and get their drains snaked as opposed to doing yoga on the beach or taking a hot air balloon to dinner on the top of a remote monkey filled mountain.

Real life may not be as pretty to look at or as wildly interesting; but that’s what life is. A series of mundane moments punctuated with the odd turtled penis.

Have a good weekend!


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  1. Melissa says:

    Best thing ever!

  2. Devorah Rosenberg says:

    You and your uncle are absolutely hilarious. Thank you period and humor is really the lubricant for most interactions of the human kind

  3. PMMK says:

    Still laughing even though coffee and cream came out my nose, speaking of bodily fluids. Uncle Jack sounds totally lovable. Kinda makes me want to be adopted so I can be on his mailing list. Sending him get well wishes and complete resolution of the turtle situation.

  4. Chrystiec says:

    Thanks for the laugh, I needed that today:)

  5. Nan says:

    Love your blog – please don’t stop. Sounds like good/humorous writing runs in the family.

  6. MartiJ says:

    Er, thanks for sharing?
    Far better than hearing about my mother’s bodily fluids. She’s not nearly as well written.

    • Karen says:

      I just heard about my own mother’s bodily fluids today! The story wavered between wildly entertaining to terrifying. ~ karen!

  7. Judy D. says:

    God Bless Uncle Jack. I hope his surgery went well. You’re lucky to have him in your life. So many of us no longer have aunts and uncles still alive.

  8. TucsonPatty says:

    I don’t care if any one else thinks I am funny, (well, actually I kind of enjoy it if they do tell me that I’m funny) because I totally crack myself up and think I am hilarious. I’m probably just a little amusing, but I love my sense of humor (humour) and love laughing at myself and laughing at totally inappropriate things and times. (see: eversion) I love your sense of humour, also, Karen, as we all do, or we wouldn’t be here! Thank you, Karen, and thanks to your uncle for making us laugh.

  9. Marcia says:

    This isn’t the sort of thing most nieces read about their Uncle’s penises I don’t think” Actually, it isn’t the sort of thing most readers of the niece’s blog need to read about either. (Insert horrified emoji or something here), but it has started me thinking about doing the same thing for my family. I think I have enough things to tell everyone at least once a week, and I tell everyone that I’m funny. So there’s that…

  10. Linda in Illinois says:

    Flippin fantastic! I love it.

  11. Kate says:

    I can’t stop smiling …….
    Do you think your uncle would put me on his newsletter email list? ^^

  12. Lynn says:

    What a treasure your uncle is, it’s so nice that he has reached out to the family in such a way. I my self have enjoyed little tib bits for family past over the years an I have treasured each an everyone I have managed to find. Little notes in books, scraps of paper an such . They all bring you closer to understanding who they are and ultimately who you are. From the notes of things they did to what they saw. They make life real .
    Loved your story

  13. Jody says:

    I hope his hernia and incision is healed and the turtle comes out to enjoy another day

  14. Mary W says:

    We found a life’s worth of daily journal entries by one of the great granmothers. It was little more than the weather, cost of whatever she just had to buy-like 6 eggs, and big news of day. We sat and read and read and read. Delightful passages of days gone by. We laughed so hard when she wrote – census man here but Mr. won’t speak to him. A few days later, she wrote again = census man back but still no speaking. And we cried when after many years there was a single entry one day – Mr. passed today. We actually had connected with her, her life, and our history through those few words she wrote each day. I love your words each post

    • Jan in Waterdown says:

      What an incredible treasure for your family! A wonderful gift from her to you through time. My eyes are blurry and my heart is envious…..

  15. jaine kunst says:

    You always make me laugh! Have a good weekend, Karen.

  16. Karin in NC says:

    “Real life may not be as pretty to look at or as wildly interesting; but that’s what life is.” You are so right. And isn’t it wonderful?

  17. Pat says:

    So hilarious as usual! Reminded me of my fav uncle. A drunk old guy that I saw once a year. But I loved him so!

  18. Bonnie G. says:

    Well said. Haha -” turtled penis”!

  19. Eileen says:

    It’s a family connection on a real level,,,like your offbeat blog. It’s great.

  20. Christine says:

    Is this Uncle Shifty? Kinda sad l remember that but not where l left my glasses.

  21. Joyce says:

    FUNNY and just what we folk south of your border need, everyday. Real life headlines are too horrible.
    I’m gonna go plunder my neighbor’s blueberry bushes and hide out from the real world for a bit. (The neighbors invited me)joyce

  22. Jen says:

    I LOVE this! What a treasure.

  23. Sabina says:

    Oh my god I spit my coffee! Touche`

  24. Susan Rockey says:

    Laugh Out Loud!!

  25. diane says:

    Great post Karen, as usual. This is so funny and yes, the humor is in your genes!

  26. Lori A. says:

    This is great! What a great way to communicate with family. I love that he can see the humor in his life.

  27. Lisa Eubanks says:

    I snorted Coke up my nose (the carbonated kind) reading your post…. you’re a hoot and so is your uncle!! I just found your blog a few weeks ago and I’m loving catching up on all of your stories and look forward to your emails. They are a great distraction from the screams coming from my west-facing front garden….Texas is baking like someone stuck the whole State in a broiler oven and decided to check their Facebook page.
    I can’t wait to see what Canada does for Fall…. give me hope!!

    • judy says:

      Here’s the thing about our American state of “Hell or High Water”. Predicted when I was a kid in the forties it has arrived. Imagine the Earth, a round fat little ball,kinda like humpty Dumpty but with a molten core. Mr. Earth had a solution for that- a nice cool cap and frozen pants on his bottom. Once in a while the hot stuff broke through-volcanoes or earthquakes when the stress fractures ruptured but mostly his snow pants and his ice cap kept things in check. Sadly the critters that make their home on his beautiful surface thought they could dirty up his atmosphere with impunity forever.
      They kept using the filthy fuels from his dirt instead of the clean fuels of his beautiful blue skies and vast oceans- Wind power,Sunshine,endless ocean waves etc. So…..with his cap and his pants in accelerating melt and evaporation. He is getting hot hot hot! wet wet wet!
      His cute little surface tenants are reaping what they have sown. Sow the Wind Reap the whirlwind. Some of these-called Scientists-think the surface critters ought to stop screwing with the atmosphere, but luckily lots of critters are smarter than the egghead nerds and have been assured by the Fossil Fuel industry that the scientists are fulla cr*p and just ignore them. So all’s well that ends………..?

  28. Emie says:

    The reasons you list for why you like the weekly newsletters are the same reasons I like to read your blog. It’s got humor, it’s REAL life, and it’s short. Best part? I get to read about your adventures more than once a week! You’re a bright spot in my day!!!

  29. Laura Lee says:

    Now I know where you get your off the charts, spit fire sense of humor from…. It’s in the genes! I LOVE your funky humor laced with fun filled facts. Your writing style is “real” … it is what this world needs more of and you are raising the bar for others to follow…(if they can keep up before you leave them in the dust hahahahhaha) I got addicted to your blog when I read your chicken stories…(I’m a crazy chicken lady and proud of it hahahahahaa) Thanks for spreading your humor on the internet…your the best!

  30. charissa says:

    omg. i love you. yes, still. even after my initial declaration a few weeks back when you asked me to write daily. turtled penises. the absence of chevron. the love of family and the simple life. (please play Steve Tyrell. Give Me the Simple Life. That’s my gift to you, if u haven’t heard it.) you know u can never close this blog, right? you could, but we would have to be friends first and possibly neighbors. ;) your sweet little personality shines through in all that you do and i especially like it when the not so sweet, but salty side comes through too. thx for making me laugh and think.🙂

  31. Gloria says:

    Real life, you can’t make this stuff up.

  32. Lois Baron says:

    Donkey-filled mountain? I think that’s the one photo I’m missing at this point on my Pinterest boards. On the other hand, I don’t think I need pix of asses. Enough of that in the newspaper. I’m glad your uncle writes. I’m glad you write too.

  33. sheryl powell says:

    Tuesday: treated chigger bites.
    Wednesday: removed tick from uh place close to where a penis would go
    Thursday: stuffed my mom’s hand down my blouse to feel funny bumps while I was driving. (really)
    Shaping up to be a big weekend

    • I think feeling the funny bumps might be comparable to texting in braille. Not recommended while driving. Glad you survived & hope your weekend meets expectations.

  34. Tina says:

    It’s too bad the family newsletters aren’t more widely available. I’d love to read them! Tell your uncle to start publishing them on Facebook…and then print the link!

  35. Marsha says:

    That’s amazingly funny and wonderful at the same time. Real life is just better.

  36. billy sharpstick says:

    Consider yourself lucky. My only uncle was disowned by everyone in the family. I never found out why. Must have been a very entertaining story. I’ll never know. Everyone involved is now dead or senile and doesn’t remember.

  37. Stephanie says:

    Great post! Loved it. Thanks!

  38. Suzannelh says:

    Ha! Say hi to your uncle for me, all mine are gone, and only one of them would have guffawed at this post. I loved Uncle Bill.

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