From the City to Bush Country

First of all, thank you for following my blog. It’s been years since I last wrote a post. Rather a lot has happened since then. For instance, I moved from the city to the Northern Ontario bush.

I tried my hardest to forge a simple life in the city, but it wasn’t meant to be. The crowds, the traffic, rapid neighbourhood gentrification, chronic back pain, stress…. It got to be too much, so my husband and I decided to move with our small son to an acreage in the Almaguin Highlands, just west of Algonquin Park. We have named the property the Land of Lackadoo in honour of my late husband, who passed tragically and unexpectedly mere weeks before we moved.

I will no longer be posting to this blog, but I’ve started a new one to chronicle the transition from the city to the bush.

I sincerely hope you’ll join us In the Land of Lackadoo.


So far, my self-publishing journey has been giddy, nerve-racking and exhiliarating. As the launch of my novel approaches, the highs and lows are stacking up. This blog post could not have landed in my inbox at a better time. An inspirational commencement address by Neil Gaiman that rejuvinated the positive vibes one needs to pursue the dream of a creative life. Thanks for the great post, Hannah.

Hannah Karena Jones

My May 2011 commencement address was so bad, so completely depressing rather than inspiring, that it’s the only Bloomsburg speech in the past three years that isn’t posted on YouTube.

Officially, Eduardo Ochoa, the assistant secretary for postsecondary education, “discussed how Bloomsburg University has prepared students to be active and engaged participants in the global economy of the twenty-first century.”

In reality, the speech was about how, considering the economy, we would have to retrain for new career paths at least five times before retirement. Either because there weren’t enough jobs available for whatever major we were currently graduating with that day (are you getting the warm fuzzies yet?), or to get a better position, or simply because the industry we started out working in would go extinct. He talked about how we would be forced to professionally reinvent ourselves several times to stay employed; we’d have to go back…

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About the Author

Karen Hoffman lives and works in and around the rattle and hum of Toronto. Aside from In the Fool’s Footsteps, she has also written a play called It Just Is that was produced in 2007 at the Junction Arts Festival in Toronto. Karen is also an avid blogger and hatcher of plans. To learn what is currently incubating, follow Karen on Twitter at @foolsfootsteps or subscribe to this blog.

Flashback: The Enchilada

Circa Summer 2008:

It was my turn to drive to baseball. I had just picked up my teammates Rob and Shaun and was turning onto Dundas. The two of them were having a whale of time making fun of the car. At one point, a truck pulled out of a parking space on our right and made a U-turn in front of us, blocking traffic in the process. Rob was indignant about the manoeuvre, then realized the guy was staring at us.

Rob said, “What is he looking at?”

I waved and smiled at the truck driver as he passed by. To Rob, I said, “The car, Rob. He’s looking at the car.”

The car was a 1991 black convertible Lebaron. It was dented, the finish on the hood and trunk were gone, like someone had poured acid on it, and the hubcaps had, one by one, run for freedom the previous summer. The convertible roof, having rotted at the seams, was now entirely composed of duct tape. And it had recently been given a make-over: the tape, black and white, was woven in a very large houndstooth pattern.

Yeah, that guy was definitely staring at the car.

Rob and Shaun dissolved into laughter that lasted until we hit the highway. As I accelerated to merge, Shaun leaned forward from the back seat to get a closer look at the dash.

“Whoah,” he said, “You are pulling down some serious RPMs.”

That car was the most fun I’ve ever had driving. I miss the Enchilada.

Behind the Screen Door

Last summer, in the middle of a backyard renovation, my man found a door. Just when we thought we had all the doors we needed, there it was, hiding between pine panelling inside and truly ugly siding outside. It’s a partial screen door stuffed with insulation and sporting a broken window. It’s also locked.

Our three-year-old was over the moon. “The wall is in the way,” he said after going inside to inspect the kitchen. “Daddy needs to move the wall.” When I explained to him that the door wouldn’t open, he wanted to try every key in the house to unlock it.

But, locked or not, it’s ugly and extremely creepy in a portal-to-hell sort of way. It has to go. I’m still not sure what we’re going to do with it, but I have a few ideas. I’ll keep you posted.