27 November, 2015

bring on the plague of locusts!

i may (or may not) have mentioned that for the past innumerable months mr. monkey's been hanging out at the junk yard, taking apart broken volvobeastes, taking out their useful bits, and putting these volvobeaste bits into our own volvobeaste. my own wee toyota is the overachieving child in this family - so routinely coming home with gold stars and straight A's that we pay only enough attention to it to make sure it's fed (gas), watered (oil change) and shod in seasonally appropriate attire (winter tires). the volvobeaste, on the other hand, despite our high expectations due to its impressive swedish pedigree is so far knocking up girls, doing drugs, beating up kids, bullying little old ladies, and talking back. of course, that is the car that gets all of mr. monkey's love and attention. after many many weekends spent under the hood, he finally fixed the thingamajiggledy whatsitator that caused the car to not run since the summer. he was so proud. i was so proud of him! not everybody can singlehandedly fix a thingamajiggledy whatsitator! it takes both skill and patience, both of which mr. monkey has in spades. so that was good! i got my wee car back, and mr. monkey got to drive his beloved volvobeaste again.

monday morning the car stalled somewhere en route to work and he had it towed to my cousin's place where he left it until he could figure shit out. he was cranky but thought he could, once again, fix this latest volvobeaste mess. he bought a gallon of doomaflickey anti-enbubblification fluid, poured it into the appropriate doomaflickey anti-enbubblification fluid orifice, and lo and behold! the volvobeaste roared to life again. i walked over to my cousin's today to pick it up. it started, it drove, then it got a little wobbly though i blamed my own lack of experience driving it, and then, pretty much in the middle of a busy intersection, it gave up the ghost. again.

between this, mr. monkey's reluctance to pay a mechanic to fix it in a nice tight amount of time*, the fact that the crown came off my implant last night and i needed to get to the dentist ASAP, the upcoming trip to poland, and the logistics of the move to the US, i think i'm going to make myself a cup of hot cocoa, wrap myself in a blanket, and watch a show. i officially give up.

*more of a point of pride and ambition than finances, i'm sure.

25 November, 2015

rocking it like zaphod beeblebrox

since we received our shipping out date (11 january! that's in, like, 5 minutes, y'all!), i've been vociferously vacillating between a sense of excitement and a sense of dread. the end result is a sort of floaty numbness that's making it possible for me to get (some) shit done, i suppose.

the fact that my fabulous roommate and his wife will be our neighbours is wonderful. the many places we can see and do in the area is fantastic. the barbecued animal bits that make up a large part of local cuisine, along with real mexican food, cajun, crawfish, and nearby seafood is the bomb. as is the warmth. and the greenery.

but then there's the other side. when i think that d and crusty juggler are moving back to edmonton this summer, that sanity salad is even now looking for work here, that all my people are here, nearby, walking distance mostly! well, then the sadness hits. or not sadness. i don't even know what to call it because i think it's an emotion currently mediated by medication and shock, so it's more of a wide-eyed bewilderment.

and then i think: life! it's an adventure! let's be adventurous! and see new things! and i'm fine.

and then i think: life! it's all about your friends and family! and you're leaving them behind! and i'm not fine.

i suppose given my commitment to trying to work with rather than against reality, the fact that mr. monkey has to move there means that if anything, it's the positive side that i tend to focus on. why dwell on the sadness of something i cannot change? after all, they will visit, those lovelies; i know they will. many have visited us before as we made our nomadic way around north america, and they will do it again. but every once in a while, it just hits me and i sit there for a bit, feeling slightly shellshocked and confused.

at this point, i just want it to move forward. get this highly inconvenient poland trip out of the way, enjoy my days in amsterdam, come home, visit with d and crusty over the holidays, and relax into the sweetness of my life here, and then move and try to create a sweetness over there. it will be a different flavour, but i know that it can be done. and it will be an adventure!

24 November, 2015

leftie loosie, rightie tightie

our financial advisor (and yes, i do throw up a little in my mouth when i write that, thanks for asking!) doesn't get it. he talks to us as though we are firmly on his side politically, which couldn't be farther from the truth. he's a young guy, but he actually ran for the provincial wildrose party in the last election, a party that is the albertan version of the american tea party, and just as willing to stick its racist, homophobic, uber-conservative foot in its mouth. i had to put on my best polite laura bush smile when he proudly informed us of this:

thing is, he must assume that because of our financial situation we're as right-wing as he is, and because both alberta and canada recently voted overwhelmingly* in favour of returning to our traditional leftist tendencies, he insists on making idiotic negative comments about the new government, thus forcing me to continue to:

i have made subtle comments. i have made less subtle comments. today, when i left his office, i went so far as to mention the high quality of alberta's solar power that has been sadly underutilised but that offers a viable alternative to the oil sands. if that doesn't convince him of my leftie pinko hippie commie tendencies, then nothing will. if, however, that doesn't work, i'm not worried. by now, i'm really, really good at this:

and let's be honest: it's likely to do me good when politics comes up in texas!

*well, as overwhelmingly as our stupid political system allows where 33% translates to a majority, but i shan't bore you.

21 November, 2015


mr. monkey and i were working on a piece of translation for someone (long story, makes me stabby, let's not get into it) and when we finished he asked me to check the email he was sending to this person. when i sat down at his computer (gmail), i had to teach him about the hangouts  chat box on the sidebar, and it was then i noticed he has 655 unread emails.

moi: how can you do that? how can you have so many unread emails?!!

mr. m: (defensively) i don't spend every waking hour on social media!

moi: but it's disgusting!

mr. m: not really.

moi: yes! it's a matter of hygiene!

mr. m: well then, i guess i'm filthy!

moi: yes! you have a filthy inbox!

I AM NOT A ROBOT....or am i?

in the last few months, the usual captcha images that allow you to comment on blogs have changed from the irritatingly illegible wavy writing that one had to decipher, through fuzzy photos of numbers and letters, to a glorious return to the games of our youth, namely "one of these things is not like the others."  the new captcha  shows a series of images and asks you to pick all the things that match the top image, say a cat, or a stack of pancakes, and such is my paranoia, based on my previous inability to decipher the writing, that i second guess myself about whether or not i know WHAT A TURKEY IS and how it differs from a giraffe or something. i narrow my eyes suspiciously and look for a trick. perhaps it's not really a turkey; perhaps it's all animals that start with the letter T in a germanic language. or maybe what i think is pancakes is actually an interesting rock in a national park and instead of breakfast foods i ought to be looking for geological formations. or what if...well, you get the idea.

part of the problem is that i am also asked on a daily basis by a computer to state unequivocally that i am not a robot, which is all kinds of judgy (what if i AM a robot! can't a robot comment on a blog?!) and is not something that i know how to deal with. it's messing with my sense of identity and shaking my faith in a common reality.

now i know what you're all going to tell me. you're going to tell me to dip into the cistern of calm and stop overthinking things because sometimes a pancake is just a fucking pancake, innit?

20 November, 2015

self improvement classes for billy goats and meerkats

it’s worrying how much i had on my to do list following quitting my job and how little i actually accomplished. yoga? nope.  exercise in general? nope. printmaking classes? nope. art in general? nope. finishing my weaving? nope. i suppose i should focus on what i did accomplish: meditation, a whopping 10 days’ worth!  and it seems that i've finally been able to curtail my panic at the passage of time. after all, other than attempting to be mindful of life’s small steps, it makes little sense to wail at its speed (à la my mother in law). wailing at anything, at this point, seems stupid, wasteful. i like the woman, but hate her attitude of “oyoyoy! that's how people are - awful!” or “time is passing by so fast! oh my!” none of which is even remotely useful, other than encouraging a sense of panic and malaise, and hells, my hormones do that just fine on their own and hardly need any help from me. 

in my experience, while there are awful people, people as a rule aren’t awful. time passes how it passes. shit happens but good happens too. if anything, i am noticing a more balanced attitude in myself. oh hell, not always and not fully, not to sound smug and superior, but i think i’m getting better at it. i see the passage of time in my weekly pillbox, and when i have to refill it, seemingly mere minutes after i’ve just filled it last, that's when i sense the surge of panic at the gates, but i’ve been managing to keep it at bay, and fairly fully, too. once again, pounding your fists on the stone wall of reality is idiotic - might as well be angry that the sky is blue. what i'm finding the most surprising in this whole journey is that much of how we react to life's slings and arrows is actually within our control. what a strange and ultimately freeing revelation, though once easily lost amidst the turmoil of, say, the rush hour drive. 

so what am i getting at? just this and that. thinking about the good i've learned of late. thinking about the gratitude i feel that the daily meditation seems to have punctured the out-of-control anger i'd been feeling earlier. i suppose i'm surprised at the sense of pride i feel for all that i've accomplished, even though none of it is materially significant or possibly even noticeable. who knows, my friends and family might look at me and think, man, she's still the same spastic, overly emotional person she's always been and not see that buddha-like inner me smiling at life's vicissitudes. i never said the change was big (or even noticeable) but it's meaningful to me, and i suppose that's what matters in the end. 

over and out, dear poultries. thank you for your patience. 

18 November, 2015

cognition? what cognition?!

today, over breakfast with a new acquaintance, i forgot how old i am. not the forgivable lapse that usually takes place a month or two after one's birthday but a serious confusion that had me adding and subtracting* my birth year (thank god i still remember that) and the current year (that bastard keeps changing, but so far i'm keeping up). i blame the fact that last year i was 42, a number deeply imbued with meaning. 43, on the other hand, well, that's just the number that comes after 42. 43 isn't bad as far as my synesthesia goes but it comes across as a bit anticlimactic. still, i ought to know my own age, non?

* god knows, nothing good has ever come of that.

spray paint visions

because i'm unemployed and miss feeling useful i volunteered to refinish the furniture in our building's common room. the furniture is ancient and as solid as it is ugly, and because we're trying to be economical in our actions, it was decided* that repainting was preferable to either large expenditures or continued ugliness.

now lest you get inaccurate (though highly complimentary) visions of me meticulously stripping the varnish, painstakingly sanding the nooks and crannies, and then lovingly applying a homemade mixture of beeswax and lemon juice to allow the beauty of the wood to shine through, stop right there - one word: spray paint. ok, that's two words, but having huffed roughly 37.2% of four cans of metallic spray paint in a work room with less than existing stellar ventilation, i'm just glad i still know how to type. or blink. or breathe. for a while there it was touch and go but i rallied.

spray-painting furniture is quite fun, especially since the wonders of modern chemistry allow you to dispense with the dull bits like thorough washing or sanding and go straight to the meat of the matter: watching an ugly behemoth of a side table get magically transformed into an almost handsome piece of furniture is a great pleasure. granted, getting high on all the lovely VOCs might have increased the perception of delight  but who am i to argue with nature science fate?

*i love the impersonal feel of this sentence, as though stone tablets proclaiming this decision appeared suddenly in the common room or the lobby couch spake with the voice of angels. alas, it was merely the condo board of directors, which, come to think of it, also sounds far more ominous than it actually is. after all, mr. monkey's on the board, and his ominousity quotient is nothing to brag about.

17 November, 2015

that brain thing

i've been meditating for 9 days now. i don't know if it's helping (helping what, exactly?) but maybe? i seem to have discovered an access, a shortcut if you will, to a cistern of calm. i sometimes forget to actually dip into it, but there've been times when i have and it seems that with meditation it gets closer, easier to access. apparently science is all on board, and if science is on board then who am i to argue?

baby steps towards enlightenment sadly count for little plot-wise, but there you have it: a short update about my adventures in getting my brain into a better place (metaphorically speaking - literally speaking, all other things being equal, i'd sort of prefer that it stick around in its current location).

05 November, 2015

wrong word

there are words out there that have clearly missed the mark:

"crampon" for instance, is immediately recognizable as the linguistic offspring of cramps and tampon and, rather than helping you climb mountains, looks like something that would much prefer you to lie  quietly on the couch with a hot water bottle and a nice cup of tea instead.

"mentor" is sneaky - it hides one of its unpleasant prefixes ("de-" or "tor-") and stands casually in front of a nondescript white van, offering to help. all i'm gonna say is, DON'T DO IT! DON'T GET IN! it'll end very very badly.

"gastrique," seen recently in food blogs and finer restaurants, is meant to tempt your taste buds. unfortunately, instead of caramelised-sugar-based sweet and sour sauce, it clearly evokes the stuff you bring up once you've emptied your stomach contents but the heaves won't stop.

01 November, 2015

like, whatever, man

i've been having a hell of a time lately being kind to people close to me. oh, i think i manage for the most part (though my track record with mr. monkey's been pretty shitty of late, and my mother's two week visit pushed me to the limit) but it's hard work. i feel like my default setting in recent weeks is to snap, to growl, to roll my eyes, and to get immediately annoyed at bloody everything. that seething anger one gets behind the wheel of a car in rush hour traffic is the feeling i've been experiencing a lot. i'm mad about so many things, some of which are tiny and some of which are large, but my anger seems fairly democratic in its approach. so, without further ado, here is a list of things i am currently angry about (varying levels of rationality, randomly laid out for your reading pleasure):

1. plastic storage containers - when you bring me food in a plastic container i will eat the food, wash the container, and then RETURN IT TO YOU BECAUSE IT IS YOURS. apparently this is a little too complicated a concept for some people, as a result of which, i am constantly buying new ones. or asking for them back. because it's HARD to return someone else's shit. this makes me stabby. very, very, VERY stabby. i am also aware of how petty this is, which doesn't help at all.

2. RSVP - when i send out an invitation (and crusty juggler will attest to the fact that i put a lot of time and effort into my invitations), i expect people to RSVP.  they don't. because they're busy. they're apparently too busy to press a button attached to an email, choosing one of 3 options (yes, no, maybe), which takes a whole 5 seconds to do. let's be generous and round it waaaaay the hell up to a minute to allow for checking one's calendar. perhaps it's because people don't know what the letters mean. FYI (though, as far as i'm aware, none of my readers have ever done this to me) it means: répondez s'il vous plaît, which, in the language of our lord jesus, means respond to this invitation, for the love of god, so the hostess can ensure an adequate amount of snacks, drinks, and seating. with a hearty emphasis on respond.

4. my "career" - so i changed careers, went off to school, blah blah, yadda yadda, y'all've been around for that particular ride. then i got my dream job. then i quit my dream job because it turned out i was working with a bully. fine. shit happens. that should have turned me off that particular job. and it did. but there was an underlying disenchantment with my profession as a whole. an unhappiness that was reiterated each time i went to yet another inspirational talk/conference/symposium/lecture about things that were exciting, good, evidence-based, clearly superior, that WE WERE NOT IMPLEMENTING BECAUSE. because the transportation department. because the engineers. because the developers. because the public. because the businesses. because bureaucracy. because FUCK YOU.

so here's my response - screw you, north america, if you want to continue building strip malls, overpasses, multi-lane highways, cul-de-sacs, big box stores, and profoundly uninspired beige subdivisions that are responsible for mental illness, loneliness, obesity, and death: fuck. you. i'm done. i was told once that my kind of passion was needed to make a change, but ha ha, turns out that my kind of passion is no match for the institutionalised inertia, short-sightedness, greed, and conservatism that characterises this business. screw evidence-based decision-making. screw building a great public realm. why do all that (and hell, it's not even news! most european cities have that shit covered!) when you can breed a populace that thinks it's ok to drive 45 minutes to a poorly-lit mammoth grocery complex to buy flavourless vegetables from china and a 6lb bag of cheezie-whatsits, along with a gallon of antibiotic-infused milk that tastes like nothing that ever came anywhere near a cow (because ewww!); a populace that lives in their navigators and escalades and other obscene gas guzzling monstrosities because it's their fucking human right to have the biggest car on the road; a populace that sees taxes as evil as opposed to membership dues for society; a populace that is fat and sullen and angry and lost but fears any kind of change.

if my last 3 weeks have taught me anything, it's that if someone offered me a job putting together ikea cabinets at a decent wage, i'd take it. and flip a bird to "urban planning." which, of course, makes me angry, considering how this was supposed to be my thing. my path. my fucking shiny unicorn farm.

5. basic grammar - i listen to public radio (big surprise there) and am appalled all too often of late. if i wanted to hear someone pepper their speech with "like" and "sorta" i'd go hang out at the local high school or listen to a commercial radio station. hearing public radio reporters or even the allegedly intelligent researchers being interviewed sound like pimply 14 year olds makes me despair for humanity. i realise that intellectual snobbism isn't really fashionable, but why in hell can't public radio be a bastion of sense? thank god the bbc still retains its standards...for now - i have yet to hear vocal fry, "like sorta," or that recently fashionable little girl voice on that network, but that day is coming, i'm sure. because elitism...

6. my body - each morning the joints in my fingers are stiff and painful. the arthritic big right toe hurts pretty much all the time. the place where i squashed the top of my hand with my bed 3 months ago is getting worse not better. my back is sore. my head hurts. i feel like an 80 year old. the doctor tells me i'm fine. i beg to differ, and want something to be done. but what can be done when blood work, bone scans, x-rays and other such methodologies yield no useful results? i've got a way to go to 80 yet, and i'd prefer it if it didn't feel like this.

7. my ideals - i'm pretty much ready to toss those useless things aside, as evidenced by my enthusiastic embrace of our plan to move to texas, where i will live in a large suburban home, with a front-facing garage, likely on a cul-de-sac, too far to reasonably walk to anything useful, and as far from the "densely populated urban centre" of which i'm such a fan, as possible. hell, maybe i'll even buy an escalade, and shop at costco for 20 gallon jars of mayonnaise.

8. my anger - it's exhausting. it's exhausting fighting it; it's just as exhausting feeding it. i'm tired of this and am considering doubling up my horse tranquilizers or giving myself a lovely artisanal DIY lobotomy - after all, if you've got nothing nice to say then perhaps sitting in a corner drooling quietly to myself isn't really a bad option.

29 October, 2015


my life for the past 3 weeks has been like a sisyphean nightmare, except with ikea cabinets taking the part of the boulder. i've put together roughly 7,432 kitchen cabinets, 691 storage units, and endless doors and drawers. just when i thought it was over (as recently as yesterday!) it turns out that the kitchen that we had measured with rigorous exactitude, has wiggled itself within the space time continuum and made room for three more cabinets. which i went and bought today. which i will be putting together tonight. because there's little on this planet as exciting as putting together ikea cabinets with a head cold.

ok, i'm being a trifle dramatic - i actually don't mind the labour, back-breaking though it may be, as it gives me a sense of purpose that unemployment fails to. it's also kind of fun: i'm agog at the sheer genius of ikea cabinets - there is quite literally only one way to put them together, so they are foolproof. which doesn't mean you don't have to go back and unscrew a couple screws and then rescrew them in their proper location, but still, it's like a jigsaw puzzle where the final result is a piece of furniture. with top of the line internal mechanisms (i'm told).

but there comes a time when feeling useful and gazing admiringly at one's screwdriver callouses gets old, and that time is now upon us. alas, i must go. my allen key awaits!

21 October, 2015

the wrong colour

several nights now, i've lied in bed craving escape, craving the wooliness of benzodiazapines or chemical fuzziness of anything else because i'm unhappy with the colour of the world. there's something off, just ever so slightly, that makes me wish for vaseline on the camera lens. i'm not sure what it is, but there it is: a new flavour of unhappiness. i hesitate before i even write that last word because it's not as serious as all that: unhappiness has a deep portentous sound, and having been there before i can honestly say i'm not there now - this is different, lighter and temporary feeling and very very odd.

i'm fine during the day. my mom's two week visit is drawing to a close and aside from a heated argument at its very beginning  it's gone well. exhausting, but well - we've gone in and out of home improvement stores, IKEA, other home improvement stores, IKEA again, still more home improvement stores, tile shops, IKEA, plumbing supplies, and IKEA. we put together a whole IKEA kitchen by ourselves, and washed and re-washed freshly laid, and then again, freshly grouted tiles. we've bought paint, carried boxes, organized the removal of old appliances, and shopped for new ones. each evening we come home, sit on the couch and sigh with exhaustion. then each night i go to bed and find myself dissatisfied with the colour of the world i'm in.

wine doesn't seem to help nor do i want it. i am not drawn to it, and so i pass for the most part. and each night i am unhappy because...well, why? i can't quite pinpoint it, but when i look at the evidence (and i should look at the evidence, being a fan of evidence-based decision-making in politics at least), i think it could be something simple. it could be something as simple as leaving my hidden introverted half utterly starved of late. a guest with whom i spend all day, family dropping in, babysitting children, weekends in the mountains with family, more family dropping in... the constant and relentless pressure, on top of a summer that felt particularly overwhelming socially for some reason, is bound to have some effect, isn't it? and the effect it seems to be having is making me dislike the colour of the world late at night, and looking for some chemical way to change it back to normal.

right now, i feel weighed down by guilt for not wanting to spend more time with the kids, for not wanting to spend more time with anyone, for not wanting little people to jump on my couch or touch my stuff, for not inviting the family over more often, for not being a perfect hostess, for not keeping the bathroom shiny for my guest, for not wanting to chat in the morning at all but to be left alone to read the news. i feel like all i want is to be alone. i feel too tired of being a daughter to be a good daughter. i feel too tired of being a wife to be a good wife. i feel too tired of being a human being who owes other human beings parts of herself to be a good human being. if i'm alone, i don't owe anybody anything.

09 October, 2015

good job, princess!

i've spent the better part of my adult life judging people for their parenting choices. i've made fun of and despised the whole self-esteem movement wherein children are indoctrinated into a cult of their own greatness, regardless of skills, circumstances, or reality. well done, they're told when they finish last in a race. good job for only hitting their little brother three times instead of the usual sixteen. you're so artistic, this to the toddler that's just decorated the bathroom with her poop. you'r so smart, here's an A+, from teachers, professors, educators of all kinds. you're a princess and can be anything you want. this is not the way i was raised. as i've said before, i've held it as a badge of honour that when i came home with a 98% exam, i was always asked why i didn't get 100%.

i'm rethinking my stance. perhaps the little darlings raised this way are absolutely horrid to be around (hello, grad school!), and their expectations irrational, but you know what? they're horrible to others. i'm sure they love themselves plenty (after all, why wouldn't they? they're so fucking special!) and at the end of the day, it's yourself that you spend the majority of your life with. so what if you're a dick - if you think you're awesome, you're likely a dick who's much happier than i am.

henceforth, i shall attempt to love myself unconditionally. so if you see me walking down the street giving myself pats on the back, high fives, enthusiastic self-esteem building exercises, and excessive praise, know that i'm just trying to get over my childhood which attempted to make me grow up to be smart, useful and kind...to others. it's time i tried some of that kindness on myself.

good girl!

08 October, 2015

when you gotta go, you gotta go

yesterday i woke up super early, showered, dressed, drank a litre of water, held on to my pee as best as i could, went to leave the house, and realised that the lab visit wasn't yesterday, it was today, so i peed and went back to bed.

this morning, i woke up super early, skipped the shower, dressed, drank a litre of water, held on to my pee as best as i could, and am about to head off to the lab.

funny how many things we do instinctively, without a thought. several times already i have gone into the bathroom (to brush my teeth, wash my face, pick something up) and each time i'm this close to taking a pee because one generally does that sans thought.

à propos: what is the geneva convention stance on this? drinking a litre of water on an empty stomach and then holding it for more than an hour seems to me a rather cruel and unusual punishment.

05 October, 2015

renovations for the damned

my parents will eventually be moving back here and in preparation, my cousin is renovating their rental flat. my job in their absence is to coordinate with my mom regarding finishing choices: tiles, shower heads, shower cabins, all of the things my cousin needs now, as opposed to those that can wait until my mom arrives later this week. today i embarked on a quest for tiles, and lo, it illuminated the very clear limits to verbal communication: describing the EXACT amount of beige in what is being marketed as grey is rather difficult on the phone. questions like how dark is it? are similarly problematic. there isn't a scientifically accurate scale of greyness, beigeness, and darkness that one can carry in one's purse. i mean, sure, i could have RGB'd or CMYK'd the fuck out of those tiles, but i sort of lacked the technology then and there. so instead i used vague and less-than-satisfactory words to describe the tiles. eventually, having extracted a promise that my choice would not result in any unpleasantness if it were less than perfect, i bought a pile of tiles.

i grabbed a heavy duty home depot cart typically used to haul unwieldy things (sides of beef, dead moose, giant pumpkins come to mind) and pushed/pulled its reluctant metallic bulk to the flooring section. it exhibited the type of orneriness one usually expects from a shopping cart, but which, coming from a conveyance of this size, became rather more problematic. when i got to the tiles i began the nigh impossible search for help. a small wizened old man told me he couldn't handle the weight of the tile bundles (no! he could not!) but his attempt to rope in a muscular young buck failed, and he came back with a man of only slightly less advanced age but a much more positive attitude. this fine gentleman piled seven heavy boxes of tiles on the cart and off i went.

by off i went, i mean i used my entire body strength to push the protesting cart which, to add insult to injury, emitted the sort of noise one associates with a particularly inept abattoir or the less pleasant regions of hell  - it screeched and howled so loudly that every single person in my path looked at me in shock, horror, and/or merriment and promptly got out of my way. covered in a thin sheen of sweat and feeling as unladylike as i had all day (what?! sometimes i feel a little ladylike!), i arrived at the cashier who began scanning each box individually. i was about to roll my eyes at this when she discovered that one box was not like the others. naturally, the impostor was right at the very bottom of the pile, because where else would it be?

i managed to turn the cart around (accompanied by more screeching and metallic yodelling) and retraced my loud and laborious steps to the flooring section which was now as bereft of staff as it is possible to be in a pre-apocalyptic world. giving up on extracting the wrong box, i simply grabbed another correct box and hefted it onto the pile. then one more graceful pirouette, and yet another stately procession down the isle. when passing the incredulous ladies at the paint department, i suggested to them that this particular vehicle had outlived its usefulness and ought to be taken out back and shot. they agreed. possibly they couldn't hear me over the shrieks of the damned and merely nodded to make me go away.

i paid, had a young man transport the whole pile of tiles to my wee car and took it to its final resting place.

i came home utterly exhausted. and possibly slightly more deaf.


you're lying in bed and it's very late and you realise that the dis-ease you feel, while initially mild, soon threatens to permanently take away your sleep for the night. you're in the sharp and pointy arms of anxiety caused by any number of things, big and small, each of them projecting an almost physical sense of discomfort like experimental electrodes in your brain shooting impulses and shocks. you very quickly realise that if you are to get any sleep you need to go for pharmaceutical help. you get up and find your magical bottle of lorazepam.

you take the pill, wash it down with water and go back to bed, vowing to stay awake to watch it take effect. you lie there and think of the things whose sharp edges are even now intruding into your peace of mind. the move south is a big one - so many things to take care of. so many pieces of information to gather and weave into a whole. your inability to have a meaningful conversation with mr. monkey on the topic of the move (it weaves from exasperation at your wanting to know more to frustration with your lack of progress in finding detailed information on all aspects of the move, both fuelled, i'm fairly certain, by his exasperation with your continued unemployment. all this he would deny.) does not make the process easier.

the fact that your mother is coming in less than a week contributes a rather significant sense of discomfort. you love your mother, but the passive-aggressive melodrama that accompanied you merely asking her for the dates of her trip doesn't make you feel particularly calm about things. you are already angry and resentful and trying really really hard to actively use buddhist philosophy to calm yourself down and realising the absurdity of it. things aren't helped by the fact that you spent the day with your aunt and you told her all your mother-related problems, which made her floodgates open on her sister-related problems, as a result of which you learned some new things about your mother that you didn't necessarily need to know. and the bitch session only made you feel more anxious, and then guilty for not being loyal to the woman who bore you.

there is the shoe fetishist saga (in another post. once it's over. if it's ever over.) which, under normal circumstances would likely just make you vaguely uncomfortable but now adds another layer of pokiness. you are starting to hate those shoes, but are appreciating the great blog post it will eventually turn into.

there's the renovation your mom will be overseeing when she comes, but which you must oversee in her absence, ensuring satisfactory tiles and whatnots are chosen for the bathroom and the shower head will please everyone. but no pressure!

you lie there and enumerate all the points of discomfort, waiting for the sweet wash of benzodiazepine relief. you open your eyes in the dark and look at the colour-sapped still life on the bedside table and wish someone could capture that in a painting - the lack of colour that is not quite black and white, the fuzziness of edges and outlines, the clear perception of more hiding just out of the range of visibility. it's really rather beautiful.

you lie there and feel the knot relax a bit and you perform the psychological version of poking around to see if it still hurts or if the painkiller is kicking in. somewhere during this time, you finally fall asleep.

the alarm (birds singing on a too-short loop) wakes you. it's in the other room so, fuzzy or no, you need to get up. and now you're up and another day begins.

deeeeeep breath in.

24 September, 2015


i saw a very inspirational TED talk about gratitude. first thing you're to do every morning upon waking is to think of five people you are grateful to/for and express that gratitude in your head. this, before your feet ever touch the ground, is supposed to ground you firmly in positive emotions, feel goodery, and general unicorn fodder. i did it right after the TED talk. and then i never did it again.

my bananologist told me to write 3 pages of stream of consciousness every day when i first wake (i assume this is after i've expressed my gratitude to the special five). i've so far failed at that with an admirable degree of thoroughness.

each time i see my massage therapist he gives me exercises meant to make me feel less like an arthritic octogenarian. i have yet to do even one of those exercises, despite walking out of there with a very firm intention of doing them regularly.

my sports medicine doctor once showed me a simple and quick way of strengthening my core muscles. i did it three times. maybe four.

there are amazing people out there trying to help me get better at being human. they will fail every goddamn time, because i seem to have taken up the call of self improvement once when i started to floss daily all those years ago and apparently that's all that's available to me in terms of internal resources.

i am in the enviable position of having many toddlers available to me for close inspection and study without actually having to keep one in the house and i am appalled at their behaviour - they are tiny little emotionally fucked up sociopaths, a fact both mitigated and exacerbated by their short little attention spans; they are demanding; they have zero concept of time; they get frustrated by the dumbest things; they are terrifyingly egomaniacal; they are often violent; their mercurial charm is equalled only by their malevolence; they are dirty and loud and have those eternally sticky hands (ok, that last point is not really a propos to my subject) watching parents navigating the toddler years is magical and heartwarming, because my own auntly heart is often filled with feelings of loathing, frustration, and intense gratitude for my own child-free life. why am i going on at length about this? because i realised today that parenting toddlers is actually unnervingly similar to my own little journey of self-discovery and self-improvement.

each day the same questions need to be answered; each night, the same demons faced. each week or month the same lessons need to be learned. come to think of it, self-improvement is actually WORSE than raising toddlers, because they, at least, are sponge-like in their brainal area, meaning they learn things quickly. me? not so much. oh hey! you hate your body? i thought we worked this shit out! no? we have to go through this AGAIN? sweet jesus on a pogo stick! why? why? WHYYYYYYY? if i was my own parent on this little journey, i'd have dropped me off at the nearest orphanage and gone off "to buy a pack of smokes" because enough is enough.

but on i trudge, because, as the man says, it's the journey, not the destination. and if you think about it, it's kinda true because what is the destination if not death?

think on that!

23 September, 2015


bananologist told me to write stream-of-consciousness, three pages worth, every morning. leave it unread for a while, see what comes out, but not for public consumption. then later in the day write for an audience like this here blog. we'll see what happens, see what we uncover, see what monsters lurk beneath the cool calm exterior i like to cultivate (yeah, yeah, i know. shut up.)

i spent several hours today scraping the old mould-blackened caulking from around the tub: on my knees, poking, prodding, pulling, scratching, wiping, vacuuming up the silicone bits. a satisfying bit of work, and, as noted by sanity salad, quite reminiscent of my years in the dental field, but far less gross: no blood, no smell, no awareness of picking my way through someone's meals of yesterday (or worse, yesterweek!). i will let it dry, then recaulk it.

i wanted a renovated bathroom (well, the finished product, not the work we'd invariably be doing ourselves) but now that we're moving and renting out the place it makes little sense to sex it up with shiny new tiles and tubs and taps. sexy shiny new caulking will have to do.

a truly boring post, no doubt, lacking juiciness, pithiness, foul language, and/or adventures. no rock'n'roll to speak of and the only mention of sex is in relation to plumbing. my apologies. i'll try to do better, but i make no promises.

18 September, 2015

the forest for the trees

we arrived in houston after dark, picked up the rental car and drove north, windows open to that undefinable smell of the tropics. i spent the week exploring, floating on an inflatable mattress in the world's best roommate's backyard pool, evenings in the hot-tub listening to the cicadas, looking at the stars, relaxing: relaxed, relaxed, relaxed... i feel like my thoughts and feelings are taking a bit of a breather, as they tend to do on occasion, and i enter a sort of slowed down state, a whisper state, a mental hiatus, a glorious fogginess - i may feel a situation should require a particular response but i cannot actually manage one, and so i spent many an hour feeling my body relax into the space around it and thoughts disintegrate into fragments, and i breathed.

you know what? the woodlands is all sorts of things i don't normally like but i like it: it's humid. it's suburban. it's all cul-de-sacs and lack of sidewalks. it's rather obviously well groomed and well off. there are far too many squirrels. but: it's warm. it smells nice. at night the cicadas sing and the geckos come out to feed. there are protected bike paths along pretty much all of the streets allowing me to bike sans fear or helmet. the beach is close enough to drive down for the day. there are so many birds! the people smile and say hi even though they don't know you from adam and might very well be packing heat. rents are so low as to be ridiculous. driving through it feels like driving through a forest of pines and oaks and who doesn't like driving through a forest? 

i came back early so that i could volunteer at a planning conference but there is a whole lot of me that thinks i may not even work as a planner again. i mean, sure, if you offer me a job then i will. but perhaps i just want to write and edit, because that's my favourite thing to do. writing and editing would be just fine. i'm not ambitious. i'm never going to amount to anything spectacular. i'm happy with that. 

at any rate, i did volunteer today: i introduced two speakers, i directed people to a mystery gala location, and then i wandered the gala, ate nibblies, drank drinks, talked to people, and fastidiously avoided talking to the person who made me quit my job. i made one half-hearted attempt to say hi when she was obviously busy talking to someone else, and then i stopped. she never came up to talk to me. i think she knows but what're you gonna do?

then i walked home with my lovely boss who happened to be walking to the office to pick up his car and on the way, tongue loosened by wine and time, i told him the full reason i left, and he told me he knew. i told him i should have been fully honest from the beginning; he told me he should have tried harder to make things better for me. we blame ourselves, not each other, we're both of us right and wrong. it was a good walk. it was a good talk, but in the end, it changes nothing: i'm still not working, and me not working has facilitated our move south, however that may turn out to be. 

08 September, 2015

futura (century gothic light?)

today marked the (entirely self-imposed) day i had to get back to the work of being a productive human. i'm very very VERY tempted to tell you how very productive i actually was today, but, as per my bananologist's recommendations, i'll resist the urge and instead tell you that this thing is happening and i figure since you've been around for quite a while now, you deserve to be told.

august long weekend, mr. monkey and i were walking home along the river after heritage festival - a.k.a. "international dumpling, fritter, and meat-on-a-stick festival"*, and i turned to him and surprised both of us by saying, "ok, let's do it! let's move to texas!"

the idea of moving to texas first came up when mr. monkey got his promotion almost two years ago - his boss and the team are in texas; they expected he'd join them eventually. alas, he had a wife who, at the time, appeared to be in the middle of first grad school and then a respectable and enjoyable career, so that was a no go. turns out (oh, marital communication!!!), for the last few months, mr. monkey has felt increasing pressure to actually make the move: the canadian branch of the company ain't doing as well as it could be, while the texas branch seems to be needing him, and soon, so....well, no brainer, really. we could stay here and be unemployed in tandem, or we could move to a master-planned gated community** rife, granted, with trophy wives drinking white wine spritzers at lunch while fluffing their faux breasts, but also heavily forested and boasting a metric shit-tonne of green spaces. and kayaking. and an hour to the beach. and an hour flight to new orleans. and all the crawfish i can eat (i can eat a lot of crawfish!). and the world's second best roommate mere minutes away (because this is where the silly man moved to right after i finished grad school), and the roommates's adorable wife, crazy joan, available for drinking coolers and talking shit from october till april. so, ya know, not that bad at all!

i fear, just a little bit, that this sudden inexplicable desire to move to the woodlands, tx, is nothing more than a desire to escape what i still sometimes unfairly term my failure to cope***. and, having just spent a week camping with the female littles (oldest little/my goddaughter/my unofficial favourite (shhhh! don't tell!) slept in my tent the whole time and was goddamned ADORABLE!), i realise that what i'm giving up is bloody significant: the opportunity to watch the littles grow on a regular basis - these children, that i had nothing to do with but who have made my heart an inexplicably mushy organ. because, goddamn, sure, i don't want them to come to my house and put their sticky little hands all over my nice stuff but i would fucking take a bullet for them, so that should sorta even things out, non? but yes, seeing them will definitely take a nosedive if we move to texas. and all my people. all those wonderful, glorious, sweet, adorable, beloved members of my tribe. but there are cheap direct flights, so they'd best pack their speedos and come on out. still, sigh....

so there ya go. the news is out. we's movin' to texas! but not until the new year. whoop, whoop!

*seriously, how widespread are those three food groups across the many continents? VERY widespread.

** if there's one thing a planner is viscerally opposed to, it's gated communities: we're all about the public realm, man!

*** i have more than ample evidence that this failure to cope is not mine. why, just today, i ran into another coworker who is heading HRward to discuss evil mistress and the effect she has on her underlings (hint: not good.), so i'm far from alone in this, but still, the immigrant sense of self-esteem is unwilling to just go all american dream and declare the failure entirely external, ya know?

24 August, 2015


feeling once again lightly buffeted by hormonal storms, more and more resentful of this whole once-a-month emotional shit show. up and down, and up and down, and up and down again, every month (or near enough as makes no difference) the same old thing - depression in miniature: wee little tendrils of darkness; doll size bouts of misery; diminutive doldrums. ugh. i can embrace the goddess /feminine mystique all i want, but in the end i'm fucking sick and tired of having my emotional wellbeing dictated to me by the particular hormonal cocktail coursing through my bloodstream on a monthly basis.

things i'm doing to make things worse:

  • blogging and pinteresting when i should be packing for my short camping trip, which makes me feel overwhelmed and gross, which in turn pushes me further into the arms of the interwebs to distract myself from these feelings, when what i really should do is just get the hell off the laptop, shower, pack, do what needs doing already. 

things i'm doing to make things better:

  • using a calendar to track all the small and large things that i am doing. i used to live by my paper calendars but since i stopped buying them, i stopped writing things down, which causes anxiety - what do i have to do?! did i forget an appointment? what's happening when?! i'm now relearning that useful habit but in virtual format.
  • getting rid of clothes. many, many, many clothes. i don't know why getting rid of things always feels so damn good, but it does.
  • forging a (very slow) path towards greater minimalism in all areas of my life
  • trying to figure out how to minimalise my social life - that's a tough one, balancing my deep deep need for solitude and quiet with my equally deep need for connection.
  • continuing to see my bananologist.
  • giving myself a deadline to be lazy until after labour day (apt, no?) when i plan to get my shit together. (edit: i went back and removed the particulars of me getting my shit together because science, and who am i to argue with science?)

what are you doing that makes things better or worse? lessons to share?
and yes, i am now getting off the laptop and going to take a shower. 

21 August, 2015

navel gazing whilst newly unemployed

it's been several weeks since my last day at work (a month, very nearly) and i have accomplished approximately 2.84% of the tasks i set out to accomplish, thinking, silly girl that i am, that i would be inundated with free time. nope. instead i...well, i don't really know what it is that i'm doing exactly. spending more time walking, seeing the kids, pickling (well, ok, i've spent a lot of time pickling and pitting sour cherries for liqueur and freezing  - but it hardly accounts for the whole month), seeing friends, organizing the kitchen, sorting clothes (and shamefully realising what i have to sell or give away amounts to a regular person's generous closet)...so i guess, yes, i have been doing things, but to put it in perspective, when i was in the depths of despair at work, i took a couple weeks and painted my whole apartment all by myself all after work. with time to spare for a glass of wine.

yesterday i finally washed the floors and wondered why it had taken me this long to do it. alas, the world is an exciting place filled with exciting things to see and do and think, and, in some small way, i have been seeing and doing and thinking some of them. i've also been seeing my bananologist who told me that this desire to be useful, to prove to myself and others (especially mr. monkey) that i am, indeed, a productive member of society earning my keep isn't the best thing for me right now. that it focuses my energies too much on being useful rather than reworking the definition of usefulness as it relates to my own good self.

as i've said before, i figured my midlife crisis was me going back to school at 40, and that, once done, i'd settle in at my dream job, my "happily ever after," and if fairytales and rom-coms have taught us anything, it's that a "happily ever after" cuts things off right at the interesting part. walking off into the sunset, holding hands, gazing meaningfully into each other's eyes...ah yes...i have found The One, and the audience can give a little self-satisfied sigh and move on to the next tale. alas, The One ended up not at all what i had thought it would be. not all bad, oh no, but hardly something that warranted one of these:

so i moved on. and before i did, i started seeing the most wonderful bananologist, who's helping me negotiate the path that i'm on. because that midlife crisis is still going on, and it turns out it's great! as brene brown puts it: "people may call what happens at midlife 'a crisis,' but it’s not. it’s an unraveling – a time when you feel a desperate pull to live the life you want to live, not the one you’re 'supposed' to live. the unraveling is a time when you are challenged by the universe to let to go of who you think you are supposed to be and to embrace who you are. " which is precisely what is happening. yes, my poultries, i am unravelling, and i haven't felt this excited in a good long while.

10 August, 2015


please answer in the comments. i really am looking for a cross section of answers:

do you think that the world changes in tiny boring incremental steps because people lack audacity? do you think that a little more of said audacity would help bring about substantial changes?

29 July, 2015

blues light

i'm feeling a trifle blue. nothing major, just a slight unease, a gentle tugging at the tendons of guilt, a delicate murkiness on the edges of sunlight. in a word: hormonal blahs.

i met a friend for coffee then walked home in the rain and had a rather unpleasant epiphany of sorts*. a lot of the text that surrounded my quitting my job centred around opportunities, making space for new things, the opening of doors and such. as if, by the simple act of leaving a job that was making me physically unwell, i was opening myself up to a unicorn-bedazzled shower of miracles. by quitting, i was swinging wide the gate to the magical possibilities of Better Things Ahead.

well, fine, sure. but, said the epiphany in a slightly nasal and unpleasantly grating voice, life is a series of choices, and the consequences of those choices. my walking away from this job no more guarantees me a rainbow-hued future of professional bliss somewhere else than staying would have guaranteed me perpetual hell. i may or may not find a great job, and no optimistic realignment of crystals at my window during the new moon will change that fact. staying may have been the better choice in the long term - keep in mind that this is not regret but a simple acknowledgement of the unknowability of the choices not taken. i'm not sorry i left, but some of the sparkles have fallen off the faith in a golden future for which all i had to do was take this one simple step.

i guess this is the grown up realisation that i will have to actively get off my ass, look for work, apply for work, get turned down for work, get work, feel feelings about work that may or may not be better, and then repeat as needed. no guarantee of miracles here. which kinda sucks...

so yes, magic - you are no match for the harsh realism of my PMS! and yes, there was a period there where i thought it would all be magical from here on in. ha.

*past a certain age i think all epiphanies are "of sorts" - more of a reminder of forgotten knowledge or a recontextualisation of existing pieces than a discovery of some new beast lurking beneath the geostrata of calcified selfhood.

28 July, 2015

day one

since for the last couple of months or so i had taken mondays off (in a hopeful but obviously ineffective attempt to put off the inevitable), today marks my first official day of unemployment. it is now 8:55 and i folded and put away one load of laundry, i am currently waiting to hang the next up on the balcony (in true immigrant fashion!), i have two pans of granola baking in the oven, and i am getting ready to go for a long walk with a friend and my youngest niece who needs to be walked for her nap. all in all, not bad for not-quite-yet 9 o'clock. it feels good.

yesterday i walked to my dentist to get my tusks cleaned, walked back, and got ready to Be Productive. i lied down on my unmade bed (unmade* because ready to have bedding changed) to read for one second, and before you know it, i slept for two hours! a nap! in the middle of the day! for those of you who do not know my napping history - i nap only when i have pneumonia or flu or a light case of ebola. otherwise i do not nap, although i am not morally opposed to napping. i can count on the fingers of one hand the times i have napped in the last decade (this makes four), but there was no getting around it. my body was so exhausted and heavy that i had a hard time covering myself with the duvet. evidently, this was needed. perhaps a symbolic whatsit? a release of sorts? who knows.

so now we take it step by step (as if there is really any other way!) and see what happens. the idea of intentionality and deliberateness, discussed more and more among my circle as well as in the media, dictates that i take my time on this, although there is a part of me that sort of hopes for a miraculous something unexpected to fall into my lap - and that has been known to happen - but let's not hold our breath, shall we? there are limits to my belief in magic...

onward and upward, my poultries!

*spent too much time sick as a kid, so an unmade bed reminds me of illness and disease, and thus causes dis-ease. plus it's not exactly rocket science when you have duvet covers (yet another reason to eschew the flat sheet travesty** as far as i'm concerned).

**that i end up having wrapped around my neck in the morning like a hipster or a suicidal mental patient no matter what i do.

24 July, 2015


today was my last day at work. it was glorious. i was as unproductive as possible, while still managing to get some stuff done so as not to leave my colleagues in a lurch. i was showered with good wishes and hugs and gifts and delightful sweets. i was reminded once again how much i love the people at work, and how much i will miss them.

when i left, i felt sad and glad in equal measures, with a sprinkling of guilt and self-doubt - was my decision good? should i have given it more time? did i give up too soon? was i throwing away something great? overall, though, the doubts were of the niggling rather than the overwhelming variety. i've stepped out into the world and i have no idea what's about to happen. terrifying and exciting, but for some reason i am failing to be terrified, i don't really know why (although i'm sure my safety net has a lot to do with it).

last night i went out to a gallery fundraiser with my lady friends to celebrate my incipient unemployment, and we drank wine, laughed, and compared war stories. man, does it ever feel amazing to be part of a group of women who get it, whatever "it" might be. when it got too loud, l and i went out for one last glass of wine at one of our favourite spots and talked more indepth. i told her about my recent epiphany about living deliberately*, and she said she had a similar revelation about living intentionally. we discussed how both these words appear to be the active side of the more passive mindfulness, and both seem an essential antidote to the mindless work-consume-work-consume cycle our society is pushing on us so single-mindedly.

funny thing that when you start digging and talking and thinking and searching, it turns out that the very same topics are being dug for, talked about, thought about, and searched for by others. some sort of cosmic synchronicity, if i believed in such thing.

so yes, my poultries, i am out. stepped out of one phase; looking for the next. ideas?

*i've been playing around with a thought for some time now, trying to formulate it coherently so that it would fit nicely in a sentence, all to no avail.  then bj came over for dinner and said the one word that put it all into perfect order: deliberate. the life i want to live is a deliberate life. the people who are my friends, are of a similar ilk: few people in my inner circle react willy-nilly to whatever life throws their way or make their decisions based on marketing campaigns. thoughtful, value-based choices, decisions grounded in something other than the immediacy of thoughtless desire for short-term gratification. that.

12 July, 2015

my big fat classic polish vinaigrette

ok, time to take a breather and work with the food-related title of this here blog. here's a recipe for my (semi) famous big fat classic polish vinaigrette, that will make people love you. unless they hate garlic. then they'll hate you. either way - it's damn good and utterly flexible (unlike me).

my big fat classic polish vinaigrette

2 (+/- depending on size) garlic cloves
smoosh garlic cloves with garlic smoosher
if you wanna be all authentic and shit, chop garlic finely on a wooden cutting board and as it gets finer, add a teaspoon of salt and grind it with the side of the blade, and the coarseness of the salt will smoosh the garlic really well and make you feel all badass authentic

1-2 teaspoons of dijon mustard

1 small glurp* of something sweet (maple syrup, runny hunny, fruit juice, smooshed couple of raspberries, whatever you have on hand - the whole point here is to balance the savoury/sour/oily with something sweet)

1 large glurp of balsamic vinegar (another vinegar will do - fer instance, if you have a really dainty bunch of butter lettuce, use apple cider or wine; if you have hefty arugula, go for the balsamic!)

2 large glurps of olive oil (substitute another type of oil, but keep in mind that delicate flavourful oils will get lost in all the garlic so you might want to keep the really fancy ass ones for a simple oil and vinegar dressing)

mix in cup with a fork, using the fork to beat the shit out of the vinaigrette and emulsify the fat - it will turn creamy and thick pretty quickly - taste and adjust seasonings

if you make it ahead of time, re-emulsify before adding to salad greens

experiment with different types of mustard, add fresh herbs finely chopped, or other spices. in case you haven't noticed, this is more of a template than a recipe.

it's so damn good, you're gonna start eating a whole lot more salad, and when that happens, don't blame me! or blame me! i don't care!

* a glurp is also known as a glug but i can't help you with a more exact measurement because i'm polish and being polish is not an exact science, SO LEAVE ME ALONE, ALREADY!!!!

11 July, 2015


first thing friday morning, i walked into my awesome boss's office, sat down and discussed a project we're working on. then i closed the door and told him i was leaving. he took it as well as can be expected - wanting me to stay but understanding (and seeing) my recent unhappiness. we chatted, he asked if there was anything he could do (there wasn't), and then he gave me a hug and told me how sorry he was to see me go. an hour later he sent out an email informing everyone of my imminent departure. so that is that.

yes, i do agonize over things, and i take the time i need to take to make a decision. i have never been able to jump over the process, not ever, not once - i need to take the time i need and that is that. when i'm ready, i do whatever it is that i have to do, but i may well stick a hot poker up my bum, it's not gonna hurry me up. so yeah, thanks for listening. thanks for being there. thanks for supporting me.

hurray for incipient unemployment! let's see what's waiting out there for me!

09 July, 2015

which came first?

at work today:

e: do you want the good news or the bad news first?
moi: oh, i want the good news first, i always want the goo…wait, wait, WAIT! NO! i want the BAD news first! then i want the GOOD news for dessert! i ALWAYS want the bad news first. i just got confused.*

*seriously, this is one of the main tenets of my existence - bad news first, so i don't know what the hell happened, but i blame that particular lapse (as well as the lengthy chicken clucking episode in three voices that took place later…twice) on heat stroke.


at work today:
bta: why are you fondling that hippo?!
moi: i don't know!!! i have nervous hands!!!

06 July, 2015

a sad tale about the princess and the pea

i saw my wonderful bananologist this morning and together we tried to get at the "why" of my seeming inability to quit in the face of some fairly compelling physical evidence that perhaps i should. things she said made sense, and i kept pondering and thinking and head-scratching and then i sat down to write an email to sanity salad, and this is what came flooding out:

"having a hard time with the quitting thing - like i'm a quitter, like i have failed in this job, like i should try harder and not be a whiner, like i'm a little bitch princess who needs to suck it up, like i owe it to others, like i owe it to mr. monkey... yes, an entitled little whiny bitch princess who is bored at the job she was handed on a silver platter… i'm too soft! i'm spoiled! i'm too delicate and need to get over myself! there will always be bosses and people hard to work with! this is a GOOD company and it has GOOD benefits! how dare i think i can do better? how dare i walk away when there are people who don't have work? how entitled and selfish and weak!"

and as i wrote that i realised that while a part of me knows this isn't true, there also is a part of me that very much believes this to be completely true.  funny how we can simultaneously hold conflicting beliefs on any given subject, eh? cognitive dissonance, anyone? with a side of fresh self-doubt?

my bananologist also asked me to look back at my history of depression and note if my emotionally knotted stomach wasn't usually an indication of me not being true to myself,or choosing paths to please others, and hot damn if it wasn't the case! how can i, a devoted self-analyzer, have missed something so patently obvious?

greetings and salutations from the spoiled little princess trying to find her comfort zone sitting on a particularly pointy corporate pea.

05 July, 2015

small mercies, large lizards, medium marmite sandwiches on nondescript white bread with the crusts cut off

last night i took an ativan to slow down the brain which was running like a supersonic miniature hamster on an appropriately miniature hamster wheel* and my eyes kept leaking. the ativan did its magic and made everything feel like it was covered in slightly fuzzy felt, all tactile and smurfy (don't you think the smurfs are a little fuzzy? no? just me, then?) . funnily enough, the last time i took an ativan was when i was getting ready to move to calgary to go to school, and was freaking out about HAVING TO USE COLOURED PENS AND PENCILS. yes. that was my fear. i suppose that means that in two years i am likely to look back on this time and go, WTF, girl? you felt this strongly about whassername? or i'll be all, huh, if not for that particular slice of misery, i'd never have run away and opened a highly successful marmite sandwich shop in tasmania, and now here i am, making a fucking killing! although to be honest, i find marmite rather blech, though i do like nutritional yeast. especially on crunchy-friend tofu that had been marinated in ginger and garlic, served with a side of steamed green beans.

anyhow, where was i? oh yes. crying and self-medicating: two of my favourite pastimes! yay! mr. monkey told me that provided i don't become a facebook zombie, i can quit my job, because he doesn't want me to be miserable, and i am clearly miserable (the crying and self-medicating might be a bit of a giveaway). so now i'm trying to figure out what precisely is keeping me chained to this job, if mr. monkey's good to go, and the bank balance (my usual source of fear and trepidation, oh blame the immigrant mind!) is doing a-ok. i guess this will be the topic i take on with my brain-person tomorrow.

tomorrow (on to mr. macbeth now: "...and tomorrow, and tomorrow, creeps in this petty pace from day to day…") is my day off, which means, of course, that i got an invitation to a meeting by boss, which i am assiduously ignoring until such a time that i can no longer go because a. i have an appointment and b. it's my FUCKING day off, thankyouverymuch. i also have a meeting featuring said boss on tuesday, which has been stinking up my weekend so badly that i've gone into full on "i quit!" fantasy mode. oddly helpful, that. because, you know what? i may just do it! or i may not! it will depend on many factors! i don't know what they are yet, those factors! but they will play a major role in this! you may depend upon it!

i was thinking lately about my instinct of self-preservation, and i have come to the conclusion that while i know some people who seem to have been born without one, mine is solid but a trifle slow on the uptake. it does get me out of bad things…eventually…but jesus h. christein, it could hurry the hell up a bit. took it 2.5 years (out of a total of 3.5) to get me out of a really fucked up relationship. it does its job, but if it were a contractor, it'd be paying penalties for project delays all the fucking time. so yeah, instinct! get to it and get me out of here! until you kick in, i'll be all sorts of flavours of miserable, gnawing on bits of myself, wondering why the hell i can't seem to either shit OR get off the pot.

in some positive news that i didn't mention in my last post because OVERWHELMING SADNESS, i used the frustration related to my job to finally paint my apartment! yay! i'd come home and instead of drinking many wines, i'd paint and paint and paint and now it's almost all painted except for the entrance which i only recently decided to paint with chalkboard paint, because it'll be a great place to scribble the shopping list, or dentist appointment time, or (drunk guests, i'm counting on you here) a giant picture of a penis.

so that. is. that.

* went to a delightful fire and wine at j+m's, where, in order to do a good deed to a shy newcomer to our circle, i consumed too much wine.** at the end of the night, we ended up indoors, and there, in their living room, were two terrariums, and in each one, a tiny little hamster ran on a hamster wheel so fast its tiny little feet were a blur. the next day i had to double check that there were indeed two tiny little supersonic hamsters running on two tiny little hamster wheels in their living rooms and that the wine was not in fact playing a trick on me. nope. they actually have two tiny supersonic little hamsters. so weird.

**i consumed too much wine because i was making sure he was consuming enough wine and pretty quick the enough and the too much got really confused and we both went home rather wobbly. i'm hoping that unlike me, he didn't find an embarrassing text on his phone the next day that he'd sent to someone with what looked very much like a profession of love***

***i love m, but i don't love her, if you know what i mean, and in my defense, i have no recollection of writing the text, which takes us right back to ** and besides, mr. monkey should know that my phone is to be taken away from me when i've been into the wine, so really, it's his fault.

03 July, 2015

required: one small life

i seem to have caught bta's disease - some sort of chronic allergy to civilisation, to societal expectations. work has been beyond drudgery of late - i've gotten into the sunday blerchs, which aren't helped even by taking mondays permanently off - just moving the discomfort, nausea, ennui, misery off by one day - there it still waits, poised over my head like a painfully slow death sentence, and not even that, because at least a death sentence comes but once (barring a particularly incompetent executioner carrying a dull blade).

to think this job was my hope, my dream, the culmination of my midlife crisis/career change! to think i once hated fridays! to think i thought the work itself was exciting, even the dullest bits! to think, to think, to think - all the thinking ain't changing the fact that i am slaving away for mediocre money (this is not the problem - i am lucky to be in a situation where that, at least, is not a problem, although wads of cash do have a tendency to quell some misgivings, if at least temporarily…), doing utterly pointless things to make money for people who are doing their best to do the very least within the confines of our civic bylaws.

turns out (and who'd have thunk it?! not me, that's for damn sure!) i have a strong moral compass and feel supremely uncomfortable doing things i think are detrimental to the urban fabric. equally awful is the realisation that what i am doing, really, is merely perpetuating the bureaucracy that makes up the majority of my profession. a professor to whom i went for help today ("what can a planner do that does not involve…planning?") wrote me that most of what we do is process-based, not outcome based, which is a simple statement that goes a hell of a long way to explain why our outcomes are so fucking atrocious, why we keep doing that which makes financial sense to a chosen few rather than evidence-based sense to the greater society.

a day does not go by that i don't mutter, hamlet-like, in my head: "how weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable seem to me all the uses of this work world!" yes, sitting here wrapped in my privilege, i do feel bad about hating a stable, decently-paying job that i didn't have to do a blessed thing to get. then again, when wave after wave of misery flows over me, i stop feeling bad. we all die. one day, i will die. i don't want this to be my life, if i have any say in it, and i do have a say. sad thing is, i really don't know what i DO want my life to be. just not this.

you should know by now that i'm not a romantic, nor much of an idealist, but i can't muster enough realism to get me through the day. sure, i want to make the world a better place. right now, though, i'd settle for a new career. stress headaches, muscles aching from constant tensing, stomach twisted into a knot, nausea that comes at the exact moment that i see/hear/read the name of my superior. coming home: drinking too much, fighting with mr. monkey because he's a target i'm not afraid of lashing out at, sitting slumped on the couch with eyes glazedly staring into the middle distance.

bta and i talk a lot. both about how meaningless what we do seems to be, and what huge amounts of resources go towards perpetuating the systemic meaninglessness. if one half of the money the process uses up went into generating outcomes, oh what a lovely world we could inhabit! but alas.

so why not leave? well, there you have it. that self-imposed, societally-supported idea that one must work, and work is hard and unpleasant, and there is some sort of moral imperative to continue doing it. but i'm giving myself a limited amount of time before i leave. i've always had a pretty hefty instinct of self-preservation. let's see where it takes me, and how long it takes me.

so thanks for listening. and sorry for the silence. i've been busy working.

11 June, 2015


i've been waiting for something interesting* to happen that i could toss on the blog-grill, but nothing kept happening for a whole long while until today, when i microwaved my hands.

yes, you heard me. i microwaved my hands.

for a really short time, but still.

'twas getting close to lunch and i needed to heat up my chana masala** so i popped it into the microwave, set it to two minutes, and waited at my desk. when i went back into the kitchen, it was just getting to the final 5 second count-down*** and i stood and waited for the microwave to stop before i opened the door (as one does). when i put my hands in to retrieve my chana masala i realised the MICROWAVE WAS STILL RUNNING! i squealed and pulled my hands out and slammed the door shut, which caused the microwave to turn off. i opened the door again, and it started running. slam! off! open! on! slam! off! open! on!

my coworkers, alarmed by the slamming and squealing, came over to investigate and i had the opportunity to ascertain that i wasn't in fact hallucinating: the microwave really was shutting off when it was closed, and running when it was open.

at this point my fear of having  just microwaved my hands was fighting tooth and nail with my frustration at being unable to get my lunch out. i was really hungry! but i wanted to keep my hands! (eating chana masala sans hands**** could be…uncomfortable) eventually the coworkers managed to unplug and remove the microwave from its perch,and i could get at my delicious chana masala.

i learned, however, that the fear that one has just inadvertently microwaved one's hands will put a damper on the enjoyment of one's lunch. i kept checking if my right hand wasn't redder than the left. it felt funny. floppy, sort of. like a hot dog, you know? slightly painful in an utterly nondescript but equally disconcerting way. my eyes felt weird too - after all, i had been peering in when i first opened the damn door. i could have microwaved my eyes, too! i kept thinking about my poor denatured proteins.

everyone i told about my adventure (which was everyone who came into the kitchen for the rest of the day. and the people at the meeting. and the facebook people. and now you.) told me not to worry about the radiation, which confused me - i wasn't worried about the radiation! i was worried i had cooked my hands! entirely different!

eventually i did what every sane person does when looking for solid scientific research - i googled it. turns out microwaves can't really hurt you much in a couple seconds. and if the interwebs say that, it must be true, amirite?

despite the (surely peer-reviewed) post on yahoo answers, i was still nervous, but eventually was convinced that while the fan and rotating whatsit were working, the microwave itself likely was not, on account of there being no arcing from my rings. so there you go. i didn't really microwave my hands, which means that i could have totally skipped this whole post, and maintained radio silence. so sorry!

*getting really depressed about work and having a certain person blame me for things that are evidently not my fault using a raised voice is not a topic i'm willing to get into at this point.

**when mr. monkey goes away for any length of time, he cooks me a big pot of chickpeas, and then i make chana masala and eat it while he's away. he cooks them for me because he thinks if i use the pressure cooker, it'll explode and take my head off. given my propensity to stab myself, or even the general topic of this post, he might not be too far from the truth.

***yes, yes, i know i'm getting into excruciating detail, but i'm trying to build the tension. and see? you're totally tense!

****or worse yet, with floppy, microwave-boiled hands!