06 January, 2018

i made a thing!!!

hello my poultries! it's been a while. but i've been busy turning myself into a real live published author of smut (aka erotica). as a result i've also needed to up my blog/website game, and as a result, i've made THIS.

so that's several big deals. at least to me. i realise that some would say self-publishing isn't that big of a deal, but i tried to keep to the sort of standards as a traditionally published book (trust me - i spent a chunk on getting this baby edited). and so, i shall likely transfer most of my bloggery over to the other, prettier site, and if you wish, you can follow me there.

i will leave this blog up for a while, just in case, but if you want to know what's up with me, try the new digs. the blogging will likely be more personal, but if you want to know how i am, you can always drop be a line. and who knows, i may come back here at some point when i get tired of the flashy life of an erotica writer!



23 November, 2017


tomorrow i shall get up, get in the car, and drive home. screw you, texas. i mean, you've been ok and all, especially in having given me the opportunity to wear flip-flops year round for once in my life, but otherwise, screw you and your antediluvian attitudes towards guns, women's reproductive rights, race, etc., etc.

america, you're a nice place to visit, but jesus h. christ, i can't wait to get back home to canada.

later, gator!

13 October, 2017

married long time

moi: should i have wine or port now?

mr. monkey: port's heavier. it'll go to your head. you'll be very not nice to me.

moi: port it is!

28 September, 2017

new blog

hello. i started a new blog wherein i talk about my book writin' process until my face done fall off. you can check it out if you want. or not. i don't care. (I CARE!!! PLEASE CHECK IT OUT!)

it's just a wee bebby of a thing now, so follow to get all the latest posts about smut-writelology!

27 September, 2017

in which things happen that should make me sad but instead make me happy AF and also temporarily busy

mr. monkey's surgery was on tuesday. he went back to work the following monday. the day after that, he got laid off. we're getting our house in order so we can sell it and move back home.

the good news:

1. we're going back to a civilised country that treats its citizens so much better when it comes to healthcare. too bad the Big Bad Gangrenous* Gallbladder Bill is already behind us. fairly certain canadian hospitals do all that shit for free, though you might have to pay for parking (see previous post).

2. friends and family!

3. winter!

4. no more texas!

5. mr. m got laid off before our two years here were up so the company is paying for the move back!

6. getting a bit of distance from american politics, though lately they've been infecting our politics as well - way more name calling and divisiveness lately. still, it'll feel good to get out from under the tiny autocratic thumbs of the orange blight.

the bad news:

1. both of us being unemployed, i suppose, though it's hard for me to be worried about that when we have a decent cushion of savings and also WE'RE GOING HOME!!!!!!

2. can't think of any other than the ones that reek of privilege so badly that i won't mention them.

i got in touch with my old boss who told me to touch base with him when i'm home. i guess that's nicer than "fuck you, i'm never hiring your lazy ass again! EVER!" i'm somewhat hopeful, though i think i'll aim for what i'm best at, i.e. temp type jobs that mean i can flit in and out of offices and bring joy and happiness to the dour bureaucratic drones, and then flit off to another assignment.

when mr. monkey told his sister her reaction was literally these words:"is it ok if i'm really happy?" which is pretty much my reaction as well, a reaction i tried to hide for the first day and then gave up because WE'RE GOING HOME!!!!!!!!

at any rate, i'm off to clean, scrub, paint, fold, hide, and move things.

*yes. yes, it was. literally. ew.

16 September, 2017

living the life plastic

last weekend mr. monkey woke me up at 4am. he was grey-faced and sweating and in terrible pain. after spending minutes looking up our insurance information re: which emergency clinic* i could take him to, i got in the car and drove him to the closest one. despite fears of a heart attack, it ended up being gall stones. he got many meds which did little to alleviate pain, and was sent home to bed.

monday he saw his regular doc who set up a consultation with a surgeon.

tuesday at noon he saw the surgeon who told him the gallbladder needed to be out ASAP, so he went back into the hospital that same afternoon.

it was a lovely hospital. catholic, so it was liberally festooned with statues of a dead skinny middle-eastern man on a cross, which is evidently supposed to make you feel better about your own pathetic life. hey, at least i'm not hanging on a cross dressed in nothing more than a pair of embarrassingly saggy boxer shorts. the other thing the hospital had was an airy tastefully decorated lobby, complete with a soothing water feature and shiny granite and hardwood floors, where you waited until "check in." to those lucky fuckers who don't live in the greatest country* on earth, let me explain that by "check in" they mean "we will politely skin you alive to provide you with a service without which you will likely die and which ALL OTHER DEVELOPED NATIONS* provide for free to their citizens. we both went a little wide-eyed when we were presented with a bill for just under 4k. that's right. you heard it right. four thousand dollars which, as i learned after my gastroscopy whatsit, is just the tip of the iceberg, because what happens after* is that you get the other bills: a bill from the anesthesiologist, a bill from the nurse, a bill from the nurse's assistant, a bill from the physician's assistant, a bill from the cafeteria lady, a bill from the cafeteria lady's assistant, a bill from the people who maintain the machines that go beep, an hourly bill for the well appointed hospital room, a bill from the volunteer who pushes your wheelchair, a bill for the depreciation of said wheelchair during the ride, a bill for... well, you get the idea. the only thing that's free is parking, and believe me, i will never, EVER, NOT EVER EVER EVER again bitch about paying for parking in canadian hospitals. if you hear me bitching about paying for parking in canadian hospitals, you can smack me. hard.

back to the story: his belly gets shaved, he gets drugged, he gets poked, he gets some extra holes put into him, they pull out the offending gallbladder, they give him more drugs, and they put him to bed. he goes home the next day and now he's fine. so that's a happy ending and all that. until the bills start coming. and in an aside, let me wave my privilege around some more - we are able to afford to pay this bill without much pain. so what's the big deal, you ask? well, the big deal is that there are many many many people who cannot, or for whom this will mean a massive reduction in their living situation. and i'm not about to say, hey, this don't affect me, so it don't matter, because that is an asshole privilege cop-out and it is at the root of the problem* with this country's attitude. why should i pay for someone else's problems? why should i give a shit? oh, and by the way, praise jesus and my thoughts and prayers are with y'all in your time of need. ugh.

in the meantime, between the emergency visit and now, he's been pretty much sleeping all the time and wanting me to be near. (insert massive eye roll here) so i've been pretty much co-bedridden for a good few days and so when i went to the farmers' market today, i felt like someone had let me off my leash. i walked, i talked, i got eggs, i ate tacos - and lo, it was good. on the way home i decided to take advantage of my freedom and popped into a tjmaxx. and there it hit me again, the plasticity of our north american existence (this time i'm not just picking on the usa, but canada as well).

as soon as i started walking around, i got a sinking feeling in my stomach. this notion that shopping is a form of entertainment is as vile as it is insidious. i spent 20 minutes in there and it felt very much like that moment when you realise you're full and actually kinda sick, but the bowl of chips is still in front of you so you keep reaching for them and shoving them in your face. that notion that consumption for its own sake is a balm to salve our emotional wounds is a dangerous one. appealing and dangerous, and i'm so so sick of it. sick of crossing vast expanses of parking lots (sure, even if human-caused climate change had nothing to do with harvey's destruction, our love of paving the fuck outta every available bit of land does) to go through rooms filled with multiple iterations of shit i already own in triplicate (or worse) and do not need. but on and on i walked, looking at the pretties, the shinies, the fluffies. looking for something that would make me happy for at least a second, that would make me forget my own mortality for just a short while. and then i came home and looked around this goddamn big ass house and the (currently green and waiting for pump parts) pool, and i wanted to grab a duffel bag, throw some things into it, and run the hell away to some place where people live real lives, eat real food, have real relationships, read real books. i hope such places still exist. and yes, i am very much aware of this not being the first time i've written here on this topic, as well as the massive amount of privilege that underlies my whining.

it struck me that the most real thing i've been doing here since spring is writing books about imaginary people living imaginary lives and having imaginary sex and imaginary adventures in imaginary places. it's the only thing that feels like living right now. weird, huh?

* fuck you, united states! fuck you and your goddamn bullshit attitude towards people's health and lives. and again: FUCK. YOU. and in case you didn't hear me the first five times: fuck you. you are nowhere near the greatest nation on earth, unless you count embarrassingly high infant and maternal mortality rates, income inequality, gun ownership and gun violence, racial violence, and really really BIG meals.

07 September, 2017


i suppose i hadn't realised how many of you keep up on my life via this here thingamabob. and i've been remiss, what with now working on finishing my third smutbook and halfway through the fourth (first is in editing, second to go into editing in 3 days). now that i'm absolutely addicted to writing my smutbooks (and it does feel a lot like an addiction: it gives me an unbelievable high; i want to do it all the time; and when i'm not doing it, i'm thinking about doing it) i feel like i have little left over for the blog, but i'll try to stop by here and tell y'all what i'm up to, just so you don't have to worry, what with all the hurricanes and other instruments of the wrath of god twirling through the atmosphere.

1. i spent five weeks in edmonton. it was supposed to be four, but harvey made them close the airport in houston, so i extended it by one week. it was absolutely wonderful and amazing and i loved nearly every minute of it and i didn't want to come back. palm trees and pools and the american dream (suburban edition) can suck it. i'm an urban woman through and through, and a month spent somewhere where i could walk to all the things and access them without having to drive forever felt like a balm to my soul. seriously, north america, you're doing life wrong!

2. mr. monkey came back after two weeks and so was here when harvey hit. our house wasn't touched, though the pump in our pool burned out and now it's slowly turning greenish while we wait for the replacement to come in the mail. first world problems, yeah. there was a lot of water in the surrounding areas but the woodlands, what with its master planning and white wealth, came out a-ok. because #privilege.

3. mexican guavas are in stores. last time i bought a pack (because it smelled so amazing) i found them inedible, but because i'm a frugal immigrant, i couldn't throw them out so i made the best liqueur of my entire life, which, given my propensity to soak shit in alcohol, is saying something. cut them into quarters, throw'em in a jar. pour everclear over them until covered (just put the whole bottle in, it's ok, what're you gonna do with the leftovers? drink it? didn't think so.). shake occasionally while it stands on your counter like some terrifying experiment from the frankenstein lab for about 3-4 months. drain off booze into separate container, cover fruit with sugar and let stand until it releases liquid. mix sugary/boozy liquid with original infused booze. gets better with age. mine ended up tasting like a super duper strong and incredibly complex tawny port, with hints of vanilla, nutmeg, caramel, and other amazing things that i most certainly did NOT add to it.

4. that's all, folks. later, gots me some smut to write!

20 July, 2017

you don't know shit!

saturday morning at the local farmers' market. i immediately head to the welcome booth because 1. it is welcoming and 2. they serve free boozes (yes starting at 9, don't judge).

that day's booze was a hibiscus ice tea lemonade martini. it was delightful. as S, the lovely lady who co-runs the market, explained, it was a sort of boozy arnold palmer. we got to talking and one thing led to another and i ended up asking "who is arnold palmer?" just as a small texan woman walked up for her free drink.

when she heard those blasphemous words leave my mouth, she turned to me and scoffed, "you don't know who arnold palmer is???" there was little humour in her voice. this wasn't a joke. she was offended. S turned to the texan and laughingly explained that i was canadian. we had a chuckle about my cultural ignorance, and then, just to play up the whole canadian thing, i turned to small texan and said, "i apologize for not knowing who arnold palmer is," expecting her to respond lightheartedly. nope.

she finished her drink, tossed the cup into the bin, and said, "you've probably never heard of god, either!" and left. it took me a good several seconds to realise i'd just gotten dissed, not because i'm slow but because i tend to be wildly optimistic when it comes to my interactions with people IRL (less so online, for obvious reasons).

S and her boyfriend were just as shocked as i was. it was a triple whammy, sorta:
1. texans, even ignorant ones, tend to be friendly. this woman was NOT friendly.
2. did she see arnold palmer as god?
3. did she think canadians were all godless?
4. WTF?

i felt like shit for a full 5 minutes until i chatted with several other folk who were so wonderful that the nasty feeling in my tummy dissipated and i was back to loving humanity all over again!

17 July, 2017

right or wrong

got my toes done today (including the removal of roughly seven kilograms of the dead skin that i seem to grow like it's some sort of staple food crop). woman sitting next to me had that well off (or at least privileged) texan vibe to her. we got talking about our colour choices (i liked hers better; she liked mine better), then farmers' markets, the taste of real food etc. eventually i mentioned being polish. our paraphrased conversation follows.

lady: aah! how're things in poland?

moi: not great lately. the most recently elected government is all kinds of messed up.

lady: it's communist, right?

moi: (reorganizing my brain to speak to someone who has no fucking clue about what is going on in the world)... um... no. it hasn't been since the 90's.

lady: oh. so what's going on?

moi: well, the government is basically stripping down democracy, messing up the judiciary, suppressing any kind of dissent. it's terrifying.

lady: so it's some kind of socialist government?

moi:(following a huge silent internal scream because WHAT THE FUCKING FUCK???) no. they're extremely right wing, religious, and spreading hatred towards pretty much everyone who doesn't think like they do. there are skinheads marching in the streets. it's awful. so much hate.

lady: well, there's a lot of hate around lately everywhere, isn't there?

moi: yeah.

because we all know that hatred only comes from left leaning pinko commie snowflake cucks while the right wingers hover over the earth held aloft by angel wings and the love of the lord.

you know what, lady? you seemed nice and all, but FUCK YOU AND YOUR ILK. you likely voted for the orange shitgibbon and i have no time to give to the likes of you.

26 June, 2017

happy end

depression is a part of my life. has been for years, and likely will be the last thing holding my hand as i die (that's loyalty, baby!) as a result, i've developed a whole host of coping mechanisms: i don't watch sad movies or tv shows, i won't read sad books. i do like sad music, but that's because it soothes instead of saddening me, but i do know some, for whom the effect of sad music is just as awful. i'm not saying i'm particularly dainty but my feelings are rather easily dented, and a horrific movie can affect my emotions for days.

over the last month, i've become engrossed in this wonderfully written series, and within that series, i've grown very fond of one character. in the middle book, he is treated abominably by... life? fate? the author? and it hurt. the last book is entirely about him, and the end is a goddamn heartbreak. sure, there is peace as well, but after the life this character has had, he could have used a few nice things before shuffling off this mortal coil in peace.

so, why am i telling you this? i'm telling you this because while the middle book's events affected me emotionally to a great degree, the last book has had me crying uncontrollably. even now, as i write this, i have tears falling down my face and mucking up my reading glasses, and i feel the pain in my chest that often accompanies really bad emotions. so other than feeling my feelings, i've also been trying to figure out why this particular character has affected me so. i mean i've cried in books before, but this feels so very fucking sharp that i'm starting to worry about myself.

the books are beautifully written and the stories are fascinating, but had i known how i would come to feel with the last one (or even the latter half of the second) i'd likely have skipped it. i really would have. there ought to be a tear-o-meter attached to reviews, so that it can help people like me. if i'm to be broken by your story, i'll pass, thank you. i won't watch disney's animal movies where the faithful dog gives his life to save the little boy precisely for that reason. i have enough of my own shitty emotions that i really don't need to import any.

the thing is, ever since i've started writing my smutty books, i've become more aware of the limitations of authorial power - there are things that happen to the characters you created that you really have no power over. i know the general outline of my story before i write it (and yes, there is a fair bit of story telling involved, not just the naughty bits... though there's a fair bit of those too), but as i get to know my characters, things happen that i did not expect. and so as much as i'd like to kick robert jackson bennett in the shins for what he did, i know that he's likely feeling just as broken up about it as i am. not that i forgive him, though.

and so you can take this as an implicit promise to always give you a happy ending in whatever i write. and if i should break that promise for reasons outside of my control, you have my permission to come here and kick me in the shins. because life gives us all sorts of shitty endings; the least we can hope for is a happy ending in a book.

and if you're looking at this as a review of the books, i can wholeheartedly recommend them, unless you're an emotional mess, in which case maybe read the first one, and then move on to a nice happy garfield comic.

24 June, 2017

saturday night party time

old marrieds:

we were supposed to go out for a dinner and a movie. seemed like *so* much work. so not doing that. nope.

moi: can we puhleeeze order a shitty pizza for dinner?

mr. monkey: yes.

moi: awesome! i'm going to get drunk now!

smut update:

smut writing is my most favourite thing in my life right now, bar none. (ok, that video with the baby elephant chasing the geese was pretty high up there but not quite right at the top. also: baby hippos. also, reading this. but other than that, writing smut is something i look forward to all the time, think about all the time, come up with ideas all the time, talk about all the time, etc.)

at any rate, i finished writing the first book. almost finished the second. am knee-deep in the third. am terrified what will happen when the stories in my head stop, when i've emptied all that is in there and i am left alone with my big ole empty head. but for now: reading and writing and clumsy baby elephants!

10 June, 2017

shaken not stirred

my life here in texas has been decidedly minimalist when it comes to social interactions (if not house size and growing number of possessions*) and i'm fine with it. i talk to my YEG crew almost every day and i love it as much as i need it, but since TB left us to return to canada in his retirement, there are very few people i really want to see. however - i've become friendly with our next door neighbour, a woman with two young kids about 14 years my junior. you can tell she craves company and we enjoy the odd lunch or hang out. today i went with her and her kids to the local farmers' market, then told her they were welcome to hang by our pool if they wanted. a few hours later they came and then another friend joined us, and then a couple with two more children. by the time early evening rolled around we have 6 adults and 4 kids and my ambivert nature pendulum swung decidedly to the intro- side and i began to feel unwell. there was a physical aspect to it and once most people left, i ate the belated supper that mr. monkey cooked for us, and then went upstairs. the guys laughed at me, telling me i was breaking my record for going to bed early and i could not explain to them that i don't need to be in bed - i need to be alone. i went upstairs, did yoga, showered, and popped an ativan because i was actually physically shaking but should be ok soon because i am blessedly alone.

thing is - you cannot explain this to some people. the response is usually a very good natured, "stay with us! it'll be fun!" or a less good natured, "why don't you want to hang out with us?" and other assorted attempts to cajole or guilt me into staying. and when the other parties don't suffer from a similar personality type, they do. not. get. the. need. to. be. alone. the physical, visceral, deep-seated, bone-deep need to not be around anyone else. i'm not rude. i'm not standoffish. i'm not an asshole (well, sometimes i am an asshole, but that's neither here nor there), but i need this. this is the point in the party if i'm out somewhere, that i bid a discreet adieu to the host or hostess ("aaw! stay a little longer! come on!) and i leave. i walk home, even if the walk is lengthy and it's snowing out. it's rare that i let it get to the point that i did today and thank god, cause i feel like shit right now and all because i suddenly developed an allergy to humans when i was surrounded by them.

there are some exceptions to the rule - some people (and you know who you are) whom i can see and want to see and even sometimes need to see even when i don't want to see anyone. people, i guess, who don't qualify as anyone. there aren't any here anymore.

well, the lorazepam is slowly unkinking the frazzled heap of my neurons. thank FUCK for drugs.

tomorrow, i shall speak to no one.

*yes, spoons, too, why'd you ask?

30 May, 2017


i decided to write a smut book, out of the blue. it had sort of been hanging around the less savoury corners of my mind, and i finally figured that since i'm still gainfully unemployed, i might as well put my dirty ole brain to some use. so yeah. almost finished one, and deeply into a second now, and hells' bells, it's been a long time since i've been so much into something. i look forward to writing and when i write all i want to do is keep writing. and yes, it's smut, so a big chunk of it is finding synonyms for penis and vagina and all the noises one has come to associate with sex in popular literature, but yes, there is also a plot.

aside: told a friend about this and he was super supportive but when i told him i'd started a second one he was quite flummoxed - how can one smut book differ from another? i had to explain to him that i was not writing porn, i was writing smut, and that the difference was in the actual presence of plot. so there. 


when i'm not writing it, i'm thinking about it, which means that some interesting conversations take place. case in point:

moi: can you dislocate a hip? (re: war, not sex; i'm not into that kind of sick shit, m'kay?)

mr. monkey: well... yes, but it's hard to do by yourself.

moi: ...

mr. m: ...

moi: why? how many people would it take?

both: lolz


turns out writing is far from a solitary endeavour as far as i'm concerned, so i have called on my friends to help me. they are endlessly supportive, come up with characters' names, and have, at the very start, helped me with the very synonyms i mentioned earlier. there's a lot of work that goes into this: does one use the word "dick" or "cock"? is there an inherent elegance in one versus the other? what does one say instead of "ass"? because our work began with genital synonyms, i have named them the itty bitty titty and kitty committy and we do great work together. great work.


i think this is all i have to say on the topic. apparently i don't blog much anymore, but that's cause i'm writing smut. 

16 May, 2017

moving on

i just came back from spending ten days in ontario, where i helped my parents do some final sorting and packing of their home of 26 years before their move back to edmonton.

every morning, my mom and i would go for a long walk along the lake, and then we'd spend the day packing and the evening drinking wine and watching a movie, with the occasional foray into sunset country.  overall, it was a great trip, though it reminded me again (mainly via my mom's mouth and the words that came out of it) that they were getting on in years. i never think of my parents as particularly old because they are so spectacularly fit and hip and with it, but i guess when you start pulling up to the dreaded 7-0 it doesn't much matter what i think: the world sees you as old. even if you're a young old. at any rate, my not-at-all-old parents had done a bang up job of ridding their house of superfluities - a job i started last year, thinking it would be beyond them to continue (not an age thing at all - more of my dad's inability to get rid of stuff... until he discovered garage sales!), but alas, their house was almost empty.

it's funny - they moved there when i was 19, and since that time i would go visit them at least once a year. and each time i went to visit, someone was bound to say, "oh, you're going home!" and i had to explain that no, this place wasn't my home, that my parents had moved away, etc. etc. yadda, yadda. well, surprise. after 26 years in one place, even if you only visit it once a year, it becomes something akin to home. it is the place my parents have lived longer than they had ever lived anywhere else ever. EVER. and so i was shocked to discover a twinge in my heart when i said goodbye to the house. not full out sadness, mind you - i'm thrilled they're moving west to where everyone else lives - but an acknowledgement of the part the house played in my life. goodbye house. goodbye lake. it's been good knowing you!

28 April, 2017

moonlight OR sunlight depending on your energy needs

i've been keeping myself all introverted, cultivating my existing friendships, enjoying the last week of TB's sojourn here in texas, skyping (skype'ing?) with my yeg friends, and just generally being uncharacteristically minimalist when it comes to humans. but in my walks i have run into a woman who is a birder and with whom i had a thoroughly enjoyable conversation - so much so that she asked that we exchange phone numbers. wednesday last she suggested we meet at a kick-ass local nursery for a free class on flower essences. seeing as i'm heavily into the whole essential oil thang, i figured this would be more of the same. boy, was i wrong!

the class started with the teacher stating her extensive credentials (she is an RN, and a naturopath, and a something something, and such) and listing her accomplishments with strange tangential asides about modern medicine and smoking pot healing allergies (hey, i'm listening!!!). When she moved on to homeopathy and the way it works (it's the energy of the plants that imbues the water with healing properties) i started focusing all my efforts on keeping my eyes unrolled. memorable topics raised included, but were not limited to: our ancestors who had gained their knowledge about healing energy from lost civilisations; the healing energy of the planet; her triumph over not one, not two, but three incredibly rare autoimmune diseases, each of which alone could have killed her, using nothing but the healing energy of plants. so yes, healing energy featured prominently.

she blathered on, lacking not only any scientific basis but also any charm that might have made her blather more palatable. eventually she had a volunteer come up and demonstrate how to make the eponymous flower essence. my foreshortened (for humanitarian reasons) version follows:

1. get a pho-sized glass bowl. this bowl has to be dedicated to the making of flower essences and as such, cannot be washed in the dishwasher or using dish soap because #chemicals. one may only wash it with chemical-free epsom salts. (oh lord. don't even.)

2. fill the bowl with spring water. this is important. you can't just use normal water because #chemicals. we don't want those muddying the purity of our flower essence.

3. pick a flower whose scent speaks to you, without touching the petals. do NOT use any flowers from the nightshade family or any other poisonous plants. one needs far more training to play with that particular brand of fire.

4. using stainless steel tweezers (ditto re: dedication, cleansing, etc.) gently pluck the petals from the flower and place each petal into the bowl of water until the bowl is covered with petals or the flower is done. do NOT use pistils or stamens of the flower! this is VERY important. i don't know why, but it is. possibly because #science?

5. having done this, place the bowl in either direct sunlight or direct moonlight for 2-4 hours to allow the flower's essence to diffuse into the chemical free spring water.

6. once that's done, strain the flower essence water into a large bottle. fill the bottle ¾ full, and top up the rest with vodka or gin (now we're talkin'!). this is your mother solution. it's far too powerful to use as is.

7. for safer solution, take the mother solution and fill a smaller bottle ¾ full, then top up the rest with vodka or gin. this is a potent medicine.

8. for personal use, take a wee tiny bottle, fill it ¾... well, you get the drift. put 2 drops of this under your tongue every 15 minutes. if it does nothing, you may need to use a different flower since this one obviously is not aligned with your energy.

Q & A:

Q. do you have to put it outside or can it be by a window?
A. either works, though if you do put it by a window, the window has to be cleaned using vinegar and/or epsom salts, instead of chemicals, so as not to affect the quality of the light.

Q. do you cover it or let it sit open?
A. you can leave it open.
Q. but what if a leaf or a fly falls in?
A. nature knows what it is doing. if a leaf falls in, it's likely that this was exactly what you needed. nature cares for you in these small ways.
Q. what if it's a leaf from one of the nightshade plants?
A. then throw it all out and start from fresh (no mention of why nature would choose to try and poison you)

Q. what is better, sunlight or moonlight?
A. it depends on what kind of energy you want to infuse into the essence. sunlight is a more active, or masculine energy. moonlight is more calming, or feminine energy. listen to your heart.

the best thing about the class was the ginger cat that meandered between our legs and jumped on the tables in search of bits of sandwich. it tried to mount our table but slipped and scratched my left thigh, then dangled for a bit in a most amusing way before dropping back into the grass. i suppose i should have rubbed the area with a chemical free napkin that had been lying in the same room as a black malva flower for 3 hours during a full moon, but i decided to take my chances.

i'm fine.

21 April, 2017

public service announcement

this is not a blog post. this is an article that i think EVERYONE should read.

my only wish is for a government that makes evidence-based policy decisions. all else would fall into place. but, as crusty juggler just advised me, i'm not holding my breath.

read this and share it. please.

12 April, 2017

fashion tips for the apocalypse

so here's my looting shopping list for the apocalypse. tell me if i missed something and why you think that.

1. antibiotics. broad-spectrum, narrow-spectrum, ointments, pills, whatever i can get my hands on.
2. bandages
3. duct tape (works best for blisters. ain't nobody wanna die of blisters in the apocalypse!)
4. comfortable boots. steel toed and heavy duty leather if possible.
5. toothbrushes and toothpaste and floss (ain't nobody wanna die of sepsis from a dental infection gone bad in the apocalypse!)
6. light down-filled jacket
7. good warm hat
8. sunglasses, several pairs - i can't live without sunglasses: my eyeballs are sensitive and hurt and no, i'm not trying to be cool, i'm just trying to be comfortable.
9. tarp
10. down sleeping bag
11. water purification tablets
12. water bottle (large, insulated)
13. chocolate and nuts (fast source of energy and protein, that's why!)

ok, i'm running out of steam. anyone wanna add to this list, please do so in the comments which have been so sparse lately i'm thinking nobody loves me anymore* except for a couple voices (and you know who you are). the apocalypse is coming - what do YOU want to pack*?

*pack yer bags! we're going on a guilt trip!

03 April, 2017


i walk along the bayou on an almost daily basis and each time i go, i see turtles. usually they are mere panicked splashes in the murky water as i approach, but on several occasions i have had them cross my path: big and little; with tail and without; plain and patterned; skittish or resigned.

this morning's turtle was a big'un, sitting there in the grass, looking up at me in a decidedly pissed off manner:

i squatted for a while and looked it in the eye (i ain't gonna take no shit from no turtle!) and eventually decided to see what the hell was up - i.e. why was it just sitting there and looking at me instead of a. shutting itself up in its handy carrying case or b. fucking off.

i told mr. monkey all about my adventure just now:

moi: i saw the turtle today. i think it was laying eggs.

mr. monkey: how do you know?

moi: i lifted it up and it had its butt in a slimy hole.

mr. m: well, there you go. you just witnessed the miracle of birth!

i sure have. and it was just as heavy on mucus as i expected it to be.

29 March, 2017


we spent four days in new orleans, taking in the colourful cacophony that is mardi gras. my second year, mr. monkey's first. i think i'm good now - not with new orleans, heavens no! but with mardi gras. it is fun but it takes a lot out of you, and it seems that i have less and less to get taken out before i am done. it's something that i'm glad i experienced, but it made me miss quietly meandering through the city's neighbourhoods. each time i walk the streets of new orleans, i am struck again with how much i love its uneven sidewalks, its tangled electrical wires, its tiny neighbourhood bars with their hand-painted signs, and the uncontrolled profusion of greenery.

new orleans is enchanting and charming and perfect in its imperfection in a way that our neighbourhood in texas will never be with its almost sterile elegance - each house similar in scale and style to its neighbour, tasteful landscaping, matching brick facades. it's pretty, sure, but it lacks soul, something that i manage to forget pretty successfully until i walk down a living, breathing street any place that feels distinctly like itself: suffused with a sense of its personality, history, vitality and identity. you can master plan a community, you can build a "main street," you can even throw in public art, but unless it is organically nurtured it becomes little else than a stage prop, a faux place, a photo op for the wealthy to pretend they're somewhere real. all you'll have is a pretty face with no soul.

much that is wrong with north america (from an urban planning perspective) comes, in my mind, from a  ubiquitous car-centric placelessness - you could be driving through kansas or winnipeg or tampa, and their outskirts would be indistinguishable from one another. sure, there is a certain safety to it, but it also means that you are always separate from where you are, a passerby, with no voice and no emotional investment. you are in a place with home depot and a walmart and a thousand faceless restaurant chains that will serve you entirely non-challenging food. granted, i live in the nicer end of the beige spectrum (shall we call it snowy cashmere? or translucent silk?) but it is beige nevertheless. i try to focus on the beauty that surrounds me, lest i go mad from the ugliness we keep letting be built around us.

takeaway: go to new orleans!



mr. monkey and i were on our way home and as we walked along a fence, one of the hundreds of squirrels currently terrorizing the neighbourhood ran across our path, freaked out at our presence, changed course in mid run, took a running leap at the fence and bounced right off. it immediately got up and scaled the fence again, this time with perfect precision and aplomb, but it was too late: we were howling with laughter, doubled over, weeping with mirth. idiot squirrel.


walking home one night we had the following conversation:

moi: you're not worried about snakes in the dark?

mr. monkey: no. not at all. at night snakes sleep. it is known.

moi: where do they sleep?

mr.m: generally they sleep in the forest, upright.

moi: upright?! how do they manage not to fall?

mr. m: they lean against trees, mainly.

moi: wouldn't they just slide down?

mr. m: no. they hang on with tiny little snake hands.

moi: what kind of hands are they? like gecko hands? or something else?

mr. m: sort of like gecko hands, but with long fingernails.

moi: what?!! why?!!

mr. m (rolling his eyes at my inability to think for myself): to pick mouse fur from between their teeth!


this went on for a while, eventually an obvious difficulty presented itself to me:

moi: how come we don't ever see snake hands? where do they keep them?

mr. m (incredulous at my idiocy): in their pockets!

24 March, 2017


whatever my feelings may be about the united states of america (and lately, baby, you ain't been doing so good!) or texas (and that's double for you!), i have to say that spring here is a thing of great and overwhelming beauty.

i discovered that you can walk along the storm water management bayous that criss cross the township and it reminds me of nothing so much as my childhood walks with my grandma along the fields in poland. ever since those youthful days, when i see wildflowers blooming, i'm in a little bit of heaven.

these are the bluebonnets that texas hill country is famous for. i was surprised to see that they were actually lupins, but that's ok - they just grow on the sides of the roads and make the world beautiful so their nomenclature is irrelevant.

this is literally 5 houses down from where we live, and since discovering it, i've been walking here daily. i envy the people whose houses back onto the bayou. there are always egrets, great blue herons, turtles and butterflies to keep things interesting.

i found wild strawberries and almost did a little dance right there. alas, unlike the wild strawberries i remember from poland or the ones i unexpectedly found in eastern canada, these have no taste. literally. biting into one is like biting into a little red styrofoam ball. highly photogenic, though, so i forgive them.

morning cobweb bowls. as you can imagine, the photo doesn't begin to do them justice.

another shot of the bayou. tends to be filled with skittish turtles and tiny fish.

who can walk by hundreds of wildflowers and not pick a single one? not me, that's who!

well, there you have it. an atypical photo essay because i wanted to share the beauty with y'all.

16 March, 2017

this ain't that kind of blog

but it's my blog, so i can make it any kind of blog i want. and today, i want to make it a "caring for your skin the non-waste granola way" so pull up a sustainably hand-made chair and listen up.


i don't drink a lot of coffee (and when i drink too much my body quickly reminds me to ease off, what with the jittery giblets and all) but i do drink it occasionally, thus generating coffee grounds. what the azaleas don't get (those azaleas love coffee grounds, i'm told!) usually gets tossed, but since my face occasionally reaches the consistency of late february gravel in northern alberta, i like to scrub it with the coffee grounds.

i take a puck of well pressed grounds from my trusty aeropress (thank you, crusty juggler, for introducing me to this flavourful caffeination miracle!!!), throw it in a small bowl, add a teaspoon or two of base oil (jojoba/argan/avocado etc. based on the dryness/oiliness of your complexion), and a couple drops of essential oil (frankincense is my favourite, but patchouli plays well with coffee as well). i mix this well, and keep it by my shower, so that i can exfoliate/moisturize my face whenever i feel like it. you can use it all over your body for a moisturizing/exfoliating fix.

bonus: when my hands are covered in some nasty shit like glue or paint or epoxy, the coffee scrub works like a dream - as well as the specialty stuff!

gentler exfoliation:

if you don't like to scrub yer bits, that's fine. but if you're ever eating fruit, you can take advantage of the alpha hydroxy whatsits contained therein and gently exfoliate yer face. whenever i cut the tops off the strawberries, i'll take one more generous snip and rub the strawberry top all over my visage. i do the same with pineapple, taking it a step further - when i peel pineapple, i cut the peel into small pieces, pop them into a freezer bag, and voila! a soothing, cooling, exfoliating glow miracle in a baggie. remind me when you're staying chez nous, and i can hook you up.


is any of this making me better/younger looking or in any way more appealing? likely not, but it makes me feel like a. i'm repurposing things and b. i'm taking some care with myself which seems important given that i will sometimes go whole days without once looking at myself in the mirror, other than to ascertain the presence or absence of spinach in my teeth.

11 March, 2017


as we arrived at a destination and started getting out of the rental suv, a strange ditty ran on repeat in the background. eventually we realised it was 4, stuck in the carseat and unable to unbuckle herself. instead of screaming/whining/yelling/snarking, she made up a song and sang it until someone clued in:

i just can't unbuckle
i just can't unbuckle

it had a catchy rhythm and melody and soon we were all singing along while i freed her. for the rest of the visit, one of us was always spontaneously erupting into the song:

i just can't unbuckle
i just can't unbuckle

or making up our own lyrics:

my name is larry*
my name is larry

lest you think there is a nursery rhyme cadence to 4's oeuvre, think again. it's really rather hip-hoppy and invites the listener to shake and shimmy rather than polka with a teddy bear. mr. monkey's singing it as i write.

*names have been changed to protect the innocent and the not so innocent

09 March, 2017

3 little girls

after the almost constant whining and out of control mood swings of the 4 year old nephew that characterized my SIL's visit, i was naturally a little apprehensive about how my 3 little nieces would behave, or, more to the point, how the occasionally-melty-downy 4 year old niece would behave. turns out my fears were unfounded - other than the occasional moods brought on by delayed nap time or hunger pangs, 4, just like her sisters (2 and 6), was a delight.

first day here, all three of them jumped straight into the pool, the younger two in water wings, the oldest proudly showing her not inconsiderable swimming skills sans any kind of floatation device. the pool and hot tub were definitely a most favourite item on their vacation menu. unlike my nephews, who barely dipped their bits into the pool and then only buoyed by various inflatables and/or parental cajoling, these three little chicks took to the pool like proverbial ducks to water.

and watching them eat! i wax rhapsodic and cannot tell you how my heart sang when 6 came back twice for more helpings of roasted brussels sprouts, hoovering up salad as fast as i could make it, eating fish and shrimp with gusto, and routinely asking for spicy soup. no pre-cut nibbles or dinosaur shaped chicken nuggets for them: each one, including 2, got a plate filled with grown-up food that they then proceeded to devour. i swear, i grinned like a fool each time we broke bread!  they turned up their noses at store bought toaster waffles leftover from the nephews' visit - one taste and a polite but firm no thank you. 6 took one bite of a krispy kreme donut and pushed her plate away, moving on to polish off an entire large bowl of fresh berries all by herself. 2 grabbed a container of carrot sticks from mr. monkey's lunch bag and hopped all over the backyard crunching them like a manic bunny. (in case you think all this is too good to be true, they also love skittles. LOOOOOVE skittles. god knows why...)

we did a bit of travelling and a bit of hanging around. we spent 4 days in galveston and on the way home from the cold and windy beach weekend we played multiple rounds of "guess the animal." it went something like this:

(my animal: hippopotamus - in polish, hipopotam)

6: is it a land animal or a water animal?

moi: it's a little bit of both, but you could say it's a land animal.

4: is it a fish?!

6: NO! she said it's a LAND ANIMAL!

4: oh.... is it a beluga?

6 (rolling her eyes and sighing dramatically): no!!!

4: ok.

we went on in this vein for a while. it was becoming clear i'd stumped them.

4: is it a camel?

dad: it begins with the letter H.

4: is it a hamel?

all: (laughing) NO!!!

dad: it ends with "tam".

4: a TAMEL!!!

6 (more eye rolling): grrrrr!


several turns later:

(my animal: dog)

6: is it smooth or furry?

moi: it's furry.

6: how many feet does it have?

moi: 4.

6: does it live on land or water?

moi: land.

4: is it a chicken?


4 (shrugs, clearly not giving a sweet fuck): is it a fish? is it a beluga?

6 (at a loss for words): !!!

my stomach hurt at the end of the trip from laughing so hard.

if i sound a little bit in love it's because i am. they are fierce, sweet, cuddly, joyous, adorable, rambunctious, warm, funny, cheeky (especially 2!) smart, kind, loving, beautiful, active and brave, and i am absolutely tickled to be their aunt.

they left this afternoon and the house is nice and quiet and in dire need of a thorough scrubbing but i miss them already. they're going to grow into some seriously kick-ass women one day (though it's unlikely that 4 will find a successful career in either marine biology or poultry farming) and i sure hope i'm around to see it. postpone the apocalypse.

22 February, 2017

checking in

all is fine...ish.

doing US taxes:
makes me swear in polish. very few things make me swear in polish. paperwork of the tax variety does it and does it thoroughly. i've come up with some interesting combinations that would make my dad's ears fall off, i'm sure. he'd say, ladies don't use that kind of language, but who the hell is a lady around here? it's an antiquated concept anyways. normally i self-censor because i seriously hate it when people swear in polish. oddly enough, i have no such problems with swearing in english. you may or may not have noticed this.

today's food intake:
a big bowl of strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries with really really good yogurt (low fat and fat free dairy products can fuck right off: pseudo-healthy bullshit based on outdated science that also taste like shit.)
½ bowl of cheerios
½ bowl of cheerio dust-flavoured milk
several miniature peppers filled with hummus
glass of bourbon on ice
bowl of blackberries

all the berries are really good right about now. i seem to not be hungry much. i blame the taxes and swearing. and maybe my latest meds.

social media:
the attention span that's been growing back after i'd given up on facebook seems to be in remission, since i am currently obsessed with waging war on twitter. i.e. waging war whilst on twitter, not waging war against twitter, though i might reconsider if i continue to obsessively waste my time preaching to the choir while america regresses into lower and lower and ever more colourful but increasingly terrifying levels of idiocy and what-the-ever-living-fuckness.

tweeting gives me the illusion of being in touch, of doing something, of being an active member of the #resistance, but damned if i believe that i'm changing any minds out there. trumpnation's  unfailing ability to look incontrovertible facts in the face and still kick them under the filth-encrusted mattress of ideology for the sake of convenience is as incomprehensible as it is reprehensible. i'm supposed to want to understand them. i don't. i want them to fucking stop lying. the end.

i've said it before and i'll say it again - for this reason, and this reason alone, i hope god exists, just so those filthy hypocrites can get their comeuppance in hell, where they rightfully belong.

whoa - a little brimstoney there, wasn't i? oh well. between the taxes, the limited food intake, and the political situation, it's surprising i'm still functioning fairly well.

following lucy's goodbye post, i felt myself slipping away from this here little page. i feel like all i ever do here is complain and whine and cry and weep and gnash my teeth while rending my clothes and pouring ashes on my head. not every day, mind, but often enough that i feel like there is nothing really that i can say that will add to the sum total of cool shit out in the world.

so why post today? i blame the bourbon. frankly, i thought today's food intake in itself was interesting enough to warrant a blog post. so there you have it. i'll take "what i ate today" for 200, alec!

not saying goodbye, just saying i'll see ya around. i will continue to write shit when shit demands to be written. and in the meantime, hey, take care of yourselves; hang in there. the world will either right itself or we're in for a sweet little apocalypse and y'all know i'm excited about that!

03 February, 2017



mr. monkey's family is here - mother in law, sister in law and two wee nephews. because of how many of us there are and the volvobeaste's spatial limitations, we decided to rent a minivan for familial weekend trips. alas, hotwire royally messed up our reservation which, coupled with the super bowl that's on this weekend, meant no minivan for us, which translates to alone time for me while mr. monkey takes his family out to see the alligators, the zoo, NASA, and the gulf while i sit and read in peaceful and much needed solitude.

it's been a good visit so far (my deep fear leading up to it meant my expectations were niiiiice and low) although there have been moments where i seriously considered murder*. the high point of the visit is easy to pinpoint: the wee one, the 2-and-a-bit-year-old, is cute as hell and he and i have gotten a schtick that goes something like this:

moi: platypus!
j: no, YOU're the platypus!
moi: no, YOU're the platypus!
j: no, YOU're the platypus!
moi: no, YOU're the platypus!
j: no, YOU're the platypus!

we can (and do) go on at length, both of us highly entertained. if i start off whispering, he'll whisper it back at me. if i yell, he'll yell. if i speak in polish, he'll revert to polish. the way he says platypus is something to behold and it makes me want to eat his adorable round head even more.


the day mr. monkey's family leaves is the day my dad arrives, driving down a car my parents are generously giving me. he will run a marathon (my dad never ever travels without running a marathon; thinks it's indecent or something) and take off several days later. a couple days after that, mr. monkey and i go off to new orleans for mardi gras and then, on the day we return, i just found out my cousin, his wife, and their three children are flying in and staying for 2 weeks. this means that from january 28 until march 9, we will essentially be non-stop hosting or guesting. the rate things are going, i suspect somebody else will announce their arrival on march 10, but that's ok. as long as i get some down time, i'm good... i think.

*yes, it was the 4 year old almost every time. how'd you guess?

24 January, 2017

toxic masculinity

i'm currently both watching and reading the expanse. it's a very good series, finally something sci-fi i can sink my teeth into. when you read and watch simultaneously, it can bring out problems all too clearly but the tv show seems like a solid adaptation of the books except for one thing: the male characters in the tv show are continually whipping out their dicks and waving them about (figuratively, not literally - that would make it an entirely different sort of tv show). there is constant testosterone-fuelled posturing and if not outright violence then at least the threat of violence is never too far removed. in the book, the same characters cooperate; in the book they act as if they were living precariously, one wall between them and the vacuum; in the book they talk things out, carry out orders, and might, at worst, mutter under their breath. but in the show each move forward is accompanied by such rich outpourings of testosterone it's a wonder anyone can breathe. i started watching the series before starting the book but even then i found the men's attitudes puzzling - why this bristling barely-suppressed rage at anyone and anything? why this inability to work together towards a common goal? is this really the way human beings would act in space?

i have written here before about the way television portrays feminine strength as essentially humourless bitchiness. think PMS all in extra big capital letters and you've got what tv execs think a strong woman is like. i'm glad to see that more and more television shows have gotten over this - think good wife, where female characters are shown as strong and funny and kind and confused and sometimes bitchy and sometimes emotional: all the things that make one human (imagine that! a woman who is also a human!) it's not perfect, but there does seem to be more writing that catches many of the nuances of full personhood.

i haven't really noticed the male portion of the equation until recently - if ever you think feminism is irrelevant, think of the ways that popular culture teaches both young men and young women to act. at its most 50's nuclear family basic women are to be coy, quiet, uninterested in sex, interested in relationships, caring etc. etc. men are to be aggressive, sexually and otherwise, uninterested in cooperation and all about their ego. sure, this is a gross oversimplification, but watch enough television and you will see these stereotypes play out again and again. if feminism is partly about letting women be all that they actually are (complicated humans!), it is about letting men do exactly the same. i do wish the writers of this really rather excellent show had taken a page out of the book, and let the men focus on getting the job done, rather than having to prove, again and again, just how macho and tough they are, while the world around them falls apart.

21 January, 2017


i can pickle that:
i know i'm finally home because on my kitchen counter i have a jar of red cabbage sauerkraut, a jar of lacto-fermenting pickling cucumbers*, and a jar of homemade yogurt. these, as much as the curtains and the art on the walls, are clear indicators of my nesting instinct. together we put up a storm door that had been waiting for some TLC for months (it took some pretty nifty engineering solutions from mr. monkey - thank god we each have our own talents, because putting things together in ways that are superior to their original design is definitely not something i am capable of.) mr. monkey reorganized the garage and i've been airing out feather pillows that had gotten musty. i only wish we could have a laundry line out back, but i'm pretty certain it's outlawed here - disgusting and shameful behaviour of the poors and the immigrants. don't want none of that here!

we had friends over last night helping us move the last of our (very heavy) polish stuff from tb's house to ours. the night ended close to midnight for me (already past my bedtime) but it ended much later for mr. monkey. i came down at 4 am ready to tell the guests to go the hell home, but they'd beat me by no more than an hour and all i found was mr. monkey sleeping sweetly on a quilt, covered by a sheepskin rug. he was convinced (and thus tried to convince me) that when he lied down it was the opposite, and far more logical, set up: lying ON fur, and UNDER a quilt but i remain unconvinced, especially in light of his inability to take the stairs up to bed. this sort of thing happens rarely, thank god, though it does tend to happen whenever these particular friends come over. god love them, they're very nice, but they are good neither for the liver nor for the old circadian rhythms. i've said it before: my ideal social event starts right after work hours, and ends by 8-9pm at the latest. anything beyond that and i get resentful and cranky. still, it's nice to be able to say goodnight and know that nobody will be offended.

sometimes you know your mind is entering a place that is one smidgeon removed from full on madness. it's good to catch yourself and step back before you plunge into that abyss. thursday i found myself standing at the back door, talking to the squirrel. it's been coming around daily and rummaging in my flower pots which are already pretty precarious because of the recent frost, and to distract it i threw down some peanuts for it. peanuts it just ignored like the dumb little furkin it is. so here i was, standing on the back stoop, talking to the squirrel (slowly and clearly, so that it might understand me):

moi: look, you moron! i gave you some peanuts! PEA-NUTS. RIGHT. OVER. HERE. don't you want them? listen, dumdum! PEEEEEA - NUTS. HERE!!!

then i realised what i was doing and i went sheepishly inside. the damn critter continued to ignore them and, with my track record with squirrels, i really can't blame it. but this batch is most certainly not poisoned, and i want it to leave my poor plants alone. but how do you reason with a squirrel?

march on:
on the topic of politics i will only say that i am so proud of all the women (and honorary women) who walked out today and spoke out with a big beautiful united roar. you go, ladies!

*yes, it's cucumber season in texas. go figger!

20 January, 2017


while driving today i turned the radio on to my usual station (NPR, no surprise there) only to be greeted by the unctuous voice of the incoming commender-in-cheeto. i quickly smacked the off button and resigned myself to radio silence. if the united states has gone mad and i have to live here, i refuse to be exposed to the mouth-breathing diatribes of the millionaire vulgarian any more than necessary. when his voice graces ALL the radio waves and the secret police knock on my door, only then will i "voluntarily" turn my eardrums to what comes out of his tiny cat's anus of a mouth. enough about that.


searching through the airwaves for something else to listen to, i realised that the smorgasbord of radio stations around houston is really rather limited. what you have is this, in descending order of frequency:

1. the jesus stations. these occasionally play music that initially seems normal, but i have developed a hypersensitivity to content: i can scent "our lord and saviour" in 3 seconds or less.

2. the spanish stations. no problem with these, but there's only so much mexican polka music that i can listen to before i throw in my sombrero.

3. country. no, just no.

4. classic rock. not my kettle of fish. never was a fan, never will be. will stop on occasion when something nostalgic comes on.

5. rap. i'm not dismissive of rap as a whole - while i might not appreciate all of it, i don't make the mistake of an old person hollering, THAT'S NOT REAL MUSIC! and HEY, YOU KIDS, GET OFFA MY LAWN!!!  however, i'm not a fan of this particular sub-genre (don't ask me what it is, but it seems... i dunno... extra rappy?)

5. 80's music. when it's the stuff i love, it's great; when it's the stuff i hate, it's another channel i get to skip. seems about 30/70 not in my favour.

6. NPR, my beloved public radio. sadly, all too often of late they talk politics and my tolerance is low. i keep waiting for the secret police to shut them down. that day might be coming soon. i don't know. i don't wanna think about it.

when i do turn the radio on, i drive nervously jumping from station to station, knowing the pay-off is limited and unlikely, but hope keeps me alive.

oops! i totally forgot the ubiquitous pop music station, brought to you by anonymous hook-ups,  a growing lack of respect for a solid arts education, and autotune!

13 January, 2017

genius of the wee hours

the night before last i couldn't sleep. unlike my typical insomnia* nightbrain™ was running full tilt on the hamster wheel. i tried to think calm soothing thoughts but instead, nightbrain™ kept whispering housekeeping suggestions to me: "pssst! the cereal shouldn't be in the laundry room**, why not do a little switcheroo and put the cereal in the pantry, where it belongs?" or "if you stack the metal boxes, you'll free up some shelf space in the office!" and so on. i eventually fell asleep some time before 3am, but it sure was worth it because the next morning i got up and implemented all of nightbrain's™ suggestions and you know what? nightbrain™ is fucking genius! i have spare booze in the laundry room now and cereal in the pantry! i have liberated 3 shelves in the office! we installed a lamp! i'm working on cafe curtains in the kitchen! granted, not all of the above is nightbrain™, but the fact is, i'm totally nesting.

what's cool is that i haven't really thought about these things. nightbrain™ came up with them all on its own, which means that i hadn't been thinking about them overtly, but somewhere under all the junk mail and dryer lint that constitutes my mind of late, there were plans being made. decisions decided upon. organization considered. now let's hope nightbrain™ can help me find a job.

* i'm tired. i'm NOT thinking about stuff. i can't fall asleep. my off switch is clearly broken.

** as i've said before, for a big ass house, this place sucks at storage. i keep one cabinet in the laundry room filled with pickling jars and lids, cereal, flour and sugar, as well as a big bottle of alcoholic plums***

*** the plums aren't alcoholics; they've been sitting in booze for so long they have now become one with it. boozy, boozy plums! come to think of it, they might very well be alcoholics by now...

12 January, 2017


on monday i had an endoscopy. i felt calm and relaxed about the whole thing right up until sunday night when it hit me that, hey! someone's gonna be sticking a very long tube with a camera at the end right into my giblets and rummaging around. then i got over it and slept.

when i got to the medical clinic and got presented with the nearly 1k bill, i almost decided, right then and there, that i could very simply stick an elongated selfie stick down my own throat, with similar effect but for far far less money. alas, common sense prevailed. having said that, i'm still not used to being billed for medical procedures and find it an absolutely odious way to run a country.

i was told to take off my wedding/engagement rings and because i so seldom do it, it took a whole packet of medical lubricant and some heavy duty contortions to get them removed. i told the nurses it clearly showed i don't pop into bars and pretend to be single on a regular basis. they had a chuckle over this (although it might have been the sight of red-faced me, grunting and twisting into bizarre postures to get those damn rings off).

in the pre-op room, i changed into a fetching butt-flapping robe, got fitted with a stylish hospital bracelet, and hooked up to IV. once in the operating room, i was told to gargle something vile-tasting, nearly impossible to gargle because of its viscosity. when i half-gagged, half-gargled as much as i could, dreaming of spitting the whole mess out, the nurse told me to swallow. low point of the day for damn sure.

in went an oxygen tube and a bite block. by then the drugs hit me because the last thing i remember is the gastroenterologist sticking a black thing in my mouth and then i woke up in the post op area, mr. monkey sitting beside me, stroking my head. i'd had full anesthesia before, and waking up from that is pure hell. whatever they gave me this time (some gorgeous thing ending in "ol", i think) was a down duvet of a drug. all the way home i went back and forth between slipping into a glorious semiconsciousness and talking ceaselessly. it was a strange combination, albeit a pleasant one.

i slept the rest of the day away and the following night. the verdict? my giblets are lovely to look at with the notable exception of my stomach lining which is the wrong colour apparently. funny how all these years nobody thought to mention that to me. too polite, i guess.

08 January, 2017


i don't know if it's the living out of a suitcase for 3 months that did it. or the glorious relief of the return to some semblance of mental health. or maybe it was the twinkling christmas tree that greeted me in my living room upon my return. perhaps it's simply a switch in the way i think about things. all i know is that this place is starting to feel like home. a proper MY home. i sit on the couch and take in my surroundings with pleasure. i'm filled with desire to tweak things, put up the remaining art, switch out a lamp - all indicators of nesting.

when i left, this place felt temporary and, in some small measure, hateful. i had little desire to do anything other than leave and make my home elsewhere. once again i'm surprised at the power of attitude, because i do think that above all else it is my decision to come back and make this my home that contributed the most to it starting to feel that way. sure, driving along the highways plastered with advertisements for medical procedures and gun shops still unnerves me, but i'm not going to let it get in my way of embracing the good. after all, edmonton has its own wealth of hateful ugliness to it, and since it's home i simply chose not to dwell on it. surely i can do the same here.

when i packed up my stuff for the move back south i wondered if i'd ever get a chance to wear my cozy scarves again. two days ago i got my wish - it went down to -4°C and we had to put our lemon and lime trees in the garage. for good measure we took in the potted rosemary too. yesterday morning we awoke to carnage: the ginger plants, the elephant's ears, the gorgeous huge bird of paradise by the pool, and many others seem to have taken a beating. i was surveying the front yard with a friend who said they would likely come back, but i've seen frost damage and this looked pretty serious to me. sigh... the first world problems of living in a sub-tropical region. we walked out and saw that the neighbour down the street did the right thing and covered nearly everything in his front yard with multicoloured sheets and fabric.

looks like laundry day, i laughed.
yeah - in africa! my friend, who is from south africa, answered.

fair enough. people aren't very likely to put their laundry out for display in north america, are they? still, next time these types of temperatures hit, i'll be sure to take my own load of laundry and scatter it about.

who'd have thought that -4°C would ever freak me out?

05 January, 2017

squirrel in the attic

mental health

the drugs seem to have kicked in. i'm in that sweet spot of not really feeling much of anything most of the time, and while i've heard people complain about this particular aspect of taking antidepressants, i'll take numb over miserable any day, thankyouverymuch.

i've gone off facebook and twitter. i've stayed away from the news. i'm working hard on maintaining my equanimity and separating myself from the shitstorm of "out there" seems to be a good start.

one thing that this whole adventure exposed is how far i am from real self knowledge. it knocked me off my smug complacency and it continues to do so in small after-shocks. but that's good, innit? it's good, sometimes, to be shown the limit of one's self-awareness. it just means i'll keep pushing ahead... in a while. in a little while. right now i'm taking a wee break.


one of the benefits of giving up social media and making a conscious effort to focus my energies on one thing at a time is that i'm back to reading books. it seemed for a while there that i was no longer able to sit and read for longer than mere minutes before i started itching to see what else was happening out there (an anxiety-promoting electronic FOMO). thankfully reading is back. phew! now i'm ready for the apocalypse.*

auto-complete is the window to your soul

i was texting sanity salad the other day and when i typed "talked about," one of the phone's autocomplete options was "vaginas" which made me super happy. apparently i type "talk about vaginas" often enough that my phone recognizes it as a pattern. sanity salad and i were tickled pink.

the eponymous squirrel

i'm assuming it's a squirrel. it might be an entirely different texan beast. a possum, perhaps? at any rate, something's up there and it's making a racket. might be time to revisit my old days of squirrel huntin'. this here's the country for it, that's for darn sure.

*it may be argued that i am always/never ready for the apocalypse. depends on the day.

01 January, 2017

happy new guy

2016 was an interesting year. i'll give it that. here's hoping 2017 is less interesting, and more given to peace and joy than the wanton decimation of democracy and beloved icons like its predecessor. let's all raise a glass to that, shall we?

we spent new year's eve with friends: eating, drinking, soaking in a hot tub, enjoying the balminess of the night, and generally being low key. after the last several years of hosting large new year's eve gatherings, it was lovely to simply sit on a couch and be.

when it came time to ring in the new year, we sort of missed the boat because PBS inexplicably played commercials at the very moment of midnight and by the time we got back to a commercial station, it was already after the fact, so we awkwardly clinked glasses of bubbly, hugged and kissed and then sat down again to watch a movie.

perhaps because i've been so... ahem... excessively mobile in the last year or so, i feel like all the usual trappings of tradition have become loosened, as evidenced by our unconventional christmas celebrations. with the socio-political changes in the world, too, it seems that tradition for its own sake is something to perhaps view with a degree of suspicion, or at the very least hold up to the light and question: why are we doing this? is there anything meaningful for us in this? what aspects are important enough to keep? what can be relinquished?

i see now that without the whole family around, i really feel very little need to have a traditional polish christmas celebration. it's definitely more about the people than the food, and when the people aren't there, it becomes stripped of meaning. grocery store sushi will do just fine, thank you.

i am reminded of our first few christmases in canada, just my parents and i: there was a poignancy to the fact that after all the preparations we would sit down to a meal of 3 just like any other day, that without the bustling noisy atmosphere, it never really felt proper, despite my mom's best culinary efforts. very quickly we started sharing our christmas eve supper with other polish families who were in the same boat, and having 10 people around the table made it seem festive, special, even without any blood ties.

it's quiet here, peaceful. green and warm and pleasant, and i'm working on getting the best out of it, and out of the new year.

dearest poultries, may this year bring you relief from ailments, anxieties, and uncertainty; may it bring you health and hope and joy; may you be loved and understood; and most of all, may you be at peace!

28 December, 2016

things fall apart (with sauerkraut and mushrooms)

eating inappropriately seems to be a thing. as stated before, christmas dinner consisted of leftover tuna casserole. tonight's supper is a glass of sparkling white wine and a bowl of cheerios.

it's worth noting, however, that today i did several loads of laundry, ironed some seriously wrinkled pants, helped mr. monkey with certain work-related documents, and started working on a giant batch of bigos, having recently been inducted into the family culinary secrets.

it must be said that from its description, the dish sounds rather... unappetizing? if properly made, however, it is of surpassing deliciousness and my uncle's version (originally made by my maternal grandfather who made this part of his Manly Cookery repertoire) is the very best i've ever had. my mom's, my mother-in-law's, anyone else's, really, simply doesn't compare, and last week my uncle allowed me to participate in the blessed event: watching, sprinkling things judiciously into a Very Large Pot, mixing, tasting, and mixing some more. the end result was phenomenal (each year we say he has surpassed himself, though how likely is it that perfection should get ever more perfect?) we'll see how mine turns out.  because it is a two day process one typically makes large amounts and freezes them for future consumption. i'll let you know. better yet, you can drop by for a taste!

so that's that.

things that happened, in a vaguely chronological order

i gave the 2 year old a black eye. not my proudest moment, and entirely accidental, but it happened: my elbow made contact with her wee little face and an hour later she looked like a total bad ass.

side note: i sure am missing hanging out on the bed with the small cuddly humans watching movies. mr. monkey, sweet as he can occasionally be, is not anywhere near as cuddly.

saturday (christmas eve):
woke up at 3:06am, 14 min before the alarm was scheduled to go off. the sky was that particular snowfall pink and a fine sparkling dust was blowing everywhere. the drive to the airport went off without a hitch, but the sheer madness there made me vow never to fly on christmas eve again. i was forced to unpack bits of one suitcase and shove it into another one, as one was too heavy and one was light. not sure why this couldn't have evened itself out, but what do i know of the science of stacking suitcases in an airplane to prevent listing? nothing, that's what.

arrived in houston in one exhausted coughing snotty piece. came home to find a christmas tree decorated by 3 lovely elves. mr. monkey was not one of them, but he did give them access, so that counts for something.

christmas eve, the biggest of big deals in polish culture, passed us by. we drank a way-too-sweet lambrusco and ate grocery store sushi and gyoza. no biggie.

sunday (christmas day):
drank coffee by the pool. mr. monkey tinkered with the volvo. i read a book outside. our supper was left-over tuna casserole. not particularly christmassy either, but it was a nice quiet day. if i wanted to run away from my excessive social life and fall into a fluffy quietude, then i have succeeded.

monday (boxing day):
went to a walk-in clinic. looks like it's bronchitis II. came out with antibiotics, cough syrup, and some wee pills that are supposed to stop the coughing. went to see star wars: rogue one, and enjoyed it quite a bit (hurray for low expectations!) the last scene was super cool and also very poignant in light of yet another celebrity death.

drove to austin in the evening.

did some official stuff in austin. the state capital office was in a gorgeous old building but seemed logistically stuck in the early 1980's: we had to fill out chits with our credit card info, and watched the lovely lady punch things into her surprisingly modern computer. i was expecting a typewriter and carbon paper, but nope, just lacking basic* credit card infrastructure. tiny cheap pens: small government apparently means tiny pens.

walked around austin for hours, hoping to adopt a stray agave pup, but alas, those things are hard to rip out of the earth sans shovel. we were ill equipped for this.

drove back home. went to sleep.

*once again, as with american banking, i'm shocked at how many years behind they seem to be here in certain areas: did i tell you about seeing a young woman paying for groceries with a cheque? or people lining up at a bank window to withdraw money?! i know, right? while also simultaneously boasting futuristic weaponry and state-of-the-art computer technology. a country of contradictions, this is.

15 December, 2016

exeunt, pursued by a bear

for the three months that i managed to hold an adult office lady job, one of my small daily frustrations  was the battle with the toilet paper dispenser.

our office had typical toilet cubicles, each equipped with a spinning 4-roll dispenser. in the morning, it was more likely than not that i'd come upon a dispenser filled with 4 virgin rolls, which meant that i had to start the damn thing. since the spinning mechanism was rather loose, each time i almost managed to grab a roll, it would spin away from me, leaving me holding the tiniest piece of paper, roughly of a size needed to daintily dab the lips of a fruit fly.

after several such attempts, i would find myself still toilet-paperless, having produced nothing but a sizeable pile of wee little paper scraps on the floor and having also pretty much managed to drip dry to the point of toilet paper pointlessness. by then, though, i was committed to the process.

eventually i'd get frustrated (this took longer than one would think) and start tearing the nearest toilet roll with one finger, while jamming my other hand into the receptacle to stop the inevitable spin. this, more often than not, ended up with me pulling out a mangled chunk of toilet paper that was only about 2 squares long, but approximately 47 layers thick, i.e. exceedingly comfortable to use.

take that, toilet paper bears!

14 December, 2016

a barber shop quintet (badgers not included)

heading south in 10 days. in the meantime i've got good days and bad - i haven't had a weeping episode since i quit my job but the purple bad boys don't seem to be kicking in quite yet. yes, i'm supposed to give them 2-4 weeks, but i was really hoping for the same sort of nearly immediate miracle that the pink pills brought me. or how the steroid injection in my elbow 36h ago (damn you, tennis!) seems to have completely taken the pain away. perhaps i need a steroid injection in my soul? brain? heart? not quite sure where it would have to go, although i do happen to know exactly where my anxiety and depression sit* (thank you, mindfulness!)

i'm doing good things like: seeing people, tickling kids, buying barbie dolls (ptooie!), drinking drinks, discussing skinny house blueprints, going to movies, etc. i'm also feeling deeply overwhelmed by relatively small things like: do i replace the battery in my car (linked to - do i keep the car? do i drive the car down south in the near future? do i give the car to my parents who might or might not be moving west this spring? do i sell the car? what do i do with the damn car? (again)) do i pay my urban planning association dues for this year (linked to - am i running away from this profession again? is this a cop out? what's wrong with me? etc.)? and if i pay the dues (i probably will, just in case), what do i do about my continuing education courses that are required?

the good thing about being a depression pro is that i know none of these things are insurmountable and can be attacked in small manageable pieces. the bad thing about being a depression pro is that i know that logic can be used as a blunt weapon with as much force as i can muster and it still won't make a dent in the darkness.

still, some light in said darkness. i saw my bananologist and we discussed what i have learned regarding future jobs/careers: i don't care about status (clearly if i did i'd have some by now). i don't care about being challenged (hey, living is challenge enough). i don't care about money (a position of privilege of which i am fully aware). what i do care about is relationships. the primary measure of any future professional success, or lack thereof, will be predicated on the quality of the relationships that i can build at work. N1 and N2 were clear indications of this and it's a good and handy thing to know. plus the most cursory glance at my 20 years of working reveals that i have not held any one job for any length of time. i have temped and part-timed my way through a big chunk of my adulthood, and not always because of moving. it's one way to keep one's feet out of the quagmire of politicking and bullshit. it's good to learn things.

and that's it for now.

*my depression sits right at the xiphoid process; my anxiety sits higher up on the sternum. now you know.

09 December, 2016

freedom or failure?

i resigned from my job on monday. i worked my last day yesterday. it was all done in a positive and classy way with no feelings hurt or bridges burned.

what i feel:

relief: from the increasingly overwhelming and ubiquitous misery and uncontrollable crying.

shame: what is wrong with me that i can't handle working a job like regular folk?

residual sadness and confusion: not expecting that to end overnight.

excitement: at going back to mr. monkey AND the 2 weeks i now get to hang out with my people.

hope: that i will figure something out to be a semi-productive member of society. i have some ideas but i'm not supposed to say because apparently that can take the place of doing, and we don't want that.

cold: it's been  hovering around -20°C here all week and it's showing no signs of stopping anytime soon. oh well, i have the clothes for it and i'll take -20°C over any flavour of september any day.

sick: i can't seem to shake this respiratory shit that's been hounding me, but hopefully once i'm back in texas, i'll be able to breathe properly again. one thing i'll give texas: i did not get sick once.

cautiously optimistic: i will work on embracing the good in my chosen home base. after all, i lived for 5 years in fort mcmurray; i think i can handle living in a beautiful-if-dull community in texas. besides, i was only dissatisfied living there, not sobbingly miserable. there's a difference, i have found out, and it's heavily skewed towards dissatisfied, as it's more easily remedied, and with less dependence on pharmaceuticals.

grateful: for the unfailing and ever patient support i have received from all the people in my life, and that includes the emails and comments from you, my faithful poultries.

i'm hoping that this blog can stop being a platform for my mental health issues, but if not, well, so be it. it's a surprisingly effective form of mental health support, and i won't shy away from using it but here's hoping i can fill these here pages with the occasional guffaw to take the edge off.

01 December, 2016


how do you explain to someone who has only ever had a situational depression that your depression is based on nothing but the chemicals in your brain? how do you tell someone you love and who loves you that you are broken and scared that he will stop loving you because of how illogical and broken you are? how do you explain to him that his attempts to make you look at this logically are not only fruitless but also hurtful? i know none of this is logical. i know i've only been here two months. i know he only left less than a week ago. none of this matters. what matters is that i'm broken and sad.

i am a broken fucked up nest of snakes, inextricably tangled, hopeless and stupid and annoying and useless. i know none of these things are true but the point is, they FEEL true, and feeling will always beat knowing when it feels this real.

mr. monkey told me to see someone. not a counsellor, someone else. i don't know who i'm supposed to see. a psychiatrist? he'll give me more drugs. i already have more drugs which seem to not be working. unless their point is to make me cry uncontrollably for long intervals, seemingly out of the blue in which case, they're working brilliantly.

seriously, though, if you have any ideas about how to explain depression to the un-depressed in terms that they can understand, i'd totally appreciate any links or suggestions.

took half a sleeping pill.
seem to be drying off a bit in the eyeball department.
good night.