07 September, 2014

snacks!

at work, i am the generally acknowledged purveyor of snacks - i have a drawer dedicated solely to microwave popcorn packets, rice crackers, chocolate covered raisins, dried pineapple and cherries, almonds, and whatever else.

b the a, a resident hyper-intelligent surly misanthrope with a sharp tongue and filthy mouth (and thus one of my particular favourites) often comes over with an almost dickensian look on his face ("please sir, i want some more"), and i toss him a snack.

friday, somebody was microwaving popcorn and, as expected, this brought b the a out of his cubicle, quite literally sniffing the air as he walked towards mine.

moi: 'twasn't me, b, but if you like i can give you a whole pack.

b the a: um, no. have you seen how fat i'm getting?

moi: a little.

b the a: wait. what did you say?!

moi: (confused) why, what did YOU say?

b the a: i said, have you seen how fat i'm getting?

moi: (relieved) ah. yes. and i said, a little.

as much as the man bitches about the beige police that influences much of north american life (ya know, perpetual political correctness, pasted-on smiley-faced surface politeness, paying lip service to diversity while terrified of anything truly different etc., etc.), i think he was truly floored that i said what i said. it's all good, though. we're still friends.




24 August, 2014

hello hitler (again)

crusty juggler and i have been going to an antique mall around these here parts, and coming out almost invariably laden with lovely whatsits, trinkets, and doodads, mainly of the jewellery and linen tea towel variety, inexpensive and pretty and happiness-making.

the mall stocks everything imaginable, including, imagine that, a print from the munich archives of a watercolour painting by one adolf hitler. it's an innocuous and utterly forgettable work, if not for the artist. each time we go to the antique mall, i walk over to see if hitler is still there. he is.

post-antiquing, we went out for some hamburgers and beer. invariably*, talk turned to hitler.

moi: i keep checking to see if somebody's bought it. and nobody ever does. i wish somebody would.

d: i think you need to be the change you want to see in the world. buy the damn print.


*not really. we rarely talk about hitler. we're more likely to talk about vaginas which are a far more pleasant topic all around…unless you're in your twenties, i suppose.

18 August, 2014

the victim remains in serious but stable condition. the culprit has been apprehended.

last week i stabbed myself in the base of my left middle finger and promptly came as close to fainting as i ever get,* not because of the pain (which was nowhere near the worst i had ever inflicted upon myself over the many years of attempted self-mutilation), nor because of the blood (which, though copious, was neither worrisomely profuse nor oddly coloured), but because i immediately realised that there was a profound difference between slicing off even a generous portion of one's finger tip (guilty as charged on multiple occasions - one more reason i could not get into a life of crime: my papillary lines are far too peculiar for simple acid-based augmentation) and jabbing the business end of a sharp knife directly and rather deeply into a fairly complex piece of machinery that is the finger. as i stood there in shock, with my hand in my mouth (i was afraid to look), mister monkey calmly turned on the cold water tap and directed me to stick my hand in it while he went hunting for a bandaid. i stood there for a while and then got hit by said faint spell, and went down hard on my knees while my heart pounded in my ears and i began to hyperventilate. eventually i made my way to the couch (i may have either lurched or crawled; the memory is fuzzy), where i was brought water, hydrogen peroxide, and a band-aid by my ridiculously calm husband**. i eventually made my way back to the land of the fully conscious and went to work.

today i was slicing beets when mr. monkey came home. he came up to me and when i turned to give him a hug and a kiss, i inadvertently (and inexplicably) stabbed him in the sternum. it produced no more than a small red dot, but made me wonder if i should give up cookery all together, or perhaps blend the fuck out of whole things, just so that we both can live.


*close enough to wish i would actually faint. it is not a pleasant state. nothing even remotely dainty or elegant about it, thank you very much.

**you may or may not recall that he, and his entire family, is closely related to fainting goats and drops at the smallest provocation.

05 August, 2014

personally, i think you're wrong

crusty juggler, miz meow, and i went to a pop up art show put on by two upstanding young men, one of whom is a co-worker of mine. there was alcohol (red wine? yes please! down the front of my silk dress? mais oui! how'd you know?!), snacks of various provenance and varying level of delicious greasiness, and hordes and hordes of adorable youthful hipsters. the crowd was pleasant, friendly, and perfectly willing to speak to the geriatric division (i.e. us). crusty took off early (i can completely understand - had i not been flying on the extroverted end of my 50/50 extro/intro spectrum, i would have done the same), leaving me and miz meow to work the crowd. a very hot sweaty hour later we too left and walked home together laughing about how absolutely delicious it is to shock the very young - and this generation seems eminently shockable - by saying things like…vagina, or talking about topics even vaguely sexual. they are so cute, these ones - they blush and stutter and you can actually see them cringe physically as their body attempts to get rid of the toxins.

if i can't enjoy my old age by randomly shouting "VAGINA!" at young people, then i refuse to get old.

03 August, 2014

enough with the fluffy shit!

last night we had an indian-themed dinner party. we made indian food and decided to forego the usual dressing up on account of it being goddamn fucking hot and humid, because, you know, india is an arctic country and all that. personally, i just didn't feel like being draped in floaty shit and the indian earrings that i do have are so heavy that my heat exhausted ears could not handle them. they are also likely made of the sort of metal that turns green when exposed to sweat, and not in a classy old world copper cupola sort of way, but more of a need-to-amputate, jesus-god-what-happened-to-your-skin sort of way. i mean, i don't know, they might be made of high quality pseudo gold, but i have a nagging suspicion that this is not the case. i refuse to place my ears in harm's way for a dinner party, you know?

the highlights of the night include me licking large quantities of delicious mango lassi from the counter after i spilled it. there are pictures. some are on facebook. i am ok with this because at the time, i was already rather tipsy, and thought that this was the funniest thing ever: pictures of me lapping up the lassi from the counter top, lassi on my nose and all over my face. ha ha! SO funny. ahem. yes. throughout the night i kept finding lassi on my top, then my pants. i'm fairly certain there was lassi on every part of my clothing. still, je ne regrette rien, on account of it being fucking delicious. crusty juggler can come to my house and make mango lassi any time.

sadly, much mango lassi also spilled on my delicious sliced pickles, and, rather than waste them i washed them in the sink and then revinegarated them. i am nothing if not crafty and dedicated to pickles. you know it's a good night when you find yourself washing pickle slices in the kitchen sink, amirite?

speaking of french, i announced at a certain point in the evening my intention to speak only french to the dog, mainly because i hate the dog*, and neither one of its owners speaks french, which then would free me to say what i really think without offending its wonderful owners. in unrelated news, my repertoire of french insults is sadly lacking.

at another certain point in the evening, we came up with an idea of a musical called "hello, hitler," the eponymous theme song of which became the theme song for the night. as a polish person, i feel i can sing about hitler - it's the entitlement of my people. yes.

there was also an entirely unscientific ear survey - turns out half of the group have weird ass squishy ears, and half of us have normal ears. there was much walking around and touching of ears…mainly by me. because science.

on the way home a possible conflict arose when crusty juggler asked mr. monkey to stop licking his tongue at her, sparking the discussion on whether one can actually lick one's own tongue. we tried and made the sorts of noises five people** would make when attempting to lick their own tongues. afterward, there was much speculation about whether we were, in fact, as funny as we found ourselves to be. i think we were. jury's still out.


*haven't met many dogs in my life that i hated. i've disliked a couple, but this one? hoooo boy. i. hate. this. bitch. seriously - a two-faced psychotic little yapper with some serious psychological issues.

**80% of whom were inebriated




26 July, 2014

moments of perfection

i'm watching a tv show right now. the main character walks into a church and for a split second the vaulted ceiling of the church is in view. the ceiling is an unexpected periwinkle blue and i think to myself, this is perfect.

moments of perfection are little gems granted to us (or better: available for us to grasp, which adds an active dimension to it, one i feel more comfortable with since i don't believe there is anyone or anything out there to do the granting) and when we step inside them, they are a way out of the mundane, the dull, the grey.

i once talked to a patient whose husband was slowly and inexorably dying of cancer. we talked of living in the moment and she said that in the end, she doesn't believe we, as regular average human beings, are able to maintain that sort of existence for more than a few minutes at a time. i don't know if she was right or wrong; i know that i can't maintain it longer than those fleeting moments. these perfect moments, perfectly lit by the evening sun; perfectly captured by the song ideally suited to the time and place; perfectly coloured in a way that stops my breath just for a second, they are a taste of what it would be like to fully be present in all that life has on offer. but we hurry along, we run, plunge headfirst into life, buzz in and out of sensations, thoughts and feelings, hurtling through to the end.

so yes, a little bit of philosophy courtesy of HBO.

and yes, i realise i haven't exactly been present on here lately. it just feels like one more thing to add to my ever growing to-do list, and i don't like to lose the pleasure in the writing. i promise to try, though. truly.

21 June, 2014

funny ha ha

c: i met up with X….(details about X follow)
moi: i like X, though X lacks a sense of humour and under pressure goes all Y-like.*
c: i know! X didn't crack a smile once! and i am damn funny.**


*read: unbearably intense.
**for the record, yes. yes he is.

thoughts on anger on a summer solstice morn

anger used to rule me. i still sometimes get tangled up in it, but i have learned to let go of it quicker, disentangle myself, as it were, move past. it is useless. it spurs me to very little action other than hollering at the sun, which, as we know, accomplishes nothing other than a sunburn. my dad and i have had many arguments over this: he believes that a righteous anger at things that are wrong in the world is somehow useful or superior; i believe that even a righteous anger only turns inward and destroys, does no good whatsoever for the world at large.

i'm not going to go all preachy and talk about how "love is the answer" because statements like that are the gateway drug to sparkly unicorns and crystals and FREE HUGS, and i'm not particularly interested in any of those things,* but i will say that refusing to get angry and stay angry and carry that anger like some sort of weapon or a cause is exhausting and i am feeling much lighter now that i've given it up.

similarly, i refuse to burden myself with other people's problems. my mom and aunt and i used to spend hours getting all fired up over things that other family members were doing, and, just like the "righteous" anger, it accomplished nothing good externally, and a whole lot of unpleasantness internally. i dedicated the latter half of my thirties to teaching myself to let go of things that were not my problem. still not easy, that, but getting easier, and, like letting go of anger, it makes life easier, smoother-cornered. don't get me wrong - i can still see things that are wrong and that i would do differently; i just choose not to make a project of them if they're not mine to change.

i will not lie, i must admit that my little pink pills have been instrumental in helping, and that is one reason why i am nowhere near ready to let them go. i still think we overmedicate, i still believe there are alternatives, but having been on them for almost 2 years now, i feel like someone whose quirky adrenal imbalance or clonky elbow has been fixed - i don't want to go back to broken. the difference is subtle, even to me, but it is noticeable, and i am unwilling to go back to the old me because it was exhausting being angry all the time.


*that's a lie: i love sparkly unicorns. who doesn't? sick bastards, that's who!


13 June, 2014

words, wasps, wait...

on tuesday night, mr. monkey and i drove to calgary. wednesday morning dawned bright and early, and our drive to the university was filled to the brim with swearing and frustration. perhaps i was nervous, perhaps i was emotional and it came out in the deep and earnest desire to kill calgary. all drivers on the road were incompetent assholes; all construction was specifically aimed at making me a. late and b. confused; all things conspired to make me as stabby as possible at a time when i should have been filled with pride and joy and shit.

i managed to meet up with c who escorted me to where our highly flammable robes, funny hats, and diplomas would be handed out. just seeing him made it all better and i entered the gym feeling good about life. seeing the rest of my classmates trickle in hammered the final nails in the coffin of my bad mood ("and the most awkward metaphor award goes to…") and i got robed and hooded and behatted with a smile on my face.

the ceremony was as such things go: many congratulatory speeches, applause, cheers, tearful bits, smiley bits, and then our class got called up. i made it up and down the stair sans either a wardrobe malfunction or a face plant, which, in itself, was a major success. and so i am now officially a master of something (notably a shitty phone camera because we forgot our actual camera at home. yes. yes, we did. i am just as shocked as you are, if not more):


the convocation was followed by a formal champagne reception (with no champagne, because…well, i dunno, you tell me!), which was followed by an informal restaurant reception. then mr. monkey took the bus home, while k and i decided that the way to truly celebrate this momentous occasion was to have as many different kinds of liquor in as many different venues as possible…well, we didn't actually decide, it just sorta happened. we drank ciders and wine at the restaurant, we drank really good old-fashioneds at b's place, we walked over to crusty juggler's place where i was staying and drank nearly half a bottle of champagne each, then took a cab to my favourite prof's place where we proceeded to (i think) drink a lot of wine, talk to a lot of people, and eventually be the very last ones to leave. 

i am fairly certain neither one of us wore a lampshade at any point in the evening, and equally certain that no public peeing or nudity took place. we did, however, insist on walking home despite a less than perfect knowledge of the vicinity. turns out my drunk compass is pretty fucking great because we found our way home via parks, stairs and odd little neighbourhoods in record time. k made herself comfortable on the couch and, because our judgment was more than a little impaired, we dug into crusty juggler's special chips that she was saving for her dad (drunk people will eat your shit. know this) before finally going to bed around 1:30am.

we woke up around 6am (hello alcohol, you fiend!) and knew that no more sleep was to be had. frankly, i suspect we were still running on fumes from the night before as our ability to form complete sentences was less than stellar; our ability to form sentences that were a propos to the conversation at hand was even worse. despite this, we managed to:

a. (very slowly) figure out what time the breakfast place opened (7am!)
b. (very tentatively) capture a wasp and release it into the wild
c. (very determinedly) utterly fail to retrieve crusty juggler's mail from the mailbox (keys=hard)
d. (very embarrassingly) even more utterly fail to pick up the three items crusty juggler requested i bring her (she's in edmonton for the summer)
e. (very successfully) get in the car and drive home, laughing almost incessantly

i came into work at noon, expecting madness, only to find out that the project i was to be slogging my way through was deemed a no-go. my boss came by, took one look at my haggard old lady face and told me to go home. and so i went home. 

overall, i'd say it was a raging success. all of it. every last damn thing.

10 June, 2014

ADHD or whatever the acronym happens to be these days*

* because seriously, haven't they changed it a bunch of times in recent decades? fitting, non?

aside from my recurrent bouts of depression, i think i may be suffering from emotional ADHD - things happen and i feel stuff and then i'm all, LOOK! shiny thing! and off i go, skipping happily into the middle distance. even my bouts of depression suffer from ADHD and just sort of bugger off after a while, distracted by something they'd just seen in a shop window. perhaps i am just a shallow fuck.




09 June, 2014

snowflake

mommy, why can't i be utterly unique and unpredictable?

because if you were, my darling, you would seriously curtail the ability of other humans to relate to you in a meaningful manner. if you were unpredictable enough, you would even make it nearly impossible for you to live with yourself. a certain degree of predictability is what allows us to function as a single species. take it away, and you have a collection of selves unable to co-exit.


let us gird our loins and vacuum the hell out of this floor!

sometimes shit happens out of the blue. sometimes you feel feelings that you have no right to feel but feel them anyway. sometimes, those feelings make you all sorts of angry at the feelings you are feeling (thus adding beautiful feeling layers to the whole complex web of feelings), and then, when you feel sucker-punched and…feely (?) you suddenly remember that you have a sanity salad friend who is the best thing ever and then, when you've had a reasonably short phone conversation with your sanity salad friend, you think to yourself, you know what? i'm sort of over it, the feelings are gone, oh, but look at the floor! i need to vacuum! like RIGHT NOW!

and if needing to vacuum isn't the best response to what could have been a crisis of sorts (if not for sanity salad friend's singular good sense, kindness and, let's just say it, ability to hit the damn nail right on its damn head) then i don't know what is…oh wait, i'm also gonna run some stairs later (and by run, i mean initially walk briskly then very quickly run out of steam and eventually end up in a leisurely crawl, but for like an hour or so). and make some tzatziki. and maybe try my newly pickled radishes. and have some campari and tonic. BECAUSE I CAN!

recap? sure! some lessons that either are or are not pertinent at the moment, but are likely going to be pertinent at some moment in life:

life: good.
actions have consequences.
self-care should trump most other things.
it's best to err on the side of compassion.
campari and tonic is the best summer drink.
CAPITAL LETTERS ARE FUN!

i think i'm out of ideas. anyone? toss me a good one, and i'll post it right here!




08 June, 2014

city love affair

to counteract the deep and convoluted bullshititis of the previous post, and to show you that my life is actually pretty damn awesome at the moment, i shall tell you about my saturday.

i woke up too early, as is my wont, and headed out to the downtown market to meet the absolutely amazing k (seriously, my poultries, you should meet her - she is my sanity salad with nuts on top and was instrumental to keeping my head above water on so many occasions that you'd think she was circular and orange* and kept on boats for that express purpose). we bought coffees and vegetarian sammiches and sat amongst the beautiful crowds of the downtown farmers' market, discussing Things. there are few people i'd rather discuss Things with, and this time was no different. some satisfying answers were arrived at.

post breakfast, we wandered the market, then went around downtown checking out the various new holes in edmonton - the arena hole, the museum hole, the assorted condominium and office tower holes and other things that make planner-girls like us salivate. watching the city that we love grow in wonderful ways is such a thrill! i can hardly remember the ghostly rail yards that are now full of bustling activity, parks and assorted human-centric development…but enough about that!

we hit up the pride parade for a while, and then mr. monkey and i headed off to buy tickets to the folk fest. each year it becomes more difficult to get said tickets as the organizers try to make things "fair" by instituting various lotteries, whereby, quite often, the first shall be last and vice versa, in all sorts of beautifully biblical ways that make me get all stabby, but tickets were gotten after a few tense moments. it's a good thing that folkies don't tend towards violence, though, is all i'm sayin'.

afterwards, we met up with our friends p&s and walked to downtown east to check out the city holes and new developments there, and ended up in a taco joint that's been garnering rave reviews, which turned out to be well worth it, despite retardedly loud mexican rock blaring from the speakers (note to restauranteurs: i want to eat in peace, not be yelled at. capiche?). a good sangria and taco buzz got us home and the real work of the day began.

the year i'd been away has seen the unprecedented growth of unsorted documents in various piles scattered haphazardly throughout the apartment. this needed to be dealt with. furthermore, the recently announced pregnancy of the dear friend who has been cleaning our place has resulted in her handing in her resignation and a proliferation of dust bunnies and mushrooms growing in the bathtub - t'would be nice to take a shower without catching six different venereal diseases, methinks. so that, also, needed to be dealt with.

a wild saturday night at the monkey household, non? sorting mail, shredding documents (always one step ahead of the IRS and the CIA, that's me!), scrubbing tiles and demushroomating the bathtub, while not high on a list of Fun Things To Do On A Saturday Night, can nevertheless engender a deep sense of satisfaction. after all, this is home and home should not inspire revulsion. we are one step closer to that lofty goal. revulsion-o-meter is waaaay down!



*she isn't. circular and orange, i mean. she's lovely, though, and highly effective.

learning, unlearning, relearning, i.e. the circle of life

i wonder if we, as a human race, are congenitally unable to learn our lessons and keep them learned. if we're condemned to perpetually repeat the same mistakes, chipping away at life in bursts of inspiration, pushing that damn rock up a hill, sisyphus-like, wondering philosophically what the fuck. then again, maybe it's just me. maybe others don't step in the same pile of shit twice…though i seriously doubt it, and not just to be charitable to myself because it's sunday and this is as close to church as i'm likely to get, but because there is compelling evidence that we are all, each and every one, committed shit-steppers: it is our way.

i feel like i'm once again exposing myself to getting hurt in a way that would seriously be too stupid if i let it, on account of work done under the same heading in the past. still, one thing i have carried with me over the years, is an (admittedly fluctuating) sense of self-acceptance: i will not, for fear of getting hurt, grow spines and wall myself off from the world and the (sometimes poky) people that inhabit it. some things are worth it, some are not, and the magic of living a life lies in finding and maintaining a balance that doesn't leave one flailing around emotionally while allowing for the various experiences you need to fluff out the resume of your existence. so you know, same old, same old.

ah, you say, you're being awfully enigmatic, the darling apple of our collective eye! yes, i answer, blushing prettily at such a sweet sweet compliment, i am being awfully enigmatic. you should have learned by now to expect full disclosure only on the emotional plane; the occurrences, events, happenings, and other whatsits that inspire said emotional responses are often off limits.

so what i'm doing is taking a deep breath, stepping back for a wee bit, and making a virtual in-my-head excel chart of pros and cons of a given situation so that i can make a cool and informed decision about where i stand…KIDDING! hell! seriously? did you think i could do that? really? because if you do, then you haven't been paying attention very well and should have marks taken off! because one of the things i rarely do is manage to plan out an emotional course of action. i'm ALL about flinging myself off cliffs, plunging into holes, and other assorted methodologies of light insanity. i just can't help it. so yes, right now, i am stepping back, taking a cool look at shit and analysing it and all, but i know that when the wind blows from a particular direction (or when i've got a couple glasses of wine in me) i will either slam that door again or fling it wide open, or possibly just maintain the fragile status-quo, and frankly, i have not a clue about which of the above is going to happen. i likely won't know until i've done it. i'm full of surprises like that.


04 June, 2014

facilitate THIS!

so in the interest of full disclosure, i am now fine. my day of weeping gave way to a day of meh, followed by going on a work road trip that left me too busy to feel feelings. i have spent roughly 14 hours today working on facilitating a public engagement session put on by our provincial government, and as much as even typing that sentence makes me want to doze off (also, i am really rather tired, natch), it was actually a fun day and i think the boss lady might have been maybe a little not-wrong in placing me in this team because i think i may be good at this. who knew?! she did, that's who! sorry for doubting the wisdom of your ways, boss lady. and also? the small town catering thing was phe-no-me-nal! seriously! kale salad with pine nuts in (i shit you not) the white supremacist capital of alberta. good stuff, that!

to bed now, more of the same tomorrow. i suspect i won't get home until late evening and will fall face first on the bed sans brushing of teeth or washing of face. just kidding. that would NEVER happen. i don't ever ever ever ever EVER go to bed without washing my face and brushing my teeth…well, except for that one time and we will not talk about that.

mwah! mwah!

02 June, 2014

crybaby

this morning my boss (the woman who interviewed and hired me twice now) came up to see how i'm doing: great. great! everything is great. my face hurts from smiling, everything is so goddamn great. i spent the day doing this and that, and chatting with the lovelies who came up from the third to say hi to me, and then had a solitary lunch and a non-smoke break (quick walk around the block long enough to finish a cigarette if i were a smoker) and then a heavy duty post-work walk to meet mr. monkey at a doctor's office 7km away, uphill and running and trying to sweat some of the goddamn great out of me.

in the car, on the way back, the great broke and i started to cry like a fucking three year old because i hate being on the fourth floor; hate being dumped unceremoniously among the autistic landscape architects, hate being put into a team that is taking so long to warm up to me that i keep checking if i still have a pulse. i have made one new friend. i have had one guffaw at my plant decoration*, which made me feel that there are still people who get me… a little. and so i cried like a small child, blowing snot bubbles and derailing our dinner plans (nobody wants to go into a restaurant while blubbering like a spoiled toddler, even a cheap vietnamese restaurant), laughing at myself intermittently, knowing that i was being immature, unreasonable and emotionally fucked-up, and hormonally emotional. having spent the weekend in calgary, i was also emotionally messed up from realising how much i miss not only school (well, my school people)  but also my fabulous roommate who really really REALLY is fucking fabulous. so yeah…having cried for the better part of an hour, i'm better now…ish.

i'm off on the road tomorrow night, going to start working for realz, yo. tell ya how it went. first stop? alberta's white supremacist capital! woot woot! if that doesn't make me appreciate the landscape architects, i don't know what will! i also am well aware of the fact that this is my typical transitional idiocy and that having found my pace, i shall do well… if the white supremacists don't get me.



*when i started working here last summer, my aunt gave me a small potted orchid to keep me company (not that i needed it last summer…sigh) and after producing its single solitary bloom, it went into hibernation mode. when i went back to school, i gave it to a co-worker for safe-keeping and only just reclaimed it midweek last. it isn't blooming now and has not bloomed since its early days, and so, because it is essentially just a small tangerine pot with some droopy-looking dark green leaves, i decided it needed a little something extra and i made a flag out of a pink post-it note. on it, in my best calligraphy, i wrote "herman the disappointing orchid," which i thought was pretty damn hilarious.

this weekend, when i told a lovely friend about it, he chastised me for being cruel: "sure," quoth he, "you could say a thing like that… IN YOUR HEAD!!! not to herman! how does that make him feel? maybe he's trying really hard and this is the best he can do!" needless to say i felt pretty badly about it, though not enough to take down the flag. herman needs tough love. life is NOT easy. why, sometimes you get put on the fourth floor!!!

29 May, 2014

who you calling bozo?

thing is, i'm working now, and i know y'all are just dying to find out if it's all it's cracked up to be. short answer: no. why no? you holler like some sort of lightly deranged international greek chorus, complete with rending of garments and pouring ashes on your heads (seriously? enough with the drama already!) and lo, i shall tell you:

the best part of last year was being surrounded by heaps and oodles of like-minded individooooals who were funny and witty and awesome and friendly. this year, as some sort of bizarre punishment and/or an attempt to prevent me from decreasing the productivity of the entire third floor (as i suspect i did last year), i have been placed in isolation on the fourth floor. no big, right? wrong.

the fourth floor (a.k.a. the gulag) is home to just a small pile of largely absent planners (more on that later) and a whole host of landscape architects. what's wrong with landscape architects? well, given my less than stellar experience with the head of our school who was initially a landscape architect, i should have been worried. i wasn't. but i should have been. turns out she was a classic example of a typical landscape architect: socially awkward, unable to maintain eye contact, incapable of the simplest human interactions, and refusing to acknowledge the existence of Strangers. turns out, i'm a Stranger.

my desk is placed right by the door to the kitchen (my cubicle with window of yesteryear is but a faint memory…) through which pours a countless stream of landscape architects who REFUSE TO ACKNOWLEDGE THE FACT THAT I AM SITTING RIGHT THERE. RIGHT. THE. FUCK. THERE!!!! like, right there! you know they can see me, because they would have to be legally blind not to, and yet as they near the entrance to the kitchen, their gaze is magically whisked away from me, and into the wildly exciting wall to their right. you know the way two magnets repel each other? that shit is what fuels the eyeballs of landscape architects.

so, since i tend towards egomaniacal paranoia (you likely have noticed but were too polite to say anything, i know, i know), i took it personally. it was one of two things: either a. word went out from the top, for everyone to stay the fuck away from me, or b. there was some sort of aura of ill-concealed violence and hatred emanating from me (what?! one doesn't always notice these sorts of things about oneself!). then i started talking to my people. turns out, it's not me, it's landscape architecture.

both the planning group and the environmental group, AND my boss, AND several unrelated people have told me, on their own, that landscape architects are an odd bunch. yeah. odd. rainman odd. i'm thinking low-to-moderate-functioning asperger's but less sociable. with a few exceptions, natch, like my old pal n, and the top boss who is a lovely lovely guy. but other than that? i feel like i am actually hurting them when i can't hold back any longer and say hello. oh, they answer, but it costs them a lot. i betcha they have had to up their meds since i arrived on monday.

but back to the whole work thing: it'll be fine. i have two neighbours who have the potential to be pretty awesome, and there is one guy whom i will LOVE (it has been promised. i'd better love him or heads will roll…) who is currently away. and really, i'm there to work and not to party. plus heading down to the third floor every once in a while and getting all the positive feedback is highly gratifying. and also, i am currently doing sweet fuck all, while on tuesday my real work begins. i am being tossed into the seething cauldron of public engagement and will be travelling all over alberta for all of june, during which time it is possible i shall be insulted, yelled at, and possibly even have projectiles hurled at me. at least that's what i'm told public engagement is all about. frankly, i'm pretty stoked: hell, i might even have to get a company american express card, and if that doesn't impress you, you are cold and dead inside.

as for the titular bozo? y'all will have to wait. i ran out of room and i generally hate lengthy posts like this.

25 May, 2014

what just happened?

last night a thing happened. i went to bed well before mr. monkey and promptly fell asleep. i have no idea what i was thinking or dreaming about, but i (half) woke when he came in and i must have figured he was either a stranger or god knows who, because i (apparently) tried to get up in a panic and managed, in a rather dramatic and spectacular fashion, to fall out of bed*…right on my tailbone. because i was half asleep when this whole thing happened, the first clear thing i remember is lying on the floor, tangled in the duvet, experiencing massive pain. it. fucking. hurt... mr. monkey, after semi-succesfully managing to stifle his laughter at what must have been a rather entertaining sight, grew alarmed at my continued distress.

i suspect i was on the floor for a good 15 minutes. the pain was so intense, i grew nauseous from it, and had to be given water. mr. monkey kept asking me if i could feel my legs, which did not calm me one bit but i could (and i still can). i finally managed to crawl back into bed and quickly realised i needed to ice my butt, so off he went into the kitchen to bring me my icepack, but instead brought me a cloth sack filled with plastic iceballs for chilling drinks. so i iced my aching tailbone with a bag of iceballs and was grateful to boot and every once in a while i heard mr. monkey chuckle, no doubt remembering the sight of me flailing out of bed, wrapped in a quilt, and landing on the floor. i'm sure it was funny. i just wish it hadn't been so fucking painful.

am sitting on the couch now, typing this, feeling rather tender. still, gonna get out there and do some stairs, because i haven't been running in a month and stairs are a reasonable alternative, plus, living as we do a short block from edmonton's steep river valley, we are blessed with a large variety of stairs to run. off i go. we'll see if i manage to do it without any more drama!


*a very tall bed. we have an extra tall bed, apparently for added drama in cases such as this.

20 May, 2014

old country and new

i am back. almost two weeks in poland, followed in close proximity by almost two weeks with parents and mr. monkey hiking in the glorious parks of utah, means that although i have had good times, what i need more than anything else at the moment is to sit up alone, listening to my favourite radio show, doing things of no particular importance, at my own damn pace, alone, by myself.

how was it, you ask? (and i knew you would ask, my poultries, because you are sweet and lovely). 'twas good. my plans to pop into poland before whiling away the better part of my vacation in prague or berlin came to naught: there's a power to an almost-94-year-old grandmother, a power based on the ticking away of time… prague will likely be there next year, my grandma? well, the likelihood is nowhere near as solid on that one, and i chose the path that will give me a clear conscience. and also, despite the warnings of my parents who had spent 2 weeks in the old country just before me, it was actually a pleasant visit once i decided to embrace its pace, to acknowledge the power of the passage of time, and to take on the responsibilities of love. i am glad i did it.

the hiking trip to utah was pretty damn good, despite mr. monkey's…ahem...scheduling difficulties. my mom and i are early birds. my father isn't but is amenable to persuasion when faced with the prospect of physical exertion*. mr. monkey? not so much. some conflicts were had. other conflicts were averted. my people-pleasing nature kicked my ass once or twice and made me wanna give myself a nice firm talking-to but what's a girl to do? they're all still talking to each other and seem to have gotten to know each other a wee bit better. drinking in small hotel rooms will do that sometimes.

the parks in utah (monument valley, natural bridges, canyonlands, arches, and various assorted nameless bits of beauty) were breathtaking, human-friendly in scale (except for the rude bits that made my fear of heights go into overdrive), beautifully coloured and ridiculously photogenic (pictures to follow). spring in the desert is something that needs to be experienced - the way that everything seems to be trying to outdo each other in blooming profusion: shrubs, bushes, trees, flowers and cactuses, against the red rocks and bright blue skies, the honey-scents, the buzzing insects, the birds singing, the cicadas…seriously, i could go on and on and on. don't make me go on and on and on; just go already, ok?

at any rate, i am back, i have a bit of free time until work begins on monday and i shall attempt to clean up my act, which has gotten rather sloppy of late. i shall also try to keep in touch, ok? ok.


*the man who will take his sweet time getting up before 9am on a weekend, will jump out of bed with no incentive whatsoever when faced with the prospect of a marathon that typically begins at 6am and therefore requires at least a 5am wake-up. go figger...

24 April, 2014

minimalism

i packed last night for my trip to poland. as usual, i had planned on only taking a carry-on, and as it was, i couldn't fill that darn thing. i added an extra shirt, an extra dress, and still, lots of wiggle room in there.

this morning, my mom called me and gave me a talking-to, because i had forgotten that a. i have one free piece of checked luggage and b. i would be coming back from poland with books and such, so i would need extra room. and so i grabbed a ridiculously huge* suitcase that mr. monkey had borrowed from his mom and hadn't gotten around to returning, and moved the contents of my half-empty carry-on into its cavernous interior. i added another pair of sandals. another two tops. a jacket. guess what - still half empty!

so here's my question to the interwebs: what the living FUCK do people put in their suitcases when they go for a week long beach vacation and bring three? full sized bottles of shampoo? six pairs of shoes including emergency hip-waders? fur coats in case the mexican evening gets a little chilly? i seriously do not get it and i'm a clothing addict - i have many lots of clothings and i love them to death and i like to look good, so it's not like i'm packing a pair of sweat pants and a t-shirt (good lord, i'd have my polish citizenship revoked immediately, if not sooner!). so please, explain this mystery to me, oh people of the interwebs: what does it keep in its suitcases?



*likely a perfectly reasonable size…to most people. clearly, i am not most people.

23 April, 2014

migraine? check! embarrassment? check! nausea related to both? check!

hello. i am an idiot. or something.

right now everything is fixed, but i am still sitting here with a nauseous belly and residual redness draining from my face. why? because i'm an idiot… or a "moreon" as i appropriately texted crusty juggler the other day on an unrelated* topic.

i spent the last few days editing and polishing the crap out of our huge final report, as detailed in last post, and lo, today i get an email from the prof saying that a bunch of links are missing. yes. missing links. you're welcome, favourite prof - you want missing links? i provide!

so yeah, ok, not the end of the world, this. not even anywhere close to the apocalypse or armageddon or you know, a global outbreak of ebola or even a plantar wart pandemic. however, i have made a point to offer my editing services to said prof, going on at length how fucking detail-oriented i am. jesus. i could smack myself. even trying to quiet the nasty yelling voice inside my head by using the whole "would you talk to a friend like this?" thing isn't working, because if said friend had gone on and on about how she didn't trust anyone else with this job because of what a perfectionist she is and so forth and then forgot to link a bunch of stuff, i might not say these things to her face, but i sure as fuck would judge her on the inside. for being a stuck up moreon.

the only thing that is making me hate myself a little less right now is the fact that i almost used my grandma's possible lung tumour (she's going into the hospital right in the middle of my visit) as an excuse, and then felt like a triple asshole and didn't. because i only found out today. and because it's irrelevant. and because i may be a moreon, but i am not an asshole.

i fixed the problem pronto, by dropboxing him every single file he asked for within 5 minutes, along with other files and then some more files. i believe that's called a "snow job" in the industry…sheesh…what a moreon!


*well, related in the fact that i'm an idiot or a "moreon" on multiple topics. hurray for multitasking!

22 April, 2014

burn, baby, burn

last night, after much back and forth'ing, toing and froing, fixing and refixing, promising not to reread and then promptly rereading, burning DVDs and then having to reburn them on account of all the revisiting of documents, i finally finished compiling, synthesising, and polishing my group's final project. i was supposed to be done by late afternoon. the last DVD got burned well after 10. i blame television (well, what?! all work and no play and yadda yadda), and my ridiculously tenacious perfectionism. and i can hardly blame myself when on the last rereading (the one i wasn't supposed to let myself do), i found a rather glaring mistake that could have cost us marks, not to mention a whole host of decidedly non-glaring mistakes that would have cost me peace of mind. but lo, it was done and i spent the next hour diddling around the interwebs chuckling quietly at the vague sense of guilt that kept trying to sneak in but which i kept at bay via judicious applications of reality.

this morning i woke up way too early as is my wont of late, and putzed around on the interwebs some more: it has become a habit to crawl downstairs, blearily open up the laptop, park my arse on the arse-shaped chair i have been occupying lo, these past two years, and begin work… except: no work. sure, i could sabotage my peace of mind by opening up the report yet again, and tweaking some glaringly obvious misuses of a semicolon that has miraculously escaped my attention last night, but that way madness lies.

i packed up my stuff, took a shower, made myself a protein smoothie, polished the stainless steel appliances for mfr who is getting the place listed and photographed today, and then, halfway down the stairs it hit me: i'm free! i'm done. it's over. AND i have a job. and also? it's over. and i'm free. and did i mention the fact that i'm done school? no? because hey! guess what?! i'm done school! forever, if i'm so inclined, though forever is a mighty long time as the minstrels say, and i still have a date with amsterdam linked with academia, so who knows…

but yeah, for a longish moment there i felt light and loose like a soap bubble, a butterfly, a balloon, or another light ephemeral item floating prettily through the air. free!

even this morning's migraine that i have no way of dealing with (all my industrial strength meds had been packed up and taken to edmonton last weekend: how handy! how efficient!) can't dampen my spirits. my spirits! they are undampable! undampenable? undampacious!!!

today, i go one last time to the hallowed halls of the place that has made me laugh, cry, kick things, swear (more than is typical), cry, weep, clench my teeth in frustration, cry, and all sorts of other feelings and actions like crying.* i shall remove my painter's-tape'd name off my locker. i shall take my monster lunch-pack filled with crayons and felts (do y'all remember how scared i was of the colouring? ha!). i shall pack up the bits of odd-shaped plexi that the architects leave all over the place that makes fantastic found art. i shall boil water for my tea in the shitty kitchen kettle one last time. i shall drop off my report DVDs to the best prof ever to grace these halls (he's getting DVDs that look like mixtapes, on account of my penchant for defacing every DVD or CD or whatnot that comes within the range of my sharpie). then i shall go and watch a final presentation by the second half of our class. then i shall go for drinks with whomever is interested. and then… well, y'all don't need to know my whole itinerary, but i will be in poland by friday.

it is done.



*the crying was mainly first semester. but hell, there was SO much of it! so very very much!

18 April, 2014

cheese, among other things

so i went out today filled with a certain amount of trepidation.

i came home with two chunks of very expensive and delicious cheese…and a job.

well, not A job, per se, but THE job. as in the full time equivalent of the best summer job ever of yesteryear. as in… boy, i was gonna make all sorts of "woot woot!" noises but then i realised that, really, i'm just very very tired. i suspect i'll be thrilled as soon as i get over this numbness, and in my head, i'm totally happy, just the rest of me hasn't caught up yet. too much to do, i suspect.

but no, really and truly: i got the job and i am thrilled beyond (evidently) my capacity to feel it at the moment. but yes: happy!

i just realised i put more excitement into my post about olive chicken than this, but my darling poultries, i really really am exhausted! why am i so exhausted? oh, yeah. the school thing.

alrighty then, back to the grind, but i wanted to take a few minutes to share my good news with you. seems like only yesterday i was telling you that i was going back to school, don't it? and now here i am! with a job! like a real honest to goodness adult! and a job that doesn't (hopefully) involve me coming home covered in blood and saliva, to boot!


16 April, 2014

oh, live chicken!

c and i had a study date today, finishing the least pleasant of this year's assignments. he suggested we meet at a recently opened establishment called olive chicken. it had good online reviews but i wasn't leaving the house today (snow. more snow. snowing all day. i mean, i know this is alberta, but come ON! if i cared about weather, i would be livid. luckily i a. don't care and b. realise the very limited benefits of meteorologically-inspired lividity*) where were we? oh. yes. chicken. so i asked c to pick us up a take out order and hot damn! it was SO SO so so sososososososo so good. i am not generally a fried chicken fan, and will not ever eat the skin because ew, but in this case i caved and carnivorously consumed every crumb and crease (huh? yet another example of the failure of alliteration!). this is korean fried chicken and it's covered in a sticky gooey spicy gingery sweet hot chilli sauce that deserves more than these seven measly adjectives, and soon i had all those adjectives all over my nose, cheeks, fingers and likely elbows. it. was. good.

the restaurant must surely be a front for some sort of crack-based business because i have not been able to stop thinking about the chicken. i want more. i want some right now. right this second. as i type this, i am salivating uncontrollably at the thought of getting my hands on some more olive chicken**.

i'd just finished telling my fabulous roommate and the newly arrived mr. monkey about the chicken experience. i got so excited i got a little addled:

moi: it's SO good! it's fried chicken! it's chicken on the inside and fried on the outside!

mfr & mr. m:

moi: sometimes i amaze myself.


* yes, i realise that's not what this word means, but you know what i mean, so shut it.

** no olives*** on the menu. inexplicable. pickled daikon, though, is readily available and refreshingly delicious!

*** mfr came up with the name "o, live chicken!" which is slightly more appropriate in that it acknowledges the absence of olives, but simultaneously egregiously fails to acknowledge the death of the chicken.


p.s. final push. final push, my pretties. once this hateful pile of unpalatable donkey dung (wait, is there palatable donkey dung? i suppose for some species there is… no judgment) is finished, i can start my heart's work, i.e. compiling and editing the 40 or so page document that is our final project, which, by the way, we successfully presented yesterday. wanna see? here:


14 April, 2014

games played with sticks and balls

last night, after i blogged the darkness in my soul, i decided that the thing to do would be to step away from the computer and join my fabulous roommate in his dungeon where he was watching golf. i don't watch golf. why in the hell would i watch golf? why does anybody? but i needed some human company, particularly if it involved non-destructive humans i could count on, and so i took my residual wine and my residual tea and joined him on the couch.

the poor man. all he ever wanted of the evening was to sit in peace and watch privileged white men in polyester pants whack the ball around the course. what he got, instead, was an embittered cranky polish woman with a big mouth who proceeded to heckle everything from the men's names ("bubba? who the fuck names their child bubba? even as a nickname! southern US, you need to stop this shit right now!"), to their facial hair ("douchebag fort mcmurray facial hair, and you tell me he's SWEDISH? he's an embarrassment to the Scandinavian Way!"), to their pants (those are terrible pants! the blue, it is a smurf blue - one should never wear smurf blue once one is out of diapers!), to the outfits worn by the caddies ("white coveralls are so fetching…"). i made fun of everything, occasionally realising i needed to shut up and then utterly failing to do so for more than a minute at a time.

bubba won, and when he came off the course into the waiting arms of his tall blonde athletic wife and adorable toddler, the man was BAWLING. this is the point at which i lost it, because what the hell? mfr scoffed and said the man had just won the most prestigious golf trophy. yeah, golf. trophy. as in: golf. as in: a game played with sticks and balls. then i realised that large amounts of money were involved (like, some serious big ass moneys, people! for golf. ) and that made me swallow bubba's emotional outburst a little more… but then, when i waxed cynical about that, i suddenly realised that what i was doing with my big, loud, uncontrollable mouth, was kinda ruining the moment for mfr. so i left.

i can be a bit of an asshole sometimes. i try to apologise when that happens.

but really: golf?!

13 April, 2014

an analogy in lego

having asked my fabulous roommate if a glass of wine is an appropriate accompaniment to giving up on humanity, and gotten an affirmative, i am now sitting here with my glass, typing away my frustration, though perhaps a punching bag or a good cry would be more appropriate.

no, no, no, nothing really bad has happened, it's just that… well, imagine if you will that you have built an intricate structure out of lego. you moved things around and around until it's almost perfect. the red blocks are on the bottom, the white in the middle, and so on. this took a loooong time from the initial model that had the general look of what you wanted, but did not follow the rules assigned. see? there it is! it is a thing of great beauty and it fills you with pride, because you have spent a long time on it. you have buffed it to a high gloss shine. you have honed it to a fine edge. you have spent a long time loving it. a long time. it was an enjoyable time, true, but not as enjoyable as, say, watching some seriously crappy television sans guilt. so yeah, there it is.

so say you now ask your partner to add blue turrets to it, on all the applicable levels, as per project assignment. the partner knows where the turrets go. you trust the partner. perhaps you are an idiot. or perhaps you have so many other things to do you have no choice. and so you work on the yellow wingnuts and let the partner have at the blue turrets.

when you come back to the structure several days later, behold, there are the blue turrets, on all the applicable levels. but…BUT. but as you look closer, you realise that in the process of putting in the blue turrets (on all the applicable levels, natch), your partner has completely (though subtly) rearranged things so that that gorgeous and perfect thing of neat and clean colour coding you have spent such a long time on, is now disrupted. there is a yellow amidst the greens; a blue in the whites: a sort of lego-version of the most unwelcome benetton ad ever made. because in this one instance you really want white to stick to white, and so on… and so you take a deep breath, and then you start, AGAIN, to rework the very things you had already done (well) once. it takes a long time, and as you dig deeper, you realise that the structure has been altered in other ways, ways that make you want to sob, but ways that nobody but you will notice, and so, heartsick, you let it go.

and then you tell c that you are now officially over fucking group work and that you want out NOW. and then you ask mfr about the wine. and then you drink the wine and blog about it and realise that it can't be so very bad if this thought comes roughly 9 days before the end of it all. this thought tries to lift your spirits, but it's hard going. because you loved that fucking lego structure and you made it fucking perfect and you don't understand how someone would fail to see the importance of the details after a semester in a class that brought detail-oriented joy to your heart, the heart that is now, if not broken, then seriously bruised.

fuckers.

07 April, 2014

the edge

i am standing on the edge of a precipice. the wind is whipping my hair into my face. the waves are crashing into the rocks below me and it seems like it's an insurmountable distance. there are voices behind me, and a huge sky in front. i know the water is bone-shatteringly cold, but i also know i cannot stand here for any length of time. after all, the way leads forward, doesn't it? i am filled with the same kind of excitement and fear and exhilaration that i felt last september: a sort of death-wish coupled with the awareness that to stop or go back would cost far more than the temporary comfort of no-change is worth. there might be sharks, sure. but maybe not. or maybe it doesn't matter, i mean, jesus - there are sharks everywhere (metaphorically speaking, of course).

all of last week or maybe two (you should seriously just make peace with the fact that the passage of time is beyond my grasp these days), i have been walking around with a knot in my belly. oddly enough, it's not the same sort of stomach knot that depression brings me - this one is a sort of deep visceral fear mixed in equal measures with excitement, elation and something i can't quite put my finger on, some sort of feeling of the beginning of another era, i suppose…

i think that it's essential to note that the feeling i have right now is a sort of uncontrollable giddiness not because i'm almost done, but because i'm in it. it's the being in it that's making me thrilled and scared and overwhelmed and fucked up and and and… you know, feeling feelings.

what i fear is that i won't be good enough. that they (those not-so-mythical "they" who STILL HAVEN'T CALLED ME BACK ABOUT A JOB!!!) will see that i am a stoopid fraud with only her big mouth to fall back on. but that's not the biggest fear. i fear a new life, not seeing the goofy mugs of the lovelies who have made me happy these last two years: k, with her quiet calm and ability to listen and say the perfect thing; c, who has taught me that in friendship age is irrelevant and who has continued to amaze me both with the unexpected depth of our connection and the shallowness of our gossip; mfr, whom i will miss for his kindness and caring and patience, and for being there and NOT being there precisely when i needed it; j, for her tranquil vibe and much-needed lessons in self-care; dd, for her frenetic energy and huge heart; and others and others and others…

i remember each time i left school for any length of time i felt i would die of loneliness, and then swiftly found myself splashing joyfully in the world that awaits me 298km north of here, and found i didn't die after all. except this time it's for good and i'm a big enough girl to know that friendships don't always last when the string gets pulled too taut.

but that's not all: this is big. this is the new me, diving into the ocean like a girl who forgot her fear of heights and sharks. watch me: this is big!

01 April, 2014

the end is nigh!

two weeks, my bunnies, two weeks. in two weeks i will be as close to done as makes no difference.
am i happy, you ask? well, you'd think i would be, no? done with the drudgery and idiocy and frustrations… instead, i seem to have come down with a nasty case of stockholm syndrome, and find myself maybe not dreading the light at the end of the tunnel but definitely wanting to curl up in the dark where i know it's safe(ish).

the thought of being out in "the real world" doesn't phase me. nor does the fact that i have not yet heard back about my job prospects at My Number One Most Awesome Choice Job Ever and have neglected to apply ANYWHERE ELSE.* what it is, is a feeling of security and comfort in this dismal institution. why, even the second-in-command has become all smiley and friendly-like since we've gotten our official accreditation! i know where i stand here. i know that the amount of work i am expected to complete is simultaneously unreasonable and completely doable. i know that these hallowed halls (with electrical outlets so badly decayed that they sprayed c with dramatic electrocution sparks as he tried to unplug his laptop three times!) are a sort of home. i know these people (some of whom i have wanted to murder on multiple occasions) are a sort of family. and given that this last semester has been a challenge nirvana for this poor beast, this beast just sort of wants it to continue. see? classic stockholm syndrome.

i might need an intervention.



*ain't nobody got time for that shit!






29 March, 2014

score!!!

my fabulous roommate and i have this ongoing thing - he watches sports on television and i make fun of him for watching sports on television. we also have a disagreement wherein i say i don't care about hockey, and he says i want to not care about hockey but in my secret heart of hearts i do, in fact, care about hockey. the truth is, i used to care about hockey, but i no longer do. my heart was broken too many times. i have moved on. as it is, he continues to inform me about games featuring the edmonton oilers (the team that broke my heart all these years ago) even though i don't care.

case in point, this morning:

mfr: the oilers beat one of the nhl's best teams last night!

moi:(skeptically) how'd they do that?

mfr: by scoring more goals than the other team.

oh lord…

28 March, 2014

ouch

my fabulous roommate and i were watching the last two hours of the godfather II (we started the 3h 20 min movie last weekend). halfway through, i went upstairs to pee. having noticed that my toenails were getting unreasonably long, i decided to grab the bull by the horns, as it were, and cut them right then and there. because i happened to be in the wine, i stabbed myself in the finger. i came downstairs, bleeding.

moi: i stabbed myself.

mfr: oh yeah?

moi: aren't you gonna ask how i did it?

mfr: how did you do it?

moi: cutting my toenails.

mfr: yeah. i like to do that during a break in a movie, too.

moi: well, they were getting so loooong!

mfr: well, it is a long movie.

later, we were discussing my pen situation (i.e. good pens, versus floor pens). mfr mentioned that the mysterious, almost brand new bic floor pens i kept finding in studio were likely planted there by bic as a marketing ploy. if so, i said, it failed; i prefer my fancy 4$ pens.

moi: i am a penisseur!

mfr: (laughing)

moi: … that's not what i meant.

mfr: (still laughing)

moi: i meant a connaisseur of pens and you know it!!!

26 March, 2014

seriously?

in our killer class today, we were sitting around in our group and parcelling out the massive amount of work we still have left to do until this is all over. suddenly i looked over and saw that c was writing with one of my good pens.*

moi: YOU! you have one of my good pens! you know you're not allowed to use my good pens! you can only use floor pens! what are you doing?

c: …but it feels so goooooood!

everyone erupted in laughter though c most certainly did not mean it in that way.

moi (after the laughter died down a bit): yes, it does have a very smooth tip, don't it?

new laughter. man, it sure felt good to guffaw at stupid stuff.





*there's a story in this: people are always borrowing my pens. always. and then they hardly ever return them. because i have two pens that i LOVE and do not want to lose, i have started to pick up random floor pens, keeping them as spares. people are allowed to borrow my floor pens. they are not allowed to borrow my good pens. you wanna borrow a pen? them's the rules.

the tale of feral belly and the mountain lost and the mountain gained

while i'm waiting for my gigantic document to load, i figured i might as well get you up to snuff with my goings on…well, some of my goings on. no time for all. nor the inclination. nor, to be perfectly honest, the interest. you're welcome.

the most exciting news happened weeks ago (months? years? who can tell?!?!) but i forgot to mention, but should, because it's a sort of part B to a part A that i bitched blogged about a wee while ago. so - in the face of increasing/continuing/fluctuating/ongoing stress, my stomach has gone rogue again. essentially it returned to the feral state in which i found it all these years ago, wondering the woods, growling uncontrollably, fangs bared, twigs and dirt in its hair,*fiery anger in its little beady eyes, ready to pounce on anything and anyone.

despite what you may think you know about me, i tend to stay calm…ish in the face of (some? most? occasional?) adversity, but the price of that is the stress goes to my feral stomach. so yeah, lately, it's been pretty damn bad. finally got diagnosed with IBS, which is really no diagnosis at all, but a half-hearted shrug that means "listen, lady, you ain't got this, you ain't go that, and you most certainly ain't got that, so what you does got is IBS, unless we can come up with some better acronym or give you a test that actually shows something." fine with me. explains a lot. like years and years a lot.

so, short story looooong, as is my wont, to tell you that i have not been happy in the middle regions and the thought of heading to the dubious plumbing facilities of nepal was not helping. then again, facing my dad and telling him i would be bailing on his most precious and beloved dream was kinda unfun too. but eventually something's gotta give and i called the man…

…who was kind, understanding, supportive and absolutely fine with me not going. he even added that yeah, the place might not be the best vacation spot for a feral belly. WHAT. THE. WHAT?!?! he said he didn't want me to go to please him if it was going to mean i would be unhappy. ok, who is this man?
at any rate, i breathed a sigh of relief and promised to join my parents in utah in october for a marathon.**  this sounded fabulous, as i love the desert and my parents have always been raving about the many stunning national parks of utah.

two days (one day? three days? who can tell?!?!?) i get an email from my dad informing me of another marathon in utah. in may! i.e. during the very time of the proposed nepal expedition! he was bailing on his dream so that we could spend family time together, hiking the red rocks as a family unit!

and so, darling poultries, one irritant is removed, and i can now rest easy knowing that my feral belly and i will actually have the vacation we are looking forward to after school is over: two weeks in poland (with a long overdue jaunt to prague and maybe to berlin or warsaw or whatever, cause IT'S MY DAMN TRIP AND I CAN DO WHAT I WANT, BITCHES!!!) and then two weeks in a spot strategically located to be close to all the gorgeous bits of utah! then, if they ever call me the hell back, a job? please little baby jebus, a job…well, THE job (more on that later).

now to get this school thing over and done with.


*stomach hair? ew.
 **because it's always for a marathon. any other reason for travel is deemed frivolous

22 March, 2014

kansas

my fabulous roommate and i recently finished watching true detective, a dark, brooding HBO series with the prerequisite gratuitous nudity, creative violence, really good writing, and absolutely stellar performances by the two leads. the show takes place in a louisiana rarely shown in travel brochures: expansive fields of sugar cane, dying towns, monumental spirals of highway interchanges, swamps punctuated by the odd spanish-moss festooned oak, oil refineries looming over the mississippi (never the prettiest of rivers in that part of the country). overall, it looks very little like the gorgeous and vibrant place i know and love.

mfr, looking at the vast fields, proclaimed that it looked like kansas and this very quickly became a Thing. every time a shot of a bayou or a decidedly non-kansas-like bit of geography appeared on the screen, i'd nod sagely and say, yup, that's kansas for you. since then, every film or show we have watched, every shot of outdoor scenery (italian hillside town, ireland, whatever) has been kansas.

last night we were having a little late night chat about life, the universe and everything:

mfr: it's all kansas, really.

moi: yes! it's the chicken of geography!

14 March, 2014

tired

astonishing how quickly a person gets used to a frenetic pace, to constant demands, to an almost utter lack of free time. grad school, as i've often complained, has been an intellectual disappointment in many ways. even though i've been ridiculously happy here, i really wish there'd been more of a challenge, beyond the self-imposed ones, and the ones that came from working with some awesome self-motivated people. well, in the last several months that wish has come true, and, as such things are wont to do, it came true with a vengeance.

my final project course is being taught by a new professor, still full of vim and vinegar and robust expectations nourished upon the fertile soil of ivy league schools. we disappoint him, but still he pushes us. he pushes us past the point of breaking, and we do not break; he pushes us past our abilities and we miraculously find hidden stores within ourselves; he pushes us past the limits of time and we manage to get things done and often early. we are almost done, feeling done with learning, and find ourselves, in the space of the last several months having learned so much new information and skills that they rival the first semester. i am exhausted. i am spent. i am tired of staying at school till 10pm every night, clickety-clacketing at the keyboard, creating graphics that just 2 months ago would have seemed impossible, making peace with programmes that used to bring me nightmares: i'm just tired.

 but i am also excited to finish with a bang and not the whimper afforded by the other two classes in this semester, classes whose presence registers only as an annoyance and time stolen from the final project which consumes us. aside from shiny new computer and graphic skills, we are also being pushed intellectually, discovering new ways of seeing, thinking, planning. despite a stress-induced blow-out a week ago (two weeks? three? who knows anymore?!) where i told him a few choice words and he responded by calling us lazy incompetent bureaucratic paper pushers (the first two words were implied; the last three painfully explicit), things are moving along and we have made peace with each other. i like him a lot - he can be pompous, does not deign to listen to opinions contrary to his own very well, he can sometimes bludgeon with the strength of his convictions, but i just really like the man, and a big part of this is the feeling of being given my degree not on a silver platter, wrapped in gratuitous A's, but earning it after a long hard slog through a battlefield.

we are ⅔ of the way through the course, and have a rather important presentation today, following which will come a weekend without an assignment. having spent the last (insert reasonable number here, i no longer have any idea) weekends armpit-deep in project work, this feels like an unprecedented and unhoped for luxury. crusty juggler asked if i wanted to go on a shopping trip - for once (having bailed on dinner plans weekend after weekend), i might, i just might be able to do it. what joy!

one last thing to note, though, is that in light of the way this semester has played out, the thought of spending 6 weeks in poland and then nepal feels far less like a dream vacation than a sentence. i am going to plead for leniency with my dad - maybe we can postpone nepal to another year (cannot postpone poland - one does not postpone a trip to see a 93-year old woman) and instead do something easy. something that does not add to the stress that has turned by gut into a gigantic mess (hello IBS! how nice to be finally diagnosed!).

at any rate, this is my life, for better or worse. i do miss you. hang in there. i think i might be back at some point.

09 March, 2014

say wha?

last night, a conversation that could only happen between me and my fabulous roommate, or possibly at an igor household in a terry pratchett novel:

moi: i lost your foot! i put it on my head and it fell off!

05 March, 2014

things that go pffft in the night

did i mention i was celebrating a small little tiny deadline completion and a great mark on an essay? so i had 2 and a half glasses of wine. as usual, i should have stopped at two.

moi: blather blather, blah, blah, blah, stupid tired/drunk stuff...i really shouldn't have had that third half glass of wine…

mfr: you mean the fifth half glass?!

moi: yes. that one. so, you working tomorrow?

mfr: yes.

moi: but it's my birthday!!!

mfr: i checked the company website. they don't even know about it.

moi: assholes!

mfr: i know.

i am flabbergasted, because google knows about it! i know it's marketing and all that, but come on! how awesome is it to have the entire interwebs celebrate your birthday!? wait…what? what do you mean you didn't get my birthday google doodle? 

sigh...

words! words! words words words! also, hi.

moi (doing one of my favourite time-wasting activities that don't involve stupid television shows. i.e. looking at the movie trailers on apple trailers): gah! why do things always have to take a "dark and unexpected turn?!"
my fabulous roommate: because that's what life is like.
moi: NO! it is not! and you know it!
mfr (in the most dejected tone imaginable): oh. good.

i have been silent for far too long. but it's all coming to an end, and the end, being nigh and all that, is filled with all sorts of scholarly activities that keep me in school till waaaay past my bedtime (ok, 10:30, but still…). it's been busy. it's been so busy. so so SO busy. but good. busy and good. but SO busy, what with all the busy and all. and did i mention how busy it's been? yesterday (i.e. tuesday) felt like the longest week ever, as a result of which i kept thinking today is the day after friday, if the day after friday was another type of weekday. so. yes. busy.

in the one allotted week of non-busy, i went on a parental-sponsored trip to phoenix and las vegas, though not at all in the way you think when you hear phoenix and vegas, i promise you.

as per usual, part of the trip revolved around my dad running a marathon (he would likely spontaneously combust if he were to go on a trip unrelated to running a marathon). he ran the marathon in phoenix, badly, too, because practice and stretching are concepts foreign to the man, as is the idea of aging and no longer being able to perform insane feats of physical endurance without the proper preparation, but whatevs. my mom and i dropped him off before the sun rose, and had our morning coffee in a local macdonald's filled to the brim (THE BRIM, PEOPLE!!!) with elderly men in various stages of decrepitude. bucking the statistics, the women were outnumbered roughly 54,721:1, and my mom and i were the hottest, youngest things in the 'hood. which would have felt nice if the general population wasn't hovering in the very near vicinity of the triple digits.

still, the majority of the trip consisted of hiking in the desert, which is the most peaceful, gorgeous and silent place imaginable, especially in mid february when spring is just starting to poke its green schnozz outta the sand; evening glasses of cheap wine (oh, trader joe's - if there was one reason for me to consider moving south of the border, you would be it! you, with your glorious selection of dried fruit and wine starting at just $3.99 a bottle…sigh…); occasional walks along the las vegas strip, which is one highly efficient way to get really really depressed about the state of humanity in general (scooter? check! obesity? check! oxygen tank? check! cigarettes? check!) and american humanity in particular; one or two semi-successful shopping trips; and a whole lotta not-writing of an unfinished essay. overall, the trip was great. i love liking my parents. i've always managed to love them, but there was a particular dry spell in the early years of my marriage in the liking area, and things are back to good, if not better!

i drove, and demonstrated my newfound courage by driving in phoenix itself* and las vegas. my dad drove back in the evenings when my sight grew dim, to quote the eagles.

one of the most astonishing things about the desert is that it makes me fall asleep like nowhere else. yeah, yeah, you say to yourself (enough with this talking to yourself! it's getting weird. you really oughta see someone!), it's the physical exertion. blah blah blah. i've been running almost every day. i've hiked places. i've stridden, marched and plodded, and never, NEVER, i say! have i slept as well as i do in the desert. i fall asleep, get this, within 15 minutes of my head hitting the pillow! this, my darling poultries, is unprecedented! miraculous! dang good, even!

so yes, this is what happened. and then i came back, fell back in the bottomless bucket of work, and so i'm working. tonight i finished an assignment and am celebrating with glasses of portuguese** wine and watching the aforementioned apple trailers.

so yeah, i'm still alive. but busy. you know? very, very busy. almost done school, and all that, but we don't talk about that, on account of the busyness and all. talk to you when i next come up for air. might be a while.

*no big deal as the city is essentially one big interstate punctuated by occasional strip malls, subdivisions, and really really good and cheap mexican restaurants.

**still find that second "u" really odd and unnecessary. i mean, really! why is it even there? it's not like there's an invisible "q" lurking on the premises…is there?

13 February, 2014

king of the hill

it's really hard not to feel like a pretentious asshole when buying a plane ticket to kathmandu and stressing to the agent the importance of having to be there on a specific date so that you can have time to acclimatize before hitting everest base camp.

if you know me well, you likely have heard me rant and rave about the everest crowd - pretentious assholes every last one. besides, what's the achievement in paying somebody 50K to outfit you for a trip up a mountain that is so crowded you need to line up to summit? soon they'll put in an escalator or, better still, all mobility access ramp so that the flabby and the infirm can ride up in their power scooters. and yet, in a couple of months, i too shall be adding my carcass to the moving carpet of humanity that litters the crowded slopes of the king of mountains*.


just so you know, this isn't my bucket list that's getting a checkmark; it's my dad's. he and my cousin are so in love with the place they've gone back several times, and this time he wants to take me and my mom along for the ride. and so, instead of hitting my bucket list (vietnam, i'm looking at you. and you, amsterdam, my great love!) to celebrate finishing school, i am taking one on the chin for family. though you must know i'm actually quite looking forward to it. the kathmandu part for sure. the mountain part…not so much (the climbing! the lack of oxygen! and did i mention the climbing?)

i just wish i didn't feel like such an asshole about the everest base camp bit of the trip. next thing you know, i'll be wearing oakleys (sorry, c - you know they're the official sunglasses of the north american asshole.)

*if you know me well, you'll also know that i think everest is cheating, since its base is so high above sea level. sure, it's the highest point on earth, but base to summit, kilimanjaro kicks everest's ass…and that's another mountain filled to the brim with asshole tourists. 

12 February, 2014

a funny thing happened to me on the way to the forum

c and i finished friday's graphic assignment tuesday evening. sure, i stayed at school a wee bit late two evenings in a row, but c did most of the heavy lifting and all i had to do is polish up the sharp edges which is something i adore, so… that's done.

today, after days and days of perambulations, obfuscations and procrastinations, i tackled my essay. i'd been doing research for over a week, reading article after article*, jotting down the salient points in a 5-page file, along with the very best quotes and a general outline. a lot of work, my poultries, especially for a topic that fails to excite. today i began to write. i was one paragraph in when i decided to transfer the essay bits off the notes page into a new document so i could look at both at the same time. simple, non? non.

in the midst of this simple copy and paste, word freezes up and all comes to a standstill. there is a pregnant pause**and then i realise that nothing's budging, so i force quit word and then restart. guess what i find: i now have 2 files, one titled notes, the other titled essay, both with nothing but that first paragraph on them, and the notes are nowhere to be found.

i scoured the laptop, i scoured the interwebs, i tried every flavour of IT snake-oil known to nerd, and nothing. nothing. NOTHING!!! i'd rather have lost that one paragraph than a week's and 10 articles' worth of notes. i came pretty damn close to crying, let me tell you, the upside of which was realising that it's been a damn long while since i felt like crying, which i suppose is a sweet little nugget in a pile of bitter poo.

at any rate, after railing about this on facebook (wherein i had to explain to people repeatedly that I DID SAVE the damn document, after all, i'd been using it for a week so obviously it was saved and also, i'm not a complete idiot and YES, i have auto-save and YES, i know how to search for missing things which all makes it even worse, cause this thing is gone, baby, gone), i went on to write roughly half the essay, pulling the information randomly out of various orifices, hoping the elegance of my prose would cover the alarming lack of organisation. then i thought i'd celebrate, because, honey, i deserve it.

we all know that chez moi, nothing says celebration like a nice glass of vino, so with c's blessings (have two, he tells me, you deserve it (see? i told you i deserved it!)) i went to open a bottle languishing on a shelf.

i plunged in my corkscrew and half the cork came out. i went in again and another piece came out. i went in again, aiming for the least mangled portion of the cork. more chunks came out. again and again, i tried to open the damn bottle and kept getting small chunks of fine portuguese cork all over my damn counter. there came a point where i had had enough (and not nearly enough cork for further excavation) and decided to do it the old fashioned street-thug way - using a knife to push the rest of the cork in.

have you ever done that, my poultries? pushed a cork in? i've seen mister monkey do it, and it looked easy. hah. HAH, i tell you. it wasn't easy. what happened was this: the cork went in easily enough, displacing with its small but notable presence, according to the annoying laws of physics (the displacement of mass and all that), an equal amount of red wine, which went out and up and directly into my eye. that shit stings, did you know? i ran to the sink, washed my face and was ready to laugh at the ridiculousness of the whole thing…until i looked up and saw the walls. the walls covered with matte white wallpaper. in the kitchen. yes. you heard me. and yes, you can draw your own conclusions about the intellect or practicality of the person responsible for that particular decorating travesty. i think i might have been able to wash the wine off if i'd gone after it immediately, alas i was too busy bending over the sink muttering, it burns, it burns! as i splashed cold water in my eyes.

my shirt was also covered with attractive splashes of wine, as was the counter and the floor. obviously, those are no big deal. but come on, porous white wallpaper in the kitchen? what. the. fuck. and to really flesh out this story, let me tell you that the number of glasses of red wine that i spilled over the years at my roommate's other houses, usually all over very light carpeting, was so great that i was no longer allowed to drink red.

i think i may be done for the day.

the wine, by the way, is very good.


P.S. i just 'fessed up to my fabulous roommate (on account of it being kinda impossible to hide, unlike the one time i spilled grape juice on their white master bedroom carpet and hid it by moving all the furniture 2 inches to the right) and you know what he said? "if some is pink now, we're going to need more red wine." best roommate ever.




*real books are for fun. for research, it best be electronic or i ain't gonna read it.

**for all you pc users, this is not a typical daily occurrence with macs. it's very very VERY rare.

07 February, 2014

the trooff, the whole trooff and nothing but the trooff

i've had several conversations lately with various friends and it got me thinking about the concept of honesty. let me preface everything that is to come by saying that i do believe in honesty. anyone who knows me knows that i am mostly upfront about what i feel and why i feel it. yes, i wish i was better about dealing with unpleasantness in a work or school environment, but hey, it ain't bad.

however, the idea of being completely honest, utterly and totally open about what is going on in my head makes me feel ill. i am an intensely private person, though i know you find it hard to believe. but surely you must know that even when i open myself wide, i am keeping a whole lot hidden. i have never been dishonest here, but i have never been completely honest either. you know very little of what's been going on in my life (other than what you've inferred or imagined) and i intend to keep it that way. what you know is how it all made me feel. i have no qualms about sharing my feelings.

one of the most spiritually uncomfortable moments of my young life was when a (catholic school) teacher said that when we die, all that we have ever thought or done will be projected on a large screen for god to see. i remember feeling nauseous at the concept - even with the implied notion that god already would have known all my most secret thoughts. my head is, and has always been, my own. my thoughts, my dreams, my fantasies, my ideals are mine, mine, mine.

i also find the concept of total and complete honesty in relationships morally repugnant. it feels like violation to be expected to share absolutely everything and keep nothing secret. i would not want mr. monkey to share his whole being with me, and i would never reciprocate if he did. i need my secret self. i crave it. and i think it is everyone's right to have that inviolable core. i don't think it's wrong if others believe in total honesty, i just don't buy it for myself.

the only case for full and total honesty that i do buy is with oneself. it ain't easy, but it's vital.

and lest you think i have closets full of skeletons or bodies buried all over the continent, well, i could tell you that is not the case, but i prefer to keep that to myself.

06 February, 2014

friends

it's not even 8am, so clearly i am not drunk. just a quick disclaimer to get out of the way, because i fear i may be heading in a sentimental direction and i don't want you to jump to the obvious, though wrong, conclusion.

mr. monkey and i were walking home from a lovely dinner party a couple weekends ago, carefully navigating the ice mountains that cover our sidewalks this bipolar* winter (-25ºC! +15ºC! again! and again!), when it occurred to me that while it may be inordinately hard to get one's own measure (so many complicated ego-driven, willfully blind, confusing, mood-related ups and downs!), it's really rather simple to do it via one's friends.

think about it - the quality of your friends says so much about you, don't it? well, i choose to say it does, largely because hot damn, i am one lucky lady in the friend department. when i take a mental inventory of the people in my life, i come up with the corollary that i must be pretty damn awesome myself to be surrounded by so much glowing awesomeness. if there's one thing i've been lucky in (and i've been lucky in so much! praise the little flying manatees!), it's the people in my life.

and now there's new ones to add to the pack - the ones at school (and you know who you are) who make me happy happy happy to see their shining mugs every day; the virtual ones on here who have held my hand when i most needed hand holding, virtual or otherwise; my fabulous roommate who doesn't really count as a new acquisition but whom i have gotten to know ever so much better over the last year and a bit and who has exceeded all my expectations** and who brings so much laughter and surreal humour to my daily life.

all the black sad bits in my life are more than offset by the gleeful gaggle of gorgeous gems that are my friends.


*never mind the polar vortex - the bipolar vortex is what we've been going through and it's exhausting.

**maybe my expectations are too low. note to self: increase expectations. surely that couldn't ever end badly!

31 January, 2014

lady bits

dear manufacturers of the euphemistically named feminine hygiene products,*

what is up with the scents? seriously? if i was meant to smell like flowers, i'd have a pot-pourri basket instead of a vagina. cut. it. out. it's vile.

thank you,

concerned citizen with a non-floral vagina

*menstruation paraphernalia for those unwilling to engage in euphemisms when dealing with regular normal body stuff. yes, it's blood. get over it.

29 January, 2014

them's the numbers and the numbers they don't lie

i like to think of myself as an intelligent person. i maintain this opinion by the cunning use of selective comparison, by surrounding myself with intelligent people and finally, through careful and almost entirely successful math avoidance. sadly, this term has brought into my life a class with the charming name "analytical methods for planners" that is almost entirely math and statistics based.

despite the fact that i got top marks in my high school math courses (though even then i did not enjoy them), i balked when faced with calculus, and have since maintained a semi-mythical Fear of Numbers. i am now realising how stupid it was for me to keep feeding this semi-fictional account of things, because it has been proven by my marks (granted, a great many years and an even greater number of brain cells ago) that i can indeed do this shit, and the fear that has since grown does nothing to help me overcome the assignments that i must overcome. my primary reaction is awed astonishment that someone would be so cruel, followed in short order by panic. not surprisingly, this does not help the situation at all, but it has over the years become my default setting.

so whenever i get too big for my britches, and all sorts of intellectually snarky, be so kind as to remind me of the fact that i am mathematical anti-genius. one look at me and c last week trying to scale some maps would have left you laughing uncomfortably (or shaking your collective heads* in dismay). it was to the point where we were considering removing our boots and socks to get at toes to add to the fingers necessary for the calculations. eventually we gave up and i forced mister monkey to try to get this stuff through my head over the weekend…semi-successfully.

i feel rather strongly that if i hadn't made it one of my "things," this fear of math, then my attitude would have remained more open, thereby allowing in a greater understanding. i mean, i don't have to love it, but it sure would be nice not to be reduced to slack-jawed terror at the sight of excel or a scale work sheet. looks like the buffoonery has come home to roost.


*great band name, no? "collective heads"