29 April, 2016

acute assholism

while i'll be the first to admit that i can sometimes be snarky, i generally tend to be nice to people, especially those who serve me, if for no other reason than it usually ends with better service. i try not to snark at tellers, or phone operators, or waiters, or anyone else who's doing a thankless job.

yesterday evening, i dragged my sorry carcass to the closest grocery store to pick up some edible substances and was treated throughout the endeavour to very loud big hair rock music. not sure whose idea of a grocery store soundtrack it was, but i would wager that most of the exhausted working stiffs could have also done without it: not one person could be seen banging their head in rhythm, hand raised in a defiant satanic salute. i turned to the young woman putting out olives and said, "wow! that's some pretty bad music!" in a come commiserate with me sort of tone. this is where it started to go wrong because instead of commiserating, she immediately got defensive and snarky and said, "i didn't pick the music!" as if i had thought that from her lofty heights of the deli department minionhood, she also directed the media. i walked away, but the snark had started.

after paying for my groceries and being very nice to the very nice cashier, i decided to walk over to the customer service to ask them to maybe tone down the tunes (this was not the first time bad big hair music had happened in this store). there was a blank faced young man at the desk who looked up at me, when i started to speak to him, with the expression you'd likely see on a butcher if the pig, lying in pieces on his counter, had asked him for the time. he seemed utterly flummoxed by either the english language or the peculiar nature of different beings making sounds at each other at all. i asked him several times to please turn down the music, eventually resorting to slow talk: CLASSIC. ROCK. MUSIC. TOO. LOUD. he stared blankly at me some more ("why is she still here? why is her mouth moving? what does all this mean?!?") then asked me, "in the store?" by then i'd had enough. "no," i said, "in my head. OBVIOUSLY in the store. this is customer service, correct? (a weak nod) and i'm a customer, right? (another weak nod). then i want some service! ok?" "ok."

i marched out of there knowing i accomplished nothing other than giving the teen another adult to despise. and i really wasn't proud of myself - aside from accomplishing nothing, i'd made myself angry and made someone else feel bad (if anything had penetrated). deep cleansing breaths, and onward home.

today i did it again - asked for a glass of water nearly 5 times at a restaurant before eventually walking over and getting it myself, snarking at the waitresses who watched me walk up with varied expressions of confusion. whoa, nelly, thought i to myself, i may be having some sort of psychopathic psychotic breakdown! and as i texted my tale of woe to sanity salad, it hit me: i have been sans internet entirely for 3 days, and prior to that sporadically for 3 days more, which translates into 6 whole days of no meditation*. could this have something to do with my sudden uncontrollable assholism? why yes, methinks it might.

sanity salad responded with an article that had this to add:
So stay the course. We need to be extra vigilant once we feel like we’re on a roll. Part of our practice is learning to come to the cushion under all different levels of enthusiasm: excitement, complacency, doubt, indifference, and every feeling in between. We practice not because of how we feel or what we need right now, but because it’s time to practice.

ladies and gentlemen, please excuse me while i go and chill out for a while and try to get my own self back. it's meditation cushion time!



*yes, i realise one doesn't need internet to meditate but i really can't do it very well without the guided talky bit - my brain flies off all sorts of handles and i usually forget that i was even meditating in the first place.

28 April, 2016

strawberries and deer blood

after the idiotic stresses of tuesday, i woke up wednesday feeling like i'd been beaten up. my bones hurt, my skin hurt, swallowing was traumatic, and my head was suffering from all the hangovers of my life put together. i crawled out of bed to go see my dentist, then crawled to starbucks for wifi to cancel all my social engagements for the day. i spent the rest of the day in bed, wearing a sweatshirt, leggings, and socks, shivering uncontrollably.

at one point i woke up from one of my many naps and realised i was hungry but had nothing in the house except for a bowl of strawberries and a pound of raw ground deer meat, which is exactly as strange as it sounds and just as unhelpful. i ate the strawberries and went back to sleep. i woke up in the middle of the night soaked to the bone, but my fever had broken. i changed into dry clothes, fluffed out my soggy bedding and fell back into a stupor from which i didn't wake until after 10 am.

i've been couch surfing at my aunt's today, taking advantage of her wifi, warm fuzzy cat, cabbage rolls, and tea. i think i will survive and it was stress that likely pushed me over the edge, but man, oh man, i really don't have time for this.

my next door neighbours are coming home from their long european trip today or tomorrow and i hope that translates into renewed fully functioning wifi (maybe all that was needed was a solid thwack on the modem, but since it's at their place, not mine, i could do nothing but howl with frustration and haul my carcass to starbucks), so that i can set up my official centre of operations from my bedroom again, and, if need be, never ever leave my bed again...until the movers and packers come on the 2nd, but that should give me enough time to recuperate.


27 April, 2016

spring

since we’re being philosophical on all sorts of fronts (when we’re not being pummeled by imperiously illogical bureaucratic requests from enigmatic purveyors of real estate magic), here’s one front i’ve been mentally pursuing for some time – the idea of deferred gratification. it’s quite possible that i’ve written about it before, but i’m far too lazy to search for the topic herein – these posts are like the children of some beast that values swiftness in its progeny; born, they must learn immediately to stand on their own feet and having once done so, cease being of any interest to their parent, namely: me. let’s assume then that this is a new topic, and if it isn’t, let’s assume i’ve got some new light to shine upon it, and if i don’t, let’s assume you don’t remember what i write anyway, which brings us, for all intents and purposes, full circle to the beginning of this sentence. swell!

those of us who live in winter cities and who don’t waste time stupidly wailing about the unfairness that it should snow and drop below freezing for a large portion of the year, those of us like to think ourselves heroic – surviving months of very cold weather makes us tough, we like to think. it makes us tougher and stronger and more badass than the wusses who inhabit warner climes. we’re so badass, in fact, that come february with the slightest hint of warmth, we gladly shed our parkas and enjoy our drinks outdoors. but what i believe makes winter dwellers tougher and stronger and more badass than their southern cousins isn’t just the ability to withstand wind chill factors, but the deferred gratification that every winter brings. we are good at waiting. we are good at waiting and hoping and wanting and hungering and thirsting for the slightest hint of spring, and when it comes, we pounce on it with the voracious joy of a small child in the 1980’s finally outwaiting the whole long week and pouncing on saturday morning cartoons.

society has made it hard to want and not immediately get. waiting for anything has become so rare that i fear we have come to see it as something to be eradicated, like measles or racism, instead of realising that the better part of pleasure is precisely in the wanting, the waiting, the counting down towards a goal. i was reminded of this today when i drove across the river valley and realised that the cottonwood trees were suddenly sprouting tiny leaves in that indescribable shade of green, still wet from the sap of their buds, all too soon to turn the perfectly respectable but far less exciting colour of fully grown up leaves. spring is the ultimate tease in the northern country – we want it so very badly, and watch for it with such keen eye, and never let our disappointment at yet another snowstorm stop that hunger.

i love winter, i truly do, but i stop loving it right around the time the days get longer and the snow melts, revealing my city at its worst and when, despite the most fervent wishes of my fellow citizens, winter persists for another month or three. but oh, when spring comes! it’s a miracle every single year. every year, no matter if it’s late or early, the coming of spring feels like rebirth and love and joy, and all because it didn’t come easy like yet another toy in the kinder surprise of life; like yet another cartoon pulled up on netflix on any old day of the week. maybe i sound like an old fart pining for the days when we had to walk uphill both ways to get to the coal mine where we worked (if we were lucky!) but i stand by my conviction because today when i saw the first poplar leaves i felt that after wading through the grey and brown of winter,  i was given a glimpse of a something priceless, and it was so worth it!


26 April, 2016

an evening in with kim crawford

all i want right now is several large glasses of wine poured into my mouth in quick succession, but first let me tell you the story of a banker for whom i may just leave my husband, and a lawyer who spent an hour with me and didn't charge me a penny.

ok, actually, the very thought of working my way back through the convoluted happenings of the last two days fills me with such trepidation that frankly i simply cannot face it. suffice it to say, i almost drove down to calgary to the american consulate for one stupid stamp, and i almost paid a lawyer for the same, but in the end i did neither and still got my stamp, which, you must admit, is pretty miraculous: i accomplished everything that i set out to accomplish and then some, all thanks to my mortgage guy (MG).

i've been dealing with this particular MG from the very beginning of our house buying adventure and he is a veritable powerhouse, a fixer of epic proportions, a man whose capability and effectiveness are rivalled only by the sexy timbre of his baritone and the warmth of his personality. do i sound like i have a bit of a crush? why, how perceptive of you: i have come to believe that any man who can make the process of buying a house relatively painless and actually somewhat pleasant has earned the key to my heart, even if he is an avid golfer.

at any rate, my poultries, i am now sitting, slumped sleepily, in my neighbourhood starbucks, trying my best to string a sentence together and having a hell of a time of it - i've deleted about six times more than what i've actually left written, and i'm fairly certain some of these sentences don't add up, for which i apologise. i think i may very well buy myself something yummy, go home, pop open my book, and start pouring the aforementioned wine into my mouth before passing out in my bed.

oh what a day!








25 April, 2016

recipe for self


i think it goes without saying that i'm not a believer in horoscopes. there is one notable exception to this rule, free will astrology, with a far more literary and philosophical approach than mere star-gazing woo. time and time again, i've plucked pearls of wisdom from his thoughtful and often irreverent words. this week hit one of the themes I’ve been exploring in various guises lately:

I've got a controversial message for you, Pisces. If you're addicted to your problems or if you're convinced that cynicism is a supreme mark of intelligence, what I'll say may be offensive. Nevertheless, it's my duty as your oracle to inform you of the cosmic tendencies, and so I will proceed. For the sake of your mental health and the future of your relationship with love, consider the possibility that the following counsel from French author André Gide is just what you need to hear right now: "Know that joy is rarer, more difficult, and more beautiful than sadness. Once you make this all-important discovery, you must embrace joy as a moral obligation."  

i don’t think i've been a very good cynic in recent months – yes, it pops up on occasion but i feel that a great deal of my earlier cynicism has fallen by the wayside. that's not to say that i won’t engage in some good old fashioned skewering of our society over a bottle of wine, but i think i'm falling more into the other side (except when an overload of what-is pushes me firmly into the arms of team apocalypse). and even if i still engage in cynicism, i think i'm finding it a weight to carry: an entertaining friend who, over the years, has become a burden. i'm slowly working on laying that burden down. my choices have very little to do with the final outcome of our civilization, but a lot to do with the way i perceive and live my life. like another old friend righteous anger, i’m willing to back away from cynicism to save my own psychological skin.

a good friend sent me an article recently that at first made me very very angry. then, as i continued to resentfully work my way through it, it forced me to put aside some of my antagonism and to reexamine how tightly i hang on to my opinions. an adjunct, i think, to the idea of the moral supremacy of joy over sadness, is the idea of the moral superiority of compassion over smugness. step by slowly taken, hard-won step, i want to think i’m moving towards the idea that being right might not be as important as being kind, and being blasé might not be as healthy as being open to the wealth of the good things available in the world. both notions come hand in hand with my growing awareness of my own agency - if i have the power to choose how to react to what life throws my way, then i may as well choose the higher path. 

oh sure, some of you are vigorously rolling your assorted eyeballs: that'll be the day when you're some sweet-smiling pie-baking polyanna, spreading sweetness and light across the world. well, perhaps i will never fully be that person (for one, i think pies are far more trouble than they're worth), but i have moved far away from the person that i used to be who'd blithely join in the bitter squawking choir that certain female family members of mine engage in with chronic regularity. increasingly, i find it an exhausting and pointless exercise, so completely irrelevant and old that i just want to walk away as i have yet to find a way to make them stop. it is definitely a personality trait that's been undergoing a profound shift and for the better, if i may say so myself. 

so what final point am i making? not much of one, and definitely not one aimed at anyone other than myself. i really don’t want to be the person whose self improvement path becomes a weapon to beat her readers with – as it is i've already been proselytizing about meditation to anyone who will listen, though i have nothing to prove the efficacy of said exercise save the anecdotal incremental improvements in my own ability to function in this mess of a gorgeous universe. so take it as you will – the newest ingredient in my recipe for building a better me – not necessarily the recipe for building a better you. 

21 April, 2016

untethered

i’m typing this on word because for the last 3 days my relatively reliable borrowed internet completely stopped being reliable. it went from hours at a stretch of gently tethering my consciousness to the rest of the world, to dropping said connection every 15 seconds or so. this means that if i want to say, send an email, i must turn the wifi off, turn it on, refresh my email and find the email i want to respond to (quickly!), then press reply. by then the wifi is fully non-functional (though pretending to be fully functional according to the task bar icons). once my email is written and ready to send, i must turn wifi off again, turn it on, and in the nanoseconds following reattachment to the interwebs, i must swiftly and decisively press send before it drops connectivity once more. if i'm doing several things on several different pages, i need to repeat this process with every action. pages can only be refreshed one at a time in the nanoseconds following reattachment and all actions must be decisive. attempting to do more than one action at a time invariably leads to failure on all fronts and having to start from scratch again. turn wifi off. prepare stuff. turn wifi on. PRESS BUTTONS TO MAKE THINGS HAPPEN!!!! turn wifi off. lather, rinse, repeat.

as you can imagine, this is rather time consuming and extremely stabby-making. as a result i’ve spent hours in local cafes, trying to manage my various realtors, bankers, lawyers and other assorted courtiers in the kingdom of my adulthood. i feel like don corleone holding court in the local pasta joint, but with fewer supplicants and far less pasta. mmmmm….pasta….. anyways, i seek out places where it’s not considered gauche to sit for 3 hours with one americano and a surprisingly delicious croissant, i.e. those favoured by the beautiful children of the university area. so young, so shiny, so very very clear-eyed and glossy-haired. was i ever thus? i assume i was, though it seems to be lost in the mists of time, a mythical yesteryear where the breadth of my youthful beauty was rivaled only by the depths of my youthful dumbness. truly they speak that youth is wasted on the young, though i do know several very notable exceptions to this rule.

the condo is sold in all sorts of official ways. sadly, it sold to the initial bidder and not to the much sweeter back-up offer we received on sunday. sweeter financially and sweeter in that the potential buyers seemed just as smitten with my home as i was when i first saw it; sweeter, then, in both the pragmatic and the fuzzy ways. alas, such is life, and i have found, once again, not to be particularly distraught over it.  now it’s on to lawyers and realtors and movers, oh my! the latter better not go rooting through my folded lady dainties, since i wrapped my teas and herbs in them. i’ll be damned if my good stuff fails to cross the border. you can take my nigella seeds from my cold dead hands, america!!!!

tonight, having accomplished much, i am heading out to procure some smoked sausage for a ladies’ firepit evening. what’s on the menu, you ask? why, feminism, cheezies, vaginocentric conversation, sausage, wine, and excessive amounts of laughter, appropriate and otherwise. i’m seriously looking forward to it. onward and upward, my poultries!


20 April, 2016

and another thing!

aside from all the psychological benefits of an awesome bananologist, here's an unforeseen benefit:

i was kvetching to her about how the movers won't take food, including canned and bottled stuff and my glorious collection of spices and teas, and the gorgeous golden creature asked me why i don't simply pack it all up in a box or container, since they take big bin containers as-is, without repacking their contents. i almost kissed her! once i'm done interwebbing here, imma head home and box up my shit!!!

(see? this is why it's good to see a bananologist!)

out of the hole, baby

if you're ever in need of a bananologist, may i recommend mine? she's nothing short of brilliant, as well as being witty, funny, insightful, and warm. i saw her twice over the course of my visit home and each time she managed to get to the root of something that's been bothering me, sometimes for years!

today we tackled my visceral reaction to certain people. one person, a family member, saw me yesterday and, very first thing, asked me in a sad-saccharine voice if i was SO tired, and if i was SO sad about leaving my beautiful condo. my reaction was immediate stabbiness that, as always, i had to squash down to the level of civility. my response to the first question (still not quite civil) was to ask if i looked so bad that it warranted concern. no, they answered, they were merely concerned about all the things i have to do. i said i'm doing them and i'm handling it and i'm fine, thank you. my response to the second question was to say that while i loved my home and really enjoyed my five years there, i had made the choice to sell it and was fine with it. i was taking the situation as it was, accepting it, and moving forward with my life.

the thing that my bananologist and i unpacked today was my immediate anger and my self-blame for it. i feel that in the case of this particular person (and a few others), i feel like i need to take my inner bitch in hand and work really really hard to keep her quiet. rather than accepting that the problem is my out-of-control inner bitch, my bananologist suggested that i resented what the seemingly concerned questions were aiming at. so what were they aiming at? well, they were aiming to make me a victim, rather than a person with agency and a choice in how i respond to my life. as you well know, i spent enough time in the dark hole of depression, and have worked my ass off to get out and stay out. this much i knew. but i never saw that comments like those above (plus the assumption how miserable and out of control of my life i really am!!! poor me!!!) were an attempt to put me right back in that hole. the person speaking is not an asshole. the person speaking is truly concerned. but their way of expressing concern shows much more about what they need from me (to be a victim they can sympathize with and comfort) than actual curiosity about how i am handling the current challenges of my life.

the best questions asked of me - how are you? are you busy? how do you feel about the move? how do you feel about the new place? how do you feel about leaving the old place? are the questions that allow me to tell my truth. i resent it when i am required or expected to be sad or broken or inconsolable, when i am, for the most part, none of those things.

since the last few years and especially the last year of my life has been a journey of discovering my agency (see previous posts), is it any wonder when i respond stabbily to someone who, for their own messed up internal reasons, wishes me to sit in a deep hole of despair, just so they can toss sandwiches and tissues to me, while shaking their head in sympathy, fostering a dependence that would do nothing for me, but would make them feel needed and loved.

amazing how much you can learn about other people from how they treat you and what they expect of you, and how much of it is about them. i wonder how my inner bitch will react to this new information.

also, speaking of agency and choices, read this, cause it's bloody fascinating!!!


13 April, 2016

SOLD! to the one-eyed woman in the back wearing a duck!

well, my little poultries, our condo is pending, which means that if the financial institution okays everything, our lovely edmonton home will soon be our home no more.

it's been a good ride, a fun ride, a warm and loving ride, but it's time to move on. i'm doing that thing where i accept the inevitable and look on the bright side because the alternative is essentially a toddler-style emotional meltdown and we know that is not a good look on a "large boned" middle aged polish lady. my peace and acceptance feel pretty solid, but i always fear i am teetering on the edge of a precipice and, having on more than one occasion spent months in the deep dark hole of depression, i'd rather stay out of it and coddle my inner polyanna. besides, if there's one thing my advanced age has taught me it's the inevitability of change: all things end*.

okay, enough weak and obvious philosophising - i'm slowly running out of cliches and my coffee's getting cold. raise a glass of something cold and bubbly to the end of an era, and the start of another!



*a nugget of wisdom from me to you. you're welcome.

11 April, 2016

a handful of diamonds

it's easy to get lost in all the bullshit of the world, the shiny trinkets, buzzing wants, desires buffed to the high gloss of needs, but in the end when all is said and done i think i'd be just fine if all i had was my mind (though one could successfully argue i'd be even happier if that was the very first thing taken away from me) a handful of music; the freedom to think things through; the time and latitude to imagine alternatives to This; the sheer entertainment value of brain power.

oh yes, do let's not forget that the interpersonal connections i have are some of my most precious possessions (if you can call them such; if you can truly possess a connection with another human bean), but at the end of the day, even if all that was lost, i'd be left with the ability to say, what if? how about? and, on the other hand...

so there you go. love your brain, kids. love your people, but truly love your brain.

are the contents of my fridge preventing me from selling the condo?

as i said before, when you're selling a home, you're selling a lifestyle (assuming, in an entirely statistically reasonable manner, that the majority of the human population lacks imagination and thus needs to be shown the wondrous possibilities inherent in living right here in this very house). my home right now shows them what it would be like to live in the heart of a city, to love art, and to lounge on the fuzzy skins of various dead ruminants. it shows them the svelte and sexy dazzle of urbanity. the floors gleam; the stainless steal glows; the vast expanse of counter space speaks to them of dinner parties with beautifully dressed, perfectly coiffed specimens of young professional urbanites. the pristine white bed hints at sexual shenanigans and breakfasts in bed (ew). the bookshelves...well, you get the idea.

and if i'm selling a sexy urban lifestyle, my fridge is selling...well, i'm not entirely sure exactly what my fridge is selling. behold, the contents of my fridge and the kind of lifestyle they suggest:
  • an almost full bottle of prosecco.("we drink, but elegantly! and in italian!")
  • an almost empty bottle of white wine. ("sometimes we drink a little less elegantly...and forget to finish the bottle.")
  • 4 litres of organic kefir ("we really, really, REALLY like dairy products and feel a little uncomfortable about it")
  • 2l of skim milk ("we are normal people concerned with weight and fitness.")
  • 3'4 of a cream-filled family-sized slab cake from my cake craving sunday ("we...eat cake? A LOT?")
  • 1 jar half filled with goat's milk dulce de leche  ("we conduct strange scientific experiments in the fridge.")
  • 1 half empty jar of plum butter ("we keep what looks like a dried up placenta in a jar in the fridge for reasons we'd rather not discuss, thank you very much.")
  • 1 half empty jar full of booze-infused cherries ("...to add flavour to the placenta.")
  • 1 bag of carrots ("oh thank god, we're healthy again!")
  • 1 bag of celery sticks (ditto)
  • 1 small jar of bacon grease ("oh, for fucks' sake, we fucking give up. realtor, show us another condo.")

10 April, 2016

exploring planet earth

the first steps took us outside of our understanding. the first words showed the breadth and depth of our ignorance. the first thoughts were unformed beasts swimming in oceans of ineffability. we looked and understood nothing of what we saw. we listened and failed to grasp the import of the sounds we heard. we opened our mouths and tasted we knew not what. we breathed in scents we could not begin to describe. our hands flailed, reaching for something we could not define or touch. our feet stepped, uncertain, on the earth we did not know. we were worse than children because we did not have a parent to show us the way. we stumbled and broke things, roared with animal frustration at the lack of order in the world around us. we laughed and cried never seeing our emotions for anything other than a reflection of reality, never knowing there was more than pure reaction to the stimuli of life. we knelt, we prayed, invented gods so we would not be all alone and meaningless, thereby giving up meaning, sifting it into the imperfect vessel of belief. we were born, we lived haphazardly, we died and rotted where we fell because we knew not that our dead ought to be buried.

the ghosts we raised through tales of childish ignorance continue to haunt us, haunt our politics, religions, art, and what we teach our young. these ghosts still walk among us, wear our coats and eat our food, while we stumble naked and hungry, wondering why. we offer up the sacrifice of time and love, effort and hope, gold, frankincense, and myrrh, burnt lambs and doves heaped high to reach the non-existent ghosts, who hunger ever more for what we give them. when will we move away from ghosts and tales of ghosts and paths laid out by ghosts? we have been given so much information, so much choice, and still we choose to put our trust in ghosts whose hunger never ends.

the light comes first in fits and starts, flashes and glimmers, grows stronger over time, flooding the darkness, then fading into it. sunlight in trees, the leaves trembling in the breeze setting their shadows dancing, flickers of light and darkness on the bark, the grass. the growing light of dawn becomes the white hot light of noon before it mellows into afternoon and trickles into the magic of the golden hour, then back to dusk and night. stars pierce the dark, flashes of diamonds, shards of glass, celestial reminders of how small we are, and still afraid of darkness. the endless loop of light and dark, our fleeting time in ribbons, black and gold, turns, turns, and turns again, a carousel we ride and think we're getting somewhere.

there's hope; there is no hope.


i dream of cake

i'm finding that the more i sit home alone, the more i want to sit home alone. granted, i had a good day yesterday breaking fast with g, and then hanging out with my wee girls and their mom, but when i came home and saw that there were no more showings that evening (there were 3 during the day, fruitless so far), i washed off my face, put on my sweats, and got down to the business of serious bed-sitting. a glass of prosecco, a bowl of cow-share cottage cheese, and a couple episodes of "the last kingdom" completed my wild and crazy saturday night.

i do make a point to leave the house not only during showings. i see family and friends and enjoy seeing both, but i also see how much i adore being by myself. my mom has begun checking in with me via skype text, which is good, because i've been forgetting to keep in touch myself. she skype-calls occasionally and when she does i respond and chat amicably, but the thought of actually calling anyone seems vaguely unpalatable. i just want to be by myself, in my home, alone, eating my cottage cheese, listening to the radio, and watching man-candy on the small screen. is that so very bad?

i think the weather is partly to blame. the spring (at least alberta spring), like the fall, offends my body and soul. the wind, the dull greyness, the slooooowww coming of green, the bitter cold interspersed with the glorious sunshiny warmth. it's just too fucking confusing! and when the sky turns grey, i hunker down and dream of cake in my little fortress of warmth and comfort. when mr. monkey is around i tend to get out more, which is odd because i'm the social one in our little duo. but when he's not here, i am perfectly happy to not see anyone ever. this go around, i must remind myself that i am here for a limited engagement and so must resist this intense hermitishness.

alas, today i'm devoting to organizing this year's taxes, lest they become an unreasonable burden to tomorrow me. but first, i will brave the cold and wind, walk two blocks to the store and get myself some cake. there's very little to say about this gloomy grey cold windy sunday, other than that it's definitely a cake kind of day.

08 April, 2016

eat your salad noisily ELSEWHERE, madam

sleep has been problematic. the bed is glorious - mine, made of some woo organic free-range non-VOC-generating memory foam woven by free elves singing chi-aligning hymns. the bedding is fabulous - charcoal grey linen, wrinkled in just the right way, breathable, soft, beautiful, woven by handsome bearded hipster scandinavian fans of sigur rós and dyed with the essence of nightshade. the pillows are exceptional - filled with the underarm fuzz of virginal ducklings fed on nothing but non-GMO artisanal ancient grains and watered with artesian springs. the duvet is sublime - brimming with the pubic hair of buddhist goslings raised on the music of enya played by tibetan monks on singing bowls. the room is cool and dark. the night is long. what, then, is the shit?

imma go out on a limb and blame the endless stream of adulting i've been engaged in: buy a house, sell a condo, get taxes ready for the accountant, phone bankers, email bankers, email realtors, visit bankers, sign papers, sign other papers, all the while dealing with unexpected things that pop up...unexpectedly. last night was particularly special: i drank several glasses of red wine at my cousin's place, walked home through a beautiful mild night, got home exhausted and ready to sleep... which wouldn't come. i must have eventually dozed around midnight only to jolt awake at 3am with a raging headache. i got up, took some meds, lied back down and took a hell of a long time falling back asleep, knowing full well i had to get up early because of a morning showing. the cherry on the insomnia cake was a dream about the evil boss who made me quit my job, wherein she demanded that i pack up my salad and eat it elsewhere because my crunching was offensive to her.*

by lunch i was loopy and by the early afternoon i decided that barring an unexpected showing (i never say no to a showing!**) i'm spending the rest of friday at home. to be more precise, because of the location of the strongest interwebs, i'm spending the remainder of today in bed, its northwest corner to be exact. i have my laptop. i have my books. i have my cup of herbal tea. i have my sweatshirt and leggings. i have netflix. really, it's all that i need. and at precisely 10pm, i shall take half a sleeping pill because if there's one thing i've learned, it's that a night of really bad sleep rarely translates into a good sleep on the morrow; on the contrary, like an overtired toddler, i can be sure to toss and turn tonight unless i medicate the hell out of the situation.

and unto you, my gentle readers, i wish a great and wondrous weekend.



*i think night brain might be running out of plot lines
**which is why i haven't cooked once since i've been back. garlic smells nice to dinner guests; not so much to potential buyers***
***we're selling a sexy urban lifestyle, baby, not just a condo!

31 March, 2016

foots

file this under "boring shit about aging and bodies" but i'm hoping it'll help some poor schmuck out in the blogosphere. you're welcome, schmuck.

my feet have been hurting. it's been getting progressively worse to the point that my first few steps of the day are comical hobbling things that make mr. monkey laugh at me like i'm kidding. i'm not kidding. each time i get up after sitting for a while, the pain is incredible. because i'm an avid walker (and by avid i mean that walking tends to be my default setting above driving, cycling, rollerblading, shimmy-shammying, riding a donkey, or skijoring at any given time) so the feeling that my primary mode of transportation is under serious thread is pretty terrifying.

over the last 6 months this has gotten so bad that, in my typical cool, calm, and collected fashion, i decided that this was surely Something Serious. foot cancer. or raging arthritis of the type that would render me immobilised within five years...if i was lucky! when i finally went to my doctor (remember? the super expensive doctor? that i had to actually pay money to see? where currency had to change hands in order for me to receive medical attention in what is generally seen as a civilised first world country*? yes, THAT doctor!) she didn't even look at my feet, but gave me a referral to physio. that's fine. i'll go to physio. but WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?!?!? shrug. sometimes feet hurt.

a day or two into my trip home i finally decided to ask the googles about this and in my journeys, i stumbled onto a blog by a podiatrist who proceeded to yell at me. she yelled at me for going barefoot as much as i did (a lot) and she yelled at me for buying into the whole barefoot running movement. in my defense, the only reason i ever "bought" into it is because i've always felt best in nearly nonexistent non-supportive shoes...until about a year ago when it all went to shit. wearing my flip flops and walking to get the mail at the front office of our beige apartment complex has become excruciating, so obviously something had to change. after reading all this (very nice) yelling, i decided to see if a change in footwear would produce different results. i found a pair of mr. monkey's faux birkenstocks which fit me perfectly and started wearing them around the house all the time, including the occasional midnight trip to the bathroom. out and about, i wore only my blundstones and relegated the cute ballerina-style flats to the no-no pile.

well, whaddya know? within a day, a single solitary day, my feet started acting...normal. they still get a little sore after a long day of walking, hauling (mr. monkey's) shit, doing stuff, and so on, but it's the kind of soreness that feels non life(style)-threatening. my first few steps of the day (in my sandals) are maybe a wee bit stiff, but lord almighty! i can walk again!

so the moral of this story, kids, is that just because something worked for you for 43 years, doesn't  mean it'll carry over seamlessly into your 44th. bodies change. we get older, more fragile, more prone to idiotic pains, stupid aches, systemic failures, and annoying discomforts. don't be daft like me, respond accordingly and in a timely fashion.



*my apologies, americans, but seriously, this is not normal by world standards. know this. educate yourself on this. and then do whatever you need to do to change it, including sharpening your pitchforks, cause this ain't right, my friends, this just ain't right.

30 March, 2016

this or that

one of the most important lessons i learned from my journey with my bananologist is that far more in life is a choice than i used to think. attitudes and reactions to the things that happen are well within my own control, as difficult as it may be to see based on the initial involuntary response. i saw her today and told her about how hard i found the early drives around texas, seeing gorgeous forests torn up for ugly parking lots and grocery stores to service the ever-spreading subdivisions of identical beige houses. my reaction was deeply visceral and extreme - i simply wanted to cease being*. when i sit down and talk to mr. monkey and tb about this, it's easy for me to lose myself in the river of resentment and that most dangerous (and useless) of drugs - righteous anger.  i've written before about righteous anger, and what a danger it poses because it is addictive, destructive more often than not, and feeds beautifully on itself. well, self-immolation isn't something i'm planning on quite yet; continued survival is.

listening to tb defend our species recently made me realise that there are two sides to this, like any other story, and that once again, i do have a choice in how i react. yes, this part of human "progress and development" will always bother me, but i can choose to reframe my response in a way that will protect me from lasting emotional damage. my bananologist also suggested that the deep visceral response to what i see is a good way to get a glimpse into my soul, and to learn what matters to me and how much. she also likened it to an allergy - you don't expose yourself to the allergen unless you have to, you limit your exposure while taking steps to protect yourself during the time when exposure is unavoidable. well then, it seems i'm allergic to the human race.

so, choices - i think the idea of having the power of choice in reacting to external stimuli was an incredibly empowering discovery (and i shamefully hesitate to use the term discovery because it seems so obvious, i'm sure, to so many people) and i need to remind myself that like any skill, this one needs to be practised and practised and practised. so here's to the power of choice.



*nothing suicidal here, believe me, more of a deep dark wish to unexist myself in some final way so that i would no longer have to count myself among the human race. 

29 March, 2016

home is where the lard is

in order to get me to the airport on time, we had to get up at 4:30 and leave at 5am. with today's technology this should have been easy; with the two of us setting separate alarm clocks this should have been infallible. nope, neither. when mr. monkey's alarm went off, the first words out of his mouth were, how is it five o'clock? this propelled me out of bed and into the bathroom where i took a nanosecond look at my greasy bedhead and knew that it would have to do. we did manage to get to the airport on time, and all my flights went well, but it's hard to relax when your morning starts with a surge of adrenalin and a deep seated sense of incredulity that two intelligent highly educated people can't manage to get the wakey-uppy technology to work.

one problem that popped up fairly quickly is that my wifi cellphone is very limited in canada since when i'm not on a wifi network there isn't the backup cellular network that takes over in the states. as a result, i've been thrust into the deepest, darkest pre-cellular era. it is a truly frightening place that makes me wonder how anybody ever managed to have a social life, make plans, or ever be in touch with anyone ever. no, seriously, how did we do it? smoke signals? carrier pigeons? i honestly can't remember and even thinking about it makes me shiver. alas, if not for the charitable donation of my next door neighbours' internet (first night home had me push the laptop up against the wall and type lying on my side - as uncomfortable as it was inefficient) i would be cut off completely, forced to wander the streets, hoping against hope that i run into someone i know, or drinking countless cups of crappy coffee at the nearest starbucks just so that i can be connected.

all this wouldn't be that big of a deal if i was merely here for fun. heck, it might be kinda cool, in a techno-hermit sort of way. alas, i need to be in touch with our realtor, our tax accountant, and various other boring-as-shit people related to various other boring-as-shit grown up activities in which i must engage whilst here. there is a sense of panic that comes when you find yourself unable to communicate with others, sort of like helen keller, but in an electronic way.

i have now borrowed an unlocked phone from a friend but instead of going out and buying the first available pay-as-you-go plan for the visit, i'm treating this (at most 100$) purchase as something worthy of the type of serious research and worry normally reserved for buying a start-up company in the silicon valley or serious real estate in manhattan. in the midst of dealing with our inordinate amount of shit (i'm looking at you, mr. monkey!!!!!!*), i remain phoneless because i just can't seem to decide. i guess this is exactly the type of behaviour one can expect from a person who doesn't know how to operate an alarm clock.


*he doesn't read this blog

23 March, 2016

design flaws

i went to see a doctor today to renew my prescriptions and to get to the bottom of my mysterious and continual hand and foot joint pain. the shiny medical centre had that new house smell and was decked out like a very nice mid-range hotel: nothing medicinal about it! good to know that this is what a five figure deductible and a 40$ per visit co-pay gets you, although i think i'd rather take the utilitarian decor of canadian medical clinics, seeing as they're free and all.

the doctor was nice and happened to be a specialist in musculoskeletal issues, which seemed like a bonus, since i chose her mainly on the basis of proximity and femaleness*. she also happens to be married to a sports medicine doctor, which was a double bonus because they talk shop at home, and as a result of her knowledge she told me that if i have proper footwear, there's really no reason why i shouldn't start running again. osteoarthritis of the hips notwithstanding. given that my blood pressure shot up** when the nurse read out the number on the scale (they should NEVER weigh people and then immediately check their blood pressure - how irresponsible is that?!) i think this is a very good idea. we'll see how that goes.

as we sat there and talked, she mentioned that we are rather poorly designed (at least as far as our knee joints go). i said that we were probably very well designed for a 45 year life span, which goes a long way to explaining why everything seems to be falling apart on me, from my rapidly dwindling eyesight to my variously inflamed bony bits. as i'm determined to survive another decade or two (or at least one summer in a house with a pool) i'll have to take these problems in hand and get myself all fixed up.



*i'm not dead set against male doctors even when it's time to get my nether regions looked at, but if i have a choice, and here i had a choice, i'll go with a fellow vagina owner.

**i forced the nurse to recheck my blood pressure because i normally have textbook blood pressure. my newly discovered weight caused me to hit a whopping 139/90! when she rechecked it, i was back down to normal. at least one thing still works!

where the buffalos roam

i've been letting people know i'm coming home and the responses have made me stop and think and appreciate, once again, how awesome my life was in good old edmonton. i still remember the first year back from our constant moving, the year we knew the position was finally permanent and stable, the year we bought our sweet condo. it was the year we lived in relative stability before i went off to school and it was one of our best years - we did the things that normal people do: we hosted dinners, we met friends, went to concerts, hit up the fabulous downtown farmers' market every saturday, saw family regularly, went for walks, sat at home and relaxed. all things that one can take for granted but that our decade of constantly being on the move made us see as precious.

i'm doing my damndest to look at the bright side of texas - after all, we have little choice in the matter; we're here whether we like it or not, so we might as well try to like it. and i do. i do like it. it's green, beautiful, lush. the people are friendly and warm. i have good friends here and nearby. but all that pales in comparison to my regular life back home - wine, steak tartare and politics-and-vagina-themed conversations at our favourite czech restaurant with my ladies; friday drinks with bta & co.; taking the littles on the lrt for fun; fabulous dinner parties with the closest bunch; biannual bashes...i could go on.

our condo's location meant that, unlike here, i could walk everywhere in under half an hour - movies, theatre, concert, restaurants, bookstores, shopping, farmers' market, friends. i love my kitchen, my floors, my balcony, my view of edmonton's legislative grounds. i love being simultaneously right at the edge of downtown, and right at the edge of the river valley with its wild trails for walking, cross-country skiing, skating, and running. along with the friends and family i had a great dentist, a great doctor, a fabulous (and very inexpensive) hair stylist, a really amazing bananologist. for its size, edmonton has an excellent arts and restaurant scene and i loved going to gallery events and great dinners. the woodlands, in contrast, is predominantly restaurant chains and a distinct dearth of art spaces. sure, houston is practically next door, but what i loved about my life in edmonton was the proximity of everything i wanted, needed, liked, and loved.

i realise, my poultries, as i've said before, that edmonton is no paris, but it is home and i love it. i'll do my very very best to get the most out of texas because i know it has a lot to give, but right now as i pack for my trip home, allow me this little bit of nostalgia for a really really great five years.

21 March, 2016

another gold star moment!

i just bought tickets to go home - that part was easy. now to pack, fly, land, unpack and get the edmonton place ready for sale. quel fun (or should that be quelle fun? is fun feminine or masculine? depends on the type of fun, i suppose. in polish it is feminine but this gendering of nouns seems so very random to me. at least in polish you have a fairly high chance of getting it right as most feminine nouns end in "a," unlike french which just seems mean-spirited and arbitrary. case in point: how on earth canada gets to be masculine is beyond me, but that's neither here nor there...or is it?)

now back to the topic at hand. my canadian to do list includes fun things like massage, haircut, bananologist, and unfun adult things like doing taxes, putting the condo up for sale, and selling my beloved little car because not having AC in south texas is sort of a no go. today south of the border in grown up behaviour, i've just spent a good 4 hours filling out online forms for homeowner and car insurance quotes, getting progressively more and more certain that no american will EVER cross my threshold, based on all this talk of liability, lawsuits, personal damage, and the like - i think i'll just stick to less litigious nations. i've also received seventeen phone calls from insurance providers who claim they'll give you an online quote but only really want your digits. i only managed to answer two of them and got to chat with two very personable gentlemen, the latter of whom inspired the above-mentioned geographically restrictive guest list. i'm sorry, america, but you can't swim in my pool.




20 March, 2016

twitching the night away

i had a rough night last night for no reason that i can ascertain. the day was good, great even - leisurely breakfast at the world's second best roommate's house* (we had dinner there and slept over, as is our friday habit), then a nice walk, afternoon drinks at our local pub, followed by a good movie. i felt just fine until i went to bed and suddenly realised my shoulders had mysteriously migrated to somewhere north of my ears, my muscles tight, my breathing shallow, and my occasionally twitchy restless legs doing an all out tarantella. i got up, took a lorazepam, meditated, took some magnesium for the legs, and concentrated on my breathing but nothing worked. i lied awake worrying about absolutely nothing concrete until eventually drifting off.

i hate nights like this. thankfully they don't come often, but when they do they make me frustrated with the sheer fucking delicacy of my emotional make-up. oh, for a callous disregard for feelings! and hell, this wasn't even about feelings, per se, since i wasn't feeling anything in particular about anything in particular. this was one of those bizarre moments of physical anxiety that lacks any underlying emotional anxiety. the body's freaking out while the mind goes, dude! what the fuck?

granted, there's stuff that's happening - mortgage papers need to be ok'd by q the mortgage dude, tickets to edmonton need to be booked, insurance for house purchased, decision about our possible upcoming trip to the motherland made, canadian tax return faced, etc. etc. but nothing new. perhaps the body was having too much fun and relaxation on friday and saturday, started feeling guilty about it, and went into full panic mode just to balance the emotional budget, so to speak.

tomorrow q will call me to let me know what i'm missing document-wise, i will try to fill in the gaps as quickly as possible, and then the whole thing goes to The Underwriters who, in my mind, are a more sinister version of a cross between j,k. rowling's Dementors and terry pratchett's Auditors. i'm fairly sure they're unlike either, but they sound both ominous and powerful and so i send much respect their way in all the ways that matter and some that don't.

and that concludes today's episode of "living in my head." be well, my poultries!



*i think i need to have a shorter acronym for him, since i always forget what it is that i call him and then have to go through this all over again. let's make it easy - tb, since them's his initials.

17 March, 2016

housey mcstuff

i spent an hour and 5 minutes talking to our banketty/mortage guy. one thing i can say immediately and sans qualifications, the people i've been dealing with in the united states of 'murica, have been kind, professional, thorough, and gooooood. q is no exception. i've compiled a pile of papers to prove to q that we is who we says we is, and we owns what we says we owns, and we does what we says we does, and threw it in his lap. this mortgage, it is moving forward, baby!

we have also had an inspection 2 days ago. dude made sure our house was strong and solid, our pool was strong and solid, and he farmed out a sub-inspection to make sure our termites were strong and solid. all came back with glowing reviews (especially our termites which, apparently, are like the awesomest termites on the block!) small changes and/or tweaks were reported (truly small considering the age of the house (wait, when i was 17, i'm pretty sure i was in the peak form of my life!)) and we submitted them to the sellers (i.e. fix the thing, tighten the whatsit, flip the doomaflickey so it's facing the correct way up, etc.) overall, good things, which makes me realise how scared i am of good things because good things, to me, are some kind of terrifying portent of bad things to come.  because, i suppose, in my heart of hearts, i don't think i deserve the good things, which is like some sort of case study from psychology 101 and i find it so utterly boring imma show myself out.

later, gator!


15 March, 2016

use yer words

when our final offer on the house was accepted, i alerted crusty juggler with (to me) a very clear thumbs up.

she responded: house?! wha?! use words or more emoticons! (followed by a confused spaceman cyclops.)

i chose to take the latter road, and what ensued was a rather intelligent and witty conversation entirely in emoji. it went something like this:

moi: yes, we purchased a house, a contract was signed. (house. official looking piece of parchment.)

cj: i am very pleased and excited about this development! (onomatopoeic blast with "yay!")

moi: we agreed upon a price that was satisfactory to all parties. (money bag. thumbs up.)

cj: i heartily congratulate you. (fist bump!)

moi: i accept your hearty congratulations. (fist bump!)

cj: i really am rather chuffed. (happy yellow blob in what looks like a pool of raspberry jam.)

moi: i am certain i will enjoy our newly purchased pool. (alien with drink suntanning on towel.)

cj: i am all in a tizzy! (belly-up cat on pillow.)

moi: well, it's been an exciting and tiring day. i believe i am almost ready to retire for the night. (monster in nightcap, stretching and yawning in bed.)

cj: yes, i too believe i am ready to call it a day. (sleeping yellow blob in what appears to be a pool of blueberry jam.)

cj: this is really most excellent news. talk to you later! (thumbs up. waving hand.)

moi: i bid you adieu! (purple cat waving goodbye.)



frogspawn cupcakes

i keep starting posts and deleting them. seems i'm in some sort of writing limbo-miasma: everything i write seems dull and boring. things happen and i try to write about them, i bore myself to tears, and delete, then worry about not writing enough, thus getting more and more out of touch with How One Writes. list time perhaps? get them writing chops warmed up with a short and easy numbered exercise? because, heaven help me, whatever comes out of my brain today is getting published.

things that have happened:

1. i got a mysterious bite on my wrist on saturday. huuuge red welt that grew instead of disappearing. i very strongly recommend that if you get a mysterious welty red bite, whatever happens, DO NOT GOOGLE IMAGE "brown recluse spider bites." you will need a stiff drink if you do. and i don't guarantee you'll be able to keep it down.

2. it's not a brown recluse spider bite. i will not lose my arm to necrosis. it's all fine now. (i realise i'm cheating by making this a separate point but i did it to create suspense and tension and make you wonder if i lost my appendage to arachnid-induced gangrene. this is called "a good writing technique for creating suspense and tension.")

3. i have given in to the reality of my present geographical situation and spelled my name with a zee* the other day because i realised that it is not up to me to educate a poor drugstore clerk in the realities of comparative linguistics.

4. i realised i need more thin flowy sacs to wear in this weather. i have never been able to understand why women, who have the cultural prerogative to wear dresses, would choose to wear jeans, shorts, or capris in hot weather. when it's hot i wanna have a breeze everywhere i can. no pants for this gal: IT'S TOO FUCKING HOT TO HAVE MY CROTCH ENTOMBED THUSLY!

5. i am following the american election with growing fear and trepidation. i find american people (as far as you can make a sweeping generalisation about any people) to be kind, warm, welcoming, and friendly. to see the trump camp get so thoroughly brainwashed as to think that this belligerent semi-sentient toupee is some kind of saviour breaks my heart. to see race, sexual orientation, religion, abortion etc. become political rallying cries in this day and age is nothing short of shocking. there's so much more to say about this but this isn't that kind of blog and i really don't wanna expend any more of my energy on this than i already have. gong show doesn't begin to describe it.

6. since the first big rains, the woodlands are in bloom! trees, that mere weeks ago looked like they were ready for the firewood pile, are turning a glorious fresh shiny shade of green. flowers are spilling over roadsides in crazy carpets of colours. along with pink snapdragons and blue lupins (locally known as bluebonnets), there are masses of scarlet flax, so i no longer have to scratch my head** when i look at photos of zhoen's garden.

7. the house has just passed an inspection with a very satisfactory grade, so we're one step closer to calling it home. various appendages remain crossed because i seem unable to let go of this superstitious side of me.





*i may have said before, so forgive me if i repeat myself: i have no problem with zed being zee in the usa. i do have a serious problem with almost nobody in the usa knowing what zed is. if an american comes to canada and spells something with a zee, we will know exactly what she means. when a canadian comes to america and spells something with a zed, she gets a blank stare. seriously? how can people be so utterly unaware of the fact that the last letter of the alphabet is pronounced zed in every single other english-speaking nation as well as those that speak spanish, french, polish etc.?

**flax has always been a thing of a beautiful and unquestionable blueness. scarlet flax would be akin to a flying chicken or a 4-legged snake in my worldview, prior to my botanical enlightenment.


13 March, 2016

beige...the (hopefully) final edition

so yesterday, for mr. monkey's birthday, we got him a house. we are still at the very early stages of house-getting, and since here in the US it takes 45-60 days (unlike the 3-4 that we're used to in canada), this might still turn out to be a no go, but so far, so good.

keep yer bits crossed, dear poultries.

11 March, 2016

gold star for adulting

my midlife crisis has been manifesting lately as a sort of extended anti-adulthood hissy fit. i look at the influx of paperwork that overwhelms us, at the insurance bills, the taxes, the forms, the agents, the whole fucking bullshit machine of living in today's society and i get so mad i just wanna stomp my little feet, and wave my little fists until i'm sent to my room without supper. i look back at the middle ages and think that there is a lot there we could have kept. sure, i'm not stupid, i don't think that the medieval times were exactly awesome, what with the appalling hygiene, terrible fashion choices and the plague, but i wonder if we could have worked on getting better sanitation without also coming up with lawyers and insurance agents and banks.

why couldn't we have flushing toilets and hot water but also live in a barter society where 3 cows are good for 17 chickens or a small house? when did we decide to give our lives away to the highest bidder? when did cubicles start to seem like a really good idea? why do we have to sign and sign and initial and sign each and every time we want to enact a small change in our lives? why can't one get married under the moon without it having fucking tax implications? why does the birth of a child necessitate an immediate start of a lifelong paper trail? why can't we enjoy refrigeration and modern medicine without being saddled with the overwork-and-consumption machine? 

sure, you say, you can step off the merry-go-round. but you can't. you can choose to live a smaller life. you can choose to work less, play more, sit and stare at trees for hours at a time, but you cannot get away entirely unless you become a hermit or one of those crazy colorado survivalists, though even then i'm sure there'd be forms to fill out and waivers to sign. sure, you can reduce the shit impact, but you can't entirely get away from it. and the worst part is, there's no incentive for us to adult. oh sure, getting shitfaced on a saturday night in order to forget is definitely on the menu, but within a couple years (or decades) you realise it's not really making anything better but a few things, like your liver, actively worse. kids get marks, gold stars, ribbons, stickers, and funny-shaped erasers. what do adults get? a plump tax return if we're lucky. 

i would hereby like to lodge a complaint about the lack of incentivization* in adult life. why don't we get badges to honour on-time tax completion? why don't we amass brownie points for staying sober at a spouse's christmas party? why doesn't someone get me a freaking pony because, despite many many moments of deep temptation, i have not upped my meds once!!!??? i think that deserves a fucking medal along with the pony! a stamp card for all those times we ordered the salad instead of the fries! a sticker for filling in the time sheet at work! blue ribbon for deciding to cook instead of eating out! a big thumbs up on social media for folding the laundry... i could go on.



a small child who's just been punished for misbehaviour will turn to mom who very often is the very person that just meted out said punishment. who do grown-ups have to run to? we have nobody to kiss our damn booboos and tell us everything will be better, because we know it won't.   we know that the moment one bill is paid, another is on the way. we know that the superawesomegreat purchase will become far less superawesomegreat when the credit card bill comes along. we know on friday that monday cometh with the inevitability of eventual blindness, decrepitude, and death. so if it's alright with you, i'd like to at least have a motherfucking gold star.



*heinous corporate speak.

10 March, 2016

eat your damn cheeseburger and SHUT THE HELL UP!

read an interesting (and entirely non surprising) article about crap food consumption in america. then, because i'm incorrigible, i moved on to the comments and there, right at the top of the pile, was this gem of an exchange:

a: food police are among the most obnoxious people on the planet. i think i'll go get a bacon cheeseburger.

b: are they second to "fatass americans who don't care what kind of pink slime they put in their gross bodies, or who (are) making massive fortunes at the expense of the country's health (system) due to a serious lack of regulation"?

nobody is "policing" what you eat you enormous man baby.


i think imma call everyone i meet today "you enormous man baby" because it's kinda awesome. also, i'm really craving a cheeseburger now.


09 March, 2016

beige...trois

looks like a realtor got drunk on malibu rum and started playing with the thesaurus:


The red brick exterior of the house exhibits a cool entrance to visitors

High ceiling and a warm color adds taste to the house

The mix of paint in the walls give the dining room area a feeling of texture

The master bedroom offers spacious luxury, with a soft sheen of paint


nothing like the soft sheen of paint to add taste while exhibiting a feeling of texture...or something.

29 February, 2016

after the end...tacos

my reaction to the excessive land development in and around our new home is causing me to indulge in fairly frequent post-apocalyptic fantasies. as i return home from a long walk in the dark, i imagine i'm completely alone...

...the almost tangible chorus of cicadas and frogs fills the air as i walk in the perfect darkness. i watch my step, less for fear of snakes (if one gets me, so be it) and more for fear of tripping: the expanse of the parking lot has lost its black perfection and the asphalt bulges where green and growing things are taking back what is rightfully theirs. a snake bite would be fatal but quick; a sprain could cripple me, render me immobile. i think back to the night out with my ladies all those years ago - wine, fancy cheese, and deeply engaging conversation about what to do in case of a zombie apocalypse. sl told us she had it on  good authority (from a military man, i think) that the best way to survive is to keep moving and so i keep moving - gleaning my strange life choices from a conversation had over wine with friends long since turned to dust.

i don't miss other people. i certainly don't miss the constant noise of cars and airplanes, air conditioners and leaf blowers. i don't miss the endless tangled cables that enabled our blinking buzzing technology. dear gods above, i don't miss the paperwork! i walked by an office once - glass wall shattered by a tree that came down during one of the summer storms, and one glimpse of the papers littering the floor made me nauseous - how did i survive all those years without succumbing to the endless stream of correspondence, always of the utmost importance? now the only paper i have is this book in which i'm writing, though for whom? i doubt (and fervently hope) that i really am the last person alive and my words will have the decency to be lost when i am finally lost.

i miss warm food - what i wouldn't give for a juicy hamburger! i scavenge the stuff in cans and it's better than nothing, believe me, i'm grateful, but if there was one thing civilization was good for it was food. i do miss my friends and family, but their memories are so deeply etched in my mind that i can bring them up at will, converse with them, ask advice, seek solace. perhaps what i miss most is being touched - short of taming a racoon or another furry beast, it's not likely i'll be getting a cuddle from anything or anyone anytime soon. or ever. still, i can't complain - i got to have my wish: i got to witness the end of the anthropocene.


26 February, 2016

glerp!

nothing like looking at your brand new passport photo to take the spring out of your step. i look and wonder how it is that the villagers, armed with pitchforks and loathing, haven't run me out of town yet.

(above is a fairly accurate representation of my latest passport photo needed to secure a working visa, though who'd hire that!? the only difference: in the actual photo, the background is white)

beige...take two

right up there with highly gendered boys' and girls' bedrooms (boys like sports, trucks, and camo! girls like princesses and butterflies and piiiiiink!) in most of the houses we've seen, there's also this bizarre anachronistic thing that they do in the famed double-sinked bathrooms - if you're lucky or rich (this was first sold to us as an upgrade in a fancy show home), you will have two sinks: one higher and one lower. this, i presume, translates to one sink for the tall brawny man-beast husband, and one sink for the dainty lady wife. the first time i saw it, i thought it was some weird one-off thing or possibly a drunk builder. the second, third, etc. i realised i was dealing with a physical manifestation of serious systemic problems.observe below:




24 February, 2016

beige....

i think i'd best stay off the scandinavian design blogs whilst searching for a house* in texas. because mr. monkey is adamant we get something newer than 2000 (which i adjusted to 1998 because metric..ahem) and i'm adamant i want something other than a vast bland expanse of grass in the backyard, it limits our choices somewhat. still, even if it hadn't, the houses available are almost uniformly beige, poorly designed, overly large, spatially wasteful, and...shall i say it? ugly as fuck. so yes, looking at sleek, small, superbly designed, smartly laid-out, and beautifully furnished homes in finland or sweden isn't exactly advisable right about now.

it's astonishing how 1990's texas design (and banking, and urban planning, and...) is - our realtor didn't understand what i meant when i asked about the lack of deep pull out drawers under the kitchen counter even in fancy expensive show homes. in fact, texas seems to be stuck at that particular point in design development that sees granite, stainless steel, wall-to-wall carpet, and his-and-hers bathroom sinks as the height of sophistication.

sure, i realise that this first world problem is right up there with complaining about my porsche getting a chip in the windshield or my tennis bracelet losing its lustre because the help didn't know how to buff it properly but it's my blog and i'll be entitled if i want to. and also - hey! sustainability! just because you have more land than sense, doesn't mean you should be building houses based on some anachronistic notion that imagines a formal dining room and a formal living room a regular part of modern people's daily lives, especially when said formal dining room is roughly 15m from the kitchen, across an expanse of light carpeting, clearly for the sheer entertainment value for people (like me) who love their beets and red wine.

and why do i need a bonus games/media room when i am already being sold a 300m²  monstrosity with 5 bedrooms and 3.78 bathrooms? speaking of which, do texans poop more than the rest of the world that there is an expectation of 2.3 bathrooms per capita? sure, it's nice to have more than one in the house, but having lived with just one for years, i can vouch that it is not an infringement on anyone's human rights.

so despite our best efforts we'll likely end up with a beige house with seventeen bathrooms, a formal dining room, a breakfast nook, a semi-formal dining room, a semi-informal dining room, a midnight snack nook, and a sink for every person in our immediate and extended family**! there will be plush carpeting in the bathroom to soak up dust mites and skin flakes! there will be wall-to-wall stainless steel granite and plantation shutters (i presume these come with slaves to operate them, and if they don't, i want my money back!). there will be expansive lawns and triple car garages! in a word, my poultries, there will be more than enough room for you to come visit us in the lap of texan luxury!



*yes, my poultries, the search is back on: we got pre-authorized for a mortgage which seems to have eased mr. monkey's anxiety somewhat.

** as they say: a family that flosses together, stays together!


22 February, 2016

rain

woke up this morning to the sound of rain. our summer and fall were dry (or were they? i forget weather as soon as it's behind me, unless it's something momentous, like the tornado of '87) and winter was wintery so it feels like forever since i've heard the sound of rain on the windows. it's nice, something peaceful and soothing about it. it provides a lovely background to an existential crisis, though the howling leaf blowing/grass cutting machinery that just piped up is probably more apt.

ah yes, you sigh, roll your eyes, and shake your head sadly, this woman has far too much free time on her hands, constantly flitting from one existential crisis to another, faffing about ineffectually through life, unsure, uncertain, unclear, and unable to pick a direction and stick to it. clearly, she has missed her calling as a victorian housewife with a laudanum addiction and a hysterical womb. which is a totally fair point. i'm absolutely certain that if i were a single mother of three, i'd still be scraping teeth for a living and be happy doing it (though the thought of being a single mother of three makes the idea of happiness more than a little dubious). alas and alack, i am NOT a single mother of three, so the point is moot. and, as crusty juggler wisely pointed out just now, depression (even "successfully" medicated depression) provides a sort of low grade background radiation to your entire existence that colours everything you do, say, choose, fail to choose, and so on.

i am well aware of the blessings of my life. i'm relatively healthy. i am financially stable (not that much thanks to me, but still...) i have amazing people in my life. i am genuinely thankful for all this. truly. i'd be even more of an asshole than i feel i am for all this whining if i wasn't. so what's the problem, you ask. well, that's the problem - it's sort of difficult to accurately define it. but it's not just mine, i'll tell you that much. i know so many people, intelligent people, who seem lost, for whom the classic career path never materialised or was never a good fit. people who want something more but are also unable to define it. the way i picture it is a slow revolution against the status quo, but it is so slow that it often loses momentum and it lacks leadership and passion (or perhaps we're all just too tired of living, which, yes, back to the victorian lady and all, but FUCK, aren't you all just tired of living sometimes? the noise, the demands, the fucking frenetic busyness? the endless marketing campaign that puts a price tag on joy? be honest now!). an army of confused intelligent zombies walking in what eventually is likely to appear to be the same general direction but currently lost, unsure. hungry not for brains (because we have enough, thank you), but for meaning, change, SOMETHING.

so how do you verbalise it? how do you define it? how do you explain why you are dissatisfied with the options available on the menu of modern existence without sounding like an entitled lazy asshole? "harrumph! by the time i was your age, i had a job, a wife, and 14 children! and i got up at 3am every morning and worked hard my whole life just so i could retire to this gated community in florida. you need to get off your duff and get a real job. and get a haircut while you're at it. and GET OFF MY LAWN!" that's part of the problem, innit, though i'm lucky to have people i can talk to about this without facing scorn. and please know that i'm not feeling sorry for myself for being misunderstood; i'm feeling frustrated with myself for failing to understand or, having managed to scrape some understanding together, for failing to know what the hell to do with it.

yes, i know i'm not a kid anymore; the fact that i have an accountant alone tells me that. but i feel like a kid now more than ever. when i was 20 i was lost, too. i took the path of dental hygiene for lack of anything better to do, but back then i was 20. i have 23+ more years behind me now and i thought for sure i'd have my shit together by now. i sure as shit didn't think i'd get a master's degree, followed by my dream job, only to be right back where i started three short years later. perpetual students, dreamers, temp-workers, lost souls - it's not really a tragedy, but it sure is frustrating to be one of them, feeling like you have something to contribute, but have yet to figure out what the hell that is, because clearly there's a limited market for witty repartee or my people would be lighting up our cohibas with rolled up 100 dollar bills.