16 December, 2009

sleeker than a greased pig at a farm fair

last night mr. monkey and i went to see a christmas walk-through-bethlehem which was pretty darn cool on account of all the sheeps and llamas and baby goatses and bunnies and donkeys (ok, maybe not the donkey urine which, sweet lord help us all, is STRONG).

the opening scene meant to bring us into the "true" meaning of the season was particularly filled with internal conflict and hypocrisy - while telling us to remember that christ is the real thing, the actor moves on to say he is off to do some christmas shopping, which, as we all know, is now the "true" and "real" meaning of what north america celebrates. so deliciously post modern! so redolent of donkey urine! jesus is the reason for the season, now let's hit the mall, mabel!

there were several other moments of religious propaganda but they were so amateurish and silly that we just smirked quietly into our goretex collars and moved along. we especially liked the virgin mary with decidedly non-middle-eastern highlighted bangs and a wooden delivery. joseph looked pretty beaten down, but what do you expect from a man marrying a (divine) strumpet? sure, honey, the baby is the lord's. right.

we skipped the hot chocolate and cookies fearing being accosted by apparently sweet old ladies with a hidden agenda.

14 December, 2009

all about moi (but still mesmerising)

ok, i can't keep it to myself any longer: i am the shit. i have arrived in the world of blogging. yes sir. i am HERE.

what am i talking about? is it the several wonderful readers/commenters that i have acquired in the recent past (mainly by begging, pleading, being pathetic on other people's blogs and, in one case, by offering food porn)? well, that is a part of it (readers! who comment! who are strangers to me!), but, my little poultries, the true test of greatness is having hate mail and i have just gotten some. well, ok, maybe hate is a little strong. maybe it is dislike mail. or merely insult mail. or heck, a backhanded compliment mail.

the long and the short of it is that someone has been sucked into the vortex of my blather, read it for an hour, and then returned to call me stupid and tell me to shut up. i am all a-titter, i can hardly express it.

in other news, it is snowing. it is snowing so much that there is snow all over the things that are customarily covered by rain in these here parts. all the traditionally wet bits are now snowy and all the coloured bits are now white. this apparently rarely happens on vancouver island and from what i hear the national guard, the blue berets, the army and the slovakian male gymnastics team have all been called in to help. it feels good to be excited by a snow day, as opposed to having 7 consecutive months of them.

will you kick me if i tell you life is good?

mind-numbingly dull, yet somehow mesmerising

it's been a good 5 years since our family has given up gift-giving for christmas and birthdays: five languid relaxing years in which we watch with slight bafflement, glass of wine in hand, as the world descends into madness each december. the truth of the matter is i do enjoy giving gifts, but given how i hate receiving them, i am well able to halt the impulse and walk away.

i highly recommend it. if you skip christmas shopping, it frees up all manner of time, time which i have dedicated to baking, eating, wine drinking, eating, watching mamma mia (oh lord, don't get me started), sitting on the couch in a variety of poses (not entirely unlike yoga), and eating. there's also the snacks. and the eating. see? time well spent, and nobody walks away with a reindeer sweater and a rictus of a smile.

edit. note: just so you don't think i've hated every single thing any of you have ever given me, i'm not that evil. if it's edible or drinkable, chances are i loved it; if it's spicy lip-gloss, i'm still puckering up with the last little bit that i can scrape out; if it's small and shiny, well, then you know me well; and if it's none of the above, i can still appreciate the thought that goes into gift-giving. i'd just rather not get gifts. or cards. i'm easy! just buy me a drink.

10 December, 2009

where i throw up a little in my mouth on account of the goddamn unicorn cuteness of it all

hey! can we just go back to vitriolic? i occasionally obsessively return to older posts in case i missed a comma or somefink, and when i went back to the last one it made me all queasy inside. 'cause bitch, i can be as positive as the next guy*, but when i start talking cute about a next-door-cat, well, something inside me just dies.

so, let me say a few words to get that saccharine taste out of my mouth: fuckity fuck fuck fuck.

come on! say it with me! out loud! FUCKITY FUCK FUCK FUCK!

feels good, don't it?


*as long as the next guy isn't like, you know, super positive or anything, cause then, no, i can't.

09 December, 2009

stick it to the swine flu - group hug, everyone!

since the blog-moi has been so very gloomy and vitriolic lately (oh when i feels, i feels so deeply), when in real life i've been joyful and free (well, except for that weekend when i bit mister monkey's head off repeatedly - good thing he has developed the amazing ability to instantly grow a new one!) i have decided to show you just how happy and sugarplummy i've been. welcome to another installment of Good Things. i say "another installment" because i'm pretty sure i've done something like this at some point in the past, but because creativity trumps organization when it comes to labelling my posts, i cannot find it (frankly, i haven't even been bothered to try).

so, without further ado, here are some of my Good Things (in random order):

  1. stella mare soy candles - smell amazing, burn to the very end, lovely to look at
  2. foamy soap - yes, i keep going on and on about my fascination with foamy soap but i love how it shaves literally seconds off my hand washing and how light and fluffy it is (and we can all of us, every one, use more light and fluffy in our lives)
  3. cardamom - it's my love spice; i add it to everything: hot chocolate, coffee, apple cider, cake, muffins, liquor etc. and it smells and tastes divine (now if stella mare came out with a cardamom scented foamy soap my life would be complete)
  4. my couch sheep - soft to sit on, relaxing to pet, warm on the ass, does not need to be taken for walkies and does not soil itself, in a word, it is the perfect pet. it is also a very good listener
  5. my lululemon sweat pants - i never thought i would be one of those people who live in their sweat pants nor did i think i would ever own a pair that made my ass look good, but i am and i do, and i strongly urge you to get thee to a lulu and get yourself a pair
  6. cake, now homemade, and i certainly did not think that was ever going to happen
  7. ambrosia apples from russell farm market - roughly 3kg each, sweet, fragrant, crisp and amazing, and you know what? they are local and cheaper than at the grocery store!
  8. thick crusted, heavenly, chewy double baked german rye from columbia bakery
  9. red wine - not to be predictable but any good things list of mine that didn't feature red wine would be a blatant lie
  10. colours - mismatched, bright, bold, patterned and not, on my cushions, walls, floors and tables. matching is for fools.
  11. our view...oh our view. honestly, you'll just have to come and see for yourself.
  12. our new DSLR - if only i could skip the learning curve and hop right into the bit where i effortlessly take spectacular photos
  13. new bands - deep dark woods and jets overhead. i am always blown away how much talent canada keeps producing. by the way, do my musical tastes put me in the emo camp? will i have to get an asymmetrical haircut and wear tight pants? be more ironic?
  14. muffin, the adorable cat next door, who pops over for a visit every now and again
  15. tea
  16. that in less than 2 weeks i will get to see a whole slew of my favourite poultries, some of whom i haven't seen in a good long time
  17. last but most definitely not least, my mr. monkey, who continues to not murder me from sheer exhaustion, frustration and wrath

08 December, 2009

baking! cakes! free range dust bunnies!

ok, now i am seriously worried.

with the notable exception of christmas when all rules of normal behaviour are universally suspended, in the last decade or so, the only baking i have engaged in was the kind that needed nothing more than a bowl, a spoon, a pan and an oven. mixers? you gots to be kidding me! two bowls? i think not. creaming the ingredients of one bowl, sifting the ingredients of another, and then gently folding the one into the other? i laugh!

and now? now? well, let me tell you what has been happening here since our move to bc - i have just made a deeelicious lime-cardamon pound cake* (2 bowls, mixers, creaming then mixing), i have made a polenta cake (2 bowls, a mixer, beating egg whites, creaming, folding the whites into the cream mixture), several super easy apple cakes (that only involved one bowl but a fair amount of apple peelage, cuttage and tossage) and something else i can't remember at the moment (sugar rush) (butter rush?) (CAKE RUSH!!!)

so the question is, along with the plum butter canning and the joint sauerkraut venture with mr. monkey, am i becoming some kind of...super homemaker? you're worried, aren't you? god knows, next thing you know i'll give up drinking and cussing, and then where will we be?

but worry not, my little poultries, there are plenty of dust bunnies** lurking around our home, and i can assure you that no dusting of lintels has or shall be undertaken in the foreseeable future. yes, i launder with alarming regularity (it's so damn damp here, the towels never seem to dry), yes i just made some damn good mutter paneer, yes i even washed the windows of my own free will (but if you had a view like this you'd keep them clean as well), and finally, yes i seem to be entering The Baking Years, but i am still as slothful and slatternly as ever. and the drinking? no fucking way (although i might consider giving up the cussing)!

*i changed the recipe slightly - lime zest, cardamom and baked in a rectangular pan since i don't have a bundt pan...yet. also, all my cakes are made with fair trade turbinado sugar and locally harvested and ground organic red fife flour. sue me.
**my preferred method of farming dustbunnies is very humane and low impact - i simply wait until they reach adult size and i hand pick them. they are organic free range dust bunnies and i could not use a vacuum cleaner on them or my granola rating would be revoked.

07 December, 2009

there's that food thing again (now extra preachy!)

i love to eat. i love to cook. lately, i even love to bake. and now that i've moved to god's country (vancouver island, to the uninitiated), i am falling in love with fresh regional produce.

even before i moved here, being far too lazy to drive to the giant supermarket, i began shopping for most of my edibles at the old scona farmers' market. there i discovered that apples can be good (who knew?), that tomatoes can have flavour (quelle surprise!), that there are more than two kinds of beans in the world, and that fresh and tasty beats cheap and plastic hands down. well, i sort of already knew all that, but had forgotten living in exile up north, in oil country.

living on the island is glorious when it comes to food. we have a cheesery nearby, several farm stands that keep us in inexpensive and amazing apples, a local red fife flour that is spectacularly delicious, and shrimp that were caught right here, in the local ocean - imagine that.

all this makes me all the more heartbroken when i see beautiful arable land go under the developer's knife. sure, everyone wants a piece of this. everyone wants to live here. but do they really require a large lot that will most likely feature a "landscaped" lawn and some bonsai evergreens?

as we drive around the island, we are struck repeatedly by how ridiculous it all is. people fall in love with the untrammeled beauty of the island. they move here. and then they make it look like every other boring subdivision in north america. rip up the trees, turf out the farmers, put in a lawn, plonk in a bunch of identical detached split levels with garages in the front, and away you go. which begs the question - why in the hell did they move here in the first place? ah, the year round golfing, riiight.

because i am canadian, and i believe that the government should be on top of this kind of stuff, i am endlessly frustrated, not to mention shocked, that arable land is of so little value. as the price of oil goes up (and i wholeheartedly pray that it continues to do so), we will be less and less able to import our flavourless produce from china, chile and california. would it not make sense to legislate to keep the best of the land not for retired professionals with a hefty nest egg, but for those people who can make sure that we will be fed?

and don't get me started on our obsession with cheapness. now i'm as stingy as the next guy, and most likely far more so, but when it comes to food, i believe we should pay the asking price. i want the orchard down the street to make enough of a profit so that they continue to produce those amazingly juicy ambrosias. i would rather pay them than the supermarket that imports it all from god knows where. i'd rather pay the butcher whose meat does not come from a factory farm. i'd rather buy my eggs from the little farm up the road. i want to support the people who will make sure i am fed when the price of gas makes december pineapples a thing of the past. and honestly, here on the island, it is affordable. the local apples are cheaper than the supermarket imports. the eggs - ditto. sure, you might pay a little more for a local artisanal bread or flour, but how much do you really need? and instead of feeding the gaping maw of a corporate monster, you are supporting your neighbours.

so if you're reading this and thinking, boy, look at the mouth on that one, i am considering putting my money right in it. i'm thinking of going back to school to learn about food security issues, better urban planning (nanaimo's green spaces? pathetic!), sustainability etc. i am considering going a little more granola still. what do you think?

just a flesh wound

for the last several weeks, i have been finding small insecty bite marks on my left forearm and nowhere else. mister monkey has not been affected and neither has my right forearm. i am twisting my brain inside and out trying to figure out what it is that i do with my left arm that i do not do with my right and nothing fits, because most of the special things that i do with only one hand, i do with my right. and i find it really really hard to believe that NOT wiping my ass is causing bite marks to appear on my left forearm (on account on me using my right hand, not on account of me not wiping, ok?)

they itch, they last several days and then they go away. i suspect the spider that has been lurking around the apartment acting all innocent, whistling and looking off into the middle distance whenever i glance in his direction, but even then - why just the left arm? is it more delicious? is it juicier? firmer? does it have a stronger, more full-bodied aroma?

i have no idea how to end this entry, seeing as it is all manner of dull and lacks a coherent dénouement.

ok, go make your own dénouement, people, i've got things to do.


i woke up with sore legs (from climbing up a nearly vertical mountain face, followed by bushwacking down in the near dark when we lost the path...again*), sore arms (from pulling myself UP the mountain on the way up and using trees as brakes on the way DOWN), and a continuing plague of the mysterious left forearm bites.

i have made a Decision. several years ago i looked at skiing and suddenly realised that not only was it uncomfortable, in turns frightening and dull, and fucking cold but also outrageously expensive. this was followed by the realisation that i was old enough to have the joyous option of saying "hell no, i won't go" anymore and nobody could make me.

i suspect that hiking up steep mountains is about to receive the same opt-out from me. because despite whatever you might say about the goddamn view, i am firm on this - i like looking UP a mountain a hell of a lot more than i like looking DOWN it. but the view, the view, quoth the die hard mountaineers (and i know who you are, with your gnarled little hands and shifty eyes). fuck the view, i quoth back. the view is nothing more than the place i was at before someone dragged my ass up this pile of rock. as seen from above.

now don't get me wrong, i will still climb the odd mountain if it has a reasonable ascent. by reasonable i mean that while i can handle moments of cardiac and pulmonary distress, full hours of it shall be deemed not only unreasonable but of satanic origin and desirous of my immediate demise, and thus will be given the finger and left to rot in their godforsaken steepness without my participation.

obviously, i am not a climber, i think everest is an arrogant fake** and i think "because it's there" is a far better argument for having a drink than for climbing a snowy heap of rock. and one of the joys of being well on the way to 40, is that there are fewer and fewer people who can tell me what to do. sure, my mom says that i ought to climb more mountains because it is good for the bones, but so is a glass of milk and it hurts less.

so, let this be my official announcement - if you want me to climb a mountain, do not dangle The View as a carrot before me ("is this a carrot i see before me?") because i do not give a hairless rat's ass about the view. and make damn sure that the path, while not necessarily rose-strewn, retains a reasonable degree of incline. if i have to hoist myself up using trees, it's too damn steep and i won't stand for it.

the end.

* which makes it 3 for 3 - each time we go on a bigger hike, we get lost. this is sad and could be dangerous. it is also funny. go, us!

**sure it claims to be the tallest mountain, but when you start up from a massively high elevation, i think you have an unfair advantage. let's see everest come down to sea level, then we'll talk.

05 December, 2009

don't wanna think 'bout nothin' no more

welcome to day two of the two day migraine.

today, topping the list of things that do not help: watching transformers (the movie)

ever seen? i'm sure i'm the last one on the planet and it pains me greatly to have broken my track record on this one. the movie was obviously written by a masturbating teenage boy prone to acne, with the linguistic skills of a developmentally delayed first grader and the social skills of a rotting yak corpse. yawn.

and really, if you were an alien robot of superior intelligence, would you choose to transform into a GM product? i suppose nobody would look for anything superior there, so it would be a good cover.

furthermore, a question that continues to baffle me - why would anyone want to be the secretary of defense? especially of an aggressive nation like the us of a? i mean, maybe albania, sure..."calling pitchfork one, come in pitchfork one" but the usa? too much stress, man. not interested.

good night, kind folks. kiss your wives and tuck your children in, cause you never know when a seriously cranky alien with enough plot holes to cause a massive intelligence hemorrhage will come crashing through your neighbourhood. two very weary thumbs down, but i already knew that going in.

edit. note: in retrospect, i ought to have explained why i was watching transformers in the first place. before you accuse me of spending money on shit, mr. monkey got the film for free when he purchased some electronic gizmo. and don't ask if i try everything that i get for free, because the answer, embarrassingly, is yes.

04 December, 2009

served with a heaping bowl of vitriol

mr. monkey and i headed up to north island today to check it out. we were feeling particularly optimistic and even packed an overnight bag, just in case.


ever been to campbell river? no? let's just say that if you didn't want to use words like "depressing," "dull," "industrial," or "wholly uninspired" you could just sum it up as "whitecourt-by-the-sea." for those of you unfamiliar with the pulp-mill glory that is whitecourt, imagine if you will any small industrial north american town with a wal-mart, macdonald's, few architectural details or character. now put it by the sea. there you have it. they compounded the problem of their boring downtown by plonking a hideous mustard-coloured 60's high rise hotel right on the waterfront.

the highlight of our trip was a city park that jutted into the water in a most attractive way (on the map). the city fathers, in their infinite wisdom, removed all but one or two trees, put in wide paved walkways and a whole shitload of lawn. after all, who among us isn't bored to death of trees? especially here in british columbia. giant cedars, ancient pines, stunning firs, dazzling arbutus - booooring. who needs'em? add to that the delicious incentive of financial gain when these dull old growth bastards are chopped up and sold off to the highest bidder, and there really is no issue. timberrrrrrrr!!!!

and why not grass? it is blatantly obvious that north america loves its grass, regardless of geography or climate. lawns dominate our landscape like a particularly persistent blight, and we shall have them because to us they spell success. oh sure, the majority of the world lacks clean drinking water, but we are so bloody privileged we will pour ours out on a lawn! nothing gives a big fat finger to the third world like watering grass with pure potable water. not enough for ya? well hell, clean your sidewalks with it too! that'll show those smug skinny third world bastards!

anyone out there i managed not to offend? no? let's see - people who live in campbell river, people who live in whitecourt, people who work in forestry, people who like lawns (98% of north america right there, baby!) and those who think we owe the world nothing and can waste our most precious natural resources however the fuck we please. that about covers it. any questions?

on a more positive note, cause i'm nothing if not positive (except, you know, negative) the drive up was gorgeous!

03 December, 2009

baby, just don't call me a cab!

now that you know you shouldn't call me dear the question remains: what, short of various rude epitaphs to which you are sincerely welcome, can you call me? well, let's go over a list, shall we?

dear - don't. just don't. weren't you paying attention?

my dear - marginally better but still vaguely offensive in an entirely inexplicable manner

love - works only if you love me or if you have a british accent. then again most things spoken with a british accent work wonderfully well. call me a fucking twat with a british accent and i'll most likely giggle like a schoolgirl.

sweetheart - confession, this one makes me a wee bit weak in the knees (scottish or irish accent optional but strongly encouraged. yes, there's a tale. no, you won't get to hear it.)

honey - booooring

sweetie - meh, been there, done that, didn't do anybody any good

darling - yes please, especially if you say it with a ricardo montalban accent and roll your rrrrr's prettily

darlin' - like it a lot. must be all those years living in cowboy country.

baby - do i look like my diaper needs changing?

babe - SMACK!

bebe - oh, ok, sure.

babycakes - oddly enough i like it, most likely because cake features prominently....mmmm...cake

mama - unless you came out of my birth canal - NO.

pumpkin - used to be, years ago, that i really wanted to be called this. now i can't understand it. i mean, it's a great term of endearment for a baby or a cat but for a grown woman, not so much.

angel - you wish

monkey - yes, yes, yes. until we get old and die.

02 December, 2009

the anatomy of alcoholism lite

mr. monkey just poured me a glass of no name bailey's (o'shaugnessey's? patty'o cream? irish spring? whatever.)

first sip: mmmmm...smack, smack...hm...do i detect a hint of bitterness?

second sip: mmmmm...ok, a little bitter.

third sip: hm, definitely bitter..ish.

fourth sip: bitter? maybe a wee bit bitter...but mmmm...

fifth sip: what the fuck, bitter or not, it's irish cream...mmmmm...

sixth sip: mmmmm...a bit bitter...but mmmmmm.

seventh sip: all gone!

no bitter aftertaste was recorded.
off to bed.
got to work tomorrow.
imagine, two days in a row.
oh the humanity!

01 December, 2009

feral bananas

  • don't call me "dear." it may be nice in swahili or polish or italian or spanish or (presumably) dutch, german (well, maybe not german), latvian, french, urdu or portuguese, but in english it sounds patronising as shit and i get annoyed. thank you.

  • the polite thing to say is "thank you very much, i enjoyed it" even if you didn't. my mommy taught me that before kindergarten. i guess some people were raised by wolves.

  • foamy soap still makes me happy. i cannot get over that little frisson of joy each time i get surprised by foamy soap. foamy soap, i need more of you in my life!

  • polenta cake: crumbly and heavy high-maintenance cornbread or strangely delicious italian treat? jury is still out, but i do like my corn products so much more than corn.

  • i love the old ladies at curves who come with full old lady make-up, earrings, necklaces, puffy polyester shirts with a bow and perfectly coiffed hair. this is old skool class. breaking a sweat is totally unladylike. yes, i go to curves. kiss my increasingly firm ass.

  • one of mister monkey's co-workers recently asked him if lenin was called lenin because he came from leningrad. why yes! yes he was! good call on that one!

  • off to buy a birthday present for a 3-year old. a suggestion of a barney dvd was soundly rejected by yours truly. that'll be the day when i support the heinous cult of barney. i'd rather buy him porn.

edit. note: i did not buy a gift for the 3 year old. but don't worry, i didn't get him porn either. instead i got his mom a bottle of wine, because that's what mommies need.

special times for special peoples

all of last week i have been behaving badly. so badly, in fact, that mister monkey and i wondered if it would be a good idea to let me loose upon his unsuspecting co-workers friday night. luckily, i managed to be good.

there was pouting, screaming, yelling, hollering, slamming of doors, throwing of objects, kicking of objects and general assholism. i was so very very angry that my soul threw off an anti-radiance, black hole-like, and small animals ran away from me squealing.

the only reason i didn't panic about this black friday (and surrounding days of the week), is that i knew my pills were near the end and this was nothing but hormones rearing their ugly head(s?).

alas and alack, when last i gazed upon the box of pills, a realisation came upon me and verily, yea, it was shameful - i was a week off and not yet due for my special lady time. the problem was not hormones after all, but my fucking personality.