26 March, 2010

the one about women, food, body issues and other fun stuff. i could say there are dancing monkeys, but sadly, my agent was unable to get any in time

i just got an email from cher monsieur antoine, that got me thinking about food, guilt, fat and that ridiculous hamster wheel we women like to hop on all the time.

a mentioned my food guilt and sent me a link to this post and although my first thought is that i am nothing like that girl (for one, she is living in paris where good restaurants abound, whereas i am in nanaimo, where they most definitely do not*) i soon realised that i am indeed quite a bit like her. the thing is, as a says, it's different for women, and he cannot understand.

i agree. for one, men are not bombarded with pictures of gorgeous skinny things every hour of every day. watch any sitcom and within its ridiculous canned-laughter premise you will likely find an ordinary, often chubby, shmoe, married to some gorgeous thin thing who loves him very much. hell, look at most rock star marriages. look at donald trump! for men it is expected that they be financially secure, for women, that they remain young and thin. the end. and no matter how enlightened i may like to think i am, i am always going to be caught up in that.

i know i've blogged about this before, but the thing that will always get me, the thing i have a hard time forgiving, is that in my glorious youth, in those days when i could (and sometimes did) polish off 14 pieces of buttered toast and jam with impunity, in the days when i looked like something out of a magazine, my fine-boned girlfriends' mothers called me a "big girl" "large boned" and other euphemisms for you know, being a large slavic woman. my mother and my aunt often commented on my belly, because hey, i wasn't ever flat as a board, because they, at my age, never ever had a belly (yeah, they most likely didn't, as they always tended to run to hips and ass).

so forgive me if there is a part of me that is having a hard time doing the whole "embrace yourself as you really are" thing, because EVERY GODDAMN STEP OF THE WAY someone is trying to trip that up. up to and including other women. up to and including my own family. up to and including every ugly stupid man i have ever known who thought he too deserved to date a supermodel.

at this point, i like to think that my weight loss scheme (which, by the way is working fine, thankyouverymuch) is related more to my health, and the fact that i am not about to turn around and get a whole new wardrobe, seeing as i like the one i already have. if i choose not to eat dessert other than homemade dessert, i like to think that is a good thing. how many times have you found yourself with a forkful of grocery store cake in your mouth wandering what the caloric point was of something that was that tasteless and vile? i have not given up on food, i have decided to eat good food, and i think there is a difference.

i have previously referred to michael pollan, and what he said that made me think was this: in previous ages, people indulged in "bad" food for special occasions. so if guests were coming, you would take the time to cut up potatoes, heat up a vat of oil, and make french fries. ditto with fried chicken. or cake. the problem arose when it was no longer a special occasion thing. you could pop out and get yourself a bucket o'chicken every single day. and so he says, eat the occasional treat but if you make it yourself, one, you will know what is in it, but two, it will remain a special treat. and so i decided to bake my own desserts, and lest you accuse me of dramatic asceticism in the name of excessive food guilt, let it be known that every weekend in the past month, we have had a homemade baked item and, lo, it was good.

*cross another thai place off the hopeful list - we had take-out last night from amazing thai, which, sadly, was a bit of a misnomer. that makes it two for two thai places that i would not eat at again. oh edmonton, sometimes i do miss you! two of the best thai places i had ever eaten at are there!

25 March, 2010

um...yeah...that's not it.

having published the previous post, i came to the realisation that that is not at all what i wanted to write about. what i wanted to write about is moi: an international woman of mystery. you see, yesterday at the course, i sat with some other dental hygienists and out came The Mouth again. i found myself talking non-stop to the point of nausea, and i really wanted nothing more than to shut the fuck up, but i couldn't. i don't know what it is - nerves? spastic colon? what? i really must learn to muzzle that thing because it. is. annoying. i am old enough now to realise that and having managed to muzzle it on one or two social occasions i found myself regaled with fascinating tales about...get this: OTHER PEOPLE. who knew other people had lives? aspirations? needs? adventures? i certainly didn't, having spent 30-odd years talking non-stop.

you do know that you have my permission to smack me when we meet and i do that, right? thank you. unless, of course, you genuinely want to know for some reason what is going on in my head. but for that, really, you have this blog, and that ought to be more than enough, if i do say so myself.

look! bunnies! bunnies everywhere!

disclaimer: there are no bunnies anywhere at all in this post.

yesterday i went out to get me some free continuing education points. this took place at the vancouver island university which, to my untutored eye, has a campus reminiscent of army barracks, except marginally less attractive. i think trees, much like interesting architecture, were found to be distracting to the student body and outlawed outright.

i pulled into the wrong (of several dozen) parking lot and had to rely on g, who had phoned at that very moment, to check a map of the campus online and talk me into the correct position. i love getting nanaimo directions via vancouver, it makes me feel like it's a small world after all (you're welcome).

the event was catered by the equally unimaginative campus caterers and comprised a dull dull dull sandwich bar with the prerequisite alfalfa sprouts, chemically flavoured cucumbers and albino tomatoes. le sigh. at least it was free...the dessert tray looked halfway to decent but because of recent developments in the monkey household* i chose not to partake.

having eaten, we sat around and listened to a bald man talk at length and with unabashed enthusiasm about periodontal defects, tissue grafting, and biomimetic protein used in the regeneration of bone. don't you wish you were moi? yes, it was that good.

*i have recently decided that the only dessert i eat will be that made from scratch by myself** (or someone i know). this accomplishes two things: i eat less dessert, but i eat better dessert. creme brulee used to be the notable exception, seeing as how it was impossible to produce at home, except mr. monkey fucked that up by making me some for my birthday, so it's off the list!

**thanks a fat lot, michael pollan! and i mean that in both an utterly sincere, and bitter and twisted ways, cause that's the way i swing, baby!

19 March, 2010


hey! now comment, willya? comment! comment, damn you, so i know someone out there is reading this blather! you hear me?

you asked for it. you really really did...well, one of you did, anyways.

i have just realised why today i have thrust 3 posts into the ether where in the last few weeks my output was almost nonexistent.

you see, for the last three weeks (barring the two sybaritic birthday weekends) i have abstained from both sugar and alcohol, on account of the large lard deposits that have been unaccountably accumulating in the general ventral/dorsal area of my body. and it turns out that apparently i cannot blog without the aid of sugar and/or alcohol. apparently the fact that i seem to have lost 7lb does not behove me to write, although it makes me very very happy, as it makes my pants feel less like the iron maiden and more like a butt covering device, and it makes me want to look in the mirror in a fashion other than furtive and desperate. in a word, it is good for moi, but not so much for the writing. apparently.

today i had a glass of wine. then i saw mr. monkey's unfinished glass which, as we all know* is a sin against all things good and holy, so i finished that, and i am now, thanks to wireless technology, listening yet again to the best radio station on the planet, and hey, look at that: some nice music from my favourite dj's, a nice little buzz, the occasional boat out on the water, and yowza! the girl wants to write. so i did. not that i said anything, or anything. but hey, words!

*an ancient** polish saying courtesy of my dad: "it is better that 10 000 communes burn to the ground, than that one drop of alcohol be wasted."

**you know, the communist era.

to add insult to injury (or "poke a sick man in the eye")

to buff monday's incident to a high gloss shine, i must add, that due to the formality inherent in the polish language, every sentence in the entire coldly polite exchange began with "proszÄ™ pani" or, in english, "madam."

imagine, if you will, the increasingly desperate moi, and the increasingly hostile bureaubitch, tossing this little linguistic gem back and forth to each other. what follows is an example. of course, due to my aforementioned lack of The Stamp Of Validity i can guarantee neither the validity of the translation nor its verbatim-ness. think of it, if you will, as more of an approximation:

moi: madam, i have brought you the very documents you have requested. these documents, madam, contain the very information you found lacking in the previous documents i brought you; the documents you sent me home with and now claim to have needed all along.

bb: madam, these documents are worthless to me. furthermore, madam, i am certain i have specifically told you that i needed blah blah blah.

moi: madam, you did no such thing. i am certain, madam, that if you had, instead of wasting time and money, i would even now, be officially recognized as married in my country of birth, a country, madam, the need for the passport of which i am increasingly questioning.

and so on.

polish? still thinking about it...

based on the public outcry (from all one of you!) i am returning, chastised and slightly sheepish, back to my writing post. i apologise profusely, my little loyal poultries, but i've been very very busy. that spider solitaire ain't gonna play itself, you know. also, i scribbled a post recounting my polish consular adventures yesterday, but the internet chose that moment to self-destruct, so there. let's try again, shall we?

on monday last, i woke at the crack of dawn, gulped down a protein shake to strengthen myself against the siren call of the greasy ferry breakfast, and boarded said vessel for vancouver, in a second attempt to get my marriage officially recognised in poland so that i can renew my polish passport (damn you, poland, for becoming a gleaming grail of desirability now that you have joined the european union*).

i promptly picked up the second officially translated document (one i could have easily translated myself, but for a lack of The Stamp of Validity (oh what i would not do for such a stamp...)) and hoofed it to the consulate, aiming for that elusive 4h window of official hours. got in, proudly dropped off my document at the bureaubitch's desk and then...

...it turned out that this was not the correct document either. 40$ to the alberta government for the true copy, 108$ to the translators, and hey, this isn't the right document. i got into a calm and very polite discussion with the bureaubitch, about how this was a document with precisely the information that my previous offer had lacked. the debate got progressively calmer and more dangerously polite but accomplished nothing. apparently what i need is the marriage certificate LONG FORM, words which, prior to that moment, had never once crossed her cold reptilian lips. she archly told me that nobody has ever had this problem and that everyone brings her the correct document. most likely because, unlike moi, they have been specifically instructed to do so. it took all my willpower not to utter some choice words of polish street vernacular (i've been practising!) and i walked out of there with my head held high, a quivering bundle of misery on the inside. i made it down to the lobby before bawling and phoning mr. monkey for moral support.

you see, there are lot of things i hate, but let's, for the purposes of this particular rhetorical device, assume that there are two things i hate the most,** and these two would be wasting money and being treated like a moron. this situation made me feel like i was a complete ijit who actually enjoyed wasting time and large quantities of $ while being humiliated within the cool wood-panelled environs of the polish consulate. which i am not.

so there. after all that, mr. monkey, using his managerial super powers, talked to the consular bureaubitches on the phone and managed to extricate information that, once i have shaken off the deep psychological malaise i am currently suffering from, i can use (for the third and, dare i say it, LAST time) to get my goddamn marriage officially recognised in goddamn poland so i can get my goddamn polish passport thus opening up the gleaming (and entirely theoretical) goddamn pearly gates of the goddamn european union.

the end. happy now? has my suffering entertained you? oh good. now go away. i need to play some spider solitaire and your beady little eyes are making me nervous.

*not that it's bloody likely i'll be attempting to carve a career path in that particular neck of the woods, but i'd love to know that the opportunity is there if ever the hankering for fine cheeses, original fashion and 6 week vacations overtakes me.

**total lie: hummer-drivers, soggy raisins, republicans and wind are way higher on that list, but so be it.

08 March, 2010


this weekend, cbc's spark had a program dedicated to the way communication has changed with the advent of new technology. one of the things they talked about was sexual texting, or sexting. tonight we were writing on our respective laptops and thought we'd give it a go. apparently it's supposed to spice up your love life.

moi: hi (followed by various endearments to which you, my poultries, are not privy)
mr. monkey: are you sexting?
moi: YES!!!
mr. m: i am sexting too.
moi: rawr!
mr. m: boob.
moi: wagga wagga
mr.m: the other boob.

and that was the end of that. but i can totally feel the spark in our marriage reignited.

let's clarify shit

just so you know, and i have to make this perfectly clear, i am not, nor have i ever been, depressed on account of getting older. i think getting depressed because of the increasing number of years under one's belt is undignified and stupid, because (and you're going to find this shocking) EVERYONE is getting older. every single last one.

i have always found it silly not to admit one's age, like it's something to be ashamed of. i hate being told "oh, you're so young!" by women older than me in a tone that suggests they'd like to poke me with a sharp stick for the sin of being younger than they are.

i admit one has every right to complain about age-related illnesses and annoyances, like aching joints and loss of vision, but whining about getting older seems so very counterproductive.

i hate the loss of minutes and the waste of years i feel i've been passively engaging in for the last half decade or so, but it has nothing to do with my age, and everything to do with my personality, which could do with a light but thorough thrashing.

are we clear now? good.

older but not wiser and marginally more bitter despite best efforts to stem that tide

i've been looking back at the last lil' while and have found that my blog comments (particularly on apartment therapy and its subsidiaries) have been some kind of bitter and angry. i am also losing patience with albertans making FB comments about their sunshine (as compared to the allegedly constant rain of vancouver island). i should care less. i really really should.

despite my promise to myself to make my latter thirties a time of more zen, i am constantly finding myself relapsing to some sort of eco-harpy state. also, i am so so sick and tired of the north american thing. you know the thing of which i speak, no? the thing that manifests itself in sterile lawns, big box stores, germophobia, prepackaged food, oversized houses and hollywood films which i am increasingly unable to sit through (so sorry cop out, men who stare at goats, zombieland, avatar, sherlock holmes and god knows what else).

i must work harder, i guess. but who can blame me? i have just turned 38 and i hate, hate, hate the number 8 (i have told you before but damned if i'll hurl myself backwards through time to find the appropriate link*) because it is bloated, greyish and vaguely damp. i hated 18 and i hated 28. i can't remember hating 8 but that's because i was young, stupid and most likely frittering away my time fluffing my large eastern european pony tail ribbons. also, my synesthesia hadn't fully set in at that point, so i was likely blissfully ignorant of the more insidious qualities of the number 8.

so, what to do? breathing deeply helps. i am also giving up on listening to the news yet again, not that i took it up with great enthusiasm, but i have been giving a listen every now and again and it is rather dispiriting to find yourself telling the radio that you really do not give a shit about yet another armed conflict between muslims and christians in which people died. it is not nice. it makes you realise there is an aspect of your personality best kept under wraps. oh...oops.

to add insult to injury (or to butter the french fry, so to speak), i have just been weighed at the old lady gym i frequent and it turns out that over the course of the last year that i have been a member, i have gained 17 lb. and please, do not tell me it is muscle. i have it on good authority that the jiggling blob around my mid-section is definitely not muscle. to that end, i have decided to revisit my previously successful south beach diet, which was going along swimmingly until my stupid birthday on saturday derailed it. mr. monkey took it upon himself to surprise me with my favourite dessert, creme brulee, home made edition, and it was good. oh god it was good. i did to it what i do to all good and yummy things that have strayed into my house - ate it as quickly as possible to get it the hell out of my sight. so we'll see what happens.

wish me luck, ok?

*i did. but only because i love you so much. and because it was easy.

02 March, 2010

in which i gleefully eat my words but continue to be obstinate on the whole "own the podium" slogan

ok, ok, ok, we did well. we kicked ass, gold-wise and all, and did it all in macgyver fashion, at the very last minute. good job, sweet land of mine. you have surpassed my expectations, expectations that i kept low in typical canadian fashion, expectations that i felt the "own the podium" slogans did little to boost, expectations, in fact, that were calibrated precisely to allow me some peace of mind during the stressfest of the 2010 olympics.

some highlights of the last weekend we spent in vancouver:

  • spending face time with a virtual friend and finding out it's all good.

  • mr. monkey being accidentally whacked in the noggin by a diminutive transit employee wielding a day-glo orange plastic baton.

  • moi, having first my pant leg, then my finger, right up to the last knuckle, bitten by a super cute feisty needle-toothed puppy* right on cambie bridge.

  • watching The Game in a hippy commercial drive diner with a big happy bunch of lesbians, eco-mamas, chubby hipster chicks, skinny hipster boys, babies, toddlers, friends and assorted dreadlocked, hairy-armpitted waitresses, all of whom (except maybe the babies) spontaneously booed the big screen the minute harper's waxy old mug made an appearance, seated next to gretzky, doubtlessly hoping some love would rub off. as if. who knew the hippies were hockey fans? then again, at that point in the proceedings, i think even the violent black-masked protesters were cheering our team on, in some dank subterranean headquarters.

  • watching a guy strip down naked in front of us and take off on a patriotic streak, because nothing says "oh canada" like having your nuts on public display on a ridiculously crowded downtown street. yes, i took a picture. unfortunately mr. monkey was so embarrassed by the whole thing he would not let me snap it until the dude was just one little naked find-waldo ass in the crowd. who knew i was married to a puritan?

find naked ass waldo!

* 1/4 pug, 3/4 cocker spaniel - now imagine that particular love-match if you will!