30 November, 2010


one rainy night a couple of weeks ago i was driving on the highway on my way to pick up mr. monkey when i was arrested by the sudden bloom of red lights reflected on the wet pavement. i felt hypnotised by this entirely unexpected beauty: lowly, utilitarian, quotidian and utterly irresistible. since then, each time i pull up to an intersection, i fall under the spell of the ruby blooms all over again.

this sudden emergence of beauty makes me nervous. last time it happened, i feared i was about to die and the universe was handing me a going-away gift, a little something to ease the passing: we were living in the northern wastelands at the time and drove the 430km south to civilisation twice a month. we had lived there for a good long while already when i suddenly became aware of the beauty of the drive. it was the wrong season: nothing was blooming, nothing was singing forth its spring verdure or summer bounty. it was simply one more day on the highway and out of nowhere, i was charmed. here was this road i had driven back and forth on, filled to the brim with resentment, depression and hopelessness, when lo, it became beautiful. it had nothing, absolutely nothing to do with some inner joy, since i was shriveled up and dry; it came from outside of me, shocked me into awareness and remained quietly in the corner of my mind.

since i didn't die that time, i am assuming i am not about to die now (not that the universe is a well ordered place, but i do like to surround myself with the comfort of patterns, so please bear with me), although i must force myself to pay a little more attention to my driving - the hypnotic bloom of red reflections can be quite distracting.

[by the way, i have deleted the culling post and its corollary because in no way, shape, or form did it get across what i wanted to say. it just made me sound like an asshole and while that may be true from time to time, i am not a full time asshole and do not want to be seen as one. thanks for your patience.]

[for those of you who have missed the posts i am referring to, and are now consumed with curiosity, just imagine me sounding like an asshole, and there you have it. you didn't miss much.]

29 November, 2010

bum foot and parasites

you might remember the hijinks and japes of my medical escapades in weeks past wherein i had an ultrasound, a biopsy, a CT scan and more blood taken out of my body than is generally considered polite, all to find out that my enlarged lymph nodes, far from being a symptom of the cancer, are merely the passing blurb of toxoplasmosis.

the thing that made me chuckle quietly to myself as i sat in a series of dismal waiting rooms* at the local hospital/medical laboratory/the ENT doctor's office/my GP's office, was that the joke was on them: they might think i was worried about my possible cancer/tuberculosis/unspecified medical badness but what really killed, was my foot. my plantar fasciitis has now reached a level of personal dedication and devotion that i would expect from a loving family pet: it is with me always, from waking to sleeping, and even that magical time in between as i take my midnight tinkle. i hobble. i limp. i galumph. and i finally went to see my GP about it. we had a fun conversation.

moi: the foot. it hurts. i wear my orthotics. i stretch it. i massage it. i ice it. it is getting worse. help.

GP: having exhausted all other possibilities, the thing to do next is an incredibly painful injection of a steroid into the heel.

moi: ok! how many do i need?

GP: only one ... i've only ever had to do one ... ... ... of course i'm not certain if it's because one was effective or if the patients didn't want to come back for a second one ... but i think one ought to do it.

moi: i'm in!

(like i said, the foot hurts like a sonofobitch)

*to be perfectly honest and factual and truthful, it was, for the most part, the same three waiting rooms during a series of days, but whatever.

24 November, 2010

snow day

monday morning, we woke up to great big heaps of wet snow and much more on the way. the landlord knocked on my door and told me that i'd best move the car off the street since there were vehicles weaving all over the place. better yet, he said, casting a glance at my morning hair, bright orange bathrobe and fuzzy slippers, give me the keys and i'll move it. when he came back to return the keys, he informed me that it was pretty bad out there and we'd best stay in until the afternoon. sure thing!

as soon as i showered, i asked my new orleanian guests (clearly, resident experts on winter) if they thought we ought to go out anyway. sure, they said, enthusiastically. after all, t had agreed to teach me how to make apple pie, and we needed butter. and bread. and other essential pantry items i had neglected to stock prior to their arrival. so not 30 minutes after being warned to stay off the streets, we put on our wooly hats and boots and off we went.

we made it out of the driveway and slid gently out of control down to the stop sign, which was the first sign that the gods had other plans. being either stupid or eternally optimistic, i turned up the hill, only to slide down awkwardly, weaving all over the road. attempt number two produced similar results. i tried to turn the car around to no avail, and ended up backing up part way up the hill towards our driveway until the ice won and i shuddered to a stop halfway up. as we sat there wondering what to do, we were passed on the right (i.e. half way up the sidewalk) by an apparent moron in a SUV with alberta plates. figures.

when it became obvious we weren't going either up or down, i got out, walked the 15 feet back to the house, rang the landlord's door and waited with a sheepish grin. hi, i said, i'm an idiot. you were right. help.

shovels and a bucket of salt were produced and while p and the landlord shoveled a track for the volvo, t and i sprinkled it daintily with salt, falling spectacularly every once in a while and chortling maniacally upon the icy road. once the track was laid down, i managed to turn the car around and drive it back to its little home. we then took the bus, got groceries and made two apple pies, one of which was proudly taken upstairs as a heartfelt thank you for not having once said "i told you so."

19 November, 2010

victim of statistics

we all like to think we are different, that we, unlike the unwashed masses, will beat the statistics and somehow rise above society's expectations, rise up, phoenix-like, from the ashes of mediocrity...or something. i admit, i thought so too. turns out i was wrong.

for the dozen or so years that mr. monkey and i have been together, and for the 9 years we have been married, we, too, thought that, unlike our friends, neighbours and co-workers, we would rise above, "make it," as it were and be different. now we have had to face the fact that we are not quite immune to society's diseased expectations: we have fallen, we have failed, we have, in fact, become nothing more than a statistic, a depressing statistic at that.

yes, my little poultries, i am devastated to have to inform you that mr. monkey and i...well...we bought a second car. now i know this goes against every single thing we stand for but before you pick up a stone and start tossing it speculatively from hand to hand whilst checking the atmospheric conditions* let me tell you that it is second hand and it is a volvo. that ought to count for something, no? i mean, come on! it's swedish! it's fuel efficient AND has a standard transmission. also, did i mention that it's swedish? those people are leading the world in environmentalism and social responsibility, not to mention kick-ass design!

whereas dodge rams appear to come with a free lobotomy,** volvos come with a serious intellectual cachet. at least there seem to be a whole lot of them parked around university campuses, so hopefully some of the smarts will rub off on us.

forgive us, please: mr. monkey's year-long (plus) carpooling deal recently collapsed in a heap of egos, light sociopathy and scheduling conflicts, and it was either that, or moi driving him to work every day (50km), driving to my own sporadic places of employment (5-40km each way), then driving back to pick him up (still 50km), which would not have been good. not for me, not for him, not for the marriage, not for the planet.

also, did i mention the car's swedish?

p.s. don't hate me, but i am madly in love with my butt warmer. too bad the stereo is blocked despite the best efforts of volvo dealers all over vancouver island...

*what? wind direction and speed has a huge effect on how you throw a rock at someone. just ask a golfer.

**chances are the ijit who cut you off earlier today was driving a dodge ram. it's just the way it is, i cannot help it!

18 November, 2010


who knew that a month so lowly and dim, so dingy and depressing could be so very very important? not only is november the month to write a novel (NaNoWriMo), it is the month of daily blogging(NaBloPoMo), and now, apparently also the month for growing a mustache(Movember).

well, i'm fairly certain i don't have a novel in me. nope. i'm more of one-facebook-status-update-per-day-punctuated-by-the-occasional-swear-studded-rant type of a person. daily blogging sounds like too much bloody work and the less said about my mustache growing ability the better. so. what can november be for moi? hmmmm...


NaEOWiMo - national ease off the wine month (in preparation for the upcoming celebrations of the birth of little beby jebus)

CAFASTDWINETIRWHAIHRBYMo - cold as fuck and sick to death of winter even though it isn't really winter here and it hasn't really begun yet month

SlODaWODishMo - slacking on daily washing of dishes month

PlaFruTNoAYBloKidMeAYITrAWeSsDoItMo - planting fruit trees in november, are you bloody kidding me? and yet it's true and we shall do it! month

BuLarPiWOAGetFilInTProMo - burning large piles of wood and getting filthy in the process month

DriCheBeWYoMo - drinking cheap beer with yokels month (see above)(and i don't mean my friends, in case y'all are reading this, i mean the party crashers, obv.)

SpenVaQuaOMoIOWIWComUnToChriMo - spending vast quantities of money in one week in a way completely unrelated to christmas month (more on that later)

and thus ends my post. if you think any of the above are fine ideas that need to be spread unto the masses like so much well aged manure, go forth, i dare ya!

15 November, 2010

le weekend

friday: elitist snobbery (self proclaimed, joyously and repeatedly) over a delicious dinner with r & k (several bottles of plummy southern italian red might or might not have been consumed) followed by a cab ride home and as much emergency rehydration as possible in preparation for:

saturday and sunday: rubber boots, soot, ash, big piles of wood and scrub, cans of pork'n beans and some cheap beer. turns out our elitist snobbery makes for poor clothing choices when facing a large fire. who knew big name gore-tex and polar fleece were highly flammable? thank god for neighbours who lent us their farming clothes which were not. flammable that is.

all day saturday and sunday we tended to flames, logs, brush and all manner of smelly dirty things, knee deep in mud. there was something gloriously liberating in allowing myself to get absolutely filthy.

saturday night, we needed to stop in at wal-mart to pick up a pair of rubber boots for mr. monkey, and in one of the low points of the evening, i caught a glimpse of myself in a mirror and had to burst out laughing. you know things are bad when you feel like you're underdressed for wal-mart. alas, there i was, covered in mud (top to bottom, quite literally), greasy hair mostly hidden under a stupendously ugly fleece cap, various colours of mud, beans and soot on my face, and...well...a trifle smelly.

today? muscle pain. a lot of muscle pain. and how was your weekend?

09 November, 2010


...should i write something? even if i have nothing to write?

oh, what the hell, something is bound to leak out of my brain and onto the keyboard if i just whack it enthusiastically enough. surely i have better chances (statistically, at least) than those monkeys we are waiting for to produce another shakespearean* oeuvre.

oh hell, i'm beat. i think this is all you'll get out of me tonight, but if anyone has any idea how to take two actual sugar pumpkins and turn them into an edible product (like pie, for instance), i'd be thrilled to hear about it. right now i have fallen in thrall to their rotund orange cuteness and am using them in a purely decorative manner. sooner or later, however, i must face my fear, scalp and eviscerate them and turn them into that very best of autumnal desserts. help.

*english, as much as i love you, i must say that one of these days i will leave you for a phonetic language. who the hell needs so many a's and e's in his name? who? and why?

04 November, 2010

now it all makes sense!

read it and weep.

aggression - check!
speeding - check!
reduced inhibition (in the form of running off at the mouth or inappropriately sharing my innermost secrets with the interwebs) - check!
rocking at soccer - um...not so much.

babies, i think i've just figured out why i am the way i am.

thanks a lot, kitten!

03 November, 2010

polish is as polish does

having had some time to lick my wounds and mend my broken pride, on friday last i girded my loins, screwed my courage to the sticking place, and made one more (and hopefully final) attempt to get the polish consulate to get my marriage to mr. monkey officially recognized in poland.

as i rode the bus to the ferry, death got on, but as it was nearing halloween, i did not take this as a bad sign. and indeed, all went well.

the bureauwench sported a bright blue wig, on which i commented brightly, the consulate was also entering into the spirit of the season by offering a large platter of one of my favourite polish confections, bird's milk (don't knock it till you tried it: it is a sort of chocolate covered better-than-a-marshmallow centre). more importantly, however, the papers i had with me proved to finally be the correct ones. hurray!

once the marriage is officially recognized in poland, i will be able to apply for a polish passport and the whole fantastic paperlicious bureau-rama can begin all over again. thank the good lord above the polish passport is good for a decade. i really would rather not have to spend any more time at the consulate than is absolutely necessary, bird's milk notwithstanding.

02 November, 2010

that whole autumnal thing

the word for november, in polish, means something like "the month of falling leaves," a fact that was endlessly depressing to someone who spent almost 27 years living in northern alberta, a land where the month of falling leaves is september. late september, if you're lucky; early september, if it's real life we're talking about. hell, sometimes even late august, but we won't talk about that.

this is my second november on vancouver island and i must say i am utterly charmed by the idea of leaves falling in the month of falling leaves. true, some have already fallen during the sunny days of october, but many remain, and it is a glorious thing to have real leisurely autumn to enjoy and real spring to look forward to, one with crocuses in february and cherry blossoms in may, the way it ought to be.

don't get me wrong, i love alberta, and edmonton will always be my home, but i think there is something inherently wrong about living in a place so fundamentally unsuited to human habitation. and yes, there is the possibility that we will again find ourselves there in the near future (who the hell knows, what with mr. monkey's job), but i can tell you that having lived through 27 years of 6-month winters, i am through with snow. i am also done with autumn lasting a weekend and summer pouncing on the heels of a week-long spring, shorts-weather steamrolling through the streets where huge piles of snow are still sedately melting.

so for now, while we wait to hear about their plans for us, i will kick the fallen leaves, enjoying their toast-like scent; i will look at the sky peeking through the mosaic of golden maple leaves; i will marvel at the fact that one layer of clothing is still very much adequate and i will try to be philosophical about this whole seasonal thing.

what is the point?

what is the point of the reverse phone number look up, to be precise.

mr. monkey took over my third world phone and got himself a new number with a third world plan* to match and allegedly gave the number to nobody. within two days he got two text messages. one was a poetic sidereal declaration of love, rife with misspellings. the second seemed to be a mangled marriage proposal. i certainly hope they were random: i'd be severely disappointed if mr. monkey had a thing going with some chick with poor spelling. (fake tits** and bad spelling would be unforgivable in my book.)

we attempted to reverse look up the number and got nothing. we called using our gtalk phone and got the voicemail of some guy. oooh..kay. (mr. monkey, is there something i should know?)

today, i have just received this text "come down to mr. mike's" by a mystery person to which i replied, understandably, "?"
their answer: "the bar at the hotel"
oh, ok. that makes it all clear. i have no idea who it is i would be meeting, in which bar, in which hotel, in which city, or even in which country. but hey, i'm taking the cold cream off my face and rushing out the door.

reverse phone number look-up? nothing.

(ok, i just googled it and it could be in duncan, coquitlam, red deer or detroit. so, whaddya think? should i? the closest one is only 45 minutes away from here and i'm certain the wine has already worked its way out of my system.)

by the way, if you have been texting me anonymously to invite me to mr. mike's for a drink, and are feeling ignored and unloved, i'm sorry.

*a bowl of rice a week and all the muddy cholera-riddled water you can fit in a rusty can
**not that i can tell from a text if someone has fake tits, but i would be extra disappointed to be abandoned for a pair of silicone hooters.