25 October, 2011

think first, speak second... or the other way around!

last night in bed:

moi: so, crusty juggler just told me she's flying down to see us for christmas!

mr. monkey: great! is she flying down... on a plane?

moi: ... yes, i imagine she will be using a plane.

mr. monkey: good, good.

21 October, 2011

so you has shoes issues, has you?

we have moved 7 or 8 times in the last 7 or 8 years (pardon the vagueness, but you must admit that's pretty damn exhausting which is my excuse) so a large portion of our Stuff has been living out their nomadic existence encased in large rubbermaid bins. since we've arrived in edmonton to some degree of stability and permanence, one of my projects has been to find an official spot for all but our least often used items (yoga mats, i'm (sadly) looking at you). this has proven to be a challenge i have met with skill and aplomb (in fact, this kind of challenge is the pretty much the only kind of challenge i enjoy. all others can please go away and leave me to my drinking.)

until we reached the shoes, that is. oh yes. the shoes.

whilst mister monkey traipsed along the shiny avenues of chicago this last week* i decided to Face the Challenge of the Shoes. the bin containing them is a mess filled with various plastic and fabric bags and baggies and digging out the perfect pair of pumps for that dressy soiree can be a heartbreaking affair (purely imaginary, that. our soirees, such as they are, are conducted largely barefoot. also, i'm fairly certain i don't own any pumps and neither does mr. monkey, which might explain the difficulty).

so, how hard can it be for an intelligent capable woman to find, buy, construct and fill a small simple shoe shelf? you don't wanna know.

wednesday at lunch, i purchased two different shelving units, thinking that one would work if the other one did not. wednesday night after work i cursed, swore, whacked, pushed and shoved my way through a minor construction project. during this physically and psychologically draining endeavour, i learned The Importance Of Reading Instructions Prior To Commencing Project (Or At The Very Least Looking At The Picture On The Box Really Closely) (although SPOILER ALERT i did not carry this lesson with me into the future). i also learned that what manufacturers call "shelving for shoes" tends to mean "shelving for flip-flops, ballet slippers and other flat objects because that extra centimetre of thermosetting polymer tubing seriously cuts into profits" which, in turn, means that hiking boots are out. because most of the footwear that was to be inhabiting the shelving unit in question was to be, in fact, hiking boots, this meant that i now entered phase two of the project: deconstruction.

deconstruction was marginally easier than construction, keeping in mind that despite my fondest fantasies, i could not merely take a baseball bat to the shelves, smiting my enemies into dust, but had to return them unscathed to their point of origin. more swearing ensued. (much more.)( though less than before.)( but still a fair amount.) tubes that previously refused to pop into slots, now resolutely refused to pop out. a hammer was taken out and used judiciously despite the very clear sign on the box that indicated that no tools were required. whatever.

thursday i took a mental break (also, my fingers were too numb and bruised to do anything constructive) and went to zumba after work. it didn't work that well as far as breaks go, in that my ass still hurts today, but at least there were no shelves to de/construct.

friday morning i revisited various stores and returned various shelving units, one elegantly repackaged in the original box, and one shoved haphazardly into a beaten-up box in much the same way one deals with a plastic christmas tree that first year**. while shopping, i came across a brand new exciting (and, more importantly, simple looking) set of shelves. i bought them. i took them to my mom-in-law's and, because i am occasionally logical and forward thinking, i opened up the box and found a flimsy piece of crap. i returned it right after brunch. this brought my total to 3 purchases, 2 constructions, 2 deconstructions, 3 returns, 100% fail. but hey, the day was young!

friday afternoon, i walked into wal-mart determined to find what i needed at that mecca of cheap shoddy sweatshop-produced garbage. my determination paid off. i came home with a set of shelves that were inexpensive, just the right size and ridiculously easy to put together.


what ensued looked like an old charlie chaplin film. i put things into slots, i pulled, i wiggled, i shoved and it just wasn't going the right way. then i looked at the package photo again. oh. oh, i see. i swore and spent the next 5 minutes taking it apart again, seeing as i put it together wrong in every possible way short of turning it upside down. i started again. this time i was determined to do it the right way. except it wouldn't go. i held up one bit, the other fell down. i leaned one bit against a wall, held the other under my chin and attempted to hook the little hooks on the metal part. it fell apart. this went on for a longish while. i'm fairy certain my octogenarian neighbours are very curious as to the meaning of "KURWA!!!***" 

there came a low point at which i was kneeling with my head down on the floor, sobbing and swearing and feeling like the back end of a not particularly bright donkey. eventually, after i gave myself a very stern talking to regarding the segment of the population that wal-mart products are generally aimed at vis-à-vis my perceived intellectual prowess etc. etc. and after several more minutes of  clatterings, clangs and much muted swearing, i had myself a shelf.

it's not perfect: it could be bigger, it could be sturdier, it could be better quality. but i'll be fucked before i go another round: my ego cannot take it.

*surprisingly, i chose not to accompany him. i love chicago but i thought it was perhaps my chance to be a bread winning bacon homebringer for a change, and thus it was.

** they really ought to have a team of physicists and other quantum mechanics types working on this problem - how is it that a christmas tree never ever fits back into the box it came out of, no matter what you do to it short of setting it on fire.

*** very very bad word in polish. if you know one word in polish, chances are this is the word you know. do not use it in public.

20 October, 2011

tv on the radio (with apologies to crusty juggler)

a day or two ago, on skype with crusty juggler:

moi: we don't generally watch tv in the summer.

c.j.: why not? what do you do?

moi: i don't know, it gets dark late, and i like watching tv in the dark.

c.j.: not me! i turn it on first thing in the morning! i like the noise.

moi: ugh, i cannot stand tv on an empty stomach but i like noise too, so i turn on the radio.

c.j.: i could listen to the radio. but i'd like to see them, you know, sitting there and talking.

moi: um... that's called television.

c.j.: oh yeah.

16 October, 2011

occupy this!

yesterday was a perfect fall day - sunshine, a light breeze, the sort of crystalline aerial clarity that alberta is famous for, in a word, a perfect day for an anti-capitalist rally. i grabbed my library books* and off i went.

it was a decent turn-out. there was a nice range of people, from scruffy youths with purple hair who, i think, will pretty much protest anything, to disgruntled grandmothers to families with kids (you know the kind of families with kids i mean, right? the kinds whose kids wear delightfully daring colour combinations and hand-knit hemp hats and snack on home made granola bars (i loves me a good left-wing family, they're so aesthetically pleasing!)). there were silly signs, pompous placards and the odd witticism (toddler in a stroller had this sign taped to the front "i spit up on corporate greed," while his little sister held up one that said "even i know how to share"). ah, that feeling of togetherness, belonging, standing up for something, or against something, or something. you know, it was good.

but there i stood in the middle of all this, listening to an earnest choir sing "oh freedom" followed by the raging grannies who warbled some revolutionary ditties with an equal earnestness and i suddenly felt completely disconnected. disconnected from this earnestness, this purity of feeling and hope, these ideals. don't get me wrong, i think it is time we got angry at the growing economic disparity and the ridiculous amount of power corporations have in politics, angry at what is essentially the dissolution of any kind of meaningful democracy, but i felt i no longer have it in me to think anything will change. i guess my cynicism got the better of me, but hey, i was one more body to be counted among the 99%.

so once my sense of disconnectedness grew nice and strong, i walked away and... went shopping. but worry not, gentle poultries, i felt absolutely wretched as i perused the isles filled with glittering sweat-shop produced trinkets that i absolutely do not need, and then i bought nothing at all. take that, capitalism, you bloated swine!

*not for a any nefarious violent anti-capitalist purposes or even as a social commentary on the benefits of communal ownership, but because the public library just happens to be right there. two birds, one stone, you know...

07 October, 2011


the phone rang during the early part of the dinner party. because you never know, i picked it up.

moi: hello?

person: hello, may i talk to mister monkey?

moi: may i ask who's calling?

person: i am calling from your bank XXX.

moi: is this important? we are in the middle of a dinner party.

person: oh, is this a cellular phone?

moi: yes. yes it is. we have no other phone.

person: our regulations do not allow us to call you on a cellular phone. we will not be calling you again.

moi: oh. ok. bye.

person: good bye.

and that's that.


caramelised onion mozzarella crostini, home-made pickled beets and plums, sorrel soup with hard-boiled eggs, wild mushroom risotto and roast pork loin in mushroom sauce and a dessert of cherries jubilee with vanilla ice cream and maple pizzelle, great wine, home-made fruit liqueurs and, above all else, fantastic conversation, laughter and good, good company.

i must say that coming back to edmonton has brought us many good friends, old, new and in-between.

the dishwasher is burbling away in the background, music is playing, candles are finishing their bit as another really good night comes to an end.

i am thankful to be home.

oh christ.

yet another dinner party in about a half an hour. i feel a drunk post coming on and i'm only half a glass into the "pre-dinner jitters" drink. could be the forgotten breakfast (and lunch). let's try to remain upright until the guests arrive, shall we?

what's on your platter this weekend, my beloved poultries?