30 November, 2013

words on brain through fingers onto screen

i have just finished writing my research paper on amsterdam (part of the requirements for the course that took me across the big pond in october) and have suddenly found myself realising (again) how much i love research and writing, especially when it's about fascinating topics. i have also found myself realising how intellectually non-challenging this semester has been and how i've missed that. talking to the thinking portion of my class, we've come to the conclusion that a lot of our undergrad was far more intellectually challenging than this.

it makes me wonder if for a PhD these days you're simply expected to write a couple of points on some post-it notes, or maybe draw a pretty pie chart in excel and be done with it. you'd think that things would get MORE not less challenging, MORE not less stimulating. i suppose last year, when we took most of our theory classes, was more what i expected. after all, this is a program that is quite technical in a lot of respects, but between this realisation that i'm intellectually disappointed and the whining that "school is haaaaard," i'm getting a little tired of how my hard-earned cash is being spent.

still, at the end, i shall have several shiny new letters after my name, and a shiny new career path shall open up before me. one of the biggest lessons for this school year is that it was up to me to learn as much as possible. if some people look at this as an opportunity akin to going to the gym and half-heartedly lifting up tiny little weights, then more power to them. it's my responsibility to make this count, and making it count is precisely what i'm doing. writing this research paper about the way that mode of transportation shapes the way one perceives the public realm which then translates into greater or lesser public engagement, was a golden rediscovery of my absolute love of writing.

on a slightly odd if not downright disturbing note, the more i read about amsterdam the more i love it. this is not the disturbing part. the disturbing part is that my feelings feel very much like the early stages of romantic love - lust, fascination, excitement, need. as i told crusty juggler, if amsterdam was a man i'd be totally texting him pictures of my lady bits.

aaaand so in typical fashion we've gone from bemoaning a lack of intellectual stimulation to sexting with an entire city.

(i'm going out dancing tonight. maybe amsterdam will show up, so i need to look extra pretty!)

29 November, 2013


you know it's an interesting night when your roommate says, "all i can say in my defence is that 'hamstring' has the same number of syllables as 'reindeer'" and you know that it would hold up in court.

the conversation began with stretching, veered through the rocky terrain of playground bullying, and ended up face first in the cesspool of commercial christmas music. you figure it out.

later on: "this reminds me of the time i lost my hot dogs."

which is a story that did appear on this blog, but i cannot be bothered to find it. let's just say that in the end the hot dogs were found hiding under a bag of radishes, but not before i called up mister monkey to berate him for eating an entire package of veggie dogs just to piss me off.

28 November, 2013

buffalo hunt

just now, in the basement, where i went to decompress for a few minutes after a whole damn day of essay-writing. my fabulous roommate was watching hockey and i decided to annoy him for a bit with my inane, uneducated and ceaseless commentary. after about 10 minutes of watching:

moi: you know, this is really silly.

mrf: what?

moi: all that! what they're doing out there.

mfr: you mean playing hockey?

moi: you know, it might have made sense in the pioneer days when the young men of the village would gather on the ice to hone their buffalo hunting skills… but now? it's just silly.

mfr: i'm sitting here trying to imagine which of these skills would be useful in hunting a buffalo…unless you're not speaking literally.

moi: do i ever speak literally?

mfr: good point.

26 November, 2013

going bananas!

home alone. doing schoolwork in my pyjamas. one coffee and one herbal tea in, pre-breakfast since i intend to go for a run and running with food jiggling around in your stomach is less than pleasant.

moi: hey, why not have a banana? it's time for a banana.

moi: yes, i think i shall have a banana. it's a good time for a banana. and then a run. followed, in short order, by a shower. and breakfast. and then school. and evidently psychiatric intervention since i am talking to myself. out loud.

moi: yes. that too.

(eats banana. blogs about it.)

good people in abundance

you know how i always refer to my roommate as my fabulous roommate, or mfr? here is one tiny little example of why that is:

i had been using a snow-globe wine stopper on the bottles of wine i had been trying very hard not to drink, one or two glasses at a time, and one day it finally gave up the ghost. the cork part, used to the more humid climes of eastern canada, came apart. when it did so, i felt rather worried - perhaps it was a wine stopper given to mfr by one of his daughters, or a favourite aunt, or maybe it was a memento of a romantic trip with his lovely wife. you never know with these things.

mfr had been away on a exhausting week-long business trip and came back late last night. after catching up, i presented him with the evidence of my malfeasance, apologised and asked if the stopper had any special meaning for him.

he said that since everything in the house was not really his (he'd moved here wholesale with things that ought to have stayed out east, and a whole host of incomprehensible gadgets) so was the case with the stopper. no big deal. and so no big deal it was…or so i thought.

this morning i found a note on the counter, apologising for a "less than ideal response" last night that he blamed on road weariness. "this is not a big deal," he wrote, "sorry."
the stopper lay on the note, the cork part wrapped in bright red electrical tape. "but look how festive it looks now!" the note concluded.

i know this isn't much of a story, there's very little drama or emotion, but sometimes  the small kindnesses that we extend to each other, the gentle reminders of caring and being cared for, the lovely ties that bind us to each other are worth noting, amidst all the bellyaching and whinging and snarling angry epithets of this here forum. there's a whole freezer full of homemade turkey meatballs that is my culinary response to his note.

25 November, 2013

the monsters in my head

drawn (by me) some time in 2005 on windows paint, sent to me by an artist friend from australia last week to whom i had sent them for approval all these years ago. i had almost completely forgotten having created these monstrous children and was glad of the reminder. don't be afraid; they're friendly…for the most part.

23 November, 2013

those horses with one horn on their foreheads are really pretty

i have just realised that dylan moran was right about adulthood:

"that’s why adults are confused a lot of the time. adults are terribly confused, messed up people. that’s because they forget, really, that they don’t have to pretend all the time. really, the fact is that you’re not an adult at all - you’re just a tall child holding a beer, having conversations you don’t understand…"

there is no such thing. we are all just tall children holding drinks and conversations that befuddle us, trying to appear unconcerned and calm, feeling on the inside like we're all about to be exposed for the bubble gum loving, my little pony collecting, short pant wearing frauds. what is this thing, adulthood? we don't even have a proper entrance into the ring in our society! no way to know you're "in". no bat mitzvah for me, just, you know, the embarrassment of my body going all sorts of weird and the boys suddenly shooting up in importance. and then having to pay for your own stuff, no more mom and dad footing the bill...

i had a conversation recently with a ridiculously intelligent friend who is a university professor and who had just gotten her tenure (at a time of serious university cut-backs, especially in areas deemed unimportant, i.e. anything that's not engineering or computers or science), and she admitted to feeling like a fraud. what the hell?

so yeah, adulthood: like the unicorn, it is a mythological beast about whose existence i have some serious doubts. after all, if you can't act grown up (on the inside) past 40, when is it likely to happen? never! that's when!


sometimes you look at things like an adult. all rational, cool, calm, collected.

sometimes (after, say, 3 glasses of wine that follow 12 almost* solid hours of homework), you accidentally decide to be brutally honest with yourself and suddenly realise that really, truly, in all the ways that actually count, you never really left high school. hell, you're still in junior high, baby!

but ya know what? as long as you maintain that sexy grown up sang froid on a day-to-day basis, it's all good. so, you know, whatevs, let's raise a glass (of tea now, babies, herbal tea - i am THAT badass!) to self-actualization, self-awareness, self-knowledge and move on. breathe in and out, put one foot in front of the other despite the utterly ridiculous demons that might haunt, and just get on with life.

who's with me?

*with a well deserved and entirely respectable break for a run

the queen of gold-plated bullshit

i sometimes wonder if there is something wrong with me that i truly enjoy writing boring government and planning policy documents. and not just enjoy - i am damn good at spouting the kind of gold-plated bullshit that annoys the hell out of me when i am on the receiving end. if this isn't some sort of massive internal spiritual dualism that just might cause my head to explode, then i don't know what it might be. then again, if i take a calm look it might just be that i love playing with words, and any forum will do.

on a totally unrelated note - few things are more satisfying than a perfectly ripe banana* eaten at the perfect banana-eating hour. am i wrong? i know i'm not.

*in the long yellow tropical fruit category, obviously. because there are many many other things that are so much more satisfying. like writing planning policy, evidently.

size matters

my stats tell me someone's been looking for enhanced sexual function! alas and alack, it led him (i can only assume it's a him, but i might be unfair in this) to me. but wait! wait, my poor under-endowed friend! i just might have some remedies in my chest of spam!

22 November, 2013

i want

what i want is to be dropped into a fairy tale, or a gorgeous movie. i want handsome knights, i want unrealistic violence followed by a happy ending. i want exquisite tapestries draped romantically over everything and curtains blowing in the breeze. i want climbing roses over rough stone walls. i want horses galloping through meadows. i want the glint of the sun on swords and the noise of a battle in full swing. i want the tales to come to life and sweep me away. i want.

i love my life. despite the occasional hole i fall or jump into, overall my existence is blessed, but what i crave sometimes is candlelight, fairy dust and fireflies and the brilliance at the tip of a magic wand. i want a quiet forest carpeted in moss through which unicorns and elves softly walk. i want the kind of romance that is dead, the kind of chivalry that lies beside it, the kind of death defying feats that prove all manner of outrageous claims of love and loyalty. i want.

i love the feeling of becoming lost in a world away from the cold rationality and science of ours. there are books and movies that give me this escape and in my mind i play out countless scenarios that remove me from the here and now. i sometimes wonder if living so much in my imagination takes something away from the quality of my "real" life, but i'm an addict and i cannot stop. so what i want is to live in a beautiful adventure tale. i want.

what i don't want, so don't bother explaining it to me, is the reality behind the fantasy - the filth, the smell, the disease, the bad teeth and the early death.

…and the plague. you can keep the plague.

21 November, 2013

the knee bone's connected to the click bone

i keep telling myself that the clicking i hear in my general knee area every time i run down* the stairs is the sound of my shoes. it gets a little more difficult to maintain this fantasy when i run down the stairs barefoot.

on a more positive note, tennis elbow seems to have realised there will be no tennis to be had for love or money and is slowly vacating the premises.

i wonder what will fail me next. stay tuned as i bang out all future posts with my nose as my fingers contract chronic persistent violinitis. my career in stringed instruments is as extensive as my career in tennis.

*oddly enough there are no mysterious "shoe" sounds when i run up the stairs. maybe the universe is trying to tell me something. i just wish i wasn't so damn resistant to getting her point.

20 November, 2013

not for the faint of heart (i'm looking at you, men!)

men of a more delicate constitution might want to skip this one.

recently, i went to an organic grocery store, of the type staffed by skinny young people with absolutely zero sense of humour and the cold dead eyes of gluten-free vegans.*

i was looking for a replacement menstrual cup (brilliant invention, btw) and the girl showed me box A and box B, from the same brand.

the difference, she read, is that A is for women under 35 or who have never had children; B is for women over 35 or who have had children. 

what if you're over 35 but have never had children? i asked.

she pondered that for a second and then replied, you'd still need B.

does that mean, i asked politely (knowing full well that i was unleashing something this poor organic dairy-free creature could not begin to cope with), that my lady bits are now old, loose and floppy?

she turned all sorts of unnatural hues, looked every which way but mine and mumbled, ummm… mmm… i'm sorry?

never mind, i said, i'll take it. 

i took it and walked away, putting her out of her wholewheat misery.

i will never understand people who lack a sense of humour. and i will never understand why i insist on pulling stunts like these. still, it was good for a laugh.

*could the two be connected? i cannot fathom how severe chronic pleasure deprivation could affect one's psyche, but i do know that if you took my cheese and chocolate and bacon and wine away, there'd be hell to pay.

surrounded by buffoons… or baboons… or balloons or something

i try to be charitable, sometimes with terrible results, but i try. i tend to be a bitchy-mouthed closet optimist whose generally positive feelings about the human race are hidden under bitter patter (ha! bitter patter! that's freaking great!). if i had to generalize, i'd say most humans are stupid but kind, which i suppose is better than smart and evil, though there's plenty of that to go around. but i digress, as is my wont.

y'all know i enjoy being in school, and y'all know i am pretty fond of most of my classmates, really fond of some, and filled with murderous fantasies regarding a special few. what gets me is when the class as a whole gets caught up in some sort of bizarre vortex of pimply-faced teenage whinery and begins to berate professors for being "too haaaaaard." last night our lecturer asked for feedback on the midterm exam he had given us a couple of weeks back. i found the exam very fair, and recognised that any knowledge loopholes were due in their entirety to my failure to study properly. i did well, but not very well, and for that i can only blame myself. i knew that the information asked for was the information we had been given in lectures, even when i didn't know the answer. i was the second one done the exam (after c, the speed demon), with a lot of time to spare.

last night, the whinery began: the exam was too hard. there were too many questions. could our final be a 1.4 h exam but we'd be given 2h to write it because some people didn't have time to finish? i was baffled. is this the millennial disease of entitlement that all the news magazines love writing about? this idea that if you don't get an A the fault must surely lie somewhere else, not with you, oh never with you, darling child? i thought the time we were given was more than adequate. i thought the questions were reasonable. and i also figure that this is grad school and if you can't handle it, shut your gob and rethink your choices. not to be a complete asshole about this, but this isn't the first time my classmates have pulled this kind of stunt and each time it makes me die a little more inside.

the thing that really gets me is that each time the lecturer (told that his concepts were haaaaaard!) or the professor (told that his exam was haaaaaard!) actually apologizes to the class! and each time i step up and say, out loud, that no apology is necessary as we are all adults here and should expect a little hardship. i'm sure it's not winning me any brownie points but i'm past caring. i find the idea of professionals who are taking the time to impart sometimes difficult concepts to us in a clear and organized manner apologizing for our inability to "get it" abhorrent. i must admit that i despise unfair markers and exams designed to showcase how little one knows, but for the most part, i think we are being treated with kid gloves and i am tired of the whining. when i fail to grasp a concept that is being taught, i ask for clarification. faced with the same situation, several people in my class raise their hands and say that it's haaaaaaard and unfair and they don't understand and the fault surely cannot lie inside their heads because, gosh darn it all to heck, their mommy always told them they were the brightest and most amazing thing to ever walk the earth.

perhaps i'm just ready for christmas.

19 November, 2013

winter night

purple velvet sky
filled to the brim with snowflakes
all sound is lost
except my footsteps in the frost

17 November, 2013

life, or a reasonable facsimile thereof

considering the importance of this, and its obviousness, it's rather weird that it was only in recent days that i realised that each time i have gone through a depressive episode the depression took me into the back alley, threw me against the wall, roughed me up, kicked me about the ribs for a bit and then, each and every time, simply walked away. it gets bad, really bad (hell, sometimes really really really bad) and then...poof! gone! it's a little disconcerting in retrospect, though at the time all i can think of (having once ascertained that the guy with the baseball bat really isn't coming back) is relief, sweet blessed relief.

odd, eh? i wonder if it's just some sort of amazingly annoying life-affirmation exercise. some posse of my friends (a cabal of dead relatives interested in my emotional wellbeing no matter the cost, perhaps?) get together and decide that the only way to get me to appreciate my life, the blessings therein, the sheer fabulousness of my existence, is via a swift, violent and unexpected intervention. oh sure, there might be some internal hemorrhaging, some scarring, some residual vertigo, but fuck, at the end of the exercise girlfriend's gonna be goddamn GRATEFUL to be alive; happy to be breathing; all zen-buddhist about the transience of things. ha. yeah. and i am. i am. funny thing (ha ha ha! i laugh!) is that i am getting tearful about this little epiphany. not because of its cost (what cost was that? huh? the amount of time you wasted on the interwebs? the time your readers wasted here? what exactly, baby girl?) but because the transience of things, and my inability to embrace it, was what brought me here in the first place... i think.

and so we move on. we embrace the goddamn transience of things. we embrace the ephemerality of existence. we lift our grateful hearts and sing joyfully unto the heavens because, yea, we have been blessed before we die. we have loved, we have been loved, we will continue to do these things, and lo, it will be good. amen.

14 November, 2013

bucking the trend

c recently asked me if i was still blogging now that i was back to being happy. here i am, trying. hi.

one of my easiest and most OCD pleasing methodologies for this is the numbered list. here goes:

1. there are people i like. there are people i dislike. there are people who form my tribe. things shift; time moves; people change. you CAN get voted off the island, but it takes time and effort on your part. generally, if i like you, my default setting is to continue to like you. why would you wanna mess with that?

2. i don't get the concept of enemies. if i like someone, i keep them close. if i dislike them, i walk away. if someone shows an evident dislike for me, i get confused. i'm not saying i'm all that, but i do tend to be liked, or at the very least treated with a grudging sort of respect; people who dislike me really mess me up - because, why? if anything, it must be my mouth, but my mouth tends to be more annoying and eye-rollingly inappropriate than cruel, so again, why? so i really don't have enemies. i have two people in (the peripheries of) my life, who really hurt two people i love. that's as close as i come to having an enemy. the rest? too much work. too much effort. can't be bothered.

3. twice now when running i've hit that sweet spot that makes me fly. it is fabulous - this feeling of being winged and powerful and able to go on forever. i do recommend it, that feeling of being your body through and through, and able, thereby, to accomplish beautiful things. hard to verbalise it. sorry.

4. lately, my thinking has remained in a passive state. i can think about things, i can think about school (thank christ!) but i cannot, for the life of me, think about Things. those remain just out of the reach of my flailing noodly appendages, and i feel like the guy trying to fish for marlin in shark-infested waters. oddly enough, the passive thinking, as long as i keep it passive, works very well. it is the kind of thinking that happens out of the corner of your eye - the flash, the glimmer, the small thought that falls, flopping, all minnow-like in your lap. i'm fine with this. it is the next step. who knows what follows? now that the pain is over, i am more than happy to simply float and let the current carry me along. in its time, it will carry me where it will.

5. being philosophical feels so deliciously... indolent! no emotions to contend with! the ones i "feel" are phoned in again, poorly acted and overwrought like a high-school shakespeare production. why, even my drama now is just mere entertainment that i watch from the sidelines. it's fun. exciting, even. all those things i should be feeling but am not. maybe that sounds disturbing to some of you, but c'est la vie. i am enjoying this reprieve from feeling EVERYTHING about everything. blecch. enough already.

6. i made my favourite home-alone dish yesterday and shared it with two people, and now i shall share it with you (though i'm sure i've shared it before):

  • cook some french (du puy) lentils with bay leaves, a couple of smashed cloves of garlic, several cloves and allspice
  • in the meantime, thinly slice up some good quality smoked sausage and fry it up in olive oil until it's crispy and brown and deliciously smelling up your kitchen
  • in the same meantime (helps to have help), fry up some very thinly sliced shallots until also crisp and golden and all kinds of tempting
  • once the lentils are done, dish out, generously spoon up some of the shallots and sausage, pour a glass of red, and enjoy. 
there's a decadence to the dish's simplicity. you can thank me later.

7. thanks for sticking around.

13 November, 2013

surgery for dummies

looking at yourself critically or engaging in any sort of deeper self-analysis is akin to performing surgery on yourself; it's messy, bloody, filled with various pitfalls and liable to end with a wristwatch lodged permanently somewhere west of your pancreas. the difference between the process then* and now** is the anaesthetic, which, as any medical professional will tell you, is rather essential.

the presence of anaesthetic now is, let me tell you, a thing of beauty. sure, i still feel the twinge of an unexamined thought or idea (thanks to k, again, for bringing some up in recent days), somewhere around the small intestine, but now, when i open myself up and get bloody up to the elbows poking around in the giblets, well, now it doesn't elicit howls of pain. now, i just sort of gently move the heart (and its corollary, the ego***) out of the way, dig around the liver, and finally find the offending nugget between the shiny coils of my viscera. now i can just take it, lift it up to the light and think upon its significance before throwing it into the kidney basin by the operating table, without having to contend with the screams of the patient, which can be very distracting.

why all the work, you say? why continue to muck around my bloody innards when the inflamed appendix seems to have either settled down or been removed by that most eminent of surgeons, time? well, this seems to have become a habit. that, and the same reason you take a rock out of your shoe. i've become adept, over the last couple of months, at finding the problems lodged inside my innards and working on them until, at the very least, they're understood. now that things seem to have calmed down, i find is the perfect moment to go back and finish the surgeries that were too painful at the time, or to remove that wristwatch, or to rummage around and put the spleen back in its place from whence it was taken in the heat of the moment. let's just say that i don't feel quite ready for the rib retractors to be removed and for the patient to be closed up. in fact, i may never be ready. for all i know, i may spend the rest of my life on the operating table, poking around in my insides, forever removing bits and pieces that have no right to be there but that life (and my own damn choices) keeps throwing in there.

and in case you really needed more visuals, here is a wee film. my process was simultaneously far more creepy and not nearly as cute (WARNING: disturbing content):

* any time in the last two months when my typed words were illegible because of the number of bitter tears i'd shed on the keyboard whilst typing

**post-amsterdam, evidently

*** remember, as always, that this is entirely unscientific street vernacular. when i say "ego" i mean the thing that basks in the glow of admiration and curls up in a fetal position when poked with the sharp stick of indifference. dr. freud has not only left the building, he likely never even darkened its doorway, except for those couple of articles i read back in my undergrad days.

12 November, 2013

pull out his eyes, apologise (with half-hearted apologies to james joyce)

over the weekend, there was a flurry of emails between various group members regarding an assignment due this friday. because i am the official editor and compiler of documentation, all things are being sent to me. because my weekend was full of drinking social activity, i think i stopped responding at a certain point. this little exchange took place in the late evening:

c: was everything i sent you alright?

moi (on computer briefly): yup. thanks. sorry, drinking with a friend.

c: that is no reason to apologize! damn canadian!

10 November, 2013

tell all

ah, the silence tells you everything you needed to know, don't it? she's happy, that one, or at least not staring mournfully into the middle distance, lip quivering fetchingly, sadness oozing from those big bambi eyes... yes, stability means silence. i am, no ifs ands or buts about it, a fair weather blogger... well, a foul weather blogger, i suppose. but i shall attempt to retain some sort of e-presence, stability be damned. yup, i won't leave you all alone as i cavort carelessly through fields of wildflowers humming tunes from the sound of music.

we had s & l over for a long overdue dinner tonight and it was as fantastic as always, with the bourbon flowing as easily as the conversation. gods above, i love the people of my tribe, i truly do. we hadn't seen each other in a good several months, and in that time both s and i lost a bunch of weight. we talked for a bit about our various methodologies.

l: you look fantastic. like a 19 year old! all perky and beautiful!

mr. monkey: i told her it was like sleeping next to a bag of empty bottles.

moi: hmmm, so hard to choose, as far as compliments go... perky like a 19 year old or sleeping next to a bag of empty bottles? i dunno...

and really, my husband is generally NOT an asshole, though you could be forgiven for getting a little confused about that at this point.

07 November, 2013

the phantom whatsit

last night i had too much wine. this is about as surprising as snow in october in alberta. but i behaved myself along the highest ethical standards and did not damage either people or property.

yesterday, i cooked a fabulous pork loin roast (threw in a lot of minced garlic, chopped onion, chinese five-spice and the contents of a jar of my homemade plum and fig butter (may sound weird, but pork loves fruit. LOVES it! in fact, it's a total pig for fruit... get it? get it?... listen, i got home rather late. bear with me, ok?)), had a glass of wine, ate said pig and took public transit to crusty juggler's abode.

it's really weird, the demographic shift in bus ridership between the daytime (students, mainly, some immigrants, the urban poor with their unfailingly grubby children, and the elderly) and night-time (much higher creepy quotient - people who haven't bathed in a very very long time; bottom-of-the-totem-pole gangster wanna-bes; and well, me). regardless, the idea of taking the car, looking for parking, paying for parking* and then worrying about having to pick up said car the following day... well, i'm tired just writing about it. besides, as an urban planner-to-be, it is my god given duty to support public transit, and so i do.

at crusty's we ate delicious chocolate cake and drank a bottle of mystery wine. it was fine, though given its provenance (if you wait a minute, i'll tell you all about it), it was a trifle disappointing. however, because it was spanish, the disappointment wasn't too severe. we talked and lo, it was good. then again, it always is.

the mysterious tale of the mystery wine:

i went to the licker store to pick up some wine. i walked the isles with a determination borne of the desire to get home and watch some crappy tv before heading out for the night, and picked my bottles with care. i chose one i had heard about, one i had had before and liked, one chilean that was a solid inexpensive buy, and two bottles of a spaniard that plays the role of my house wine. i chatted with the friendly cashiers, telling them a tale of alcoholic woe** as they scanned and packed up my wines. i paid, i came home.

when i started to unpack my wines, lo and behold, there was a bottle that i most distinctly do NOT remember choosing. i checked the receipt to ensure that i didn't accidentally pick up a $60 vintage or some such nonsense. i hadn't. it was a little steepish for a spaniard but still reasonable. but given its desire to be with me, a desire that allowed this inanimate object to follow me home, i figured it really wanted to be crusty juggler's birthday wine. she agreed. 

post crusty i went to my concert and despite my inflated expectations i had a blast. i danced and danced and danced, and then, when it was over, i walked home on wobbly legs. it was an hour long walk through the quiet early morning streets and i enjoyed it thoroughly. i slept in till 8 and now a quiet (and slightly headachy) day beckons.

* i am ideologically opposed to paying for parking or taking cabs, unless absolutely necessary. i figure if i'm gonna waste money, i'll buy another pair of shoes, or a fancy coffee or pretty much anything at all. that's why the gods gave me feet - so i can walk places, save money, burn calories and have time to listen to music and think.

**i must have told you this tale before - crazy joan, her children, my cousin and i went on a deep sea fishing trip that you could BYOB. we brought a bottle of wine and some coolers and whatsits and then realised, with horror natch, that we neglected to bring a corkscrew. for half an hour we went around the damn boat asking every single person if they had a corkscrew, or anything one could conceivably use as such an implement. a boat full of people with their fishing tackle and tools and not. one. single. corkscrew. can you imagine? we were dejected (and thirsty) and finally decided to go all back alley old school and push the damn cork in. guess what - no cork. it was a screwtop.

06 November, 2013

nurse, gimme a sharp thingie, stat!

i have become addicted to my stats. i still think most people are lured here under false pretences because my language is usually so fucking goshdarn inappropriate and they think they'll have porn and naked bosoms and pink beaver shots and whatnot, but instead they end up with the contents of my head scattered haphazardly on the shag rug of this forum. so yeah, i come here and look at my stats and lurk and skulk in the background, checking out the security camera footage and getting all excited about my albanian audience and whatnot.

there was a pathway, a direction, a concept i was going to present to you with the above introduction, but alas, and alack, i went off in seventeen directions at once and when i came back it was all, "what happened? i'm confused!"

oh, wait! i know! i was going to tell you that somebody went to an old post of mine and i followed him/her and found this little gem of vintage me. enjoy. i did.

i could say this frequent posting is part of the NOMOBLOMOROVO or whatever it's called, but i've never even attempted to do that thing because i'm a total iconoclast, yo!

the "womp womp womp" of all things

the above is the filler that j uses when she is wanting to go back and flesh out her paper later. i like it more than the typical "blah blah blah" or "yadda yadda yadda" on account of its beautifully aural texture, like the drumbeat of incompleteness, the rataplan of fragmentary thought.  yes. womp womp womp.

it also brings to mind the thumper sounds used to bring forth the sandworms in dune, but who the hell is on that particular ride-along with me? yes, my poultries, i am a sci-fi nerdling and not particularly ashamed. after all, why should one be ashamed of one's literary proclivities? it's not like i devour danielle steele (jesus!) or dan brown (gah!). if i did, i would never tell you. likely, i'd just off myself behind a dumpster somewhere because, seriously, what else is there? moi? a snob? mais oui! quelle surprise!

and just so you know, it's not the genre that offends; it's the atrocious writing (in the case of madame steele) and the blatant sexism (in the case of monsieur brown). my motto, if anybody actually gave a damn and it were all up to me, would be "write whatever the hell you want but write it well."

what are we talking about? nothing and everything.

i am going out tonight. going to toast crusty juggler on her birthday (+1) and then off to dance the night away at a concert. i am a little worried because instead of my typical attitude of "i don't wanna go! don't make me go! i wanna stay home in my pyjamas!" i am pretty excited. generally, when my expectations are low, i tend to be pleasantly surprised. does that mean tonight will stink? i hope not. life is never that neat, but my attitude tends towards the superstitious and i'm fighting it valiantly.

good afternoon and may the night skies be favourable to you!

05 November, 2013

scope creep

you know that thing i said? the one about it being statistically improbable that so many morons would be allowed into grad school? ha. i stand corrected by circumstances that have turned me into a murderous crazy-eyed (imaginary) hatchet-waving psychopath. because, truly, there are some who should have reconsidered graduate school. some who should have perhaps continued to serve delicious and perfectly mixed drinks at their local corner pub. some who would have been so very good at ensuring that the pair of trousers you try on is the right size. some... well, some i have no idea. there must be jobs for the eternally infuriatingly confused, but i don't have it in me to be a career counsellor for people whose demise i am planning in my head. repeatedly. every. fucking. day.

i told my fabulous roommate tonight that i really really wanted to kill some people.

mfr: did you do it?

moi: i can't tell you.  that would make you accessory after the fact. i don't want you to be an accessory to murder... unless i need help digging the grave.

mfr: i'm not digging any graves! it's november and the ground is frozen.

moi: wood chipper then?

mfr: that's better. we'll go all fargo!

this is why he is fabulous. ever so helpful, that man.

p.s. please know that the majority of my classmates are smart, charming, thoughtful and lovely people. then there are those others.

a fine shipwreck

one night's sleep brought some measure of peace. talking to classmates, most of whom were experiencing similar levels of anxiety at their inability to understand what ought to have been fairly straightforward, restored the rest. if one is to be a moron, it's nice to have company. besides, it is statistically improbable that so many morons would have gotten into grad school... one or two, yes, oh yes, but not a whole class. right? let's assume i'm right.

yesterday passed by in a fluffy cloud of equanimity, and if there's one thing these last months have taught me is to revel in the good days. if i believed that everything happens for a reason (which i most decidedly don't. don't even go there or i shall become very cross!) i'd say that that right there was reason enough for me. as it is, because i believe it is up to us to pluck meaning from the chaos, this is what i have plucked (fun word, that! pluck, pluck, pluck!).

as i walked home from school yesterday, listening to my new package of great tunes from this fabulous place, i felt at peace, and more than that. have you ever seen birds riding the updraft, circling effortlessly on a column of air? that, i decided yesterday, is what the good days feel like. no, not some manic frantic happiness, but an effortlessness, gliding on the "feeling" of rightness, of being where i should be, of being rooted (ha! talk about mixed metaphors!), of being... well, of being.

i realise that over the last few months this blog has become my therapy, my very very egocentric little forum for sharing all of my aches and pains. far be it for me to plan what will happen next (so exciting! nobody knows! it's called The Future!) but i hope that as i heal i will continue to write. this has been one of the many gifts that have washed ashore after the storm - the blog as therapy, and a gathering place for people who evidently care for me. and because it's been a while since i've written a list, and there's always something so pleasing to me in lists, here is one now  (pardon the triteness - sometimes it is difficult to dress ephemera in words, so if this degenerates into the questionable wisdom of dr. phil or a bumper sticker, well, just chalk it up to my embattled intellect).

the gifts that have washed ashore after the storm:

1. epiphanies - small ones, those smooth rounded stones i've started putting in a small cloth bag: small glimpses of understanding, little tiny flashes of "aha!" that, over time, add to self-knowledge

2. moments of peace, those perfect moments that would be sought after if not for the perfect absurdity of seeking for something magical and ephemeral

3. you, my poultries, and the fact that when i was at my lowest, you commented and cared and emailed and listened and were there. thank you.

4. things pass. this is the reason for pain, yes, but it can also be a reason for peace, because both the good and the bad pass, and there is peace in this.

5. kindness to self. this has been a gift that k brought me. she has been so unfailingly non-judgmental and accepting and kind, that i have learned to use her voice when speaking to myself. we have both adopted a similar stance towards each other, and it brought it home to me that while it is easy to be understanding and patient towards the failings of another, it is so very difficult to do the same to oneself, hence the trick of using another's voice.

6. enjoying the ride, good and bad, because what other options are there?

7. running! i almost forgot running! how could i forget running? the benefits are vast - emotional, physical, hell, even aesthetic, and i am finally doing something my dad's been doing and loving for years, a sort of homage to the parental unit i used to call insane because of the very thing i've now fallen for.

enough now. it's degenerating into the very worst of dr. phil, but hey, what can you do? you know what? you can SHUT THE HELL UP. and i'm gonna do just that. later!

03 November, 2013

stoopid iz as stoopid duz

i seem to be going through a miniature crisis (as opposed to the big ass crisis that y'all have just held my hand through) and this one centres not around my heart but rather my brain. lately i walk into class and sit there, slack-mouthed, finger inserted up to its second knuckle into my nose, drool pooling on my desk. there's mouth-breathery and glazed-eyedness. i am sitting and listening and hearing, but what goes into my brain is a garbled sort of nonsense akin to swahili being read phonetically by a native mandarin speaker with a speech impediment over a short wave radio in a thunderstorm to a deaf person.

i am having a particularly hard time with my project management class (the class for which i was supposed to be studying when i wrote my last... oh... 20? posts). i am also having trouble with what seems to be big assignments being sprung on us last minute. here i cannot claim to be alone - others, too, look on in horror as the realisation dawns that 3 days hence we are expected to produce something that takes months at a fully staffed professional office.

i suppose the biggest sense of frustration (and if anyone from the APPI or CIP accreditation committee is reading this, please walk away now: this is off the record!) is the utter and complete lack of organisation at my school. courses are disorganised, mainly because of last minute staffing changes, and the end result is miscommunication, lack of clearly defined deliverables* and utter confusion.

so although part of the blame lies with the faculty, a large part of it is my distinct and recent inability to focus and care. as i said before, i seem to have run out of fucks to give, but i have done it several months too early and i'm scared (or skeerd, cause in my head i have begun to talk like a backwoods yokel with no teeth, a half empty bottle of moonshine, and an angry red itch that requires constant vigilant attention).

i tend to be pretty good at forcing myself to do grown up things i don't want to do. hell, i pride myself on this ability! what gives, then, that i am stuck in boot-sucking mud up to my knees, crocodiles (or is it alligators? i never remember which is which, just as i never remember whether penguins hang out at the top or the bottom of the globe) all around, and very little energy to get the hell out?

PhD? did somebody mention my desire to do a PhD? i laugh! ha HA! a loud scoffing nasal laugh of the type favoured by aristocracy and slightly insane people.

i used to love school, but it seems that every time i go back, i have less and less in me. i finished dental hygiene school with gritted teeth and a great deal of unresolved anger. i motored through my english honours undergrad swimmingly until hitting the wall at last semester. this time, i was able to put in a year and a month before it all going to shits.

forgive the melodrama. i'll be fine. likely it'll pass. likely i, too, will pass. but right now i feel like my IQ is in the low double digits and the market for monosyllabic ijits seems to be saturated at the moment. good night. maybe a solid night's sleep will ease this troubled mind...

*yes, i have become a person who, at least thrice daily, mentions the word "deliverables," for the most part without gagging. if you stick around, i might start to operationalize and possibly even incentivize, a word that even spellcheck thinks is utter bullshit.

meanwhile, in the arctic circle

i did not go out last night. i will not go out today (mainly on account of the highly attractive green henna mud on my head under the plastic bag under the knitted cap. as well as on account of the snow. oh yes, the snow.). it is noonish time and i have yet to do anything schoolish in nature, despite yesterday having told myself rather sternly (there may have been finger wagging, too!) that i must stop slacking off and bloody well do some work.

i remember now that my last semester in my undergrad english i faced a similar lack of motivation. difference was, there was nobody to suffer from my negligence unlike here where it's all group work and team work and collaboration and shit. which, don't get me wrong, i love. but i don't love the complete and utter lack of care and the feeling that people are counting on me.

yup. i went into my pantry, and lo, the shelves that hold my fucks and shits are almost entirely empty. yes, i have officially run out of fucks to give and barely have two shits to rub together. wait, that's gross. think metaphorical rather than literal. please. for my sake as well as yours.

and so i walk away firmly determined to DO SOME SCHOOL WORK. i'm sure tom will try to keep me honest, but you know? i think i may be beyond help. less than two months to go and the work is about to get deep and sticky (eeew! what's with me today?) and i just want it to be done.

you know what else i want? i want to know what the hell i want. well, that's not all. there are things i know i want, but as with other things, the less said about that the better. (wow, the preceding sentence deserves the pulitzer for the greatest lack of clarity in a blog ever. though i'm certain there are some fairly special runners-up for that category if i were inclined to look. which i'm not. because the school work, right? right!)

so, let's end on a positive note: my feelings! they are calm! have been since europe, with just the odd blah and meh sort of days, but hey, that's life. i seem to be back to the state where my negative feelings feel like a schematic of feelings rather than the real thing. kinda like "hm, 'anger' goes here," or "gee, this is making me feel...'sad'," or "insert 'heartbreak' here" which, believe me, is preferable to the previous two months where, as you well know, i was all a-blubber and so very very unhappy. good feelings i feel. bad ones i phone in. i like it. let's keep it that way. and also, let's go do school stuff....sigh... are we there* yet?

*philosophical aside - how do you know if you're there yet when you have no idea of what "there" is? and then we go back to the previous few days, and the new mantra and all that, and realise that "there" is here. and we're always "there." so there.

02 November, 2013

the life cycles of bromeliads

i drove to calgary today instead of tomorrow. the whole point was to get here ahead of the massive snowstorm that was on its way. instead, i drove through the damn snowstorm. i spent the last several hours watching the fluffiest of television shows, waiting for the time to be right to venture out into the snow, to a pub-party. is this a good idea? likely not. i could conceivably die somewhere in a snowdrift, lulled into a restful slumber by the music on my phone. more likely is the scenario wherein i drink too much. alas, had i stayed home, i would have gone to a family gathering where the wine was just as likely to flow freely. still, at home, i would have been surrounded by friends. here, it will be strangers. and because of my perpetual fear of stranger-danger, the threat of drinking is higher. i drink to muffle the fear. i drink to get over the discomfort. i drink to shift from 50% introvert to 50% extrovert. it tends to work. and then i pay the next day. still, it'd be nice to get out of the house.

have a lovely saturday night, my bromeliads. 

01 November, 2013


my mantra, for the foreseeable future (i.e. until i forget and have to relearn...or is that re-relearn?) is going to be, "what is."

it's easy to think of what was, what could be, should be, will be, might be etc. etc. but i think the essential thing now, and in the days and weeks and years to come, is to make peace with what is. it is, after all, the first step in the 12 step program for Dreamers Anonymous... or would be, if they existed.

i am here; i am me; i can choose to be a better version of myself but i will remain myself nevertheless, no matter how much i howl and beat my fists against the floor (metaphorically speaking; i have outgrown the literal version of the temper tantrum a good few years ago*).

a small crystal glass with a couple fingers' worth of bourbon; good music on the stereo; dinner to be eaten at a restaurant: these are the good things that make life alright. and it is alright. no matter what.

*any examples of making this statement a lie will be ignored in the interest of peace on earth and goodwill between audience and writer. after all, if you saw what i was capable of, you would surely leave and never come back.