29 July, 2015

blues light

i'm feeling a trifle blue. nothing major, just a slight unease, a gentle tugging at the tendons of guilt, a delicate murkiness on the edges of sunlight. in a word: hormonal blahs.

i met a friend for coffee then walked home in the rain and had a rather unpleasant epiphany of sorts*. a lot of the text that surrounded my quitting my job centred around opportunities, making space for new things, the opening of doors and such. as if, by the simple act of leaving a job that was making me physically unwell, i was opening myself up to a unicorn-bedazzled shower of miracles. by quitting, i was swinging wide the gate to the magical possibilities of Better Things Ahead.

well, fine, sure. but, said the epiphany in a slightly nasal and unpleasantly grating voice, life is a series of choices, and the consequences of those choices. my walking away from this job no more guarantees me a rainbow-hued future of professional bliss somewhere else than staying would have guaranteed me perpetual hell. i may or may not find a great job, and no optimistic realignment of crystals at my window during the new moon will change that fact. staying may have been the better choice in the long term - keep in mind that this is not regret but a simple acknowledgement of the unknowability of the choices not taken. i'm not sorry i left, but some of the sparkles have fallen off the faith in a golden future for which all i had to do was take this one simple step.

i guess this is the grown up realisation that i will have to actively get off my ass, look for work, apply for work, get turned down for work, get work, feel feelings about work that may or may not be better, and then repeat as needed. no guarantee of miracles here. which kinda sucks...

so yes, magic - you are no match for the harsh realism of my PMS! and yes, there was a period there where i thought it would all be magical from here on in. ha.

*past a certain age i think all epiphanies are "of sorts" - more of a reminder of forgotten knowledge or a recontextualisation of existing pieces than a discovery of some new beast lurking beneath the geostrata of calcified selfhood.

28 July, 2015

day one

since for the last couple of months or so i had taken mondays off (in a hopeful but obviously ineffective attempt to put off the inevitable), today marks my first official day of unemployment. it is now 8:55 and i folded and put away one load of laundry, i am currently waiting to hang the next up on the balcony (in true immigrant fashion!), i have two pans of granola baking in the oven, and i am getting ready to go for a long walk with a friend and my youngest niece who needs to be walked for her nap. all in all, not bad for not-quite-yet 9 o'clock. it feels good.

yesterday i walked to my dentist to get my tusks cleaned, walked back, and got ready to Be Productive. i lied down on my unmade bed (unmade* because ready to have bedding changed) to read for one second, and before you know it, i slept for two hours! a nap! in the middle of the day! for those of you who do not know my napping history - i nap only when i have pneumonia or flu or a light case of ebola. otherwise i do not nap, although i am not morally opposed to napping. i can count on the fingers of one hand the times i have napped in the last decade (this makes four), but there was no getting around it. my body was so exhausted and heavy that i had a hard time covering myself with the duvet. evidently, this was needed. perhaps a symbolic whatsit? a release of sorts? who knows.

so now we take it step by step (as if there is really any other way!) and see what happens. the idea of intentionality and deliberateness, discussed more and more among my circle as well as in the media, dictates that i take my time on this, although there is a part of me that sort of hopes for a miraculous something unexpected to fall into my lap - and that has been known to happen - but let's not hold our breath, shall we? there are limits to my belief in magic...

onward and upward, my poultries!

*spent too much time sick as a kid, so an unmade bed reminds me of illness and disease, and thus causes dis-ease. plus it's not exactly rocket science when you have duvet covers (yet another reason to eschew the flat sheet travesty** as far as i'm concerned).

**that i end up having wrapped around my neck in the morning like a hipster or a suicidal mental patient no matter what i do.

24 July, 2015


today was my last day at work. it was glorious. i was as unproductive as possible, while still managing to get some stuff done so as not to leave my colleagues in a lurch. i was showered with good wishes and hugs and gifts and delightful sweets. i was reminded once again how much i love the people at work, and how much i will miss them.

when i left, i felt sad and glad in equal measures, with a sprinkling of guilt and self-doubt - was my decision good? should i have given it more time? did i give up too soon? was i throwing away something great? overall, though, the doubts were of the niggling rather than the overwhelming variety. i've stepped out into the world and i have no idea what's about to happen. terrifying and exciting, but for some reason i am failing to be terrified, i don't really know why (although i'm sure my safety net has a lot to do with it).

last night i went out to a gallery fundraiser with my lady friends to celebrate my incipient unemployment, and we drank wine, laughed, and compared war stories. man, does it ever feel amazing to be part of a group of women who get it, whatever "it" might be. when it got too loud, l and i went out for one last glass of wine at one of our favourite spots and talked more indepth. i told her about my recent epiphany about living deliberately*, and she said she had a similar revelation about living intentionally. we discussed how both these words appear to be the active side of the more passive mindfulness, and both seem an essential antidote to the mindless work-consume-work-consume cycle our society is pushing on us so single-mindedly.

funny thing that when you start digging and talking and thinking and searching, it turns out that the very same topics are being dug for, talked about, thought about, and searched for by others. some sort of cosmic synchronicity, if i believed in such thing.

so yes, my poultries, i am out. stepped out of one phase; looking for the next. ideas?

*i've been playing around with a thought for some time now, trying to formulate it coherently so that it would fit nicely in a sentence, all to no avail.  then bj came over for dinner and said the one word that put it all into perfect order: deliberate. the life i want to live is a deliberate life. the people who are my friends, are of a similar ilk: few people in my inner circle react willy-nilly to whatever life throws their way or make their decisions based on marketing campaigns. thoughtful, value-based choices, decisions grounded in something other than the immediacy of thoughtless desire for short-term gratification. that.

12 July, 2015

my big fat classic polish vinaigrette

ok, time to take a breather and work with the food-related title of this here blog. here's a recipe for my (semi) famous big fat classic polish vinaigrette, that will make people love you. unless they hate garlic. then they'll hate you. either way - it's damn good and utterly flexible (unlike me).

my big fat classic polish vinaigrette

2 (+/- depending on size) garlic cloves
smoosh garlic cloves with garlic smoosher
if you wanna be all authentic and shit, chop garlic finely on a wooden cutting board and as it gets finer, add a teaspoon of salt and grind it with the side of the blade, and the coarseness of the salt will smoosh the garlic really well and make you feel all badass authentic

1-2 teaspoons of dijon mustard

1 small glurp* of something sweet (maple syrup, runny hunny, fruit juice, smooshed couple of raspberries, whatever you have on hand - the whole point here is to balance the savoury/sour/oily with something sweet)

1 large glurp of balsamic vinegar (another vinegar will do - fer instance, if you have a really dainty bunch of butter lettuce, use apple cider or wine; if you have hefty arugula, go for the balsamic!)

2 large glurps of olive oil (substitute another type of oil, but keep in mind that delicate flavourful oils will get lost in all the garlic so you might want to keep the really fancy ass ones for a simple oil and vinegar dressing)

mix in cup with a fork, using the fork to beat the shit out of the vinaigrette and emulsify the fat - it will turn creamy and thick pretty quickly - taste and adjust seasonings

if you make it ahead of time, re-emulsify before adding to salad greens

experiment with different types of mustard, add fresh herbs finely chopped, or other spices. in case you haven't noticed, this is more of a template than a recipe.

it's so damn good, you're gonna start eating a whole lot more salad, and when that happens, don't blame me! or blame me! i don't care!

* a glurp is also known as a glug but i can't help you with a more exact measurement because i'm polish and being polish is not an exact science, SO LEAVE ME ALONE, ALREADY!!!!

11 July, 2015


first thing friday morning, i walked into my awesome boss's office, sat down and discussed a project we're working on. then i closed the door and told him i was leaving. he took it as well as can be expected - wanting me to stay but understanding (and seeing) my recent unhappiness. we chatted, he asked if there was anything he could do (there wasn't), and then he gave me a hug and told me how sorry he was to see me go. an hour later he sent out an email informing everyone of my imminent departure. so that is that.

yes, i do agonize over things, and i take the time i need to take to make a decision. i have never been able to jump over the process, not ever, not once - i need to take the time i need and that is that. when i'm ready, i do whatever it is that i have to do, but i may well stick a hot poker up my bum, it's not gonna hurry me up. so yeah, thanks for listening. thanks for being there. thanks for supporting me.

hurray for incipient unemployment! let's see what's waiting out there for me!

09 July, 2015

which came first?

at work today:

e: do you want the good news or the bad news first?
moi: oh, i want the good news first, i always want the goo…wait, wait, WAIT! NO! i want the BAD news first! then i want the GOOD news for dessert! i ALWAYS want the bad news first. i just got confused.*

*seriously, this is one of the main tenets of my existence - bad news first, so i don't know what the hell happened, but i blame that particular lapse (as well as the lengthy chicken clucking episode in three voices that took place later…twice) on heat stroke.


at work today:
bta: why are you fondling that hippo?!
moi: i don't know!!! i have nervous hands!!!

06 July, 2015

a sad tale about the princess and the pea

i saw my wonderful bananologist this morning and together we tried to get at the "why" of my seeming inability to quit in the face of some fairly compelling physical evidence that perhaps i should. things she said made sense, and i kept pondering and thinking and head-scratching and then i sat down to write an email to sanity salad, and this is what came flooding out:

"having a hard time with the quitting thing - like i'm a quitter, like i have failed in this job, like i should try harder and not be a whiner, like i'm a little bitch princess who needs to suck it up, like i owe it to others, like i owe it to mr. monkey... yes, an entitled little whiny bitch princess who is bored at the job she was handed on a silver platter… i'm too soft! i'm spoiled! i'm too delicate and need to get over myself! there will always be bosses and people hard to work with! this is a GOOD company and it has GOOD benefits! how dare i think i can do better? how dare i walk away when there are people who don't have work? how entitled and selfish and weak!"

and as i wrote that i realised that while a part of me knows this isn't true, there also is a part of me that very much believes this to be completely true.  funny how we can simultaneously hold conflicting beliefs on any given subject, eh? cognitive dissonance, anyone? with a side of fresh self-doubt?

my bananologist also asked me to look back at my history of depression and note if my emotionally knotted stomach wasn't usually an indication of me not being true to myself,or choosing paths to please others, and hot damn if it wasn't the case! how can i, a devoted self-analyzer, have missed something so patently obvious?

greetings and salutations from the spoiled little princess trying to find her comfort zone sitting on a particularly pointy corporate pea.

05 July, 2015

small mercies, large lizards, medium marmite sandwiches on nondescript white bread with the crusts cut off

last night i took an ativan to slow down the brain which was running like a supersonic miniature hamster on an appropriately miniature hamster wheel* and my eyes kept leaking. the ativan did its magic and made everything feel like it was covered in slightly fuzzy felt, all tactile and smurfy (don't you think the smurfs are a little fuzzy? no? just me, then?) . funnily enough, the last time i took an ativan was when i was getting ready to move to calgary to go to school, and was freaking out about HAVING TO USE COLOURED PENS AND PENCILS. yes. that was my fear. i suppose that means that in two years i am likely to look back on this time and go, WTF, girl? you felt this strongly about whassername? or i'll be all, huh, if not for that particular slice of misery, i'd never have run away and opened a highly successful marmite sandwich shop in tasmania, and now here i am, making a fucking killing! although to be honest, i find marmite rather blech, though i do like nutritional yeast. especially on crunchy-friend tofu that had been marinated in ginger and garlic, served with a side of steamed green beans.

anyhow, where was i? oh yes. crying and self-medicating: two of my favourite pastimes! yay! mr. monkey told me that provided i don't become a facebook zombie, i can quit my job, because he doesn't want me to be miserable, and i am clearly miserable (the crying and self-medicating might be a bit of a giveaway). so now i'm trying to figure out what precisely is keeping me chained to this job, if mr. monkey's good to go, and the bank balance (my usual source of fear and trepidation, oh blame the immigrant mind!) is doing a-ok. i guess this will be the topic i take on with my brain-person tomorrow.

tomorrow (on to mr. macbeth now: "...and tomorrow, and tomorrow, creeps in this petty pace from day to day…") is my day off, which means, of course, that i got an invitation to a meeting by boss, which i am assiduously ignoring until such a time that i can no longer go because a. i have an appointment and b. it's my FUCKING day off, thankyouverymuch. i also have a meeting featuring said boss on tuesday, which has been stinking up my weekend so badly that i've gone into full on "i quit!" fantasy mode. oddly helpful, that. because, you know what? i may just do it! or i may not! it will depend on many factors! i don't know what they are yet, those factors! but they will play a major role in this! you may depend upon it!

i was thinking lately about my instinct of self-preservation, and i have come to the conclusion that while i know some people who seem to have been born without one, mine is solid but a trifle slow on the uptake. it does get me out of bad things…eventually…but jesus h. christein, it could hurry the hell up a bit. took it 2.5 years (out of a total of 3.5) to get me out of a really fucked up relationship. it does its job, but if it were a contractor, it'd be paying penalties for project delays all the fucking time. so yeah, instinct! get to it and get me out of here! until you kick in, i'll be all sorts of flavours of miserable, gnawing on bits of myself, wondering why the hell i can't seem to either shit OR get off the pot.

in some positive news that i didn't mention in my last post because OVERWHELMING SADNESS, i used the frustration related to my job to finally paint my apartment! yay! i'd come home and instead of drinking many wines, i'd paint and paint and paint and now it's almost all painted except for the entrance which i only recently decided to paint with chalkboard paint, because it'll be a great place to scribble the shopping list, or dentist appointment time, or (drunk guests, i'm counting on you here) a giant picture of a penis.

so that. is. that.

* went to a delightful fire and wine at j+m's, where, in order to do a good deed to a shy newcomer to our circle, i consumed too much wine.** at the end of the night, we ended up indoors, and there, in their living room, were two terrariums, and in each one, a tiny little hamster ran on a hamster wheel so fast its tiny little feet were a blur. the next day i had to double check that there were indeed two tiny little supersonic hamsters running on two tiny little hamster wheels in their living rooms and that the wine was not in fact playing a trick on me. nope. they actually have two tiny supersonic little hamsters. so weird.

**i consumed too much wine because i was making sure he was consuming enough wine and pretty quick the enough and the too much got really confused and we both went home rather wobbly. i'm hoping that unlike me, he didn't find an embarrassing text on his phone the next day that he'd sent to someone with what looked very much like a profession of love***

***i love m, but i don't love her, if you know what i mean, and in my defense, i have no recollection of writing the text, which takes us right back to ** and besides, mr. monkey should know that my phone is to be taken away from me when i've been into the wine, so really, it's his fault.

03 July, 2015

required: one small life

i seem to have caught bta's disease - some sort of chronic allergy to civilisation, to societal expectations. work has been beyond drudgery of late - i've gotten into the sunday blerchs, which aren't helped even by taking mondays permanently off - just moving the discomfort, nausea, ennui, misery off by one day - there it still waits, poised over my head like a painfully slow death sentence, and not even that, because at least a death sentence comes but once (barring a particularly incompetent executioner carrying a dull blade).

to think this job was my hope, my dream, the culmination of my midlife crisis/career change! to think i once hated fridays! to think i thought the work itself was exciting, even the dullest bits! to think, to think, to think - all the thinking ain't changing the fact that i am slaving away for mediocre money (this is not the problem - i am lucky to be in a situation where that, at least, is not a problem, although wads of cash do have a tendency to quell some misgivings, if at least temporarily…), doing utterly pointless things to make money for people who are doing their best to do the very least within the confines of our civic bylaws.

turns out (and who'd have thunk it?! not me, that's for damn sure!) i have a strong moral compass and feel supremely uncomfortable doing things i think are detrimental to the urban fabric. equally awful is the realisation that what i am doing, really, is merely perpetuating the bureaucracy that makes up the majority of my profession. a professor to whom i went for help today ("what can a planner do that does not involve…planning?") wrote me that most of what we do is process-based, not outcome based, which is a simple statement that goes a hell of a long way to explain why our outcomes are so fucking atrocious, why we keep doing that which makes financial sense to a chosen few rather than evidence-based sense to the greater society.

a day does not go by that i don't mutter, hamlet-like, in my head: "how weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable seem to me all the uses of this work world!" yes, sitting here wrapped in my privilege, i do feel bad about hating a stable, decently-paying job that i didn't have to do a blessed thing to get. then again, when wave after wave of misery flows over me, i stop feeling bad. we all die. one day, i will die. i don't want this to be my life, if i have any say in it, and i do have a say. sad thing is, i really don't know what i DO want my life to be. just not this.

you should know by now that i'm not a romantic, nor much of an idealist, but i can't muster enough realism to get me through the day. sure, i want to make the world a better place. right now, though, i'd settle for a new career. stress headaches, muscles aching from constant tensing, stomach twisted into a knot, nausea that comes at the exact moment that i see/hear/read the name of my superior. coming home: drinking too much, fighting with mr. monkey because he's a target i'm not afraid of lashing out at, sitting slumped on the couch with eyes glazedly staring into the middle distance.

bta and i talk a lot. both about how meaningless what we do seems to be, and what huge amounts of resources go towards perpetuating the systemic meaninglessness. if one half of the money the process uses up went into generating outcomes, oh what a lovely world we could inhabit! but alas.

so why not leave? well, there you have it. that self-imposed, societally-supported idea that one must work, and work is hard and unpleasant, and there is some sort of moral imperative to continue doing it. but i'm giving myself a limited amount of time before i leave. i've always had a pretty hefty instinct of self-preservation. let's see where it takes me, and how long it takes me.

so thanks for listening. and sorry for the silence. i've been busy working.