24 September, 2015

self-improvement

i saw a very inspirational TED talk about gratitude. first thing you're to do every morning upon waking is to think of five people you are grateful to/for and express that gratitude in your head. this, before your feet ever touch the ground, is supposed to ground you firmly in positive emotions, feel goodery, and general unicorn fodder. i did it right after the TED talk. and then i never did it again.

my bananologist told me to write 3 pages of stream of consciousness every day when i first wake (i assume this is after i've expressed my gratitude to the special five). i've so far failed at that with an admirable degree of thoroughness.

each time i see my massage therapist he gives me exercises meant to make me feel less like an arthritic octogenarian. i have yet to do even one of those exercises, despite walking out of there with a very firm intention of doing them regularly.

my sports medicine doctor once showed me a simple and quick way of strengthening my core muscles. i did it three times. maybe four.

there are amazing people out there trying to help me get better at being human. they will fail every goddamn time, because i seem to have taken up the call of self improvement once when i started to floss daily all those years ago and apparently that's all that's available to me in terms of internal resources.

i am in the enviable position of having many toddlers available to me for close inspection and study without actually having to keep one in the house and i am appalled at their behaviour - they are tiny little emotionally fucked up sociopaths, a fact both mitigated and exacerbated by their short little attention spans; they are demanding; they have zero concept of time; they get frustrated by the dumbest things; they are terrifyingly egomaniacal; they are often violent; their mercurial charm is equalled only by their malevolence; they are dirty and loud and have those eternally sticky hands (ok, that last point is not really a propos to my subject) watching parents navigating the toddler years is magical and heartwarming, because my own auntly heart is often filled with feelings of loathing, frustration, and intense gratitude for my own child-free life. why am i going on at length about this? because i realised today that parenting toddlers is actually unnervingly similar to my own little journey of self-discovery and self-improvement.

each day the same questions need to be answered; each night, the same demons faced. each week or month the same lessons need to be learned. come to think of it, self-improvement is actually WORSE than raising toddlers, because they, at least, are sponge-like in their brainal area, meaning they learn things quickly. me? not so much. oh hey! you hate your body? i thought we worked this shit out! no? we have to go through this AGAIN? sweet jesus on a pogo stick! why? why? WHYYYYYYY? if i was my own parent on this little journey, i'd have dropped me off at the nearest orphanage and gone off "to buy a pack of smokes" because enough is enough.

but on i trudge, because, as the man says, it's the journey, not the destination. and if you think about it, it's kinda true because what is the destination if not death?

think on that!

23 September, 2015

dum-dee-dum

bananologist told me to write stream-of-consciousness, three pages worth, every morning. leave it unread for a while, see what comes out, but not for public consumption. then later in the day write for an audience like this here blog. we'll see what happens, see what we uncover, see what monsters lurk beneath the cool calm exterior i like to cultivate (yeah, yeah, i know. shut up.)

i spent several hours today scraping the old mould-blackened caulking from around the tub: on my knees, poking, prodding, pulling, scratching, wiping, vacuuming up the silicone bits. a satisfying bit of work, and, as noted by sanity salad, quite reminiscent of my years in the dental field, but far less gross: no blood, no smell, no awareness of picking my way through someone's meals of yesterday (or worse, yesterweek!). i will let it dry, then recaulk it.

i wanted a renovated bathroom (well, the finished product, not the work we'd invariably be doing ourselves) but now that we're moving and renting out the place it makes little sense to sex it up with shiny new tiles and tubs and taps. sexy shiny new caulking will have to do.

a truly boring post, no doubt, lacking juiciness, pithiness, foul language, and/or adventures. no rock'n'roll to speak of and the only mention of sex is in relation to plumbing. my apologies. i'll try to do better, but i make no promises.



18 September, 2015

the forest for the trees

we arrived in houston after dark, picked up the rental car and drove north, windows open to that undefinable smell of the tropics. i spent the week exploring, floating on an inflatable mattress in the world's best roommate's backyard pool, evenings in the hot-tub listening to the cicadas, looking at the stars, relaxing: relaxed, relaxed, relaxed... i feel like my thoughts and feelings are taking a bit of a breather, as they tend to do on occasion, and i enter a sort of slowed down state, a whisper state, a mental hiatus, a glorious fogginess - i may feel a situation should require a particular response but i cannot actually manage one, and so i spent many an hour feeling my body relax into the space around it and thoughts disintegrate into fragments, and i breathed.

you know what? the woodlands is all sorts of things i don't normally like but i like it: it's humid. it's suburban. it's all cul-de-sacs and lack of sidewalks. it's rather obviously well groomed and well off. there are far too many squirrels. but: it's warm. it smells nice. at night the cicadas sing and the geckos come out to feed. there are protected bike paths along pretty much all of the streets allowing me to bike sans fear or helmet. the beach is close enough to drive down for the day. there are so many birds! the people smile and say hi even though they don't know you from adam and might very well be packing heat. rents are so low as to be ridiculous. driving through it feels like driving through a forest of pines and oaks and who doesn't like driving through a forest? 

i came back early so that i could volunteer at a planning conference but there is a whole lot of me that thinks i may not even work as a planner again. i mean, sure, if you offer me a job then i will. but perhaps i just want to write and edit, because that's my favourite thing to do. writing and editing would be just fine. i'm not ambitious. i'm never going to amount to anything spectacular. i'm happy with that. 

at any rate, i did volunteer today: i introduced two speakers, i directed people to a mystery gala location, and then i wandered the gala, ate nibblies, drank drinks, talked to people, and fastidiously avoided talking to the person who made me quit my job. i made one half-hearted attempt to say hi when she was obviously busy talking to someone else, and then i stopped. she never came up to talk to me. i think she knows but what're you gonna do?

then i walked home with my lovely boss who happened to be walking to the office to pick up his car and on the way, tongue loosened by wine and time, i told him the full reason i left, and he told me he knew. i told him i should have been fully honest from the beginning; he told me he should have tried harder to make things better for me. we blame ourselves, not each other, we're both of us right and wrong. it was a good walk. it was a good talk, but in the end, it changes nothing: i'm still not working, and me not working has facilitated our move south, however that may turn out to be. 


08 September, 2015

futura (century gothic light?)

today marked the (entirely self-imposed) day i had to get back to the work of being a productive human. i'm very very VERY tempted to tell you how very productive i actually was today, but, as per my bananologist's recommendations, i'll resist the urge and instead tell you that this thing is happening and i figure since you've been around for quite a while now, you deserve to be told.

august long weekend, mr. monkey and i were walking home along the river after heritage festival - a.k.a. "international dumpling, fritter, and meat-on-a-stick festival"*, and i turned to him and surprised both of us by saying, "ok, let's do it! let's move to texas!"

the idea of moving to texas first came up when mr. monkey got his promotion almost two years ago - his boss and the team are in texas; they expected he'd join them eventually. alas, he had a wife who, at the time, appeared to be in the middle of first grad school and then a respectable and enjoyable career, so that was a no go. turns out (oh, marital communication!!!), for the last few months, mr. monkey has felt increasing pressure to actually make the move: the canadian branch of the company ain't doing as well as it could be, while the texas branch seems to be needing him, and soon, so....well, no brainer, really. we could stay here and be unemployed in tandem, or we could move to a master-planned gated community** rife, granted, with trophy wives drinking white wine spritzers at lunch while fluffing their faux breasts, but also heavily forested and boasting a metric shit-tonne of green spaces. and kayaking. and an hour to the beach. and an hour flight to new orleans. and all the crawfish i can eat (i can eat a lot of crawfish!). and the world's second best roommate mere minutes away (because this is where the silly man moved to right after i finished grad school), and the roommates's adorable wife, crazy joan, available for drinking coolers and talking shit from october till april. so, ya know, not that bad at all!

i fear, just a little bit, that this sudden inexplicable desire to move to the woodlands, tx, is nothing more than a desire to escape what i still sometimes unfairly term my failure to cope***. and, having just spent a week camping with the female littles (oldest little/my goddaughter/my unofficial favourite (shhhh! don't tell!) slept in my tent the whole time and was goddamned ADORABLE!), i realise that what i'm giving up is bloody significant: the opportunity to watch the littles grow on a regular basis - these children, that i had nothing to do with but who have made my heart an inexplicably mushy organ. because, goddamn, sure, i don't want them to come to my house and put their sticky little hands all over my nice stuff but i would fucking take a bullet for them, so that should sorta even things out, non? but yes, seeing them will definitely take a nosedive if we move to texas. and all my people. all those wonderful, glorious, sweet, adorable, beloved members of my tribe. but there are cheap direct flights, so they'd best pack their speedos and come on out. still, sigh....

so there ya go. the news is out. we's movin' to texas! but not until the new year. whoop, whoop!



*seriously, how widespread are those three food groups across the many continents? VERY widespread.

** if there's one thing a planner is viscerally opposed to, it's gated communities: we're all about the public realm, man!

*** i have more than ample evidence that this failure to cope is not mine. why, just today, i ran into another coworker who is heading HRward to discuss evil mistress and the effect she has on her underlings (hint: not good.), so i'm far from alone in this, but still, the immigrant sense of self-esteem is unwilling to just go all american dream and declare the failure entirely external, ya know?