27 August, 2016


ladies and gentlemen, between the stresses of my current situation* and my natural monthly hormonal fluctuations, i am officially a hot mess. mr. monkey and i watched blue planet last night and i bawled (and i mean BAWLED) at a segment where a pod of orcas attacked and killed a baby grey whale. even the silken voice of sir david attenborough couldn't snap me out of it. then i had a meltdown of epic (read: 4-year-old) proportions because there's nowhere to walk to to get food in this god forsaken suburban wasteland and the only place that delivers is super shitty pizza and i NEEDED JUNK FOOD NOW. mr. monkey, being his usual calm and lovely self came downstairs and mcgyverred me up something vaguely pepperoni pizzaish and quite delicious (though still too wholesome to pass for the junk food i needed). this morning, i got teary eyed at a twitter feed and all the goddamn burkini-related news. then, when i went to quartz, thinking that sciency-type articles would be a safe bet, i watched a funny commercial that made me inexplicably dissolve into tears once again:

i am now giving up on social media (yeah, cause the real world ain't gonna make me cry at all. hah.) going to get some groceries and some pickling cukes, and if pickling don't cure what ails me, then i'm a lost cause.

so: don't talk to me today. i might just start to weep.

*waiting and hoping and stuff

26 August, 2016


two nights ago we were in bed, nearly asleep, when we heard a strange mechanical sound going up and down the local streets. keep in mind that unlike my last totally urban location this place is quiet: local traffic only, rarely at that, and almost never late at night. it's the 'burbs! so this dopplering strange sounding vehicle piqued my interest. when i heard it coming up our road, i jumped out of bed but only caught a glimpse of the back of a vehicle lit up by an inexplicable green light. i almost went back to bed but mr. monkey reasonably pointed out that this is a cul-de-sac and one of the physical laws that govern cul-de-sacs is "what comes in, must come out" and so i waited.

soon enough the strange mechanical-but-not-exactly-vehicular sound started to draw closer. it was a truck, a white half ton emblazoned with logos, and sporting on the back a large green light which illuminated some sort of industrial sized diffuser on the back of the cab that sprayed a fine mist into the surrounding area as it drove. probably mosquitoes, i thought, but i'd watched enough tv shows of late to at least entertain the idea that mind control might be on the table. perhaps this is precisely how suburbia works! how else do you account for people "choosing" to live in places that are dull, repetitive, offer no destinations, no distractions, nowhere to walk, no sense of actually being somewhere, and nothing beyond an aesthetically bland placidity?

if in the next wee while i start writing odes in praise of the suburban life or take up golf, you need to stage an intervention, but remember: government agents are watching.

24 August, 2016

sparkling diamonds and prancing unicorns

as much as i hate being at the mercy of my emotions - that sudden fist-in-the-solar-plexus burst of anxiety or inexplicable swoop of the sads for no ascertainable reason - sometimes, rarely, but often enough to make a difference, you get a gift. an equally sudden and equally inexplicable moment of grace and magic.

more than a decade later, i still remember walking to the first class i took when i returned to university - it was a spring/summer semester, the class was philosophy of science. i walked through the u of a campus in the late may afternoon and the fluff from cottonwood trees was slowly floating through the golden light and it. was. perfect. i can still see it in my mind's eye, and keep in mind this happened 15? 16 years ago? small mercies, tiny miracles,

i went for a walk this morning and in the midst of the sweaty march i suddenly found myself in exactly such a moment which rendered all things perfect. the perfect song started to play and i noticed that the grass all around was still covered in drops of dew from the morning's fog, sparkling like diamonds as far as the eye could see. the resinous scent of the sun-warmed pine needles, the clouds above the trees, the dappled sun through the leaves - all perfect. and through it all, i was filled with a deep and much needed sense of security, well-being, and hope for the future. everything was going to be all right. though one walks through beauty many times a day, it doesn't always make an impact; it doesn't always sing.

it never occurred to me until today that these perfect moments are the mirror image of the sudden sads, unexpected gifts from the out-of-control emotions, tiny highs to match the dismal lows. sure, the ratio is definitely not in their favour, but that just makes them more speshul (i imagined a bunch of 90's gifs of prancing rainbow unicorns and pink sparkly comic sans font when i wrote that last bit. forgive me.)

everything is going to be all right.

23 August, 2016


let it be said: i don't believe in beaming out positivity and the universe responding in kind. i don't believe that wishing or praying hard enough will accomplish anything. i most certainly don't believe that things happen for a reason. i don't believe (although i'm sorely tempted by) magical thinking. but there is a belief (or something akin to belief, it's more of the deep dark root of belief, something beyond visceral, something primordial and ugly) that causes me to fear speaking about things that are not yet locked up. despite my rational mind's pleas, i have a hard time saying, hey! i had a job interview! unless i already know i got the job. that deep dark thing believes (or makes me believe) that if i tell someone i think we found the house we want, it will somehow jinx it, make it go sideways. my mind knows this to be silly but the fear persists. it's all the worse for me knowing how irrational it is. if i fully embraced it, i'd be fine, but having these two forces duke it out inside me, the rational and the primordial, feels distinctly uncomfortable.

while i believe one ought to embrace one's own self, warts and all, there's a balancing act here: some warts i'd pay to have removed like that atavistic thing that makes me superstitious and fearful. i guess it's the fear that i resent the most, this feeling that if i say too much or say it to too many people, i, myself, will be responsible for the failure of the job or the house. so maybe, in a roundabout way, it's really about trying to assert control over situations that give me none (after all, i can't control if my house offer will be accepted or a job offered, i can only do my best) if that's the case, and i suspect it is, then it looks like excision of the thing is all about accepting that sometimes in life one is powerless.

19 August, 2016


because of all the decisions and thoughts and reflections and such of late, i found myself looking back at some point wondering if selling the edmonton condo and buying the texas place were good ideas or massive mistakes. my reaction to the possibility of them being mistakes was quite telling:  it's quite possible i made the comic shocked face:

because heaven forbid! i made a life mistake!

keep in mind this isn't because i feel i sail errorlessly through life; more that i choose not to dwell on less than stellar choices on account of time only going in one direction. mistakes? i haz maked them. but this for some reason felt kinda raw and terrifying. too close and yet too far gone. so i made a conscious decision not to think like that. i know for a fact i don't regret moving to texas (though in retrospect it seems like the dumbest fucking decision ever - moi. in texas. seriously?) because one can't know what works and what doesn't unless one tries new things. hell, my many many years as a temp surely have taught me that.

zhoen's latest post made me want to reevaluate things a little bit. rejig. reimagine. revisit. shuffle assumptions. hey! life is hard! it is! it can be! tell me you don't know this. and the thing to do is keep trying. keep looking at what matters and learning from your mistakes. oh hell, i know some of you are currently rolling your eyes and mouthing "birds go tweet" but do allow me this opportunity to say, hey, i'm still learning shit and the general hierarchy of what matters in my life is top of the pile.

monkey's choice

we stood at the entrance to security at the houston airport, watching SIL wheel away the sticky, loud, annoying, adorable, sweet, cute, crazy littles. we were subdued and quiet and misty eyed. mr. monkey cried silently in an emotionally-open but entirely manly way*. when he remained withdrawn on the drive back, i asked him what he was thinking about and he told me he was reflecting on the worth of us being here. like me, he didn't regret the decision to move to texas, but, like me, he decided that we would be going home as soon as it was possible. being close to family trumps a hell of a lot, including a coveted lifestyle that we have never coveted.

so it looks like we're both on the same page now, fully. we're working our way home.

*just kidding. he did cry but fucked if i care that crying is perceived as diminishing one's masculinity. but i guess you already knew/assumed that about me. 

16 August, 2016

lady's choice

driving mr. monkey home after lunch yesterday i simply opened my mouth and told him that i'd be looking for work in edmonton and that my plan of action was to return there. he looked at me a second and said ok. i listed the way i see things: the things to sell, the things to refinance, the things to buy, the things to take, the things to leave behind. again, he said ok. i expected something more - a fight, perhaps, or an undermining of my ideas by way of reason. nope. he seems perfectly willing to let me take the lead and take us home. perhaps spending a week with his beloved nephews has something to do with it. or his increasing lack of professional happiness. or both.

i think i've given up on the idea of trying to make it work here. texas feels like a marriage undertaken under false pretences after a whirlwind romance that manifested nothing of the underlying reality. and, having once realised that i ran away, using texas as a convenient rebound after my work-implosion, i must now go back and make things right. somehow. sure, the analogy breaks down at some point, or else i'm just confused but i do think you can sort of work out what i'm trying to say. after all, you're still here, aren't you?

lately i've been nibbling on the edges of missing home. nothing too drastic: no favourite neighbourhoods or festivals (though tears were close to the surface when all my well meaning friends started sending me photos of themselves on the hill at the folk fest last weekend), just suddenly missing a particular bike path in jasper, or a specific (and rather unattractive) bit of 97 street near the empty prison. i find myself wanting, for some strange reason, to see things that never really mattered that much before. these are safe things to miss - unlikely to cause me to fall headfirst into misery. just small flavours of home.

i was talking to sanity salad today about how weird it feels to make this decision, and that maybe i shouldn't have done it. but as soon as those words are out i realised: what the hell else am i supposed to do? who else gets to decide? life? sanity salad told me life is not a decision maker, unless, of course, you let it become one.

zhoen recently suggested that i ask myself these three questions:

1. what do you know?
2. what do you want?
3. who do you love?

1. well, i know that i am happiest in edmonton. 
2. i want to be in edmonton.
3. i love my friends and family who are... wait for it: in edmonton!

kinda makes it clear, don't it?

14 August, 2016

small humans too

i suppose it doesn't really speak too well of me that i get long-term (like hours!) snarky at a four-year old because he was whiny and tired and annoying but there it is: some times i love him lots; other times, i want to smack him up the side of the head really really REALLY hard and walk away permanently. kids. annoying, high maintenance, adorable, sweet, dimpled, loud, and SO FUCKING STICKY.

why are they sticky all the time? why? has science delved deep into this and figured this shit out, because maybe, just maybe, there's like a super amazing new glue, or nanotechnology or, hell, even a perpetuum mobile solution hiding in that ever-present stickiness? i betcha there's a cure for cancer linked to it. there must be; surely nature wouldn't have just made them sticky for no reason!

it rained last night and all morning. mr. monkey had the littles help him clean the pool and wash the car. on top of having the wee-est of them all running pieces of watermelon to our assorted mouths first evening here, i guess there are some uses for children. but i think i'd prefer to get my own watermelon. just saying.

11 August, 2016

small humans

mr. monkey is a most excellent uncle. i'm just the person who tells the kids not to eat/jump on/do shit. he can spend hours and hours with them, keeping them entertained and safe. i'm not like that at all. five minutes into playing "volleyball" with the 4 year old i'm bored stiff thinking to myself, kid, come back in 10 years when you can actually throw the ball in my general direction. or in 20 when we can discuss the intersectionality of race and gender.

i escaped upstairs to bed this evening, trying to combat the massive sads that hit me for no ascertainable reason. lying in bed, reading some articles, the entire family suddenly marches into our ensuite led by uncle monkey and his sister, the little boys naked as the day they were born ready to be rinsed in the walk-in shower. i am lying here, listening to the silliness and chatter: "make sure you wash your penis," random weeping, incomprehensible blather of the 2 year old.

the small one just got carried out wrapped in the towel and the older one is trying to convince his uncle to shower as well. not at all how i expected this evening to go, but entertaining nevertheless. i can feel the sads dissipating somewhat under the pressure of silliness.

and just now, lying in the bed, i got handed a small freshly laundered child who needed to watch masha and the bear with me, before being joined by a slightly larger freshly laundered child. 5 minutes of cuddles and giggles and they're gone and the sads have receded a little further still, though i can feel those bastards lurking.

the end.

hiding out

i'm still in bed. mr. monkey's gone to work and i can hear activity downstairs: smallest nephew periodically yelling incoherent words, loud crashing noises from the kitchen. i don't want to investigate. i woke up with a headache and a sadness. both will pass, i'm sure, but i'm giving myself the luxury of a few more minutes by myself.

i could easily give up this damn big house. i could easily give up our stuff... well, some of it anyway. but you'd have to pry my solitude from my cold dead hands. and if that isn't a most solid reason not to have kids i don't know what is. when you have children, unless you're a total asshole or extremely talented at time management and/or time travel, you are essentially giving up your solitude for a good number of years. couldn't do that. would go mad. kill people, that sort of thing.

so i'll take a few more minutes, ignore the crashing and yelling (it sounds benign), and enjoy my last few minutes of being alone.

10 August, 2016

sink or swim (hint: sink)

sister-in-law and nephews are here. it's been loud, joyous, fun, exhausting, infuriating, excellent, annoying, magical, and messy, and they've only just arrived last night. the highlight of the evening today was stepping in something soft and squishy in the pool. the red light made it clear - it was one of the slices of tomato i'd prepared for our barnyard burgers*. i'm not a fan of the red light - in fact, until last night's Fun Experiments With Buttons, the light was a lovely classy shade of clear. now, it has become an ever shifting niagara-falls-like rainbow hue. the red said tomato, definitely. unfortunately, after the red came clear and the clear said, no, dear, that is not a tomato slice; it is poop. it might have been, on the other side of its digestive journey, a slice of tomato. alas, it was a tomato slice no more.

mr. monkey, in his entirely admirable desire to free the youth from the constraints of diapers, removed the two-year-old nephew's swimmers' pull-ups and plopped him in the pool. an hour later, poop ensued. mom immediately donned swimming goggles, dove to retrieve said piece of excrement and disposed of it in short order. hurray for motherhood!

the pool is chlorinating like crazy right now. it's gonna be fine, i'm sure. nobody's gonna come down with ebola or whooping cough or rubella or whatnot. after all, it was just poop in the pool.

i've taken my own disinfection very very seriously and drank a large amount of wine.

*three or more kinds of meat to reduce dependency on beef.

07 August, 2016

not that kind of hole

c and i made a pact not to talk about american politics because it is not good for our mental health. we've been doing quite well for the most part. the rule was this - don't share/post anything that makes you angry and/or wanting to kick something. last night i texted c my little adventure with gun-loving dad. this was his response (or series of responses):

c: holy shit. that is fucked up. how fucking welcoming at a public place to have a dude with a gun.
kid will probably play with it and shoot his sister or something in a few years. why are americans so scared!

c: don't answer!

c: not going down that rabbi hole!

c: rabbit!

c: rabbi's don't have holes

c: well they do, but not the type I mean.

06 August, 2016

bad romance

goofing around in the pool, mr. monkey leans in for a kiss.

mr. m: mmmm.....garlic....it's the ultimate hermaphrodite...

moi: WHAT?!

mr. m: or something.

moi: you mean "aphrodisiac"?

mr. m: yeah. that's the one.

05 August, 2016

when in texas...

bear with me for a second because i'm sane canadian - we came out of the star trek movie and followed out a man carrying his sleeping son. walking up the stairs to the parkade, mr. monkey used his chin to point our that the man carrying the sleeping child was also carrying a gun. i just about fell down the stairs from shock. after the guy on the motorcycle (with a helmet!!!) at the red light, this is only the second person i saw here packing heat. ha ha. packing heat. open carry. so many little phrases. whoooeee! bang bang! but when you see it, it fucking hits you: this person has chosen to carry a firearm on his pants, a weapon that could easily destroy the lives of many at the drop of a missed antidepressant or a bad incident of road rage.

dear america, the rest of the world (outside of actual active war zones) looks at this as GODDAMN FUCKING INSANE. are you aware of this fact? perhaps you should be. you have made a religion out of an addendum to your constitution written during a time when muskets were all the rage. you are not normal. statistically, you are the outlier. YOU. ARE. NUTS. carrying a small sleeping child AND a fucking gun qualifies you, in the eyes of the entire world, as FUCKING NUTS. i just thought you should know that.

good night.

supporting the sweatshop economy, one impenetrably packaged item at a time

a parcel came for mr. monkey: a very light styrofoam box from china, wrapped in roughly 17.6 billion layers of tape. because mr. m was doing skilled electrical work, it was up to me to unwrap the parcel. it took a long time. far longer, in fact, than it took to swear a bunch and have this conversation:

moi: #%$*@.

mr. m: ...

moi: #@*&%*!!!

mr. m: ...

moi: is there anything else i can help you with?

mr. m: *waggles his eyebrows suggestively at the box*

moi: !!!

*much time passes*

moi: so what is it, exactly?

mr. m: a glass beaker.

moi: how much was shipping?

mr. m: free.

moi: how much was the beaker?

mr. m: five bucks.

moi: holy shit! that's cheap! how do the chinese do it?

mr. m: they pay their workers five bucks a week.

moi: and you support this?!

mr. m: well, they can buy themselves a really nice beaker.

04 August, 2016

fighting sexism, one squirrel at a time

sitting outside in the goddamn hellish evening texas heat. i watch a neighbourhood squirrel hop along the fence, then up the neighbour's palm tree. a while later we can see a disturbance up in one of our palm trees. small things are raining down, leaves are shaking.

mr. monkey: she's up there! what a bitch!

moi: maybe it's a he! what a dick!

mr. m: i can SEE her!

moi: or him! what an asshole!

small things continue to rain down... right into the damn pool.

moi: what is it DOING up there?

mr. m: you've seen squirrels throw nuts down from trees before.

moi: well, yes, but this is a palm tree. (helpfully turning to the squirrel) HEY RETARD! IT'S A FUCKING PALM TREE!

edit:: yes. i realised later - coconuts. but it's not that kind of palm tree.

02 August, 2016

so it's like this...

i've become wary of announcing life changes (other than, you know, irreversible ones like, hey! i lost my leg to a 'gator!) because a lot of that shit don't stick. when i first started meditating regularly, i suddenly lost the need/desire/hunger/thirst for large quantities of booze. well, that's gone... then again, i've only been meditating regularly again for the last couple of weeks, so that could change. still, i've been noticing a gradual paring away of stuff. might be related; might be unrelated. who knows? who cares? i don't. do you? of course, you don't! you don't even know what i'm talking about!

i stopped colouring my hair a while ago and, for the first time in my life, i actually really really like my hair. i love the grey. i love the wavy thing it's been doing. i just generally love it. i've also stopped doing anything with it (although i've never been much of a hair doer) - i let it air dry, and boom! shake what the good lord gave you (hair).

since we've been living in this suburban pit of despair lovely southern texas community, i've stopped wearing make-up. it's simply too fucking hot, and since i see nobody and talk to nobody and do nothing and don't go anywhere, why bother? and when i DO occasionally see somebody or talk to somebody or do something or go somewhere, well, then that bit of colour on my face makes me feel all kinds of special. the funny thing about (unofficially) giving up make-up is that at first you feel all weird about your face, like there's something missing, like you've just looked down at yourself in church and realised you forgot to put on pants. and then, as time goes by, you're all, hey! face! how goes it? nice to see you again! it might also help that 1. my sight is gone to shit and 2. i barely ever remember to look at myself in the mirror anymore. i could be walking around out there with a big chunk of dried up booger hanging off my left nostril and i wouldn't know. and you know what? i don't care.

i know that southern women are supposed to be all big hair and fancy clothes, but in my experience it's all lawnmower haircuts, denim capris (it's 40°C out there? WTF?!?!) and sensible blouses. the fake nails are there all right, but other accoutrements of southern style? not that i've seen. but whatevs. no, seriously: whatevs. having spent 2 weeks with my parents, and having been exposed to the massive tsunami of judgment that my lady parent unleashes on ALL TOPICS IN ALL THE WORLD AND EVERYONE AT ALL TIMES ALWAYS, it's nice to sort of say in my head, hey lady! that lawnmower haircut looks like ass, but you look like a happy human being so rock on. just rock on. anger. letting go of it.

hey! maybe it was make-up that was making me angry! maybe it was the red dye #3 and ground up beetles that were leaching into my bloodstream making me all grrrr all the time?! maybe it was the hair dye! damn hippie henna! no wonder the health food store workers are so morose and judgy all the time - it's the damn henna! oh, man, i'm so glad i figured this out!

so anyways, yes: grey hair, no make-up, trying to meditate. everything is oh so lovely.... or is it? ok. fine, it isn't. i'm having moments of extreme nostalgia. moments of what-the-hell-is-wrong-with-this-country (i've imposed a semi strict trump-free rule in my media consumption, but i do occasionally backslide). (many) moments of feeling overwhelmed by the stuff we have here. but overall, having now conquered the algae bloom that made our pool look like an award winning suburban front lawn, things are relatively level. i've made peace with my face, and that's something, innit?