30 November, 2016


a poem that took a long time getting written:

A river of bunnies, real loathsome and vile
Are strutting down Champs Elysees single file

A river of hedgehogs, hopped up on pink pills
Hot-wiring cars for some cheap nighttime thrills

A river of donkeys, so tough and tattooed
Could talk to your grandma and not once be rude

A river of weasels, all dressed up in blue
Went into a deli and ordered a stew

A river of swordfish, très fancy and suave
Picked up a marshmallow but ate a guimauve

A river of turtles, with wind in their hair
Are burning down Main Street to outrun the hare

A river of monkeys, bewildered by sin
Drank liquor and let all the strippers come in

A river of aardvarks, astute and aware
Uncovered deep truths and laid secrets bare

A river of kittens in warm fuzzy hats
Decided that dogs were superior to cats

A river of lizards, amazed all the while,
Walked in looking blah, but walked out in style

A river of hedgehogs, entombed in despair
Walked slowly with ashes and rain in their hair

A river of puppies came up with a plan:
They all quit their jobs and ran off to Bhutan

A river of possums, morose and uncool,
Picked up some plastique and blew up the school

27 November, 2016


the upside of minimalism:

  • fewer dishes to wash
  • reduced capacity for entertaining and elaborate meals
  • easier household maintenance
the downside of minimalism:
  • cutting your toenails with utility scissors 

black and grey

it seems like we haven't had sun here for weeks. this is most likely not the case, but that's what it feels like. all grey skies all the time, inside and out, baby!

this morning i put mr. monkey on the plane and only shed about 17 tears. i then went to the doctor and got myself diagnosed with bronchitis. the examination was perfunctory at best, and i feel that had i shown up with a leg bitten off by a tiger, he'd have diagnosed me with the exact same thing. still, he's the one with the M and the D after his name, so what do i know? maybe there's a particular sound that unwell bronchioles emit which all doctors can immediately recognize.

two of my ladies, knowing full well that i might be a bit of an emotional mess today, stepped up: sanity salad took me out for breakfast, and then, joined by crusty juggler, we headed for a day at the-formerly-largest-mall-in-the-world-alas-no-more-but-still-damn-well-big-enough-what-with-the-ship-the-amusement-park-the-waterpark-the-whale-the-skating-rink-and-the-walruses-or-whatnot. there's something about that particular mall (since i despise malls in general) that soothes me. perhaps because it is the mall of my youth, the place i'd go to hang out with my best friends when i was but a girl. there's also something strangely comforting about being surrounded by masses of humanity that you don't actually have to interact with. it's not a mood i get often, but when i do, west ed hits the spot.

we walked, we shopped, we tried on expensive penis-shaped hats, we laughed our asses off, and sat watching people skate,. after the mall, we went to crusty and d's house, where d made his Amazingly Delicious Udon Noodles and then crusty finished the night off with Ridiculously Yummy Lime Bars. i'm now in bed, feeling the greyness settle on me. perhaps i'll watch some telly and then catch up on my sleep. i pretty much decided that i'm taking tomorrow off work - the cough/chest pain combo, even though it doesn't pack the dramatic punch a heart attack, is doing a number on me.

this big empty house sure seems extra big and empty tonight. as much as mr. monkey's presence seems to immediately result in a mess, i would welcome it with open arms. i have a bananologist appointment on wednesday. hopefully she can help me unpack some of the bad decision-making that's been happening around here of late.

this is one of those posts without a satisfactory denouement, so i'll just cut it off here and bid you all adieu and a sweet night. know that your words of care and your encouragement and your worries about my health are most appreciated and really do help to lift the grey a little bit. you are, by far, the best poultries a woman could wish for!

things that go "plop" in the night

this house is noisy. all manner of snaps, crackle, and pops, but i don't really care all that much except when they wake me up at 4am and my body cares because it is jolted awake by an adrenalin surge. but otherwise, meh.

mr. monkey is here. this is making me see that he really is some sort of anti-depressant in human form, since i'm only now FINALLY realising that each time i leave him, i fall into deep depression. perhaps i ought to stop leaving him.

here's the thing: he wants me to come back. he misses me. he wants me there BUT he wants me to prove myself first (to the office, sure, but to myself predominantly) and the very possibility of going back to texas, while not at the top of my hurrah-list, is making me rethink my definition of home. because, sure, edmonton is home, but you know what is home most of all? mr. monkey. i bet y'all knew that already! i bet y'all were sitting there in your various arm chairs looking at my life choices, shaking your heads, and saying, tsk, tsk, is it really such a good idea to leave your man behind when you actually super-like him? my mom recently told me that for a person with depressive tendencies i seem to make a lot of life choices specifically designed to make my life harder. she's got a point.

granted, i was supposed to be the avant garde, the scouting mission, the one sent to prepare the way, all john the baptist like, but now that mr. monkey's horrid boss is no more, he is suddenly sleeping and enjoying work and not thinking about coming back right away at all. sure, who knows? with the inflamed orange anal gland in power in the US things might get all sorts of interesting (shudder) but for now, he's happy.


he's flying out tomorrow morning and i've been bawling my eyes out like a crazy person, complete with snot bubbles and strange guttural howling noises and wheezing because i have no voice (see below) and here's the kicker: i've been suffering from some sort of respiratory infection that has me hacking out my phlegmy lungs, but in the last 2 days i've developed increasingly sharp pain in my chest and, because decisions are HARD, i'm having this super awesome wish that maybe it's a heart attack (hey! it could happen!) and if it is, then i won't have to go to work and i'll have a most excellent excuse to go be with mr. monkey while i recuperate! so this is where i'm at, my poultries, wishing for a heart attack, or trying to figure out what exactly a nervous breakdown might look like, because i seem to be too highly functioning for that, unless you count all the crying all the time, (although i do seem to manage to keep that outside of the 9-5).

ah, fuck. look, people, don't worry about it. or, you know, worry about it as much as you wish, but writing here is a strange and free therapy that i engage in, and i know i've been dumping a lot on you lately (worry not! i have a possibly funny post about toilet paper in the works! the chortles never stop here!) so if you're fresh out of words of sympathy etc. don't fret about it. just do like you do on zhoen's blog and drop me a stone (o) to let me know you're here, but no need to try and make me feel better because i have just recently added another pretty pill to my repertoire (a purple round one to go with the pink square one! hurray for pretty colours!) so hopefully that shit kicks in in a few days. hell, who knows, i might stop caring so deeply and thoroughly that i'll just stay here in this big shiny empty echoing snapping house, all by myself, and continue to go work for someone who, i'm fairly certain, has not yet said one positive thing to me about me or my work, and keep doing this corporate thing that i am evidently utterly unsuited for.

anyone wanna start a commune or something? i'm SO damn good at escape fantasies! if only one could get paid for that shit.

17 November, 2016


i have another 2h before mr. monkey lands so i might as well talk to you. hi. how are you? are things going well for you? i certainly hope they are. i like you. i want you to be happy. am i happy? why, no, no i am not. i have my moments, sure, but i'd say that overall, the prevailing winds have not been happy winds.

the other day at work i gradually realised i was so anxious and tense that all the muscles in my head were feeling super twangy, like tightly wound guitar strings. TWANGGGG!!!! TWANNGGGGG!!! i had to use every power in my meagre considerable mental health arsenal of mindfulness to de-twang my muscles. i didn't manage to do it all the way, just enough to enable me to breathe properly. breathing is important, i'm told.

why was i so stressed? ah, see, there's this vicious circle that happens when you're depressed/anxious: you feel like shit, and so you come to believe that you're shit, and the work you're doing is shit, and you're liable to get fired in approximately, oh, say 5 minutes, and the anxiety caused by those thoughts causes you to become dull - all of that mental energy focused on the fight-or-flight response doesn't give you all that much intellectual wiggle room so you miss things, obvious things, and because you already feel like shit, you think, hey! i'm missing obvious things because i'm a shitty idiot who's shit at the job she's doing and that she's about to be fired from. this doesn't tend to make you feel better and so the spiral continues.

i'm currently learning to use the practice of mindfulness to nip this in the bud, but boy howdy, this particular anxiety attack was a doozy! (huh - is that how you spell doozy? seems weird, no?) at any rate, it happened several times and because my tennis elbow* was becoming seriously painful, i decided to go see my doctor. ok, confession time: i'd decided to go see my doctor about a month ago but somehow something always managed to come up and so i put my health second. tonight i finally saw my doctor and now i'm getting cortisone shots in my tennis elbow (whenever i get around to it).  i also told her that my anti-bananas medication isn't working any more. and i need more. please and thank you.

ok, let's reframe. i suspect that if i lived a normal life in which i lived in some sort of stability, with one job, in one place, with one husband, the anti-bananas medications would function quite well. alas, i keep engaging in massive upheavals like a crazy person (ha!) which means that my life choices have resulted in chaos that is far beyond the range of what your average decently acting anti-bananas medication can handle. the fault is not in the anti-bananas medication; the fault is in my life choices. i admit it, but nevertheless, i need more anti-bananas.

my doctor will consult her wise books, she will converse with a shrinkologist, and she will write me a prescription for something to will fill the gaps in my sanity. perhaps all this will work and it will result in me 1. not being fucking miserable all the time, 2. not having a twangy head, 3. figuring out what the hell i want from life (other than mental health, again, please and thank you).

in the meantime, mr. monkey's going to be here in just over an hour!!!!!!!!!!!!

*this time it's my left arm which i use to play tennis exactly as much as my right arm, which suffered from tennis elbow several years ago. i'm SO giving up tennis.

14 November, 2016

seven smiles

i've been wanting to write since last tuesday but, as you can well imagine, anything i'd have written would have been well marinated in tears and bile and a deep visceral anger. i didn't write the post i'd meant to write* and so i didn't write at all but then sweet lucy presented me with a meme that counterbalances at least some of the darkness: 7 good memories, an easy task, i'd think, given my ability to dress my past in garlands of joy (it's the present that is difficult, innit?)

  1. my first christmas outside of the communist block - we walk the streets of a tiny mountain town in austria where we are waiting out the seemingly endless immigration process to canada, and i am astounded by the sheer beauty of the store windows: lit up, filled to the brim with lights and decorations, sparkling and joyful. this is new to me after the dour greyness of the poland of my childhood. it seems like the very soul of christmas - snow, candles, toys, colours, and beauty - so much beauty!
  2. i'm walking to my university class, the first class i've taken since becoming a dental hygienist several years earlier. i'm excited at the intellectual stimulation that i'm finally getting but it's also summer - may? june? it's early afternoon and the sun is golden and syrupy and it lights up the cotton willow fluff that seems to be dancing from the sky in slow motion. years later, this moment comes back to me again and again as a confirmation of  quotidian magic. 
  3. my cousin calls my cell just as i leave the gym. i sit in the volvo in the rain and he tells me he has a daughter and i immediately love her, sight unseen, and sit in the car and we cry over the phone, both of us loving this small first child in the family. 
  4. i walk up to a street at the university and mr. monkey is there, waiting for me, standing by his bike, wearing one of his awful striped shirts. i see him and i feel my face breaking into a smile so huge it threatens to fall right off my cheeks. it's not dramatic. it's not romantic. it's just love, that's all.
  5. we're walking along a fern-leaved path somewhere in oregon. it's damp, green, misty and absolutely lush. the stream we are following weaves in and out of the foliage and then, suddenly, without any warning at all we find ourselves in a deep valley, the walls covered in a multitude of terns bedazzled by dew, which opens up to a wide white beach. you can hear the ocean out there... i don't think i've ever seen a place like this - elves should live here, not humans, and yet here we are. 
  6. i get off the tram and am walking to school. i can see my shadow on the sidewalk and i've got two huge red bows in my hair. i feel so grown up, such an independent girl. i'm in grade 1 or 2. 
  7. i've only recently gotten my driver's licence (late bloomer that i am) and i now have a brand new second hand car to go with it. i live in calgary but my friends and boyfriend are in whitecourt. it's a bit of a drive but when i fly along the secondary highways of central alberta, i feel indomitable, the world belongs to me: it's not the car but my own damn superpower that drags the highway beneath the wheels, pulling me along home. i am a goddess!
my natural tendency in these dark days has been to hunker down in the land of fantasy, or at the very least to stay away from the news. between that and full immersion there must be a happy medium that will keep me informed but not broken-hearted. i'm still looking for it. and in the meantime? books. 

* about how, at 44, i've finally been given to understand the full depth, breadth, and sheer unadulterated ugliness of misogyny in a way that evades my ability to forget the bad. oh, world, you are an ugly place right now!

06 November, 2016


i was living in my cousin's basement up to a week ago. that's where i had that breakdown from the last post. sitting on a sofa bed in the dark at 2am, bawling my damn fool eyeballs out. things feel better now.

last thursday i moved into my cousin's gorgeous brand new house that's huge and airy and modern  and white and echoing in all sorts of magical ways. it's never been lived in and because he feels it won't sell over the winter, i've been set up as a sort of house sitter. my rent is exactly what it would be in my parents' rental plus it's about a 7 min walk to work. i feel like a rich person without the encumbrances of furniture. just me and some beautiful art on the walls. i do get a bed. and a couple towels.

the night i moved in here, i went to the grocery store and bought myself the makings of a greek salad. i realised i had no knives so i bought one of those and only when i was unpacking the groceries did i realise that i had neither forks nor spoons. i cut the salad fixin's into large pieces and ate it with my fingers. the next morning's planned yogurt for breakfast didn't happen for obvious reasons and i broke fast with a glass of milk and granola eaten straight from a box. posting my plight on facebook (#nospoons) caused a friend to give me a beautifully bundled bunch of mismatched spoons from a second hand store and yogurt has become a reality. funny how simple life can be. i wanted to minimize my possessions. i wanted fewer spoons. joke's on me!

the house is right on the edge of downtown, and right on the edge of a ravine. there's the constant comforting drone of traffic on the road below but all i see is trees. it's a strange sort of lot and it's the reason my cousin bought it - best of both worlds. yesterday morning, i looked out the window of my upstairs bedroom at the large sloping yard and noticed that one of the pieces of recently laid sod was flipped upside down. i walked down in the afternoon and flipped it back over. this morning, another piece was upside down. i admit i was a little freaked out - animals don't scare me; bipeds with a bizarre sense of humour do. i called my cousin and found out the likeliest culprit is the coyotes that lived on this lot until it was taken from them by the development. coyotes i can deal with, though i do wish they'd leave the outdoor "carpeting" alone.

work goes. it's interesting and some days fulfilling. personality issues are being ironed out. i'm teaching myself that part of choosing to put my big girl pants on is growing a thicker skin or at least learning to take things less personally, or, at the very least, not considering running away whenever i feel mistreated or disrespected. most days i succeed. i meditate daily. i walk more than i have for the last year in texas. i miss mr. monkey and am consistently failing to get him to pick up his cellphone when i call, so our communication is limited to daily morning calls to his work landline and late evening skype sessions. clearly, he's not a fan of the telephone portion of cellular technology.

i will try to blog more, but right now i'm relishing my silence and peace. trying to piece together some semblance of balance and inner peace in what is really a rather unhinged time in my life.