Tuesday, December 22, 2009


, originally uploaded by titanium-white.
holy shit, holy shit, holy shit....

*fans the air excitedly*

you know when you make a bunch of stuff and you're just sort of  like "blaaaaaaaagh....", and then you make one thing that climbs right to the top of the pile, and you look at it, and it stares you right back and shamelessly wrangles and hogties your stupid sheepish insecurities and sacrifices it on an alter of self confidence and cockiness' lovechild...  and then you take a sip from the cup and you're like.....  "Efff... sometimes i am awesome..."

and then you start to grin like a jerk but you don't even care...because good is just GOOD and sometimes egomania is warranted...even if i DO say so myself...

you know??


i think this is that one...



Saturday, December 12, 2009


it might be 330 am

i might have sold some art tonight. 

I might have  shot up a burlesque show, after the gallery thing.

I may have stumbled into  a metal show.

it possible that i drank too much

and could not find my way out of the car, when i was (Graciously!,  Mercifully!)  dropped off at home

and maybe,  i might have to work tomorrow...

oh kittens!  lets hope all the puppies and kitties are healthy tomorrow!  

nothing can get hit by cars! 

*crosses fingers*

i am drinky faced. 

that is all.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

crush and swell


i woke up yesterday feeling disgusting and feckless. Dissociative, detached, disappointed and disappointing.

Peripheral at best.

i was going to skip the show, thinking that i just wasn't up for it. feeling like i couldn't be bothered to paint on a party face, to stand in line, to go through the ritual, to disappear in another crowd.

buuuuut i missed the Shrines the last time they were in town, and i knew i'd regret not going if i skipped out on a Khan show i actually had tickets for.

So i scrubbed and showered, pulled on a dress and pair of boots, and curled my lashes.

And kittens, i must say, I'm ever so glad that i did.

I got to Babylon late, but the place was still mostly empty so i scouted a couch (skeezy, disgusting things they are but we must try not to think about that, my ducks) and drank a Stella, and shared some friendly chatter with a rather nice fellow named Matt, from Saskathchewan.

Thinking there was only going to be one opener, I hit the bar again after the first act, and made my way to the front of the stage. The floor was filling up, and i wanted to make sure to have a good position staked out for photos. I claimed an amp, front and center, and perched on the corner, scanning the crowd for Mason and Kiiks. I managed to flag them down as they came in and we chatted for a bit as the floor got tighter, waiting for round two and percolating with growing excitement.

The second act was a snarling psychobilly four piece called Bloodshot Bill that quicklly packed the dance floor and worked the crowd into a frenzy. I snapped a few shots and finished my beer, felt the music pounding all around, and began to dance. A few songs in, someone pushed his way up to the front, right beside me, and shouted a few requests at the stage. It was King Khan. He was all laughs and smiles, loving the music and the frenzy. He danced his ass off, and i did too, and soon we were bumping hips to the beat and shimmying like mad things.

Well worth the price of admission.

The fevered pitch only intensified for the main act, although i was sad to have lost my special dancing partner. :-P

The floor was completely packed with bodies, ribcage to ribcage, pushing and swelling as everyone jockeyed for a good position. I was especially glad to have staked out an amp to anchor myself to, and cheerfully defended it, slowly but firmly digging my elbows into the ribs of those trying to edge a little closer at my expense, playing the same game of dumb as my would be usurpers.

"Oh sorry! Its a bit tight isn't it?? Yeah...., There's not much room. huh."

served with a nonchalant shrug and a sheepish smile,

nothing personal. :-)

(and that, dear reader, is why the slow elbow is best, in crowds as well as in bed, It seems more happenstance than attack, but remains every bit as uncomfortble if you know where to lodge it effectively)

The band emerges, and you can feel the crowd press closer. Khan has ditched his pants and sweater for a gold glitter flapper dress with a fox head loincloth and an electric blue bob, and BBQ sports gold glitter tights and a pink turban.

The music starts and the throng is immediately jolted to life. A living thing gone mad, throbbing and swelling, howling and gnashing, It occurs to me, at this point, that i might be in over my head, after all i have never been much of a pit rat, , but i dig in and hold on, determined not to give up my prized position too easily. The crowd swells so close that the entire front row is pitched up onto the edge of the stage, scrambling to hold their ground. Photos are impossible at this point. If i let go of the amp my feet leave the floor and i begin to drift, and the flailing bodies makes framing an absurd and abstract notion.

The bouncers look completely lost.

BBq tells the crowd to fuck off and settle down.

"this is a rock and roll show, not some goddamned Edgefest bullshit"

I'm completely absorbed in staying upright and protecting my camera. A fight breaks out to my left and the bouncers are forced to wade into the action, They look like sheep at a slaughterhouse.

Hardly discouraging. 

They play a few slower numbers, trying to ease the crowd down a little, and i am able to snap a few photos.   

Then the torch songs run out, and they return  to the irresistible beats that we all have been waiting for.    

Voodoo compulsions that can't be ignored.  

A koan we answer with our bodies. 

There's no room for style here, no room for flashy maneuvers, just an outlet for pure energy, an urgent and immediate response.  I thrash and grind in what little space i have,  gone feral with fierce abandon;  pushing back against the crowd when they press too close,  like an enraptured porn starlet.  snarling with ecstasy.  pricklng with bliss.     

I laugh as i find myself dancing Billy Idol style, with a fist held up in front of my face, to block unexpected elbows and other wayward bony projections from the pit.    

And on and on it goes, wave after wave after wave; a crashing call to arms

I come away  drenched  and delirious, 
By the end i am panting with exertion, grinning and gasping at once, reveling in that delicious  and too-rare state of complete and utter body exhaustion.  

 How lovely,  to be so alive.  

Monday, November 30, 2009


exhale, originally uploaded by titanium-white.
my portraits of strangers series is finally, FINALLY underway. Two years after i started it, i finally took my balls out of my purse and started asking people if i could take their picture, instead of gazing at them wistfully and kicking myself for days after each and every missed opportunity.

This one made Explore on flickr today, Which i ALWAYS discredit, except, of course, when i am in it. ;-)

three cheers for progress and productivity.


Take off your coat. Put a song in your throat. Let the dead beats pound all around.

Monday nights are golden.

My Daddy hits town, we bust out the Beansprout and the Stella, and we tear it up until my fingers are cramped and curled like the empty, skyward-clutching grasp of a stone-dead sparrow.

It mostly sounds awful, i'm sure. Me flinging chords wildly and trying to keep up, eternally shamed by my perpetual shortage of practice since the last lesson; Dadoo carelessly noodling out embellishments and solos, politely waiting for me to catch up and telling me its not awful.

the liar.

We drink beers and Dr. Pepper. We stuff ourselves with Pho and Pizza.
We bombard each other with youtube videos while we eat. Play our favourite tunes.
We talk about mum.
We play until my brain is stuffed to overflowing, the two of us stifling yawns; until finally we must throw in the hat. Put down the picks. Go home. And crawl off to bed.

Wake up the next morning, bleary eyed and underslept.

smiling for no good reason.


I wouldn't trade it for the world.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Work Crush

I have to write this.

I'm sitting on a train, half starved, sleep deprived, and grinning from ear to ear.

I don't know if its possible to fall in Love, - capital L LOVE, and at first sight, no less – with an entire business but I think I have a giant sized professional crush on Centertown Veterinary Hospital.
I interviewed there today and was absolutely smitten with the warmth of the place, with the level of care, with the way they look after their patients and their patients' people. For the first time in a very long time, it made me feel excited and proud to be a vet tech, and I wish very much that I had found this place sooner, instead of on the cusp between one career and another.

They are just so goood.

I won't know until later this weekend if I have the position or not. (i'll get a call either way, which is super nice) But i'm sitting here, on this train, trying to nap and I can't do it. I'm just too damned excited. Glowing with the possibility, I've just got this feeling that its all so right, that its my next step, and that I already belong there.

A part of my brain sits back and watches these flighty notions flapping against reason like birds against glass,
Dont get your hopes up, kid. Nothing is 100 percent.
But I don't care.
I want it. And I want to enjoy the suspense, and the completely punch drunk, unabashedly enamoured crushy goodness of it all.

Dear Centertown Vet. :
Do you like me?
Check YES or NO

How deliciously ridiculous.

I've decided not to entertain (court?) the possibility of disappointment until it is presented, - grudgingly acknowleded like the last scrawny little knock-knee'd kid to be picked for the gym class rugby team.

I choose cockiness. I chose jocular overconfidence mixed with unabashed adoration. I choose to get my hopes up, fling them, with a slingshot and bottle rockets, to the moon.

I'll keep you posted, kittens.
And all of you must keep your toes and fingers crossed.


Sunday, August 23, 2009

Crazy Arms

My dad came home.

He drove nearly 5000 km from the west coast, through the rocky mountains, across the great flat praries, all the way back to the teeny Ottawa valley he has always thought of as "home".

I'm so glad he did.

And maybe, if i wait, my mother will too.


He picked me up this evening for a catch up visit over dinner and a movie. We were supposed to meet up much earlier in the afternoon, but i had fallen asleep with the ringer turned off on my phone, and did not wake up until well after one. I probably needed the sleep, and he had a lot of friends to catch up with after getting back, and anyways thats just how we roll. Something about apples and their respective distance from trees, if you will.

He buzzes up to my apartment, which he has never seen before, and we greet each other with great and crushing hugs that are long overdue. We've already missed the first of our two movie choices for the evening, so i give him the ten cent tour and we drift out into the evening, still in no great hurry for movie number two.

"There she is!" He gestures with a flourish to an ancient, boxy silver van, "the old caravan, still kicking!"

He tells me all about driving through the mountains, praying against breakdown and how the old girl held up just fine, in spite of constant 30 degree inclines through the rockies, and a nearly bald tire on the front left. He's pleased by the trip, but will sell the van before its transmission dies, and while the mileage is still low.

As I slide into the passenger seat, what i remember about this van is winding down the Pacific Highway in the morning, on the way to the beach with a wetsuit on the back seat, and a surfboard crammed up the hatch, listening to Jerry Lee Lewis sing "Crazy Arms" while the mountains creep by outside. Singing along, driving one handed and trying not to spill my coffee on the on the corners...

I drink it all in.

I was young then... I find myself thinking. So young.

It was only a year ago.
Am i really so tired?

We make our way to the Mayfair theatre in time to catch most of Woody Allen's The Purple Rose of Cairo , then head to the market for burgers at Chez Lucien.

I'm relieved to hear that my dad sounds good. I worry about him being away from mum. (and about her, being away from him) Its a weird situation, this apart-ness.

He tells me he'll be teaching music lessons and fixing up the house again, and he's already lined up a few playing gigs in the few days since he's been back and he tells me about them as we drink our beers. We talk a little bit about nursing, and the things i think i'll like about it. He laughs at me for still having my old junker of a car in the parking space behind my building.

I pull out my camera and snap a few pictures of him from across the table. I examine the display images, furrow my brow, and scold him and tell him to sit up straight.

He laughs and tells me he's an old man now.
And somehow, as i'm focusing through the lens, and just at exactly the same time as he says it, i see it.
For the first time ever. I can see it.
I see all the wrinkles in my dads forehead. I see all the laugh lines around his eyes. And i see that his beard has now turned completely snowy white.

Suddenly he has aged.

and i begin to cry.




He didn't make it.

my favourite picture of the tiny orange boy... from the night i first brought him home - I promised Jen i would print it
and frame it and hang it somewhere
as a reminder that it is ALWAYS worth trying... even if it doesn't always work out in the end

And even if it fucking stings

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Skinny on "Squishy"


I brought the boy home again last night to give him another 24 hours to stabilize. Usually things either resolve or don't in the first 24-48 hours, so today is judgement day. The concern is that he needs to be stable enough to be cared for at home only over the long weekend, as i will not be able to take him with me when i leave, and i don't want him to deteriorate and suffer while i am away. So its a bit of a tricky business, this seeing into the future...

Last night the prognosis was guarded...he had signs of improvement in his demeanour - actually swatted and tried to bite the cloth when i was cleaning his face -, and his anisocoria (irregular pupil size - a sign of brain swellling/damage) had improved, Lung fields looked and sounded better...but on the other hand, his mouth breathing had worsened, and he would gasp heavily at times, especially after feeding.

Breathing is a pretty big deal. So. Anybody's guess.

He did okay at home, Edith managed to stuff some food into him and he got a sniff of Pain medication to make him feel better (It didn't kill him! YAY! - the dilution needed to dose him was RIDICULOUS!) And a diuretic to wick fluids away from his lungs and brain. There was not much improvement, but at least he seemed stable.

He had one very scary incident in the midle of the night. I woke up and he was curled up on himself like a crushed spider, panting furiously, unresponsive, Heart pounding. I thought for sure he was going to die, but as it turns out, the little guy has spunk. I dozed with him beside my head, trying to comfort him and see what happened and he eventuallystabilized again, although was still not breathing especially well.

This morning he got more medications, and seemed a little stonger, but was breathing worse than ever.
I was sure i would have to euthanize him today...

and then
out of the blue...

He sneezed a bunch of times and must have cleared his sinuses a bit... He stopped gasping...then stopped mouth breathing....then stopped puffing...and went to sleep, just like any other little kitten.

Since then he's been sleeping a few hours - must be Exhausted after all he's been through. He's eaten fairly well, although swallowing still causes him some respiratory distress...

But overall he looks a million times better.
Just like that.

spent the better part of the morning being snuggled and marveled over by everyone in the clinic. We're all hoping for a happy ending.

He's still not out of the woods, but its looking better and better, and i think he's tough enough to stick out the weekend. Ms. 'Berg has kindly offered to cat-sit for me - the big ol' softie! So i will load her up with syringes and doses and a miles long instruction list and we'll see how the little guy does...

Thanks to everyone for all the support and help and well wishing!

I will keep you posted as things develop and hopefully be able to get some happy kitten shots up tonight.



Wednesday, July 29, 2009

the refugee

I was supposed to put a needle full of poison into his heart today.

I couldn't do it.

So i stole him and brought him home with me instead.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Girl Talk

twain, originally uploaded by titanium-white.

This is Edith.

She's a real corker.

We make our own fun.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


walking home from the bus stop
the city air is thick and hot
sunset brings scant relief
all that concrete...
baking us while we sleep

i trudge through clouds of patio conversation
lost snippets and curtailed sagas
philosophies without context

Outside the Mission, clustered like schoolboys, effete and grown wild
tattered men growl stories of ambush and malaise

...he woulda stabbed me
...get a knife...
...get a bottle into you...
...I'm going to beat that motherfucker!
...you know Georgie!

broken glass voices telling broken heart tales

hey buddy have you got an extra cigarette?

Sunday, June 21, 2009

levity in the face of exigency


I've been hiding.
Feeling like a nasty little troll, for quite some time.

This weekend i emerged from my cave and found the weather was fine. The faces were friendly. Its been a pretty great two days. lovely even. and long overdue.


Timber Timbre played with the Great Lake Swimmers at the baptist church on friday night. The sound in there was amazing and i got to read some bibles in between the acts. Leviticus is funny stuff, kids. "Two Shekels and a bad Haircut!!" heh. Pizza and beers with Tricky Dick at Jordan's place afterwards.

Saturday was productive. worked out a bit, went for coffee, bought some cake pans, picked up Ira Glass' new book, and Brett EAston Ellis' 'The Informers', cleaned the whole apartment, jammed some uke tunes and practiced singing. (singing!!) the good news is i'm not tone deaf or hopelessly awful. Just petrefied and quaking.

I had the absolute best bus ride dowtown with a lady dressed kind of like Dame Edna, all in drape-y pastels, sparkley eye makeup, draping herself across the priority seating like it was a chaise longue. She was busy making a bunch of 12 year old boys anxious with her absurd chatter. They stood in a herd shifting and fidgeting with wide, nervous eyes, averting her gaze as she bantered and coo'd at the rest of us, uncomfortable, as though her strangeness might be catching. She was nothing but pleasantness in a way that only grandmothers usually are, and when asked if she was wearing a pair of EGGS on her head - She was, in fact, as part of her spring theme- she waggled them on their springs and replied that it was only because she had such great eggspectations in life. She had a Vie en Rose bag full of ponies with elaborate names. Her name was Cassandra and i don't think i've ever regretted leaving my camera at home more viscerally. I hope i get to talk with her again.

In the evening, we ditched a party, stayed in, and just chilled. Not in a troll-ish way, but in a cozy way, which was perfect. We gorged ourselves on fancy sandwiches that Richard made and then this happened, which made us howl.

I slept like a baby and dreamed real dreams.

I got up early-ish this morning to head downtown in hopes of catching a few shots of the Rideau street preacher, but for whatever reason, he wasn't there. I always see him when i'm in a hurry. There's this softness to him, and he's got this face... Anyway, I hope he comes back. And i hope he lets me take his picture...

So it was marguerita for breakfast, Latte for lunch, and spent the afternoon hogging the comfy chairs at Bridgehead, finally finishing my bio for the website. (LONG overdue, and about the most gruelling and awful thing i have ever had to write...) THREE hours for a few tiny paragraphs! in the end, i think i got it right, and i can't say how glad i am that i don't have to think about it anymore.

Its looking more and more like i'll be heading back to school next fall.
(excitement! terror! poverty!!)

thats it for now.


Friday, April 17, 2009

Sunday, March 22, 2009


on sunday morning i wake up early.
i prepare myself for the day ahead of me. its going to be strange.
i arrange a ride to the same small town i grew up in, escaped, all those years ago.
i need to get ready.
in the bathroom i look in the mirror. my normal self looks back. i don't look tired. my eyes are not red. i do not look distressed or distraught.
i look detached.
i frown at the mirror. Sometimes i worry that my "professional detachment" has metastasized too far into the margins of my personal life. this is definitely one of those times.

i shower. wash my hair. brush my teeth. curl my lashes. dress myself in black.

i'm excited to wear my new dress.
don't be dumb.

my legs are pasty and fish belly white, marked with too many bruises and scratches for normal wear and tear.

courtney love.

thank you, wrestling dogs and cats for a living.
i will need pantyhose, which i don't have.
i put on my shoes and my coat and so does Richard. we'll go for coffee and hosiery before we split up for the afternoon.

by the time we sit for coffee my feet are already sore and a bit red across the top where the leather edge has bitten into them. they won't rub so much once the pantyhose are on, but i'm glad to have something to focus on if things get weird.

"its just so weird", i tell Richard.

today i'm going to the wake of a girl nine years younger than me. we grew up together and our parent would go out and i'd babysit. we'd catch bullfrogs in the creek and snakes sunning on the stone walkway. we'd build forts in the woods and watch cartoons.
her name was "minnow" back then and she was the kind of kid you could tell straight away would grow up to be someone amazing.
and then she did grow up, and our families drifted and she got away from me, and now its been years and she's gone; died.
gotten away from all of us.

she was at university. told her mum she wasn't feeling well, went to bed...that was it.
she was twenty years old.

i'm the only one in our family who can make it to the wake.

"it IS going to be weird", Richard nods, "death is a pretty fucked up thing"

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


it was just as we were leaving when the phone rang.

after the mad scramble to find mittens, scarves, keys, we were finally bundled against the cold, ready to tear out the door and race off to the play we'd forgotten about until the very last minute.
i laughed as my my phone buzzed obnoxiously from the coffee table where, after all the last minute commotion, i'd been just about to forget it.

i snatch it up and flip it open.

i didn't recognise the voice at first, gravelly, tight and tired, pulled from a receiver thousands of kilometers away.

its my dad.

i've never heard him sound so haggard, so frail.
my stomach wrings itself...

and he's small talking me.
and he's asking what i'm up to, how i'm doing...
and he sounds so...old.

"I'm fine..." i tell him, and then, pointedly "how are you??"

there is a microcosm of silence

my throat tightens.

"well, Prilly..." , he sighs, " i'm not too good..."

the words aren't even finished and my mouth is dry, my guts twist into knots and my brain makes a fifty-two-pick-up game out of worst case scenarios.

where is he calling from?
where is mum?
when is the last time you spoke with granny? visited??
why haven't you called??

what the FUCK is going on??

In a clear, concise, childrens classroom voice, i ask him if he's okay? is mum okay? what's happened?

i realize that its not my dad that i'm trying to talk down.
its me.
its the panic rising in my chest
its the dirty taste of metal in my mouth

my heart pounds.
his words take eons to form sentences.

in the doorway behind me, Richard has gone quiet. the whole apartment is as still as a mausoleum.

we wait stiffly for the shit to hit the fan.


Friday, March 6, 2009

you happy now

Ok, so,
My shift at the Good Food Company today might best be described as "Nighmarish", or perhaps "a harrowing ordeal"....(it was CRAZY busy, people were weird, people were cranky and then the cash register completely broke and half of the transactions that DID get put through were done on 'void' with no paper trail to track the numbers....wheeeee!)

I was dead tired and ready to drop by the end of the day, so i was completely surprised when one of my tables wanted to make a donation to the "Send April to Africa" fund. I said it was very nice of him and thank you very much, and please help yourself to any of the Photo prints if they should happen to please your eye.... as he left a rather large tip for the table, and i assumed that that was that.

Needless to say i was completely stunned when he wanted to make another transaction for a 250.00 donation for the trip. (!!!!)
I protested that it was too much, and he said, no, I'd been serving him and his family for years, and he strongly believes in helping out people within the community and he thought it was a good cause, and that was that. !

so yeah! pretty awesome!

then at the end of the shift i ended up with a huge wad of tips from the crazy busy day...and when i got home and checked the mail - expecting a huge cell phone bill and not much else- there was a government cheque for 600 bucks in outstanding GST credits. So all told, Travel fund is up a cool 1000 bucks in one amazing day.



Sunday, February 8, 2009

South Africa Journal pt 6

let me start by saying
first that i am feeling much better, thank you. I'm quite happy to be eating solid foods and enjoying the aromas of a cooked meal, instead of fleeing the room with a hand clamped desperately over nose and mouth, praying against fluid loss. lol

it has been too long since i've written anything properly. Everything seems too far gone to be described adequately...locked up in visual snippets in my brain.

I still have not told you about the trek through the draakensberg, up the white-knuckle Sani pass in a torrential downpour, waterfalls washing over the road...driver wiping sweat from his brow as he maneuvers hairpin turns at 45 degree inclines... Then arriving at the top to face the glares of the surly Basotho herdsmen...alarming in their intensity... finding the road conditions on the way down in even worse shape than on the way up.

about arriving for a three day mountain hiking and horseback riding adventure, only to discover that the only footwear i have at my disposal is the ninety nine cent pair of flip flops on my feet.

about riding up the foothills of the underberg, a potato sack of a horseman after so many years out of the saddle...and having your breath stolen my the scenery...and thinking "this is middle earth's Rohan ...this is Narnia...this is the underberg of Oz..." and waiting for snarling wargs and Rohirrim to explode from the rocky outcroppings....and lauging at your own extreme nerdiness...

about being bored to tears by the friendly, if dull, chatterings of a travel guide who happens to be your only company in the stillness of a night spent in the absolute middle of nowhere...

or about rock climbing 35 meters of monteseel crag, standing on a ledge the size of a bottle cap over a yawning zulu valley, looking down at eagles floating on the updrafts....wondering what hidden nook to wedge a toe into, and hoping to find it before my legs and arms give out competely....

or about the 5am excitement and hustle of a troop of baboons being captured from their pen, television crew on hand, to be released into the wild and learn how to be baboons...

or about Durban's Sexpo, which sadly, turned out to be epic only in its banality. For all the hype, it barely managed to provide all the excitement of a weekend macrame fair at the Carleton Place Arena. (lets skip the story about that one then, shall we?...Ah...except perhaps for Mr. Pricasso...who would paint your portrait with the tip of his penis...he deserves a mention, at least...)

or even the every day happenings at a wildlife rehab center....rescues...endless preparations of fruit and chicks...force feeding delicate baby birds and (hoping they won't have died under your tender administrations by the next time you see them - so stressful!)...picking ticks from the leathery hides of tortoises...wild vervets ransacking the volunteer house like a pack of thieves...bottle feeding a wildebeest...

and now its all winding down....
suddenly (SUDDENLY! ) i have only a week left to go and its just not enough. no where NEAR enough time... I still have not been surfing, or made it to the north beach and Indian Spice markets...i have not been sea kayaking...i have not taken enough pictures or written enough words. I haven't haggled with merchants over trinkets for my little sisters...i haven't seen enough of the tiny villages...haven't heard enough zulu folklore...
I haven't had nearly enough time to take it all in...

and i haven't had any sort of epiphany about what to do with myself once i get home...that was also high on the list of things to do...
this trip was supposed to provoke some life changing revelation...or at least point the direction to the next stepping stone...
it seems strange to think about heading home and just carrying on, as usual...as though nothing more exciting than a sneeze had happened over the last two months...only i don't think thats it either...
things will be different...(will they?) (yes? yes. i will make it so)
i guess what i'm saying is that i can't precisely say just exactly how...i guess what i'm saying is that i still just don't know...but i get a sneaky feeling that something is about to percolate...

and there are a few things i'm looking forward to at the end of the journey...
Snuggling up with Steve French under a down duvet on my own bed, cheese and cracker suppers with hot butternut soup and cold beer, wearing sweaters against the canadian cold....,snow. Gypsy Jazz at the Avant Garde bar, projects, a good latte. little things.

Planning the next big trip.


and i guess what i'm saying now is




Wednesday, February 4, 2009


Amy said i look like a ghost today, after having been so sick.

tonight i feel like one.

a little bit lost
a little bit lonely

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

South Africa Journal pt 5

I think i have heat stroke.


For the past 4 days I'd been gently queasy, but on and off, and only enough to cause mild discomfort. I ignored it, feeling more inconvenienced than incapacitated, but then yesterday the smell of foods started making me gag, and i started having hot and cold flashes and stomach pains.

(yesterday i was showing the new girl, Lucy where the meal worms are kept for the birds to eat, and asked her if she was squeamish about them. Of course, as i shook up the box i caught a big whiff of the smell of them, and had to run from the room, gagging and retching. perfect! When i ran into the kitchen to get some cold water to recover, someone had just microwaved some meaty confection, and i had to drop my glass and run outside instead)

chopping chicks for the raptor feeds is completely out of the question.

last night i had an olfactory nightmare featuring just the smells of goose shit and rotting chicken. I had to get up and check my bedding several times, it was that convincing.
worst dream. EVER.

I took the day off today to lie in bed and try to recover. Slept like crazy, which i think i really needed and I was starting to feel much better in the afternoon, just a bit weak and occasionally dizzy. Ate some salad for supper but then the smell of baked potato made me start retching and i had to leave the table.

so as of right now, i'm a hardcore raw foods vegan.
no one could be more surprised than me.

I think tomorrow i will stay in bed again. just getting up to feed the wildebeest in the morning, afternoon and evening. Hopefully the rest will get me over the hump and i'll be back at full speed after that.

*crosses fingers*



Sunday, January 25, 2009

South Africa Journal pt 4

I had been going to write a proper note about rock climbing Monteseel Crag (stunning) and various sundry happenings (Bunny Chow! Baby Monkeys! Midnight goose capture! Adventures with flying insects! Shisha Bar!) over the last couple of days but my belly is full of steak and barbequed pineapple, and the mosquitoes tonight are atrocious; made cocky by the humid afternoon drizzle. I'm too sluggish and full to swat at them properly, so i'm conceding defeat and heading back to the Guest House.

Tomorrow morning Lene and i will head to the Drakensberg Mountains for a handful of days. This is a place where Tolkien was inspired by the mountain landscape. We'll be horseback riding there. And venturing into Lesotho to creep up the Sani Pass and visit some Basotho villagers and markets. *crosses fingers for stunning Photo opps*


six weeks is not nearly enough.


Monday, January 19, 2009

South Africa Journal pt 3

We are sitting outside in the night time breeze, sprawled on the office steps, Lene and I. We are tandem typists. Bathed in the blue glow of our laptop screens, we pause only occasionally to swat away the biting insects attracted to them. Truth be told, the bugs here aren't nearly as bad as i had anticipated. No repellant needed, so far, and not a flea or bedbug in sight.

We revel in the small miracle of interrnet connectivity. Something largely unavailable to us in our first two weeks here, and something which we realized we both had completely taken for granted, communication-wise. I think it would not have made such a huge differnce to us in another place, under other circumstances, but here at the sanctuary it was hard not to feel claustrophobic and cut off from the world without that particular communication link. Our cell phones do not work here. It is unsafe to walk anywhere alone or at all after dark. This combined with the time difference and our working hours makes getting to a pay phone or internet cafe ridiculously inconvenient. Even in yellowood park, away from the city center, we are surrounded by concrete walls and electric fences. No one goes out at night and there are lunging guard dogs in the front yard of every home down our street. Its a gorgeous place. But not a cozy one.

I used one of my days off today to just sleep in, paint my toenails, and call around to see what kind of adventures we gan get up to. i swore i wouldn't waste any days just sitting around, but then because of the difficulty with phones i ended up not taking any days off at all and just working straight through because i didn't have any actual plans. So i think a sleep in was needed. And i got some calling done too, so i think it was worth it

After Amy and Claire were done their feeds we cabbed into the pavillion to grab a bite to eat and catch a movie. A girlie night at the mall. Hah! Who's a tourist now? :-P Still it was fun. We had a huge supper and a few too many cocktails. The movie was alright ("Yes" with Jim Carrey, a cute - if a little basic - feel good movie about making your own adventures) Good for a few laughs and a bit of a warm fuzzy feeling, anyway.

I managed to completely put my foot in my mouth in the usual Tuttle style on the way home. I'd taken a picture of Claire in the back of the cab and the flash had accidentally gone off on my camera. The cabbie looked around to see where the lights had come from (bouncing off all the glass windows and mirror, of course) we all laughed and i apologised to him for the distraction (especially while driving at night!) and when he gestured at the rearview mirror i laughed and said something like "Good lord! Are you blind now?" At which the car got pretty quiet. Assuming the moment had simply ended, i didn't think anything of it until after we got home.
And then Amy told me he had actually, seriously, had a glass eye or been blind in one eye, which i obviously hadn't noticed.
And so i keep my tiara as the reigning queen of awkwardness !
At least She tipped him well...

*scritches head sheepishly*

New subject!

I've managed to book a three day horseback tour of the daakensberg mountains and to the Sani pass in Lesotho next week, which i'm really excited about. The Basotho people, apparently, dont believe in fences and high security. They pride themselves of being quite separate from their surrounding South African neighbors. The guide book described it as "a welcome change, visually AND psychologically" from the concrete and razor wire of SA. I have to admit, as soon as i read those words i heaved a great big sigh and thought "yeeeeeah...."

Tomorrow one of the vets is taking us back to the Natural history museum. I'd been talking about how much i wanted to see it for a few days, and then Amy, Claire and i ended up going on a goose rescue with Medi and thats where it ended up being. We actually coralled the geese and their 4 goslings into the open doors or the museum itself, so that the parents wouldn't be able to fly of and abandon their babies if they felt too stressed. we walked them all to the far corner of the exhibit, opened the catchbox and grapped the nets. I got the mum and someone scooped up the goslings. Then the dad took off, flapping accross the hall. The curator grabbed one of our nets and took off after him. The hall was instantly filled with a cacaphony of eching goose honks, flapping wings and deafening crashes as the curator swung his net madly at the goose. We stifled our laughter as the net bounced and thrashed above the display boards and the goose raced from end to end. At least they couldn't say it was us, if anything got broken. I was a little worried, with the curators...enthusiasm, that the goose might have been injured in the catch, but he was netted and examined and none the worse for wear aside from a lost feather or two and being a little bit out of breath.

As it turned out, the curator was friends with Medi, and offered to show us around behind the scenes a little. We got to see the private entymology collection and a few of the pickled specimens. He was about to show us the mammal collection but we had to cut things short on account of the geese we'd captured, now waiting in crates in the foyer. Medi promised to bring his friend a few specimens of the giant biting spiders from the pelican enclosure (horrible black and red pointy legged things with caustic yellow looking webs). So we're going back for a better visit tomorrow morning. After we collect some spiders. *shudders*

We're all having a big lamb cook out tomorrow night after work. Then on thursday Lene and i go rock climbing and abseiling for the day.

all of this on top of whatever the clinic throws our way.
should be a busy week!
and then the draakensbergs and Lesotho.


more to come.


Saturday, January 17, 2009

South Africa Journal pt 2

Saturday January 17, 2009

a brief synopsis, two weeks late.

Coming to the end of my second week here at C.R.O.W. And it has been busy, busy, busy!

We do feeds for all the animals here twice per day, chopping up loads of fresh fruit, veggies and chicks for the Hadedas and raptors. There are vervet monkeys, two troops of baboons, a wildebeest, daikers (tiny deer about the size of a small dog) dassies (a kind of marmot looking thing about the size of a guinea pig) bushpigs, genets ( a spotted cat looking thing that is actually a member of the mongoose family) several types of owls (potted eagle owl, barn owl, wood owl), lanner falcons, gosshawk, sparrow hawk (now released back to the wild) Hadedas and white ibis, mongoose (slender and banded), herons, wild geese and many types of fruit and insect eating birds (mousebird, orioles, bulbul, swifts, flycatchers barbets and more)

Herons and banded mongoose are jerks.

In the first week, Carly and Amy and I drove up through the mountains to the Duma Manzi game reserve to move some genets into a temporary enclosure before being released into the wild. We saw wildebeest, giraffes and zebra, as well as several types of antelope (tommies and kudu)

After feeds one night we all piled into the back of the pickup truck and headed to the coast for a swim, The weather that day had been 38 degrees (and feeling hotter with the humidity) and we were all overheated and exhausted. The waves at the Durban beach were amazingly powerful, even on a calm day. I think the beach sands drop off fairly steeply, creating fairly huge waves even close to the shore. Many 10 feet or more. So much bigger here than in Tofino! Surfing here will be a treat. And a challenge.

Most nights, after our feeds and chores, we sit outside in the cool air, chatting, smoking and drinking a few beer. Its wonderful, after a long day in the heat, sitting in the middle of night time jungle sounds, palm trees silhouetted against the night sky, basking in a cool breeze and good company, lucking a few tunes on the ukelele.

Gin has never tasted better.

Insomnia has dissolved into deep sleeps with vivid dreams.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

South Africa Journal pt 1

Drinking a cider, lying in bed typing this. Most of the other volunteers have gone to bed and i am the only one left still up aside from amy who says she's feeling unwell tonight and not able to sleep.

I fell asleep tonight immediately after supper, exhausted from the heat and the days work, and still recovering from the three days of airports and cramped airplane seats it took me just to get here.
Mabel, the volunteer Co-ordinator for crow met me at the Durban airport on monday morning. I have to say i was quite relieved, as her email correspondences have been very brief, and although it is mentioned on the website that she could meet volunteers at the airport, i was left feeling uncertain as to whether i should expect her or not.

After a quick tour of the rehab center and some brief introductions with the staff, i was sent to the guest house to unpack a few things and get settled in. I met Amy, one of the other volunteers and after the usual hello's and how are you's, was treated to a barrage of horror stories about the center. She's here from england for a year, earning a school credit in an animal behaviour program, been here since august. Almost immediately, she began to tell me how lucky i was to have arrived when i did. Apparently, only a few weeks before, the guest house had been a complete write off, filthy and in disrepair, and also infested with fleas and bed bugs. She assures me it has been completely fumigated, scrubbed and repainted, and a cleaning lady hired to help keep it tidy, but only after some volunteers had arrived and refused to stay in such poor living conditions. She told me that most of the recent volunteers had all left well before their sheduled departures, due to the working and living conditions.

i'm listening to her talk, exhausted, hearing all of this after a three day trek and no small personal cost to get here, and thinking: "Oh fuck. oh fuck. oh fuck oh fuck...." all the while a sickly feeling began to creep into my guts...and i'm replaying the half joking conversation i'd had with Richard about a week before leaving...about how I'd found the organisation on the internet so of COURSE i knew it was legitimate, because the internet never lies, never misleads. And how i'd joked about showing up at a what i expected to be a rehab center and being forced to make wallets in a sweatshop instead..."how was your vacation april?? What? no tan??"

and suddenly its not as funny.

And my cell phone doesn't work here. And there's no internet to get in touch with anyone.

tired and exhausted, I'm digging out my travel guide to figure out what the hell am i going to do if this all goes poorly?

where will i go? how much money do i have? where's the nearest phone? can i walk anywhere in this neighborhood? can i reschedule my plane ticket home if i need to? all of this running through my mind and on top of that the chanting chorus "fuck! fuck, FUCK!" acompanied by alarm bells and low grade trepidation.

And then, too tired to even bother with having a cry and determined not to panic, and that I'd find a way to manage, i curled up and fell asleep for the afternoon,

But not before i inspected my sheets for bedbugs and fleas.