Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Out.of.time.

Taken earlier today at the INBIO parque in
San Jose, Costa Rica.
Arg. How is it that I never have enough time in ANY of my days? I am still in San Jose and will be leaving at the butt crack of tomorrow morning (pardon the grievous paronomasia) for a day-long journey to, um,  somewhere remote. Somewhat unbelievably, Ron is also still in San Jose, yet way across the city (insert sad face). How is it possible, even for us, to be in the same city and yet separated? Seriously, I need to examine my life choices. Incidentally, I also feel the need to examine my life choices every time I refer to "Facts from Feces" which is a legitimate scientific paper that continues to influenced my research. Anyhow, Ron has made progress on his temporary passport despite being nearly shanked by three knife wielding vagrants in the downtown core of San Jose earlier today. Also, I have met and gotten acquainted with a "seemingly" great group of nature loving monkey-school students, with which I will spend the next 3-ish weeks. I say "seemingly" because field-schools can harbor some very dark horses. Actual horse-stealing, narcotic purchasing, orgy generating type dark horses. "Allegedly."

The Worst Christmases, Part 2, will have to wait as I now need to finish a job application and lecture presentation. All well after my bedtime.

Sweet dreams Ronman, Kitty, and Hammy. You are my BFs and I love you. I'll be in touch...

Monday, December 26, 2011

The WORST Christmases

I'm not really that into Christmas. I didn't grow up with it and given that I am not christian, well you get the idea. That being said, some years are more memorable than others, and not necessarily for all the tidings and joy. I am classifying 2011 under the second worst Christmas ever, but before going into details, will qualify "worst" with the first and third worst Christmases ever.

Number 1. Christmas 2010 was the worst Christmas ever. Madagascar + cement bed + 45 degrees Celcius + dengue fever + delerium. That was the WORST. I vaguely remember being semi-conscious and/or coherent and that I hadn't eaten or been able to drink water in quite some time. I listened to all 33 hours of the Roots audiobooks while sweating and  trying to remain alive.

Number 3. Christmas 1998. Ron and my "Kissaversary" is on December 15, 1998. The tricky thing is that, neither of us were actually single until Jan 1, 1999. It was complicated. We had been unknowingly dating, without actually dating, for months and had not only become best friends, but were also very much in love. Don't get too riled up about how horrible we were/are. Maybe some day I will fill you in on our ex-es. Let's just say one of them was pregnant (and NOT by Ron) and the other had a sexual orientation which did not include my gender. Oh, and a secret and extensive criminal record, and was more than a little psychotic. SO, in 1998 the whole lot of us had Christmas together. And why wouldn't we? While Ron and I were busy making goo-goo faces at each other, you could cut the tension between us and our soon-to-be-ex-es with a knife. Ron and I cooked dinner together amidst a plethora of huffing, door slamming and general uncomfortable conversation-non-conversations. At one point, we all gathered around to watch "Spice up your World." You know, the movie about/with the Spice Girls. So we were watching the worst movie/Christmas gift ever when the 15ft fully decorated Christmas tree fell over. ON THE CAT. I s*%t you not. That room had never seen so much broken glass and angst.

Alright, there you have it with my number 1 and 3 Worst Christmases. Tomorrow-ish, I will elaborate on the  2nd Worst Christmas ever. ie. 2011.

Grinch out.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Jungle blog, cont...

I think I've found my sweet spot here. Ron is busily making dinner and has figured out how to make me a perfect fresh Pina Colada. The howler monkeys just came by to feed and our tucan is feeding on something above me. Oh, and we have a cat! Ahh...

Pina Colada, hammock, and outdoor shower.

I did have a mini melt-down yesterday, however. I was making phone calls trying to figure out how to get Ron out of this country and back to America, and who/how/where/when/why to do insurance claims. I can get a whopping $300 back for all of my camera stuff. It was worth over $4000. Its very difficult to completely insure electronics and I know that, but it had thus far not been an issue. Anyhow, I was figuring that out and then called the Canadian Embassy in San Jose to follow up with Ron's stuff and the Consular lady said we should leave for San Jose THAT MINUTE. She said that unless we were at the office at 7:30am (today) Ron would not make his flights, and that we better not travel through Limon at night because its too dangerous and we'd likely get car-jacked. I was standing there in my bathing suit and towel, and the urgency in her voice was my last straw.

But, when I relayed the info to Ron he was like "no way." First, car-jacking is not cool, second, we needed to arrange for passport references and paper work, and third, we would literally have had 1 day of vacation and then no more to come. So, he is going to be stuck in San Jose a couple extra days, but we will get to drive back to San Jose during the day, when car-jackings are less common, AND have our vacation. Yay!


Luna, our CR cat.

BTW- driving is difficult here because Costa Ricans' are freaking maniacs, but also because there is every class of animal on the road at every given time. Seriously, dogs, people, bikes, motorcycles (with three passengers, one of which is of course a baby), and semi-trailers all co-habit the roads and one-car bridges in a very fast mysterious equilibrium, which we have yet to figure out. And they all act all indignant, like "ya I'm a dog and I'm laying in the middle of the highway. Who the f%@k are you?" We almost bit IT about five times today in our 10 minute drive. Nuts.

My dinner!


Until next time...


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Jungle blog

So today I am blogging from the veranda of our jungle "Root House." It is absolutely beautiful here and the wildlife is outstanding. From our porch I've already seen howler monkeys, 2 tucans, an agouti, and just spotted a bright yellow snake beside me- oh, actually I think its an eyelash viper, which is fairly dangerous. I'd better get Ron hidden... I am surrounded by forest noise, which I absolutely love, and am drenched in sweat, which I don't mind. Its not really very hot, its just that I tend to be sweaty. Especially above my lip. And that's not cool. I'm rockin the sweat stache.

Anyhow, yesterday sucked. As you may well know, we were robbed. At one of our stops along the way, some one got into our locked car and took two things: my camera bag, and Ron's backpack. I lost my camera lenses and accessories, and Ron lost his phone and passport. I was really choked. My camera lenses took years to acquire and were worth quite a few thousand dollars. And Ron is without passport. Oy. We had to report the theft at some special police office which felt pretty sketchy. They immediately separated Ron and I and took my passport. Seen "Locked Up Abroad?" Its a show about tourists who either get caught doing stupid sh$t (like smuggling drugs), or just get into unfortunate circumstances and spend their lives trying to get out of a reasonable facsimile of that jail from Midnight Express. That being said, it was fine and the officers were very nice. And, I'm totally over the whole thing. Neither of us were hurt. Stuff is just stuff and and can be replaced. INSERT MONKEY BREAK. ie howler monkeys just arrived at our house again, so I needed to take a look-see.

Ok, well I think I am going to take a nap. Or go to the beach. Or have a beer. Or lay in the hammock. I do need to rest up for my langoste dinner.


Until next time.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Ron's not broken

We have now been on vacation for more than 24 hours and Ron has yet to hurt himself. This must be some sort of record.

Here is Ron. Still in one piece and having a tamarind juice in San Jose.

Our flights were fine, but please do take note that I am the GREATEST WIFE ON EARTH since I sacrificed my first class bump, for Ron's benefit. As a priority flyer, I got to board first and go into the fancy area of the plane -in front of the curtain- and in the few minutes I spent there downed a mimosa, stole a pillow, and then took the walk of shame back to seat 42D. I felt like I was walking into the lion's den. Ron was kind enough to visit me after his champagne, and steak dinner. I had club soda and a mini bag of pretzels, but who's counting. Realistically though, I was perfectly comfortable and Ron didn't get legs-don't-fit deep vein thrombosis, so we were both happy. And I get the good wife props.

We got to sample some airport southern fare in Atlanta. Ron said his fried chicken was amazing. I had collard greens, candied yams and mashed potatoes. I don't know who can eat the portions that the serve, but let me tell you, that shizzle was delicious.

Fried chicken in ATL.

We mostly just cruised around in San Jose today. Its busy and smelly, but relatively clean and feels safe. I dove right in and had rice and beans for breakfast. Food here is rice and bean based, which is good and bad. Good because it is nearly always palatable, bad because I don't like it. Hot sauce (picante) is my savior.

Bustling San Jose.

Tomorrow, we hope to make it out of this city alive in our rented car, will hit a sloth sanctuary to get our fill of cute and then check in at our rented Congo Bongo house on the beach. I WILL be eating lobster, fruit and chocolate for the next week, so don't worry too much about my nutritional health.


Oh look- the flower bouquets are wrapped in palm fronds.
I thought that was ingenious!

I'll be sure to let you know once I visited with sloths. Night!



Friday, December 16, 2011

Re-cap, Friday edition.

Once again, I find myself in re-cap territory. So, here goes:

1. Kissiversary. Yesterday was Ron and my 13th kissiversary. Its really hard to believe that its been so long. Last year, on our kissiversary I outlined the Top Ten reasons why I love my sweet Ronman. This year, we've agreed that, sure we are happy with each other as partners, but that really we have no alternative since we've been together long enough now that we are too weird and simply ruined for any other potential mates. Here are a few of the things that we have grown used to in each other.

a) Every night Ron goes to sleep with his head at the foot of the bed. He inevitably kicks me in the face at some point and then half way through the night flips so that his head is at the head spot. I'll put up with the face kicking, but I will not participate in this sharade, despite the begging. "Come on, two dogs," he pleads. No way, weirdo. Two dogs, btw, is a reference to a painting of two dogs from the movie Goodfellas.

b) My growing collection of dead things and other oddities. In our 600sq.ft. apartment currently have a human skeleton (with some spare parts), our deceased cat Sammy's skeleton, and a large collection of exoskeletons including a horseshoe crab. Oh and there has been a box of Malagasy dog, cat, and fossa poop sitting in our dining room for now 7 months. Oh, and the bag of chameleon heads is there too. Who else would put up with this sort of nonsense?

c) Ron's alter ego "Mr. Muggles" makes appearances from time to time. Mr. Muggles is a 300-lb orange and white cat from Brentwood Bay, BC, who had been working at the True Value grocery store selling "Chester Fried Chicken" for years. Mr. Muggles may tell you that he is a pilates instructor in Laguna Beach, but this is a straight out lie. Since getting laid off last year, Mr. Muggles has been collecting unemployment insurance, living in his mom's basement, and drinking 3 liters of Pepsi per day. Lets just say that the purring can be a bit much at times.

d) I am bossy. And pigheaded. Although I would pigheadedly argue that Ron is more pigheaded than I am. But I am still bossy. And it can get annoying.

Plus, we are genuinely concerned for things like each other's bowel health and potentially cancerous moles. Where else would we get such care? NOWHERE. Because we are ruined. 


Here is a pic from our other -iversary. The one I can't ever remember.

2. On another note, Kitty LaFleur is much better. She had 1.5 days of sick and then perked up again, thank goodness. I had her blood work done and although the vet I went to said everything looked ok, many of her panel values are outside of normal ranges, so I am taking her back to her vet. Oh, and Kitty has a friend (Morgan) coming all the way from Colorado to stay with her while Ron and I are away! Yippee for her and my piece of mind!

3. Dissertation LaFleur is rolling along. I am currently working through analyzing data for Chapter 4 (of 6!). Thank Almond (who is Ron's and my fictitious deity) that I have friend and coauthor Bender helping me with this!

Alright, lots to do. Two more sleeps! PS we are totally going to the baby sloth orphanage next week. Check it out: http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2011/12/baby-sloth-video/  :)

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Re-cap

Well, I said I was going to write every day in December, but ehum, that didn't happen. So, the following is a recap of the last few days at casa LaFleur.

1. I realized that quite a long time ago, I made a rather large mistake in the organization of my lemur feeding data. SO, I had to redo it all. OMG. Its like 5000 lines in excel and such a pain to do. Again. It took four mind numbing days, but thankfully, I am done. I seem to like to do things the wrong way once. Like putting together anything from IKEA. I always get the legs going in the opposite direction or the drawers upside down, and then the furniture is always slightly screwed up because of being together wrong. And I inevitably get all indignant and mad because clearly the directions are bad. You'd think I'd learn. On the bright side, I have finished Chapters 1-3, and am knees deep in Chaper 4, of what I have dubbed Dissertation LaFleur. Given that Dissertation LaFleur will have 6 chapters, I am stoked.

Groan. Endless excel...

2. I hit the jackpot with information about Mystery LaFleur. The Saskatchewan Archives board still had the entire file from 1937! Some of it is not really ledgable, as the microfilm was just too degraded. Anyone out there really good at deciphering badly 'smudged' text?


3. I had a follow-up appointment related to my hypochondriosis (maybe). At the utrasound joint. Wow, was I dreading that. Last time it took forever and the lady doing the scan was wrestling (literally) with the "gas" I didn't know I had. I was traumatized. This time, I had a dude ultrasound tech. I was a bit taken aback at first. I mean, dudes don't even do pat-downs on women at the airport, but this guy was playing gynecologist for the day? That being said, it was so much better than the first one and super fast. Huh. Who'd a thunk.

4. The Name Game, continues. Here is a re-re-cap of the names I've gotten:

  • Marleen
  • Margaret
  • Marty
  • Marfi
  • Margie
  • Markelby
  • Barfi
  • Bert
  • Meat
  • Maqi
  • MarlenyTY
  • Morning
  • Marony
  • Mary
  • Marinie
  • Marvin
  • Muvni
  • Marniy/Marmy/Marnay
  • Barnee (pictured, w/ Gary)
And yesterday, I got "Muvy" which was pronounced like Moovie. I think Barfi might be the worst. I normally just agree with whatever the barista says, but when she said "Barfi" my response was automatic. "You mean like vomit?" Oh, and of course, I did once get Marni. I almost fainted.

5. Kitty LaFleur is sick :( I took her in to see the vet today and they took some blood and did and exam. The vet said that her liver, spleen, and lymph nodes are enlarged. And that she is the equivalent of an eighty year old woman. Hmm. I don't want to think about that anymore. Kitty LaFleur literally is the child I haven't borne (is that grammatically correct?).

Kitty, all tucked in on Ron's Canada binkie.

Ni-night. TTYS.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Dinner Conversation

Once in a while I catch myself saying something odd. And them I am a bit alarmed because Ron barely notices. A little while ago, the following conversation took place between Ron and I:

Marni- "I gave Kitty LaFleur a butt hair trim today."

Ron- "You could get arrested for that, you know."

Marni- "Are you ready to eat dinner?"

Ron- "Yep."

And that was all.

Oh, and I did you all a favor and watched a bunch of Randall's Wild Wild World of Animals videos. Sadly, after Honey Badger Don't Care, some of them are a tad disappointing. However, I believe the following are well worth the 2 minutes it will take you to view them.

The Jesus lizard.



The flamingo, featuring the baboon.



AND, the intoxicating Marula trees.



Enjoy!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Honey Badger don't care

I'm sure you've seen this video before, as have I, but it is still AWESOME and worth viewing several more times. "Honey badger don't give a s%*t." "Ewe!"


How on earth can honey badger eat a freaking king cobra and not die? Is honey badger the Chuck Norris of the non-human animals? On first glance, I can't find any literature on how the honey badger metabolizes venom from wicked poisonous snakes or a zillion bees. I may have a new study species...

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Tired today

Last night, Ron and I somehow weezed in on free tickets to the Ducks/Flyers hockey game in Anaheim. Not just regular tickets either, but VIP entry to a luxury suite. We were, oddly, with a group of people from Philadelphia and were coerced by threat of  a) stabbing and/or b) verbal abuse, into rooting for the Flyers. Honestly, I don't have a particular preference anyhow. I will ALWAYS root for a Canadian team when possible, since we Canadians did invent the sport, but am simply happy to watch Merican teams and don't really have a particular preference. Except maybe the Penguins. There is a special place in my heart for Sydney Crosby, after that epic USA/Canada Olympic game. Regardless, the game went from 3-0 Anaheim in the first, to an OT 4-3 Flyers win. Awesome! I got all riled up and lost my voice from hooting and yipping. So, after all the excitement (and yelling), I am tired today. As is Kitty... She was pacing and pretty choked when we rolled in at 2am.
Kitty, taking a snooze this afternoon.
Ducks/Flyers 12/02/2011.



















Oh, and today, I think I am "McUrnay."























TTYtomorrow.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Top Ten Posts!!

I promised to post everyday in December. And it is December. So, although this is kind of a cheat post, the following are my top ten most read blog posts. By and large, my most popular posts are from or about my trials and tribulations in Madagascar. I can't make any promises, because its the Disney Land of field work, but I will be in Costa Rica soon so I may have some decent tales to tell. Ron will be with me for a bit too, and he inevitably gets some kind of testicle parasite or creepy disorder when in the tropics, so that should be fun.

Costa Rica, 2009. I looked so young!
This was obviously before Madagascar tried to kill me.

Anyhow, here's the line up of Top Ten Posts:

10. Transitioning. This one is about the scariness of coming out of a forest after months, and being back in a city.

9.  Important Interview. I think the title says it all.

8. Dickens. Just a little complaining from Madagascar.

7. A day in the life. About being a field biologist. Definitely written before I cracked up and got all jaded.

6. Dickens, part 2. Some GOOD things about field work!

5. Ideas needed.  I never did get any idea suggestions, so if you are hanging on to some, SEND 'EM!

4. Car Ride from H-E-double-hockey-stick, FINALE. God, it pains me to even think of this...

3. The Little Bastards. Those bastards!

2. Survival. On not being dead. Go figure.

And the number one post of all time has nothing to do with my awesomeness and everything to do with what a wicked dude my grandpa Fred was:

1. A Thanksgiving Goodbye.

Happy Friday, peeps!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

DO NOT trust me, because you can't


I've hit an all new low.... I stole candy from a widow. A recent widow.  A recent widow who is a blood relative. Surely, I'm doomed. How did this happen? Well, I thought I'd put together a small Christmas package to send north, and very thoughtfully stocked it with, among other things, my absolute favorite candy bars. mmm. Chuao Spicy Maya, which is "Dark chocolate infused with pasilla chile, cayenne pepper and cinnamon." mmm. Normally, I would not bring home several of my favorite chocolate bars, because I will just eat them all. Like, at once. But, I figured these sweets were safe, because they weren't for ME. And they were safe, during the day. At 2 am I convinced myself that it was ok to crack into the chocolate because its not like these were my Grandma's favorites, right?

The evidence.
This morning, as I was guiltily confessing to Ron, I realized this may not actually be a new all time low. I remembered something about candy and orphaned handicapped kids in Madagascar... I can't honestly recall the whole story, but know that I bought a giant bag of cookies and candies and sweet things to take to an orphanage in Toliara. I went there when I first got to Madagascar last year because I wanted to see if there was anything I could get/give/do to help. Seriously, if anyone is worse off than a Malagasy handicapped orphan, it would be news to me. Oddly, there were no kids at the facility when I stopped, which come to think of it, seems a bit sketch. The kids were all "out." Anyhow, instead of leaving the giant bag of goodies for the non-existent orphans, I figured I'd drop them off at the primary school nearest my field site. The school kids may not be orphans, but they are half-starved anyhow, and thus are a worthy cause. But, I got a little peckish now and then, and then by the time I was anywhere near the school, the sack of treats was more dead soldiers than treats. So I just ate them.

Child-less handicapped orphanage.

There you have it. I steal candy from a) widows, b) handicapped orphans, and c) half-starved African kids. 

On another note, I just had to check out the now two day old baby capybara at the Zoo. Look!

I'm so cute!*

Are YOU my dad?!*

Awe. Family portrait. Except for Dad. Paternity test results pending. 

I couldn't help snapping a pic at this dude on my way out:


What a mug!

Alright. I'll try not to do anything too heinous tonight...

* Italicized captions are my mostly annoying interpretations of what I think animals are thinking.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Comic relief

I have been having very strange and vivid dreams lately. Last night, I dreamt that I was in a rocket ship in outer-space and that I went to an extra-terrestrial planet. This new planet was remarkably similar to earth and I began following a group of ring-tailed lemurs. I thought it was so remarkable that these space lemurs were so much like their earthling counterparts in morphology and feeding and behavior. There was one BIG difference in the space lemurs though... Get this- the space lemurs wore sweater vests. Nicely cable knitted sweater vests with high collars and large woody buttons down the front. They came in pink, blue, yellow and green. So, that is as far as my imagination goes. Space ships, extra-galactic travel, and ring-tailed lemurs in sweater vest.

I got a new Kindle and I have been watching my favorite funny youtube videos in bed. You've probably seen all of these before, as have I, but if you need a laugh check some out.

In dramatic series:







The dancing cat category:



And of course, the Whole Foods parking lot genre:



And, last the obscene gift section:



Have a chuckle. Its good for you!

PS Yes, I realize that the "dramatic lemur" is not a lemur, but that is how it is labeled.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Thanksgiving Goodbye

It is with great sadness that I announce the passing of my grandpa, Fred LaFleur. He was born on in 1936 in Spiritwood, Saskatchewan, and is predeceased by his mother Alice (1937) and father Charles LaFleur (1975). Alice died the age of 39, after a brief and mysterious stay in the North Battleford Mental Hospital. Fred was one year old when his mother died, and was subsequently brought to Vancouver Island by his older sister, Florence, along with her one year old son, Claude. Fred and Claude shared a special brotherly relationship, and as children were referred to as "the rascals." In a recent hospital stay, Claude visited Grandpa and joked about the days when they would do odd jobs (weeding, collecting milk bottles, and castrating pigs!) to earn 25₵ to go to the movies.
Grandpa Fred (left) and Claude.

As a child, Fred lived with various family members and in different residential schools, and always longed for a family of his own. Fred met Patricia Brown in 1956, after a chance encounter, and agreed to drive the stranded girl and her sister home. They were stopped by police and Fred asked Patricia to hide his beer under her poodle skirt. She said "no way," but mustn't of minded too much because she married him, and they had 3 children together (Michael [my dad], Cindy, and Victoria). Grampa leaves behind three sisters (Marie, Irene, and Lorraine), my Grandma (Pat), Auntie Laurie, Mike and Donna, Cindy, Vicky and Terry, his grandchildren (Marni [and Ron!], Shane [and Mandy] and Casey) and great grandchildren (Caileen, Jesse, Hunter and Betty).

Grandpa and Grandma, 53 years ago, on their wedding day.
Fred and Claude started working in logging camps when they were 15, but the majority of my grandpa's career was spent driving cranes as a longshoreman. He worked hard and fulfilled his dream of having and taking care of his own family. Fred was Métis and was very proud of and interested in his heritage. He was involved in the Métis Association in Duncan and was happy that his grandchildren got financial help with education through Métis organizations.

Grandpa was exceedingly patient with children and I fondly remember him taking me on trips to Coombs, Transfer Beach, Fuller Lake and/or Chemainus. We'd go for ice cream or to search for critters, and he never minded waiting for me to catch the perfect tadpole or wee fish to bring home. I recently asked him if he remembered taking me to the lake and waiting for me to catch a small fish (in a cup). He got a wide crooked smile on his face and simply said "yup."

Grandpa and I at Transfer beach in Ladysmith.
During his recent hospital stays, the nurses commented on how he was a popular guy. His constant stream of visitors were a testament to what a great man my grandfather was. It saddens me to say that he is gone, but even more so, it saddens me that he was so uncharacteristically unhappy in the past few weeks. Cancer is a rat-bastard of a disease, and today, I am thankful that my sweet Grandpa Fred is no longer suffering.
   
Grandpa and Betty. Canadian Thanksgiving 2011.
Tonight, my heart is with my Grandma. Goodbye Grandpa. We love you.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Revolution

Every time I go to San Francisco, I love it a wee bit more. Granted, its not America's finest, but it is awesome in a totally different way.  On Friday, I went to the California Academy of Science. Um, why didn't anyone tell how sweet this place is? Uh, they have dinosaurs, seahorses, and quite surprisingly, a number of exhibits focusing on the plants and animals of Madagascar. They also have a 4-story indoor rain forest and an amazing roof-top garden. Very sadly, I forgot my camera, but here a a few phone pics:

T. rex. Check out my tiny arms!
Aepyornis. You know, Madagascar's the giant extinct
elephant bird.


OMG, a tini-tiny Brookesia exarmata
chameleon. So cute!

Say what?!
In addition, Ron and I had some amazing Pizza at Tony's Pizzaria Napoletana, old-school cocktails and an extravagant dinner at Tadich (California's oldest restaurant). Hold on to your hats here, because there has been a REVOLUTION in food combinations. Garlic in Honey, for dipping bread. Best.thing.ever. Thanks, Tony.

Garlic in Honey, for dipping.
mmm, Pizza...
mmm, booze. 
We of course went to my non-spiritual-spiritual mecca, the Ferry Building, and saw a number of "occupy" camps.

Ferry Building camp.
Ferry Building sign.
On Saturday, as I was coming out of a shopping center, I was taken aback to be facing and surrounded by a wall  of riot police. Those f*&kers are scary! It turned out that my end-of-shopping coincided with an "occupy" protest. Is it just me, or is there an awful lot of enforcement at these "peaceful" demonstrations? Remember that whole Freedom of Assembly? Oh and the American Constitution with its Freedom of Speech? And  the American Convention of Human Rights?

video

Nothing violent happened that I saw, but yowzer, what the h-e-double-hockey-sticks is going on in this country? Perhaps Garlic and Honey isn't the only revolution needed...





Monday, November 14, 2011

Worm food

I took a bit of a blogger's hiatus. I am back in San Diego now, but as I've mentioned, I spent the last couple of weeks at "home" on Vancouver Island trying to help my family deal with my Grandpa Fred's illness. He has terminal metastatic cancer and a number of tumors in his brain, along with everywhere else. If you've dealt with something like this you understand how horrible it can be. Knowing that your condition will only get worse and that you are going to die soon must be a miserable feeling. One morning shortly before I left, I went into my grandpa's hospital room and he was laying there all alone, crying. It absolutely broke my heart.

On the lighter side, I got a kick out of G-pa Fred over the last week or so because he's decided that the hospital and all of its employees are THE MAN. And he apparently hates THE MAN. Prior to this he has always been so gentle and agreeable and now he's not putting up with any shit and is certainly not going to be quiet about it. For example:

Nurse to Fred: "I'm coming."
Fred to Nurse: "So is Christmas."

Doctor to Nurse: "Your lips look a bit chapped."
Fred to doctor: "YOUR lips look chapped."

Grandma to Fred: "You didn't eat your broccoli."
Fred to Grandma: "What are you, some kind of dictator?"

Additionally, his vocabulary is now dominated by "bloody," "goddamned," "incompetent," oh, and "hungry." The steroids he's on make him super hungry, so he's a total food hound. Two weeks ago he could hardly swallow or speak and now he's gobbling down contraband cheeseburgers and getting pissed at the amount of time it takes for us to get him a slice of "brown cake." lol.

All of this is the cycle of life. But, I find it hard not to wonder why? Although I wish I could, I do not believe in an afterlife. So then what is the point? You work, you love, you laugh, you cry, and then inevitably you die. If you are lucky enough to have a partner you love dearly, you may eventually watch them wither away, as my poor grandma is doing now. How miserable.

Anyhow, given that I've been a deadbeat blogger, I've decided to blog every single day in December... I am looking forward to my December adventures, even if I am going to be worm food in 50 odd years.

A pic of Sam, for old time's sake.

Friday, November 4, 2011

What were you doing one year ago?


I haven't been feeling very bloggie lately. That and I haven't had wireless internet, which makes me feel even less bloggie. Anyhow, I'm here in Canada, trying to help my G-ma a bit as G-pa is not well. Cancer really is a rat bastard of a disease. Do what you can to not get it. People that say "you have to die someday" as an excuse to not take decent care of themselves have their heads up their arses. Blerg.

For some reason, I was just thinking, hmmm, what was I doing a year ago today? So I opened my old Madagascar journal. Here is what I was up to in Madagascar approximately and exactly one year ago...
 ________________________________________________________________________________
                                                                    Nov 2, 2010. 6:36am. Tent.
said giant cockraoch
I sound like a broken record, but I am so very tired. I got up at 4:30 and was off to the forest by 5am. I chased ILove until 11:30am and then headed back to camp for lunch. After lunch I worked on my plants and then headed back out by 2pm. I chased the lemurs again until 5pm, when I was simply too tired to continue. I then came back to camp and unloaded my backpack, fetched water, caught chickens, showered, and got a few photos of an enormous hissing cockroach (9.5cm, not including antennae) and am now waiting to eat dinner. So tired. Am officially 2 days binge-free*. Yesterday and today I had breakfast (egg, cheese, toastie, coffee), snackie (two crackers, raisins), lunch (rice and beans, coffee), snackie (two crackers, raisins), and will soon have dinner. After, I will have a small amount of chocolate and two biscuits.

Nov 3, 2010. 7:41pm. Tent.
What a friggin day. Up at 4:30am and off to see where Akao slept, only to find them sleeping at Akao. Came back. Did data entry and then phenology at Vintany and ILove. Came back for lunch and did data entry. Went out to do phenology at Akao only to find that someone had taken all the nails out of my marked trees and left the tree tags scattered about. Radio receiver broke. Porky is near death. Boots on death bed. Food is disappearing from the communal box. A giant spider built a house on my pillow. Brutal. Brutal. Brutal.

Nov 4, 2010. 1:11pm. Camp.
chillin' with my chicken
I'm sitting in camp doing some data entry and just noticed that Bakira and Fiti are butchering Porky, who is/was my sick chicken. Poor thing is/was terribly sick and couldn't even stand. I looked at her before lunch and tried to give her some water, but she wouldn't drink. She had some sort of blockage in her gut. The staff and Felicien are going to eat Porky, but there is no way I am eating a sick animal.

Oh, I spilled gasoline all over myself a few minutes ago. Only in Madagascar would I refill a water bottle with gasoline, fill my generator and manage to douse my pants an foot in gasoline. And then do nothing about said spilled gasoline and start the generator anyhow. Just saying.

Nov 4, 2010. 8:41pm. Tent.
Another crazy day. Had a freakin SCORPION on my big toe. I was in the shower and about to finish up when I looked at my foot and saw it there all ready to sting. I can't remember, but apparently I screamed and somehow got it off of my foot without being stung. Close call. Too close. When we got back from the forest this afternoon, Olivier and some other dudes were here. In fact, they still are here. I must write about our visit, but am way too tired now… Night Ronman, you are my best friend and I love you.

*I think I had eaten about 7 chocolate bars, which would have been like six months worth. 
_______________________________________________________________________________

Alright, time to get some work done! Later gators.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Twins

A lovely little tart was waiting for me in my room today. I ate most of it, including the ears, but then felt too guilty to finish...

I'm a tiny mouse tart. How could you eat me?

So I left the wee mouse face, feeling very guilty about the fact that I did, in fact, eat his poor little minty ears. At least I didn't eat his face. Right?

I flew back "home" today. Again. My grandpa Fred is quite ill and so I am home to do, whatever one does when they have an unwell grandparent. This afternoon, I was driving up island to see G-pa F (which incidentally would make a pretty sweet rap name), when the freaking Trans Canada Highway came to a screeching halt. Apparently there was some kind of accident, and even now, 5 hours later, the highway is closed. Go figure.

Anyhow, when I was telling my mom that I felt too sorry for the poor mouse tart to eat his face, my dad decided to tell me that the wee mouse had a very lonely twin.


We are mouse tart twin brothers. Reunited. Partially.


I am a monster. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Gary

Guess who Kitty LaFleur is going to be for Halloween?


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Edu-ma-cated

I somewhat recently decided to take up reading. Fiction. OMG, don't tell anyone. Well, I am sort of playing catch-up anyways. Since I didn't go to high school, I didn't do all the readings that most kids do. Plus, I really like the classics, so I figure can use some time to get edu-ma-cated in the literary world. I started with the short stories of Kafka and then dove into Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment. That was a good warm up, but I have officially jumped into the deep-end of the novel pool: War and Peace (Tolstoy).


This is not a book to be taken lightly. 1400 pages, 5 volumes, 2 epilogues, battle histories, maps, character keys, and hundreds of footnotes, will certainly keep me busy for the imminent future.

I've been looking for a list of the best or most noteworthy fiction, but haven't found one I am committed to yet. This is the contender at the moment: http://www.harvard.com/shelves/top100/

On another note, LOOK:


















For the second time ever, a Starbuckian got my name! Wow!

Oh, and just in case you were wondering what Leishmaniasis can do to your grill, check this out:


















I took the picture at the Museum of Man and thought it was fairly awesome.

Ok, back to work at on non-fiction...

Thursday, October 20, 2011

PJ 20

mmm, bacon.
On Tuesday night Ron and I went to a special event at the Stone Brewery (or beer-making-place, for those of us that have difficulties with that word). It was dinner, beer, and an outdoor viewing of the Pearl Jam at 20 documentary. It was a pleasantly warm night and I got to wiggle my toes in the grass. A fantastic evening, equipped with a dude I like to call "Pearl Jam's biggest fan" and bacon crostini.

I know that this sounds lame and people generally recoil in horror when I admit this, but I am not really into music. I mean I like it an all, but I also like quiet. Some peeps would shrivel up and die without  music, but meh,  I certainly wouldn't. That being said, not only did I enjoy the music in PJ 20, but it certainly did take me aback.

"Pearl Jam's greatest fan." He whooped and whistled all night. Ron said, "you'd be so pissed if I was that guy." Yes, I would. But he certainly enjoyed himself. Oh, FYI, all three of his kids when to PJ concerts while in utero.
I was 13 when Ten came out and I distinctly remember the first time I saw the video to Jeremy. I was at in my parents living room in the house on Resthaven Dr. We had a tini tiny 13 inch tv and I was running laps around the couches while watching videos on Much Music. As one does. I recall pausing in front of the tv to watch this video, as I was memorized.  It seemed so scary and serious, and everyone was paying attention to what a kid had to say. Granted, a kid had to blow his head off in front of his class to get that attention, but he certainly got it.

There was a clip in the movie of Andy Rooney complaining about teenagers and asking why they think life is so rough when they actually have it good. Ok sure, grunge kids didn't live through the holocaust or anything, but it is hard to be 13. Not only is the world completely dismissive to you, but you are all mixed up and mad and sad and a generally lost. Or at least I was. At that period in my life, music was very important to me. BTW- I tried to find a pic of 13 year-old Marni, but I seem to of erased that Marni from my collection of photos. I was like me, but rounder, and with a lot more lipstick.

One of the aspects of getting older that I really enjoy is the inherent respect you get with age. People listen to you. Granted, I am fairly bossy, but I generally get what I want and I get called 'ma'am.' Nobody f*%ks with MA'AM. Well, maybe they do, your f*%ked-with quotient definitely diminishes with age. OOh, maybe ma'am is what my cup said:
MaAy? MaAM? Who knows.

One last pic, just to make you drool:

mmm, donut icing.

TTYS. Oh, and if you know a 13 to say 15 year-old jerk, be nice to them. Its hard being them.