Sunday, October 30, 2011


i set a goal for myself.
i want to try and read a book a week until i go home for christmas. 
this goal was set because i have recently been feeding my book buying habit a little too frequently. i can’t go into a chapters or indigo store, or value village or used bookstore without walking out with at least two books. 
so i am pleased to say that week one of the challenge went well. i completed chuck thompson’s smile when you’re lying: confessions of a rogue travel writer. that book really reminded my of my trip and how much i want to keep going on adventures. usually i switch it up between genres. hopping from fight club to freakonomics to war and peace. but i liked how after i read a chapter of this book before going to bed, i was falling asleep while replaying my weeks camping in the australian outback and the excitement of getting on a train and not knowing where i would hop off that night. i wanted to keep on this roll of nostalgic memories, so i grabbed another one from the travel section of my steadily growing mound of books. so this week i am reading cycling home from siberia. it is a book about this guy who spends three years cycling home to the united kingdom, from siberia. bear grylls called the story “an epic journey”, and if bear liked it, i’m sure i will too. i kind of have a huge crush on him. 
wish me luck on week two. i’m hoping to gain some inspiration for my next adventure from this one. 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

pocked poppy red II

i have warhol's tampered skin.
a homeless person wrapped in a sleeping bag.
damp. worn.
stiletto's and buffed italian loafers tip toe over it during rush hour.
over it.
tragic. flawed.
they stand blank in comparison.
a canvas in comparison.
one-two-three maybe. nothing war paint couldn't cure.
an army could not conquer my opposition to porcelain.
born past my time.
oil paintings and black and white stills could have been my friend.
i remain, always - pocked poppy red.

pocked poppy red

“emily anne, who is driving me to swimming?”
“no clue”
“could i drive?”
“sure, why not”
“i would just need your license” she responds in a completely serious tone, as if that was the only hurdle to jump in her other wise seamless plan. 
“you don’t look anything like me” i responded
“i could just draw red dots on my face”
i was crushed. maintained a strong appearance and said.
“remember it’s not nice to talk about peoples red dots, it hurts some peoples feelings”
i hit puberty around the same time as my friends. but instead of shooting out some stellar knockers, my cruel cruel body decided to place the emotional turmoil of acne upon my thirteen year old face. ever since then i have had acne. 
ten years. 
i have smeared cream on my face that was so toxic it bleached my bedsheets and pajamas, i started taking birth control at fourteen to counter the dots, i have had my face sandblasted. i have used face masks, peels, other pills, and even went on acutane; complete with monthly blood tests and close observation to make sure it wasn’t making me severely depressed or even suicidal, which is a frequent side effect. the longest my skin has been clear for, was about ten months following the completion of my acutane treatment. which happened to coincide perfectly which my trip. but soon after i got back home...WABAMO it was back. in full force.

i look at the perfect skin. the inside of my forearm, behind my ear, on my collarbone, on my ribcage. i look at it and wish it could be the skin on my face instead. clear and white.
every morning i wake up and go into the washroom. while on my walk there, i start to shimmy down my underwear while squinting my eyes to adjust to the light, or sometimes walking blindly in the dark. lifting my legs to exaggerated heights, making sure not to trip. i pivot and plonk down on the toilet. pee. wipe - front to back. get up, turn to sink. and while washing my hands i look into the mirror. i stare at my skin. looking at what new face i have today. tilt my head to the left. what new torment will i deal with today. turn my face to the right. what will people see when they look at me today? 
i wear my biggest insecurity on my face.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

about a boy

yesterday one of the little girls asked me if i had a boyfriend. 
“do you think you’ll get one while you’re in calgary.” like a boyfriend is something you put on your saturday errand list and pickup while you're out getting baby spinach and wholegrain bread at the farmer’s market. 
“um, maybe” 
“who was your last boyfriend?”
“i’ve never had a boyfriend”
“why not?”
“i’ve just never met anyone that i liked more than a friend”
she replied “oh” while simultaneously mushing a slice of banana around in her mouth with her tongue like a toothless grandpa. 
she was completely unrattled by the fact that i am 23 and have never had boyfriend. 
it was refreshing to share this fact with someone else. who like me, did not care. 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

my day off

i woke up late. i was up until 2 a.m. entirely consumed in a newly discovered travel blog, it got me remembering forgotten moments of my trip. the thrill of sitting on a bus and being the only native english speaker. the 'where are you from and where are you going' introductions. it got me thinking of when i am going to travel next and where i will go. i got massive butterflies in my stomach, the same as christmas eve. i closed my laptop and switched off my lamp. i lay in my bed, eyes wide open staring at the black ceiling above me. i couldn't fall asleep. i just kept thinking of my next adventure. when i did wake up this morning, i twirled my unwashed locks in a spiral to form my classic top knot and headed upstairs to share the news with jordan (nanny #2). after unloading my excitement on her i headed out the door for a bike ride to a kensington cafe. while crossing a bridge i spotted a group of questionable looking young men. boys. thugs. i was surrounded by other people walking across the pedestrian bridge too, but i still had jitters while walking past them. i tried to conceal my uncomfort. head held high. while walking past them one shouts "hey girl, nice ass". i pretended not to hear, hopped back on my bike and peddled away with a stern face. inside i was elated. it was the nicest complement i've gotten in weeks. and to top it all off today is laundry day, i was going commando under my lulus. so there was a solid amount of orange skin jiggling around back there.
to the highly inappropriate native american man with a long black braid and beige camouflage winter jacket, it is rude to shout, and thank you. 

Monday, October 10, 2011

my first turkish toilet

When I was with Shellnutt in Italy, she told me about how she went to a concert a couple weeks ago and instead of porta-potties or outhouses, they had ‘turkish toilets’. She told me to keep a look out for one, and that I would know it when I saw it. She said they were dirty and seemed like something a complete bone-head had put together in a pinch for his engineering class. 
Assignment: Provide an alternative to digging a hole in the ground and shitting in it.
After arriving in Turkey I found that this term was a sore spot for many. Yes, they have them in Turkey. But they do in other countries too. My Turkish friends felt that it was an unfair association placed upon the Turkish people. Turkish delights - yes, Turkish coffee - yes, Turkish Bathes - yes, Turkish toilet - NO. 
After an interesting bus ride from Thessaloniki to Istanbul, I met my hosts roommate/cousin on the sidewalk in front of a hospital. After leading me through a concrete labyrinth we ended up in front of the correct dilapidated building. When we got up the dark narrow staircases and inside the puzzle of locks that were bolting the metal door frame shut, I was given the tour. 
“This is the bathroom” he said. 
I peak my head inside. It is covered from ceiling to floor with slimy grime covered tiles. The air is warm and moist from a recent shower. On my right sits a sink, a blue squeegee lays beneath, its neighbor is a small cement hole in the floor. A window at my eye level has city air being drawn in through a thick mesh screen. Grey wings, guts, dryer lint and red string intwined with corse black public hair. Rusting silver towel hooks jet out, all at different heights. On the same wall as the door there is a shower head coming out from the top of the wall. Beneath it is a tarnished silver knob, a worn sticker is pealing off. Faded. Blue on one side, red on the other. Beads of condensation have formed and are smacking the floor. Splat. Splat. Splat. Splat. Streaks of dry patches lead to the cement hole beside the squeegee. I turn my head back to my host and smile. 
“You wear these” he says while pointing to a pair of mens slip on sandals. Something you’d find in a dollar store bargain bin. They are wet. He takes one step to his right and opens a door directly beside the bathroom. It has a small frame, much like a linen closet. He holds the door open for me to peek inside. He continues to the kitchen. I stay and observe. 
“Use the bucket under the tap to wash it down” 
At this point I know I should be following him into the kitchen, or turning around and taking a seat in the living room. But instead I stand there, transfixed on the myth, the Turkish toilet. 
Yellowish brown stains decorate each wall, darker at the bottom, fading in their assent. There is a hole in the floor. This is not like the bathroom hole. This one is porcelain. Specifically planned, meant to be here. On either side of the hole there are grips. I conclude that this is where you put your feet. Foot grips. Beside your right foot there is a white bucket with a smaller white plastic bowl inside. Above the bucket there is a tap coming out from the wall. I believe the same tap is attached to my garden hose at home. To your right, behind the hole, there is a garbage can. It was full. It had pieces of toilet paper crumpled up inside of it. Damp yellow pieces, brown smears, crusted mucous coatings.
“Do you just put your toilet paper in the garbage can?” I ask without moving my gaze.
“Yeah and if it's full just leave it, one of the guys can dump it, you don’t have to do it”
I return back to the pro and con list that has been forming in my head. 
‘Pro: my stuff is already here, a free place to stay, this may just be a joke and his real apartment is just around the corner, maybe he has a hot roommate. Con: I have to combine a strength training exercise, target practice and skillful foot placement into any body expulsion. 
Every morning around 9 a.m. I was greeted by a large toothy woman who spoke no english. When she raised her gaze to find out that it was me again, her face would contort in such a way that all the wrinkles on one side would gather up tightly by her right eye, her pudgy cheeks pushed up by the corners of her mouth. She reached into a drawer below her desk, grabbed a silver key attached to a large wooden block with the number one carved into it. I smiled, confident in my new schedule, took the key from her chubby little fingers and walked proudly into the tourist bureau’s public washrooms. 

Sunday, October 2, 2011


i dont know if any of you have seen tlc's new series 'long island medium'. if you haven't, you've got to do it! i get chills within the first five minutes, and so far it's batting at 100% for getting me to cry like i did in the first scene of UP! which you should also see, especially if you like kids movies and are in need of a good cry. it will save you from watching shrek followed by the notebook.