Travesty Tuesdays- The Wobbly Bits That Are Usually Covered With Leaves Edition

Somehow this batch of postcards came out awkward. More awkward than usual. It wasn’t even my fault for once, I was merely recounting what my great aunt and my mother said to me.2016-08-05 12.24.31

To Birdie*

If you get a magnifying glass, you’ll see that the Golden Boy is actually naked. This was a point that my Great Aunt repeated to me many times during my visit when I was sixteen years old and the Golden Boy was taken down for cleaning and put on display in the local shopping area. I’m not sure whether she thought his nudity would offend my teenage sensibilities or if I seemed so naïve that the Golden Boy would be the height of my visit – “Hot Damn ! Gonna see me some nude statue action!” Regardless either reason further damages my teenage street cred considerably and cements the idea that I was reigning Lord and Emperor of the Nerds given that my sixty year old great aunt felt it necessary to say “This statue is R-rated; don’t be alarmed.”2016-08-05 12.26.29

To Andy and Sandy**

Before boom boxes, young men wandered around with sheep on their shoulders as a way to show how “hip” they were and to attract females. Whether it was the smell of the sheep or the men themselves, this wasn’t an effective courting tactic. They quickly switched to juggling gophers which of course went out of fashion the next year when ferrets became all the rage. Another problem with the sheep on the shoulder system was that the lambs would get stuck on repeat, or at least it seemed that way what with their refusal to produce more than “Bah, Bah, Black Sheep”2016-08-05 12.27.32

To Steve and Sandy**

Welcome! Greetings from the land who invented blisters. We were a pretty miserable bunch until the Band-Aid came along. Don’t believe what the old folks tell you- no amount of intricately carved dolls or ornately decorated wagons can take away the pain of a heel that rubs. We debated making the Band-Aid inventor our king but then Nike came along so we just used our old footwear to bean our enemies. This is why Holland is such a peaceful country- all of our tormentors are thoroughly concussed.


These poor, innocent friends of my parents are bound to be so bewildered by this card that I felt it necessary to both sign my name AND include the following sentence “ For an explanation see”2016-08-05 12.28.11

To Mrs. Jackson,

My mother ruined whales for me forever while we were coming home from Hawaii three summers ago. During a stopover at an airport , there was a GIANT whale tail made out of recycled ropes from ships as a part of an airport wide exhibit featuring art made from reclaimed objects. Despite it being 4 am my time or some other such nonsense, I was completely engrossed in the show and apparently so was my Mom. She stood motionless in front of the rope whale tail construction. I moved to stand next to her so we could share in our appreciation. “Doesn’t it look like a penis to you? My mother’s question shocked me out of my train of thought which had been about the grandeur of these mammals and how well the artist had executed their vision. “Pardon” I said, somewhat dumbfounded. “See it’s a penis” Mom tried to point out the various parts. I still didn’t see it. “Can’t you see the penis?” My mother asked loudly again in the middle of a busy airport. This was how whales were ruined for me. Suffice to say I’m never taking my mom to the zoo.



**Names have been changed to protect the identities of my church family who were probably already bewildered to discover my postcard in their mailbox.


Travesty Tuesdays : Manatees With Goatees

2016-08-05 12.28.51Birdie *,

Wyatt the manatee thinks that his chin strap is both edgy and classic. Tragically, his friends don’t have the heart to tell him that any facial hair doesn’t work on endangered floating mammals and that as much as Wyatt would like it to, the chin strap doesn’t mask his recent weight gain. Instead his girlfriend just keeps suggesting that they go for swims together. Oh manatees, it could be worse, it could be a soul patch.

I’ve sent out so many postcards, I don’t actually remember who I sent this next one to. Or it’s possible that it’s hiding under the couch unsent. When one sends out over two hundred pieces of mail annually, this sort of event happens where six months to a year later, you find the lost piece of correspondence all sealed up and stamped. And part of you is like ‘We should just send it- no matter that it’s August and this is clearly a Christmas card” and the other part needs to open it up first to see what sort of madness is inside because when one writes a hundred thousand words a year, some of them come out squirrelly, and you don’t always remember what you’ve written.

2016-08-05 11.41.23

You’d never know it but these two manatees are at a dance. It was a poorly attended event what with the fact that manatees are notorious for being shut-ins. The two lads pictured here are secretly thinking that their parents’ watery basement would be more comfortable although they’re daring one another to swim up and around the girl manatee with algae on her tail. Oh awkward manatees, I wish I could tell them that things get better after high school, but they won’t, these two will always be manatees.

20160824_143656To Birdie*, (sent a couple weeks after the first postcard)

Oh no. He’s gone and done it. Wyatt decided to up the ante. He grew a soul patch. His friends had just gathered the courage to tell him that his chin strap was ridiculous and now he’s gone and grown a miniature soup strainer. Which, considering that the whole ocean is effectively soup, means that Wyatt perpetually has something in his facial hair. What are Wyatt’s friends to do? A chinstrap is one thing, but a soul patch? His girlfriend broke up with him because she thought he was a sloppy eater, always swimming about with bits of algae stuck on his face. Poor Wyatt, if only he had known to shave.

#manateefacialhairintervention #whoswithme

Let’s be part of the solution friends.

*I’m not sure what this poor woman did in her previous life to deserve this many ridiculous postcards of manatees with goatees but I can tell you that she’s repenting now. The least I can do is change her name on my website.


Travesty Tuesdays – Haunted Hair

2016-08-05 11.40.13To Randy*

This was the hotel my family stayed in when we visited Italy. The dresser in the room that my sister and I slept in was haunted. That’s right, the dresser, not the room. I slept as far from it as possible and didn’t store my clothes in it just in case. One never knows what will happen when you wear haunted clothes. That’s how people end up stalking about in graveyards as their favourite hangout and writing bizarre notes to Haley Joel Osment saying “I totally get you bro”. Best to avoid those types of occurrences if you can.

-The Great Unwashed

2016-08-05 11.42.02

This is the site where my mother tried to set a world record for “Most kilometers ever walked by a six year old and an eight year old”. Every morning of our trip to our nation’s fine capitol, my sister and I woke up in Quebec (Yes! Quebec! My mother made us walk across an entire province before lunch!) and then we dutifully followed my parents over the bridge into Ottawa to visit 6,010 museums. My mother claims it was for educational purposes but I believe that my sister and I ticked her off so badly that she decided to plan a trip as a form of child abuse. If I’d worn a fitbit on my tiny wrist then, it would have said “Congratulations, you walked 80,000 steps today!”

20160824_133149To my boss

A big frizzy haired “hello” from the eighties, where the colours are neon, the pants are parachutes and all the women look like Transformer robots with their shoulder pads.  All of the people in this photo are now sitting in the window of a high end Italian boutique because they all have skin the tone and texture of a leather handbag. If we take nothing else from this decade it should be- wear sunscreen. Enjoy your summer (under and umbrella)


*Names have been changed to protect my church family because they didn’t realize that”loving your neighbour as you love yourself” invited in all the crazies like me.


Travesty Tuesday – Unleashing Myself Upon the World

I’ve decided that this is becoming less of a writing exercise and more of a performance art piece as I gradually morph into a living internet troll.


This is me, only instead of telling people online that they look funny, I write postcards about python wrestling and don’t sign them. (Photo Credit :

It was an unintentional outcome. I’ve always written lots of letters to family, and on occasion have forgotten to sign my name, leaving my loved ones guessing as to who sent it. But with my sending out more than a hundred postcards to every Tom, Dick and Harry in my address book, this habit of remaining accidentally anonymous has reached a new level. On Facebook, friends who have received multiple postcards are posting “Whoever is sending me mail from Winnipeg thanks for not being a bill”

In addition, I’ve received texts asking “Did you send this?” The funny aspect of writing A LOT is that occasionally, you forget what you’ve written and so the knee jerk reaction is to say “No, that’s some other weirdo” and you hit “send” only to realize that you were that weirdo, and now not only did you forget to sign your name, but you denied it. Oh what a tangled written web I’ve woven, since I haven’t developed any sort of common sense, I’m going to continue sending out cards, here is the latest batch.

2016-08-05 11.45.58

Dear Andrew*

This is the restaurant where at 11 years old, I decided to eat my weight in soda crackers much to my mother’s chagrin. Ostensibly the large basket of delicious, crunchy goods was there for diners to delicately crumble into their seafood chowder. However, my preteen mind took that basket overflowing with individually packaged snacks as a challenge. It was around the 30th packet when my mother looked over from the next table where she and the other adults in our party were sitting and realized what I was doing. She then commanded me to stop. I hold this event responsible each time I devour a box of crackers in one sitting; I’m merely trying to finish what I started.

I didn’t sign this card. The missing moniker had less to do with forgetfulness and more to do with a lack of space. I figured that the recipient would deduce that there are only a few people in his life that would write up, around and back down the sides of a postcard to finish their thought.

This next one was also sent to my friend Andrew, even though I didn’t address him up top, I did sign it. I think I should get bonus points.

2016-08-05 11.45.07

I bought approximately a dozen of these kinds of postcards when my Dad took my sister and me to France. I had great intentions of painstakingly cutting them out and gluing the miniature buildings together so I could film “Godzilla in France: Run! And Don’t Forget the Baguettes” but then that project quickly petered out after I lost my good scissors. It’s just as well, my Godzilla noise sounded a bit like a hamster gargling -not at all terrifying. Whereas a woman who systematically spams everyone she knows with cards from random locations and neglects to sign them, now that’s scary. Or at the very least, a sign that someone should hide my pens. I’ll sign this one to prove how responsible I am.


2016-08-05 11.44.12The knights are arguing about who can profess the awesomeness of Tom Bricker with more clarity and bravado. The winner will lay claim to the Tom Bricker fan club. You can’t hear it, but they’re shouting “I feel he is awesome and the best for his photographs.” ~Clash, clang~ “Oh yeah? Well I feel his educated but colloquial writing style combined with his photographs, make him the leader and king of awesome.” Ok it might not have gone exactly like that- there were a lot more “doths” and “thous”.

I haven’t actually sent this postcard. Tom Bricker has yet to give me his home address despite my emailing him to request it. I’m chalking this up to his being a busy alien-robot-superhero.

2016-08-05 11.39.13This manatee king is sad because he lost at checkers. Even manatee royalty isn’t impervious to losing. Manatees are notoriously sore losers. It’s one of the reasons there are no tables under the sea; the Gods saw that the manatee’s behavior made the Real Housewives series look tame after a particularly tense game of Parcheesi. Consequently they roam around, convincing the occasional person to play Crazy Eights.

I sent this to a childhood friend and didn’t sign it for kicks. I signed the other one I sent her. It’s like a trust exercise, but instead of catching me when I people surf blind-folded off a table, she has to try and see whether my penmanship has changed since we were friends at the age of eight. It’s possible that I don’t understand trust exercises.

Watch out world, I’m coming to a mailbox near you, until next time.

He Said, She Said, Engineers versus Artists

She Said: Marriage According to the Great Unwashed

(Tex has added in his two cents in italics)

In a word, being married to an engineer is awesome. I love it. 

I always know where Tex is and what he’s doing; I’m kind of like Santa Claus but without the beard

Around about when we first started dating, Tex linked me to his Google Calendar. To say that it’s a comprehensive document is an understatement. It includes when to check his tire pressure (the 2nd of every month), any outings he has tickets for within the next couple of weeks and his work locations for the next year. I’m not saying I know when my hubby goes to the loo; if he starts slotting that activity in there too, it wouldn’t be shocking. After Tex sent me his schedule, I was supposed to create my own. That was a year and a half ago.

“By the way I need to borrow the car tomorrow to do this thing. Didn’t I tell you about that? Remember?”


The keys are always in the same place. Actually everything is in the exact same place

Or rather I should say Tex’s keys are always in the same place. It’s a crap shoot as to where I’ve stowed mine. This makes it easy to take my significant other’s keys. Please note this kind of behavior will get you into trouble on occasion. Along these same lines, Tex has routines and protocols for everything in our home, up to and including washing pots and the proper storage of baking soda. Everything is very easy to find and is grouped with like items when Tex has organized or tidied a room.

Since we’ve moved into our new place, there’s a constant litany of “Unwashed where did you put the colander/spatula/baking pan?” and she’ll respond with “It’s in the garage/shed/under the couch.” Of course it’s there. That is the obvious place for a frying pan.


Everything in the house is in perfect working order

Engineers love problems. They live for problems; the show “How It’s Made” is engineering porn. I’m always surprised whenever I see it on TV during the daytime, because I know there’s engineers out there, watching saying, “Oh, oh yeah, look at how well they figured out how to make paint spackle. Oh the hydraulics.”


Somewhere, an engineer is getting worked up over belt sanders. (Photo Credit:

Along these same lines, whenever something in our house breaks, Tex launches into engineer mode, taking our tap apart, determining where the problem is and whisking Mini-Tex and me off to the local Rona to locate the necessary part. (It’s possible I’m only along for the charity popcorn that is always sold at the hardware store.)


Our car seat is installed properly

Remember what I said about “How It’s Made” being engineering porn? Oven manuals, car seat directions, really any kind of manual is like a dirty magazine for engineers. I’m not saying that I’ve found instructions for the lawnmower under Tex’s side of the mattress, but let’s just say I wouldn’t be surprised to find them there. Whenever we purchase anything, Tex reads the manual from cover to cover then adjusts the item so it exactly meets his specifications; our car door opens after pressing only one button and it never beeps when it locks. Afterwards he files the manual so he can always refer back to it even though he never needs to because he has an eidetic memory. (But won’t admit to it because then he would have to confess that he’s actually a super villain.) He then carefully explains to me how the item works and all of the minor changes he’s made to improve its function. I half listen because I know that if something breaks I can always call my husband in a panic and say “Tex! The dishwasher/dryer/car is broken!”


Everything somehow relates to science

It doesn’t matter whether the topic is weather, cooking or machinery- an in depth explanation of the science behind the subject always follows. Yet I still can’t recall the basic rules of matter.

Unwashed’s equivalent is celebrity name dropping and referencing obscure Canadian authors. For example her post about Desmond Howl “Oh you don’t know Hornjob McGee? He appeared in little known indie film “That Greasy Summer.”


He Said: Marriage From Tex’s Perspective

(With Unwashed’s comment in italics)

By contrast, this is what it’s like to be married to an artist- bedlam.

Nothing is ever where you left it including the car

For a period of time, Unwashed hid various pieces of mail and vital items like my phone charger. It was only after I had exhausted my own search of our apartment that I questioned her “Have you seen my ID badge for work?” “Oh” she replied nonchalantly as if she wasn’t a magpie squirrelling away my belongings and correspondence “they’re in the Very Important Place.” “The pardon?” I asked “The Very Important Place” my wife repeated “I put everything right here” and then she pointed to the most random of hiding spots in our home. It wasn’t a loose floorboard under the bathroom cabinet but it was close.

Admittedly, sometimes I do tidy Tex’s belongings away for company and then forget to move his items back. And the car wasn’t my fault; we had just moved here and I drove past the house three times before finally throwing the car into park and walking home. I will cop to forgetting that I had done this and where the car was parked though.


Your laundry flies stand-by and there has been an exponential increase in the number of lost socks

They say purgatory is a place between heaven and hell, currently in my house there is a laundry purgatory or one might say it flies stand by as it exists neither clean in my drawer nor dirty and obviously in need of washing in my hamper. I suspect one day I will be searching online classifieds and find a “Missed Connections” ad written by one of my socks.

In my defense, I once witnessed Tex systematically search for an hour for one lost sock. He found it in the end. I am neither that thorough, nor do I possess the memory to retrace my steps and the steps of others exactly to locate lost undergarments. As for the laundry, I’ve created a complex system that there isn’t enough time to explain, be assured that all of my and Mini-Tex’s clothes are found and cleaned on a regular basis. Tex’s shirts make it into the wash when they can hence the stand by comment.


I’ve been forced to take bizarre and ridiculous pictures of her

I had to take a picture of her covered in chocolate icing, holding a wad of flaming bills while riding a pig and I was supposed to not only understand the symbology of this but at the very least hold the camera steady. Not to mention catch the terrified pig.

This is a complete exaggeration. Ok not complete. There wasn’t a pig though. I did make Tex take artistic photos where I composed an image of multiple juxtaposing elements and then posed myself in awkward ways to enhance this effect.


Arranging a room has less to do with what will fit and more to do with the “chi” and whether it makes a room “warm” or not

I’ve moved sectionals more times than I care to count. And I had to buy a big, really expensive chair to provide her with a place to read and feel artistic or whatever it is that she does when she isn’t riding pigs.

Again, he’s totally fabricating the pig thing and what can I say? Chi is a moving target. Happily I don’t have to move it.

 Also, did anyone else notice that Tex didn’t comment about the memory thing? I expect I’ll find his blaster ray gun in the basement any day now.

The Great Unwashed, Coming to a Mailbox Near You -Travesty Tuesdays The Spam Edition

I recently came upon a collection of postcards. The images ran the gamut from Babysitter Club book covers, to remote locations in the US, to beautiful pieces of Italian art. Clearly when one comes upon such a bounty, there’s only one course of action- start inflicting yourself on the world in the form of postcards like you’ve discovered how to make 457 dollars a day and want to share the secret with everyone you know AND  all their friends.

No longer am I asking for volunteers to send cards to (for the record, I received one lone reply last time in response to that request) instead, if we once had a conversation and your address is listed- you’re on the list. I’ve got a lot of postcards and nothing but nonsense to cover them with. All I need are your addresses. Happily, over the years I’ve amassed an equally large collection of contact information that could almost but not quite keep up with my childhood love of 35 cent souvenirs.

Here’s an excerpt from the first batch


Next to opening up their mailbox to find one of those novelty cheques for a million dollars, it’s everyone’s dream to receive a postcard like this, no?

Dear Iris,

I don’t know you well but I thought you’d enjoy receiving images of random cyclists exiting a tunnel in a place that I don’t remember the name of and that you likely don’t care about. It’s a part of my new campaign to treat the mail like the internet. I’m going to send 300 of my closest friends an offer to enlarge their vagina next.

Socially inappropriately yours,




Don’t these people look hangry to you?

Dear Ben,

This is what it looked like in Ancient Rome when the lunch cart was late- people standing around, their stomachs rumbling and all of them grumbling about how Aelius must have gotten into the wine again and taken a dip in the aquaducts. If they’d had Twitter, they might have tweeted something passive aggressive like “Still hungry #thelionsaretooAelius” But instead after the fourth time this happened, they just fed the tardy man to the beasts. Then regretted it- no one could quite make his beef and fig dish the same way.

Much carnivorous action,




The ghost of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s clothes is even more terrifying if you know that her father was a prison warden during the era of straps and racks in Canadian penitentiaries.

Dear Jared,

People are all “Wow, I can’t believe you write even though you have a baby” what they don’t know is that the mannequin  from this card appears to me in my dreams and threatens to suffocate me with her moth eaten veil that smells of mould if I don’t put pen to paper. It’s like the literary version of “Nightmare on Elm Street” The wallpaper also starts to spin in those dreams. This may be why I prefer paint. Happy Writing!

Sincerely, your friend and the undead spirit of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s clothes


My Grandfather is having a love affair with his new car. Incidentally his new car is Tex and my new car. Well, they’re the same make and model, so close enough. I wrote this to him because when Sula informed him one night over dinner that I had bought a car, (Yes, Sula is so lovely I have to share her with my grandparents.) apparently my grandfather’s fork just hovered in the air while he stared at my friend in disbelief with his mouth open. The idea of me doing something normal like buying a car was shocking I guess. I sent this to him to tease him, because trading in our lovely, practical minivan for something absurd would be just the kind of ridiculousness I strive for every day.


As you can see my ride comes pre-pimped, no need for a reality TV show.

Dear Granddad,

Did you hear the news? We decided to trade in our can for something more practical. Our new car is pictured on the front. After all, how is one supposed to go joy riding in something with side air bags? Where the fun? Where’s the sense of peril? There’s just no point in driving unless you can feel the wind in your hair, the rain puddling at your feet and your childrens’ fingers pinching your side as they cling to you with their nails while trying not to fall out of the car. I’m off to pick up Betty and Archie for the shin dig, Archie’s jalopy broke down again, thank goodness mine is reliable. It’ll be a swell night.

Love, Unwashed

The next card was sent to a man who began as a friend of Tex’s and became a friend of mine, so much so that when I sent him an unsigned postcard, he figured out who had sent it. If sending weird pieces of anonymous mail and then being called on it isn’t a sign of a good friendship, I don’t know what is.


Hammy’s post petite potatoes diet head shots

Dear Wyatt “Why did I give Tex’s crazy wife my address” Strumpber,

This is Hammy Swine. After spending his childhood working the petting zoo circuit thanks to his momager, Larda, he tried out for the role of “Bebe” hoping to make it big. Obviously he was rejected seeing as the role went to a younger, pinker, thinner pig. Ever the fighter, Hammy was determined and went on a diet of small potatoes when he learned of a Babe related opportunity- “Babe 17: Bringing Bacon Back”. Hammy was elated when his newfound weight loss led to a supporting role. Tragically Justin Timberlake passed on the role of the hiphopping farmer so the project was kiboshed. Now Hammy spends his days sitting on street corners trying to sell future shares in his own pork roasts in exchange for watermelon. It’s a story that reminds us to just let pigs be pigs.

Wow, that got dark and very weird fast. Even for me. I think I’m going to stop there.

Travesty Tuesdays: The Potentially Sacrilegious Edition

While going through my childhood bedroom I discovered postcards that I purchased when I visited Italy. So I brought them to my grandparents with the intent of writing to people. This act resulted in the following conversation.

Granddad while rifling through my stack of postcards splayed all over his dining room table “Unwashed, what are these?”

Unwashed who is overly chipper and excited about her project “They’re postcards, I’m going to send them to people.”

Granddad is in a mild state of disbelief “You mean you’re going to send these cards that no one would ever want to look at to people?”

Unwashed now all but bouncing up and down with enthusiasm “Yes Granddad, but it’s even better, I’m going to write complete nonsense on them before I do so.”

I think sometimes Granddad wishes I had normal hobbies like watching Netflix or at the very least didn’t have the addresses of all of his closest relatives.index

This card could be an excellent advertisement for protective clothing. Clearly the Garden of Eden was a dangerous place for soft fleshy bits. I mean, never mind all of the teeth and jaws that are just on the verge of mowing down on a pudgy muffin top, there are beaks. I don’t know about you but I’ve never seen a chicken with kind eyes. For all we know, it may have been Adam himself who made the first jock strap after a tussle with a rooster.


This statue pays homage to the lost art of python wresting. There were a couple of die hard fans who tried to save it of course, adding rules to make it safe; only wrestling two pythons at a time, feeding them beforehand, not piping Zydeco into their cages (serpents hate piano accordions). Tragically, it wasn’t enough, the sport died out. Weirdly enough, the idea of clothing or substituting deadly snakes for kittens never occurred to anyone.


In kitten wrestling everyone wins, because kitten wrestling is actually snuggling. (Photo Credit :



(Photo Credit :

It isn’t talked about often but Michelangelo was a huge Spielberg fan. That’s where this painting came from. The old, beardy dude is all “I’m going to go off on my harem of angels now but I will be …right… here”. Said in a warbling, old man, alien voice of course. It’s rarely mentioned in guidebooks but the Sistine chapel totally lights up after dark like some sort of strange, elderly, finger-shaped night light, as an homage to that special extra terrestrial.

Travesty Tuesdays : The Professional Edition

The problem with being a writer is that people assume you can write. Which I can. Sort of. Actually not really. If you look around WordPress you will realize that I don’t have a Bachelors degree in English and it shows. Also, more often than not, I understand grammar don’t.

This fact doesn’t prevent friends and family from asking me to compose letters and whatnot for them. The most recent request came from my young cousin Candy, who has a stripper name and a heart of gold. Ostensibly a potential employer wants a letter of recommendation. While I am the first person to recommend Candy and her work, I’m not sure I should be the person to do it. Nonetheless I tried.

Dear Super Ballin’ Employer from our Country’s Capital,

What’s up yo? I’m fine, thanks for enquiring. News traveled down the pipeline that your company has a position open. My cousin totally wants it. Like wants it wants it. Like a chubby kid wants cake at fat camp. Only unlike the overly muscular fat camp directors, you should give Candy her heart’s desire. But not the fat kid, give him more time on a treadmill, not the job.

Candy is super awesome amazeballs. Her work ethic is second to none. She would work in her sleep if she could. In addition, Candy is knowledgeable about her field. Or at least I think she is. What she does is very technical so I kind of get lost midway through her explanations but judging by the length of them, I can say the kid knows her stuff.

On top of being really hardworking and educated, Candy is short, this doesn’t sound like a selling point until your company moves or downsizes and you need to stick someone in the tiny corner cubicle. Or if you fly her somewhere and want to use the legroom to transport equipment- not only would Candy be happy to squish herself into a ball to create more space, she wasn’t going to need that legroom to begin with.

So basically Candy is great. You probably shouldn’t even bother interviewing her just call her up and say “Your cousin convinced us, here’s the job and this is the list of benefits we added because you rock”. If you have any further questions don’t call my cell, it has a strange greeting on the voicemail saying you can only leave a message if you are on fire, so I wouldn’t want any of your more literally minded employees receiving burns on my account. You are totally welcome to email me though, but don’t expect me to respond, I’m giving you my professional email which I never check- .


Inscrutably yours,


The Great Unwashed


Message to Candy:

Is this what you meant kiddo when you asked for a letter? I gave it my best college try. I bet for sure you’ll be working and rolling in the sweet sweet cheddar in no time. No one can resist your dynamo combination of personality, brains and work ethic when it’s coupled with my writing.

Travesty Tuesdays On The Road – The Lesbian Arctic Edition

Last year, prior to leaving me for the Arctic without a second thought or one love letter (I wrote her three), I attended a conference with Sula. We went to a banquet together and then spent a weekend roaming about the city having a grand old time. Despite all of my attempts to the contrary, only one person mistook us for a couple: the gangly youth who drove us to the airport and likely spent the rest of the time fantasizing about Sula and me acting out the scene from Scream 4 where all of Hugh Hefner’s girlfriends wake up in bed with Charlie Sheen, only without the tiger blooded madman of course. The following is the last two letters that I wrote to her and her crew ostensibly to lift their spirits and remind them of the horrors of the South: traffic, bathing, more than five people!

Dear Sula,

You’ll want to stay in the Arctic because as soon as you return to the lower ten, I’m going to waste no time in trying to convince everyone we meet that we are a couple just like the guy who drove us to the airport in Winnipeg. The difference is I think the majority of people when they ask us “Did you go on any dates?” won’t be thinking “Oh please let them say “no we just stayed in the hotel room having naked pillow fights and jumping up and down on the bed”.

Also the minute you get back, I will take you shopping (horrors!) and then tell people that I’m pregnant with our love child that we made without the aid of a sperm donor through our devotion for each other, like Immaculate Conception only with more crocheting.

Either that or when I’m asked what I’m having I’ll say “an ostrich probably or maybe one of those warm blooded fish actually not maybe, definitely” think of all the awkwardness you’re avoiding up there. In the Arctic there are no bewildered salespeople only people with tanned faces and hands if everything I’m told is true.


Enjoy your time in the sunny North, I’ll be preparing the best way to tell people that we’re having a baby iguana and that you plan to take it on walks with a leash.

So much love,





You need to stay in the Arctic, it’s a matter of self-preservation or at least that’s what the comic Piled Higher and Deeper tells me. According to them, grad school is terrible and should be avoided at all costs. By Piled Higher and Deeper standards, you are winning the International World Universe Grad School Contest; you are avoiding being in the lab and the grind while looking like you are being hard core and an awesome, amazeballs scientist. (Sorry I know that “amazeballs” isn’t a word but not everyone can win the International World Universe Grad Student Competition.)

Hence you need to stay where you are, based on my limited research which doesn’t include attending grad school; I’ve determined that it’s in your best interest to remain in the Arctic permanently. Don’t worry, Elizabeth will be there with you and you can pretend to be doing important science while reading Diana Gibaldon books for at least three years by my calculations.

Before you call me a crazy person, (which in fairness would be unfair- in all honesty I’m more of a failed scientist/ dirty hippie) listen to my reasoning. Grad school has deadlines whereas the tundra has pretty icebergs. Grad school has stress and supervisors; the Arctic has sweet, sweet solitude. Grad school has papers; the tundra doesn’t even have trees! Where would it get papers?

I believe the correct decision is obvious here, I shall be sending you a care package of overfilled calendars and recordings of colleagues telling boring stories about their pet gerbils in the event that you have a moment of weakness and think of returning home.

Sincerely yours,

Your savior from the perils of academia

Travesty Tuesdays On The Road- The Arctic Edition Part Two

I’ve talked about loving Sula more than cheese; when you have that kind of affection for someone, it tends to spill over. Every year before she heads off to the Arctic, I write Sula letters. Last year, even that wasn’t enough, I started writing her crew. Here are two of the inappropriate pieces of correspondence that I penned to her crew.

Dear Luke,

It’s more than halfway through the field season so I can understand feeling a little homesick, so this letter is here to provide you with some comfort. I mean sure civilization is great and all, and yes we do have the internet and thus porn but who needs naked people and videos of puppies learning how to climb stairs when you could have vast open tundra where the entire world has the potential to be your bathroom? Peeing in public is not encouraged down here, and so while we do have images of nipples readily available, you sir, have it much better.

So the next time you are wanting a burger, or perhaps television, simply drop trou and urinate freely to remind yourself of the wonderful amenities of the Arctic. Unless of course you are next to a camp mate’s bunk, that might make you unpopular.


No amount of GIFs of kittens on pianos could possibly complete with this level of freedom. (Photo Credit:

Sincerely yours,

That lady who has no concept of social mores and writes to random people under the guise of offering comfort but not really.


This year was Liz’s second year on Sula’s crew. When I grow up, I want to be Elizabeth- she is the ultimate hippie, living completely off the grid and making art some of which appears on Sula’s blog


Dear Elizabeth,

You can almost see the end of field season, so understandably you might have a touch of homesickness.

Actually probably not. Based on what I hear from Sula, it sounds like the Arctic is your home; it has no running water, you have no running water, the Arctic has no electricity, your house has no electricity. You, my dear, are living out my minimalist fantasies and if my information is correct, I think you may in fact live in the Arctic year round already.

In fact we’re having your significant other and pets flown in to stay here for the other ten months of the year. I don’t think you’ll notice much of a difference. Also it will give you more time to come up with awesome drawings for next year’s camp swag.


Yours truly,

The woman who isn’t brave enough to actually live with a zero carbon footprint like you and is also not as committed to science, really if I’m being honest- I’m a bit of a sissy and Elizabeth, you rock.

P.S. Sorry for the long yours truly, on top of being a failed scientist and a bad hippie, I apparently don’t know how to write letters.