A rare transferace of joy via these peculiar tentacles

Some rare events have occured in the last couple of days, during which, I have been reminded how incredibly magnificent and affecting Homo sapiens can be.

I’ve had some lovely and silly, breif chats in real life and virtually, and said a sad farewell to a very talented and all-round  delightful student. I didn’t even get awkward about the goodbye hug. Imagine that!

I’ve been listening to the British band Daughter and finding their music increasingly intoxicating. Imagine my delight when I discovered they will play a gig in my city in the new year. Yay!

Anyway, I received a package this morning in the post:


Not sure if you can read that but the two handwritten notes say “ONLY GOOD VIBES X” and “ALWAYS LOOK ON THE BRIGHT SIDE OF LIFE XXX” plus a big yellow thing with a giant smile on, all bundled up in forest green crepe paper and ribbons. You’ll be forgiven for thinking that this might be a mental salvation survival package sent by my mother, but it was actually something I ordered for myself. So cute was the encasement that I almost forgot to take out the items inside; a pair of handmade black tentacle earrings. The adorability of said earrings is immense but the sense of joy I felt was more from the effort that the artist had gone to for someone they had never met. I think I have smiled my way pretty much through an entire day, wearing clay octopus arms in my ear holes, pretending that I’m secretly part cephalopod, and generally thinking that maybe I’m not a total cretin after all for living my ever hopeful existence.

I spent a lot of time working on my latest scientific masterpiece, and I have to say that I’m pretty pleased with the way it is shaping up. My writing and ability to structure, it would seem, have matured into a form much more readily digested and assimilated (we shall see if the boss lady agrees).

We tried in earnest to acquire some jack-o-lanterns for tonight (at my insistence because a Halloween uncelebrated is a grumpfest waiting to happen) but I felt satisfied with the darling honey bear and yellow acorn squashes that a local farm shop had to offer. I presently diemboweled them and performed the necessary crude open surgery.




Shame about the raggedy carving but it’s good enough for me. Sometimes having emotions is a great thing :).

“You could still be,
what you want to,
What you said you were,
when I met you”~Daughter, medicine

Contracting to a place that I can’t breathe


I am beginning to question the identity of the creator of this, so ornate a cage, around me.
I know I did it before.
I spent years spinning brittle bones out of my spirit to form an ever creeping interwoven and impenetrable prison.
Because I needed it. Out there was too bright, too hopeful and too dangerous for words, and I had so many precious words that I had to keep them all to myself because without them, nothing else mattered. Nothing else could make me feel, except the fire, and I wasn’t selling tickets to that show. I had years of silence, carving feathers and runes into those bones, making amateur art from the grotesque.
I don’t know when, precisely, the pressure shifted and the creaking bars began their retreat. Sucking their own marrow back into my psyche. The clouds began to peek through the lifeless and hopeless remains of my chamber and in that moment, just as the words gushed out, the warmth bled in. Fire and bones and hope were reunited with the hungry sky.

Yet here I am chastened again. Bound in this swaying cage with no recollection of its crude construction. Confused and irreconcilable because all I long to do is reach out and touch you. I trace the bars with my jagged nails knowing the only way out is to bleed the words, but what if it’s not my words that must undo the spell this time? Or worse, what if it is and I’ve been wasting my months waiting to be saved?

“What wasted unconditional love
On somebody
Who doesn’t believe in the stuff
Oh, well”~fiona apple, oh well

Sanity rescued by horses again


Animals can achieve what humans cannot. Buster has managed to turn this weekend from a full on fuck-off whinge fest into a healthier balance of whinge, love, success and rebuilding of trust.

I feel alive again. Lurgey or no lurgey.

This super-horse knew I was still a bit nervous about being on his back after our most elaborate parting over a month ago, and he seemed eager to show himself as the supreme champion of bravery and level-headedness that I previously knew him to be.

I was wary when I heard he’d been naughty with the farrier, and that he hadn’t been exercised all week, but bless his little cotton sock (singular. He has only one sock), he didn’t put a single newly shod hoof wrong, even when I felt brave enough to try a canter and then our overexcited companion leapt sideways into our path, he deftly moved us to safety and then calmed his friend down.

How could I ever doubt my buddy? Oh yeah that’s right….broken nose….hmm, well I’d say I’m now back to trusting him about 80% and hope to get that up to a healthier optimal 95% soon. Five percent needs to be reserved for extenuating circumstances. Trusting 99% is what got my nose broken.

P.S. This was the first and hopefully last time I managed to go riding without applying Deodorant. This is a stinky enough hobby already without this added bonus.

“Itch to scratch,
To strike my past from all it’s owed
It’s sold”~sneaker pimps, curl

Ego on self-destruct.


What a damned exhausting and confounding week.
That’s certainly not what I had in mind fate….such a shame we don’t see eye to eye even when I’m sober.

What started off so promisingly at work degenerated quickly into an impressive spiral of clumsiness, forgetfulness, overthinking, overanalysing, and vicious self judgement. Let me illustrate;

I know exactly what I’m doing, I’m just so damned awesome at this shit. Disciples! Let me show you the way.
Oh hang on, is that right?
Oh bollocks I’m doing it wrong, I’m sooooo stupid, good job I realised early on.
Phew! Ok it’s all fixed but, why did I think I was right in the..
Oh fuck…I was right to begin with!!! Bugger bugger bugger!!! I’m such a bloody retard!
Breathe, focus.
Ok NOW it’s fixed.
Tralalalala all OK onboard the good ship pickle.
Now let’s taste the scientific pudding we have baked.
It’s an utter shite-fest! Omg! I’m a failure. This makes no sense. I make no sense, words and numbers are scrambling into a giant panic-ridden storm of figurative fecal matter. I’m so fucking depressed, my boss fucking hates me and my ridiculous mistakes.

Ok then a fresh day, I’ll try to make this a good one.
All good, a few minor blips but let’s keep this show rolling because this time it really is a demonstration. Shame I keep telling the students what a fuckup I made yesterday but ho-hum.
So now you do this and
what the FUCK?! No,no,no that’s no right! Erm, you’d better step away from watching this around about now. Don’t worry this won’t happen when you do this…its all under um control..
Jesus, what a debacle! I can’t even do this thing that I developed. How can I expect someone else to do it? Why am I so useless and pathetic?

Right, time to taste the second albeit horrendously ugly scientific pudding. Let’s put it alongside yesterday’s carcass for fun.
Um….really? They are both fine. Actually, they are both delicious and almost record breaking.
Why. The fuck. Do I keep telling myself that I’m a damned moron???? How about because it’s handy when I have go explain go the boss lady that actually after having a giant sulk about everything being shit and stupid and wrong, although I did do some silly stuff, it was all OK in the end.

It’s exhausting work all this emotional roller-coastering. Anyone would have though I’d forgotten my meds.

Oh. I did.

How helpful.

I hope you can tell how hard it is for me to not just write down what an idiot that makes me.

Oh look I did it anyway.

Is this what med-free life is like? Damn! How do people cope?

Well other stuff happened, like beer throwing, fake blood, asthma, hersheys vomit flavoured kisses, actual vomit (not mine), and further blah but I can’t be bothered to elaborate. It’s all bullshit anyway.

I need a nice long sleep.

“I’m not afraid of happy endings,
I’m just afraid my life won’t work that way”~jack off jill, fear of dying

Disenchanted dream

I had a dream that you were hiding behind my father’s face.
A steady stream of disappointment in spite of my striving,
Issuing from that angry mouth.

So I ran for the trees.
Barefoot, tearful but free.
My cream sequinned gown catching on the low hanging branches,
The chill creeping into my bones
and yet,
I would not look back.

A little girl came running after,
Sent to bring me home,
Or suffer the guilt of her abandon.
Yet I ushered her away,
And sat down to watch the sunrise
Of a new day.

© PickledSparklyMoosePrincess – author

Accruing detective and shopping skills


Aaaand just like that, a lazy snap of the fingers and the holiday is over and work returns.

I figured my thighs would be the first to forget how to cycle, but actually after a month hiatus from horse and bike riding my knees and more significantly, my arse, have forgotten their role in this -riding malarkey. So you see, I figured that my bottom aught to be able to cope with just being sat on, and I don’t know if it’s because of those few pounds I dropped, or if maybe there was once some muscle back there that has since degenerated into blubber, but I do know that I’m more than a little sore in the ischial tuberosity region, and that is most inconvenient.

I just got interrupted by my boyfriend asking what I was doing. Apparently it’s ‘mentow’ to write a blog post about my arse. He’s probably right. Sorry. I’ll try and dial back the mental for the rest of the post.

At work, one of the little darlings left a present in the fume hood for me. Some spilt unidentified Chemical. I saw this as an opportunity to play detective and interrogate the witnesses and potential culprits but no-one was playing ball. Someone knows something but they aren’t spilling it. Now I’m left with a pile of potentially toxic, corrosive, irritant, reactive, teratogenic powder to deal with, safe in the knowledge that it is something pretty nasty Because otherwise it wouldn’t be in the fume hood. Watch this space for info on the fallout when I potentially blow up the lab / burn off my face / poison myself trying to clean it up. 

Ah! It’s good to be back at work! Clearly everyone missed me because there was a backlog of health and safety tedium awaiting me, along with some logistical problems. For example, imagine being told you have £17,000 to spend in two days. Woohooo!!! Party time…we can have a life-size Unicorn cake made!! what’s that? Has to be spent on lab stuff? Hmm, ok it’s going to be a pretty nerdy party, but let’s buy some awesome treats that we see other labs have but are too stingey to buy for ourselves,like multicolour sparkly  pipettes, they’d be fun! Huh? What do you mean it has to be spent in our in-house store? Oh, come on! That’s just mean..
What kind of spending spree is that? And just HOW could anyone spend 17K on biros and pipette tips? We had the lamest shopping spree ever and only put a dent in the money that is going to evaporate any minute now. No parties, no cake and certainly no sparkly pipettes. Anyone would have thought that money was meant for research. Damn our usual thrifty nature,  resourceful and unnecessarily strong willpower.

So with all this perfection,
Who’s going to make a brilliant mistake”~tsunami, enter misguided

Grace and the barely concealed teeth of stasis


Visits home to Mum’s house always feel a bit strange. Especially these days with Gran gone and two houses in disarray and the dog flitting between affection and savagery. No, this is certainly no place for the feeble or unrelated right now.

It’s alright for me as I listen to the national in my backwards facing train seat, watching the drizzly fenland shrink into nothing in the distance but someone had to stay here and live inside the cocoons of weirdness that have been spun here. I’m sad to leave but I’m glad to be able to breath again.

Two dilapidated museums, strung with bells and wind-chimes, crosses and constant reminders of what came before. Dust making unfounded claims on the remnants of another life, unperturbed by months of indecision and tentative rearrangements.

There is a kind of organic density in the darkness here that lighbulbs simply cannot penetrate. Leaving space in the shadows for doubts to multiply and lending every motion to slurring like amateur stopped-motion.

The radio shouts out emphatically about the grace of god like this god could fix things, or make it OK that people suffer so. All I can see is a surface of bright shiny foil covering whatever is really underneath, and can you please tell me why must they keep on focusing on the polishing the shine and not nourishing the foundations of the tangible. I don’t somehow think that jesus is coming to save her from this mess but maybe having something paper-thin and shiny feels like the armour that she needs to wear.

It seems unfair to be leaving, to leave someone behind in this treacle that they have thickened even by themselves – to just walk away from a household in such need of care and hope and vitality.

I’ll be back soon, and I’m bringing my armour to help slay these tenuous webs of guilt and uncertainty. No-one should have to breathe such toxins in every day.

I’m under the gun again,
I know I was a 45 percenter then”

~the national, I need my girl

Shadow puppets


I’m making shadow puppets for you,
But my left eye
Took a turn
About a hundred miles back
And I can’t see
If your shadow moves towards me or away.

I could have sworn that this was
Something more than
Fear and static.
Someone whispered in your voice
But you weren’t there
And it echoed in the hollows and the cracks.

I’m writing calligraphic nightmares
For you to touch
When it’s quiet
Enough to see the shadows
Dancing once before the lights can burn us out.

Seattle Story webs

Hello Hello! I expect my absence was interpreted as abandonment of the blog, but no, here I am, back from holiday and full of jibber-jabber about the trip. I actually have so much balderdash to dispense that I’m going to break in up into digestible chucks of blah. In case you are wondering, those morsels are hidden in the hyperlinks.

I went to Seattle for a week – and the take-home message is that it was good. I know what you are thinking..that’s a hell of a long way to go for just 7 days and you know what? you’d be correct! Jet lag sucks.

Let’s start at the beginning, a few days before travel I had some anxiety issues  but we made it onto the flight and to be honest, it could have been a lot worse. I was concerned about the plane being so small (767) and going so far (5,000 miles) but it was relatively spacious and comfortable (for economy), the staff were polite and friendly, food was just about edible and in-flight entertainment was decent – I mean, I managed to watch a couple of films that whittled away the time, but right now I can’t for the life of me remember what they were!

here is a view from the journey of the rockies (? – ok just googled and yes that would be the rockies – phew!)

2015-10-01 14.47.08

pretty huh?

Then we traveled off to our airbnb-rented accommodation, found surrounded by a load of artsy things all over the garden. Day one was largely a blur as we just went to the shop for toastable provisions and settled in for a quiet night of trying to stay awake.

Day 2 was set aside for the EMP museum and pike place market. the museum was cool, especially the projector exhibit and the gallery of Nirvana’s old gear. Sadly we didn’t get to see any flying fish at the seafront market, but, sorry I wasn’t prepared to purchase a haddock in order to see it thrown around! We had the first of many starbucks visits too 🙂

Day 3 was pretty much wasteland as far as I can see – we had only arrived a day and a bit ago and some bright spark decided to get us tickets to the Macefield festival – which would have been great, except the band they really wanted to see was playing at 1AM…soo….that’s like staying up until about 10AM the next day…and I’m sure you can imagine how well I cope with sleep deprivation! yeah exactly, I don’t. So, much napping was done and general slobbery until the evening. I felt that the beginning of the festival was good, I liked the first band we saw, they were called Gibraltar, and played well, so all three albums were purchased and we went off for some pre-Mark Lanegan Pizza. I enjoyed the soporific tones of Mr Lanegan and from then on, it all went a bit pear-shaped and the evening disintegrated into a seemingly endless cycle of  pain, boredom, attempting and failing at keeping eyes open, and generally looking like a total drunk. At the end of the final band it got worse.Yup, the one cab company we were relying on ran out of cars and I was in no fit state to work out how to get a cab. Read here about choosing your travel companion wisely. Anyway, we got back to the apartment around 3AM and slept in late the next day, so some more wasted hours.

Day 4 we took the Argosy cruise around the harbour and saw the city from the water. It was a gloriously sunny day and we even got to see some sea lions sunbathing. Later we went to the Chihuly garden and glass and saw some really beautiful glasswork.

Day 5 we had a busy day, starting out in Freemont taking a look at the Troll under the bridge, and then went for a stroll around the gasworks park. This place was really unique, a great view of the cityscape and some great industrial relics. We then meandered over to the aquarium which was nice, as I got to stroke a starfish and the highlight was seeing the sea otters. I have never seen these little critters in real life and they are just THE most adorable things ever. For proof and shots of the gasworks park see here.

Day 6 we finally got around to doing the obvious tourist thing and went up the Space Needle, not one, but twice, once during the day and once at night :). What I learnt was that I have height-induced vertigo – yay me! I never knew! it was like the whole thing was tiled and I was falling over. Weird and not that scary, just a bit nauseating! This day also saw our first trip to Capitol Hill, so SO finally go to his beloved used CD stores. One of which was HUUUUGE and apparently warranted a good 1.5 hours of trawling through while I went for a very overpriced fresh juice. <YAWN>

Day 7 being the last full day, you might think that we wanted to make the most of it but, actually we needed to be up late again for a gig that SO wanted to attend, so we just took the underground tour – this took us into some of the original streets back from when Seattle was a couple of metres lower down and built largely in a boggy muddy flood plain. The Tour poked some fun at nearby town Tacoma and the founders and their lack of foresight with plumbing issues etc. It was educational and reminded me a lot of history classes about manifest destiny and all that.

The final day took us on a brief trip to a fancy area of Seattle called Denny-Blaine, where there is a park containing a bench memorial for Kurt Cobain, right next to the place where he killed himself.

2015-10-08 11.56.02

not at all morbid. Honest.

It was after this that I made arguably the worst decision of the trip. I figured we could just walk our luggage up the hill to the train station. This was a bad decision because of health anxiety and because of my travelling companion.

This was all probably all  terribly boring to read – just skimming through the touristy things to do in Seattle, but I guess it might be nice for me to be able to come back and read it in the future even if no-one else likes it!

I bought myself some cute souvenirs too

Looks like I’ve gone all steam punk huh? Well so be it!

I have been to the states before, but I can’t tell you how confusing things like crossing a road, and paying a bill can be. It seems like if there is a pedestrian sign you can just walk out onto an interstate and the traffic stops for you…but then when there are no signs, how do you know if you are J walking? Maybe the sign is behind a tree? Well cars kept stopping and waving us weirdos across the road, so I guess we were too hesitant, but in England, you can’t go taking risks, they’ll just mow you down and brag to their friends about it! Bill paying of course involved a lot of worry about tipping, how much, how to leave it, who to tip. Apparently you are supposed to tip a barman for the 3 seconds it takes opening a can of beer but they will be offended if you try to tip them for spending 5 mins calling you a cab (sooo confused). Also according to the interwebs waiting staff expect 15-20% tip…so obviously that is what we left but it’s so difficult to gauge what service warrants how much tip. I understand now that the wages for restaurants and bars really suck in the US, and that tips are expected, but we just don’t really have that culture here. I worked in a relatively upmarket restaurant and often people would leave no tip, even when they had excellent service, and in a bar where you NEVER got tips unless one of the patrons fancied you and bought you drinks.
Another thing that struck me was how friendly people seemed to be. A lot of smiles and just making conversation.
Amazingly pretty much no-one that we met thought that we were English. They couldn’t tell from my accent at all.I did inquire specifically what they looked for and it was a cockney accent they considered English. Well. Ok. That’s a bit weird because regardless of what state you are from, if you come to England, everyone will know you are American (or Canadian, depends if you say the word “about” or not).
The final words I have to say about seattle are about the bums and trust. I was unaware quite how extreme the homelessness situation was in Seattle. There are homeless beggers all over downtown and many elsewhere. Far far more than I have ever noticed in another city. Although they didn’t give us any trouble (a couple had signs saying they wanted money for weed….seriously??! Can’t you be like British homeless and at least pretend you aren’t just going to go and get wasted on our hard earned cash?) it wasn’t very pleasant to see them, it made me feel kind of guilty for being on holiday, and that’s not the name of the game. On a final note, I found people much more trusting than back home. For example, someone just left their iPhone on a ledge next to a shop and no-one stole it, and cash left on tables for bills doesn’t get stolen. The exception to this rule is security at night clubs who think that UK drivers licences are Basically fake id’s…well, sorry matey, but I don’t trust people not to half hinch my passport the day before I fly!