Courtney Lyons-Smoker

Interdisciplinary social scientist and speculative fiction writer

About clevergirlclarice

Moving is a b…


You know what the worst part about moving is? Every part.

The more people involved in the move, the more difficult it is. When I was single, I used to just trash anything too big to fit in the car, cram the rest into garbage bags, and hit the road. Now I have a child, a husband, and a cat. None of these things can be stuffed haphazardly into garbage bags and what’s worse, they all come with their own assortment of stuff.

George Carlin feels me on this “stuff” issue.


With only four weeks to plan the move (and me gone for one of them on an international trip), we knew we needed to get organized. So, of course, we made a detailed plan of action. (Hahahahahahaha…) Nope. We made two phone calls: one to my dad to secure a place to stay while we found a new house, and one to my father-in-law asking for help with the move.

The week of the move, my in-laws rolled into town, armed with a dyspeptic toy poodle, a big red truck, and a bed extender. While I flew to Toronto, they began the process of packing and cleaning. My husband scored a bunch of moving boxes from the recycling center dumpsters and he and his father spent approximately six hours diagramming the pick up bed and potential packing arrangements.

After all this planning, our final arrangement included four tiers of boxes sandwiched between our mattress and boxspring, all garnished with a roll and a half of duct tape and several bungee cords. My bike was zip-tied to the bed extender, the proverbial cherry on top. Then we shoved our clothes into trash bags, flung them into our car topper, loaded up the bewildered toddler and anxious cat, and headed for the coast. Our in-laws were to follow with the truck at a leisurely pace.

We saw them almost 10 hours later. It was dark when they pulled into my dad’s driveway. Their eyes were a little too wide and my mother-in-law’s hand was wrapped in a bloody bandage. They recited their tale in shaky voices.

They’d stopped at a grocery store before leaving town, to pick up food and in a whimsical display of romance, a single flower for my mother-in-law, in a little glass vase. Certain the stressful part of the move was behind them, they set off down the two lane highway that bisects the state. They stopped soon after. Despite the bungee cords and the duct tape and the hours of planning, the load wasn’t particularly stable. They tightened some straps, added some tape, and set off again.

Things were better on Round Two and they settled in for the long haul. Everyone had finally started to relax, even the nervy poodle, when my father-in-law let out a curse. Eyes flying to the sideview mirror his wife saw what had set him off: a single cardboard box, cartwheeling down the road. $*!%

The highway was narrow and it was a mile before they found a pull off. By then the poodle had picked up on their anxiety and started to bark and wriggle. My mother-in-law wrangled the dog as her husband wrestled the truck around. A few minutes later they saw the box, sitting in the middle of the highway, like a tourist admiring the view. Heaving a sigh of relief, they flashed their hazard lights and pulled onto the shoulder. As my father-in-law stepped out of the truck, the poodle lunged after him, her little doggy legs knocking over the flower vase as she scrambled for freedom. My mother-in-law grabbed at the dog, but missed, her fingers closing around the edge of the glass vase.

The vase shattered and my mother-in-law yelped, shaking loose glass shards as she snatched the poodle up before it could jump from the cab. Hand smarting, she looked up to see her husband, waiting at the edge of the road. A semi and trailer had just turned the corner… and was barreling down the highway toward as the box. It didn’t slow.

The box disappeared under the wheels with the barest of bumps. It didn’t reappear.

When my in-laws searched the pavement later, all they found was a single bumblebee hand puppet. The aquarium filter and timer lights had disintegrated on contact. Proving that the saying is true, moves really are a b… or at least a bee.

The survivor, just a little worse for the wear





Blue king crab paper now available online


My paper, “Influence of temperature and congener presence on habitat preference and fish predation in blue (Paralithodes platypus Brandt, 1850) and red (P. camtchaticus Tilesius, 1815) king crabs (Anomura: Lithodidae)” is available online. Click here for the link to my blue king crab paper or if that seems like too much work, take a gander at the screen shot below.

Screen Shot 2016-02-10 at 9.08.04 AM

Just printed out the first full draft of my novel


It’s a rough draft.

(How rough is it? So rough I got a splinter from holding it!)

Still, progress is exciting.


Blue king crab research


My manuscript on blue king crabs was just published by the Journal of Crustacean Biology!

Hello and welcome!


Welcome to my website. It’s currently a work in progress, but my plans are for it to eventually include a blog chronicling my adventures in changing careers, as well as a multi-media story told in serial installments. It will also include my contact information- feel free to send me a message. I’d love to hear from you!