Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Auxano Christmas

From Left: Eric, Brad, Jen's face, Shayla (lying down), Me, Steph, Katie, Jeremiah, Matt and Gussie.
I know, I know. I'm a total slacker. It's been almost a month since I wrote a blog post and I know you have been eagerly anticipating my every word. Or not. Maybe you didn't know this about me, but there are three things I'm really good at: puzzles, slacking and not getting around to things. I'm not even very good at puzzles.

The last few weeks before Christmas break have been a lot of fun. After the Annual General Meeting at Camp, Eric and I drove down the road to where a bunch of trees had been cut down and stole one. Best way to pick a Christmas tree ever. We had to cut off the bottom and a large section of the top just to make it fit in the living room, so it looked like a tree was growing through the floor and ceiling. It would have made Charlie Brown cry. We had classes with the wonderful Pam Welle on Spiritual Formation and she taught us how important being alone with God is. God and I went for walks together and may or may not have napped together. The key idea I got from that week was that you will know that your being alone with God is affecting you by how much more loving you are to people. That week was our family Christmas party at the Rentons and we had a gift exchange made up of either funny or useful unwanted house items or something under $5. There were quite a few gifts from previous years - an old Snuggie, a Darth Vader toy - as well as some joke gifts like a board game all about cats, called, if can you believe it, Cats (when I looked inside, it had first, second and third place ribbons that said things like, "You are a cat lover!" and "You know a lot about cats!" What they should have said was, "You are a freaking cat psychologist!" or "You know a lot about cats! You probably have too many of them," and for first place, "You know waaaayyy too much about cats. There is something wrong with you. Please get your cats spayed or neutered, they are probably a fire hazard.") My night was made when Rachel Zalinko bequeathed me her ugly Christmas sweater. It's pink and has reindeer on it. I don't know why she didn't want it.

My future husband.
Then we had our classes on Romans with David Banks, a fantastic man who knows a lot but is super humble about how he shares it. The last week of Auxano was practically a vacation, other than some work we did at camp. We had a fun DTG (Ditch the Girls, Ditch the Guys). The boys went out in the woods and had a manly adventure. The girls painted ceramics in Chemainus and baked cookies. We are trying really hard to break stereotypes. No actually. To break them the girls decided to have a secret wrestling match downstairs because that's what the boys always do, but it turned out to be not so secret as the boys knew what we were doing right away just by the crazy noises we were making. That actually happened. We had Christmas morning at the Auxano house on the last day. It was such fun! I woke up the girls and Jeremiah woke up the boys with a cup of hot chocolate. The hot chocolate didn't wake them up, we did. That would be bad ("Merry Christmas suckers!" - hot chocolate to the face.) We did Secret Santa and I got Matt the greatest present ever - according to his standards of the greatest present which you will probably not understand because you are not childlike. It took me a long time to figure out the difference between being childlike and being childish. You probably haven't figured that one out yourself but as I keep being reminded, I am quite old (25). I will explain it to you: being childlike means you have the faith of a child, which Jesus says to have, whereas being childish just means that you are stupid and annoying. Anyway the gift I got Matt was a "Thomas the Tank Engine" coloring book and crayons. He's British. Gussie gave me the most thoughtful gift ever: a little tack board with her favorite Scripture verses on it and a framed picture she took of me and Leilani, the Rentons little girl. We had a feast that the amazing Kelly Watt provided for us and Eric made us pancakes. It's just what he does.

Jeremiah and I thought this was supposed to be a creepy photo.
On December 6th we all had to say goodbye to each other for our month of Christmas vacation. This is how it went down:
Me: "Guys, guys, stop crying, I'm only going for a month."
Auxano students: "But Faith what will we do without you and your wise advice? Who else will advice us in our residence as our very own Resident Advisor?"
Me: "Beloveds, this is your time to rely on God, not on mortal (wo)man. Man cannot live on bread alone but on the word of God, Deuteronomy something something."
Steph and Matt: "She's so spiritual!" (waving the little spiritual flags Steph made. No really, she made those.)
Me: "I know. It's ridiculous."
Auxano students: "Will we ever see you again?"
Me: "What are you, illiterate? I'll be back here January 6th. So will you. Don't ask stupid questions."
Katie: "I'm going to miss you so much!"
Me: "I see you every Sunday at church. What's wrong with you."
Auxano students: "Our prayers are with you, oh wise one."
Me: "Save your prayers. I don't need them. I'm already too spiritual."
Pastor Tom: "Faith, are you paying attention? You look like you've been day dreaming about something ludicrous during my very important class on the Pentateuch."

Of course, this conversation is completely fabricated. For one, Mondays are my day off so I don't get to sit in on Pastor Tom's classes. But I think it paints a pretty accurate picture of how important I think I am to the program, AKA my self-delusions.

Merry Christmas!
We got Auxano versions of Jones Soda bottles for Christmas. Every detail is packed with awesome!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Adventure in Homelessness

Last week was quite the adventure. Auxano took it to the street! Word up! Not quite so gangster as that unfortunately but we did go to Victoria for a week of outreach. We lived at the Mustard Seed which is a church and food bank and multi-function community center in one and we did have a so-called "homeless" twenty-four hours on Thursday. The girls slept in the family centre for the week and the boys in the board room. At first I pitied the boys because all they had was a fax machine whereas we had a puppet show, but it turns out there is no time for puppet showing when you are working your a-double-snakes off volunteering (an expression we found hilarious that week). Surprisingly there was time to read most of The Christmas Pony out loud in different voices until it got so wearisome we couldn't continue. The week fit well with my radical experiment for the year: to volunteer in the community, so as you can imagine I was incredibly happy and felt like I was right where I was supposed to be. Steph was just talking about that feeling on Sunday when we led the church service at Saanichton Bible Fellowship and talked about our experience. I agree. It is a pretty great feeling. You should try it sometime but I warn you it probably means doing something outside of your comfort zone to help someone else. We helped out in the back of the food bank organizing all the donated food. I couldn't believe how much food the Mustard Seed gets every day. Most of the Mustard Seed's clients are low-income families, not homeless people, which just goes to show you how many there are. I found out there are around 1500 homeless people in Victoria, but there are thousands more who are living under the poverty line, especially because the cost of living in Victoria is so high. Apparently the issue in Victoria for the homeless is not food but housing.

We also volunteered at Our Place. They offer free meals to 1200 people Monday to Friday (they don't have enough funding to be open on the weekends) and they have 45 rooms for transitional housing that help the homeless get off the streets and give them a chance at, well, life. We helped out in the kitchen making meals, at the clothing exchange and cleaning the showers, which I especially loved. Don't get me wrong, I don't enjoy cleaning showers but I do enjoy giving  people access to something so simple being clean. We all just want to feel clean. For many of the people living on the street it is not a choice, though for a small few it is. We like to think that so we don't have to feel bad for them. The saddest part is that for so many of them who didn't have a choice, in the end they had no choice but to take substances to keep them warm and make them feel something better than what they were feeling. So we think it was their fault that they got addicted to drugs or alcohol and now have to pay the consequences, but for most of them it's just not true. For a few nights we got to volunteer at Sanctuary Youth which is run out of Church of Our Lord and offers a place for youth under 19 to hang out, to feel accepted regardless of who they are or what they have done. The first night we walked past a few young people begging on the street and invited them to Sanctuary Youth for pizza. We walked past this guy wearing a joker's hat and a mask playing his digeridoo, and who turns up at Sanctuary Youth but Mr. Digeridoo himself? We found out he's a pretty cool guy, a complete hippy, and when we saw him the next night happily playing his digeridoo we said, "Come on out to Sanctuary! There's cookies!" It was interesting to go there and hang out with kids who were obviously stoned. How could we judge them when we had no idea where they were coming from? Or better yet, we knew exactly where they were coming from and it made perfect sense that they would rather go through life high than live without the security of a home, the satisfaction of a job, the love of a family and the support of a community. It was here that I felt most aware of how close I had come to being exactly where they were. Growing up my family was the grateful but humiliated recipients of many a food hamper from the Mustard Seed and we lived in low-income housing for most of my life. There was nothing separating me from these kids but the grace of God. Nothing.

Hope Farm is a rehabilitation centre run by
the Mustard Seed in Duncan.
Thursday afternoon we started our twenty-four hours of being homeless. Even though we weren't able to sleep on the streets like we were hoping to do we still hadn't showered in four days and all we had was a handful of change and no place to go - just a little taste of what it would be like. After sleeping in the same clothes on the hard ground we stood in line for mediocre but much appreciated free breakfast Friday morning at Our Place. We were able to talk to quite a few homeless people, hearing their stories and telling a little bit about what we were doing. Brad and I talked to a guy named Jo we had met at Sanctuary Youth. He was high. He was also hilarious and we all laughed a lot. When we asked where he got the crazy fur coat he was wearing he said he killed a Yeti in the Himalayas with his guitar and I for one believe him. It was clear he enjoyed just having someone to talk to, that feeling of loneliness set aside for a short moment. Friday night we helped with something called Drive-by Cafe through the Mustard Seed. If they have enough volunteers for Street Cafe they take a table downtown and give out free food to whoever comes by. We each got a stick of chalk and went down a few different streets writing encouraging words on the sidewalk. I had a lot of fun writing out the lyrics to the song "Dark Horses" by Switchfoot. And yes. It took me a while. I probably looked like a crazy person squatting on the sidewalk with my sidewalk chalk but a little crazy is good for everyone. The song is about the street kids in San Diego and had become a really special song to all of us. It was pretty breathtaking to praise God on the streets of my hometown with such an awesome group of people after volunteering all week and having our eyes opened. I highly recommend it. But FYI you look really weird. 

We all felt very grateful after that week. And humbled. Most of us plan on volunteering at one of those places over the Christmas break and hopefully it will become a life-long passion helping people who need it most. We might not be able to do anything about the substance abuse or the housing problems but we can certainly make their lives a little better, give them a little bit of love and share a little bit of humanity. These people are not just children of God, they are also just someone's children. Wouldn't you want that for your own?

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Radical Times

I'm all grown up now. I am not only 25 and no longer living with my parents (whether I am going to be after Auxano is besides the point), I now have my full license (the fact that I still had my N is also besides the point). I'm sitting in my room eating a watermelon lollipop as a reward. And no, I do not see a contradiction between the first sentence and eating a watermelon lollipop as a reward. I tried to do the grown-up thing and get something from Starbucks but my tea just ended up burning my tongue for two days. So there you go. Lollipops beat Starbucks. I'm surprised I passed my road test - I was incredibly tired, plus it was raining like the dickens and I wasn't used to the brakes on the car I was using. Luckily I know the universal braking system (put foot on brake and press down) so we didn't die. I told the examiner all about Auxano but I wasn't quite willing to go into detail about why he needed Jesus because you know, I wanted to pass. Is that wrong? He put a smiley face in the notes section on my test. I'm guessing a sad face meant you failed but I can't be sure.

A lot has happened at Auxano. For instance, on Halloween I dressed up as a fairy godmother and Shayla and I pranced around camp saying, "I'm a beautiful butterfly!" with a British accent. Then I granted everyone a wish with my tinfoil wand. I think it was obvious to everyone that a tinfoil wand was not going to be doing anyone any favors so some of the magic may have been lost, but you have no idea how happy it made me. Or maybe you do. It made me really, really happy. We recently read the book Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream by David Platt. Mr. Andy Renton himself, camp director and road-test-car-loaner, led the study on the book. I know, you're thinking I must be pretty important to have such an 'in' that the camp director would let me borrow his car to take my road test, but that's just because you are forgetting my important title up here, "RA," which as I was recently informed stands for "Really Awesome." I don't think that's true though. I think it's supposed to stand for "Real Advisory." The book is pretty challenging. David Platt has a huge church in the States and has started a movement in his church to live like Jesus actually says we should live. All the Auxano students including the RA's (the "Really Awesome's") came up with one radical thing we are going to do for a year, along with reading the Bible and praying for the world one country at a time (you can follow along with the other thousands of Christians doing the same thing here: The Radical Experiment). Some of our radical things are not buying clothes for a year and giving the money to a charity, or for every dollar we spend giving the same amount away; some of us are starting a specific ministry we feel called to - whatever it is, we have been challenged to give what is uncomfortable to give. It is easy to give out of your excess. It's when you give like the poor woman who gave all she had that at the end of your life God will say, "Well done, good and faithful servant." I don't know about you, but right now I'm afraid God would probably say something more like, "Well, you know, better luck next time. Oh snap! There is no next time. Because you're dead." 

Sometimes I can be a bit callous.

What else? We go to a church in Duncan called New Life and after church we volunteer on the native reserve at a program called Kidzone. An inspiring young couple lead it and they've seen some pretty amazing results. The parents and grandparents who once wouldn't let their children go have started trusting that they really are there for one thing only: to show love to these kids. Not only that but the police have confirmed that the incredibly high number of calls they receive from that area for gang violence, drugs and abuse have gone down. I feel so blessed that we, the Auxano students and I, get the opportunity to take part in something so special. The kids we get to play with are amazing. I have this feeling when I'm there like, "This is what I was created for." Plus, I get to basically play and color pictures. Mostly I go for the coloring. I've been making friendship bracelets for the Auxano students and it brings me a lot of joy to see my masterpieces on their wrists, especially when I know the truth: they are not actually masterpieces. But they wear them anyway. Why? Because they were made with L-O-V-E. And love beats lollipops. And Starbucks. And Battlestar Galactica

P.S. You wouldn't believe it but last night Matt and Shayla let me cut their hair. I somehow managed to convince them that I was a skilled hairdresser (I've cut my dad's hair once or twice and my friend's hair once). For some reason I felt bizarrely confident, or incredibly uncaring I don't quite know. Either way the fact that an important part of what they look like was in my hands didn't seem to phase me. Except for that one point when I actually thought out loud, "I have no idea what I'm doing." You don't want to hear your hairdresser say that. Two beautiful haircuts later, I don't know what in the world I was thinking. More importantly, I don't know what they were thinking letting me handle scissors near their face.
Sarah Gray and I when she came to visit me!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Fall: Summer's Glorious Death March

The Auxano crew at Fall Teen Retreat (with a couple of last year's Auxano students thrown in for good measure.)

A lot of this blog post feels like old news. Time goes by so quickly out in the bush (Lake Cowichan) and at the same time there is no time or else there is not enough of it and you start going crazy and asking questions like "What is time?" and "If God created time does that mean he could create time travel?" and "If time is based on the rotation of the sun does that mean there is no time in outer space?" Really important questions that we're studying up here at Auxano. Just kidding. We don't have time to study such deep theological things. We are too busy studying Jesus (the default answer for every question in Sunday School), who is only the most important person of all time, the Son of God who existed before time began. He's kind of a big deal. Anyway I went for a walk around camp the other day and appreciated the plethora of multi-colored trees and took some pictures, a couple of which I included for your viewing pleasure. They are terrible pictures taken by my cell phone but beggars can't be choosers. Plethora is one of those words you want to use as sparingly as possible so that when you do use it it makes everyone happy. So Fall finally decided to show up, huh. Tardiness is so unacceptable. I know because I am always tardy and it is always unacceptable. I'm hoping some day that will change (that tardiness would become acceptable, what did you think I meant?) I gave Summer a talking to in spite of how much I love her because I felt she was getting a little carried away. I said as gently as possible, "Get over yourself already." So she did and then we nearly drowned at Fall Teen Retreat when it rained pigs and chickens (if it can rain cats and dogs, then it can rain pigs and chickens). It was wonderful. I wore blue polka-dot gum boots. 

Before Fall Teen Retreat Chris got me to fix up the cardboard maze that we have in the dry shed as part of the carnival we put on for the retreat. He basically gave me a drill, some zip locks, a staple-gun and a roll of tape and told me to crawl around in a confined, dark maze with the purpose of making it even darker by fixing up the holes. It was quite entertaining dragging around these tools, on my hands and knees by myself in the dry shed. I felt a lot like a Neanderthal fixing up his cave. Funny thing happened: no one knew where I was so they left without me to get their stuff back at the house. When they asked, "Where's Faith?" they should have known I was in the cardboard maze with a drill and staple gun. I mean really, what else would I be doing. Fall Teen Retreat - what great fun. Singing and dancing and playing games and whatnot. I can't remember. I was really tired. I had Restless Leg Syndrome the second night and decided to get up in the middle of the night during Hurricane Imadene (AKA it was very, very windy). I put on my gum boots and rain jacket and went to the camp kitchen to read because I couldn't handle feeling like I was going to pass out from being so tired but not being able to sleep because of my legs. Sleep deprivation is a form of torture in times of war you know. I then found a box of Tim Horton's donuts in the kitchen and proceeded to eat an apple fritter and have some tea and read my Bible. It was pretty fantastic despite how tired and annoyed I was and the feeling of satisfaction overwhelmed any shame I was feeling for stealing a donut that was probably for a kitchen staff member. In the morning I was telling people at my table about my late night adventure (because I don't know how to not tell things I should keep to myself) and the speaker John was like, "Wait, the box of donuts in the kitchen? I bought those for the kitchen staff!" Supes totes aux ("super, totally awkward.") It's a good thing John has a good sense of humor or he could have stood up in front of everyone during chapel and used me as an example of a wolf in sheep's clothing or something like that.

I had a good conversation with my parents the other day where I realized that I am not up here to make friends. No, I am up here to be an advisor, someone the students can look up to, a leader, to show God's love in an extraordinary way. I have no idea if I'm doing this. I hope I am, but remember when I said attention-seeking Faith would have to take a seat on the back burner? She keeps coming out! I think I need to drug her and ship her to a foreign country. It's the only way. You see, like most people, I want to fit in, to be like one of the "cool" kids (well, no, we all know that is never going to happen). I have this fear of being left out which means I'm not spending enough time on my own. For some people that's not a big deal. For me, I can't survive without it. If I don't take the time to recharge then how can I be there for these amazing young people? The dilemma is that I miss out on a lot already because I have to go to bed early like the old woman that I am, but that is who I am! Not the old lady part, but the person who has to go to bed early. I can't change it and in many ways I don't want to! It's always been important to me to take care of myself and having these limitations has made me the person I am: thankful for what health I do have and so aware of the health struggles of others. Nothing in this life is easy. If it is, it probably means you are not living properly. Otherwise I'm doing really well and studying this amazing book called Radical by David Platt which makes all of us want to sell everything we have and actually listen to Jesus when He tells us to make disciples of all nations. Imagine, listening to Jesus.

Finally children are not swimming in the freezing cold lake just because it happens to be sunny in October.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Mind Blown, Soul Satisfied

This is a short blog post. So much has happened since my last one. My birthday. I turned 25 and I had planned this amazing party to celebrate being a quarter of a century before I spontaneously quit my job and ran away to Lake Cowichan. Things change, and thank God for it. All the students make me feel really old, something I thought I would never feel at 25. I just made a comment about remembering something when I was young and before I could say what it was they said, "You remember being young???" Thanks guys. Thanks. Speaking of thanks, I went home for Thanksgiving and spent a really nice weekend with my family - so much to be be thankful for! And last week for Auxano we finished our classes with the amazing Francois Blouin creator of the The Sword Ministries. Francois teaches the Gospels from a Jewish perspective using "A Harmony of the Gospels" which looks at all the events in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John side by side. IT WILL BLOW YOUR MIND. You wouldn't think so because it sounds like the most obvious thing in the entire world to teach the Bible in the actual context it was written in. You know. Like if you read a historical account about a different culture and a different religion than yours you might want to know what it is talking about when it refers to that culture and religion. And, odd, isn't it, to think you would miss things if you didn't. Yes, I too am feeling the sarcasm is a little thick. Kind of sickening. I am going to go throw up now. But I am so thankful I am learning it now, before I am an old lady who is stuck in her ridiculous notions about the Bible and far too stubborn to change her mind no matter how unfounded the belief. Especially since I have already decided that when I am old I am going to refuse to believe anything that is contrary to what I already believe just because I can (because I am old) and it will drive everyone crazy and I will laugh in my wheelchair, old and senile and happy.

Francois is a miracle who came out of French-Canada (like Canada but French) and loves Jesus so much he decided to find out what the crazy things Jesus was talking about actually meant. Fascinating. No really. It is so fascinating I came out of the class every day with a permanent smile on my face because I was blown away by how good God is and how much He is in control. I came out of that class having so many ambiguous things explained and feeling like I can trust my Bible more than I ever knew possible. That I can trust that God knew and knows exactly what He is doing down to the very "tittle" (that's a new word we learned in class meaning the small part of a letter in the Jewish alphabet. We may or may not have giggled during class. You see, Steph taught us an affectionate name for someone that the girls think is sooooo adorable but for some reason it makes the boys cringe. Instead of saying kitten we say, "titten!" It is the cutest thing ever and boys love cute things like cute little baby clothes and pictures of puppies with hearts and cartoon animals with big eyes so I don't see why they wouldn't love the word titten. You're making a frowny face aren't you. I will pray for you so that the next time you hear someone say "Awww, titten!" your insides are filled with love and joy and rainbows.) Oh cutest thing ever: I phoned home today finally (it's only been a week since the last time but it felt like a lot longer) and when I ended the conversation with my parents my mom said, "I love you to pieces" and my dad said, "And I love you back together again!" If that doesn't fill your heart with love and joy and rainbows I don't know what will. There is no hope for you.

I'm going to be writing another blog post very soon as it's been quite a while. For some reason I am finding it very hard to take time on my own when living with eleven other wonderful people. I have no idea why...
Francois and his wife Ana Alicia with Auxano!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Ghetto Camping on Pineapple Beach

Going up Bald Mountain
I live in the little town of Lake Cowichan now. Can you believe that? If you say no that makes sense. It makes a lot more sense that I don't live in Lake Cowichan. Except that God wants me in Lake Cowichan and fighting God is like fighting your own fist times eternity in Pandora's box. That makes about as much sense as me living in Lake Cowichan. But guess what? I love it here. I love living in a beautiful house on River Road with eleven beautiful people: Jim leading us, Sarah his wife supporting us, Jeremiah the male RA, the girl students Katie, Shayla, Gussie, Jen and Stephanie and the boy students Matt, Eric and Brad. Of course, this is only the beginning of the second week of eight months with these people. And what's even more disconcerting, they like me. Which means it is only the end of the first week of eight months of having to keep these people liking me. I don't know why they like me. I have this beautiful room with a bed twice the size of the one I have at home while the five girls share two rooms and live in bunk beds. But I don't feel too guilty because I am living in a house with a dog. I am allergic to it. I have quickly found out that living with the embodiment of what I am allergic to gives me allergies.

This is how the first week went: we hiked up and repelled down Mesachie mountain on Monday and then cleaned the camp on Tuesday and then canoed to Pineapple Beach to camp for two days on Wednesday and then decided it would be a good idea to hike up Bald Mountain (which is three times the size of Mesachie mountain) on Thursday, canoe home and spend all day cleaning the camp again on Friday. I'm telling you, these people mean business. It's Jesus' little boot camp over here. And yet there is nowhere else I'd rather be or anything else I'd rather be doing than going on amazing adventures with these amazing new friends and serving an amazing God with joyful hearts. We are all learning what servant leadership is all about and can't wait for what God is going to do this year in us and through us! FYI Bald Mountain like Pineapple Beach is a misnomer. It is not nearly as bald as you would think it would be, but a lot higher than you would think it would be and a lot harder and scarier than my definition of a delightful hike through the wilderness with the fairies and leprechauns should be. And yet... there is that satisfaction of having hiked up a mountain that no one should ever hike up to see a view that no one should ever see. And you know, the bonding experience and all (they say danger brings people together).
Coming down Bald Mountain. As you can see, some are more enthusiastic than others. Some are pretending to jump...

My greatest memory of that camping trip was washing dishes with Jeremiah and Matt. No one knew what they were doing but we all thought we knew what we were doing and we ended up washing the dishes in three different contradictory ways trying to figure out the most sanitary way, without leaving food in the water to encourage the bears to eat us and without putting all the soap in the water to pollute the planet but also rinsing the soap off the dishes enough that we didn't give everyone diarrhea yet keeping the dishes clean from the lake water which we were told was not clean enough to wash our fruit and vegetables in but was clean enough to wash our hands after going to the washroom. Are you confused? Just imagine how confused we were. All I know is there was way more laughing than is generally acceptable when doing the dishes. At one point Matt rudely asked me for the soap which I told him was no way to speak to an RA and ended with Jeremiah telling him to take out his anger on the lake. At which Matt turned to the lake and yelled, "FAITH, PASS ME THE SOAP!" a la Batman voice. Life doesn't get much better than that.

We call ourselves a family. You know you are a family when you can pass wind in front of each other and everyone feels a little grossed out because let's face it, a fart is a fart (there's no getting around it, only through it) but you still have love for the person that did it. That is the definition of family.

If you want to see more pictures you can look at our Auxano facebook page here!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Auxano, or Something

Camp Imadene, Mesachie Lake
I went to Camp Imadene last week for Senior Coed, cabin leading an amazing group of girls ages 15-17. On the first day I thought I was going to die. On top of my chronic fatigue I went up there with a cold and still tired from getting home the week before from Intermediate 2 where I was the Bead Lady! Finally my dream of being the Bead Lady came true! All the kids loved me, which is weird because on the second day I cut myself on the paper cutters (seriously those things are dangerous, note to self: don't put your finger on the exacto knife part) and I didn't realize it until I was helping one girl put her bracelet on and said, "Where did that red come from?" Um. My blood. That's where. "I'm so sorry! I didn't know I was bleeding," I said. She was all, "That's okay," and unconcerned that the crazy Bead Lady just gave her some kind of blood disease (not really). Sorry for the digression. Anyway for someone who is naturally tired all the time (or would that be unnaturally?), all it takes is a laid back week at camp as the Bead Lady to wear you out enough that you get a cold because the walls of your immune system are made of rice paper. The craft was actually paper beads, which is ironic because we're on a lake and all the kids go swimming and no matter how many times you tell ten-year-olds that paper beads are not waterproof they still need to find out for themselves.

That week as the Bead Lady a friend told me about Auxano. What is that you say? A type of acne cream? No! I shall give you the definition because we all know how much you love reading definitions on my blog:

       Auxano (owx-an'-o)
  1. to cause to grow, augment
  2. to increase, become greater
  3. to grow, increase
    1. of plants
    2. of infants
    3. of a multitude of people
    4. of inward Christian growth
So basically it's a greenhouse for growing plants and infants. Sorry, I was thinking of those little screaming baby plants from Harry Potter called Mandrakes. It's actually a greenhouse for Christians, as in an eight-month discipleship program for young adults aged 17-24 from September to April. My friend Erin told me they still needed a female RA, Resident Advisor. I said, "Oh I could never do that, I'd be too tired." She said, "Well you're tired all the time at home, why not be tired up at camp?" You think you're soooo smart, don't you Erin? Actually she is (she has also struggled with fatigue so she knows what it's like. She is probably one of the only people who could say that to me!). Sometimes the best wisdom is the most obvious. At Senior my friend Katie told me the amazing news that she was going to be one of the students. I was so happy for her, going out and doing this thing, whatever it was, that I obviously could never, ever do. Then Andy the director of camp sneakily started asking me questions that I knew were leading to something to do with the RA position and me. Then I thought, "Do I have to actually consider this? What, now I have to physically sit down and pray about it and ask God if I should do it and wait to see what He says and then have an internal dialogue with myself, or not-so internal because I like to talk out loud like a crazy person?" This was asking too much, people. Too much.

I wanted God to make it clear to me by Tuesday morning SHARP so that I could actually give my two weeks notice at work. And then what did God go and do? He left it up to me. He left the door wide open so that I could decide if I wanted to walk through it or not. It seemed like the perfect time to move out. As some might say I needed to fly the cuckoo's nest, I mean nest, although cuckoo is probably the most appropriate bird for my family (sorry family). And God had already shown me at Senior coed that His grace was sufficient for me, that He could use me despite my tiredness. One by one all the obstacles I thought were so huge (health issues, my parents needing to move, financial problems, my dog) they just started to seem more like changes than obstacles. What's a little inconvenience to my parents? By now they were secretly begging me to move out and get on with my life. So what if I can't afford to get a crown on my sketchy tooth? God would give me dentures. What's a dog, anyway, when you think about it? People in China eat them (just kidding, I mean they do, but I love my dog. Unfortunately she loves my mom more anyway.) One big thing that changed my mind? I told my brother about it and He was totally, completely against it. He reminded me that we are not rich kids who can just give up our jobs at a moment's notice. And then out of the blue during a different conversation he said, "I think you should do it. I will support you financially $20 a month." (What a good brother!) So I gave my two weeks notice at work and will be leaving on the 15th of September for eight months up at one of my favorite places on earth! The ten or so of us will be staying in a house in Lake Cowichan and commute to camp every day for the program. I will be an advisor and leader for the students so I have to be on my best behavior = sarcastic, attention-seeking Faith will have to sit on the back burner (she can come visit me in my room when no one is looking). Room and board and food are paid for but I will most likely have to raise money for a living allowance.

Wait a second, who decided that I would make a good RA? Have they read my blog? Do they know me? I think someone has made a grave error. No one must ever know how unqualified I am to lead a group of girls my own age in discovering their inner selves. I write stories about unicorns for goodness sake's. Thank GOD He is strong in my weakness! If the onus is on me this ship is going down in a giant whirl pool, and fast, with a lot of screaming and throwing up. If the onus is on Jesus then we have nothing to worry about! He walks on water and tells storms to pipe down and they do it. (I tell storms to pipe down too but they never do it.) I am going to have to change my name on this blog before they find out it is me and tell me no one who writes this stuff could ever advise young adults about life and God. I've just decided. I shall change my name to Paith Slenkin... Jr.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Leg Tourrette's, or Why I'm So Freaking Tired

As you may or may not know about me, I have serious problems. I mean sleeping problems (I guess I shouldn't go around saying I have serious problems without saying what they are), but no amount of sleep advice or diet advice has helped me figure out what is wrong with me. At first I thought my depression and tiredness were related as they seemed to start at the same time, around the age of 13, but when the depression was treated, the tiredness stayed the same. Doctors called it "chronic fatigue," also known as "we have no idea," and gave me many blood tests which all come back normal. I've been tested for just about everything. Except Lupus. I once asked my doctor if I could get tested for Lupus and she laughed like I was one of those hypochondriacs and said no, don't be silly... Well, look who's got Lupus now, doc! (Not me. I don't have Lupus.) I've tried sleeping pills, melatonin, acupuncture, diet changes, sleep routines and different amounts of exercise. I've taken a summer off for the sole purpose of trying to figure out my sleep. For a very long time I thought that unlike normal people I just needed way more than eight hours of sleep a night and I was constantly getting mad at myself for not going to bed at four o'clock in the afternoon.

My chronic fatigue has put a serious damper on my life. My worst fears have been:
  1. I wouldn't get married until I was eighty-two (how can you get married if you never go places to meet boys?)
  2. I couldn't have kids (refer to number one, plus, kids = even less sleep)
  3. I would never get anywhere with my writing (how can you write novels when you are too tired even to write short stories? That's when I realized maybe I should become a poet who only writes Haikus)
  4. I would never have close friends (hermits don't have friends)
On my own I found out about the Nanaimo Sleep Clinic last year (there is a sleep clinic in Victoria but they only deal with sleep apnea) and asked my doctor to refer me to it. She knows that I've had sleeping problems for years and she never thought to mention the one place on the Island that was created specifically to figure out what might be causing it? WTFM? (What the Fudge-Muffin?) After waiting 6 months I got an appointment and they gave me a sleep routine to try. For almost two months I tried that sleep routine. I had to inform my boss what I was doing so he didn't fire me. In theory it made perfect sense: stay up late, get up early, no sleeping in on the weekends and no naps in an attempt to consolidate my sleep. It didn't work. Good news! I found new levels of tired in myself that I didn't even know were humanly possible while still being able to function! At the same time that I decided I couldn't take it anymore, my boss told me I needed to stop. I guess he didn't like that I was falling asleep at my desk every day. Just thinking about how exhausted I was during that time should make me never complain about being tired again. But we all know that's never going to happen.

You see, people who aren't tired all the time don't really understand what it's like. When I tell someone I'm tired, they say, "I know, I'm tired too." Oh, are you? Why? You stayed up late on purpose??? Now imagine that your being tired isn't the consequence of poor decision making. You know that feeling of getting a good night's sleep and waking up feeling good and rested? Isn't that such a relief? I DON'T KNOW, IS IT? Seriously. I'm just saying everyone knows what it feels like to be tired, whether it's their fault or not. It's just that I've known that kind of tired every single day since I was 13. There. That's my pity party. Be sure to drink a lot of the punch - it's spiked. Actually it's whisky... spiked with punch...

Sleeping Beauty: what I would
look like if I got some sleep (obviously).
See? I told you that was never going to happen. In the middle of trying that sleep routine I had my long anticipated pajama party at the sleep clinic. They hooked me up to a bunch of electrodes all over my body and a breathing tube in my nose and then told me to go to sleep while they watched me through a camera. Right. Lucky for me I was so freaking tired from my sleep routine I fell asleep right away. Unlucky for me, I also found out exactly why that sleep routine was not working - in another two months, when I had my next appointment. Apparently I've got Twitchy Leg Syndrome. (I made up that name, the sleep specialist just called it leg twitches). And no it's not the same as Restless Leg Syndrome AKA "Jimmy legs," or as I called it as a kid, "leg sickness," which I also have. This is some wonderful other phenomenon that wakes me up 19 times per hour, or over 150 times per night. I got to watch a two minute clip of me sleeping (not even a little bit creepy, so that's good) and in two minutes I twitched three times, twice making me turn onto my other side. No wonder my dad is always telling me I kick the wall in my sleep. It's like I have leg Tourette's. What was even more unusual about the leg twitches (like that's not unusual enough) was that they were happening even during the deepest part of my sleep cycle when my body is supposed to be paralyzed. Apparently not when you have leg Tourrette's.

Do you know how amazing it feels to find out that there is a real, live, solid reason why you have been chronically tired for over ten years? Do you know how depressing it is to find out that the whole time it was just some weird leg twitches that I would never have known about unless I asked to go to this sleep clinic? The sleep guy said it could be related to back pain or iron store levels (apparently they only check those if they think you are anaemic). If he said anything about needing to eat more meat I was going to punch him. Lucky for him he was a vegetarian too and said he preferred getting his iron first-hand rather than through a cow. He gave me a prescription for a small dose of Parkinson's medication to take before bed and then assured me I was not in fact developing Parkinson's at the age of 24. When I asked about the side-effects he said, "Do you ever have schizophrenic episodes?" "No." "Do you have a gambling addiction?" "No." "Then you're good to go." So hopefully my Parkinson's medication cures my TLS/leg Tourette's, without giving me hallucinations or a sudden desire to go to the Casino, thereby changing my life forever. Seriously? Couldn't it have just been something normal that was disturbing my sleep? No. Because that would make for a boring blog post.

Friday, July 13, 2012


I just wanted to update you on what has happened since my blog post "You Win Special Snack," regarding my winnings. I now have only one Coconut Bliss coupon left for a free pint of the best coconut milk ice-cream in the world, except for the stack of coupons only usable in the States, so next time I go over, boy am I going to be in bliss. NOTE: I have never gone over. I still use my Coconut Bliss water bottle. But let's just say it's seen better days. You see, I am a little bit clutsy with my water bottle. My coworkers call me a "spilly-talka" (I always thought they were saying "taco" with some kind of gangster accent but I just found out it's "talker" with a Scottish accent. Somehow taco made sense to me. Because tacos are spilly...?). Some people are just spilly people. Like my mother, may she rest in peace (she's alive. In fact I live with her. She's just been looking a little haggard lately and I want her to have a good rest. Just kidding mom, I don't want you to have a good rest?). I like to put a positive spin on everything, so I made up a slogan for her and I say it every time she spills something: "Valerie: she makes a splash wherever she goes." As for myself, my problem is a combination of things that I have no control over:
    Weak Mug
    Weak Shop Mug
  1. Spilly genetics (as seen above)
  2. Chronic fatigue (that's why I need The Weak Shop mug with three handles)
  3. Shaky hand syndrome
  4. Artist's absent-minded syndrome
I have knocked over my water bottle on my desk approximately 10 times. Many of those times it was full of water and nearly killed my electronic devices. And yes, it does have a lid. But you have to put it back on for it to be useful.

As someone who needs a ridiculous amount of water (I have to drink 7-8 bottles of water a day so while the average person is 50-60% water, I am 90% water, 10% good intentions) I am always drinking, which means I am approximately four times more likely to spill something than the average person. This is what I like to tell myself. And people with bowel issues can't afford to get dehydrated or they shrivel up like a prune. Did you know that you can go two years without food but you can only go two hours without water before you die? (I made that up.) My Coconut Bliss water bottle is the only one I use: at work, on my bike and at home, and I take it with me wherever I go, like a blanky-bear (different from a security blanket, which I leave at home). The reason I love that water bottle is as much to do with my ego (it's the one thing I've ever won) as it is to do with science: it's stainless steel, not plastic, so the water doesn't taste funny after sitting in there and plastic particles don't mess with your brain chemistry; it doesn't have any copper around the rim to make it taste metallic and mess with your iron levels; it fits aerodynamically into my bike's bottle holder and the top screws on easy. There is a lot of science that goes into the perfect water bottle people. But after more than a few violent encounters with the ground, it now looks like it's been through a few world wars and the dents on the bottom make it as tippy as a drunken sailor. I tried bashing it on the concrete more than once to put it back into shape but to no avail.

water bottle with bullet hole was among the artifacts found at a world war I battlefield in Turkey.
A water bottle with a bullet hole was among the
artifacts found during an archaeological survey
of a First World War site, the Anzac battlefield
 in Turkey. It may or may not have been the same
one as mine.
One day I spilled my water bottle all over my desk just after my coworker Shelly left for the day. I was lying out my soggy papers on the floor to dry (reminiscent of A Beautiful Mind) when I heard Shelly, who shouldn't have been there anyway, say, "Did you spill again?" Hearing her, another coworker came over and then another and then my boss heard and came over and the jig was up. That's when the truth got out about me. Well, I have finally spilt my water bottle one too many times, my friends. You know you have done something one too many times when your boss finally comes over and actually orders you to get rid of your water bottle because it is becoming a hazard to the computer equipment... But there was no way I was parting with my prize. No sir. So I went to the bathroom and using the rounded water faucet I slammed that baby into the bottom of my water bottle until it sat flat. And if I ended up breaking the company's water faucet in the process, well, I could say my boss told me to. Who's winning now, huh?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Convoking a Convocation

We weren't allowed to throw our hats.
I hid behind some trees and did it anyway...
I went to my convocation last week. What in the world is a convocation you ask?

noun \ˌkän-və-ˈkā-shən\
a. The act of convoking.
b. A group of people convoked, especially the members of a college or university community who are assembled for a ceremony.

I love when dictionary definitions require you to look up the definition of another word just to understand the first one, like it's purposefully challenging your intelligence. To convoke means "to call (a meeting, assembly, etc.) together; summon." When you are summoned you feel greatly compelled to go to your summonses, otherwise you might end up in court.

After going to the wrong place trying to find my regalia, then going to the wrong classroom for the rehearsal, you would think this would worry me. Au contraire. It was extremely satisfying to know I was finishing just as I had started: not knowing where the heck to go. Five minutes before the ceremony started they told us that if we hadn't paid our fees or there were any outstanding problems, we wouldn't receive our degree. I was dumbfounded. You're telling me, the university is going to let some schmuck get up there in his gown and cap and inform him it was a false alarm? I have to believe that sometime between then and the five minutes before we were going on stage, somebody, somewhere would pull that guy out of line and tell him the bad news. My question is: how the heck did he get this far in the process (and why is he automatically a boy)?

I had been mourning the fact that graduation was not going to be what I had always imagined it would be, what movies made it out to be and what other departments who were with the same people throughout their program were probably experiencing. There were only two people I knew who were graduating with me and I don't think they would have reacted well if I started jumping up and down like a school girl (because that would be the last time I could use that expression legitimately) and giving them hugs and kisses. But I was feeling disappointed and lonely so I prayed and God showed me how to enjoy it for what it was, not for what it wasn't. He put me next to a very nice girl I hadn't met before but who was also in the writing program and this year the Christian chaplain was picked to say the prayer. She called on "the Prince of Peace" and I felt like God was telling me He was with me. I also felt like I was walking into The Phantom of the Opera when the opening music was played and I can only assume the guy playing the very old organ was trying to scare off any graduates at the last minute (university is all about weeding out the weaklings). I automatically "put my hand at the level of my eye" to block any strangling attempts, because if the UVic phantom was going to make his move it would be then people. But no worries, once you had passed that test (I got a B), the guys from Hogwarts showed up in their medieval, wizard looking outfits and played some music obviously inspired by Harry Potter. I turned to the girl next to me I had just made friends with and said, "Do you feel like you're in Hogwarts?" She said, "YES!" The Chancellor, aka Dumbledore, even had a purple Sorting Hat that he tapped on our heads before we got our degrees. Any minute they were going to call out, "Faith Blenkin, Griffindor!"

You can watch me gradauate in the UVic convocation video here but I don't know why you would. It is the longest video in the world and the first half of it is full of ponds and grass. I wouldn't make my worst enemy watch it. I am in it for point-two seconds (skip to 107:34).

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Bike Riding Diaries

Today three things made me happy on my bike ride home:
1. An elderly couple riding a bicycle built for two. When you're old, you need a little help.
2. A group of people standing in a huddle dressed up as knights in shining armor. I looked for a camera but didn't see one... I think they just enjoy dressing up as knights.
3. A man who biked in front of me for half the way home without once touching his handles bars. Wait you thought that was the interesting part? No, it was the fact that he used his spare hand time to do bird calls and flap his arms around in a dance(?) as people passed him. By pass him, I mean bikers going the opposite way because despite not using his hands he still somehow managed to bike faster than everyone else... as he did bird calls... and arm flapping (I distinctly heard a bird that sounded like an owl call back). Needless to say, it made me very, very happy. I was also happy to see he was dressed like a professional biker, not some shirtless hippy without a helmet like you were previously imagining.

One thing didn't:
1. Stupid boys in a truck howled at me as they passed by and almost gave me a heart attack. I wouldn't have minded if it was a suggestive howl like they saw passed the biking outfit and my brother's old helmet to the beautiful person inside. But it was definitely an "I'm going to make you crash into oncoming traffic and laugh" howl. How rude. And exhilarating.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Or that time I..

Just remembering some funny moments. Like that time I lost my balance standing on the bus and actually fell on some strange man's lap. Looking back, there were so many things I wish I had said to smooth that over. But really, is there any smoothing over sitting in a stranger's lap? No. No there is not.
Or that time I decided to pick up my friend's travel mug and turn it upside down to see if it said what it was made of on the bottom. As mugs often are, it was full of coffee. I will never live that down.

Or that time I took a coffee onto the double decker bus and dropped it on the upper level, spilling it all over the floor. It meant that every time the bus went forward or came to a stop, everyone watched the coffee creeping further up and down the aisle and eventually spill down the stairs. You have no idea how horrifying it is to have to tell the bus driver that you had an accident. 

I should really stay away from coffee. And buses. Especially together...

Or one I really like: instead of saying "Have a good day" at the end of a call at work, I accidentally said, "Have a good idea."

Or that time I was really sweaty after biking to work so I decided to use the shirt I had biked in as a towel just to realize I forgot the shirt I was going to wear and now had to put back on the shirt I had just used to dry myself.

Or that time I watched some guy ahead of me step in dog poo in the middle of the sidewalk and as I watched I thought "Poor sucker never looked where he was going," and immediately stepped in the first part of the same dog's poo because I was too busy watching the other guy not looking where he was going. I tried to get his attention to commiserate with him but he pretended I wasn't there and that nothing had happened. Pride goeth before the fall but not before you steppeth in poo.

This is me, a failed bear.
Or that time I volunteered to wear the teddy bear mascot costume at a Christmas fundraiser for the Queen Alexandra Foundation and tried to convince a skeptical little boy that I was in fact a real bear. I mistakenly said something about bears celebrating Christmas and decorating Christmas trees. He replied (with disdain), "Bears hibernate during the winter." Nobody told me I was talking to Dwight Schrute's illegitimate child.

Or how as a child I had an obsession with carving my name into things, particularly our furniture. At the time I wasn't thinking that this was incriminating myself, I was solely thinking of one word: fame. I carved "F+R" (R for the boy I liked in grade two) into a cabinet and when my mother confronted me I tried to convince her it was someone else. Of the ones I remember, I wrote my name in our doorframe, our storage unit, my desk at home and at school, a bunkbed at camp and many trees. When I was thirteen I got in trouble with the park ranger at Miracle Beach campgrounds for carving "Faith + Mike" inside a large heart, into a tree on our camp site.  Mike was a boy I liked on a camping trip after knowing him for three days and, as we all know, 95% of all park rangers are bitter about young love (this is true, I swear). The day before he left he serenaded me on the beach with his Catholic school horror stories. He had a concaved chest and said his best friend was a girl with big boobs who offered to donate some to fill the hole. These are the kind of boys I like.

You will also find my name in many cement structures around my old complex: the rock wall in my back yard, a corner of the basketball court, my friend's patio, the curb on my street and outside my aunt's old house in James Bay.

I refuse to be forgotten.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Dear Vampire Diaries

So, after I wrote my "Dear Paul Wesley" post and didn't hear anything back from him, I decided it was time to take our relationship to the next level. I wrote a real letter, on paper, to the Vampire Diaries cast and put it in this magic portal called "the mailbox." And it too is a love letter, only to all of them, not just Paul... My thinking was this: "Won't it be awesome to put this in my blog when they write back?" They never wrote back. Why? I don't understand. I did research for goodness sakes. Out of the hundreds of letters they must receive on a daily basis, clearly mine must be the diamond in the dung heap. Not that I think highly of myself or anything... I inserted the character names to help you. It was also written in January, so things in the show have changed since then, especially with Stefan. This is it:

The Vampire Diaries Cast
Bonanza Productions, Inc.
2364 Park Central Boulevard

Decatur, GA 30035-3914

January 26, 2012

Dear Vampire Diaries cast, will you marry me? I know what you’re thinking, she’s a total bigamist. But this is my first love letter, uh, I mean fan letter (I don’t know if there is a real difference: as a fan, I am writing to confess my love to you = love letter), so it might not live up to your expectations, but I’m in denial waiting for the next episode and out of that this letter… happened.

Friday, April 27, 2012


This is what I feel like.
One thing that makes me wish I wore makeup is this horrendously frightful disease that attacks your face with red bumps and tiny little black spots. No, not the plague. I just mean acne. And people with acne have to come to the realization really fast that their self-worth can't be based on how clear their skin is or they will develop acne-induced agoraphobia. Every time I'm having a fight with my complexion those Proactiv ads are like angels of light calling to me, and finally I decided to order it. I found out that the ads are American and the great deal of $30 is actually $70 in Canada. Suddenly my complexion isn't looking so bad... I am lucky in that I've never had really bad acne. Ever since I can remember, however, I have been susceptible to what is known as "bathroom-possession." It's something that happens when you go into the bathroom between 10-12 pm to get ready for bed and you wash your face and everything is going okay until all of a sudden you notice an imperfection in your skin and then you black out and when you wake up you look like you have the measles or some other facial disease, because there wasn't just one imperfection was there??!! You found more and more and YOU HAD TO EXPEL THE EVIL FROM YOUR BODY!!!!!! And then your mother gets mad at you and says, "You're going to give yourself scars!" and you mumble something like, "Whatever woman," and then a week later when the blemish is gone but in its place is a scar on your face (and on your soul), you know the truth: your mother is always right. Always.

Friday, April 13, 2012

This One's for My Bro

I wrote this when I was nine. I think it shows many things about me: my early love of writing, my hilarious and witty sense of humor and my ability to depreciate others for the sake of being funny, regardless of familial loyalty. I've kept the spelling and grammar mistakes for your reading pleasure. And yes, it was typed:
"Josh is my brother although he is stupid he is the kind of person you have to forgive him for being born that way. He was born on mars,although he was an ugly craeture my mom learned to love and care for him.And I think he turned out fine,(stupid) but fine.My mom (says) she named him Josh because of the way he makes his alian sounds.By the past few years he learned how to speak inglesh,and write now he can probley say all the words but,the docters say he will always make some sounds no one knows what he is saying. He will never get the hang of using the toilet.(This is a true story from Sanich News)
"By Faith Blenkin."
 You're welcome.

Ollie has issues...
P.S. I should clarify that the inspiration for this story came from hearing the plethora of my brother's action figure noises that were constantly coming from his room. It was his own language. I was always disappointed when I tried to play with his action figures and I think I now know why: I could never make those noises.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

ThE eViL EaSter bUnnY

What mother is letting their child sit on that?
Yesterday I just had to see a picture of a little yellow chick in a nest and I started salivating for Easter chocolate. Easter is coming. One year our family had a big get together at Beacon Hill Park and we had an Easter egg hunt. There was a little kid race and for the first, last and only time in a race, I won, probably against some toddlers and really slow, crippled kids. Someone in the family wore a giant Easter bunny head and it traveled around to different people, which if they were trying to keep the magic alive, was very confusing. Why does the Easter bunny keep changing people? And who was crazy enough in the family that they thought it was necessary to rent a bunny head for the occasion? That's a trick question. It could be anyone. But as much as I admire their enthusiasm, I'm really surprised it didn't freak me out. I'm actually surprised the Easter bunny in general didn't freak me out. For one, a full-grown man in a bunny suit makes me think genetic mutation. Secondly, the Easter bunny was clearly trying to kill me by dropping off little eggs of poison all over my house. Doesn't the Easter bunny know I am not only allergic to dairy products, I'm also allergic to cocoa? Yes, of course the Easter bunny knows that. The Easter bunny is a wheeler and dealer. How else would he be able to get the chickens to give up their babies? But the truth is no one wants to be the only kid eating jelly beans while everyone else is eating chocolate eggs. No one.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Makeup: Why I'm a Hippie

The look of realization that your mother is a
failure because you are on "Toddlers and Tiaras."
In grade eight I started wearing makeup. For three years I suffered under that dictator. My eyes always bothered me but I didn't want to face the reality that I was allergic to mascara. For most girls being allergic to mascara would be like saying you might as well wear a paper bag over your head. As I'm sure most girls know, if I ever went without makeup people thought I was sick. No, that's just me without makeup you insensitive jerk, naturally pale and sickly looking. Then at the end of grade ten I got pink-eye. Yes, folks. Pink-eye set me free. You see, when you have pink-eye, you can't wear mascara. Did someone pass gas into my pillow? Maybe. But all I know is I will be forever thankful for their flatulence. I remember going to school without makeup that first day and feeling like the whole world was looking at me. The whole world wasn't looking at me, but a few people were, and like the other times I'd gone to school without makeup they assumed I must be dying. But, miraculously, after a couple days no one noticed, they were too busy noticing I wasn't dead. And then I just kind of... didn't start wearing it again. For once my laziness was working for me! The next year I went to a different school where everyone just assumed I had always been a sickly child and kept it to themselves. It was like the Faith Identity, like the Bourne Identity, but starring me. I got a hair cut, told people I was an orphan who used to be in the circus and started calling myself by my middle name. Wait, hold up: if you know my middle name then you know you can't trust that last sentence. Unless maybe I shortened my middle name to "Seppy," in which case, the whole thing becomes believable again.

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Weak Shop

"The first rule of Mustache Club is...
don't be in Mustache Club."
If you suffer from weakness or back pain or tiredness or are plagued with general sloth, this blog post is for you! I would like to promote some "weak" products that you might find helpful as a fellow sufferer. As you may know from previous posts or from real life interaction (if you don't know what that is you should join a club. At UVic they have clubs for everything: Knitting club, Anime club, Gluten-Free club, Quidditch club, Pokemon club, Tree Climbing club. It doesn't matter how socially awkward you are, they have a club for you) I have back, knee and hip problems so I've started seeing a chiropractor. As in he is fixing my back - though I do have secret intentions for marriage that he doesn't know about. He's in competition with my pharmacist. When I go get my anti-crazy pills I say to my parents, "I'm just going to see my boyfriend to get some drugs!" and they understand exactly what I mean, though sometimes they are a little concerned. I keep meaning to find out my future pharmacist husband's schedule because lately I haven't seen him. He is probably avoiding me. By virtue of getting drugs from him, he now knows I am mentally unstable. He also knows I have a malfunctioning bowel because I once had to ask him where the psyllium husks were and he directed me to the old people's aisle... right next to the Depends. If he ends up rejecting me I will just bounce back with, "Oh yeah? Well how come it always takes the pharmacists so long to get my pills? Is it the counting? They get to twenty-nine and the phone rings and they have to start over again?" I am full of good insults.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Big Mouth Betty (Debby Downer's BFF)

I am a faulty machine. If you bought me, hopefully you kept the receipt. For instance, sometimes I have a big mouth. No, I don't mean the actual size of it, though it is large. Actually my mouth isn't so large as my gums are ginormous. When I smile it is equal parts gum and teeth. Some might say large gums are not aesthetically pleasing, and although I haven't yet had a dentist say, "You're lucky, you have large gums," I prefer thinking of them as well-endowed. I imagine that some day I will be old and have no teeth, and then I will be happy that I have such large gums to fill up my smile. What was I saying? Something to do with talking too much... Oh right, what I actually meant by having a  big mouth was that I say things without thinking. They call me Big Mouth Betty (fortunately no one's ever called me that). She's best friends with Debby Downer. I wish I could say that at least I mean well. Unfortunately when you say something without thinking, you don't have time to sneak good intentions behind your words and use that as an excuse. And telling someone you mean well instead of apologizing is about as effective as telling someone you didn't mean it. Didn't you? Didn't you? Then there are the times where you actually do mean well but you still shouldn't have said it. You may have been thinking before you spoke, but you were thinking of bunny rabbits. These are some of the ways it happens:
  1. I want to be funny, so I say something slightly hurtful but hilarious.
  2. I have this desire to share things with people but some things are not mine to share.
  3. I like to talk.
  4. I usually think I am right (I usually am) and so I argue for no reason (except to prove your ignorance, obviously).
  5. I am always overtired and when I get irritable sometimes bad things come out.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Second to Last Unicorn

I tried to read The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle which was written in the late 60's, probably the best time in history to write something about unicorns, but I couldn't finish it. I'm so mad because he totally stole the title for the book I'm writing. I just hope the title "The Second to Last Unicorn" is still available. I heard about the book from someone in my writing class who asked me what kind of books I like to read (I said I liked fantasy, the classics like Dickens and Austen, as well as pretty much any good fiction). And she recommended it. Who was I to argue? I mean besides the fact that it's one of my favorite love-hate pastimes (arguing). But I didn't actually think the book would be from the perspective of a unicorn. Let me give you a glimpse into the mind of a unicorn. "Hi, I'm a unicorn. I eat grass and sparkles. I'm spiky. And magic!" But maybe I am going about this the wrong way. Maybe if I read it as a kid's book, I would be like, "Whoa, what a good book," like the first Harry Potter book. I know some people didn't like the first one as much as the later ones, mainly because the first is written as a kid's book, and the later ones are more young adult (I think I would pee my pants if I read the later ones as a kid, but so many kids do! I mean read them, but the other also applies). I happen to love the first Harry Potter for its good editing and polished writing. I find the more I develop my own writing, the harder it is to read some of my favorite books, as well as the fact that I'm reading them as an adult. It is one of those sad facts of life, that things you love as a child just don't hold up as an adult. My favorite is rewatching movies I watched as a kid and thinking it was a good thing I didn't understand half the things they were talking about. It's like finding out the trusted mounties are actually just corrupt, sexist cowboys. And that's why I love unicorns. They can't be corrupted. They poop rainbows.