Do you sometimes really miss parts of your past for no real reason? Not, like, particular events or days or anything like that, but routines or schedules that you remember you used to have at various points in life that you don’t have anymore.
I miss my past sometimes.
I don’t know why I felt like saying that. It’s not like my present is bad or anything—it’s the opposite, in fact!—but I just every once and awhile really, really miss the way things used to be.
Yeah. Sorry. Don’t have much to say today.
For my presentation* in my seminar class, I’m basically presenting some of the main results of my MA thesis. This has required me to dredge up this old notebook from way back when.
This notebook brings back bad memories.
This notebook brings back thoughts of UBC.
This notebook brings back thoughts of how, every morning, I would dread going to campus with every fiber of my being.
This notebook brings back thoughts of how I would have a panic attack every Thursday because Thursday was the day I was supposed to meet with my supervisor.
This notebook brings back thoughts of how much I eventually stopped caring about school—something I hate admitting even now.
This notebook reminds me that I lost two years of my early twenties to misery, fear, dread, and depression, among other things.
This notebook brings back bad memories.
Aaaaaaaand now I’m sad.
*You may be asking, “if this brings back so many bad memories, why the hell are you doing your presentation on your old thesis results? Because the presentation is focused more on our presentation skills rather than the content, so it was recommended that we just use some results/ideas that we’ve come up with in the past and focus on the “presenting” part rather than try to come up with something new.
I’m posting this thingy I wrote for Non-Fiction because 1) I have nothing else to say today
and 2) looking back, this is freaking hilarious, even though at the time it was REALLY scary.
* * *
When I was in fourth grade, several of my friends and I attempted to summon Bloody Mary in the basement of our church.
Of course, good Catholic girls would usually never dream of doing such a thing. Church was for worship, and worship was to be carried out sitting in the pews of the main hall. The basement was reserved for storing old candle holders, robes, and broken organ pipes. It certainly wasn’t a place to summon apparitions.
And though we were indeed good Catholic girls who attended church regularly, prayed before every meal, and were kind to the nuns in charge of our elementary school, we were also a clique of tweens looking to entertain ourselves one dreary Saturday afternoon. Thus, the prospect of going down to the basement and getting in a little trouble was something none of us particularly shied away from.
St. Mary’s Church was a familiar place to all of us. Every Friday entailed a mini field trip for our whole school to the church to begin the day with a service before resuming our usual education. But we had ended up there on a Saturday due to the Easter service planned for the following weekend. Our parents, avid Christians themselves, had volunteered to help our priest to prepare the church for the lavish event that was Easter. The collective lot of us kids—seven girls in total—had been dragged along to help as well.
However, it became clear rather quickly that we were too distracting to one another to add any degree of useful labor to the situation, so we were ushered away from the flowers and candles and banners and told to “go play.”
My father was the head trainer of altar servers. Due to his lack of foresight regarding hiring a babysitter to watch me while he went to train, I would often be dragged along with him and forced to entertain myself as he worked. As such, I knew the basement of the church well. I proposed it as an option to my friends, and as we descended the stairs carpeted in a mustard yellow and flecked with maroon like old splatters of blood, Mariah, always the troublemaker, proposed the idea of Bloody Mary.
We were all familiar with the ritual, of course—stand in a darkened room in front of a mirror, chant “Bloody Mary, we have your baby” three times, and wait for her ghost to appear. We were bored, none of us could think of anything else to do, so we agreed without much argument. To the left of the landing at the foot of the stairs was a single-occupant unisex bathroom. On one side was situated a long counter and on the wall above it stood a large mirror with a string of naked bulbs in a row above.
It was perfect for our purposes.
We funneled into the bathroom, giggling with that sort of reserved nervousness that only arises when you know you are doing something that is likely to lead to trouble. I shut the door behind us and instruct Kelly to turn off the lights.
We ceased giggling as the room snapped to darkness, only the faded glow of the extinguished bulbs above the mirror and the slightest sliver of light from the hallway spilling onto the floor from the crack under the door still illuminating us. But it was too dark to see anything else.
Mariah, the instigator of all this, was rendered silent. It was Lara who prompted us to speak.
“So?” she whispered, as if even the faintest sound above our collective breath would evoke Mary from her mirrored entombment.
“We have to start it together,” I whispered back, too afraid to begin the ritual alone. Meredith suggested a count-off and, with nervous breaths beating whisps of noise into the static that was the surrounding silence, we began our chant.
“Bloody Mary, I have your baby…”
You could hear our collective consternation in the wavering of our voices. Of course, none of us believed for a second that upon the third calling of her name, Bloody Mary would indeed rend herself from the reflective glass and murder us all. But we barely whispered the call anyway, just in case the rumors regarding the ritual were true.
Someone to the right of me reached down and grabbed hold of my hand. I jumped. It was only the sensation of the warm palm against mine and the fact that whoever the hand belonged to moved even closer to me that prevented me from screaming that our bloody apparition had arrived two calls early.
“Bloody Mary, I have your baby…”
The room was getting hot. The obvious reason for this—that the already-stuffy bathroom was full of 7 nervous fourth-graders all panting with anticipation and fear—never even occurred to us, or at least to me. I was convinced the heat was emanating from the mirror as we blindly faced it in the musty darkness in front of us.
The person standing to my left grabbed my unoccupied hand and I grabbed hers back and we clung to each other as the final four words were sent from our lips and jettisoned into the receiving darkness and whatever other beings occupied it.
“…I have your baby.”
In the silence that followed, I realized I had shut my eyes despite the darkness and decided to reopen them in a sudden surge of bravery. Had all my senses not been occupied in my intense focus on the mirror, I would have been aware of the fact that my hands were in a death-grip with the two individuals who had sought similar comfort from me. My ears were like receivers, trying to filter through that odd din of static that so readily beats upon your ear drums in the absence of any real sound, listening for any indication that Bloody Mary was on her way.
Nothing. Not a sound, not a movement, not even a change in the hot air encapsulating us all, save for the quick, nervous breaths of a group of young girls prepared for horror but relieved to find no such thing awaiting them. My heart, though still pounding so severely I thought in my 11-year-old mind that I’d actually experienced a heart attack, slowed almost immediately to a more normal pulse.
Then there was a bang. Had we been in a safer situation, we would have attributed the bang to its rightful source: our priest knocking a ceramic bowl to the carpeted floor or maybe a parent dropping a heavy box. But to us, it was none other than Bloody Mary herself, the angered apparition awoken from her slumber, banging against the back of the mirror before breaking into our make-shift sychomanteum to murder us all.
The bathroom erupted into blind chaos. Screaming, pushing, jumping, flailing—the two hands I was holding broke free of mine in a flurried panic as their owners shrieked and thrashed and thought solely of protecting themselves from the murderous specter.
I pushed my way through the choir of terrified sopranos towards the door, the sliver of light emanating from between the bottom of the door and the floor projecting like a ray of hope for escape. I clawed at the doorknob, my fingers rendered numb and useless from fear, until I finally heard the click of the hinge and I throw the door wide to save us all.
We burst from the darkened room, still hollering, still flailing, still shaking our hands and arms as if to shed ourselves of any residual poltergeist that may have touched us in the turmoil. But the immediate danger being over, our shrieks soon dissolved into nervous giggles and tense smiles as we realized we’d survived the summoning with nothing more than racing hearts to show for it.
But in another instant I caught a glimpse of Mariah’s hand, a sharp streak of red standing out against the white of her skin.
“What’s that?” I asked her, pointing to the offending mark.
The giggling stopped as our attention was turned to Mariah. She inspected the mark, then ran the fingers of her opposite hand across it. She brought her stained fingers together, rubbed them to get an idea of the substance.
“It’s lipstick,” she whispered.
Our silence due to curiosity gave way to the silence of shock as all of us, our eyes wide, glanced at one another with astonishment over the new development that had just taken place. There was no doubt in any of our minds now that Bloody Mary had indeed paid us a visit, and it was only our panicking and swift exiting of the bathroom that had saved us from anything more severe than a streak of blood-red lipstick.
We said no more to each other; we simply clung together, a herd of spooked young girls who had just escaped a brush with death, and made our way back up out of the basement. It would be years before we felt comfortable discussing the encounter at all.
Now some may question whether our shock over this bit of cosmetic displacement was actually warranted. After all, being 11- and 12-year-olds, we were in the right demographic for makeup experimentation. It could easily be assumed that the lipstick, belonging to one of us, had ended up on Mariah’s hand in the chaos that had ensued in the bathroom. This is a perfectly valid theory, and one we had all considered before the obvious reason for its dismissal occurred to any of us: good Catholic girls don’t wear makeup.
Last night I dreamt about my elementary school graduation. Which is funny, ‘cause I actually didn’t attend my elementary school graduation. I was in the hospital getting my appendix removed.
I actually remember those few days quite well. I went to St. Mary’s, for those of you who don’t know, which is a small Catholic school for grades 1 through 6. There were approximately 100 students in the whole school and about 22 or 23 in our class by graduation time.
Anyway, being a small dink of a school, it was tradition for the graduating class to, two days before graduation, have a big picnic on the school grounds with their parents and then spend the night in the school. I’m actually surprised how much free reign they gave us during the “spending the night” portion. They opened up the cafeteria (which was really the “multipurpose room” because it was also the band room/choir room/P.E. room, stage, after school room, and any other room we really needed) and we spent most of the night watching Christian-oriented shows (Veggie Tales, McGee and Me) and overdosing on cookies, then we kind of sprawled ourselves out across the building to sleep.
The next morning (which was Saturday?) I woke up feeling kind of crappy. My stomach kind of hurt and I felt “off.” I figured it was just a sugar/adrenaline crash, so I thought nothing else of it.
It must have been a Saturday now that I’m remembering, ‘cause my dad took me to the mall that morning. It was our Saturday tradition; he’d give me $20 and an hour and set me free to wander. This was usually fun, but that day I remember feeling super nauseous (plus in pain) so I spent most of the time in the bathroom trying not to vomit.
For whatever reason I didn’t think this was a big deal, and neither did my dad ‘cause we actually went out to see a movie that afternoon (Big Momma’s House. Yeah, I know, I know.). I felt terrible through the whole thing, but I stuck it out.
Things started getting worse all afternoon and that night I threw up like five times before finally passing out to sleep for about three hours. But the next morning was graduation, so my mom was very insistent* that I went to church/graduation/Big Catholic “Jesus Helped You Get Through School!” party time. So even though I couldn’t stand up straight or barely walk I got dressed up and in the car and to the church.
Luckily, one of my friend’s mother was a nurse and she could tell pretty easily that I probably had appendicitis. So before the ceremony even started I had to leave so that I could go to Gritman (and wait around for another 5 hours or something until they could schedule a surgery).
Anyway. That’s what I dreamt about. I don’t know why I felt it necessary to divulge that little story to y’all, but I did. So there.
*She was insistent because she knew I was getting a writing award during the ceremony and didn’t want me to miss it.
…was the very first day of college for myself and at least two of my readers.
Exactly six years ago we became official college students, taking our very first classes and having our very first college-level grade-related panic attacks.
(Maybe that last part was just me)
It’s crazy what six years can do, eh? We’re all in very separate places but still in the same town.
I often think the same things of my high school friends as well. I wonder about the different paths we’ve all taken to get us to where we are now.
Life is a weird, weird thing.
Six years ago, I didn’t even want to go to college. I thought it was the next unavoidable step in life, so I just went. I wanted nothing to do with math/stats/anything quantitative and was a psychology/music/theatre triple major (hahahaha).
Now I’m teaching a freaking statistics class.
What about the rest of you guys? How much has changed for you in the last six years? What’s stayed the same?
I totally forgot I’d started this blog on MySpace until the little neural pathways that had formed over the course of four and a half years caused me to automatically scroll to the “MySpace” bookmark rather than the “Wordpress” bookmark and I was automatically logged into my old account.
Everything’s still there! I look horrible with long hair.
In my 100 Things list, I mention my constant singing of the Frosted Flakes “Hey Tony!” song when I was younger. Here is one such instance.
How these theatrics didn’t get me a paid endorsement job with Kellogg’s is beyond me. There’s a whole 60-minute tape of me doing crap like this.
Also, I still have that shirt. It was the “uniform” I got in T-ball when I played it in first grade.
I’ve transcribed this here before, but now that I’ve got the wonderful and incredibly high-tech method of taping my TV with my camera and uploading said recording to Compy and then onto YouTube, I can show you the actual video. Not that you care (and not that I expect you to), but I’m posting it anyway. Mostly so that I’ve put it somewhere.
Here is our 7th grade advanced reading group performing our interpretation of the fight between Paul and Jamis in Frank Herbert’s Dune. Brendan’s the tall blonde guy playing Paul, Kyle’s the guy playing Jamis, Mitchell’s the guy who jumps off the tower in the beginning, Kristen’s Jessica, and I’m the camera guy.
And here are the “bloopers,” which is basically us performing Brendan’s scripted interpretation of pretty much everything relating to Duncan Idaho. Brendan’s twisted, twisted script.
I miss that freaking sweater so much.
My stuff came this morning, yay!
First thing I did involved digging out the monitor to Big Compy and hooking it to Old Vaio (the one with the busted screen). Laughed at all the old crap from high school senior year and all my undergraduate silliness.
Spinning pineapple drawn and animated in Flash! I had this titled thereisaseasonturnturnturn.gif. (EDIT: apparently you have to click on stationary pineapple to get it its own page. It’ll spin there.) (EDIT 2: apparently it depends on your browser)
Also, of the 50 songs I currently have rated 5 stars, 22 of them were rated 5 stars back in the era of Old Vaio.
That is all.
It happened before Facebook. It happened before YouTube. It happened before the iPhone. It happened before Wi-Fi became widespread.
But the news of the first plane hitting the World Trade Center spread across the country probably faster than any of us could have imagined.
I remember waking up that morning to go to school. My mom already had the news on. It was shortly after the first tower had been hit, and as such there was still a great amount of confusion amongst the news reporters about what exactly had happened. Yes, the tower had been hit by a plane, but there was still speculation regarding whether it was an accident.
I personally remember thinking that’s all it was as I packed up my stuff to walk to school (8th grade). I think my most distinct memory of the day was when I first got on campus a little bit later. Students were rushing into the building, parents exiting the parking lot quickly. I saw my friend Amy, also in a hurry, pass me on her bike.
“What’s going on?” I asked.
“The second tower just got hit,” she said. “Big news. Everyone’s talking about it.”
I really don’t remember much else from that day. School didn’t happen, that’s for sure; every TV in every classroom was on, every pair of eyes in every grade watching silently as the events unfolded.
School didn’t happen for the rest of the week, either.
I think if I had been a few years older I would have remembered more. I actually remember September 11, 2002 more vividly because of how afraid everyone was about a similar even occurring on the one-year anniversary.
I guess there’s really not much I can say that hasn’t been said by anyone else today. I hope all those killed (yes, ALL those killed), both on that day and from events resulting from that day, rest in peace.
That is all.
When I was a kid in elementary school, I remember my mom always getting a little catalog full of “summer enrichment courses” offered by the city of Moscow. The catalog contained info for both adult and child classes. Being an only child with two working parents, it afforded my family to find me something to do over the summer, something which I readily looked forward to and, because of this, always loved to look through it to find the most interesting summer distractions.
Once, when I was about 6, we found a two-week-long program (that, now that I think about it, ran during the school year and not the summer) that was basically a clay camp—it was for younger kids like myself and it entailed making things out of clay and, after they were fired, glazing them and taking them home.
This was perhaps the greatest activity ever for me.
I remember being totally enthralled by it. This wasn’t the rubbery, neon-colored, oven-bake Sculpey clay I was used to. This was actual moist clay that had to be fired in a kiln before you could do anything else with it. And the glazing? HOLY FREAKING CRAP. I loved how glazes that looked brown or black initially “magically” turned out red or green or baby blue after the clay pieces were fired a second time.
The instructor of this clay class was (and, for all I know, still is) Linda Canary. I really liked her and she really liked me and I really liked clay, so after I had taken clay class several times, she suggested to my mom that I should try out Art Camp, a summer camp she run in which kids not only got to play with clay but also got to use charcoal, oil pastels, acrylic paint, plaster, sculpt soapstone, make books, and (perhaps most importantly) play on Linda’s property, which included a huge field, access to Paradise Creek, like fifteen semi-domesticated cats, a huge dress-up bin, and two treehouses. Not only that, but this camp ran for FIVE HOURS every weekday for TWO WEEKS.
Needless to say, I was thrilled.
I went to this camp until I was older than the upper age limit Linda had written on the flyers. So did I stop going? NEVER! Linda and I had gotten to know each other very well, and she actually suggested once I reached the age of 13 that I should act as her apprentice. What that meant: I would be able to attend the camp without paying the fee, but my job would basically be to assist the younger kids, organize the supplies, set up stuff between activities, and clean brushes/pottery wheels/charcoal-covered tables/charcoal-covered kids. But I could also do as much art as I wanted.
I think I apprenticed until I was 16 or 17, before I had to go and get a “real” job. Would I go back and do it again if Linda were to ever ask me? Hell yes. Art Camp was one of the greatest things I’ve ever done.
I don’t know what made me think so much about Art Camp this afternoon, but when I got back from walking around London I screwed around on the internet to see if I could find the kiln brands that Linda used, ‘cause if I ever get rich I’m SO building myself a pottery studio. I came across Dogwood Ceramic Supply, which is where I think Linda got EVERYTHING, including glaze.
So hey, if this kind of stuff interests you at all, click on the link and browse around. If I make my own studio, I’m holding adult Art Camps. Because we all need some unabashed creativity in our lives.
I found some more pics while I was packing this afternoon. Therefore I shall share them.
I was a cat lady from birth.
Haha, sorry, I just randomly found these pics this afternoon.
HOLY CRAP, so I was screwing around on StumbleUpon this afternoon and I came across some random page of NASA’s. Multiple clicks later and I came to this.
I had totally forgotten that we’d attempted to do this in fifth grade. I say “attempted” because at 4 days prior to the competition we realized that we were short a motor (we foolish children and our lack of inventory-taking skills!) and thus were forced to withdraw. No, I don’t know how exactly we had the majority of our rover finished before we realized “hey, we kinda need a third motor,” but we did. Probably because one of our members had to quit because he failed like 5 reading quizzes in a row and he was the one in charge of our Lego kit. We would have won, too, ‘cause my transmission was killer and Daniel built an exceptionally awesome rock scooper (that’s a highly technical NASA term).
So yeah. Nostalgia.
I also found a random flash drive this afternoon that had this previously un-blogged-about album cover contained on it:
Also, I need to get super hyper again in time for my calc final. I don’t remember a single damn thing I wrote on my test on Monday, but I did pretty well.
Today’s song: Hemvägen (Live Nyhetsmorgon 2007) by Detektivbyrån
I swear to god, I don’t know how she put up with me. From the time I was a very small kid (Kindergarten) I was absolutely fascinated by this camcorder she had, and I always had her tape me doing the most mundane things. Examples:
- I had a row of about 40 small rocks and made her tape me reading off their names, then giving them prizes for being rocks.
- Me reading out of the Troy phonebook.
- Me using a stencil to draw circles (FOR LIKE AN HOUR).
- Me writing in my journal.
- Me naming every freaking item in the house.
- Me counting to 100. Twice. I’m not kidding.
- And then she made the biggest mistake of her life and decided to let me have a shot at using the camera. I claimed it as mine and proceeded to make tons of ridiculous movies, including quite a long series involving a pair of gay grandpa sock puppets (no joke). I thought I was Steven Spielberg or something, I don’t know.
- Also, 24 + 7 = 20, apparently. I’ve obviously stayed at this math level my whole life.
Hooray for growing up in hick town Troy. I really don’t know why I didn’t go into directing or something after seeing all this.
So I’ve been thinking about typing class recently, for some unknown reason.
2001: a frightened number of 7th graders enter the classroom of Mrs. Walker, a creepy old lady who sounds bitter about the fact that typing classes are now taught on “computational machines” rather than typewriters.
Little did we know, this class would be our introduction to the internet.
This kid named Lucas showed us, one day after we’d finished our typing exercises for the period, this site called freearcade.com. It became the reward for finishing our typing crap and our incentive for typing as fast as we could every single damn day. Javanoid, Wiz 3, Fillit…oh, pre-adolescence grew so much more interesting with the internet.
Before this, believe it or not, I had barely been exposed to the wonderful series of tubes that Al Gore invented. We’d used Google (back when it was Google!) in 6th grade once, and I think the thing I was researching was slugs.
So all this got me thinking more…do you think people born around our years of birth (1986 – 1989, say) had the “optimal” exposure to the internet? Rationale: people born earlier than us had to either be exposed to it enough to start to understsand it, or they decided not to be exposed to it and therefore are kinda clueless about it (example: my mother and my father, respectively). People born later than us may have had too early and too prolonged exposure to it, and therefore may have a greater risk of having or gaining an addiction to it (example: one of my younger cousins).
Think about. I obviously have no authority on anything.