X-ray

Lately I’ve been having more doctor type appointments than normal. Normal being a pretty constant point of (0,0) on the x and y graph. This post was written a few days ago, as a slightly petty venting of my feelings for the medical system which I normally don’t even notice. Two disclaimers: My health is just fine, thank you, and yes I’m grateful for the health care Canada has.

Today I had to go get an x-ray done at the hospital, which not including Dentist appointments, was my first time having anything x-rayed that I can recall. It was a slightly surreal experience. Although far from scared, I was very much aware of how vulnerable the entire procedure made me feel.
Firstly, you have to be at the mercy of the staff for what time things happen at. Without a family doctor the health system of this province is pretty annoying. A lot of places seem to cling to same day service, with specific procedures surrounding appointments. Either you can only place them via phone or you can’t place them at all, or what have you else. In other words, you have to take an unknown amount of time out of your schedule and hope that it works out- it’s rather hard to plan around. But is your time more important than that of the Doctors’, and ultimately, your health? Hah.
Then there is the matter of impersonal speed. Far from the chummy doctor out of cartoons, sitting you down to talk to you. “This sounds weird, but touch your toes,”he said, running his hand down my spine then- even as I straightened- he diagnosed me with, “Scoliosis.” Since they are professionals trying to get through as many people as quickly as possible it’s an in and out service which leaves me feeling a bit dizzy, and still formulating the questions I want to ask even as I’m told where to go to schedule my next appointment.
And then during the x-ray, stripped and curtained in shapeless, medicinal feeling, scrub-shirt-robe-things I had to lie in a concrete room, controlling my breathing and holding poses while the machine clicked away. In the lowlight pallor of the harsh, artificial room I was amused-perhaps a little gratefully bewildered- to notice that someone had put a crucified Jesus, a brutal symbol of love, above the door. It was a ludicrously personal touch in the otherwise cold room.

I feel kind of detached from it. I’m not worried about my back, though I think other people might be. I hope they aren’t. I feel nervous in waiting rooms, but not for myself. Rather, for that strange feeling of having briefly left my own life to be pushed and prodded at, then rewarded for jumping through the hoops with a slip of paper or some pills.

I don’t want this to sound whiny- I’m trying not to whine. The health system makes me feel small, that’s all. Really though, I just want this whole thing to be figured out so I can do stretches or swallow pills, then get on with the last year of school.

End of Summer Shrug.

Summer is drawing to a close, and I’m not entirely sure what emotion to be feeling. I’ve spent quite a bit of my academic prone thoughts over the last few years stressing about this year, and what comes after it. Now that it’s actually about to happen it feels like just one more thing. Nothing too special. Maybe I’ll feel differently closer to the spring, when being in grad class actually begins to count for something.

 In the mean time, war of 1812, the acting gig I had over this summer and last, is finishing. Tomorrow is our closing show- we had an extra long run this year due to the Fundy Fringe Festival. It’s my last show with Iact- my schedule is far too busy as of next year to keep up with it- which is another thing that I don’t know how I’m supposed to feel about, so I just end up emotionally shrugging a little. I’m going to miss the pre-show traditions of living up to the crazy theatre kid label, jumping around, and trying to avoid the un-initiated so you don’t have to attempt to put it all in context.

(Which totally didn’t happen yesterday. Totally. Not at all. Nobody walked in on our shenanigans ever ever ever.)

The next week is a busy muddle of appointments, getting used to a new job*, and trying to visit people before our schedules are shredded again.

Cheers,

Kaelen

*I got hired at Tims. It’s not a job of glory, but it’s a job of money and discounted Timbits. So, like most other things right now, my emotion about getting the job was a shrug.

Overthinking on City Transit

What do you do when you need to get somewhere fast, don’t feel like walking (for once in a blue moon), and don’t have the license you told everyone you were going to start studying for by getting your permit this summer (one step at a time), then didn’t? You take the bus.

I generally like the bus in the summer. It’s a nice change of pace from the public transport I take during the school year; overcrowded, awkward, smelly, and crushingly, overpoweringly, loud loud LOUD. In the summer I have to pay, I can’t just show my school given slip to the driver- but in the summer, things are a little better. There are always empty seats. Sometimes there are only empty seats. When people talk they are not obnoxious teenagers who are excited to get drunk or get in the girl’s pants or do any one of those things that drive home the stereotypes like nothing else can. The people on the bus are older, and they talk about their mutual acquaintances, or they snap at their children to hold still. However, even the snapping seems to be more placid in the summer, dulled by the heat or the quiet of the bus, or the slower pace- no rush; no screaming.

 The other day however, I had a bad bus experience. It started when I thought I had more time than I did. Not thinking, I glanced at the clock, did math, and decided I had time to kill. I had a plan- I would go to the bus stop early, get money out of the bank, break the bill at the conveniently placed convenience store (rhetorical, eh?), and board my bus. I would listen to Imagine Dragons and finish the last chapter of The Ocean at the End of the Lane.

 Then I realized I had done my math wrong, that the twenty minutes was actually nine, and I ran very fast out of the house. My book was left behind, still waiting to be finished. I had no chance to go to the bank, much less break the bill, and I thought for sure I would miss my bus. But then, thanks to the tortoise like pace of the public transit system, miracle of slow miracles, I didn’t.

  Being absent minded and forgetting the time, for some reason, didn’t really bug me. I’ve become accustomed to my occasionally dysfunctional memory I suppose. The first thing to happen at the bus that gave me a slightly twisted feeling in my stomach was when a lady, standing by the doors of the bus, gave me what I thought was a go ahead to get on before she got off. Spoiler alert, it wasn’t. But instead of looking like mild teenage jerk, I looked like an obnoxious teenage jerk, only lacking the shouting about getting drunk and in girl’s pants. The lady was on crutches.

 And yes, this would probably have been enough to make me apologize profusely in a highly Canadian manner. Except then the bus driver- older, heavy set, with an aura of brusque manners that comes with being very tired of driving a bus on a very nice day- told me off in a special tone of voice that I assume was reserved for “teenagers who piss me off because they run over physically disabled people and then proceed to shout about their drunken sexual activity.” Righto then.

The second stomach set of cringes began when, having boarded the bus without getting in anyone’s way, I had to pay my fare. This was where the “bank and bill breaking” part of my plan came into play. I dropped coins in the slot, and began the walk of bad-person-who-didn’t-pay-the-fare shame to a seat when I heard brusque, very tired of stupid teenagers like me, tones inquire, “Is that $2.75?”

Nervously, “…um…crap..It should be?”

Brusquely, “O.K.”

It was actually $1.20.

I promised myself that I would pay the correct fare, plus the imbalance, on my ride home. However, in order to get the change for the ride home, I had to break a bill. Which I did by buying Jones Soda. Which leaves you with only ten cents over the bus fare if you pay from a five dollar bill. A ten cents which I placatingly told my conscience I would put in the till.

Guess what hid in a corner of my wallet when I went to put my money in the till?

Some days I realize that I really over think extremely small social situations. That I justify things that don’t particularly matter in strange ways: “Karmic Balancing- the buses were late and not on time, but I will not complain about this as much as I usually would, especially seeing as it was to my advantage for once.” So, I blog about it, because what else do you do in situations like that?

Well, what else but promise to put the extra $1.55 in next time you ride the bus.

Kaelen

PS: I also regularly jay-walk, lick the butter knife clean of jam, pick my teeth in public, and make people feel uncomfortable by cracking my joints. I don’t shout about drunk sex. Balance?

Notable Notes

Over the last week or two everything suddenly decided to revert to last summer. It’s strange, nice enough, but strange. Mostly because I spent all of June getting used to the change, July enjoying it, and August having my brain completely spun about.

Some of the notable things about these last few weeks:

– Tatyana surprised me by showing up on my doorstep, not having told me that she was going to be visiting. She’s here for a month. It’s nice.

– I have a potential job, finally. I’m going in to Starbucks today for an interview, and fingers are crossed that it’s going to work out. If this interview does work out, I have the potential to work uptown (nearby) as opposed to a twenty minute bus ride away, which is what I had reconciled myself to when applying to Starbucks. Selling my soul to the corporate masses for the mulah, fun fun! (Well, hoping to sell my soul.)

-I found a place uptown that sells six packs of lychee  juice boxes for a reasonable price. Nobody really seems to understand my excitement over this, but I really, really, like lychee juice. I also really enjoy juice boxes in general, because they make me feel like an eight year old in the best way possible. And reasonable prices are my favourite type of prices. After finding and purchasing them I t sat in a park happily strumming a ukulele and telling CJ about how great lychee juice was, while he reacted with a friendly, “That’s nice dear.”

-In the course of three days I ate a giant platter of poutine and two packages of Ramen.  Mmmmm, Frat kid.

– My body has decided over this month that it hates me: I’ve got a cough that’s been hanging around for a month, and a random form of eczema just decided to crop up for the first time in my life. Although it doesn’t sound very convincing after my last point, I generally am somewhat healthy, so the whole weird sickness thing is getting a bit wearing.

-School is going to happen soon, and I’m not so much worried about having to enter grade twelve as just ready to get everything over with. I’m planning to try and avoid senioritis, but I’m not quite sure exactly how to do that yet. Maybe by rewarding myself with lychee juice boxes whenever I get good marks?

Cheers,

Kaelen

 

 

“Safe as Houses”

I used to think a lot about what kind of house I would make for myself when I grew up.  I still have the sketches and everything, some of them less practical than others. (The  underground cavern in which the furniture is made out of protruding roots and the plumbing is provided by a stream is something I have- mostly- grown out of wanting.)  For a while I spent large amounts of time reading about earth ships and hand built homes, ala Tasha Tudor. The concept of having a space of my own that has always engaged me. After all, what’s more grown up than having a home completely of your own? Six (Seven, Eight, Eleven, Thirteen…) year old Kaelen couldn’t think of anything.

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Not very surprisingly, I never could get it right.

…This caused me to spend far too many hours on the Sims painstakingly recreating the Green Sage’s hut from Jak and Daxter: Precursor Legend.

A factor of this continuous fascination with my eventual “grown up” house is because I associate places with emotions. Memories of my great grandparents’ old house are synonymous with memories of eating berries, feeling loved, and running around in an old, oversized skirt that transformed me into a fairy princess. When I think of that house I also think of the time there was a large fire that, if the wind had blown the wrong way, threatened to move into the trees: in typical child fashion I ran around, feeling brave and helpful by tipping teacups of water into the blaze, while my grandparents actually put out the flames. I think of the swings that they had right outside their door. Nowadays, if I have free time, I’ll culmatively spend a couple of hours a week on the swing set close to my house.

A house my family used to occupy in the suburbs of Greater Vancouver brings back memories. My second story bedroom’s small  patio, which I used to fantasize jumping out of if there was ever a house fire,wondering which order to save my stuffies in. The tree in the yard over, where I would play with the neighbour’s kids, and first hear, “He likes you.” The kiddie pool on the deck, where I spent the majority of my summer, gaining my first really bad sun burn, my skin peeling off in surprisingly painless sheets. The giant pillow fort I built right before we moved out of that house, which still remains one of my favourite structures, amplified by the glamour of recall.

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 Pillow forts were a big part of being a kid. And when not a pillow fort, a whole house visualized in a room. My bed was the cottage of a jungle peasant who stalked the wild savannahs of the room I shared with my brother. A closet was the tent we took shelter in the sand storms from. My living room was the nursery in which “Katherine Tyler the eighteenth century British nanny” made her siblings and various stuffed animals play pretend. My bedroom was a room in the house of Mr. Craven of “The Secret Garden,” in which I had to escape to explore the many other levels, nooks and crannies of the house.

 Looking back on how much I attach to the structures that things take place in, I’m really grateful my Mom homeschooled me, giving me the time to play pretend to an age where most girls were more concerned with boys and makeup. Staying at home was a big plus for me with my learning. (Incidentally, I don’t think I’ll have too much emotional attachment to my school’s building when it’s time to graduate.)I got the time to make up these amazing feats of architecture, which never existed outside of my head, but were more real to me than a lot of what I was actually living.

The other day, a friend and I were discussing what we would have in our “dream houses.”

  • A room entirely devoted to crafting: painting, knitting, sewing, and instruments.
  • Lots of music playing devices in various nooks and crannies. Maybe a juke box somewhere, just for the heck of it.
  • A tower, containing my bedroom, a spiral staircase, and a fire-man’s pole.
  • A personal library.
  • Cats.
  • Hammocks.
  • A claw foot bath tub.
  • An indeterminate amount of other people. Sometimes it’s just me I visualise in my “house of dreams” (Thanks for the phrase, Anne of Green Gables), other times there’s shadowy ideas of nieces and nephews and an eventual partner.

I’ve no idea when I’ll actually own a house to myself, and it will certainly be no time soon. Twenty years? Thirty? Forty? Perhaps never, in the form I’m thinking of. But in the meanwhile, it remains an important concept to me, for reasons of solidity and day dreaming.

Odds and Ends

Some of my personal highlights from the last little while include:

-Finding a large pile of gravel on the East side, climbing said pile of gravel, and briefly feeling the sense of victory that a small child feels on having done something wondrous- ie. making toast unsupervised for the first time. Then I realized that I had to get down without hurting myself or my I-pod.

-One of my favorite (deceased) authors wrote a bunch of books I didn’t know existed. My library card has been a busy bee.

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Click to make the doodles bigger.

-While swimming in a pond where life-jackets were compulsory I couldn’t fit into any but the children’s size. From thence came a lot of snickering when I realized that I -sixteen years old, studying for my permit, highschool senior- looked more or less like a nine year old. In keeping with this fantastic image, I then went and enthusiastically jumped (flailed) 0n the water trampoline.

-Naps.

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Hope life is swell.

Kaelen.

1 July 2013

July first. The one day of the year that the sun peeks it’s head out enough to threaten our igloo habitats, as we casually nosh on beaver lard while wrapped in our moose pelts. In the distance, if one listens hard enough, you might even hear the scream of the enraged athlete as he swings stick against puck in the ancient mating ritual that has brought so many generations together, in weddings catered exclusively by Tim Hortons.

Eh.

(Did I do it? Hit on enough stereotypes? Do I win the blogging about Canada awards? Should I have mentioned geese a few more times? Maybe thrown the Queen a figurative fascinator-wearing-bone?)

On Canada Day Gabe came over and chilling commenced to the sweet tunes of Beyoncé.

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This is what happens when two IB art kids hang out, when bored and with access to sassy musical inspiration.

Later we were walking through the patch of the woods close to my house which I’ve posted about earlier.  As promised, hey, look, pictures that weren’t taken with my I-pod camera. Woah girl, getting pretty fancy, I know.

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We eventually headed uptown, to meet some of my favorite people, and proceeded to kick back, chill, and make way too many offensive remarks for one Vitos to handle.

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  Instead of watching fireworks my group of friends hung out in a basement that’s basically a mini slice of suburbia and watched a terrible movie (the plot hinged on the use of texting) while cuddling. Cool kids, ‘sup.

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Bus stop graffiti.

Happy belated (Or early, as the case may be) nationalistic holiday of your choice,

Kaelen.

Free Time, Say What?

Since school has ended I’ve been struggling with the idea that, woah now, I control my own time. Dude, that’s all sorts of crazy. I better spend this amazing thing by swearing violently while watching episodes of Breaking Bad and refreshing my tumblr feed! Then, when I get too sick of myself, I’ll text friends who live somewhat far away and decide to walk an hour or two to hang out with them.

 In all seriousness, I’ve lost a lot of motivation. Which is kind of terrifying. And strangely ironic, considering the fact that just a couple of months I posted here that, “I’m too self motivated to become a burnout.” Which is probably still true, since having noticed that’s exactly what I’m doing, I’m trying to be a little bit more responsible. By, you know, doing things like studying for my permit*. I think I’ve become a teenager, and it’s a bit gross.

Yeah, driving, that’s a thing now. Weird. I’ve never been overly eager to get my license, and it really doesn’t even matter that much to me, but I figure that I should learn how to drive before I graduate, even though it’s not really useful at the moment.

 In the meantime, when I’ve been going through bursts of actually doing things, I’ve been making art, going for really long walks with only semi-determined destinations, and getting drenched a couple times a day. Walking in my town is a dangerously moist undertaking, made doubly so when the dryer isn’t working.

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Soaked selfies. Huzzah.

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At a cool place I walked to the other day, a local graveyard.

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Forcing myself to be productive, and accomplish things in my sketchbook again.

In other news, I’ve learned how to use my scanner. After that many years of putting it off because I thought it would be hard, it really wasn’t. Took me five minutes of unpleasantness, tops. Having realized this, you can expect to see a lot more of my art here, since it’s easier to upload higher quality images now, and I always manage to screw up taking photos of art.

Until whenever I next decide that it’s been too long since I’ve plugged letters into cyberspace,

Kaelen

“I want adventure in the great wide somewhere”

…If you get the Disney reference then you had a childhood well spent.
Today has been a lazy catch up on homework kind of day, but I decided to go on an adventure in the middle of it. Because if making my sunburn worse wasn’t a good idea I don’t know what is!

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Although I didn’t find where I wanted to go, I found a cool patch of forest with a nice view. I was happy. Not only that, but I also managed to avoid losing myself (I have a terrible sense of direction). …However, it becomes far less of a victory once you factor in the fact that I was probably ten minutes from a road and houses the entire time.

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I think that might be one of my favourite things about where I live. It’s not a place I’m planning on staying in for too long post graduation, and it’s definitely a “have not” province, but it’s got the neatest little nooks and crannies in it. It’s not too hard to find a place to adventure to when you need a break.

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The picture quality isn’t the best, but I didn’t feel like going to the bother of bringing a decent quality camera with me. Besides, with my iPod, I timed that I can walk to this place in less time than it takes to listen to all of a King Charles album. (It’s not an addiction and I can stop whenever I want.) I think sometime this summer I want to go out here and take good quality pictures though. Plus, it’s pretty shady under the trees, so it could be a good place to mess around with shutter speed and whatnot.

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This weekend was a bit like a taste of summer. (Speaking of which, the new gelato place that just opened at the market is great, and you all should check it out.) Adventuring is starting to become a priority again, and that is happy making.
Kaelen

Happiness, and Putting Off Burnoutism

 One week of actual classes, three major projects, a show, a facepainting gig, exams, an audition… and sweet, delicious, beautiful freedom.

 In case you didn’t pick up on it from my reclusive behavior on here, or my attitude in general, I am done. I feel like I caught senioritis, but seeing as I’m only finishing grade 11, that’s a bit inconvenient. Perhaps I’ll just call it spring fever instead, to keep from getting ahead of myself.

Alright, there’s a vent to be had here, but  I have had far too many fun, cool- or at the very least, mildly interesting and bemusing- things happen that I would rather talk about than give a vent that’s been covered time and time again on this blog any more space.

So, things.

  • I had a bunch of life plans. But then I decided to throw them out. Which is simultaneously frightening and liberating. Instead I now have a fall back plan (go live the life of an Indie film with Gabe), and a whole whack of decisions to make sometime next year.
  • I have three more IB projects and then I’m done for the year. The problem is that i have no motivation to do them at this point. I’m not sure where I’m going to find this motivation, since I’m starting to use phrases like “my pre-summer evolution into a burnout”, but hopefully I’ll find some hidden resources at the bottom of a frozen lemonade. Three more. That’s all. I can do this.
  • I’ve started not caring about stuff as much. I’m going to have to rein this in sometime (and by sometime I mean this weekend, so I can finish off those final bitter drops of IB), but for now it’s actually just a huge relief.
  • Summertime is here. I have things I want to do, friends I want to visit, media I want to consume, adventures I want to take. And in less than two weeks, I can.
  • I was introduced to King Charles, and now everything is right with the world. My ears are happy as can be.
  • I found my self esteem again. Oh, yeah, that’s right, I am smart and attractive! Balancing confidence with humbleness is a tricky proposition, but just for this moment I’ll veer to the side of cockiness. Because liking myself is something that has fallen to the wayside for the last…indeterminate, but long, amount of time. Now that it’s back, I quite enjoy it.

 Really, I can’t fully cover everything, even using the beautiful invention of bullet points. There have been a billion things that have happened since I last posted. One big thing was *Dramafest, which was extremely stressful, but at the same time, I am so very very proud of my fellow cast members, and our student directors, who pulled through. I made two big discoveries because of Dramafest. 1) I can make it through a double hell week, while sick, and I’ll only mostly hate myself and my friends (the hate passed, don’t worry) by the end of it. 2) When in doubt, clear your throat before coming on stage. Otherwise, if you are sick and full of phlegm, you risk sounding like Satan.

 The second big thing was TEC, which was pretty freaking incredible. Maybe a tiny sprinkling of life altering. Not changing persay, but a little altering, if I can throw phrases like that around at the mature and ripe old age of sixteen. TEC is a place where crazy Jesus stuff goes down, and it’s hard to accurately describe without making most of the people who read this blog think I’m slightly deranged. Suffice it to say, it was good, really helped heal my relationship with God, and gave me a lot more peace than I originally had before going. Also, I got to be of service to other people, which made me pretty happy. I like being useful.

 I’m so glad the school year is almost over. Overall, I’m happy, which due to all the stress I’ve put myself under, is more than I’ve been in a long time.

 Kaelen

*Speaking of which, shameless plug time!!! If you find yourself in need of a show to watch, please come check out our public showings of Yesterday the Children Were Dancing, and the student written play Juicy. Thursday night, SJHS mini theatre, shows starting at 7 pm. Tickets are five dollars at the door.

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