Sunday, July 25, 2010

Camp Vignettes: Episode II

Skit Night always took place on the last evening. One year, someone in our ward hit on the most brilliant skit idea Camp Liahona at Buck’s Lake has ever experienced: Stand for Truth and Righteousness Woman and CTR Girl, played by Christa and her sister Brittany. The premise was simple…put young women in compromising situations then have tie-dye unitard clad Stand for Truth and Righteousness Woman and CTR Girl swoop in to save her from an uncomfortable chat with her bishop. The whole thing kind of spurred somewhat of a cult following in the stake. Girls dressing up as CTR Girl for Halloween dances and whatnot. Then the next year, when Stand for Truth and Righteousness Woman and CTR Girl reprised their appearance at skit night, we had to pause the performance for several minutes until the audience stopped screaming and jumping up and down. You’d have thought David Archuletta was in the house.

Someone orchestrated a YCL (Youth Camp Leader) musical number my final year. A group of maybe ten of us practiced for 20 minutes before standing in front of the entire camp to perform this song, and of course I got landed standing right next to the tone-deaf loudmouth shouting tuneless droning notes directly into my ear as though it were a microphone.

Camp songs! Lots of people hated this part of camp but I personally LOVED it. Especially when the 60-something leader of the Dayton ward would get up in front of everyone to sing her favorite – a rap-inspired version of children’s nursery rhymes called ‘Hump D. Dump’. She’d get so into it and always used a faux gravelly voice and the exact same motions – a border-line obscene pat-and-clap during the verses, followed by a hand on the hip coupled with a swimming fish motion during the chorus.

Camp names! When a girl achieved four years of camp experience, she was bestowed a ‘Camp Name’ by the YCLs. Usually the names were something lame and evocative like “Soothing Note” or “Beautiful Brook”. But MINE was “Hump D. Dump” because of the obnoxious, superbly exaggerated impersonation I’d do of the aforementioned woman. It was legendary – I was told that after my camp days were over, a younger girl from the ward got up in front of everyone and dedicated her performance of “Hump D. Dump” to me, wherever I was. So proud.

Oh gosh, I wasn’t even present for this one. But it hasn’t stopped me from telling the story before, and it certainly won’t now. We had the BEST cooks ever at camp making delicious meals, and every year they served the same classics. My friend Jenny’s favorite camp event each year was stroganoff night. She’d start talking about it weeks before. Well this one year on stroganoff night she was stuck learning how to tie knots, or identify clouds, or something, until after dinner had been served. In a panic, she sprinted to the kitchen as soon as she was able and, breathless, demanded if there was any left. She was in luck, sort of. There were enough noodles stuck to the edges of the empty pans to scrape together a meager plate. So there Jenny is, her beloved stroganoff sitting on her upturned hands, blithely making her way back to our campsite, when she TRIPPED ON A ROOT and her meal fell facedown in the dirt.

There was an obstacle course one year with the most ill-conceived contest in the history of church camps. It involved flesh-colored panty hose tied around the waist with a large potato down each leg, and lots of pelvic thrusting. The point was to move an object around the course by standing over it and swinging the oh gosh does it really matter? The point is, it was hilarious, and someone obviously didn’t think it through before setting us loose on it. I’ve never laughed to the point of throwing up, but I’m sure that’s the closest I’ve ever come.

My final year of camp, I chose not to shower. It started as an accident, then became a camp-wide joke to see how long I could hold out for. And I somehow didn't smell nasty (or so everyone assured me). My hair even looked the same as it always did at camp. I think the dirt must have absorbed the greeze. Finally I had to cave in on day six, but only because I was the member of a skit that required extreme hair teasing and the only way to deal with the aftermath was abundant conditioner.

There was an overly devout, holier-than-thou girl at camp that was just BEGGING to be pranked. She was the “I’m better than you because I don’t eat chocolate because we’re not supposed to drink coffee and coffee has caffeine and so does chocolate” type. Obnoxious. So the week before (yes it was totally premeditated, don’t hate me mom) I went out and bought a thong – not even a sexy thong, just a regular white cotton one – and wrote this girl’s name on the tag. Then I planted it on the picnic table right next to the meal lineup. Every single girl in the entire camp saw it there while waiting for breakfast the next morning, arranged perfectly with the tag prominently displayed. It worked so much better than I ever thought it could have. She ended up that night in front of the entire camp – and there were a LOT of us girls – swearing the thong was NOT hers, she would NEVER wear something so disgusting and immoral, and whoever did it ought to be ASHAMED. It was my crowning Girl’s Camp achievement.

The end.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Camp Vignettes: Episode I

The first time I talked to my friend Christa after she returned from her mission, she mentioned she’s going to our old Girl’s Camp as a leader this August. Instant nostalgia. We were the queens of Girl’s Camp. She and I went every year together (two as Youth Camp Leaders, aka YCLs) and those were some of the happiest weeks of my entire life. I’d start packing for camp weeks in advance, and lay wide awake in excited anticipation the whole night before. So I’m thinking about all that, and a plan begins to form in my head. Don’t get too excited though. Before it even got close to hatching, the leaders in charge dashed my hopes. Wouldn’t you think they’d be HAPPY to take a willing volunteer?? Well they turned me down. Their loss. Jerks.

Anyway, of course it got me reminiscing. This is where the Girl’s Camp stories begin.

The adventure always started in the church parking lot in the wee hours of the morning. The four hour trip to Buck’s Lake, CA required a bathroom/snack break at Hallelujah Junction, the world’s slimiest truck stop where we mingled with mutants and Death Eaters while waiting our turn to use the single-stall poop-smeared women’s bathroom. On one occasion a desperate middle-aged woman ran to the restrooms, let out a distressed moan when she saw the lineup, rounded on the empty men’s room and yelled, “THANK GOODNESS” as she darted inside. She was in there for several minutes, during which time a man arrived, tested the door, and then resigned himself to the wait. My friends and I were dying to see the look on his face when a woman walked out of there, and sure enough, he didn’t disappoint – he jumped back, then cast around completely bewildered, wondering if he was in the wrong line. Of course we girls all dissolved into uncontrollable giggling, but the woman in front of us was not amused. She kept shooting us daggers until finally I felt the need to let her in on the joke. “I know,”, she countered haughtily, “that was my sister."

Each year we’d get an earful about Hanta virus. Don’t catch rodents. Don’t eat food that fell on the ground. Don’t breathe the dust when you’re sweeping the trails. I’m pretty sure the Young Men didn’t have to sweep any trails at Scout camp, or neatly line them with rocks for that matter.

There was a huge tree right next to the kitchen where the meal lineup began that smelled just like puke. We called it the Puke Tree.

My fourth year of camp, the leadership decided to ditch Buck’s Lake and try a new place. There was a lot of criticism, but they stuck to their guns. The fourth year girls were scheduled to do an overnight hike, beginning the first day at the new camp. Packing in and packing out. It was brutal…one of the hardest hikes I’ve ever done (okay I haven’t done many, but it was tough). My friend Jenny and I collapsed in a heap as soon as it was over, and hadn’t even begun thinking about setting up our tents when a breathless forest ranger came jogging down the path, shouting that the whole mountain was on fire and we had to evacuate. So after having just completed a difficult, several-mile long hike, we had to turn right back around and do it all over again only this time with a massive forest fire on our heels. It was intense. By the time we made it back to the main group (they cheered for us!), darkness was setting in and I was the most exhausted I’ve ever been. Because many of the vans that dropped us at camp that morning had turned right around and gone home, we all had to leave our belongings behind and pack like sardines into the remaining vehicles. There were 10 in the Dodge Caravan I was assigned to – a couple of us had to sit on the floor. When I was dropped at home, my sisters were sitting on the front porch. We all walked in together, hoping to freak out my mom who wasn’t expecting to see me for a week, but she just quickly glanced up then continued washing dishes. It took a few moments of us grinning and coaxing her before shock finally registered on her face. Anyway, long story short, our belongings were rescued just minutes before the roads were officially closed, and the very next day camp was back on – at Buck’s Lake, just like God always intended it to be.

One year there was a girl in our group who was constantly trying to massage us with her enormous hands. We, of course, called her Man Hands. It got more and more difficult to evade her probing fingers. Christa emailed me some ideas for this blog post, and she has an update on Man Hands that you’re bound to enjoy at least half as much as I did: “Guess what? I saw her like 2 weeks ago and she's married with a kid and was honestly like crushing him in her giant hands!!”

Girl’s Camp was always a place for injuries. Not helping the matter was the notorious floating dock of Buck’s Lake. I’m almost certain they’ve banned the thing by now (if not, who’s in charge of this place???) because every year at least one girl ended up going home early because of it. I might be wrong, but I think the usual function of a floating dock is for peaceful sunbathing. Not the case at Camp Liahona. It was repurposed into a topsy turvy death trap. We’d get a big group of us, anywhere from ten to thirty girls on there, and all flock to different corners until our combined weight caused the entire thing to rise into the air Titanic-style. The last person to be dumped over the edge won. It was covered in moldy carpeting, so rug burns were the typical wounds (also: elbows to faces and other stampede-related injuries), but one year some genius decided to attach a two-step ladder on one end and that thing broke a couple of ankles before it was removed.

Speaking of injuries, as YCLs Christa and I served all the girls in our group boiling hot chocolate in wax paper cups. Fifteen seconds later they were all screaming, “Our hands are mellllttttinnnggg!!!!!!!!!!!” The cups were imploding and dripping hot wax. Turns out Styrofoam works much better for that sort of thing. Live and learn.

To be continued…
[Soon, I promise. I’ve already written it all. But it was too long for one post. Kthxbai]

Sunday, July 18, 2010

my lot in life

Last night, when we finally made it home safely from Darcy and Lianna’s, I collapsed on the couch and demanded a foot massage from Jon. I deserved it, after what I’d been through. He obliged (though he made me put socks on first).

I spent the day at their house because Jon was pulling another all-day study session in preparation for his upcoming exams. He came to retrieve me around 10, and we gathered our things to leave. Jon walked out the house before me, jarring awake the ENORMOUS spider sleeping on the outside of the door. I was the first to see it and screamed all sorts of incoherent sentence fragments to draw everyone’s attention to it. It was huge, and a species we’ve previously observed to be lightning fast. So Darcy grabbed a flip flop and positioned himself on the porch for a successful murder. But the spider suspected something and leapt – LEAPT – directly at Jon. It barely missed him and went scuttling into the night, but Jon didn’t know that – he thought it was ON him. So he’s hollering and jumping and spinning in circles until Darcy assured him that he saw it disappear down the stairs.

But that wasn’t nearly the scariest thing that happened last night. After the boys searched the porch steps and surrounding area and promised me the spider was long gone, Jon and I attempted to leave their house again. Because of the pandemonium, we forgot to bring Darcy’s giant LED flashlight that we always use for our trek home – instead we had two smallish ones that barely illuminate what’s directly in front of you. We also forgot to bring our laptop bag, which probably was a good thing because it might have slowed us down when we were RUNNING FOR OUR LIVES five minutes later.

Because this is another bull story. By the time our flashlights caused their eyes to gleam, we were only yards away. There were two of them – one brown, one black. We froze.

They turned to face us.
Jon put his arm across me.
The black one lowered his head.
We began walking backwards.

He charged.

The last thing I saw before turning to run were his eyes getting closer and closer. There was nowhere to go on the narrow, overgrown road but forward into the pitch black. Jon was shouting for me to give him the bag I was carrying. I didn’t…I was too busy STAYING ALIVE.

And then… [deep breath] it was over. I had a partial meltdown once we knew for sure he wasn’t chasing us anymore, and then we turned to go back to Darcy and Lianna’s to call a cab. But, silly us! This is Statia! Cab drivers don’t answer their phones! We called all six numbers to no avail (just like the last time we needed a cab). And there’s only one way home from their house, so we were stuck there unless/until the bulls made their way to an intersection and went another way. So Jon, Darcy, and Lianna, armed with the Maglite, their landlady’s dog, and a broom, went out to wrangle bulls while I stayed inside, tried to control my breathing, and updated my Facebook status. Fifteen minutes later they returned victorious – the coast was clear for our walk home. 

This was at least our third negative encounter with this same black bull (see here and here) and possibly our fourth (see here). And don't forget about this encounter with the brown one.

On our way home we ran into some neighbors and informed them of our saga. The man told us that a few years back, a black bull was causing trouble and worrying the general public. It finally got to the point that the police decided to do away with it. They lassoed him and shot at point blank range, MISSED, and he made off with nothing more than a broken-off horn. Now the locals all fear a one-horned black bull.

BUT HORNS GROW BACK. So maybe it’s the same one? We’ll just say it is. Sounds better that way. The same man also reminded us that you’re not supposed to run from a charging bull (I’d like to see what he’d have done in our position, with nowhere to dodge and almost zero visibility), and asked specifically what it looked like. I told him, “It was black and it had very shiny eyes."

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Epiphany of the Day

You know when sometimes you burp and a little bit of vomit hitches a ride? It happens to everyone. But how come there isn't a concise, descriptive term for that phenomenon?? "I just burped and threw up a little" is so wordy.

Well you don't even need to worry about it anymore, because I just solved the problem: Barp. As in, burp and barf together (ie "Ew, I just barped" or "Barping is the WORST").

You're welcome.

Monday, July 12, 2010

hope you're sitting down

Oh gosh. I can't believe I'm even posting this. I probably shouldn't. But I have to. Lianna and I were perfecting our ugliest faces the other day, and I pretty much nailed it - the ugliest picture OF ALL TIME. Nothing will ever top it.


It's no exaggeration to say that it is so disturbingly revolting, so shockingly grotesque, that you may never sleep again.

Scroll down and see for yourself.

(Lianna thinks I need to post a good picture of myself as a palate cleanser. I promise I'm not deformed. Here's a decent representation of me, in case you're new to the blog.)

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

spare me

Here’s another apology for the lack of content lately. I don’t know what my deal is. Writer’s block. Or maybe it has more to do with my uninteresting life and my broken camera. For what it’s worth, here’s an update.

My favorite part of the entire past two weeks was when my friend Christa (now home from her mission) outed the prehistoric choir director from our home ward as one of the three Nephites. My least favorite part was when our water went out – AGAIN. Have I complained about this on my blog yet?? I usually try to keep my complaints in check because how many times have we all rolled our eyes at someone else’s broadcasted HUGE PROBLEM (“UGH, I just got the worst pedicure ever!” “I can’t decide what luxury car to buy!!”), but in this case, it really is a big deal. We have water issues. Everything that could have caused us to have no water access, shy of actually running out of water, has happened. Clogged filters and rusted out heaters have left us waterless for WEEKS at a time. By waterless I mean we have a full cistern but no way to utilize it, and in the past that meant showering with our emergency supply of bottled water and flushing the toilet only when Jon’s carried a bucket of water a mile uphill. Can you believe I’m even saying this??? This time around it was our water compressor that broke. Luckily, with Darcy and Lianna here now, we always have a place to shower and toilets to flush when this sort of thing happens. They’ve been blessed with a great landlady who, you know, cares about stuff. Our landlady, on the other hand, is literally the oldest person on the island (I’m still not convinced she’s not the oldest in the world) and prides herself on saving money by making everything work at the absolute minimum (presumably because she won’t live long enough to see the benefit of good quality materials). But much more on her at a later date.

The water situation couldn’t ruin our entire weekend though. We celebrated both Canada Day and the 4th of July on Saturday at the pool – WHICH IS NICE. It was our first time there and I was SHOCKED. It was comparable to any public pool in the US. AMSA, a student organization at the school, put on the event. [Sidenote: Jon inexplicably ended up being nominated for and voted in as the AMSA treasurer, even though the first A stands for ‘American’.][He’s Canadian.] The next day we celebrated the 4th with a smaller group of friends and laughed for hours straight.

Pictures from the weekend:

Jon manning the makeshift grill

Anh Thu and Hina

Faisa, me, Reena

Tandy and Derrick creating our bounteous feast

Pearl the celebrity


In conclusion, here's a video in which I say the word 'vagina' (it was warranted).