Tuesday, September 30, 2008

What's been happening since camp...

Well, sadly, not much. I've been recuperating, returning to my bad habit of staying up late and getting up late, and keeping my good habit of eating healthy. I have not eaten chips (a previously big weakness of mine) for over a month now, and I've been cooking a lot of my own food, and eating very little processed crap. On Saturday I had a marvelous time with my mom buying organic produce. First we went to a local market, and get some peppers, greens, and apples there, before heading to a nearby organic farm that we hadn't been to in years! The owner still recognized my mom, since in my families more healthy past she was a regular customer. When my sister and I were young, my family had a very healthy diet, but as we got older and busier, we slipped into eating the mainstream crappy processed food way too often. Then, however, I started being very environmentally aware and very health conscious, so we're eating healthier again! :-) My mom spent a while talking to the organic farmer dude, while I talked to his university aged son who works for his dad. Which was pretty cool. And now I'm a happy veggie who has LOTS of organic veggies to cook with! :-)

On a not so great note, I still haven't fixed things so my cpictures download onto the correct drive, so it's difficult to post stuff here... Oh well, an old(er) photo will haveto suffice.


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Not Back To School Camp

At this point many, many people have asked how camp went, or asked me before I left to update them on my experience once I got back. Well, it's really hard to know where to start, it really is... I'll most likely end up having multiple posts about various aspects of camp, and various introspection's to do with that, but for now here's an overview.

The first day I arrived, I was bombarded with one of the most boisterous scenes I've ever encountered. 130 people were rushing around everywhere, yelling in delight, exclaiming over changes in hair colour, style and height, hugging everyone (both new and old campers) indiscriminately, lugging huge bags around, joking... I was honestly completely and totally overwhelmed. That first day, it seemed like too much, and I started to retreat into my shell. It was just too much for my introverted self to handle! And so the week started. The first few days, I broke down each evening. In the daytime, I could be outside in the open air, and I was happy with that, but in the evening, with everyone (all 130 of them) inside playing music shouting singing dancing and being crazy, the crowd energy really got to me and I simply couldn't take it. After the workshops started, it got a little better. Small groups doing or talking about specific things I could handle no problem. But in the evening, it was still bad. I've always known that big crowds were not my ideal element, but I'd never noticed how directly the energy of the crowd affected me. As energy levels went up, my emotional state went down. It was very interesting actually, since I'd never noticed that before, never having been in such a high energy crowd with no one I know!

Luckily, early in the week one of the staff suggested I get away from it all by going to the boathouse. That was an amazing suggestion. The first time I set foot in the upstairs of the boathouse, my spirit soared. I was in love with the space. Old wood everywhere, glowing and scuffed by time. Old looms, spinning wheels, a wood stove, and other reminders of a by gone era lined the walls, and through the huge, always open windows that lined one whole wall the fresh Vermont air blew, or more often drifted, around me. The light streamed in, squares of glowing gold shone across the floor... And I was happy. That became the place where I'd go when I needed to, a place where I could center myself.

Another thing that kept me going was the amazing staff. Full of warmth, supportive words, a ready ear, and always ready to give a hug when needed, they were all amazing. I called home every day, since I really felt I needed to hear my parents voices in the alien environment I was in, and it really made a difference that my mother was ready and willing to come get me at a moments notice. I nearly did go when I got sick with a nasty cold! But my mom came down a couple of days early and camped at a local campground, and both knowing she was coming, seeing her briefly when she arrived, and knowing she was nearby, really helped. And, well, I started to enjoy myself more, and although my spirit was still curled up inside of me, the coil started to loosen.

I went to some truly interesting workshops. One standout was a fascinating workshop on the Bible (non religious, simply who wrote what when, in what styles etc.), among many other interesting ones. Although many people complained about it, I loved the all vegetarian, super healthy food! And I loved my chore (if you can call it that. It was fun!) of serving lunch. It was funny seeing the not so happy with the food meat eaters expressions as they looked suspiciously at bits of tofu!

Something amazing that will stay with me always was the trust circle. Everyone came, and I really can't give much info on it, since only those present can ever know what happened, since it is an opportunity for everyone to say the things that are closest to their heart, the most painful, sensitive, important things they have. It was emotional, powerful, and utterly beautiful.

I wanted to make really good friends there, and on the last day, I thought I'd failed. I was planning on keeping touch with one person, but I didn't think I'd really made many connections. But the final morning, as everyone was leaving, I kept remembering people I had to hug goodbye, people I wanted to say something to, people I would miss. Yes, I realized I was going to miss people. There were people I felt like I was just starting to get to know, people whom I DID feel a connection with, people I really wanted as friends, and people I was too shy to speak to, because they were too cool, too attractive, and I figured they'd never want to talk to me. But on the last night, before that morning, several older campers "graduated" from camp, and gave a brief speech each. Two things that two of the campers said really stuck with me, and made me think. One recounted her first year at NBTSC, seeing all of these amazingly cool people, and thinking how uninteresting she was in comparison, thinking that they would never want to talk to her. And then, a couple of years later, realizing that SHE was one of the cool people. There weren't divisions, there was no cooler and less cool at camp. The second thing that stuck with me was another graduate who said how he'd always been shy, and although he's gotten better, he's still working through it. He still doesn't always get up the courage to talk to the interesting looking person sitting on the bench. And I started wondering, what were all those oh so cool/hot people thinking? Did they realize they were so cool? Were they nervous speaking to people they didn't know as well? What an awful day to start thinking of that!

I never did really come out of my shell, but I feel like I may have been close to being able to when I left, at the cusp of being able to be me. Then I left. So, if you'd asked me half way through the week if I wanted to go back to camp next year, the answer would have been no. Now however, I'm not so sure. I got home full of life, full of enthusiasm, planning on continuing to ONLY eat healthy food, planning on joining a choir, on doing other I've been planning to do and haven't gotten around to doing. I also learned a lot about myself. So, if Emilie comes with me next year for moral support (I'm sure she'd love it there!), I think I'll go back. I'll try to open up, try to be ME not a shy imitation of myself, try to talk to all the people I truly regret not talking to. I miss some I did talk to. I miss the woods. I miss the boathouse. I miss the missed opportunities. I want to set them right, to try again. And in the meantime, I want to use my current enthusiasm to follow my dreams the whole year long.


Monday, September 15, 2008

Gone tomorrow

A picture of a beautiful flower from mom's garden, taken last year.

So, today is finally the last day before Not Back To School Camp. I'm still stressed, still exited. Will it be a Life Changing Experience? Just plain fun? Will I like it? Will I make friends? All that should be answered tomorrow, or the following days... I just really, truly hope I can make some great connections there. Meet awesome people. But I'm so scared that my expectations are too high, and so I won't enjoy it! *Sigh* Wish me luck, and a safe trip, and I'll most likely have a super long post when I come back! :-) Peace.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Last minute things to do...

So, after looking forward to this for four months, I leave for Not Back To School Camp on Tuesday. That's the freakin' DAY AFTER TOMORROW! Aghhhhhhg! I know there's not much left to do, but I can't help feeling that I'm going to forget vitally important items, that there must be something I haven't thought of... Of course, I'm also extremely exited, meeting all of those amazing people, doing cool new things... I know I'll be ready, that things will go okay, but I still can't help swinging between wildly exited and crazily worried. That's just me I guess. I've never been good with happy mediums!

I still haven't managed to get my new camera's software installed (damn screwy computer), but I'll try again in a little while, and hopefully get the pictures currently on my memory card onto the computer so I've get tons of space for pictures at camp!

Now off to do a few last minute things... Mark clothes with my name, make sure everything fits in my bag, wash the dog (who got into something extremely stinky. Yuck.), mop the floor so that it does not transfer all of the dirt onto the clean dog... Sigh.

One of the first shots I took with my new camera (loaded onto my computer by putting the memory card in my old camera)... Didn't quite turn out as planned, but I still like it for some reason. :-)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Purple hair, as promised!

So, I have now uploaded some photo's of my new hair colouring (it looks rather blue, but I swear when seen in person it's purple!!)! I'm also adding four videos, of a kind of before and after thing. I look absolutely awful in a couple of them, so I can't believe I'm posting them, but ah well... EDIT: Ack!! I can't get the videos to upload onto the blog, so I'll try again later...

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


Well, today was really really cool. I talked to people online, just really pleasant conversations, then went shopping with my mom for some stuff. While we were out, I did something I've been planning to do for at least a week now: Buy hair dye and a bleaching kit. I coulden't get the exact shade I wanted, so I settled on a different shade of purple. Still pretty cool! After supper, yet more shopping. Having already gotten the dye, I was extremely bouncy, hyper, and twitchy. Well, both looking forward to purple hair and worrying about camp, which is in a week now... How time flies! Outside, in the early evening, was absolutely gorgeous. Like really, truly, beautiful. It was cool, but not too cold. Crisp is the correct word, I believe. The clouds were dark in the sky, still visible from the light of the fading sun. On nights like this, spirits seem to fly. When we arrived home, I could smell a wood stove. I love the smell of burning on cool Fall days more than almost anything. Inside, it was warm and cozy. We were all in good moods, talking and laughing. I'm a silly and told my mom I wanted purple horses instead of purple hair (in French les cheveux (hair) and les chevaux (horses) sound very very similar!). So after much bouncing around in nervousness and exitement, I got my hair bleached. Which scared the crap out of me ("What if you get it in my eye and I go blind mom?!?") but went well. Then the beautiful dye, which both looked and smelled like acrylic paint, and got quite a nice shade if I do say so myself. I took several different videos chronicling the different stages of the dyeing process, and will now post them! I tried to upload them, but it failed....

Ooh! On that note, I got a new camera! A Canon PowerShot A460 which is quite cool. Plus I got it for just $80 brand new... So that's why I'm having trouble downloading, because I haven't quite got everything figured out. I'll post the videos and pic's as soon as I possibly can! Oh, and if my writing abilities do not seem to be up to scratch, it's because I'm exhausted right now. Anyway, bed time! Peace.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Melancholy and beautiful books

Since my education is and has always been in my own hands, I find myself increasingly interested in education (and specifically unschooling) recently. I am now reading the book Walking On Water: Reading, Writing, And Revolution by Derrick Jensen and am soon to be reading Everywhere All The Time: A New Deschooling Reader by Matt Hern. I am quite enjoying Walking On Water, since Jensen is an amazing author, and since Everywhere All The Time includes contributions from Grace Llewellyn and John Taylor Gatto I'm sure I'll enjoy that book as well.

I've been thinking a lot lately, now that I feel so fired up about life in general, how I've kind of wasted my life so far. In 17 1/2 years what have I done? Either for myself or the world? I haven't helped to save a forest, or feed the homeless, or bring down civilization, or learn to be completely confident in myself, or paint a picture on canvas, or write a book. I haven't opened a business or got a job. I think of all the things I could have done throughout my teenage years as an unschooler, and it doesn't seem I've done any of them! Then my other (perhaps more rational) side gets a bit of a voice. Before my teenage years, I lived as I believe a child should. Playing lots, doing "school" type stuff only when I was interested and found it fun (except for a few times we attempted learning math from a textbook. It didn't work.). During my early teens, I became extremely reserved. Would I have been able to work either in my own or anothers business where I had to deal with the public? The answer is a resounding no. And I don't think I even knew that the trees (or world) needed saving! I mean my mother talked about environmental stuff sometimes, but it didn't really register with me. I had to come to the realization that the world needs help myself. In the past few years I've gotten over a lot of fears and reservations to do with people. Although I'm certainly not an extrovert, I'm much more comfortable in social situations, and much more comfortable with my own beliefs and opinions. I know the direction I want to head in life. Or, more accurately, that I don't want to head in a "direction" at all! I'll go where life takes me, confident that what I believe in is right, or at the very least that I'm following what I believe with the best intentions. I know to always question and never think I know it all. I know that learning never stops, that the world needs help, and that I want to do everything in my power to help. Perhaps my mother is right, I am just a bit of a "late bloomer". But now I feel as if I'm ready to emerge from my cocoon, to try new things, as scary as they may be, and to follow the path I want to in life, not the one my father wants me to. Perhaps if I'd gone to school instead, I would be completely lost, unknowing of myself, and still mired in the depression I not so long ago cast off. Perhaps, if I've gotten to this point, I haven't wasted any time at all. Perhaps this is just the beginning.

Flying Free

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Yes, I know, more anarchy...

For those of you who have been reading this blog regularly (if there is anyone who reads this blog... If there is, hi!), or who know me in person, you'll most likely have realized I'm obsessed with anarchy. It makes a lot of sense to me, and since I've been searching for a long time for a political view I can actually agree with and follow, I'm really happy to have finally found one! So here are yet more sites I've found to be quite interesting...

  • www.indymedia.org an indeoendant anarchist news source
  • www.infoshop.org an online anarchist community that provides news, opinions, and information
  • www.akpress.org one of the largest anarchist publishers, I found the book Everywhere All The Time: A New Deschooling reader to look quite interesting, especially since the contributers include well known unschoolers Grace Llewellyn (author of The Teenage Liberation Handbook, which I love!) and John Taylor Gatto
  • www.crimethinc.com (previously mentioned in my blog) which has some general information, but mostly interesting publications, zines, a few books, anarchist stickers, and other cool stuff
  • www.greenisthenewred.com/blog written by an award winning journalist (Will Potter) about the US labelling of all green activists and anarchists as "eco-terrorists", debunks myths, and has interesting stories on the latest protests, property destruction, laws etc. to do with green activism
In the USA protesters of the Republican convention are now being tried, for doing nothing more than protesting and expressing their political opinion, under a new terrorism bill in Minosota. The charges are trumped up, and the police have very sketchy "evidence". You can see more about that and similar story at the blog mentioned above (Green Is The New Red), at the news section of infoshop, or at http://coldsnaplegal.wordpress.com/ which is a local (to where the demonstrators were arrested) association of lawyers, or http://www.nlg.org/ which is a national association of lawyers.

So, enough on anarchy for now. I've decided to add at least one photo each post, even if it's an old one, so here is today's:

That's all for now. Peace out, people! :-P

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Avoiding bio-hazards at all cost...

With now less than two weeks to go before Not Back To School Camp, my sister got sick (I've taken to calling her the bio-hazard). Which sucks, considering they can actually ask you not to come if you get sick!! So I'm doing everything in my power NOT to get sick. Echinachea, vitamin C, and zinc have been added to my usual supplements of iron, calcium and magnesium. Apparently I take as many pills as his grandmother, according to a friend... My father has also come down with this cold now, so I'm really starting to get worried... Ah well, wish me luck! I think at this point I would have an emotional breakdown if I did not get to go to the place I've been looking forward to going for 4 monthes...

I helped my mother set up her own blog, and I'm adding comments of my own to her posts as well. If you want to check it out, you can do so at www.garden-of-days.blogspot.com.

Two interesting sites I've discovered to do with my newest interest (anarchy, in case you haven't been keeping track...) are as follows: www.crimethinc.com and http://www.greenisthenewred.com/blog/. Both of which are very cool, so if you're interested in that type of thing I invite you to check it out!

I discovered something awful yesterday when I attempted to download the photo's from my camera. The drive is full!! So untill I get that sorted out (either by buying more memory or downloading them onto a different drive) no new pictures! Since I do still feel like adding a few pictures, I'll put ones from a different day...

And, I wrote a new poem! Which can be seen at my poetry blog, www.art-is-expressions.blogspot.com. Peace!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


Last night it was beautiful.

I talked for hours with my mom, discussing everything under the sun. And because we were talking, we were still up a bit past 1:00 am when I heard a noise on the deck. Of course, my paranoid mind going into overdrive, I called for reinforcements in the form of my mother than we switched the outside light on and looked out the door. There, peaking out from behind a bin, was the cutest raccoon I have ever seen. He looked to be young, I'm guessing maybe a year old, and what struck me so much about him was simply his expression. There was no malice in his eyes, no anger, just slight caution, and curiosity. He watched us for several minutes, furry ears sharply perked, before deciding we didn't seem to be any threat and creeping out from behind his hiding place. Once out in the open, and seeing as we still hadn't made any move to harm him, he started ignoring us in favour of the fresh grapes that encircle our deck. I couldn't blame him, really. They are delicious! Sadly it was only the that we thought to get a camera, once the spell was broken a bit. We got a few blurry shots, but although we haven't downloaded them yet I don't think we got any good ones. I will always remember that look on his face though, eyes bright and appraising, full of curiosity and life... Anyone who can look at a beautiful wild creature like that and see only a pest is blind, and anyone who can look at a beautiful wild creature like that and desire to own him, either as a pet or as a fur coat, is simply fucked up. It always feels magical when I come across a wild creature, when we make eye contact, or somehow connect in that short time we are in each others sight, then go our separate ways without ever harming or frightening the other, those moments truly stay with you. Isn't it a sad testament to our current world that those moments are few and far between, and that because of what we've done we've taught most animals to fear, or even hate us? And we have all "learned" that wild animals are vicious, dangerous, and had best be avoided. I want a world with mutual respect, where all of us animals can live together naturally, the way we're supposed to. In case you hadn't noticed, I haven't given up hope yet!

Pictures of my mom and me...

I'll add the raccoon shots when I get them uploaded onto the computer.