All saints save the day

I had (in theory) such a great Halloween costume idea in mind this year! For once I didn’t go as myself, a crippled Disney princess or a pre-pubescent singing sensation. My Duchess of Cambridge costume had the dress, the pantyhose, the shoes, THE RING, and a supremely shiteous brown wig (to add the scary element of Halloween).

All I had was my wine, that big ass ring and the weight I didn’t realize I’d gained since I bought that dress

Unfortunately, this year Mother Nature went as Hurricane Sandy for Halloween and quite literally blew my costume out of the water. I never ended up getting to the Halloween party I was supposed to go to on Saturday. Instead I built a hurricane shelter of decorative pillows, ate potato chips and caught up on my new favorite show The Mindy Project.

I decided that in addition to being a fightercock for Halloween, I will also go as Mindy Kaling next year (who is a fightercock in her own right). Not only will this be a racially appropriate costume for once, but I have no qualms about completely removing my already dilapidated filter and becoming a verbal-diarrhea inclined noise box for one night.

We are also both pretty self-absorbed

So what did I actually do on Halloween day?

Have you ever been to one of those haunted mansions where you walk around getting aneurysms every time some asshole dressed as a zombie jumps at you? Well, my bathroom is worse. Think of the worst fake haunted house you’ve ever been to, multiply that by Fear Factor and double it by Flavor Flav. THAT was how frighteningly dirty my bathroom was. 

So on Halloween, I dressed up as a dirty bathroom cleaner and cleaned my dirty bathroom.

This costume comes complete with rubber gloves, my stained old York hoodie and a smile full of fake excitement.

But even though Halloween may officially be over, today is one of the best Catholic holidays: All Saint’s Day!

As a practicing Catholic who can`t get through a full Hail Mary without thinking about what I’m going to eat next or what I would do to my hot neighbor if he ever saw him again, patron saints are my lifeline from not getting permanently cut off by The Big Guy.

With so many prayer requests, 95% of which in recent years had to with my immigration papers, it is only natural that God assign some His most trusted buds in the bizz to handle bitch fests prayer intake paperwork.

Roman Catholisicm may have had a pretty bad rep, but those guys thought of everything when assigning saints. And so today, in honor of my Catholic upbringing, here are a list of some favorite saints and some random ones that I mentally yell for on any given day:

1) St. Anthony- Patron saint of lost things.

Common prayer: Dear St. Anthony, I lost my mind. Can you please find me a bottle of Pinot instead?

2) St. Joseph- Patron saint of workers.

Common prayer: St. Joe,  can you please inspire my patients to shower?

3) St. Isidore of Seville: Patron Saint of the Internet
Common prayer: St. Is, how many naked Ryan Gosling pictures can I download before Rogers flags my account? #girdyourloinswithgosling

4) St. Dymphna- Patron saint of insanity and mental illness

Common prayer: St. D, since my fifth cup of coffee, I’ve had purple cucumbers dancing in my head. Now they’re on my Spreadsheet. 

5) St. Drogo- Patron saint of Unattractive people

Common prayer: St. Drogo, I’m 26 and single. Please take away this plague of zits so my Neutrogena money can be better spent on a cat. 

6) St. Francis of Assissi- Patron saint of writers/journalists/bloggers

Common prayer: St. Francis, please let this post get thousands of likes and ten thousand comments. Self-esteem doesn’t magically appear out of nowhere.

7) St. Genesius- Patron saint of comedy

Common prayer: St. Genesius, these pretzels are making me thirsty. Get it? (Of course he gets it! You think Seinfeld came up with this shit on his own?)

8) St. Jude- Patron saint of lost causes.

Common prayer: St. Jude, please let Michael Kors have a sale. Also, can you make me Canadian?

9) St. Anne- Patron saint of finding love

Common prayer: St. Anne, find me a man, as fast as you can, who doesn’t drive a white van, someone with a nice tan and preferrably not a Nickleback fan. (This is the lamest prayer ever)

10) St. Joseph Cafasso- Patron saint of Prussia

Common prayer: St. Joe C, Prussia hasn’t existed for the last 65 years. If you’re not doing anything, can you please help a sister out? And when I say sister, I mean St. Anne. 

Bonus saint:

11) St. Polycarp- Patron saint of dysentery.

Common prayer: St. P, please let it all go down with one flush. 

This list represents only a tiny fraction of the multitude of saints at your disposal. There’s a saint for any human need you could possibly imagine. And all jokes aside, I don’t know where I’d be without their constant intercession. I don’t talk about religion much, but I will say that some of these saints helped me through the toughest times in my life and that deserves way more than just a light-hearted blog post. 

If you are still mourning the end of Halloween and care not much for saints then let me try and change your mind:

Come on!!! How can you say no to baby Mother Teresa?!

Seriously!! How can you!? 

The Montreal Chronicles: Eat, Pray, Love Run from hobos

The following photo montage is a testament to the awesome weekend I had in Montreal. Trust me, this time it might be better if you see pictures instead of reading about me ramble on about how I loooooooove Montreal. This is not to say I won’t have SOMEthing to say about it. Anyway, let’s begin with the begining.

I got to Montreal by the Greyhound. The Greyhound may not be the most humane way to travel, but it is definitely the cheapest. After an all night 8 hour bus ride, I finally got there at around 9am and checked into a little Bed and Breakfast. I had the cutest room at the BnB, HANDS DOWN. Not that I saw anyone else’s room but seriously…how cutesy is this!

You cannot tell from the picture but this room is actually on a pretty crazy slant. Tres charming!

There was no better feeling in the world than passing out on that bed after a long night of the inhumane Greyhound night bus. And what’s more, my awesome host Natalie treated me to a three-course breakfast. I didn’t know three-course breakfasts even existed.

Anyway, on with the adventure:

EAT:

Lots of unhealthy eating was definitely done.

At Nickel's which is a restaurant chain owned by Celine Dion. Not even the song "My heart will go on" in the background was going to deter me from devoring the deliciousness on this plate.

 

Montreal's finest poutine. Just a quick explaination of what that styrofoam container contains for non-Canadian readers: that delicious heart-attack over there is french fries and oodles of gravy topped with cheese curds.

 

I haven't been to all the places in the world but Montreal quite possibly has the best almond croissants in the world.

PRAY:

Solo getaways are also great for getting in touch with your spiritual side. There’s nothing like not having your friends to stay out with till 4am and dissolve your troubles in tequilla shots.

The majestically towering Notre Dame Basillica

Notre Dame Basilica. One of the most gorgeous, peaceful and soul-stirring churches I've ever been in.

St. Joseph's Oratory. The Oratory is sitting on a hill behind the statue of St. Joseph in the Montreal fog.

RUN AWAY FROM HOBOS:

If you ever go to Montreal, you may or may not notice the population divided into three categories.

1) Normal people: These are people dressed like you and me. Regular Joe’s and Josephina’s going about their daily business of being French. If you are not a normal person and live in Montreal, then chances are you belong in one of the following two categories.

2) Hipsters

3) Hobos

One of the first things that happened to me when I got there was a fellow that looked like he had been living on locusts and brambles his whole life  came chasing after me screaming “Mademoiselle! Mademoiselle!..” followed by a string a French words. He could have been asking for sex or he could have been asking me for a chapstick. Who the hell knows. He even started talking to me in English to get me to talk to him. It was clearly amusing to everyone, including my iPod which actually quite appropriately started playing the song “Howling for you” by The Black Keys.

Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that since the culture of Montreal seemed to be predominantly hipsters and hobos, it might be appropriate to let you in on some tricks on how to be able to tell the difference.

The main reason why you would even confuse Montreal hipsters and hobos with each other is because: 

1) They both usually have beards.

2) They both wear mismatched clothes and don’t care.

3) They’re both bilingual.

However, here are the subtle differences:

1) Hobos will talk to ANYONE including you, animals, buildings, inanimate objects and themselves. Hipsters only talk to the latest version of the iPhone.

2) It is very easy to get a hobo’s attention. Just the mere fact that you exist in Montreal means a hobo or two will find you and chase you. You wouldn’t get a hipster’s attention even if you were dressed like Lady Gaga riding a giraffe holding a giant rubber chicken.

3) Hobos smell like urine and cigarettes. Hipsters smell like Starbucks and indifference.

And if you are still unsure, I drew you a picture that you can print out and take with you if you ever go to Montreal:

Now you know the difference. You're welcome.

All jokes aside, Montreal is absolutely gorgeous. Even after being chased by hobos. Here are some of my favorite photos:

Old Montreal.

Rue St. Catherine. The shopping street where I spent the rest of my time when I wasn't eating, in a church or being chased down the street.

More of cutsey Old Montreal

Surprisingly there were no couples trying to take cheesy photos near the LOVE structure. Guess I was the only cheesy one there.

Horse-drawn carriage ride along the cobblestoned streets of Old Montreal. Pretty freaking romantic if you're unfazed by the constant overpowering smell of horse poop

                                                                                                                           FIN

And that’s my little Montreal photo album for you. The weekend was way too short for everything I wanted to see and do but the whole experience still has me on a high. I’m already planning my next getaway and what I’m going to cover. I have a feeling there will be plenty of more Montreal Chronicles in the future. Until next time, have a happy Monday (about as happy as Monday could be).

Riding the bus with Ryan Reynolds

That`s right, children. I sit across The Great Canadian Adonis on the bus.

Now, before you ladies get your panties in a tizzy and you gentlemen abruptly stop reading this, cool all your tail feathers. I don’t usually do this but this is actually going to be a serious post about a life lesson I learnt this morning that I, against my better judgement, decided to share with you. Normally, I  like to keep my blog as light-hearted as possible, restricting it to mostly mindless humor to get you through your caffeine-fuelled robotic lives. However, there comes a time when something so simple and yet so profound happens, that one must tell someone else. Or a bunch of someone elses.

My story began last week when I started riding the Viva bus, a more human pleasant alternative to the TTC (my regular bus). The Viva bus stops at the same stop as the TTC and takes me to the same place where I have to catch my third and final bus to work. For the past week, I`ve been getting on the Viva and sitting directly opposite a man who is a splitting image of the photo you see below:

You think he's coyly smiling at you but really, he's just checking himself out on his tinted car window. (www.coolspotters.com)

He’s usually reading the paper but behind those designer sunglasses he’s really just silently staring into the souls of the unsuspecting working class around him. This was the one piece of excitement I had every morning of last week. Anyway, this Monday morning, I woke  up thoroughly excited at the prospect of starting my week with Ryan Reynolds staring into my soul as any normal hormonal girl would be.

As luck, or lack of it would have it, I got to the bus stop just in time to see the Viva pull in to the stop. I ran  to it like a wild zebra being chasing by a  lion. Alas! I got there just in time to have the doors of the bus close in my face, while the driver shook his head at me in complete indifference. I thought I might burst into tears. Not only was my soul not going to be stared down at today by Ryan, but it was also very likely that I wouldn`t get to work on time seeing as how the chance of missing my third bus was inevitable.

I stood there stewing in a pool of anger and frustration at the driver, at life, at Monday, at Ryan Reynolds, at myself. So caught up was I in my black mood that I didn`t even notice a TTC bus pull in right in front of me a minute later. The TTC bus was like a Nike sweatshop of carpal-tunnel syndrome suffering children…cramped, stale and suffocating.  And it was in that dark place on the TTC bus that I found my reason to write this post.

Even though I missed the Viva , I knew for sure that today, a missed Viva was not going to result in me being late for work because that suffocating TTC actually saved the day.

Now, I`m sure this touching story warms the cockles of your heart and everything, but really… why am I making you read all this bullshit?

Well…let me get up on my pedestal and tell you…

It’s a given that life isn’t always going to be a joyride with Ryan Reynolds. At one point or another I’m sure all of you must have suffered the pain of something you really wanted not working out the way you wanted to or not working out at all. I know I certainly have.

Maybe you came really close to landing your dream job only to have it snatched away from you. Maybe you suffered loss of some kind. Maybe you`re stuck in rut with nothing working out for you. For everything that doesn’t work out, the lesson of missing the Ryan Reynolds bus made me realise there is always another way to get where you want to go.

It may not be the way you planned, but you will get there. It may not be the same time that you planned for, but you will get there. It may not be the most convenient way to get there, but you will get there. And it certainly may not be with Ryan Reynolds sitting across from you, but you know what? You will still get there.  A thousand-and-five shiteous things could get in the way of getting there, but none of that will change the fact that you will get where you need to be at the right time.

 Of course, this goes with an assumption that you’re doing the best you can i.e. getting your ass out of bed, not keeping couch bugs company, applying for jobs before deadlines, running like a wild zebra etc.

 This is probably no new lesson for myself or for anyone else by any means, but its one I find very easy to forget.

 In the end, the one thing you really need for this to happen is hope. And deep (often VERY VERY deep) down whether you know it or not, we`re all hopeful. Even when your whole life is sitting in a large pile of doo-doo, you still hope something  will change. What other choice do you have other than to have hope?

Until then, close your eyes and know that while you are in the sweatshop bus of life, some people will get off and make breathing easier, the road will even out eventually, maybe you might even encounter some kind soul who gives you their seat. But even if none of those things happen, provided you don`t give up and get off, you will eventually get to where you need to be.

And that folks is my Monday sermon for you. *gets off pedestal and googles more Ryan Reynolds’ photos*

The Lenten Plight of an average guilt-ridden Catholic

Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday. Yes, it’s that time of year again, children.

If you are Catholic, you know that it’s time again to put on your woollen sackcloth and gird your loins for 40 days of Famished Fridays. If you are a Catholic that carries enough guilt to make the whole world and a couple of Martians  repent, then you are probably preparing to take on some extra sacrifices.

Since I fall in the latter category of Catholics, I have spent the last couple of days stressing myself over which of my vices would reluctantly get the boot for 40 days. In the past, I tried asking some of my Catholic friends for suggestions for stuff to give up. The best I got was, “Well, pray about it.”, which is the Catholic way of saying ‘Quit bitching, I’m busy’. The worst I got were actual suggestions of some unthinkable things like giving up make-up and hot showers.  

So I decided to “pray about it”, which I’m now doing on the eve of Ash day by listening to Taylor Swift and blogging instead of lighting a candle and saying a novena.

In previous years, Lent used to be a time when I would try to one-up myself with ridiculous things to give up. I think maybe it was more of a competition I liked having with myself to see how far I could push myself. Alas! As history of my Lenten endeavors would indicate, I’m not very competitive…even when I have nothing and no one to compete with.

-Contact lenses (2007)

Yes, a few years ago, I gave up my contact lenses for Lent. I understand this makes no sense, but hear me out. I hated wearing glasses. Trading my glasses in for contacts in 11th grade was like shedding my frog costume for confidence. Hence the idea of wearing glasses for forty days straight  sat as well with me as  the idea of wearing a burqa would sit with Paris Hilton.

Why this won’t be such a sacrifice for me now? Because in addition to not having the same 5-year-old boy haircut and unibrow that I did in highschool, I now also have a little more confidence outside of my outward appearance. And I have since highschool changed my glasses to a pair that doesn’t make me look like a frog. Everybody wins!…except Lent.

- Facebook (2009)

I gave up Facebook for Lent 2009. It was no easy feat but I was juiced up on the idea of one-uping contact lenses. Since Sundays don’t count as Lenten days…something I learnt at the end of 40 torturous contact-lensless days in the social desert…I got my Facebook fix once a week. Some consider this cheating. I considered it God’s way of keeping me sane.

Why this won’t be such a sacrifice now? Because I won’t be making it.

- Coffee (2010)

In my craze to one-up every previous Lenten sacrifice, I told myself I would give up coffee. This marked the beginning of the end of my adventures of climbing the Lenten Mt. Everest seeing as how one week into the climb, I fell off the mountain, cracked my skull and lost my mind. This illustration explains perfectly what happened and why it will never happen again.

Sadly, my successful Lenten streak of super sacrifice ended here. (www.lapsura.com)

 - iPod (2011)

I’m pleading insanity on this one. Clearly, I either forgot the coffee failure of 2010 or my over-zealous Catholic self felt the need the make up for it. I didn’t survive one day and decided to pray everyday on the bus to overcome the guilt instead.

Why this won’t be a sacrifice for me now? Because last I heard, the Catholic Church considers suicide a sin.

- ?????(2012)

No, I didn’t take a 10 minute break from my blog to pray about anything. But what I do understand now at the end of this post is that giving up things makes me miserable. Perhaps if I could be one of those truly Biblical people who “anoint their head and wash their face” while they reach for the Tetley instead of a Starbucks grande, then I might have more success with giving up.

But I’m not.

So this year, I’m not giving up anything. I will listen to my iPod, drink coffee everyday and wear my contact lenses. I will take hot showers, drink wine and be a happy person. Misery need not claim another Lenten victim. This would also very much benefit everyone around me since no one needs to be dealing with coffee-less Karen as much as they shouldn’t be dealing with a lunatic bitch carelessly hurling around sharp objects.

Probably the best thing I could ever give up…for everyone’s sake.

In place of giving up pieces of my life that keep me sane, I will instead give up procrastinating on things like laundry, dishes and dirty bath tubs and bring life back to order. Because order makes me happy. Almost as about as happy as my iPod, coffee and contact lenses. And if I give up being lazy, maybe for once, I will be happy for Lent. I’m pretty sure this is what Jesus would do anyway.

Bless me Father

Following is an e-mail message one of my best friends sent me telling me about the last time she went to confession with our childhood priest, Fr. Dominic. Fr. Dominic is dear old sweet man, but like someone said, he spends a little too much time in a confession box.

So I go to confession to good ol’ Fr. Dominc and here’s a part of the convo for your entertainment :-p
Me:        ..Bless me Father..the usual….. 3yrs since my last confession
Fr.:         don’t be shy.. say it loud
Me:        uhh.. ok.. 3 YEARS since my last confession…
Fr:         How old are u?
Me:        I’ll be 24 in Dec
Fr:        DO YOU HAVE A LIFE PARTNER????
Me:      uhh.. you mean a boyfriend? uhh.. yes i do.. but dont worry my parents know about him. (Can I just say I love how you felt like you needed to justify having a boyfriend?)
Fr:       REMEMBER when you kiss you must ONLY kiss each other’s fingertips.. everything else is for after marriage..    don’t forget, save your sweet lips for after you are married!

Me:     uhh…. i guess.

 (FINALLY 15min later)

 Me:      Are we done father?

And clearly, by the end of that I couldn’t even remember what my penance was so I just said an our father and 10 hail marys.

I would just like to say there are several other girls who experienced this at one of Fr. Dominic’s famous confessionals, one of which was me.  Other pearls of wisdoms include: “Sweetie, you’re too young to talk to boys (I was 22)” and my personal favorite “Don’t fall in love with boys…fall in love with your books” (thanks again Bernice).

Note to my poor future husband: Sorry honey. If you want to communicate with me before marriage, write me a book and I’ll fall in love with it. I might even kiss your fingertips. Priest’s orders.

Ten Reasons why Praying on the 77 is a Good Idea

I have, on many occasions in the past, complained blogged about the York Region Transit #77. The 77 is definitely a sociologist’s dream. Everyday, it transports people from almost every social hierarchical standing. And if you don’t see the higher hierarchical standers on the bus, you’ll probably see them driving their Maseratis from its dirty windows.

Shortly after I became a regular on the 77 about a year ago, I took to praying a rosary on the bus every morning. At first I did it because I thought it would be a good way to come back from the numerous guilt trips my mother kept sending me on every time she asked me if I was praying daily. However, much to my delight, I discovered that apart from peace in the soul and appeasing my mother, there were other advantages to talking to the Big Guy when on a bus like the 77.

 1. Saying the rosary requires of one to make the Sign of the Cross. This comes specially useful when your surroundings involve the resident bus idiot. The Sign of the Cross is a way of saying “I’m praying. I do not want to tell you where I live or work or why I pay for coffee with my credit card or talk to you because you are being creepier than a white van parked near a kindergarten playground. Please leave me alone while I ask God for the patience to be nice”.
 
2. The extra advantage of having a rosary in your hand is that if that same bus idiot touches your shoulder to get your attention when you are clearly trying to ignore him, pretending to check which bead you are on (basically bringing the rosary in plain sight of the creeper) works wonders in the case of the disappearing bus idiot. It’s almost like performing an exorcism of Shady McShade vibes.

3. There is something strangely comforting about warming one hand with a Starbucks cup and holding a rosary with the other.

4. If you have ever said a rosary in its entirety, you will know that for that entire 20 minutes or so you will be thinking of all things unrelated to God. And they are usually things that slip your mind or stuff you normally don’t think about. Thanks to my rosary today, I remembered to buy laundry detergent…which means I have clean socks, which means I can go to the gym, which means I get to see front desk cutie exercise.  Everyone wins.

 5. Saying the rosary in the morning is the surest way of getting rid of work related anxiety disorders. And creepy men. I might have mentioned that already.

6. Trying to focus on saying 10 Hail Marys in blocks of five has a strange way of clearing your mind by taking away useless thoughts and hence letting your Starbucks cup work its magic. The alternative to that is drinking your coffee while listening to John Mayer, thinking about how much you hate work, taxes, immigration, the weather, the government, the Nazis and the creepy bus dude. And doing this only leaves you with more hatred and an uncomfortable facial twitch.

7. All of the best blog ideas I’ve ever had have come from quiet mornings on the 77, fighting to get past the last set of Hail Marys without falling asleep.

8. My boss and co-workers seem to be happier people when I say the rosary. They seem even happier on the mornings that I don’t fall asleep while saying the rosary.

9. Commute times are shorter when you say the rosary. Don’t ask me how. I get to work in 20 minutes. Even if the watch tells me an hour and a half.

10. I struggled with this one a bit before finally realising I missed out the most important reason why it is a good idea to pray on the 77. Praying in general is a good idea. You can bitch about work and complain about the weather as much as you want without interruptions. God doesn’t usually do that annoying thing human beings do where when you tell them a horror story about your life they try to trump it with a larger one of their own just to make you and your story look like a joke.

Contrary to what the world will tell you, there are perks to being tight with Mr. Universe Creator.

The Blessed Eggs of St. Benedictus

This post was inspired by a hilarious cookbook I saw at a used book sale called ‘Kitchen Scraps’. I highly recommend some skimage if you are ever in Chapters and don’t know what to waste your time on. In fact, I think I might buy this book because in addition to having some very easy do it yourself recipies, it really made me think about this next blog post.  There are a few things in this life that I am quite passionate about. But for the purpose of this post lets narrow it down to two: food and Jesus.

I love eggs benedict. Milestones restaurant makes a shrimp version perfectly which consists of half an English muffin, a layer of avocadoes, a slice of bacon and grilled shrimp with a perfect poached egg topped with deliciously fattening hollandaise. This is not the first time food has inspired me to write about God. There was that one time when I came back from Madonna House. Madonna House is a chocolateless Catholic community in the middle of nowhere. I thought living there for a week would teach me humilty and appreciation for the littlest of things. Boy, did it ever. I wept with joy when I ate my first piece of chocolate when I got back to Toronto.  God definatly exists.

 It is no surprise therefore that when I eat, I ponder what Heaven would be like. And now I know what my ideal heaven would be. I’m assuming whoever invented eggs Benedict was cannonized a saint(or should have been). Somewhere up there St. Benedictus is smiling down at this post. My idea of heaven would be an eternal food festival. St. Martha being the busy bee that she must have been thrilled when Jesus decided to appoint her as the head of catering. Any saint who ignores the Savior to cook food is perfect for that position. Martha however, has her own way around the kitchen and obviously has St. Benny pulling crazy shifts as the breakfast chef. But Benny doesn’t mind. He has the patience of a saint after all. In addition, he makes the best hollandaise sauce in the universe. And that includes other galaxies, universes and other religion’s heavens. Better wish you’re coming to Catholic heaven. The food’s a whole hell of a lot better. That’s right. I just went there. 

Lunch is a choice between St. Martha’s special grilled chicken (same chicken that laid the eggs for Benny’s breakfast) or the all-day breakfast. St. Martha wasn’t too happy about this as she was worried that everyone would choose all day breakfast (The Good Lord knows I would) over her chicken. But then one day she thought to herself “Who the heck cares? I’m a saint!”

That was the day she appointed St. Florentinus to make the Friday no-meat breakfast. The Friday no-meat breakfast also comes with a bacon option for all the heavenly patrons who eventually realise that this is heaven and the no-meat rules no longer count. Nobody is vegetarian in heaven. As the comedian Dan Ninan so eloquently put it “If God did not want us to eat animals, he would have made them out of tofu.”

Dinner is prepared by Jesus himself. He kills the fatted calf and makes Boeuf Bourguignon. The Man knows how to throw a party. He did say “whether you eat or drink…do it for the glory of God” (1Corinthian 10:31). Or did St. Paul say that?

The crown of all edible creations however, is the Starbucks fountain right by the Pearly Gates. Let thy Grande cup be ever brimming with a vanilla latte. We all know St. Peter’s venti is ever flowing for those long days at the Gates.

And that is one of the great things about Heaven. The food is to die for (pun kind of intended). I’m pretty sure everything is cooked in butter. The kind that could kill you. Only it can’t. Because you’re kind of dead already.  

Of course, I made all of this nonsense up and I really don’t know what heaven will be like. I know some other people’s idea of heaven is a place where the Toronto Maple Leafs are always playing a game and win the Stanley Cup each time. If that is possible, then I’m inclined to believe anything is possible. 

The Starbucks fountain though is a given.

 

Excuse me, Mr. Universe

Today I decided to do a little experiment. Today was a day I decided to take a bible verse to heart. Today was Luke 11:9 day. Can you really just ask for something and just get it? Just like that? Is it that easy? Does God just let you have it? No questions asked?

Lets see.

For those of you who haven’t read the book “The Secret” or heard of it, I will ruin the whole premise of the book. You could interpret it however you want, but the way I see, it really is 200 pages (an hour and a half movie) based on Luke 11:9. The universe is rooting for you. God is rooting for you. All you have to do is ask.

Anyway, I decided to take it to heart. God is rooting for me. And I decided I would take the positive thinking aspect from the book to reinforce my faith in those three infinitely powerful sentences from the Book of Life.

It was a gloomy rainy morning. As usual I ran for my life to reach my bus stop on time. I took my usual seat and stared at the misery that was the rain and slush this morning and I thought to myself, you know what I want? I want a Starbucks latte…or a cappuchino…or some sort of fancy coffee….or coffee. So I decided to ask for it. God, if you can hear me, I want a latte. Please give me a latte. Today is a latte day. It’s all I could think about. I could taste it in my mouth. Latte, latte, latte. Please God. I was going to have a latte today. Somehow.

My work place is eons away from all the Starbucks’ shops I know. In fact, my workplace is in a tiny little clinic in a complex that consists of a gas station and a fancy Italian resturant.

I didnt give up. I want that latte. At around 11:30, one of my coworkers came to my desk and I swear, the next few words that came out of his mouth: “I’m going to get a coffee. Can I get you a cappuccino or something?”

5 minutes later I was sipping a delicious cappuccino. Maybe this is just a coincidence. I don’t believe in coincidences. Every little thing that happens has a rhym and reason. But it was just a stupid coffee. Coincidence is the most probable explaination. A couple of hours later, my boss walked in with two cups in her hand. “Thought you might like a cappuccino”.
I stared at the cup.

Lets one up the stakes, I thought. As you all know the YRT 77 is the crappiest ride in the world. Getting a seat on the homebound 77 is a miracle in and of itself. Getting the most coveted seat of all (the seat right before the back door of the bus) is impossible. In the 10 minutes I waited for the homebound 77 from work, I prayed hard. I want a seat on the bus. And not just any seat. I want the back door seat. I pictured myself walking into the bus, seeing it empty and settling myself comfortably in it. The bus came. I flashed my bus pass and walked in nervously. The seat right before the back door of the bus was empty.

I sat down. This whole thing is a coincidence. I didnt believe in coincidences but this day had to be a huge exception. But what if it wasn’t? I set out to do this as an experiment. And I had the results of my experiment. Could I turn around and say the results of my experiment were just mere coincidences?

I was still in my wonderous daze when I felt a droplet of water hit my head. I looked up. There was some sort of water seepage EXACTLY ABOVE the most coveted seat of the bus. My seat. This is probably why nobody was sitting in the most coveted seat of the bus. I actually laughed aloud.

I learnt a lot today. I learnt the incredible power of faith and positive thinking. I learnt that “The Secret” is probably completely legitmate. And that the Universe might cockblock you, leak on your parade (or backpack) and ruin all your plans and your hair but is still completely and totally rooting for you the whole time. But most importantly I learnt that if the Universe is truly that great that it will give you whatever you want ALL THE TIME if you really ask for it and expect to recieve it, then God is infinitely greater and the perfect filter to make sure that the Universe will give you the right things…ALL THE TIME.

Maybe the coffee was a coincidence. Maybe the only reason I got the seat today was because no one else was in the mood to get their hair wet. But you know what? All those things are reasons. And reasons are irrelevent here. Regardless of everything else, I got exactly what I wanted. I wanted a latte, I got a cappuccino (slight discrepancy). I wanted a good seat, I got it. And that is the power of Luke 11:9. Of believing Luke 11:9.

And by the way, after going through a spell of sitting in front of my computer screen and producing subpar blog posts or absolutley no blog posts, I really wanted to write a decent blog post. I incessantly asked for inspiration for a blog post. Here I am at the end of the first one in a long time that I’m actually quite proud of.

Ask and you recieve.

Wheel full of Clay

This summer, I decided to take pottery classes on a whim. A very expensive whim. I got a wide array of responses and reactions ranging from “OMG! Karen that’s soooo neat!” to “OMG! Karen you need a boyfriend” (that was my boss…who promptly shut up after her patient squealed “OMG! Thats soo neat!”).

On my first day at pottery, my quirky teacher Dennise sat me at the wheel. I was so excited! She did a little demo where she effortless threw a slab of clay on the wheel, had it spinning like it was being run by a pack of hamsters on crack and then produced what looked like a fine toothbrush mug. I gaped.

Then it was my turn. I started my wheel on full speed and devoted my life for the next hour to trying to stop the clay from flying around hitting walls and people. There was clay everywhere! On my hands, my face, in my mouth, in my nose, on my legs. I sheepishly looked at Dennise hoping to God I would somewhat get the hang of this soon. I had to somehow justify selling off my good kidney at Chinatown to pay for these classes. After making several pieces of unrecognisable crap on the wheel, I started to get frustrated and disappointed.

Until finally, Dennise stepped in and helped me out. She patiently explained to me that while pottery was fun and ultimately very rewarding, it was not going to be as easy and romantic as Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore made it look on “Ghost”. Well I guess it could be once you learnt how to stop it from flying into your mouth. After all, nothing says romantic like a mouth full of dirt.

I made some okay little bowls but nothing sexy to write home about. They were ugly, deformed and relatively worthless, but I delighted in every single piece because I put my whole heart into it. I knew I would recognise them as mine anywhere.

Now, why am I boring you with all this? Well because what struck me after taking these classes were two things: 1) Pottery is the most fun thing you can do on a Sunday afternoon…apart clay flying off the wheel onto Dennise’s walls. It’s all mud in the sun until it’s flying in your nose. 2) I finally really understood the magnitude of the biblical metaphor of the Divine Potter. For those of you who are not in the mood for God talk on a Sunday night, I will break this down for you in the most painless way possible.

First of all, in terms of pottery, if you want to make anything remotely decent you need to focus on the damn clay. Clay (like us), I learnt the painful way, is like a 3 year old child that moves in every direction OPPOSITE of where you want it to go. Last time I had it under control, I thought what a fine job I was doing and I had flying clay in my face. You can’t even be THINKING of something else. Clay on the wheel demands the Potter’s undivded attention. And since God only makes masterpieces, His options are very limited in the attention department. Half a second of loss in focus could be the difference between a cute little teapot and something that very much ressembles a large piece of poo in the toilet. So trust me, God must have spent a little more time on you because He normally does not make poo.

Second of all, as Dennise kept stressing “No two pieces you make will ever be the same”. Every potter wants and knows every single piece he has ever made. The Potter has infinite patience. He has to. Even if his clay is behaving like a 3 year old child juiced up on Red Bull. So we can jump and fly off the wheel and rebel all we want. But sooner or later, we’re going to be held onto until we calm the heck down and turn into a funky vase.

And thirdly, potters were creative. We all start off as a mound of mud. What we become is at the discretion of the Potter. Some of us are small little teacups and some of us are large decorative vases. Some of us have fabulously extravagant colours, others have more down to earth monotones. Dennise proudly showed me displays of her pottery. Some of her most boring colored pottery were by far her most beautiful pieces. It didn’t matter if it was a mug or a plate or a boring looking ashtray. Only the Potter knows the time and love he put into creating you. Only the potter knows what your use is. And only the potter knows where you’ll shine and look your most beautiful. Most of all, only the potter truly knows you, your worth and why you were made.

If God is a potter, I now truly have a new found respect for God.

Astrological Musings

Disclaimer: This post solely represents the opinions and thoughts of the writer and is not meant to be taken as true facts. The writer also wants you to know that she does not think less of people who shop at the mall. She does it all the time too.
 
This post was inspired by one of my morning rituals on the 77 wherein I read my horoscope for the day. I think that section was invented for cranky morning commuters like me to inject a little happy in their morning by saying s0mething nice and positive. If you look closely, everyone’s horoscope is the same. A couple of days ago, my horoscope read, “Never feel the need to justify your beliefs to anyone”.

 

And since I ALWAYS feel the need to justify everything in life, I started to think about all the times I never took my silly astrological advice. And then I realised I had a whole bunch of nonsense, coma-inducing open ended theories that I just pulled out of my ass to justify things to people I could have cared less about.

Analogies are fun things when they make sense and don’t send one off into a boredom induced coma. The best analogies are born from shiz that you just happen to think in the mundane rountine of life like when you drinking coffee, sitting on the toilet and folding laundry.

Unfortunately, mine are usually born out of a need to argue and/or bore the toffees out of someone. (Thank you Lisa Livera for teaching me the art of inserting the word toffees in random places)

For example, there is my theory on the afterlife in which the afterlife is like the Mother of all New Year’s day parties and that you better be tight with the host if you want an invite. He should at least be aware that you’d rather be boogying it on the dance floor after you kick the bucket then spend eternity in your room (where the air-conditioning is just as dead as you are) sulking with the rest of all those who somehow in life got convinced that the host ran out of chips and tequilla for this big party in that Big Bang confusion.
Then there is my theory on waiting for The One. For those of you who do not live in this millenium (or planet), The One refers to the proverbial Soulmate. Basically, I compare finding The One to the rides at Wonderland, or any theme park you might have been to. The most badass rides usually have the longest lines. In the summer, you can be expected to be in line for 2-3hours where you would usually kill time getting frustrated, complaining about the heat, complaining about the line, winking at hotties, texting relatives you never bothered keeping in touch with and trying to convince yourself it is all worth the 30 seconds of the crazy adrenaline rush you’ll be rewarded with. Everyone has that one ride that makes them come alive. A lot of people though, would rather amuse themselves with tons of other smaller, less crowded rides that provide a temporary fix and kill time.

You KNOW you’ll have the ride of your life on the Votex. But you’d rather fool around on Taxi Jam because the line-ups are shorter and there’s not as much risk involved.

As a corollary to that absurd and ridiculously flawed comparison, lots of people are scared shitless of Twister, Topgun and taking chances and would rather keep to the safer rides like the teacups and eating funnel cake. Nothing wrong with that. But remember, you don’t want to be swirling around in a teacup eating funnel cake your whole life.

My justifying analogy on pre-martial sex is not as elaborate as finding your soulmate but is just as lustrous. I think pre-marital sex is like prematurely opening a good bottle of wine. The wine will probably taste fine but you really won’t do it justice until you have patiently waited for it to mature. It’s all downhill after uncorking it a few times, until eventually you just find yourself cooking with it. Still good, but not being enjoyed the way it was meant to.

And my favorite to finish: believing in God. Personally, I’d like to think believing in God is much like Vintage shopping. Not that there is anything wrong with shopping at the mall, but there is something very fascinating that draws me to vintage shopping that I don’t experience when I go to the mall. Every trip to a vintage or a thrift store is different. You never know what you’re going to find. Somedays are just plain frustrating where you spend hours and hours looking and searching only to come home with nothing.

 And then somedays, you just find one gorgeous dress or a breathtakingly beautiful scarf that you paid just a dime and some time for and you know all your perseverance is completely worth it. With God, no two trips to search for Him are the same. He’s too creative to wait an entire season to bring forth new lines. He does it everyday.

Somedays its plain frustrating and you wonder why you bother wasting your time searching and somedays He opens your eyes to a new perspectives that are just unquie and fabulous to you and then you understand why you bother.

Another great thing about going vintage is that it allows you the freedom to be yourself, form your own sense of style and not conform.

While many would be inclinded to believe that it’s the nutbag church goers who blindly conform, I find that there seem to be more people in this world today that conform to the idea that God is either too dead, too unexplainable, too non-existent or too busy looking for those chips and tequilla that He lost years ago in the Garden of Eden.

But that’s just what I believe. I avoid my crazy elaborate analogies these days and just smile and make you read all about it in my blog instead. :D