Advocation of the Shenis

A few (days) ago, Beth Teliho blogged about something called The Shenis.

It’s exactly what it sounds like: a penis for girls.

I could probably find a purple funnel in my kitchen if I looked really hard…

Nothing Freudian; just practicality when it comes to things like being able to pee standing up like one of the guys. #EqualityForAll

You’re doing it wrong. Cute, but wrong.

If they ever make an infomercial about this product (have they already??), I will audition to be one of the people living a terrible existence in a choppy black-and-white montage before they experienced The Shenis.

And I will win that “role” by telling this story.

The Year Was 2005…

I was a skinny Mexican teenager unaffected by the mass amounts of mini-donuts I was consuming at a small-town Fall Fair…

As I was for a number of years…RIP teenage me…

For four days at the end of every summer, our little Smithers was overtaken by madness. Semi-truck after semi-truck would pile into town, and we would watch excitedly as we could see our favourite rides being constructed before our eyes like Legos in a local field. We prepared ourselves for the Parade (building and dancing on a Bible-themed float down Main Street, skeet-a-skeet whaaaat?) and the ensuing Midnight Madness, where you paid $20 for a bracelet that entitled you to an unlimited amount of rides and skeezy out-of-towners trying to sell you stuff. And, of course, mini-donuts.

As will happen, a group of my friends and I needed to use the bathroom. Pairs? Try fives.

We made our way through the crowds, only to find this unfortunate situation in front of the girl’s washroom:

Begrudgingly, we got into line, trying to calculate just how much this would cut in our unlimited ride time. After 10 minutes, we all started doing the scissor dance

and after 5 minutes of that, I noticed that this was happening in front of the men’s washroom:

So I said, “Girls, I’m going in..I think!”

They all said, “Girl, don’t do it. This line’s gotta move eventually.”

I, in my infinite wisdom, “Girls, my girl can wait no longer. Cover me.”

So I took a deep breath and crossed the line…into Urinal Territory. I could hear whispers of friends and strangers alike, as I was clearly a groundbreaking bad-ass.

Friends, I’m not gonna lie…it was pretty bad. There were 3 rotten urinals against the wall; I took a few more deep breaths, entered one of two sit-down stalls, and locked the door. I had no sooner unzipped my pants and sat down than I heard it.

A rumbling in the floors, in the walls. Drunken shouts. The boys bathroom was now filled with what I imagined to be at least 5 football-player-sized meatheads who didn’t need urinals, but needed to crap or puke or both.

In terror, I quickly bent my knees and tucked my dazzly flip-flopped feet up on the toilet seat. I don’t know why I thought this would prevent them from seeing me, but I held my breath – praying that God would cause the cunning enemy-defeating spirit of my Yaqi ancestors to descend upon me with powers of invisibility.


My stall door rattled and shook until I thought it was going to unhinge. I expected at any moment to see a head pop up underneath the door. Or worse, a body crawling underneath to unlock it from within. But, too drunk to figure out what was happening, these boys started yelling at each other in frustration.

“Fudge! This stupid fudging door is fudging stuck! This is fudging bullcrap! Oh wait, there’s another one, this one better fudging work…”   *

*Actually different words.

So there I hunched and waited as each one of those gentlemen took turns using the one available stall. Oh yeah, and you can bet that I’d still never peed.

5 minutes…10…15 minutes later, the stomping and swearing and bodily function noises finally subsided. Ever so slowly, I let my legs unfold and my feet touch the floor again.


I bent over, looking at the floor from all angles for any evidence of feet.


I sighed and released my bladder like Niagara Falls.

I flushed, unlocked the door, washed my hands and ran like a bat out of hell.

And guess what I found in front of ladies washroom?

That’s right. The amount of time I was trapped was equal to or more than the time it took to go through the entire line-up. Everyone was gone, including my friends.

Not. Worth. It.

Suddenly, a lady came out of the women’s washroom, and her eyes widened when she saw me.

“Oh my god! Are you okay? We watched you walk in there, and literally a bunch of guys barreled in right after you. I was so worried!”

I looked around at the emptiness. “Well, that makes one of you. They didn’t find me; I’m okay. Thanks.”

And if that wasn’t enough, it took me bloody half an hour to find my friends. Who laughed their asses off when I told them what had happened.

Come to think of it, a decade later, I’m not in contact with any of them. Hmmm…

So, in short, if I’d had the Shenis with me that day, I’d have more fake friends and less of an addiction to mini-donuts.

Actually, nah, that sounds like a win to me. Thanks, Yaqi ancestors.



Lost & Found (Family Matters Part 5)

I’ll just be honest and say that I don’t have much of an idea on how to finish this story, but if you’re just joining me, here are parts 1-4:

The Ties That Bind (Family Matters Part 1)

And God Said, “Let There Be Facebook.” (Family Matters Part 2)

Liar, Liar. (Family Matters Part 3)

Skyfall (Family Matters Part 4)


The days that followed my mom’s reveal are a bit of a blur.

Maybe I’ve suppressed some details, maybe it happened 4 years ago and I’m just getting old.

Maya Angelou said,

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

That shiz is truth because right now I struggle to remember every conversation, every action that snowballed from there, but the feelings. Oh, the feelings. That’s a tap I can turn on without force.

Anger and betrayal, obviously. This relationship was supposed to be about me and my dad; my mom usurped it and he let her. And then they made it about LOVE and REDEMPTION and GOD’S FAVOUR UPON US ALL.

At the expense of my broken heart and shattered trust.

Guilt. Replacement. Confusion. Fear. Anxiety. Worthlessness. They all took their turn in the spin cycle of my brain.

So I left. I canceled every single commitment I had, from babysitting to singing in choir, and I just did not care. My Show Up No Matter What was dead.
I asked some out-in-the-country friends if I could stay with them indefinitely. They and their little shih-tzu welcomed me with open arms.

It was a small Paradise in the garden of Hell. Their house is situated high on a hill overlooking rolling fields, a lake, and the mountains. They gave me permission to sequester myself in a bedroom all day, or roam the hills and scream into the wind if I wanted. I blasted 30 Seconds to Mars in my ears constantly. I started a Myspace account, illegally posting self-recorded covers of anything emo I could find. I started dating someone I didn’t really love or even like that much. I ignored every single damn email my parents sent me, no matter how much they begged for confirmation that I was okay.

I needed to go a little crazy, so I did.

Come break me down, bury me, bury me, I am finished with you…
Look in my eyes, you’re killin’ me, killin’ me, all I wanted was you…

And strangely, looking back, I wish I’d gone crazier.

In those days of seclusion, I was scared. Scared of how far the cliff of my feelings was willing to reach before it dropped off into the unknown.

But now I wish I’d gotten Charlie-Sheen-crazy-drunk just once so that I could call my parents and tell them exactly how I felt about each of them. Sober and numb, my honesty was locked up tight for the sake of being nice and sweet, like I’d always been. Even in the face of all their lies and cover-ups and plain awfulness, Little Carly still wanted, more than anything, for her parents to be happy and proud of her.

The worst day came when I could finally form a coherent thought about someone other than myself: I have to tell my sister.

I finally read all Their Frantic Emails, my heart sinking further. What I read could only be described as a roller coaster. Up and down and up again. Dad is coming here. But maybe not. It’s complicated. But he’s definitely coming to be with us. And over again. The left hand did not know what the right hand was doing, daily. But they were so in love, and according to the Jewish laws recorded in the Bible (what? we’re Jewish now?), Dad was more than blessedly allowed to leave his wife behind for us. However, thinking about faking his own death had been a low point (yeah, no shit) and he wouldn’t do it (there is still a God).

He was desperate. He had always considered us his real family, he was only really alive when we appeared on the scene.

God, what fatherless little girl DOESN’T want to hear that?

Of course, I left those last parts out when I talked to Cassie. Even so, she was defensive and hurt, asking me every little thing I’d said and done in this situation, to verify my innocence. She may have believed me, but in the balancing act of her family, her work, and keeping her mom completely in the dark about what was occurring – contact with me became, and is, practically non-existent.

Another ripple. Another loss.

Less than three weeks later, I came back into town. I showed up for my public dance recital, and so did my mom. I was prepared for neither of those things. We made painfully awkward small talk over lunch; I filled the conversation with worthless gushing about my new (and first) boyfriend. In her delusion, she smiled as she realized Awww. We’re in love at the same time.

Less than two months later, I moved to Prince George with the boy I couldn’t love.

Less than six months later, my dad told me that his kidneys were failing him after a long struggle with diabetes. My mom confirmed this, saying that he was in the hospital after collapsing, and please pray for your Daddy.

And the roller coaster started again, guilt being in the first two-seater car. I suddenly loved my Dad more than anything, and I fell to my knees on his behalf. I didn’t want to lose him now. Not after all of this.

A couple days went by, and I didn’t hear from either of them. I decided to ask Cassie.

Instead, she told me that Dad was fine. He had diabetes, sure, but it was manageable. He hadn’t collapsed, he wasn’t in the hospital.

And that’s when I realized that I was the third corner of a triangle I no longer wanted to be in. I promised Mom and Dad that I would stay in contact with both of them casually, but I would refuse to talk to them about each other and what step they were going to take next in their grand, false love affair.

A year after the affair began, my paperwork for Permanent Residence was approved, and my mom was deported from Canada. She considered going back to California for approximately 3 seconds before I lovingly threatened to disown her. So she went the opposite direction: Shithole-Middle-Of-Nowhere, Alaska. Once again, guilt shotgunned the spot next to me on the roller coaster.

She and I had one last lunch date together in the Prince George mall, July 2011. Watching her cry as she drove away from me in a rickety old truck and camper was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.

After months of silence, I received a strange email from my dad.

The other day, I got a care package from your mom sent to my work building. This is too dangerous. Can you please tell her I can’t be in contact with her anymore? I’d really appreciate it.

Guilt got kicked out of the roller coaster seat by Anger, momentarily taking over.

Are you f***ing kidding me? You started this twisted, toxic relationship with her again. You made her the happiest woman I’ve ever seen, for all the wrong reasons. And now you want me to BREAK UP with her FOR YOU? I don’t think so. Here’s the only contact information I have for her in Shithole-Middle-Of-Nowhere, Alaska. Now find some balls and tell her yourself. I don’t ever want to hear from you again.

His only response?

I’m sorry I bothered you. I love you. I’ll be here if you need me.

Aaaaand we’re back with Guilt in the passenger seat…

Isn’t it funny how you can be willing to do anything for that One Thing you want, and that determination is the very thing that sets the One Thing on fire, to be had by no one? We all wanted the same thing: a family. And now, there is only ashes.

In the summer of 2012, when it became clear that I was going to marry Steven, I was past the point of dreaming or even needing my Dad to be the one to walk me down the aisle. I gave that honour to another man who helped me become who I am today, in a good way. But we definitely wanted my mom there. So we made the trek up to Shithole-Middle-Of-Nowhere, Alaska, to talk to her about it ourselves. It was a pretty emotional reunion.

Over dinner our first night there, Mom proceeded to tell Steven what she’d been telling me for the past 20-odd years: that I was the lucky, beautiful blessing to come out of a one-night stand with her best friend. Steven smiled and nodded, knowing the real truth, accepting Mom anyway, making me love him more. Part of me wonders if that just IS her truth now.

By the time September rolled around, Mom had worked very hard and succeeded at getting a 4-day pass to come back into Canada for our wedding. The day before all of our out-of-town friends started arriving, she broke down crying and told me that Dad and she had ended things a few weeks ago, and it had been the right thing to do, and she was so sorry.

I gave her my first full-bodied hug in a long time. “It’s okay, ” I whispered through tears. “We still have each other.”


 WEDDING!!! 316

WEDDING!!! 784

                 WEDDING!!! 958

Well, a bad-good-holy-crap-that-was-gross-but-awesome Happy Mother’s Day to You too!

When you’re the only child in a single-mom family, every day kind of feels like Mother’s Day.
Or, at the very least, Mother-Daughter day.

And despite all of our roller coaster history throughout the years, this past Mother’s Day was the hardest yet BEST one for me, so far.

We’ve been apart geographically during Mother’s Day before; that was only part of the hard.

~ Saturday ~

My husband Steven, my sis-in-law Sarah and I were shopping for their mum, last-minute style. My mum-in-law is pretty quiet, and I don’t know her well enough to know what she’d like — other than dolls, which she has plenty of. I thought maybe going out for frozen yogurt or something would be fun. Steve and Sarah said, “Maybe.” Mum’s also a stay-at-home kind of person as well, I knew that.

I felt kind of useless, but I tagged along to Wal-Mart, Target and Home Depot. Finally, they settled on geraniums.

I hadn’t seen them in years. Suddenly, I was flooded with memory. 4 years old, smearing geranium petals on my lips in an attempt to create “lipstick” like Cindy Bear did in The Yogi Bear movie. My mom’s favourite flower.

Suddenly, Home Depot felt very lacking in oxygen. Heat and guilt crawled over my skin, and I high-tailed it out of the store.

You’re the reason she’s so far away. You let the government remove her from the country, and now YOU’RE the one struggling to even finish a decent email to her? Pathetic. If it weren’t for you, she could still be here, enjoying this beautiful weekend.

I got lost in the parking lot. Wandering around, trying to find my car, thoughts swirling through my brain.

Like a desert victim, I stumbled to my car and guzzled the cold drink waiting for me there. My heart rate slowed, the sweltering heat laid back. My family found me, concerned. “If you really want to, we can surprise Mum and make her go out with us tomorrow. She likes frozen yogurt.”

~ Sunday ~

After church, my head was more clear. I’d fired off an email full of news and “Happy Mother’s Day!” dog pictures to my mom earlier, and I was excited to see where the afternoon would take us.

We decided on going to Surrey for lunch and some shopping. The 4 of us piled into the car, Mum greatly anticipating her poutine lunch, us 3 “kids” were eager for some adventure, and Dad calmly looking forward to having the house all to himself for an unknown number of hours.

It was a simple but glorious day. New York Fries, the Disney Store, the Lego Store, a random boutique that sold Grumpy Cat paraphernalia.


Thrilled to be together at last.

We were pretty tired by the time we got out of the mall parking lot, but we knew that the next logical step was to go pick up Dad and surprise Mum with Menchie’s, the fro-yo shop. Even Dad, with his sweet tooth, couldn’t say no to that.

So then the FIVE of us piled into the car: Steve driving, Sarah shotgunning due to often getting carsick, me & dad & mum squished in the back like sardines. It was a gong show. We drove into the setting sun, listening to The Parents bicker about everything from how to adopt a highway, to whether or not The Men were working tomorrow to could we please just stuff one of us in the trunk?

It was awkward and lovely, the first time we’ve gone somewhere as a family in the past 2 years. I checked my email every once awhile, wondering if I would hear from my own mom. I never did; I hope that means that she got up to something fun to do.

We entered Menchie’s, Steve and I having been the only ones of our family to go there before. If you’re not familiar, it’s a self-serve frozen yogurt bar that allows you to try many different flavours of gluten-free, nut-free, soy-free, dairy-free but NOT taste-free fro-yo and sorbet. You can swirl two different kinds together. You can have a waffle cup. You can put fresh strawberries and gummy bears and chocolate chips on top if you want to. It’s freaking magical.


It was a little overwhelming for them at first, but they got the hang of it. And loved it. And are making lists of what they’re going to try the NEXT TIME they come back. Mum, 3 hours later: “I just can’t stop thinking about that yogurt shop!”

*sniff* I created…a Next Time…

We closed out our day by returning to the house and visiting. I crashed on the couch for 45 minutes (hoping and praying that everyone is happy on a Family Holiday is HARD), and then we watched the season 3 finale of Once Upon a Time. Which I will not spoil anyone for but OMG. It was so heartbreaking and amazing and flail-worthy.

And now I come to…The Prank. Which Steven committed against me, out of the blue, and this is the ONLY way I can think of to pay him back right now.

So, logistically, it’s a little hard to explain because you can’t see our living room, but Mum and Dad have their couches in a broken, somewhat L shape. Sarah and I were sitting on the long couch, and Steven was stretched out across the littler one. He was holding a misting spray bottle throughout the evening, cooling his face with it as he gets easily overheated.

Around 10:30pm, I, on my side of the couch, bent over to the floor to pick up the water bottle I’d been drinking out of. At that exact moment, Steven crouched opposite me, stuck his butt in my face, and farted. REALLY loudly. (Which, if I’m honest, I’m sort of used to by now. Not the “in my face” thing, but the “farting loudly” thing. He has some allergy issues, and we hadn’t exactly abode by them today.)

And then I felt it. A mist, wafting directly from his butt-hole area, falling on my face, my open mouth and my eyes.

I started screaming and flailing.

And then I saw him, grinning like a child and holding that damned spray bottle he’d been playing with all night.

Don’t ask me how the universe aligned for him in that moment – a moment where the guns were loaded, the target was acquired and the Imma-mess-with-yo-mind prop was in place for such a beautifully disgusting event.

We laughed until we cried. And then I cried for real because for approximately 2.5 seconds, I’d been terrified that I’d contracted some sort of poop mist disease via my mouth. Sarah said it was the best thing he’d ever done. At one point, Mum had to run to the bathroom lest she pee herself. (And I’m not entirely sure she made it in time either.)

Get married, they said. It’ll be fun, they said.

But seriously, I’m just 2% more prepared to be an actual MOM someday. Thanks, man-boy.