Monday, June 27, 2011

camping with crazies

I just spent a week up at girls' camp. I always loved camp when I was a youth. Rachel loved camp. Melanie loves camp. Roxanne . . . not so much. I think she has some of Lauri's genes in her. I went up this year as part of the staff. I was over the hiking, archery and water games.Actually, most of camp is run by the Youth Camp Leaders, YCLs. They are the girls who have been to camp for 4 years, most of them are 16 and 17 years old and they take on a major leadership role. Our stake really has a good history of youth leadership at camp. So basically, the YCL's are the ones to actually teach archery safety and technique. I'm just there to oversee that no one gets shot or overheated out in the 170 degree heat wave we were having that week. The YCLs also lead the younger girls on the hikes, I am just there to make sure they are prepared to head out and again, make sure everyone has enough water to survive the heat.Most of the forest trails were closed due to fire dangers so at the last minute we had to revise the hikes to a nearby trail and all the groups had to do the same hike, just in varying distances. It was a 3 1/2 mile loop. One group did one loop, one did 1 1/2 loops, the older group were to go twice around to do a 7 mile loop, but (dare I say) . . . wimped out and only went about 4 1/2 miles. I only say that because I was hiking with the 2nd year girls and these 8th graders were very proud to have done the longest hike of the day.
The girls all love the archery range. In previous years, they all did a mandatory loop through all the offered classes. This year, after doing their certification classes, they could choose to do any class they wanted. One girls signed up for archery for every available class time. Needless to say we are BFF's now. Among many other things, Rachel and Melanie headed up the Jazzercize class. I think as much time went into preparing their outfits as the actual routines. Awesome.
I got my aerobic exercise each night at 11 pm climbing onto the top of a bunk bed. I am way too old to be sleeping on the top of a very narrow bunk bed. I got additional exercise climbing down off the bed at 2:30 am, down the steps of the cabin, down the hill to the bathroom, then up hill, up the steps , and up a rickety ladder and into bed. I never get up to go to the bathroom in the night at home. Why at camp -- every stinkin' night???
Our overall camp theme was "SOS" (Seeking our Savior). Each cabin came up with a sub-theme relating to boats. Melanie's YCL's were pirates. Isn't this a great banner they painted? I ended up painting the banner for the staff cabin, we were lifeboats:Dave spent the week as part of the support staff too. I'm glad Melanie doesn't mind having us around. Someone asked her if she read the packing list carefully - "It didn't say to bring your parents!".
I think in the back of Dave's mind, he had visions of packing the trailer, and maybe hauling some trash out, but mostly sitting in a hammock. Sadly, there was no hammock time for him. He realized there was some major structural problems on some of the platforms we were using and he spent the majority of the week building and repairing. Dave hand-writes letters to Brady each week and illustrates his stories. I saw him drawing a picture for Brady of the platforms with big gaping holes in them and girls falling through. Brady was involved in the work project when those were built by our stake years and years ago so I'm sure he understood the work involved. Anyway, Dave should have been wearing a Superman cape all week because he certainly was a hero around camp.He is smiling for the pictures, but he wasn't smiling with the blisters, the cuts, the bruises and crawling around amongst spiders webs in the blazing heat all day every day.

Funny things I heard around camp:

One girls had not been feeling well and had been to see the nurse and was told to slow down and take it easy for the day. She didn't show up for her photography class which included a small stroll through the forest. At roll call, when she didn't answer, one of the girls said "She's not here. She's supposed to take it easy so she went to Jazzercize."

On our hike, the girls found out that the older group was altering their hike and stopping earlier than planned. One of the girls immediately questioned why we couldn't do that too and was told "Because we're not quitters, and because we're AWESOME". Heading back out on the trail she mumbled, "But I don't want to be awesome".

After the water activity, one of the girls was going from cabin to cabin asking if anyone had some dry tennis shoes she could borrow. As she came be our cabin we reminded her that everyone had wet shoes, but they would dry overnight. She then asked "Doesn't anyone care about hypothermia?" (It was 97 degrees that afternoon).

During the water games, one of the games was to untangle, and untwist one of their shirts that had been wet, bagged and tagged, and put in the freezer overnight. They were clearly not wrung out enough and were frozen solid as a rock. The winners of the game were the first to get their shirts on. There were all kinds of methods of defrosting, sitting on them, under the armpit, blowing on them, dipping them in nearby mud puddles, then some girls decided to bang them on the trees. One of the leaders watching said "It looks like an Insane Asylum". (It kind of was . . . )

The day we were leaving, the whole camp was ready to leave about 45 minutes before the bus arrived to cart the girls home. Melanie put some music on in Dave's truck and kept the girls busy with a little more dancing. Where does she get her energy? Not from me, I know that.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

kitchen shenanigans

Melanie's been in the kitchen for years. I've shared this before:

She's at it again!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

abc's of travel

A - We tried to find an art supply store. We typed one into the GPS and it erroneously took us to an Fine Arts and Frame store. We went in and told an employee what we needed asked where we might buy some art supplies. He could not come up with anything nearby and he actually said in all seriousness, "You could try New Hampshire . . ." Really? in all the whole state of Massachusetts we wouldn't be able to find some paper and chalk? ok then, we'll try New Hampshire! The funny thing was that we drove about 10 miles down the road and found a Michael's Craft store. . . in New Hampshire.
B - This photo is indicative of our life as business owners. No matter what we are doing, we still have clients to attend to. Dave is dusting off a 300 year old gravestone of his ancestor in Massachusetts while talking to a client in Arizona about a fire alarm system.
C -We followed our GPS directions to this address in New York City. Can you see a church here? We couldn't either until we saw a man in a white shirt and tie walking down the sidewalk. We followed him until we found the front door to the church. We walked in and had to take an elevator up to the chapel on the 4th floor. Cool!
D - Boston seems to be the Dunkin Donuts Capital of the World! We had a pact to not eat at any chain restaurants while on this trip. But we caved in and stopped to get a Donut before we left Boston. They were EVERYWHERE!
E - An Electrical Storm kept us in Boston for an extra two hours on our return flight home. Which makes perfect sense since we risked life and limb driving through an intense electrical storm to get to the airport on time. During our crazy drive to the airport we received a text from the airline assuring us the flight was still leaving on time.
F - Five States, Seven people, Eight days - Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York and New Hampshire. We counted up all the states we had ever been in. We counted Connecticut even though we just drove through the corner of the state on this trip. We didn't stay there, make a purchase of any kind, or even stop to go to the bathroom. What are the rules for counting states? I don't count a state if it's just a layover on an airline flight, but we did actually see Connecticut out the window of the car. Does that count? I'm counting it. In Melanie's 16 years, she has visited 27 states. I have been in 32 states and Dave has been in 44 states. I think he needs to get to 50, but I don't know when he will ever get to Delaware or North Dakota.
G - There is a paint color named "Nantucket Grey". Benjamin Moore must make a killing on this island with that color. Madeline saw the best saying on a T-shirt: "Turn at the grey house with the white trim". haha

H - I've heard of Hyannis, the playground of the rich and summer home of the Kennedys. Now I've been there.
I - "You don't eat cows when you are on an island! You eat fish! Do you order Chinese food when you are in Mexico? No! What's wrong with you people?" Madeline tried so hard to convert the Hale clan over to a seafood diet. Dave ate fish, Melanie tried a couple of bites, I told her I would when we got to Nantucket, but in the end I disappointed her and ate chicken.

J - John Alden, an ancestor of mine 12 generations or so back, came to America on the Mayflower. He was made famous by Longfellow's poem "The Courtship of Miles Standish" (which I thought was factual history my whole life but sadly later found out the story was a bit fictionalized), but the most awesome thing about him? His claim to fame is now a gift shop that is open and thriving across the street from the Mayflower Ship.
K - "KaKah! KaKaaah!" The international call for lost people in a crowd.
L - Licking the Statue of Liberty. Why? I cannot answer that. There was also a high five to Miss Liberty.
M - The Mayflower - I thought it would be bigger. It was pretty small to be carrying so many people. All I could think of was the potential stink of 102 passengers, 25 crew members and 66 days. Brave, brave people indeed.N - What could be better than a day in Nantucket - the Whale museum, exploring, shopping, swimming at the beach, great restaurants, and a little more shopping.
O - We walked part of Boston's Freedom Trail and toured the Old North Church, "One if by Land and Two if by Sea". Dave has memorized the whole poem "Paul Revere's Ride". It's pretty long so that is an amazing feat. I also recently found out that this poem has been generally accepted as factual history, but that darned Longfellow somewhat fictionalized this story too.
P - Photographotical
Pho-to-gra-pho-ti-cal [Fo-tah'-gra-fah'-ti-cul] -adjective
1. the act of successfully pointing a camera
2. being the successful subject of said camera
3. camera skillz
This was one of many comical words used traveling with three funny teenage girls.

Q - (Surprisingly I have 2 entries for the letter Q!)

"At some point, cobblestone streets are not so quaint anymore"- Madeline, after awkwardly and sometimes painfully walking over the uneven rocky paths all day in Nantucket.

Quincy Market, downtown Boston- a seemingly mile long food court. We ate there three times.

R - "Recalculating" - Seriously, this word spoken over and over and over, gives me anxiety. I feel like eventually the voice on the GPS will start yelling at us to just follow the directions she gave us already!
S - Suburban - Joe had some mad driving skills to take a big full size Suburban through downtown New York City, Brooklyn and Boston. He was doing U-turns in parking garages, parallel parking, and zipping through traffic like a native New Yorker! Awesome.

T - Trolleys, Tolls and Tickets (fortunately just event tickets, not traffic tickets). I didn't carry much cash on this trip, and was wiped out quickly by the never ending toll booths. I should have remembered this. It was the one unexpected expense on our last road trip together years ago that dwindled our cash supply then too.
U - USS Constitution - Didn't tour it, but we saw it. A big wooden ship from the war of 1812 in the Boston Harbor.

V - Vanishing Dave - A little impatient with group planning decisions, we would often find Dave missing. He'd just walk ahead and move on with his day while we were deciding where to go or what to eat. Making decisions with 7 people is not easy. This was not our most organized or pre-planned vacation.

W - The Nantucket Whaling Museum. We made the girls get some history/culture before they were excused to head toward shopping or the beach. We sat through a presentation on the chase, capture, killing and eventual processing of whales in years past. Gory, yet kind of fascinating. As we listened we sat beneath a 46 foot whale skeleton.
X - (I am impressed that I have two entries for the letter X, too!) Our flight out was later than we originally thought so we had a couple of hours to spare. We stopped at a theater near the airport and hoped something of interest would be playing at exactly 2:45 pm. It was X-Men. Not my favorite genre of movies, but seemed to be enjoyed by the rest of the group. Then we dashed to the airport. Dave and I carefully packed our carry-on bag that morning with airport security in mind. Then both of us slipped in a full 16 ounce drink at some point during the day and both of us forgot about them. Both our bags got pulled off the conveyor belt for inspection. Oops. I got through security easily. Dave had to be X-rayed, but Melanie won the jackpot. She got a pat-down on her hiney. Yay!

Y - Yarmouth - I've never heard of this town, but it is down the street from the ferry to Nantucket and has a very nice hotel called the Ambassador Inn. Highly recommend.

Z - Zzzzzz's - I am kind of amazed at how many places teenage girls could sleep. On the trolley, in the museum, in a suburban, on the beach, and surprisingly a little bit at the hotel at night. I was worried about lack of sleep the first night when we could hear them in the room next door laughing together long into the night hours.