Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Camp? or Camping?

So, Lydia and I went to Camp last week. Notice that I said "to Camp", and not "camping". There is a difference. Correction: there are differences.

First of all, when one goes camping, one must pack up a vehicle with every known bit of gear that will serve every imaginable situation while in pseudo-wilderness. (I say "pseudo", because really, as much as I do like to muck about in nature, I really don't want to immerse myself in it overnight in the dark, with the coyotes.) This of course includes tent, tarp, camp stove, vittles, lantern and marshmallow skewers. When one goes to Camp, one must pack a Rubbermaid tote (keeps the mice at bay) full of shorts and tee-shirts that have one's name written in Sharpie marker on the labels. Throw in a hideous rain poncho, a raggedy sweatshirt, some pilfered toiletries from your last stay at a hotel and some toxic-smelling bug spray, and you're good to go.

When one goes camping, a cooler full of tasty adult beverages to be enjoyed round the campfire is the norm. At Camp, NO FOOD OR DRINK OF ANY KIND ARE ALLOWED.

When one goes camping, one registers with the park ranger and parks at or near the site. At Camp, one registers with teenage girls who have name-tags that read "Bubbles" and "Sparkle" and "Angel". (A very strange thing, that. Why do the counselors have nicknames and are forbidden to share their real names? Some of the names could double as pornstar names later on. )

When one goes camping, one is free to unload one's belongings and set up camp immediately. At Camp, one must go through and excruciatingly long check-in process that includes having one's head checked for cooties and one's feet checked for creeping crud- right there in front of God and everybody.

When one goes camping, one is free to relax and enjoy the campfire late into the evening. At Camp, Bubbles and Sparky yell for everyone to get their pajamas on and brush their teeth at 8:30. After a lame friendship circle, everyone is dismissed to their cabin/tent. Bubbles and Sparky yell for "lights out" at 9:00.

When one goes camping, one usually stays up late drinking beer by the fire, the combined effect making it quite easy to fall asleep on the cold, hard ground. At Camp, one is not accustomed to being sent to bed before dark and has quite a time of it falling asleep on wicked uncomfortable camp cots. Owls and coyotes interrupt sleep and quell any fleeting thought of walking up to the bathroom just for something to do.

When one goes camping, one must either make a fire if coffee is to be had, or make a quick trip into town for some joe. At Camp, nice ladies in the dining hall make a wonderful breakfast, complete with hot coffee.

At Camp, people spontaneously break into song and encourage others to join in. When one goes camping, a guitar is sometimes brought out and some songs are sometimes sung. But, not usually.

At Camp, you get to ride horses. When one goes camping, one usually wishes a horse would haul your sorry ass back up the hill you trip-trapped down when you optimistically took a hike after breakfast.

At Camp, you do archery. When one goes camping, one hopes not to be a target for any psycho hunters in the woods.

When one goes camping, one can break camp at one's leisure. At Camp, you go by someone else's clock.

When all is said and done, I think I prefer camping at the Hilton.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Book Meme

Swiped this from Mrs. Chili, who shamelessly stole it from Chatty.

1. Who are your favorite authors? Tough call. Right now, I'd have to say John Irving, Amy Tan, Julia Alvarez, Harper Lee, Lorna Landvik, Betty Smith, Maud Hart Lovelace and Lucy Maude Montgomery.

2. What are your favorite books? A Prayer for Owen Meany, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Anne of Green Gables, Middlesex,A Handmaid's Tale, all Harry Potter, to name a few. It's almost like asking a mother which one of her kids she loves best.

3. What kind of books do you tend to read? I like an epic tale that spans a lifetime. I like books that explore the complexities of family relationships.

4. Do you prefer to borrow books from the library or buy them? Seeing as how I can never seem to get my books back to the library on time, I'd have to say I prefer to buy them- no pressure. I scour the Goodwill and garage sales and get really good stuff, but I also splurge on new books at Borders. Our school has a "Books are Fun" dealer who brings books to school for us to buy and I usually dump some cash with them, too. It's a sickness, really.

5. Do you prefer hardcover or paperback?
Depends on the book. If it's something I'm reading for fun, I prefer paperback, for it's weight and portability. Reference books or books for keepsakes, I prefer hardback.

6. What was the last book you read? What are you reading now? Right now I'm in a "mind-candy" rut. The last book I read was Janet Evanovich's Ten Big Ones, and I'm currently reading Eleven On Top. I love those Stephanie Plum novels- like I said, "mind candy".

7. Do you read everyday? Oh, absolutely.

8. On average how many books do you read per year? Never really counted. Maybe 25?

9. Do you belong to any book clubs? Yes, 2, but I'm thinking about breaking up with one of them.

10. Recommend a good book. Water for Elephants, The Thirteenth Tale, Lottery, A Girl Named Zippy, How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents, Lamb. Plus all the other books I mentioned. I will probably think of a gajillion more as soon as I click on "PUBLISH POST".

Friday, July 18, 2008

Friday Five

You know how we all have our own little hot-button issues that bug the ever-living crap out of us? Here are some of mine:

1. It's "iced tea", people, not "ice tea". I know it's "ice water" and that it defies logic, but it is what it is. Get it right. Write it correctly on the menu.

2. That fruity, ice-cream-like treat that isn't sorbet? It's called sherbet. SHER. BET. As in "Sure bet", NOT "Sure Burt". Only one "r" there.

3. Cheap gauzy fabric= MUSLIN, with an "N".
Member of Eastern religion=MUSLIM, with an "M".
They are not the same thing.

4. Well, I was all set to tell you about the big ol' presentation I went to about the beauty of a well-run "advisor-advisee" program, where the presenter misspelled "advisor", only to discover that "advisor" is an alternate and acceptable spelling to "adviser". Hmmph. Smarty-pants me not so smart.

5. Jargon. Especially Edu-jargon. Here are the words that will be a part of my reality for the upcoming school year:

differentiated intruction
paradigm shift
multiple intelligences
common planning
common assessment

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

On a Mission from God

Um, imagine your 7, soon to be 8 year old saying THIS at the dinner table:

"We've got a full tank of gas, a pack of cigarettes, it's dark, and we're wearing sunglasses. Let's roll."

Monday, July 07, 2008

Firecracker, firecracker ...

Well, I blinked and there went June. Hope everyone had a good 4th. We kicked off the weekend by going to the Mississippi Valley Blues Fest. It's been around for about 20 years- in its early days it was free and rather seedy. I think Steppenwolf played one year, when I was in high school. It's always been held on the levee, along the river. There is a main stage and a tent stage. People bring their boats up close to the banks and enjoy live music and the comfort of their own private boat. You used to be able to bring in coolers, but they put the kabosh on that as well as upped the price from free to $18. Not bad for a day/evening of live music, but still pricey enough to consider not going. This year, they had to move the fest to higher, drier ground because of the crazy flooding. It was basically a street fest with the tent stage moved into the newly-renovated, historic Adler Theater. For me, I'm kind of "eh" on that. I like to hear the blues when it's HOT and humid and I'm in direct view of the Mississippi, a cold beer in my hand, the faint smell of cigarette smoke in the air. (Yes, I said cigarette smoke- when I'm outside, I actually kind of like the smell, as long as it's not too strong. It takes me straight back to my youth.) Besides being NOT on the river, it was actually kind of chilly- like in the mid 50's, which for July in Iowa is downright cold. We were, however, introduced to The Carolina Chocolate Drops, an immensely talented group of musicians from North Carolina. After that, we saw Otis Taylor and the Black Banjo Project, which as the term "trance blues" implies, was really hypnotic for this sleepy, still-jet-lagged girl. We capped off the night with some Elvin Bishop tunes.
Friday we hosted a barbeque at our house during the day, then fireworks at my mom's house. She doesn't actually do the fireworks, but she lives right by the park where the fireworks display is held every year. It's nice, we sit in her backyard and watch, not having to hobnob with the masses.
Last night we went to a baseball game- our team is a Class A, St.Louis Cardinals affiliate. Very exciting, as Ryne Sandburg was there, as coach for the Peoria Chiefs. We got our butts kicked 0-1, but it was still fun. The stadium is along the river, it's pretty, there's lots going on.
I'm trying to get caught up on laundry and sleep, as well as finish my assignments for my Spain class. I have to have it all done before Wed., when I leave for Nashville- the High Schools That Work conference. Is ANYone out there going to be there?