Thursday, July 19, 2007

Strange storms

Oh man, Vedauwoo. How I love thee.

To my momma: Thanks for the sweet homemade chalk bag. It's PERFECT.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Another week of Vedawoo, WY

I spent this past week with my co from the past 10-day camp, Olga/Angie, and am really sad that we won't be spending any more camps together this summer. Olga is really opinionated, and I really like that because so many co's I've had are completely ambivalent about almost everything (other than when they'd like their 2 hours off, please).

That being said, there's nobody I'd rather have spent an hour in a van with at 1:40 AM during a torrential lightning storm.

So we did two different climbs in Vedawoo, WY, on two different days, and unlike the last time all of our girls had a ton of water with them, so it was pretty fantastic all around. I did a 5.7 crack climb and a 5.4 blindfolded, and to round out my week, yesterday, on my day off, Olga and I went to the local rock climbing gym.

Why, yes, I am pretty much in love (with climbing, not Olga).

The next three weeks, I have trips every week, and we will be rock climbing, kayaking, and whitewater rafting with each group of girls. If my parents' cannot make reservations for the dates they want to go camping at Big Sur (after camp), I'm going to get my Wilderness First Responder training, since not only is that a great idea in terms of summer camp tripping jobs, but it's also probably a Really Good Thing rock-climbing-wise. Do not pass SoCal, do not collect time with the fam-style (training is from 7th to the 15th of August, right before dorms open, so it'll be straight to Baltimore for me).

This has been a really fantastic break from the ordinary for me this summer, and I'm really enjoying the outdoors, but I cannot help but say that I am worried for when the school year comes back around. After all, my art is about the domestic and the fraught nature of being a woman in the kitchen, not about rock climbing and whitewater rafting and all that. I guess what I'd really love from you all at this point is references to some artists to look at.

Also, I'm reading the history of conceptual art. Yes, finally.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Another trip to Vedauwoo, WY

As expected, I got the Junior rock-climbing camp, so tomorrow, in the bright morning, we will be leaving for Vedauwoo, WY, that magical place, to get close to nature through becoming one with the rock. Also, I will be breaking in the new rock-climbing shoes.

Weather's lovely here, hope it holds out in Wyoming, can't imagine a drive prettier than the one I did a couple weeks ago.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Love the rock

Since I am probably doing the rock-climbing trips this week, I caved at Jax (the absolute most seductive and all-encompassing outdoor store I've ever been to) here in Ft. Collins and bought these Mammut rock climbing shoes.

I'm slowly investing in my outdoor equipment, right now I'm borrowing a lot but I'm getting more Nalgene's, got hiking socks and liners which have proved invaluable, and basically I'm trying to get enough gear together that when I no longer work at camps, or my sister needs her gear back, I can continue to pursue outdoor sport on my own. As far as I can tell, I may very well need to get outdoors and be physical and do hiking to balance out a professional reslife career, which can become very sedentary.

Also, in thinking about graduate schools for student affairs, top choices include University of Maryland - College Park and University of Colorado at Boulder. I'd love to be out here in Colorado, but there are a lot of things that I feel tuggin' at my heartstrings to keep me back east.

So, I'm thinking about getting full climbing gear, but until I get a car or have a reliable group of friends who will go with me, there's not a huge point at this time. Can I also say that I have seen infant-size Teva mocs, and, lo, they are adorable.

Sometimes I find G-d out-of-doors, when I'm not looking for Him at all.

Colorado is beautiful and wild. If I were a pioneer girl (a fantasy harbored as a child by reading loads of Mary Ingalls Wilder Little House books that I continue to have today), I don't think I'd have made it all the way to California or Oregon, because every state I passed through, I'd be sure nothing come upon further down the dusty trail could be better. In leaving the "big city" of Baltimore, I now find myself past Illinois and Kansas, venturing once in a while down to the plains of Colorado, but living in the Rockies where Henry David and his family once settled on the same property camp is on. Indeed, that homestead, where the David (Davis?) family spent more than a few rough years far from civilization, electricity, and indoor plumbing still stands, is used at camp. Sure, there's a chicken coop in the bathroom, and the kitchen's not much to look at, and nothing, nothing is flush or level, but sturdily it stands.

That being said, one of the most beautiful experiences, aside from hiking and viewing Mount Meeker, Meadow Mountain, and Long's Peak from 8,000+ feet, was my drive to Vedawoo, Wyoming, where we spent time on the open range where free-range cattle graze on the rolling prarie. G-d's land, they call it, some people. And how can you not see where wind, water, erosion took place to shape and mold the stone in unfathomable ways? I guess I'm remembering it sort of romantically, but I do miss it. Hopefully I
get to do a camp with rock climbing this week, keep your fingers and toes crossed!

Friday, July 6, 2007

Give me a break.

I'm spending this break with a friend from Fort Collins from camp, and thus far her house is so much like mine and I feel so at home that being here is a real luxury. I'm catching up on sleep and junk food, showering almost daily with glorious water pressure, got some conceptual art theory books from the library (none of the books I looked up were in the system, which was a bummer.) Finished Shopgirl by Steve Martin, which was a little too wan and ironic for me, but enjoyable nonetheless (I wonder if the movie is any worse?).

It's amazing how wonderful telephone reception and internet is. Also the ability to eat when I want. I got a hydration bladder for less than $10 at WalMart which adds another 2 litres carrying capacity for hikes, which is really really neccessary. I did laundry, and am washing my sisters' sleeping bag, got to do a little ironing too, which is always a pleasure.

Hope for next week is that I get Girls ROCK! camp, which is all Girl Scout Juniors, 9 through eleven, and will include an awful lot of rock climbing and hiking , and will be a less gruesome 6 day camp, as opposed to ten days.

Now if you excuse me, I've got books to read and feet to put up.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Time Traveler's Wife reminds me of John Titor. That is all.

All that I can say is that I am in dire need of this coming Tuesday night through Sunday morning off. I had a 10-day camp, and while I loved getting to know the girls, from scheduling to ratio to injuries up the wazoo, I can’t imagine a camp going worse. On the optimistic side (and despite a tendency towards bitterness and frustration at times, I do have one), I finished The Time Travelers’ Wife and figure that the next camp, whatever it may be, can’t go a whole lot worse.

And I know at some point I’ve got to stop trying to shift blame or be defensive, but it’s not like I didn’t show the Asst. Director my schedule. It’s not like she couldn’t have seen the gaping holes in coverage during the weekend that there would be VERY limited staffing to fill. When your girls are starting to know that you need a break, and have showered more recently than you, that is when it really hits you: you are an inefficient, poorly-planning leader in the workplace, and your 9 to 11 year olds can see it. One other thing I learned about this age group is they hate not knowing the scheduling, the plan, what we’re doing, when we’re doing that, what goes after, etc. There were times that I was driven pretty darn crazy by the incessant questions, which is when you start making up games like you have to ask every other camper and only then can you ask a counselor, or say “it’s a surprise” “we’ll do that when we finish this” etc.

What positive things can I say about the past week? My girls are amazing troopers, brave, repairable, patient, caring, kind, intelligent, clever, and funny. The coolest part about this summer is that I’ll literally have had dozens of girls by the end of it. And while I am not the most experienced, most patient, wackiest camp counselor, I am needed here, if only as a warm-body over-18 “child-care provider.”

Last night we slept under the stars where the first girl scouts slept on the property here back in 1960 (Pan, who was one of those cadettes who camped in 1960, still helps out every Wednesday).

Finishing books is always bittersweet. Last night we slept under the stars where the first girl scouts slept on the property here back in 1960 (Pan, who was one of those cadettes who camped in 1960, still helps out every Wednesday). The moon was full, and despite a little cloud cover, there were more stars out there than you can –ever- see in Baltimore. You know that one scene in Joe Versus the Volcano (Meg Ryan & Tom Hanks first rom-com together), where they’re on the trunk-raft, and the moon rises over the sea, and it looks like a dinner plate six inches from Joe’s face? It was like that. So, as I cried over the end of the happy parts of the book simultaneous to the beginning of the teary ending, the moon loomed over the pine and aspen with seeming concern.

The adventure of last week was getting library cards at Estes Park library, and now that I’ve finished The Time Travelers Wife I can start on Geek Love, Shopgirl, and the Wicked Son. Geek Love is a little oddball for me (“Geek” in this title refers to the circus performers that eat glass, live chickens, etc.). A couple of my campers offered to take me home for the three day vacation, where I could do amazing things like going to outdoor sporting goods stores, replacing the sunglasses I lost on a hike (third pair for the summer, $20), watch cable, wear flip-flops, etc.

I also am really very grateful for this camp because my co-worker was an international staff member that I wasn’t sure about, and I am so so so glad to have worked with her, and hope I get to be with her a few more times this summer.

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