Friday, April 29, 2011

spring camping recap

I realized I forgot to blog about the Spring Camping trip and the Super Moon and how great Camp Chow was, so here it goes:
We arrived on a busy Saturday, the rangers and staff already in attendance because of a river clean-up project going on. In fact, the camp was probably full. This camp is now a county park, but still retains all the girl scout cabin and treehouse units it used to have. It is open to the public, and very picturesque, right near the St. Johns river in Clay county. We had reserved an entire set of cabins, with bath house, fire ring, and cooking lodge, and it was fun having a whole camp to spread out in. The girls quickly selected cabin-mates and stowed their stuff, and we got to work on lunch. The Kaper chart (a chart of teams with duties) worked wonderfully. The girls were really fantastic about learning and doing their new duties, and they even seemed to enjoy washing their own mess kits. I took down the "mens" sign from the bath house and relished a female-only outing.
After lunch, we split by age group and went on separate hikes. The hiking trail went right by our fire ring, so the girls could not be convinced to keep hiking the full length of the trail, but quit after half the distance. So, I only got to see half of the camp! The tent hiking and another cabin area was full of people, though, and the trail was quite busy. Still, we got to hear woodpeckers and see different types of trees.
We next had a fire building session. I was fresh from my training, and gave a talk, with the Leader's help about fire safety and how to build a fire. It was super cool when my one match lit my girl scout fire starter which caught the kindling, then the tinder, and then the whole logs ablaze. Everyone was impressed! It was a shame to put the fire out, but we didn't need a big fire in the middle of the afternoon, since it was quite warm out.
Another session we planned was for the Brownie girls to plan to lead their own meeting. Breaking down further into two teams, each team selected a "try-it", that is, a series of activities to learn about a subject. Then, they had to determine which activities to do, how long it would take, who would lead, and what supplies were needed. As coaches, we parents tried to keep them on task, help them plan realistically, and help resolve disagreements. Our team did a really good job, and we ended up using their planning for a later meeting. The other team got bogged down in selecting their try-it, realizing only later that we had already completed the requirements of the one they selected.
At that point it was time for something active again, and the Brownies had a sleeping bag relay race while the fire-starters and cooks rotated into their duties. Our dinner plans were ambitious - cook burgers not over a stove or grill, but in foil packets on the fire. Boy, was it HOT! But insulating the meat patties in cabbage leaves worked great, and we had the best tasting hamburgers ever. I forgot to mention that the whole menu for this weekend was suggested by the girls themselves, and there was very little complaining about food variety or cooking/cleanup chores.
After dinner, it was time for the Moon Rise. It was supposed to be the biggest brightest moon in 17 years and we were not disappointed. The hard part was finding a good view of the eastern horizon, but we managed, and mostly kept the girls from falling into the river (one stuffed animal took the plunge but was retrieved!). It certainly was a bright moon, and rivaled a perigee moon I remember from when I was a kid. We had a short walk back in full dark, but holding hands, we gathered everyone home. Then, we had smores and songs, and the last activity - a flag retirement. I again led the discussion about the proper way to retire a flag, by burning, and again, everyone was interested and involved.
My girl chickened out of the top bunk, and I wasn't going to make the pregnant mom crawl up there, so I ended up on top with my arms gripping the low railings. It got chilly at night, but not unpleasant. There was a train whistle about every two hours, so I never felt like I was far from civilization, and then I could hear car traffic on the bridge starting at 6am on Sunday morning. I got up and got the fire going again, and brought out the Box Oven - a cardboard, charcoal-fired box that can cook just like a regular oven. We made muffins and they cooked up beautifully. I even cooked bacon on my frypan over hot coals, which worked well, although now I am wishing for a cast iron camping dutch oven!
We did some clean up, then went on another hike and finished up more TryIt activities. Then ended with lunch near the old lodge (undergoing profound renovation). We had a wonderful closing circle, complete with everything we were grateful for that left us with moist eyes, and then a pleasant ride back to town.
It was so nice that everything we had done to promote planning, and sharing of duties had not only worked, but worked well and inspired our girls to do more.
The girls did well, but as leaders, we really came a long way!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

gripes for today

I know, I know
Gripe number one should be against me, for not posting more often more regularly, more consistently. Yeah, I am bad, and that is not the only reason.
Right now I have my grump on for several reasons:
It is ninety and hasn't rained in days and days, and everything is drying up like a desert and squirrels are digging up my basil, the lil fuckers, and rain is predicted, but only about 50%, and its from the same system that caused all the tornadoes. So do I want this rain, or don't I?!?
Also I have been trying not to eat sugar, and its like the less I have the more I want it. So I break down like a damn addict, and feel horrible, and feel grumpy, and feel guilty and feel like, "well, I'll try again tomorrow". I've decided that soda and York Peppermint Patties are about the worst things on the planet to eat. So why do I have a hard time throwing them away?
My tooth hurts, and I think its because I am gritting my teeth in my sleep. I don't grind, I clench. I probably need to quit caffeine, but that just gives me chills....
The good news is we are going camping this weekend. Its another Girl Scout thing, run by a different group, but was super fun last year, and promises to be so this year. It will be hot, but is predicted to be not too hot, not ninety, like last year. But if it is 90, so what? It will still be fun. We have four adults and thirteen girls. Hopefully they will listen. Because if I am sugar crashing and they are bad-behaving, somebody's head is going to go 360 and there may or may not be green puke spewing. But, that's just expecting the worst. And I refuse to expect the worst. Despite difficulties, we will all be fine, I am sure, and we will all behave at least well enough to be invited back next year. Even if we get the nasty reputation for being a bunch of whiners.
I love my short sassy haircut.
I hate fleas, and we have them. They are immune to Frontline and Advantage, which means we are shit out of luck until they approve something else for cats. I have removed all the rugs out of the house (except the washable bath mats). I am seriously considering tiling or laminate flooring the final carpeted room.
E. M. Forster is my favorite author, and am listening to and will soon reread A Passage to India.
I replaced my burned out under cabinet lighting with more of the same kinds of lights, which, I know, will burn out again. But they were free.
Its like my life is filled with stop-gaps, but no real solutions. I should blog about that sometime, when I get the chance.