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Camp is a place full of bizarre happenings, cute things and busy busy children. One of my favorite quotes from the past week happened during my cabin’s river swim. One of the girlies was paddling around in front of me at about waist level when she starts to prance around. “What are you doing?” I asked her. “Oh, I like to make art in the water with my pee…” she answered with a dreamy little smile. My eyes got bigger and I looked up at the life guard who is making up the other half of our supervision and we get our “Oh…. huh” faces on and try not to back away too quickly. Nice. Anywho, enjoy these pictures from the past week and a half or so.

3790708379_f3b2910919_bWhy not add some hair when you have all of this sweet moss lying around?!

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We were playing Holy Grail tag. Essentially people can tag you on the limbs and when a limb gets tagged you lose it and so you have to hop around or tag people with your remaining limbs, whatever’s left. Think the black knight at the bridge in Monty Python’s Holy Grail. Anywho, I was down to a torso and I had to wait for someone to tag me on the back so I could join the dance party on the “out” bench.

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The ragger’s ceremony that happens every Friday. For once, I don’t have any rags to tie! Last week I had two more than I wanted to do and it turned from something rewarding into a stressful mess.

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Bubbles cure all evils.

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The Teen XL program did an epic hike last week and this is by far one of my favorite pictures. If you put your finger over the right 1/3 of the picture you think “ahhh… what a lovely photo of people who have just accomplished something amazing” and then you take off your finger and think “OH MAN! What the…….!?? Who is that DUDE?”. That would be Like Fire. This is part of the tradition, the hiking muumuu tradition. This makes me so incredibly happy.

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Looking at different kinds of sticks during our Tuesday night camp-out on the beach. I really love the questions Pio kiddies ask about things like bugs and rocks and leaves.

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Like Fire with Capture the Flag warpaint.

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Ace make a killing during water anarchy. Water anarchy is basically a structured water fight of epic proportions during heat waves.

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Some of the felted rocks the girls and I made during our cabin time. I wanted to try this with some kids, I’ve done a ton of felted rocks on my own but it was so much fun with ten, 6-9 year-old girls… and look at their little faces! Oh man, this made my day.

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You wouldn’t believe how popular Sponge Bob is. I mean really, it’s like he is the Elvis of Pio-aged children. Most arts and crafts related things are about SB, skits are about SB and pool time is all about SB. Goodness.

Sweet PEa

I just figured out that there is an online gallery for every week this summer at camp and it’s updated just about everyday. We could play a Where’s Sweet Pea game and try to spot me in some of them… or not. Here are the two official cabin pictures for the two weeks I’ve been working, and then an extra bonus piece of awesome.

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Can you spot the bit of awesome? I was dressed up as Captain Kirk (yes, that’s my Kirk costume) and doing a cabin call about pirates. It doesn’t get much better than that. Don’t ask me when the last time I showered was… the answer is: too long.

Summer, Officially.

dscf0102What was I doing at camp nine years ago? This. Yikes.

Oh man I’m about to start camp tomorrow! Whew, that snuck up on me! You know what that means… right? It means things are going to be a little slow on here and on my side of the things in general for the next ten weeks or so. I won’t have internets or a phone for 98% of the week.

How do you get a hold of me, you ask? Well, I’ll tell ya!

Be my pen pal! You can write with your pretty little hands. I would be so happy if I got something in the mail. It’s going to be a long summer and anything ya’ll want to share would be lovely! Even if we’ve never met! You can send things to:

YMCA Camp Collins
(my name here)/Sweet Pea
3001 SE Oxbow Parkway
Gresham OR 97080

And you can still give me a ringy-ding, I just won’t get it the day you send it. I have some time off here and there during the week, so I’ll return phone calls and texts then. That goes for e-mail too! I have off from noon Saturday to noon Sunday so I’ll definitely be available then if you want to chillax or call me or anything in between.

And yes, you’ve guessed it, my camp name is going to be Sweet Pea for the next ten or so weeks. Nice, huh?

Cheers,

Sweet Pea

Piles of Wonderful

My neighbor Andy had a friend with sheep, but no reason to keep the wool. The lady he usually gives his fleece to didn’t want it this time. This all came up in casual conversation and I almost passed out when I realized that maybe, just maybe I could get my hands on this fleece. A month went by before I saw Andy again to ask him about it and when I finally did he said he’d look into it and bring them to me if his friend still had it. There were a lot of ifs and maybes so I didn’t get my hopes up. A whole fleece could fetch $30 or more raw and much more if it’s been processed into something you could spin right away so you can probably understand why I got a little excited.

I went on a camping trip this weekend on the coast, had fun and came home dirty and tired. My first stop was Monty’s cage (which has been relegated to the back deck now that the weather is nice). I had to step around this big blue tarp squatting on the deck to get to his cage and I thought “Well now, that’s a lot of disgusting insulation… I wonder how long THAT’S going to be here. Hurumph…” and didn’t think about it again until Mom and Dad came home. “Oh, so did you see your fleece out there?” Dad asked when they walked in the door. What I thought was a pile of nasty insulation was, in fact, a pile of skanky wool. Six fleeces, to be exact.

Now, I’ve never carded or washed a fleece before… and all I have is a little hand spindle for spinning it. I walked up to the tumorous mound very very carefully… I didn’t want to startle it in case it was really some sort of dead mountain beast hanging out on the porch. I opened the tarp and started picking through the pile, trying to determine where one fleece started and where the next ended. I couldn’t really, so I just pulled a large hank out onto the table. Underneath the… stuff… is some really really nice wool! I did a little research to figure out how exactly to go about making that huge pile into a nice, clean pile, and I found a nice little description on Fuzzy Galore. I went around the edges, pulling off the especially nasty bits and stuff about four pounds of fleece into a mesh laundry bag. Now I’ve got it soaking in the upstairs bathtub and hopefully, it’ll turn out well enough to card, spin, knit and then wear! How COOL would that be!? For free!

I don’t know what kind of sheep they are, or how much is here, but it’s probably just under 50 pounds.

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I swear, it’s not a tumor.

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This is where you can see the part of the wool that was closest to the sheep’s skin (the whiter half) and the part that was exposed to the elements and… other things less pleasant (the darker portion).fleece_17
Look how crimpy the fibers are! So cool. Everything is covered in lanolin and a little bit damp but after I’m done washing it all (which will take all darn summer if I do it in the tub like I am now) it will be a big fluffy cloud of wonderful. Oh I’m so happy!

Road Trippin’

Whew! It’s been a whole week since I’ve been at this computer and while it’s nice to be back it was also really nice to get away for a while. This past week I helped my cousin Tyler move some of his ski equipment from the East Coast to the West Coast for a ski camp this summer on Mt. Hood’s glacier. He met me in Philly and we started out from there on Sunday morning, bright and early. We made it to Chicago that night where we stayed with one of his friends from high school. The next night we stayed at Fort Morgan on our way from Chicago to Denver. In Denver Tyler got some help balancing his new rig at Aspen Seating. While we were in Denver we went to Red Rocks and drove all the way up Mt. Evans. After that we stayed at his sponsor’s house for the night and then moved out towards Jackson Hole the next day. We stayed with Jonathan, one of the guys who has photographed some of Tyler’s ski races. Johnathan showed us around Grand Teton National Park where we got to see elk and bison and pelicans and a moose and so many other cool critters. We stayed two nights and it was great to spend some time in one place. From there we launched off towards Yellowstone with all of it’s natural amazing glory and then headed out towards Idaho where we stayed in Boise. And now? We’re back! Good old Oregon. We drove an (almost) obscene amount… today’s six hour drive was the shortest. I would definitely like to go back to Jackson Hole… I really liked that part of  Wyoming and I liked Colorado. Both were really rugged and very beautiful in their own sagebrushy ways.
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Tyler and Pete figuring out whether the monoski was balanced or not. It’s ready to make it’s way up to Mt. Hood in the morning. After we were done in the shop Tyler and I went out to Red Rocks, an unusual formation made out of… yes, you guessed it: red rocks.

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I’d hate to be inconsistent when it comes to photos. The last trip was all about bark and this one had a large number of waving grassy shots. I spared you endless pictures of flowers and bugs, oh how I do love my nature shots.dscn0722

Reeeedddd ROCKS! An amphitheater has been carved into them and anyone you can think of (from the Beatles to ICP) has played there. I’d LOVE to go to one of the concerts there. One day…

From there we wound our way up the side of Mt. Evans. It’s America’s highest paved road, oh man, it went so far up into the clouds!

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We saw goaties right by the road…

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and when you’ve reached the top…dscn0750

You’re standing higher than the tallest peak of Mt. Hood. It was bitterly cold and icy. We got out of the car for a grand total of five minutes, just long enough to snap some pictures and get ourselves back into the car. There were some headaches because of the altitude and it took us an hour and a half both ways to get there but it was so worth it! Just look at that view.

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And then we were in Jackson Hole. It’s just south of Yellowstone and wraps around the Grand Teton National Park. There was wildlife all over the place and crazily picturesque views to boot.dscn0779

We even wound up on a boat traveling across Jackson Lake. Tyler got to drive for a while but only after he warned us that he was probably going to do some donuts. He did. Water donuts… heehee.

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Yesterday, Friday, we went to Yellowstone. This is one of the signs that greets you when you get out to see the geysers and such. That kid has had better days… he should have stayed on the path. Sucker.

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They weren’t nearly as smelly as I thought they would be, mostly steam and pretty colors. There was a stunning amount of bison poops all over the place. Apparently they don’t need to stay on the paths like we do.

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A big, aqua, boiling hole in the ground.

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Anything yellow WAS stinky. Apparently sulphur is yellow + stinky + smells like the devil.

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The pits and pools and pots and geysers had moderately alarming names like “Abyss Pool” and dragon this and devil that. Everything was boiling and churning around like they tend to do.

It took a week but we made it back safe and sound. I got to see the country and shake my head periodically, mumbling “Oh man, I can’t imagine taking a wagon across this. No way would I do the Oregon Trail. No WAY. Oh man…” And so it ended.

The Wayback Machine

Well… it’s getting closer to June when I start my staff training at the camp. I went there when I was younger and now I’m going back as a counselor. Dad found some pictures from 2001 when they dropped me off for the first day, so very long ago. Notice that I’m rocking braces AND crimped hair. Unfortunately I could only ever crimp the top layers… it was a good look. At least I’m hella excited… and that makes up for all sorts of fashion issues.

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I’ve finally picked out a campname! Hint: it’s a flower, and it’s way better than anything I came up with in that post a while ago. But I’m also not going to tell you yet. That’ll have to wait.

Summer Plans

I’m going to be working at a summer camp this summer (thus the whole idea of “summer camp”) and now I needs me a camp name. By camp name I mean, something for the campers to call me. These are the names I’ve come up with so far:

Lavender
Clover
Hazel
Bumble bee (Ms. Bee)
Minnow
Pinto
Willow
Fern
Poppy
Apple
Elke

This is by no means a finished list. Let me know what you think about these and if you have any suggestions for more names! This is actually pretty fun.