I have been camping a lot recently. All that rain we had? Right in my tent. Nah, not really--I'm actually pretty good at camping, I must say. I set up four tents in the pouring rain in under a half hour last friday, then proceeded to move the tents 200 yards over, in pouring rain and mud b/c my brother needed them there. It was pretty much down to this--either bitch and complain about the rain, or accept it and have fun with it. When was the last time I ran barefoot across a huge field, wielding a 3-man tent over my head, and slid down a mud hill? (Last Friday, if you must know!).
I earned the title "camping queen":
I brought 3 tents, 3 sleeping bags, 5 folding camp-chairs, 8 flashlights, 2 battery-powered alarm clocks, 2 (gigundo) tarps, a plethora of plastic bags (ALWAYS keep one set of clothes/underwear sealed in a plastic bag, so that not if but when all of your belongings are soaked, you can drive home in a dry set of clothes), 4 rain ponchos (they didn't work, though. Think I had it on inside out), 2 umbrellas, three fireside sandwich roasters, banana chips, and an assortment of noodles/inflatable swimming thingies. The finishing touch was the giant hockey goals attached to the top of the truck. My most glorious moment, however, was when my sister-in-law's flip-flops broke (the mud wasn't kind to any of our shoes) and I had an extra pair--in her size (they were pink and sparkly, slightly but comfortably platformed, for $6).
This weekend--actually tonight, we are leaving to my family cabin in Maryland. My great grandfather bought an acre patch for each of his kids, and the family still enjoys it today. There's a lake, a creek, a pond, an octagonal church with a preacher that my mom always picks fights with (she picks fights with a lot of people, this makes her particularly endearing), clean crisp air and lots of woods. Recently, and on several occasions, bears, bobcats and mountain lions have been sighted. My family doesn't do much for birthdays (there was always too many of us to keep track of) and reels away from Christmas, but we do the 4th of July like nobody's bidness. Blowing stuff up, burning things down, and creating general havoc--count us in. The locals (er, natives?) in the valley always come around for our fireworks shows; the sheriff is our cousin--he always chips in on the fireworks fund:)
I like to come "bearing gifts." I bought my mom the 2008 publisher's guide for children's writers/illustrators. Amazon sent the version for "Novel/Short story writers" instead. Rather than return it, I shipped it off to my brother in Cbus, so that his poetry and stories can grace more than just telephone poles (although I like his approach). I bought my mom the appropriate book for her goals. I then bought my sister three sets of bamboo knitting needles and lots of yarn--'spensive yarn that she wouldn't buy for herself. I bought each of the kids a little something from the dollar bin--fancy notepads, miniature plush puppies, scented markers (omGAWD they smell good). I also bought my husband a book about beer, because I love to see people read and that's one of the things he likes to read about (He is also partial to books of mechanical inclination, guitar books, cookbooks, MC Escher books). On a side note, i cannot wait to try his latest beer. Its a wheat beer that he flavored with fresh kiwi, and I've got to tell you, just from taste testing it in the first stages of fermentation, it is incredible! Don't let the kiwi throw you off--it has a mild and subtle finish which I find delectable.
School is coming around the corner, as is the GRE. All in good time. For the first time since I started the program, I want to be done.