Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Blah Time

Well, summer is winding down.  The days are getting noticeably shorter.  The weather is actually cooling off a bit.  Kids are either already back to school, or like most of my nieces and nephews heading back on Monday.  The air has actually been a bit chilly in the mornings and I've enjoyed it.

But, I'm filled with a bit of blah.  I have yet to edit the handful of pictures from the camping trip the weekend before last.  I have a lot of little chores around the house that need doing and several projects at home that have deadlines that are fast approaching.  I've also got several deadlines fast approaching at work that I'm not sure I'll make.  They're several projects that were listed as goals for me this year that I have until the end of the year to complete, but I'm not sure when or how I'll get there with trying to keep up and keep focused on the rest of my job.  Yes, these goals were above and beyond my "normal" duties of keeping up with the calls that come in and routine stuff.  I love working for corporate America *sarcasm*.

Anyhow, my drive to do anything has been a bit off the last week or two.  Part of it has been trying to shift gears back from vacation mode.  I spent a good bit of time off in August and I enjoyed all of it, even the rain while camping.  Part of it is the change of seasons.  Spring and fall are hard for me.  They're transitional seasons and unsettled and I can't help but feel that way too.
The death of Joan's mom last week and the (thankfully and surprisingly drama free) funeral on Sunday was difficult.  Not that I have or had any fond feelings for her mom, quite the opposite really, but for all the potential drama.  (I haven't bloged about a lot of what's going on there, but... life is always full of drama with Joan and her sisters... and much more so recently.... let's just leave it at that and move on, shall we?)

On the good side of things, I have been swimming or biking just about every day for the past week or two.  I can tell I'm getting stronger and more fit as time goes on.  I like the feeling of all the energy I have these days.  I had a doctor's appointment for an asthma/allergy checkup on Monday and Dr. F. said that I'm in very good health over all.  (And yet I still carry that damn "obese" tag... yes, I know it can spell trouble down the road, but with all the tests that have been done on me over the last few years, I find it hard to believe...)  My clothes are fitting very nicely (actually, I think I need a few new pair of pants, or at least new navy colored ones...).  I'll need new sweaters for this winter, but I'm actually looking forward to clothes shopping.

There are good things coming up as well.  In 5.5 weeks my brother and Becca will be out here on the east coast again and we will be celebrating their wedding.  I'm so happy that they're finally getting married.  It will be great to "officially" have Becca as a sister.
Boo, Gak and I are planning on heading to the PA Renaissance Faire at some point, probably Gak's birthday weekend.  We were going to go to Maryland, but we can get some 2-for-1 tickets to PA and that's an easy day trip as opposed to an entire weekend trip, so both cheaper and easier.

That's about where things stand in my little world.  I'm feeling a bit blah around the edges and lack motivation in general to get things (both at home and at work) done.  But, overall, life is good.

I should try and get something useful done at work in the last few minutes, so I bid you peace and enjoyment of the season.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Wet, but Wonderful Weekend

Ok, Ok, so I've neglected this space again.  I was going to post something Friday about how excited I was that this weekend was our vacation, that Gak, Boo and I actually got 3.5 whole days together!  We went camping again this year at the same campground that we went to last year.
I knew it was going to be a bit of an adventure even before we left Saturday afternoon.
This was the first time I put the new bike rack onto the car.  That was a bit of an adventure.  I had problems getting the straps to be tight enough on the rack.  Then I had problems getting the bike on, but I managed to get it on with a minimal of growling and only a bit of grease, elbow and otherwise.  Of course, the one strap didn't play nice the entire weekend.

The ride down was fairly uneventful.We stopped just into Maryland and had some dinner.  The one strap on the bike rack had come loose again, so I fixed it.  (It managed to stay put all the way to the camp site after this.)  Traffic wasn't very bad at all (unlike getting stuck at the DE/MD line.)  Then, when we get to the camp ground, they couldn't find my reservation.  I had realized about 20 minutes into the ride that I hadn't printed out my email confirmation, but I wasn't worried.  I couldn't find the email quickly on my phone, but thankfully the camp was over half open, and there were more than enough tent sites to spare.  We got a very nice site, just across from where we were last year.  I love their tent sites, all under the trees and shady and most are fairly big.

We manage to get everything set up and the boy-o in bed fairly easily.  There were some moments getting the blue dining tarp up, but nothing reading the directions four times couldn't fix.  We decided not to have a fire that evening because it was already 8:30 and we were all tired and the boy-o was already in bed.  It also decided to rain over night.  (The forecast had been flip-flopping all over the place with the weather all week...)  It wasn't too bad, just everything was slightly damp in the morning.  It was also gray and threatening to rain again at any moment.
Originally we were going to just have a lazy day at the camp site, maybe swim a bit, maybe go to a family thing in Laurel, but just hang out and decompress.  Well, with the iffy weather, we decided to change plans.  (Mom also decided not to go to the family thing in Laurel, she was exhausted and had a lot to do around the house anyhow, even with having Monday "Boo free".)  We decided to go into DC and go to one or two museums and then play it by ear.  We also stopped back in at the office to see if they'd found my reservations and they had, so refunded me the $25 deposit.  I really can't say enough good things about the staff at Cherry Hill Park.
When given a choice of seeing dinosaurs or spaceships and airplanes, Boo chose spaceships.  (I didn't even coach him on that one.)  Mostly he wanted to "ride trains" again this year.  We make it to the Metro station after only missing one turn and have an uneventful ride into DC.  I've decided that as much as I like the convenience of public transit, long subway rides are not for me, I was beginning to feel quite green around the edges by the time we got to the Smithsonian stop.  We had a nice, but brief, visit with the space ships, but then Boo was getting cranky about being hungry and wanted to eat and well, to make a long story short, there was walking, a little rain and crankiness by everyone and all the local places were closed on a Sunday so we ended up eating at the Native American museum.  The food there is very good and I suggest it to anyone in the area.  Just be prepared to spend an arm and a leg for it (although if you're a Smithsonian member, you can save $10, which is nice).  We wandered through most of that museum and Boo found a book he couldn't live without.  I was more than willing to add to his collection.
By then it was time to head back to the campsite.  We got back and it was nice and sunny out so we decided that a dip in the pool (with some ice cream as a snack first) was just what we needed.  After we got back to the site after our swim it was time to get supper going.  But, our grill wasn't cooperating because it had gotten a bit flooded in the rain in the day.  So, back to the snack bar we went for dinner.

I was looking forward to a relaxing evening by the campfire and my s'mores.  I started the fire after we got back from dinner.  By about 8:30 we'd gotten Boo into his PJ's Gak had given hugs and was heading to the bath house and I was reading Boo his new book again.  I was about 2/3 of the way through the book, when I hear the tell-tale sounds of rain.  I drop the book and dash out into the site, to toss another few logs onto the fire hoping that it was just a passing shower, gather the towels off the line and toss them onto the table, toss the chairs under the table and cover everything with a big silver tarp.
Well, that was all wishful thinking.
As I sat there in the tent listening to the rain hiss in the fire (which eventually went out) and roll off the tent, I realized it was getting worse.  Gak came back from the bath house and we all huddled in the tent.  I tried to cuddle Boo to sleep, but he was being awake boy.  I eventually just ignored him and pretended to sleep and Gak rolled over to the other wall of the tent reading.  It was fun to listen to the stream of consciousness that came rolling out of Boo's mouth until he eventually fell asleep.  Such a window into his mind.  Apparently his friends from day care are Dominic, Mikey and Joey, pretty much in that order, but not Kevin.  (I already knew that...)  Also, he realized that Momma and Daddy were being quiet and he should probably be quiet too.  Just as we thought the storm was getting to the worst it was going to get, Boo fell asleep.  He stayed that way pretty much throughout the entire night.  Of course, this was optimistic about the storm.  It got a lot worse before it ended.  Throughout most of this time, I really, really had to go to the bath house myself.  I was also holding a facebook conversation with Barb trying to do something with my time, since I couldn't go sit by the fire and toast marshmallows.  (By the way, microwave s'mores are totally not a true replacement for the real thing...)  Gak and I looked at the weather and that it was supposed to continue to rain off and on all day Monday and probably Monday night as well.  We decided that we'd just pack it in a day early and head home, stopping in Baltimore and probably go to the aquarium.  I think the rain eventually stopped sometime around 11, I'd given up and tried to go to bed a bit before that.

Anyhow, I was quite amazed at how little damage was done to the camp site.  I thought for sure I'd have to replace the blue dining tarp, but it had just popped inside out like an umbrella.  The blue tarp went one way, the silver tarp the other way, and everything on the table and under it was soaked.  This meant the towels too.  We managed to pack up with little trouble, but a lot of mud and muck.  Even more impressive was the fact that when we went to check out, the campground refunded me the last night's fee.  I really wasn't expecting that!

We did go to Baltimore and had a very nice time in the aquarium.  It was very crowded, but we still managed to have a good time.  It was so much larger than the last time we went.  Boo seemed to enjoy it.  It started to rain right as we got out of the aquarium, so we had lunch right next door at the Potbelly Sandwich, which we could have missed, but it was close.  We also went over to Barnes and Nobles and hung out for a bit and had some dessert.

The only thing eventful about the ride home was the fact that the bike decided to try and fall off before we left Baltimore.  Thankfully we weren't on 95 yet, but it was still a bit nerve wracking.  Anyhow, we stopped at Kat's on the way home to borrow the line to hang up the wet tent and catch up a bit.  After getting home I did up the wet and damp laundry at the laundry mat.
Today we thought about going to the Philly Zoo, thanks to the membership Jon and Becca got us for Christmas, but Boo was extra tired boy and we hung around the hose instead.

So, tomorrow we all head back to work and school.  I'm not really looking forward to it, but it'll be nice to get back to the routine a bit.

Peace to all and I hope that you had a drier but fun weekend.

P.S. I do have some photos, but I have to upload them.  Also, my camera battery died Monday morning, so no aquarium pictures.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Girl Scouts

Well, I've officially taken the second step this evening towards being a Girl Scout leader.
What am I thinking?
Oh, yeah, that's right... Loretta knew exactly which buttons to push.  The "we're short on leaders" card.  And the "this year is the centennial" year.  And the mere fact that the only reason I don't bleed green is the fact that I haven't been able to volunteer because of work and/or Boo for the last 15 years.  Yeah, Scouts has been a core of my being for a long time.

So, a few weeks ago I finally got around to filling in the "Step One" training online.  (Well, reading it online and then emailing the completed worksheets back... not quite as easy as it could have been, but better than some training I've had to deal with.)  It was both really easy and really hard to do.  It was easy because I grew up in the program.  I'm so used to thinking from a "girl" perspective, that having to switch gears to responsible adult leader is tough!  It was also tough because I've been out of the loop for the most part for about 15 years, and there have been lots and lots of changes.  Some I like (lots of online resources, new activities), some I don't (getting rid of the 5 Worlds, renaming of the badge systems....).

I also have my partner in crime with me.  Yes, that's right Kat is going to be a leader too.  It should be interesting.  Over all, we make a good team.  In some ways, we're flip sides of the same coin, in other ways we're totally on the same page.  Like I said, we balance each other well and tend to work well together.

We'll see where this adventure leads us.

It was a good training (although I wasn't able to pay 100% attention) over all.  I was a bit stressed and frantic from almost getting stuck in a bad accident on the way home, taking an extra 10 minutes to pick up Boo, leaving only 10 minutes to run home, get Trey, run through the drive through and get back to day care where the training was going to be held.  Yeah, that didn't leave me in the best frame of mind to pay attention.  Not to mention the fact that I totally forgot to grab my notebook, or even a pen.  Yeah, I felt like the most disorganized woman in the room.  Oh well, it can only get better from here.  I'll have Kat to balance me out going forward.  (She missed tonight because she was stuck in traffic and was trying not to hatch a headache... she'll have to catch up... the story of our lives always playing catch-up.)

Anyhow, I'm going to go crash and try and relax a bit before I have to try and go to sleep.

Peace to all and may you find something you believe in.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Friends and Beaches

Well, August is getting off to a pretty fun start.
Monday, Mom and I took the boy-o down to Delaware again.  Our friends Robin and Paul are up in the area from Georgia, and are staying with Jay right now.  This was the perfect excuse to go back to the beach one more time this year.  (I can't believe I've made it there three days this summer, each time with a different configuration of people, and all three times very enjoyable.)
I believe we have created an ocean loving monster, and I'm so very thrilled with that.  If you remember, earlier in the summer and last summer, whenever we would get Boo halfway to the water from our towels, he would make a u-turn and head in as straight a line as possible back to the blanket and towels.  Well, last time we managed to get him to splash in the water up to his knees and enjoy it.  This time, if I hadn't had a death grip on his wrists, I think he would have gladly let the waves take him where they would... and he was happily standing in the water up to his chest!  He didn't even want to get out when he was turning blue and shivering so much he just sort of vibrated in place.  Our visit with Robin, Paul and Jay was a good one as well.

Today, was another great day.  You see, my friend Blessa from England is in the US for a two week long road trip.  She brought her husband and her youngest with her.  I met Blessa 17 years ago (eep!) when we both worked at Camp Tohi.  I was just an assistant camp councilor and she was one of the riding instructors. Me, I've never been much of a horse person.  I never had any interest in taking riding lessons and had ridden about 5 times in my entire life (and I haven't ridden since either...).  So, who gets "stuck" with half the riding units that summer?  You guessed it, me!  I quite enjoyed it though.  Most of the time it was quite fun, and "rooming" with Blessa was a lot of fun.  She's about 6 years older than me, and at 18, that was a pretty big difference, but a comfortable one.  She provided a sense of stability and hmmm... not sure what the right word is, but it was a good thing.
Amber is 6 years old and she and Boo hit it off tremendously in about 2 minutes or less.  They had a lot of fun playing together while I threw lunch together.  Blessa and I had a good time catching up and I don't think Andrew was too bored out of his skull.  (Personally, I think he was just happy to get out of the car; their 1.5 hour ride turned into 3 hours!)

Anyhow, after their fun visit, they left to head off to their next stop, Ohio and our friend Lynx.  Lynx was another international councilor the year Blessa was there.  (Blessa was only there one year, I was there two and I think Lynx came back for four or more!)  I'm so jealous that she gets to go see Lynx.  Lynx was one of the two I bunked with during pre-camp that summer and she and I were quite friendly.  I think one of my favorite pre-camp memories is when we were sitting in a talk and I glance over at her note pad to see what notes she was taking, and it was in Dutch.  She caught me looking and we had a good laugh about it.  Anyhow, I hope to get a chance to see Lynxie again some time, I've just got to get the time to take a road trip.

I've got a lot of pictures from the beach to get off the camera (none from today, but Blessa has some...).  I'll get there eventually.

Peace to all and may your travels be safe, and your friendships a heartbeat away.