Category Archives: camp

Big 10 Mom

badgers tickets

Yes, that is my desk. Yes it was a Monday morning and I had plenty of work that had to be done. And yes, I really do have that many screens.

This Monday marked the 7th year in a row (one year being a double with 2 kids involved) that I have been in charge of making sure my little Badgers are able to get their season student football tickets. If you know anything about attending a Big 10 school, you know what serious business this is.

When my daughter first went to UW you had to Fed Ex in your forms. For some reason I missed the last pick up and a friend and I drove frantically through town chasing down the Fed Ex truck. (yes, I have friends who would do this with me)

Why, you ask, is this my responsibility and not theirs? Let’s see, for at least 6 of these 7 years at least one of them was a counselor in the Adirondacks with no cell service and no computers. (worth doing it to know they could actually unplug for the summer) And this year, young Daniel is a working stiff, riding the Long Island Railroad at the exact time that the tickets went on sale.

I am happy to report I am 8 for 8 on season tics for my kids.

Next June I will have that same bittersweet feeling about not having to do this as I had when I did not have any camp trunks scattered all over my living room the second week in June.

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Filed under camp, college, family, humor

Goat brothers

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I love this name. Goat Brothers. Are they goat men? Is this their family name? Are they simply goat like in their behavior?

The thing I love about being in the Adirondacks is that I can go to a bar with something like this on display.

I don’t believe I have ever been to a swap meet. I may have to come back up here for this.

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Filed under absurdities, camp, humor

Time to Cry Tuesday – Camp Trunks and Badger Tickets

For the past 13 years I have packed 22 camp trunks and duffles. When the kids were young, this was a process that started weeks in advance. I was old school and insisted upon sewing all the name tapes. Clothing and linens lined the living room with stacks of plastic boxes filled with quarters, phone cards (no cell service there), bug spray, bandaids… and every item that I could think of to keep them prepared. (still not sure what the thumbtacks were for)

The ritual of buying toiletries, packing them in plastic shoe boxes and having a ‘family mall day’ to buy new sneakers, socks and whatever else they needed, was part of the June frenzy that parenting spawns.

This year I have one kid heading back up to the Adirondacks for his 11th summer, his 4th as a counselor. The familiar comment, ‘the trucks go out on Monday’ that used to elicit a slight sense of panic deep in my soul was now answered with, ‘hey, maybe we should take them out of the attic’. And that comment was on Friday.

Family mall day yielded one item, a new pair of crocs. No new socks or sneakers were purchased; we have finally learned that 8 weeks at summer camp ruins them both and new ones should be bought at the end of the summer.

My boy has been a counselor of young kids for 3 years and can fold better than I can at this point. He has moved out of a dorm and into an apartment and packed to come home from Wisconsin on his own for the past 2 years. My role in this was more about tradition than real need. And the chance to share an activity that we both knew was probably going to be the last. Bittersweet, indeed.

This morning, that trunk and duffle – packed in under 2 hours – sat in the front hallway and the biggest excitement of the day was his waking at 8:15 to get online for the lottery for Badger season football tickets.

June is a whole different month than it was when they were little!

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Summer Camp Fortune

What is the shot my family would get this fortune in their Sunday chinese food order? We are the quintessential camp family. My son, as my daughter did before him, is going to attend his 11th summer at sleep away this year. They both beat my record of 9 years (same camp).

Gary had an idea to make xia ling ying t-shirts for the camp this summer.

The kids voted that down.

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Time to Cry Tuesday – There’s no place like camp

This sign hangs on the owner’s house as you enter camp. It just about says it all. It is hard to explain this to someone who has never been fortunate enough to find the kind of connection my family has found to this place. I have written about it before, more than once, actually. But I always seem to find just one more way of articulating a place that has meant as much to me as any other in my life.

It’s not just the camp, although it is sort of the sacred ground of both my own childhood and that of my kids. But the surrounding area is so amazing. There is a clarity about being there. The way the air smells. How the water feels. The chill of the early morning and the hot sun of midday. The stars at night. There is nothing like the great expanse of a starry night in those mountains. It is a sight I will never tire of.

No cell service. Winding roads through beautiful mountains. Clear lakes. It is all so untouched. Or as untouched as it gets these days. Back when we were kids there were party lines and no new houses. Cell hot spots and new homes have sprung up in the closest town, but not a lot. For the most part the place looks very similar to the way it did 30 years ago. What a gift, to be able to visit the scene of your childhood with so little changed. There are no words to explain that elation.

And the best part. The part that I will never tire of being thankful for, is that my kids know the exact same feeling. Their bond may even be stronger. Not just because it is still so current, but because these times allow them to keep the link to all those people so effortlessly.

Life is long and camp is short, but if you are lucky, you can carry it with you till the day you check out.

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Time to Cry Tuesday – Checking Out

I admit it. I am a connection junkie. I have a blackberry, a blog, accounts on facebook, foursquare, twitter and countless other ridiculous places I won’t admit. I post, share, ponder, like, friend, tweet, IM, BBM, text, and in my retro way I am known to send an occasional traditional snail mail thank-you note when old-fashioned sincerity is in order.

But this weekend I worked pretty hard at checking out. Nestled comfortably in the heart of the 6 million acre Adirondack Park, I stayed in a sleepy little town called… no, not Petticoat Junction. But pretty damn close. It is called North Creek. And it is a bustling metropolis compared to the town we were there to really visit, which is called Minerva.

Minerva… 12851. 28N. Say those three things to anyone who has been lucky enough to spend their summers at the sleep away camps in that town and a glazed look will come over their eyes. The air smells so sweet, the sky is that extra shade of blue, the lake tastes like nothing on this earth. The stillness of its mornings and the majesty of its sunsets are amongst the most beautiful experiences on earth.

But the true gift of this little jewel on earth is found in its lack of cell service. Yes, you read that correctly. I was thrilled to be technically untethered for a few days. And although North Creek prides itself in its relatively new hot spots, I can honestly say I tried my best to keep away from them as much as possible while I was in town. Sure I threw up some shots on facebook and even checked in on foursquare once just to see if there were venues that were listed, but for the most part…

I checked out.

And kids, I have to tell you, it didn’t suck. Somehow being there and letting go made me remember who I am on some level. Or perhaps it was who I want to be.

Again.

Haven’t had enough of me yet? You can also read me at 50-Something Moms Blog. For photo enthusiasts, visit Leaving the zip code, photos from outside the comfort zone.

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Filed under camp, facebook, technology, Time to Cry Tuesdays, twitter, vacation

Time to Cry Tuesday – Family and Friends

There is nothing like a picture perfect weather weekend to kick off the summer. But the weather was not the only thing that was perfect. We were fortunate enough to have been invited to 3 amazing BBQs filled with good friends with our family unit firmly intact for a few fleeting days. There are so few times that we get to spend as a family now, adding old friends and their kids to the mix is truly a gift.

BBQ number one was so very special because all the 21 year olds were there, many of whom have just returned with stories of their semesters abroad. Looking at all those faces I have known since nursery school, seeing their friendships still so strong and comfortable was such a joy. These are the people we have raised our children with. We have sat through graduations, in ER waiting rooms and everything in between with this crowd. This is our Community with a capital C.

BBQ number two was the campies. This crowd is filled with our friends and their kids who have all attended the same summer camp. The kids are mostly counselors – or retired counselors – with many stories of their own to add to the legacy of the ones that we tell. So much history. A culture like no other. We truly feel like we have come home when we are with this group.

BBQ number three was with more of the home crowd. A smaller group of 3 families that have been together from the very beginning. Their kids (and dogs) are like my own and we never take for granted how special their friendship is to us. Or how amazing their cooking is.

To all our hosts, thank you so much for the great times. And to my kids, thanks for humoring us and spending some time together. Something tells me you both are beginning to appreciate the time we are all together as much as we are.

And hell hasn’t even frozen over yet.

Haven’t had enough of me yet? You can also read me at 50-Something Moms Blog. For photo enthusiasts, visit Leaving the zip code, photos from outside the comfort zone.

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Filed under camp, family, friendship, Time to Cry Tuesdays