I loathe camping. I mean, I’ve camped a lot in my life- my dad is a hunter, and a campfire with sleeping bags in the back of the pickup truck are not foreign to me- I even set a sleeping bag on fire once when I put a too-hot towel-wrapped brick near our feet in a futile effort to keep warm during winter camping. If I have to, I can do it. But since having children, the desire to rough-it has utterly departed. The thought of camping with Bean when he was little was enough to make me nauseated. Can you even imagine…? I feel sick. So of course, I got asked by my church to help with the young women’s Girls’ Camp this year.
It was far more fun than I expected. I met some lovely new friends. Another woman and I were in charge of the Craft Cabin, and we had to come up with fun things for the girls to make during the week. I was able to head to the camp, spend the day, and then return back home to sleep in bug-free solid-walled glory. It was the best camping experience ever, and I totally fell in love with working with the teen girls. My tables were filled with honestly remarkable conversations floating in and out all day, peppered with clever observations, thoughtful ideas, and hard questions. I would join in at times, and at other times, I would sit back and just listen. I feel far more optimistic now about heading into the teen years with my own kids than I did a few days ago.
For my part, I taught a lesson on computer coding, put together by my friend Cynthia, which you can find full support for at BCC. The girls learned about binary code, and then made necklaces using the code they’d learned. As a nod to my hippie past, we also made prisms on beaded hangers. It went swimmingly, and I’m so glad I was called to help.
Our car has been kaput off and on for a couple of weeks now. The dealership finally gave us a loaner car while they farm out the beast and build it some new insides. Of course this happens at the worst possible time, with summer and five kids filtering in and out. We have to take two cars everywhere, and it’s a first world problem and I’m super glad for the loaner. I still want my car back. Soon.
For the first time in about a million years, my family is having something of a reunion this summer. We haven’t all been together in… well, maybe ever. The east coast contingent will be there, the northwest contingent will be there, the local contingent will be there, moms, dads, steps, cousins, siblings and all he grandkids. I’m pretty excited, and plan on spending the better part of the week dividing my time between my mom’s pool and the lake where she lives.
Bean’s got a new teacher for home-study this summer, and she has made all the difference. This teacher is patient, kind, thoughtful, specific and firm, and tremendously patient. Did I mention patient? He loves her, and she’s working on supporting him as we head towards middle school in the fall. Middle school is such a nightmare for any kid, but when you add in ASD… well, I’d do anything to help smooth the way for him. I’d even go camping, if it helped. Which it won’t.
This kid got an award from the POTUS for good grades. He also spent a week at Scout Camp, and while he initially thought he loved camping as much as I did, but it turns out he actually had a great time. He chopped wood, hauled food, swam, learned to make stuff, and earned five merit badges towards his Eagle Scout, which he’s decided he wants. He also starts (gulp!) football this summer. I’m not ready. And high school this fall. I’m REALLY not ready.
Abby spent all her birthday money buying rocks. Er, excuse me… MINERALS. (They’re MINERALS, Marie!) She’s planning on doing some geologic exploration this summer, and I think it will require her pickaxe, a brunton compass, and perhaps a USGS topographic quadrant map. Oh, and she got a perfect 4.0 for the entire year and is starting AP classes in the fall.
Things are going lovely at our new ward. People have been kind, thoughtful, friendly and considerate towards our family, and we’ve been made to feel welcome and even loved. What a nice change of pace, eh?
I’m beginning to warm up my mental facilities in preparation for heading back to grad school. I’m not ready to talk about it yet much beyond acknowledging I have unfinished business, and I want those extra letters after my name. The wheel goes round.
My heart was sweetly aching last week as I watched my Facebook feed fill with photos of my friends at the two California shows of the final five Grateful Dead shows ever. These was the reuniting of the four remaining members, more than two decades after Jerry Garcia died. It’s hard to believe it’s been 25 years since I found my way to my first Dead show in Sacramento. I don’t even know how many shows I saw in the ensuing five years, but it was a foundational segment of my life, and comprises a facet of who I am today. I tried to get tickets to any of the final three shows in Chicago this weekend, but it just wasn’t possible. See: five kids, a new transmission and grad school. Adulthood is hard. So I put on one of my early shows last night and watched film of the Mardi Gras shows at Oakland with my husband. Thankful the Dead always allowed taping, and every show ever is archived and at the tips of your Googling fingers.
I have a new book coming out this fall- it’s a volume of essays my dear friend and colleague Emily Jensen and I edited, and I’m thrilled about it. You can see it on Amazon here.
I think that brings me up to date, mostly. Maybe now I can get back to writing for reals.